Delegation of Israeli Doctors to Gaza Denied Entry

IDF already approved plan to offer hundreds of patients medical services unavailable in besieged Strip.

A task force of Israeli doctors was banned on Wednesday from entering the Gaza Strip, although their entry has been approved by Israel Defense Forces a few days ago.

The members of the organization Physicians for Human Rights were supposed to offer, over a three-day sojourn, medical services that are unavailable in the besieged territory.

"We were they only hope for 400 Palestinian patients who were supposed to receive treatment, and were fasting since yesterday because of the operation they were supposed to undergo today," said the oncologist Dr. Abed A'baria, on his way home from the Erez Crossing.

"The army told us that we were denied entry for security reasons," he said.

Along with the doctors, a $50,000-worth of medical equipment was also turned away.

The IDF Spokesman Office said they were looking into the matter.

The sixth and largest Physicians for Human Rights delegation to enter Gaza since Israel imposed a blockade on the Strip last year consisted of nine Israeli doctors, including orthopedists, a surgeon, an oncologist, a psychologist and a social worker.

All nine are Israeli Arabs, after the requests of Jewish doctors were immediately rejected by the IDF "on security grounds."

"Since the blockade was imposed, the reach of international medical aid has been very limited," A'baria continued. "Local doctors are not allowed to leave Gaza to attend conferences and further their knowledge. Some patients have been waiting for an operation for over six months."

The head of the Occupied Territories Department at Physicians for Human Rights, Ron Yaron, said that the team intended to treat patients who were denied treatment in Israel by Shin Bet Security Services.