Palestinian AIDS Patient Required to Hire Guards for Treatment in Israel

The Israel Defense Forces required a Palestinian man with AIDS to hire two armed Israeli bodyguards to accompany him to treatments at the AIDS clinic at Hadassah Hospital. The demand was made after the man, who worked as a cleaner for 22 years in Israel, was declared a security risk by the army, although he had only been briefly arrested a few times over the years for illegal residency in Israel.

A few months ago, doctors at a Hebron hospital diagnosed Y., 40, with AIDS, which he contracted after falling ill with a blood disease, by doctors at a Hebron hospital. He was brought in serious condition to Hadassah Hospital, where his care was funded by the Palestinian Authority.

Following treatment with the HIV "cocktail" his condition improved dramatically. However, when Hadassah called him in for an appointment, the authorities said his security status prevented his coming to Israel. Last Wednesday, following an exhaustive administrative and legal battle waged by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), including a threat to appeal the man's case to the High Court of Justice, the IDF told the group it would consider giving the man an entry permit "if he were accompanied by Israeli guards during his stay in Israel (at his own expense)." The army also suggested the patient be referred abroad for treatment if he could not meet the army's conditions.

Y., who lives in a village south of Hebron, was brought to the hospital in a special vehicle, accompanied by the guards.

When Y., whose wife is HIV positive, said he could not afford the NIS 2,000 daily fee for the guards, the PHR offered to pay it this time. Y.'s next appointment is in April. However, he currently is unable to pay for the trip.