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Israel Blocks Gaza Women From Breast Cancer Treatment

Health & Wellness  (tags: Gaza Strip, israeli siege-blockade of Gaza, freedom of movement, Palestinian human rights, world, news-media, USA, breast cancer, Gaza health care system, cancer treatment, health, humanitarian need-crisis, health, environment, women, children )

- 833 days ago -
Khuloud Abu Qamar spoke quietly but her words still shocked. Israel is killing me slowly, she said. And it is killing my children, too


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fly bird (26)
Saturday December 10, 2016, 12:57 am
Khuloud Abu Qamar spoke quietly but her words still shocked. “Israel is killing me slowly,” she said. “And it is killing my children, too.”

After undergoing surgery for breast cancer last year, Abu Qamar requires further treatment which she has not been able to receive in Gaza. She has asked Israel for permission to travel. Her applications have so far been rejected. Aged 40, she has six children, the youngest of whom is still a baby.

Her plight is shared by many others in Gaza. Estimates from the local health ministry indicate that several hundred women with breast cancer have been obstructed from traveling by Israel so far this year.

Leaving Gaza for treatment is vital as the coastal strip’s hospitals are not properly equipped to provide such services as radiotherapy.

As part of the state’s propaganda, Israel has portrayed itself as a global leader in cancer treatment and research. To promote breast cancer awareness in October, the Israeli Air Force painted its warplanes pink.

The gimmick gave no comfort to women in Gaza.

“I don’t want to die”

Alaa Masoud, a 25-year-old mother living in Jabaliya refugee camp, has also been diagnosed with breast cancer. She recently had her right breast removed at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

Her doctors have stated that she now needs to see specialists working in Israel or the West Bank. So far, she has made five requests for permission to travel through Erez, the Israeli military checkpoint on Gaza’s northern boundary. All five of her requests have been rejected.

The refusal has exacerbated her suffering. Her cancer and surgery forced her to stop breastfeeding her baby Amir.

“I don’t want to die,” she said. “I want to see my baby grow up to be a lovely young man.”

Traveling through Erez is practically the only option for Gaza residents requiring treatment that they cannot receive in the strip’s hospitals and clinics.

Until recently, many patients had been referred to hospitals in Egypt. Yet the almost constant closure of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has led to a sharp decline in the number of Palestinians being treated in Egypt.

Human rights groups have long documented how Israel has, in effect, sought to blackmail Palestinians who are seriously ill. Patients have been told that they will only be allowed to travel for treatment if they become informers to the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency.

Dalia Abu Skhaila, a 34-year-old breast cancer patient from the southern Khan Younis area of Gaza, said that Israeli officers at Erez have tried to recruit her as an informer on a number of occasions. Because she has refused to accept that condition, she has been blocked from traveling.

“Dying in Gaza is much easier than betraying my people and country,” she said.


Despite the barriers that Israel has placed on treatment, health workers in Gaza are striving to increase awareness of breast cancer.

According to Khaled Thabet, who heads the oncology department at al-Shifa hospital, one of the main challenges faced is that breast cancer is frequently at an advanced stage when it is detected, making treatment difficult. To aid early detection, he and other doctors are encouraging women to undergo tests for breast cancer.

“There is a lack of an inspection culture,” he said.

Hala al-Talmas, a 35-year-old from Jabaliya camp, was reluctant to have a check-up when she began experiencing slight pains in her right breast, particularly at night time.

A friend in whom she confided urged her to see a doctor. Yet Hala avoided doing so until a couple of months later. After the pains became more severe, she noticed a small lump inside her breast.

Hala told her mother, Hania, about the lump and visited al-Shifa. The staff there found that she had a pea-sized tumor in her breast. She was diagnosed with cancer.

When a doctor asked Hala why she had waited so long, she replied that she had been afraid.

With the help of her extended family, she managed to raise enough money for an operation. Her breast was removed.

Hala started chemotherapy following the operation. After just a few weeks of that treatment, she had a stroke and died.

“I wish my daughter had been more aware and that she had visited a doctor in the early stages of her disease,” said Hania, Hala’s mother.

Medicine under siege

Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in Gaza, according to the health ministry. Almost 750 cases of breast cancer were detected in 2015.

The Gaza authorities run classes to educate women about breast cancer.

The Electronic Intifada asked a sample of 200 women in Gaza if they had attended classes. About 90 percent of the women – aged from 25 to 65 – responded that they had not.

“I have a fear of such lessons and I keep myself away from them,” said Doaa al-Shami, a 31-year-old. “I have attended just one class since I got married.”

Gaza’s health authorities are struggling to cope with the effects of the siege that Israel has imposed on the territory for almost a decade.

Hospital machinery has often been blocked from entering Gaza. Vital medicines are in short supply.

“The problems facing the health ministry here are obvious,” Ahmed El Shorafa, head of the oncology department at the European Hospital in Rafah, a town in southern Gaza, said.

“They are caused by the shortages in money and equipment. We need more medical centers and more staff to provide health education in all parts of Gaza.”

Past Member (0)
Saturday December 10, 2016, 3:08 am

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday December 10, 2016, 4:02 am
They should not be in fear of their lives or health

Shared over social media to spread awareness, Jess.

Lynda G (123)
Saturday December 10, 2016, 11:55 pm
Sounds like propaganda to me. This article is printed verbatim all over the net, but there is nothing whatsoever to back it up.

fly bird (26)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 11:34 am
There is plenty of hasbara/faux news, even a smidgeon of which, does not account for the Israeli assault on Gaza and blockade and devastating hardship and suffering inflicted on Palestinians and Gazans caused by the Israeli state's policy of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

fly bird (26)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 1:20 pm

We All Live in Gaza - Share.

VIDEO - Feature Length Documentary - Journey with us to inside the siege.

"Hello and welcome to Gaza. Here you will find descriptions of the documentary, web series and arts installation, the three media elements being melded together to tell the story of the besieged territory...What has happened in the past? What is happening today? Why is the siege continuing unabated? Who are the people of Gaza, and most critically how can a just resolution be found?

The men women and children of Gaza speak eloquently about their situation...our mission is to bring their message from the inside to the outside."

fly bird (26)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 1:31 pm
Israeli Closure of the Gaza Strip: A Crime against Humanity.


Investigate Persecution Arising out of Ongoing Gaza Closure, Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Urge ICC Prosecutor.

Since June 2007, Israel has instituted a comprehensive closure on the Gaza Strip in which it has denied the free movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, amounting to collective punishment. The Gaza Strip, a constituent part of the State of Palestine, is frequently described as the world’s largest open-air prison.

“The siege on Gaza is unprecedented and is a form of collective punishment. The aim of the closure and the occupation is to de-develop Gaza, to strip Palestinians of their dignity and send Gazan society back to the Middle Ages,” said Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR.

“Israel’s absolute control over Gaza’s borders and population has set back generations of Palestinians who cannot travel, access education, receive medical treatment, or engage with the outside world. The ICC must urgently proceed to investigate the crimes against the Palestinian population in Gaza.”

Issam Younis, Director of Al Mezan, further stated that “efforts to ease the closure – which is cruel by design and amounts to a crisis of dignity – have been woefully unsuccessful, as evidenced by the ineffectiveness of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism. A full lifting of the closure is required and the protection of civilians must be ensured.”

The four Palestinian human rights organizations maintain that the closure of the Gaza Strip has been disproportionate, discriminatory and not justified by military or security purposes. In fact, the current restrictions on the movement of goods and persons into and out of the Gaza Strip are imposed as punitive and persecutory measures. The organizations conclude that a reasonable basis exists to believe that the crime against humanity of persecution is being committed. Persecution entails the denial of fundamental rights on the basis of identity of a group. In this case, the organizations assert that Palestinians are being denied their rights to life and physical security, to work, to education, to health, to adequate food, water and housing, to family life, to travel, to freedom from discrimination, and ultimately the right to dignity.

“The closure, which is the result of a comprehensive package of suffocating restrictions, deliberately fragments the Palestinian territory and severely violates fundamental human rights of the Palestinian population. The ICC Prosecutor has a golden opportunity to bring an end to the suffering of the entire Palestinian population,” said Shawan Jabarin, Director of Al-Haq.

Nyack Clancy (287)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 3:08 pm
Basically the same thing Republicans have been trying to do with healthcare in the United States

Lynda G (123)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 4:07 pm
Israel allowed 120,000 Palestinians last year access to medical treatment, at Israel's expense. It has no obligation to do so. Anyone from Gaza or West Bank can enter Israel, but they have to pass through checkpoints, to verify they do not have bombs or weapons. There were so many suicide bombers and terrorist attacks Israel had no choice but to set up checkpoints. Do you let anyone come into your house?

Palestinians refuse to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, and have refused or broken every peace agreement. They have wasted years attacking and blaming Israel instead of looking after their own people and working their way out of poverty.

Nyack Clancy (287)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 4:11 pm
So? Is that a TRUE story Lynda? That Israel allowed 120,000 Palestinian women in and treated them for breast cancer?

Lynda G (123)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 4:28 pm
"For medical treatment" That includes breast cancer.

Nyack Clancy (287)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 4:38 pm
so? why was 120,000 on the topic of breast cancer place here? To impress someone with Israels good works?

They are supposed to be performing good works as Doctors if the took the Hippocratic Oath.

Hippocratic Oath: One of the oldest binding documents in history, the Oath written by Hippocrates is still held sacred by physicians: to treat the ill to the best of one's ability, to preserve a patient's privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on.

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art - if they desire to learn it - without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

Nyack Clancy (287)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 4:38 pm
A Modern Version of the Hippocratic Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

Lynda G (123)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 5:34 pm
Nyack, the topic of this thread was the alleged denial of post cancer treatment to an alleged woman in Gaza. Israel treats 120,000 non-residential Palestinians, including cancer treatment, at their own expense. It is relevant to the topic, as the intent of the article is to imply that Israel won't allow any Palestinians through the checkpoints to receive medical treatment. That's a lie.

As for your 'modern version of the Hippocratic Oath', I fail to see any relevance to the topic.

fly bird (26)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 6:00 pm
Nyack, knows the topic of the thread, just as I do.

It is obvious, when the Israeli blockade/siege denies necessary medical supplies, and prevents freedom of movement in and out of Gaza, that it controls every aspect, virtually, of life in Gaza.

Imagine that happening in the U>S> or somewhere, else - and you would find that necessary upplies would be imported and brought in from other locations.
Israel, and Egypt, control the borders.
That is it, and it also controls the air and sea.

This blockade has lasted years, and Israel assaulted Gaza, and civilians, 3x in 6 years, with deadly force.

Denial of humanitarian aid, also, is another way Israel has exerted it's military fist ( thanks to over $3.4 Billion a year in free money to Israel, while Americans struggle and are in dire need of services to the needy and less privileged) and over Gaza .

Israel attacked mercy, humanitarian ships, again and again, killing humanitarian aid workers and volunteers.

@Lynda H
You may not 'see' any relevance - others do.

We are all human, and to deny that is no different than exterminating people because of one's ethnic background, and denying essential materials and life services due to racist ideology.

I do not see a smidgeon of 'relevance' in comments that do not show any apprehension of the truth, behind the lies and propaganda.

Trying to paint Israel as a benefactor, rather than a tyrannical state, sowing destruction on Palestinian civilians in the illegally occupied Palestinian territories and the tyrannical siege of the Gaza Strip, is offensive and would insult the intelligence of anyone, informed of the facts.

Beryl Ludwig (78)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 6:34 pm
Thank you for the article Jess

Lynda G (123)
Sunday December 11, 2016, 10:11 pm
Trying to paint Israel as a tyrannical state is offensive to me, but I believe in freedom of speech and open, civil discussion. In our culture, nobody has the right to not be offended.

If the Jews in Israel were genuinely committed to "extermination" of the Palestinians, why do the Palestinians eagerly go to Israel, instead of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or Europe for medical treatment? Why would they take their children and loved ones there if they were going to be "exterminated" or mistreated?

Abo r (107)
Monday December 12, 2016, 3:27 am
No surprise at all the IOF always prevents patients from getting treatments abroad from GAZA , this is not the first time , who destruct houses on children and allow burning houses and children while they alive will do such blockade .
Who kills humans pts. on checkpoints will prevent patients from getting treatment outside GAZA.
Who closes the checkpoints front of ladies about to deliever and delivers on the checkpoints is the one who prevent pts. to go to have med. care abroad and even to the west bank which is a Palestinian land.
All patients had to get permission from the IOF before leaving Gaza and many do not have such permission and left to die in GAZA
To that one who say that The IOF treats that many of pts. on its account thats not true and never done the PA pays the bill to the IOF hospitals in previous and if not the pt. is not accepted in the hospital ( garantee checks are sent from PA with the pt papers.
IF any wants to be treated on his account must pay cash in advance the estimated bill to the hospital before admission otherwise will not be allowed.
These are facts and the way of treating the Gazian people Christians and Muslims the same

Abo r (107)
Monday December 12, 2016, 3:30 am
Thanks for posting forwarding .

Sandra Penna (135)
Monday December 12, 2016, 11:09 am
Thank you for the article, Jess.

Evelyn B (63)
Monday December 12, 2016, 12:23 pm
Fact: Israeli hospitals DO provide treatment to Palestinians.
And this fact is widely broadcast.

Lynda - what you have NOT noticed is that this fact hasn't be questioned in this article.
On the contrary - the article refers to the fact that the treatment needed would probably have to be accessed in an Israeli hospital.


What you have not bothered to check is what happens when someone (Palestinian) needs to GO to the hospital.

Firstly - the patient needs a travel permit/ authorisation to go to the hospital.
That's not given by the hospital service - it has to come from the IDF/military authorities ... many of whom couldn't care less about helping Palestinians by expediting permission.

Then, once (if) a permit is accorded, there's the hassle of checkpoints -
Checkpoints (including Erez) often close - causing Palestinian patients to miss their treatment appointments. AND then - the appointment having been missed, a new appointment means a new permit.

So, Lynda, instead of spouting lies about refusal to recognise the State of Israel (or rather, demanding recognition ONLY of the Jewish nature of a State which is NOT 100% Jewish) -
And instead of intentionally misreading this article to say that Israeli HOSPITALS are mistreating/ abusing Palestinians ... so that you can then take offence ...

How about checking out the reality, and sparing a little humanity for women and others suffering from cancer who are so close to - yet so far from - the treatment they need? Or are you among those pro-Zionists who don't really consider Palestinians as human beings with human rights?

It is so offensive to twist facts in order to claim this as Palestinian lies intended as an attack on Israeli high quality health care.

By the way - how do you propose that a woman from a refugee camp in Gaza finds a) the permit to travel to Saudi or Jordan when she can't even go into Israel, where she could receive the care she needs IF SHE HAD THAT PERMIT?
b) How does she pay for the travel? (they are very very poor in the camps - already, travel to the Israeli hospital is a challenge, particularly if she has to use Israeli transport from Erez ... and every time checkpoints close, prevent patients from crossing even when they have an appointment, that is money patients can't afford down the drain)
If the Rafa border were open more often, patients could go to Egyptian hospitals (although the high quality hospitals are mainly private & are a long way from the border ... more costs)

Sorry, Lynda - political strategies of the State of Israel are FAR from humane towards Palestinians. Unlike most Israeli hospitals/ medical services.

fly bird (26)
Monday December 12, 2016, 5:50 pm
Thank you Abo, Ros and Evelyn, for your comments, and link to the article on the British MP.....who travels to Palestine in her own time to perform difficult breast cancer surgeries.
Your comments express the complexity of the situation and how it is fraught with difficulties, on top of the existing traumas and daily hardships, due to the Israeli blockade.

Abo r (107)
Tuesday December 13, 2016, 8:59 am
It is true that the IOF hospitals treat Palestinian Pateints but not all and when and how, the fact is the pts who need treatment outside Gaza had to pass berucratic procedure and a date from the IOF hospital which is given so late it might take monthes then apply to get permission which comes after the date of the hospital become invalid and had to get new date , not all pts, have such permission also this one .
second the Palestiniab Authority must pay the bill of the treatment in advance and it is sooooooooooooo expensive , this means that te IOF do not pay and it is not on the hospital account and if no money no admission..
The Pt. might die while waitting the permission and before the date for admission .
It is a complex procedure and at the end we gave him a date and a pewrmission, yes true but when you gave it .
No human senses and consideration to the pt state in crosing the checkpoints .
In addtion to the fact that not all the pts. get a date and permission they receive refusal answer and when after many days .
and they say it is democracy state , human state and wants peace in the other hand the palestinians do help the IOF in its tragedy as what happened in the burning trees and areas PA shared and helped at once.. just small example of comparison.

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday December 13, 2016, 9:43 am
Abo - you forgot to mention that private hospitals can bill missed appointments (even when the appointment was missed because a checkpoint prevented a patient from crossing in order to go for the appointment ...)
From the private hospital administration's perspective, this billing is standard practice - but Palestinians from the Occupied Territories face particular problems that they cannot possibly foresee & make plans to avoid.

Israeli human rights groups have also discussed the problems faced - like, Palestinian ambulances not being allowed through a checkpoint (so an ambulance has to be called from the other side, to take the patient on to their medical treatment). This problem at checkpoints applies equally to patients going to Palestinian hospitals in other parts of the Occupied Territories, and patients going to Israeli hospitals. In additional to many appointments being missed because of checkpoint blockages, there have been a number of cases of death due to delays of this kind. Women with obstetric complications (and their babies) are particularly vulnerable when such delays occur.

So if only people could put themselves in the shoes of those needing the health care, and envisage the barriers ... even briefly ... they might be a little slower to leap to the assumption that this article is an attack on the HOSPITALS ...

fly bird (26)
Tuesday December 13, 2016, 4:23 pm
How terrible to deny sick people treatment and control their very movements, so as to endanger their very lives, or cause their deaths!!!

Thank you Abo, and Evelyn, for your comments and insights. The Israeli government's 'mow the lawn' policies that are despicable and criminal.

Abo r (107)
Thursday December 15, 2016, 9:19 am
Evelyn, first thanks for stating some facts I did not and I want to say loudly there are many issues to comment in this problem , The situation in samary is as I said above : They are killers kill all humans in all ages by destructing their houses while they are sleeping in , burning houses at night while people are sleeping in as example then you expect them have any human sense to treat sick ones to recover or help to live painless till the end of their life.
They destruct ( the Basher ) which is humans , ( Hajer) which buildings , ( Shajer ) which is trees ..
Situation is more complicated than you know or hear ... strategy is to kill all to have a land without poeple, They know and remind them that the fertility rate is very high in Gaza as an example and ever minute there is new born baby by that will never be able to get rid of palestinians unless they will use the Neuclear bomb which will affect them too , while Palestinians abroad will not be affected and still want their rights and land.
It is enough suffering , enough wars and killing , let peace ave a chance to exist and end thje occupation which is the core of the problem.

fly bird (26)
Thursday December 15, 2016, 11:19 am
Thank you, Abo - it is a all encompassing devastation of all that is human and all life suffer, from animals to children and pregnant women, as life essentials are withheld by the Israeli regime siege.

On top of it all, electric power is random and sometimes, if lucky, only 4 hours a day, and maybe, 4 at night, in the cold, damp weather, and in stifling heat - all year long, compromising health, even further.

All that must be said and done, is to end the siege, boycott Israel, divest from Israeli companies and those doing business with Israel, and sanction the state of Israel, for it's crimes against the Palestinian people for over 70 years, and ongoing abuses every day at the borders, assaults on the air and sea, and it's attacks on humanitarian aid workers trying to break the blockade and bring in crucial supplies.
Israeli state crimes must be exposed and spread, and these crimes against humanity must be stopped, by contacting government officials and pressuring them to stop all 'aid' to Israel - which is used to further the illegal occupation, illegal settlement building, and denial of Palestinian human rights at every level.

Israeli attacks on Gaza and families is a vicious, appalling act of terrorism.

End the siege of Gaza, and occupation of Palestine.

Abo r (107)
Friday December 16, 2016, 1:09 am
The problem is that all know such suffers and the action of the IOF which violate human rights and it is a real crimes and still supported by US administration and Zionest , Canada , EU , Australia and some Arabs yes Arabsas what the IOF claims.
The support and the Vitoes are giving the IOF strength , if the situation ius not with IOF all countries will standup and fight but it is the business and votes.
This wiull not last long Public gradually realizing the facts and truth and will do something, yes will do something to their administration.
Thanks Jess b for stating a real suffering issues to the Gazian and Palestinians from the IOF.
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