Medical treatment

19-month-old Palestinian baby dies after Israel delays medical treatment

Fatima AL-Masri, 19 months, died after Israel denied her medical treatment permit. (Photo: via social media)

A 19-month-old Palestinian baby died in Gaza last week after waiting five months for Israel to grant him permission to leave the besieged strip for treatment, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported.

Fatima Al-Masri, who was diagnosed with a hole in her heart last year, missed two appointments for treatment at Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, in December and February, while her family was told repeatedly that his case was “under review” by the Israel Coordination and Liaison Administration.

“I loved her from the bottom of my heart. I wish I had died as well as her,” Jalal Al-Masri, Fatima’s father, told The Guardian, adding: “They kept saying that the application was ‘under review, under review’ and then died.”

“I felt like I was dead too, without Fatima in my life. Nothing breaks a person more than losing their child.

“We are under blockade. I don’t understand how Israel can send me this message about their case under review. If Israel wanted to send her alone for treatment, then send her,” Masri added.

Fatima’s death was condemned by several human rights groups, including the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights.

“Al-Mezan deeply regrets Fatima’s death and strongly condemns Israel’s continued closure of the Gaza Strip and associated restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, which include denying patients access to hospitals in the West Bank, Jerusalem -East, in Israel and abroad,” the NGO said in a statement.

Many Palestinians have lost their lives since 2006 because Israel refuses to issue medical permits to those living in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, while children with cancer obtain medical clearances to be treated in Jerusalem hospitals, their parents are not allowed to accompany them. Either they are left alone in the hospitals or one of the former grandparents is only allowed to take care of them.

(MEMO, PC, social media)