Newborn Palestinian quadruplets lay on a bed at their family house in the Al Shejaiya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, 13 June 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/MOHAMMED SABER

400 Gaza children denied permission by Israel to leave for medical treatment, NGO says

Jerusalem, Sep 13 (EFE).- Nearly 400 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip were denied permission by Israeli authorities to travel to the occupied West Bank for life-saving medical treatment during the first half of 2023, nonprofit Save the Children said on Wednesday.

“Nearly 400 children in Gaza – or at least two children a day – were denied permits to go to the West Bank for critical healthcare in the first six months of 2023, leaving them without access to life-saving surgery or urgent medication,” the organization said in a statement.

According to Save the Children, every month on average 60 children had their applications rejected or left unanswered by Israeli authorities.

“Some children are desperately sick, who have no options other than leaving Gaza to survive,” Jason Lee, the NGO’s director in the occupied Palestinian territory, said in a statement.

“Denying children healthcare is inhumane and an infringement of their rights,” he underlined.

In 2022, three children, including a 19-month-old with a congenital heart defect, died while their applications for Gaza exit-permits were either denied or remained pending review, according to the London-based organization.

The charity warned that Gaza’s health system remained “on the brink of collapse” after 16 years of blockade imposed by the Israeli government on the Strip.

“Neither chemotherapy nor radiology treatments are available due to Israeli government restrictions on medical equipment and medication entering Gaza,” the statement said.

Moreover, the restrictions have contributed to increasing poverty rates in Gaza Strip, where malnutrition is widespread among families, especially in “access restricted areas.”

“Ten percent of families surveyed by Save the Children reported losing a child due to a preventable cause before the age of 5,” the nonprofit said.

In 2022, Save the Children’s research revealed that the Israeli restrictions on Gaza have had severe consequences on children’s physical and mental health.

“Four out of five children in the Gaza Strip live with depression, grief and fear. This systemic violence and deprivation have to stop,” Lee appealed.

He called on Israeli authorities to protect Gaza patients and promote unrestricted access to essential healthcare for Gaza’s children and their families.

“Save the Children is calling on the Government of Israel to end the blockade of Gaza as it is the root cause of ongoing violations of the most fundamental rights of children,” he said. EFE