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Gaza father appeals to Saudi king to save son

July 3, 2010 11:15 A.M. (Updated: July 4, 2010 10:02 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – A father from Gaza appealed Saturday to the king of Saudi Arabia help secure urgent medical treatment for his son, not yet one year old, in need of a kidney transplant.

Abu Muhammed told Ma'an that his son needs ten kinds of medication daily, and spends most of his time in hospital, where he is in constant pain and has difficulty breathing.

The family has not been able to secure a permit for the infant to travel to Israel for medical treatment, so a relative who lives in Saudi Arabia sent medical reports to the king's office three months ago, but has yet to receive a reply, Abu Muhammed said.

A report released on Tuesday by Physicians for Human Rights accused Israel of severe violations of medical ethics, saying its policy of allowing treatment for only life-threatening cases, and then only at times of general political calm, was in contravention of international law, international human rights law, and the UN convention on torture.

The Israeli siege on Gaza, now in its fourth year, imposes severe restrictions on the Strip's residents. Palestinians must obtain Israeli permission to leave for medical treatment, a lengthy process that is often unsuccessful.

Physicians for Human Rights volunteer Harel Arzi said in the report, "Whoever prevents patients from accessing medical treatment by restricting their movement is directly responsible for their medical condition, even if he or she did not cause this condition."

Fidaa Talal Hijjy, 19, died in Gaza in October. Diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, she had twice secured an appointment for a bone marrow transplant in Israel which may have saved her life. Each time, Israeli authorities ignored her requests for a permit.

More than 260 people died in Gaza last year because they were denied medical treatment, the Palestinian Ministry of Health estimated.

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