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Israeli forces arrest Gazan patient at Erez crossing

March 26, 2016 10:51 P.M. (Updated: March 27, 2016 10:10 A.M.)
GAZA (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained a Palestinian Thursday at the Erez crossing as he was attempting to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel, it was revealed Saturday.

A human rights lawyer told Ma’an that Sharab is the fifth case of a Palestinian patient being detained at the crossing since the start of the year.

Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes for days, before they are either allowed into Israel or sent back to Gaza.

Erez is the only land crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since Hamas took power in 2007.

As part of the siege, Israel limits medical equipment allowed into the Gaza Strip and restricts travel for doctors seeking further medical training and specialization.

According to rights group B’Tselem, “One outcome of this situation is a harsh reality in which many patients need medical treatment that can only be provided outside the Gaza Strip.... (and others) have no choice but to go without care, including people suffering from severe orthopedic problems, hearing and visual impairment and other grave illnesses.”

The UN has warned that unless current trends in the Gaza Strip are altered, the coastal enclave could become uninhabitable for residents in just five years.

"The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020," the UN's development agency said last year.
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