16 March '11: Ill youth from Gaza, who for 16 days was denied entry to Israel to receive treatment, dies in East Jerusalem hospital, January 2011

Published: 
16 Mar 2011

On 4 December 2010, Mahmoud a-Najar, 15, from Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, was diagnosed as having leukemia. Physicians at a-Shifaa Hospital, in Gaza City, referred him to Augusta Victoria Hospital, in East Jerusalem, where he was given an appointment for 28 December.

Mahmoud a-Najar in a-Shifaa hospital in Gaza City. Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 12 January 2011.
Mahmoud a-Najar in a-Shifaa hospital in Gaza City. Photo: Muhammad Sabah, B'Tselem, 12 January 2011.

On 15 December, the family submitted a request through the Palestinian Authority for a permit to enter Israel for the youth and his mother so that he could undergo medical treatment at the East Jerusalem hospital. The day of the appointment arrived, but the permit did not, according to the testimony the youth gave to B'Tselem. Following a prolonged wait, and the intervention of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, the permit arrived on the evening of 12 January, almost a month after the request had been made, and 16 days after his scheduled admission date at Augusta Victoria Hospital.

By this stage, the youth’s condition had already deteriorated greatly. On 13 January, he went with his mother to Erez Crossing, where, despite his grave condition, he was required to undress and undergo a lengthy body check.

At Augusta Victoria Hospital, the youth was given chemotherapy. On 15 January, his condition further deteriorated. He was taken to intensive care and the chemotherapy was stopped, the mother told B'Tselem.

Mahmoud a-Najar died in the hospital on 21 January.