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From the field

Testimony: Cancer patient dies after soldiers at a Checkpoint refuse to let him cross to get to hospital, 15 September 2007

'Abd a-Fatah Yunis, merchant

'Abd a-Fatah Yunis

Two days ago [15 September] at around 11:25 in the morning, my brother and I arrived at the Jabareh checkpoint on our way to al-Matl'a Hospital , in Jerusalem . My brother, Muhammad Yunis, who was 34, had cancer and had bad stomach pain. His wife, Muntaha Rhadi Muhammad Rhadi, who is an Israeli citizen, and another brother of mine, Mahmud, were also in the car. We were in a Toyota Corolla passenger car with Israeli plates, which belonged to Muhammad's wife.

Three soldiers checking the identity cards of the travelers were at the checkpoint. As soon as we got there, I gave the soldiers the ID cards and our entry permits. I told the soldier in Hebrew that I was taking my brother, a cancer patient, to hospital because his medical condition had deteriorated. He said that we were not allowed to cross the checkpoint and told me to return to where we came from. I insisted on remaining and begged the soldiers to let us cross. I explained that my brother was in poor medical condition and had to get to the hospital. The soldier I had spoken to at first told us to wait on the side so that the other cars could pass. The soldier was short, had a dark-brown complexion, and was of average build.

We waited in the car in the sun. After about twenty-five minutes passed, another soldier came and permitted us to move back and park in the shade. He ordered us to give him the identity cards and the permits for inspection purposes.

After about twenty minutes my brother's condition began to deteriorate and he lost consciousness. I asked the soldiers to help us. I told one of the soldiers to give us back our ID cards and permits so we could go to a hospital in Tulkarm, or summon an Israeli ambulance to take him to the nearby hospital. The soldier did not give me back the documents, but he summoned an ambulance. About twenty-five minutes later, an Israeli ambulance arrived. The ambulance team examined my brother and told me he was dead.

At 12:50, a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance came to take my brother to Tulkarm.

'Abd a-Fatah Ahmad Muhammad Yunis, 35, married with seven children, is a merchant and a resident of the Nur Shams refugee camp, Tulkarm. The testimony was given to 'Abd al-Karim Sa'adi on 17 September 2007 in the Nur Shams refugee camp.