On June 28, The New Yorker posted an article with the following headline:
Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment
Horrible if true. Thankfully it is not true.
The article cites claims by patients Amani Abu Taema and Dena Mekhael, stating:
In 2012, Israel approved ninety-two per cent of medical permits for Gazans. In 2014, a year of deadly conflict, eighty-two per cent of patients were allowed in. But, since the beginning of 2018, with no announcement of a change in policy, more than half of applications for medical permits from Gaza have been turned down or left unanswered, according to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, or P.H.R.I., a nonprofit organization that represents many of these patients. A 2017 directive from the Defense Ministry gave Israel twenty-three working days to process requests for medical permits, an increase from the previous ten-day processing time. (The extension, according to the ministry, was due to a backlog of some sixteen thousand travel-permit requests, the result of an overwhelming number of applications and the time needed to run proper security checks.) The average case now takes months—if it’s approved at all.
Since Mekhael’s last checkup in Tel Aviv, a year ago, she has found a new lump, this time in her right breast. She applied for a medical permit last December (the permits are only valid for a few weeks) but has not been approved to cross the border. “I never got a refusal, but they keep saying it’s ‘under review,’ ” she told me. Her options in Gaza are dismal: its public hospitals provide very limited and sporadic access to functional MRI and mammogram machines, so she has no way of receiving a diagnosis, let alone treatment.
This is shenanigans. According to reliable sources:
• Had reporter Ruth Margalit bothered to check Dena Mekhael’s account with the Israeli authorities, she would have learned that it is the Palestinian side which is holding up her permit approval; she has valid security clearance from Israel but the Palestinian committee has failed to provide the needed updated hospital appointment information necessary for her request to be approved.
• It is not true that Israel “turned down or left unanswered” over half of the applications for medical permits from Gaza in 2018. According to figures from the World Health Organization and Israel’s COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), Israel approved more than half of the applications this year.
…Regarding Amani Abu Taema, Margalit had reported, “In January, she was allowed into Israel for an MRI and radiation therapy, but since then her application for a permit has been declined four times without explanation.” According to the Israeli spokesman, Abu Taema did indeed enter Israel in January for medical treatment, but since then has not reapplied for an additional entry. The Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee has likewise not received any requests from Abu Taema since her January visit. Thus, Abu Taema’s claim that her application permit was declined four times was flatly rejected and refuted by the Israeli authority, with whom New Yorker never consulted.
In addition, the claim that there are no MRI machines in Gaza is also false:
…according to the United Nations, a scientific journal, Palestinian sources, and the European Gaza Hospital (a public institution), along with mainstream media, there are indeed MRI machines in Gaza. Notably, a 2017 report in The Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences (“Evaluation of advanced medical imaging services at Governmental Hospitals – Gaza Governorates, Palestine“), noted there are two MRI machines in the Gaza Strip per one million inhabitants. This compares to four MRI machines in Israel per one million inhabitants. Both Israel and the Gaza Strip lag significantly behind other countries, including Turkey, France, Australia, and especially Germany.
There are a few things that are noteworthy in this article. First of all, the women were able to get treatment for cancer in Israel. After all the money the world has poured into Gaza, why aren’t the medical facilities there adequate? Where is the money going? With all the rockets, etc., Gaza has aimed at Israel, Israel is still treating patients from Gaza. It seems to me that Israel is the humanitarian force here–not Gaza.
The story in The New Yorker is an example of misstating facts in order to achieve a specific goal–anti-Israel sentiment. Nowhere does the writer question the lack of infrastructure in Gaza after all the money poured in there. Nowhere does the writer note that Israel routine helps with medical needs in Gaza. Nowhere does the writer mention the terrorist activities against Israel that originate in Gaza–the rockets, the tunnels, the suicide bombers, etc.
This is a blatant example of fake news with the purpose of stirring up anti-Israel sentiment while Gaza continues its terrorist activities with no repercussions.