Gaza Health Ministry says 20,000 patients awaiting treatment as Israel maintains Rafah crossing closed


Over 20,000 patients are waiting for the opening of the Rafah crossing to leave the Gaza Strip for treatment, the Health Ministry in besieged Palestinain enclave said on Saturday.

In a statement, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said “since Israel reoccupied the Rafah crossing, no patients have been able to leave the Gaza Strip,” noting that “even those who are abroad cannot return to their homeland.”

“More than 20,000 patients suffering of cancer, heart and blood diseases are waiting for the opening of the crossing in inhumane conditions due to the occupation, siege and war of extermination imposed on civilians in Gaza.”

The official termed it “a war crime and a blatant violation of the health rights of patients stipulated in international humanitarian law.”

He urged the international community to intervene and save the victims from complications and death, highlighting Israeli attacks on health care facilities have rendered them inoperative.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire. More than 35,800 Palestinians have been killed, the vast majority being women and children.

Earlier this month it attacked the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians had sought refuge, and also assumed control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

More than seven months into the war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which has mandated Tel Aviv to prevent its forces from committing such acts, and ensure humanitarian aid reaches civilians in Gaza.

In its latest ruling on Friday, the UN court reiterated its earlier directives and suggested further actions, such as halting its offensive in the southern city of Rafah, keeping the Rafah border crossing open and permitting investigators access to the besieged area.

* Writing by Ikram Kouachi

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