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Sick Palestinians pressured to spy, says NGO

Latest update : 2008-08-04

A report published by the NGO Physicians for Human Rights claims that 32 Palestinians from Gaza seeking medical care in Israel were turned away because they would not act as informants against Gaza militants.

 

JERUSALEM - Israeli security agents have made entry for dozens of Palestinians from Gaza seeking medical treatment in the Jewish state contingent on their agreement to act as informants, a human rights report said on Monday.

 

Physicians for Human Rights said tighter Israeli control over crossings from the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized power last year had led more patients from the coastal zone to seek medical treatment elsewhere.

 

The number of Gazans seeking care in Israel had more than doubled in that time, but applicants were being turned away in proportionately greater numbers by security agents at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, the report said.

 

The 83-page document said that Israel had permitted about 65 percent of Palestinians seeking medical care to cross this year, compared to 90 percent of those who sought treatment in January 2007.

 

It documented the cases of 32 Palestinians, including some with terminal illnesses, who said they were denied entry into Israel for medical examinations, after refusing security agents' appeals at the border to inform against Gaza militants.

 

Some were questioned by security agents for hours, and missed critical medical appointments, the report added.

 

It said that "interrogators propose to patients directly and openly to collaborate and/or provide them with information on an ongoing basis."

 

Once an agent "has established control over a patient, permitting medical treatment is explicitly or implicitly made contingent upon collaboration," said the report, adding that the practice violated the Geneva Conventions.

 

An Israeli security source rejected the report's findings.

 

"There is no conditioning whatsoever between receiving an entry permit to Israel for humanitarian purposes and the willingness of that individual to provide information of any sort, aside from about his medical condition," the source said.

 

 

Date created : 2008-08-04

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