The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the Israeli arrest of a patient’s companion while returning to the Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 12:00 on Tuesday, 23 April 2019, the Israeli authorities arrested Karam Mustafa Mohammed Tantawi (51), from al-Qal’a buildings, south of Khan Younis. Karam, who was accompanying his wife Safa’ ‘Abed al-Majeed Tantawi (47), a cancer patient, was arrested while returning to the Gaza Strip after his wife received treatment at al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem.
Safa’ said to PCHR’s fieldworker that on 01 April 2019, she left the Gaza Strip along with her husband to al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem through Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing. She added that she received treatment for 20 days and while she was returning to the Gaza Strip along with her husband, the Israeli authorities arrested him. She clarified that after around 15 minutes, Israeli soldiers ordered her to leave alone to the Gaza Strip, but she refused and waited until 18:00. After that, the Palestinian Civil Liaison informed her that she should return to the Gaza Strip because her husband was arrested.
It should be noted that the PCHR’s lawyer, in his capacity as the legal agent for al-Tantawi, was prevented today from visiting him in al- Majdal Prison. The court extended his arrest until next Tuesday, 30 April 2019.
PCHR stresses that the ongoing Israeli forces policy of arresting patients and their companions is considered as violation of the international human rights law and the international humanitarian law. It also constitutes a form of inhuman and degrading punishment, which coincides with the policy of tightening the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip. This aggravates the patients’ suffering as their treatment is not available in the Gaza Strip hospitals.
PCHR condemned the arrest of Palestinian patients and their companions during their travel to receive treatment by the Israeli authorities, calling for their immediate release and ensuring not to put their lives in danger.
“PCHR calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to fulfill their obligations and assume their responsibilities and intervene to put an end to the Israeli forces’ violations to the international humanitarian law against Palestinians,” the center said in a statement.
PCHR also called for “ensuring the freedom of movement of the Gaza Strip’s residents from/to the West Bank, including Jerusalem.”