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Gazan girl in need of transplant travels without parents after Israel denies permits

Feb. 28, 2018 4:39 P.M. (Updated: March 1, 2018 2:37 P.M.)
Inaam al-Attar (left) with governor of Ramallah Laila Ghannam (right)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian girl was forced to travel without either of her parents from Gaza to the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday, where she is scheduled to receive a kidney transplant.

Thirteen-year-old Inaam al-Attar arrived to the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah City with her uncle, who she is receiving the transplant from, after her parents were denied permission to travel with her from the besieged coastal enclave.

The governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam, welcomed al-Attar, who was filmed by several Palestinian news channels crying in the hospital saying she wanted to see her mother.

On Wednesday afternoon, official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency said that Palestinian liaison officials were able to receive approval from Israeli officials to allow Salwa al-Attar, Inaam’s mother, to leave the Gaza Strip to be with her child.

Earlier this month, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) released a joint statement saying the record-low rate of permits issued by Israel for Palestinians seeking vital medical treatment outside Gaza “underlines the urgent need for Israel to end its decade-long closure of the Gaza Strip.”

Israeli authorities approved permits for medical appointments for only 54 percent of those who applied in 2017, the lowest rate since the World Health Organization (WHO) began collecting figures in 2008.

WHO reported that 54 Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died in 2017 following denial or delay of their permits.

Gaza, which has often been compared to an “open air prison” for its more than 2 million inhabitants crowded into 365 square kilometers, has suffered from a decade of isolation and deprivation, made all the worse by three devastating Israeli military operations, and persistent intra-Palestinian political strife.

In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current trends were not altered. However, new report released in 2017 by the UN said that “life for the average Palestinian in Gaza is getting more and more wretched,” and that for the majority of Gaza's residents, the territory may already be unlivable.

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