According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 13:00 on Wednesday, 07 December 2011, Dr. Bassam al-Badri, Director of External Medical Treatment Department, received a phone call from the office of World Health Organization (WHO) in Gaza, informing him that him and 4 members of the Higher Medical Committee of the External Medical Treatment Department, nominated by the Ministry of Health in Ramallah, were banned from traveling to Jerusalem to participate in a medical conference which would be held on 08 and 09 December 2011. The conference is organized by the network of hospitals in East Jerusalem, in cooperation with WHO, to support and develop the hospitals of Augusta Victoria (al-Muttala’), al-Maqassed, St. John Eye, Red Crescent, Saint Joseph and Princess Basma. Dr. al-Badri pointed out that the remaining members of the delegation (9 doctors nominated by the Ministry of Health in Gaza and 5 doctors from NGOs) were not banned.Notice that Israel had no problem with Gaza doctors traveling to Jerusalem for this conference.
Dr. Mahmoud Dhaher, Director of WHO Office in Gaza, stated that he was surprised by the decision taken by Minister of Health in Gaza, Dr. Bassem Naim, to ban the five doctors from traveling for no apparent reasons. As a result of this decision, the participation of the whole medical delegation from the Ministry of Health in Gaza was cancelled.
PCHR has followed up developments relating to the decision with relevant security bodies and the Attorney General’s office, but in vain. It also contacted the office of the Minister of Health in Gaza to check the reasons for banning the medical delegation from traveling to Jerusalem. The reply was that the banned five doctors were not nominated by the Ministry of Health in Gaza. However, the current decision remains illegal as neither the Ministry nor security services have the authority to ban traveling; it is an absolute authority of the judiciary.
The conference, which is organized by hospitals in Jerusalem in cooperation with WHO, aims at reviewing the level of services provided by Arab hospitals in Jerusalem to patients from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
If Gaza is a prison, then Hamas is the only party that holds all the keys.