RAMALLAH, July 19, 2012 (WAFA) – A dispute between the Ramallah-based Ministry of Health and its Gaza counterpart left many Gaza patients seeking transfer papers to get treatment outside the Gaza Strip stranded, a rights group said on Thursday.
The dispute began earlier this week when the Gaza Ministry of Health, which is run by Hamas, has ordered closed the transfer office in Gaza following a decision by the Ramallah Ministry of Health of the Palestinian Authority to replace the director of the office.
The Hamas authority rejected the change in the post, stressing that it was agreed three years ago that any changes should be done in coordination between the two offices.
However, the new PA Minister of Health Hani Abdeen decided to change the director in what he has termed was a step necessary to improve services to the patients.
Hamas security men raided the office after the change was made and ordered the new director appointed by Abdeen and all staff to leave the premise, virtually closing it down.
Gaza’s Palestinian Center for Human Rights protested in a statement issued Thursday the closure of the office, warning of its negative impact on thousands of Gaza patients who seek treatment abroad. Around 9,000 patients received transfer papers since the beginning of this year.
It recalled a similar dispute in 2009 during which the office was closed for more than one month causing death of 10 patients who were not able to get transfer papers to get badly needed treatment at specialized hospitals outside the Gaza Strip.