erez crossing 224 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
A delegation of Israeli Arab doctors with the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel voluntary organization was denied entry into the Gaza Strip last week, where they were supposed to perform operations, examinations and consult with patients.
Initially, only Arab personnel were given permission by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) to enter the Gaza Strip, and Jewish members of the group were barred, the organization said.
But on Wednesday, after arriving at the Erez Crossing into Gaza, the Arab doctors were informed that the IDF had decided to retract its earlier decision and they would not be allowed through.
The group includes a senior surgeon, orthopedist and oncologist, as well as psychologist and social worker. PHR-Israel said that in addition to surgery, examinations and consultations at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and the European Hospital in Khan Yunis, they would lecture to doctors there.
The IDF said that the group's permit to enter Gaza was still in effect and that the delegation would be allowed into Gaza in the coming days. Entry was forbidden on Wednesday, defense officials said, out of fear that terrorists would target the doctors as they crossed into Gaza. The officials said that the group was informed of the retraction before traveling to the Erez Crossing.
This was supposed to have been the organization's sixth and largest delegation to Gaza this year. It claims to be the only Israeli organization going into Gaza since June 2007, when Hamas seized power there.