Palestinians walk past trucks loaded with gravel at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip December 30, 2012..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel has refuted a story that five-year-old Aisha a-Lulu of Gaza had died of cancer alone in a Jerusalem hospital because Israel prevented her parents from leaving Gaza to accompany her for treatment.
Photographs of the girl in her hospital bed have been widely circulated on social media.
The Times of Gaza reported that, “those who were around her said she died crying, unable to speak, and alone.”
The office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement to the media that the story was not true.
“Contrary to reports, Aisha a-Lulu passed away in the Gaza Strip after having returned to her home approximately two weeks ago after surgery, which unfortunately did not succeed in the Al-Maqasid Hospital [in Jerusalem],” the statement said.
Other news outlets, such as the Palestinian news agency WAFA, reported that a-Lulu had died in Gaza, but said that Israel had prevented her parents from accompanying her to Jerusalem for treatment.
According to WAFA, Health Minister Mai Alkaila told reporters: “How can a little child travel alone through Israeli checkpoints without being escorted by her mother, father or brother to provide her with affection and psychological support during treatment?”
“Aisha had to fight her disease alone, in a blatant disregard to international agreements, covenants and treaties on human rights, children’s rights, the right to health and access to health services in a safe manner,” the minister added.
COGAT debunked that report as well. “Israel approved the entry into Israel of the child Aisha a-Lulu for medical treatment in a hospital in east Jerusalem after her parents signed a waiver, according to which they did not wish to leave the Gaza Strip with her,” COGAT said. “We emphasize that CLA [Coordination and Liaison Administration] Gaza policy requires parents to escort their minor children for medical treatments, based on the understanding that children need their parents in moments such as these.”
“However, in this case, Aisha’s parents did not wish to accompany her and therefore, in accordance with CLA policy, they were requested to sign a declaration that they choose not to escort their daughter during the course of her treatment, due to their own choice, and request that another party on their behalf escort her,” COGAT said.
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