PHR: Israel deliberately impairing humanitarian efforts in Gaza, W. Bank

PHR Israel deliberately

The Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights charged in a statement on Wednesday that the Defense Ministry is deliberately impairing humanitarian efforts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, citing as proof the fact that 13 of 16 requests filed by the NGO to enter the Gaza Strip over the past year were rejected without explanation, and that the PHR-Israel's West Bank mobile clinic has been delayed for hours at army checkpoints before being allowed to continue. "This conduct by the Defense Ministry raises fears that it intends to undermine the organization's many years of humanitarian activity in the Occupied Territories. The State of Israel has recently declared that it does not intend to create a humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It is not clear how such these statements coincide with the IDF's practical policies," a letter sent by the group to the Defense Ministry stated. While the army denied PHR-Israel delegations' entry to the Strip, it allowed unaffiliated physicians to enter the strip and carry out medical activity privately, the statement added. The NGO also claimed that Colonel Moshe Levi, Commander of the Gaza Strip District Coordination Office, decided of recent to cut contact with human rights organizations, including PHR-Israel, thus preventing the group from filing any requests to transport needy patients from the Strip into Israel or the West Bank.