Shin Bet: Gazans pay doctors to declare them ill

Claim follows allegations by Physicians for Human Rights that 12 cancer patients prevented from receiving treatment in Israel.

Gaza hospital 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Gaza hospital 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Palestinians from Gaza bribed local doctors to declare that they were seriously ill and required treatment in Israel, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) charged on Monday. "Recently there has been an increase in the exploitation of Israel's humanitarian policy by way of fraudulent medical permits in return for bribes to doctors in the Gaza Strip," a Shin Bet spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. "This, plus the requests of terrorist activists to enter Israel for medical treatment, increases the danger to state security." The statement came in response to the latest allegations by Physicians for Human Rights, which charged that since the beginning of April, the Shin Bet has been preventing 12 new cancer patients from receiving life-saving treatment in Israel. In addition to these 12, the Shin Bet had for several weeks been preventing dozens more, including cancer and heart patients, from passing through Israel on their way to treatment in Jordan and Egypt. PHR charged that the Shin Bet response to requests for entry permits to Israel is complicated and takes a long time, and thereby ignores the urgency of the situation. The slow processing by the Shin Bet follows an already protracted process in the Palestinian committee that approves the requests and in the IDF Liaison Office, before the matter comes to the Shin Bet. PHR also charged that the shuttling of patients who are barred from entering Israel directly to Egypt and Jordan did not work properly. They said the shuttle operated on an average of once every five weeks, that buses could not accommodate all the patients, so some were forced to wait, that many of the shuttles were canceled and that patients did not know when the next shuttle would be running. "The Shin Bet and the army portray the shuttle service as a genuine solution for the distress of many patients, including cancer patients, and as a worthy alternative to their demands to enter Israel for treatment," wrote PHR. "In this way, a flawed and unsuccessful procedure becomes a fig leaf for the continuation of the Shin Bet's harmful policy towards the sick population of Gaza and as a tool for the state to portray its alleged 'humanitarian' policy towards them." In its response to these charges, the Shin Bet added that the question of allowing sick Palestinians from the Gaza Strip into Israel cut across many authorities and was not the sole responsibility of the agency. The spokesman said that in all 12 cases, the agency had given its replies to the requests long ago, and therefore could not be held responsible for any delays that followed.