Ramallah, 16-01-08: Two-year-old Ibrahim Abu Jazar has become the 41st Gazan to die since June 2007 after being denied exit by the Israeli authorities to receive medical treatment unavailable in the Strip. The sick infant, who died yesterday, is the 5th Gazan patient to die in such circumstances since the beginning of the year alone, together with 4 cancer patients who died between 2 and 12 January 2008.
PNI Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, explained that babies and children have been the first to suffer from the siege since its beginning. “Babies are the most fragile and vulnerable members of society, and the direct and indirect effects of the siege have had tragic consequences on them”.
He added that the proportion of deaths among hospitalized neonates at Gaza’s paediatric hospitals has increased from 5.6% during the period from January-October 2006 to 6.9% during the corresponding period in 2007.
Dr. Barghouthi also said that out of the 17 incubators available in Gazan paediatric hospitals, 7 are out of order due to a lack of spare parts that Israel blocks from being delivered inside the Strip. This means that premature babies and other weak babies - now a common occurrence due to the lack of adequate food for pregnant women – cannot be given the care they need.
Dr. Barghouthi insisted that “the Israeli policy of denying exit to patients for life-saving treatment abroad is simply premeditated murder. No security reason can explain denying exit to a 2-year-old baby. The death of Ibrahim Abu Jazar proves beyond any doubt that security is only a pretext and that Israel is killing Palestinians under the guise of security.”
He concluded “the siege on Gaza must be lifted immediately. It is a legal as well as a moral obligation for the international community to pressure Israel to stop its murderous and inhumane policy against the people of Gaza”.
Dr. Barghouthi highlighted the clear position of the Palestinian National Initiative that negotiations with Israel cannot continue until Israel meets three pre-conditions:
1) An immediate end to the siege on Gaza and the retraction of the Israeli government’s decision to declare Gaza a "hostile entity";
2) An end to Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the implementation of a comprehensive, reciprocal ceasefire;
3) A comprehensive and complete freeze on all settlement activity, including the expansion of settlements and outposts, as well as a stop to the construction of the Wall.