Statistics provided by the Palestinian Authority show that the so-called blockade of Gaza is far from a blockade. The PA Interior Ministry this week stated that nearly 3,000 Arabs left Gaza for medical care in the last three months.
Only 214 traveled to Jordan and 563 to Egypt, while the others received medical care in various locations throughout Israel, including 588 who were hospitalized within the 1948-1967 ‘Green Line” borders. The bill for the medical care amounts to NIS 25 million ($6.5 million).
Hospitals near Gaza frequently accept patients from Gaza, some of whom are married to foreign Arabs, including one cancer patient from Gaza who was caught in recent years preparing to stage a suicide attack at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.
The Ramallah-based PA Health Ministry blamed Hamas for trying to enforce the blockade by preventing 87 patients from leaving the Erez Crossing into Israel.
In addition to the medical care, Israel routinely transfers hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza and this week shipped 10,000 doses of vaccinations against the H1N1 swine flu. Israel also has allowed pro-Hamas activist, British Member of Parliament George Galloway, to ship medical equipment to Gaza. A third shipment left Britain this week and will stop in Syria before reaching Gaza at the end of the month.
His Viva Palestina organization is also shipping 15 ambulances, although Hamas previously has confiscated many of the vehicles for its army.
The “blockade” also has allowed thousands of Gaza Arabs to cross back and forth to Egypt through the city of Rafiah, which straddles the border and also is the center of smuggling of weapons, explosives, terrorists, drugs and merchandise.