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      Egypt Closes Entrance to Gazans Needing Medical Care

      Gaza residents slated for medical treatment in Egypt are not allowed through Rafah crossing, says Al-Jazeera. That includes children.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 2/14/2011, 3:14 AM / Last Update: 2/14/2011, 3:12 AM

      The uprising in Egypt has had adverse effects on Gaza’s residents, Al-Jazeera reported on Sunday.

      Among those negatively affected are patients living in Gaza who are slated for medical treatment in Egypt. They are unable to receive this treatment because the Rafah crossing has been closed hermetically ever since the protests began, said the report.

      One of those patients is a 14-year-old boy who is suffering from kidney failure and is awaiting a transplant in Cairo from his donor father. The transplant has been put on hold due to the protests in Egypt, forcing the boy to continue to undergo dialysis treatments.

      “What is happening in Egypt should not be affecting our exit from Gaza, because we are patients seeking treatment,” the boy’s father told Al-Jazeera.

      During normal operations, 500 Gazans are allowed to enter Egypt through the Rafah crossing for various reasons every day. Since the demonstrations began, instability in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has caused Egyptian police officers to flee the area and close the crossing.

      In sharp contrast to the current situation in Egypt, Israel has provided medical treatment to many Gazans, even during times of war.

      One such example is Operation Cast Lead, when dozens of Gaza Arabs received medical treatment in Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital even while terrorists were firing rockets into the city and the IDF was acting in Gaza.

      In fact, statistics which have been released have shown that in 2009, 10,544 patients and their companions left Gaza to access medical care in Israel, and there were 382 emergency evacuations from Gaza for medical purposes.

      During the same 12-month period, approximately 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicine were delivered to the region, as well as medical supplies such as wheelchairs, crutches, first aid kits, heart monitors, baby feeding tubes, and much more.

      Israel maintains a regular corridor for the transfer of medical patients out of Gaza, and about 200 medical staff members pass through the Erez Crossing terminal every month.