The Israeli intelligence staff working at Erez, Qalandia, Beit Ell and other offices of the so-called civil administration is now requiring that Palestinians who need to pass their checkpoints for any reason or who need to travel to occupied Jerusalem for medical treatment at the hospitals there, that they declare that they belong to “al Qaeda” and other terrorist or salafist movements as a major condition for receiving the permission to travel for their medical treatment.
Several times Israel has arrested patients who suffer of cancer, kidney problems, etc or who are in critical conditions, in order to pressure their relatives to work as spies for Israel and to declare themselves as members of “Al-Qaida”, as “Salafis” or as members of other terrorist movements.
The Israeli intelligence offices pay these people to perpetrate crimes which put dirt on the name of the Palestinians and serve the interest of Israel. The israeli intelligence offices are also using Palestinians to spy for them in the neighbouring Arab countries and against Palestinians living in exile in western countries.
At Beit Hanoun which is inside the Gaza concentration camp near the so-called Erez checkpoint, the Israeli occupation forces extort travellers, especially the sick ones and their accompanying relatives, taking advantage of their suffering and difficult circumstances to force them to spy for Israel and to perpetrate crimes against their own people and the people of other Arab countries.
According to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, on Tuesday, 1 January 2013, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrested a Palestinian patient Rafeq Abu Harbeed, 38, after he was called on a previous occasion for an interview in order to obtain a permission to receive medical treatment at Al Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital in East Jerusalem. The IOF continues its arbitrary detention policy of Palestinian patients/escorts seeking travel via Erez crossing. In 2012, the IOF arrested six persons at Erez crossing including four patients and two companions. From 2009 till now the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights documented 22 cases of arrest of patients or their accompanying relatives getting arrested at Erez crossing including 19 patients and three companions.
According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, at approximately 9:00 am on Tuesday, 1 January 2012, the IOF arrested Rafeq ‘Aiysh Mahmoud Abu Harbeed, 38, after he left his house heading for the crossing to attend an interview with the Israeli intelligence agency, with the aim of obtaining a medical treatment permit at Al Makassed Hospital. Abu Harbeed lives in Beit Hanoun and suffers disc prolapse between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae. At approximately 5:30 pm on the same day, the IOF informed the patient’s family via a telephone call that they had detained him.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its strong condemnation of the detention of the Palestinian patient Abu Harbeed. Al Mezan views this incident as a continuation of Israel’s policy of the extortion and exploitation of Palestinian patients and regards it as an abuse of their rights which makes clear the extent to which Israel fails to uphold its legal obligations under the rules of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Al Mezan warns of the IOF continuation of its policy which constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law [IHL] and international human rights law. Al Mezan calls on the international community to exert pressure on Israel in order to ensure full respect for IHL with regards to civilians, ensure that medical treatment be accessible to patients; as well as respect the right to medical treatment and free movement and travel.
Al Mezan reiterates its previous call on the international community to promptly intervene to end the arbitrary detention policy and release all Palestinian detainees, particularly administrative detainees.