Israel has been delaying travel of a Palestinian heart patient whose medical condition is defined serious to Jordan for treatment for over six months: Following HaMoked’s petition, the state retreated from its insistence on the patient receiving the required treatment in the West Bank and suggested the possibility of receiving it in Israel המוקד להגנת הפרט
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23.11.2009
Israel has been delaying travel of a Palestinian heart patient whose medical condition is defined serious to Jordan for treatment for over six months: Following HaMoked’s petition, the state retreated from its insistence on the patient receiving the required treatment in the West Bank and suggested the possibility of receiving it in Israel
Israel has been delaying travel of a Palestinian heart patient whose medical condition is defined serious to Jordan for treatment for over six months: Following HaMoked’s petition, the state retreated from its insistence on the patient receiving the required treatment in the West Bank and suggested the possibility of receiving it in Israel

The petitioner is a resident of Jenin who suffers severe heart conditions which are accompanied by extreme pain and impede his ability to function. A number of specialists from the West Bank have examined the petitioner and determined that he required open heart surgery. Considering the complexity of the surgery and his frail health, the doctors stated that performing the surgery in the Territories will put the petitioner’s life at risk and that their unequivocal recommendation is that he undergoes the procedure in Jordan, where more advanced technology is available.

On 3 March 2009, the petitioner attempted to cross the Allenby Bridge en route for medical treatment in Jordan, but Israel prevented him from exiting for “security reasons”. Owing to the urgency of the matter, HaMoked contacted the office of the legal advisor to the West Bank requesting his intervention in allowing the patient to travel. The legal advisor’s response stated that his travel could not be authorized “due to his activism in Hamas”. In another appeal to the office, HaMoked noted that the doctors to whom the patient turned in the West Bank refused to perform surgery on him due to his complex medical condition and referred him for treatment by specialists in Jordan. In his responses, the legal advisor insisted on receiving a document from the Palestinian health ministry indicating that the petitioner cannot be treated in the West Bank.

On 13 July 2009, due to his failing health, as well as the protracted processing of his application which involved sending him from one body to the next in order to produce unattainable documents, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) requesting to allow the man to travel to Jordan. In its response to the petition, the state insisted on its demand for a document from the Palestinian health ministry as a condition for reconsideration of the matter. In a notice it submitted, HaMoked stressed that the importance of allowing the petitioner to leave for Jordan stems from the recommendation of his doctors that he undergo the surgery in a hospital which is more advanced than those located in the West Bank. Even when the petitioner finally managed to obtain an official document from the Palestinian health ministry which referred him for treatment in Jordan, the problem was not solved: The state refused to allow him to travel as the document did specify that “the treatment is unavailable in the West Bank.” The state’s demand is irrelevant. It was never argued that such surgery is unavailable in the West Bank, but rather that performing it in the West Bank in the petitioner’s case involves a risk to his life and therefore he must be allowed to travel to Jordan.

In the course of the hearing held on 1 October 2009, the justices criticized the state’s incessant and perplexing demand to present a medical document which cannot be obtained and rejected its position and the military’s insistence on compelling the petitioner to receive the treatment he requires specifically in the West Bank, against his doctors’ recommendation. Following the court’s remarks, the state withdrew this position, although it raised the suggestion that the petitioner receive the treatment in Israel and not in Jordan as he had initially requested. This suggestion could have been made months earlier and would have saved the petitioner much anguish and exposure to medical risk. At present, the petitioner is under medical supervision at the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital, and his visits there are coordinated with the assistance of HaMoked.


To view the petition dated 13 July 2009 (Hebrew)

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The petitioner is a resident of Jenin who suffers severe heart conditions which are accompanied by extreme pain and impede his ability to function. A number of specialists from the West Bank have examined the petitioner and determined that he required open heart surgery. Considering the complexity of the surgery and his frail health, the doctors stated that performing the surgery in the Territories will put the petitioner’s life at risk and that their unequivocal recommendation is that he undergoes the procedure in Jordan, where more advanced technology is available.

On 3 March 2009, the petitioner attempted to cross the Allenby Bridge en route for medical treatment in Jordan, but Israel prevented him from exiting for “security reasons”. Owing to the urgency of the matter, HaMoked contacted the office of the legal advisor to the West Bank requesting his intervention in allowing the patient to travel. The legal advisor’s response stated that his travel could not be authorized “due to his activism in Hamas”. In another appeal to the office, HaMoked noted that the doctors to whom the patient turned in the West Bank refused to perform surgery on him due to his complex medical condition and referred him for treatment by specialists in Jordan. In his responses, the legal advisor insisted on receiving a document from the Palestinian health ministry indicating that the petitioner cannot be treated in the West Bank.

On 13 July 2009, due to his failing health, as well as the protracted processing of his application which involved sending him from one body to the next in order to produce unattainable documents, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) requesting to allow the man to travel to Jordan. In its response to the petition, the state insisted on its demand for a document from the Palestinian health ministry as a condition for reconsideration of the matter. In a notice it submitted, HaMoked stressed that the importance of allowing the petitioner to leave for Jordan stems from the recommendation of his doctors that he undergo the surgery in a hospital which is more advanced than those located in the West Bank. Even when the petitioner finally managed to obtain an official document from the Palestinian health ministry which referred him for treatment in Jordan, the problem was not solved: The state refused to allow him to travel as the document did specify that “the treatment is unavailable in the West Bank.” The state’s demand is irrelevant. It was never argued that such surgery is unavailable in the West Bank, but rather that performing it in the West Bank in the petitioner’s case involves a risk to his life and therefore he must be allowed to travel to Jordan.

In the course of the hearing held on 1 October 2009, the justices criticized the state’s incessant and perplexing demand to present a medical document which cannot be obtained and rejected its position and the military’s insistence on compelling the petitioner to receive the treatment he requires specifically in the West Bank, against his doctors’ recommendation. Following the court’s remarks, the state withdrew this position, although it raised the suggestion that the petitioner receive the treatment in Israel and not in Jordan as he had initially requested. This suggestion could have been made months earlier and would have saved the petitioner much anguish and exposure to medical risk. At present, the petitioner is under medical supervision at the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital, and his visits there are coordinated with the assistance of HaMoked.


To view the petition dated 13 July 2009 (Hebrew)

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