(May 20, 2019 / JNS) Following the recent spread of accusations that Israel prevented the parents of a young cancer patient from the Gaza Strip from accompanying her to treatments in Jerusalem, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has denied the story, saying her parents had refused to accompany her.
Hadash-Tal Knesset member Ahmad Tibi took to Twitter over the weekend to accuse Israel of forcing 5-year-old Aisha a-Lulu to leave Gaza and receive cancer treatment in Jerusalem by herself and without her parents.
A-Lulu’s treatment was not effective, and she is reported to have died.
“Those who were around her said she died crying, unable to speak and alone,” reported the Days of Palestine website.
However, COGAT said in a statement that “Israel approved the entry into Israel of the child Aisha a-Lulu for medical treatment in a hospital in [eastern] Jerusalem after her parents signed a waiver, according to which they did not wish to leave the Gaza Strip with her. We stress that Coordination and Liaison Administration in Gaza policy requires parents to escort their minor children for medical treatments, based on the understanding that children need their parents in moments such as these.
“However, in this case, Aisha’s parents did not wish to accompany her and, therefore, in accordance with CLA policy, they were requested to sign a declaration that they choose not to escort their daughter during the course of her treatment, due to their own choice, and request that another party on their behalf escort her,” said the statement.
Moreover, COGAT denied that Aisha died alone in Jerusalem: “Contrary to reports, Aisha a-Lulu passed away in the Gaza Strip after having returned to her home approximately two weeks ago after surgery, which unfortunately did not succeed, in [Jerusalem’s] Al-Maqasid Hospital.”
In a statement published by Wafa news on Saturday, Palestinian Authority Health Minister Mai al-Kaila asked, “How can a little child travel alone through Israeli checkpoints without being escorted by her mother, father or brother to provide her with affection and psychological support during treatment?”
“Aisha had to fight her disease alone, in a blatant disregard to international agreements, covenants and treaties on human rights, children’s rights, the right to health and access to health services in a safe manner.”