All because of a logo

February 17, 2014. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) have refused to process applications to exit Gaza for medical treatment or to visit sick relatives because supporting medical documents were marked as having been issued by the “State of Palestine”. According to a story published in Haaretz (Hebrew), seventy applications for medical treatment in Israel submitted by Gaza residents were recently rejected because the documents submitted bore the logo “State of Palestine”.

The average monthly number of medical patients leaving Gaza through Erez Crossing increased by 32% during the second half of 2013 and now stands at 1,038. Patients travel in order to receive medical treatment in Israel, East Jerusalem or the West Bank. The disruptions in the operation of the Rafah crossing have undoubtedly influenced this increase. “For those who wish to travel through Erez  to receive medical treatment”, says Sari Bashi, Gisha’s executive director, “a rejection or delay in processing  applications may have  serious consequences and it is unfortunate to see that the battle over these issues is fought at the expense of medical patients and their relatives”.