Palestinians Health Dispute: Political Wrangling Leaves Gaza Patients Stranded

A Palestinian human rights group says a dispute between the rival Palestinian governments is preventing Gaza patients from receiving urgent medical care abroad.

Israel and Egypt restricted movement in and out of Gaza after Hamas seized the territory from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, leaving him with parts of the West Bank.

Gaza offers only basic medical care, and patients seeking treatment abroad need to get a referral from a medical committee there before they can cross into Israel or Egypt.

Control over the committee is sensitive. Last week, the West Bank's health minister appointed a new board, and in response, the Hamas government in Gaza stopped its work.

Iyad al-Alami of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said Sunday that the political wrangling is hurting innocent patients.

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