The hurdles to leaving Gaza for medical care (Or, what can you really hide inside a tube of toothpaste?)

Noor Agha and her aunt in Jerusalem.  (credit: Mondoweiss)
Noor Agha was forced to leave Gaza for life saving surgery on a brain tumor. But before Israel let her leave the besieged territory they made her throw out her toothpaste at the Erez checkpoint.

By Noor Agha | Mondoweiss | Jan 5, 2022

I didn’t want to die on my own.
— Noor Agha

We were aware of the “security” issues the Israelis impose on Palestinians crossing Erez. No food. No water. Lipstick? No. Eyeliner? No. Sunblock? No. And no luggage with wheels. We didn’t want to be sent back after all.

In 2019 doctors had finally figured out the cause behind my migraines, and decided I should immediately undergo an operation which Gaza’s hospitals couldn’t handle. Little did anyone know this “immediately” would take forever. Five whole months!

My mother and I applied for the Israeli permits to travel to the West Bank to seek medication. A few months later, a message was received. Noor, me, yes. Ibtisam, my mom, no.

I didn’t want to die on my own. I pictured all the kids who had to go on their own after Israel refused their parents’ permission and died alone in the West Bank; their cold bodies sent back to Gaza by strangers.

So we applied again, this time, with my 50-something-year-old aunt. Another few months later, we both got a “yes” to enter our occupied land, to try to save my life.

Read the full article here →

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