"I want to go outside Gaza to get treatment".. A Palestinian child with cancer suffers as a result of the closure of the Rafah crossing

Written By Mark

Palestinian child Siraj Yassin (10 years old) enters his wheelchair into the ward of a crowded hospital in Gaza, wearing a green shirt. His body shows signs of extreme thinness as a result of his leukemia, which has destroyed his immune system and depleted his strength, making him unable to walk.

His doctors say that chemotherapy will help him recover, but he cannot obtain it in Gaza, nor is he able to leave the Strip to receive treatment after Israeli forces closed the only exit point through the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt.

Siraj said, “Two weeks ago, I stopped walking, and every day my condition gets worse, I lose something, my psychology gets tired, and my bones hurt. I want to go outside Gaza to get treatment and go back to playing like before.”

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital is one of the few hospitals still operating in Gaza, where most of the health system has collapsed due to the Israeli aggression that has continued for 8 months.

Residents flock to the hospital located in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip in order to obtain basic medical treatment. Deir al-Balah is the last city that Israeli forces have not yet stormed.

But doctors say they are unable to treat seriously ill patients like Siraj, and they can no longer send patients outside the Gaza Strip to receive treatment since Israel launched its attack on Rafah last month and closed the only crossing for patients to exit.

Pain relieving medications

All that can be provided to Siraj in Gaza is painkillers.

His doctor, Ziad Abu Fares, said, “Siraj’s case is one of hundreds of cases, whether we are talking about cases of cancer, meningitis, or chronic or acute cases. We have a child who needs treatment abroad.”

Siraj’s mother, Maryam, said her son had been given emergency medical evacuation permission, and she was hoping to get him out before the border closed.

She added, “He needs chemotherapy. He also needs a marrow transplant. I hope the crossing will open and we can go out and the boy will return as he was before.”

Israel closed the Rafah crossing last month during its attack on the city located on the southern end of the Gaza Strip, where nearly half of the Strip’s population is taking refuge.

Health officials in Gaza say that the Israeli aggression on the Strip led to the death of more than 36,000 people.