The COVID-19 epidemic is still wreaking havoc on Gaza’s overwhelmed public health system, particularly because it overlaps with Israel’s restrictions on safe and inclusive vaccination access, a scarcity of trained, specialized medical workers, and ongoing shortages of vital drugs and disposable items.
At the end of the preceding year, 40% of critical pharmaceuticals and 19% of medical and healthcare disposable items were said to be in ‘zero stock,’ suggesting that the Central Drug Store in Gaza would have less than a month’s worth of supply.
The healthcare system in Gaza, which was already frail owing to Israel’s blockade limitations, was severely harmed by Israel’s military attack in May 2021.
Lack of regard for healthcare safety shown in assaults on institutions and employees, as well as severe physical restrictions, has severely hampered access to health care services both inside and beyond Gaza.
The closure rule and health care limitations are part of a larger system of prejudice against Palestinians based on country of origin and ethnicity, which works to split the Palestinian people and the resources accessible to them, such as medicine and healthcare.
This structure poses a serious threat to Palestinians’ rights to life, health as well as dignity in Gaza, preventing the supply and growth of a healthcare system that meets the population’s demands in terms of availability, access, tolerance, and competence.
Al Mezan cited the effect on Palestinians’ right to life and health in Gaza as one of the characteristics of Israel’s apartheid regime in its 2021 report, finding that Israel is implementing apartheid on Palestinians.