Family members of Hamas leaders (and perhaps also other Gazans) are systematically treated in Israeli hospitals:

Haniyeh's relatives who do not live in Israel or hold Israeli citizenship have also received urgent medical treatment in Israeli hospitals in the past. In October 2014, shortly after the end of Operation Protective Edge, one of Haniyeh's daughters, then in her 20s, received emergency medical treatment at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. She was transferred to Israel through the Erez crossing, and after treatment was released back to the Gaza Strip.

(While the article cited is prompted by treatment of a Haniyeh family member, who is an Israeli citizen, it lists many cases where non-Isreali members of his family were treated in Israel. This was not unusual in the past.)

  • How common had it been for Gazans to be treated in Israel (in absolute numbers and in proportion to the number of people requiring medical treatment in Gaza)?
  • Why had been Israel doing it: for humanitarian reasons, as an obligation under the international law, or because these people can pay for the treatment?
  • How were people chosen for treatment in Israel? - Especially difficult cases, which could not be treated in Gaza hospitals? Those who have money? Families in good standing with the Hamas authorities?

2 Answers 2


According to an official report of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) on the years 2016-2020:

  • Palestinians from Gaza can submit a request to enter Israel in order to receive medical treatment, if they are suffering from a life threatening illness, or an illness which can cause a total change of quality of life, that cannot be treated in one of Gaza's hospitals. (page 6 in the link).

  • Requests for treatment in Israel are being submitted to a special department in the Israeli military, by the Palestinian Department of Health. (page 6)

  • In year 2016 17,541 requests were approved out of 29,908. 2017 - 15,097/23,220. 2018 17,144/31,480. 2019 16,434/25,848. 2020 - 6,363/9,020 (due to Covid, much less requests were submitted) (page 13 in the link)

Another interesting factor mentioned there (page 13), is that more than half of requests were from adult males (sounds suspicious to me, and maybe explains some of the requests that were declined).

  • According to a seperate report, the Palestinian Department of Health, pays for the treatment directly to the Israeli hospitals. In addition, Gazan doctors are allowed to enter Israel in order to receive training in Israeli hospitals, so they can provide better health care in Gaza. (page 6)

Regarding the legal aspect: Even if Israel would be considered an occupier of Gaza. According to international law (link copied from other answer), Israel would be required to allow sick Gazans to exit Gaza in order to be treated elsewhere on the globe, or to allow medical supplies to reach Gaza - so its hospitals can provide all care that may be necessary. But Israel is not required by International law to treat Gazans in "its own" hospitals. (what if an occupier doesn't have the best hospitals?).

  • 1
    On the adult males, a more detailed age breakdown would be interesting. At first glance this sounds very strange given the age structure in Gaza with more than half the population below 18. But then in any country most life threatening illnesses happen to people in retirement age. So if a large proportion of the applications are in the say 20 to 50 years range, this looks suspicious and possible not medical. If on the other hand it is mostly in the 60+ years range it simply means old people are sick more often than children.
    – quarague
    Feb 7 at 8:11
  • 3
    @quarague I think another factor to take into account, is that adult males tend to be more likely to take physically difficult and dangerous jobs. Especially so in regions where males are often seen as the sole provider (before the conflict, in 2022, around 70% of males were working, for 18% of females) so it's not that hard to imagine they would be more likely to sustain life threatening injuries and/or illnesses caused by poor working conditions.
    – user3399
    Feb 7 at 8:24

Frame challenge: the Gaza Strip is, under international law, Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. This is notwithstanding the "disengagement" in 2005. The international community continues to regard Israel as an occupier in light of its "effective control" of the region.

Occupying states have certain legal obligations. These obligations are listed here. Citing the relevant passage

The occupying power has the duty to ensure that the adequate provision of food and medical supplies is provided, as well as clothing, bedding, means of shelter, other supplies essential to the survival of the civilian population of the occupied territory, and objects necessary for religious worship (GCIV Arts. 55, 58; API Art. 69).

Put in direct terms, the Palestinians are legally owed this treatment by Israel (similar to how e.g., an incarcerated person may be legally owed medical treatment by the prison). Israel is doing this to fulfill its legal obligations.

  • 13
    This is too generic to be considered as an answer. There are many big hospitals in Gaza, so it is unclear under what conditions and how often Israel would be obliged to take over the patients.
    – Roger V.
    Feb 6 at 12:35
  • 9
    I don't see how this answers the question. Setting aside the issue of whether the rest of the answer's assertions are correct, it simply asserts that Israeli hospitals were accepting Gazan patients without providing any detail on how frequently this occurred, which is what the question is actually looking for.
    – F1Krazy
    Feb 6 at 14:07

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