Pharmaceutical Magazine’s Gaza Story is Medical Negligence
According to its mission statement, “Pharmafile.com is a leading portal for the pharmaceutical industry, providing industry professionals with pharma news, pharma events, pharma service company listings and pharma jobs.”
Pharmafile.com also has an associated trade magazine Pharmafocus. One wouldn’t expect a pharmaceutical magazine to stray into the realm of geopolitics. Unfortunately, this is exactly where it has gone with the prejudicially titled “Israeli blockade has made COVID-19 a “death sentence” in Gaza.”
Nobody should underplay the potential seriousness of the coronavirus threat to Gazans or anywhere else in the world. However, medical professionals and people in the pharmaceutical industry deserve factually-based evidence rather than hyperbole when it comes to assessing the threat.
In the first instance, blaming the “Israeli blockade” for a “death sentence” is obscene. At the time of writing, Gaza has 12 confirmed coronavirus cases and no deaths. Becoming infected with the virus, while potentially life-threatening, is in no way a death sentence according to global statistics. Thankfully, most of those with corona symptoms recover. It is also worth considering that the relatively young population of Gaza (a median age of around 17 years old) would indicate a potentially higher survival rate.
The author asserts that the “Israeli blockade and attacks on Hamas, which often result in civilian casulties, has put the region’s healthcare system on the brink of collapse.” Nowhere, however, does he consider that the Gaza Ministry of Health is controlled by Hamas, a terrorist organization. Nowhere does he ask the question as to why Gaza’s Hamas rulers have failed to invest in medical facilities and infrastructure such as hospitals and equipment. Could it be that huge amounts of money have been spent on rockets, weapons, attack tunnels and terror infrastructure at the expense of ordinary Gazans? Could it be that a terrorist organization is capable of gross mismanagement?
The article also contains some glaring contradictions. In the opening paragraphs, much is made of quotes describing Gaza as a “cage.” What sort of cage is it when only a few paragraphs later it refers to “many suspected of contracting the virus while visiting Egypt, the West Bank and Israel”?
Indeed, under the threat of coronavirus, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in March 2020, urged Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to avoid travel abroad. “We call on citizens to not depart the Gaza Strip — unless totally necessary — in order to preserve their well-being,” the ministry said in a statement. Further evidence that movement of people, while restricted to those with permits from Israeli authorities and the few hundred per day allowed through the Egyptian Rafah border crossing, is still possible.
Which brings us to another glaring contradiction where the author states that the “Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip was imposed by Israel and Egypt.”
If it was imposed by Israel and Egypt, surely it’s not a solely “Israeli blockade”?!
In any case, there are no restrictions on medicines entering the Gaza Strip from Israel. Had the author bothered to look beyond the headlines and the propaganda, he would no doubt be amazed to discover that the Palestinian Authority has been imposing sanctions since 2017 on the Gaza Strip rather than Israel. Hamas has called on the PA to lift these sanctions, including the withholding of medical services, in order to combat the coronavirus.
The author states “Israel has provided Gaza just 200 testing kits while being able to procure 500,000 for themselves from undisclosed nations.” Israel has always continued to allow Gazans with PA-applied for permits to cross into Israel for medical treatment or on humanitarian grounds. It is also fully aware of the potentially catastrophic effects of a coronavirus outbreak in the Gaza Strip. But despite what the author may be implying, Israel has no reason to apologize for making every effort to procure vital medical resources for its own population, particularly given that it currently has over 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
Pharmafile.com and its associate magazine Pharmafocus, instead of blaming Israel for all of Gaza’s ills and a “death sentence” on Gazans for a coronoavirus outbreak that hasn’t and hopefully will not happen, should stick to the issues it has actual expertise in.