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Palestinian goes on hunger strike over denial of medical treatment

Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

21 November 2009

Ibrahim Burnat, a resident of Bil’in, who was shot in the thigh with live ammunition during an anti-Wall protest in the village on 13 June 2008, went on hunger strike last Thursday, after he was denied a permit to attend medical treatment in a Tel Aviv hospital.

After being refused a permit to enter Israel for the sake of receiving medical treatment for the First time, Bil’in activist Ibrahim Burnat went on a hunger strike last Thursday, in a desperate attempt to breach bureaucratic indifference.

On 13 June 2008, Burnat was shot with live ammunition during a demonstration against the wall in his village. Three bullets penetrated his thigh and caused extensive injuries, including a massive fracture, and long-term nerve damage.

On 1 November this year, Burnat was scheduled to undergo medical examinations at the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, where he hoped a treatment plan to recover sensation in his leg could finally be established. Like any Palestinian, Burnat must apply for a special permit to enter Israel even for the sake of receiving medical treatment. Despite having provided a document confirming that the treatment he needs is not available in Palestinian hospitals, the army refused to issue Burnat a permit for “security reasons”.

Burnat’s older brother Rani was shot in the neck by an Israeli sniper in October 2,000, during a demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint, and is disabled from the neck down ever since. A standing Israeli policy automatically classifies first degree relatives of Palestinian fatal and serious casualties as security threats. Absurdly, Israel’s refusal to allow Burnat access to medical treatment has nothing to do with his own actions and convictions.

Burnat said today: “This is my third day without any food, and I already feel very weak, but what other choice do I have left? I have no sensation in my right leg for over a year now, and I am prevented from receiving the medical treatment I need for absolutely no reason”.