Two Arab children from Gaza on Sunday were abandoned by their adult chaperones at the Erez Crossing after being released from Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, while their chaperones remained in Israel illegally and without permits.
The IDF said Monday that the children were cared for and returned to Gaza by the Civil Administration.
This is not the first time Gazans have abandoned their children in favor of staying in Israel illegally.
The IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), entrusted with serving the Arab population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, revealed in February a case of a four-year-old child who was found abandoned at the Erez Crossing. After the child received medical treatment in Israel, and it was time to return to the Gaza Strip, his father abandoned him and chose instead to stay behind as an illegal alien in Israel.
“The parent, who was supposed to escort his child and give him a sense of security, chose to remain in Israel as an illegal alien and send his child back, alone, to the Gaza Strip without anyone familiar who could bring him or her home,” the IDF said.
COGAT said that they encounter several such cases of abandonment a month.
Head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza, IDF Colonel Iyad Sarhan, stated then that “the phenomenon of abandoning children at the Erez Crossing is unacceptable behavior. As a father to children, I can’t understand how a parent can abandon his child and leave him in a stranger’s hands without caring for his welfare and security.”
He noted that Gazan residents who remain in Israel and violate the terms of their permit are transgressing the law.
“As a human being and as a father, I hope that this unacceptable behavior will cease, and that the residents of Gaza will make their children their highest priority,” he added.
This latest case of abandonment of a sick child from Gaza by his parents comes just days after the Palestinian Authority (PA) and other elements alleged that a Gazan girl who died at home after receiving treatment in Israel suffered beforehand as a result of Israel cruelty.
They claimed that Aisha Lulu, five years old from the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, died at home shortly after returning from receiving treatment in Jerusalem.
The PA claimed Sunday that none of Lulu’s family members were allowed by Israel to enter the country to be at her side while in the hospital as applications by her family members to accompany her to Jerusalem for her complicated brain surgery were denied by the IDF.
While the PA claimed that Lulu was alone as a result of Israel’s refusal to admit her parents into the country, the IDF said it was Lulu’s parents who refused to leave Gaza and accompany her to the hospital in Jerusalem.
COGAT stated Sunday night that “in contrast to various publications, Israel approved the entry of Aisha Lulu for medical treatment in a hospital in east Jerusalem after her parents signed a declaration stating that they did not want to leave the Gaza Strip with her.”
“It should be emphasized that as a policy, the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) requires parental guidance for medical treatment of minors, based on the understanding that a child needs his parents during these moments. In this case too, in accordance with the DCO procedure, Aisha’s parents were required to sign a statement stating that they did not want to accompany their daughter during the treatments – for their own reasons – and asked that another person on their behalf accompany her,” COGAT clarified.