Saturday, January 16, 2021

Injured Gazan journalist set for surgery on remaining leg in Ramallah

By Annelies Verbeek - April 19, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [permits] [protests] [Right of Return] [freedom of movement]

“I was 800 meters from the fence when they shot me,” Gazan journalist Yousef Al Kronz,19, told Palestine Monitor from his bed in the Istishari Hospital in Ramallah. 

He was shot in both legs while documenting the first day of the Great March of Return, a series of activities and marches organised over six weeks along the border of Gaza. The goal of the march is to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, as well as the Palestinian Right of Return to territories taken in 1948.
“I was wearing my press jacket, only taking photos of the events when they shot me in my first leg. When I tried to get up on my good leg they shot that too. I could not hear the shots. They must have used gun silencers. I fell. My friend came. They shot him too.”
As soon as he entered the Intensive Care Unit, Kronz received doctor’s orders to receive medical care in Israel or Egypt. But both countries refused Kronz permission to leave Gaza. “After 11 days, the doctors informed me that they had to amputate my leg because the blood could not flow through.”
Sawsan Zaher, from Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, is Kronz’ lawyer.
“The reason his first leg had to be amputated was because the intelligence authorities did not consider his [permit] application for a week,” Zaher told Palestine Monitor.
Zaher said punitive measure were being used against all Gazans. “This is because defence minister Avigdor Lieberman decided that the injured in Gaza will not receive medical permits if they participated in the march. It was not because they carried any weapons, or because the intelligence had any information against them. It  was based on their mere participation in the march.”
“It is like killing them twice”, Zaher added. “First they shoot unarmed protesters, then they deny them medical care. They are obligated to do this, not only under International Humanitarian Law, but also according to Israeli domestic law. The obligation to care for the injured legally applies to both combatants and civilians.”
Amnesty International launched an urgent action to pressure authorities to allow Kronz to leave the Gaza Strip. Palestinian rights groups Adalah and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on April 8. “The court only agreed to an emergency hearing when we informed them his first leg was amputated. It took them three whole days”, Zaher said.
The court ruled on Monday, 17 days after the injury, that Israel is obligated by law to grant Kronz permission to leave the Gaza Strip. He has been receiving medical care in Ramallah since his transfer on Tuesday.
“This is the first time in my life I left Gaza”, Kronz told Palestine Monitor.
He came accompanied by his grandparents. “My parents are too young and Israel still considers them a security risk. They did not receive permits.”
He continued; “Israel had the power to issue my permit from the first day of my injury. If they did, I would still have my first leg. We as journalists are not protected in Gaza. And nobody is holding them accountable.”
The surgery to save his remaining leg is scheduled on Thursday April 19th.

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