A Note on Barriers (Physical and Circumstantial)

The boy couldn’t hear or speak, but his confusion was obvious when his mother was removed from our bus. At the Kalandia checkpoint to enter Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers search each vehicle and board each bus to examine documents of the occupants. The deaf boy had his head wrapped in gauze and showed his papers proving his medical need for entry to Jerusalem. His mother’s papers were evidently not up to snuff for this soldier’s liking; she was removed from the bus.

Beyond being a somewhat tragic example of the occupation’s effect on families and medicine, this is a segue to a short comment on the medical system here. There are many specialties which are not available in the territory of the West Bank. For this reason, referred patients must travel to Jerusalem hospitals for care. To do so, any Palestinian must obtain a permit from the Israeli government. This is often a difficult task, as illustrated in Harb’s months-long struggle to receive a similar permit. But the government does seem accommodating for medical circumstances, in general. Still, this is an interesting and unique barrier to care in this region.

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