But the ministry now says it will not send patients, claiming the hospital is not providing services that were promised.
“We have concluded that without offering the needed service, cooperation with the new hospital is unwelcome,” said Abdeltaif al-Hajj, head of international cooperation. “It’s not providing the services we hoped it will provide when the idea was discussed.”
The Palestinian side wants the hospital to provide chemotherapy, blood disease care and other treatments unavailable in Gaza. Patients needing these services have to seek treatment in Israel or the West Bank through a complicated permit system. Instead, al-Hajj said it was offering services already available in Gaza, which he called “disappointing.”
Ran Ichay, a consultant for FriendShips, said besides the outpatient family care, the center will provide dental treatments and mental care for the time being. But he said more volunteer staff is expected in May and “next steps will be, hopefully, oncology and rheumatology.” He said the group plans to operate the hospital for 10 years.
Al-Hajj, the ministry official, said talks were being conducted, mostly through Qatari mediators, to resolve the issue but he gave no timeline for a resolution.