Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights alleges that since last June — when Hamas took control of Gaza from its Fatah rivals loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas — at least 30 other patients seeking urgent medical help were denied passage by Shin Bet because they refused to act as informers. In the past, most collaborators worked from within Fatah, and when they were chased from Gaza last June, it was a blow to Israeli intelligence..."This violates all conventions against torture," says Miri Weingarten, spokeswoman for the Tel Aviv-based Physicians for Human Rights. Israeli authorities deny carrying out such practices at Erez and dismiss them as Palestinian propaganda.According to Time Magazine reporters, who interviewed several patients who claim to have been denied urgent medical care by intelligence agents at the border, dozens of Gazans have been pressured to spy since last summer's coup by Hamas. If these accusations are true, this deplorable practice should be re-examined and an investigation launched.
Hamas and Israel seek each other's destruction, and the devastated landscape of blasted-out buildings and shell craters around Erez bears the scars of this conflict. As one Erez security official says: "We're the last line of defense against the suicide bomber coming into Israel."