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(Photo: Mohammed Salem)

Permits for Gaza’s sickest patients to receive treatment in Israel and the West Bank ended abruptly on May 19 when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced an end to coordination with Israel. Since then two infants have died in the Gaza Strip awaiting permits for medical treatment in Israel, a tragedy that Palestinians anxiously fear could expand in the coming weeks.

Due to the Israeli occupation, the inability for Palestinians to deploy medical resources as needed; to properly organize the population per the requirements of social distancing and rational quarantine; and to properly track and test people, will predictably result in excess serious illness and death, above and beyond what might occur in a less obstructed scenario.