Palestinian Authority residents will no longer be given permits to undergo medical treatment at Israeli hospitals, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas has decided. A report on Kan News said that the PA Health Ministry would refer patients only to hospitals in PA areas, or in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, or other countries.
The move is the latest by the PA to get back at Israel for cutting some NIS 600 million in transfer payments, withholding customs payments due the PA in the amount that the Authority pays out to terrorists. Although the PA is supposed to get about NIS one billion in payments per year, it has refused to accept any money as long as the cuts are intact.
The refusal to send patients for treatment in Israeli hospitals could have a significant economic impact on the hospitals, the report said. The majority of local medical tourism – where foreign residents come to Israel for treatment – is sourced in Eastern Europe and the PA, and the refusal of the PA to send patients to Israeli hospitals could hurt them economically. Officials of the Health and Finance Ministries are set to meet next week to discuss the matter, the report said.