Home > Women‘s Voices >

Women's Voices: Aya A - Gaza Women

Name Aya A.
Age 29
Location Gaza City, Gaza
Nature of Incident Restricted Access to Healthcare
Date of Incident Ongoing

Aya was diagnosed with cancer when she was 20 years old. The lengthly permit procedures almost prevented her from receiving any treatment in Jerusalem. After overcoming cancer the first time in 2014, she discovered it had returned in 2016. Now her family is planning to move to Turkey for her to get uninterrupted treatment, as her health is deteriorating and the Israeli authorities keep limiting her access to treatment.

“My name is Aya, I am a 29 year old artist. I live with both my parents and my three brothers: Akram (25), Aynas (30), and Ahmad (28).”

“I found out I have malignant cancer when I was 20 years old. I had only been married for six months.”

“When my husband found out, he began to beat me and yelled that he’s divorcing me. He locked me inside for a month and said “I am not treating you, I will leave you to die.” I called my mother and asked her to come get me when my husband was at work. I felt like I had committed a crime and that this was my punishment. I was shocked and extremely sad about everything that happened.”

“In August 2008, I began treatment. I had an operation to remove a tumor at Shifa hospital in Gaza city, but got very negative side effects. After the operation, on 8 August 2008, I got a permit to cross through the Erez checkpoint, to undergo another operation in Beilinson Hopital in Tel Aviv.”

“After the operation I needed six months of follow up treatments with the doctor. Each travel permit I applied for, one would be accepted, but the next would be refused. Each time me and my mother would go to the checkpoint and wait on those plastic chairs, we were told my name was still under review, or had been rejected. I started to feel worse and worse. It was so exhausting that I began to refuse to go to the checkpoint without confirmation first.”

“I was unable to complete the two sessions of follow up treatment because of permit issues. On 15 February 2014 the doctor performed an operation on me and I was cured from the cancer. I was very happy and was able to do many things I had wanted to do.”

“In January 2016 I felt a lot of pain and discovered that the cancer had returned. I travelled again on a one day permit to visit the hospital in West Bank, but was told by the doctor he would not operate on me. I was told I must undergo a targeted therapy treatment with Votrient instead.”

“I was able to get an appointment to complete my treatment outside Gaza at Aguste Victoria hospital in Jerusalem; so I had to apply for a permit to pass the Eriz check point. I applied for five times: 14/12/2017, 09/5/2017, 18/05/2017, 07/06/2017, the last time was 02/07/2017. Each time the Israeli authorities would tell me that my name is still under national security check up.”  

“After every rejection I feel despair and desperation, and my health deteriorates. I have muscle tension and I live off painkillers. As my health keeps deteriorating, my father and brother have decided for us to immigrate to Turkey, where my mother is from. There I can get treatment uninterrupted.”

“The Palestinian health ministry paid for my treatments.”

“My illness is very rare and I was forced to go receive treatment in West Bank because the hospitals in Jordan, Germany and Egypt refused to treat me. I want to appeal to officials to facilitate our rights as patients to access treatment outside of Gaza, without needing justification and review from the Israeli side every time.”




keyword: Gaza Women