Gaza cancer patient misses treatment amid fighting

STORY: Gaza resident Dina El-Dhani was due to meet her oncologist this week at a hospital in Jerusalem.

But she's been unable to cross into Israel since the border was closed amid heavy fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.

"We can say that the crossing is life, because as patients we only have treatment in Israel. The border crossing either enhances my treatment or enhances my death. So, if I don't get a permit, it either delays my treatment or speeds up my death, but thank God for everything, it's either life or death."

Dhani is one of 432 cancer patients who have not been able to receive treatment since Tuesday, when Israel launched attacks on the Islamic Jihad militant group, setting off a surge in cross-border violence.

Her appointment with a doctor at a Jerusalem hospital was meant to determine which radiation treatment she will receive.

The four days of fighting with intense Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes has disrupted the lives of millions of people.

"I live near the border area and when there is an escalation we leave our houses, even before I had cancer. So, currently I am not at my home, I am at my uncle's place because I had to leave as my health condition doesn't allow me to run if an escalation happens."

Israel and Egypt, citing security concerns, maintain a blockade on Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist group Hamas.

The crossings this week have been under the constant threat of Palestinian rocket fire and remained shut, said a spokesperson for Israel's military-run liaison with the Palestinians.

Due to shortages of medical equipment and medicine, Gaza’s hospitals are unable to provide proper care for cancer patients.

So most travel to Israel, the occupied West Bank, or other countries for treatment.

Palestinian health officials blame the 16-year-old blockade for undermining the development of the health sector.