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The New Arab

Sick Gaza lion transferred to West Bank for operation

Animals in Gaza have also suffered in the blockaded coastal strip [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 March, 2016

A lion from a Gaza zoo was been transferred to the West Bank to undergo treatment on Wednesday, a privilege denied to Palestinian children.
A sick lion from a zoo in Gaza has been transferred to a zoo in Tulkarem in the West Bank on Wednesday for an operation.

The transfer process was the result of many days of coordination between the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza and the Israeli Coordinator for Government Affairs in the Palestinian territories.

The lion crossed Erez border accompanied by a vet assigned by the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.

The Ministry of Agriculture had been petitioning Israel to allow the lion through in due to its deteriorating health.

Most of Gaza's zoos are private business ventures, set up by owners who lack experience in caring for animals in captivity.

Years of conflict, cold winters, longstanding negligence and outbreaks of disease have killed many animals in captivity.

Last summer, animal charity Four Paws International, helped send two lion cubs to a safe sanctuary in Jordan.

Yet while the ill lion may have had a lucky escape from the blockaded Gaza strip, Palestinian children have not.

Last month 10-year old Marah Diab died after kidney transplant surgery failed, and she was unable to cross into Egypt or to the West Bank to receive treatment.

According to Diab's father, Palestinian Authority Health Minister, Dr. Jawad Awaad, opposed a decision to send her to an Israeli hospital.

As a result, the family blames Awaad for their daughter's death, claiming that he "killed her when he refused their request to transfer the girl to a hospital in Israel in order to get a kidney transplant."

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