Cancer patients face anxious wait as Israel’s top court decides whether to send them back to Gaza

JERUSALEM — Reem Abu Obeida and Manal Abu Shaban are both 48-year-old grandmothers from the Gaza Strip, both suffer from breast cancer and both are awaiting an Israeli Supreme Court decision that they say could be a death sentence.

“They would be sending us to the area of hell,” Abu Obeida told NBC News on Thursday. “Our fate will be death.”

The women are among a group of Palestinians from Gaza who have been getting treatment in the cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but now potentially face deportation back to Gaza, where the health care system has all but collapsed and basic medicines are scarce almost six months after Israel launched its military campaign in the enclave.

Their fate — along with that of the rest of the group of around 20 women and children, patients and their companions — is now in the hands of Israel’s Supreme Court, which issued a temporary injunction Thursday to prevent them being sent back to Gaza. It will make a final decision next month.

Israel’s government, which is arguing that the patients have completed their treatment and have no further need to stay, has asked the court for 30 days to consider its options.


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