Gaza-based Palestinians have faced a long list of restrictions during recent years, including restriction on movement out of the 365-square-kilometre territory, which has been governed by Hamas for almost 10 years.
The main enforcer of these restrictions is Israel, which controls the movement of people and goods through its borders with Gaza and Gaza’s air and sea space.
Israel requires Gaza-based Palestinians to apply for a special permit to leave the territory via the Erez border crossing, whether to travel abroad or to visit family or friends in the West Bank.
This permit is difficult to obtain even in urgent circumstances. For example, a recent World Health Organisation report found that more than 28 percent of applications from people requiring permits for medical reasons were denied or left without response.
Among other medical problems, restricted access to medical services that are unavailable in Gaza has had severe repercussions for the survival rate for Gazans with breast cancer.