Israel has expressed willingness to allow Palestinians injured by the IDF during disturbances along the Gaza border to be transported to Jordan for surgery. Humanitarian organizations estimate that there are some 5,000 Palestinians in need of orthopedic procedures after being hit by Israeli fire. Efforts are underway to facilitate the transport of several of them to Jordan for medical care.
When the March of Return protests and riots began last spring, Israel decided not to allow those injured to be treated in Israeli hospitals. However, Israel continues its policy of offering life-saving treatment, such as for cancer, to Gazans in Israeli medical centers.
In the course of the clashes, IDF soldiers have been careful to aim their fire primarily at key instigators or at demonstrators who approach the border fence and threaten to enter Israeli territory. Since the beginning of the demonstrations, almost 6,000 Palestinians were struck in the legs by IDF fire. Recently orthopedic surgeons have entered the Gaza Strip to assess the leg injuries. One of the most sought after items in the Gaza Strip today is crutches. In recent months, Israel has transferred containers full of wheelchairs and crutches to Gaza. It has come to the attention of officials in Israel that Palestinians who received crutches began using them to throw stones. They attach rubber to the crutches and turned them into a slingshot used to launch stones at IDF forces along the border. There is a severe medication crisis in Gaza and 22 hospitals have announced that they must cut down on operations due to a lack of fuel. Israel believes that Hamas steals the diesel fuel destined to the hospitals in an attempt to present an image of humanitarian distress. Discussions are under way between the United Nations and the IDF military coordination liaison to find a solution that will include closer inspection by UN personnel of the process of diesel fuel transfers. The transfer of diesel fuel to the Gaza Strip has been increased in recent months by Qatari funding, allowing Gaza residents to benefit from more hours of electricity.