Millions of lives depend on it.
June 2019 Media Watch – JVP Health Advisory Council
June 1, 2019
Welcome to the monthly Health and Human Rights Media Watch. Members of the Health Advisory Council monitor relevant organizations and websites and compile a list of important news and issues which are summarized here. These newsletters will be posted on our website and archived as a resource. If you wish to join this effort, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to share the newsletter with your colleagues and communities and encourage them to join the JVP Health Advisory Council. Thanks to all who have contributed!
- 35,000 Palestinians left Gaza in 2018: Hamas now blocking doctors from leaving.
An estimated 35,000 Gazans left the Strip via Egypt in 2018, including 150 doctors; most were young, well-educated and hoping to reach Germany or Sweden. The dire economic situation in Gaza drives the exodus, which Hamas (and Egyptian) authorities initially exploited as a source of revenue by extracting fees and bribes at Rafa crossing. The near collapse of Gaza’s health system led to a bar on physicians leaving. Economic conditions are also contributing to rise in drug use, prostitution and begging.
- Euro-Med warns of catastrophic living conditions in Gaza.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor condemned in the strongest terms the Israeli aerial and artillery shelling of the Gaza Strip. The spokeswoman of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, said that the continuation of “the Israeli army behavior towards the Gaza Strip of killing and targeting civilian objects and the continuation of the collective punishment policy through the blockade clearly represent war crimes under the Rome Statute and require a serious action to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
- Half of Gaza’s population at risk of losing food aid by June.
UNRWA, the agency responsible for providing humanitarian relief to some 6 million Palestinian refugees across the Middle East, said that 1 million Gazans who rely on food aid from UNRWA are at risk of going hungry if the agency does not secure at least $60 million in emergency funding in the next month. According to UNRWA, 620,000 of the 1 million Gazans dependent on food aid are living in “abject poor” — “those who cannot cover their basic food needs and who have to survive on US$ 1.6 per day.”
- Palestinian Ministry of Health: 305 Palestinians killed, over 17,000 injured in 410 days.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza published statistics regarding attacks by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters during “The Great March of Return” along the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, between March 30th 2018 and May 14th 2019. The ministry said that 305 Palestinians, including 59 children, 10 women, and one elderly person, were killed by Israeli forces, while 17,335 others suffered various injuries.
- Israel using lethal gases against Gaza protesters.
The Gaza Ministry of Health reports that the Israeli military continues to use lethal force against demonstrators at the border, including “unconventional coded gas bombs that cause serious or permanent injuries”. It should be noted that Israel has a history of using unknown gas that causes unusual seizures and neuromuscular permanent related deficits. Here is a disturbing report from 2003.
- Excellent graphics and article on the human cost of the Great March of Return.
Gaza Palestinians and Israelis wounded in the past year: 31,691 v. 250. Numbers killed: deaths 279 v 2.
Readers supported News
- Hundreds of wounded Gaza protesters risk limb amputation without immediate help.
UN is appealing for $20 million to treat the overwhelming numbers of injuries to the extremities and the subsequent development of osteomyelitis which leads to amputation.
- On May 5, an F16 airstrike on two Gaza fifth floor apartments in a high rise structure resulted in the deaths of a 3 month old girl and 11yo boy. Both sets of parents were also killed.
- Israeli authorities deny permits to parents of sick Gazan children transferred to East Jerusalem hospitals.
This five-year-old girl needed transfer to Augusta Victoria Hospital for treatment of brain cancer. Israeli authorities refused permits for her parents and extended family members. After surgery she was sent back to Gaza to die with her family present. Doctors in East Jerusalem have shared many personal reports of severely ill children traveling for treatment without family due to permit refusal, only to die alone.
- Israeli military courts repeatedly fail Palestinians.
Issa Amro is a Palestinian from Hebron practicing non-violence being tried in an Israeli military court. Israel is unable to recognize and accept non-violent actions. Of note in June 2016 Amro was indicted on eighteen counts by the Israeli military, (nonviolent) charges that go back to 2010. The Palestinian Authority, too, arrested him and charged him with breaching their draconian “Electronic Crimes Law” after he criticized the PA on social media.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
- Interview with Samah Jabr, East Jerusalem psychiatrist.
This episode of KOOP Radio’s People United features an excellent interview with Samah Jabr, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist from East Jerusalem, and Alexandra Dols, a filmmaker from Paris, about the documentary Beyond the Frontlines: Resistance and Resilience in Palestine and the issues it raises about Israel’s occupation and Palestinian mental health. www.beyondthefrontlines.com
- In late March, the Palestinian Ministry of Health suspended financing patients in Israeli hospitals.
When specialized care is not available in the West Bank/Gaza, the patients will be sent to Jordan/Egypt. Physicians for Human Rights Israel position paper is critical of the PA decision as it holds seriously ill persons as political pawns. Several patients expressed concern to PHRI.
- Qatar sends humanitarian relief.
Qatar has said it will send $480m to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip after a ceasefire deal ended the deadliest fighting between Israel and Palestinian factions since a 2014 Israeli assault on the enclave.
- Israeli Law Silences and punishes critics and human rights workers.
Three U.N. special rapporteurs called on Israel to reverse its deportation decision for Human Rights Watch Director Omar Shaki.
The Israeli rights groups Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the New Israel Fund and B’Tselem; the Palestinian organizations Al-Haq, Al-Mezan and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights; U.S.-based groups, including the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Middle East Studies Association; and a group of Rhodes Scholars and T’ruah Rabbishave also criticized the deportation order.
- Israel is selling arms to dictators.
Ha’aretz reports on a new Hebrew report by Amnesty International in Israel on Israeli arms sales to dictatorships – the report is summarized at some length in the English and Hebrew articles by Amos Harel, who quotes AI as saying this is a global concern because of the potential for genocide, human rights abuses, etc.
- Hadassah Hospital rabbi told the ER to prioritize religious patients ahead of Shabbat.
Rabbi Moshe Klein, Hadassah Hospital’s resident rabbi, instructed emergency room staff to prioritize treatment of religious patients on Fridays due to the approaching Sabbath, ignoring factors of medical urgency and time of arrival. The hospital staff refused the demand and the hospital insists it has no such directive. The hospital provides accommodations for religious patients and families on the Sabbath, and religious law does not prohibit treating the sick on the Sabbath.
CALLS TO ACTION
- Medical Aid for Palestinians has put out a call for urgent action requesting that the UN Security Council demand protection for Palestinian workers.
The annual report issued on May 23 by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the topic of protection of civilians and conflicts makes this a perfect time for concerned people to speak out against deliberate attacks on health workers. Examples include deliberate ground and aerial attacks on medical facilities in Syria and Yemen as well as intentional targeting of medical volunteers assisting injured persons in demonstrations along the Gaza/Israeli border. The announcement ends with a list of the twitter addresses of the UN delegations of several countries and encourages people to tweet their opposition to these actions.
- Medical Aid for Palestinians has continued its program of bringing Palestinian health workers to the UK for specialty training by hosting a month-long training observership for a radiologist and a surgeon from the West Bank.
During this time they received training in multidisciplinary approaches towards cancer including coordination between diagnosis (imaging) and surgical treatment. The radiologist was proctored by a Scottish consultant who herself has traveled to the West Bank and is cognizant of the technical limitations to be found there, thereby framing her training of the visiting Palestinian radiologist within the capacities of the West Bank medical environment.
- In coordination with several other humanitarian organizations, Medical Aid for Palestinains has issued a statement in support of Palestinian interests as the T. administration repairs to unveil its “Deal of the Century” Mideast peace plan.
It is apparent that plan tends to legitimize the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and West Bank territory and further reduce the possibility of there ever being a viable Palestinian state.
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