Millions of lives depend on it.
Media Watch August 1, 2019
- Excellent review of the policies and costs of the decades-long siege of Gaza.
Sanctions and siege regimes are woefully ineffective at regime change but consistently and reliably effective at dismantling the infrastructure of society and impoverishing targeted populations. Israel directly targets medical infrastructure by destroying facilities, vehicles and health practitioners themselves. It also denies the import of material needed for the maintenance and development of health systems that must serve 2 million incarcerated people.
Middle East Research and Information Project
- OCHA documents increasing food insecurity and rising unemployment and child labor.
Two thirds of households in Gaza experience severe or moderate levels of food insecurity. Unemployment rate rose from 44% (2017) to 52% (2018). The need to secure daily expenses has led to an uptick in child labor rates, including in hazardous occupations.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- Casualties In The Context Of Demonstrations And Hostilities In Gaza.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released updated dataon Palestinian casualties during the Great March of Return at the Gaza border: between 30 March 2018 and 31 May 2019, 205 Palestinians were killed, including 44 children/youth, and 32,124 were injured, including 7,063 children/youth. An excellent graphic from OCHA.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- A life redefined by a tear gas canister.
On January 11, 2019, a 13-year-old boy from the Jabalia refugee camp in the north of Gaza, went to see a performances of dance, karate, and kung fu near where the Great March of Return demonstrations were to start. As a confrontation broke out between Israeli soldiers and Gazans, the young boy noticed that something (later determined to be a tear gas canister) struck his right shoulder. He was bleeding profusely and brought to Al-Awda hospital where he was operated on for two fractures in his right shoulder as well as likely nerve damage.
His injuries seriously impacted school and social life. His story is not unique as documented by the Defense of Children International Palestine (DCIP) which on January 11, 2019 submitted a report to the UN detailing death and permanent disability of Palestinian child protestors at the hands of Israeli forces. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 350 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces between July 2-15, 2019.
Defense of Children International Palestine
- On May 3, 2019 Palestinian medic Muhammad al-Judaili was working at the Great March of Return in Gaza.
When he rushed to help an injured child, he was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet by an Israeli sniper. He died on June 10 at age 36, leaving his widow and four children.
- With severe medicine shortages and an overstretched health care system in Gaza, children in need of medical treatments can only find them outside the Strip.
Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care.
- Female Patients from Gaza endangered by Israel’s medical exit permit policy.
UN Resolution 1325 and 1889 on Women recognize that violent conflicts affect women and men differently. They call on States and civil society organizations to assess the unique needs of women in conflict and post-conflict areas.
After 11 years of blockade, Gaza’s health-care system is nearing collapsing; requiring patients to travel outside of Gaza for medical care when none is locally available. To leave Gaza, they must undergo a lengthy bureaucratic process. Since 2013, there have been increasing restrictions on medical exit permits by the Israeli authorities with only 54% of patients successfully applying for a medical exit permit in 2017, compared with 92% in 2012.
Since 2017, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) has tried to help more than 250 women overturn permit decisions by the Israeli authorities. . PHRI has identified three ways that these denials are affecting women: 1) female patients with cancer are encountering severe treatment restrictions; 2) some exit permit criteria affect women twice as often as men (women are denied for “family proximity to Hamas” while men are denied for security concerns); and 3) women have been denied permits until their relatives allegedly living illegally in the West Bank or Israel return to Gaza.
- Since their office was bombed in May 2019, the General Union of Disabled Palestinians based in Rafah, southern Gaza, has been struggling to resume psychological support and job assistance services.
The union provided services for more than 1,000 people with disabilities in Rafah. They included around 80 people who were injured during the Great March of Return, 24 of whom had undergone amputations.
- Thousands of acres of Gaza farmland have been damaged by Israel’s aerial spraying of herbicide, with multiple other consequences.
Thousands of acres of land have been damaged, water contaminated, grazing animals died, and there are probable negative health consequences to consumption or inhalation. Roundup is suspected be carcinogenic and the use of herbicides may violate the UN Guiding Principles in Business and Human Rights.
- Israeli Forces shoot young boy with live ammunition.
On July 12, Israeli soldiers shot a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in the head with live ammunition during protests against settlement expansion in the town of Kafr Qaddum in the occupied West Bank. The boy was gravely wounded and is fighting for his life in a hospital in the West Bank. Residents of Kafr Qaddum have been holding weekly protests for the last nine years against the closure of the main road to the city of Nablus due to an expansion of nearby settlements. During an investigation of the incident by human rights group B’Tselem, the military falsely claimed they had not used live ammunition.
- Daily life under occupation in Hebron: Israeli military denies Red Crescent ambulance access to Tel Rumeidah to evacuate a Palestinian patient.
A member of a Palestinian family which was being harassed by soldiers, Border Police, and settlers suffered heat stroke (a life-threatening emergency). When his fever rose dramatically, his wife called for an ambulance. The ambulance never arrived because the IDF blocked its access to the patient’s home and ordered it to turn around. The paramedics were ultimately able to arrive on foot, 75 minutes after the initial call.
- Palestinian detainee died likely due to torture and neglect in Israeli jail.
A Palestinian detainee who had been in solitary confinement, died in an Israeli jail on July 16. His death raised suspicions that prison authorities had tortured him. The detainee died at the Nitzan prison in the city of Ramleh. He had been detained on June 19 when Israeli security forces raided his family home in the town of Beit Fajjar, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Israeli authorities said he was suspected of “activity against the state.”
The Studies and Documentation Unit at the Palestinian Detainees Committee stated that since 1967, 220 detainees died in Israeli prisons and detention centers due to torture, lack of medicines and treatment, and diseases contracted while in prison.
- Israeli army detains a child for nearly a year without charges.
He spent nearly 47 weeks in military detention without being formally charged with a crime. The prolonged detention forced him to miss his final year of high school. UN human rights bodies including the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee Against Torture expressed concern over Israel’s use of administrative detention and prosecution of children in military tribunals.
Defense of Children International Palestine
- The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Territory released “Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019”.
It states that the reduction in US funding is causing an estimated reduction in the number of Palestinians served by 500,000 (from 1.9 to 1.4 million). The shortfall requires that top priority needs only be addressed.
- In an effort to rally support and save the lives of three Palestinian hunger strikers in solitary confinement, Addameer lawyers visited them in Israeli prisons on July 22, 2019.
They reported on their abusive treatment and deteriorating health. The attorneys called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and global advocates to demand attention and support for these and other Palestinian hunger strikers protesting administrative detention.
Israel, once famous for its socialist leaning safety networks and high quality health care system, may be facing the same issues as the US around adequate funding, staffing, and different attitudes towards physical and mental health as it is impacted by neoliberal policies increasing privatization, and a big military budget.
- Israeli Nurses Go on Nationwide Strike Over Labor Shortages.
The Israeli nurses’ union has called a strike for Tuesday, 23 July 2019, to protest severe staffing shortages and a new accreditation process that they say imposes impossible conditions on working nurses. All public health facilities will be operating on an emergency basis. Nurses Association talks with Health Minister Ben Siman Tov broke down yesterday. According to Ilana Cohen, head of the nurses’ union, the new process imposes an intolerable workload at the expense of patient care.
- 1 in 5 Israeli Psychiatric Hospital Patients Are Readmitted within a Month of Their Discharge
21-25% of patients in Israel released from in-patient psychiatric treatment in 2018 were readmitted within 30 days. Differences were regional and tended to be much lower in general hospitals with psychiatric wards than in psychiatric hospitals, perhaps due to differences in patient profile. A lack of transitional support and services was noted by the Health Ministry’s new report; in addition, a significant percentage of mental health patients also had physical health problems that were unaddressed by the system.
- Waiting Time for Stroke Diagnosis Double in Eilat, Rishon leZion, and Safed.
A new report on the quality of health care in 2018 noted striking regional disparities, with waiting times for stroke diagnosis and heart attacks nearly double in some places over others. In Ziv, Hillel Yafo, and Hadassah hospitals, stents were not inserted in optimal time; the report notes that heart disease is Israel’s second-highest killer, after cancer, and 40,000 stent operations are performed annually.
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