Welcome to Jewish Voice for Peace’s 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.
Treating drug-resistant infections in Gaza under the blockade
Medicin Sans Frontieres 2 Sept. 2019-More than 7,400 Palestinians have been injured by live ammunition during protests in Gaza. About half of those suffering from open fractures, in which the bone is broken near the wound. More than 1,000 of them have developed bone infections; these serious and complex wounds require months – if not years – of dressing, surgery, and physiotherapy. Infections prevent recovery and many of them are resistant to antibiotics. To prevent the spread of resistant bacteria, those with resistant infections have to be isolated in a single room for six weeks. Everyone entering the room must wear protective clothing and clean their hands. MSF has developed the first lab in Gaza that is able to analyze bone samples. Read more: Mondoweiss
Palestinian protester injured by Israeli sniper fire dies in hospital
Peoples Dispatch 2 Sept. 2019-A Palestinian protester shot by Israeli security forces during the weekly Great March of Return protests in August, succumbed to his injuries at the Gaza European Hospital. According to sources, he was shot by an Israeli army sharpshooter in the southern part of the Gaza strip. More than 6,000 Palestinians participated in the August protests.
17-year old Ali al-Ashqar killed at Gaza protest
Electronic Intifada 30 Sept. 2019-Ali al-Ashqar, age 17, a young participant of the Great March of Return, threw one stone on September 6 while standing 80 meters from the separation wall in Gaza. He was immediately shot by an Israeli sniper who prevented medics from reaching him before he bled to death.
Gaza children’s mental health rapidly deteriorating
Norwegian Refugee Council 25 March 2019-A study conducted by the Norwegian Refugee Council found that 68 percent of schoolchildren in areas close to the Israeli perimeter fence has clear indications of psycho-social distress. The majority said they were most severely affected by the sounds of nearby explosions and media images of conflict in Gaza. One year since the start of mass protests along the perimeter fence with Israel, children have reported witnessing violence first hand, as well as knowing people who have been injured, killed or lost their homes. Fifty-four percent said they had no hope for a brighter future. Eighty-one percent of children struggle academically due to conflict-related stress.
Qatar Red Crescent backs healthcare sector in Gaza
The Gulf Times 1 Sept. 2019-Qatar Red Crescent is implementing a mega project to enhance the health sector in Gaza, by providing medical expertise and training to staff. The multifaceted project involves hiring consultants in pulmonology, internal medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, neonatology, and urology. Other capacity-building components of the program include MA in Mental Health at the Al Quds University (Abu Dis campus) and Diploma in Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG). Read more: The Peninsula
Unclaimed rockets sent across Gaza’s frontier prompt Israeli authorities to cut electrical power in sweltering summer heat
Middle East Eye 26 August 2019-The impact of power cuts is felt in almost every aspect of the life of Gaza’s residents. Food can no longer be kept in the fridge, staying at home is unbearable due to the heat, and even the simple task of visiting relatives would have to depend on the highly unreliable electricity schedule. Businesses, schools, and hospitals are disrupted and the majority of people cannot afford a generator.
Another fatal attack on a Palestinian woman occurred near a checkpoint in Ramallah on September 28
Electronic Intifada 18 Sept. 2019-Israeli forces shot 28-year-old Alaa Wahdan in the legs and prevented Palestinian Red Crescent personnel from providing timely medical treatment.
The murder of a young Palestinian woman by her family has sparked widespread protests against misogyny, honor killings, and the Israeli occupation
+972 Magazine 23 Sept. 2019-One consequence of the murder of Israa Gharib has been a campaign for a new law against gender violence in the West Bank.
Israeli raids office of Palestinian prisoner rights group
Middle East Eye Sept. 19 2019-“Addameer sees this raid as a part of ongoing and systematic attacks against the Palestinian civil society organization,” said the Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer in a statement published by Middle East Eye. “Addameer reassures that those constant raids will not stand in the face of any duties the organization has for Palestinian political prisoners.”
Constant fires of trash and waste, much if it acquired from Israel, is contaminating fields where sheep once grazed in the southern West Bank
The New York Times 12 Sept. 2019-In villages in the Hebron area an estimated 80% of households rely directly or indirectly on handling electronic waste to survive. On the villages’ outskirts and along the separation wall — where Israeli and Palestinian security is largely absent — the burning of cables, useless e-waste scraps and trash have blackened the soil and saturated once fertile pastures with what Dr. Garb calls a “witches’ brew” of contaminants.
UN High Commissioner should immediately release Settlement Business Database
Human rights Watch 23 Sept. 2019-Almost 4 years have passed since the UN Human Rights Council approved without opposition resolution 31/36 mandating the establishment of a database of businesses that are engaged in certain, specific activities in the occupied Palestinian territory that are either explicitly linked to Israeli settlements or form part of processes that “enable and support the establishment, expansion and maintenance of Israeli residential communities beyond the Green Line. HRW has requested that the High Commissioner release the data before the end of the current session.
Israeli Supreme Court will hear arguments against deportation of Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine Director, accused of promoting boycott
NPR 23 Sept. 2019-The Israeli Supreme Court will hear HRW’s appeal of a deportation order against its Israel and Palestine Director, Omar Shakir. Israel has caricatured HRW’s call on companies to stop doing business in settlements in order to avoid contributing to rights abuses, as “promoting boycotts,” and sought to deport Shakir from the country. HRW argues that these are attempts to stifle criticism and should be a concern for all who care about democracy, human rights and freedom of expression in Israel. Amnesty International recently joined the appeal, citing potential ramifications for them and other rights groups. Read more: Haaretz
Israel’s fiscal standoff impacts environment and health of Palestinians.
Down to Earth 11 Sept. 2019-180 Palestinian communities in the West Bank (more than 20 percent) lack access to good quality water, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and UN Conference on Trade and Development ((UNCTAD). Among those living in East Jerusalem, only 44 percent are formally connected to the water network. The oPt is also facing serious public health risks with Israel dumping large amounts of hazardous waste including sewage sludge, infectious medical waste, used oils, solvents, metals, and electronic waste and batteries. The shortage of electricity, destruction, and disrepair of the sanitation infrastructure has severely affected the environment in Gaza. More than 100 million liters of untreated sewage is discharged into the Mediterranean Sea daily, causing extensive contamination of beaches — four times higher than the international environmental standards — and also impacting the fishing economy.
UN Report on fiscal crisis in Palestinian economy
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process 23 Sept. 2019-A newly published United Nations report highlighted the urgency to resolve the continuing fiscal crisis faced by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to support the Palestinian economy. It called for increased attention to Gaza’s health system. According to the report, an evolving health crisis in Gaza is caused, in part, by limited electricity supply to healthcare centers and hospitals, dual-use restrictions on medical equipment and a shortage of medicines and disposables. The report called for the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s full cooperation with this effort. “To move away from humanitarian assistance, fundamental improvements to health care infrastructure, including increased electricity supply, access to clean water, upgrading of medical equipment and establishing a transparent and effective supply chain for medicines and other essential goods are key,” the report added. Read more: MENAFN, Emirates News Agency
Update on Palestinian prisoner hunger strike
Electronic Intifada 25 Sept. 2019-Some 140 Palestinian prisoners have been rejecting food for more than two weeks after Israel failed to cease jamming their phone reception, and to install public telephones, preventing them from communicating with the outside world, which Israel had agreed to do following a previous hunger strike. Some 460 are being held in “administrative detention”, under which Israel can imprison individuals without charge or trial and detainees are not allowed to see the evidence against them.
Ten-minute video by BBC gives a thorough overview of Palestinian childhood detention by the Israeli military
BBC 28 Aug. 2019-Many interviews with experts and several children themselves. This is a concise and excellent resource–pass it on to your MOC to urge them to sign onto HR 2407–Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act.
Israel’s highest court ruled in September that Israel can legally hold the bodies of ‘slain terrorists’ for leverage in negotiations with the Palestinians
Electronic Intifada 19 Sept. 2019-The remains of more than a dozen recently killed Palestinians are being held for such purposes.
Palestinian prisoner Bassam al-Sayih, 46, died at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center in Tel Aviv
PCHR 9 Sept. 2019-He was suffering from bone cancer when he was arrested and imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces on 8 October 2015 on suspicion of involvement with the killing of two Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. Over the subsequent four years, he was not granted a trial, never sentenced, and his medical condition neglected, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. His death was “due to torture, medical negligence and stalling in giving him the medical care he needed,” prisoners rights group Addameer His is the third death within Israeli prisons in 2019.
Harvard president expresses concerns about obstacles facing foreign scholars, interview on ‘All Things Considered’
NPR 3 Sept. 2019-Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian who was due at Harvard this fall as an incoming freshman, was denied entry to the U.S., had his visa canceled, and was sent home to Lebanon. He was allowed to come back in time for the start of classes at Harvard following meetings between Harvard’s president, Larry Bacow, Congress members, and the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security. Mr. Bacow sat down with NPR to discuss his concerns about immigration and visa obstacles faced by other international students and faculty.
The contested whiteness of Arab identity in the US: implications for health disparities research
Sarah Abboud, Perla Chebli, Em Rabelais, Am J Public Health, published online ahead of print, September 19, 2019: e1–e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305285
American Journal of Public Health Oct. 2 2019-In this commentary, the authors make the case that individuals of Arab descent in the United States are classified as White in the U.S. (but do not benefit from white privilege), and are not recognized as a minority group. This is a form of structural violence that leaves them invisible, their needs unaddressed, and their health status impacted. Health disparities due to social exclusion, stigma, and discrimination are experienced by this group. The authors call on the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health to acknowledge the undocumented health inequities that Arabs experience in the U.S. and to ensure their inclusion in the NIMHD’s new multi-domain health disparities research framework.
Protests ahead of London arms fair to ‘Stop Arming Israel’
The People’s Dispatch 4 Sept. 2019-In early September, hundreds of people protested outside the venue which hosted the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in London. The protesters, from the War on Want, demanded an end to the sale of weapons to Israel, due to its occupation of Palestine and other grave crimes. The DSEI fair is supported by the UK government. The executive director of War on Want said that the British government is “rolling out the red carpet for human rights violating regimes to buy the weapons of death.”
According to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) the British government approved the sale of weapons and military equipment worth USD 17.8 million to Israel in 2018. In May 2018, just four days after Israeli forces massacred 68 Palestinians during the Great March of Return protests in Gaza, a deal for the sale of military training equipment to Israel worth USD 125,000 was approved.
Focus On: International Aid to Palestine, with pieces by Samer Abdelnour, Sam Bahour, Nora Lester Murad, Alaa Tartir, Jeremy Wildeman
Al-Shabaka 4 Sept. 2019-The analysts argue that development cannot be understood as a mere technocratic, apolitical, and neutral process. Rather, it must be recognized as operating within relations of colonial dominance and rearticulated as linked to the struggle for rights, resistance, and emancipation.