July 2019 Media Watch – JVP Health Advisory Council

July 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 contact.alicerothchild@gmail.com.  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! 

GAZA

  • Update on the personal cost of the Great March of Return.
    “On the one-year anniversary of the “Great March of Return” demonstrations, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warns that urgent international action is needed to protect lives and prevent the further collapse of Gaza’s health system.” “Over the past year, over 260 Palestinians have been killed and more than 29,000 injured. More than 7,000 people have been shot with live ammunition, causing devastating injuries, particularly to lower limbs. Among the casualties have been medical first-responders. Three health workers have been killed and more than 600 injured by Israeli forces while working to save lives in Gaza.” There is also a severe shortage of medications.
    Medical Aid for Palestinians
    Palestinian Center for Human Rights
  • A number of reports on the killing of unarmed Palestinians, particularly by deliberate gunshot wounds which make up for 25% of the 28,000 injuries in Gaza.

The fourth medic was killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of mass protests on Gaza’s frontier with Israel last year. According to Gaza’s health ministry, 685 medics have also been wounded during Israel’s crackdown on the protests.
Middle East Eye

Al-Haq documented the killing of three unarmed Palestinian civilians between May 29 and June 9, 2019: Abdallah Lua’y Ghalth, 15; Yousel Wajih, 28; and Muhammad Subhi Al-Judell, 36, a paramedic for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society who was on duty during the Great Return March protests.
Al Haq

A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report stated that between March 30, 2018, and March 30, 2019, 277 Palestinians, including 52 children, were killed and 28,014 others injured by Israeli security forces along the Gaza-Israel border during the ongoing Great March of Return protests.Out of the 28,014 injured, the report found that 25% (6,872) were injured by gunshot wounds, 87% of whom received injuries to the limbs. Gunshot wounds, which are the biggest cause of death in Gaza, were also responsible for the deaths of 210 Palestinians. More than 75% of these deaths were caused by bullets to the chest as well as to the head and neck.
People’s Dispatch

In similar findings, B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch determined that the Israeli army and Palestinian armed groups unlawfully targeted civilian populations during the most recent Gaza escalation. Israeli strikes are not a result of rogue combatants transgressing military orders, but in fact “part of a policy formulated by government officials and the senior military command.” Militant groups associated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets to Israel, killing three and wounding 123.
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  • IDF fire left this fisherman blind. Israel won’t let him get treatment.

Khader al-Saiidy, 31, was blinded in February when Israeli naval patrol boats fired fifteen rubber-tipped bullets at him while he was fishing.  They claimed he had passed the ever-shifting fishing limit; he claims he was three miles inside.  He was transported to Barzilai Israeli hospital in Ashkelon , where one eye was removed and an appointment made for him to return for treatment that would save the other.  He was refused permission to enter Israel twice, leaving him totally blind.  Israel has expanded and contracted fishing limits at least ten times in the past ten months, a form of collective punishment imposed without international scrutiny. 95% of Gaza’s remaining fishermen live below the poverty level.

Haaretz English

Haaretz Hebrew

  • Gazans are facing massive shortages of medications and arbitrary and increasingly difficulties obtaining permits for medical care outside of Gaza, which severely affects sick children.
    In mid-June Gaza’s health ministry reported that stocks of over half its medicines would not last another month. As elective surgeries are increasingly postponed, patients with cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, and hypertension, as well as infants requiring therapeutic feeding, face disruption or stoppage of treatment.
    Electronic Intifada

“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. Yet Israel’s convoluted, arbitrary permit process leaves them waiting in pain, often missing life-saving care.” The essay painfully documents the arbitrary and byzantine medical permitting process.  

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Critically ill children in Gaza are sometimes given temporary exit permits so they can receive a higher level of care at a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem. Permits for their parents, however, are often delayed, denied, or disincentivized. Since January 2018, 56 sick babies have been transferred alone and 6 died without the presence of a parent.
The Guardian

Gisha specifically concerns itself with freedom of movement within Palestine and across its borders. This month’s update includes a series of graphs showing a month-by-month tally of exits from Gaza at the Erez crossing, the sole site of passage between Gaza and Israel, an exit of patients leaving Gaza for medical care in Israel or elsewhere ranging from a low of less than 4000/month in September 2018 and a high of 12,000 in April 2019. The accompanying text points out that in the year 2000 the average total number of border exits was 500,000, most of whom were Gazans employed in Israel. This source of income has been almost completely shut off and the ensuing economic crisis has had profound implications on living conditions and health in Gaza.
Gisha

    • Training Course and Mechanisms to Promote Right to Health reports on the conclusion of the first of a series of trainings that PCHR is providing for health care workers in Gaza.
      The training program will continue for three years, in collaboration with the Palestine Medical Relief Society. PCHR states that the goals for these trainings are, “part of a project to promote, respect and fulfill the right to the highest attainable standard of health in the Gaza Strip.”  
      Palestine Centre for Human Rights

 

  • Violence during military operations affects both men and women, but women often face a unique set of challenges. 

 

             For Palestinian women in Gaza, the interaction between patriarchy, the intra-Palestinian political divide, and Israel’s blockade, exacerbates the violence they face.  Israel’s decades-long blockade of Gaza, has created high rates of poverty and unemployment, which have caused an enduring economic depression in Gaza, obliterated family income sources, and traditional family relationships have struggled to adjust to the changing situation.  Palestinian women whose husbands have been directly exposed to political violence were 47 percent more likely to report experiencing psychological intimate partner violence (IPV), 89 percent more likely to report experiencing physical IPV, and 2.2 times more likely to report experiencing sexual IPV.  Another type of violence that women experience due to the blockade is a lack of access to essential medical services.

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WEST BANK

 

  • Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children with intentional severe or lethal force.

 

Mahmoud Salah, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, was chasing a soccer ball near the barrier wall in Bethlehem in the West Bank on May 21, 2019. Shot in the leg by an Israeli soldier, he waited 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. After suffering further abuse and finally reaching Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, Mahmoud’s severely injured leg was amputated.
Defense of Children International Palestine

  • New family medicine program in the West Bank.
    Medical Aid for Palestine reports on a program of establishing a formal training program in Family Medicine in the West Bank. Based on the British NHS model of family practice, it trains physicians to adopt a role of overall responsibility of members of a family unit from infancy into old age and to consider factors in their environment and lifestyle that have an impact on their health. The article proudly reports that all of the residents in training passed Part I of their specialty board exam, a record that any training program anywhere would be proud of.
    Medical Aid for Palestine
  • Three UK Parliament members visit the West Bank.
    As part of an ongoing effort to bring officials from the UK to Palestine to see conditions for themselves, MAP hosted three Members of Parliament in a visit to the West Bank. This included visits to a hospital and ambulance service in East Jerusalem, a military court at the Ofer prison where there is a 99% conviction rate which includes children as young as 12 years old, and a village which has been bulldozed by the IDF and rebuilt several times by legal residents who refuse to be displaced from their land.
    Medical Aid for Palestine

OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  • A number of reports on the conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the various forms of resistance.
    A report for the first quarter of 2019 was posted by Addameer on June 4, detailing conditions of administrative detention including testimonies of prisoners.
    Addameer

Addameer published a report summarizing the obstacles and, at times denial, of education for Palestinian children and youth in Israeli prisons. This report gives a broad picture of how Israeli prisons, in violation of many international laws, deny adequate educational opportunities for Palestine children in prison which are far more limited and under-resourced than those available to Israeli children in prisons. One of the long term implications of prison is that, the trauma of imprisonment and also falling behind in their education while incarcerated, lead to higher school dropout rates among previously incarcerated youth. An important report as education is guaranteed under so many international human rights accords and legal frameworks. 

Addameer

Addameer produced a map of the locations of the infamous Israeli prisons that hold Palestinians. Note the number of prisons on the ’48 Israel side of the Green Line. This is significant as: 1. It violates international law and 2. family members require difficult to obtain permits in order to make visits, greatly reducing family contacts with prisoners, including children. Click on the prison to read about its history and links to notable Palestinian political prisoners at that site. 

Addameer

In recent years, a number of Palestinian prisoners have fathered children by smuggling sperm out of jail. Israel has adopted a racist attitude toward prisoners and their families. While Jewish Israelis are allowed to conceive children even when they are behind bars, Palestinian prisoners are banned from doing so and Israel systematically refuses to allow children born as a result of IVF – and using smuggled sperm – from seeing their fathers in prison.
Electronic Intifada

Palestinian women prisoners in Israeli jails announce collective strike for July 1.  Demands include:

Removal of intrusive surveillance cameras from the prison yard
Extension of exercise time to eight hours between 4 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Restoration of the exercise yard to eliminate hazards
Opening of a library for female prisoners and a classroom for girls
A private room near the “canteen” (prison store) for the preparation of food
Improved conditions for visiting family members
Return of confiscated books and family photos

Samidoun

After 43 days, 61-one-year-old Hossam Ruzza of Nablus suspended his prison hunger strike upon reaching an agreement with occupation authorities. His administrative detention, during which he has received abusive treatment for over a year and has suffered serious health problems, will not be renewed for a third time. His release date is July 13, 2019.
Addameer

             At the end of April 2019, Israel had in custody 5,152 prisoners and detainees who are being held on what it terms “security” grounds. Most are incarcerated in prison facilities within Israel’s sovereign territory, in violation of international human rights law governing occupied territory. The state exploits this fact to severely restrict family visits to Palestinian prisoners.  Even when families are permitted to make prison visits, the journey – organized by the Red Cross – is exhausting and long, leaving home before dawn and returning late in the evening. During the visits, which last only 45-60 minutes, the prisoners are kept apart from their visitors by a glass partition and communicate with them via a prison phone line.  In 2007, Israel issued a complete ban on family visits to prisoners from Gaza. As of 2012, it has been allowing visits, but subject to draconian limitations.

B’tselem

  • Weekly reports from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
    PCHR originates in Gaza and is directed by the highly respected human rights attorney, Raji Sourani. PCHR issues ongoing weekly reports documenting casualties and deaths due to the Israeli occupation. These well documented weekly updates are often featured in the JVP Health Advisory Council’s weekly human rights hero/violations reports. Click the link below to the latest casualty and death report from PCHR for the week of June 13-19, 2019. The PCHR Facebook Page is also a good source of up to date human rights reports. 
    Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
  • UNRWA continues to face a massive crisis due to spending cuts and rising needs.
    UNRWA head Pierre Krahenbuhl announced the agency was able to cover expenses for the first 5 months of 2019, but began to face deficits in June. With the cut-off of US funds the challenge is to raise $1.2 million to cover services to Palestinians, including 8.5 million patient visits per year at 144 health centers and social services to a population of 5 million in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
    MSN

UNRWA rejected a US proposal to disband the agency and shift responsibility for Palestinian refugees to host countries. Previously the largest donor to UNRWA with a contribution of about $300 million in 2018, the US has pulled out all support.
Aljazeera

The 2018 Health Report of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) documents continuous support of primary care and hospital services in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In spite of contributions by host and donor governments, UNRWA’s financial crisis threatens the health and well-being of Palestinian refugees in 2020. Essential food aid to half of Gaza’s population will require additional funding by June 1, 2019.
Relief Web

Head of UNRWA says it should not be blamed for stalled peace efforts after US envoy said agency has run its course. “The fact that UNRWA still exists today is an illustration of the failure of the parties and the international community to resolve the issue politically – and one cannot deflect the attention onto a humanitarian organization.”
Middle East Eye

    • Powerful interactive map by B’tselem illustrates progressive Israeli control over historic Palestine since 1967.
      The Israeli human rights group, B’tselem, has created a new interactive map showing the progressive encroachment of Israeli roads, settlers, and IDF activities in the West Bank since 1967. The changes on the map, which B’TSELEM refers to as “forensic architecture” parallel the decline in the quality of life and health of the Palestinian population living within the borders of the green line over the past six decades. Through multiple layers of mapping and descriptive text, this production tells and illustrates the story of increasing Israeli control over all of historical Palestine–from settlements, annexation of Jerusalem and other areas of the West Bank, parks, closed military zones and war. The graphics are quite amazing. 
      B’tselem

 

  • Palestinians launch campaign to boycott Puma over Israeli sponsorship.

 

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement organized dozens of international actions worldwide last week to call for a boycott of the German sports goods manufacturer Puma because of its association with the Israeli Football Association (IFA). Puma is currently sponsoring the IFA, which includes six teams from the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Last year, Puma had signed a four-year sponsorship deal with the IFA providing equipment, including kits, to all of Israel’s national football teams.
People’s Dispatch

  • Palestinians gear up for massive protests against Bahrain economic summit.
    A two-day U.S. inspired economic summit set to begin on June 25, will highlight what the Trump administration calls the ‘deal of the century’. With money proposed but not clearly funded, the White House hopes that 179 economic development projects will be funded. These include infrastructure projects for water, power, telecommunications, tourism, medical facilities, etc. Protests against the summit have already been held in Morocco and Jordan and rallies and protests have been scheduled for several Palestinian cities. At the same time, several Palestinian political parties will take part in an alternative summit in Beirut. It has been organized to protest against the Arab countries participating in the Bahrain conference.
    People’s Dispatch 
  • Palestinian mental health professionals launch mental health network.
    Palestinian mental health professionals met to launch the Palestine-Global Mental Health Network. This monumental event was organized in cooperation with the Palestinian Social and Psychological Syndicate, the Arab Psychological Association, and the Palestinian Red Crescent (al-Hilal) and held at the latter’s headquarters in al-Bireh.” “More than 130 Palestinian mental health professionals from Nazareth, Haifa, Ramleh, Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Gaza, and Jerusalem were in attendance.  Also in attendance were Palestinian professionals from the United States and the United Kingdom who participated through video-conferencing.”
    Mondoweiss

ISRAEL

  • Israeli born children with Filipina mothers to be deported.
    One hundred foreign workers from the Philippines, along with their Israeli born children, are set to be deported from Israel this summer by the Population and Immigration Authority. Dozens of mothers and children protested in front of the Prime Minister’s office.
    Haaretz
  • Israeli watchdog slams Haredi education programs, prison systems and more.
    Israel’s retiring State Comptroller  issued a scathing report on a slate of Israeli welfare, prison and educational offices.  60% of convicted sex offenders leave prison without any form of treatment. 660 million shekels invested in remedial programs for ultra-Orthodox Jews since 2000 have operated without quality control; their only appreciable achievement has been to augment gender segregation on Israeli campuses.  The Health Ministry has failed to plan for the aging Israeli population in and out of prison: hospital beds have decreased to their lowest level in thirty years. The Environmental Protection Ministry fails to address most environmental hazard issues. The Education Ministry counts a large percentage of un-credentialed teachers, and the IDF Veterans’ Rehabilitation Branch jeopardizes the mental and physical health of disabled veterans as a result of poor coordination with the National Insurance Institute.  Ministries are undermined by low budgets, manpower and cronyism.
    Haaretz
  • Israeli military absolves itself.

On Nakba Day (May 15) the Israeli military exonerated itself in an internal investigation of the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thurayya on December 17, 2018. The shooting of Abu Thurayya in his wheelchair during protests in Gaza was condemned by the United Nations human rights chief as “incomprehensible.”
Electronic Intifada

    • Essay examining the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy 2019 annual conference.
      The conference was ironically titled “Imagining with Eyes Wide Open: Relational Journeys.” The IARPP’s decision to hold the meetings in Tel Aviv “reflect the familiar psychological strategies used by the powerful to perpetuate systems of oppression while insisting upon their innocence and who then resist dissent by appealing to abstract concepts of reason, civility and restraint which are encoded in racial, class and gendered ideologies. These strategies obfuscate how justice cannot exist with exceptions, and conflate the politics of resistance with rigidity and pathology, the burden of which always falls on the oppressed… The entreaty to dialogue in the context of overwhelming oppression has long been a recourse of the powerful.”
      Middle East Research and Information Project

 

  • Israeli public sees the Nakba as a historical nonissue. For Palestinians the Nakba is central to their identity and understanding of history.

 

             To large portions of the Jewish Israeli public, the Nakba (the expulsions, deportations, and dispossession of 700,000 people during the 1948 war, which today we would call ethnic cleansing) was a small, local affair that was quite restrained compared to the Nazi genocide — an historical side note. To most Palestinians, on the other hand, it is a huge, exceptionally brutal, and vastly important part of their history.  As far as Israel is concerned the expulsions were over by the end of the war and cemented with the refusal to return refugees after the war. For the Palestinians, the Nakba is ongoing. The presence of the refugee camps is an ongoing tragedy, as is every time a Palestinian is dispossessed of land or a settlement for Jews only is set up on previously Palestinian land.  

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  • One could call it “species-washing”.  Israelis have taken to vegetarianism and veganism perhaps more than any country in the developed world.  

Mainstream causes such as veganism can act as a substitute for genuine moral reckoning; doing so helps people anesthetize themselves against the pain caused by guilt in the face of the occupation.  By choosing to fight for more mainstream causes, many Jewish Israelis allow themselves to continue living in dissociation.  The result is a distortion of reality that is meant to justify the occupation and dehumanize Palestinians. By showing compassion to animals and their suffering, we can live with the continued blindness to the pain of the humans among us.

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  • The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is taking its toll on the mental health of children. 

The Bi-National School of Psychotherapy, which is funded by the Australian charity, Project Rozana, is helping doctors treat Israeli and Palestinian children with PTSD.

SBS News

UNITED STATES

  • Good review of Representative Betty McCollum’s (Democrat-Minnesota) bill H.R. 2407. The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act will prohibit Israel from using United States military aid in the mistreatment of incarcerated Palestinian children. 
    Daily Kos

INTERNATIONAL

  • Anti-Boycott Measure Wrong Way to Combat Anti-Semitism.
    Human Rights Watch (HRW), which does not take a position on BDS, argues that German anti-boycott measures likely restrict free expression and target those campaigning for human rights.  Instead, German authorities should address resurgent anti-Semitism by investigating and punishing threats and violence against Jews and other minorities .HRW acknowledges that it is not possible to do business in the settlements without contributing to or benefitting from human rights abuse and violations of international humanitarian law.
    Human Rights Watch

 



WATCH JVP’S STORY

Back in the mid-90s, three young Jewish women realized they could no longer keep silent about Israel’s occupation – and decided to do something about it. Watch their story – our story – here.

Deadly-Exchange-Both-Mockup-Social

GET THE DEADLY EXCHANGE REPORT

Researching the American Israeli Alliance and Jewish Voice for Peace’s report reveals the extent of massive training programs between U.S. law enforcement and Israeli police, military, and the Shin Bet.

End the Deadly Exchange

When US law enforcement trade tactics with the Israeli police and military, Israel deepens its military occupation and the US heightens its violence of policing.

Booking.com: Tell the Truth

Days ago, Booking.com bowed to pro-Israel activists and started describing all of Jerusalem as a “city in Israel” – literally erasing Palestinian East Jerusalem. Let’s get Booking.com to tell the truth: East Jerusalem is occupied territory.

Senators: Investigate Israeli Violence!

No one should be killed for taking part in a peaceful protest. It’s up to us to call on progressive Senators to investigate Israel’s massacre in Gaza that killed over 100 Palestinians wounded 12,000 others.

Huge Palestinian march with text overlaid reading "support the #greatreturnmarch"