JVP Health Advisory Council

May 15, 2018: Urgent statement by Physicians for Human Rights – Israel

Dear friends,

As physicians and health professionals whose occupation and vocation are to heal and save lives, and who are committed to the value of the sanctity of life, we hereby call to stop the killing, to stop the shooting at demonstrators. 

The reality in which tens of thousands of people in the Gaza Strip are demonstrating, approaching the border fence, lighting tires, flying kites, throwing Molotov cocktails and even breaching the fence is a direct result of the poverty, despair and hopelessness experienced by the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip for over a decade of siege. The fear for the safety of the Israeli inhabitants living near the Gaza Strip is understandable, but in the long run, it would be impossible to ensure security based only on Israel’s superior power.

The State of Israel cannot expect to imprison two million people, restrict the movements of all those seeking to exit or enter the Gaza Strip, prevent the construction of an airport or the movement of ships to and from the Strip, and not pay any price for it. For over a decade now, Gaza has been smoldering with more than 44% unemployment, with 97% of the water being undrinkable, collapsing infrastructure and more than two million civilians without hope. The blaming game between Hamas, Israel and the Palestinian Authority is played at the civilians’ expense, and today the price is particularly heavy and tragic.

The numbers of dead and wounded continue to rise, and nobody seems to want to stop the killing. The casualties of the next hour, of the next day, are a foregone conclusion.

The killing can only be stopped by removing the blockade from Gaza and rehabilitating it on a large scale. Israel owes its citizens a long-term plan for the future of Gaza that has more to offer than endless rounds of mutual bloodletting.

Sincerely,
Ran Goldstein, CEO, Physicians for Human Rights Israel

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April 24, 2018: Emergency statement: Gaza protests and Israeli military response
first published in Mondoweiss
Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council: Emergency Statement
Gaza Protests—Israel’s Military Response: Human Rights Under Assault
The Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council (JVP HAC) issues this statement out of grave concern about the Israeli Military’s use of excessive force, including live ammunition and tear gas against protesters in Gaza. For the past four Fridays, demonstrators within Gaza were met by the Israeli military firing live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, and teargas across the border fence. The disproportional response of the Israeli military to a mostly unarmed civilian demonstration reflects a disregard for the basic human rights of Palestinians and for the safety and health of the people of the besieged Gaza Strip, where dire humanitarian conditions exist. This military response violates international law. Of further concern is the obstruction by the Israeli and the United States governments to the United Nations’ issuing a statement condemning these actions.

According to the New York Times, the Israeli military response to these protests has resulted in 37 deaths (4 people under the age of 18) and over 3000 wounded.

Over 1000 of the wounded were hit by live ammunition, 300 by rubber-coated bullets, and 1000 by large doses of tear gas. Among those targeted were journalists (wearing identifying vests)—1 was killed and at least 6 have been wounded, and medics. Those with lethal wounds were shot in the chest, the back, and abdomen. Many also had been shot in the legs, pelvis, and hands.  There have been no Israeli injuries.

The Israeli military response violates international law, which requires that lethal force only be used when there is the threat of bodily harm. Given the well-fortified barrier fence, electronic surveillance, and inhospitable terrain, there is no justification for this response.  Israeli snipers inflicting life-threatening wounds from considerable distance from the fence constitute violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Eric Goldstein, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch stated, “Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations.”  The Israeli military tweeted that, “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.”

We speak out as health workers concerned about this ongoing impunity of the Israeli military to use lethal and harmful force on those demonstrating for an end to the brutal occupation and conditions they endure. The context for the weekly protests by the Palestinians is the political reality under which the population lives and suffers— an intransigent and harsh military occupation and siege. In Gaza, over half the population consists of refugees and their descendants forced from their lands when the State of Israel was founded. The Great March of Return, as this protest is called, represents the Palestinian yearning to exercise the right of all refugees to return to their homes—a right guaranteed by international law. The Gaza protests are also demanding an end to Israeli occupation and a lifting of the siege that has devastated the Gaza infrastructure and caused severe shortages and hardships on the 2 million inhabitants of that tiny area of land.

Those wounded in the protests face a health care system that lacks adequate medications and supplies. Electricity restrictions require the use of backup generators to maintain critical services. Patients with wounds beyond the capacity of the Gaza medical system are being denied exit visas to receive care in Israel or on the West Bank.  As in past assaults on Gaza where medical facilities and personnel have been targeted, on Friday April 13 an emergency medical clinic near the encampment in Khan Yunis was hit by teargas, causing severe illness symptoms in some of the personnel. Physicians for Human Rights Israel stated “The Palestinian health care system (is) ‘one of the major victims’ of Israel’s blockade.”

The JVP HAC calls for the following:

  1. A full and impartial investigation of the Israeli military’s actions since March 30 in response to the Gaza protests. The investigation must be conducted by an international human rights body such as the United Nations. The investigation should look at not just the actions of the soldiers at the Gaza border, but the orders from commanding military and government officials.
  2. An end to the siege on Gaza. This is creating a humanitarian crisis as restrictions are imposed on: basic human services and goods including health supplies and services, food, and the economic infrastructure, leading to massive unemployment, poverty and aid dependence, and the obstruction of the right to movement, thus restricting and delaying transfer of patients for essential medical care outside of Gaza.
  3. Lethal force must always be a last resort and used ONLY when there is a threat to bodily harm. International law stipulates the conditions under which lethal force can be used. Such conditions are clearly not present and Israeli military preemptive planning including the positioning of “military sharpshooters” at the border fence is a clear violation of international human rights standards.

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April 17, 2018: Please read the full report from Physicians for Human Rights – Israel Emergency Delegation to the Gaza Strip.
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel’s delegation returned from the Gaza Strip after providing medical treatment to 380 patients and operating on 15 of them: “In the most advanced hospital in Gaza it felt like the 1970s. If things remain this way, most gunshot casualties will have to undergo amputation.”
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March 9, 2018: Social workers are demanding the release of Munther Amira, a Palestinian social worker and human rights activist from Aida Refugee Camp, arrested by Israeli authorities during  a protest re: Palestinian children incarcerated for political activities. 

Please sign the petition demanding his release.

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February 2018: Palestinian Mental Health Workers who are citizens of Israel and Members of Psychoactive- Israeli Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights – issue individual statements protesting the IARPP Conference in June 2019 to be held in Israel

Palestinian Mental Health Workers Statement regarding IARPP Conference June 2019

February 13, 2018

This letter has been sent by Ms. Abu Haq and her colleagues to Steven Kuchuck, IARPP President, Chana Ullman, IARPP Past President, and Jessica Benjamin, IARPP Board Member

February 6th 2018

Dear IARPP Board Members,

We, the undersigned, are Palestinian mental health professionals, citizens of Israel, mostly psychodynamically oriented, we have studied relational approaches and appreciate them deeply.

We are contacting you with regards to the international conference scheduled to take place in Israel in June 2019. We feel compelled to state our position concerning the request, made by Dr. Samah Jabr, East Jerusalem-based Palestinian psychiatrist and psychotherapist, and other international colleagues, for the Board to reconsider the conference location.

We have been exposed to the key relational concepts, such as intersubjectivity and mutual recognition, and appreciate the way that the relational theory and practice make room for thinking about the mental health impacts of social and political conditions. In this light, we were surprised to discover that IARPP chose to hold its international conference in Israel, despite its longstanding history of human rights abuses, notably the violent occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza. In our minds, not taking these ongoing assaults on Palestinian lives and human rights into account when choosing the conference location could be translated as their quiet acceptance by IARPP.

We wish to express our solidarity with our Palestinian colleagues in the Occupied West Bank and Besieged Gaza, who suffer daily from oppression, denial of freedom and chronic violence, including frequent killings of civilians by the Israeli Army, which largely go unpunished. We assert that our Palestinian colleagues have a right to resist the Occupation.

In addition, we would like to point out that holding the conference in Tel Aviv will make it impossible for many of our Palestinian colleagues, who are working hard to try and alleviate our people’s suffering and boost their resilience, to attend this important professional conference. This we see as unjust and unjustified.

Therefore, we propose to hold the conference in another location in the region, such as Cyprus or Jordan, where both Palestinian and Israeli participants can travel. While the Palestinians’ freedom of movement is restricted no matter where they wish to travel, it is easier for those of us trapped in Occupied West Bank and Besieged Gaza to obtain the necessary permits required for traveling to the said countries then to be allowed to enter Israel.

We are full of hope that the IARPP Board will take our appeal seriously and make an ethical choice to side with the oppressed, enabling as many Palestinian colleagues as possible to attend the conference that is about to take place in our region. We are certain that obtaining access to relational ideas and training will enhance Palestinian mental health professionals’ ability to support our people in their daily coping and their struggle for justice.

Respectfully,

Manal Abu Haq Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist, IARPP member

Dr Mustafa Qossoqsi, Clinical Psychologist

Hanan Khamis-Zoabi, Developmental Psychologist

Fatima Birro, Clinical Psychologist

Dr Caesar Hakim, Clinical Psychologist

Maya Rabea, Clinical Psychologist

Tony Haddad, Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Manal Assi, Clinical Social Worker

Fatina Nabulsi, Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Yoa’d Ganadry Hakim, Clinical Psychologist

Rana Azaiza, Clinical Social Worker

Rana Shehab Naara , Clinical Psychologist

Suzan Ukasha, Clinical Psychologist

Dr Adnan Abu El Hija, Clinical Psychologist

Najla Asmar, Clinical Psychologist

Dr Sfaa GH Naser, Clinical Psychologist

Amira Shahla, Clinical Psychologist

Laila Baransa Farah, Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Amany Ayad, Social Worker, Arts therapist

Ali Jaber Abu-Gosh, Clinical psychology Intern

Maha SakallahTali, Social Worker, Couples And Family Therapist

Rana Shawahdy Social Worker, Psychotherapist

Raed Armaly, Educational Psychology Intern

Gawdat Aslih, Educational Psychology Intern

Public statement by members of “Psychoactive: Mental health professionals for human rights” regarding the 2019 IARPP annual conference

February 26, 2018

The 2019 annual IARPP conference, due to be held in Israel, has become a matter of fierce controversy following a call to the IARPP board by a group of mental health professionals, headed by psychiatrist Dr Samah Jabr (henceforth, “the Reconsideration Call”). The Reconsideration Call protested the decision to hold the conference in Tel Aviv, Israel, in view of Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestinian territories and lives. The call asks the Board to reconsider this location. The IARPP response to the Reconsideration Call suggested that the conference could address the Occupation by way of a pre-conference, tours of the Occupied Territories and the incorporation of designated panels that would discuss psychoanalytic aspects of the Occupation, but reiterated the Board’s decision concerning the location of the conference.

We, the undersigned members of Psychoactive**, have discussed this matter. In the past, we organized a number of conferences that engaged with mental health aspects of the Israeli Occupation. We appreciate the IARPP’s response to the Reconsideration Call, but find it problematic that the Board was not willing to engage in a more thorough way with the plea of the Palestinian and international professionals.

Holding the annual international conference in Israel is not a technical matter. An international conference held in Israel will be very difficult for Palestinian professionals to access. International professionals who actively support the Palestinian struggle for freedom are also likely to face problems gaining access to the site. Moreover, in the eyes of many, holding an event of this nature in Tel Aviv implies a political position that accepts the Israeli Occupation as a reality with which we/people can live. The Israeli establishment traditionally sees such events as expressions of acceptance of Israel’s policy and the fierce debate in the IARPP network also attests to the political and ideological significance that is ascribed to the conference location.

Some of us have already written to persons on the IARPP Board asking that the Reconsideration Call seriously be taken into account. We now reiterate this in a more formal manner. We suggest that the IARPP Board reconsider its planned location for the 2019 conference – Tel Aviv, Israel – and use the Reconsideration Call as a platform for a genuine, respectful conversation with Palestinian mental health professionals, as well as with the international professionals who support the struggle against the Israeli Occupation.

Manal Abu Hak, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Noga Ariel-Ganor, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Ruth Ben Asher, member of Psychoactive

Varda Blum, member of Psychoactive

Tova Buksbaum, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Yvonne Deutsch, member of Psychoactive

Efrat Even Tsur, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Edna Gam, member of Psychoactive

Chani Glick, member of Psychoactive

Sunny Gordon-Bar, member of Psychoactive

Dorit Gurny, member of Psychoactive

Uri Hadar, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Neta Hemo, member of Psychoactive

Elana Lakh, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Tamar Lavi, member of Psychoactive

Naomi Lippin, member of Psychoactive

Ruchama Marton, member of Psychoactive

Anat Mendelson-Machnes, member of Psychoactive

Maya Mukamel, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Tamar Peleg, member of Psychoactive

Esther Rapoport, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Perle Rine, member of Psychoactive

Asaf Rolef Ben Shahar, member of IARPP

Lirona Rosenthal, member of Psychoactive

Dan Schachter, member of Psychoactive

David Senesh, member of Psychoactive

Nava Sonnenschein, member of Psychoactive

Bella Sosevski, member of Psychoactive

Leora Sotto, member of Psychoactive

Yael Tal Barzilai, member of Psychoactive

Daniel Tsur, member of Psychoactive

Kim Yuval, member of Psychoactive

Effi Ziv, member of IARPP and Psychoactive

Yitzhak Mendelsohn, member of IARPP

* IARPP – International Association for Relational Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis

** Psychoactive – Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:  Elizabeth Berger, MD  USA PalMHN

Phone:    (215) 740-3090

Email:     bergerusapalmhn@gmail.com

Over 1000 signatures protest mental health group’s decision to meet in Israel

New York, NY February 12, 2018

Over one thousand mental health workers and professionals have signed a petition protesting the decision of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) to hold its 2019 international conference in Tel Aviv, citing human rights abuses by the state of Israel and discriminatory practices which render full participation of local and international clinicians an impossibility.

Holding the conference in Israel inevitably severely limits conference participation by Palestinian clinicians because of the longstanding imposition of movement restrictions, curfews, and checkpoints by Israel as well as its targeting of community leaders in Palestine–such as the arrest in January 2018 of Munther Amira, a former Secretary General of the Palestine Union of Social Workers and Psychologists. What’s more, the state of Israel has announced in January 2018 its redoubled effort to blacklist international persons suspected of criticism of Israel, who will not be permitted to enter the country. Members of the Jewish Voice for Peace, the American Friends Service Committee, and members of many other non-violent political action groups have been singled out by the Israeli government. Mental health workers belonging to these and other forbidden organizations will be blocked from entering Israel and deported. In addition, clinicians from a number of neighboring countries in the Middle East are prevented from entering Israel and thus cannot attend the conference.

The leadership of IARPP has responded to the protest with reassuring promises to create a forum for open debate at its Tel Aviv conference. But it is clear that open debate cannot take place in Israel, because of the ongoing human rights violations that preclude open debate. The IARPP accuses the protest of limiting “academic freedom,” but this claim is disingenuous.  It is the state of Israel that limits academic freedom.

The choice of Israel as a conference location is a vote of support of the Israeli

government and its apartheid policies.

The petition itself is here:

https://secure.everyaction.com/hIIcCM7s106Wu9RFAS0D_A2

The petition was launched through the organizations USA-Palestine Mental Health Network and Jewish Voice for Peace, with support from the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network. Their websites are here:

https://ukpalmhn.com/usa-palestine-mental-health-network/

https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/israeli-palestinian-conflict-101/

https://ukpalmhn.com/

The IARPP website is here:

http://iarpp.net/

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 8, 2018

Contact: Elizabeth Berger MD (215) 740 3090 bergerusapalmhn@gmail.com

Alice Rothchild MD (617) 512 3249 contact.alicerothchild@gmail.com

Doctors urge mental health group not to meet in Israel

International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) urged to reconsider international meetings in Israel in 2019

Add Your Name Here.

American mental health clinicians and renowned psychiatrist Samah Jabr call on the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) to reconsider its decision to hold its 2019 international meeting in Israel due to Israel’s long-standing human rights violations and the current escalation of attacks on the Palestinian people following President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The clinicians cite the inappropriateness of Israel as the host because of Israel’s state policies of land seizures, restriction of freedom of movement, control over natural resources, extrajudicial assassination and the torture of Palestinian children.   They assert that as mental health workers familiar with the impact of violence on the well-being of children, families and communities, and dedication to humanitarian values, they have “an added responsibility to make our voices heard.”

The letter to the Board of IARPP states that locating international conferences (especially for a profession associated with individual and public health) in Israel represents a tacit acceptance of such Israeli state policies  and normalizes current policies regarding Palestinians in the occupied territories.  The letter goes on to note “It is particularly ironic and painful to see Israel chosen as the site of an international conference when the central theme of the particular organization is the in-depth understanding of human relationships.” By holding the conference in Israel it glosses over the behavior of the State of Israel towards its occupied population and the nearly two million Palestinians living under siege in Gaza.   “To object to the choice of Israel as the location of international conferences is a way of bringing the conduct of the state of Israel into the foreground as a subject of discussion and debate, so that the extent of the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinian people can be acknowledged.”

  • Clinicians are urged to sign the petition that will be sent to the IARPP. Sign here.

  • More on the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy here: http://iarpp.net/
  • Read the full letter to the IARPP Board here:

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/letter.pdf

About The USA Palestine Mental Health Network:

The network of American mental health professionals aims to make known the impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestine on the mental health and well being of both Palestinians and Israelis.   USA PalMHN is a sibling organization of the well established UK Palestine Mental Health Network.

For more information please visit:  https://ukpalmhn.com/usa-palestine-mental-health-network/usa-about-us/    or   https://ukpalmhn.com/

About the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council:

A network of JVP members who work in the field of health and use equity and social justice as the lens through which to view the conditions of populations living under occupation and blockade. The work is guided by the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” as well as by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For more information please visit: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/jvp-health-advisory-council/#mission

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The USA Palestine Mental Health Network and the UK Palestine Mental Health Network are co-sponsoring a trip in the spring of 2018 for mental health workers.

From March 25th – April 3rd, learn about:

  • life today for the Palestinians living under a brutal military occupation
  • trauma within families and how it affects women and children
  • violence against children, including imprisonment
  • perspectives from our Palestinian and Israeli counterparts

This ten-day tour follows the success of the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network’s study tours in 2016 and 2017.

The aim is to develop close links of equality and solidarity with Palestinian mental health professionals to ensure that the work of the USA and UK Networks reflect their experiences and priorities.

During the 2018 mental health study tour, participants will have unique opportunities to meet with their colleagues and other key organisations and institutions that focus on Palestinian heritage, dignity, and culture. Participants will be provided with analysis about the political realities created by Israeli government policies and how they affect Palestinians who live in the occupied territory as well as within the state of Israel. A broad range of perspectives is gained, with the focus on the agencies of peace in both societies grounded in universal human rights and international law.

Tour participants will also hear stories from local people who share their experiences, hopes and aspirations for the future.

The tour is being facilitated by a small UK company with nearly twenty years of experience in providing alternative tours to the Occupied Palestine Territory (OPT) and Israel. Hotels used will be in Bethlehem and Nazareth and field trips will extend into the surrounding areas such as Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jaffa/Tel Aviv and Haifa.  Visiting the different geographical regions of the deserts, plains, mountains, and the Mediterranean coast add additional interest to the tour itinerary. Travel will be in a private comfortable coach with an expert local driver from a licensed bus company.  The group will be kept to a maximum of 18 participants and debriefing sessions will be held most evenings.

The cost of $1400 per person includes the full tour program staying at three-star hotels with half-board (bed, breakfast and evening meal), sharing a twin-bedded room with ensuite facilities, guidance from the tour leader, other day-guides and tips.

Flights, lunches and travel insurance is not included. The cost for those requiring single room accommodation is $1700. The tour price includes a non-refundable registration fee of $300.

All interested applicants should be in good health and able to climb steps and walk over rough terrain. An application form must be completed and a reference will be obtained. When places are confirmed, participants are given a detailed information pack which covers all aspects of the tour including the itinerary.  Personal assistance is available to answer any questions and to help participants make the most of this unique opportunity.

As places are limited, don’t delay. We invite those in the US and North America, Central America, and South America to contact uspalmhn@gmail.com  for an application form.

Those elsewhere internationally are invited to contact ukpalmhn@gmail.com 

“Thank you for an extraordinary and valuable experience. There is no other way I could have got access to such a range of people and organisations or seen so much in such a short period of time. I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is interested in knowing the facts behind the political rhetoric.”                                                                                                                                        S Farrant, spring 2017

 “The tour provided a superb mix of in-depth encounters with mental health practitioners and overviews of the political and social conditions within which mental health services operate and – without which it would be impossible to understand their dilemmas, struggles and triumphs.”              

G Daniel, spring 2016

 

  •  PRESS RELEASE: Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)

September 27, 2017

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Six Gaza cancer patients die after being denied access to treatment 

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is deeply concerned that five female cancer patients died in August after being prevented from attending hospital appointments outside of Gaza.  According to MAP’s information, the deaths of at least five such patients in one month is the highest number of monthly fatalities on record. MAP knows of one further cancer patient death since then. The charity has information on 30 people dying already this year after being prevented from attending treatment outside of Gaza – indicating that 2017 will be the worst year on record. Fourteen of the deaths were of cancer patients.

Denying women access to potentially life-saving treatment is indefensible”, said Aimee Shalan, CEO of MAP, “and underlines both the severity of the humanitarian emergency in Gaza and the urgent need for man-made barriers to accessing healthcare to be lifted.” [This link includes a petition you could sign]

According to the monthly Gaza healthcare access report of the World Health Organization, the five women who died in August were aged between 26 and 53 years old. Two of the women suffered from colon cancer, one from ovarian cancer, one from breast cancer and one from a rare cancer known as a primitive neuroectodermal tumour.

Since August, a 53-year-old woman with breast cancer- who attended a MAP-supported health centre- also died after she was prevented from accessing treatment outside Gaza. There are very likely additional deaths not recorded by the WHO or MAP.

MAP has persistently highlighted barriers to healthcare in Gaza and across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for Palestinian patients in general and for cancer patients in particular.It has documented how challenges posed by restrictions on the right to movement for patients and doctors, shortages of essential medicines, and the shortcomings of the health system in the oPt all constitute obstacles to continuous and effective treatment and care for Palestinian women with breast cancer.

This week, a MAP-supported multi-disciplinary breast cancer care team is in Gaza and the West Bank undertaking surgeries, assessing current levels of care provision, and providing training. The specialist team includes surgeons, a clinical oncologist, a radiologist, a clinical nurse and a palliative care specialist.

The work of this fantastic breast cancer team is an important step towards strengthening the ability of the Palestinian healthcare system to improve treatment pathways and the lives of breast cancer patients, but it can only do so much” added Aimee Shalan. “Israel as the occupying power and all other duty-bearers must remove barriers to accessing medical treatment. As these tragic deaths emphasise, this should begin with ending the decade-long blockade and closure of Gaza.”

The six women cancer patients known to have died after being prevented from accessing treatment outside of Gaza are Faten Ahmed, Kaenat Jaa’rur, Nadia Hamad, Itimad Rabi’e, Muna al-Aila and Ibtesam Nabhan.

MAP encourages the UK and other governments to demand an end to Israel’s closure and blockade of Gaza, deemed “collective punishment” by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. MAP also encourages the UK and others to support the long-term development of human resources and infrastructure of the Palestinian healthcare system in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Press contacts:

Neil Sammonds, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Medical Aid for Palestinians

E: neil.sammonds@map.org.uk // T: 0207 288 7342

For more information on barriers to access to healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory:

https://www.map.org.uk/downloads/health-under-occupation-vol-1—access-to-healthcare.pdf

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  • Important analysis by Dr. Mads Gilbert

Is “Palestine” the target of an academic boycott in major US medical journals? Publication patterns on occupied Palestine in four key medical journals 1990-2016

Mads Gilbert, MD PhD
Clinic of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital of North Norway and Institute of Clinical Medicine, Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway. Mail: mads.gilbert@gmail.com

Background
Political influence on public and individual health and health care delivery are key to the manmade preconditions for human rights and development – or destruction – of ‘the human condition’. A deeper understanding of social determinants of health (water, food, human security, sanitation, work, shelter, human rights etc.) is the responsibility of health workers, researchers and editors of medical journals and politicians. These factors lie beyond traditional curative medicine, but still determine inequalities and negative developments of population health. Discussions of ‘political determinants of health’ for Palestinians seems irrelevant or out of bounds for leading medical
journals. The current crisis in Syria is frequently described, and the suffering of civilians, attacks on health care and violent breeches of key international and humanitarian laws are discussed and condemned. Violations of the immunity of health care in Syria are rightly condemned by leading medical journals. This study used relevant key words to explore if similar questions pertinent to
Occupied Palestine territories (oPt) and Palestinian healthcare is a ‘no-go-zone’ for four major US and European medical journals.

Method
Searches were conducted in four major medical journals’ for occurrences of the keywords ‘Gaza’, ‘West Bank’ or the stem ‘Palestin*’ and ‘Israel*’ for the period January 1990 to September 2016, using each journal’s search engine. This study examined the four highest-ranked, peer-reviewed international medical journals: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The New
England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), The Lancet (Lancet) and The British Medical Journal (BMJ). Searches were conducted September 2016.

Interpretation
This study based on key word-searches shows a significant disparity of editorial attention and publication policies on the situation in occupied Palestine and the medical conditions for the Palestinian people. The two European based journals have published significantly more, engaged in
discourses and discussed responsibilities for the dire health condition of the vulnerable Palestinian populations. The US-based journals have published next to nothing on the same critical issues. The medical conditions and deterioration in health care in oPt is currently ignored if not actively
boycotted by the US journals studied. Unlike the situation in Syria, the medical situation in oPt represents longstanding violations of basic human rights and international laws with clear responsibilities on the governments of Israel and USA. The destructive, US-backed Israeli siege of Gaza’s two million inhabitants is in its 9th year and ongoing. The siege combined with repetitious,
disproportionate and indiscriminate military attacks on Gaza and health care infrastructure are the main reasons for the decay in public health and innumerable avoidable deaths.
The seemingly partisan silence of two top US medical journals in response to this Israeli destruction and dislocation of health services in Palestine is biased and unacceptable for scientific medical journals. Medical leaders, including journal editors, who remain inactive and silent, are ‘complicit in a
preventable tragedy that may have long-lasting public-health consequences not only for Gaza, but also for the entire region’, The Lancet stated in 2009 (Editorial, Jan 17, 2009)

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  • Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council Statement
    Impact of the 10 year Siege and the Electricity Crisis on Health in Gaza
    June 29, 2017

Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council issues this urgent statement to raise awareness and concern about the life-threatening and dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The situation has been made more critical in recent days by a 40% reduction of the already severely limited supply of electricity by Israel.  This catastrophic situation is largely the result of long and short term Israeli policies manipulated and exacerbated by the cynical power struggle between the leadership of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

June 2017 marks the ten year anniversary of the Israeli imposed siege on Gaza and the 50th year of the occupation of Palestinian lands. The two million people of Gaza have born the heaviest brunt of this political situation. Israel’s total control of the air, sea and land is responsible for devastating the economy, destroying the health, environmental, educational and social services network in Gaza. In a land flanked by the Mediterranean Sea, graced with fertile ground and a highly educated population, the political situation has left Gaza without adequate water, electricity and health services. Over 80% of the population is dependent on international aide for basic food supplies. Gaza has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world—at 44% overall and for young people coming out of the universities, it is as high as 60%.

The recent reduction of electricity and fuel required for the operation of the sole power plant and for back-up generators deepens the already existing deterioration of life and health for the people of Gaza.  The electrical shortage threatens all aspects of public health infrastructure. Due to power shortages, water desalination plants are running at 15% of capacity, the typical family in Gaza receives running water for an average of 12 hours per week. According to the World Health Organization, over 90% of that water is not safe for drinking or cooking. Due to lack of power to sewage treatment facilities, over 108 million liters of untreated waste is piped into the Mediterranean Sea every day and the risk of raw sewage backup into living areas is great.

Under the current power and fuel cuts, the people of Gaza have about three to six hours of electricity per day—coming at totally unpredictable times. This affects every aspect of life and well being.

Hospitals and medical facilities, operating largely on back up generators are facing an imminent lack of fuel to enable these machines to continue functioning.  Vital health services such as all but the most critical surgeries and emergency services have been cancelled. Sanitation and sterilization of equipment has been cut back, patients are being discharged prematurely from hospitals, essential machinery such as neonatal incubators, ventilators, imaging and dialysis machines that depend on a constant flow of power are breaking down as a result of frequent, intermittent power outages.

This current situation compounds the deterioration of the Gaza health care system that comes as a result of the long years of active policies of de-development and siege that has curtailed the import of essential medications (including such things as chemotherapy and other cancer treatments) and of equipment and parts to repair medical and hospital machinery.  In each of the major wars on Gaza, medical facilities were targeted by the Israeli military. The siege also greatly restricts travel by patients for lifesaving and specialized care not available in Gaza. The restrictions on travel by Gaza health professions results in their isolation and gaps in training and consultation.

The situation is critical now. On June 1, 2017, Al-Jazeera reported the following:

“At al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, 50 babies lie crowded in 30 beds in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Outside, the yard resembles a factory as massive generators roar and hum, turning fuel into electricity, supplying the babies with oxygen through ventilators.

Due to the electricity shortage in Gaza, the generators are the only lifeline for these newborn babies, but even this may be cut soon as Gaza’s fuel reserves are expected to be depleted in a month, placing patients’ lives at risk.

“Most of the babies are connected to mechanical ventilation. If the electricity is cut, most of these babies will die within a few seconds; we cannot support them,” said Dr Allam Abu Hamida, director of al-Shifa’s NICU.

As health workers, our professional ethics and core human values motivate us to act in demanding that the U.S. Government use its leverage with Israel to end the Gaza Blockade and assure that electricity, water and health services are fully and adequately provided.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

January 8, 2018

Contact: Elizabeth Berger MD (215) 740 3090 bergerusapalmhn@gmail.com

Alice Rothchild MD (617) 512 3249 contact.alicerothchild@gmail.com

Doctors urge mental health group not to meet in Israel

International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) urged to reconsider international meetings in Israel in 2019

Add Your Name Here.

American mental health clinicians and renowned psychiatrist Samah Jabr call on the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP) to reconsider its decision to hold its 2019 international meeting in Israel due to Israel’s long-standing human rights violations and the current escalation of attacks on the Palestinian people following President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The clinicians cite the inappropriateness of Israel as the host because of Israel’s state policies of land seizures, restriction of freedom of movement, control over natural resources, extrajudicial assassination and the torture of Palestinian children.   They assert that as mental health workers familiar with the impact of violence on the well-being of children, families and communities, and dedication to humanitarian values, they have “an added responsibility to make our voices heard.”

The letter to the Board of IARPP states that locating international conferences (especially for a profession associated with individual and public health) in Israel represents a tacit acceptance of such Israeli state policies  and normalizes current policies regarding Palestinians in the occupied territories.  The letter goes on to note “It is particularly ironic and painful to see Israel chosen as the site of an international conference when the central theme of the particular organization is the in-depth understanding of human relationships.” By holding the conference in Israel it glosses over the behavior of the State of Israel towards its occupied population and the nearly two million Palestinians living under siege in Gaza.   “To object to the choice of Israel as the location of international conferences is a way of bringing the conduct of the state of Israel into the foreground as a subject of discussion and debate, so that the extent of the dispossession and suffering of the Palestinian people can be acknowledged.”

  • Clinicians are urged to sign the petition that will be sent to the IARPP. Sign here.

  • More on the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy here: http://iarpp.net/
  • Read the full letter to the IARPP Board here:

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/letter.pdf

About The USA Palestine Mental Health Network:

The network of American mental health professionals aims to make known the impact of the Israeli occupation of Palestine on the mental health and well being of both Palestinians and Israelis.   USA PalMHN is a sibling organization of the well established UK Palestine Mental Health Network.

For more information please visit:  https://ukpalmhn.com/usa-palestine-mental-health-network/usa-about-us/    or   https://ukpalmhn.com/

About the Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council:

A network of JVP members who work in the field of health and use equity and social justice as the lens through which to view the conditions of populations living under occupation and blockade. The work is guided by the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” as well as by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For more information please visit: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/jvp-health-advisory-council/#mission

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The USA Palestine Mental Health Network and the UK Palestine Mental Health Network are co-sponsoring a trip in the spring of 2018 for mental health workers.

From March 25th – April 3rd, learn about:

  • life today for the Palestinians living under a brutal military occupation
  • trauma within families and how it affects women and children
  • violence against children, including imprisonment
  • perspectives from our Palestinian and Israeli counterparts

This ten-day tour follows the success of the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network’s study tours in 2016 and 2017.

The aim is to develop close links of equality and solidarity with Palestinian mental health professionals to ensure that the work of the USA and UK Networks reflect their experiences and priorities.

During the 2018 mental health study tour, participants will have unique opportunities to meet with their colleagues and other key organisations and institutions that focus on Palestinian heritage, dignity, and culture. Participants will be provided with analysis about the political realities created by Israeli government policies and how they affect Palestinians who live in the occupied territory as well as within the state of Israel. A broad range of perspectives is gained, with the focus on the agencies of peace in both societies grounded in universal human rights and international law.

Tour participants will also hear stories from local people who share their experiences, hopes and aspirations for the future.

The tour is being facilitated by a small UK company with nearly twenty years of experience in providing alternative tours to the Occupied Palestine Territory (OPT) and Israel. Hotels used will be in Bethlehem and Nazareth and field trips will extend into the surrounding areas such as Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Jaffa/Tel Aviv and Haifa.  Visiting the different geographical regions of the deserts, plains, mountains, and the Mediterranean coast add additional interest to the tour itinerary. Travel will be in a private comfortable coach with an expert local driver from a licensed bus company.  The group will be kept to a maximum of 18 participants and debriefing sessions will be held most evenings.

The cost of $1400 per person includes the full tour program staying at three-star hotels with half-board (bed, breakfast and evening meal), sharing a twin-bedded room with ensuite facilities, guidance from the tour leader, other day-guides and tips.

Flights, lunches and travel insurance is not included. The cost for those requiring single room accommodation is $1700. The tour price includes a non-refundable registration fee of $300.

All interested applicants should be in good health and able to climb steps and walk over rough terrain. An application form must be completed and a reference will be obtained. When places are confirmed, participants are given a detailed information pack which covers all aspects of the tour including the itinerary.  Personal assistance is available to answer any questions and to help participants make the most of this unique opportunity.

As places are limited, don’t delay. We invite those in the US and North America, Central America, and South America to contact uspalmhn@gmail.com  for an application form.

Those elsewhere internationally are invited to contact ukpalmhn@gmail.com 

“Thank you for an extraordinary and valuable experience. There is no other way I could have got access to such a range of people and organisations or seen so much in such a short period of time. I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is interested in knowing the facts behind the political rhetoric.”                                                                                                                                        S Farrant, spring 2017

 “The tour provided a superb mix of in-depth encounters with mental health practitioners and overviews of the political and social conditions within which mental health services operate and – without which it would be impossible to understand their dilemmas, struggles and triumphs.”              

G Daniel, spring 2016

 

  •  PRESS RELEASE: Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)

September 27, 2017

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Six Gaza cancer patients die after being denied access to treatment 

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is deeply concerned that five female cancer patients died in August after being prevented from attending hospital appointments outside of Gaza.  According to MAP’s information, the deaths of at least five such patients in one month is the highest number of monthly fatalities on record. MAP knows of one further cancer patient death since then. The charity has information on 30 people dying already this year after being prevented from attending treatment outside of Gaza – indicating that 2017 will be the worst year on record. Fourteen of the deaths were of cancer patients.

Denying women access to potentially life-saving treatment is indefensible”, said Aimee Shalan, CEO of MAP, “and underlines both the severity of the humanitarian emergency in Gaza and the urgent need for man-made barriers to accessing healthcare to be lifted.” [This link includes a petition you could sign]

According to the monthly Gaza healthcare access report of the World Health Organization, the five women who died in August were aged between 26 and 53 years old. Two of the women suffered from colon cancer, one from ovarian cancer, one from breast cancer and one from a rare cancer known as a primitive neuroectodermal tumour.

Since August, a 53-year-old woman with breast cancer- who attended a MAP-supported health centre- also died after she was prevented from accessing treatment outside Gaza. There are very likely additional deaths not recorded by the WHO or MAP.

MAP has persistently highlighted barriers to healthcare in Gaza and across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for Palestinian patients in general and for cancer patients in particular.It has documented how challenges posed by restrictions on the right to movement for patients and doctors, shortages of essential medicines, and the shortcomings of the health system in the oPt all constitute obstacles to continuous and effective treatment and care for Palestinian women with breast cancer.

This week, a MAP-supported multi-disciplinary breast cancer care team is in Gaza and the West Bank undertaking surgeries, assessing current levels of care provision, and providing training. The specialist team includes surgeons, a clinical oncologist, a radiologist, a clinical nurse and a palliative care specialist.

The work of this fantastic breast cancer team is an important step towards strengthening the ability of the Palestinian healthcare system to improve treatment pathways and the lives of breast cancer patients, but it can only do so much” added Aimee Shalan. “Israel as the occupying power and all other duty-bearers must remove barriers to accessing medical treatment. As these tragic deaths emphasise, this should begin with ending the decade-long blockade and closure of Gaza.”

The six women cancer patients known to have died after being prevented from accessing treatment outside of Gaza are Faten Ahmed, Kaenat Jaa’rur, Nadia Hamad, Itimad Rabi’e, Muna al-Aila and Ibtesam Nabhan.

MAP encourages the UK and other governments to demand an end to Israel’s closure and blockade of Gaza, deemed “collective punishment” by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. MAP also encourages the UK and others to support the long-term development of human resources and infrastructure of the Palestinian healthcare system in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Press contacts:

Neil Sammonds, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Medical Aid for Palestinians

E: neil.sammonds@map.org.uk // T: 0207 288 7342

For more information on barriers to access to healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory:

https://www.map.org.uk/downloads/health-under-occupation-vol-1—access-to-healthcare.pdf

——————

  • Important analysis by Dr. Mads Gilbert

Is “Palestine” the target of an academic boycott in major US medical journals? Publication patterns on occupied Palestine in four key medical journals 1990-2016

Mads Gilbert, MD PhD
Clinic of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital of North Norway and Institute of Clinical Medicine, Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway. Mail: mads.gilbert@gmail.com

Background
Political influence on public and individual health and health care delivery are key to the manmade preconditions for human rights and development – or destruction – of ‘the human condition’. A deeper understanding of social determinants of health (water, food, human security, sanitation, work, shelter, human rights etc.) is the responsibility of health workers, researchers and editors of medical journals and politicians. These factors lie beyond traditional curative medicine, but still determine inequalities and negative developments of population health. Discussions of ‘political determinants of health’ for Palestinians seems irrelevant or out of bounds for leading medical
journals. The current crisis in Syria is frequently described, and the suffering of civilians, attacks on health care and violent breeches of key international and humanitarian laws are discussed and condemned. Violations of the immunity of health care in Syria are rightly condemned by leading medical journals. This study used relevant key words to explore if similar questions pertinent to
Occupied Palestine territories (oPt) and Palestinian healthcare is a ‘no-go-zone’ for four major US and European medical journals.

Method
Searches were conducted in four major medical journals’ for occurrences of the keywords ‘Gaza’, ‘West Bank’ or the stem ‘Palestin*’ and ‘Israel*’ for the period January 1990 to September 2016, using each journal’s search engine. This study examined the four highest-ranked, peer-reviewed international medical journals: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The New
England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), The Lancet (Lancet) and The British Medical Journal (BMJ). Searches were conducted September 2016.

Interpretation
This study based on key word-searches shows a significant disparity of editorial attention and publication policies on the situation in occupied Palestine and the medical conditions for the Palestinian people. The two European based journals have published significantly more, engaged in
discourses and discussed responsibilities for the dire health condition of the vulnerable Palestinian populations. The US-based journals have published next to nothing on the same critical issues. The medical conditions and deterioration in health care in oPt is currently ignored if not actively
boycotted by the US journals studied. Unlike the situation in Syria, the medical situation in oPt represents longstanding violations of basic human rights and international laws with clear responsibilities on the governments of Israel and USA. The destructive, US-backed Israeli siege of Gaza’s two million inhabitants is in its 9th year and ongoing. The siege combined with repetitious,
disproportionate and indiscriminate military attacks on Gaza and health care infrastructure are the main reasons for the decay in public health and innumerable avoidable deaths.
The seemingly partisan silence of two top US medical journals in response to this Israeli destruction and dislocation of health services in Palestine is biased and unacceptable for scientific medical journals. Medical leaders, including journal editors, who remain inactive and silent, are ‘complicit in a
preventable tragedy that may have long-lasting public-health consequences not only for Gaza, but also for the entire region’, The Lancet stated in 2009 (Editorial, Jan 17, 2009)

——————————-

  • Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council Statement
    Impact of the 10 year Siege and the Electricity Crisis on Health in Gaza
    June 29, 2017

Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council issues this urgent statement to raise awareness and concern about the life-threatening and dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The situation has been made more critical in recent days by a 40% reduction of the already severely limited supply of electricity by Israel.  This catastrophic situation is largely the result of long and short term Israeli policies manipulated and exacerbated by the cynical power struggle between the leadership of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

June 2017 marks the ten year anniversary of the Israeli imposed siege on Gaza and the 50th year of the occupation of Palestinian lands. The two million people of Gaza have born the heaviest brunt of this political situation. Israel’s total control of the air, sea and land is responsible for devastating the economy, destroying the health, environmental, educational and social services network in Gaza. In a land flanked by the Mediterranean Sea, graced with fertile ground and a highly educated population, the political situation has left Gaza without adequate water, electricity and health services. Over 80% of the population is dependent on international aide for basic food supplies. Gaza has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world—at 44% overall and for young people coming out of the universities, it is as high as 60%.

The recent reduction of electricity and fuel required for the operation of the sole power plant and for back-up generators deepens the already existing deterioration of life and health for the people of Gaza.  The electrical shortage threatens all aspects of public health infrastructure. Due to power shortages, water desalination plants are running at 15% of capacity, the typical family in Gaza receives running water for an average of 12 hours per week. According to the World Health Organization, over 90% of that water is not safe for drinking or cooking. Due to lack of power to sewage treatment facilities, over 108 million liters of untreated waste is piped into the Mediterranean Sea every day and the risk of raw sewage backup into living areas is great.

Under the current power and fuel cuts, the people of Gaza have about three to six hours of electricity per day—coming at totally unpredictable times. This affects every aspect of life and well being.

Hospitals and medical facilities, operating largely on back up generators are facing an imminent lack of fuel to enable these machines to continue functioning.  Vital health services such as all but the most critical surgeries and emergency services have been cancelled. Sanitation and sterilization of equipment has been cut back, patients are being discharged prematurely from hospitals, essential machinery such as neonatal incubators, ventilators, imaging and dialysis machines that depend on a constant flow of power are breaking down as a result of frequent, intermittent power outages.

This current situation compounds the deterioration of the Gaza health care system that comes as a result of the long years of active policies of de-development and siege that has curtailed the import of essential medications (including such things as chemotherapy and other cancer treatments) and of equipment and parts to repair medical and hospital machinery.  In each of the major wars on Gaza, medical facilities were targeted by the Israeli military. The siege also greatly restricts travel by patients for lifesaving and specialized care not available in Gaza. The restrictions on travel by Gaza health professions results in their isolation and gaps in training and consultation.

The situation is critical now. On June 1, 2017, Al-Jazeera reported the following:

“At al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, 50 babies lie crowded in 30 beds in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Outside, the yard resembles a factory as massive generators roar and hum, turning fuel into electricity, supplying the babies with oxygen through ventilators.

Due to the electricity shortage in Gaza, the generators are the only lifeline for these newborn babies, but even this may be cut soon as Gaza’s fuel reserves are expected to be depleted in a month, placing patients’ lives at risk.

“Most of the babies are connected to mechanical ventilation. If the electricity is cut, most of these babies will die within a few seconds; we cannot support them,” said Dr Allam Abu Hamida, director of al-Shifa’s NICU.

As health workers, our professional ethics and core human values motivate us to act in demanding that the U.S. Government use its leverage with Israel to end the Gaza Blockade and assure that electricity, water and health services are fully and adequately provided.

Mission Statement

The Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council (JVP-HAC) is a network of JVP members who work in health, including physicians, nurses, mental health workers, social workers, public health workers, allied health professionals, complementary health practitioners, as well as others interested in human health. As equity and social justice are fundamental determinants of health, so health/mental health status can provide a lens through which to view the conditions of populations living under occupation and blockade. The work of the JVP-HAC is guided by the World Health Organization’s definition of health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” as well as by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We aim to advance JVP’s mission by bringing a specific focus on health, health care, and human rights to our work on Israel/Palestine, offering our perspective to both educate our co-workers and the general public, and to provide health-related avenues for activism.

What Does the Health Advisory Council Advocate?

We advocate for equal access to high-quality, affordable health care for all members of society in Israel/Palestine.

We call for an immediate end to Israeli policies that have had devastating consequences for Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. We call for an end to all barriers to movement of Palestinians seeking health services inside and outside the Occupied Territories, including restrictions on travel to facilities in Israel or to other countries for medical care; an end to all restrictions on import to Gaza and the West Bank of medicines, medical supplies and food; an end to restrictions on import of materials and equipment needed for repair and improvement of the water supply, sewage treatment facilities and other infrastructure critical to human health; and an end to restrictions on health workers from other countries entering Gaza and the West Bank to participate with local professionals in providing medical care and public health services to the Palestinian population.

We condemn the discriminatory treatment and abuse of Palestinians and other non-Jews living in Israel. We call for an end to the unequal distribution of public and private resources to these people and their communities, including health facilities, housing, education and social services.

We condemn the torture of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli military, and seek to build an international campaign demanding that Israeli health workers and medical institutions end their complicity in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners.

Finally, we condemn Israeli military attacks affecting civilians as the ultimate assault on the health of the Palestinian population. Further, we demand an end to the Israel military’s use of cluster bombs and chemical weapons, the purpose of which is to maximize casualties and harm to human health; all forms of collective punishment, including the demolition of homes, hospitals and other health infrastructure; the targeting of health workers; and destruction of agricultural land, which devastates families and communities and deprives the population of basic nutrition.

We invite all JVP members and friends interested in conducting research, sharing information and/or contributing to campaigns focused on health and human rights in Israel/Palestine to join the Health Advisory Council. You can do so by filling out the form below and providing your contact and other information.

Welcome to the monthly Health and Human Rights Media Watch.

Members of the Health Advisory Council volunteer to monitor relevant organizations and websites and compile a list of important news and issues which are summarized here.

These newsletters will be posted below and archived as a resource. If you wish to join this effort, 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!

Presentations

April 3, 2018: Professor Giacaman gave a webinar entitled: Reframing Health and War: An Update from Occupied Palestine, moderated by Dr. Alice Rothchild.

Listen to the recording here, also available in the JVP webinar library.
Rita references her professional website where her data is published for open use, focused on moving beyond the biomedical model and developing measures of suffering, humiliation, individual and collective violation, dignity, distress, and insecurity.  She argues that people live on a continuum of dis-ease and ease and their health is deeply affected by their emotional experiences and the political determinants of health, as well as class and patriarchy. www.icph.birzeit.edu publications
Her analysis is available: Reframing Public Health in War Time: From the Biomedical Model to the “Wounds Inside”
Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. XLVII, No. 2 (Winter 2018), p. 9, ISSN: 0377-919X; electronic ISSN: 1533-8614. © 2018 by the Institute for Palestine Studies. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s Reprints and Permissions web page, http://www.ucpress.edu/journals.php?p=reprints. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2018.47.2.9.
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The impact of occupation and siege on health and human rights in the OPT
JVP Health Advisory Council

Other Publications

 

War Crimes and Open Wounds: The Physician who took on Israeli segregation+972 blog, September 12, 2017

Patient flow, triage, and mortality in Al-Shifa Hospital during the Israeli operation Protective Edge, 2014 in the Gaza Strip: A review of hospital record dataLancet, 2017

Severe amputation injuries after Israeli military operations in Gaza: a retrospective, followup clinical studyLancet, August 2017

Bitter Palestinian Rivalry Adds to the Agony of Gaza’s VulnerableThe Guardian, July 22, 2017

First Death Caused by Sea Pollution in GazaPalestine Square, August 16, 2017

2014 and 2015 abstracts accepted and presented in the 5th and 6th Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance Conferences in Amman, Jordan and Beirut, Lebanon.

A cross sectional study of the relationship between the exposure of pregnant women to military attacks in 2014 in Gaza and the load of heavy metal contaminants in the hair of mothers and newborns
British Medical Journal, Vol 7, Issue 7, August 2017

Gaza is Headed for a Deeper Political and Humanitarian Crisis, 
Al Shabaka, July 13, 2017

Israel Shuts Down Beaches Polluted by Besieged Gaza Strip – Ma’an News Agency
July 8, 2017

Gaza Ten Years Later – UN Report
July, 2017

Caring for health in occupied Palestinian territory 
Lancet, July 8, 2017

Two articles about the disappearance of Yemenite babies
Knesset Inquiry Reveals Yemenite Babies Murdered in Medical Experiments, Abducted from Parents, and Exploited in Paid National Institutes of Health Experiments

Israel’s national wound that cannot heal
June, 2017

The campaign about doctors and torture in Israel five years on
December 14, 2016

HUMAN RIGHTS HERO/HEROINE OF THE WEEK:

May 14, 2018: American Scientist and Feminist, Evelyn Fox Keller.
Evelyn Fox Keller was awarded the prestigious Dan David Prize–an honor Israel gives to scientists. Fox Keller announced she would donate her award money to B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and The Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Although she chose to go to Israel to accept the award, Dr. Fox Keller made a statement clearly opposing Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, and specifically calling out universities for being complicit in the Occupation.

May 6, 2018 : Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour.
On May 3, Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour was convicted and sentenced to two-and- one- half years of detention by the Israeli court. In addition to her detention, Tatour is forbidden from publishing any poetry for this period of time. Her crime was to publish a poem online that the Israelis claim “incited violence” and showed her “support for a terrorist organization”.
Here is Tatour’s poem, Resist, My People, Resist Them. We publish it here in her honor and in full support for Palestinian freedom of speech.

Resist, My People, Resist Them
Resist, my people, resist them.
In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land.
I cast them aside for a coming time.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the settler’s robbery
And follow the caravan of martyrs.
Shred the disgraceful constitution
Which imposed degradation and humiliation
And deterred us from restoring justice.
They burned blameless children;
As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,
Killed her in broad daylight.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
Do not fear doubtful tongues;
The truth in your heart is stronger,
As long as you resist in a land
That has lived through raids and victory.
So Ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwood;
My remains have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist, my people, resist them.

April 30, 2018: Israeli soldiers and a conscientious objector who are speaking out, taking personal risks and challenging the Israeli military in various ways to oppose the policies against Palestinians.
Matan Helman, age 20 years, was just released from military prison for his refusal to serve in the Israeli military.  Another Israeli, 18 year old Ayelet Brachfeld, remains in prison for her refusal to serve. Both are members of the Masarvot refusers network.
From Helman’s statement:
“I walk out of prison with my head held high with the knowledge that many youth of conscience and integrity in Israel will refuse to take part in the occupation and in Israel’s policies of oppression vis-a-vis the Palestinians.”

And Breaking the Silence.
As part of presentations in the U.S. last week a group of five former Israeli military snipers issued a public statement which, in part, reads, “Instructing snipers to shoot to kill unarmed demonstrators who pose no danger to human life, is another product of the occupation and military rule over millions of Palestinian people, as well as of our country’s callous leadership, and derailed moral path. Harming innocent people in Gaza is part of what is needed to maintain the regime of occupation, and we must not allow it to continue. Only ceasing to militarily control the Palestinian people will bring this to an end.”

April 23, 2018: Palestinian women at the forefront of Gaza protests.
Palestinian young women are playing an active role in the Great Return March movement challenging not only Israeli snipers but also their own patriarchal societies

April 15, 2018: Gazan men, women, and children engaged in the weekly March of Return.
Thousands of unarmed Gazan families have engaged in three weekly massive nonviolent acts of civilian  resistance, setting up tents near the Israeli border, celebrating with food, clowns, dabke dancing, kite flying, acrobatics, story telling, weddings and more, refusing to be to intimated by Israeli military might, refusing to forget the dreams of their lost homeland.
The Nation
Al-Monitor
The Palestine Chronicle

April 9, 2018: B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, for their campaign launched this week, “Sorry Commander, I Cannot Shoot”.
B’Tselem launched this public campaign in light of the tragic and pre-planned Israeli response to the Gaza protests of March 30 and April 6, 2018. The “I Cannot Shoot” campaign urges Israeli military to obey their conscience and international law by refusing to shoot under the circumstances of the demonstrations that posed no threat to Israeli land or people. The B’Tselem website has excellent information about the premeditated and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli military.

April 2, 2018: The thousands of Palestinians observing Land Day in both the West Bank and in Gaza.
Starting on Land Day, March 30, Palestinian refugees peacefully gathered at the nearest point by the Israeli border to call for their rights.  In Gaza tens of thousands of unarmed civilians amassed, setting up tent cities near the border, calling for their right to return to the lands they lost in 1948.

March 26, 2018: Ahed Tamimi representing the 356 Palestinian children currently in Israeli jails.
There is much in the press about 17-year old Ahed Tamimi this week as she reached a plea deal that will give her an 8 month prison sentence (greatly reduced from what was feared to possibly be a 10+ yr sentence).
The HAC lifts her up as a symbol of the brave, steadfast Palestinian youth leaders who have lived their entire lives under occupation and military law and yet continue to struggle for a future that will bring justice for all.

Sign on to tell Ahed you are sending her strength and love:
Two recent tributes to Ahed Tamimi:

March 19, 2018: Stephen Hawking, renowned scientist and supporter of Palestinian rights, died last week.
Hawking personally supported the academic boycott of Israel and was publicly critical of Israeli government policies.

March 12, 2018: Archbishop Romero, who denounced a crackdown of leftist opponents of  El Salvador’s military government and was assassinated, will be made a saint the Vatican announced.
Oscar Romero adhered to a liberation theology that supported the weak and oppressed against the powerful and the military and was killed while celebrating Mass in March 1980.

March 5, 2018: The prominent Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, for their ongoing reporting on violations of international law and human rights.
Israel has a system in place for treating the waste generated in its territory. This report reveals a significant portion of this system is located in the West Bank. Abusing its status as an occupying power, Israel has set out less stringent regulations in industrial zones in settlements and even offers financial incentives such as tax breaks and government subsidies to build waste facilities in the OPT.

February 26, 2018: A young woman engineer in Gaza challenges both the patriarchal society and the shortages of electricity and cement.
24 year old Majd al-Mashharawi has figured out how to turn ash and rubble to “Green Cakes,” a cement replacement and is now developing an off the grid solar energy kit for Gazans.

February 19, 2018: Twenty-seven American cultural figures who signed a petition calling for the release of Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi
Actors, novelists, activists, and academics compare the children of immigrants and communities of color who face police brutality in the US to Palestinian children, stating that racism, state violence and mass incarceration rob them all of their childhoods and their futures.

February 13, 2018: Protesters against deportations in Israel
Thousands protest at Rwanda’s Embassy in Israel against asylum-seeker deportation plan.

February 5, 2018: Children of Gaza
The children of Gaza call upon the people of the world to end the siege: “Do not you have children? Do you accept that your children have the same life as me?”

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION OF THE WEEK:

May 14, 2018: Israeli authorities refuse to grant entry permits to Gaza to a health delegation at a time of extreme need.
The Palestinian Information Center reported  that on Sunday 5/13 Israeli authorities refused to grant entry permits to Gaza to a health delegation from Ramallah. The mission was to assist health practitioners in Gaza who are desperately short staffed with medications and equipment in short supply also.
The Palestinian Health Ministry is urging international organizations to pressure Israel to allow the health delegation into Gaza.

May 7, 2018: Aljazeera reports on Israel’s use of lethal weapons in response to the protests in Gaza.
Israeli weaponry includes “butterfly bullets” which open inside the body pulverizing bone and tissue. These bullets and a new highly toxic form of tear gas are causing massive injuries that the Palestinian and international doctors in Gaza are struggling to treat. Because of the complex and extremely destructive/lethal  injuries from these weapons, there is a greater need to send patients to the West Bank or Israel for medical treatment–this too is problematic due to Israel’s siege and restrictions on patients gaining permission to leave Gaza.

Amnesty International has called for an arm embargo  on Israel for its use of lethal force against the protesters in Gaza.
Quoting Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“The nature of these injuries shows that Israeli soldiers are using high-velocity military weapons designed to cause maximum harm to Palestinian protesters that do not pose imminent threat to them. These apparently deliberate attempts to kill and main are deeply disturbing, not to mention completely illegal. Some of these cases appear to amount to willful killing, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions and a war crime.”

April 30, 2018:  The Israeli military for the ongoing, now for 1 month, lethal use of force against demonstrators in Gaza.
Since the Gaza protests started about 1 month ago, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reports that about 17 demonstrators have had legs amputated as a result of being shot. In three cases, Israel denied the appeals to transfer the patients to the West Bank for treatment that may have prevented the need for amputation.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has sent several vascular surgeons to assist the overwhelmed Palestinian physicians in caring for the severe limb injuries. Each week the hospitals must prepare for a new round of injured demonstrators. The continued weekly use of lethal force, intermittent electricity, medical supply shortages and refusal of the Israelis to grant emergency medical visa for patients to leave Gaza for care are all compounding the very dire situation.
Washington Post
Reuters

April 23, 2018: More than 350 Palestinian children are behind Israeli bars, where human rights groups say they endure mistreatment.
Thus far in 2018, Israeli forces have arrested more than 353 children who have lost their childhood and their freedom.  Human rights organizations have documented multiple violations in the so called military justice system and prisons, including the use of brute force, restraining children in cruel ways, withholding food and water, violence and verbal aggression during interrogation and forcing confessions.

April 16, 2018: Israeli naval forces attack Gazan fisherman.
On 4/14 Israeli naval forces opened fire on Gaza fishermen and forced them to return to shore. Israel maintains control of Gaza’s coast line. Fishing is permitted only out to six nautical miles, however, Israeli forces at times do not even allow fishing boats to go to that distance. The Gaza fishing industry, a major source of income and of food, has been decimated due to the restrictions on fishing rights.

April 9, 2018: The Israeli military and settlers for ongoing violence toward children in the West Bank: Palestinian schools as targets.
The Middle East Eye documents the many schools in the West Bank that have been vandalized and terrorized by settler attacks and the Israeli military’s complicity in these acts. In other situations school lands have been confiscated and school buildings repeatedly demolished. Students have been attacked and tear gassed in their classrooms during school hours. The article linked here quotes findings from The Palestinian Education Ministry’s Annual Report (2017) “…80,279 Palestinian children and 4,929 teachers and staff were “attacked” by Israeli settlers or soldiers.”

April 2, 1018: The Israeli military orders on how to respond came before the Gaza protest encampment even began.
Israeli military orders called for the stationing of 100 of their “best” sharpshooters and massive troop deployment along the Gaza border. The preemptive use of force of live ammunition, rubber coated bullets, and tear gas by the Israeli military against unarmed protesters resulted in the deaths of 17 protesters and some 1400 wounded in Gaza this weekend.
IMEMCnews
Palestinian Center for Human Rights
B’tselem
CNN
New York Times

March 26, 2018: 21 Palestinian mothers jailed as political prisoners were denied contact with their children on Mother’s Day.
March 21 was Mother’s Day in Palestine​. There are currently 21 Palestinian mothers who are political prisoners in Israeli jails. They and their 87 children were deprived of contact for Mother’s Day.

March 19, 2018: Israeli police can now legally withhold the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces until their families agree to preconditions on funeral arrangements.
The Knesset passed a law allowing Israeli police to withhold the bodies of Palestinian citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem for up to several months, to decrease the risk of “incitement,” despite an Israeli high court ruling that this is a violation of Israeli and international law.

March 12, 2018: Nine-year-old girl dies in ambulance at Israeli checkpoint.
Palestinian medical sources report that Dalal Lawlah died after Israeli soldiers at Huwara checkpoint prevented her father from taking her swiftly to Rafidia hospital and also fired tear gas at the ambulance.

March 5, 2018: The Israeli army claims Mohammed Tamimi’s head injury was not caused by a bullet but rather by falling off a bike.
After being shot in the head by the Israeli army with a bullet that was subsequently removed from his skull, Mohammed Tamimi was re-arrested and after “interrogation” stated that his head injury was secondary to a bike accident.

February 26, 2018: After the drive by killing of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, over several weeks, Israeli forces committed repeated illegal and reprehensible actions with impunity.
B’Tselem has documented that following the killing of a rabbi in the settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank, Israeli forces demolished several Palestinian homes, including a home with inhabitants inside.  They attacked a number of families, strip searching three women and wrecking their homes, and set dogs on three residents.

February 19, 2018: Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinians planting olive trees in the village of Beita
Palestinians suffered multiple injuries when attacked by Israeli soldiers while planting on land that soldiers have been trying to illegally confiscate near Nablus.

February 13, 2018: Prison is better than deportation for asylum seekers sent to Rwanda or Uganda.
Asylum seekers sent to Rwanda do not get refugee status, have no work or food, and may face personal danger.

February 5, 2018: Extremists Jewish settlers uproot 100 olive trees in the village of Yasuf.
Settlers from the settlement of “Rahalim” uprooted 100 olive trees from the Yasuf lands in the Asharat area south of the village in the West Bank.

US Palestine Mental Health Network

We are US mental health workers who have come together to support the people of Palestine in their struggle to achieve justice. As human beings, we deplore the military, economic, social, and human rights violations imposed on the Palestinian people through the Israeli occupation. Beyond this, as mental health professionals, we identify the occupation as the specific cause of great harm to the well-being and mental health of both the Palestinian and the Israeli public. The USA Palestine Mental Health network seeks to counter the information black-out that the state of Israel has imposed on open access to news items, background facts, and public discussion of Palestine.

Visit US Palestine Mental Health Network
Stand for health and human rights for all in Israel/Palestine.

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"

TELL STARBUCKS TO DROP THE ADL

An organization like the ADL, with a history of anti-Muslim, Anti-Palestinian activities, should not be a part of Starbucks’ anti-bias trainings.

No Business in Illegal Settlements

A United Nations preliminary report details businesses operating in illegal Israeli settlements. Now we need you to tell Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Priceline to stop profiting from business in settlements.

TELL AHED TAMIMI YOU ARE WITH HER

Ahed’s courage in standing up against the occupation inspired a global audience to stand alongside her. And together with a huge media response to her story, Israel’s military court bowed to pressure and handed down it’s minimum sentence.

bds movement NOMINATED FOR nobel prize

Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxnes has nominated the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for the Nobel Peace Prize!

SUPPORT PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

Israel systematically prosecutes as many as 700 children in military courts each year. Email your Rep to support Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391.

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.