October 2017 Media Watch – JVP Health Advisory Council
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.
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Israeli security officials continue the planned demolitions and evictions of Palestinian villages, most recently the southern West Bank village of Sussia near the Jewish settlement of Susya and the Bedouin village of Khan al-Amar in the Gush Adumim bloc. The continued destruction of villages and the growth of Jewish settlements reveals the lack of basic political, civic, and human rights for the indigenous communities living in the West Bank. Human rights groups are calling these actions a war crime.
Israeli police brutality and racism towards Arabs is not limited to the occupied territories. In Jaffa, the killing of a Palestinian youth by heavily militarized Israeli police triggered wide spread anger and resistance. The patterns date back to 1948 when most Palestinians were expelled from Jaffa and the remaining population herded into an impoverished ghetto called Ajami.
Israeli authorities transferred the body of of Raed al-Salhi, 22, a resident of the al-Duheisha refugee camp, from the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem to the Rishon Lezion hospital in central Israel after he was pronounced dead. Al-Salhi had succumbed to critical injuries weeks after he was shot by Israeli forces during a violent detention raid in the refugee camp. Israeli authorities routinely detain the bodies of slain Palestinians for extended periods and impose strict restrictions on their funerals.
Amazing article published in the Forward by Issa Amro, a human rights defender, about the increased ghettoization of Palestinians trying to continue living in Hebron, with a review of Hebron history.
Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited Gaza and met with Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, as part of a three-day visit to the region. Maurer described the situation facing civilians in Gaza as “catastrophic,” and pledged that the ICRC would continue its efforts to support those who suffered most from the current situation. Palestinian sources told Ma’an that Maurer asked Sinwar to allow ICRC staff to visit Israeli soldiers believed to be held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. At the ICRC headquarters in Gaza City, Maurer met with family members of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli custody.
Israeli authorities delayed or denied two out of every five patients in the Gaza Strip access to medical care outside of the besieged coastal enclave over the month of July, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported. During that period, two Palestinians — a five-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man — died while waiting to receive permission to leave the blockaded territory for treatment. In its monthly report, the WHO said that 42.6 percent of patients saw their permits either delayed or denied. Among those delayed were 153 minors and 89 people over 60 years old.
Imran M., a 14-year-old from the eastern part of Gaza City, spends his school days in constant fear. Imran’s school is 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Gaza-Israel border, in regular proximity to Israeli forces. “We always have this feeling that something bad is about to happen to us.” According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there are 13 schools with over 4,500 students within 1500 meters (0.9 miles) of the Gaza-Israel border fence. For many of these children, being close to Israeli military fixtures and in range of military actions every day is stressful, affecting both school attendance and performance. Students said they often struggle to pay attention to the lessons at hand.
In July 2017, the Justice Ministry’s Public Defender’s Office issued its annual report on detention conditions in the Israeli prison system. The report, based on multiple visits to Israeli incarceration facilities, noted “multiple violations of the rights of prisoners”, confirming Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s findings. Among the violations raised by the report were current solitary confinement conditions, inadequate medical treatment and disproportionate use of disciplinary measures and shackling. Complaints focused on the lack of quality of medical care, lack of availability of medical personnel, and prolonged waiting time for examinations and treatment by specialist physicians. There were also complaints of “extreme disciplinary punishment and inappropriate treatment by prison staff,” including with respect to hunger strikers. Prison doctors are directly employed by the prison services thus they are often in a state of extreme ‘dual loyalty’ – a conflict between the interests of their employers and their obligations toward their patients, a position that is most obvious in the case of those defined as ‘security prisoners’.
Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer, Salah Hamouri imprisoned under Administration Detention on September 17, 2017. Salah Hamouri is a French-Palestinian lawyer (he received his Palestinian Bar credentials just three days before he was arrested) who works as a field researcher for Addameer, the Palestinian Prisoner Human Rights and Support organization. He has been instrumental in researching and advocating for an end to prisoner abuses such as Administrative Detention, medical neglect and other grievances.
Hamouri was arrested in a night-time raid on his home. He is being held without charge or trial–on Administrative Detention for a period of six months–renewable indefinitely and without any obligation for formal charges or a trial.
Hamouri is a long-standing champion for prisoners’ rights. As a dual national there is a huge movement to support him in France.