September 2017 Media Watch – JVP Health Advisory Council
Welcome to the first edition of 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.
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!
Israeli forces repeatedly attacked al-Makassed hospital in East Jerusalem. In the wake of demonstrations surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in July, during which Israelis killed four Palestinian demonstrators and injured more than 1,000, Israeli forces stormed al-Makassed hospital in occupied East Jerusalem at least twice in an attempt to detain the same protesters they had critically injured. During the raid, Israeli police fired stun grenades and sponge rounds to force entry into the hospital, assaulted hospital staff, and disrupted patient care, while the young man they were pursuing died of his wounds.
Triggered by recent killings of Israeli police officers, a far right Israeli politician supports execution of family members, stripping Palestinian’s of Israeli citizenship, and expulsion and extra-judicial murder of Palestinians in a racist and hateful denial of basic human rights and humanity.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office expressed “deep concern” over the deteriorating situation in the besieged Gaza Strip, three months after the electricity supply was severely cut by Israel at the behest of the PA. The power cuts have seriously affected Gaza hospitals, and medical sources reported that scores of patients in Gaza, including dozens of children suffering from cystic fibrosis, were in “mortal danger” due to severe medicine shortages.
A severe public health and environmental catastrophe is looming in Gaza because of their inability to treat raw sewerage which is pouring into the Mediterranean Sea. This is a result of the recurrent bombings of infrastructure and treatment facilities, the depletion of the local water aquifer, the withholding of funds by Israel and the PA for electricity, and the lack of fuel for generators. The first child has died due Ekiri Syndrome, a disease caused by Shigella bacteria, a death directly attributed to fecal contamination of the sea.
Overview of human rights abuses of children and youth by the IOF during the Al Aqsa crisis this past July. Accounts are based on information collected by field workers on behalf of Defense Children International-Palestine ( DCI). Accounts range from a young boy’s injury from a sound bomb to the shooting of an unidentified 16-year in his chest with live ammunition while he was filming the clashes.
In addition to well-known shortages of medication and medical instruments, the Palestinian healthcare system suffers from a shortage of doctors specializing in chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment is further complicated by Israeli governmental delays in granting permits to travel to Israel or East Jerusalem hospitals
Long standing medical personnel from Gaza and the West Bank are being denied exit permits to work at Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. These limitations placed on the freedom of movement of long-term staff impact the functioning of the hospital and the ability of Palestinian patients to access the right to health.
This detailed report extensively documents the Israeli military’s ongoing use of physical and psychological torture as well as other forms of cruel and degrading treatment of Palestinians detained without charge. The report is based on detailed interviews with 116 Palestinian men detained and interrogated at the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) Shikma Interrogation Facility during 2013-2014, and supported by medical records on a subset of the larger group. It provides clear documentation that the ISA continues to employ methods that violate international law and the Israeli High Court of Justice’s own 1999 ruling prohibiting the use of torture, abuse and degradation of prisoners.
Israel diverts the waters of the Jordan River to supply illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and others in the Negev desert. Before they were abandoned, Israeli settlements in Gaza depleted the area’s underground aquifer causing it to become salinated by influx of sea water, then polluted due to collapse of the sewerage system. As a result, Palestinians in the West Bank and especially Gaza face critical water shortages, which has dire consequences for the health and well-being of the population.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) sent three trucks loaded with medical supplies from Nablus to be delivered to Venezuela, in response to requests made by the Venezuelan government. The PA’s decision to send medical aid to Venezuela was derided by many, however, as the PA has been accused of slashing the delivery of medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.
An Environmental Approach: The Protection of Natural Resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
2017 marks 50 years since Israel’s unlawful occupation of Palestinian territory. During this period, Israel has implemented a variety of policies and practices in order to maintain and seize further control over the territory, while creating uninhabitable living conditions for the Palestinian population.
Al-Haq’s new briefing paper highlights Israel’s violations of international law- including international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and international environmental law- in relation to the protection of Palestinian natural resources. The paper demonstrates the applicability of international environmental law within the OPT, as well as the prospect for using multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in ensuring the protection of natural resources and the environment.
In light of the basic human rights violations caused by Israel’s actions, as well as the socio-economic inequalities which are exacerbated as a result, an environmental justice approach should be at the center of the Palestinian environmental movement.