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 here.