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March 1, 2020

Welcome to the Health and Human Rights Media Watch. Members of the Health Advisory Council monitor relevant organizations and websites and compile a list of important news and issues which are summarized here. These newsletters will be posted on our website and archived as a resource. If you wish to join this effort, contact contact.alicerothchild@gmail.com. Please feel free to share the newsletter with your colleagues and communities and encourage them to join the JVP Health Advisory Council. Thanks to all who have contributed!


GAZA

  • · In a period of intense fighting at the Gaza border, an Israeli bulldozer ran over, crushed, and dragged the body of a Palestinian fighter “to confirm the kill.”

The world was shocked by video of the grotesque act. Israeli defense minister Naftali Bennett recently said, “We are hoarding the corpses of terrorists in order to put pressure on the other side.”

Electronic Intifada

Middle East Eye

Mondoweiss


  • Shoot and abandon: 155 amputees and 27 paralyzed in two years: How Israel punishes those who dare protest the siege of Gaza. The unlawful open-fire policy Israel is using against these demonstrations, allowing soldiers to shoot live fire at unarmed protesters who endanger no one, has led to horrific results: in addition to more than 200 Palestinians who were killed, by the end of January 2020, some 8,000 demonstrators were wounded by live ammunition, including 1,500 minors and 150 women. According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, by the end of 2019, physicians had to perform limb amputations on 155 protesters, including 30 minors. Twenty-seven demonstrators are paralyzed as a result of spinal injuries. Btselem

  • The UNRWA Al Zaitoun Preparatory Girls’ School “C” in Gaza initiated a four-month arts and crafts program for 120 children in order to promote mental health through creative expression and help relieve the trauma of living under occupation. UNRWA

  • Measles is making a comeback in Gaza. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 124 confirmed cases of measles, including two deaths, in the Gaza Strip from Dec. 19, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020. Of those confirmed cases, 49 required hospitalization; 12 were healthcare workers; and 57 had not been vaccinated. WHO is working along with Gaza hospitals to deliver vaccines to a population of two million. The Trump administration’s 2018 decision to cut more than $200 million in aid has drastically affected basic health services, especially in Gaza, where healthcare services have dropped by 90 percent, according to a UNICEF report. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

  • Palestinians losing eyesight, due to Israeli response to Gaza protests. In the past two years, 19 Palestinians have lost vision in one eye -- and 2 lost vision in both eyes -- while participating in March of Return protests near the Gaza perimeter fence. This report contains testimonies from some of the injured demonstrators. Btselem

  • Reports of miscarriage in the occupied territories appear to be associated with the trauma of air raids (enhanced by sonic booms), exposure to tear gas, and multiple forms of violence. In addition to depression and psychological harm, miscarriage may affect future fertility and pregnancy complications. Data published by the UN Population Fund indicated a 31% increase in miscarriage rate in Gaza's hospital maternity wards during the Israeli offensive of December 2008-January 2009; recurrences have been reported as recently as November 2019. Ayman Odeh, a gynecologist and obstetrician, knows of numerous miscarriages that occurred while working in Gaza under Israeli attack. “When a woman is pregnant, it is important that she tries to avoid stress,” he said. “Pregnant women here live under constant stress. And the stress rises to its highest levels when we are being bombed.” Electronic Intifada

  • Hamas prepares to fight potential coronavirus outbreak in Gaza. Ynet News

  • The trauma of sending children from Gaza to fight illness alone. More children from Gaza were permitted to be accompanied by their parents when receiving treatment outside Gaza in 2019 than in 2018, but these data do not measure the anxiety and trauma inflicted on these children and their families as a result of Israel’s restrictions on movement, nor the impact of receiving often-delayed treatment. Between February and September of 2018, 56% of children who went outside Gaza for medical care were not accompanied by their parents; that number dropped to 21% between October 2018 and July 2019. That is still one in five terrified children who had to receive medical treatment without their parents at their side and instead accompanied by elderly relatives or strangers. +972

WEST BANK

  • · Settler violence impacts the daily routine of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Yesh Din has collected first person testimonies by Palestinians since 2005 describing the violence against people, property, and land. “The testimonies brought here are a random sampling of thousands of testimonies…regarding incidents involving Israeli civilians in the West Bank – settlers or others – who harm Palestinians and their property. These are only testimonies involving a criminal offense and cases in which the victim decided to file a police complaint.” Yesh Din

  • · Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen as tensions rise over US plan. Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the occupied West Bank. The shooting marked the first death following U.S. President Trump’s announcement of his long-awaited peace plan. Several protests erupted in the occupied West Bank following the peace plan release, with demonstrators throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli forces. The killing occurred in the Palestinian city of Hebron, where between 500 and 850 extremist Jewish settlers live in a heavily guarded enclave. According to Israel’s military spokesman's office, soldiers "identified a Palestinian who hurled a Molotov cocktail at them [and] responded with fire in order to remove the threat." Telesure English

  • · Israeli soldiers arrested Birzeit student Mais Abu Ghosh and reportedly tortured her for weeks over political activities on her university campus. She is one of many students detained by Israeli forces to disrupt dissent on campuses. +972

  • · Palestinian teen shot in head by Israeli forces delayed en route to hospital. While residents rushed the bleeding teen to a hospital, an Israeli police officer stopped the car for 25 minutes. +972

  • · Al-Haq Center for Applied International Law will be holding its sixth annual International Law Summer School program 2020 in Ramallah from June 1-14. The application deadline for professionals wanting to deepen their understanding and skills for applying international law to human rights is March 26 for those requiring a visa. Al Haq


EAST JERUSALEM

  • · 8-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot by Israeli forces is in a critical condition. On February 15, Israeli soldiers gravely wounded an eight-year-old Palestinian boy with a rubber-coated steel bullet. The incident took place in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The child was walking back home from school with his sisters when according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency, the Israeli soldiers shot at him without any cause or provocation,. The family of the injured child stated that he is in a ‘critical condition’ at the Hadassah medical center in al-Issawiya). The child is suffering from a skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage, and will most likely lose his left eye. Peoples Dispatch Mondoweiss Middle East Eye


OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  • · On February 20, 2020 Al-Haq, Addameer, and other Palestinian human rights organizations held a briefing for members of the diplomatic community working in the occupied Palestinian territory. Assessment of the human rights situation included consideration of International Criminal Court proceedings, publication of the UN database of business operations in illegal Israeli settlements, the Trump plan further institutionalizing Israeli apartheid, and the upcoming 43rd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council. Al Haq

  • · The United Nations released an initial summary of Palestinian compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UN concluded that legal and policy frameworks, protection from violence, mental health, and conditions for children with disabilities could be improved in spite of severe obstacles. The report named the Israeli military occupation, illegal settlement expansion, and closure of the Gaza Strip as serious violations of children’s rights. Defense of Children International-Palestine

  • · WHO says there are no cases of Covid-19 in the Palestinian Territories currently but the risk high. 87 cases of coronavirus were reported in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: 61 cases in Iran (including 12 deaths), 13 cases in UAE, 5 in Kuwait, 2 in Bahrain, 2 in Oman, 1 in Afghanistan, 1 in Lebanon, 1 in Iraq, 1 in Egypt, and 2 in Israel. Palestine Chronicle

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

  • · Human Rights Watch issued a damning summary of human rights issues in the region, from local to international actors. “The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights; restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank, an illegal practice under international humanitarian law.” “Both the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas authorities in Gaza arrested opposition supporters and other critics and tortured some in their custody.” Human Rights Watch

  • · Human Rights Watch says grant Palestinians equal rights like Israeli citizens. Israel should grant Palestinians in the West Bank rights protections at least equal to those afforded Israeli citizens, Human Rights Watch said in a report citing Israel’s 52 years of occupation with no end in sight. The law of occupation permits occupiers to restrict some civil rights in the early days of an occupation based on limited security justifications, but sweeping restrictions are unjustified and unlawful after five decades. “Born Without Civil Rights: Israel’s Use of Draconian Military Orders to Repress Palestinians in the West Bank,” evaluates Israeli military orders that criminalize nonviolent political activity, including protesting, publishing material “having a political significance,” and joining groups “hostile” to Israel. Human Rights Watch examined several case studies to show that Israel unjustifiably relies on these sweeping orders to jail Palestinians for anti-occupation speech, activism, or political affiliations; outlaw political and other nongovernmental organizations; and shut down media outlets. Human Rights Watch


ISRAEL

  • · Dr. Ruchama Marton’s letter in the British Medical Journal re: Israeli doctors continue to enable Israeli intelligence agency's torture industry. “Active complicity of Israeli doctors with torture in Israel continues. This is not only doctors attached to the intelligence agency Shin Bet or working in the Israel Prison Service, but also doctors in emergency rooms across Israel who write false medical reports. I write as a doctor and as founder of Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI), whose detailed case studies “Ticking Bombs” (2007) and “Doctoring the evidence, abandoning the victim” (2011), assembled irrefutable evidence for these practices. British Medical Journal

  • · Israel’s use of torture to repress Palestinian resistance. Recent reports of torture committed by Israeli authorities targeting young Palestinian activists have again exposed the brutal face of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Hundreds of such cases have been documented. Three cases published in the Samidoun, a portal of the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, have recently shed light on the extent to which the Israeli prison authorities go in order to curb the voices of Palestinian resistance. The three cases are from the occupied West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem and all of them revolve around the Maskobiyah detention center where mostly university students, both men and women, are “interrogated” by the Israeli special forces such as Shin Bet. Some have been kept under illegal “administrative detention” for months and years mostly without any charge or trial. Prisoner rights groups in Palestine have published the victims’ stories. Addameer claims to have documented at least 50 such tortures cases where most of the victims are Palestinian students or human rights activists. People’s Dispatch

  • · Israeli forces transfer of Palestinian child detainees amounts to War Crime (repeat from last month, but worth repeating) In January, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) transferred 33 Palestinian children from Ofer prison, located near Ramallah and inside the occupied West Bank, to Damon prison, located inside Israel near Haifa. International humanitarian and criminal law prohibit the transfer of persons part of an occupied civilian population outside of an occupied territory, including prisoners. Transfer of Palestinian detainees, including children, to prisons and interrogation and detention facilities inside Israel, constitutes an unlawful transfer in violation of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime in violation of Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Defense of Children International - Palestine

  • · “Palestinian prisoners in Israel refused to take their meals and locked down sections of their prisons, in protest against the ill-treatment and bad conditions minors and women are suffering at Damon prison. In a statement, Palestinian prisoners said that they would not “ignore what the occupation prison service is doing to our women and youth”.” Middle East Eye

  • · Gideon Levy describes the absolute impunity that Israeli soldiers have when it comes to shooting Palestinian children. Haaretz

  • · The occupation has wrought havoc with a Gaza couple with quadruplets, only one of whom survived and now fights for her life in a Jerusalem hospital. Their father, repeatedly denied entry, never saw the other three. Wafa and Mohammed Ralaban, have had to grapple not only with the death of their children and with the battle to save the life of their surviving daughter. They were also forced to fight for the right to be by their babies’ side in the hospital. If it had been up to the occupation authorities, they would long since have been expelled back to Gaza, leaving the preemies behind for the doctors to save. Had it not been for a determined and devoted struggle by Physicians for Human Rights Israel – along with the mobilization of the staff at Makassed – the parents and their tiny offspring would have been separated at birth. Haaretz

  • · Members of Israeli Committee on Human Experiments Quit over Health Ministry Policy The Health Minister, Moshe Bar Simon Tov, moved to strip Israel’s Higher Helsinki Committee of authority to review and reject or recommend proposals for clinical trials based on human subjects. The 22-member, voluntary committee resigned in protest, asserting that the decision will allow Israel to become a “back door” for pharmaceutical and genetics testing rejected by countries with higher ethical standards. Bar Siman Tov proposes to hand authority for review and approval to local hospital-based committees. The Higher Helskinki Committee argues that these committees are under-qualified and influenced by profit motives. HaaretzEnglish HaaretzHebrew Haaretzlead editorial English Haaretzlead editorial (Hebrew)

  • · Palestinian nurses from West Bank and Gaza hone their skills at Israeli hospital. Times of Israel


UNITED STATES

  • · Major League Baseball to cancel Rogers Waters’ tour promotions over BDS support. Major League Baseball (MLB) decided to stop promoting Roger Waters' tour due to his ongoing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.. The MLB, which was sponsoring ticket pre-sales for Waters' "This is Not a Drill" tour, made the decision to halt its promotion following criticisms from Jewish advocacy groups. According to the Jerusalem Post, B'nai B'rith was one of the most vocal critics of the promotion, noting that the BDS movement “far exceed[s] the boundaries of civil discourse," while adding that the movement itself is antisemitic. “As the clock ticks faster and faster and faster down to extinction, it seemed like a good thing to make a fuss about it, so that’s why I’m going on the road,” Waters said of the tour. “… This tour will be part of a global movement by people who are concerned by others to affect the change that is necessary. That’s why we’re going on the road. That’s why speak to each other in pubs. That’s why this conversation should be on everybody’s lips, constantly, … So I hope you’ll all come to the shows. This is not a drill.” Telesure English

  • · After 8 years a lawsuit against the Olympia (WA) Food Co-op for a boycott of Israel has been dismissed. This is the second time it has been dismissed as it was reinstated after Washington’s anti SLAPP law was struck down. “The boycott was adopted by the Olympia Food Co-op in 2010 as part of the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against violations of international law and the denial of Palestinian human rights by Israel.” Center for Constitutional Rights

  • · US Rejects UN List of Firms With Ties to Israeli Settlements. Mike Pompeo said the US government would not give any information for a database listing companies operating in the occupied West Bank. The list was released by the United Nations' human rights office (OHCHR). "The United States has long opposed the creation or release of this database," Pompeo said in a statement. "Its publication only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations ... Attempts to isolate Israel run counter to all of our efforts to build conditions conducive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that lead to a comprehensive and enduring peace." US senators Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rob Portman backed Pompeo's comments calling it an "anti-Israel database, akin to a blacklist, of companies" that made significant US companies, including General Mills and Airbnb, exposed to boycotts. Telesure English

  • · AIPAC continued to attack US Reps. Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, implying they were a greater threat to Israel than ISIS. McCollum, whose proposed legislation would prevent US military aid to Israel from being used to detain Palestinian children, named these attacks as hate speech, incitement, and weaponization of anti-Semitism. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), an outspoken critic of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, accused the influential lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee of being a hate group that weaponizes anti-Semitism to silence dissent. . “By weaponizing anti-Semitism and hate to silence debate, AIPAC is taunting Democrats and mocking our core values.” Last month, AIPAC started running paid Facebook advertisements with pictures of McCollum, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). The ads warned that the “radicals in the Democratic Party are pushing their anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies down the throats of the American people,” according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency. The ads included a link to a petition urging supporters to “protect our Israeli allies especially as they face threats from Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and — maybe more sinister — right here in the U.S. Congress.” Huffington Post


INTERNATIONAL

  • · Letter from members of the steering committee of the JVP Health Advisory Council challenging comments that criticism of Israel is a form of anti-Semitism, published in The Lancet. The Lancet

  • · The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, released the database of businesses contributing to illegal Israeli settlements. Human Rights Watch declared the release as a major breakthrough in holding businesses accountable for their role in rights abuses. “The long awaited release of the UN settlement business database should put all companies on notice: to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes,” said the deputy executive director for advocacy at Human Rights Watch. “The database release marks critical progress in the global effort to ensure that businesses end their complicity in rights abuses and respect international law.” The UN report lists 112 business, 94 domiciled in Israel and 18 in six other countries. Among the companies listed are Airbnb and Booking.com, which contribute to rights abuses by facilitating housing rentals on land confiscated from occupied Palestinians, who themselves are barred from staying there. UN Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights Watch

  • · The EU recently notified the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations (PNGO) network of an additional condition to the annex attached to the EU’s funding contracts, namely that civil society organizations are obligated not to deal with individuals or groups designated as “terrorist” by the EU. This includes staff, contractors, beneficiaries, and recipients of aid. The move not only further restricts the freedom of Palestinian civil society, but also criminalizes Palestinian resistance even in its most peaceful forms. The EU move is best understood in the context of increasing Israeli colonization and control. Al-Shabaka

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