Media Watch August 1, 2020
HEALTH ADVISORY COUNCIL
August 1, 2020
Welcome to the Health and Human Rights Media Watch. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we are curating a weekly timeline/update on the impact of the virus on Israel/Palestine and all related submissions to Media Watch will be folded into that report. Please follow at https://www.jvphealth.com/covid-19. Health and human rights news unrelated to the pandemic is included here. If you want to be involved in this JVP Health Advisory Council Media Watch project, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human Rights Heroes of the Month: Elie Joseph
Elie Joseph in front of his banner protesting Israeli arms sales to major human rights violators, Jerusalem, July 2020
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
For the past five years Elie Joseph has stood in front of a banner at this Jerusalem home calling for an end to Israel’s selling arms to major human-rights violators, including Myanmar, Cameroon, and South Sudan. For the past 48 days he has been on a hunger strike which he plans to continue until MKs propose a bill to ban weapons sales to human-rights violators. His goal is for “any country that thinks they can murder children and civilians to know that we’re boycotting them.” Thus far, there has been no movement on the bill.
Human rights violation of the month: the Israeli military for destroying COVID testing centers in the West Bank.
ISRAELI BULLDOZERS AND EXCAVATORS DEMOLISHING THE COVID-19 TESTING CLINIC ON TUESDAY MORNING (PHOTO COURTESY OF RAED MASWADEH)
In Hebron, the land and building were donated as a charitable donation by a private individual, Raed Maswadeh. Mr Maswadeh attempted to get the Israeli authorities to issue him a building permit to allow the building to be converted to a clinic and lab. The Israelis denied the building permit. In Jenin, the COVID testing center was up and running, however, it was destroyed in the night by Israeli forces.
Permits for building are, of course, close to impossible for Palestinians to obtain. Mr Maswadeh said, "We thought maybe during Covid-19, there would be some exceptions."
Raed Maswadeh, who owns the land where the center would he was donating this in memory of his father who died of COVID-19.
And now to Media Watch…
[***Indicates headlines only for stories in Haaretz that cannot be accessed without a paid subscription]
News from the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies issue on Settler Colonialism: The Palestinian/Israeli Case.
Given the gravity of the current situation in Palestine/Israel and the Israeli prime minister's planned annexation of the West Bank, we are pleased to announce that John Wiley & Sons, our publisher, is offering complimentary online access to this special issue at the following link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15569187/2020/17/2 including the following papers:
• Martin Kemp: Editor’s Introduction
• Martin Kemp: The psychoanalytic encounter with settler colonialism in
• Nadera Shalhoub‐Kevorkian: Gun to body: Mental health against unchilding
• Abeer Otman: Handcuffed protectors? Palestinian fatherhood‐protection
unlocking its chains
• David Harrold: From sumud to intifada: Supporting non‐violent action to
enhance mental health
• Stephen Sheehi and Lara Sheehi: The settlers' town is a strongly built town:
Fanon in Palestine
• Elizabeth Berger and Samah Jabr: Silencing Palestine: Limitations on free
speech within mental health organizations
Nadia Ramzy, Ph.D Editor-in-Chief International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies email@example.com
· In Gaza, families plead for help after two infants die awaiting permits for medical treatment in Israel. Permits for Gaza’s sickest patients to receive treatment in Israel and the occupied West Bank ended on May 19 when Abbas announced an end to coordination with Israel in protest against Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
· UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk stated that “Israel's closure of Gaza is an ‘affront to justice and the rule of law,’” and declared that “Collective punishment has been clearly forbidden under international humanitarian law through Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. No exceptions are permitted.”
· Medical Aid for Palestine joined four Palestinian rights organizations to highlight collective punishment of all people in Gaza, in conjunction with UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory Michael Lynk's latest UN Human Rights Council report. Health is among myriad rights, social and environmental violations constituting collective punishment. Additional online resource Medical Aid for Palestine
· Gaza 2020: Lift the Closure! A review prepared by Al-Haq, Al Mezan, MAP, PCHR. Health and healthcare in Gaza are seriously undermined by long-term, politically-driven and mutually reinforcing movement restrictions and attacks on the health sector carried out with impunity.
· The sudden death in Gaza of activist Suleiman al-Ajuri has shone a spotlight on the issue of people in the territory taking their own lives. By the middle of this year, 30 people had killed themselves and a further 600 had attempted to, according to local human rights group, Palestinian Center for Conflict Resolution. Despite the deep taboo, 2020 is heading toward a record spike in suicides, and most are young, unemployed and suffocated by despair. Hamas’ critics and opponents, even if they agree that the root of the problem lies with Israel’s military and bureaucratic measures, which have strangled Gaza’s economy and turned the Strip into a huge prison, cut off from the world, nevertheless believe that Hamas, having been in power for 13 years and often boasting of its achievements, shares part of the blame for the fact that young people have lost their taste for life.
This two-minute video shows the delight of child amputees in Gaza returning to the pitch to play football after pandemic restrictions were lifted. Aljazeera
· Coach Amad al-Ashi formed a young women’s football team in Gaza City, and two dozen talented athletes joined. The lack of female teams and the Israeli blockade make travel for competition difficult, but one player said, “We don’t even need to go abroad, but at least let us compete in the occupied West Bank or in Egypt.”
· Scientists for Palestine issued a statement in support of Imad Barghouthi, Palestinian astrophysicist at the University of Al-Quds in East Jerusalem, who was arrested by the Israeli military on July 16. This distinguished scientist was placed in administrative detention by the IDF for two months in 2014 and for six months in 2016. No charges were made against him in the current arrest, and his lawyers fear he will again be placed under arbitrary and illegal administrative detention.
· Israeli police and intelligence officers invaded the Yabous Cultural Centre and the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM, also known as the Edward Said Institute), in East Jerusalem, seizing records and detaining workers. Directors of the two vital cultural institutions, a married couple named Rania Elias and Suhail Khoury, were taken from their home for the search and seizure operation and then detained.
· Al-Haq, Palestinian human rights NGO based in Ramallah, published an interactive dialogue between UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories and Ms. Najah Erekat, mother of 26-year-old Ahmad Erekat who was killed by occupation forces on June 23.
· Abdullah Hassan and his father Dahoud wanted to spend a quiet day on their farm. They had not even made it to work by the time their hopes were destroyed. On July 5 Abdullah Hassan and his father Dahoud, 67, set out by tractor to their family farm in the West Bank when they were stopped by 6-7 armed Israeli settlers with dogs. Abdullah prepared to return home when he heard gunshots and realized his father had been struck. He drove his father back to a clinic in their hometown of Biddya, reflecting, “We tried to remain calm and not escalate the situation but they still shot him just because they could.”
· Masked men in a car threw stones and beat the Ramallah residents near the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, the alleged victims say.Two Palestinians were wounded when settlers threw stones at them on Saturday near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh, according to their police testimony.The police said they had opened an investigation “following a number of complaints submitted today by Palestinian residents of Ramallah” about the incident.
· In cooperation with the victim’s family, 83 civil society organizations from 16 countries submitted an appeal for justice and accountability to UN Special Procedures on the extrajudicial execution of Ahmad Mustafa Erekat, 26, by Israeli forces on June 23, 2020. Erekat was shot without cause at a checkpoint in the West Bank, left bleeding for 1 ½ hours, and actively denied access to medical care.
· Medical Aid for Palestinians has mounted a campaign against annexation, urging all supporters globally to contact MP's/appropriate representatives to actually "take meaningful action to oppose further annexation." Ample MAP documentation of negative health impacts of long-standing de facto annexation was cited for impunity for repeated Israeli attacks on healthcare; health, structural impediments including access barriers and de-development; and myriad negative mental health impacts of occupation:
· UNRWA reports donations of Euro 15 million from Germany to support basic services in Lebanon and Jordan, Euro 1.5 million from Italy to provide health care to Palestinian refugees in Jordan, and Euro 1.79 million from Italy to support Palestinian refugee health in Gaza.
· 83 human rights groups and civil society organizations from around the world have written to the United Nations (UN) Special Procedures office to appeal for a thorough investigation into the deliberate extrajudicial killing of Ahmed Erekat, by Israeli soldiers in June 2020. The signatories urged the UN to ensure delivery of justice and accountability of those responsible for the murder. The letter cites Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy which Israel routinely uses to target and kill Palestinians with no lawful cause or justification. Such illegal killings amount to war crimes as per a statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and under International law. 27-year-old Erekat, who was on his way to pick up his sister and mother on the day of his sister’s wedding, was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on June 23 after losing control of his car. The soldiers left him lying on the ground for over an hour as he bled to death.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
· Two recent reports released by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA oPT), on June 18 and 24, describe the blatant and increasing human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian population in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The UN reports highlight that Israel is already executing its annexation plans in other parts of Palestine, and point to the ongoing Israeli apartheid against Palestinians. It also pointed to the utter disregard held by Israel for international law, issues of humanitarian concerns, and the religious sensitivities of the occupied population.
· Professor Michael Lynk, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories submitted his annual report to the 44th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council. The report stressed the injustice, illegality, and harm of Israel’s policies and practices of collective punishment towards the Palestinian people, which he labeled a “prominent instrument in its coercive toolbox of population control.” He called on Israel to “end all measures amounting to collective punishment, including an end to the closure of Gaza, all restrictions on freedom of movement across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the punitive demolitions of homes, the punitive residency revocations, the cutting of benefits, the punitive closures of towns and all delays in returning bodies for burial.”
Emphasizing Israel’s failure to uphold its legal obligations under international law, the Special Rapporteur considered Israel’s reliance on collective punishment as a “prominent instrument in its coercive toolbox of population control.” Professor Lynk further called on Israel, the Occupying Power, to “end all measures amounting to collective punishment, including an end to the closure of Gaza, all restrictions on freedom of movement across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the punitive demolitions of homes, the punitive residency revocations, the cutting of benefits, the punitive closures of towns and all delays in returning bodies for burial.” Al Haq
ISRAEL & THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
· +972mag features an exclusive interview with human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who just authored the definitive legal opinion for Israeli rights group Yesh Din The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid. In ‘An illegitimate regime’: How a top rights group shed Israeli myths to recognize apartheid, Sfard explores what led Yesh Din to charge Israel with the crime of apartheid in the occupied West Bank, now claiming: “The crime of apartheid is not committed only in the West Bank. The Israeli regime in its entirety is an apartheid regime. Israel is an apartheid state.”
· The Palestinian Prisoners Club and allies mourned the death of Saadi al-Gharabli, 75, who died after 26 years of medical neglect in Israeli prisons. His son said the family had been unable to see him for the last 20 years. Al-Gharabli was one of 69 Palestinians who have died from medical negligence in Israeli custody since 1967
· Two weeks after marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to protest working conditions stressed by the coronavirus, Israeli social workers have launched a general strike, describing a “collapse of social services, an overload of cases, low pay and workplace violence.” In recent weeks, reports of domestic violence have risen 500%, and 760% for violence against children. Despite an average case load of 300 clients, most of the social workers are hired on a part-time basis. 85% report threats of physical violence on the job. MKs Ayman Odeh and Ofer Cassif of the Joint List joined yesterday’s demonstration.
· Israeli Court Acquits Two Men Who Beat to Death Asylum Seeker in 2015. The assailants had assumed Haftom Zarhum was a terrorist. “The series of terrorist attacks created an atmosphere of fear and panic among the public, and this was also mentioned in the testimony heard in court,” the judge wrote. Revenge against Palestinians is understandable, Israeli judge said. After being mistakenly identified as the shooter of an Israeli soldier, Zarhum died when he was shot by a security guard at the Be’er Sheva Central Bus Station and then beaten by a group of Israeli men.
· Heavily armed police accompanied Israel Nature and Parks Authority employees as they destroyed a fishing shack that provided sustenance to local fishermen in the Palestinian village of Jisr al-Zarqa within Israel. They left the fishermen and Palestinian owner of the building to clean up the wreckage and charged the owner for the cost of demolition.
· Paralleling actions in the US and elsewhere, and following anti-government protests the previous weekend in Tel Aviv, on July 14th, protesters organized the “Siege on Balfour” (Street, site of the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem), a protest against Netanyahu’s corruption, and the government’s failure to protect the economy and deal with the coronavirus pandemic. It turned “chaotic,” as Jewish Israeli leftists “turned their anger on the police” in clashes that lasted until the early hours of the morning. Trash cans were set ablaze, water cannons were used on demonstrators. 50 people were arrested.
The protests are part of a 5-week series of “black flag” protests calling for Netanyahu to step down. Palestinian citizens make up 20% of the nearly 1 million citizens who applied for unemployment in March and April, but the protests – even though they are against institutional injustice and are being waged by a coalition of groups – is not attracting Palestinians, who have historically been harmed by these same institutions. They want Netanyahu out, but their hope and expectations for what happens after that are low. Jewish Israelis are only now waking up to the neglect and racism that have long defined protests on the Left.
· An activist was attacked while protesting Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians at the annual Tel Aviv Pride event. The activist who was attacked (who was holding a Palestinian flag) is a lawyer and Mizrahi feminist activist, and her attacker, a gay man who was flying the rainbow pride flag, slammed her head into the pavement. The medical team treating her thought she had been the victim of a homophobic assault. She posted about the attack on Facebook. Some people in the gay community commented on the post, supporting the violent assault against her. The gay man who was holding the Palestinian flag wrote an op-ed in +972 after the event, saying: “Throughout my involvement in LGBTQ+ politics in Israel-Palestine, I have witnessed two attempts by those in power to exploit the LGBTQ+ struggle to further their white supremacist and settler-colonial goals…The rights we gain on the backs of those more marginalized than us are only temporary; broad coalitions of the underprivileged can prevent repressive regimes from going after us next.”
· US Palestinians release list of 2020 principles for “a political world that too often ignores our voices.” The principles include ending the occupation, support for the right of return, opposition to anti-BDS laws, and an endorsement of Rep. Betty McCollum’s historic House Resolution 2407.
· A Congressional committee amended a proposed $66 billion funding bill that would restore US aid to Palestinians and maintain funding for the World Health Organization. Rep. Nita Lowey, an influential new York Democrat and long-time supporter of Israel, specified that aid would go “directly to the Palestinian people” through NGOs in the region.