MAP highlights systematic discrimination of Palestinians at SNP Annual Conference

On Sunday 28 November, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)'s West Bank Director, Aisha Mansour spoke at the Scottish National Party (SNP) Annual Conference, alongside Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director of Human Rights Watch; Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign; and Humza Yousaf, Member of Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Polk.

The virtual fringe event, hosted by SNP Friends of Palestine and supported by MAP and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was chaired by Tommy Sheppard, MP for Edinburgh East.

Aisha discussed MAP’s recent position paper released in November 2021, in which we illustrate how decades of Israeli control over many aspects of Palestinian life, through policies of occupation, blockade, annexation and the permanent displacement of refugees, undermine the health and access to healthcare of Palestinians across all of our areas of operation.

These policies, characterised by systematic discrimination and the fragmentation of both Palestinian society and the healthcare system available to them, impact Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza, and, through the denial of their right of return, those living in perpetual exile in Lebanon.

You can see Aisha’s full remarks here:

Decades of these discriminatory policies and practices have led to deepening health inequalities between Palestinians and Israelis, which have been exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Life expectancy for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for example, is almost nine years less than it is for Israelis. The under-five mortality rate in the oPt is more than five times higher than it is in Israel.

For as long as Israel’s coercive and discriminatory control, and its systematic denial of Palestinian rights continues with impunity, health inequalities will only grow further. This is why MAP urged SNP members in the UK and Scottish parliaments to:

  1. Use their diplomatic power to support accountability for continuous violations of international law in the oPt which undermine Palestinians’ health and dignity, including through the International Criminal Court and in forums like the UN Human Rights Council.
  2. Place Palestinian self-determination at the heart of aid policies, ensuring that they not only respond to emergencies with humanitarian support, but also drive the sustainable, locally-led development of healthcare and other institutions.
  3. Ensure that Palestinian voices are included and heard at every level of policy making discussions that concern them and their rights.

Humza Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care in Scotland, highlighted the importance of humanitarian assistance and of programmes supporting the long-term, sustainable development of Palestinian healthcare, including the work of MAP and Dr Philippa Whitford to improve breast cancer care in Gaza.

In 2022, MAP will continue our work towards a future in which all Palestinians can access an effective, sustainable and locally-led system of healthcare and the full realisation of their rights to health and dignity, through advocating for accountability, including in international forums like the Human Rights Council. We’ll also continue to deliver our essential humanitarian response, and to upscale our work towards the sustainable development of a Palestinian healthcare system through our programmes on the ground.  

Read MAP’s position paper on systematic discrimination here.

Read the position paper

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