Call to Action: We Demand Health and Dignity for Palestinians

As Palestinians prepare to mark 50 years of living under the military occupation Israel has imposed since 1967, and 10 years under blockade and closure in Gaza, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has today launched a campaign demanding action to ensure Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity.

The effects of occupation and blockade are more apparent now than ever, with settlements continuing to expand across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, accelerating demolitions of Palestinian homes, and a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza characterised by dwindling electricity, water and basic resources.

The occupation directly harms Palestinian health through the imposition of severe restrictions on freedom of movement of patients and ambulances to hospitals and centres of care, the stifled development of the Palestinian health sector, and the frequent risk of death or injury during conflict or attacks by settlers.

MAP’s campaign follows a call from Palestinians for international action to support their rights: “Health and dignity are not gifts to be earned; they are basic rights. They are not denied to us by natural disaster, but instead by a prolonged, man-made crisis; the longest military occupation in the world today.”

“Health and dignity are not gifts to be earned; they are basic rights. They are not denied to us by natural disaster, but instead by a prolonged, man-made crisis; the longest military occupation in the world today.”

People in the UK can stand with Palestinians by calling on the UK Government to seize the opportunity of this anniversary year to take action to end the occupation and the blockade. Doing so is the only way to guarantee the health and dignity of Palestinians.

Mira Almukarker, MAP’s Director of Programmes in the West Bank, said: “Access barriers continue to reshape the Palestinian health system. Palestinian residents of Area C, which is still under direct Israeli military and civilian control, face risk of violence from armed settlers, recurrent raids, and armed clashes. It is a legal obligation of duty-bearers to respect and fulfil the right to health in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Director of Programmes in Gaza, said: “Patients in Gaza not only experience the pain and anxiety of being ill, but are also forced to endure the stress and uncertainty about the availability of their treatment in Gaza’s hospitals. The blockade under which we live is life-threatening for critically ill patients who have to wait days or weeks to get permits to reach their hospitals in the West Bank. Unfortunately sometimes these permits come too late or not at all.

“No matter what, patients must have access to treatment. This is a basic right for any human being in the world.” 

To read more and take action click the link below.

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