UK Government responds to Health and Dignity petition

This week Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) received a response from the UK Government to our Health and Dignity petition, which was signed by over 13,000 people across the UK in 2017.

MAP’s Health and Dignity campaign began this time last year, the beginning of a year of painful anniversaries for the Palestinian people: 10 years of closure in Gaza; 50 years of Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza; and 100 years since the signing of the Balfour Declaration.

The petition to UK Prime Minister Theresa May contained a simple call from Palestinians: “We demand health and dignity”. This demand was endorsed by 13,018 people across the UK who signed the petition, urging the UK to take action to bring an end to the occupation and the blockade, and to support a brighter future for Palestinians based on humanitarian principles and international law.

Alistair Burt MP, Foreign and Commonwealth Minister, responded to the petition. He thanked MAP for a copy of the petition and set out the Government’s position on settlements and health in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

Minister Burt emphasised the UK’s opposition to Israel’s illegal settlement activity and demolition of Palestinian property in the West Bank. He also stressed the detrimental impact that occupation has on Palestinians’ health.

The Minister stated that the UK contributes to medical care for Palestinians through support for UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority. He also noted that “free movement of patients and medical personnel is vital to the effectiveness of care.”

MAP is grateful to Minister Burt for his response and for his written acknowledgment of concerns he shares with signatories to the Health and Dignity petition. However, much more needs to be done to support Palestinian health and dignity. MAP will continue to encourage the UK government to speak out about violations of Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity, to support the development of Palestinian healthcare and to strongly support adherence to international law.   

Thank you to everyone who took part in this important campaign last year. You can read Alistair Burt’s response to the Health and Dignity petition in full here

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