In 1948, amid a series of massacres, 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homes at the hands of militias during the creation of the state of Israel. Hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages were emptied of their populations and destroyed. This tragedy is known as the ‘Nakba’ by Palestinians, and heralded decades of displacement, conflict, and persecution. The Nakba is still lived by Palestinian refugee families still displaced 70 years later, many of whom still live in refugee camps across the region, including Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory.
During the July war of 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, and annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem. For 50 years, Israel’s military occupation has impacted on every aspect of daily life for Palestinians: restricting movement, imposing stressful bureaucratic control, and threatening homes and livelihoods. Palestinians in Gaza have also lived under a decade of stifling blockade and repeated military attack.
In every healthcare system it is essential that care is effective and accessible to the population it serves. But for Palestinians living under occupation or as refugees, this access is often denied by the circumstances in which they live, and the restrictions on their underlying civil and political rights.
"MAP is a unique organisation helping Palestinians across the Middle East and it is essential that its good work continues"
John Boyd, MAP supporter, London
MAP works across the West Bank and Gaza and in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
We have also developed a distinct advocacy role in the UK, addressing the root causes of the barriers to health for Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.
Half a century of Israeli occupation continues to constitute a major obstacle to the availability, accessibility and quality of health care for Palestinians. Restricted freedom of movement due to checkpoints, the separation wall, a constrictive regime of permits and the blockade and closure of Gaza means that patients across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) often struggle to get to centres of treatment and care. The movement of medical professionals seeking to train and improve their skills, and vital medical equipment deemed a risk to Israel’s security, are often also restricted by the occupation.
Life under occupation also brings with it direct risks to health and life for the 4.4 million residents of the oPt, including violent attacks from illegal Israeli settlers, death and injuries at protests, and the frequent destruction of homes and infrastructure. This constant insecurity, and the protracted nature of the crisis in the oPt, threatens to deplete the resilience of communities.
As the occupying power, Israel is responsible for providing access to healthcare for Palestinians. However, after 50 years, the Palestinian health system remains under-funded and aid-dependent. Israel’s policy of increasing separation between East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza is also at odds with the creation of a unified, effective system of healthcare for Palestinians
Medical Aid for Palestinians’ teams work in a unified and strategic way to develop sustainable, Palestinian-led healthcare services to meet these needs. With offices in Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Gaza City, we are able to respond and work effectively across the territory despite movement and access restrictions.
Working in partnership with local health providers, we aim to ensure equitable access to essential health and nutrition services for those who are most vulnerable, such as children, older people and those with disabilities.
In 1948, more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homes in Palestine following attacks by armed militant groups in the lead-up to the creation of the state of Israel. Approximately 100,000 of these Palestinians sought refuge in Lebanon, mostly coming from Galilee and the coastal cities of Jaffa, Haifa and Acre. They settled in refugee camps across the country, which were quickly recognised and organised by the United Nations. Since then, most Palestinians have not been granted Lebanese citizenship, instead remaining stateless. They have also been denied access to state support, relying on relief services from the United Nationals Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) since it began operations in 1950.
The fifteen-year Lebanese civil war, which erupted in 1975, had devastating consequences for Palestinians. Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and there were a series of massacres in Tel al-Zaatar, Sabra and Shatila camps, in response to which MAP was founded.
After the civil war ended in 1990, Palestinians became more marginalised than ever, the combination of statelessness and residual hostility making them highly vulnerable.
Today, the approximately 260,000 - 280,000 Palestinians in Lebanon are banned from working in more than 30 professions, owning property, or accessing vital social services. Conditions in the camps have serious repercussions for the residents’ mental and physical health, but their access to healthcare is limited.
The lack of basic civil rights has had devastating humanitarian consequences for Palestinians in Lebanon, with high unemployment and poverty. This has left Palestinians in Lebanon highly dependent on UNRWA and severely impacted by the under-funding of its services.
MAP responds to the immediate needs of those who have been displaced, whilst working towards sustainable long-term health development, by building on the resources of the Palestinian community, starting from its civil society.
Integration between agencies in health, education and social support is the cornerstone of our approach in Lebanon. By linking services support can be streamlined and the impact can reach far deeper into the most vulnerable sections of these communities. We also facilitates community outreach services, bringing home-based support to families.
450,000Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in 12 camps and informal gatherings
A further45,000Palestinian refugees displaced from Syria are living in Lebanon
The United Kingdom, as the former holder of the League of Nations mandate for control of Palestine, has a well-known historic connection the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. This historical link has forged strong diplomatic relations with both the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel. Inevitably this strong political relationship and the passion of many in the UK for Palestinian human rights means that Israel and Palestine continue to be one of the most discussed foreign policy issues in the UK.
In the UK, Medical Aid for Palestinians campaigns for the UK government to ensure its bilateral and multilateral foreign policy is focused on addressing ongoing political impediments to Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity.
In cooperation with the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), MAP supports delegations of British parliamentarians to travel to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory to see for themselves the situation faced by Palestinians every day. On return, many MPs have been keen to speak out about the conditions and have called on the UK Government to act to policies harmful to Palestinian health and dignity.
2017 marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration in which then-Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour set out a vision for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
This anniversary coincides with the 50th year of the 1967 occupation and the 10th year of the blockade of Gaza, and highlights Britain’s historic responsibility towards Palestinian rights. This year presents a clear opportunity for the UK Government to take action to address the long-standing injustices faced by Palestinians.
For 30 years Medical Aid for Palestinians striving to achieve the highest attainable standard of healthcare in hostile and difficult conditions.
We work in five progrommatic areas; Essential Primary Healthcare, Women and Children’s health, Mental Health and psychosocial support, Disability and Emergency response