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Left Voice - May 19, 2021

As reported at Left Voice

Healthcare Workers Stand with Palestine
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We are healthcare workers who believe that Israeli human rights violations against Palestine are a health and human rights issue. We are united with Palestine in its pursuit for liberation and self-determination.

As healthcare workers, we recognize that the recent events of violence against Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli settlers and at Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli Defense Force destroys the lives and health of Palestinians. For many Palestinians, this perpetual violence leads to death, injuries, and longstanding physical and mental illnesses. As individuals whose profession values life, dignity, and health, we can no longer stand to ignore oppression of Palestinians by an apartheid, settler-colonial, and Zionist Israel.

The colonial occupation of Palestine since 1948 has resulted in decades of health disparities between Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinian life expectancy is nearly a decade shorter than Israeli[1], a result not only of Israel’s settler-colonialism and apartheid infrastructures of discrimination and austerity against Palestinians, but also of Israeli police and military killing Palestinians with impunity[1]. Infant mortality for Palestinians is also significantly higher than for Israelis for similar reasons, and many Palestinians experience severe mental health effects of the Israeli occupation, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. [1,2]

While Israelis enjoy universal healthcare and the latest medical technologies, Palestinian patients who require more advanced treatments in Israeli medical centers must apply for permits to enter Israeli territory, a process that is unbearably cumbersome, bureaucratic, and regularly delays treatment.[3,4] More recently, Israel’s vaccination success against COVID-19 is hailed as a national success yet is predicated on the systematic denial of vaccines to Palestinians. When Israel vaccinated over 50% of its citizens with the first dose of the two-dose vaccine regimen, and 30% with both doses, only 0.8% of Palestinians were vaccinated at all[5] -- despite the United Nations declaring that Israel was responsible for vaccinating Palestinians[6] given its land occupation.

In the current Israeli military assault of Palestinians, which began on May 10th, 2021, Israeli airstrikes killed more than 200 Palestinian civilians, injured more than 1,200 others, and displaced 40,000 people from their homes[7,8]. These attacks also demolished a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Gaza and destroyed the main road that leads to Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical center in the area. [9] Palestinians, overwhelmingly injured and rescued from below rubble and debris, are actively losing access to medical care in the aftermath of perpetual Israeli bombardment. Israeli airstrikes also killed Dr. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, the head of internal medicine at al-Shifa hospital, and Dr. Moeein Ahmad al-Aloul, a psychiatric neurologist, representing an attack on the medical community as a whole.[9] These deaths and attacks will only continue for Palestinians while they are under Israeli occupation.

In addition, the United States continues to support these attacks. President Joseph Biden announced his unequivocal support for Israel and approved $735 million in arms sales to the country [10,11]. These weapons often are used by Israel to target Palestinians civilians, making the United States an explicit supporter of genocide against Palestinians.

Therefore, as health care workers, we declare the following:

1.) We demand an immediate ceasefire against Palestinians
2.) We demand that the United States cease its tax-payer funded military aid to Israel, which enables continued crimes against humanity
3.) We condemn Israel’s practices of apartheid, including medical apartheid, on Palestinians
4.) We believe that Palestinians have the right for liberation, self-determination, and the right to return and reclaim their indigenous lands. This is the only way that they may achieve life, health, and dignity.
5.) We believe that Palestinians have the right to self-defense
6.) We support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel
7.) We condemn Israeli violence against Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, a predominately Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem where Israeli settlers forcibly expelled Palestinians from their homes and where Israeli courts are expected to permit the expansion of illegal settlements.
8.) We condemn the Israeli military assault of Al-Aqsa Mosque where hundreds of Palestinian Muslim worshipers were attacked with rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades by the Israeli Defense Force
9.) We condemn the colonization of Palestine by apartheid Israel, including its ethnic cleansing, occupation, and displacement of Palestinians, as well as the violence of the Israeli police and military towards Palestinians
10.) We condemn the targeting of healthcare workers and healthcare facilities in Palestine by the Israeli government and military
11.) We believe that our health is intrinsically connected to fighting imperialism and racialized capitalism everywhere. From the racist police killings in the United States, to state repression in Myanmar and Colombia, to ethnic cleansing in Palestine, our health is exploited on a daily basis to maintain a hegemony of the ruling class. All of these class struggles are connected and it is our obligation to fight these battles for our collective health.


Signed,
Musaub Khan - Physician, NYC
Nicole Denuccio - Midwife, NYC
Mike Pappas - Physician, NYC
Tre Kwon - Nurse, NYC
Jillian Primiano - Registered Nurse, NYC
Shreya Mahajan - Nurse, DC
Jocelyn Camacho - Nurse, NYC
Adnan Ahmed - Physician, MN
Derrick Smith - Registered Nurse, NYC
Heather Giambo - Physician, NYC
Cliff Willmeng - Nurse, MN

(See more signatures below)

Note: If your organization is willing to sponsor this declaration please email: socialisthealthcareworkers@gmail.com

Sources:
[1]https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/256771352-Divide-Conquer-Inequality-in-Health-PHR-Israel.pdf
[2] https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-020-02911-7
[3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/02/13/israel-record-low-gaza-medical-permits
[4]https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-huge-disparities-between-israeli-palestinian-health-care-1.5358335
[5]https://www.msf.org/stark-inequality-covid-19-vaccination-between-israel-and-palestine
[6] https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/01/1082152
[7]https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/05/17/israel-gaza-conflict-latest-update/
[8]https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/takeaway/segments/40-thousand-palestinians-now-displaced-gaza
[9]https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/17/holdshockformedical-system-as-israeli-strikes-kill-gaza-doctors
[10]https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/1393707042771283969
[11]https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/israel-us-sign-735-million-arms-deal-amid-gaza-conflict-report-668346

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