Asylum seekers have 60 days to leave for an ‘unnamed African destination,’ or face indefinite incarceration in Israel

Welcome to the seventh edition of the monthly Health and Human Rights Media Watch. Members of the Health Advisory Council monitor relevant organizations and websites and compile a list of important news and issues which are summarized here. These newsletters will be posted on our website and archived as a resource. If you wish to join this effort, contact [email protected]. Please feel free to share the newsletter with your colleagues and communities and encourage them to join the JVP Health Advisory Council. Thanks to all who have contributed!

The Abject Misery of Standing in Line to Apply for Asylum in Israel
Haaretz 2 Feb  The process of applying for asylum in Israel is extremely arduous and very rarely successful. The Israeli government continues its racist plans to deport Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers. Israel says the migrants have 60 days to accept the offer to leave the country for an unnamed African destination in exchange for $3,500 and a plane ticket. Those who don’t by April 1 will be incarcerated indefinitely. Activists protest globally and an Ethiopian Israeli Jew speaks out from personal experience. Read more here from Haaretz +972 Magazine, and the U.S. News and World Report.

The Deportation of Asylum Seekers as an Ethical Challenge for the Medical Profession
Physicians for Human Rights Israel Feb 2018 — Physicians for Human Rights-Israel issued a statement explaining that the deportation of refugees is an ethical and moral challenge for the medical profession which requires a position of opposition to the practice.

(I would not worry about the safety of the site, I find these warnings frequently for progressive sites dealing with I/P and see this as a form of intimidation. Let us know if you disagree. AR)

Youngest children held by Israel jailed for months
Electronic Intifada 29 Jan — 350 Palestinian children languish in Israeli jails, including two 13 year olds recently given prison sentences, other children of activists, and older Palestinians suffering from medical neglect.

High-profile actors, artists, athletes, and activists join Dream Defenders in supporting Ahed Tamimi
Mondoweiss 12 Feb — High-profile actors, artists, athletes, and activists join Dream Defenders in supporting Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old girl from Nabi Saleh, arrested for slapping a soldier who had invaded her yard, shortly after her 15-year-old cousin was shot in the face.

More Palestinians are dying waiting to get medical treatment because Israel won’t give them travel permits
Newsweek 15 Feb — As widely reported, the ongoing health care crisis in Gaza persists. Despite the supposed reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, hospitals and clinics are closing due to lack of fuel for generators. The supply of 40 percent  of essential medicines has run out. Overall, there is less than one month’s supply of 45 percent of the medications on the Gaza formulary. Sixty-two percent of cancer drugs are out of stock as are 54 percent of primary healthcare drugs and 61 percent of immunology drugs.

A shortage of lab supplies means no lab tests are available for outpatients. Emergency fuel supplies will be exhausted. The World Health Organization warns that 1,715 patients will be in immediate life-threatening situations if hospitals run out of fuel. Scanners at major hospitals are out of service due to the difficulty of obtaining Israeli permission to deliver spare parts.

Cancer patients and others needing treatment in East Jerusalem hospitals face multiple barriers: obtaining approval from the Gaza Ministry of Health and the West Bank health ministry, obtaining permits from the Israeli military to cross Erez checkpoint, Augusta Victoria Hospital’s refusal to accept new patients due to PA’s failure to pay off debt.

At least 54 Gazans have died due to rejection of permits for medical care. The difficulty in maintaining a modicum of health care services in Gaza and the West Bank is illustrated by the Israeli Ministry of Defense denial of dental supplies bound for Gaza. This material, amalgam capsules for making dental filings, was forfeited because it was not presented with an application for a permit, even though up to that time there had been no requirement of a permit for this type of material.
The Israeli government blames the catastrophic situation on Hamas and the PA, and calls for major infrastructure rebuilding plan paid for by international donors. More information from Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Haaretz, Al Haq, Electronic Intifada, MondoweissTimes of Israel+972 MagazineElectronic IntifadaMedical Aid for Palestinians, and a second report from Medical Aid for Palestinians, Al JazeeraGisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, and Haaretz.

Israeli forces kill two teenagers on Gaza Strip border
Defense of Children International-Palestine 23 Feb — Israeli soldiers opened fire at four children who approached the border near Al-Shouka southeast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 17, killing Abdullah Ermilat, 14,  and Salem Sabah, 16. Ahmad H., 15, and Salim S., 17, were injured by artillery shell shrapnel, according to evidence collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine.

Gisha files High Court petition for a response to an application for travel abroad for post-graduate studies
Gisha  Access to advanced training for professionals, including medical professionals is severely hampered by Israel’s refusal to grant exit permits in a timely manner to students who have been accepted into academic programs abroad. An engineering student nearly lost his full scholarship because of unnecessary delays in the processing of his application and he was only allowed to travel at the last minute after court decisions in his favor. Up to the minute medicine is not possible in the West Bank and Gaza unless medical personnel have free access to advanced training and conferences abroad.

Arab mothers, infants unable to access health care after Israeli Supreme Court rejects Adalah petition
Adalah 25 Feb  Israeli Supreme Court backs Health Ministry move to shutter mother-infant clinic, leaving residents from two Haifa-area villages without access to pre- and postnatal care.

Hagai El-Ad talks war crimes, forced displacement, and int’l pressure
+972 Magazine 6 Feb — B’Tselem called the demolition and displacement of Palestinian villages ‘war crimes,’ and stressed the role of international pressure in changing Israeli policy in the West Bank. This change in language occurred in response to the heightened threats to the villages of Khan al-Ahmer and Susya. This is of particular importance because the International Criminal Court prosecutor is conducting a preliminary examination into Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, specifically including its settlements and forcible population transfer among other alleged crimes.

Israel undergoes Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record
Medical Aid for Palestinians 26 Jan — Israel underwent the third Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. During the interactive dialogue, states had the opportunity to raise issues of concern and make recommendations for action to ensure that the State of Israel promotes and protects human rights both inside its borders and in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Palestinian mental health professionals in Israel say international conference should not be held in Tel Aviv
Mondoweiss 16 Feb— Palestinian mental health professionals who are citizens of Israel and Israeli members of Psychoactive protest holding international mental health conference in Israel in 2019. More information from UK Palestine Mental Health Network.

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