Palestinian health organization condemns Israeli army’s attacks on Palestinian people

The following is a statement released on July 1, 2006 by the Health Work Committees, a healthcare organization based in Palestine. The statement speaks to the vicious military attacks that the illegitimate settler-state of Israel has been making against the people of Occupied Palestine. The African People’s Socialist Party is running this statement in The Burning Spear to expose these attacks. We also unite with the just demand for the return of all of the Palestinian people’s land and the end to the occupation being carried out by the illegitimate settler-state of Israel, which serves as an outpost for imperialist interests within the Middle East region. 

The Israeli occupation army has been bombarding Gaza for four days. In addition, the Israeli occupation army has been raiding Palestinian cities and villages, arresting and terrorizing a whole nation.

Prior to the present incidents, Israel had been attacking Gaza and its population for months. In the month of June 2006 alone, 25 Palestinians were killed, 10 of them children, and 88 were injured including 22 children.

On June 25, 2006, the Palestinian resistance movement succeeded in attacking a military post surrounding Gaza and in capturing an Israeli soldier. The resistance movement demanded the release of child and women prisoners in Israeli detention in exchange for the captured Israeli army soldier.

There are currently 314 child prisoners and 400 women prisoners in Israeli jails. These are in addition to over 9,000 Palestinian prisoners who are currently detained or imprisoned without a fair trail and under inhumane conditions.

These latest Israeli occupation army atrocities are the outcome of the continued Israeli occupation, which culminates in punishing a whole population and forcing them into inhumane circumstances that endanger not only their livelihood but also their lives.

The Israeli occupation army sealed off Gaza, destroyed the main connecting roads from North to South, destroyed the Gaza electric power station, cut off water and supplies, and destroyed homes and buildings. More than one million people are in clear danger of running out of food supplies. They will not have access to drinking water for at least 24 hours.

Jan Egeland, the UN emergency relief coordinator stated on June 30, “We are very worried about the situation in the Gaza Strip and, in particular, the shortages of power and water, the effect on sewage, and humanitarian access. Civilians are caught in the middle of a vicious circle of action and reaction, exemplifying how disproportionately they pay the price.”

To further suffocate the population, the Rafah International Crossing Point has been completely closed since June 25, 2006, leaving hundreds of Palestinian travelers stuck on the Egyptian side of the border. Among these travelers are women, children, elderly and ill persons returning after medical treatment in Egypt. They are enduring inadequate living and health conditions while waiting to enter Gaza.

The Israeli occupation army has also closed other crossings into the Gaza Strip including El-Muntar (Karni) Commercial Crossing; Beit Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, designated for workers, humanitarian cases and international workers; Sofa Crossing, designated for construction material; and Kerem Shalom Crossing, used for humanitarian food and medical assistance.

“There are currently 314 child prisoners and 400 women prisoners in Israeli jails. These are in addition to over 9,000 Palestinian prisoners who are currently detained or imprisoned without a fair trail and under inhumane conditions.”

The numbers read as follows:

· 200,000 households in the Gaza Strip lost their main or only source of electricity.

· 112,000 citizens in Gaza are suffering from chronic diseases.

· 21,000 children cannot attend kindergartens and summer camps.

· 150,000 children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders.

· 22 hospitals lost electricity and are presently running on generators.

· 50 emergency operations are performed per day.

· 200 scheduled operations are performed per day.

· 250 patients with kidney failure need dialysis.

· 2500 asthmatic children depend on oxygen and nebulizers.

· 230 deliveries are expected daily, many of those needing caesarian section.

Laboratories, blood banks and refrigerators will soon have to quit operation when their generators run out of fuel.

Prior to this destruction, about 194,000 households suffered from poverty. Of those, 150,000 subsisted on less than US$2.00 per day.

According to various Israeli sources including the Israeli daily, Yediot Aharonot, the invasion of Gaza was planned much earlier than the kidnapping of the Israeli soldier.

The Health Work Committees strongly condemns the criminal actions committed by the Israeli occupation army against the Palestinian people. Israel continues to ignore all international calls to implement humane treatment, human rights and humanitarian law. 

The Health Work Committees calls upon the international community to provide immediate protection for Palestinian lives and property, as stipulated in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.

The Health Work Committees calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli government to respect International Humanitarian Law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention. [The Fourth Geneva Convention is supposed to govern the treatment of civilians during wartime.]

The Health Work Committees calls for the immediate end to collective punishment imposed by the Israeli occupation army against the Palestinian people.

The Health Work Committees calls on the international community and on all Geneva Convention signatories to exert utmost pressure on the Israeli occupation government to cease its inhumane military action immediately.

The Health Work Committees calls on the international community to declare the current Israeli aggression a war crime according to Article 146 of the Geneva Convention.

The Health Work Committees calls on all humanitarian organizations and bodies to extend emergency relief to the people of Gaza.

The Health Work Committees calls on the Palestinian humanitarian organizations to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza, to coordinate their efforts and activate their potential in all villages, refugee camps and cities against an impending disaster.

The Health Work Committees calls on the international community to bring an immediate end to the Israeli occupation, the cause of all the suffering and bloodshed.

Dr. Ahmad Maslamani is currently the Director of the Health Work Committees. On March 16, 2006, he was released from an Israeli prison in Ashkelon where he had been held prisoner for 10 months.

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