Israeli occupation damages Palestinian health, human rights group shows

Issue 

Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights has released two reports documenting the deterioration of Palestinian health under occupation.

Divide and Conquer documents the deterioration of Palestinian health in the West Bank and Gaza as the direct consequence of ongoing Israeli military occupation.

“The report compiles data that reveal numerous severe disparities,” said Canadian physician and Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) spokesperson Miriam Garfinkle. “Infant mortality is five times higher than in Israel, and maternal mortality is four times higher. There is a 10 year gap in life expectancy between Israelis and Palestinians. Expenditure for health care per capita in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is only one-eighth of the expenditure for Israel’s health services. There are eight times more specialists in Israel than in the Palestinian health care system in the West Bank and Gaza.

The [other] report details a fact-finding mission into last summer’s assault on Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, left over 10,000 Palestinians wounded, and more than 100,000 Palestinians homeless.”

The report shows that the Israeli army targeted medical supplies and facilities and refused to allow medical evacuations. There was no place to find shelter for civilians and there is evidence that people were used as human shields by the Israeli army. Psychological consequences to the population, especially children, have been devastating.

“IJV calls attention to these reports that outline the ongoing violence against the Palestinian people through the illegal and brutal occupation of the West Bank, the continuing siege of Gaza, and the repeated extreme and devastating attacks on the civilian population of Gaza,” Garfinkle said.

[Abridged from Independent Jewish voices Canada.]

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