Regarding Ahmad Manasra, aged 20.  Currently held in Beersheva prison

His Excellency Isaac Herzog,
President of the State of Israel,
The President’s Residence,
3 HaNasi Street,
23rd December 2022                                                                Jerusalem, Israel.
Regarding Ahmad Manasra, aged 20.  Currently held in Beersheva prison
Dear Mr. President,
We, the undersigned medical practitioners, are writing to ask you to urgently intervene in the case of Ahmad Manasra, who has been held in Israeli prisons since his arrest in 2015 at the age of thirteen.  We are deeply shocked by the violent and unlawful treatment this young man has been subjected to for the past seven years by the Israeli judicial system, including the manner of his arrest, his illegal interrogation without lawyers or family present, his long periods held in solitary confinement and, now that he has served two thirds of his sentence, the refusal of the courts to even consider the weighty medical and psychiatric evidence which argues for his early release on compassionate and health grounds.

Ahmad Manasra was arrested at the age of 13, for being armed with a knife in the company of his cousin Hassan aged seventeen, who allegedly stabbed and seriously injured a thirteen year old Jewish Israeli boy. Hassan was killed on the spot. Ahmad suffered a skull fracture, having been hit by a car and was severely mistreated by the mob surrounding him. He was later seen being handcuffed in an Intensive Care Unit whilst in an induced coma. He was detained in a closed institution for criminal youths, and then transferred to another prison. A video, accessed by local and international media showed an interrogator bullying and insulting the terrified young prisoner who was completely alone and unrepresented. Ahmad at thirteen year old had not reached the age of criminal responsibility; yet his trial was delayed until he was fourteen years old. He was sentenced to twelve years in prison (subsequently reduced to nine years). It is important to emphasise that the judge at his trial recognised that Ahmad did not participate in any attack on a Jewish civilian.

During his lengthy imprisonment Ahmad Manasra has been deprived of visits from his parents and other relatives. He has been held in solitary confinement which is illegal under international law in the case of minors. All medical and psychiatric experts agree that solitary confinement has devastating and sometimes irrecoverable impacts on the neuro- development and mental health of adolescents. Under international law, solitary confinement for more than fourteen days is considered torture. The Israeli court has recently imposed a further four months of solitary confinement on the basis of ‘secret evidence’. Ahmad’s mental health has progressively deteriorated to the point that he is delusional and suicidal. His condition is worsening but, instead of considering the compelling psychiatric evidence that he can only be effectively treated in a psychiatric facility separate from a prison service, the courts have retrospectively applied anti-terrorist laws to his case, enabling them to refuse to even consider the application for early release to which he would otherwise be entitled. We find it hard to understand the cruelty and vindictiveness that these decisions appear to reveal.

There has been a powerful international campaign for the release of this young man. His case has been taken up by Amnesty International, by the UN Special Rapporteur and questions have been put to UK Government Ministers by Members of Parliament. All of this has been to no avail. We now turn to you.

We join our efforts with all those who have denounced these practices which are unworthy of a government purporting to abide by the rule of law. We ask you to urgently intervene to ensure that Ahmad Manasra is immediately freed and released to the care of his family and to the health professionals who can treat him.

We look forward to your response
Yours sincerely
 Dr Derek Summerfield
Full list of signatories attached:
Prof. Dr. Eia Asen, M.D., FRCPsych,  Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families University College London
Dr Ragnhild Aarrestad, Psychiatrist, Norway
Dr Diab Ahmed Hamid Aburish, PhD, General Director of the Palestine Center for Community Mental Health
Dr Hasanen Al –Taiar, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist; Vice Chair RCPsych South Eastern Division; Chair of the South of England MHA Approvals Panel
Dr Mustafa Alachkar, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Osman Ali, MRCGP, Gough Walk GP Practice
Dr Norbert Andersch, Consultant Psychiatrist, Italy
Dr Swee Ang, MBBS, MSc, FRCS, Consultant orthopaedic Surgeon, London, UK
Dr Jackie Applebee, MBBS, BSc, FRCGP, Tredegar Practice, London
Mr Nadeem Ashraf MD FRCS
Consultant Laparoscopic, General and Colorectal Surgeon
Basildon University Hospital
Dr Luce Bardagi, Physical Rehabilitation Specialist, St Blancard, France
Dr Hadi Bedran
Consultant Anaesthetist, Enfield
Dr Trude Bennett, Dr PH, Associate Prof. Emerita, UNC Chapel Hill School of Pubic Health, USA
Dr Elizabeth C. Berger, MD, Associate Clinical Professor, George Washington University School of Medicine, USA
Dr Richard Bischoff, Paediatrician, Germany
Dr Frank Boyce, Physician, Canada
Dr Patrick Bracken, Consultant Psychiatrist, Eire
Dr Tamar Lydia Brown, Centre Hospitalier de Montfavet, Avignon, France
Dr Dorothy Burlage, PhD,
Dr Tim Calton, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Maria Canete, Consultant Psychotherapist and Group Analyst
Dr Filiz Capar, General Practitioner, Barkantine Practice, London
Sir Iain Chalmers, MD, DSc., James Lind Library, Oxford
Dr Martine Charlery, Psychiatrist, Angers, France
Dr David Church, MB, ChB, T, General Practitioner, Wales
Dr Miles Clapham, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Alan Cooklin, MB, ChB, FRC Psych,
Dr Jack Czauderna MB.ChB.  Retired Family Doctor          
Dr Nadia Taysir Dabbagh, MBBS, BSc, MSc, PhD, FRCPsych, CCT, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, UK
Mr Rhodri Daniel BSc(Hons), FRCS(Ed), DO RCS(Lon), FRCOphth.
Dr S E Daniel BSc(Hons), MD, FRCPath.
Dr Veena deSouza, MBBChir, FFPH,
Dr James Deutsch, University of Toronto, Canada
Dr Moira Dick, Consultant Paediatrician (retired), London
Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, MB, BChir, MCEM, FRCA, Anaesthetic Consultant, Oxford University Hospitals
Dr Flavia Donati, Specialist in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Rome, Italy
Dr Mike Downham, BA, BCh, MRCP, DHC,
Dr Gary Duffield, MBChB, MRCPsych,
Dr Katrin Edelman, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Morry El-Badry, MD, Rochester, New Hampshire, USA
Dr Kamilla El-Farra, Consultant Gynaecologist, UK
Sir Terence English, KBE, FRCP, FRCS, Cardiothoracic Transplant surgeon; Former President of the Royal College of Surgeons (retired)
Lady Judith English, MB, BChir, MRCP, FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist; Former Chief of Staff, Boston VA Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA (retired)
Dr Ruth Erskine, D. Clin. Psych, QiCN, AFBPS, CQSW, (BA, BSc), Consultant Clinical Psychologist & Paediatric Neuropsychologist, London
Dr Arturo Ezquerro, Consultant Psychiatrist and Group Analyst
Dr Premila Fade, MB BS, MA, FRCP, Consultant Physician, Southern Health Foundation Trust
Dr Suman Fernando, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Ann Finkelstein, MD, MPH, La Clinica de la Raza, Vallejo, California
Dr Brian Fisher, MBBCh, MSc, MBE, London
Dr Jonathan Fluxman MRCGP (retired GP)
Dr Tim Fox, BSc, MB, BS, MRCP, Member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, UK
Dr P.H. Gasser, Psychiatrist, Uzes, France
Dr Tom Gilberthorpe, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr John Gleisner, FRCPsych, FRANZCPsych, (retired)
Dr Yves Glock, MD, PhD, Member of the European Board of cardiovascularand thoracic Surgery. Former Head of the Department of CV Surgery, University Hospital Rangueil, Toulouse, France
Dr Anya Gopfert, MBBS, BSChons, MSc Oxon, MFPH,
Dr Michael Gopfert, MD, formallyFRCPsych,
Prof Peter Gotzsche, Physician and Researcher, Denmark
Dr Elizabeth Greenhall, MB,BS , FFPH.  Retired consultant in Public Health, Oxfordshire 
Professor Colin Green, B. Vet. Med; PhD (Med); DSc (Med); FRC Path; FRCS England
(Hon). Royal Free Hospital, University College London
Dr Marta Guttenberg, MD, Philadelphia, USA
Dr David Halpin, Consultant Surgeon, UK
Dr Dougal Hargreaves, MA, MSc, FRCPCH, MD(Res), Imperial College, London
Dr Ben Hart, General Practitioner, Crisp Street Health Centre, London
Dr Deirdre Haslam, Chelmsford, Essex
Dr Rukyya Hassan, MBChB, MSc, MRCPsych,
Dr Richard Horton, Editor, The Lancet, UK
Prof Sushrut Jadhav, University College, London, UK
Dr Bob Johnson, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Lynne Jones, OBE, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Francois Journet, Psychiatrist, Villefontaine, France
Prof Jon Jureidini, University of Adelaide, Australia
Dr Ghada Karmi, Physician and Academic
Dr Lynne Kavin, LCSW,
Dr Ian Kerr, Consultant Psychiatrist, New Zealand
Dr Gaby G Kevorkian, MD, Old City, Jerusalem
Dr Asad Khan, Consultant Physician, UK
Dr Rajiv Khushu, Psychiatrist, Halifax, UK
Dr Abha Khushu, Senior Reg, Paediatrics, London, UK
Dr David Kirby, MA, MB, BChir, MSc, MRCP, MRCGP, General Practitioner (retired)
Dr Emmanuel Kosadinos, Psychiatrist, Marseilles, France
Dr Sebastian Kraemer, FRCP, FRCPsych, FRCPCH, Hon Consultant, Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust
Dr Vicky Lavy, MB, BCh, MRCGP, Retired
Dr Dianne Lefevre, Consultant psychiatrist, UK
Dr Anna Livingstone, MA, MSc, DipLSHTM, MB BS, FRCGP,DrCOG, DCH, DFSRH, London
Dr Ann Lorek, Consultant Paediatrician, London
Dr Sally MacLennan, MB BS, DO,
Dr Neil MacLennan, MB BS, MRCGP, DCH, DCROG,
Dr Brooke Maddux, MD, MPhil, Psychiatrist, France
Prof Paola Manduca, Prof of Genetics, Italy
Dr Mona Mange MD   Xavier Clinic,Tulsa OK USA
Dr Ruchama Marton, Founder of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel
Dr Rebecca Mather, BM, BCh, FRCPsych,
Dr Rob Mather, BM, BCh, FRCGP,
Prof Klim McPherson, PhD, FMed Sci,
Dr Tess McPherson, MA, MBBS, FRCP, MD,
Dr Claire Mestre, Psychiatrist and Anthropolist, CHU, Bordeaux, France, Association Ethnotopies
Dr Alan Meyers, MD, MPH, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, USA
Prof Steven Miles, Prof Emeritus of Medicine and Bioethics, UK
Dr Pedro Molina,
Dr Ann Morris, MB, ChB, Member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, London, UK
Dr Jan Willem Mulder, MD, PhD, Consultant Physician, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (retired)
Dr Loretta Mussi, MD,
Dr Mudasir Nazir, Academic Fellow, UK
Dr Julia Nelki, MA Oxon, MBChB, formally FRCPsych,
Dr Golda Ninan, MB, BCh, MRCGP,
Dr Anne Noonan, Psychiatrist, Australia
Dr Kingsley Norton, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Brendan O’Brien, MB DCH. Retired General Practitioner, Edmonton, London
Dr Peadar O’Grady, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, Eire
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, MRCP, DCH, Consultant Paediatrician (retired)
Dr Tomasz Piercionek, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Pino Pini, Psychiatrist, Italy
Dr Elinor Price MB BS MRCGP
Dr John W. L. Puntis, BM(Hons), DM, FRCP, FRCPCH, Consultant Paediatrician, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK (Retired)
Dr Cheryl Qamar, LCSWR, Hudson Valley, New York,USA
Dr Michael Radford, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr Saroop Raja, UK
Dr Nicholas Rose, MB, ChB, FRCPsych,
Dr Alice Rothschild, MD,
Dr Rachel Rubin, MD, MPH, Chicago, USA
Prof Andrew Samuels, DHL, Former Chair UK Council for Psychotherapy
Dr Benedetto Saraceno, Ornex, France
Prof Lara Sheehi, PsyD, George Washington University, USA
Prof Stephen Sheehi, PhD, William and Mary College, USA
Dr Gillian Shepherd, UK
Dr Ann Marisa Silverman, FRCPsych,
Dr Philip Smith, UK
Dr Cecile Spieser, Psychiatrist, France
Dr Peter Sporn,MD Chicago, Illinois 
Dr Derek Summerfield, BSC(Hons), MBBS, MRCPsych, Kings College, London, UK
Dr Gabriel Symons, UK
Dr Philip Thomas, MPhil, DPM, FRCPsych, MD, Consultant Psychiatrist (retired)
Dr Jane Thomas, MB, ChB, MRCPsych,
Prof Sami Timimi, Consultant Child Psychiatrist, UK
BaronessDr Jenny Tonge, House of Lords, UK
Dr Christine van Duuren, Member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation London, UK (retired)
Dr Maria van Hove, MD, MSc, MFPH,
Dr Sebastiao Viola, Consultant Psychiatrist, UK
Dr  Athena Viscusi, LICSW,  Washington  DC
Dr Rivka Warshawsky, Clinical Psychologist, Jaffa, Israel
Dr Petra Wempe, General Practitioner, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (retired)
Dr Judith Whale, MRCPsych, UK
Dr Cathy Wield, Specialist Physician, UK
Dr James H Williams, PhD, MSW, Tacoma, Washington, USA
Dr Richard Williams, General Practitioner (retired), London
Dr Pam Wortley, MBBS, MRCGP, General Practitioner (retired)
Dr Bernadette Wren, C Psychol, MSc Syst Psych,
Dr Venetia Young, General Practitioner, UK

Statement on EU Parliament’s resolution on two-state solution
Dec 17, 2022

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas vehemently deplores the fallacies and positions included in the EU Parliament’s most recent resolution, titled “The Prospects of Two-State Solution in Israel and Palestine”.

This move reflects an appalling bias towards the Israeli occupation and disregard for the rights of the Palestinians, who are suffering from the terrorism practiced by the Israeli occupation and fascist Israeli colonial settlers.

The EU Parliament’s resolution ignores the facts on the ground. As it commits to the so-called two-state solution, it shows disregard for the Israeli occupation’s policies which have undermined it by accelerating settler-colonial projects and stealing Palestinian land and resources. All that takes place in a blatant violation of international law and the UN resolutions reaffirming the illegality of Israeli settlements and the terrorism and violence practiced by Israeli settlers on a daily basis under the nose of the whole world.

It is not fair for the EU Parliament to lament the Israeli occupation soldiers who were held captive by the Palestinian resistance during the Israeli aggression on Gaza while ignoring the plight of thousands of Palestinian detainees who are languishing in Israeli prisons, where they are subjected to the most heinous forms of physical and psychological torture and are denied their most basic rights. This reflects the EU’s double standard policy towards the Palestinian people.

We reject the EU Parliament’s insistence to label the legitimate Palestinian resistance as “terrorism” while recognising the so-called Israeli “security concerns”.

This move will give the Israeli occupation the green light to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people and children.

We call on the EU to immediately backtrack on this resolution and not to align with the Israeli occupation, whose crimes have not ceased, the latest of which was the execution of Palestinian child Jana Zakarneh in her home in Jenin.

We stress that the Palestinian people will continue their struggle and legitimate resistance to defend themselves and their rights until ending the occupation, restoring their right to self-determination, and establishing their state with Jerusalem as its capital.

State of Palestine says EU Parliament’s resolution on two-state solution does not take into account Israel’s crimes

RAMALLAH, Thursday, December 15, 2022 (WAFA) – The State of Palestine takes note of the passing of the European Parliament resolution on the prospects for the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The State of Palestine recognizes the European Parliament’s firm stance on the importance of realizing the international consensus of two-States, including through the convening of an international conference.

The State of Palestine deeply regrets and is concerned about efforts by certain quarter in the European Parliament to inject false claims and attacks against Palestinian children, institutions, and UNRWA. We regret that the resolution does not take into account Israel’s grave violations and crimes, including Israel’s apartheid regime.

The State of Palestine is also troubled by the politicization of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people and warns that such politicization sets a dangerous precedent, undermines the independence and humanitarian work that the European Union is a champion of, and discriminates against the Palestinian people.

The European Union Parliament missed yet another opportunity to help salvage the two-State solution by calling for the recognition of the State of Palestine, labeling of settlements products, and pursuing accountability for Israel’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.

Israel’s illegal occupation and its apartheid regime remain a grave threat to international peace and security. The European Union should not be complicit in Israel’s oppression nor reward or accommodate it, including by suspending Association Agreement and labeling of settlement products, in accordance with the European Union’s obligations under international law.

This is critically important not just for Palestine but for the validity and continued viability of the rules-based international order, of which the European Union plays an instrumental role in preserving it.

Finally, the Palestinian people have been under Israel’s occupation and oppression for over 55 years. Indeed, it is the duty and the obligation of the European Union and its Parliament to work towards ending Israel’s injustice and ensuring human rights, freedom, and independence for the Palestinian people.


video del medico di Nefrologia responsabile dell’Unità di dialisi pediatrica dell’ospedale specialistico pediatrico Rantissi di Gaza


ti inviamo un video del medico di Nefrologia responsabile dell’Unità di dialisi pediatrica dell’ospedale specialistico pediatrico Rantissi di Gaza, il dr. Moahmmed Al Aqar.

Speravamo di ospitarlo nell’Ospedale Pediatrico Santobono di Napoli, per un periodo di formazione e scambio di 3 mesi ed abbiamo raccolto i fondi per questo scopo. Ma non è riuscito ad attraversare il confine perché gli è stato negato il passaggio da parte degli egiziani, e non sono state fornite ragioni.

Sottratte le spese già fatte per questo progetto “abortito” (voli, visti, assicurazione, servizi telefonico e wifi, abbonamento bus, cioè quasi il 30% del fondo messo da parte) abbiamo i fondi residui da utilizzare e abbiamo deciso di spenderli per sostenere l’acquisto di forniture per il Dipartimento di Nefrologia, Unità di dialisi, dell’ospedale specialistico pediatrico Rantissi.

Visitando di persona il reparto, sappiamo che questo contributo sarà utile e molto gradito, e voi ascoltando il video capirete quante sono le esigenze non soddisfatte per l’unità di dialisi, a causa della scarsità di fondi nel Ministero della Salute.

Pertanto, vi chiediamo di aiutare attraverso di noi a dare sostegno a questa unità di dialisi e ad adottare uno dei 42 bambini che trascorrono 3-4 ore della loro vita ogni due giorni attaccati alla macchina per emodialisi.

In primo luogo e subito, speriamo di acquistare direttamente dalle aziende di Gaza le forniture mediche più urgenti da loro segnalate per la cifra residua dal training mancato, e se ci riusciamo con il vostro aiuto futuro fornire strumenti necessari.

Speriamo nel tempo di riuscire a fornire strumenti non medici ma che possano dare più conforto e rendere meglio usate per i bambini, ce ne sono 42 tra i 2 ei 15 anni, per esempio un aiuto a non perdere l’istruzione o per farli intrattenere mentre sono incatenati ai tubi, anche perché questo li aiuterebbe a non essere più fragili nel loro percorso scolastico e sociale.

Naturalmente, contiamo su di voi

Salute a tutti

Paola Manduca, Prof. Genetics

Dear all,

we send you a video by a Nephrologist, dr Mohammed Al Aqar, responsible for the Unit of pediatric dialysis in the specialistic pediatric hospital Rantissi in Gaza.

We hoped to host him in the Pediatric hospital Santobono in Naples for training and exchange for a period of 3 months. We collected funds sufficient for this aim. But he did not manage to cross the border due to the Egyptians denial of exit, and not reason off course were given.

Once we subtracted the expenses done already for this “aborted” project (flights, visa, insurance, phone and wifi services, bus pass, i.e. almost 30%) we have the residual funds to use and decided to spend them to support all the same the Department of Nephrology at Rantissi.

Visiting in person the department, I know this contribution would be very welcome; you will learn why from the video by dr. Mohammed, that tells us that many are the needs not fulfilled easily for the Dialysis unit, due to scarcity of funds in the Ministry of Health.

Thus, here we ask you to help through a donation to us in order to give your support to this unit and adopt one of the 42 children that spend 3-4 hours of their lives every second day attacked to the hemodialysis machine.

Immediately, we will buy directly from Gaza companies the most urgent medical supplies, as listed by the Department of Rantissi, and eventually we hope to buy some instruments.

Hopefully in time we hope to provide so that the children, there is 42 of them between 2 to 15 years of age, may have more comfort while in hospital, some help not miss education or manage to be engaged in a good activity while they are chained to the tubes for 3-4 hours. This may have value in helping them to be less fragile among the other children both in school and socially.

Off course, we count on you

Best to all

PRESS RELEASE “15 years of Gaza blockade: what’s the role of the EU?”

A cross party hearing was held yesterday at the European Parliament, under the title “15 years of Gaza blockade: what’s the role of the EU?”

Francesca Albanese, recently appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, said that the blockade “is nothing short than settler colonialism” and that “the priority should be first and foremost to put an end to the illegal occupation.”

Michael Lynk, former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine, said that Gaza has been
transformed into an open-air prison and that Israeli authorities regularly recur to collective punishment, something that is forbidden under international law.
Mona Shtaya, member of 7amleh, The Arab Center for Social Media Advancement, draw the attention of the attendees to the growing Israeli surveillance system: the Israeli authorities, she said, “surveil the Palestinian social networks.” Moreover, “bugs are installed on mobile phones to surveil private conversations of the inhabitants of Gaza, making use of techniques of espionage.”
Asmaa Abu Mezied, member of Oxfam, said that “the depolitization” of the international aid is part of the problem. “As long as we talk only of assistance without accountability, there will not be any advancement” towards the end of the Gaza blockade, she said. At the conference Members of the European Parliament and participants received recommendations from civil society and call for actions that include:

➢ Respect the legitimate and unalienable rights of self-determination of Palestinian people,
including supporting the right to hold national elections.
➢ Acknowledge that the situation of the Palestinian people in Gaza is so catastrophic that no conditions can be accepted from the occupying power Israel, for it to lift the blockade.
Recall that the blockade has brought no security for either Israel or Palestinians;
➢ Demand the government of Israel, the occupying power, to lift the blockade immediately and unconditionally including: – Unrestricted passage of people and goods between Gaza and the West Bank and the
rest of the world; – Removal of the Access Restricted Area and of restrictions on fishing zones;
➢ Include these demands as conditions in all agreements in all political, diplomatic, cultural, military and economic relations with Israel. Prepare a mandatory timeframe with verifiable intermediate steps. Adopt the principle of sanctions if the timeframe is not respected.
➢ Call on the Egyptian authorities to further facilitate the movement of persons and goods to and from the Gaza Strip, and put an end to any restrictive measures.
➢ Establish discussion channels of direct dialogue with all the Palestinian counterparts to facilitate the furthering of the process.
➢ There must be a just and sustainable peace for all Israelis and Palestinians. Alleged war crimes committed in each round of violence must be investigated and prosecuted ensuring accountability according to the documented results of investigations into war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to the full respect of international laws and the UN recognized mechanisms of recommendations and implementation.
These action points will allow the EU to end its complicity in grave violations of
international law, and honour its own commitments and standards.

Israel’s assaults on public health infrastructure amount to war crimes″>

Nowhere was the human toll of Israel’s May 2021 aggresssion felt more acutely than at al-Shifa hospital, which was frequently overwhelmed and chronically understocked Naaman Omar APA images

In May 2021, the Israeli military dropped hundreds of bombs on the Gaza Strip, destroying houses, schools, businesses, and health care facilities.

Perhaps nowhere was the human toll of that month more apparent than at al-Shifa hospital, the “only hospital in Gaza equipped for emergency assistance.”

Doctors worked for days on end, rarely sleeping or eating and unable to see their families as they frantically treated hundreds of wounded Palestinian patients – at least, those patients who could actually reach the hospital.

Outside the hospital grounds, streets were so badly damaged by Israeli airstrikes that paramedics struggled to bring patients directly to al-Shifa.

In the span of those 11 days in May, Israeli occupation forces wreaked havoc on Gaza’s already precarious public health system, damaging or destroying 19 medical centers, including the offices of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a nonprofit that provides cancer treatment and medical prosthetics to children who are unable to seek care outside of Gaza due to Israeli blockades.

The Israeli military’s actions in 2021 were, unfortunately, nothing new. Numerous Israeli bombing campaigns have damaged or destroyed primary health infrastructure in the occupied Gaza Strip, including clinics and hospitals as well as key public health services like water treatment facilities, sewage treatment plants, and electrical grids.

This is not accidental. Israel relies on – among other strategies – the destruction of Palestinian health infrastructure, the targeting of medical personnel, and inhibiting Palestinian access to health care to enforce its regime of apartheid.

Yet Western health officials often overlook these acts, which are nothing short of war crimes, and this passive complicity violates our promise as health care professionals to do no harm. The physical and mental health of the Palestinian people is a central component of Palestinian liberation and must be discussed as such.
A health care void

Israel’s military offensives against Palestine have both created and exacerbated existing public health concerns within the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank. Beginning with the Nakba in 1948, Israel has made it a matter of policy to destroy not only Palestinian homes and communities, but clinics, hospitals, and other health infrastructure.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza in 2021 damaged or destroyed numerous clinics, a water treatment facility, and infrastructure related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza were injured during Israel’s May 2021 military assault and hospitals were overwhelmed.

The outright destruction of Palestinian health infrastructure, such as the bombing of a clinic operated by Doctors Without Borders, is accompanied by direct physical violence against health care personnel.

The Israeli military have killed medical professionals, including doctors Ayman Abu al-Ouf and Muin al-Aloul in 2021 and paramedic Razan al-Najjar, who was killed by Israeli snipers in 2018.

Often leaders and pillars of their communities, doctors killed by the Israeli military leave behind both a physical and psychological void of health care and security.

The actions of the Israeli government and occupying military forces are indefensible by any interpretation of international humanitarian law, yet they are ignored at every opportunity by world leaders. In no other country and in no other war would such actions be left unaddressed by the Western medical community.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the American Medical Association has issued no shortage of press releases calling the targeting of civilians and healthcare workers “unconscionable.”

To be sure, the actions of Russia are unconscionable, but so too is the inaction of Western doctors and health care personnel to stand in solidarity with our Palestinian counterparts.
Bodily health is resistance

Along with the destruction of Palestinian health infrastructure and the targeted killings of Palestinian health care workers, the Israeli government imposes draconian restrictions on the movement of Palestinians seeking health care in Gaza and the West Bank.

Medical travel permits are often delayed, lost or ignored by Israeli occupation forces operating checkpoints out of Gaza. Figures from the World Health Organization estimate that the Israeli government and military accepted only 54 percent of medical travel permits in 2017.

Blockades and checkpoints operated by Israeli occupation forces grossly impede not only the day-to-day freedoms of Palestinians, but prevent ambulances from transporting critically ill and injured patients.

Despite the close proximity of the Israeli and Palestinian populations, infant and maternal mortality rates remain markedly higher for Palestinians, and life expectancy is almost 10 years shorter. The rates of stroke, hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and neonatal disorders range from three to seven times higher for Palestinians as compared with Israelis.

This is by design.

The Israeli government has removed or prevented the construction of systems of care and residences – denying building permits and demolishing homes. Living under a regime of occupation and apartheid carries with it a heavy physical toll, one that cannot be adequately expressed through statistics.

Bodily integrity and bodily health are identified as key components to individual prosperity. The right of self-determination and Palestinian liberation are incumbent upon the general health of the Palestinian population, both of which the Israeli government aims to destroy.

The health care workers and public health personnel living and working under Israeli occupation are a testament to Palestinian strength and resistance, and public health officials in Palestine must have their calls to action echoed by their colleagues internationally.

Outside of Palestine, health care professionals should be among the first to apply pressure to Western governments to end funding absent a change of Israeli behavior and to condemn and uncover Israeli war crimes.

Targeting the health care sector is a grave crime against humanity and in further analysis of global health policy, it is imperative we address Israel’s action as such.

Emily Hacker received her MPH degree from the University of Utah. Her research interests focus on public health infrastructure and emergency medical services in the context of war zones and refugee settings.



LOCATION: EU Parliament, room: SPINELLI 1G2 (BRU) hosted by: Marc Botenga
MEP (the Left), Margrete Auken MEP (Greens)
MICHAEL LYNK, former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine (online): Towards a
lifting of the Gaza blockade – How to ensure an effective EU / UN collaboration in easing
access and movement restrictions for people and goods
FRANCESCA ALBANESE, new UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine: Upcoming
UN priorities and the urgency of ensuring human rights protection for the people in
the Gaza Strip
ASMAA ABU MEZIED, Oxfam, Gaza Strip: The economic and humanitarian
impact of the blockade. Focus on the impact on women
MONA SHTAYA, 7amleh (online): Gaza as a testing ground for Israeli military and
cyber-surveillance technology
Languages: EN/AR/FR/ES –