Médecins du Monde 14 February 2005
The Ultimate Barrier: Impact of the Wall on the Palestinian health care system
Since June 2002, the construction of the Wall has steadily added another layer of obstacles isolating, fragmenting and thus deteriorating the Palestinian health care system.
In order to address some of the health impacts of the Wall, Medecins du Monde (MDM)-France started the Wall response program in May 2004. The organization has supported emergency medical transport services in Aizaria (East Jerusalem), Women and Children mobile health clinics in 11 villages in the West Bank, and monitors the health impact of the Wall, in close collaboration with local partners.
In conjunction with our medical activities, MDM has decided to bear witness to the obstacles created by the Wall in accessing medical care. To accomplish this task, MDM collected 83 testimonies from people living in the West Bank and Jerusalem from July to October 2004. The testimonies focused on how the Wall has impacted individual lives. Once they had been compiled, they were enriched by our medical expertise in the field. MDM does not only take into consideration the “physical” Wall but also the whole set of already existing barriers such as checkpoints, earth mounds and roadblocks which are de facto associated with it.
This report “gives voice” to patients and medical staff who face daily difficulties due to the Wall. Their testimonies illustrate the following:
The Wall appears as the final and most visible part of a network of barriers, both physical and administrative, which restrict Palestinians right to life and freedom of movement in the occupied Palestinian territories. Since it does not follow the Green Line and encroaches into the West Bank, the tracing of the Wall is both disproportionate, in its health impact, and illegal. It violates both International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law.
We therefore call on the Israeli authorities:
We call on the international community:
We also call on the Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Authority to prevent attacks on civilians and ensure their protection on both sides.