Urgent Mission to Gaza and Call to Israel to Assume Responsibility

A Palestinian worker carries medical aids, donated from different countries, to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City May 31, 2006. (MaanImages)

Yesterday Physicians for Human Rights-Israel sent an urgent shipment, worth some NIS 70,000 of medicines to Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip. Representatives of the organization entered the Gaza Strip and met with the Palestinian Minister of Health, who expressed his appreciation of the organization�s activities during the current crisis and in general.

On 6 June 2006 Physicians for Human Rights-Israel sent an urgent shipment of medicines to Shifa Hospital, the main hospital in the Gaza Strip. The lack of medicines was created due to the severe crisis in the Palestinian Authority (PA) caused by Israel who is preventing the transfer of the tax revenue, and due to the international pressure the state exerts on the donor countries to act similarly. The shipment contained vital medicines, especially anesthetics needed for operations, the supplies of which at the Palestinian Ministry of Health have been depleted. The shipment was transferred to Shifa by representatives of the organization, who entered the strip a day earlier.

The medicines were purchased using donations contributed by private donors and foundations supporting the organization, following an appeal for donations put out by the organization on 22 May. Another shipment is planned for Rafidya Hospital in Nablus in the upcoming days.

During their stay in the Gaza Strip, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel�s representatives met with their Palestinian colleagues at various human rights organizations. In addition, they met with the Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. Basem Na`im. During the meeting, the Minister expressed his appreciation of the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel�s activities during the current crisis. He noted that the organization is respected by all Palestinian health factors, regardless of political affiliation. The Minister expressed his willingness to cooperate with the organization in training Palestinian physicians in Israeli medical institutions.

During their visit in the Gaza Strip, the organization�s representatives took notice of the difficult conditions there. The residents of Gaza are in great distress due to the unstable security situation, the declining economic conditions and the crisis currently affecting the Pa due to the freeze on international aid, and the stoppage of the transferring of tax revenue, which Israel collects for the PA.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel call upon the State of Israel to assume full responsibility for the results of its actions in the occupied territories, and in accordance with international law must supply immediately and fully all the civil needs of the occupied population.

For more information: Ibrahim Habib, Fieldwork Director and one of the representatives to Gaza: +972-54-7577696; Shabtai Gold, Public Outreach, +972-54-4860630. www.phr.org.il

Physicians For Human Rights-Israel was founded in 1988 with the goal of struggling for human rights, in particular the right to health, in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Human dignity, wellness of mind and body and the right to health are at the core of the world view of the organization and direct and instruct our activities and efforts on both the individual and general level. Our activities integrate advocacy and action toward changing harmful policies and direct action providing healthcare. Today Physicians For Human Rights-Israel has more than 1150 members, over half of whom are healthcare providers.

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