14 fatal workplace injuries in West Bank

Workers can be seen at a construction site in Jerusalem 10 June 2012 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Workers can be seen at a construction site in Jerusalem 10 June 2012 

The Palestinian Ministry of Labour confirmed that 2019 was unprecedented in the number of fatal workplace injuries in the West Bank and in Israel.

Likewise, the number of non-fatal workplace injuries has doubled since 2018.

The ministry indicated that last year 14 fatal workplace injuries were recorded in the West Bank and 28 others in the 1948 territories.

Firas Abu Hammad, head of the Occupational Health and Safety Department in the Ministry of Labour, said that “the construction sector is one of the most dangerous in Palestine.”

He continued: “The preventive aspect of occupational safety and health measures and requirements for workers and employers, therein, are severely deficient. Consequently, the extent of the commitment of labourers and employers alike to those measures is also insufficient, which leads to recording high rates of injuries, especially in this sector. This careless attitude towards undertaking the necessary preventive measures is due to the failing role of the employers’ and worker’s representatives to raise awareness and provide their peers with the required guidelines to occupational safety and health procedures.

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Abu Hammad added that about 70 per cent of the fatal workplace injuries recorded in 2019 occurred in the construction sector, which witnessed an increase of labour force in 2019 compared to 2018.

Statistics of the Ministry of Labour indicated that fatal workplace injuries in the West Bank, recorded between 2015 and 2019, reached a peak in 2015 with 21 fatal accidents, while the documented number of injuries in 2016 and 2019 was the same, 14 injuries. Thus, the percentage of injuries declined in 2017, recording 11 fatal injuries.

According to a report issued by the ministry today, Monday, the year 2018 witnessed the lowest rate of fatal workplace injuries during the five years, by recording only seven injuries. It is noticeable that in the period between 2015 and 2018, there was a general decrease in the number of fatal workplace injuries recorded by the Ministry of Labour. However, in 2019 the number of those injuries dramatically increased, doubling the rate compared to 2018.

Regarding the number of recorded workplace injuries in the West Bank in the period between 2015 and 2019, the highest number of documented accidents took place in 2019, reaching 880, followed by 808 work injuries in 2017, 776 cases in 2018, and 682 cases in 2016, with the lowest level of injuries recorded in 2015, reaching 664 injuries. Thus, the Ministry of Labour has become more aware of the importance of recording and documenting this type of injuries.

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On the 2020 plan of the Inspection and Labour Protection Directorate in of the Ministry of Labour to reduce the number of fatal workplace injuries, Ali Al-Sawi, Director-General of Inspection and Labour Protection Directorate indicated that “the most important interventions the directorate will take to reduce fatal workplace injuries are directed to the construction sector at a national scale and throughout the year, as long as the largest percentage of these injuries are recorded in this sector. The directorate will focus its field visits on construction sites in all the country’s governorates. Thus, professional reforms will be conducted in these sites, and strict legal measures will be taken against the employers, who do not comply with the regulations.”

As for the number of fatal workplace injuries in the Israel recorded by the Ministry of Labour between 2015 and 2019, the year 2019 witnessed the highest rate of fatal injuries, 28, followed by 26 injuries in 2015, 25 injuries in 2018, and 24 injuries in 2016, to record the lowest rate of documented injuries in 2017, which is 15. It is noticeable from these numbers that the recorded rates of fatal workplace injuries inside Israel are generally close during the past five years.

Regarding the number of recorded workplace injuries in the Israel in the period between 2015 and 2019, the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 witnessed the highest rates of injuries, reaching successively 427, 492 and 513, while the level of documentation in the Green Line decreased in 2018 and 2019, respectively, to 318 and 316.

Abdel Kareem Mardawi, head of the External Employment Unit, stated that the preventive measures would crystallise through conducting awareness-raising campaigns and education sessions for workers in the Israel about the health risks and physical injuries resulting from workplace accidents.

(Source / 14.01.2020) 

Palestinian prisoner enters his 111th day of hunger strike despite serious health deterioration

Ramallah (QNN)- The Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Zahran has entered his 111th day of hunger strike despite his very serious health condition, in protest against his administrative detention.

The Committee of Prisoners and Former Prisoners said that Zahran suffers from low heart rate in addition to pain all over his body and severe de-mineralization. He has lost over 35 kg of his weight.

Zahran’s family told QNN that the Israelis are repeatedly sending him between Kaplan hospital and the clinic of Ramleh jail, ignoring his health condition, in order to push him to end his strike.

It added that his lawyer and the Red Cross could not visit him last week.

The Israeli court last Tuesday rejected an appeal against Zahran’s administrative detention and ordered him to end his hunger strike.

Meanwhile, Jameel Ankoush, who is sentenced to 20 years in jail, has been on a hunger strike for over 16 days in solidarity with Zahran.

Ahmad Zahran has lost nearly 15 years of his life in Israeli jails. He went on a hunger strike last year in protest against his administrative detention but ended it after promises by the Israelis to end his detention. However, the Israelis renewed his administrative detention pushing him to restart another hunger strike.

(Source / 11.01.2020)

Due to Israeli restrictions, Gaza girl fights cancer alone at West Bank Hospital

Miral Abu Amsha, a 10-year-old suffering from leukaemia, is undergoing chemotherapy in a Nablus hospital by herself. And she is not the only patient in such situation

By Gideon Levy

Due to strict Israeli restrictions imposed on Gaza Strip, Gaza patients, including children are obliged to travel for treatment in West Bank, Jerusalem alone.

Writing for Haaretz about several cases, the Israeli journalist Gideon Livy said: “It is not difficult to imagine what the child’s parents, in the prison that is the Gaza Strip, are going through, hearing the weeping of their little girl every day over the phone and unable to help – not to be by her side, not to hug her, caress her, tend to her in her suffering.

“You do not have to be an oncologist or an expert in the psyche to know that the mental condition of a youngster hospitalised far from his or her parents affects the prospects of recovery. There are studies that have concluded as much.”

Taking Miral Abu Aisha as an example, Levy said: “The look on Miral’s face says it all: the anguished features of a little girl, a study in pain. There are balloons in the room, dolls on the bed, and a grandmother by her side – but Miral’s face bespeaks suffering.

“Occasionally, she is on the brink of tears, but holds back in order not to cry in front of strangers. But at some point, she can no longer contain herself and begins to weep. She’s sitting on the bed, the chemo tube attached to her arm, dripping the liquid directly into her vein.”

Miral Abu Amsha is a 10-year-old girl with leukaemia. She has been hospitalised for two weeks in Al Najah University Hospital in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank.

She has been undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment that is expected to continue for another four months at least, and her father and mother are not at her side. Her parents are far away, in the occupied Gaza Strip, beyond the hills of darkness, where a strict Israeli siege has been in place for more than 13 years.

‘A portrait of the essence of Israeli evil’

Levy says: “Miral misses them, Miral is sad, Miral barely speaks. Her grandmother who has been allowed to be with her, is in despair, imploring the Israeli guests who have suddenly entered the room to help.”

He adds: “This could well be the saddest place in the occupied territories. Every children’s ward in every hospital is a sad place; the rooms of children suffering from cancer are sadder still.

“But the rooms of children from Gaza who are suffering from cancer and hospitalised here at Al Najah in Nablus – where many are cut off from their parents at such a terrible time – are truly heartrending places.

“It is hard to spend any length of time here. The atmosphere of distress and helplessness is unbearable. A portrait of the essence of Israeli evil.

“Physically, the scene resembles any children’s ward in a modern hospital: colourful paintings on the walls, a playroom, a classroom for those hospitalised for long periods, spacious rooms for no more than two patients, comfortable armchairs for the family – everything that could help relieve a child’s suffering.

“But this week there were seven children from the Gaza Strip here, and only two were with their mothers. As for fathers, dream on. Israel’s ‘security’ considerations, you know.

“Most of the children were with their grandmother or aunt, and in some cases with a woman they didn’t know – whatever person was able to get an exit permit from the Gaza prison.

“All these children are here, in the West Bank, in an area supposedly under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, without their parents – by order of Israel – because no treatment is available for them in Gaza under the siege conditions there.”

(Source / 21.12.2019)

Italy sends medical team to occupied Gaza

A Palestinian medic receives medical treatment after being effected by tear gas, thrown by Israeli forces in Rafah, Gaza on 28 December 2018 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

A Palestinian medic receives medical treatment after being effected by tear gas, thrown by Israeli forces in Rafah, Gaza on 28 December 2018

An Italian team of paediatric cardiac surgeons yesterday arrived in the occupied Gaza Strip, local media has reported.

The medical team, which was consisting of 14 volunteers, was led by Stefano Luigi.

According to official Palestinian sources, the Italian team’s visit was organised in cooperation with the Palestine Children’s Relief Association (PCRF). They added that the team was aiming “to carry out a number of operations for Gaza children.”

The sources pointed out that the team was planned “to spend a week in Gaza to carry out open-heart surgeries.”

Gaza residents have been placed under an Israeli siege for over 10 years, with most of the city’s crossings closed, preventing goods and aids from entering the Strip.

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(Source / 10.12.2019)

Denied entry to Gaza for breast cancer mission

A full training and treatment project was wrecked after Israel had denied permission for Philippa Whitford

Israeli occupation has denied permission for British lawmaker, Philippa Whitford, who is a doctor, from entering Gaza to offer help for patients of breast cancer.

Over the past two and half years*, I have been working with Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) to improve the provision of services and treatment for breast cancer patients in Palestine.

Last year, I travelled out with the specific aim of setting up a project to enable experienced professionals in breast cancer care to provide teaching and training to local Palestinian clinicians working with breast cancer patients.

Since my last visit, I have managed to recruit a team of specialists from all over Scotland to join the project, which will help improve breast cancer care – prevention, diagnosis and treatment – for women in Gaza and the West Bank.

Tragically, many Palestinian women are denied permits to travel from Gaza to Jerusalem to access radiotherapy so it is important to be able to access as much treatment as possible near their home.

The plan this year was to travel out with the whole team in September but, frustratingly, I was denied a visa. Moreover, two others did not receive their visas in time.

However, I travelled, but I had to completely change my schedule and work the entire time from a base in Jerusalem.

Nonetheless, I am still able to see significant improvements since my visit last year, which is fantastic given that local clinicians are working under very difficult circumstances, particularly in Gaza. Hopefully, things will continue to progress.

In October, I raised the issue of my visa being denied in Parliament with the Foreign Office Minister. To see my question click here

Following this, Commonspace asked to interview me about how this affected my trip, my past work in Gaza, my thoughts on the current situation and what needs to be done to resolve it, and what our project hopes to achieve.

*This letter was written one year ago.

(Source / 04.12.2019)

Qatari doctors in Gaza to carry out cochlear implant ops for children

Qatari doctors perform ochlear implant operations on Palestinian children on 26 November 2019

Qatari doctors perform ochlear implant operations on Palestinian children in Gaza on 26 November 2019

A medical delegation from Qatar arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday to carry out cochlear implant operations on 14 Palestinian children with hearing impairments. According to the Director of Hamad Hospital for Artificial Limbs in Gaza, Dr Raafat Lubbad, the Qatari team includes specialists from Hamad Medical Institution in Qatar.

In addition to carrying out the operations, Lubbad explained, the visiting doctors will train their Palestinian counterparts in the cochlear implant procedure. He pointed out that Palestinian doctors had received training during previous visits by specialists from Qatar. Palestinian Consultant Mohammed Murad, for example, has started to carry out such operations and training others qualitatively.

Dr Lubbad said that all of the children having cochlear implants are under six years old, and the devices themselves were brought from outside Palestine.

Since the start of these procedures two years ago, 166 out of 2,000 with hearing impairments have had implants, all of which have been successful.

The cochlear implant programme is sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Health and paid for by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in cooperation with other Qatari NGOs.

READ: Qatar to stop providing funds, aid to Gaza in 2020

Qatari doctors perform ochlear implant operations on Palestinian children on 26 November 2019
Qatari doctors perform ochlear implant operations on Palestinian children on 26 November 2019
Qatari doctors sit with Palestinian families whose children till undergo ochlear implant operations on 26 November 2019
Qatari doctors perform ochlear implant operations on Palestinian children on 26 November 2019

 (Source / 26.11.2019) 

Palestinian prisoner transferred to Israel’s clinic despite risk of death

Palestinian political prisoner Sami Abu Diak [Twitter]

Palestinian political prisoner Sami Abu Diak, 19 November 2019 

Palestinian political prisoner Sami Abu Diak who has been diagnosed with cancer has been sent back to Israel’s Al-Ramla prison clinic despite reports that it lacks the specialist care he requires.

The transfer from Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre to the clinic in Ramla prison came after the detainee was rushed to the hospital two days ago following a serious deterioration in his health.

According to the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission in the Gaza Strip, Abu Daik’s condition remains unstable. The organsiation warned that he could “die at any moment” due to cancer which has spread all over his body.

He is also suffering from kidney and lung failure.

The commission – affiliated to the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces – made demands for the immediate and unconditional release of Abu Diak, so that he can receive treatment in the West Bank, close to his family.

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The commission’s statement also explained that Abu Diak lost nearly 40 kilogrammes in weight and his blood sugar level has dropped.

Thirty-three-year-old Abu Diak, from Jenin in the occupied West Bank, was arrested on 17 July 2002 and is serving a life sentence for resisting the Israeli occupation.

There are currently more than 500 Palestinians serving one or more life terms in Israel out of over 5,500 detainees in Israeli jails, reported official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

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(Source / 19.11.2019) 

Gaza specialist doctors emigrate due to Israel siege

Image of Palestinian doctors performing surgery in Gaza [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]

Palestinian doctors performing surgery in Gaza 

More than 120 highly qualified Palestinian doctors emigrated from the Gaza Strip in 2018 and 2019, pushing the Ministry of Health to close medical departments in hospitals.

According to a report published by Amad.ps on Saturday, the Palestinian doctors who left their posts in Gaza highlighted the pressure of working under the 12-year Israeli siege imposed on Gaza.

On Facebook, Surgeon Adnan Radi wrote: “The first skilled and most qualified specialist of heart surgery Mohammad Nassar left Gaza, pushing us to close the Department of Cardiac Surgery.” He described this as a “catastrophe.”

Ahmed Shatat, an official at the doctors’ affairs division in Gaza hospitals, said doctors travel aboard to look for “better opportunities” because they “do not have regular salaries” in Gaza as a result of Israel’s actions.

“Qualified doctors do not feel they have a bright future that matches their qualifications in the besieged Gaza Strip where they have low and irregular salaries,” Shatat said.

He stated that the problem is not with the emigration of the new graduates, but of the “skilled doctors whose emigration poses a serious danger to the health care system.”

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Journalist Sama Hassan wrote on her Facebook: “I do not expect doctors who leave Gaza to find a better life, but they would find a regular salary and have work security.”

She hailed the efforts of Gaza doctors but reiterated that they are looking for some kind of safety and stability.

“They have served patients and the wounded in the most difficult times,” she said, “but they have spent the best years of their life studying and getting the best skills and experience so they want to get some gains in order to have a secure and stable life for themselves and their families.”

Retired specialist of general health Yousef Musa said: “The emigration of skilled doctors is a dangerous indicator because the Ministry of Health is forced to look for alternatives.”

He noted that the sole alternative is treatment abroad and this is very expensive and exhausts a large per cent of its budget.

(Source / 11.11.2019) 

Seriously Wounded Palestinian Woman Hooked To Life Support Machines

The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported that the Palestinian woman, who was shot and seriously injured by Israeli army fire, on Wednesday morning, is currently in a very critical condition, and is hooked to life support machines at an Israeli hospital.

Karim Ajwa, a lawyer of the Committee, said that the wounded woman, Soheir Islamiyah, 38, was moved by the soldiers to Shaare Zedek Medical Center, in occupied Jerusalem.

Ajwa stated that he managed to see the seriously wounded woman at the Israeli hospital, and added that she is in a critical condition, currently dependent on life support machines at the Intensive Care Unit.

He also said that the Ofar Israeli military court, near Ramallah in central West Bank, will be holding a hearing on the case of the wounded woman, this coming Sunday.

It is worth mentioning that Soheir was shot and seriously injured, on Wednesday morning, near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, after the army claimed he attempted to stab them.

After shooting her, the soldiers prevented Palestinian medics from approaching her to provide her with the urgently needed medical care, and later called for an Israeli ambulance and transferred her to Shaare Zedek.

No soldiers were injured in the alleged stabbing attempt.

(Source / 31.10.2019) 

Augusta Victoria Hospital Out of Service, PA Refuses to Pay Debts

Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), in occupied Jerusalem, Sunday evening, launched a distress call entitled “The Future of AVH Hospital is in Danger,” which has reached a dead end, according to administration.

The hospital said, in a statement, that the Palestinian government did not transfer any funds to the hospital and refuses to pay its debts, which have now reached NIS 200 million. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtayah said, Sunday afternoon, that the Ministry of Finance transferred NIS 20 million.

The director general of the hospital, Walid Namour, said that there were no medicines, and that the hospital is incapable of providing treatment services, calling for immediate funds to buy medicine.

Namour added that the NIS 20 million in question had not reached the hospital, and, even if it did, only constitutes only 10% of the debt.

Dozens of patients, especially cancer patients, some of them from Gaza, complained of the hospital’s refusal to treat them because of the debt crisis, and the lack of cancer drugs in the hospital.

He noted, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that the pharmaceutical companies specializing in cancer treatment, and a number of other serious diseases, have stopped dealing with the hospital.

(Source / 28.10.2019)