250,000 people with disabilities in Palestine

Dozens of them held in Israeli custody

250000with disabilities

225,228 persons suffered from at least one difficulty, which constitute 5.8% of the total population of Palestine; 127,266 in the West Bank constituting 5.1% of the total population of West Bank, and 127,962 in Gaza Strip constituting 6.8% of the total population of Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said.

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a report published on Monday that the number of people with disabilities in the Gaza Strip has sharply increased over the past 10 years from 3.7% of the total population to 6.8% in 2017.

The PCBS said, marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the percentage of people with disabilities increased in Gaza Strip in 2017 compared to a slight decrease in the West Bank.

On the other hand, said the PCBS, the percentage of persons with difficulties in Palestine in 2017 among males was 6.3% and 5.4% among females, while 2007 data indicated that the percentage reached 4.8% among males and 4.6% among females.

Statistics showed that 2.9% of the total persons in Palestine are with mobility difficulties in 2017. Seeing difficulty is the second most prevalent with 2.6%. Compared to 2007 seeing difficulty was the most prevalent with 2.5% in Palestine followed by mobility difficulty with 1.8% of total population.

Meanwhile, the Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies revealed that 33 Palestinians suffering physical or mental disabilities are currently held in Israeli jails amid very difficult detention conditions.

(Source / 03.12.2018)

First batch of Japan medicines arrives in Gaza

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stands next to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Jericho Agro Industrial Park (JAIP) on a visit to the West Bank on 2 May 2018. [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (CR) stands next to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Jericho Agro Industrial Park (JAIP) on a visit to the West Bank on 2 May 2018

Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza yesterday announced the arrival of the first batch of medicines donated by the Japanese government in Gaza Strip, Quds Net News reported.

In a press conference, Director of the International Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Health Ashraf Abu-Mhadi said: “Japan has several contributions in supporting healthcare sector the latest of which was opening the centre for the early detection of breast cancer, equipping Al-Shifa Hospital and managing the disposal of medical solid waste.”

Abu-Mhadi thanked the Japanese embassy and the Japanese institution for helping Palestinians in Gaza, reiterating the “deep” relationship between the Palestinian and Japanese people.

He noted that Japan is to fund a new programme related to the rehabilitation and support for Palestinians wounded during the “Great March of Return”.

“Gaza and Japan enjoy the same spirit of persistence on rebuilding everything from the ash and facing all the challenges without surrender,” the representative for the Japanese embassy said.

READ: First shipment of Qatar fuel enters Gaza

(Source / 26.11.2018)

How Can Gaza’s Contaminated Water Catastrophe Be Solved?

Barely three percent of Gaza’s drinking water wells is fit for human consumption, and the crisis is claiming lives

By Sandy Tolan

Since the 2014 war, Mousa Hillah, known to neighbours and family as Abu Ali, has had far bigger worries, which are etched deeply into the exhausted face of the 48-year-old grandfather.

Dodging shell fire from Israeli tanks, he fled with his family from the destruction of his Shuja’iyya neighbourhood, flattened by Israel in an attack so devastating – 7,000 shells in barely an hour – that it astonished even US military officials. (“Holy bejeezus!” one retired general exclaimed.)

The family took refuge for months in an in-law’s house near the sea, along with 50 other people. When they returned, Abu Ali found his home – the one he had built after 30 years of working construction in Israel – utterly destroyed.

Brick by board, he rebuilt it, adorning his front entrance, in a dose of biting irony, with repurposed tank shells.

Facts
UN: more than 95% of Gaza water is undrinkable.
Israeli occupation prevents entry of digging equipment to Gaza so that Gazans cannot dig deep to get clean water.
Salinity has been sharply increasing since the start of Israeli punitive measures on Gaza.

And now, as he sits in the filtered morning light beneath a lattice of grape leaves, he worries less about potable water than the Israeli drone buzzing overhead – often the harbinger of another attack.

God forbid if the military on either side, Israel or Egypt, starts shooting people approaching the fence, desperate for clean water.

Gidon Bromberg, director of Ecopeace Middle East in Tel Aviv, said: “I want to sleep well,” Abu Ali says, as his family takes refuge inside the rebuilt house. “I don’t feel safe in my home.”

So the brackish, undrinkable water that sputters from his tap, or the sweet water with possible faecal contamination in his rooftop tank: these are issues Abu Ali files under the category of extreme nuisance.

This very morning, for example, the electricity came on only from 6:30 to 8:30.

It shut off before the water delivery truck arrived – “too late to pump the water to the roof,” Abu Ali complains.

A shortage of drinking water is a major concern, but clearly, worrying about the buzzing drone takes priority.

Gaza’s water catastrophe

Yet if the Gaza Strip truly becomes “uninhabitable” by 2020, as the UN and humanitarian groups warn, it will be largely because of the utter collapse of the system for delivering safe drinking water and properly disposing of disease-causing sewage.

Because of Gaza’s water and sewage catastrophe, medical experts are now seeing sharp increases in waterborne and foodborne diseases, including gastroenteritis, severe diarrhoea, salmonella, typhoid fever, an “alarming magnitude” of stunting in young children, and even something called “blue baby syndrome.”

Independent, peer-reviewed medical studies also document an alarming rise in anaemia and infant mortality. And doctors in Gaza’s hospitals now report increased cases of paediatric cancer.

For years these torments seemed sealed off from the outside world by layers of fences, locked gates, patrolling Israeli drones and warplanes, and international disdain and indifference.

Now, finally, from Washington to European capitals, and even to the Israeli security infrastructure in Tel Aviv, alarm bells are going off, warning that something must be done to prevent the water catastrophe in Gaza from spinning out of control.

“If you really want to change the lives of people, you have to solve the water issue first,” says Adnan Abu Hasna, Gaza spokesperson for the UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA.

How did the water crisis begin?

The crisis essentially began with the creation of Israel in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their towns and villages and the population of Gaza quadrupled in a matter of weeks.

Now, three-quarters of Gaza’s two million people are refugees. Their descendants put immense pressure on Gaza’s aquifer, drawing it down so far that seawater is flowing in.

What is increasing the pressure on the aquifer are the billions of gallons pumped by Gaza’s now debilitated citrus industry, and the billions more by Gaza’s Israeli settlers, who helped drain a sweet pocket of Gaza water before Israel removed them in 2005.

Now, barely three percent of Gaza’s drinking water wells are fit for human consumption.

The aquifer is badly contaminated with disease-causing nitrates from pesticide use, and from sewage which flows freely as Gaza’s sewage plant is shut down for lack of electricity.

And the desalinated drinking water used by two-thirds of Gazans, according to tests by the Palestinian Water Authority, is prone to faecal contamination, causing more disease and making it a severe risk for Gaza’s children.

Israel’s bombing of water delivery infrastructure – including wells, water towers and pipelines, and sewage plants – in the 2014 war, made matters much worse.

A comprehensive peace deal, in theory, could have eliminated the challenges by connecting Gaza to the West Bank, where the vast Mountain Aquifer is big enough to drown Gaza’s water crisis.

As it is, there is no peace. The two territories are splintered, and Israel has effective control over all of the water – from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

As a health epidemic looms, experts, politicians, humanitarian officials and ordinary Gazans are left to debate the best way out of Gaza’s water catastrophe.

‘Stolen by the Israelis’

“We have 15 percent of our water resources, and the rest is stolen by the Israelis,” says Mazen Al Banna, deputy minister for the Hamas government’s water authority.

As he speaks, the wail of an ambulance and a slow mournful dirge pass by the minister’s Gaza City office – a memorial for three Gazans killed in Israeli air attacks the previous day.

Decades ago, Israel captured the Jordan River, directing much of its flow into Israel’s National Water Carrier.

Equally important, it controls the Mountain Aquifer, exercising its power under the Oslo accords to prohibit Palestinians from drilling wells – even though the aquifer lies almost entirely beneath the West Bank.

“And this is against international law,” says Al Banna. “I’m talking about Palestinian water rights. It is very important.”

Yet arguing for Palestinian water rights is akin to debating the right of return for Palestinian refugees. It may be inscribed in international law, but it remains a distant and faltering prospect within the current political reality.

Instead, Hamas ministers and everyone else in Gaza must contend with Israel’s ongoing economic siege, which has restricted the movement of basic goods, including medical supplies and crucial parts for water infrastructure.

“Occupation and siege are the primary impediments to the successful promotion of public health in the Gaza Strip,” declared a 2018 study in the Lancet, which cited “significant and deleterious effects to health care.”

According to a 2017 report by the Israeli human rights group B’tselem: “During the siege, the health system has further deteriorated due to the lack of medical equipment, medicines, and rescue vehicles, and because of the frequent, prolonged power blackouts.”

The Israeli siege sharply restricts the movement of people and materials to and from Gaza – including “dual-use” materials it claims could serve both civilian and military purposes.

This is a direct reason why nearly half the population is unemployed, and an increasing number of Gazans – now more than three-quarters of the population – are dependent on humanitarian aid.

The blockade has also delayed the entry of vital water infrastructure – in some cases, for years at a time.

A proposed desalination plant for Gaza City, for example – one of a series of proposed plants – has been delayed since 2010 because of dual-use restrictions.

“Eight years,” says Yasmin Bashir, project coordinator for Gaza’s Coastal Municipal Water Utility. “We got the funding in 2012. This plant is supposed to serve the people who are suffering from bad quality, high salinity water.”

For years Bashir continued to submit “a long list” of material for Israeli approval, including pipes, pumps, and spare parts for the desalination plant.

“But because of the blockade and frequent closure, that delayed the material entry into Gaza.”

And that is just one project.

“We manage more than 25 projects nowadays,” Bashir added.

Now, even voices within Israel’s military and security infrastructure are sounding warnings.

According to a 2017 report by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, “severe limits on access and movement imposed by Israel and Egypt have hindered post-conflict repair and reconstruction.”

Israel’s long list of dual-use items, according to the report, “includes 23 essential items” needed for Gaza’s WASH sector (water, sewage and hygiene), “such as pumps, drilling equipment, and chemicals for water purification.”

Is desalination the solution?

A consensus is now emerging between the Palestinian Authority, the UN, international donors, and even, it appears, the Israeli army, to establish a network of large desalination and sewage plants.

This solution carries an, at least, 500 million euro price tag, and is years away from operation, at best – if it’s ever built.

“Of course Gaza needs this project,” says Rebhi al Sheikh, former deputy minister for the Ramallah-based Palestinian Water Authority.

Others criticise the large, expensive development solution as inappropriate technology for an impoverished population that would struggle to afford desalinated water.

“The fantastic plans,” says Ramallah-based German hydrologist Clemens Messerschmid, fail to account for the fact that “Gaza can’t afford it. You just start crying if you look at the GDP.”

He argues that outside contractors, including in Israel, would be the biggest beneficiaries of the desalination scheme.

Perhaps more to the point, says Messerschmid, the amount of water to be produced by the plant won’t ultimately meet Gaza’s needs.

“You don’t reach these quantities under realistic conditions in Gaza.”

Yet the desalination plan appears to be gaining momentum.

The PA’s concerns about Gaza’s water crisis are joined by humanitarian agencies, foreign governments, and even, it appears, an emergency response committee of the Israeli army.

In a Gaza Emergency Response document circulated to unnamed “Friends and Colleagues,” the Israeli army calls for “an immediate humanitarian response” to “enhance the energy supply” and “increase the access to potable water” in Gaza.

Despite the desalination push, a pilot plant in southern Gaza barely operates.

A midday visit in late summer revealed a quiet plant; birds were chirping in the rafters above the idle plant floor: no power.

“We don’t have more than four hours these days,” said plant manager Kamal Abu Moamar. “But we hope.”

He is waiting for his superiors, PA ministers to solve the problem. “But we don’t know how or when.”

Even if the plants are built, there’s no guarantee they would remain standing. Some officials question whether Israel would decide to bomb the desalination plants in the next Gaza war, just as it bombed Gaza’s power plant and other critical infrastructure in previous wars.

“Nobody can tell Israel that you are doing the wrong thing,” says Hamas’s Al Banna. “Israel is doing everything against international law but nobody can prevent Israel doing everything she wants to do.”

In the “Emergency Response” document, the Israel army endorses the Gaza desalination plan, but so far has offered no guarantees it wouldn’t target these plants in the next war.

Al Jazeera contacted an Israeli army spokesman a dozen times, but did not receive a response by time the of publishing.

So the question came to Gregor von Medeazza, a UNICEF water and sanitation expert working in Gaza: Under the circumstances, is investing hundreds of millions in donor funds wasn’t too big a risk?

“Any infrastructure is a risk” he said, “[But] what is the way forward?”

Beyond Gaza’s borders 

Other risks abound, both with Gaza’s water and its sewage, which flows into the sea at a rate of 110 million litres a day.

These risks flow well beyond Gaza’s borders, flowing north in the currents.

Gidon Bromberg, director of Ecopeace Middle East, based in Tel Aviv, said Gaza sewage led to the closure of Israeli beaches, and even at one point the shutdown of the desalination plant in Ashkelon, which supplies Israel with 15 percent of its drinking water.

Bromberg says Israelis cannot continue to ignore the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

He called it “a ticking time bomb”, and warned of an outbreak of pandemic disease – a direct consequence of Gaza’s contaminated water.

If that happens, Bromberg says, Gazans could flock to the fence on Israel’s border – not “with stones or rockets,” but “with buckets”, demanding clean water.

“God forbid if the military on either side, Israel or Egypt, starts shooting people approaching the fence, desperate for clean water.”

This article is the second of a two-part series on Gaza’s water crisis. The first, which examines Gaza’s water and health catastrophe, has been previously published.

(Source / 22.11.2018)

UN warns of deteriorating capacity of Gaza’s largest hospitals

A child receives medical care in a hospital in Gaza [File photo]

A child receives medical care in a hospital in Gaza

The Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, visited Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, and documented the suffering of medical staff and patients there.

The hospital’s staff stressed to McGoldrick that they are no more able to provide the necessary care for the sick and wounded patients, they have a severe shortage of essential medicines and medical supplies, and they are unable to pay the medical staff’s salaries.

During his talks with the hospital’s staff, McGoldrick said: “The healthcare sector has been suffering from a severe shortage of funding for years and the siege the occupation has been imposing on the Gaza Strip for 12 years has prevented access to basic goods, supplies and medicines.”

He added: “The only way out of this situation is to find a political solution and until then, support for basic life-saving services in Gaza must be increased.”

For his part, a senior doctor at the hospital, Dr Mahmoud Matar pointed out to McGoldrick to the lack of basic resources in the hospital and said: “the worst feeling for the doctor is the inability to provide what is necessary to save the patient’s life.”

Read: The end of a reckless Israeli jaunt in Gaza

Matar called on the international community to help the hospitals in Gaza and provide them with the necessary medical tools to be able to deal with the large number of patients, which exceeds the capacities of the local staff.

About 20,000 people were injured in the March of Return demonstrations, 5,000 of who were shot by live bullets.

Because of the increase in the number of patients, the hospital was forced to postpone about 8000 surgical operations for cancer, heart disease, and other diseases.

(Source / 15.11.2018)

MAP gravely concerned by dangerous escalation in Gaza

Update [12pm, Wednesday 14 November]: Since this article was published a ceasefire has been agreed. Our team in Gaza reports that it is holding. 

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is gravely concerned by the dangerous escalation in Gaza this week and is monitoring the situation closely.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, six Palestinians were killed on Monday night and at least 20 others injured from Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. On Tuesday afternoon another Palestinian was killed and at least three others were injured from Israeli airstrikes.

A Palestinian resident of Halhoul in the occupied West Bank, working inside Israel, was also killed and 70 Israelis injured by rockets fired from Gaza.

It has been another day and night very similar to those of the 2014 attacks on Gaza. The airstrikes continued from 4.30pm Monday afternoon till Tuesday morning. A number of buildings in residential areas were targeted at very short notice.” Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Director of Programmes in Gaza

It is reported that Israeli forces targeted and demolished three residential buildings in Gaza, home to three Palestinian families, and five commercial buildings, including Al Amal hotel in Gaza City, 100m from MAP’s office.

Dr. Adnan Al Wahaidi, the Director of Ard El Insan, a local NGO MAP partners with in Gaza to challenge child malnutrition, lost his home in one of the destroyed residential buildings.

In interviews with Al Wattan and Al Jazeera, Dr. Adnan indicated that the building was residential, inhabited by families of doctors, lawyers, and university teachers.

Fikr Shalltoot said Tuesday afternoon that the situation was still very tense though the airstrikes were less intensive than during the night.

The Ministry of Health declared a state of emergency in Gaza.

MAP is in close contact with partners on the ground and is ready to respond should the situation escalate further.

MAP hopes for a swift de-escalation and return to calm.

(Source / 15.11.2018)

Yousef: Patients in Gaza must be saved urgently

Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, Essam Yousef

Head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, Essam Yousef

Dr Essam Yousef, head of the Popular International Committee to Support Gaza, said that the health sector in Gaza has deteriorated to an unprecedented level as a result of the continued siege and attacks by the Israeli war machine against the Palestinian people in the Strip.

In a statement issued today, Yousef said that the health sector has reached a level of depletion that cannot be ignored, as the institutions are unable to provide adequate and appropriate services to citizens.

He noted that the health sector, including the medical institutions and staff, are suffering and have been experiencing a gradual decline since the imposition of the Israeli blockade of Gaza more than 11 years ago. In addition to this, the wars waged by the occupation on Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014 have drained the health sector significantly.

Gaza hospital suspends services due to fuel shortages - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Yousef added that the attack by the occupation army against Gaza earlier this week, which deliberately targeted the homes of civilians, and its attacks on peaceful demonstrators participating in the “Great March of Return” have exacerbated the suffering of the health sector and reduced its functionality.

Hospitals and health centres in the Gaza Strip are no longer able to absorb the sick and the wounded, especially as the number of wounded civilians participating in the return marches reached more than 20,000, Yousef warned. This led to hospitals postponing surgeries for thousands of patients, including cancer and cardiac patients.

Yousef urged the international community to immediately save the lives of thousands of patients at risk of death by providing urgent support to the health sector in Gaza. This includes the provision of medications, basic equipment, and medical supplies.

He also called for providing support to medical staff by means of providing salaries, financial allocations and training opportunities.

2 out of 5 patients in #Gaza who apply for medical care outside the strip are rejected by #israel

#GazaSiege

Read more: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170911-who-israel-hind…/

See more

(Source / 14.11.2018)

After US cuts, PA to give Jerusalem hospitals $12.5m

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah attends the opening of the new year study at Aqaba girl school, in the West Bank city of Tubas on 29 August, 2018 [Prime Minister Office/Apaimages]

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah attends the opening of the new year study at Aqaba girl school, in the West Bank city of Tubas on 29 August, 2018

The Palestinian government yesterday said it would provide Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem $12.5 million to replace funds the United States said it is no longer willing to provide.

Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said: “It is our national duty towards Jerusalem, its institutions and people,” to prevent attempts to bury Jerusalem’s identity and heritage.

READ: Gaza suffering severe medicine crisis

Hamdallah pointed out that the decision came during a meeting with the directors of the East Jerusalem hospitals at his office in Ramallah City in the central occupied West Bank.

The cabinet decided to allocate $12.5 million to cover the deficit caused by the US’ decision to halt financing of East Jerusalem hospitals.

In September, the US decided to halt $20 million in funds to Palestinian hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem weeks after it announced that it would be cutting all funding to UNRWA and $200 million of aid for economic and social projects for Palestinians.

US decision to cut UNRWA funding – Cartoon

(Source / 07.11.2018)

Israel jails Palestinian cancer patient

Israeli prison [File photo]

Israeli prison

An Israeli military court yesterday sentences a Palestinian cancer patient to 13 months in jail and issued a fine of 3,000 shekels ($812).

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Ali Mahmoud Hanoun, a resident from the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, who suffers from cancer of the lymphocytes.

PPS added that Hanoun has been detained since March.

Despite Hanoun’s medical condition, the Israeli Salem military court sentenced him to 13 months in prison, in addition to paying a fine of 3,000 shekels ($812).

Read: Israel arrests 2,187 Palestinians

PPS said that Israeli authorities claimed that following his detention, medical tests were performed on Hanoun and showed that he no longer suffers from the disease.

PPS also noted that Hanoun was receiving cancer treatment when he was detained in March.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are 5,640 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 465 are in administrative detention, 53 are female prisoners, 270 are children, and 50 of the children are under the age of 16.

50 years on, tens of thousands of Palestinians detained for political protest | #PalPrisoners

READ: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170827-50-years-on-ten…/

MEMO #Infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 05.11.2018)

Israel issues imprisonment sentence against Palestinian cancer patient

Cancer patient in prison

QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — The Israeli Salem military court sentenced a Palestinian cancer patient, on Sunday, to 13 months in prison and to pay a fine of 3000 shekels ($812).

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained 22-year-old Ali Mahmoud Hanoun, a resident from the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya, who suffers from cancer of the lymphocytes.
PPS added that Hanoun was detained since March 2018.
Despite Hanoun’s medical condition, the Israeli Salem military court sentenced him to 13 months in prison, in addition to paying a fine of 3000 shekels ($812).
PPS said that Israeli authorities claimed that following his detention, medical tests were performed on Hanoun and showed that he no longer suffers from the disease.
PPS also noted that Hanoun was receiving cancer treatment when he was detained in March.According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,640 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 465 are in administrative detention, 53 are female prisoners, 270 are children, and 50 of the children are under the age of 16.

(Source / 04.11.2018)

Israel prevented 763 Palestinians patients from leaving Gaza

In the Gaza Strip, the "Doctors on the Earth" Society is providing urgent health services for people injured [Yeryüzü Doktorları/Anadolu Agency]

In the Gaza Strip, the ‘Doctors on the Earth’ Society is providing urgent health services for people injured

Israeli authorities prevented 763 Palestinian patients from leaving the occupied Gaza Strip for medical treatment in September, reported the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Some 668 patient applications to travel through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing were delayed, “receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment”, said the WHO.

Of these, 161 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 71 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older.

Meanwhile, 95 patient applications were explicitly denied permission to cross Erez for health care in September, including seven children and 14 patients aged 60 years or older.

Health ministry: Gaza suffering severe medicine crisis

Eighteen per cent of denied applications were for appointments in neurosurgery, 17 per cent for ophthalmology, 17 per cent for orthopaedics, and 12 per cent for cancer treatment and investigation.

More than 90 per cent of denied permit applications “were for appointments at hospitals in East Jerusalem or the West Bank”, noted the WHO.

The report notes that 18 applications in September were for permits for those injured during Great March of Return demonstrations – only one of which was approved (one denied, 16 delayed).

Medicine shortage risks lives of thousands of patients in Gaza

2 out of 5 patients in #Gaza who apply for medical care outside the strip are rejected by #israel

#GazaSiege

Read more: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170911-who-israel-hind…/

Meer weergeven

(Source / 02.11.2018)