Heide is doing an internship for Viva Salud with our Palestinian partner organization Bisan Center for Research and Development. In this article, she explains four things you didn’t already know about the current situation in Palestine.
2022 is deadliest year in Palestine since 2006
The year isn’t finish yet but 2022 is already the deadliest year in decades in Palestine. And the numbers are still rising by the day. The monthly average death toll increased 57% in 2022 compared to last year. In October itself, 26 people were killed by the Israeli occupation army during search and arrest operations, gunfights or in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Eight of these were children. This makes October the deadliest month in 2022 for children in the Palestinian West Bank. Moreover, Israeli forces have arrested 5,300 Palestinians for resisting the occupation. However, Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation is completely legal under international law. Nothing can justify the deadly violence of the Israeli forces.
A new resistance movement is rising
Systematic daily violence in the occupied territories is on the rise. But where there is repression and oppression, there is also resistance. In Nablus, the second largest city in the West Bank, a new resistance movement is emerging. Called the “Lion’s Den”, the movement is attracting a lot of people. The movement emerged in August in response to the death of a young resistance fighter. It is a mix of young people from different political backgrounds. The Israeli occupation army tries to stifle the resistance, killing all the founders of the movement and trying to liquidate its leaders. Many young people show their solidarity. They support and join the movement. In two months, the movement grew from about 20 to 250 members.
Israel pushes for illegal collective punishment
In recent weeks, Palestinians have become very vocal against the illegal Israeli occupation. They are organizing and taking to the streets. On their side, the Israeli occupation forces are trying to control the situation. They act in a repressive manner and spread fear to stifle resistance. For example, Israel uses collective punishment. These are punishments imposed on an entire community for the actions of individual members within that community. This is illegal under international law. For example, the city of Nablus has been under total siege for 18 days and it does not appear that this will end soon. The city is completely isolated. People are not allowed to enter or leave the city, and even emergency medical aid is blocked. Palestinian social organizations that criticize these actions are also attacked. Unfortunately, these systematic attacks on Palestinians are not an exception. They are an integral part of the Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Apartheid and occupation over Palestine harm health
The Israeli government has been silencing critical Palestinian voices and social organizations for years. Our partners know all about it. Health Work Committees (HWC), Bisan and Awda are the targets of repression for standing up for the rights and health of Palestinians. The impact on Palestinians’ health is enormous. That’s what research by Bisan shows. Staffing levels at Awda, HWC and Bisan have shrunk sharply over the past decade. So have their budgets. As a result, they can reach fewer Palestinians with their important work. Israeli repression, for example, has forced HWC to close all mobile clinics. Bisan estimates that as a result, HWC reaches 67,000 fewer Palestinians with their health services, especially in remote areas. The consequences are clear. In occupied Palestinian territory, the average life expectancy for Palestinians is only 74 years, while Jewish citizens in Israel average 82.7 years. A difference of almost a decade. The conclusion is clear: apartheid and occupation harm health!
Activists, healthcare workers, health organizations and social movements that stand up for the right to health in Palestine and elsewhere are victims of repression. We cannot be healthy until they are in safety. They are not targets! Show your solidarity by taking a photo with a message for our partners and the hashtags #NotATarget and #DefendtheDefenders. Send this photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.