Holding back UN blacklist of companies working in settlements encourages impunity

Palestine Update 293

Holding back UN blacklist of companies working in settlements encourages impunity
By Madeeha Araj

The National Bureau for Defending Land and Resisting Settlement has described the UNs’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet’s abstention from disseminating the names of all companies working in the settlement, as a clear political, legal and moral violation of human rights, and contradict its rights, especially, resolution 31/36 of 2016 and the commitment made by Bachelet in March 2019 to the Head of the Human Rights’ Council. “The National Bureau confirmed that Bachelet behaves in double standard, and bows to the American and Israeli pressures as well as some EU countries on her, and on the Human Rights Council, while she has to carry out neutrally her mission to protect the rights of Palestinian citizens in the territories occupied since June 1967, but also to ensure respect for the law from all governmental and non-governmental bodies concerned with human rights, and to ensure the provision of tools and standards to promote the implementation of the law and international standards, especially as Israel stepping up, with the support of the US administration, the building of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank”.

The number of settlers in the West Bank, excluding occupied Jerusalem, reached 427,800, i.e. 4.77% of the Israeli population. The population growth rate in Israel in 2018 was 1.9%, while the growth rate in settlement was about 3.5%. 4400 settlers i.e. 8050 born or transfer to in the West Bank, According to the data, about 3,000,000 people live in the West Bank, 14% of whom are settlers, with 2,636,244 Palestinians in the West Bank and 284,926 in East Jerusalem.

By the end of the week 2018 and the beginning of 2019, the number of settlers reached about 427,800, i.e. 4.77% in the West Bank excluding Jerusalem. The population growth rate in Israel in 2018 was 1.9%, while the number of settlers out of 14,400, more than half of which is 8,050 i.3. 56%. According to the data, about 3 million people live in the West Bank, 14% of whom are settlers, with 2,636,244 Palestinians in the West Bank 284,926 in East Jerusalem

On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the International Socialist Organization (ISI) condemned the policies of the Israeli occupation in Palestine, and the statements made by the Israeli PM Netanyahu to annex the Jordan Valley and demolish houses. It reiterated its support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and the right of refugees to return.

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WHO launches report on the Right to Health 2018?
WHO today released its report, “Right to Health in the occupied Palestinian territory: 2018”. The report examines obstacles to achieving the highest attainable standard of health for Palestinians living under occupation, including barriers to adequate healthcare provision, access to healthcare, determinants of health beyond healthcare and health attacks. “Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip continue to face major barriers to the realization of the right to health. Sustainability of quality healthcare services is challenged by chronic occupation and fragmentation; restrictions on movement have a profound impact on access to healthcare, including vulnerable Palestinian patients. A study completed by WHO this year demonstrates that cancer patients initially denied or delayed permits to access chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy outside Gaza from 2015 to 2017 were 1.5 times less likely to survive in the following six months or more, compared to those initially approved permits. The findings highlight the urgent need for reform to remove access barriers to protect patients from harm.”

Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are exposed to high levels of violence. In 2018, 299 Palestinians were killed and 31,723 injured in occupation-related violence, of which the vast majority (87% of deaths and 81% of injuries) occurred in the Gaza Strip in the context of the Great March of Return, which began on 30 March 2018. The public health consequences of violence are severe. Over a half of conflict-affected children may be affected by post-traumatic stress disorder, while the long-term consequences of injuries, with more than 6,000 live ammunition injuries in Gaza alone over the year, put strain on an already overburdened health system. Health staff, too, work at considerable personal risk. In 2018, an unprecedented 432 attacks against healthcare in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Zeiad, a first responder with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), was injured with live ammunition and was taken in a critical condition to the PRCS hospital for emergency surgery. Zeiad stated, “When I remember the events of that day, it makes me very sad. Even us health workers – carrying out our humanitarian work and clearly marked with our PRCS vests – were targeted with live ammunition.”

WHO’s report highlights the health implications of impediments to inadequate access to water and sanitation, high rates poverty, unemployment and food insecurity and insecure housing, demolitions and displacement.” He expressed concern about ongoing high levels of exposure to violence, including for health workers: “No patient should have to worry about being prevented from accessing essential and lifesaving treatments, whether access to health facilities requiring Israeli-issued permits or access to essential medicines within Palestinian health facilities. No health worker should have to go to work with the fear of being shot at and killed. WHO’s report underlines the immediate need for our collective efforts to strengthen the protection of healthcare.”
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