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Israel tour of the Jerusalem Stranglehold

Israel tour of the Jerusalem Stranglehold

Part of the tour near the wall in Abu Dis. The building of the wall continues. On Thursday, 29 January, PHR-Israel and Palestinian medical professionals gathered in Abu Dis, East Jerusalem, to join an informative tour of the wall that is being built there by the Israeli government, and to discuss its affects.

Photos by: Shabtai Gold

Several dozen Israeli and Palestinian medical professionals, most of whom are supporters and members of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, gathered in Jerusalem, in order to make their voice heard, and at the same time, to talk about the medical affects of the wall. The event was organized by Taayush, and was open to the general public, who was invited to learn about the subject.

The wall, 9 meters high, being built in Abu Dis will have dangerous implications for the health of both Palestinians in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank. Many Palestinians are dependant on the services available in East Jerusalem. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel emphasized that the wall is just the latest step in Israel's policy of separating the East Jerusalem hospitals form the communities they serve. It was preceded by the policy of closure, curfews, and permits, which had made access of both medical staff and patients extremely difficult.

Both Israeli and Palestinian speakers stressed the need to activate an alternative to the violence that has characterized the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in recent years. The speakers included Hadas Ziv and Dr. Ruchama Marton from PHR-Israel, Professor Mahmud Abu Jadid from the Abu Dis Medical School and Dr. 'Abdullah Abu Hilal from Mokassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. This joint act near the wall was one in the many actions that Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is participating in, as part of such an alternative.

On the day of the tour 11 Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem. On the day before, 9 Palestinians were killed. In the month of January, more than 32 Palestinians were killed and over 100 injured. Between 16 December 2003 and 6 January 2004, the Israeli army operated in Nablus and during this 20 day period, in that region alone, the army killed 19 civilians, including 6 children. In January 2004, 16 Israelis were killed, many of whom were civilians, as well as one foreigner. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel firmly condemns the violence in the region, specifically the attacks against civilians, and believes that the path of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation is the alternative to the hostility.

[Data from the Palestine Red Crescent Society, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group and Haaretz Newspaper.]

For more information: Hadas Ziv, Director: Occupied Territories Project- +972-66-623232 Shabtai Gold, Public Outreach- +972-54-860630. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded in 1988 and currently comprising some 840 members, with the aim of striving to promote medical human rights in Israel and in the territories under Israel's effective control. The basic values of PHR-Israel are human dignity, protection of bodily and mental integrity, and promotion of the right to health and medical care.

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