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PHR-Israel: Call to Paris Conference Attendees

PHR Israel to donor countries taking part in Paris Conference on 17 December 2007: Health is a precondition to a viable Palestinian State, and to Peace. In addition PH R Israel calls to end the siege on Gaza, that has taken a heavy toll on its residents.

On Dec 17th, the donor countries convene with the aim to provide financial and political support to the Palestinian Authority. This support should enable the
Palestinian Authority to develop the capacities to build a viable State.

Viable Palestinian State – The Right to Health as a Precondition

A Call to Donor Countries Participating in the Paris Conference Dec. 17th

Given that the aim of this conference is to mobilise donors, to provide financial and political support to the Palestinian Authority that will enable it to develop the capacity to build a viable Palestinian State, we wish to emphasize the need to address the following issues:

1) Health delivery in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is deteriorating, creating a growing dependence on buying health services from the outside[1]. At the same time, patients from the Gaza Strip – where the health system is in an even poorer condition – face growing restrictions on access to treatments outside the Gaza Strip. The Rafah passage, the only international passage, has been closed since 9/6/07. The Erez Checkpoint is extremely difficult to pass due to high levels of permit rejections by the Israeli General Security Service.

2) According to the UNDP/PAPP (May 07), "despite extensive humanitarian and developmental assistance, there is a widespread poverty rate, with a high proportion of extreme poverty." The poverty level is much higher in the Gaza Strip (Average extreme poverty in OPT is 30% while all regions in Gaza are between 37% to 46%; Average of OPT above poverty line is 42% while all regions in Gaza are between 25% to 35%).

The “Peace through Health” approach rightly emphasizes that: "An adequate and equitable health care system, which addresses people's basic needs, gives them an essential form of security. Lack of such security may lead to violence or war to achieve it." Indeed PHR-Israel believes that the gaps between levels of economic security and health in Israel and the oPt are dangerous for the long term.

If the two-state solution is to be viable these issues must be addressed urgently. Short- term measures must include the end to the isolation of the Gaza Strip. There must be a safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank for people and commodities so as to allow economic activity. In addition medical teams and students must be allowed free passage to their training and higher educational studies, as they are the future generation upon which a viable Palestinian State depends.

[1] In 2004, 31,744 patients were referred to tertiary care not available in the Palestinian public system (WHO Possible consequence on the health sector due to the reduction of support of the public services.)


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