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New Report on East Jerusalem and the Wall

New Report on East Jerusalem and the Wall

Press Release

14 December 2005

In a new report, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel details the current situation in Jerusalem on three major levels: the political, economic and medical. Special attention is given to the separation wall being built in and around Jerusalem and its affect on the Palestinian population of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

East Jerusalem is essentially a medical center that is meant to serve the Palestinian population. Certain medical services- such as oncology treatment, open heart surgery, pediatric cardiac surgery and certain orthopedic and eye surgeries, are only available in East Jerusalem and not in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. However, over the years East Jerusalem has been cut off from the rest of the occupied territories, with this process reaching a peak in the last period due to the construction of the wall. This is especially felt in the suburbs of east Jerusalem- there, in villages like A-Ram, people relied on the services available in Jerusalem and now must travel to other regions to receive medical care.

The forced separation of the hospitals and their patients has had a very negative impact on the hospitals, and is in effect threatening their existence. For example, the number of out patients from Gaza and the West Bank has plummeted in half: from 344, 172 in 2002 to 177,500 in 2003. This statistics continues to drop.

The “solution” of the Israeli military’s Civil Administration- the permits system- has proven to be a failure. The number of Palestinians in need of medical treatment far exceeds the number of people given permits. Also, even the hospitals’ staff members have not always received permits, thus lowering the ability of these east Jerusalem hospitals to function.

It seems that the patients are again paying the price for the political aspirations of the Israeli government who wishes to maintain its control over east Jerusalem, which it illegally annexed shortly after the 1967 war. The hospitals cannot function without patients, and patients will suffer without access to these hospitals. The results will be detrimental on all three levels discussed in the report. Accordingly, the report includes recommendations that concentrate on all these levels: the political implications of the current deteriorating situation, the economic aspects and the medical predicament.

An executive summary (two pages) and the full report, entitled “A Wall in the Heart”, can be downloaded here:

executive summary

ENDS

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