Friday, 16 January 2009
By Alliance for People’s Health
As workers, students and activists in the health sector we condemn the gross and inhumane Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. We call for an immediate end to the ground invasion, the bombings and the 18 month siege on Gaza that has created a dire health and humanitarian crisis in Palestine.
Prior to the latest round of all-out war on Gaza, the 18-month siege denied Palestinians access to food, drinking water, cooking fuel, electricity, health care and essential medications.
The result of the Israeli siege on Gaza has been economic deprivation, hunger, thirst and ill health for 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children. Medical facilities have been consistently denied basic supplies, medicines, and electricity, undermining the ability of local health workers to effectively treat serious acute and chronic illness. Since the start of the siege, over 1150 patients have been denied permits to exit Gaza for critical life-saving treatments, with hundreds of cases of death documented. Childbearing women have delivered at checkpoints and newborns have died from families being held at checkpoints.
The recent attacks have targeted health workers, including Arafa Abd Al-Dayim, a volunteer ambulance driver, who was murdered by the occupation forces as he drove a Red Cross ambulance to Al-Awda Hospital on January 4, 2009.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs has stated that Gaza is being exposed to the most concentrated war actions ever, and that most of the Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza has already been destroyed. On January 6, 2009, a United Nations funded elementary school, which was housing hundreds of refugees fleeing Israeli attack, was shelled by Israeli forces, even though the school was clearly marked as a UN installation in Gaza.
The rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, used as a justification for massacre by Israel as well as the US and Canadian governments and media, is neither materially or morally equivalent to the gross violence meted out on the people of Gaza, who suffered the violent expulsion from their homes and lands in 1948 and continued Israeli occupation since 1967.
The bombing and ground invasion of Gaza represent the worst kind of butchery, aimed at destroying the Palestinian people through mass murder and fear.
Shamefully the Canadian government has wholeheartedly supported this massacre of Palestinians. The Harper government, like previous Canadian regimes both Liberal and Conservative, are more interested in protecting Canadian corporate, economic and geopolitical interests than in standing up for human rights or social justice.
As health workers, students and activists we cannot be neutral when it comes to war and occupation. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and people of conscience around the world in calling for an end to the Israeli attacks and massacres, an end to the siege on Gaza, and an end to the occupation.
Leonor Aracely Arenas Agis, APH member
Yuly Chan, APH Member
Azar Mehrabadi, PhD Student, UBC School of Population and Public Health
David Hendry, Registered Kinesiologist
Martha Roberts, Registered Midwife, APH member
Aiyanas Ormond, Community Worker & Health Activist
Jennifer Efting, Hospital Employees Union staff *organization listed for informational purposes
Beth Grayer, Labour Committee, Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice member, ESL instructor
Mathew Vis-Dunbar, Labour Committee, Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice
If you would like to add your signature to the letter, we welcome you. Please send us an email if you forward the letter with your signature added. Thank you!
Alliance for People’s Health
672 E Broadway