Ghosting Palestine: Hiding health and human rights violations

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Palestinian doctors receive the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Ministry of Health, in Gaza City, on February 22, 2021. (photo: Ashraaf Amra / APA images)
A global alliance of academic health and humanitarian advocates call out the power imbalance between the settler colonial state and the colonized in Palestine.

By Alice Rothchild | Health and Human Rights Journal | July 26, 2021

Since the founding of Israel, efforts to document Palestinian history and rights has consistently been met by well-organized protests that include a large number of letters to journals and media outlets and hostile personal attacks on authors and editors.

Journals in the medical, social, and political sciences have begun to highlight an appreciation of structural racism, and the personal and public health costs of bigotry and chronic stress. For oppressed populations, understanding these forces is critical to the establishment of basic human rights, including the right to health in its broadest sense: access to health services, clean water, sanitation, nutrition, housing, education, employment, and freedom of movement. International human rights law requires states to support these rights and calls out governments, groups, or individuals who violate these principles. However, there is one area of scholarship where these insights often do not apply, and that is Palestine.

The recent retraction of the article in Scientific American, “As Health Care Workers, We Stand in Support of Palestine,” is the latest example. The COVID-19 pandemic and repeated Israeli assaults have made it clear that the health of Palestinians is dependent on their liberation and the end of the Israeli occupation and siege

Stimulated by the 11 day Israeli assault in May 2021, a group of health workers and public health professionals began communicating about the impact of the attacks on Palestinians and the Palestinian healthcare infrastructure, and the silencing and macro as well as micro-aggressions they constantly experience. This resulted in a Policy & Ethics Opinion piece published June 2 in Scientific American on Palestinians in Gaza, Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel (now only available in a pdf not on the original website).

Read the full article here →