مؤسسة لجان العمل الصحي
Health Work Committees
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Home » Latest News »   18th April 2023Print

Support us to restore the Palestinian fragmented health

 Since its establishment in mid 80s, the Palestinian Health Work Committees (HWC) worked tremendously towards its mission for a Free Palestinian Society Enjoying its Health and Development Rights Based on Equity, Equality and Justice. HWC is considered one of the main community-based organizations which started very early to serve the Palestinian people by providing comprehensive rights-based primary health care and community-based social services.

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967; Israeli continues to sustain effective control over all the aspects of the Palestinian life through occupation, annexation, land confiscation and barricade. Israel has exerted its control in discriminatory actions that privilege its own citizens, while geographically segregating Palestinian communities and denying them equitable access to many of the essential healthcare services. In the meantime, Israel denies the right of return for Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their homes and land in 1948, this denial kept hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in a state of everlasting suffering, unable to enjoy their full rights to access essential dignified healthcare and social services, or contribute to the collective development of essential Palestinian institutions like healthcare. When Oslo accords was singed in early 90s, a light of hope appeared in the dark, this hope was faded away afterwards due to the continuation of Israeli apartheid policies against Palestinians, consequently, thousands of Palestinians were killed and injured, more land was confiscated, more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land were built, more access and movement restrictions were imposed on Palestinians, thousands of Palestinians including children and women were arrested, thousands of Palestinian homes and facilities were destructed and demolished, and the suffering is continuing and worsening more and more. One of the tragedy stories is the city of Jerusalem where by our people denied the right of choice for services, HWC had been kicked out of the city and forbidden from any activity for student health, youth support aiming to Public services. Today, Palestinian land, life, and services are fragmented and the hope for freedom and independence is disappearing.    
As the political situation is deteriorated, and the chances of peace are diminishing, the international support is also eroding and the frustration is increasing; consequently, the Palestinians’ access to essential basic services is also deteriorating and became more and more questionable and hindered; including the access to basic health and social services.
Most of the West Bank (61%) is completely controlled by the Israeli occupation with strict and discriminatory restrictions and policies, thus preventing development of healthcare facilities and even accessing available services. Palestinian communities are therefore underprivileged and deprived from accessing sustainable essential healthcare, leaving people reliant on emergency stopgaps such as mobile clinics. Israeli checkpoints, other movement and access restrictions, and separation barrier add another layer of suffering on Palestinian movement and access to basic healthcare services. HWC is struggling to provide healthcare and social services to those people. 
The HWC has been working with clinics and community centers in the West Bank for 35 years providing aid when and where it is needed. HWC provides key health services in neglected areas, such as general medicine clinics with a focus on a diabetes program, a women’s health program, a well-baby program, and medical laboratory services. It also provides broader social services to address the needs of the communities it serves, including rehabilitation services, youth development projects, a nursery, and a community center. HWC, therefore, ensures that it addresses the urgent medical need of marginalized communities while building a movement for the improvement of these communities’ health and wellbeing in a holistic way. HWC has faced an escalating crackdown on its activities over the last two years. In retrospect, the repression of HWC’s activities can be seen as the start of a wider crackdown on Palestinian civil society. Over the past three years, Israeli soldiers stormed HWC headquarters, vandalizing the office and confiscating materials, hard drives, and documents on many occasions. In January 2020, the Israeli occupation authorities designated HWC an “illegal organization”, without making this information public or even sharing it with HWC. In June 2021, Israeli forces shut HWC’s offices with a notice pinned to the door announcing its closure for “security reasons”. Three employees of HWC were also arrested and detained in the Israeli jail, and the Israeli Authorities were unable to prove the claims against them. In October 2021, six more Palestinian civil society organizations were banned. This was then found to be linked to the suppression of HWC.
HWC is calling for your support to sustain its ability to continue providing the basic essential healthcare and social services to the marginalized and deprived Palestinians and their families to preserve and protect their health, life and dignity.