Thursday, December 06, 2007

Khaled back to college, but the Gaza siege goes on

Khaled Al-Mudallal returns to Bradford - Report of Press Conference
At a press conference this morning, Palestinian student Khaled Al Mudallal, who visited Gaza this summer but ended up trapped there, prevented by the Israeli authorities from leaving to complete his studies at Bradford University, warmly thanked all those who supported his campaign.

International pressure mounted to demand Khaled's right to education was respected, which finally forced Israel to let him return to Bradford. Khaled's case was also fought through the Israeli high courts by Gisha, an Israeli human rights organisation, and Khaled finally arrived back in Britain on Tuesday 4 November.

The press conference, held in Westminster, also provided an opportunity for Khaled to meet with Brian Iddon MP, who tabled an Early Day Motion signed by 50 MPs calling for the right to education to be respected and for Khaled to be able to return to Bradford.

Khaled pointed out that although he was able to return to his studies, this was not a time for celebration, as hundreds of students remain trapped in Gaza and unable to leave, despite having been granted visas and places to study in universities worldwide. He pledged that he would continue to work to ensure that they are also able to complete their education.

Chairing the press conference, Ruqqayah Collector, NUS Black Students Officer, talked about the need for students to continue campaigning for the rights of all Palestinian students to education. Sarah Colborne, PSC chair, highlighted the humanitarian crisis that is resulting from Israel's collective punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza, with 91 essential drugs having run out, and Israel preventing even those needing urgent medical attention from leaving Gaza. She called for increasing pressure on the Israeli government to end its illegal siege of Gaza.

Views pictures of the press conference here:

Please visit
for more information.

Here's another bunch of people who have decided to do something about the dire situation in Gaza. Meanwhile, since the annapolis "peace" summit the Israeli military has been talking about following up its siege with another invasion of the Gaza territory.


Physicians for Human Rights-Israel PHR-Israel
Emergency Appeal for Medical Supplies for Gaza

The prolonged siege imposed by the Israeli government on Gaza, the closing of its borders, the tightening of policies regarding permission to exit Gaza for medical purposes, and the severe shortage of medications and other medical supplies all severely damage the Palestinian health system and endanger the lives and health of thousands of Palestinian patients.

This severe crisis calls for an extraordinary response on the part of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) that is separate from our routine activities. For this reason we intend to implement the following emergency actions: * Emergency aid dispatch of humanitarian supplies and a delegation of doctors from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) to Gaza. The aims of this act: emergency aid, even if limited; documentation and dissemination of reliable information regarding the medical situation in Gaza; expression of protest and solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip under siege.

In order to receive permission for this act we will probably also need to use legal action. * Advocacy: representation of dozens of patients applying to our offices each month, whose access to Israel or passage through it for purposes of medical care is denied for "security reasons;" a campaign against the policies of the General Security Service (GSS, shabac) whereby patients are compelled to inform on others as a condition for permission to access medical care. These campaigns will be implemented using litigation and media, targeting Israeli and international audiences.

Deaths in Gaza due to denial of access of medical care: According to the records of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza and the World Health Organisation (WHO), 44 people have died since June 2007 in connection with denial or delay of access to medical care by the Israeli authorities. Thirteen of these patients died in November alone. The number of deaths is rising each month, as the policy of siege tightens. Shortage of medicines:Hospitals and medical centers in Gaza suffer a severe shortage in medicines and medical supplies that are essential to minimal functioning of the health system. According to data collected by the WHO, 85 types of medicines defined as essential are out of stock, including medicines for cancer, heart conditions, kidney disease, as well as 12 different types of medicines for psychiatric conditions. 138 other types of medicines will be out of stock within a period ranging between one and three months.

Shortage of medical equipment and supplies:
The hospitals in Gaza suffer severe shortage in medical equipment and supplies in a manner damaging to their ability to provide emergency and routine services, the need for which is rising due to the growing daily needs of the patient population. According to Palestinian MoH data, the shortage in medical equipment is felt in all the hospitals in Gaza, due to inability to maintain the equipment, which is in need of spare parts. Malfunctioning and missing equipment includes dialysis machines, laboratory equipment, cardiology equipment and test tubes. The functioning of the hospitals is also impaired by a shortage of other essential supplies such as cleaning materials, parts for electric generators, parts for refrigerators, parts for washing machines, toilet paper, sheets, winter bedclothes, stationary, paper and more. Although these materials are quickly running out, the State of Israel is preventing their entry, claiming that they are not considered part of the humanitarian needs which it publicly undertook to meet.

Due to this severe medical and humanitarian crisis, PHR-Israel is planning an emergency dispatch of humanitarian supplies and a delegation of doctors, in order to supply limited emergency aid, to witness and report on the medical situation in Gaza, and to express protest and solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip under siege.Please support this action by sending checks to 52 Golomb Street Tel Aviv, 66171 Israel. For further details please contact Miri Weingarten, 00 973 546 995199, il il>.

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