Hebron /PNN /
"Unbearable Life": Doctors Without Borders Releases Report on the Health Effects of Israeli Eviction Measures in Masafer Yatta
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has released a report detailing the difficult living conditions and negative health effects experienced by Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta as a result of Israeli eviction measures. The report, which runs to around 28 pages and is available in several languages including Arabic, English, and Hebrew, highlights the challenges faced by residents in accessing mental and physical health services, and the detrimental impact of Israeli occupation and discriminatory policies on their health.
At a press conference, the head of the MSF mission spoke about the report's findings, describing the negative effects of forced evictions, home demolitions, military checkpoints, and vehicle seizures on the physical and mental health of the approximately 1,200 Palestinian residents of Masafer Yatta. He also noted that Israel had obstructed MSF's efforts to provide healthcare services in the area, subjecting their staff to punitive measures and delays, but that these obstacles would not deter them from continuing their work.
The MSF chief emphasized the organization's commitment to being present in the field, providing healthcare services, and raising awareness of the suffering of Palestinian civilians. He condemned all Israeli measures that violate international law and called for the removal of obstacles that prevent people from accessing vital healthcare services. MSF has been forced to relocate its mobile clinics in various areas due to Israeli obstruction, he added.
Head of Doctors Without Borders International mission to PNN: Israel puts obstacles in front of us and did not respond to our reports.
In response to a question from Palestine News Network (PNN) regarding Israeli reactions to the reports and work of Doctors Without Borders, and whether they have a negative impact on their presence in the field, Cantiero Perez, the head of the international organization that provides health and psychological services in the south of Hebron, stated that the field teams face punitive measures and delays, but all these actions have not and will not scare them or prevent them from continuing their work.
He emphasized that the idea and work of the organization is to be present in the field and to seek to alleviate the suffering of citizens and provide physical and psychological health services, while also drawing attention to the suffering of Palestinian citizens and conveying their voice to the world.
He stressed that Doctors Without Borders condemns all Israeli measures that violate international laws, calling on everyone to work to remove the attacks on Palestinians and lift the obstacles that Israel puts in the way of people's ability to access various health services. He also emphasized that the organization was forced in more than one area and occasion to change the locations of mobile clinics in order to help people access these services due to the obstacles that Israel puts in place.
Regarding another question from PNN, the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission stated that the organization did not receive any Israeli responses to the report that was delivered to Israeli, Palestinian, and international authorities, confirming that it was translated into Hebrew and handed over to Israel.
Qabas: increase in the proportion of psychological suffering among the citizens of Masafer Yatta due to occupation practices
Maryam Qais, the field work coordinator at Doctors Without Borders, presented some of the repercussions of Israeli measures and attacks on citizens in Masafer Yatta, indicating an increase in the proportion of those who suffer from shock, constant fear of displacement, depression, isolation, and persecution as a result of the humiliation and attacks carried out by Israel.
She emphasized that the current situation, in light of Israel's practices, confirms that there are no basic human rights for civilian citizens, which are secure housing and physical and mental health, in light of the torture and oppression practices carried out by the Israeli army and settlers.
Corseh: Israeli barriers and obstacles
Dafna Corseh, coordinator of the project for Médecins Sans Frontières in Hebron Governorate, stated that medical teams have recently faced Israeli obstacles, such as the placement of barriers on roads leading to villages in Massafer Yatta.
She added that the Israeli army intentionally stops them on several occasions, where the process of stopping ranges from a quarter of an hour to three hours in some cases. Additionally, Israeli soldiers search the vehicles of Médecins Sans Frontières, despite their knowledge of the organization and its humanitarian work.
"The launch of the conference on the organization's report"
The conference on the launch of the report on the rights of Palestinian citizens in Masafer Yatta began with a welcoming speech by Salam Yousef Al-Khatib, the head of communication and media, who spoke about the history of the presence of Doctors Without Borders organization, its services, teams, and programs.
She pointed out that the aim today is to announce the release of a report regarding Masafer Yatta, which is living in difficult conditions due to Israeli measures and their impact on citizens, and the exacerbation of the psychological situation of Palestinian citizens, especially after the decision of forced eviction. She emphasized that what led to the press conference is the many Israeli measures and their increase, including demolition, barriers, and confiscation of vehicles from citizens, where citizens cannot access mental and physical health services.
She affirmed that the purpose of the press conference is to convey people's suffering through the media, which has the ability to convey the message through various media work. Also, the media works to protect citizens and their human rights as stipulated in international laws.
MSF: We are calling out to prevent Israeli attacks on the residents of Masafer Yatta, and there is a need for more action.
In turn, David Cantero Perez, the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission, welcomed the attending journalists and pointed out that this report was prepared and issued about Masafer Yatta and the organization's work in general over the past 25 years, and the past three years in particular through field work. He mentioned that about 1,200 Palestinians live under the threat of forced displacement after the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision to remove legal obstacles to implement home demolitions, and that the organization has witnessed a significant increase in Israeli attacks, making it difficult for the Palestinian residents.
During the presentation of the report, a video produced by the organization was shown, highlighting the suffering of the citizens in Masafer Yatta, their roots in their land, their resilience, and their struggle to remain on their land in various legal and advocacy fields. The film included live testimonies from citizens of different age groups, highlighting their suffering due to demolition, oppression, and pursuit policies aimed at displacing them.
The report also reviewed the measures taken by the occupation, such as demolishing homes and schools, issuing demolition orders, increasing barriers, confiscating the vehicles of citizens to make it difficult for them to move around, preventing citizens from accessing their land, claiming it to be military training areas, imposing curfew policies, and preventing medical and humanitarian teams from reaching the villages in Masafer Yatta. The report also addressed the living conditions of citizens under continuous fear due to living in prison-like conditions, the threat of forced displacement, and ongoing attacks by the army day and night, which have made life unbearable. This is the reason for the report's title.
The director of the Doctors Without Borders mission also confirmed that these actions are outside the framework of international humanitarian law and are considered war crimes punishable by international law. Therefore, the organization condemns all Israeli actions. He pointed to Israeli practices carried out by the army, as well as various attacks by settlers.
He emphasized that these actions affect the population in terms of their physical and mental health, and spoke about the impact of these practices on the citizens on both levels. He also referred to the policies and situations of humiliation and suffering faced by citizens and their resilience despite these actions, indicating that this resilience has psychological effects on them. He also mentioned testimony about travel and access restrictions and details of the practices of the occupying army to prevent citizens from accessing emergency health services, and the impact of delays on their health. He also pointed to the targeting, obstruction, and prevention of Palestinian and international medical teams.
Kantero Perez also touched on the occupation's prevention of citizens from accessing basic services such as water and electricity, in addition to the barriers, attacks, demolitions, and settler attacks that aim for one thing: the displacement of citizens.
Report recommendations: Israeli practices must be stopped
The report issued recommendations for various entities, the most important of which is working to stop Israel's practices. Regarding the recommendations made in the report by Médecins Sans Frontières, Cantiero Perez stated that the report made recommendations for several entities, including Israel, which was called upon to stop various attacks, most notably the demolition of homes and schools, and to stop issuing demolition orders and to comply with international law to protect Palestinian citizens from forced displacement. He emphasized that the occupying state should protect civilians, as the recommendations in the report called for Israel to provide security and protection, considering it an occupying force responsible for the lives of civilians, as stipulated by international law.
Regarding the recommendations to the international community, the head of the Médecins Sans Frontières mission stated that it called on the international community to take real action to stop the violations committed by Israel, which violate international law. He welcomed the presence of some international institutions that communicate with Israel, but emphasized that all they do is not enough; on the contrary, the situation is worsening, calling for more real steps to stop the Israeli government's attacks and the attacks of settlers and hold them accountable instead of protecting them by the Israeli army and government.
Regarding the recommendations to the Palestinian government, the report emphasized that the Palestinian government is required to provide several things, including primary health services in these areas and to increase efforts to develop mental health services through a psychological support strategy to protect citizens.
It is worth noting that Médecins Sans Frontières has been operating in the Palestinian territories since 1989, where the international medical humanitarian organization provides medical, psychological, and social assistance to facilitate access to healthcare services for Palestinians living under occupation and continuous siege. It manages mental health projects and provides its services to residents of Nablus, Hebron, Tubas, and Qalqilya, as well as providing healthcare services to women and children in the H2 area and in Masafer Yatta.