Israel prevents children’s rights advocates addressing the UN

Dear Network member,

In this mailing:

  • Petition protesting the treatment of child prisoners in Israeli jails
  • Crisis in mental health: Palestinian mental health professionals speak, plus reports from WHO and MSF
  • Medical Aid for Palestinians on the deliberate targeting of Palestinian health workers
  • Conferences this month in Bradford-on-Avon and Birmingham

1. Israel pressurises Belgium to stop children’s advocates addressing the Security Council

In October 2019 Hagai El-Ad, Director of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem addressed the Security Council. The Israeli Government was furious. The Belgian Government invited Brad Parker from Defence of the Child International to do the same. Now the Belgians have succumbed to Israeli pressure, and withdrawn the invitation, sacrificing children’s lives to protect the aggressor. Read Brad Parker’s account here:

We are proud of our long association with Defence of the Child International, whose work in Palestine can be explored here:
Hagai El-Ad’s address to the UN can be heard and read at:

2. Child Prisoners Petition: please sign now

Our sibling organisation, the Palestine-UK Social Work Network (PalUK) has been campaigning against Israel’s mal-treatment and torture of children. Their Petition will be delivered to the relevant UK governmental departments, and to the Israeli Union of Social Workers, on Palestinian Children’s Day, 5th April 2020. If you are, or have been, a social worker please sign today:

We salute the work of the PalUK. As our name suggests, we were inspired by their work when we were thinking of forming an equivalent body for the mental health community. Members of UKPMHN attended a great two-day conference organised by the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists in Bethlehem and Jerusalem in 2014: PalUK’s support resulted in fifty UK social workers attending the conference, and getting an opportunity to see at first hand the realities of life under Occupation. We are sorry to hear that PalUK is ceasing its activities, but know that its individual members will continue their advocacy and solidarity work through other channels.

3. Yasser Abu Jamei, Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, in the UK

Members of UKPMHN were delighted to be among those who met Yasser during his recent visit to the UK. While here he was interviewed on the BBC programme Hard Talk. It lasts half an hour, and can be listened to here:

4. “Mental Health Under Siege: The Case of Palestine” – video of live colloquium

A colloquium organised by The Palestine Global Mental Health Network with Cornell University Students for Palestine. From this link you can watch a video recording of presentations by mental health professionals Mustafa Qossoqsi , Rana Nashashibi (Director of the Palestine Counselling Service), and psychiatrist Samah Jabr… (and see PGMHN’s beautiful new logo):

5. WHO Report: ‘The mental toll of conflict’

“The psychiatric definition of trauma does not accommodate political settings where humiliation, objectification, forced helplessness, and daily exposure to toxic stress are daily realities. The review of cultural variations then is not only essential at a contextual level but from a clinical perspective.” Samar Jabr

6. Medicins Sans Frontiers: ‘The invisible mental health crisis plaguing the West Bank’

“Rafah, 14, saw a video of her brother being arrested at work: ‘we saw them beating him. We didn’t hear anything about him until they brought him home 60 days later’”. Read this devastating account of young people whose lives have been ripped apart by the oppressive circumstances in which they live:

7. Medical Aid for Palestinians report on the targeting of health workers in Gaza

“Abdallah is one of four health workers to have been killed by Israeli forces while trying to reach, treat and evacuate wounded demonstrators at the ‘Great March of Return’ in Gaza. A further 832 health workers have been injured at the protests by Israeli forces.

For years the Israeli authorities have fostered a culture of impunity for attacks on the Palestinian health sector.

A UN Commission of Inquiry into the protests found ‘reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such’”.
Read further:

8. MedAct Conference: “Health Justice 2020” Birmingham 27-29th March

MEDACT campaigns for health justice in the UK and overseas. Check out the exciting programme of their upcoming conference “Health Justice 2020” taking place in Birmingham 27-29th March 2020:

9. War On The Mind: A Conference on Mental Health in Palestine and Israel 14 March 2020

Congratulations to Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine for organising this line-up: Harry Fear, presenting his documentary “Gaza: Still Alive”; John Soos – Clinical Psychologist and Activist; Mohamed Altawil – Palestine Trauma Centre; Avigail Arbanael Psychotherapist, Writer and Activist; and Maria Chambers – Artist, with Project Hope and Firefly International.
Book tickets here: