Thursday, February 17, 2005

Israeli-Palestinian dsplay on impact of The Wall 2-13-05

‘Health and the Wall’
Launch of a joint Palestinian-Israeli-French art campaign on the health impact of the Wall

Three health organizations, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Médecins du Monde

(MDM)-France, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) –Israel, held a press conference on 15 December 2005 at the Best Eastern Hotel in Ramallah to announce the launch of a joint Palestinian-Israeli-French art campaign on the health impact of the Wall. The Panel included PRCS President, Younis Al Khatib, MDM President, Dr. Francois Jonson and PHR President, Dr. Ruhama Marton.

In his speech, Mr. Al Khatib spoke about the history of the PRCS, its humanitarian mission and its services, including emergency medical services, disaster preparedness and response, health care and social welfare; which are provided to the Palestinian people and others in need throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Diaspora. He underscored the challenges facing the PRCS due to the ongoing Israeli occupation and its impact on the health, social and economic condition of the Palestinian people. Al-Khatib presented detailed information which included statistics and documented evidence illustrating the humanitarian consequences of the Wall in addition to the negative impact it is having on PRCS core activities, particularly obstructing freedom of movement to PRCS ambulances and medical teams. The PRCS president concluded his presentation by emphasizing that the construction of the Wall constitutes a breach of International Humanitarian Law as has been announced [9 July 2004], by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, in which it issued an advisory opinion saying the construction of the Wall in and around the West Bank is in violation of International Law and should be stopped.
For her part, Dr. Francois Jonson, President of the MDM, appealed to the International community to call on the Israeli government to stop all its violations against the Palestinian people and breaches of International Humanitarian Law; by putting an end to all the barriers that face the Palestinian people, particularly the Wall and the checkpoints.

Dr. Ruhama, PHR President, spoke about the psychological impact of the Wall on both Israeli and Palestinian societies. She said that the aim of the Israeli government in the construction of the Wall is to conceal the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people from the sight of the Israeli people and to prevent human relations between the two societies. She also underscored the importance of the joint press conference because it brings to light the agenda of the Israeli government in its construction of the Wall. At the end of her speech, Dr. Ruhama reaffirmed that the occupation is the main cause of suffering for both peoples.

Mr. Nabil Anani, a Palestinian artist, presented the Palestinian and Israeli artists’ expression of how they view the Wall through their artwork and images, as well the environmental devastation it has created.

The Panel concluded its presentations and then answered questions from Palestinian, Israeli and international journalists.

A similar press conference was also held by the three above mentioned organizations, in Tel Aviv on the 14th of February 2005.


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