“Best prospect now for realizing Palestinian self-determination is grassroots mobilization”- UN rights expert
GENEVA (8 May 2014) – The outgoing United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, today urged more businesses and civil society “to join the growing global solidarity movement to resist the prolonged Israeli occupation and creeping annexation of Palestine.”
His appeal comes in the wake of the collapsed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks brokered by the United States over the past nine months.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve a just resolution to this conflict with human rights at its core, but the latest round of talks has again created false hopes and fuelled feelings of frustration,” the expert said. (more…)
Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesslem spoke at a Press Conference a Al Shifa Hospital today after his arrival in Gaza amidst ferocious aerial attacks, and slammed Israel’s breaches of international norms.
“We who have come from Tunisia carry a strong and clear message from our Prime Minister and members of the government to express our strong solidarity with Gaza against Israeli aggression,” he said.
“What is happening to the citizens of Gaza is not justified, and is contrary to all international law and regulations. We have just seen the injured, the wounded and the martyrs and all of these manifestations are unacceptable.
This unjustified targeting of civilians and the targeting of schools and civic institutions, public and private property is unacceptable and illegal. We come charged with a message to express our solidarity and support of our brothers, the people of Gaza.”
He went on to say that Israel must recognise international norms and laws, and it should be aware that there are different variables now occurring in the Arab world.
He called on the Council of Arab States and the international community to take a united stance to address the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, stressing the need to take positions similar to that of the Egyptian President, in order to strengthen and enhance it.
The Palestinian government today welcomed to Gaza an Egyptian delegation headed by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, which included the Minister of Health, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, as well as a Presidential Adviser, and other leading government figures.
Dr. Youssef Rizqa, Political Adviser to the Palestinian Prime Minister, said the Palestinian government greatly appreciates the decision taken by the Egyptian government to withdraw its ambassador from Israel, and that this visit, undertaken on the initiative of the Egyptian presidency, is a very important expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Rizqa stressed that Gaza needs the entire Arab and Islamic nation to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, and such visits are essential to their morale.
Rizqa termed the decision to visit “brave,” and said that it represent s a breaking of the Arab silence.
Special Adviser to the Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Da’ales described the Egyptian delegation’s visit as an official political and humanitarian one that aims to complete solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza.
He strongly denied any suggestion that the visit is linked with negotiations for re a truce with the Israeli occupation, noting that the visit will take only 3 hours, and include discussion of the general political situation and that of the Gaza Strip, as well as a quick visit to Shifa Hospital.
Visit to Shifa Hospital
On being shown the charred body of a child, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil was horrified, and said, “The Gaza tragedy cannot be tolerated.”
He added that Egypt would not hesitate in its efforts to stop the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, to achieve calm and continuity.
Saying that Palestine is in the heart of the Arab nation, he called on the world to shoulder its responsibilities to curb Israel’s aggression, and demanded that Israel respect international conventions and law.
He noted that the Israeli aggression highlights the need for all parties to achieve Palestinian unity for the sake of the Palestinian people.
Prime Minister Qandil advised that he was accompanied by the Egyptian Minister of Health in order to discuss the needs of Gaza hospitals, and what supplies are required.
“This visit will be followed by visits of both formal and informal delegations,” he concluded.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh today received a phone call from Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Al-Marzouki, who affirmed his country’s solidarity and steadfastness with the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip in the face of the treacherous Israeli aggression.
At Monday’s weekly sit-in outside the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City head of “Advocates for Prisoners” organisation Jamal Farwana sent a message of support to Zapatista prisoner Alberto Patishtan, who recently underwent neurosurgery for a brain tumour.
Farwana, who himself spent eight years in Israeli jails, sympathised with the plight of Patishtan, who has been imprisoned for 12 years on trumped-up charges, and was left for several years without treatment for a brain tumour. Farwana noted the similar situation for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who also suffer medical neglect, and expressed their solidarity with all prisoners world-wide unjustly held by criminal governments, particularly those in Mexico.
The Patishtan case has been widely condemned, both nationally and internationally. Mexican Human Rights organisation Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas reported in October:
“…the Mexican state in 2010 wrongly diagnosed him [Alberto Patishtan] with glaucoma, and in the same year he was admitted to the Better Life Hospital in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas; in the six months he was in hospital, he was not attended professionally or adequately to determine his correct diagnosis and treatment.[i] Also, as of May 12, 2011, the Mexican State knew through a study of his visual fields that “the pattern of his visual field loss tended more towards deteriorating optic atrophy than to a diagnosis of glaucoma”, Patishtán recalls that he underwent a CT scan, and that at no time did the attending physician get the results of that study, thereby making it impossible to give a correct diagnosis, and consequently the appropriate medical treatment.
Later, following his forced and arbitrary transfer to a CEFERESO[ii] in Guasave, Sinaloa, the medical treatment which had been started was not followed up. Following allegations of neglect by Patishtán, investigations were carried out in Guasave and ischemic optic neuropathy was diagnosed; this diagnosis also proved to be incorrect. The state has at all times obstructed Patishtán being given appropriate, adequate and effective medical care. For this reason, this Human Rights Center demands that the Mexican State comply with the precautionary measures (MC 77-12) granted this year by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)[iii] and adopts without delay the measures necessary to ensure the health and personal integrity of Alberto Patishtán.
Following an international outcry, Alberto Patishtan was transferred to the Manuel Velasco Suarez National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City. Chiapas Support Committee reported he was operated on October 8 to remove a brain tumor. The surgery was apparently successful, and he is now recuperating in the Vida Mejor Hospital in Tuxtla Gutierrez, and has recovered 70% of his eyesight – although not yet his freedom.
Meanwhile in Palestine, dozens of ‘Patishtans’ still languish in Israeli jails without medical treatment, and without any significant action by the international community to force Israel to take the measures necessary to ensure the health and integrity of Palestinian prisoners.
La lucha sigue.
[i] 1Doce años de injusto encarcelamiento de Alberto Patishtan Gómez, Colectivo Ik, available in Spanish here: http://es.scribd.com/doc/85087211/Palabra-Colectivo-Ik-Confer-en-confe-Prensa-sobre-caso-Alberto-Patishtan
[ii] Trasladan a CEFERESO de Sinaloa a Alberto Patishtán, vocero de La Voz del Amate available at: http://www.frayba.org.mx/acciones_urgentes.php
[iii] CIDH MC 77/12 – Alberto Patishtán Gómez, México available at: http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/cautelares.asp