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Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)
By Claire Gilbert
August 26th, 2015
One year ago today, the 51-day campaign of bombing, tank fire and all-out destruction by the Israeli military on Gaza finally ended. The 51 days of darkness euphemistically dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” were the third and most deadly round in a series of violent assaults on Gaza.
It is truly difficult, perhaps impossible to imagine life in Gaza, then and now, for the 1.8 million people who live there. First of all, there is the trauma.
“This is not about people who were killed, it is about us who were waiting for death every minute,” said Dr. Mona El-Farra to Grassroots International supporter and author Alice Rothschild during her recent visit to Gaza. Dr. El-Farra is the director of the Red Crescent Memorial Hospital that was bombed during the attacks.
By Maha Elbanna
August 4th, 2014
In the weeks of escalating violence in Gaza, updates from our partners on the ground there have become increasingly dire, desperate and sadly detailed in their listing of dead and displaced. The article below summarizes much of what we have heard.
Grassroots International has longstanding relationships with community-based organizations in the region, which can help get resources – such as medical supplies, food, and water – where they are most needed as soon as possible. Your gift now will help provide much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the West Bank, and help them begin to rebuild.
At the rate the Separation Wall is being built, soon Palestinian Land Day (March 30) will need only a few hours. The Wall and the Israeli mandated buffer zones jut into the Palestinian territories by as much as 300 feet, gobbling up fertile agricultural land and precious water reserves, and make cool profits for companies like Elbit Systems Ltd. contracted to build the massive structure.
Because we believe in the human rights to land, water and food as fundamental rights, and because Elbit reaps massive profits from land grabs like the building of the Separation Wall, Grassroots International is asking TIAA-CREF to fully divest from Elbit Systems, Ltd.
Today I attended a panel at Harvard featuring authors of the Lancet Special Series Health in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. They discussed and suggested reasons for the rapidly deteriorating health of those living in Gaza and the West Bank, including a lack of access to food and medicine. These vital resources remain blocked by obstacles such as the Wall in the West Bank and inaccessible borders in Gaza. Panelist Mitchell Plitnick, the U.S.
With thanks in part to $80,000 dollars in generous donations made to Grassroots International in response to the Gaza Crisis, our partners in Palestine have begun the process of rebuilding their communities.
Israel's siege on Gaza, now in its 19th month, has wreaked havoc on all aspects of life and significant attention has been paid in particular to the economic consequences of border closures and the blockade. However, an overlooked epidemic threatens the social and familial ties that bond the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza. Living under a constant state of crisis in which their livelihoods have been denied, the people of Gaza's once exemplary resilience and determination are giving way to an unfathomable sea of depression and psychological illnesses.
December 8th, 2007
Partner press release from Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)
People are dying in Gaza. Patients die in their hospital beds because they are denied permits to access life-saving treatments abroad. Patients with such permits die at the Erez crossing because the Israeli military denies them exit, despite their permits.
These are all avoidable deaths. These are patients diagnosed with a critical condition, seeking life–saving treatment. This is tantamount to murder. Premeditated murder. More than 29 Palestinians have already died in this manner so far. A further 900 are still waiting to permits to leave the Strip.
The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) is the largest non-governmental healthcare agency in Palestine. PMRS carries out a variety of programs from organizing village health committees to offering community-based first aid training to establishing mobile clinics. PMRS is a leading advocate for national health care delivery.
Grassroots ships donated medicine and medical supplies to the PMRS hospitals and clinics throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
We returned a few hours ago from Bethlehem where we visited the Ibdaa Cultural Center in the Dheisheh Refugee Camp. Unfortunately, our visit was cut short by the news of a nearby shooting. A young man was shot and killed by the Israeli Defense Forces near Rachel's Tomb. The man was from Dheisheh. The news of his death spread rapidly throughout the camp and the Ibdaa Cultural Center, usually lively and filled with kids, was empty. Only the dance troupe remained in the building, practicing for an upcoming tour. The people were angry and were anticipating the arrival of Israeli troops. It seemed wise to leave.
So, I'm exhausted after this day and rather than filling this page with my own thoughts, I decided to let the Palestinians tell a bit of their own story. I have pulled for you a number of quotes from people we've met. This is by no means meant to be a complete picture — it is intended solely to give you a flavor of some of what we are hearing.