As health workers, we are responding to the call from our colleagues in Palestine for us to stand with them in solidarity. Israel is committing a genocide against the Palestinian people, and we have a responsibility to act. More than ten thousand Palestinians have now been killed in Gaza in the last month: all while the UK government continues its unfettered support for the ongoing violence.
We are calling for the UK government to:
- demand an immediate ceasefire and end to the blockade
- impose an immediate two-way arms embargo on Israel
- demand an end to the occupation of Palestine.
We express our solidarity with Palestinian healthcare workers and the Palestinian people in their pursuit of self-determination, freedom, safety, and joy.
CEASEFIRE NOW AND END THE BLOCKADE – Israel is systematically targeting healthcare facilities
We denounce Israel’s current and past targeting of healthcare infrastructure – including primary care facilities, hospitals and ambulances. In addition to the direct murderous impact of these attacks, they multiply the maiming, mass disablement and chronic illness produced by Israel’s military occupation. They also make life-saving care unavailable in future through the destruction of healthcare infrastructure. We are appalled at the attempts by the UK’s media and politicians to deny, excuse and justify these attacks.
We denounce the current and past blockades of both Gaza and the West Bank. Essential medical supplies, fuel and electricity are being denied in what constitutes collective punishment. Operations are being performed on the floors of hospitals with minimal anaesthetic or antiseptic. Hospitals in Gaza are unable to provide essential services due to shortages of medicine, equipment, personnel and power to the point that the complete collapse of the healthcare system has been declared. The lack of emergency services will add thousands to the death toll of victims of the incessant bombings and siege.
We do not exceptionalise healthcare workers or health infrastructure – just as we reject only condemning violence against ‘women and children’ – however we recognise targeting healthcare as a tactic of genocidal violence. We absolutely reject calls for a ‘humanitarian pause’, which essentially call for a pause and then a resumption of Israel’s bombing campaign of Gaza.
STOP THE ARMING AND SUPPORT OF ISRAEL – Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people armed by the UK government
It is evident that Israel is currently committing genocide. The blockade of Gaza, and the targeting of infrastructure such as water sources, mobilises starvation and dehydration as tools of mass murder. Israel is using the chemical weapon white phosphorus and implementing the forced transfer of millions of Palestinians to ethnically cleanse Gaza, whilst armed settlers are forcing Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank. Israel is targeting homes, schools, journalists, and refugee camps. There is no safe place to shelter and no safe time to bury the dead. All health workers and health institutions must resist this.
Israel’s bombing is poisoning the soil, the trees, the water and the air. Palestinian olive groves have been set alight. The health of the land is inseparable from the health of the Palestinian people – this ecocide will continue to create sickness for years to come.
We denounce the UK’s Conservative government, Labour Party, weapons manufacturers, fossil fuel companies, corporate entities and media institutions in their ongoing political, financial and military support of this genocide against the Palestinian people. We reject the racist and islamophobic dehumanisation of Palestinians used to justify genocide. For over 100 years the UK has been deeply complicit in violence against Palestinians. In recent years, this has continued through the UK’s bilateral economic and military relationship with Israel – the UK government has authorised nearly £500 million worth of arms exports to Israel in the last eight years. We demand the UK impose a two-way arms trading embargo on Israel. As healthcare workers, we call on all to participate in the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, and demand the UK withdraw the anti-BDS bill immediately.
END THE OCCUPATION – The apartheid, occupation and settler colonialism implemented by Israel are destroying the health of Palestinians
We recognise that this devastation has occurred in the context of a long history of systematic violence against the Palestinian people. The intersecting processes of military occupation, settler colonialism, and apartheid implemented by Israel have generated immeasurable health injustices. Palestinians are routinely denied healthcare, for example through the denial of travel permits and the attacking of healthcare facilities. Israeli soldiers deliberately ‘shoot to maim’ Palestinian protestors. Palestinians, including children, face physical and emotional torture in Israeli prisons. The violence of the apartheid system and regular Israeli bombing campaigns has left generations of children traumatised. Thousands of Palestinians live in exile and in refugee camps, displaced multiple times since the Nakba of 1948. Meanwhile, Israel’s military-industrial complex has long used Gaza as a testing ground for lethal weapons, exporting both arms and repressive counter-insurgency training to human rights abusing regimes across the world, from Azerbaijan to Sri Lanka.
NO ONE IS FREE UNTIL EVERYONE IS FREE
All life is precious, and we mourn the lives lost and harmed across Palestine and Israel in the last month’s escalation of violence. The only path to healing is one where the root cause of illness is addressed. An end to violence, and the realisation of health justice, necessitates an end to violent systems of apartheid, military occupation and settler colonialism across the globe. We are fighting for a Free Palestine where all people can live in dignity and freedom, where all Palestinians can return home, and where all life is precious.
We are appalled by the escalating violence in the UK towards Palestinians, Muslims, Jewish people, and all those expressing solidarity with Palestine. In contrast, we recognise the deep solidarity and love that is expressed between all our communities as a show of what health truly means, and a gesture to the futures we can build together. Our health is interconnected – none of us can truly flourish while any one of our siblings remains oppressed. We strive for a liberated future where all people and ecosystems are free from domination, and where no body feels the pain of genocide, apartheid, occupation or colonialism ever again.