14 December 2016

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa recently hosted the award winning Palestinian film maker Emad Burnat at movie screenings across the country (click here).

While in South Africa Burnat fell very ill needing urgent and serious medical attention. He was also admitted in hospital for emergency surgery. We would like to thank the various doctors, specialists and laboratories – from both the public and private sectors – organizations including the Islamic Medical Association, Gift of the Givers and Lenmed Health Shifa Hospital for their assistance, often without charge. We would also like to thank the Embassy of Palestine and the various good samaritans and concerned members of the public who assisted.

Burnat was most appreciative of the care he received while in South Africa and said: “The care, compassion and concern that I received from the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals while in South Africa was humbling. I was many kilometers away from home but I felt safe in the hands of the superb doctors and organizations that attended to me as well as the activists and community members who treated me as one of their own.”


Health care in Israel and Palestine

On the one hand Israel boasts of its medical inventions and services but on the other hand Palestinians suffer from a lack of medical services due to Israel’s racist and discriminatory policies and practices (click here).

Earlier this year a report was released by Israeli Radio documenting wide spread segregation and racism at Israeli hospitals (click here)

There are also huge disparities between services that Israelis and Palestinians receive. For example, PET-CT scanners (a medical imaging device used in diagnosing cancer and malignant growths) have been in common use in Israeli hospitals for years. But Israeli authorities have for a long time not allowed Palestinian hospitals to have one. Due to Israel’s illegal occupation, when Palestinian doctors refer their patients to Israel for diagnostic scans there is a convoluted process involving a referral from a Palestinian specialist physician, a wait for approval by the PA Health Ministry and then a request to the Israel Defense Forces’ Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories for permission to enter Israel, which is often not granted (click here).

The situation in the Palestinian Gaza Strip is even worse. Khuloud Abu Qamar, a 40 year old Palestinian mother, recently commented that: “Israel is killing me slowly”. After undergoing surgery for breast cancer last year, Abu Qamar requires further treatment which she has been unable to receive in Gaza. She has asked Israel for permission to travel but her applications have so far been rejected by Israel. Her plight is shared by many others in Gaza. In this year alone several hundred women who have breast cancer are being obstructed from traveling for medical reasons by Israel. Leaving Gaza for treatment is vital as the coastal strip’s hospitals are not properly equipped to provide such services as radiotherapy (click here).

This situation is similar to the one under Apartheid in South Africa. One the one hand the then Apartheid Government often boasted of certain medical inventions but on the other hand the South African Government was also the primary reason that Black South Africans suffered (and often died) from a lack of medical services due to racist and discriminatory policies and practices.


If you would like a purchase a copy of Emad Burnat’s award winning and Oscar nominated film, 5 Broken Cameras, send an email to shop@bdssouthafrica.comClick here to watch the trailer.


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