The following resolution was passed at the CLP General Meeting on 20 March 2019
Islington South & Finsbury CLP notes:
1. The policies and practices of the Israeli State’s military occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza creates significant barriers to the rights to health and dignity of Palestinian people. These challenges include barriers to accessing treatment, frequent armed violence, and the de-development of Palestinian healthcare.
2. In Gaza, there was less than one month’s supply available of 42% of all essential medicines – including those for cancer – at the end of December 2018. As a result chemotherapy is often interrupted and rendered less effective. Surgeons are often prevented from leaving Gaza to update or specialise their skills, further undermining treatment quality.
3. With Gaza’s health system close to collapse after 11 years of the State of Israel’s unlawful closure, it is vital for many women with breast cancer to access specialist treatment in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A permit from the Israeli authorities is required to reach the sole centre of care in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) offering radiotherapy, Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem.
4. According to the World Health Organisation, 2017 saw the lowest-ever recorded approval rate for patient exit-permits (54%) resulting in over 11,000 scheduled medical appointments missed. After Israeli Authorities denied or delayed these permits at least 46 cancer patients from Gaza died in 2017, among them women with breast cancer
To help Palestinians with cancer in the oPt overcome barriers to adequate care Islington South & Finsbury CLP calls on:
1. the Labour Party to support peaceful action to end the unlawful closure of Gaza and occupation of Palestinian territory
2. Labour’s frontbench spokespeople to demand that the UK Government:
a. regularly monitor and report publicly on permit denials and delays imposed by Israel on Palestinian cancer patients, including assessments of any health consequences or implications, and state what if any measures the UK Government is taking to improve the situation;
b. support and facilitate knowledge-sharing between British and Palestinian cancer specialists, including through support to NHS staff visiting the oPt and Palestinian staff taking up fellowships or other training opportunities in the UK;
c. provide support to the sustainable development of cancer services in Gaza and across the oPt, investing in long-term infrastructure and the development of technical skills for health workers;
d. provide funding to NGOs supporting legal challenges to barriers imposed by the Israeli authorities to the freedom of movement of patients and their ability to access care elsewhere in the oPt, including East Jerusalem, or abroad;
e. work to overcome the increasing political and functional separation of the West Bank and Gaza, and support greater integration and cooperation across the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank and Gaza; and
f. publicly press the Government of Israel to lift the unlawful closure of Gaza, to lift restrictions on free movement of patients and health workers throughout the oPt, and ensure the ‘dual use’ list for Gaza does not obstruct vital medical equipment and supplies.
3. our Secretary to submit this motion to the National Policy Forum International Commission online and send a copy of it to each of the London representatives to the NPF, highlighting our call at item 1. above;
4. our MP Emily Thornberry to report back by 30 June 2019 on any response of the UK Government to the demands set out at item 2. above; and
5. our CLP to post this on our website.