New Israeli ‘Youth Bill’ permits imprisonment of Palestinian children.

Yesterday, 3rd August, the ‪‎Israeli‬ parliament passed a bill into law which would permit the imprisonment of Palestinian children aged 14 and younger.

The ‘Youth Bill’ allows Israeli authorities to imprison Palestinian children if convicted of “terrorism” against Israeli civilians or military personnel.

The intention of this new law is to punish primarily Palestinians from occupied ‪‎East Jerusalem‬. ‪‎Palestinian‬ minors from the occupied ‪‎WestBank‬ have long since been at the receiving end of the Israel occupation forces military court system.

Credit Ma'an News Agency
Credit Ma’an News Agency

 

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Credit Ma’an News Agency

Israeli authorities block member of Palestinian team travelling to Rio Olympics.

Erez checkpoint.
Erez crossing.

Only last week Israeli occupation forces blocked 6 players from Palestinian football team Shabab Khan Younis from passing through a checkpoint, as a consequence the Cup Final they were participating in had to be cancelled.

This week, the Israeli Government are preventing the head of the Palestinian Olympic team, Issam Qishta, from leaving Gaza to join the 22 strong Palestinian Olympic squad in Brazil.

In addition, the Palestinian team has had to buy equipment and supplies upon arriving in Brazil after Israeli authorities had refused to allow their much needed equipment to leave occupied Palestinian territory with them.

 

Read more here.

Dr. Philippa Whitford spends Parliamentary recess in occupied Palestine carrying out life-saving breast cancer surgery.

Our very own Dr Philippa Whitford MP has just returned from her Spring recess trip to the sun… no, not to some sandy beach, that’s actually not a very safe option where Phillipa has just returned from. No, during Parliamentary recess Philippa has traveled more than 2,000 miles to occupied Palestine to carry out life-saving breast cancer surgery.

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Dr. Philippa Whitford MP performs breast cancer surgery on a Palestinian woman.

 

 

“Philippa Whitford, an MP for Central Ayrshire in Scotland and a breast cancer expert before entering parliament, traveled to provide care for a number of Palestinian women, who face an uphill struggle to get quality treatment.

Whitford carried out four major cancer operations in the West Bank last week, before travelling to Gaza on Sunday to advise hospitals there on how to improve their care.

One operation was on a woman with “very advanced” cancer, said the lawmaker, who returned to the United Kingdom on Thursday.

“It was very large in the breast and very advanced in the lymph nodes. She had had chemotherapy, but it hadn’t got a lot smaller and she still had a lot of disease.”

“It was just a difficult operation and we knew it would be,” she said, adding that initial signs suggested it had been successful.

Whitford, who became a lawmaker for the left-wing Scottish National Party (SNP) in the 2015 British general elections, said breast cancer treatment in the Palestinian territories suffered from a lack of planning, resources and Israeli restrictions.

In Gaza, breast cancer kills more women than any other cancer, according to a 2011 research paper by researchers from Harvard Medical School.

There are regular shortages of medicines in Gaza, including those to treat cancer, and no radiotherapy. “Getting anything into Gaza is not secure. You can’t say ‘we get a delivery every month and it will be here and the hospital will be stocked.’ So they are forever running out of things,” Whitford said. She said that, while in England doctors would usually remove just a part of the breast, in Gaza they tend to remove the whole breast –- whether through lack of training or due to limited medical facilities.

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Philippa Whitford visits al-Ahli Hospital with its medical director Doctor Maher Ayyad in Gaza City on April 5, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Radiotherapy is available in Israel and East Jerusalem, but Palestinians say travel permits are hard to obtain, border points can be closed depending on events, and some cannot afford the trip.

More than 120,000 Palestinians entered Israel for medical treatment in 2015, mostly from the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

The lack of quality treatment in Palestinian territories, Whitford said, meant recurrence rates are believed to be more than double those in the United Kingdom.

No delegation of British lawmakers has been permitted entry into Gaza by Israel since 2009. Earlier this year a delegation of members of the European parliament was refused entry.

But Whitford applied and entered as a single doctor rather than in a delegation, thus skirting Israel’s restrictions.

It was a return for her, having worked as a breast cancer surgeon in Gaza for 18 months in the early 1990s with Medical Aid for Palestinians.  She said returning to the Palestinian enclave was like “coming home.”

 

More than 8 percent of Palestinian women develop breast cancer in their lifetime, the Palestinian health ministry says.

But Whitford said breast cancer was for a long time a hidden killer in Gaza due to social stigma.

“When I came [in 1991] the doctors told me there was no breast cancer here,” she said. “As soon as people realized there was a woman surgeon they started to come and I realized there was actually a lot of breast cancer.”

Whitford said she never expected to be a lawmaker, but that her skills helped her in her role as the SNP’s shadow health spokeswoman.

The SNP has also criticized the British government’s lack of firm action over Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

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Dr. Whitford, SNPFoP Westminster co-spokesperson, at SNP Spring Conference.

Whitford said the West Bank, which is supposed to form the bulk of a future Palestinian state, is “being moth-eaten — every time I come back the settlements are bigger, they are closer to key Palestinian towns and cities.”

“We need to be saying ‘we don’t want to deal with settlements, we don’t want British registered companies to be dealing with settlement’s.”

 

Via AFP Wire