Received on June 6, 2002


Medical mission shocked by conditions in Palestine

1.    A British medical delegation returned from Palestine last week
shocked at the conditions it found there.  Israeli restrictions on movement
are impeding hospital staff and patients from getting to their hospitals and
often preventing doctors from reaching rural clinics.

2.    Surgeons from the delegation interviewed a 70 year old cancer
patient who had made four attempts over two weeks to get to hospital but
each time her car was shot at and turned back at Israeli check points.  She
eventually reached hospital after a three hour journey over the mountains on
a donkey.  They also met a patient with kidney failure who had been forced
to walk 12 miles over mountain tracks to get to hospital for treatment.

3.    The delegation was given details of thirteen cases where a mother
was                     obliged to give birth at a check point.  In several
cases the baby died and in others the mother died.

4.    The leader of the delegation, Sir Andrew Green, said:  "It is a
shocking situation.  Palestinian towns are now surrounded by ditches and
barbed wire.  Palestinians need a permit from the Israelis to leave their
own town.  Even then they are kept waiting for hours at check points.  This
is having a serious effect on medical services but there are also wider
implications.  As some Israelis are now themselves saying, this amounts to
the systematic oppression and humiliation of an entire people.  The
inevitable result is anger, frustration and a desire fro revenge which bodes
ill for any prospect of peace.  If the Israelis think they are rooting out
terrorism, they are sadly mistaken.  They are engendering it."