IN WASHINGTON on Friday, August 13th, numerous US organisations signed an online petition demanding Tampa General Hospital end their partnership with an Israeli business.
Seventeen US organisations, including Dream Defenders, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Florida Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, signed the online petition, ‘Denounce TGH for Israeli Partnership’, calling on Tampa General Hospital (TGH) to end its partnership with the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA).
FIBA is an Israeli business investment programme which connects Israel’s most high-potential tech startups to US partners, investors, and advisors they need to launch successfully in the US.
The signatories of the petition condemned ‘the renewed, but ever-present Israeli state aggression against Palestinians that span across Gaza, the West Bank, and Israeli territories’.
The petition addressed: ‘All doctors, nurses, and anyone who supports the mission of Tampa General Hospital, in which they state a shared purpose: “We heal. We teach. We innovate. Care for everyone. Every day’’ – a statement that doesn’t hold its weight in recent light of a partnership made between Tampa General Hospital and the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator to expand and create cutting edge ‘‘solutions’’ to the physician’s office.’
They highlighted the fact that Israel, the occupying power, continues to dodge its responsibilities under international law.
‘Not taking into account its responsibilities as an occupier under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel continues to deny Palestinians essential care, obstruct access to resources, and actively bombard healthcare infrastructure and roadways which is made possible through the financial aid supplied by the United States government, and institutions that legitimise Israel as a business partner,’ they said.
‘Not only has the aggression continued, but has been amplified in the midst of a global pandemic. As of May 15th, Israeli airstrikes bombed all roads leading to Al-Shifa hospital, the largest and central hospital of Gaza. As a result, the bleeding population of Gaza were blocked access to emergency workers, health care, and ambulances.’
‘The following day, they targeted and flattened the Doctors without Borders trauma and burns care clinic. On that same day, they murdered Dr Ayman Abu al-Ouf, head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa hospital, along with his family.
‘The only Covid testing laboratory in Gaza was damaged by Israeli bombs, consequently all testing in Gaza has completely stopped.
‘The flattening of apartments by Israeli airstrikes led to the displacement of over 74,000 citizens that had to flee and crowd in various schools, and UNRWA facilities overriding the set medical protocols of social distancing.’
They condemned Israel for committing medical apartheid by refusing to provide Covid-19 vaccines for the more than four million Palestinians living under its military rule while reminding TGH that it is investing ‘in the genocide and displacement of besieged Palestinians’.
‘The depoliticisation of healthcare as a site of neutrality showcases the continuous refusal to acknowledge health disparities that are caused by structural harms.
‘The structures of colonialism, militarisation, and capitalism perpetuate an erasure of an entire ethnicity in which this case are the Palestinians in the face of Israeli aggression. A statement that isn’t a hyperbole, or a belittlement but a well-documented fact by multiple international human rights organisations.
‘Can Tampa General Hospital advocate for the advancement of health in its community, while it invests in the genocide and displacement of besieged Palestinians? Supporting and legitimising Israeli businesses means supporting Israel’s moral degeneration and the ultimate destruction of millions of lives.’
They called upon US health care systems, academic institutions and health care providers to allow faculty, staff, trainees and students in US institutions the freedom to ‘speak up about crimes committed against Palestine and the Palestinian people without fear of retribution, harassment or silencing from anyone within their respective institutions and circle of influence (including funders)’ and ‘hold accountable any person or institution who attempts to penalise any faculty, staff, trainee or student for their advocacy for Palestine and its people.’
The signatories also called them to ‘adhere to the standards set forth by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and examine the ways in which US institutions and facilities (itemised by the United Nations) can uphold the demands of this nonviolent call issued by Palestinian civil society’ including ‘ending any and all partnerships with Israeli institutions that coordinate with and benefit from the Israeli state’s oppression of the Palestinian people’.
They also called on US institutions ‘within the global medical and science community to pressure their governments to end aid to Israel and to condemn unequivocally Israel’s crimes against Palestine and the Palestinian people.’
- Protesters have blocked the entrance to Raytheon’s facility in Portsmouth, United States, in protest against weapons sales to Israel.
Members the FANG Collective, a Pawtucket-based group that organised the protest, along with Resist and Abolish the Military Industrial Complex (RAM INC) said that they were protesting Raytheon’s weapon sales to Israel, among others.
The FANG collective describes itself as an action group that organises the community to build a decolonised world free of prisons and police, where systems of oppression are uprooted and healed, while taking action to avert the worst impacts of climate change, and is based out of Pawtucket.
The protest saw several people chaining themselves to cars to block the front gate and others holding banners and chanting slogans.
FANG said in a press statement that they shut down all vehicle entrances to Raytheon’s facility as two people attached themselves to vehicles that were blocking the main entrance to the facility. One person was attached underneath a car while another person was attached to a blockade in the trunk of a car.
Police said that they called the Portsmouth Fire Department to release the two men after they refused to do so themselves. The two men were eventually arrested.
FANG pointed to the statement in a 2018 CNN report revealing that Raytheon, the largest producer of guided missiles in the world and the second largest military contractor, has sold billions of dollars of weapons to Israel, among others, used to kill civilians in Palestine.
‘Raytheon also has close ties to the Israeli military and supplies them with missiles, bombs, and other equipment, including the ‘‘Iron Dome’’ system,’ the group said. ‘These weapons have been linked to dozens of attacks that have killed and injured civilians.’
‘We respect the right to lawful and peaceful protest,’ a Raytheon spokesperson said in response.
- The Israeli navy has targeted fishermen offshore Gaza city and caused damage to one boat, according to a WAFA correspondent.
He said that the fishermen were sailing only six nautical miles offshore the city when Israeli naval boats opened gunfire and water hoses towards them, causing damage to at least a boat.
The fishermen had to leave the water and abruptly end their fishing mission, which is their sole source of livelihood. No injuries were reported though.
Fourteen years following the Israeli ‘disengagement’ from Gaza, Israel has not actually disengaged from Gaza. It still maintains control of its land borders, access to the sea and airspace.
Two million Palestinians live the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 12 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.
Gaza’s 2-million population remains under ‘remote control’ occupation and a strict siege, which has destroyed the local economy, strangled Palestinian livelihoods, plunged them into unprecedented rates of unemployment and poverty, and cut off from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and the wider world.
Gaza remains occupied territory, having no control over its borders, territorial waters or airspace. Meanwhile, Israel upholds very few of its responsibilities as the occupying power, failing to provide for the basic needs of Palestinian civilians living in the territory.
Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. That government forbids them from exercising their right to return as enshrined in international law because they are not Jews.