Israeli forces have closed down a leading Palestinian health organisation, the Health Work Committees (HWC), detaining the HWC Director, Shatha Odeh in a military prison and putting her health at risk by delaying access to her medication. Shatha Odeh is a trained nurse and is currently the director of HWC, which serves thousands of Palestinians by running hospitals, clinics and health programmes. Amnesty International said that the closure of HWC would have “catastrophic consequences” for Palestinians across the Occupied Territories. HWC has played a leading role in the Palestinian Covid-19 response and also runs important women’s health programmes.
“The targeting of HWC is part of a wider attack by Israel against Palestinian civil society organizations,” Amnesty said. “Instead of criminalizing organizations providing vital health services, the Israeli authorities should be ending their institutionalised discrimination and systematic oppression of Palestinians.”
Shatha Odeh’s daughter Shirin, has released an urgent appeal for solidarity, detailing the circumstances of her mother’s arrest and detention. Ms Odeh was seized from her home by 15 Israeli soldiers at around 2am on 7 July. She has been moved to Hasharon prison which is outside the Occupied Territories in violation of international law and brought before a military judge who extended her detention until 26 July. According to Shirin, Ms Odeh’s health is “extremely compromised” and she suffers from numerous chronic illnesses. Yet the Israeli authorities blocked access to one of her medications for 8 days.
What you can do:
- Contact the Israeli ambassador in London calling for the immediate release of Ms Shatha Odeh Abu Fannouneh, the rescinding of the closure order against the Health Work Committees and an end to the harassment of Palestinian health workers. Send a message online here: https://embassies.gov.il/london/AboutTheEmbassy/Pages/contact-us.aspx
- Download the urgent appeal here
- Pass a resolution in your union branch in solidarity with Shatha Odeh and the Health Work Committees