This is a statement from community and community-orientated psychologists, mostly in the UK.
Statement of support and solidarity with the people of Gaza.
As Community and Community-Orientated Psychologists in the UK we again extend our support for and solidarity to the people of Gaza. We are calling upon the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps, beginning with immediate boycotts, disinvestments and sanctions against the state of Israel, to oblige Israel’s political administration to: abide by international law; dismantle its apartheid regime spanning both the occupied territories and Israel; immediately and unconditionally end its assault on and siege of Gaza; end the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including its illegal settlements; abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders; and commit to pursuing a long-lasting, just peace.
We condemn all attacks on civilians, including the rocket retaliation from Gaza, noting that combatants have an obligation to protect civilians under international law. However we draw attention to the disproportionality of Israel’s attacks on Gaza, which includes the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children by the armed forces of a supposedly democratic State whose citizens they still are (since only limited autonomy has been granted to the Palestine Authority). We are concerned by reports from doctors that DIME munitions are again in use which cause extremely destructive damage to the bodies of those near the blast. The Israeli military deliberately targets hospitals, civilian shelters and prevents medical aid reaching the injured and medical supplies and equipment from entering the Gaza Strip and destroys Gaza’s infrastructure of roads, water supplies, sanitation, food production, food distribution, food security, electricity, social services, education services, health services, law and order, housing, environmental services, and broader social support structures. We particularly note that during armed conflict, international humanitarian law requires that health care facilities, ambulances, medical personnel and the wounded and sick are all afforded specific protection.
As psychologists we also draw attention to the impact of this and other attacks on Palestinians on the psychological and social health and well-being of all sections of the population, particularly children, the elderly and those with additional vulnerabilities. UNRWA has indicated very high and rising levels of severe psychological trauma, especially among children. The extreme constraints placed on the Palestinian health services, UNRWA and the various NGOs and civil society organisations can only make this situation far worse, despite the admirable and inspiring capacity of the Palestinian people to maintain and celebrate their cultural traditions.
We do note that many Israeli citizens (at home and worldwide) are opposed to the policies and resultant violence of their government. Moreover, the situation is also detrimental to the psychological well-being of Israeli citizens, who are living in a context where threat of ‘the other’ is used to instil fear and legitimise such abhorrent action.
The massacre of civilians in Gaza is the latest, terrorist phase of a war that successive governments of Israel (supported by the USA and Britain) have been waging against the people of Palestine for more than 60 years, since Britain’s botched abandonment of its mandate triggered the Palestinian Nakba of 1948. The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force capable of resisting Israel’s ongoing appropriation of Palestinian land and resources. CPUK believes that for the sake of justice and global peace, the Israeli State must not be allowed to achieve this. Our belief in the right of the Palestinians to democratic self-determination, and to resist military aggression and colonial occupation means we stand with the people of Palestine, whether in Gaza, the West Bank, occupied Jerusalem or the pre-1967 boundaries of the State of Israel in their struggle against that racist, colonial State and its government.
Additional notes For UNWRA statement on post-conflict psychological trauma see http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/serious-upsurge-post-conflict-trauma-gaza-says-un
The blockade means a severe shortage of medicines and other vital supplies. Before the current attack the Gaza health services were already suffering from an acute shortage of fuel and supplies, with 54 percent of medical disposables and 28 percent of essential drugs at zero stock. Now some hospitals are reporting that they do not have sutures, materials to treat bone injuries, or enough reactive agents to perform routine blood tests. On 15 July 41 organizations warned of an extremely severe Palestinian health sector crisis, with, in Gaza’s hospitals the cessation of most primary services and women’s health services.
80% of Gaza’s population are refugees or their descendants.
The Gaza population of 1.7 Million is confined in a small area, no bigger than the Isle of Wight. There is no escape from the missiles and naval bombardment, nor the frequent army incursions. There is clear evidence (for example BBC Radio 4 reports, 17 July) that Israel’s claim to warn civilians of missile attacks is meaningless. Unlike Israel, the Palestinians do not have air raid shelters.
Primary Source: Medical Aid for Palestinians http://www.map-uk.org/news/41-organizations-warn-of-palestinian-health-sector-crisis.aspx
1. Professor Mark Burton 2. Dr Steve Melluish 3. Dr Cathy Amor 4. Professor Jacqueline Akhurst 5. Dr Chris Pawson 6. Aisling Kelly 7. Dr Joe Judge 8. Dr Laura Jobson 9. Christine Ward 10. Tom Wengraf 11. Dr Laara Jupp 12. Professor Carolyn Kagan 13. Teresa Nevard 14. Dr Alia Ul-Hassan 15. Jade Weston 16. Dr Sally Zlotowitz 17. Jacqui Lovell 18. Professor Kerry Chamberlain (New Zealand) 19. Dr Carl Walker 20. Dr John Cromby 21. Dr Nimisha Patel 22. Dr Penny Priest 23. Helen Beckwith 24. Lucy Hawkes 25. Dr Lianne Hovell 26. Scott Bartle 27. Sam Farley 28. Dr Donna Oxley 29. Dr Peter Branney 30. Dr Nigel Hunt 31. Dr Aneta D. Tunariu 32. Dr Argyris Argyriadis (Greece) 33. Majid Hussain 34. Dr Kasper Andreas Kristensen (Denmark) 35. Dr Tria Moore 36. Dr Paula Corcoran 37. Liz Cunningham 38. Emma-Louise Aveling 39. Kathryn Cooper 40. Stephen Thorpe 41. Masuma Rahim 42. Gareth Morgan 43. Dr Mirsad Serdarevic (USA) 44. Dr Maxine Woolhouse 45. Dr. Lisa Thorne 46. Tamsin Curno 47. Eleanor Shoultz 48. Dr Andrew Hart 49. Amna Abdulatif 50. Dr Jane Callaghan 51. Julie Bird 52. Professor Ashraf Kagee (South Africa) 53. Corinne Fortier (France) 54. Nancy Flores (New Zealand) 55. Dr. Dora Whittuck 56. Lynere Wilson (New Zealand) 57. Dr Bruce MZ Cohen (New Zealand) 58. Dr Clare Dixon 59. Dr. Nicholas Wood 60. Dr Sarah Blackshaw 61. Dr Sharen Hayre 62. Dr Oliver Pugh 63. Jenny Stuart 64. Dr Eleni Hatzidimitriadou 65. Dr Ruth Butterworth 66. Dr Anna Daiches 67. Dr Elizabeth Freeman 68. Dr Deborah Chinn 69. Dr Abdullah Mia 70. Dr. Katy Day 71. Madaleine Rowlinson 72. Dr Glenn Williams 73. Daniela Fernandez Catherall 74. Tim Siggs 75. Dr Julie Vane 76. Dr Carl Harris 77. Dr Sue Roffey (Australia) 78. Dr Jo Hadfield 79. Emma Ridley 80. Stacy Earl 81. Dr Aayesha Mulla 82. Dr Sarah Keenan 83. Carlos Luis (Mexico) 84. Dr Kelly Fulton 85. Dr Kate Foxwell 86. Dr Nausheen Masood 87. Professor Serdar Degirmencioglu (Turkey) 88. Dr Kaanan Butor-Bhavsar