Baroness Warsi – “There must be a political solution to this conflict”
The mobile clinic of MAP that provides vital health services to the Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley was in unusual company Saturday morning. Under a bright blue sky Baroness Morris, President of MAP, together with her daughter Katie and Baroness Warsi, together with her husband Iftikhar joined the clinic on its monthly visit to Trefaat community.
The head of the community expressed his grievances to the two Baronesses. “We do not live by choice in these dilapidated shelters. Any initiative we take to improve our living conditions are being destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces. Any cement foundation or iron structure we try to build, are followed almost immediately with a demolition order. The cement you see under your feet is illegal and there are drones flying over to take pictures of this.” Trefaat is one of the most remote communities in the Jordan Valley and is not easily accessible.
“It is so important that communities can remain self-sufficient in an economy that is completely disabled by the occupation. The rights of the Bedouin of Palestine must be respected by all means. It is great to finally see with my own eyes the great work that MAP accomplishes. The moment we arrived with the mobile clinic, all the women of the community rushed to the clinic to have the monthly check up for their babies and toddlers. You can see that the services are valued.”
Afterwards, the delegation met with Dr. Rafik Husseini, the first director of MAP and currently CEO of the Makassed hospital in East-Jerusalem and with Dr. Arafat Hidmi who is the president of Makassed Charitable Society. During the attack on Gaza during the summer, MAP helped coordinating transfers for victims from Gaza to the hospital for treatment. “Patients were only allowed through Erez after a coordination and some died because of the horrific policy of back-to-back. Israel does not allow patients to be transported across the checkpoint in an ambulance but they must be moved from one ambulance to the other. It leaves no doubt that you lose crucial minutes that could save lifes through this procedure,” described Dr. Rafik when leadin the team around the hospital.
Makassed hospital is the main referral hospital for patients from the West Bank and Gaza. Those patients need a person to be allowed to travel to the hospital for treatment and are allowed one person to accompany them. They never allow mothers to be with their children, only grandparents can travel with them. Those companions cannot travel back home each night so the hospital needs to provide accommodation and meals for them as well. President Morris, who used to be the deputy chairman of a hospital herself said, “for any hospital this would mean a financial disaster. It is truly amazing that the health services continue to function under such pressure.” To support the costs, the best thing to do would be to expand, but the Israeli administration is not issuing building permits for the hospital.
The delegation went around the wards and Baroness Warsi and Baroness Morris wished a speedy recovery to some of the patients from Gaza before heading to the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Saraya centre in the Old City of Jerusalem provides recreational activities, training and psychosocial support for children and women of the neighborhood who are suffering under the crackdown of the Israeli police forces. Baroness Warsi was challenged by the children to join them in a game of ‘memory’. “You can just feel the children bursting with energy in the classroom but there is no place for them to be children here. It is good to see that they can come here to play, learn and grow,” commented Baroness Warsi. “It was great to see MAP’s work today and what they achieve. However, I was always and optimist but I think I became a pessimist now. There must be a political solution to this conflict.”
Source: Medical Aid for Palestinians