Support Tarek Loubani’s Project for Gaza Hospital

Because of Israel’s withholding of fuel, the population of Gaza endures frequent and lengthy power outages, often lasting more than 16 hours a day. Patients in hospitals are especially vulnerable, where the availability of power can mean the difference between life and death. Palestinian-Canadian Dr. Tarek Loubani was shot in both legs by an Israeli sniper in June 2018 while treating Palestinian victims of Israeli sniper fire during demonstrations in Gaza. Dr. Loubani often travels to Gaza to provide medical services. After his recovery and return to Canada, he met with Prime Minister Trudeau and other MPs.  In these meetings, Loubani asked for $15 million from the Canadian government to support an initiative to install solar panels on the roofs of hospitals and medical clinics in Gaza to provide emergency power for public health facilities. As long as Israel maintains its military occupation of Palestinian territory, Canada should contribute to humanitarian initiatives which protect the most vulnerable Palestinians.

Overview

Palestinian-Canadian Dr. Tarek Loubani was shot in both legs by an Israeli sniper in June 2018 while treating Palestinian victims of Israeli sniper fire during demonstrations in Gaza. Dr. Loubani often travels to Gaza to provide medical services. After his recovery and return to Canada, he met with Prime Minister Trudeau and other MPs.  In these meetings, Loubani asked for $15 million from the Canadian government to support an initiative to install solar panels on the roofs of hospitals and medical clinics in Gaza to provide emergency power for public health facilities.

Because of Israel’s withholding of fuel, the population of Gaza endures frequent and lengthy power outages, often lasting more than 16 hours a day. Patients in hospitals are especially vulnerable, where the availability of power can mean the difference between life and death. The “EmpowerGAZA” project – a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Islamic Relief Canada – has already saved lives by providing solar panels to hospitals in Gaza.  A Canadian contribution of $15 million will provide reliable and green energy much more broadly, 24 hours a day to emergency rooms, intensive care units, and operating theatres.[1] Solar power could make hospitals self-reliant and would provide power to Gaza hospitals in an environmentally sustainable way.

Questions for Federal Candidates

  • Do you believe that the Palestinians of Gaza have the right to health?
  • Do you believe that Israel has the right to prevent fuel from getting to electric generators in Gaza?
  • Do you believe that Canada should do more to assist civilians living in Gaza to become self-sufficient?

If elected:

  • Will you work within your caucus to generate support for Dr. Loubani’s solar panel project?
  • Will you encourage the government to support the $15 million proposal to fund the solar panel project?
  • Will you promote discussion within your caucus on the need for a long-term solution to end the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Supporting Points

  • The EmpowerGAZA Pilot Project. Beginning in 2015, the EmpowerGAZA pilot project was launched to bring solar power to four Gaza hospitals. The project has proven highly effective, outfitting the al-Shifa Hospital – Gaza’s largest healthcare facility – with the required solar panels.  According to Dr. Loubani, what makes the project special is that “it is by Palestinians and for Palestinians, to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of Gaza’s sickest patients.”[2]
  • International Law. Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been declared “collective punishment” – illegal under international law – by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[3] While many in the international community have condemned Israel’s illegal blockade[4], in place since 2006, it continues unabated and average Palestinians are forced to cope with limited fuel, food, medicine, supplies and mobility.  The solar panel project requested by Loubani will not end Israel’s human rights abuses, but it will help the most vulnerable of Gaza’s population. 
  • Canada’s Commitment. Canada’s ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories, and that Israel must ensure the humane treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.[5] By blockading and damaging Gaza health infrastructure, Israel violates the Fourth Geneva Convention which requires that civilians be allowed access to medical care. As a signatory to the Convention, Canada should provide the requested humanitarian assistance to give Palestinians access to health care. 

Recommendations for Canada

  • As long as Israel maintains its military occupation of Palestinian territory, Canada should contribute to humanitarian initiatives which protect the most vulnerable Palestinians.
  • Canada must be vocal in calling for a cessation to the Israeli blockade of Gaza to allow the flow of medical supplies, aid shipments, and infrastructure supplies into Gaza.
  • Canada should make clear its long-term commitment to the millions of Palestinians living under military occupation for more than 50 years.

 

 

[1] Loubani, T. (2015, April 28). EmpowerGAZA: Solar Power for Gaza Hospitals. Retrieved from https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/empowergaza-solar-power-for-gaza-hospitals#/

[2] Al-Jadir, R. (2018, March 28). Solar Empowered: Gazans develop life-saving electricity initiative. Retrieved from https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2018/3/28/solar-empowered-gazans-develop-life-saving-electricity-initiative

[3]Human Rights Council 37th Session (2018). A/HRC/37/38. Retrieved from https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7oH6w9ggW6gJ:https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session37/Documents/A_HRC_37_38.docx &cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

[4] Murphy, M. C. (2017, February 12). International organizations renew condemnation of Gaza siege. Retrieved from https://electronicintifada.net/content/international-organizations-renew-condemnation-gaza-siege/8882

[5] Global Affairs Canada. (2017, December 19). Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs on the status of Jerusalem. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2017/12/statement_by_ministerofforeignaffairsonthestatusofjerusalem.html

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  • Marie Lloyd
    commented 2019-07-19 08:22:16 -0400
    This is a great post. Always, thank you for your work. I just finished reading a Harper’s magazine compilation of grotesquely anti-Islamic quotations by a writer from Maclean’s magazine, which I don’t read. Even to imagine its disgusting content in a fairly well-known Canadian magazine just floored me. I plan to be-as much as possible- a candle in darkness.