Friday, March 31, 2023

Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch submitted a memorandum to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities about the problems of Palestinians with disabilities.

Not surprisingly, it places most of the blame for Palestinian leaders not adhering to the  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on - Israel.

Here is a section about how Israel restricts movement in and out of Gaza:

Human Rights Watch found that sweeping Israeli restrictions on the movement of people and goods, at times exacerbated by restrictive policies by Palestinian authorities, curb access to assistive devices, health care, and electricity essential to many people with disabilities.

For more than 15 years, Israeli authorities have blocked most of Gaza’s population from traveling through the Erez Crossing, the only passenger crossing from Gaza into Israel through which Palestinians can travel to the West Bank and abroad. Israeli authorities often justify the closure, which came after Hamas seized political control over Gaza from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in June 2007, on security grounds. The closure policy, though, is not based on an individualized assessment of security risk; a generalized travel ban applies to all, except those whom Israeli authorities deem as presenting “exceptional humanitarian circumstances,” mostly people needing vital medical treatment and their companions, as well as prominent businesspeople.

Israeli authorities also significantly restrict the entry and exit of goods into Gaza. While there are no restrictions on the import of assistive devices, policies regarding “dual-use” items have restricted the entry of spare parts and batteries for hearing aids and other devices, according to the Israeli human rights group Gisha.[7] Medical Aid for Palestinians has documented that Israel has restricted as “dual-use” items carbon fiber components used to stabilize and treat limb injuries, and carbon fiber and epoxy resins used to produce artificial limbs, resulting in patients being fitted with heavier, more uncomfortable alternatives.

....Hamas authorities in Gaza and humanitarian organizations have sought to provide assistive devices to those in need of them, but their efforts often fall short. Gaza’s Social Development Ministry reported on its website in September 2017 that it had allocated US $500,000 in its 2018-2020 plan for assistive devices, but it is unclear what devices it secured and distributed, and what standards it relies on to assess need.[14]

....Under the CRPD, States Parties should take effective measures to ensure personal mobility, including by facilitating access to assistive technology and by promoting the availability, knowledge, and use of assistive devices and technologies.[16] International humanitarian law obliges occupying powers to ensure the safety and welfare of civilians living in the occupied territory.[17]

Israel’s sweeping restrictions on the movement of people and goods, at times exacerbated by restrictive policies by Palestinian authorities, restrict the right of people with disabilities to freedom of movement and access to assistive devices, as set out under articles 20 and 14 of the CPRD.
Here's how HRW's bias works:

It mentions a couple of times that Palestinian authorities also restrict Gazans from leaving the territory. But while it goes into some detail on Israeli restrictions, it doesn't say anything about the Palestinian restrictions. Is it Hamas or the PA? (The answer is both.) 

This memorandum is meant as a submission to the CPRD review of Palestinian policies, as they are signatories to the CPRD and have specific obligations under that convention. Israel's policies on allowing Gazans into Israel are not a part of Palestinian responsibilities under the CPRD. HRW is using this as another excuse to bash Israel.

Notice also that the word "Egypt" is not mentioned once in this memo. It is another border through which people and goods can pass, but only Israel is responsible for restrictions, not Egypt.

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