Call for Endorsements – Stand in Solidarity with the People of Palestine

We request endorsements from health workers in the United States 

Stand in Solidarity with the People of Palestine

During the last 4 weeks of the holy month of Ramadan, Palestinians have faced increasing levels of violence and persecution at the hands of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and Israeli settlers. The ongoing violence faced by Palestinian civilians has culminated in the horrific events that have ensued over the past weeks, with the forced expulsion and destruction of property of Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah. During this time, we have also witnessed extreme violence committed upon Palestinian worshippers on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Masjid— one of the holiest sites for Muslims. 

During this time, the IOF has used weapons of war banned under international law (e.g tear gas, rubber-coated bullets, live ammunition) on civilian populations and religious congregations. In occupied Gaza, jets have targeted civilian areas, residential towers, refugee camps, medical clinics, and major roads as well as other necessary infrastructure with dozens killed and several more injured. These are undeniable war crimes under international law. In addition to these horrific acts, Israeli lynch mobs have taken to the streets while chanting “Death to Arabs” in the occupied territories. The actions of Israelis have been defended and reinforced through the support and violence of the IOF. This targeted and indiscriminate violence against Palestinians leading to death, serious injury, property destruction, and forced displacement are undeniably understood as pogroms and are akin to the examples of ethnic cleansing and genocide seen throughout the 20th century.  Racism, bigotry, and forced displacement has no place in the 21st century. 

This is a global health crisis of historic proportion, where Palestinians have been disproportionately targeted by violence and suffering. This violence is not new and has been ongoing since the inception of the Israeli occupation as a settler colonial state in 1948 and the years preceding the historic Nakbah. It is imperative that we stand up for indigenous people who face oppression and violence everywhere. As physicians, it is vitally important to stand up for marginalized communities in the name of preserving and ensuring health for all. Racism is merely a preface to violence and erasure. We must always denounce racism and violence, in all its forms. 

As citizens of this country it is necessary we recognize our responsibility to denounce these heinous acts. Although this violence is occuring in occupied Palestine, the United States is the largest and most fervent supporter of Israelis, both financially and legally. As American physicians in training, it is imperative we stand up against this violence and advocate for the human rights of all Palestinians. 

The issue of Palestinian human rights abuses is also of great importance because of the connections that tie it to the injustice faced by Black Americans, Latinx communities, immigrant communities, and the indigenous people of America in the US. One of the primary connections between these human rights abuses committed by the United States government is police violence. Police have long been used as a form of violent suppression to control indigenous and minority communities of color. Although this police violence occurs in the US, several police departments across the country participate in a joint US-Israeli law enforcement training in occupied Palestine. During the recent protests across the US after the unlawful murder of George Floyd, US police used an Israeli-developed technique called “kettling,” which involves surrounding protestors from all sides and crowding protestors against riot police. This has led to far more incidents of brutality and arrest during peaceful protests. Along the US-Mexico border, much of the border wall is inspired by the Israeli apartheid walls and is built by the same companies that have built the fortified apartheid wall in occupied Palestine and surrounding Gaza. The injustice, inhumanity, and genocide that face Palestinians mirrors the history of the US and the indigenous peoples of the first nations in the Americas. The few remaining indigenous communities continue to this day to face injustice, repression, and violence from the US state. For all these examples and many more, it is crucial we understand the connections between the shared colonial violence sponsored by the US abroad and enforced at home.

It is imperative for any institution that prides itself on upholding diversity and inclusion within its staff, student, and patient populations to support and recognize the degradation of human rights and health in Palestine. Furthermore, it is important that we recognize the immense emotional toll and stress these recent events place upon its staff and student who are Palestinian, Arab, and who have family/friends that are close to this crisis. We stand in solidarity with the many Palestinian and Arab students, staff, and communities who are grieving injuries inflicted by the Israeli occupation and violence, past and present. 

We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine who are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of violence and subjected to crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Israeli occupation, its military forces, and its citizens. 

Please click here to endorse the above statement.

In Solidarity,

(Signatories)

Ayman Youssef, MD Candidate, UTMB Class of 2022

Jaysonn Vel, MD Candidate, UTMB Class of 2023

Uzair Javaid, MS3, Galveston, USA

Omar Abdelaziz, Medical Student, Houston, USA

Amitava Guha, Health Activist, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People’s Health Movement, India), New Delhi, India

Mahmuda Bibi, MS, Penang, Malaysia

Ayeesha Mohammed, Medical Student, Galveston, USA

Alice Rothchild, MD, retired Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle, USA

Radha Holla, Independent Researcher, Noida, India

A. Joseph Layon, MD, FACP, Professor of Anesthesiology, Intensivist, Gainesville, USA

John Battista, MD, Riverbend Psychiatric Associates, New Milford, USA

Kelsey Gaspard, BSN student nurse, San Antonio, USA

Alex Murcer, MS3, Galveston, USA 

Daniel Alcaraz, MS3, Galveston TX, USA

Stephen Braden, MD Candidate, Class of 2022, UTMB, Galveston, USA

James Pittman, Medical Student, Galveston, USA

Sally Kordab, Medical Student, Galveston, USA

Martha Garcia, UTMB: SOM, Galveston, USA 

Brian Rodriguez, Medical Student, Galveston, USA

Ajit Koduri, MS3, UTMB, Galveston, USA

Hani Serag, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA

Diana Cabrera, Medical Student, Galveston, USA

Kristine Lane, UTMB SOM Class 2022, Galveston, USA

Mutmainnah Bello, Student, Sugar Land, USA

Hamza Uddin, Student, Galveston, USA

Sarah Zeidat, PharmD Candidate, Houston, USA

Jamie Piel, MD Candidate, Galveston, USA 

Jenna Gage, MS3, League City, USA

Shayan Owji, Medical Student, UTMB, Galveston, USA

Gabrielle Segal, MD Candidate, UTMB Class of 2023, Galveston, USA

Amjad Khuffash, DMD/MPH Candidate, Hunt School of Dental Medicine / UT Health, School of Public Health, Houston, USA