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Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)

Profile

Country/TerritoryPalestinian Authority
Websitehttp://www.pmrs.ps/
Founded1979 by a group of doctors and health professionals as a “grassroots” and “community-based” health organization.
In their own words“Health is viewed as an entry point for social change and community development."

Funding

  • PMRS does not include any financial data, donor information, or sources of funding on its website, reflecting a complete lack of transparency and accountability.
  • PMRS is receiving €421,179 (2016-2019) through the European Union’s East Jerusalem Programme (via Oxfam Novib) for a project to “Protect the rights and improve resilience of vulnerable communities in East Jerusalem.” The total project budget of €2.5 million is being implemented by the Palestinian Agricultural Development Association (PARC), Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), and the Palestinian Counselling Centre (PCC)/Jerusalem Coalition.
    • PMRS, WCLAC, and PARC support BDS initiatives through participation in activities and events, signing of petitions and initiatives, and/or membership in BDS platforms.
  • Receiving €743,206 from the EU through a funding mechanism called “Non State Actors and Local Authorities in Development,” for a project spanning 2014-2017 titled “Fostering multi-stakeholders mobilisation for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their community in marginalized areas of oPt.”
  • In 2015, received €109,778.25 from Spain (AECID) for a project with Health Work Committee, an organization that has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
  • PMRS received $1,127,021 in 2015 and $1,151,620 in 2014 from Sweden (SIDA).
    • SIDA committed $5,096,840 to PMRS from 2012-2015.
  • PMRS received €87,600 in 2016, €45,462 in 2015, and €214,338 in 2014 from Oxfam-Solidarité (Belgium).

Activities

  • President of PMRS, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, ran as an independent candidate in the Palestinian presidential race in 2005, served as the Palestinian Minister of Information in 2006, and is currently serving as the Secretary-General of the Palestine National Initiative (PNI).
  • PMRS regularly invites “delegations of consuls and country representatives to vulnerable areas… [and] international solidarity groups to witness and document human rights abuses.”
  • The “Advocacy and Networking” section of the PMRS website states that it is dedicated to “lobbying and advocacy with the aim to influence national policies.”

Demonization of Israel

  • PMRS rhetoric includes accusations of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid,” “collective punishment,” and “war crimes.”
  • Participates in discriminatory campaigns such as “Love in the Time of Apartheid Campaign: The Palestinian Campaign for Repealing Israel’s Racist Law Denying Family Reunification.”
    Mustafa Barghouti launched the publication, “Palestine Monitor,” which “present[s] the Palestinian perspective. Current events and political developments in Israel and Palestine…in the larger context of the Nakba, the Palestinian exodus of 1948, and the continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
  • On June 30, 2017, Barghouti spoke at the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) “Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation,” stating that “What we have today is not only occupation. What we have today is a combination of the longest occupation in modern history with a very profound system of apartheid. A much worse apartheid system then what prevailed in South Africa” (emphasis added). He furthered called for individuals to “put every effort you can in contribution to the strengthening of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions. BDS is the most powerful instrument, and it should be used, and it is effective, and that’s why the Israeli government is so crazy and mad about it” (emphasis added).
  • In June 2016, PMRS began its “Lost Childhoodcampaign to “Protect Palestinian Children from the Physical and Psychological Impact of the Israeli Occupation,” and called on its international partners to put an end to “the occupation and its brutal targeting of Palestinian children.”
  • In July 2014, PMRS denied Israel’s obligation to defend its citizens by posting on its Facebook account that “under the false pretense of self-defense, Israel launched yet a new deadly massive attack on Gaza…It is time to finally debunk once and for all the Israeli narrative….No, Palestinians are not the aggressors. No, there is no right to self-defense…There is no such thing as restraint…The war Israel is waging on Gaza right now is not about self-defense” (emphasis added).
  • In December 2013, Ghassan Zaqout and Aed Yagh, who are affiliated with PMRS, contributed to a paper in the Lancet-Palestinian Health Alliance titled “Emergency preparedness and response of the Palestinian health system to an Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, occupied Palestinian territory, in 2012: a qualitative assessment,” which blames “Israeli violence” entirely, failing to consider the role of terror groups operating within civilian areas in Gaza that necessitate Israel’s self-defense measures.
  • In 2013, in an interview with Raja Shehadeh, a founder of Al-Haq, Mustafa Barghouti stated, “The international isolation of Israel and its identification with the hated apartheid system would open doors for lots of pressure, including from the Jewish communities outside. In a way, they are more sensitive to the description of the country they identify with as an apartheid state than the Israelis themselves.”
  • On March 26, 2013, PMRS participated in the World Social Forum, held in Tunis. PMRS representatives screened videos on “the consequences of settlers’ violence and violations of Palestinian children’s psychology” and “the extreme condition of Palestinian living in the Israeli ruled Area C in the Occupied Territories.”
  • On June 30, 2010, completed the first phase of a project, in collaboration with the Italian political NGO Terre des Hommes, which sought to “evaluate,” “prevent and stop the deterioration of health and psychological conditions of the children in Gaza living in poverty, under the ongoing Israeli siege and repeated attacks by the Israeli military.” The project claims that “52% of the children in Gaza suffer from anemia, and severe deficiency in phosphor, calcium and zinc, while a significant number of children suffer from infections in their respiratory system.” Independent statistical evidence contradicts these claims, and indicates that the other factors, such as nutritional habits, lifestyle, and education are the main causes, and not Israeli policies. See also the 2010 publication of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
  • In 2009, in collaboration with Physicians for Human Rights– Israel, participated in a fact-finding mission to document “violations of human rights in the Gaza Strip” and the “80 war crimes and violations committed by IOF troops during the Israeli war on Gaza such as assaults on and wanton killings of civilians.”
  • On November 5, 2006, published a press release titled “Urgent Appeal to End Gaza Carnage,” accusing Israel of using “new dangerous weapons which cause severe tissue damage, burning and tearing the victim’s body from the inside and leaving long term deformations,” without offering evidence to support the allegations. The statement “urgently appeal[ed] to members of the international community to demand an immediate end to Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on women, children and other civilians, which represent a form of reprisals and collective punishment.”

BDS Activities

  • Mustafa Barghouti, president of PMRS, takes part in BDS activities, stating, “We are now in the early stages of a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions directed at this Israeli government for its refusal to abide by international law. Such action successfully overturned Jim Crow laws in the American South and apartheid in South Africa, and we are slowly applying it to Israeli occupation and apartheid.”
  • In December 2016, Mustafa Barghouti expressed his support for the BDS movement by stating “I am so proud of the fact that many international activists from the BDS movement…are Jewish activists who themselves believe … this Israeli government policy is very dangerous to the future of their people as well.”
  • In March 2016, following Israel “preventing West Bank producers from transporting their goods into East Jerusalem,” Barghouti posted on his Facebook that Israel’s decision amounted to a “massacre of national Palestinian products” and was the beginning of “an official Israeli boycott against Palestinian products.” Barghouti called on the Palestinian Authority to respond by “impos[ing] an immediate ban on the entry of all Israeli products and a comprehensive boycott.”
  • In May 2015, PMRS was a signatory on a letter to the European Union to “Stop funding Elbit Systems,” as any “funding to or cooperation with Elbit Systems represents a form a support for activities and its contribution to Israeli violations of international law.”
  • Signatory to a 2015 initiative of the BDS National Committee for “the Nakba Day” to “join and build” the BDS movement and to place an embargo on Israel.
  • Was one of the organizers of a BDS conference in Ramallah in 2007, where Palestinian activists, together with activists from Europe and North America, discussed “ways to promote all forms of boycott against Israel among Palestinian community organizations, unions, as well as political, academic and cultural institutions.”

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