Peace Building Through Health- Focused on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Norbert Goldfield, M.D. Course Description.
Norbert Goldfield, M.D.
Willing is not enough; we must do - Goethe
Successful politics is always the art of the possible. It is no less true, however, that the possible is often achieved only by reaching out towards the impossible which lies beyond it.
Structural violence is the indirect use of economic, political and social power to disempower others. This takes place through systems and institutions, causing disadvantage and harm. Structural violence may be evident in a number of different but interlinked ways (e.g. unequal access to resources, political power or health care). Inequities in health status are an important indicator of structural violence within a community. Violent conflict may be a visible manifestion or response to underlying structural violence.
It is important for Israeli and Palestinian health professionals with the assistance of outside professionals from outside the Middle East to identify:
Healing Across the Divide (a not for profit organization) represents the American counterpart bringing together all appropriate constituencies (including Christians, Muslims, Jews in addition to interested individuals) “to assist Israeli/ Palestinian health care organizations to improve the health of Israelis and Palestinians via increased health professional mediated health and human rights improvements and policymaker decisions.”
Under the guidance of a Board of Directors and Board of Scientific Advisors, Healing Across the Divides will pursue initiatives that will result in:
By improving the health of Palestinians and Israelis we are attempting to accomplish this via a human rights lens and thus enhance the dignity of each human being impacted by these programs.
To move even slightly from pessimism of the intellect to optimism of the will we need to successfully implement at least one project on a small scale that measurably improves the health of both Palestinians and Israelis.
Forgiveness is an important part of peace-building. Or is it? Please describe some of the challenges and opportunities to implementing such a concept today in a peace-building through health project applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In which ways do the challenges get easier or more difficult if an American NGO participates? What are the psychological obstacles to peace building in the Middle East? What is the role of the third party in general and American NGOs in particular.
Orientalism, as articulated by Said, is a concept much lauded and criticized. How does your understanding of the term fit into any peace building through health efforts as they might impact groups such as Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews on the one hand and Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians on the other. How should it affect American foreign policy in the Middle East?
Dual Loyalty is a term that we bandy about and yet health professionals continue to violate their Hippocratic Oath in favor of their duties to their nation and to their immediate supervisor. What are some of the common challenges facing Palestinian and/or Israeli health professionals pertaining to dual loyalty? What are the difficulties American and/or European health professionals have in dealing with these challenges? To make it clear-Torture is not a dual loyalty problem. It is forbidden-full stop. DL is a different problem in which third party presses the health worker to give up his prior obligation to the patient but all within legal and ethical framework like between individual and society, individual and workplace or army, etc..
Go to PHR-Israel’s web site. Read about some of the projects that they are engaged in pertaining to peace-building with Palestinians. Briefly provide suggestions on how they might improve any of their projects in light of the readings, discussions and speakers that we’ve had.