The period of 2006-18: limits on Palestinian health professionals’ ability to practice

During this period, Israeli policies and military measures hampered Palestinian health care professionals’ ability to practice in at least two ways. The Palestinian economy, particularly in Gaza, followed (and has never recovered from) a downward spiral, impacting the ability of Palestinian health care professionals to deliver appropriate services. The closure of Gaza has led to a paradoxical economic benefit for Israeli pharmaceutical companies.10 Secondly, the Israeli occupation of the OPT has led to several types of limits on the ability of Palestinian health professionals to practice and upgrade their training. Most notably, Israel for a period of time refused to recognize the right of graduates from Al-Quds University School of Medicine to at least practice in the area of East Jerusalem—the geographic site of their training. According to an article in the Washington Post:

Since graduating from a local medical school nine years ago, Basel Nassar has been barred from serving his community in East Jerusalem, despite a shortage of doctors there. Like dozens of other Palestinian doctors, Nassar has been caught in the political battle between Israel and the Palestinians over East Jerusalem. Israel captured and annexed the traditionally Arab sector in 1967, a step not recognized by most of the world, while the Palestinians seek it as a capital.... Dozens of Palestinian doctors who graduated from Al-Quds University, a school that has a foothold in East Jerusalem, are caught in the political battle between Israel and the Palestinians over the city’s eastern sector. Israel has refused to recognize the university’s graduates—a move that could amount to acknowledging the Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem as their capital."

Recently, an Israeli court overturned the Israeli Ministry of Health ban against the practice in East Jerusalem of these Al-Quds medical graduates. Despite this and, reportedly, the position of the Israel Medical Association,12 until very recently, the Israeli government continued to deny Al-Quds medical school graduates the ability to practice in Israel. Finally, after numerous court battles, Al-Quds medical school graduates with Israeli IDs and who pass Israeli medical examinations have been permitted to practice in Israel.13

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