SEPTEMBER 2022 NEWSLETTER

6 September 2022

REFLECTIONS

Ron Finkel AM, Chair, Project Rozana International

Sustainable Peace: the nexus between Peacemaking and Peacebuilding

Former Obama Peace Envoy, Ambassador Martin Indyk’s latest book, Master of the Game, is a riveting chronicle of the months-long shuttle diplomacy of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the aftermath of the war between Egypt, Syria and Israel in October 1973. There are strong parallels for us today.  

I was living in London at the time. The war and its global economic consequences were very real to me. In 1973, the Arab world rallied behind Egypt and Syria and imposed an embargo on oil shipments. Countries, like the UK, with limited access to alternative sources of energy were, quite literally, thrown into darkness. It was a bleak time. The possibility that Kissinger could find a pathway to resolve the military and political impasse in the Middle East was the hope we held on to. As Indyk so clearly and cleverly shows in his chronicle of the events, peacemaking is not for the faint hearted. It requires a level of skill, dedication, mastery of detail and an element of good luck.

Kissinger brought a rare talent to the task. His indomitable commitment to disengaging the warring parties laid the foundation for the subsequent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. But, contrary to the hopes of many, the peace accords of 1979 have not produced a “warm” peace between Israel and Egypt. There has been little to show at the people-to-people level. Kissinger and his Egyptian, Syrian and Israeli interlocutors were engaged in peacemaking. They gave little or no time to the vital role of peacebuilding.

The parallel to the Israel Palestine conflict seems clear. For more than five decades efforts have been made to advance the cause of a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. These efforts have failed to deliver because they have focussed exclusively on the political outcomes – the macro level – with little or no parallel investment in relationship building between the people on both sides. Only recently has the “penny dropped”.  In an environment where polls show that 80+% of people on both sides don’t trust the other, there is an urgent need to invest heavily in cross-border economic and people-to-people initiatives. Absent a significant focus on peacebuilding, we leave the field open to the purveyors of extremism on both sides.  We cannot allow them to hold sway. The consequences of our failure to do so are clear, with the frightening emergence of language of mutual delegitimization and even dehumanisation. This is a slippery slope to horrors that we must avoid at all costs.

It is therefore encouraging to see the commitment of both the US and the EU to supporting peacebuilding – the US through its multi-year, multi-million-dollar Middle East Partnerships for Peace program and the EU through its Peace Initiative.

Ron Finkel AM

“This is the space that Project Rozana is committed to. We work using the vector of health to build Palestinian health capacity and Palestinian civil society through developing a broad and significant network of human relationships between Israelis and Palestinians that will, over time, move the ‘dial of trust’ in a positive direction.”

LATEST NEWS

REVOLUTIONIZING WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE

Project Rozana’s Women4Women pilot project in the West Bank is providing much needed health services to women who currently have limited access to healthcare. 

Through the partnership with Israel’s Sheba Beyond, Sheba Medical Center’s virtual hospital – ranked as one of the 10 best hospitals in the world – Women4Women is training local Palestinian women healthcare workers to provide ongoing treatment, referrals and health education.

Huda Abuarqoub and Ronit Zimmer have lived through many situations that have profoundly tested Project Rozana. These included the May 2021 conflict with Hamas and the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in the West Bank.

Huda explained that ALLMEP works in conflict transformation, by focusing on development, and coexistence in the Middle East among Palestinians, Israelis, Arabs and Jews. It is recognised as the fastest-growing peacebuilding community in Palestine and Israel.

She calls Project Rozana “one of the stars of ALLMEP.”

Project Rozana Chair Ron Finkel AM said:

Investing in Palestinian civil society and infrastructure helps to build capacity and resilience. In particular, this program assists Palestinians to provide healthcare in remote communities that are currently vastly underserviced. Our goal is to provide Palestinian women with the medical care they need, wherever they are located, and to bridge geographic, political and cultural gaps in a shared vision of optimal health outcomes.

The project is operating in Area C, which constitutes over 60% of the West Bank and is home to 3.3 million Palestinians. The World Health Organization and other regional healthcare stakeholders have identified 145,000 women and children from rural communities in the area as, ‘at risk.’ This is due to limited or no access to primary healthcare caused by inadequate infrastructure, transportation complexities and financial and cultural barriers.

A holistic team in the Women4Women pilot program  includes nurses, a midwife, physiotherapist, psychologist, nutritionist, pediatrician and dentist who are being trained to use devices to address women’s physical, mental and social wellbeing.

The Women4Women team includes nutritionist Raghod Amro, pictured here with Project Rozana Israel Executive Director, Ronit Zimmer. Amro said,

Today we did a lecture on nutrition and dental health for the children of the summer camp in Deir Al-Asal, and it was a very good beginning. We love what we do!

A remote obstetrics and gynaecology unit in the rural Hebron area will be fully operated by Palestinian healthcare teams. The goal is to provide women with the care they need wherever they are located. Telehealth services will help to bridge political and cultural gaps and female health workers will help to mitigate cultural concerns about male doctors treating women.

Dr Anna Doufesh, a gynaecologist in Hebron, visited the Women4Women pilot program in July. Dr Doufesh (pictured) tested the GE Point of Care Ultrasound that will be used in the program. This remote care device means that she will be able to capture vital information from her desk at the hospital in Hebron at the same time as the team at Sheba Hospital.

Project Rozana’s Women’s Health Initiative provides much-needed health services in the West Bank for women.

In July 2022, Project Rozana’s Women4Women initiative received international media coverage.

IMPACTING CLINICAL NURSING PRACTICE

Project Rozana’s Specialist Nursing Training program is a professional development initiative bringing together Palestinian nurses from East Jerusalem’s Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) and Israeli nurses from Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO).

The program is strengthening the Palestinian health system while peacebuilding, through creating a community of nursing peers.

 

Oncology was the first specialty area of focus for course participants, with an emphasis on the diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer patients. This is much needed as the gaps in the Palestinian healthcare system currently result in long waiting lists and delayed care for oncology patients and many referrals to hospitals abroad. The emphasis in the Specialist Nursing Training on techniques for clinical management will have an immediate impact.

Alongside the focus area, an important by-product of the training initiative is the sharing of experiences between the Israeli and Palestinian nurses as well as the knowledge sharing between the region’s healthcare systems.

Jawad Abu Sabha, a registered nurse at AVH, noted the efficiency of the system he witnessed in action at HMO, whereby wait times are reduced because patients first communicate with a nurse who can provide immediate care – for example, hydration – while the patient is waiting to see the doctor.

Jawad says,

It is better for the patient, the doctor and the nurses!

Jawad discussed this observation with Project Rozana Chair Ron Finkel AM. Ron said,

This is a great example of the sharing of experience which is part of what we want to achieve from the Specialist Nursing Training program. The nurse is the important introduction to the hospital and plays a vital role. 

Positive feedback regarding the training program was also highlighted by AVH nurses Waa’d and Faten (pictured in the top image).
Waa’d said:

It allows us to visit another hospital to learn what are the strategies that can make a difference between yours and our hospital and to know what are the new things we can add to our hospital to give better service (to patients).

Jawad discussed this observation with Project Rozana Chair Ron Finkel AM. Ron said,

This is a great example of the sharing of experience which is part of what we want to achieve from the Specialist Nursing Training program. The nurse is the important introduction to the hospital and plays a vital role. 

 

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR A TRAUMA CARE HUB

The July seminar’s 22 participants represented a wide range of specialists from major hospitals from both sides of the border.

With three training sessions completed, Project Rozana’s Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program is successfully establishing professional and personal relationships between Israeli and Palestinian doctors while improving trauma care for patients.

In the words of Project Rozana Israel Executive Director Ronit Zimmer (pictured):

The series of ATLS courses has so many beneficial components, from upskilling the participating physicians; providing the Palestinian surgeons access to the course which they would otherwise not have; bringing Israeli and Palestinian physicians together for the first time and sharing the learning experience; and laying the groundwork for trauma systems within Palestinian hospitals, to ultimately creating a regional hub of 120 Israeli and Palestinian traumatologists who can consult in real time and together advance trauma treatment in our region.

The Rotary-funded program is jointly led by the Israeli head of trauma at Wolfson Hospital in Holon, Dr Adam Goldstein (pictured centre), and Palestinian anesthesiologist at Hadassah Hospital, Dr Tamer Abu Jreis.

The July seminar had 22 participants from major hospitals on both sides of the border. Training side-by-side, they included resident anesthesiologists from Hadassah; Al Ahli Hospital thoracic surgeons; Wolfson Hospital plastic surgeons and ENT specialists; Sheba Medical Center urologists and Ichilov Hospital emergency physicians.

An exciting learning bonus was the presentation by visiting world-class trauma physician, Dr William P. Schecter (pictured), Professor of Clinical Surgery at the UCSF Division of Surgery at San Francisco General Hospital.

It was a heartwarming experience for Israel Rotary members and Project Rozana Israel staff who had the opportunity to observe first-hand the second training seminar and meet participants.

Three more ATLS courses will be held during 2022, as well as an academic trauma conference for the participants. A pleasing outcome from the pilot held in December 2021 and the May and July courses, is that pass rates are high across the board.

Additional benefits for participants are the monthly online forums that enable trainers and trainees to share cases and directly consult with one another, as well as the WhatsApp group for real-time consultations. These additions help maintain the strong professional and warm personal relationships established during the training.

The ATLS Training Program builds professional trust, mutual respect and better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.

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