January 23, 2019

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Why can’t Gazans (or Gaza NGOs) volunteer to clean their hospitals?


Today is the fourth day of the strike by hospital cleaning staff in Gaza who have not been paid their salaries by the Palestinian authority.

There is no solution on the horizon. 

Dr. Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, warned this morning of major health setbacks in cancer patients and those with blood diseases because of the lack of hygiene in hospitals.

“The suspension of cleaning companies poses a direct threat to the health of patients and public health in 13 hospitals, 51 primary care centers and 22 other facilities in the Ministry of Health through 13 companies,” he said.

Photos of the hospitals with overflowing trash are being published in the Palestinian media.

One can certainly sympathize with the janitorial staff who isn’t getting paid because of Hamas/Palestinian Authority infighting and pissing contests (a context that is missing in most of the stories about the issue.)

But there is still medical staff in these hospitals. Why don’t they pitch in to empty trash cans outside?

We are constantly told about the high unemployment rate in Gaza. Why aren’t the hundreds of thousands of idle able-bodied Gazans volunteering to help keep hospitals open by doing the (non-dangerous) cleaning tasks?

Why aren’t the many NGOs in Gaza organizing teams to pick up, clean and dispose of the garbage?

Why can’t the many Gaza women who posed for media cameras during the last war go to the hospitals and clean them up?

Palestinians constantly talk about how important dignity is to them. Is cleaning a hospital, allowing patients to be treated, too undignified for them?

This story isn’t only about a labor dispute, nor is it only about a political dispute that puts people’s lives at risk. It is also a story about how an entire culture has sprouted up where people are taught only to complain about what they claim to deserve – but that they aren’t willing to lift a finger to help themselves.

(h/t Zvi)

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