No Safe Space

Sunday, May 3, 2020

 Health Consequences of Tear Gas Exposure Among Palestine Refugees

Residents of several longstanding refugee camps in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) have re­ported exposure to tear gas 2–3 times a week for more than a year, but in some months, almost every day. In Aida and Dheisheh camps, both located just outside Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, residents have alleged that tear gas utilization by the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) is not directly correlated to political tensions, non-violent or violent protests, or stone throwing incidents. These reports raise con­cerns about the health consequences of such fre­quent exposure, both physical and psychological, for Palestine refugees and staff from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) who live and work in these camps. They also raise concerns that the ISF may be using tear gas in ways that are in breach of international norms.                                    

For related information on tear gas in UNRWA West Bank camps see, “No Safe Space (Health Consequences of Tear Gas Exposure Among Palestine Refugees)- a report that stems from a study commissioned by UNRWA to assess the health impact of the tear gas exposure on Palestine refugees: clik here to read ( full English report , النسخة العربية )                                                    

Israeli soldiers fire tear gas in Aida refugee camp in 2014. Photo by Mohammad Alazza