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How 'Breast Cancer Aware' is Israel really? Open in fullscreen

Shams Al-Shakarchi

How 'Breast Cancer Aware' is Israel really?

The Israeli Air Force turned a fighter jet pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month [Twitter]

Date of publication: 27 October, 2016

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The Israeli Air Force tweeted a picture of a pink jet in a show of support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month – but it's time it looked closer to home.
Good news, everyone. Israel is Breast Cancer Aware.

In case its decade-long blockade on Gaza – where hospitals have an intermittent power supply, the approval rate for patients needing treatment has hit a seven-year low, and half of households receive only sporadic access to clean water – had you thinking otherwise.

However, if Israel was really that aware of breast cancer as it shows it is with this picture of a pink fighter jet tweeted by its air force for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would also be aware of the fact that Gaza only has four mammography machines – one of which is out of order – for a population of two million.

It would also be aware that breast cancer is the highest cause of cancer deaths among Palestinian women.

As few as 40 percent of those diagnosed may live past five years, according to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Israel, which strictly controls imports and exports from the occupied Strip, would also be aware that chemotherapy medication often runs out of stock, meaning treatments are interrupted and less effective.

In fact, 17 percent of cancer drugs were at "zero stock" – less than one month's supply on shelves – in August 2016.

And as Israel restricts the movement of Palestinians living in the coastal enclave, it would also know that surgeons are prevented from leaving Gaza to develop and specialise their skills.

Of course, Israel has no such regard for Gaza's health crisis.

It is pinkwashing to the extreme – using a global PR gimmick to distract from its human rights violations.

Given that it used an image of a war plane – the very machines that rein terror on Gazans – shows it has no more concern for the Palestinians suffering under its siege than the breast cancer awareness it claims to support.

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