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Health workers blockade NHS England HQ to protest deal with Palantir 

Health workers protest the encroachment of the malicious firm, Palantir, into the NHS in solidarity with health workers in Gaza.

Hundreds of NHS workers are blockading the entrance to NHS England’s headquarters in central London, demanding the cancellation of its contract with Palantir, which supplies advanced technology to Israel’s military. 

Harriet, one of the organisers of the blockade, an emergency doctor and BMA member, said: 

“A company profiting from Israel’s war on hospitals and the massacre of health workers and patients has absolutely no place in our NHS. Palantir’s extensive support to the Israeli military with ‘advanced technology’ has undoubtedly contributed to the systematic destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system and the killing of doctors and nurses, and this likely includes the siege which has turned the al-Shifa hospital into a mass graveyard.

Just a few weeks ago, Palantir’s CEO said he is “exceedingly proud” of their involvement in Israel’s military operations despite continually mounting evidence of Israel’s war crimes and International Court of Justice ruling that there is a plausible case that Israel is committing a genocide.

Palantir, which specialises in AI-powered military and surveillance technology, recently signed a deal with the Israeli Defence Forces to increase its advanced technology provision to Israel in “support of war-related missions”. This new strategic partnership “aims to significantly aid the Israeli Ministry of Defense in addressing the current situation in Israel”. Responding to questions two weeks ago about Palantir employees leaving the company as a result of its continued support for Israel despite attacks on Gaza, CEO Alex Karp said he is “exceedingly proud” of Palantir’s involvement in “operationally crucial operations in Israel”.

As images emerge of the ruined al-Shifa Hospital and piles of dead bodies, with reports from the Gaza media office that 400 people in the compound were executed, including health workers and patients, NHS staff are shutting down access to NHS England, protesting its contract with a company they say is complicit in the systematic destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system. The allegation that Israel is waging a “war on hospitals” comes after Médecins Sans Frontières recently stated they have seen “zero independently verified evidence” that Hamas has used Gaza’s medical facilities for military purposes.

The NHS workers contend that Palantir’s extensive support to the Israeli military will have inevitably contributed to Israel’s 804 attacks on Gaza health facilities and the killing of health workers since 7 October (according to World Health Organisation data) and that this may include involvement in the two week siege of al-Shifa hospital. 

NHS England awarded a £330 million contract to Palantir in November, which gives the US spy-tech firm unprecedented influence over NHS data through the Federated Data Platform despite widespread opposition over concerns about patient privacy and NHS outsourcing and Palantir’s involvement in warfare worldwide.

Timesh, a respiratory doctor and BMA member taking part in the blockade said: 

“After seeing the devastating images of al-Shifa hospital reduced to rubble, littered with dead and decaying bodies, and reading eyewitness accounts about health workers and patients being executed, I could not stand by while our NHS continues to support a war profiteer complicit in such crimes against humanity. 

The targeting of Gaza’s health workers is so systemic many now say they hide their scrubs because wearing them puts a target on their back. How can the NHS possibly justify endorsing a war profiteer involved in the flattening of medical facilities and the murder of doctors, nurses, dentists, medical students and other health workers?”

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