On the 21st and 22nd 2016, the INCB carried out its first ever mission to the State of Palestine. The mission was led by INCB member Major General Ahmed Kamel Al-Din Samak, who has sat on the Board since 2012. He was accompanied by Ms Hanifa Rebbani of the secretariat. The objectives were to discuss with the Palestinian government the issues of trafficking, the ‘abuse’ of drugs, precursors and the access to controlled drugs for medical and scientific uses.

As well as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Interior and Justice, meetings were held with staff from the Ministry of Health, including the General Directorate of Pharmacy, the Dangerous Drugs Department, the Legal Advisor and the Addiction and Prevention Program. The conclusions will be discussed in the Board’s Annual Report for 2016.

However, a clue may be present in the curriculum of Major General Samak, who has an extensive career in anti-narcotics and police, including INTERPOL. In addition, though this may be represented in the INCB Annual Report for 2016, there is no mention of the impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian territories, which have generated decades of conflict and poverty.

Though the State of Palestine is not a party to the UN drug control conventions, UNODC has supplied technical support, reforming the country’s prison system and providing support for prevention and drug treatment.

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