Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) condemns the recent obstruction of Palestinian medical teams in the Al Aqsa Compound and the delays imposed on their efforts to provide care to those wounded by Israeli security forces. The escalating violence in Jerusalem has already resulted, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, in over 600 injuries since the beginning of the clashes, with the vast majority occurring yesterday (May 10th). Denial and delay of medical treatment is in contravention of international law and human rights standards.
On May 10th, the following violations of these standards took place:
● Medical teams were prevented from assisting the wounded: security forces confiscated the keys of a medical transport vehicle, used to transfer the wounded from the al Aqsa Compound to the Lion’s Gate and then to local hospitals.
● The wounded, including those with serious injuries, were therefore forced to walk to the point where medical personnel were awaiting them.
● The wounded were prevented from accessing treatment for a significant period of time: security forces prevented Red Crescent medics from entering the El-Marwani Mosque for an hour and a half. Medics requested to be allowed in to give first aid and provide assistance to those waiting to be evacuated.
● Medics were injured: the Palestinian Red Crescent reports that two medics were attacked. This included an attack on a medic that attempted to enter El-Marwani Mosque to provide treatment was attacked by Yasam forces (Special Patrol Units of the Israeli police) with clubs. The medic sustained light injuries. Police forces also threatened and pushed medical staff. In addition, damage was done to 3 ambulances over the last 48 hours.
● Medical equipment belonging to a clinic operating in the Al-Aqsa Compound was confiscated by police forces, who prevented the clinic's medical staff from providing assistance to the injured. The clinic itself was attacked and stun grenades were thrown into the clinic
Already back in 2016, PHRI documented Israeli obstruction of medical teams. This latest action forms a pattern of impunity whereby Israel does not respect the neutrality of healthcare workers.
PHRI has turned to the Ministry of Health, Israel Police and Ministry of Public Security to call on them to urgently ensure direct access for medical teams and protection of medical personnel. Security and police forces must honor the neutrality and protection of medical teams.