Israeli occupation forces keep targeting Palestinian medical staff who are on the front lines, providing care to the wounded and the vulnerable.
The deliberate attacks on healthcare professionals, facilities, and ambulances have raised serious concerns about humanitarian law violations and the protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories.
International humanitarian law, embodied in the Geneva Conventions, emphasizes the principle of medical neutrality, which mandates that medical personnel, facilities, and patients must be protected and respected during armed conflicts.
This principle is designed to ensure that those who are wounded or sick receive the care they require without discrimination.
Attacks on Hospitals and Clinics:
Israeli forces directly targeted or damaged several Palestinian hospitals and health care facilities during military operations. This not only endangers patients but also medical staff working tirelessly to save lives.
Targeting Ambulances: Ambulances, marked with the distinctive red crescent symbol, should be protected under international law. However, reports have documented cases where ambulances have been attacked or prevented from reaching those in need of medical attention.
Arrests and Detentions: Medical staff have often been subject to arrest and detention without proper legal justification, hindering their ability to provide essential healthcare services.
Intimidation and Harassment: Healthcare workers in occupied Palestinian territories, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics, have reported incidents of intimidation and harassment by Israeli forces, obstructing their work and increasing the risks they face.
Increased Human Suffering: Targeting healthcare professionals and facilities results in delays in medical care, leading to increased suffering and fatalities among the civilian population.
Undermining Trust: Such actions erode trust between healthcare providers and the communities they serve, making it more challenging for medical teams to operate effectively.
Violation of International Law: Deliberate attacks on medical personnel and facilities constitute violations of international humanitarian law and can lead to prosecution for war crimes.
Calls for Accountability:
Numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, have called for accountability and investigations into violations of medical neutrality in Palestine. These calls emphasize the importance of upholding international laws designed to protect medical personnel and facilities during armed conflicts.
According to the representative of the Red Crescent Society, Mamoun Abbasi, he stated that the occupation’s attacks on medical teams killed 22 medical personnel since 2000. He also mentioned that the monthly recurring violations reached an average of 84 attacks, including physical assaults, obstruction, denial of access, and direct attacks on ambulance vehicles.
He pointed out that the number of attacks during the first half of the current year exceeded the recorded attacks from the previous year, with more than 193 direct attacks on their medical teams.
He called on the international community to fulfill its responsibilities to stop these brutal attacks on their medical teams.
The targeting of Palestinian medical staff is a deeply concerning issue that raises serious questions about the adherence to international humanitarian law. Protecting the neutrality of healthcare workers and facilities is crucial for ensuring that innocent civilians receive the medical care they desperately need, regardless of the circumstances.