Urgent Action: Call on the UN Security Council to demand protection for Palestinian health workers

This week, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) urgently needs your support to ensure states speak out against attacks on Palestinian health workers at the UN Security Council.

Take action

Tomorrow, Thursday 23 May, the UN Security Council in New York will receive the Secretary-General’s report on the protection of civilians in conflicts and hold its annual open debate on the topic. Among the important subjects in this debate is the disastrous trend of attacks on health workers in armed conflicts and what urgent actions can be taken to address it and ensure that UNSC Resolution 2286 is robustly implemented.

A report released by the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition last week highlighted the continuing insecurity and attacks faced by health workers in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The report, to which MAP contributed, identified 308 attacks that affected Palestinian health workers, medical facilities and health transport in 2018. These attacks included three health workers killed by Israeli forces, Musa Abu-Hassanin, Razan al-Najjar and Abdallah al-Qutati, and at least 564 others injured. The report notes a UN Commission of Inquiry on the protests in Gaza, which recently found that the oPt is “one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a health worker”. It stresses that the Commission’s investigation found “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers intentionally shot health workers, despite seeing that they were clearly marked as such.”

As Jonathan Allen, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, stated at the Security Council last month (1 April) regarding the global issue of attacks on health workers, “we don’t lack law. We lack enforcement and accountability.”

So far, nobody has been held accountable for the above attacks in the oPt. The recent Commission of Inquiry, in line with the findings of reputable Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations, UN special procedures, and previous Commissions of Inquiry, found that “the Government of Israel has consistently failed to meaningfully investigate and prosecute commanders and soldiers for crimes and violations committed against Palestinians or to provide reparation to victims in accordance with international norms.”

Such impunity fuels recurrence, and the lives of Palestinian health workers continue to be in danger. On 27 March 2019, a fourth Palestinian health worker in a year was killed by Israeli forces. Sajed Mizher, a 17-year-old volunteer health worker, was killed in the West Bank just days after the UK abstained on a resolution supporting the implementation of the UN Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations.

The UK, as the Security Council penholder for the protection of civilians, and other Security Council members cannot allow dangerous double standards. The protection of health workers under international humanitarian law must be upheld everywhere. And as Ambassador Allen stated last month: “we should push consistently for accountability mechanisms where states cannot or will not act.”

Take action: call for the protection of Palestinian health workers

More than 550 people have contacted the UK Mission in New York to call on them to raise concerns about the insecurity and attacks Palestinian health workers face at the Security Council. We need your help to ensure they do so, by tweeting at them ahead of tomorrow’s debate using the link below:

TWEET @UKUN_NewYork

'4 Palestinian paramedics killed, >745 injured in a year. Will the UK raise its voice? @UKUN_NewYork @KarenPierceUN @AmbassadorAllen please call for the protection of Palestinian health workers at the Security Council tomorrow. #NotATarget #Res2286 https://ctt.ec/2HM_P+'

If you are a national of one of these other UN Security Council member states, you can tweet them about this issue using the Twitter handles below:

  • China: @Chinamission2un
  • France: @franceonu
  • Russia: @RussiaUN]
  • United States: @USUN
  • Belgium: @BelgiumUN
  • Côte d’Ivoire: @CotedIvoire_UN
  • Dominican Republic: @DominicanRepUN
  • Equatorial Guinea: @egmissionun
  • Indonesia: @indonesiaunny
  • Kuwait: @KuwaitMissionUN
  • Peru: @PeruEnLaONU
  • Poland: @PLinUN
  • South Africa: @SAMissionNY