International action urgently needed to end violence against Palestinians in the West Bank

Violence against Palestinians by Israeli forces and settlers has continued in the occupied West Bank, following a deadly Israeli military raid on Jenin last Thursday which killed ten people, including one 61-year-old woman.

On Monday 30 January, Israeli forces shot dead 26-year-old Naseem Abu Fouda, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Thirty five Palestinians have now been killed this year, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, including at least seven children.

Many more have been injured, including by live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reports that from 26-29 January, their emergency teams treated 173 injured Palestinians, 49 of whom were transferred to hospitals.

The PRCS also reports that more restrictions have been placed on checkpoints that are scattered across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, making it even more difficult for Palestinians and medical teams to move freely.

“The new strict regulations on the checkpoints create very long traffic jams. This has led to a delay in the arrival of ambulances and delays in transferring patients to hospitals,” said Mohammad Fityani, PRCS Spokesperson. “In addition, some soldiers are treating the medical teams with cruelty.”

Meanwhile, Israeli forces have closed off the city of Jericho for a sixth consecutive day, as they reportedly search for the perpetrators of an attempted attack on a restaurant on the evening of 28 January. Israeli forces are heavily deployed at the northern and southern entrances to Jericho, as well as other roads around the city, and are obstructing the free movement of residents, searching their cars and checking their identities. These restrictions are reminiscent of the three-week closure on Nablus, imposed by Israeli forces last year, which had a critical impact on access to healthcare.

Israelis have also been killed and injured in the occupied West Bank amid the escalating violence. On 27 January, seven Israelis, including one child, were shot and killed by a Palestinian near a synagogue in Neve Yaakov, an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem. A further two Israeli settlers were injured in Silwan, East Jerusalem, on 28 January.

In response, Israeli authorities have reportedly proposed a number of escalatory and retaliatory measures, including reinforcing troop numbers in the West Bank, “strengthening” settlements, easing restrictions on gun licensing for Israeli civilians, and revoking family members’ residency rights and social security benefits. Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups have decried these measures as “collective punishment”, in breach of Israel’s duties under international law.

As well as escalating military violence, attacks by Israeli settlers continue to threaten Palestinians’ lives and livelihoods. On Saturday 28 January, Palestinian authorities reported 144 attacks against Palestinians and their property in the northern West Bank region of Nablus alone. This included incidents of arson and an attack on an ambulance.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) remains gravely concerned about the ability of hospitals and emergency teams to cope with the number of casualties and injuries, and has launched an emergency response amid the growing critical health needs.

As part of our upscaled emergency response, we will provide lifesaving equipment, medicines and medical supplies to two of the main Palestinian hospitals: Rafidia Hospital in Nablus and the Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. We are also providing Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) first aid responders, stationed across East Jerusalem, with supplies and disposables to treat and stabilise injured people until an ambulance arrives.  

Donate to support MAP’s emergency response

Without immediate and urgent action from the international community, however, the situation is likely to deteriorate further in the coming weeks and months. The international community, including the UK, must act now to protect Palestinians from violence, end impunity for violations against Palestinian healthcare and civilians, and ensure health workers have the resources and access they need to deal with any influx of casualties. 

Email your MP to demand an end to violence

Photo credit: Palestine Red Crescent Society.

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