MAP calls for accountability as Israeli military attack on Jenin ends

Palestinian residents of Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank, are picking up the pieces of their lives as Israel’s latest large-scale military attack has come to an end.

Over two days of ground incursion and air strikes, Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinians, including five children, and injured more than 140 according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Thirty people remain in a critical condition. According to Médecins Sans Frontières, more than 90 patients in a hospital nearby the camp suffered gunshot and shrapnel wounds from different explosive devices.

Following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Jenin refugee camp, overnight, the Israeli military carried out airstrikes on Gaza in response to five rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups. There have been no reports of injuries. On Tuesday, seven Israelis were injured in a car ramming and stabbing attack in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian who was shot and killed by an armed passerby.

More than 3,500 people have been displaced from their homes in Jenin, because of damage or destruction, or due to safety concerns. Many have been staying in government buildings, hotels, mosques, churches, in the Jenin Governmental Hospital and with relatives. According to the UN, most parts of the camp remain without power or drinkable water today due to severe damage to pipelines and the electricity grid, and the inability of the municipality to access affected areas to carry out repairs.

Although Israeli forces have now withdrawn, the health and humanitarian situation remains dire. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s team in the West Bank are in contact with the Ministry of Health and local health providers to assess what support we can provide, in addition to our existing response to the ongoing emergency in the West Bank.

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Healthcare under attack

During the attack on Jenin, Israeli forces again perpetrated numerous violations against Palestinian health workers and facilities. According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Ministry of Health, soldiers stormed both the Jenin Governmental Hospital and Ibn Sina Hospital on Tuesday, firing live ammunition inside and injuring at least five Palestinians.

PRCS received more than 4,000 calls per day during the raid, with more than 90% of them requesting an ambulance, however emergency medical teams were repeatedly obstructed from reaching and evacuating the wounded. The destruction of infrastructure and roads leading to the camp also hindered the access of ambulances and medical personnel to the injured. 

Furthermore, PRCS reported that Israeli forces confiscated the keys of two of its ambulances and seized the mobile phones of a team who were trying to respond to an emergency call. In a separate reported incident, a PRCS ambulance carrying a pregnant woman in labour was obstructed while seeking to transport her to hospital.

Responding to the attack, UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk called on Israel to “ensure timely access to medical care to all those injured”, stating: “The scale of the Israeli Security Forces’ ongoing operation in Jenin, including the use of repeated airstrikes, along with the destruction of property, raises a host of serious issues with respect to international human rights norms and standards, including protecting and respecting the right to life.” The British Consulate in Jerusalem called for the protection of civilians to be “prioritised”, stating that it is “[e]ssential to ensure access for medical personnel.”

Underlying causes must be addressed

Monday’s incursion into Jenin is just the latest of dozens of Israeli military raids that have been carried out across the West Bank this year. Israeli forces and settlers have killed 157 Palestinians in the West Bank in 2023, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. This year has now already surpassed 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the UN began recording in 2005.

Despite the end of this particularly deadly incursion, the root causes of violence against Palestinians and health workers remain unaddressed. In particular, violations against healthcare and civilians continue to be carried out with near-total impunity. MAP is therefore calling on the international community, including the UK Government, to:

  • Pressure Israel to end its violations against Palestinians’ rights to health and dignity, including attacks on healthcare, demolitions of homes, settlement expansion and restrictions on freedom of movement.
  • Ensure that serious violations of international law are met with meaningful consequences and accountability.
  • Immediately increase aid and assistance to Palestine’s healthcare system to enable it to adequately respond to the current crisis

In just two days, over 1,100 people in the UK have emailed their MP demanding protection for civilians and healthcare. Please take action today and keep the pressure on the UK Government.

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Photo: Medics take a wounded Palestinian man into an ambulance after he was shot in the head by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp. (Credit: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Live News).

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