New MAP briefing exposes attacks on Palestinian medical staff and facilities

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has released the second in our series of briefings investigating the impact of 50 years of Israel’s military occupation on the health and dignity of Palestinians. 

This second chapter exposes how Palestinian medical facilities and personnel have been placed in harm’s way during repeated Israeli military offensives on Gaza and periods of heightened violence in the West Bank.  

Read the briefing here

The dangers faced by Palestinian healthcare providers was starkly illustrated during Israel’s attacks on Gaza in July and August 2014, when 73 hospitals and clinics and 45 ambulances were damaged or destroyed. Twenty-three medical workers were also killed and 78 injured while on duty during 51 days of bombardment.  

"A hospital must be a safe space, not a target. An ambulance must be a sign of hope, not a target. A doctor or nurse must be a ray of light, not a target.”

Matthew Rycroft, UK Ambassador to the UN

The protection of medical safe spaces in times of conflict is enshrined in international humanitarian law. Nevertheless, the last decade has seen an unprecedented rise in attacks on healthcare providers in conflicts around the world. Serious and repeated violations not only in the oPt but also in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen have prompted fears that the international law which ensures safety for medical staff and facilities is eroding. 

Our briefing highlights a failure to ensure credible investigation, accountability, or redress for attacks on healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict has stated that Israel has a “lamentable” record in holding wrongdoers to account. This impunity in turn contributes to the likelihood of further serious violations of international humanitarian law in the oPt and worldwide.

“As a doctor who believes that prevention is better than cure I am here to impress on you the need to end the cycle of impunity which has fuelled the escalation in ferocity of attacks.” 

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a plastic & reconstructive surgeon who was working in the Burns Unit at the Al Shifa hospital during the 2014 attacks on Gaza.

To read the briefing paper, click here.

In June, Palestinians will mark 50 years under occupation, and a decade under blockade in Gaza. Palestinians and people across Britain are calling on the UK government to take action to bring these man-made humanitarian crises to an end. 

Support their call

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