Israeli security forces raid hospital, obstructions to healthcare reported amid Jerusalem clashes

Al Makassed Hospital was raided by Israeli security forces on Monday, amid clashes in occupied East Jerusalem this week.

According to media reports, armed Israeli police entered the hospital on Monday evening to arrest a young Palestinian man who had been shot and injured in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan. According to the Ma’an news agency, police were stationed outside the Intensive Care Unit where the young man, identified as 19-year-old Alaa Abu Tayih, was being treated, and prevented family from reaching him.

In a statement, Al Makassed Hospital accused the Israeli forces of intimidating patients, their companions and medical staff, and stated they were “standing guard outside the surgical recovery unit, obstructing the work of the Hospital’s medical staff, in addition to impeding the entry of patients’ companions, as well as checking the identity cards and permits of staff and Hospital visitors.”

Confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces have been sparked by the imposition of new security measures at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in response to an attack last Friday in which two Israeli security officers and their three alleged Palestinian assailants were killed. The Palestinian Red Crescent claimed that 14 Muslim worshippers were wounded, one critically, in clashes outside the compound on Tuesday. Further injuries have been reported in clashes in the Silwan and Isawiyah neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem.

The Makassed Islamic Charitable Society also reported that medics had been prevented from reaching a clinic run by the society near the Bani Ghanim Gate entrance to the Al Aqsa compound, and patients obstructed from reaching treatment by the presence of a checkpoint.

NGOs Adalah (the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) and JLAC (the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center) called Israel’s closure of East Jerusalem and the Old City following the attack “collective punishment”, highlighting concerns around restrictions to freedom of movement and effects on businesses and the day-to-day life of Palestinian residents.

The UN Envoy on the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, said he was “deeply concerned by the recent surge in tensions and violence”, and called on all parties to de-escalate the situation.

This recent raid echoes previous incidents between October and December 2015, in which Al Makassed and other hospitals and clinics were raided by Israeli forces amid clashes and protests.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is calling for action from the UK Government to reiterate its commitment to strengthening international law to ensure respect for and protection of medical personnel and facilities, and to support international efforts to promote impartial investigations of, and accountability for, violations of this law in the occupied Palestinian territory.

You can read more in Chapter 2 of our Health Under Occupation series, ‘Protection For Healthcare’. You can also take action to support our calls by signing our petition and demanding Health and Dignity for Palestinians.