New report from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel


Published on 23rd March 2009

Source: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

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Prevention of medical assistance from the trapped and the wounded, severe difficulties to emergency medical evacuation, attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities, and de facto prevention from the chronically ill and gravely wounded referral to medical care outside Gaza. “We call for an outside independent body to investigate the events” say representatives of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

The new report, published today by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, gives room for concern that during the operation in Gaza, Israeli soldiers repeatedly acted in violation of the army’s code of ethics, the medical code of ethics, and basic human values. These actions suggest repeated violations of the International Law regarding the treatment of the ill and the wounded and the protection of medical personnel.

The report examines six topics: the situation of the Gaza health system on the eve of the military operation, the difficulties in evacuating the wounded to medical centers outside Gaza, attacks on medical personnel, difficulties in internal evacuation of the wounded, attacks on medical facilities and injury to chronic and acute patients.

Based on numerous first hand testimonies that were brought to the attention of PHR-Israel during the attack, the report depicts a grave picture of the realities in Gaza during those 22 days. In some of the cases revealed to PHR-Israel, the army did not allow for the evacuation of wounded and trapped civilians for days on, leaving them in isolated pockets with no access to food, water and medical treatment. The army did not assist these civilians but even more, it prevented the Palestinian emergency vehicles and staff from reaching these civilians.  In other cases, the soldiers did not give medical assistance to wounded human beings that were within several feet from the soldiers. This, in serious violation of the army’s Ethical Code for the War on Terror of 2004 that states that “soldiers are obliged to provide adequate health services, as conditions allow, equally to themselves and to the enemy.”

PHR-Israel received reports of 16 medical personnel that were killed and 25 that were wounded from the Israeli army’s fire, all of them while performing their medical duties. Furthermore, 34 medical facilities were hit by the army, eight hospitals and 26 primary care clinics; this in severe violation of directives of international law that forbid attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities in times of fighting.

For the full report check: “Ill Morals”: Grave Violations of the Right to Health during the Israeli Assault on Gaza (PART 1; PART 2; PART 3).

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