Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Israeli forces prevent Palestinian medical teams from entering blockaded areas

By The Palestine Monitor - September 28, 2017
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Health Care] [checkpoints]

Medical teams from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) have been unable to reach the health clinics they run in the blockaded Jerusalem area, leaving residents with no access to healthcare. The Israeli army imposed a military lockdown on several villages following a shooting attack on Tuesday.  

Official PA news agency Wafa reported that the blockade affected eight villages in addition to Beit Surik, the hometown of Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, 37, who shot and killed two Israeli guards and a border policeman at the entrance of the settlement of Har Hadar on Tuesday. Jamal was also shot dead at the scene.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, said medical teams had been turned back by the Israeli army for two days in a row as they tried to reach the clinics.

“That includes doctors, nurses, technicians. And because of this, three clinics in Beddu, Beit Anan and Beit Dukko were left without services,” Barghouti told Palestine Monitor.

“This means that thousands of people have been deprived from regular healthcare in the whole area,” he said, adding that the clinics serve up to 40,000 people from nearby villages as well.

Dr. Faisal Abdullatif, a district supervisor with PMRS, said he tried to access the area to reach the clinic in Beddu on Tuesday and Wednesday, but was turned back.

“There were clashes and I was asked by the soldiers at the entrance to the village to go back. I told them I am a doctor but they said the area is closed,” said Abdullatif. “Today one of the doctors was turned back from the entrance to Biddu. We decided to go by ambulance and we are now operating in the area,” he explained.

According to Palestinian news agency Maan, Israeli forces also raided a hospital where seven Palestinians injured during clashes were being treated, while looking for them. It's unclear whether the seven were actually arrested.

It is not the first time Israeli forces raid hospitals or obstruct the work of medical teams. Last July, following protests over Israel's proposed new security measures at the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Israeli forces violently raided the Al Maqassed hospital in East Jerusalem twice in a week. In some cases, doctors were prevented from providing emergency healthcare to some patients, according to an Amnesty International report.

“There can be no justification for preventing medical workers from caring for a critically wounded patient,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, stated at the time.


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