An Israeli police raid on Al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem last month left one critically wounded Palestinian dead, an investigation by Israeli NGO B’Tselem concluded, adding that the raid endangered the lives of other patients.
Muhammad Abu Ghanam, 20, was rushed to the hospital on July 21 after being critically shot by Israeli security forces during the ‘Day of Rage’ demonstrations in East Jerusalem.
Abu Ghanam, who was studying at Bir Zeit University, was about to be taken into the operating room when Israeli police officers forced their way into the hospital to arrest him.
B’Tselem says the police overpowered the hospital guards and dozens of Palestinian youths who tried to prevent them from going inside the building.
“The officers responded with stun grenades and sponge-round fire. About half of the force entered the building, where they split up and searched various wards for the injured youth,” the NGO said, releasing CCTV footage of the raid.
The officers searched various wards and harassed medical staff and patients inside the maternity ward, the blood bank, and the emergency room. When they discovered the location of the 20-year-old Palestinian, they assaulted the doctors and nurses treating Abu Ghanam, preventing medical staff from taking him into the operating room.
Abu Ghanam’s condition quickly deteriorated. Doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the man in a nearby X-Ray room, but he was declared dead at the scene 20 minutes later. Amid the chaos, Palestinian activists at the hospital smuggled the body out of the medical compound.
“Words fail to convey the gravity of the police’s conduct inside the hospital,” B’Tselem said. “The fright engendered by scores of armed police raiding a hospital cannot be downplayed. When these feelings of terror are accompanied by an assault on medical staff and interference with medical care, the situation escalates to one of a real risk to the lives of the many patients in the hospital.”
Noting that the July 21 police raid was just one in a series of many, the NGO stressed that Israel continues to violate international law, which stipulates that medical facilities treating the wounded are protected areas.
(RT, PC, Social Media)