WHO: Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Healthcare Persist during COVID-19 Pandemic

Israeli soldiers attempt to forcibly pull out and arrest an injured Palestinian from an ambulance in Jordan Valley. (Photo: Video Grab)

In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) recorded 59 Israeli attacks against Palestinian healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory, according to its latest report on health access in the occupied territories.

Of these, 42 percent (25) involved obstruction to the delivery of healthcare services, including 12 incidents of obstructing access for ambulances to reach persons who had been fatally wounded.

Meanwhile, 61% of incidents (36) involved physical violence against health workers, ambulances, and health facilities, and six incidents involved the detention of health care workers, ambulances, patients, and patient companions.

During the last three months of 2020, WHO recorded 15 health attacks in the occupied Palestinian territory. Of these, seven involved physical attacks against health workers, ambulances, and health facilities, and nine involved obstructions to health care delivery, including five incidents of obstruction of access for health teams to persons who were fatally injured.

On November 24, a Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) paramedic team was near Tayaseer checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley – Tubas area in the West Bank, providing first aid to people injured during confrontations. The PRCS team was physically attacked as they attempted to provide first aid to a person who sustained an abdominal wound from injury with a rubber-coated bullet.

Several Israeli soldiers attempted to board the ambulance and to arrest the wounded person by force, unaccompanied by medical personnel. In addition to this, tear gas canisters were fired at the ambulance during the confrontations, while the PRCS team was providing emergency medical services to injured persons inside the ambulance.

On December 11, a paramedic working with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) was beaten with the butt of a gun and kicked while providing first aid to persons injured in confrontations during a demonstration held to protest the expansion of a settlement and confiscation of land near Kufr Malek village in the West Bank.

Vulnerability to attacks against healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territory has persisted in 2020, said WHO, adding that it is working to enhance monitoring and support systems for health care workers and to strengthen the voices of those affected.

WHO called for the protection of healthcare and an end to attacks.

(WAFA, PC, Social Media)

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