An Israeli Assault on a Palestinian Hospital Explained by Its Staff

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Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces outside Jerusalem’s Old city July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

STEPHEN LENDMAN | Caravan Daily

Hospitals are for sick and injured patients, needing care provided by doctors, nurses and other staff.

Israel considers Palestinian medical facilities battlegrounds for any reasons, including when seeking to arrest targeted individuals – disrupting hospital functioning, terrorizing medical staff and patients, jeopardizing their safety and welfare, deplorable actions only rogue states would dare order.

On July 24, during over two weeks of Israeli-initiated violence against Palestinians at the Al Aksa mosque and compound, scores of security forces raided East Jerusalem’s al-Makassed hospital violently.

They fired stun grenades and tear gas outside the facility. Medical staff and others inside were assaulted. Seriously injured Muhammad Abu Ghanam was prevented from getting vitally needed treatment, causing his death – the shocking reality of life in Occupied Palestine, Israeli harshness ongoing daily.

An entire population is collectively punished for not being Jewish – the world community failing to intervene responsibly, letting Israel get away with murder and much more.

Israeli raids on communities occur daily, homes invaded pre-dawn, arrests made, property vandalized, residents terrorized, children traumatized – at times, schools, mosques and hospitals like al-Makassed attacked – the world community and Western media ignoring the daily reality of occupation harshness.

Testimony given to a B’tselem researcher by hospital director Rafiq al-Husseini was as follows:

“On 21 July 2017, at around 3:40 PM, I was sitting in my office when I got a phone call from security informing that the police had entered the surgical ward.”

“I went up there and saw three Border Police officers walking in the ward corridors and checking the operating rooms.”

“I went up to them and said in English: ‘You can’t be here. This is a sterile ward.’ One of them told me: ‘There’s a wounded man here we want to see.’ “

“I said: ‘There are no wounded here, only patients.’ The officer said to me: ‘We want to see the morgue.’ I agreed and took them there.”

“(W)e had to go through the lobby, near admissions, the ER and the blood bank. When we got there, I saw about fifty officers. They were wearing olive uniforms and armed to the teeth.”

“They ordered the administrative staff of the blood bank staff to get out, and closed the door. They also ordered the administrative staff of admissions to get out.”

“While this was going on, several medical personnel came out of the ER pushing a hospital bed. There was a man with a chest wound lying in the bed. A crowd of people escorted them.”

“The officers tried to get to the bed to take the wounded man and the crowd blocked their path. Some pushing and shoving started between the police and the crowd and medical crew, and the officers started beating people.”

“At that point, some police officers in blue uniforms showed up. They spoke to me and said that when a wounded person is brought into the hospital I must call the police right away. I said to them: ‘There’s no need whatsoever for so many officers to be inside the hospital.’ “

“At the end of the conversation, the police and Border Police started leaving the admissions hall and the blood bank, going out to the hospital driveway.”

A nurse explained the following:

“I’m a volunteer nurse at the hospital and an ambulance driver. At about 2:30 PM on the afternoon of 21 July 2017, after Friday prayers, I was at the ER together with the paramedics, expecting we’d be receiving people hurt in the riots.”

At around 3:30 PM, a critically wounded man was brought into the ER. It looked like he’d been hit by bullets in the carotid artery and in the heart. He was bleeding heavily, and the doctors began treating him. A few minutes later, police forces raided the hospital.”

“Some were wearing olive green uniforms, and others were in blue uniforms. They closed the blood bank and the admissions area. We had gotten the wounded man one unit of blood from the blood bank, but he needed more units of blood, and the police prevented us from getting them.”

“The doctors decided to take the man to the operating room on the second floor. A lot of young men gathered around the bed to escort him and prevent the forces from taking him.”

“There was some mutual pushing and shoving between the young men and the officers, who were assaulting people in the trauma and admissions hall. The wounded man’s transfusion bag fell on the floor during the altercation.”

“The medical crew took the wounded man into the x-ray room, and I went back to the ER and cleaned up the blood together with some other people.”

“Ten minutes later, I heard shots and stun grenades near the hospital. I found out that the young men had smuggled out the body of the young man who had died of his wounds, through the hospital fence.”

“At that point, scores of people who had suffered mild injuries from sponge rounds and stun grenades started flooding the ER, and we treated them. Outside, there were clashes with the police, which had sealed all the entrances to the hospital.”

Other testimonies B’Tselem obtained were similar, describing Israeli violence and contempt for al-Makassed’s staff and patients.

Rogue states operate this way, America and Israel the world’s worst.

A strongly worded B’tselem statement said the following:

“Words fail to convey the gravity of the police’s conduct inside the hospital. 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.”

“This unreasonable, violent and life-threatening conduct on the part of the security forces is indefensible, particularly considering they clearly could have chosen any number of other avenues of action that would not have entailed such harm to medical staff, hospital patients and the basic human norm that medical personnel and facilities where people receive medical attention are protected places.”

“The blatant breach of this norm by police forces inside al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem is part of a much larger picture, one in which Israeli authorities repeatedly show the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem just how unwanted they are in their own city and how cheap their lives are.”

 

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