Despite the Israeli government's claim
of having lifted the siege, closures remain strictly enforced on Palestinian
towns and villages further isolating communities from each other and strictly
limiting freedom of movement throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
This situation has led to a national health emergency as closures prevent
Palestinians from accessing health services, and approximately 70% of the
population is cut off from hospital care for weeks and months on end.
This systematic denial of health care services puts pregnant women, children, and those suffering from chronic diseases at particular risk. For example, nearly one-fifth of pregnant women have no access to health care. In response to this situation, UPMRC strives to bring vital services to communities isolated by the closure, treating around 2,000 people every day. However, Israeli soldiers at checkpoints to these villages continue to violate international law by preventing, delaying and harassing medical staff as they try to reach communities in need of medical services.
Yesterday, a UPMRC staff member was trying to reach the village of Jaba' in the Jenin district in order to provide first aid services as well as health care services for women and children. Israeli soldiers stopped him at the checkpoint outside the village and inspected his car. Despite the fact that he identified himself as a medical staff person, the soldiers delayed him and forcibly confiscated hats from his car which UPMRC had intended for the children of the village as part of its health education initiative. The soldiers wore the hats and continued to harass the medic before allowing him to pass through the checkpoint. He was also harassed upon leaving the village.
The UPMRC strongly condemns Israel's systematic disregard of international humanitarian law in regard to medical neutrality, and we ask that the international community take action against Israel's blatant violations.
To view all UPMRC appeals and facts regarding the Israeli siege and use of force against Palestinian civilians, visit the UPMRC website at http://www.upmrc.org. For further information, please contact Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi at +972-50-254-218 or the UPMRC office at +972-2-583-3510/ 2-583-4021.