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Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Harm to Medical Personnel - December 2003

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: Harm to Medical Personnel - December 2003

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Published by PHR Israel
The Delay, Abuse and Humiliation of Medical Personnel by the Israeli Security Forces. Joint report with B'tselem. December 2003.
The Delay, Abuse and Humiliation of Medical Personnel by the Israeli Security Forces. Joint report with B'tselem. December 2003.

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Published by: PHR Israel on Nov 08, 2010
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11/15/2010

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B'TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center forHuman Rights in the Occupied TerritoriesPhysicians for HumanRights - Israel
 
B’TSELEM
, 8 Hata’asiya St., Talpiot, Jerusalem 93420 Tel: 02-6735599 Fax: 02-6749111
PHR
, 52 Golomb St. Tel Aviv 66171 Tel: 03- 6873718 Fax: 03- 6873029
- DRAFT -
 
Harm to Medical Personnel
The Delay, Abuse and Humiliation of Medical Personnel by the Israeli Security Forces
December 2003
 
Researched and written by Shlomi SwisaEdited by Yael Stein
Fieldwork by Musa Abu Hashash, ‘Atef Abu Rob, ‘Ali Daraghmeh, Iyad Hadad, SalahHaj Yehiye, Suha ZeydData coordination by Nimrod Amzalek, Yael Handlesman, Sohad Sakallah, RonenShnayderman
Translated by Zvi Shulman, with assistance from Ayelet Even-Nur, Jesse Fox, Guy Carin-Levy,Maya Johnston, Daniel PolB’Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights would like to thank HaMoked: The Center forDefense of the Individual for its assistance in preparing this report.
 
 1
Introduction
Since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel has imposed on Palestinians within the WestBank restrictions on movement that are unprecedented in scope and severity. As of earlyNovember 2003, the IDF had set up fifty-six staffed checkpoints in the West Bank, as well as 607physical roadblocks that prevent the passage of motor vehicles – 457 dirt piles, 94 concreteblocks, and 56 trenches.
1
In addition, Palestinians are forbidden to travel on most of the mainroads in the West Bank.The siege policy has made it almost impossible for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to movearound in the region. Israeli officials repeatedly emphasize that the IDF does not harm the civilianpopulation that does not participate in the hostilities. However, the policy is directed against themand affects all aspects of Palestinian life. Over the past three years, going to work, school, or tovisit relatives has become an arduous task, subject to physical blockades and staffed checkpointsat which the resident must explain the reason and destination of their travel.The sweeping restrictions on Palestinian movement within the West Bank has severely impairedtheir access to medical treatment. The emergency medical system in the West Bank has difficultyfunctioning and in many cases ambulances are unable to reach their destination.The right of every person to receive medical treatment, and the protection of the sick, wounded,and medical personnel who treat them are clearly enshrined in international humanitarian law andinternational human rights law. To ensure the realization of this right, international humanitarianlaw grants immunity to the sick, wounded, and medical teams involved in transporting them.
2
 However, international humanitarian law states two reservations to these rules. Firstly, duringhostilities, it is permissible to delay ambulances from entering a certain area to evacuate thewounded.
3
Secondly, when ambulances, medical teams, sick, or wounded participate in hostileacts, they lose their immunity and may be delayed and even harmed.
4
 The right to medical treatment is also enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights, of 1966, which states:
1
 
These figures are taken from the Website of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA) (www.reliefweb.int/hic-opt).
2
 
Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949,Articles 16-17; First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, of 1977, Article 10. Articles 18 and20 of the Protocol deal with the protection granted to hospitals.
3
 
First Additional Protocol, Article 15.
 
 2
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone tothe enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.The obligations included with the covenant include, at the minimum, the obligation to refrainfrom impeding the exercise of this right.
5
 The right to medical treatment cannot be exercised without freedom of movement. The right tofreedom of movement is enshrined in Article 12.1 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,of 1966. In Article 12.3, the covenant allows for restrictions on movement where they areprovided by law, to the extent the restrictions are necessary, and where there are no other ways toachieve the said objective.This report deals with the IDF’s breach of international law. It describes the delay of medicalteams at checkpoints, the humiliation and attacks they are subjected to by the IDF, and the illegaluse of Palestinian ambulances by IDF soldiers. The cases described occurred between November2002 and November 2003. The report does not address the evacuation of individuals who werewounded under fire.
6
 
4
 
Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 20. See also, Jean S. Pictet,
Commentary, Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protecti
on
of Civilian Persons in Time of War 
(Geneva: International Committee of the RedCross, 1858) 161.
5
 
Article 12.1 of the Covenant. For further discussion on this subject, see B’Tselem,
Civilians Under Siege: Restrictions on Freedom of Movement as Collective Punishment 
, January 2001.
6
 
On this subject, see B’Tselem,
Wounded in the Field: Impeding Medical Treatment and Firing at  Ambulances by IDF Soldiers in the Occupied Territories
, March 2002; Physicians for Human Rights,
 Medicine Under Attack: Critical Damage Inflicted on Medical Services in the Occupied Territories: Interim Report 
, April 2002.

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