Medical Aid for Palestinians


Visiting the occupied West Bank & Gaza last week, Medical Aid for Palestinians Vice Chair, Shireen Jayyusi and I were at Rafidia hospital in Nablus on Thursday. We arrived just hours after an Israeli military raid on the town in which soldiers had surrounded the hospital overnight. We heard testimony from doctors that tear gas canisters had been thrown through hospital windows by Israeli soldiers and that ambulances were prevented from bringing people wounded during the raid for treatment at Rafidia hospital during the night.

One Palestinian was killed and more were injured in this raid. 170 people also needed treatment for tear gas inhalation. It was just the latest of what are now weekly – and often daily – incursions by Israeli troops into Palestinian towns and villages. Already, 2023 looks like being the deadliest year on record for Palestinians in West Bank. Over 120 have been killed and 4,350 wounded in Israeli military raids & attacks by settlers since start of the year. The fatalities include 20 children.

In a statement reported by the Times of Israel, Central Command army chief, Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, said the objective of last week’s raid on Nablus was to blow up the home of a Palestinian accused of shooting a soldier last October. They did not do so to arrest the suspect. He was taken by the Israeli army in February and he has been an Israeli prison ever since.

Destroying his home targeted his family and community.

International law forbids collective punishment of the civilian families and communities for the actions of war combatants and people accused of crimes. It is also illegal to target hospitals and healthcare workers, and to obstruct ambulance access.

The Geneva Conventions say occupying powers have an ongoing responsibility to protect the welfare of civilians living under occupation. When will the international community, including the UK government, hold Israel to account? When will the International Criminal Court get on with the long-awaited investigation that it agreed to conduct into alleged war crimes committed in Israel and Palestine?

Even though governments internationally are shirking their responsibility to uphold international law, Medical Aid for Palestinians will continue to provide life saving support on the ground and to protect health and dignity of Palestinians.You can find out more about what we are already doing here. But there is so much more still to do. Please give what you can to help us.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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