During the months of September to December 2015, activists from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) documented 18 incidents involving attacks on Palestinian medical teams by Israeli security forces, including opening fire on ambulances and the physical assaulting of paramedics and rescue personnel.
According to PHR-Israel: “The 18 documented events are only a small portion of the dire and unacceptable reality involving grave interference in the work of medical teams handling hundreds of calls starting in September 2015, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Red Crescent. Last December, when we realized that the complaints by Palestinian bodies get no response from the relevant Israeli authorities, we compiled together all of the complaints and directed them to Israeli’s Department of Internal Police Investigations.
“Four months later PHR received a brief letter informing us that all the cases we cited have been closed “after serious consideration,” and that none of them “warrant the opening of an investigation.”
In response, a spokesperson for PHR noted that “harming medical personnel is a violation of the protection granted to them by international law, whereby no interference in the work of the medical personnel is permitted, and which dictates that in no way should medical activity be compromised, even in times of war or in conflict zones. Most of all, it violates the right to health, rescue and life of the injured and ill to whom access by medical teams is delayed; rights which all authorities in Israel are obliged to respect in accordance with the principles established by and detailed in [Israel’s constitutional] Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.