Geneva - The Red Cross-affiliated Israeli agency charged under the Geneva Convention with providing emergency medical aid is discriminating against Palestinians, warns the nonprofit Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
The Israeli organization Magen David Adom (MDA), officially recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, is giving top priority to the treatment of injured Israelis, while neglecting wounded Palestinians, charges the NGO.
"This failure to save Palestinian lives is a blatant violation of medical ethics and the code of conduct to which all physicians ascribe," says Ihsan Adel, Euro-Med Monitor legal adviser.
Euro-Med Monitor has collected videotapes and eyewitness testimony documenting that MDA medical staff neglect injured Palestinians even when medical teams are available and could provide the required help. Some Palestinians were left bleeding for as long as two hours, and deaths occurred as a result.
- On November 25, Mohammed Ismail Al-Shobaki, 20, attempted to stab an Israeli soldier near the entrance to Al-Fawwar camp in southern Hebron, then was shot and left bleeding on the ground. Euro-Med Monitor has access to a videotape showing the availability of Israeli ambulances in the area, but while Israeli medical staff provided immediate help to the injured Israeli soldier, the calls of help of from Al-Shobaky went unanswered until he died.
- Mahmoud Talal Nazzal, 17, was shot in the head and neck by Israeli soldiers on October 31. Nazzal was accused of attempting to stab a soldier at the Jalma checkpoint in northern Jenin. He was left bleeding for about 105 minutes without any emergency treatment by the MDA medical staff present in the area. Instead, Israeli soldiers dragged his body into the checkpoint and stripped him of his clothes. Only after he was confirmed as dead was his corpse handed over to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
- On October 25, Dania Irshid, 17, was shot by Israeli soldiers near the Sanctuary of Abraham, even though she had been checked twice for weapons. She bled for about 45 minutes before she finally died on the ground while an MDA ambulance stood by. Palestinian ambulances were prevented from providing the necessary medical treatment.
- On October 12, Ahmed Saleh Manasra, 13, was beaten with batons and pipes by Israeli citizens and policemen. Then, an Israeli car ran him over, causing many broken bones. As documented on a videotape verified by the Euro-Med team, Manasra continued to bleed for at least an hour without receiving any medical help from a nearby MDA ambulance. He later was transferred to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he has been charged with trying to kill a 13-year-old Jewish boy.
- Israeli soldiers opened fire at Hadeel Al-Hashmalon, 18, on September 22, after she allegedly was seen with a knife in Hebron. Palestinian medical personnel were prevented from aiding the girl. When an Israeli medical team arrived, she had lain bleeding for 40 minutes. She died hours later as a result.
Such discrimination in providing medical treatment, even when a crime has been attempted, is prohibited and illegal under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Article 5 of the convention obligates all signatories to work to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law—including regarding access to medical care. Likewise, Article 70 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions dictates that relief efforts must be provided to all in need, without discrimination.
Euro-Med Monitor urges Magen David Adom to launch an immediate investigation into why its staff is not providing necessary medical aid to Palestinian victims, and to take immediate corrective action.