Adalah and LAW Call on Israeli Army to Cease Attacks on Jenin Hospital and Release Detained Medical Personnel


On 4 April 2002, Adalah and LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment submitted two pre-petitions to the Israeli Attorney General's office regarding the attacks on Jenin Governmental Hospital and the recent arrest in Ramallah of four Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) employees. 

Attorneys Azmie Odeh and Hanan al-Khatib sent a letter to the Attorney General's office raising grave concerns regarding the Israeli army shelling of Jenin Governmental Hospital, which has severely damaged the facility, including it's oxygen storage room. As a result of the extensive damage, the hospital is unable to use oxygen while the prolonged curfew remains in place in Jenin. Further, hospital personnel are unable to repair the damage due to the shelling and indiscriminate firing in the area by the Israeli army. The actions of the Israeli army have endangered the lives of the patients and of the civilian population. 

Residents of Jenin and the surrounding villages are unable to obtain necessary medical treatment due to the grave security situation and the prolonged closures imposed since the beginning of the re-occupation. Both those in need of regular medical attention, such as individuals requiring daily dialysis treatments, and those requiring emergency care are at risk. In one instance, 22-year-old Ahmad Hassan Ahmad al-Tarazi, who sustained a severe head injury and is suffering from internal neurological bleeding, cannot be transported to the hospital in Nablus where he needs to undergo a life-saving operation. Jenin Governmental Hospital does not have a neurosurgery facility. 

Adalah and LAW also filed a pre-petition regarding the continuing detention in Ofer detention camp of four PRCS personnel: Faras Ayoub, Zouhdi Mustafa, Luay Radad, and Hassan Saleh Omar. These men were detained by the Israeli army in Ramallah on the night of 29 March 2002. Since their detention, the Israeli army has not conducted a substantial investigation. Adalah and LAW believe that these detainees are being held without legitimate grounds. 

The actions of the Israeli army in regards to the transport and medical care of the sick and injured, the attacks on hospitals such as Jenin Governmental Hospital, and the attacks on and detention of medical personnel are violations of international humanitarian law. They constitute clear violations of the Geneva Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. Numerous articles in this convention, including 16, 17, 18, 20, 56, and 63, uphold the need to enable the work of medical personnel and medical facilities in conflict situations, and to protect civilians in times of war.