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Call for Protection, Responsibility in Beit Hanoun

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

Call for Protection and Responsibility in Beit Hanoun

02 November 2006

Today Physicians for Human Rights-Israel called upon Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz to abide by the Israeli High Court's decision issued during the fighting in Rafah two years ago regarding the state's obligations and the needs of civilian population during fighting.

In the middle of last night, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel's staff was involved in coordinating the passage of two pregnant women in labor. The medical teams had very difficult times transporting them to the local hospital. Due to the delay, one of the women gave birth inside the ambulance. Additional media reports from Gaza imply that some of the wounded possibly are not being transferred for treatment because of access issues.

In response to an urgent petition filed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and other human rights organizations in 2004 during Operation Rainbow, the court declared: the commander must ensure that in the area of the fighting there is adequate medical equipment, not only for his own soldiers but also for the civilian population under his control. The decision said that the commanders must ascertain the ability of the local medical institutions to function before military actions commences and medical equipment must be prepared in advance to supply humanitarian aid to the local population.

The court decided that the obligation to supply relief is that of the military commander, and aid received from other sources does not release him from this responsibility.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel calls upon the Israeli military and Ministry of Defense, and the heads of these two bodies including Mr. Peretz and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, to take responsibility for the medical and humanitarian needs of the local population of the northern Gaza Strip. The military commander must make certain that all civilian needs are met and that patients are able to receive medical care when needed- otherwise the commander must directly supply the needs.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel calls on the Israeli military and government to actively provide for the needs of the civilian population in the northern Gaza Strip.


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