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Israeli forces obstruct wounded Palestinians from reaching Jerusalem clinic

July 19, 2017 3:32 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2017 8:32 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Amid ongoing attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinian protesters in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, officials at a local clinic have reported that Israeli forces are deliberately obstructing the work of medics attempting to treat injured demonstrators.

Tareq Barakat, head of the Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital east of the Old City that also runs a clinic near the Bani Ghanim Gate (Bab al-Ghawanima) entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, told Ma’an that Israeli forces have been preventing medics and patients from reaching the clinic.

At least 70 Palestinians were injured Tuesday night, three of them seriously, amid protests against unprecedented security measures imposed at Al-Aqsa by Israeli authorities. Clashes continued into Wednesday and have been ongoing since the metal detectors were installed Sunday.

One of the wounded was Sheikh Akrama Sabri, head of High Islamic Committee, who sustained severe bruises on his back after being shot by Israeli police with a rubber-coated steel bullet and beaten with batons, and later underwent surgery at Makassed Hospital.

Barakat called upon human rights organizations and the World Health Organization to intervene to protect patients who were being continuously searched at a checkpoint set up by Israeli police at the entrance to the clinic, obstructing them from receiving treatment.

He also called for protection for Palestinian health and humanitarian institutions attempting to fight the Israeli violations.

Barakat stressed that “only a few” patients have been able to reach the clinic, which provides free treatment.

He insisted on the importance of continuing the clinic’s work, as it has been operating since the 1990s to provide services and medical treatment to residents of the Old City and worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Amid the ongoing unrest, which was sparked by an armed confrontation on Friday between three Palestinian assailants and two Israeli border police officers that were all killed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Israeli forces have cracked down on in the wider Palestinian community in occupied East Jerusalem.

After Israeli forces shot and injured 19-year-old Alaa Abu Tayih on Monday evening in the Silwan neighborhood, Israeli forces then raided and surrounded Makassed hospital where the wounded Palestinian was undergoing surgery, in an attempt to detain him.

While relatives and hospital officials said Israeli forces were prevented from reaching Alaa in the ICU, the hospital said in a statement that police were conducting security checks on all hospital employees and visitors.

The hospital called the raid a violation of international law, and called on the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross to intervene to end the “state of chaos caused by the Israeli occupation forces” in the hospital.

Israeli forces are regularly condemned for seriously hindering medical care to Palestinians by blocking ambulances at checkpoints, harassing medics, and violating patient privacy.

The Palestinian Red Crescent routinely reports that their ambulances are blocked by Israeli soldiers or police from reaching the sites of clashes to the treat or evacuate wounded or killed Palestinians.
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