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Palestinian doctors go on strike for 2 hours in protest of armed assaults on hospitals

Aug. 1, 2017 7:59 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2017 10:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) – Palestinian doctors working in public hospitals in the occupied West Bank went on strike for two hours, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., on Tuesday in protest of recent assaults on hospitals in Jenin and Hebron in which Palestinian gunmen raided the premises and destroyed property and assaulted doctors.

Spokesperson for the Palestinian doctors’ synidcate Nitham Najib urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to provide more protection to doctors and medical teams in Palestine’s hospitals, after both al-Razi hospital in Jenin and Alia hospital in Hebron were raided by Palestinian gunmen on Monday.

According to Palestinian police spokesperson Luay Irzeiqat, gunmen had broken into al-Razi hospital’s emergency room and “demolished properties, smashed an ambulance, and fired two gunshots.”

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the alleged assailants in Jenin “were furious by the hospital’s administration refusing to transfer one of their relative patients, who had just arrived to hospital with critical injuries resulting from a car accident, to a hospital in Israel.”

However, such transfers typically take time, as it has to be approved by the Ministry of Health, Wafa noted.

A video of the incident also emerged, showing a gunman waving his gun at doctors at the hospital, while others damage property and physically assault another staff member.
Director General of the Alia public hospital in Hebron Walid Zalloum explained that doctors of the hospital were also attacked on Monday night “for no reason.” The armed assailant hit a doctor in his face, Zalloum said, calling the incident an “assault on the whole medical body in the Hebron district and all other districts of the homeland (Palestine).”

During the two-hour protest, Zalloum said that “those who point a handgun at the head of a doctor, won’t hesitate to kill them. And that is an unacceptable act of cowardice.”

Spokesperson of the doctors’ syndicate in Hebron Khalid Sarahnah also denounced the “criminal attack” during the protest, and urged Abbas, Hamdallah, and Health Minister Jawad Awwad to introduce regulations that could end such attacks, which he mentioned have been carried out several times recently.

He also urged religious preachers to educate the public on how to treat doctors and medical teams.
Wafa reported that Palestinian government spokesman Yousif al-Mahmoud had confirmed that a “number of outlaws” behind the attacks were now in police custody.

Certain areas of the West Bank have dealt with issues of Palestinian gunmen, incidents of which have increased in violence since 2016 when the Palestinian Authority (PA) began cracking down on the weapons trade in the occupied West Bank.
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