Occupied Palestinian Territory: “MSF Urges the Relevant Military Authorities to Comply with International Humanitarian Law”

Cristina Carreño, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical coordinator, Jerusalem

What is the MSF position on the incident in which a patient was taken and one of his caretakers killed in a Hebron hospital?

The incident occurred at El Ahli Hospital, which is not an MSF facility. However, the patient was receiving care in MSF’s mental health support program for victims of political violence.

What happened is a breach of respect for the principles of neutrality and respect for the medical mission. International humanitarian law (IHL) requires that health facilities be respected. This includes the prohibition of intrusion into these structures by armed forces. It also requires that the sick and wounded be treated without discrimination in line with medical ethics.

Has MSF been able to contact the patient since the incident?

No, we have contacted the Israeli authorities but we have not been allowed to contact the patient so far.

What is MSF asking the authorities to do?

We strongly demand that Israeli authorities ensure that he receives adequate health care and support. We also urge that they release information to us about his condition as soon as possible. We also ask the authorities to allow the patient to continue the treatment he was following with us.

MSF reiterates that this incident is completely unacceptable. MSF urges that all military authorities must comply with IHL, and respect the special status that IHL grants to medical facilities and the wounded and sick. MSF urges the relevant authorities to take all possible action to inform and train their armed forces about their obligations to respect medical facilities, patients, and staff, to prevent a repeat of such an incident.