For three consecutive days, Israeli authorities have raided a hospital in Jerusalem that had refused to give them information on injured Palestinians.
Israeli forces stormed the hospital deploying smoke grenades and rubber bullets in order to gain access to the medical records of Palestinians allegedly wounded in clashes with police.
Each time, heavily armed soldiers have surrounded the hospital, blocking anyone from entering or exiting, then storming the building.
Under international law, hospitals are supposed to be safe zones, off limits for military and police attacks and invasions.
Israeli police officers raided the the Bagthamha Makassed Hospital in the Jerusalem neighborhood al-Tur using rubber bullets, smoke grenades and sound bombs on Thursday. Authorities were trying to find a medical record belonging to a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, who was allegedly hit with a .22 caliber Ruger bullet during a recent clash with Israeli security forces, Haaretz reports.
Thursday’s raid happened as hospital staff participated in a pause of solidarity with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Scared of being injured in the raid, people ran for their lives away from the hospital. While in the hospital, according to reports, Israeli forces harassed and insulted the patients.
Hospital officials say the police have been raiding the medical facility for the third day running in order to find and arrest Palestinians suspected of involvement in clashes with the Israelis.
Israeli authorities say the hospital unlawfully failed to report those injured by gunfire.
No arrests were made during Thursday’s raid, according to hospital officials. However police said the files were found and the teenager in question will be indicted.
Dr. Ali Al-Husseini, head of the hospital, told Maan news agency that the raids took place because doctors refused to share patients’ records with the Israeli authorities in order to protect patients’ privacy.
“It is not our job to give any information about anyone [who] comes to hospital or to take any personal information. Our job is only to help them and provide them with medical treatment,” al-Husseini said.
Despite this, the Israelis continue to threaten and pressure the hospital staff to provide admissions and reasons for hospitalization.
The head of the hospital accused the Israeli authorities of “desecrating” the medical facility as he appealed for help to the international community.
“The hospital has become desecrated by Israeli troops,” he said. “Israeli violations against the Palestinian hospital are against the law and until today we cannot find anyone to protect the hospital, the patients, and the staff.”
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