JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s military violated the code of medical ethics during its military operation in Gaza, an Israeli human rights group said.
The military prevented the delivery of medical assistance to wounded Gazans, attacked Palestinian medical personnel and prevented ill Palestinians from seeking treatment outside of Gaza, according to the Israel chapter of Physicians for Human Rights in a report released Monday.
Israeli army fire killed 16 medical personnel and wounded 25 while they performed medical duties, the report said. In addition, the army hit 34 medical facilities — eight hospitals and 26 primary care clinics.
The incidents are in violation of directives of international law that forbid attacks on medical personnel and medical facilities in times of fighting, according to the physicians’ group.
The report also said that although the Israeli health system was prepared and able to receive the wounded from the Gaza Strip, only a few were referred to Israel for treatment. Only six of 5,380 wounded eventually received medical treatment in Israel because of the closing of Gaza-Israel crossings, the collapse of the coordination system and, later, the refusal of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to refer the wounded to Israel.
The report called on the army to reiterate to its soldiers the protection granted under international law to medical personnel performing their duties and to prosecute those who violate these provisions.
The Israeli military told Reuters that Hamas fighters had "methodically made use of medical vehicles, facilities and uniforms in order to conceal and camouflage terrorist activity, and in general used ambulances to carry terror activists and weapons."