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Terrorism and Collective Punishment

Palestinian Territories: Palestinian civilians, first victims of the escalation of violence and the withholding of direct financial aid

Médecins du Monde
Press Release
April 13, 2006

Daily violence in Gaza and Nablus

Since 1st April, the northern Gaza strip has been the target of relentless shelling by the Israeli military forces, allegedly in response to the firing of Palestinian rockets . Over 2,500 shells have been fired, in addition to air strikes which regularly target civilian areas.

8-year-old Nisreen abu Hashash was shot in the face with a rubber bullet in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 28, 2006.
8-year-old Nisreen abu Hashash was shot in the face with a rubber bullet in the West Bank city of Hebron on March 28, 2006. Photo by/Nayef Hashlamoun

Civilian populations are the first victims and it has resulted so far in the death of 16 people and 77 injured.

In addition, daily incursions in Nablus since 1st April have incurred 1 casualty, 32 injured and 50 arrests.

The closure of borders seriously threatens access to healthcare

Access to medication and to essential products is seriously impeded in the Gaza Strip due to the closure of commercial border crossings. The shortage of medication prevents normal access of patients to health care services.

Access to healthcare for the Palestinian population is seriously threatened by the restriction of movements and the closure of roads in the Palestinian Territories. The current situation recalls the large-scale Israeli military incursions of April 2002 in the main cities of the West Bank (Jenin and Nablus), raising the possibility of a new major humanitarian crisis.

Suspension of aid: probable collapse of the healthcare system

MDM, which has been working in the Palestinian Territories for over 10 years, supporting Palestinian health services through their programmes, is extremely concerned by the EU and US decision to suspend all direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. European aid represents a quarter of the Palestinian Authority's total budget and this measure will further undermine the healthcare structure: hospitals, the central public drug centre in Ramallah, doctors and medical teams, the Red Crescent emergency services will no longer be able to provide public services.

There has been a sharp increase of poverty and unemployment in the Palestinian Territories and such a measure will further deprive 30 % of the Palestinian population of their income.

Médecins du Monde strongly condemns the excessive use of force by Israeli armed forces targeting civilian populations as well as the decision of international donors to freeze payments and assistance, which constitutes a collective punishment.

The association calls upon all parties to the conflict to respect the life of humanitarian actors and civilian populations in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and warns the international community of the direct and immediate humanitarian consequences that the suspension of aid will have on the healthcare system. MDM calls upon donors to respect commitments of humanitarian aid promised to the Palestinian population

Contact Presse:
Florence Priolet / Annabelle Quenet
Tél : 01 44 92 14 31 / 14 32

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Video – Gaza: A humanitarian implosion

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Additional Resources

The Gaza Strip: A humanitarian implosion

Back to a Routine of Torture – Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees during Arrest, Detention and Interrogation – September 2001 - April 2003

Amnesty International – Israeli Settlers Wage Campaign of Intimidation

Booklet – ‘No Exit’

Amnesty International – Under the Rubble


Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

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