Israel Medical Association aiding torture of a Palestinians, rights group says

A medic at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem (Menahem Kahana - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  July 6, 2022

Physicians for Human Rights has filed a complaint to the International Medical Syndicate against the Israel Medical Association, claiming it systematically denies and subjugates the right to health and safety of Palestinians.

The four main issues detailed in the complaint include compromising the safety of Palestinian medical staff during Israeli raids as well as the right of Palestinian patients to receive health care.

It also lists the role of doctors assisting in the torture of Palestinians at the hands of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency.

The NGO adds that the Israel Medical Association ignored the testimonies presented to it about Gaza children being sent out of the Strip for treatment without their parents.

The complaint is composed of credible evidence from local and international bodies that the Israel Medical Association has repeatedly failed in its duty to protect the right of Palestinians to health due to Israeli military aggressions.

It states: “On the basis of the field data we have collected, we conclude that the Israel Medical Association is complicit in these ethical failures and gross violations of human rights, and even, in some cases, provides overt support to it.”

“Thus, for example, in response to information submitted to the Israel Medical Association regarding the Israeli police storming the French Hospital in Jerusalem during the funeral of Al-Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, the head of the Israeli Medical Association, Professor Zion Hagai, refused to denounce the incident, only because it happened in a Palestinian hospital.”

Israeli soldiers attacked Abu Akleh’s funeral procession as it set off from the French Hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

Physicians for Human Rights has called on the International Medical Syndicate to shoulder its responsibilities and implement practical measures to ensure that the Israel Medical Association adheres to values and principles set by the international medical community.

Jay Shalev, director-general of Physicians for Human Rights, said: “There are examples from the world, as in Turkey for example, in which the local doctors’ union is at the forefront of the struggle against human rights violations. We do not hear, unfortunately, the voice of the Medical Association in Israel, almost absolutely, as the union does not do anything about the crimes of the occupation, and the apartheid that has been going on for decades.”

At time of publication, The Israel Medical Association had not responded to MEMO’s request for comment.