Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Humanitarian Coordinator calls for the protection of Palestinian health workers


By Maria Correia - August 21, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS)]

Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, called for applause and protection of humanitarian workers in the area during World Humanitarian Day.
 
The World Humanitarian Day is an annual event organised by the United Nations General Assembly, with aims to raise awareness about workers who continuously risk their lives in conflict zones, areas of natural disasters, and other emergencies.
 
McGoldrick used this day to call for increased protection for civilian and humanitarian workers in Palestine.
 
In a statement, McGoldrick said: “Today, I applaud the committed humanitarian workers in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially my national colleagues, who regularly face personal risk and assaults on their dignity, often while withstanding the same restrictive conditions that drive the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories.”
 
He added: “I mourn the deaths of the three Palestinian health workers who were killed in this context and am outraged by the injury of over 370 others, who risked their own lives while trying to save the lives of other Palestinians.”
 
McGoldrick ended his statement by asking actors “to ensure that humanitarian workers are able to operate in line with humanitarian principles and free from restrictions and harassment.”
 
McGoldrick’s call for protection comes at a time when funding for humanitarian operations in Palestine are at an all time low.
 
UNRWA chief Pierre Krähenbühl called the past year a “year of anguish” due to the high death toll from demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank. Krähenbühl stated that UNRWA has had “its worst crisis ever” due to cuts to its budget.
 
In the months since the start of the March of Return, more than 168 Palestinians have died. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, over 18,000 Palestinians have been injured by the Israeli forces.
 
In June 2018, United Nations agencies issued their condemnation over the death of Razan An Najjar, a 21-year-old relief worker for Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).
 
Back then, McGoldrick stated that “healthcare workers must be allowed to perform their duties without fear of death or injury,” and that “the killing of a clearly-identified medical staffer by security forces during a demonstration is particularly reprehensible.”
 
Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, the head of the World Health Organisation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, stated at the time of Razan’s death that “such attacks on health care must not happen and we need to enhance our efforts to ensure the protection of our frontline health workers.”
 
More recently, a PMRS medic Abdallah Qatati was killed on Friday the 10th in Gaza by Israeli snipers while he was giving first aid to wounded Palestinians. Eight other paramedics were injured on the same day.
 
The PMRS issued a statement saying “shooting medical emblems is a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention”, and that the organisation is joining the Palestinian civil society in its demands for Israel to be held accountable by the international community its targeting of unarmed civilians and medical staff.
 
Qatati marks the third paramedic to have died since the beginning of the Great March of Return: all three of the killed medics were wearing clearly identifying medical-staff clothing at the time of being killed.

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