This report builds upon a joint complaint submitted by ‘Al Mezan Center for Human Rights’ (Al Mezan), ‘Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights’ (LPHR) and ‘Medical Aid for Palestinians’ (MAP) in February 2015 to the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.1
Both the complaint and this report focus on the destruction of and damage to medical infrastructure2 and loss of life and injury to civilians and medical personnel during the Israeli military operation codenamed by Israel ‘Operation Protective Edge’.
The complaint presented evidence of seven serious incidents which occurred between 7 July 2014 and 26 August 2014 and which, prima facie, represent serious violations of international humanitarian law, and of the right to health and the right to life. This report sets these within the wider context of attacks on hospitals, ambulances and medical personnel and obstruction of medical services.
As humanitarian and human rights organisations working in or on Gaza, MAP, Al Mezan and LPHR believe that without a thorough and impartial investigation of the issues raised in this report and proper mechanisms for accountability, the international legal protection of medical facilities and personnel will continue to be eroded and this will directly impact the fulfilment of the right to health not only of Palestinians living in Gaza but of civilians caught up in armed conflict anywhere in the world.
Lack of accountability for attacks on hospitals, as well as the absence of progress towards reconstruction, make another war and recurrence of these kind of incidents more likely. Gaza’s health sector is in no position to withstand another assault.