"Humanitarian access in Israel and the [West Bank and Gaza Strip] is, in a comparative sense, outstandingly good. In fact, I can think of no other context where the ICRC operates worldwide…where the access for humanitarian organizations is as good as it is here."– ICRC's Jacques de Maio, keynoting Israeli conference three months after Operation Protective Edge (I)

June 26, 2015

In Blog News

From the UN Report on Operation Protective Edge

330.           The commission similarly understands that employees from the Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Red Crescent were prevented by the IDF from entering Khuza’a.

331.           “On 22 July, attacks intensified. It was probably the most violent day for Khuza’a. I call it the black day. The attacks were carried out for the most part from the air, by F16s and drones. Tanks in and around Khuza’a were also firing intensely. The clinic was overflowing with more patients than it could handle. I spent most of that night calling colleagues from the Red Cross and other international organisations to request for help. The Red Cross informed me that they were told by the Israelis that nobody would be authorized into Khuza’a because it was a closed military zone. I immediately […] reminded them that they are a humanitarian organization that should be working to help the people who are most in need. […] On the following morning, I called our colleagues from the Ministry of Health and the Palestinian Red Crescent. They too were unable to enter. Our brothers from the Red Crescent however made a genuine attempt to enter into Khuza’a and were stopped when their ambulance came under attack.”  

332.           The commission heard testimony and reviewed submissions describing how wounded, sick and trapped civilians were deprived of medical care during the IDF incursion into Khuza’a. According to those reports, the IDF repeatedly refused access to medical teams. Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances spent a considerable amount of time on the outskirts of Khuza’a waiting for a green light to enter the village to evacuate the injured.

·       The commission understands that the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) obtained access to enter Khuza’a only on 24 and 28 July, and that, on both days, the total time the medical crews were accorded to attend to the injured and recover dead bodies was between 40 and 90 minutes (after moving for several hours through destroyed streets and neighbourhoods, negotiating their way around tanks and soldiers and being subjected to searches). The delays meant that the ambulances could not transfer the injured to hospital quickly or go back to pick up more casualties.

·       On 24 July, for example, according to witnesses, PRCS personnel were forced to carry the injured on their shoulders because the road was blocked, and the IDF refused to clear it. The IDF had opened the road on the way in but blocked it again while the ambulances were working inside Khuza’a.  Because of delays of more than three hours, one man who had a gunshot injury in his thigh had to have his leg amputated when he got to hospital.]

·       On 24 July, according to witnesses, the PRCS ambulance found a 7-year-old boy, Anas “Bader” Qdeih, who was critically injured. He was taken to an IDF checkpoint in order to be transferred to the closest ambulance. The ambulance was kept waiting for at least 20 minutes in spite of the evident seriousness of the victim’s injuries and his being a child. The boy died before he could be transferred to the ambulances that were waiting at the outskirts of the village.

·       On 24 July, when a PCRS medical team entered Khuza’a, a person who asked for their help was seriously injured by gunfire directly in front of them, according to witnesses.