Medics report on the clashes in East Jerusalem

As clashes continue on the West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian medical groups report on injuries

Wednesday, 17 March, 2010 - 15:25
London, UK
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Palestine Red Crescent Society, Palestinian Medical Relief Society-Jerusalem, Arab Medics Association, AlTur Clinic in Jerusalem, AlHaq

Israeli and Palestinian medical groups have reported on injuries to Palestinians, arrests of injured people and disruption of medical evacuation in the course of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.

Clashes broke out as a result of the public opening of an 18th-century synagogue in the Old City. Tensions in East Jerusalem are high against the backdrop of increased Jewish settlement in Arab neighborhoods in the city in recent months.

According to medical teams in the city, on 16 March 2010, over 90 Palestinians received medical care as a result of injuries sustained in clashes in different neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Three of the injuries were defined as serious, caused by gunshot injuries, while the rest were moderate and light injuries, caused by beatings, tear gas, stun grenades, pepper, and plastic-coated metal bullets shot at long and short range. In at least one case live fire was used.

Injuries were recorded in the Old City itself; in Wadi Al-Joz and A-Tur near the Old City; in Issawiya near the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University; and in Shu’fat and Anata refugee camps in the north of the city.

• A youth who sustained a serious gunshot wound in Abu Dis, on the West Bank side of the separation wall, was evacuated to a Palestinian hospital inside Jerusalem after coordination with the Israeli civil administration.
• A Reuters journalist was hit by gunfire in the leg in Issawiya and evacuated to an Israeli hospital in west Jerusalem.
• A young man who sustained a gunshot wound to the eye was evacuated first to a Palestinian, and then to an Israeli hospital in the city.
• Two children aged 18 months and two years from the Sour Baher neighborhood who inhaled tear gas, were treated in a local clinic.
• One 30yr old woman lost consciousness after police raided her home, beat its occupants and shot tear gas into the house. She was treated by paramedics and taken to the main Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem.

Disruption of medical evacuation

According to medics, emergency evacuation of the wounded was difficult in the walled Old City itself, which was placed under closure by Israeli police from the 12th to the 16th of March. Only Old City residents were allowed to enter or leave it.

Injured people were taken on foot to Nablus Gate at the city walls and transferred there to ambulances. In some cases evacuation was prevented and injured people were arrested by Israeli police and taken to detention facilities.

Delays to evacuation occurred also because police and army cars blocked the roads to Maqassed hospital, the main hospital in East Jerusalem, all day long and ambulances had to take detours, doubling the distance.

One seriously injured man was delayed in an ambulance at Al-Za’ayem checkpoint east of the city for over 15 minutes despite heavy bleeding, because of problems with civil administration coordination.

In Bab Al Majles gunfire caused a fire in one of the houses but because of the closure medics and fire brigades were delayed for an hour. Medics then reached the house and evacuated four injured people.

Arrests of injured people

Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel was informed that some detainees were seriously injured but that police detained them without providing them with medical care and then took them to the main detention facility in Jerusalem. The facility refused to admit them and insisted on their evacuation to hospital. Other detainees who were less seriously injured were imprisoned in the facility.

Testimony of M, a medic from the Mount of Olives:

Around 10am on 16 Mar 2010 near Bab Al-Asbat (Lions Gate) in East Jerusalem about 15 cops caught S and A and started beating them mainly in the head and then kicking them. Both bled copiously mainly from the nose and head. I was with the ambulance in paramedic’s clothes, with other medics. I asked the police to let me give them first aid and stop the bleeding. When I came near the police threatened to beat us too if we get nearer. They said when they are done with them they would call “Zaka” (service for evacuation of corpses – JNews). There was no one in the clearing except for those two who stood and watched until the police attacked them. They didn’t try to get away or resist, only tried to explain that they were just standing there but still they were beaten. After that some other men gathered and tried to intervene. In fact those who provoked it and started a mess there were the policemen.”

After 15 minutes Israeli special surveillance police forces (Heb. YASAM) arrested the two men, both Jerusalem residents. One was taken to a detention facility near the southern part of the Old City, and from there to the Russian Compound detention centre. The other detainee was taken directly to the Russian Compound.

Outside Jerusalem

In addition to the clashes in Jerusalem, in the area of Qalandia north of Jerusalem 11 serious and moderate injuries were evacuated to Sheikh Zayyed hospital in Ramallah.

Dozens of others who had been injured by tear gas were treated on the spot by the Palestinian Red Crescent and Palestinian Medical Relief Society.

In the Ramallah area dozens were injured at Atara checkpoint from tear gas and were treated on the spot

South of Jerusalem, in Beit-Umar near Hebron three seriously injured people were evacuated to Aliya and AlAhali hospitals in Hebron, and dozens of tear gas victims were assisted on the spot.

Palestinian media have reported that clashes continue today throughout the West Bank.

For further details from sources of this info please contact Adar Grayevsky, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, [email protected], Mobile +972 549 431847

This item may be reproduced on condition that JNews is cited as its source

Photo by Jeremy Solher

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