Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Call for Protection and Responsibility in Beit Hanoun
02 November 2006
Today Physicians for Human Rights-Israel called upon Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz to abide by the Israeli High
Court's decision issued during the fighting in Rafah two years ago regarding the state's obligations and the needs of
civilian population during fighting.
In the middle of last night, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel's staff was involved in coordinating the passage of two
pregnant women in labor. The medical teams had very difficult times transporting them to the local hospital. Due to the
delay, one of the women gave birth inside the ambulance. Additional media reports from Gaza imply that some of the
wounded possibly are not being transferred for treatment because of access issues.
In response to an urgent petition filed by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and other human rights organizations in
2004 during Operation Rainbow, the court declared: the commander must ensure that in the area of the fighting there is
adequate medical equipment, not only for his own soldiers but also for the civilian population under his control. The
decision said that the commanders must ascertain the ability of the local medical institutions to function before
military actions commences and medical equipment must be prepared in advance to supply humanitarian aid to the local
The court decided that the obligation to supply relief is that of the military commander, and aid received from other
sources does not release him from this responsibility.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel calls upon the Israeli military and Ministry of Defense, and the heads of these two
bodies including Mr. Peretz and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, to take responsibility for the medical and humanitarian needs
of the local population of the northern Gaza Strip. The military commander must make certain that all civilian needs are
met and that patients are able to receive medical care when needed- otherwise the commander must directly supply the
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel calls on the Israeli military and government to actively provide for the needs of the
civilian population in the northern Gaza Strip.