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Israeli Medical Association complicit in gross violations of human rights against Palestinians, rights group says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Medical staff work at the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ward at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the Israeli-occupied al-Quds on January 31, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

A US-based not-for-profit human rights NGO has lodged a complaint against the association of physicians in the Israeli-occupied territories, stating it systematically denies Palestinians' right to health and safety.

In its complaint against the Israel Medical Association (IMA), Physicians for Human Rights lists the role of doctors assisting in the torture of Palestinians at the hands of Israel's internal spy agency Shin Bet.

Among others issues raised in the complaint registered with the International Medical Syndicate are the compromising of the safety of Palestinian medical staff during Israeli raids as well as the right of Palestinian patients to receive health care.

In addition, it notes that the Israel Medical Association overlooked the testimonies presented to it about children from the Gaza Strip, who were being sent out of the besieged coastal enclave for treatment without their parents accompanying them.

The complaint is composed of credible evidence from local and international bodies that the IMA has repeatedly failed in its duty to protect the right of Palestinians to health due to Israeli military aggressions.

“On the basis of the field data we have collected, we conclude that the Israel Medical Association is complicit in these ethical failures and gross violations of human rights, and even, in some cases, provides overt support to it,” it stated.

“Thus, for example, in response to information submitted to the Israel Medical Association regarding the Israeli police storming the French Hospital in al-Quds during the funeral of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh, the head of the Israeli Medical Association, Professor Zion Hagai, refused to denounce the incident, only because it happened in a Palestinian hospital,” the complaint read.

Israeli soldiers attacked Abu Akleh's funeral procession as it set off from the French Hospital in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on May 13.

The veteran Palestinian journalist was killed by Israeli forces two days earlier while on assignment covering an Israeli incursion in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Human rights experts with the United Nations have condemned Abu Akleh’s killing, and called for a “prompt, independent, impartial, effective, thorough and transparent investigation” into her death.

Calls for an impartial probe have mounted since the journalist was shot dead, with Palestinians rejecting any investigation by the occupying Israeli regime.

Physicians for Human Rights has called on the International Medical Syndicate to employ practical measures to ensure that the Israel Medical Association adheres to values and principles set by the international medical community.

Last month, a high-level team of United Nations investigators said the Israeli regime's occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are the main causes of the endless cycles of violence across the occupied territories.

The team, appointed last year by the United Nations Human Rights Council to probe "all underlying root causes" of the decades-long conflict, put the blame squarely on the Tel Aviv regime in its 18-page report released on June 7.

"Ending the occupation of lands by Israel... remains essential in ending the persistent cycles of violence," the UN investigators said in the report, decrying evidence that Israel has "no intention" of doing so.

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