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Israeli police caught on video endangering patients’ lives during raid of East Jerusalem hospital


New video evidence from an Israeli raid on an East Jerusalem hospital has shown that soldiers assaulted staff and stopped them from giving medical treatment to a wounded Palestinian man who later died from his injuries.

In the footage of the 21 July incident, recorded by CCTV cameras at al-Makassad Hospital in East Jerusalem and newly released by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, police in full riot gear burst into the emergency room seeking to arrest injured Muhammed Abu Ghanam, 20.

Although the wanted man is bleeding and unconscious after being hit by a live bullet earlier in the day, the security forces shove staff aside to grab the stretcher he is lying on and prevented doctors from wheeling him into the lift to take him to the operating theatre on the second floor.

Two nurses, a volunteer nurse, a doctor and several other individuals were assaulted in the scuffle, during which Mr Abu Ghanam’s condition deteriorated. He died about 20 minutes later, staff said.

Jerusalem police have been contacted for comment on the new video of the incident, but did not immediately respond.

In a statement given to Amnesty International last month, the hospital’s head of reception, Talal al-Sayed said that over the years staff had become accustomed to raids by Israeli forces but that the events of 21 July were “above and beyond what we’ve ever seen”.

Armed men scared volunteers away from the blood bank and sprayed tear gas into an empty maternity ward room, witnesses said.

“I have never been so scared in my life. All I remember were loud sounds and pushing and screaming.  It was total chaos… There was blood all over the place on the floor on the walls,” one nurse on duty at the time said.

Mr Abu Ghanam was shot in the chest with a live bullet which entered his spinal cord during clashes over access to the holy al-Aqsa mosque which rocked the city last month. According to eyewitnesses, he was about to toss a lit flare in the direction of police, but they were not standing close enough to be hit.

People at the scene who spoke to B’Tselem said that Mr Abu Ghanam was left on the ground after he was shot for between 5 – 10 minutes while the security forces “tried to prevent an ambulance from reaching him”.  A stun grenade was reportedly thrown by police at the emergency vehicle when it arrived.

Jerusalem police were also asked about this allegation, but did not immediately respond.

B’Tselem also noted that Mr Abu Ghanam was taken to al-Makassed instead of the much closer Israeli Hadassah Hospital.

Makassed Hospital is the frequent target of police raids, both B’Tselem and Amnesty International noted last month, calling on Israel not to “collectively punish the Palestinian civilian population”.

“As the occupying power, Israel has a responsibility to protect Palestinian civilians… They must ensure that their forces limit their use of force in accordance with international law,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

The Independent