On January 19, an Israeli airstrike came alarmingly close to killing EuroMed Rights’ member Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP) and an emergency medical team from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Gaza. The strike caused a significant damage to the building and injured several staff members from both organisations, requiring the withdrawal of six members of the medical team from Gaza.
EuroMed Rights strongly condemns the attack against MAP and IRC, which are not only a member and a partner organization respectively, but medical professionals providing life-saving services to civilians in Gaza. The attack against both organisations shows the pattern of indiscriminate bombing against civilian infrastructure in Gaza, where even medical installations are targets and medical personnel are being killed by Israeli weapons. Noteworthy to mention that the targeted compound in Al Mawasi, an alleged “safe” area in Gaza. This is evidence of what the Director of the World Health Organisation referred to when he stated that “nowhere and no one in Gaza is safe”.
None of the 36 hospitals in Gaza are fully functional and capable of providing life-saving services to the Gaza population. At least 138 healthcare staff have been killed in Gaza since the beginning of the attacks and medical infrastructure is being the constant target of Israeli bombings. The attack against medical facilities and personnel constitutes a war crime according to Articles 18 and 20 of the IV Geneva Convention.
The EU and its member states must demand an immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire to ensure the safety of Gaza civilians and medical staff. They must also implement a two-way arms embargo against all parties of the conflict, but especially the Israeli armed forces, to ensure that European arms are not used for the commission of war crimes. Finally, they must also support international avenues of accountability to bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice, including the deliberate targeting of medical facilities and staff.