Palestinian Medical Personnel:Between Fire and Their Work
29 September 2000 – 11 April 2001
The new Palestinian Intifada (Al-Aqsa Intifada) has witnesses a new form of violence committed by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people. For the first time since their occupation of the Palestinian Territories in 1967, Israeli occupation forces have used heavy weaponry against the Palestinian people. They have escalated the excessive use of force, including willful killing and shelling from tanks, combat helicopters, and gunboats. The Israeli forces have used heavy and medium machine guns against Palestinian demonstrators, and resorted to snipers and guns equipped with silencers. They have also intensively shelled Palestinian residential areas and civilian and security facilities.
In the bloody clashes that erupted 29 September 2000, Palestinian medical personnel, transports and facilities were targeted by Israeli occupation forces, as well as settlers who have made their home on occupied territory. The use of force by Israeli occupation forces was indiscriminate and Palestinian medical personnel, who have been always clearly marked, have been targeted by the Israeli forces and settlers.
Aggressive belligerent actions by Israeli occupation forces and settlers against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) violate international humanitarian law. These actions are considered grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 (hereafter the Fourth Geneva Convention or the Convention). Deliberately targeting Palestinian medical personnel and vehicles by the Israeli forces and settlers is a form of willful killing, which is a grave breach of the Convention, under Articles 146 and 147.
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