Published On: Thu, Jun 10th, 2021

Israeli Army Raid Major Palestinian Health Center In The West Bank: Amnesty International Calls It “Catastrophic”

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By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL- On Wednesday at dawn, the Israeli military made a surprise raid on the main headquarters of the leading health organization, Health Work Committees, (HWC) that serves 400,000 Palestinians in the West Bank region of al-Bireh.  General Manager of the HWC, Shatha Odeh said heavily armed Israeli soldiers smashed the main door of the headquarters and barged inside, damaging and tampering with most of the contents then seizing four computers before posting a military order to close the building for six months with an option to renew the closure.  Odeh added that Israel’s decision to shut down the organization is suspect and said it is the second time the headquarters was raided during the last two months.  Despite the raid, Odeh pledged that the HWC will continue its work even in another location.

Amnesty International has sounded the alarm calling the raid “catastrophic” for the Palestinian population there and said that Israel must explain why the HWC was raided and told to shut down for six months. The HWC is the only health care center in that region and the closure will pose extreme hardship in the area. During the raid, the Israeli military confiscated HWC computers and tore through the center, destroying a number of items within the HWC offices.  Prior to this raid, the Israeli soldiers ransacked HWC on March 8, seizing the hard discs of seven computers and other documents before leaving.

HWC was founded in 1985 by a group of Palestinian volunteers working in the health sector and is a non-governmental health and development organization whose goal is to meet the healthcare needs of the Palestinian populace living under Israeli occupation especially the poor and marginalized. The organization’s services are provided by 270 full-time employees and over 150 part-time and contracted medical professionals in 17 health centers and clinics throughout the West Bank. These centers range from small clinics to a day surgery hospital that provides health services through general medicine, laboratory, radiology, surgery and specialties.

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