Israel Police Raid East Jerusalem Hospital Seeking Palestinian Rioter

Hospital director accuses Israel of applying pressure to hand over medical files of youth involved in clashes.

Olivier Fitoussi

Israel Police officers raided an East Jerusalem hospital twice in the last two days in order to find a medical file belonging to a 15-year-old Palestinian boy suspected of taking part in violent clashes.

Hospital officials say the police frequently raid the hospital in an effort to locate and arrest Palestinians suspected of involvement in disturbances.

According to the police, the boy was hit with a .22 caliber Ruger bullet while preparing to throw a firebomb during a recent clash with Israeli security forces, and was taken to the Makassed Hospital in the A-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Police say the hospital unlawfully failed to report on a patient injured by gunfire, and thus sought a court order to obtain the medical reports. According to the police, the filed were found, and the boy will be indicted.

Palestinian sources confirm that the police sought an East Jerusalem boy suspected of participating in violent clashes, but deny that the forces found the boy’s medical records, noting that he was not hospitalized there. The Palestinians claim that the police entered the hospital to question the doctor and examine camera footage to see if the boy was in fact taken there.

Hospital officials point out that no arrests were made, and that this is not the first time police have searched the facility since the recent wave of violence began.

Hospital administrator Rafik Al-Husseini said during a press conference that Israel is exerting great pressure on hospital officials to hand over medical files belonging to youths treated following recent clashes in Jerusalem. Al-Husseini said that the hospital has refused to disclose information on patients and will not cooperate. The hospital has requested assistance from the Red Cross and other international organizations in preventing future raids of this kind.

According to a senior Makassed official, during the raid yesterday, police officers searched for cameras and computers, after previously combing through medical files. The official believes that the police were seeking information on injured patients in an attempt to file charges against them for participating in the disturbances that led to clashes. Another hospital official said that most previous raids were aimed at making arrests, as the hospital has treated hundreds of youths injured in clashes throughout Jerusalem and the West Bank over the last month.

Makassed employees held a demonstration on Thursday to protest the entry of police into the hospital. The demonstration was dispersed by police, and some employees were injured by tear gas and rubber bullets.