Police Kept Protesters From Getting Medical Help, Group Charges

The Jerusalem police prevented rescue teams from tending to Arabs injured in riots in East Jerusalem this week, blocked access to hospitals, and detained the injured without determining whether they needed medical care, according to a report by Physicians for Human Rights.

An Israeli security source denied the charges.

"The most frightening thing was that there were two injured people who sustained a lot of blows to the head from the police, and were bleeding from their heads and they didn't let us treat them," said a medic for an East Jerusalem ambulance service. He said police told him the Zaka medical rescue and recovery service would treat them.

A police officer was shot in the hand during the clashes Tuesday and sustained light injuries, and 14 other police officers were lightly hurt by stones thrown by the rioters. Some 40 Arab protesters were also wounded, and 60 were arrested during an orchestrated "Day of Rage" announced by Hamas.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to contain the protests.

The police would not comment on the allegations and said Physicians for Human Rights should refer its concerns to the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police conduct. An Israeli security source said the report had no basis in fact and that the protesters were to blame for blocking roads, including a road leading to Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

The report, based primarily on testimony from medical personnel who were working in the areas where rioting occurred, said the most problematic part of Jerusalem was the Old City, which was blockaded by police for several days in an effort to contain the riots. The witnesses asked to remain anonymous out of concern that they would be questioned by police.