UN agency protests against Israeli raid on West Bank hospital

The main United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees today protested to Israel over its raid on a UN-run hospital in the West Bank town of Qalqilya, calling it a “serious breach” of international law and charging that Irsaeli troops made medical staff leave their patients and lie on the hospital floor.

“Israeli soldiers are now searching the hospital room by room and doors have been kicked in by the troops. A number of windows have been broken,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said in a statement.

“This serious disruption to its medical operations and breach of international conventions governing the treatment of the United Nations… is also a complete breach of the Geneva Convention and its protocols, which accord hospitals special protection during conflicts,” it added. “Hospitals may not be targets of military operations under the Convention, and the excuse of ‘military necessity’ is specifically ruled out.”

The agency warned that the intrusion carried the serious risk of cross-contamination of sterile areas and that key areas would be out of operation until they can be rendered sterile.