Abdallah al-Qutati: Family and colleagues of third paramedic killed in Gaza speak out
17 August 2018
In Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s latest film, the family, colleagues and friends of 22-year-old first responder Abdallah al-Qutati, who was shot dead by Israeli forces last week, speak out about the circumstances of his killing and their demands for protection and accountability. Abdallah was the third health worker to be killed in Gaza since 30 March.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Abdallah was volunteering with a team called ‘Nabd Al-Hayat’ (Life’s Pulse), providing first aid treatment and evacuation for injured demonstrators.
Abdallah was fatally shot on Friday 10 August while providing care to a man who had been shot by Israeli forces during the “Great March of Return” demonstrations east of Rafah, south Gaza. Abdallah was taken to the European Gaza Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The injured man he was treating, Ali al-Alul, also later died.
In the film, Abdallah’s brother, Mohammed, calls for accountability for his brother’s killing:
“Abdallah was performing a humanitarian job. He didn’t hold a gun. He was not a militant, nor a terrorist. He had medical solution and gauze to help the injured. This is a war crime. They must be held accountable in front of the world”.
On the day that Abdallah was killed, there were at least five attacks on healthcare in Gaza in which five health workers were injured in addition to Abdallah and an ambulance was damaged. More than 200 such incidents have been recorded by the WHO since 30 March, with three health workers killed and 379 injured. Sixty-one health vehicles and two health facilities – a specialised centre for people with disabilities and the Ministry of Health central ambulance station – have also been damaged.
Attacks on healthcare have impacts far beyond the initial pain and harm. They reduce the capacity of the Palestinian health system to adequately care for the population, particularly during emergencies, and therefore undermine Palestinians’ right to health in the long-term.
Failing to ensure accountability for these violations increases the likelihood of recurrence and further erodes the international norms which ensure the protection of health professionals and infrastructure in conflicts around the world.
MAP is calling on the UK and other governments to take action to protect and support Palestinian health workers in Gaza. If you are in the UK, you can sign our petition using the link below:
Credits: Producer and Editor-Halla Alsafadi and Footage-Mohammed Mubayyed