November 9, 2023 – Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is witnessing a dramatic increase in violence from Israeli forces in Jenin, in the West Bank, occupied Palestine. Our teams in Jenin have treated over 30 patients with gunshot and blast wounds since October 7.

Today, there has been a surge in violence, with widespread bombing and shooting. This morning leaflets were dropped on Jenin refugee camp, telling residents to evacuate, many of whom have no safe place to go.

This morning around 10.30 a.m. our teams treated a paramedic who was shot while inside an ambulance. Since 11 a.m. this morning, Israeli military vehicles have blocked ambulances from entering the hospitals, forcing them to refer patients to hospitals further away.

Last night a soldier fired at the emergency unit of the hospital, hitting the wall in full view of our colleagues who were standing outside. Today, our team witnessed Israeli forces fire at the entrance of the hospital, with bullets hitting the wall directly above the door.

Hospitals are not targets and must remain safe spaces. Medical care must not be impeded. MSF calls on the Israeli military to stop firing on hospitals and to stop their military vehicles from blocking ambulances and medical staff from reaching health care facilities.

Damage to a symbol of Palestinian pride, the watermelon, in Jenin on November 6.
Damage to a symbol of Palestinian pride, the watermelon, in Jenin on November 6. | Palestine 2023 © Faris Al-Jawad/MSF

Since the start of the devastating war on Gaza, more than 150 Palestinians, including 44 children, have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in the West Bank, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This adds to more than 10,300 killed in Gaza during the same time period. 

Life Threatening Injuries 

It’s 2:30 a.m. and doctors are huddling outside the entrance of Jenin hospital in the West Bank, occupied Palestine. A brief lull in the ricocheting gunfire is followed by the sound of men shouting and tires screeching as a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw, or tuk-tuk, turns into the gates of the hospital. Young men with bullet holes in their abdomens and thighs emerge from the vehicle and are pushed to the emergency room on stretchers. They are examined, bandaged, and rushed to the operating theater.  

“Most of the patients we receive have been shot in the abdomen and the legs,” says Dr. Pedro Serrano, an intensive care unit (ICU) doctor with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). “Some have had their liver and spleen shattered while others have severe vascular injuries.” 

“The violence is ongoing and most patients we receive have life-threatening injuries,” adds Dr. Serrano. “We had one very sad case of a guy who was walking just outside the hospital entrance when he was shot in the head by a sniper.” 

Emergency care in Jenin

In Jenin, the public hospital has called for MSF emergency doctors nearly every night, as Israeli incursions with tanks and ground troops batter the city. Over the past month, Israeli forces have killed 30 people and injured at least 162 more in Jenin alone, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. 

Local paramedics at Jenin refugee camp use a tuk-tuk donated by MSF to weave through its narrow alleyways to collect the wounded. Israeli forces often block the entrance of the camp, making it nearly impossible for ambulances to get in and out with the critically wounded in time to save their lives. 

Outside the hospital, a group of paramedics stare into the buzzing night beside an ambulance pierced by bullet holes. One says they were shot at while attempting to reach wounded people in the camp, which forced them to evacuate the ambulance and take cover for 20 minutes until the Israeli forces left.  

The trail of destruction continues throughout the city of Jenin, where infrastructure and Palestinian monuments have been destroyed, including by bulldozers and tanks.  

This update is online