Nablus, 7 February 2003 (7:30 PM): Israeli soldiers at the Howara checkpoint stopped an ambulance that was transporting a woman from the village of Derestiya to the Rafidya Hospital in Nablus, where she was going to give birth. The soldiers detained the ambulance for 1 hour without providing justification for their actions.
Nablus, 7 February 2003 (10:10 PM): An ambulance in transit between the Nablus and Beta branches of the PRCS was stopped at the Howara checkpoint for one hour. The soldiers entered the ambulance, cut the upholstery of the medic's chair in the back of the ambulance, and damaged the stretcher by throwing it out the back of the vehicle. The ambulance was denied permission to pass, and forced to return to Nablus.
Nablus, 7 February 2003 (12:12 PM): Soldiers at the Howara checkpoint stopped an ambulance transporting two patients from the hospital to their homes. The vehicle was detained for 1.5 hours, and copies of the PRCS's Arabic-language publication Balsam were confiscated.
Nablus, 6 February 2003 (11:00 AM): Israeli soldiers at the Howara checkpoint held an ambulance that was carrying a cardiac patient and a kidney patient from the hospital to their homes. The soldiers, kept the ambulance there for 1.5 hours before allowing it to pass.
Nablus, 6 February 2003 (11:30 AM): An ambulance carrying 4 patients home from the Rafidya and Al-Watani hospitals was stopped at the Howara checkpoint. The ambulance turned around since the Israeli soldiers did not allow it to pass through the checkpoint, saying that the checkpoint was closed.
Nablus, 4 February 2003 (9:00 AM): An ambulance was detained by the Israeli Army at the Shafi Shamron checkpoint while on its way to pick up a cardiac patient from the village of Sebastiya. After checking the IDs of the ambulance crew and searching the ambulance, one of the soldiers permitted the ambulance to proceed. Immediately, another soldier stopped the ambulance at gunpoint, forcing it to remain at the checkpoint for 3 hours.
Nablus, 3 February 2003 (09:00 PM): Israeli soldiers at the Jordan Street checkpoint stopped an ambulance at gunpoint, and forced it to turn back. The ambulance was attempting to carry a child with heart disease from her home in the Balata Refugee Camp to a hospital in Nablus.
Jenin, 1 February 2003 (08:00 AM): An Israeli Army jeep halted an ambulance at gunpoint before the Beit Eba and Quseen checkpoints. The ambulance, which was carrying 4 patients, was detained for 2.5 hours. When the ambulance driver refused to make the patients leave the ambulance, he was beaten in the face and abdomen, while an Israeli soldier held a gun to his head. The soldier threatened to shoot the driver if he did not make the patients leave the ambulance. As a result, a cancer patient and an elderly male cardiac patient were removed from the ambulance, and forced to find transportation to the hospital in a private car.
Tulkarem, 6 February 2003 (04:25 PM): PRCS received a call from the Israeli Army, requesting that an ambulance pick up an injured person from the Al-Kafreyat checkpoint. Upon arrival at the checkpoint, the ambulance crew was told to leave and the soldiers claimed responsibility for treating the wounded man. Later in the day, PRCS received another call from the Israeli army asking them to pick up the corpse of the man who had died at that same checkpoint.
Tulkarem, 6 February 2003 (12:45 PM): An ambulance carrying two injured persons was held at the Quseen checkpoint for 1 hour. One of the two patients was in critical condition after being shot in the head with a rubber bullet fired by and Israeli soldier. No reason was given for detaining the ambulance.
Tulkarem, 3 February 2003 (06:40 AM): An Israeli tank stopped an ambulance that was carrying a dialysis patient. The ambulance was held for 35 minutes, and then forced to turn around. The reason given by the soldiers was that the condition of the patient was not critical enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.
Hebron, 1 February 2003 (08:45 PM): PRCS ambulance was forced to maneuver through 7 road blocks in order to reach a cardiac patient in Yatta. The response time for this call should have been 15 minutes but because of the blockades it took 40 minutes and when the medical team reached the patient he had died.
Ramallah, 5 February 2003 (12:10 AM): An ambulance transporting a pregnant woman from Surda to Ramallah was held at the Surda checkpoint for 30 minutes. Israeli soldiers searched the vehicle while the woman was in active labor.
Gaza City, 6 February 2003 (11:50 PM): An EMS ambulance was forced to turn back while attempting to respond to a call near clashes in the area of the Al-Wafa' Hospital. As the ambulance reached the scene, an Israeli tank fired shots in the direction of the ambulance forcing it to turn back without reaching the injured.
These incidents constitute a breach of articles (19,24 & 25) of the First Geneva Convention, which ensures the protection of medical units, establishments and personnel. For full text see <http://www.palestinercs.org/IHL_Refrence_Text.htm> IHL link.
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