Israel + 1 more

OPT: Weekly Press Release 8 - 14 Feb 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
During this reporting period the Israeli army continued to violate the First and Fourth Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by denying freedom of movement to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and its medical teams who were threatened by shooting, physically assaulting medics at gunpoint and imposing arbitrary searches which adversely affect the sick and wounded, in Tulkarem, Nablus and Ramallah
Nablus, 14 February 2003 (8:25 PM): Israeli soldiers at the Howara checkpoint stopped an ambulance that was transporting patients. The soldiers imposed arbitrary searches and commanded the staff to remove the vehicle's oil pump. The ambulance was denied permission to pass, and forced to return to Nablus without transporting the patients.

Nablus, 14 February 2003 (10:00 AM): Israeli soldiers at the Howara checkpoint stopped an ambulance that was transporting a woman in labor. The officer in charge asked one of the soldiers to remove the vehicle's air filter, but the same soldier misunderstand the officer's order and instead told the medics to drive on. However the other soldiers ordered the vehicle back and verbally assaulted the crew. The ambulance was then permitted to pass.

Nablus, 14 February 2003 (2:00 PM): Soldiers at the Shafe Shamron checkpoint stopped an ambulance transporting a patient to Jenin. The vehicle was detained for 1.5 hours.

Nablus, 8 February 2003 (3:30 PM): Israeli soldiers at the Howara checkpoint stopped an ambulance that was carrying three patients. The ambulance was detained for two hours, and forced at gunpoint to return to Nablus.

Nablus, 8 February 2003 (12:30 PM): An ambulance carrying 3 patients was stopped and detained for 3 hours at Al-Mslah checkpoint, searched and staff ID cards checked. The ambulance was stopped again at another checkpoint; Israeli soldiers confiscated the crew's ID cards and ordered them to return back.

Nablus, 8 February 2003 (9:15 AM): An ambulance carrying two patients to Ramallah was held at Howara checkpoint. Their mothers accompanied the two patients in critical condition. One of the patients was a child suffering from respiratory disease, and the other is a newborn suffering from delivery complications. The soldiers detained the ambulance for three hours, after which they only permitted the newborn and mother to pass with the ambulance. The child with respiratory disease and mother were forced out of the ambulance and was not permitted to cross the checkpoint.

Tulkarem, 9 February 2003 (06:20 PM): An ambulance was shot at during clashes in front of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) offices in Tulkarem. No injuries were reported, but the ambulance sustained damage to its rear windows.

Al Bireh, 9 February 2003 (02:55 pm): Soldiers at Qalandia/Ramallah checkpoint stopped an ambulance transporting an injured person. The ambulance was held for three hours under very cold weather conditions. The soldiers threatened and assaulted the medical team, and arrested the injured person.

Al Bireh, 9 February 2003 (01:00 PM): Israeli soldiers positioned at the Gilo(Bethlehem) checkpoints stopped an ambulance on its way from Al-Bireh to Bethlehem and detained it for 4 hours. The ambulance was allowed to pass only after intervention by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

These incidents constitute a breach of articles (19,24 & 25) of the First Geneva Convention, which guarantees the protection of medical units, establishments and personnel as well as articles (27, 55 and 56) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which calls for the protection of civilians.

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