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OPT: Weekly Press Release 04 - 10 Jun 2005

During this reporting period, the Israeli Army has continued to violate International Humanitarian Law and Fundamental Human Rights, by restricting freedom of movement to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulances and its medical teams. Delay and denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on wounded in Tulkarem.

Thursday, 09/06/2005 (21:34pm): The PRCS Emergency Medical Services station in Tulkarem received a call regarding an injured person in Tal Al Rabea'a area near Tulkarem. A PRCS ambulance was immediately dispatched to the said location. When the crew reached the scene, they found Israeli soldiers standing next to the injured person. The crew administered emergency treatment and explained to the Israeli soldiers the urgency to transport the person to hospital, but the soldiers ignored their request and obliged the crew to follow them to transport the injury to Al Kafriyat checkpoint south of Tulkarem. When the PRCS ambulance reached the checkpoint they found an Israeli ambulance there. The soldiers obliged the PRCS crew to transfer the injured person from the PRCS ambulance to the Israeli one. The PRCS crew returned back to base and the injured was transferred to an unknown location.

During this reporting period, a total of 5 deaths and 56 injuries were reported in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

These practices constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which are legally applied to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In particular, they violate articles 20 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which guarantees the protection and respect of persons who engage in the search for, removal and transport of and caring for wounded and sick civilians, and article 63 which stresses that " Subject to temporary and exceptional measures imposed for urgent reasons of security by the Occupied Power, recognized National red cross and red crescent societies shall be able to pursue their activities in accordance with Red Cross principles, as defined by the international Red Cross Conferences...". In addition to articles 12 and 15 of the First Additional Protocol of the Geneva conventions which guarantees that " Medical units shall be respected and protected at all times and shall not be the object of attack and shall have access to any place where their services are essential" and article 16 which stresses that, "Under no circumstances shall any person be punished for carrying out medical activities compatible with medical ethics, regardless of the person benefiting there from.", in addition to article 21, which stresses that," Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol."


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