oPt + 1 more

OPT: Weekly Press Release 25 Jun - 01 Jul 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. Delays, denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on wounded and sick in Nablus and Gaza.

Tuesday, 28/06/2005 (15:44pm): A PRCS ambulance was stopped and delayed access by Israeli soldiers at Hizma checkpoint, while on route to transport a sick person in critical condition from Nablus to one of the Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem. The soldiers denied the ambulance access claiming that the ambulance driver is prohibited from entering Jerusalem. The crew explained to the soldiers the serious condition of the patient and the urgency to transport him to hospital, but the soldiers ignored their request. Another PRCS ambulance driver was sent from the PRCS Al Bireh Emergency Medical Station to the said location but the soldiers also denied him access for the same claim. Coordination efforts by the International Committee of the Red Cross took nearly four hours before an Israeli ambulance arrived at the checkpoint and transferred the sick to hospital. The PRCS ambulance returned back to base.

Wednesday, 29/06/2005 (21:20pm): A PRCS ambulance was stopped and delayed access by Israeli soldiers at Huwwara checkpoint, while on route to the PRCS Emergency Medical Station in Beita village. One of the Israeli soldiers started shouting at the crew and obliged them to turn off the lights and the engine. The soldier then took the crews' Identity cards and ordered them to take out the equipment and supplies from inside the ambulance and place them on the ground. The driver tried to explain the soldier can check without taking the equipment out of the ambulance, but the soldier ignored him and threatened the driver with his weapon. The driver was handcuffed and detained in a small room near the checkpoint. After one and a half hours had elapsed, an Israeli military officer arrived and released the driver after questioning.

The following table lists incidents of delays of access during this reporting period.

PRCS Branch
Delay of access
(unless indicated 'denied access')
Al Tuffah
60 minutes

During this reporting period, a total of 28 injuries were reported in the West Bank and Gaza.

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 Territory. 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."

For full text see: http://www.palestinercs.org/IHL_Refrence_Text.htm

For more information please contact Press Office at:

phone: +972 2 240 6515/6/7
E-mail: pressoffice@palestinercs.org


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