Monday, November 19, 2018

Israeli forces target Palestinian paramedics in latest wave of clashes in occupied territories


By Amy Mac - October 13, 2015
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [Features]
Tags: [West Bank] [Israeli violence]

 

Tyres burn at the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah as young protesters throw stones at a line of Israeli soldiers and jeeps; tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live fire are directed back into the crowd.

 

A Palestinian paramedic team waits on the sidelines, on standby, until an inevitable injury kicks them into gear and they race to the frontlines.

“Often we go to a boy when he has been shot and the soldiers try to shoot us. Everyone on this team has been shot.”

 

Ahmed is a 20 year old paramedic working with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS). He stands amongst a group of five of his colleagues. According to them, all have been shot at and injured by Israeli soldiers whilst attempting to save the lives of wounded Palestinians during clashes with the Israeli forces.

 

“Everyone is at risk from the Israeli occupation forces. Soldiers usually directly target paramedics and medical teams. They do not differentiate between medical staff and demonstrators,” added Murad, 22, also a paramedic with PMRS.

 

As a paramedic working in the occupied territories, injury or even death by Israeli soldiers during protests is an accepted risk that comes with the job.

 

Over the last couple of weeks, as tensions peak and violent clashes escalate throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem, this risk has become even more acute.

Medical teams have faced intensifying challenges when it comes to assisting the wounded and dying.

Since the latest wave of violence, ambulances and paramedics have been repeatedly attacked by Israeli soldiers with rubber bullets and tear gas grenades.

 

Today, the Palestinian Red Cresent Society (PRCS) released a statement denouncing Israeli forces for intentionally targeting PRCS teams and ambulances and requesting the international community to pressurise Israel to cease their attacks on the Palestinian medical team and the wounded.

 

According to PRCS, since Oct 3. there have been 53 attacks against their teams and ambulances, in which 37 emergency medical technicians were wounded and around 20 ambulances damaged.

 

Furthermore, there have been 24 cases in which  PRCS ambulances were obstructed and prevented from reaching wounded Palestinians near seam zones.

 

This comes just over a week after PRCS declared a state of emergency, Oct 4, across the occupied territories announcing that in a 72-hour period it had faced 14 attacks against its staff and vehicles “in a serious escalation of violations against PRCS, its teams and the humanitarian services they render.”

 

In the first few days leading up to the latest wave of violence, PRCS paramedics were beaten by soldiers in Jerusalem and another group of soldiers attacked a PRCS ambulance in the Old City of Jerusalem.  

 

On the same day, soldiers severely beat another ambulance crew in Jabal Al Taweel (Al-Bireh), wounding two paramedics. They then arrested an injured Palestinian from inside the ambulance, firing tear gas grenades and rubber bullets at it.

 

According to the PRCS, the violent actions of Israeli forces against paramedics “affirms that these violations aim at hindering the work of its teams and at preventing them from carrying out their humanitarian duty, including reaching injured persons, providing them with First Aid and ensuring their transfer to hospitals.”

 

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, physician and general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, told the Palestine Monitor that Israeli forces are indiscriminate in their attacks and “does not respect the neutrality of medical professionals”

 

“What we have witnessed during the last two weeks is intentional attacks from the side of the Israeli army and police on Palestinian health professionals, doctors and first aid providers that has included beating them, shooting them with live ammunition and rubber bullets,” he said.   

 

Despite the threat of injury or death from Israeli forces, faced by the Palestinian medical staff whilst working in the field, paramedics told the Palestine Monitor they  remain undeterred in their efforts to assist those Palestinians in need of medical attention.

 

“We must help the people. We, the medical staff, are not afraid of death. Our concern is with the wounded,” said Murad.


 

Back to Top

Related Articles

Encouraging education in sign language for deaf Palestinian children
November 19, 2018

A virtual piece of the Danish coastline in Ramallah
November 19, 2018

Cycling away from the political reality
November 19, 2018

Most Popular Articles

Israelís puppet war unmasks apartheid regime
The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned to host its annual International

Israel Avoids Hard-Right Shift: No Benefit for Palestinians
With many commentators predicting big wins for the settler movement in

Rushdi Tamimi becomes second victim of Israeli army in Nabi Saleh
On Tuesday November 21st, the body of 31 year old Rushdi Tamimi was

Designed & Developed by: Pixel Co