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Israel violates the 1st and 4th Geneva Convention

Weekly Press Release 23-29 August 2003

During this reporting period, the Israeli Army has 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 gunfire, humiliated and verbally and physically abused. Delays, denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on the sick and the wounded in Nablus, Qalqilia and Tubas.

Nablus, 23 August 2003 (11:30): A PRCS ambulance from the Tubas EMS station was transporting a patient from Al-Watani Hospital to Nablus. While the ambulance was driving down Al-Faysal Street, an Israeli Army jeep followed it. The jeep caught up with the PRCS ambulance, and at that point the Israeli soldiers started firing in the air. The driver immediately pulled over and the jeep did likewise. A group of soldiers got off, and one of them started shouting at the ambulance crew, verbally abusing them, and hit the driver in the face. One of the soldiers then ordered the driver to turn back and threatened to shoot the crew if he ever saw them again.

Nablus, 28 August 2003 (09:20): The EMS dispatch received an emergency call to transport two women in labour to hospital. At the Howwara checkpoint, Israeli soldiers stopped the PRCS ambulance and checked the patients’ IDs. One of the women was denied permission to cross because she was carrying a Jordanian passport. The driver explained that the woman was visiting relatives in the West Bank and that she was about to give birth, but the soldier started shouting at him and tried to hit him. The driver defended himself by grabbing the soldier’s hand, but a second soldier came and hit him on the chest. The soldiers then tied the driver’s hands, and was forced to lie on the ground for over an hour. The ambulance was detained for over an hour and a half. Regarding the patients, one of the women was taken to hospital in a second ambulance, but the Jordan-passport holder was forced to return back. The woman gave birth at a village health centre.

These incidents constitute a breach of articles 19, 24 and 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.

For full text see Fourth Geneva Convention

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