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Red Crescent: IDF Geneva Convention Violations

Weekly Press Release 11-17/October 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 abused. Delays, denial of access and arbitrary searches had a negative impact on the sick and the wounded in Nablus, Hebron, Gaza, Tulkarem, Qalqilia, Jenin, Bethlehem and Jericho.

Nablus, 14 October 2003 (12:30): Israeli soldiers at the Howwara checkpoint stopped a PRCS ambulance on its way to transport kidney dialysis patients to their homes. The soldiers commanded the crew to take the patients out of the ambulance even though one of them was disabled. The soldiers then threw the ambulance crew to the ground. A similar incident occurred on the same day in which Israeli soldiers used dogs to search another ambulance on its way to transport patients.

Hebron, 15 October 2003 (02:00): A PRCS ambulance transporting three patients from Ramallah to Hebron was stopped at the entrance of Hebron. The soldiers commanded the crew to take the patients out of the ambulance, and ordered the driver to remove the ambulance air-conditioning unit. The driver refused because he was unable to remove it. However, the soldiers forcibly removed the air-conditioning unit, damaging it. The soldiers threatened to shoot at the crew if they saw them again.

Hebron, 16 October 2003 (02:00): At the Hebron checkpoint, Israeli soldiers stopped a PRCS ambulance transporting patients. The soldiers started shouting verbal abuses at the crew. One of the soldiers took the ambulance keys and denied it access. Another soldier pushed the driver and put his weapon to the driver’s head alleging that the driver refused to allow the soldier to search the ambulance. The ambulance was detained for one hour and a half.

In addition to the above, the following table lists incidents of denial and delay of access during this reporting period.

PRCS Branch Date Checkpoint Delay of access (unless indicated 'denied access')

Tulkarem 13/10/2003 Al-Kafryat 80 minutes

15/10/2003 (1st ambulance) Jerusalem (Al-tour) 110 minutes

15/10/2003 (2nd ambulance) Jerusalem (Al-tour) 110 minutes

Qalqilia 16/10/2003

Beit-Eba 120 minutes

17/10/2003 Beit-Eba Denied access

Jenin 15/10/2003 Jannat Denied access

Bethlehem 11/10/2003 Jerusalem 20 minutes

Jericho 13/10/2003 Al-Naomi 60 minutes

Gaza 16/10/2003 Al-Salam Neighbourhood 180 minutes

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.

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