Friday, August 06, 2004

Palestine Red Crescent Report

Palestine Red Crescent Report
July 31 - August 6th
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 the sick and wounded in Ramallah, Nablus , Tubas and Gaza .
Ramallah, 5 August 2004 ( 18:05 ): Israeli soldiers at the Beit El checkpoint stopped a PRCS ambulance on route to transport patients from Ramallah Hospital to Jericho . The soldiers denied the ambulance access claiming the patients didn't need an ambulance to transport them. The medics explained to the soldiers the health condition of the patients and showed them the relevant medical reports. All of a sudden and without provocation, a soldier got out from a military jeep and started shouting verbal insults at the medics. PRCS requested coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and finally the patients were transferred to a second ambulance at the other side of the checkpoint. The first ambulance was detained for more than thirty minutes before the back to back transfer took place.
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') Tubas 3/8/2004 Beit Eba 75 minutes Nablus 6/8/2004 Beit Eba 40 minutes Gaza\Al Mawasi 2/8/2004 Al Tufah 55 minutes   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=8A". 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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