Palestine Red Crescent Society

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Palestine Red Crescent Society
جمعية الهلال الأحمر الفلسطيني
Palestine Red Crescent Society.png
Formation 1968
Type Non-profit
Headquarters al-Bireh State of Palestine
Region served Palestinian territories
Website [2]

The Palestine Red Crescent Society was founded in 1968, by Fathi Arafat, Yasser Arafat's brother.[1] It is a humanitarian organization that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It provides hospitals, emergency medicine and ambulance services, and primary health care centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its headquarters is based in Ramallah, near Jerusalem. It is an observer member of the International Falcon Movement - Socialist Education International[citation needed]

The PRCS was officially recognized by the ICRC and IFRC in June 2006, in a move that also recognized the Israeli Magen David Adom and the politically neutral Red Crystal symbol.[citation needed]

Ambulance services[edit]

The PRCS provides the majority of ambulance services in the territories, such as providing emergency medical and relief services to Palestinians as mandated in 1996 by then PLO leader Yasser Arafat. Ambulance services are provided by 41 stations and substations, 22 mobile field posts, 122 ambulances, 346 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and over 500 volunteers.

1996 also saw the foundation of the Emergency Medical Institute, which trains staff and EMTs in accordance with international standards. Furthermore, the PRCS has been instrumental in the establishment of the national emergency number (101).[2]

Special problems[edit]

Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance at checkpoint

Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has created some special issues for service delivery.

According to Israeli sources, there have been numerous incidents in which Palestinian ambulances have been found transporting bombs, missiles, or terrorists disguised as patients.[3][4][5] As such, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has a policy of stopping to inspect all Palestinian ambulances at roadblocks, regardless of the seriousness of the patient's condition.

According to the PRCS, Israeli Defense Force personnel on the ground and in aircraft have deliberately targeted Palestinian ambulances, and prevented or impeded them from carrying out their duties, in violation of international humanitarian law.[6] In 2003, for example, the PRCS reported that seven staff members were injured and 12 ambulances were damaged in attacks by Israeli settlers and the IDF, and PRCS ambulances were denied or delayed access to areas on 584 different occasions.[7]

During the 2008–2009 Gaza War, Amnesty International rejected charges by Israel that Hamas had systematically used medical facilities, vehicles and uniforms as a cover, stating that no evidence had been provided proving such actions.[8] Further, Magen David Adom's submission to the UN Mission investigating the war stated that, "there was no use of PRCS ambulances for the transport of weapons or ammunition ... [and] there was no misuse of the emblem by PRCS."[9]

Palestine Red Crescent Society in Hebron[edit]

PRCS Hebron Branch was established in 1965 with a view to providing health, social and academic services to Palestinians as well as to promoting health and social conditions of Palestinians in the southern West Bank through several programs and the following services:

Health services

PRCS specialized hospital[edit]

This building comprises eight stories (470 meters each). A 4500 m2 piece of land adjacent to the hospital was bought and shall accommodate hospital facilities and a comprehensive health complex. The hospital shall comprise the following sections: 1- An EMS section (6 beds); 2- Pediatric microsurgery and child care section (22 beds); 3- Medium pediatric care (12 beds); 4- Neonatal ICU section (6 beds); 5- Gynecology, obstetrics and fertility section (12 beds); 6- General surgery section; 7- Backstopping medical sections, including a lab, x-ray services, external clinics, a pharmacy, a medical engineering section and medicine warehouses.
Project progress
All hospital floors have been built and finished. The following sections have been inaugurated: 1. External pediatrics clinics, including:

  • pediatric renal clinic;
  • Neonatal and premature baby clinic;
  • Pediatric neurology clinic;
  • Hereditary disease clinic;
  • Pediatric cardiology clinic;
  • Gynecology and obstetrics clinic.

2. Ordinary child care section (12 beds). 3. Neonatal ICU 4. Gynecology and obstetrics 5. Backstopping medical sections including lab, pharmacy and x-ray services.
Work is ongoing to equip and operate the following sections: 1- Pediatric microsurgery section (22 beds); 2- Pediatric ICU section; 3- General Surgery section

EMS Center[edit]

  • The branch operates 16 ambulances;
  • It also operates a car equipped for kidney patients which has the outside appearance of an ordinary PRCS ambulance.

Emergency Clinic[edit]

  • It operates 24/7.

Disaster Preparedness Team[edit]

  • It organizes awareness-raising campaigns for school children in the Governorate on earthquakes and sound evacuation methods;
  • It holds field training courses for team members;
  • It takes part in a periodic monthly meeting in Hebron Governorate organized by the Governorate’s Contingency Committee;
  • It prepares disaster preparedness plans.

Rehabilitation Services[edit]

Al Raja’a center for special education[edit]

Established in 1985, the center provides care for mentally disabled children aged 6 to 18. It focuses on children suffering from mild and moderate mental retardation who respond to learning and rehabilitation, with a view to making them active and productive and integrating them in the labor market, whether in professional workshops in the center or in local factories and institutions. More than 100 students with special needs are enrolled in the center under the supervision and care of 24 skilled staff. A branch of the center was inaugurated in Tarkoumia to cater to the needs of residents in areas to the west of Hebron Governorate who do not have easy access to the main center in Hebron. 43 students are currently enrolled in this center. A second floor (900 m2) was built in the center with support from the Spanish Cooperation Agency.

Center sections:
Educational section. It comprises:

  • Al Raja’a center and its 12 classes for children with special needs, with a view to developing students’ mental capacities and self-care potential;
  • Occupational therapy section;
  • Speech therapy unit;
  • Educational games library.

Professional section. It comprises:

  • Greenhouses (1500 m2);
  • Poultry farms (6000 chickens);
  • Candle workshop;
  • Bamboo workshop;
  • Embroidery and handicrafts workshop;
  • Beekeeping farm (honey production).

Physiotherapy center[edit]

The center is adjacent to the EMS building. It provides services free-of-charge to the needy, the injured and families of Palestinian martyrs and detainees.

Mobile Rehabilitation clinic[edit]

  • A Mobile rehabilitation clinic operates in Hebron Governorate villages and towns and is manned by physiotherapy experts, speech and hearing therapy experts, social workers, a doctor and a nurse;
  • It focuses on the early detection of disabilities which are referred to PRCS centers and other bodies if adequate services are unavailable in the clinic. It also distributes assistive devices according to need.

Community-based Rehabilitation (CBR)[edit]

  • The CBR program was launched in 1994 in 4 villages in the Governorate and was later expanded to include 4 other villages.
  • Its main objective is to research the number of disabled persons and the types of disabilities affecting them, to detect disabilities at an early stage and to raise awareness in order to limit their impact. Cases in need of follow-up and additional care are referred to other specialize centers.
  • This program is implemented in the southern West Bank in cooperation with the Health Work Committees and the Arab Rehabilitation Association.

Psychosocial support Center[edit]

Objectives:

  • To enhance social solidarity and community-based voluntary action to cover the development needs of Palestinian families;
  • To promote sound practices;
  • To develop infrastructure services targeting children, youths, women and the elderly;
  • To help enhance the quality and quantity of psychosocial services;
  • To develop skilled and specialized human resources;
  • To increase the number and quality of studies and research in the field of psychological health;
  • To help build the capacities of staff.

Educational Services[edit]

Kindergarten
The branch operates two kindergartens with 120 children and provides transportation from and to their homes, as follows:

  • Khalil Al Rahman kindergarten/Dweirban. Located next to Al Raja’a center, it aims to integrate disabled children with their peers.
  • Al Saraya kindergarten. Located next to Al Ibrahimi Mosque, it provides services against symbolic fees for children in the Old City of Hebron.

Youths and Volunteers Department and Community Center

  • This Department was created in 1995;
  • 17 voluntary committees operate in Hebron Governorate with 1200 volunteers.

As voluntary action constitutes one of PRCS’ main pillars, the branch depends on volunteers for support. It also helps polish their skills and build their capacities.

The Department and the Community Center target the local community at large (men, women, children, youths, elderly persons and persons with special needs), with particular focus on young people.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fathi Arafat, P.L.O. Leader's Brother, Dies at 67". The New York Times. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  2. ^ http://www.palestinercs.org/Emergency_Medical.aspx
  3. ^ WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION FIFTY-SIXTH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY A56/INF.DOC./6 Provisional agenda item 19 16 May 2003 14. According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, "There have been several proven cases of misuse of Palestinian ambulances to transport ammunition or explosive belts or to transfer terrorists."[1]
  4. ^ "Palestinian Misuse of Medical Services and Ambulances for Terrorist Activities". mfa.gov.il. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  5. ^ WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION FIFTY-SIXTH WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY A56/INF.DOC./6 Provisional agenda item 19 16 May 2003 #35. According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, "The Red Crescent closely cooperated with the MDA until April 2002. At that time, the IDF found that Red Crescent ambulances were being used to carry terrorists. The Red Crescent personnel involved in this violation were interrogated..".
  6. ^ http://www.palestinercs.org/humanitarian_Arch.aspx?cat_id=2
  7. ^ Cordesman; Moravitz, Jennifer (2005). Jennifer Moravitz, ed. The Israeli-Palestinian war: escalating to nowherefirst1=Anthony H. (Illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780275987589. 
  8. ^ "Amnesty accuses Israel of reckless use of weapons". JPost. 2009-02-02. 
  9. ^ Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 2009, p. 144.

External links[edit]