Palestine Red Crescent Society

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Palestine Red Crescent Society
جمعية الهلال الأحمر الفلسطيني
Founded1968; 56 years ago (1968)[1]
FounderFathi Arafat[2]
HeadquartersAl-Bireh,[3] State of Palestine
Region served
State of Palestine, including both Palestinian territories: the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip
Dr. Younis al-Khatib[4]
AffiliationsIFM – SEI
Destroyed ambulance in the city of Shuja'iyya in the Gaza Strip after Israeli shelling of the Al-Quds Hospital

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS; Arabic: جمعية الهلال الأحمر الفلسطيني) is the humanitarian organization that is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the State of Palestine, which includes the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian branch of the movement was founded in 1968 by Yasser Arafat's brother, Fathi Arafat.[5] The Red Crescent services hospitals and primary health care centers, and provides emergency medicine and ambulance services in the Palestinian territories. Its headquarters are in Ramallah, near Jerusalem.


The Red Crescent first established its presence in Palestine in 1910, with the opening of its session in Jerusalem. On December 26, 1968, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) was formally established to address the healthcare needs of Palestinians. On September 1, 1969, the PRCS gained recognition as a National Society with legal status during the sixth session of the Palestinian National Council held in Cairo. Since then, PRCS has played a significant role in the Palestinian territories, offering healthcare and social services. It has a workforce consisting of tens of thousands of Palestinian, Arab, and foreign employees and volunteers.

In June 2006, the Palestine Red Crescent Society was granted full membership status in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, following a decision made during the 29th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.[5]

Ambulance services

Following a 1996 mandate by the then PLO leader Yasser Arafat, the PRCS provides the majority of emergency medical and relief services in the territories, including ambulance services. 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).[6]

Special problems

Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance at Israeli checkpoint
BBC News follows Red Crescent Paramedics during the Israel-Hamas war
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Ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have complicated the delivery of medical services.

Israeli authorities have required Palestinian ambulances to undergo thorough searches when passing through checkpoints.[clarification needed] According to Israeli sources, this policy is the result of Palestinian organizations using ambulances to transport terrorists and armaments during the Second Intifada, making it necessary to inspect Palestinian ambulances regardless of the seriousness of the patient's condition.[7][8][9][10][11] Israel made similar claims during the 2008–2009 Gaza War; however, Amnesty International denies that Hamas had systematically used medical facilities, vehicles and uniforms as a cover, stating that no evidence had been provided proving such actions.[12] 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."[13] However this policy results in delayed patient care and resulting in significant negative outcomes. For example, between the years 2000 and 2007, it was estimated that 16% of pregnant women had to wait at checkpoints for periods exceeding two hours, resulting in 68 women giving birth at checkpoints, 35 instances of miscarriage, and 5 maternal deaths in a seven-year period.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "About PRCS | Palestine Red Crescent Society".
  2. ^ Bullamore, T. (2005). "Fathi Arafat". BMJ: British Medical Journal. 330 (7481): 46. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7481.46. PMC 539860.
  3. ^ "contact us | Palestine Red Crescent Society".
  4. ^ "Dr.Younis Al Khatib President of the Palestine Red Crescent Society "I am not a Target " | Palestine Red Crescent Society".
  5. ^ a b "Fathi Arafat, P.L.O. Leader's Brother, Dies at 67". The New York Times. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Emergency Medical Services". Palestine Red Crescent Society. Archived from the original on 31 January 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  7. ^ 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] Archived 21 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Palestinian Misuse of Medical Services and Ambulances for Terrorist Activities". Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  9. ^ 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..".
  10. ^ Gleis, Joshua L.; Berti, Benedetta (10 July 2012). Hezbollah and Hamas: A Comparative Study. JHU Press. ISBN 9781421406145.
  11. ^ Levitt, Matthew (2007). Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. Yale University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0300122589.
  12. ^ "Amnesty accuses Israel of reckless use of weapons". JPost. 2 February 2009. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 2009, p. 144" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Checkpoints Compound the Risks of Childbirth for Palestinian Women". United Nations Population Fund. 15 May 2007. Archived from the original on 9 November 2023.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Cordesman; Moravitz, Jennifer (2005). Jennifer Moravitz (ed.). The Israeli-Palestinian war: escalating to nowherefirst1=Anthony H. (Illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780275987589.

External links