Palestine Red Crescent Society
The Palestine Red Crescent Society was founded in 1968, by Fathi Arafat, Yasser Arafat's brother. 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 in Ramallah, near Jerusalem. It is an observer member of the International Falcon Movement - Socialist Education International
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).
Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has created some special issues for service delivery.
There have been several incidents in which Palestinian ambulances have been found transporting bombs, missiles, or terrorists disguised as patients. As such, the Israel Defense Forces (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. 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.
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. 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."
- Emergency medical services in Israel
- Health care in Israel
- Health care in the Palestinian territories
- "Fathi Arafat, P.L.O. Leader's Brother, Dies at 67". The New York Times. 2 December 2004. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- 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."
- "Palestinian Misuse of Medical Services and Ambulances for Terrorist Activities". mfa.gov.il. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- 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..".
- Gleis, Joshua L.; Berti, Benedetta (2012-07-10). Hezbollah and Hamas: A Comparative Study. JHU Press. ISBN 9781421406145.
- Levitt, Matthew (2007). Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300122586.
- Cordesman; Moravitz, Jennifer (2005). Jennifer Moravitz, ed. The Israeli-Palestinian war: escalating to nowherefirst1=Anthony H. (Illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780275987589.
- "Amnesty accuses Israel of reckless use of weapons". JPost. 2009-02-02.
- Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 2009, p. 144.
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