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Human Rights Watch to IDF: Don’t Fire on Gaza Medics/ 6 attacks

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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-14-06 05:37 AM
Original message
Human Rights Watch to IDF: Don’t Fire on Gaza Medics/ 6 attacks
"Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories: Don’t Fire on Gaza Medics

Six Attacks on Palestinian Ambulances, Paramedics - link:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/09/13/isrlpa14185.htm

(New York, September 13, 2006) – Israeli security forces launched attacks that harmed Palestinian medical emergency personnel and damaged ambulances on at least six different occasions in the Gaza Strip between May 30 and July 20, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to ensure that its troops scrupulously respect the protected status of medical emergency personnel and facilities at all times as it conducts military operations in the Gaza Strip.

Israel should conduct an impartial and transparent investigation of these incidents to determine why medical personnel were endangered, and it should remind its forces that attacks against medical and religious personnel and objects displaying the emblems of the Geneva Conventions are prohibited. "

snip: “Attacks against clearly identified medical providers are an extremely serious matter,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch. “Israel should conduct an impartial and transparent investigation of these incidents to determine why medical personnel were endangered, and it should remind its forces that attacks against medical and religious personnel and objects displaying the emblems of the Geneva Conventions are prohibited.”

As of September 12, Israeli authorities had not responded to an August 21 request from Human Rights Watch for information about these incidents. Medical personnel and transports lose their protection if they commit or are used to commit acts harmful to the enemy. However, there is no evidence and there has been no allegation that ambulances have been used for any purpose in the current fighting in Gaza other than providing emergency medical assistance and transporting the dead and wounded to hospitals.

Even assuming that in some of these cases medical personnel or ambulances were hit during renewed IDF attacks on military targets, all of the cases merit investigation because the IDF has an obligation not to prevent clearly marked medical personnel and ambulances unnecessarily from discharging their proper functions, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch researchers in the Gaza Strip spoke individually with six paramedics, one ambulance driver, and one volunteer with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). The drivers came from various parts of the Gaza Strip and recounted six separate incidents in which they came under fire while responding to emergency calls. Dr. Mu’awiya Hassanain, the head of Ambulance and Emergency Management for the West Bank and Gaza under the Ministry of Health, told Human Rights Watch that there had been 23 instances of medical emergency teams coming under fire in Gaza in July 2006, although Human Rights Watch investigated only the six incidents described here.

Four of the incidents occurred during daylight hours. When working at night, the paramedics wore fluorescent clothing and used bright flashlights while on foot. Their vehicles were clearly marked with the word “ambulance” in Arabic and English and unedited video footage of ambulances collecting casualties from different locations in the Gaza Strip during Israeli military incursions in July showed that the ambulances consistently used red flashing lights on their roofs. Human Rights Watch researchers visited three of the sites of the attacks and obtained video footage of the incident of May 29. Accounts by residents where the attacks took place were consistent with the accounts by the paramedics and ambulance driver.

Ambulance drivers showed Human Rights Watch their working clothes, which, for the PRCS, consist of white vests with a large crescent covering the back and the words “Palestinian Red Crescent Society” in English and Arabic. A smaller emblem is on the front. The clothes have fluorescent stripes which reflect brightly at night. PRCS paramedics carry bright flashlights at night and work in pairs, increasing their visibility.

The six incidents were: read full report:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/09/13/isrlpa14185.htm

snip: " In all six cases Human Rights Watch investigated, the paramedics and ambulances had waited for ongoing hostilities to cease and had taken precautions to safeguard the ambulances and their personnel from the risk of being caught in fighting. The PRCS and the Ministry of Health’s Ambulance and Emergency Management Department have extensive experience operating in zones where military operations are being conducted.

International humanitarian law includes provisions of customary international law which all parties to an armed conflict must follow. The rules of customary international law that protect medical units, including paramedics and ambulances, state that these units “must be respected and protected in all circumstances.” Equally, “medical transports assigned exclusively to medical transportation must be respected and protected in all circumstances.” Medical workers engaging exclusively in medical work in the presence of combatants do not forfeit their protected status, but “they lose their protection if they commit, outside their humanitarian function, acts harmful to the enemy.”

“It is unacceptable that paramedics and ambulance drivers, whose humanitarian task is to recover causalities and assist the injured, should themselves need to be hospitalized for carrying out their jobs,” said Stork. “All parties to a conflict must respect medical personnel, and in these cases where the shelling and gunfire apparently came from Israeli sources, a prompt and credible investigation and sanctions, where appropriate, must follow.”

Testimonies

read full report:

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/09/13/isrlpa14185.htm
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-14-06 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. The statement is fairer than the headline - question as to use of "medical
Edited on Thu Sep-14-06 07:02 AM by papau
transport. From the statement:

"Medical personnel and transports lose their protection if they commit or are used to commit acts harmful to the enemy. However, ...no allegation that ambulances have been (so)used... in the current fighting in Gaza(there is proof they were so used in the past - just use Google to find the West Bank driver's confession)."

"...all of the cases merit investigation because the IDF has an obligation not to prevent clearly marked medical personnel and ambulances UNNECESSARILY (my caps) from discharging their proper functions, Human Rights Watch said."
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-14-06 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. there is no evidence that any of these ambulances were used for
Edited on Thu Sep-14-06 07:55 AM by Douglas Carpenter
any purpose other than carrying out their medical duties; none.

Every single credible human rights organization without exception reports attacks on emergency medical services in the Occupied Palestinian Territories all the time even when there is not a shred of evidence that they were doing anything other than carrying out their medical responsibilities and the vehicles and staff where clearly marked.
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-14-06 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. If you google it, you will see that Elvis Presley works in a Gas station
Edited on Thu Sep-14-06 09:07 AM by Tom Joad
in New Jersey. There is as much solid evidence of that as the ambulances being used to carry weapons story.
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-14-06 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. No evidence they have been used in the past either. Saying
you can google such a confession is about the flimsiest "evidence" i can imagine.
You can google and find out that "Neil Armstrong never walked on the moon" if you want. Doesn't mean there is solid evidence from a credible source that this is so.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-15-06 07:30 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-15-06 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. there is NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that any of these ambulances
Edited on Fri Sep-15-06 09:34 PM by Douglas Carpenter
that have been attacked by Israeli forces were involved in any activity whatsoever than carrying out their medical duties.

There is NO EVIDENCE whatsoever that the use of ambulances for military purposes by Palestinian medical services is anything other than an EXTRAORDINARY isolated incident.

EVERY SINGLE credible human rights organization without exception reports attacks on emergency medical teams are a very regular occurance:

International Committee of the Red Cross/Palestinian Territories:

http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/palest...



http://www.btselem.org/english/About_BTselem/Index.asp

Physicians for Human Rights - Israel

http://www.phrusa.org/healthrights/phr_israel.html

Amnesty International/Israel and Occupied Territories:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/israel_and_occupied...

Human Rights Watch/Israel and Occupied Territories:

http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/israel /
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Englander Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 03:17 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. That's 'malicious propaganda'.
The video footage of a 'rocket' (in reality, a stretcher), being thrown into the back of a UN ambulance, is another conspiracy theory, not much different to zombie's nonsense. The 'malicious propaganda' quote comes from the head of UNRWA* at the time, that's what he called this blatant falsehood.

The blog that picture is taken from, Lawrence of Cyberia, does a good job of compiling some incidents where the idf have commandered ambulances, used ambulances to transport troops, & used ambulances to transport non-uniformed troops. There's another incident where an ambulance carrying a British MP who has just had a stroke, was delayed at an Israeli checkpoint for 90 minutes;

'When Is An Ambulance Not An Ambulance?'
http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2004/10/when_is...

_________________


*

Israel's 'malicious propaganda' endangers UN staff

Jerusalem – Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has written a strongly-worded protest to Silvan Shalom, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanding an apology for allegations made against UNRWA's ambulance drivers in the Gaza Strip.

Israel's military and its ambassador to the United Nations have alleged that it has footage of a Palestinian rocket being transported in an UNRWA ambulance. An investigation by UNRWA and analysis of the footage has established that the object in question was a patient stretcher.

In the letter, which was sent today, Mr Hansen writes:

"Given the technical means and military expertise at the disposal of the IDF to enlarge and analyse the pictures taken by the IDF drone, it is inconceivable that the IDF could have made this egregiously erroneous allegation in good faith. While UNRWA's denial has now been acknowledged by responsible media outlets, there is no such denial shown on the IDF website."

"It is appalling that, with the serious conflict now raging in the Northern Gaza Strip, where UNRWA ambulances are operating in constant danger alongside those of other humanitarian agencies to try to save and transport scores of wounded Palestinians to hospital, the Government of Israel would put out such deliberately inciteful, false and malicious propaganda, encouraging IDF soldiers on the ground (or in the air) to think that UNRWA ambulances and other humanitarian vehicles are transporting terrorists and weapons."

http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/3822b5e39951876a85256b...
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Blatant falsehood. What do you expect... this is DU.
and we have people catapulting the Israeli propaganda.
Man... if only they were around with Israel's trusted ally South Africa, Mandala would still be sittin in Robben Island now. Or maybe he would have accepted the White South African "peace plan"... isolated Bantustans.

Instead, you had all these demonstrations here in the US supporting the ANC "terrorists", and that ruined everything.
:sarcasm:
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-16-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. That doesn't look like a map. It also doesn't look like a rocket.
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