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PRCS Statement on the Protection of PRCS Medical Teams and Facilities

PRCS Statement on the Protection of PRCS Medical Teams and Facilities On Friday, 18th of February 2022, Israeli Occupying Forces confronted Palestinian demonstrators on Jabal Sabih in Beita village with live ammunitions, rubber coated bullets and tear gas bombs. PRCS Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff and volunteers treated more than 100 injuries, including 4 wounded with live bullets, amongst them Alaa Khudier, a 19-year-old PRCS volunteer. The bullet tore through his right arm as he was attending to a wounded journalist. Another PRCS volunteer was shot in the foot with a rubber coated bullet, and two PRCS ambulances were also hit by rubber coated bullets, putting the teams at risk and causing damages to the vehicles. This has become a regular scene in Beita village as well as in a number of other Palestinian towns and villages, where PRCS teams are on duty covering confrontations almost on daily basis; providing life-saving services to the injured across the West Bank, despite having all teams and vehicles are clearly visible with the Red Crescent emblem. Attacks against emergency medical services, including personnel and ambulances, performing their humanitarian duties, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law. Health care workers and facilities must be protected and spared from any attack or hindrance or any forcible interference with their functioning. During 2021, the number of violations against PRCS teams and vehicles in the OPT reached 103 incidents. These violations included 32 incidents against PRCS ambulances; 20 incidents of obstruction by preventing the ambulances from reaching its destination; 11 incidents of impeding the teams’ mission; 35 incidents against PRCS personnel; 5 incidents against PRCS facilities and buildings; and one incident of detention. PRCS stresses in this regard, the prohibitions against attacking the wounded and sick and healthcare personnel and facilities, as well as medical vehicles, against arbitrarily denying or limiting access for the wounded and sick to health-care services, and against molesting, threatening or punishing healthcare personnel for carrying out activities compatible with medical ethics. PRCS further calls upon all states parties to the Geneva conventions to ensure respect by Israel, the occupying power, of all relevant provisions of the Geneva Conventions and to ensure respect and protection for PRCS’ medical missions in the oPt.