Israeli army in Hebron uses PRCS ambulance as shield

Hebron (Bani Na’em village) — A PRCS ambulance was transporting an elderly patient to her home in Al-Aroub Refugee Camp after undergoing hospital treatment. Israeli soldiers stopped the ambulance at the entrance of the refugee camp and initially denied it permission to continue. At this point, the Israeli soldiers began searching the ambulance, and one of the soldiers threatened the crew that they would be shot if they did not follow orders. The soldier then ordered the ambulance driver to drive into the camp very slowly without turning on the siren. As the ambulance entered the camp, the crew was taken by surprise as three Israeli soldiers suddenly jumped onto the back of the ambulance. The driver was obliged to continue driving further into the camp when suddenly the soldiers began to fire at the direction of camp residents and then proceeded to chase them. It is evident that the soldiers deliberately used the vehicle and crew as a human shield.

The crew finally managed to get the patient to her home. On it’s exist from the refugee camp, the ambulance was stopped again by Israeli soldiers and detained for 15 minutes. During this time, the crew was not allowed to call the EMS station or answer the two-way radios.

This incident constitutes a breach of articles 19, 24, 26 and 35 of the first Geneva Convention, which guarantees the protection of medical units, establishments and personnel in addition to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which guarantees the protection of civilians. Moreover, the Israeli Army in using medical personnel and ambulances as a shield to conduct a military operation placed the patient and crew in a life threatening situation, also constitutes a grave violation to article 15 (1) of Protocol 1: (Protection of civilian medical and religious personnel), article 21: Medical vehicles shall be respected and protected in the same way as mobile medical units under the Conventions and this Protocol, in addition to article 51(7): The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

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