IFRC


Palestine Red Crescent paramedics still in hospital

Published: 7 March 2002 0:00 CET



A joint Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), International Federation and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) team today went to visit the three paramedics who are still in hospital in Jerusalem after suffering severe burns when the ambulances they were travelling in were hit by Israeli army fire on March 4.

The Head of the PRCS Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in Jenin, Dr. Khalil Sulieman, 58, was killed when the PRCS ambulance was fired at during an operation of the Israeli army in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin, in the West Bank. The paramedics are still in serious condition and are being treated in a special burns unit.

The International Federation and the ICRC expressed their deepest condolences to the Palestine Red Crescent leadership and to Dr. Khalil's family.

The ICRC and the International Federation are extremely concerned that there is insufficient respect for emergency health services in this violent situation and strongly urge both sides to respect the safety and security of emergency health personnel of the Palestine Red Crescent and of its Israeli counterpart, the Magen David Adom.

In a statement issued on March 4, the ICRC said "Unobstructed access to emergency medical services is of paramount importance at all times. Ambulances and medical personnel must be allowed to move around unharmed and must not be prevented from carrying out their duties."

On March 5, ten officials from the PRCS, the Federation and the ICRC left Ramallah for Jenin, to attend the funeral of Dr. Khalil Sulieman but were not allowed through an Israeli army checkpoint just outside Ramallah. The Red Cross Red Crescent team, and in particular the leaders of the PRCS, were disappointed at not being able to pay their respects to the family of the late Dr. Khalil and attend their colleague's funeral.

Dr. Moshe M. Melloul, President of the Magen David Adom, sent a letter of condolence to the President of the Palestine Red Crescent, Dr. Younis Al-Khatib. He wrote : "I do appreciate your commitment to provide humanitarian aid and emergency care to all in need. You may rest assured that MDA itself will keep to those same commitments too. We are sorry for the tragic loss of Dr. Khalil Sulieman, please accept our most sincere condolences and convey to his family and friends our sharing of their grief. Alas, there is so much to be done yet."

Dr. Khalil is the second PRCS worker to be killed since the current cycle of violence erupted, in late September 2000. Bassam Balbeisi, an emergency medical technician, was killed in Gaza, in October 2000 as he was trying to save two civilians caught in cross-fire between Palestinians and Israelis in the occupied territory. A total of 122 PRCS volunteers and personnel have been injured since September 2000. Over the same period, six Magen David Adom emergency health workers were injured.




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