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Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories: safety of medical workers under spotlight in joint campaign

17-03-2008 News Release 08/49

Jerusalem / Tel Aviv (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross, in cooperation with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Palestine Ministry of Health, is launching an awareness campaign in the occupied Palestinian territories to highlight the need to safeguard the work of medical personnel and health facilities.

”The campaign reflects a shared concern about the increasing lack of respect for medical services,” says Katharina Ritz, the ICRC’s Head of Mission for the occupied territories. “Protecting medical staff and facilities from attack and facilitating the evacuation and treatment of the sick and wounded – no matter who they are – are fundamental requirements under international humanitarian law”.

This campaign forms part of a series of initiatives in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which includes training sessions, seminars, competitions, activities for students and dialogue, all aimed at raising awareness of obligations towards medical services.

“Responsibility for protecting medical services falls on many shoulders – including those of medical staff themselves,” says Ritz, “But it is particularly the responsibility of the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, of members of their armed forces, and of the other armed groups, to ensure that people trying to save lives are not targeted while doing so. "

 
For further information, please contact:
  Leila Blacking, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 2 582 88 45 or +972 52 601 91 50
  Iyad Nasr, ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 8 28 28 874 or mobile +972 59 60 30 15 (Arabic)
  Yael Segev-Eytan, ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 3 524 52 86 or +972 52 275 75 17 (Hebrew)

 Links to other websites:
  www.palestinercs.org (Palestine Red Crescent Society)
  www.moh.ps (Palestine Ministry of Health)