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The ICRC calls for respect of the medical mission

27-03-2002 News Release

Tel Aviv, 27 March 2002 (ICRC) : The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is shocked and dismayed by the reports today of explosive material being found in a Palestine Red Crescent Society's (PRCS) ambulance. The ICRC condemns such abuse of an ambulance and of the Red Crescent emblem.

ICRC delegates have immediately been in contact with the Israeli authorities and the PRCS, and went to the site near Ramallah where the ambulance was stopped. There they observed how a device was taken out from the vehicle and detonated in the presence of a number of on-lookers.

Until a full investigation has been made, the ICRC is not in a position to comment further on this incident.

The ICRC understands the security concerns of the Israeli authorities and has always acknowledged their right to check ambulances, provided it does not unduly delay medical evacuations.

More than ever, the ICRC is committed to ensuring that both Israeli and Palestinian wounded and sick have access to medical services. This can only be achieved if the medical services operate unobstructed and in full transparency. The ICRC, in co-operation with the PRCS, will continue the dialogue with all the parties involved to take new measures to that effect.

The ICRC urges once again all the parties involved in the ongoing violence to refrain from any abuse of the life-saving service provided by the emergency medical workers, and to show absolute respect for the medical services.