3 October 2000

Magen David Adom appeals for respect for humanitarian workers and their emblems
(Communicated by Magen David Adom)

PRESS RELEASE

We appeal to all parties to respect the humanitarian workers and ambulances of Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent Society and their emblems-the Red Shield of David and the Red Crescent. Over the past four days there have been numerous attacks on ambulances of Magen David Adom. One of our ambulances has been destroyed and 19 others damaged by deliberate attack. Regretfully, when we dispatched ambulances to Jerusalem on Friday they were blocked, attacked and forced back by the same people that we were trying to help. Though we do not have specific information available to us, we are concerned by reports that ambulances and drivers of the Palestine Red Crescent may also have been attacked or hindered in their work. Magen David Adom ambulance crews continue working around the clock to provide impartial humanitarian assistance to all Arabs and Israelis who need our help.

Magen David Adom is grateful for the assistance of a private Palestinian ambulance and its crew, who saved the life of one of our ambulance crew after he was injured in an attack on our ambulance. We are also saddened by the death of a colleague from the Palestine Red Crescent Society, who perished while selflessly performing his duties as an emergency medical technician.

Magen David Adom has long cooperated with the Palestine Red Crescent Society in blood bank services and training programs for emergency medical technicians. It is essential that these programs of cooperation grow and flourish in the years ahead. It is also essential that all the people of this region understand and embrace the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law, and that they understand and respect the essential humanitarian mission of Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

The first issue before us, at this moment, is the urgent need for all parties to respect the emblems of the Red Shield and the Red Crescent so that ambulance crews and other humanitarian workers can continue their vital lifesaving tasks. We appeal to all parties to respect these emblems and ensure that staff of Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent Society receive full cooperation in carrying out their work.

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