7 April 2002

Humanitarian Safe Passage in Combat Zones in Judea and Samaria
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

In the course of IDF operations throughout Judea and Samaria, fierce fighting is taking place between IDF forces and Palestinian terrorist operatives. The terrorists deliberately operate from within large Palestinian population centers and therefore cause innocent civilians to be drawn into the line of fire. The IDF is doing all it can to prevent harming innocent civilians and to provide them with necessary humanitarian assistance.

The IDF Spokesperson categorically denies recent claims that it is IDF policy to hinder the movement of ambulances in combat zones. The IDF Spokesperson stresses that Israeli soldiers are explicitly instructed to allow the free passage of humanitarian assistance. It is important to note, however, that this flow of assistance is subject to the situation in the field. Unfortunately, it must be remembered that the Palestinians have on occasion used rescue and emergency vehicles for terrorist purposes.

The IDF makes a clear distinction between Palestinian terrorists, against whom Israeli is fighting, and the Palestinian civilian population that does not take part in terrorist activity.

The following are a number of measures made possible over the past few days during the course of the IDF operation, in conjunction with government activity in the territories:

  • The IDF itself has supplied food, water, medicine and other provisions to cities in which combat is taking place. In addition, the IDF facilitates the supply of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population by international organizations, when circumstances allow. The IDF also facilitates restoration of essential utility services, in coordination with local authorities.
  • Kidney patients residing in Judea and Samaria requiring dialysis treatments are allowed access to hospitals in Ramallah, Bet Jala, Jenin and the Al-Watni hospital in Nablus.
  • The IDF allowed the delivery of 8000 liters of diesel fuel to a hospital in Ramallah, as well as the delivery of 60 cubic meters of oxygen to a hospital in Jenin.
  • The evacuation of wounded Palestinians to local Palestinian hospitals was coordinated in accordance with requests made by international organizations, In some cases, Palestinians were transferred to Israeli hospitals.
  • In the Gaza Strip, the passage of trucks carrying essential supplies sent by international aid organizations to the Palestinian population was coordinated. The Karni checkpoint was reopened today and passage of goods, such as cement, flowers and beef was approved.