31 March 2002

The President of Magen David Adom condemns the adverse use of the Red Crescent Emblem
(Communicated by the MDA Spokesperson)

Magen David Adom is concerned by the volume of violence and the escalation of terror, which are the cause of a steep increase in the number of dead and wounded amongst the civilian population.

Magen David Adom has acted, is acting and will continue to act as a humanitarian organization, providing its services to the entire population with no discrimination as well as to those needing it amongst the Palestinian population.

Throughout the entire period of confrontation there has been no change in the policy of Magen David Adom to support the Palestinian Red Crescent, to its greatest ability, in order to assist it in fulfilling its humanitarian duties.

Magen David Adom has asked the representatives of the Red Crescent in the past both orally and in writing, that the immunity provided the rescue vehicles would not be put to adverse use or exploited for terrorist activities.

Recently, three incidents have been documented in which staff or ambulances of the Palestinian Red Crescent actively participated in terrorist activity or misused the protective emblems.

Following are the details:

  1. Wafaa Idris, a Palestinian Red Crescent employee, was sent on a terrorist mission and committed a suicide bombing in Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, in January this year.
  2. Adverse use of the identification vests of the Palestinian Red Crescent by distributing them to rioters, after the erection of a road block and the burning of tires against the IDF, in one of the Palestinian roadblocks in Samaria.
  3. On March 27, 2002 IDF soldiers detained an ambulance driver working for the Palestinian Red Crescent close to the Rama Bridge south of Ramallah, who was smuggling an explosives belt and other explosive charges in his ambulance. The belt and charges were hidden under a stretcher on which a Palestinian sick child lay. The employee admitted that he was smuggling the charges in order to transfer them to Tanzim activists in the Ramallah region.

In addition to these, other undocumented incidents have been reported by senior commanders of the IDF, of adverse use of ambulances, such as assisting in the escape of terrorists from the scene of the incident and transporting terrorists into the territory of Israel.

Magen David Adom demands that the Palestinian Red Crescent observe its neutrality immediately and refrain from a cynical and harmful use of ambulances and preventive emblems, in terrorist activities.

Adverse use of the preventive emblems undermines the trust in them and causes contempt. As a result, the humanitarian activities carried out by both sides, are harmed.

In the publications of the Palestinian Red Crescent it is alleged that the charge was hidden in the ambulance as an act of provocation. We find it appropriate to protest in the strongest terms against such a miserable claim, which to the best of our knowledge, was also documented in the presence of ICRC representatives and has no hold in reality. It seems this slanderous claim is supposed to cover up the lack of control and supervision of the Palestinian Red Crescent, over its staff and volunteers.

We demand that the Palestinian Red Crescent supervise its staff and volunteers more strictly in order to avoid the recurrence of the misuse of protective emblems.

Magen David Adom calls upon the International Red Cross to intervene immediately in order to ensure that its protege, the Palestinian Red Crescent, strictly observe and respect the protective emblems, for humanitarian purposes only.