A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance .
(photo credit: ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
Israel has turned to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over charges that a Palestinian Red Crescent Society ambulance failed to respond to Friday’s shooting attack on the Litman family, in which Palestinian gunmen killed Yaakov, 40, and his son Netanel, 18.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday asked Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon to raise the matter with Ban, even though the secretary-general has no oversight with regard to the PRCS.
Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to register a sharp protest with the International Committee of the Red Cross, under whose auspices the PRCS operates.
In addition, he asked the PRCS to investigate the matter.
On Saturday night, Netanyahu stated that the PRCS’s actions were against “human and civilized norms.”
“If things are indeed as they seem to me today, the State of Israel will take appropriate steps against the Red Crescent,” the prime minister said.
Yaakov’s wife, Noa, who was lightly wounded in Friday’s attack, brought the matter up personally with Netanyahu, when he called her on Saturday to offer his condolences.
Noa told Netanyahu that an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society was the first responder to the scene of the attack, but that it had left without offering them assistance.
Her son, Dvir, 16, who was lightly wounded by the Palestinian gunmen, had complained about the ambulance’s actions in an emergency call he made to Magen David Adom to report the attack just after it occurred.
“We’re about a kilometer past Otniel. They shot at our car,” the panicked teen told the MDA dispatcher.
“There’s a Red Crescent ambulance here,” he said. “There are two wounded. At least two. We were seven in the car. One of the wounded was in the middle of calling. We had a Red Crescent ambulance here. The Red Crescent left us. I don’t know why,” Dvir said.
On its webpage the Palestinian Red Crescent Society denied all the accusations against it.
“A PRCS team arrived at the scene and started providing first aid to the wounded.
A few minutes later, two Israeli ambulances, one belonging to the Israeli army and another from Magen David Adom, arrived at the scene. The ambulances’ teams headed towards the wounded people, bandaging their weapons. Given that Israeli paramedics had arrived and were providing medical care to casualties, PRCS’s team left the scene which they felt had become unsafe,” the PRCS wrote on its website.
It charged that since October 1 the IDF has consistently attacked its teams in the field, by shooting and firing tear gas canisters or by beating and pepper spraying them.
Some “125 PRCS emergency medical technicians have been wounded and 67 ambulances damaged as a result of these systematic practices, which go against international human law provisions,” it said.
In addition, PRCS claimed that on 66 occasions during that same time period Israel has prevented Red Crescent teams from reaching Palestinians who were sick or wounded.
“The humanitarian principles and values and professionalism of PRCS’s teams are indisputable. PRCS has over the years provided first aid to hundreds of Israelis present in the occupied Palestinian territories, as was the case in mid-October when its teams provided Israeli citizens with medical assistance near Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus,” it said.
Israel “should put an end to this information war and to the falsification of facts aimed at spreading misinformation and Israeli propaganda,” it said.