Red Crescent workers help a Palestinian woman after she fainted during a stampede as Palestinian women crowd the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestine Red Crescent Society on Friday denied Israeli accusations that its paramedics intentionally neglected to offer first aid treatment to the Israeli family who came under fire as they were driving along Route 60 in the southern West Bank hours earlier.
Ya'akov Litman and his 18-year-old son were killed in the attack, which took place near the Jewish settlement of Otniel.
Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Arab media spokesperson, caused a stir when he posted a claim on his Twitter account accusing Palestinian paramedics of refusing to treat the victims.
A Channel 10 report on Friday featured the audio of the distress call placed by one of the gunshot victims, a 16-year-old boy, who said that he saw a Red Crescent ambulance driving away from the scene.
In response to the claims, the Red Crescent issued a denial on its web site late Friday, accusing Gendelman of "disseminating falsehoods and rumors."
The organization said that its ambulance did in fact reach the scene initially after the shooting.
"A few minutes later, ambulances belonging to the IDF and Magen David Adom arrived," the organization said. "Once the paramedics approached the victims, they revealed they were carrying weapons," which prompted the Palestinian first responders to leave.
"In light of the fact that Israeli paramedics arrived on the scene and began treating the wounded, the Red Crescent team left the scene, which had become unsafe in their view," the statement read.
The Red Crescent said that since the start of October, 125 of its personnel have been injured by bullets and tear gas fired by Israeli security services.
"Sixty-seven ambulances were damaged and we were prevented from treating 66 Palestinians who were wounded, all due to 'security considerations'," the Red Crescent said.