Senior Red Cross official ‘evenhanded’ as he visits MDA in Ashdod and PRC in Ramallah

Francesco Rocca praised Magen David Adom late last week for the humanitarian work of its medical staffers and volunteers during Operation Protective Shield

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August 31, 2014 18:12
2 minute read.
Francesco Rocca

The vice president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Francesco Rocca (L), receives an award.. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The vice president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and president of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, praised Magen David Adom late last week for the humanitarian work of its medical staffers and volunteers in Operation Protective Shield.

Meeting with MDA officials at its branch in Ashdod – a city that underwent massive rocket attacks by Hamas – Rocca said the medics and paramedics “carried out extraordinary lifesaving activities while endangering their own lives for the Israeli population.”

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Previously during his visit to Israel, Rocca credited MDA for transferring 33 Gazan civilians from the Erez crossing to Ben-Gurion Airport so they could undergo medical treatment abroad.

“We in the international movement are full of appreciation for their work,” the Italian said, although there was no mention of Israeli suffering under constant terrorist rocket attacks.

However, on Sunday, Rocca visited the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Ramallah and seemed very careful to be “evenhanded.” The PRCS issued an official statement that “in light of the ongoing emergency in the Occupied Palestine Territory, mainly in the Gaza Strip, the vice president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and president of the Italian Red Cross, Mr. Francesco Rocca, started a weeklong mission visiting the Palestine Red Crescent Society in Ramallah on Sunday.”

The PRCS quoted Rocca as having “commended the efforts and sacrifices” made by Red Crescent staff and volunteers to support people in Gaza. He affirmed the IFRC would continue to provide support and that he would convey the needs of the people to the president of IFRC and its 189-member National Societies.

The PRCS went on to say that “after almost 45 days since the onset of the military operations, Dr. [Younis] al-Khatib described the deteriorating humanitarian and health situation.

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The military operations in the Gaza Strip, in which civilians and civilian objects were attacked, has led to the displacement of around 250,000 Palestinians, who now live in public and UNRWA schools-turned-shelters, he said.” No mention was made by the PRCS of Hamas rocket launchers located at UNRWA schools that put the civilians in jeopardy.

The PRCS added: “Khatib has also touched on the effects of the conflict on Palestine Red Crescent Society teams, branches and ambulances in the Gaza Strip. Since the conflict began, two ambulances have been destroyed, with a further 27 damaged; 46 staff have been injured, and four branch offices extensively damaged.” Here again, no mention was made of Israeli ambulances and of 4,000 rockets hurled at Israel.

Khatib and Rocca, said the PRCS, visited the national society branch in Jerusalem and toured its hospital in the city, the psychosocial support center and emergency medical center.

During this visit, Rocca was briefed about the “tremendous challenges faced by PRCS’s teams at Israeli checkpoints between Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.”

They also visited the PRCS’s branch in Hebron, and Rocca “was briefed on the health, psychological and relief services provided by PRCS in Hebron governorate and the PRCS hospital in Hebron.”

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