“You are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.” ( Leviticus 19:16)
Israeli citizens are in an uproar at the alleged blatant disregard of a Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance when summoned to help the injured and murdered victims during another recent attack. This is in contrast to the help universally provided by Magen David Adom (MDA) throughout Israel.
On Friday, Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his son Netanel, who were in their car with five other family member, were traveling to a weekend celebration before the Litman child’s wedding. Arabs ambushed the car, forcing it off the road.
Netanel managed to call Israeli emergency services before the terrorists riddled the car with bullets, murdering him and his father. As the terrorists escaped, a younger Litman called emergency services. In the recorded call he states, “There are two wounded here, but we have the Red Crescent with us…the Red Crescent ambulance drove away from us, I don’t know why.”
When MDA arrived, they found the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance loitering nearby, leaving the victims to bleed to death. Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, sent a letter of protest to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding a condemnation of the Palestinian Red Crescent, stating, “An ambulance that doesn’t assist wounded civilians is a terrorist collaborator. This is a blatant disregard for all universal moral values and blatant disregard for human life.”
Additionally, a stern complaint has been filed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry with the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, under whose auspices the Red Crescent operates. Israel is demanding an explanation as to why the Palestinian ambulance abandoned the wounded Litmans.
“Israel’s approach to the sanctity of all life would never allow ignoring the treatment of wounded people, regardless of them being friend or foe,” stated Jonathan Feldstein, director of Heart to Heart Israel, an organization which supports MDA, to Breaking Israel News. “Some of our supporters are perplexed by Israel treating terrorists and victims equally when it comes to life saving emergency medical services. However, all support and are grateful for Israel’s sanctification of life. Because of this glaring PRCS incident, Heart to Heart Israel‘s humanitarian nature is being noted. Quite frankly, we are receiving more financial support.”
The fundamental principles upon which the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement were founded include, according to the Red Crescent website, assisting without discrimination the wounded on the battlefield, prevention and alleviation of human suffering wherever it may be found, the protection of life and health, respect for human beings, and the promotion of mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all peoples.
In addition, there can be no discrimination based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. The organization endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals and gives priority to the most urgent cases of distress. They must remain neutral and impartial and provide protection and assistance to people affected by disasters and conflicts.
As both the Palestinian Red Crescent Ambulance Service (PRCS) and MDA are bound by these principles, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized during a press conference on Saturday night condemning the terrorist attacks in Paris that “no such thing” as leaving injured behind had ever occurred with Israeli emergency services “who provide aid without distinction to Jews, to Arabs, to everyone.”
The wording of Palestinian Health Minister Jawad ‘Awad at a press conference on Monday is a reflection of his view of the incident. In his refute of the Israeli allegations, he states, “Despite Israeli occupation forces’ violations against Palestinian medical facilities, paramedics and ambulances and despite threats they have faced, PRCS have been working under serious conditions to save the lives of the injured regardless of their nationality and religion.”
He went on to claim that “Israel, on the contrary, leaves Palestinians, including children, to bleed and prevents help and medical teams from reaching them.” Yet, any visitor to an Israeli hospital will find that rooms and hallways are brimming with care for Arab patients. Additionally, it is repeatedly reported in the press that Israel not only treats the victims of terror but the terrorists as well.
Israeli security agencies have unfortunately recorded such incidents of absolute neglect before. Red Crescent ambulances and other Palestinian medics cannot be relied upon to treat Israeli victims in need of treatment. Some officials go so far as to believe that this is their unwritten policy.
Supporting these claims is the known incident which happened this October when stabbings took place in Jerusalem’s Old City right outside of an open Palestinian medical clinic. Arab doctors and medics stood by while the Jewish stabbing victims bled to death and the wife of one of the victims, with a knife still embedded in her back, attempted to escape harassing Arab onlookers.
As Feldstein emotionally shared to Breaking Israel News, “Netanel Litman volunteered with Israel’s national ambulance service. No doubt he treated Jews and Arabs alike.” Can the PRCS medics claim the same?