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Palestinian Ambulance Delayed 90 Minutes By israeli Soldiers

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Today at around 6:15 PM, we received a call from Abed, one of our contacts and a member of YAS (Youth Against Settlements).

A Red Crescent Palestinian ambulance had driven down to his neighbourhood, which is located on Shuhada Street, to help a woman who was suffering from some health complications. Although Palestinians are not allowed to walk down Shuhada Street, except for one small section, and their cars are not allowed on any part of it, the israeli Army allows ambulances.

It seems the woman was treated on the spot and did not have to go to the hospital at all, The two drivers were about to go to their base where they would have waited for more calls, but some soldiers had a different idea. They told the ambulance drivers that they could not go anywhere, effectively delaying the ambulance. The reason they gave for their action is that they allegedly needed permission from their commander, although Palestinian ambulances have been allowed to drive down Shuhada before.

A long wait began. The drivers got a call, asking them to drive to Bani Naim, a municipality outside of Hebron. The soldier said they couldn't go, and the drivers needed to call back and pass this on. An ambulance had to be dispatched from Yatta, which is a city that is eight kilometres (approximately 30 minutes of driving through very busy streets and roads not in the best condition) from Hebron.

By the time we arrived, the situation had taken on an almost surreal, carnival atmosphere... for both the Army and settlers, who came out to watch. Boys of 8 to 12 years of age stood beside the ambulance and in front, laughing at the predicament of the drivers. A group of visiting Jewish tourists from America came by also, and after I pointed out to them the situation, one of them told me he plans to become an israeli soldier also. Another one of them, a woman, told me that Palestinians should know they can't go down Shuhada.
One of the soldiers brought forth a soccer ball, and began playing with the settler kids, in front of the ambulance. An adult israeli settler leaned against its bumper to have a smoke, and later sat down a short distance away and began playing classical music on an electric keyboard.

Along with Abed, the ambulance drivers and myself tried to reason with the soldiers; asking them to let the ambulance through. They first ignored us completely, then said their commander could not be reached. An israeli settler driving by (whose car of course was not stopped) asked rudely and in a loud voice "what is the problem???"
Some of the settler kids asked us what we were doing, and I replied it is wrong to stop ambulances. Unfortunately, they did not speak much English, but Hebrew and Russian. They did know enough however to tell us to "shut up".

I felt terrible for them, to be honest. They are victims also, of their parents and of a society that teaches them it is alright to treat other people like second-class citizens. Children aren't born with such values, hatred is something that is taught.


I felt even worse for the two drivers, and the people whose ambulance was delayed by probably at least half an hour, whom the drivers now couldn't reach.

Last year, in a similar situation, a elderly Palestinian woman died after suffering a stroke, because the ambulance coming for her was delayed two times at two different checkpoints, and then again after she was loaded into it.
http://palsolidarity.org/2013/08/video-amena-abed-alfatah-abed-rabo-a-life-under-occupation/

Fortunately, there was no sick or wounded or dying person in the delayed ambulance today. However, there is no way of knowing what the delay of medical care, that was caused by the israeli Army today, resulted in for the people who had to wait at least an extra 30 minutes for their ambulance.


Eventually, after 45 minutes following our arrival and an hour and a half in total of waiting, the soldiers allowed to ambulance to leave.


When Jesus was on the earth, a huge part of his ministry was healing the sick.

Unlike Christ, ambulance drivers do not have miraculous and divine powers. They only have their knowledge, skills, compassion, dedication, and equipment. None of that however is of use when the people whose mission in life is to help those in need, are stopped by armed bullies with guns to whom harassing innocent people is a form of entertainment.

As a Christian, I believe Jesus will return one day, and we will all be accountable to God. I hope the soldiers and settlers, and everyone else who victimizes innocent people, repents and turns to Him before it is too late.

Pictures and videos of the incident can be found on my blog, http://hungryandthirstyforjustice.blogspot.com/

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