Palestinian rights organizations working in Israel have stated that medical crews from the Israeli ambulance organisation, the Red Shield of David, routinely refuse to enter Palestinian villages ‘unrecognized’ by the state and therefore, do not provide medical assistance to the residents.
The Adala Centre for Human Rights and the Yasmin of Negev Association have stated that in most instances following an accident or an emergency, villagers from the Negev must resort to calling for an Israeli ambulance. Calls to the Red Shield of David are met with rejection on the pretext that there are no paved roads to their villages, or that their villages are not recognized by the Israeli authorities.
The Adala Centre for Human Rights and the Yasmin of Negev Association added that in cases when Red Shield of David ambulances do go out to assist villagers in the Negev, they arrive hours late and are therefore of no use. In some cases, the medical crews ask those calling for the ambulance to move patients themselves and to transfer them to more accessible points outside the village, given that there are no paved and safe roads linking these villages with the main roads.
The two Palestinian rights organizations called on Israel’s Deputy Health Minister, Yaakov Litzman, and the Red Shield of David’s General of the South, Yahouza Shoshman, to order ambulance staff to change this policy of refusing to enter villages unrecognized by the Israeli authorities.
The Negev comprises 43 villages which the Israeli authorities refuse to recognize. They are inhabited by around 100,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are children.