Israeli settlers in Hebron stones a Palestinian ambulance en route to picking up a patient, in full view of Israeli soldiers, human rights NGO B’Tselem has reported.
On 17 November, 72-year-old resident and mother of 11 children Firyal Abu Haikal felt unwell, and requested an ambulance from the Red Crescent. Firyal lives in Tel Rumeidah, a neighbourhood of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, that is “subjected to severe restrictions on movement imposed by the Israeli military years ago”.
“The restrictions, which were stepped up in 2015, together with repeated attacks by settlers have made the lives of the local residents a living hell,” B’Tselem added. “I called a few times to get the ambulance to hurry up and every time they told me the ambulance was on its way,” Firyal said.
“I sat holding the phone the entire time, waiting, but the ambulance didn’t come. When I called again, they told me settlers had thrown stones at the ambulance.”
According to B’Tselem: “The Red Crescent coordinated the arrival of the ambulance with the Israeli military via the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross)”, an obligatory procedure “due to the Israeli-imposed travel restrictions in the neighbourhood”.
Having already passed through two checkpoints, the ambulance was suddenly attacked by a group of around 15 settlers, who “pounded on the…windows” and “verbally abused the crew members”.
When a soldier approached, “the settlers began throwing stones at [the ambulance]”, with several stones penetrating “the two back windows.”
Paramedic ‘Eid Abu Munshar told B’Tselem: “The two soldiers didn’t intervene and didn’t speak to the settlers. One of them talked on his walkie talkie. I tried filming the settlers on my cell phone, and when they noticed they ran off toward the old vegetable market.”
B’Tselem stated that “the regime imposed by Israeli authorities in Hebron’s city centre is explicitly based on the ‘principle of separation’: both legally and physically segregating between Palestinian residents and Israeli settlers.”
“Palestinians are denied any possibility of leading reasonable daily lives, and their freedom of movement is curtailed to the point of making life unbearable.
This policy reflects Israel’s clear prioritisation of settlers over the rights of Palestinians,” the NGO added.