The Palestine Entries: Ambulances were illegally targeted during Operation Cast Lead

// Entry #16

Scenes of medics gunned down as they attempt to evacuate wounded civilians and the sound of wailing siren as ambulances race through Palestine’s smoke-filled streets made up the gist of my news-watching experiences during the Second Intifada. I found these clips to be emotionally devastating, of course, but also inspirational enough to encourage me to pursue a career as an emergency doctor.

Nevertheless, many of us who’ve followed the escalation of hostilities during the last decade carry fond memories of the repeated assaults on Palestinian ambulance drivers, medics, and their patients. My particular memories were relived during a short trip to the north of Gaza.

The outer shell of an ambulance commissioned by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) lies completely destroyed on the side of a sandy street, most likely by heavy debris from an air assault. It’s unclear whether or not the driver and any attached medics were injured or fatally wounded during the attack. The only context that is provided is a lonely ambulance stripped from its usefulness in saving human lives.

It is important to note that Amnesty International released a 105-page report citing, among other things, that not a single PRCS ambulance was used for militant operations during the twenty-two day invasion of the Gaza Strip. The ambulance and the actions of its occupants merited no hostile action from the Israeli military. Unfortunately, Palestine’s public health infrastructure — especially its ambulances and its hospitals — is regularly targeted by Israel.

Here are a few more photographs of the ambulance:

Sami Kishawi

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