Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Press Release
20 June 2005

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, in response to the reports in the media that a patient used her travel permit which was issued to her for medical reasons, in order to attempt to attack an Israeli hospital, in a place full of people, calls upon the Palestinian society and its leaders to strongly condemn the use of patients for violent purposes.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel wishes to emphasize: the obligation that "the wounded and sick, as well as the infirm, and expectant mothers, shall be the object of particular protection and respect" (Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 16) is applicable to both sides of the conflict, as well as the obligation that "civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict" (Article 18). The Palestinian society is also responsible to make certain that patients are kept out of the conflict, and that their distress not be abused by various factors in the society.

In the past Israel has sealed the passage points (Erez and Rafah) for patients for extended times, as part of what was described as security measures. Patients who needed crucial treatments outside of the Gaza Strip were seriously harmed by these closures and some even died as a result. A sweeping hardening of the rules and regulations on all patients is a collective punishment which endangers the lives of many and is not allowed. So to, taking advantage of the ill for the purpose of committing attacks is inherently wrong and we call upon the Palestinian society and its leaders to strongly condemn such actions.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has and will continue to work against the occupation. The violations of the Palestinians’ human rights, and specifically the right to health, in the occupied territories are a direct result of this violent occupation. However, as long as the violence continues each side to the conflict must observe the basic principles specified in international conventions and law. The protection of the ill, medical professionals, ambulances and hospitals is one of the most important of these principles.

June 20, 2005
Attributed to Security sources- Distributed by IDF Spokesperson’s Office

Suicide bombing attack thwarted earlier today at the "Erez" Crossing

21-year old Wafaa Samir Ibrahim Bass was arrested this morning, June 20th 2005, at "Erez" crossing, after attempting to smuggle an explosives belt through the crossing with the intent of carrying out a suicide bombing attack.

Wafaa, a resident of Jabaliya, aroused the suspicion of the IDF soldiers at the crossing and during her security check, when she realized that the soldiers had discovered the explosive belt on her body, she attempted unsuccessfully to detonate it.

Wafaa stated in her questioning that she had been dispatched as a suicide bomber by the Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade infrastructure based in the northern Gaza Strip. Wafaa was to use her personal medical authorization documents, allowing her to cross through into Israel to receive medical treatment. Wafaa stated that she had been directed to carry out the suicide attack in a crowded Israeli hospital.

Wafaa had been admitted to an Israeli hospital for medical treatment in the past.

Between December 2004 and January 2005 she was treated at the "Soroka" hospital in the Israeli city of Beersheva for massive burns she received as a result of a gas tank explosion.

Wafaa was given permission to enter Israel today, June 20th, for admission to the hospital for medical treatment. The terrorist infrastructure took advantage of her medical condition in order to carry out a major suicide bombing attack inside Israel.

There have been several different attempts by terrorist organizations to dispatch terrorists to Israel from the Gaza Strip by exploiting those in need of medical treatment:

Hamed A-Karim Hamed Abu Lihiya, born in 1981 and a resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp was arrested on December 20 th, 2004 by security forces. He was suspected of operating as part of the Hamas terror organization and had been smuggled into Israel to carry out a suicide bombing attack.

Abu Lihiya confessed in his questioning that he had been smuggled through the Erez security crossing into Israel as a "sleeper" agent of the Hamas terror organization four months before, in August 2004. Abu Lihiya was brought through the Erez crossing using forged documents claiming that he was a cancer patient in need of medical treatment from an Israeli hospital.

Lihiya was to join an additional terrorist, after which the two would receive weaponry and carry out the attack with the help of terrorist aides inside of Israel.

An additional attempt was thwarted in early December 2004 when Hassan Ahmed Ali Tom and Mahmed Diab Namer Ja’arur, two terrorists belonging to the Gaza based El Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror organization were arrested by security forces. The two had intended to infiltrate Israel and carry out terror attacks.

Hassan Tom crossed into Egypt through the Rafah crossing after presenting medical documents which allowed him entry. Tom was arrested on December 12 th 2004 in a chase that ensued after he infiltrated into the Negev area from Egypt. During questioning he admitted that his intent had been to murder an Israeli citizen and bury his body in order to jumpstart negotiations between Fatah factions in the Gaza Strip and Israel for the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the Israeli citizen. In addition, Tom intended to sabotage the train rails near Netanya using an explosive device which he was to receive from the Fatah infrastructure in the West Bank.

A week before Tom’s arrest, Muhammed Ja’arur was arrested at the Rafah crossing as he attempted to cross into Egypt. In his questioning Ja’arur stated that he was intended to cross into Egypt to join Tom and from there they would infiltrate Israel and carry out the terror attacks.

This morning’s incident is only one example of the numerous attempts by terrorist organizations to carry out attacks since the beginning of the period of calm was declared in February.

In a joint operation conducted in Ramallah on March 10th , 2005, IDF forces and the ISA arrested Hamas terrorist Machmad Bachitsi. Bachitsi, a resident of Gaza, received permission to leave Gaza by claiming to be a kidney donor, but in fact planned to carry out a suicide bombing inside Israel.

During his investigation, Bachitsi admitted that he had been drafted by the Hamas organization in the Gaza Strip and that, as part of his preparations, he underwent theoretical and military training, including lessons on electrical circuitry and the production of explosive devices and belts.