On November 9, 2009, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I), Adalah, and Al-Mezan wrote a letter (Hebrew) to Israeli officials that also was widely disseminated by the UN via Reliefweb, claiming that Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances only enter Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem with a police escort and special permission. The letter alleged that “in many instances, wounded or sick people have died” as a result of delays caused by the policy. According to the NGOs, this “may constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law [sic].”

In response, both the Ministry of Health and MDA explained that emergency medical teams had repeatedly been attacked in these neighborhoods, so the policy was instituted for their protection.  This aspect was missing from the NGOs’ letter.

This campaign appears to be funded by a three-year 800,000 euro grant to these NGOs from the European Commission for a project entitled “Combating and Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Prisoners held in Israel Prisons and Palestinian Civilians in the OPT.” PHR-I, Adalah, and Al-Mezan plan to continue their lobbying with a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court.

Other funders:

  • PHR-I: NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands)
  • Adalah: NIF, Switzerland
  • Al-Mezan: NDC (Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands), Norway, Open Society Institute, Diakonia (Sweden), Trocaire