Israeli Police Arrest Sixteen First Aid Workers

Urgent Appeal

Israeli Police Arrest Sixteen First Aid Workers of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees UPMRC

August 3, 2001

This Friday morning, Israeli soldiers and border police arrested sixteen young UPMRC First Aid workers on their way to Jerusalem�s Al-Aqsa mosque, where they regularly offer First Aid services during large gatherings for prayers on Fridays and religious holidays. The First Aid workers, who are all young residents of Jerusalem, were stopped by Israeli police at the entrance to the mosque compound, arrested, and taken to the police headquarters in Al-Qishleh, where they are currently being detained and interrogated.

UPMRC First Aid teams work every Friday at Al-Aqsa in cooperation with the mosque�s own clinic. They are on hand to care for older and infirm worshippers who sometimes become dehydrated or ill, and they also respond to any emergencies that arise, such as clashes between worshippers and Israeli police.

Interference with medical personnel going about their duties is a serious violation of international law. The arrest of UPMRC�s First Aid workers shows complete disregard for the principle of medical neutrality and jeopardizes the safety and well-being of the people that the First Aid teams serve. We ask the international community to join UPMRC�s demand for the immediate release of our First Aid workers and to insist that the medical neutrality of our personnel be respected by Israeli soldiers and police. Please direct your correspondence to Benjamin Ben Eliezer, Israeli Minister of Defense at sar@mod.gov.il and Shimon Peres, Israeli Foreign Minister at sar@mofa.gov.il, or fax +972-2-530-3704.

To view all UPMRC appeals and facts regarding the Israeli siege and use of force against Palestinian civilians, visit the UPMRC website at http://www.upmrc.org.

For further information, please contact Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi at +972-50-254-218 or the UPMRC office at +972-2-583-3510/ 2-583-4021.