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Government of Israel and Palestine Red Crescent Society Sign Agreement to Increase Emergency Medical Services


Last week in Geneva, negotiations facilitated by the American Red Cross between the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Government of Israel led to the signing of a historic agreement allowing five PRCS ambulances to operate in East Jerusalem.

The agreement stems from the November 2005 Memorandum of Understanding between PRCS and Magen David Adom (MDA), the Red Cross equivalent in Israel, which calls on both National Societies to advocate for improved humanitarian safety and access.

“The cooperation between Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent across conflict lines means that today, lives are being saved as Palestinian ambulances bring critically injured patients to hospitals in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel for emergency treatment,” says American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. “Representing the best humanitarian principles and practices of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent family, we are grateful to the Government of Israel for its efforts to reach agreement on this life-saving work. It is our great hope that this cooperation will serve as an inspiration not just for dialogue but for tangible results that some day will lead to lasting peace.”

The current security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories often limits access with checkpoints, restrictions and roadblocks. The agreement increases cooperation between the two societies to allow for quick access of emergency medical services to those in critical need. After this agreement was signed, it took only 90 minutes for this important ambulance service to operate, according to MDA and PRCS leaders, delivering one of the first three cases to Hadassah Hospital .

The American Red Cross was a strong supporter of the joint admission of MDA and PRCS into the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in June 2006, and has since played a key role in promoting effective cooperation between the organizations.

“The effective cooperation between MDA and PRCS serves as an example of humanitarian principles transcending politics,” said David Meltzer, American Red Cross Senior Vice President for International Services. “We are honored to support the important work of these two societies, whose focus on humanitarian needs rises far above the politics of this complicated conflict.”

As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross alleviates the suffering of victims of war, disaster and other international crises, and works with other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to improve chronic, life-threatening conditions in developing nations. We reconnect families separated by emergencies and educate the American public about international humanitarian law. This assistance is made possible through the generosity of the American public.


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