Palestinian paramedic just wants to do her job in face of rising Israeli harassment

Emergency worker said the military had refused ambulance crews entry to Jenin camp to help those injured during raids

Footage appears to show Israeli soldiers beating Red Crescent paramedics

Footage appears to show Israeli soldiers beating Red Crescent paramedics
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It would be hard enough to combine the dual roles of paramedic and mother of two in the thick of deadly raids carried out by the Israeli military in Jenin.

But for Palestinian Red Crescent Society emergency worker Sabrin Ebeidi, and many like her, that task is made all the more difficult because of regular harassment by Israeli forces, the society says.

“Having to see things that make my skin crawl and then going home to my children with a smile on my face is very, very difficult,” she told The National of working during the raids.

In recent months, Israeli forces have carried out raids on Jenin city and its camp, including a two-day operation in July that killed 10 Palestinians and wounded at least 100 others.

The society said in July that Israeli violations against its crew members more than tripled in the first six months of this year alone.

“The last raid in Jenin was the hardest,” said Ms Ebeidi. “On the first day of the raid, the Israelis wouldn't even let an ant into the refugee camp. We were trying to enter from all the entrances.

“At some point, we wanted to respond to a woman who was giving birth under these circumstances. We pleaded with them to let me in, as a woman, to help but they got angry and told us to retreat.

“When our vehicle tried to go back, we found that we were surrounded from all sides. They ended up ramming our ambulance to get us to move.”

The Israeli army said claims that its forces have prevented medical teams from providing treatment is “false”.

Ms Ebeidi said by the time the raid was over, the roads were destroyed, meaning emergency teams had to reach and evacuate the injured on foot.

“As a working mother, I am proud of the work I do but I'm always afraid that my daughters will lose me, especially since we've been targeted directly by gunfire on more than one occasion,” she said.

“My duty to my country keeps me going.”

The July PRCS report claimed Israeli military violations against its crew members include physical assaults, targeting them with live ammunition and other weapons, and repeated obstruction while trying to reach and transport the wounded,

It said more than 100 paramedics were wounded by gunfire and rubber bullets last year.

The National shared a video with the Israeli military, which appeared to show soldiers beating PRCS crew members as they attempted to respond to an incident in Beit Furik, south-west of Nablus.

In response, an Israeli army spokesman told The National: “Following the event described, an investigation was opened by the Military Police to examine the conduct of the soldiers. The investigation was recently completed and its findings are being examined by the military attorney's office.”

The Red Crescent has said the severity of Israeli violence against Palestinians has risen in the past 18 months, with more instances of settler attacks, militant activity and Israeli raids on refugee camps and cities being reported.

“Israeli soldiers seem to be more callous around Palestinian lives. They shoot to kill regardless of the threat level to their own person,” Ahmed Jibreel, head of the PRCS's Emergency and Ambulance Department in the Palestinian city of Nablus, told The National.

Mr Jibreel, who has been based in Nablus for more than 20 years, said he still struggles with his own emotions.

“The last 18 months have been especially difficult. I've noticed a change even in the way that Palestinians are being killed by Israeli soldiers, with fatal bullet wounds mostly to the upper body,” he said.

“It feels particularly painful when a woman is being assaulted or a member of my team is injured, because I am responsible for this team.

“To say that it doesn't impact me would be a lie. But in my 26 years of experience, I've learnt to handle such scenarios so that my emotions don't get the best of me. But sometimes, I can't help it.”

Updated: September 13, 2023, 2:15 AM