Affidavit No. 4825/2009

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Shaher Muhammad Hamed Mujahed, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 922653654, born on 1 January 1950, an ambulance driver and medical officer, and a resident of Wadi al-Karm, Hebron city, Hebron Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I have been working as a medical officer and ambulance driver at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society for approximately 20 years. My current workstation is at the main Emergency Centre in the city of Hebron.

At around 3:00 pm on Saturday, 11 April 2009, I was requested to transport Mrs. Madiha Abu- eikal, a sick patient, from the Emergency Centre, where I was present, to her house. Mrs. Abu-Heikal lived in the neighbourhood of Tal al-Rumeida, in the vicinity of an established Israeli settlement outpost. The Israeli occupying army denies access to Palestinian vehicles along roads leading to her house. As I was told, Mrs. Abu-Heikal suffered from health problems in the heart as well as from diabetes. On that day, she had asked her doctor to check her condition.

Ahmad Makhamra, a 34-year-old medical officer, accompanied me in the ambulance. We were in the official uniform, which clearly revealed the emblem of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Mrs. Abu-Heikal was accompanied by her daughter Hana’, about 50 years of age.

Before I left the Emergency Centre, I was informed that the International Committee of the Red Cross had coordinated with the Israeli occupying army to allow access to the ambulance transporting Mrs. Abu-Heikal. In order to drive the patient home, the ambulance was supposed to pass through the checkpoint opposite the closed fruits and vegetables market, in which the settlement outpost of Abraham Avino is located.

Having reached the checkpoint at 3:13 pm, a soldier stopped the ambulance. He then made a call on his wireless telecommunications device to check whether we were allowed to pass. After about 10 minutes, he allowed me to cross the checkpoint. I drove northwards along al-Shuhada’ Street towards Mrs. Abu-Heikal’s house. Driving at a normal speed, I passed the old bus station along al-Shuhada’ Street at 3:23 pm. The bus station had been closed for a long time and was transformed by the Israeli occupying army into a military camp.

After I drove for approximately five metres past the gate of the bus station, I saw on the side mirror of the ambulance two or three soldiers running out of the military camp and pointing their weapons towards the ambulance. I heard them shout at me, demanding that I stop the ambulance, and so I did. A soldier approached the driver’s door of the ambulance and ordered me to turn off the engine. He was short, of medium build, blonde, bearded, less than 30 years of age, and carried a wireless telecommunications device. He was angry. He asked me in Hebrew, which I understand a little bit, from where I had accessed the street and whether I had an access permit. I stopped the engine and told him from where I had accessed the street. I also told him that the International Committee of the Red Cross had coordinated our permission to pass through the checkpoint with the Israeli army.

Instead of calling his superior and double check this fact using his wireless communication device, he instead ordered me to return. Before I started the ambulance and turned back, a settler child, who was about 11 years of age, reached for my door, opening and then closing it forcefully. Then, I saw him carry a large stone and go behind the ambulance. Through the rear view mirror, I saw the stone being thrown at the left window, breaking it and landing on the patient’s bed. Fortunately, neither she, nor the person accompanying her, were hurt. Then, the settler child took another smaller stone and threw it inside the ambulance through the same window. The soldiers, who had stopped me, did not do anything to intervene and stop the settler child from throwing stones at the ambulance. Mrs. Abu-Heikal and her companion were scared.

Later, the settler child ran south towards the settlement outpost of Abraham Avino. I started the engine and drove south. At the checkpoint opposite the fruits and vegetables market, the soldier who had allowed me to cross only minutes earlier stopped me. He was confused, wondering why I had returned with the patient. I told him what had happened. As I was talking to the soldier, I saw the settler child who had broken the ambulance glass window leading a group of approximately 30 settler children of almost the same age. They all ran towards the ambulance.

At a distance of about six metres, they threw stones at the ambulance. The soldier shouted at them, requesting that they stop, but to no avail. I asked my colleague Ahmad Makhamra to get out and open the iron gate across the street in front of us, so we could escape from the stones throwing Israeli settler children. After Ahmad did as I told him, we drove off - away from the checkpoint. Having travelled for a short distance, I stopped to check on our patient and on the ambulance.

Mrs. Abu-Heikal’s health condition had deteriorated and the ambulance had sustained damage as a result of the stones thrown at it by the Israeli settler children. The small rear flash light as well as the left taillight were damaged and the body of the ambulance was scratched. I immediately returned to the Emergency Centre and arrived there at 3:35 pm. Mrs. Abu-Heikal was admitted to the clinic at the Centre. I wrote a report about the whole incident and submitted it to the official of the centre. I finished my shift at 4:00 pm and went home.

During my long-term occupation as a medical officer, I have been subjected to many assaults by both Israeli occupying forces and Israeli settlers while on duty. International law, to which the Israeli occupying state claims to adhere, provides that medical teams must be allowed freedom of movement and access at times of conflict.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4825/2009
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 12 April 2009
  • Name: Shaher Muhammad Hamed Mujahed
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