Hamas - and not Israel - was the reason ambulances could not reach victims, a Gaza ambulance driver told the Sydney Morning Herald. He said that Hamas terrorists tried to hijack an entire fleet of Al-Quds ambulances during Operation Cast Lead.
Click here for YouTube video showng Hamas terrorists boarding a United Nations ambulance on May 11, 2004.
Foreign media quoted Hamas officials and Gaza Arabs several times during the war that Israel blocked ambulances from reaching dying victims, but Mohammed Shriteh, a 30-year-old driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, told the Australian newspaper Monday that the Israel Defense Forces actually worked with the Red Crescent.
"We would co-ordinate with the Israelis before we pick up patients, because they have all our names, and our IDs, so they would not shoot at us," he told Herald reporter Jason Koutsoukis.
Shriteh said that he received an urgent call from a house in Jabalya but there was no time to arrange movements with the IDF. Amid nighttime shooting and explosions, he went into a house that was mostly destroyed and where three Hamas militia terrorists had taken cover.
"They dropped their weapons and ordered me to get them out, to put them in the ambulance and take them away," Shriteh related. "I refused, because if the IDF sees me doing this I am finished…. And then one of the fighters picked up a gun and held it to my head, to force me. I still refused, and then they allowed me to leave."
Foreign media have continued to blame Israel for blocking ambulances for Gaza Arabs, many of them victims of Hamas terrorists who executed or wounded Arab collaborators who assisted Israel during the fighting.
The Chicago Tribune on Monday reported that the IDF did not approve access for an ambulance to rescue one boy who was hit by gunfire and later died. The alleged incident is one of many that the media has published as justification for charges against Israel for supposed violations of international law despite the accounts that Hamas often commandeered ambulances.