Standing Guard At Jerusalem’s Crossings – A Ramadan Initiative To Safeguard Palestinians Wishing To Enter Jerusalem

A new project has been taking place over the past few weeks in Jerusalem. During the hot days of Ramadan, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs have been asked to join Israel’s border police and the military police in safeguarding the passage of Palestinians entering into Israel at two Jerusalem crossings, Kalandia and the 300 crossing by Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem.

UH volunteer EMT on duty at the crossing by Rachel’s Tomb in southern Jerusalem

The request was initiated by the police in an effort to have a fully trained and equipped medical responder on hand at the checkpoint due to the heat of the past few weeks. The purpose of the additional personnel at the checkpoint was to safeguard the Palestinians who were crossing into Jerusalem should any of them suffer from the heat or the fast or a combination of both.

 

For the past few weeks, United Hatzalah volunteers have been on hand and treated numerous Palestinians at the checkpoint who were suffering from a variety of illnesses. This past Friday, the injuries included an asthma attack, high blood pressure, dehydration, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

 

“The crossings into Jerusalem are incredibly efficient now and Palestinians wishing to cross into Jerusalem are usually in and out relatively quickly,” said Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah Dov Maisel. “We were asked to help provide medical coverage to the crossings should a medical emergency occur due to the fast of Ramadan, and the heat that Israel has experienced these past few weeks. We provide the first medical response and then if needed request an ambulance to transport the patient if needed.”

 

Maisel said that just before Ramadan, United Hatzalah volunteers had responded to a cardiac arrest case at the 300 crossing and it was at this point that the Military Police began to ask whether or not the organization could send volunteers to be stationed at the crossings on a permanent basis during Ramadan and the days following during peak hours on Fridays, the  holiest day of the week for Muslims.

 

“We were more than happy to help in this matter. Helping people stay safe and providing initial medical response is what United Hatzalah is all about. This is our mission and our volunteers were more than happy to jump at the chance to help with this important matter of safeguarding the lives of those who want to enter the city during their holiday,” Maisel concluded.

 

United Hatzalah volunteers have been stationed at the crossings for the past few weeks and will continue to provide emergency medical coverage again this coming Friday.   

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