IDF medic reports modifications to procedures

An IDF medic was surprised to hear two new guidelines given by his superiors, which include shooting attackers as they flee. (Several corrections are amended below.)

D., a combat medic in the ground forces, was surprised to hear in training ahead of deployment in the occupied territories last week that at least two orders typically given to soldiers were ostensibly modified by his commander.

Illustrative photo of IDF medics. (photo: IDF CC BY-SA 2.0)
Illustrative photo of IDF medics. (photo: IDF CC BY-SA 2.0)

“During the refresher course the instructor, who works as a medic on the base, told us that the orders of the IDF are not to give mouth-to-mouth respiration to people we do not know. When asked about it he said that it basically means that we do not need to give mouth-to-mouth Palestinians,” says D., who took part in the course at the Lakhish base in southern Israel. D. has since then left for duty in the West Bank.

“It sounds strange but he repeated it twice, so I have no doubt that that was what he meant. I was very surprised by the order not to give mouth-to-mouth to anyone who needs it. Since then I have come to understand that Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency ambulance service) came up with the order regarding mouth-to-mouth respiration several years ago. The emphasis on the Palestinians was probably the instructor ‘thinking ahead.’ I assume that he goes these trainings all the time. That’s worrying.”

Magen David Adom (MDA) and its American branch, AFMDA, categorically rejected the accusation. “MDA and AFMDA unequivocally reject the inference that MDA would, in any way, prioritize its lifesaving efforts or standards based on people’s backgrounds, including (but no limited to) politics, religion, ethnicity, or gender. MDA does not play games with people’s lives and its practices are based purely on medical standards,” the organization wrote in a response to D.’s allegation.

“MDA has made extensive efforts to provide medical assistance to Palestinians with severe medical conditions, including sending a neo-natal ambulance several times a week to help bring seriously ill babies and older children to Israeli hospitals for treatment, even at times when rockets were being fired and when going to the Erez Crossing to meet the Palestinian ambulance at the border presented risks to MDA paramedics,” the statement added.

Furthermore over the course of the week, D. participated in a refresher on the rules of engagement, where he said he was given permission to kill people who no longer pose a threat. “They told us that the order regarding someone who stabs, ditches the knife and begins running is shoot to kill. The company commander said he doesn’t want anyone like that ‘to see a judge.'”

Did anyone protest or critique these orders?

“The company seemed very bitter over the rules of engagement. The company commander almost apologized every time he forbade. So when he finally gave us permission to shoot an unarmed terrorist, most of the company was okay with that.”

It was only two weeks ago that Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich made a public statement to a similar effect in the wake of the vehicular attack in Sheikh Jarrah. Two days later police shot Kheir Hamdan to death in Kafr Kanna.

The IDF Spokesperson has yet to respond to the above claims.

A previous version of this article used an incorrect translation in the headline and text. The Hebrew word for artificial respiration (or mouth-to-mouth) was mistakenly translated as resuscitation. We apologize for the error and any confusion it may have caused. Additionally, a comment from American Friends of Magen David Adom has been amended and the headline has been changed from ‘IDF trainer: ‘No need to give mouth-to-mouth Palestinians” to the current headline.

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This article was first published on +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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