Monday, June 08, 2009

Humanitarian Settler Hilltop Youth

Last Friday there was a horrendous traffic accident on Road 55 in the Shomron Region of the "West Bank", among the worst I've been at as an EMT first responder.

The call went out that a "minor" accident took place between multiple vehicles, and as I ran to my car to respond, our dispatcher announced that the accident was "upgraded" to "extremely serious."

Red lights flashing, we bypassed the traffic on the road's shoulder, crossed to the opposite lane as IDF soldiers ran ahead of us. A minute later, we pulled over to the side of the road about 20 feet behind the twisted metal hulks -- that minutes ago were cars. [Pictures of the accident and rescue can be seen here]

We checked the contorted victims in one car's backseat with a monitor, and they were all dead. Another car contained 2 who were still alive, yet it was impossible to remove them for transport since the doors were crushed shut.

Help continued to pour in around us. Magen David Adom ambulances, settlement fire trucks, IDF jeeps, Israeli police cars, and first responders from around the Shomron converged on the accident scene.

Did I mention that all those involved in the accident were "Palestinian?"

No, I didn't because we respond to all medical emergency calls, 24 hours a day, regardless who the accident victims are.

Its irrelevant.

As the Israeli firemen frantically used the "jaws of life" to break open the crushed vehicle, Red Crescent ambulances and a Palestinian firetruck arrived as well. Deferring to the more experienced medical personnel of the IDF and Magen David Adom paramedics, the Red Crescent EMTs worked side by side with us to administer treatment to the accident victims.

Speaking in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, a cooperation and professionalism borne from necessity pushed aside any political differences. The Palestinian fire truck connected a tow cable to the crushed car, and pulled it back enough so we could extricate another person from the car.

After loading the person onto an ambulance for transport, I took a step back to survey the scene.

I've been present at accidents before where there was cooperation between Jews and Arabs in the West Bank. This wasn't the first time I've worked side by side with Palestinian Red Crescent EMTs. However, what struck me as unique was the teenage volunteers.

Teenagers in Israel volunteer for a myriad of activities -- among the popular ones in the settlements are Magen David Adom emergency medical service, and the Fire Department's Fire and Rescue service. These teens spend their free time helping others in some of Israel's most mission critical assignments; saving lives.

These teenagers came as part of the ambulance and fire rescue crews and cooperated fully, professionally, and ethically -- as one would expect.


These same teenagers were the exact same ones on the Outpost hilltops...the Ramat Gilad hilltop I posted about last week. The same teenagers vilified by Israel's Leftist establishment.

The same settler teenagers who build the land and defend the land, are the same ones who save lives...of Jews and Arabs alike.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Lion of Zion said...

the juxtaposition of this post with the previous reminded me of a past post of you wrote about volunteering in tel aviv with MDA (during a war?) because of the lack of local volunteers. or something like that

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

LoZ: Yes, exactly.


Kelli Brown said...

Thanks for sharing this - and thanks to Jacob Richman for posting it in Facebook. We don't hear enough about these sorts of occurrences, yet they happen everyday.

Anonymous said...

betcha Jerusalem Post doesn't pick up THIS post!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Kelli: My pleasure. Will try to keep posting stories like this as they happen.

Anonymous: We'll that they know the Muqata exists ;-)

sallykna said...

hey,i think i sighted the elusive "jameel".was he wearing a blue backpack?....

Anonymous said...

Great story, that's why I love Israel. These things happen everyday but the rest of the world doesn't want to know about Israelis helping Palestinians. (unless they're self hating)

Anonymous said...

Similar event happened on Friday in Gush Etzion.

There too, "Settlers" and Arabs worked side by side to save the lives of the crash victims (Arab and Jew).

laura said...

that is great! and of course the way it should be. Let Obama put THAT in his peace pipe and smoke it.

RivkA with a capital A said...

nice post.

I wish more people would notice...

Anonymous said...

Very nice!

Are you willing to give up your home for peace?

Barack Obama

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Jameel - doesn't HNN know about the smiley face? I definitely spotted you in at least 2 photos.

Gila said...

Am going to have to provide a voice of dissent here. That there was cooperation is great. That the "hilltop youth" volunteer is great. It does not necessarily follow that everything that these youths do is wonderful, and that none of their other actions can be critiqued.

To provide a more extreme example--we look at Hamas as a bunch of terrorist thugs. But one of the reason they have the support they do is through their charitable activities in the West Bank and Aza. The latter does not erase or even mitigate the former.

As for the "well, will this be in the news" comments.... I suspect that it will be in the news at the same time you see articles about the selfish, cappucino-drinking, self-absorbed Tel Avivim who are volunteering at the Gag V'Gam establishments in the city. Or, for that matter, at around the same time I see Israeli bloggers giving "equal time" in coverage of any good things Hamas'niks do. (I have no intentions of doing so, do you?)

In general--the T"A bashing is getting old. First, regarding T"A, a fair proportion of the adults living in T"A did not grow up there and did serve in the army. My favorite pizza place on Ibn Gvirol has displayed a photo of one of their former employees who fell in the Second Lebanon War. Does the draft dodging trend make me happy? No. But it is pretty damn hard to make a solid case against it when you have such a big population (Haredim) that are effectively exempt. Prayer is important to the future of the State? Yofi. So is education and economic development--which is what the secular draft dodgers seem to be after. If civic service is important, it should be important to everyone. One set of standards, applied equally, is the way to go.

Off my soapbox now. Kol Hakavod to you Jamal for your work!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi Gila -

In my previous post, Gideon Levy continued his hilltop youth bashing. For him, bashing the settlers and hilltop youth never gets old, and he makes sure to make a point of it weekly in the Haaretz newspaper.

Despite the quotes from the previous post that Espresso drinking Tel Avivians contribute zero to Israel's society, I clearly stated that there are many Tel Avivians who contribute, etc.

So I don't think we're really in disagreement.

And by the way -- I can personally vouch that the hilltop youth mentioned in my posting are not the violent criminals the Left portrays them as.

Mo-ha-med said...

I was about to formulate a point similar to Gila's first, but less eloquently.
What those youth did is remarkable, surely - but that nevertheless doesn't provide them with a blanket approval for other things they do. In essence, the conclusion of 'because they volunteer for Magen David Adom they are good people and we should therefore accept the rest of their actions' is incorrect.

By you are right, you probably need to get this kind of news out more often.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mo: we should therefore accept the rest of their actions' is incorrect.

What are the rest of their actions that are incorrect?

Anonymous said...

Say, aren't you Lisa's friend?

Gila said...

Violent criminals? Don't know. How about activists engaged in civil disobedience?

Which brings me to today's headline:

Let's assume that the Palestinians who extracted the woman and her baby are the same ones who egage in clashes with Israeli soldiers. (From Palestinian POV-civil disobedience). Does the first negate or mitigate the other?

Yochanan said...

To play the devil's advocate, would those hilltop youth have helped them if they knew from the start that they were Arabs?

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