I read many oral histories of American World War II veterans, and am often struck by the shock and horror they experienced while witnessing German attacks on field hospitals and ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross.
America’s client state has embraced this Nazi practice.
So Kasim Shaalan, who thought nothing more could shock him in this 13-day war, was shocked Sunday night when he closed the rear door of his ambulance and it exploded, seriously wounding two patients inside.
“When we drove our ambulances before, even if the bombs fell close to us, we were not afraid,” Shaalan said at the Jebel Amil Hospital in Tyre yesterday, where he was being treated for minor shrapnel wounds and internal bleeding in his ear. “Now, we must be afraid.”
“We are obliged to go out and save people,” said Imad Hillal, 38, the second-in-command at the Tyre branch of the Red Cross. “We count on Israel to respect the neutrality of the Red Cross, but they don’t.”
An ambulance from Tebnine met the crew from Tyre in the mountain town of Qana. The three patients were settling into the back of the ambulance. Shaalan said he was swinging the back door shut when everything around him was engulfed in a flash of light.
“A big fire came toward me, like in a dream. I thought I was dying, at first,” Shaalan said. “Then I opened my eyes, and I could see. I thought everyone in the ambulance was dead.”
A rocket or missile had made a direct hit through the roof, Shaalan said, severing one patient’s right leg. Shaalan took cover in a nearby building.
The paramedics used a cellphone to call the Tyre office to send another ambulance to pick them up.