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Israeli, Palestinian firefighters conduct joint drill

Israeli and Palestinian firefighters conducted a joint drill in which they practiced the procedures of evacuating people trapped inside their vehicles following a road accident.

The drill, conducted last week, followed a deadly collision in which six Palestinians were killed in the West Bank when an armored Israeli bus crashed into their vehicles on June 27.

Firefighters from the two brigades carried out the exercise in Jenin in the West Bank. Afterward, they shared a meal and had a photo taken together.

“You have to remember that in Judea and Samaria [the Israeli name for the West Bank], there are many routes where both Israelis and Palestinians travel, and we have to provide a response to the wounded, regardless of their origin,” Lieutenant Colonel Samir Kayf, the Palestinian head of the Jenin District Coordination and Liaison in the Civil Administration, told Ynet News.

Ynet also heard from Abd al-Latif Abu Amsha, commander of the Palestinian Civil Defense in Jenin, who said that Palestinians should not fear cooperating with Israelis to save people’s lives.

“We are constantly learning from the experience of advanced and large countries. We learn a lot from the Israeli side. There is no shame and no problem with that,” he said.

This drill was by no means the first time Israeli and Palestinian firefighters have worked together. Indeed, when wild fires raged across Israel last year, eight Palestinian fire-fighting crews arrived from the West Bank to help extinguish the flames.

“The goal is to strengthen cooperation, and there is a willingness from the security forces….to save lives regardless of their origin,” Kayf said regarding last week’s drill.

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Karen Faulkner
Karen Faulkner recently completed a Master's degree in Human Rights and Transitional Justice at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She made Aliyah in 2006 and lives in Jerusalem.

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