On 18 February 2004, Majdi a-Saruji, age 31, an ambulance driver from the Balata refugee camp, and Jamal Abu Hamdeh, age 30, a medic from Nablus, both employees of the Palestinian Red Crescent, were on their way to a hospital in Ramallah with two patients in the ambulance: an infant heart patient and a person with a broken leg who was in a wheelchair. On their way, the passed three checkpoints, and then encountered an Israeli army jeep parked in the middle of the road near the Ofra settlement. One of the soldiers standing alongside the jeep ordered the ambulance driver to stop. A-Saruji got out of the ambulance, went over to the soldier, and handed over the ID cards of the patients and medical staff in the ambulance. In his testimony to B’Tselem, a-Saruji said: “The soldier looked at our ID cards and then suddenly kicked me, for no reason and without any provocation from me… I went back to the ambulance and sat down in the driver’s seat.” The soldier went over to Abu Hamdeh, ordered him to open the side door of the ambulance, and then ordered them to turn around and go back to where they came from.

      Abu Hamdeh asked the soldier how they could go back after the ambulance had already passed three checkpoints along the way, and the soldier replied, “You have a problem?” Abu Hamdeh told B’Tselem what happened then: “I said, ‘No, no.’ He punched me hard in the face. He grabbed me and smashed my head against the ambulance… Another soldier kicked me, knocking me over…One of the soldiers kicked me in the back, picked me up, and then all four of them began to kick me in the back, legs, and the rest of my body.” At the same time, the soldiers beat a-Saruji in the neck and legs. The soldiers beat Abu Hamdeh for about fifteen minutes and then detained him for several hours, keeping him handcuffed and blindfolded the whole time. The soldiers ordered A-Saruji to continue on his own and drive the patients to the hospital in Ramallah.

      B’Tselem called on the Judge Advocate General’s office to investigate this incident.