About the International Red Cross

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by Annie, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I don't know how many of you recognize the problems Israel has had with IROC. A simple google will do: Israel ambulance service

    will do.

    Here's a related item:

    ICRC Wants to Visit

    That guardian of morality the International Red Cross—who refuse to grant membership to Israel’s Magen David Adom, and whose former president Cornelio Sommaruga once said, “If we’re going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?"—now wants to make sure Saddam Hussein isn’t being mistreated by his brutal American captors: Red Cross Wants Right to Visit Saddam.

    The United States has not formally declared Saddam a prisoner of war, though Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Saddam would be given POW rights under the Geneva Conventions.

    Rumsfeld, however, added that Saddam’s classification may change and he may lose POW status if it appears he had a role in the postwar insurgency in Iraq that has killed more than 200 Americans.

    A Red Cross spokesman, Florian Westphal, would not comment directly on Rumsfeld’s comments. But he said Saddam “was the commander in chief of the Iraqi army, which seems to indicate that he should at least be presumed a POW.”

    “We expect any state bound by the Geneva Conventions to live up to its commitments,” he told The Associated Press.


    by Charles at 04:38 PM PST
     
  2. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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  3. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    What the heck? Magen David Adom is already apart of the IRCRC member organizations. Under Red Cross rules they may indeed have the Star of David on their ambulences as long as they also have either a cross or crescent on the ambulences since they are the international symbols for an ambulence. I know this first hand as i have attended a lecture at the HQ/Museum of the International Red Cross/Crescent in Geneva, which specifically stated that Magen David Adom is in the organization.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Give me a link, I can't find any such, though I hoped things had changed. Here's what I found:

    http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Health/mda.html


    Despite its valorous track record, the Magen David Adom Society is not recognized by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This is because it is unwilling to adopt the Red Cross or Red Crescent as its emblem, choosing rather to use the Red Shield of David, whose use in the field of humanitarian relief dates to 1930.

    The symbol of the Red Cross, the inverted flag of Switzerland, does not have an inherent religious significance. However, when in 1929, Islamic states insisted on the inclusion of the emblem of the Red Crescent, the juxtaposed emblems of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent came to have a religious implication.

    As a result, short of adopting either emblem, the Magen David Adom is excluded from membership to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

    Since 1993, UN Watch has systematically lobbied the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at their Geneva headquarters, as well as the American Red Cross, to urge them to admit the Magen David Adom to the international fraternity. Furthermore, the Chairman of UN Watch, Ambassador Morris Abram, is one of eighteen experts appointed by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and charged with finding a favorable resolution to the emblem issue.

    In times of conflict, the Red Shield of David has "customary" recognition as the emblem used by the medical services of the armed forces. Under international humanitarian law it must be respected in the same way as the Red Cross or the Red Crescent.

    The humanitarian work carried out by the Magen David Adom and other National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is too important to be enmeshed in politics. The Magen David Adom is an organization whose effectiveness, honor and integrity are globally recognized. The fact that its choice of emblem bans it from membership in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is untenable.

    The ethical cornerstone of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a shared desire to ensure that civilization operates morally and compassionately, particularly during times of war. Israel, as much as any country, deserves to be included within that circle of civilization.

    http://www.jewishsf.com/bk020104/us16.shtml

    NEW YORK --With Muslim and European nations lobbying against its inclusion into the world's largest humanitarian organization, Israel's Magen David Adom is still far from becoming a member of the international Red Cross, said Avi Zohar, Magen David Adom's director, during a visit to the United States late last month.

    With no end in sight to its 53-year exclusion from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Israeli group is concentrating its energies on bilateral relations and cooperation with the American Red Cross, including efforts to prepare for unconventional weapons attacks and mass casualty incidents, said Zohar.

    "It's the International Red Cross's privilege to have us in, more than it is our privilege to be there," said Zohar.

    "We have many skills that could do a lot to help other countries," he said, citing emergency medical technician training courses for Palestinians and regional blood banks as programs the Israeli group would like to initiate. "For the Palestinians, it would be very useful to have us as a member," said Zohar.

    Israel's request for membership in the Red Cross was rejected in 1949 by secret ballot at the Geneva Conventions, because of its choice of the red Star of David as an emblem. Since then, Muslim countries have lobbied for Israel's exclusion from the organization, and some have threatened to resign their membership if the Israeli organization were admitted.

    In 1999, the American Red Cross began protesting Israel's exclusion by withholding $5 million in annual dues to the Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The American Red Cross' dues make up 25 percent of the federation's budget, and Zohar noted that its actions have borne some fruit, though mostly symbolic rather than practical.

    "Because of the active pressure of the ARC on the international movement, they are taking a lot of measures to demonstrate they are doing something" to explore Israel's inclusion, said Zohar.

    Red Cross delegates from Europe visit Israel monthly "to show the Americans that they are taking steps to prepare for our admission" into the international Red Cross, said Zohar. At a convention in November, Magen David Adom's representative was seated alongside representatives from Red Cross member states for the first time.

    Zohar also noted that the Israeli group is increasingly acting like a member organization, having participated in rescue and disaster relief operations in the past three years in Turkey, Kosovo, India, Ethiopia and Eritrea -- all nations with large Muslim populations.

    Because of its exclusion, Magen David Adom is barred from all decision-making and influence within the Red Cross. When three Israel soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah in Lebanon last year, for example, had the Israeli group been a member, it could have pressed the Lebanese government much more effectively to allow local Red Cross officials to visit the soldiers, said Zohar.

    Israel's inclusion, said Zohar, would be a message to those still seeking to destroy the Jewish state, that Israel is here to stay. "This symbol would be one more fact on the ground in the Middle East that would say Israel is admitted and recognized officially. It would mean we are here."

    Among European nations, the British and Dutch Red Cross movements have begun to be more supportive of Israel's efforts toward inclusion, said Zohar.

    Switzerland, France, and Belgium "are supporting the Muslim countries for political reasons," he said.
     
  5. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    They are a step child:

    Working with Israel's Magen David Adom
    In June 2003 the ICRC and Israel's Magen David Adom signed a cooperation agreement – the first of its kind between the two institutions. As well as supporting specific activities such as the emergency services, the accord seeks to further cooperation between MDA and national societies around the world.


    The cooperation agreement essentially covers the following areas of work:

    Emergency response service: Working in the most tragic of circumstances, where civilians are killed deliberately in violation of the Geneva Conventions, teams of the MDA are in the forefront of providing help, round the clock. ICRC support funds training for paramedics and covers the cost of additional shifts.

    Blood bank: For victims of bombings, as well as other kinds of casualties, there is a constant need for blood. ICRC support will ensure a sufficient supply of blood bags.

    Tracing service: This is a traditional area of support for national societies, where ICRC expertise and field networks can be crucial in helping to establish the fate of loved ones who disappeared in conflict. Some cases dealt with by the MDA tracing service date back to World War II.

    Dissemination of humanitarian law: As it does in many countries, the ICRC seeks to help MDA volunteers learn more about humanitarian law and about the worldwide Movement.
    zoom

    Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv. Magen David Adom National Blood Service Center.
    ref.IL-E-00032

    http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList74/7C4554DC03765C1AC1256DBF00477F6D

    Jerusalem, Magen David Adom paramedic team evacuating a patient having a respiratory problems.
    ref.IL-E-00121 zoom

    Tel Aviv. Efrat looks at photos of her brother, a soldier captured in the hostilities, who is missing.Tel Aviv.
    ref.IL-E-00064
    zoom

    Tel Aviv University. Distributing ICRC's brochures to Magen David Adom volunteers.
    ref.IL-D-00077


    As opposed to the same google seach for Palestinians:

    Section
    The ICRC in Israel, the Occupied Territories and the Autonomous Territories


    | | | | listanchor1 | listanchor1 | listanchor2 | listanchor2 | listanchor3 | listanchor3 | listanchor4 | listanchor4
    documents on this subject

    ICRC delegation ICRC office ICRC sub-delegation

    Detailed map

    The ICRC has been permanently present in Israel and the Occupied and Autonomous Territories since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It works towards ensuring the faithful application of and respect for IHL, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians in times of war and occupation.

    In the current climate of violence, it monitors the situation of the Palestinian civilian population, carries out visits to detainees and makes representations to the relevant authorities, both Israeli and Palestinian.

    It provides direct assistance to Palestinians whose houses have been demolished and people worst affected by curfews, closures and other restrictions in West Bank and Gaza towns and villages.

    As lead agency in this context, the ICRC is coordinating the relief response of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It also supports the activities of the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Magen David Adom (MDA).

    OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

    Between January and May 2003, the ICRC:

    registered and monitored the detention conditions and treatment of more than 5,500 of the 7,700 Palestinian detainees held in various Israeli places of detention
    continued to run major economic-security programmes for some 300,000 people, or 50,000 destitute families, in the West Bank
    provided emergency shelter and household kits to hundreds of Palestinian families made homeless by Israeli house demolitions
    facilitated access by the medical mission to the wounded and sick in a highly restrictive security environment in the West Bank and Gaza
    distributed water storage bladders and conducted training to enable the PRCS to respond to water-shortage emergencies in West Bank urban centres
    enabled persons separated by conflict or arrest to restore contact with their families
    enhanced the emergency-response capacities of both the MDA and the PRCS working in an increasingly militarized environment of continued violence
    Portfolio: 50 years on, the photographer Jean Mohr returns to his old haunts.
    Personnel: 272 staff, including 82 expatriates

    Other sites
    Palestine Red Crescent Society
    Magen David Adom
     
  7. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I applaud the Red Cross in the USA, though the handling of huge influx of $ for 911 was overwhelming, I find their stand on Israel repugnant, but understandable considering their activites in Hitler's Germany.
     
  8. Isaac Brock
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    Isaac Brock Active Member

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    Whoh, whoh, can't let that one slide. While it's very easy to criticize the Red Cross during World War II you must put in into historical context. The Geneva Convention as it applied to prisoners of war didn't not come into force until 1929. The major flaw in the treaty (1929) is that it applies ONLY to enemy combattants. Hence, the Jews got screwed as they are not considered enemy combattants. (As an interesting side note, many allied jewish soldiers were granted full geneva treaty rights by the Germans because of the pressuring that was done).

    The Red Cross did attempt to pressure the Germans to stop, but what were they going to do? It was either take a stand against the germans and deny allied prisonners basic human rights or ignore the holocaust in the interest of saving allied prisonners. It was a terrible choice. The only choice where any lives were saved was, of course, the second one. Truly a deal with the devil.

    If you ever visit their museum in Geneva, they have a marvelous display outlining the failures in WW2 and the subsequent change in treaty (1949) wording thereafter. The latest treaty is now I believe in 1977, changed to reflected to cold war, quasi-state-of-war realities.

    As for the current situation in Israel with the red cross, I would hardly call it anti-semetic. They are in all respects members of the international society, the reason why they can't call themselves Red Cross/Crescent is because the israeli association refuses to allow either a cross or a crescent on the vehicles. I think all sides are being a bit petty on that issue. I mean who cares if they don't have the cross or crescent, but on the other hand what's the big deal putting a cross or/and crescent with the star of david. Like it or not isreali is a multicultural country, but that is another matter entirely.

    However, for all intents and purposed Magen David Adom has a full working relationship with the Red Cross and still receives full aid.
     

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