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POSITIVE DIALOGUE WITH RED CROSS

Last updated: 2003-06-23

The Board of Deputies met with representatives from the British Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last week to discuss issues of mutual interest. Vice Presidents Jerry Lewis, Flo Kaufmann and Eleanor Lind QC, met with Michael Meyer, Head of International Law at the British Red Cross, and Balthasar Staehelin, ICRC Delegate General for the Middle East and North Africa.

The main issues discussed were the ICRC’s co-operation and working relationship with Magen David Adom and the hope for the future acceptance of Magen David Adom as a full member of the ICRC, retaining the use of the Star of David symbol in Israel. The Board commended the ICRC on their recent agreement with Magen David Adom which ensures the commitment of the two organisations to develop further cooperation and involves a financial commitment by the ICRC of $1.7 million.

Other issues discussed included the missing Israeli soldiers and the use of Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to transport weapons and terrorists. Mr. Staehelin assured the Board that an enormous and sustained effort was being undertaken to secure information regarding the missing Israeli soldiers. He also condemned the individual use of Red Crescent ambulances for any type of terror activity and praised Israel for its assistance to other nations during recent natural disasters including Turkey and Greece.

Senior Vice-President Jerry Lewis commented: “The ICRC were extremely positive and enthusiastic regarding its co-operation with Magen David Adom. The Board looks forward to continuing this close dialogue with the ICRC and we will do whatever we can to promote and support the acceptance of Magen David Adom as a full member of the ICRC. We intend to raise this issue with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the near future.”