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Thread: Red Cross To Adopt Red Crystal In Deal To Let Israel Join Up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Red Cross To Adopt Red Crystal In Deal To Let Israel Join Up

    Red Cross to adopt red crystal in deal to let Israel join up

    By Elizabeth Davies
    Published: 06 December 2005

    Representatives from the 192 countries that signed up to the Geneva Conventions gathered in Geneva yesterday to thrash out a deal that would give approval to a third emblem for the International Red Cross (IRC) and allow Israel to join the movement after almost six decades of exclusion.

    The new "red crystal" design, mooted by officials as an alternative to the red cross and red crescent insignia already in use, is intended as an entirely neutral emblem that could be used by humanitarian workers in parts of the world where the existing emblems are deemed unacceptable.

    The country particularly targeted by the two-day conference is Israel, which refuses to let its equivalent of the Red Cross, the humanitarian Magen David Adom Society (MDA), use either of the two designs. Israel's rejection of the Christian cross and the Muslim crescent and its insistence on using the Star of David has, since independence in 1948, meant it has been forbidden from joining the IRC.

    Many Israelis see this as an unfair and short-sighted restriction on the activities of its humanitarian workers and have pushed for the international recognition of the Star of David.

    "MDA is active all over the world," Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, told the BBC. "In the tsunami, for example, or following earthquakes, we are often first on the scene, and we deserve to be part of the international movement."

    But the IRC says that, rather than being a neutral emblem that is only seen in connection with relief work, the Star of David is primarily a national - not to mention a religiously and politically-charged - symbol. Arab member states have, for their part, said that the use of such an emblem would be unacceptable on their territory.

    Into this long-running squabble has stepped the potential compromise of the red crystal, a neutral design of a red diamond on a white background which Red Cross officials hope will please everyone.

    If the red crystal is accepted at the Geneva conference, it will be a particular boost for the Red Cross's coffers; for five years, the American branch of the organisation has withheld its subscriptions in protest at Israel's exclusion. The resulting funding shortfall adds up to more than $30m (£17m).

    "The adoption of an additional emblem devoid of any national, political or religious connotation would make it possible for us to have a new instrument that we can use to protect military and civilian medical services on the battlefield," said Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Swiss Foreign Minister.

    Israel, faced with Geneva Conventions which stipulate that national relief societies such as the Magen David Adom Society must use only recognised symbols outside their internationally accepted borders - including the occupied territories - has surprised many over the past few weeks by saying it is prepared to use the crystal outside its borders. And the MDA has, after intense negotiations, signed a Swiss-mediated agreement with the Palestinian Red Crescent on working together in the occupied territories.

    The emergence of a consensus on the controversial issue has given Red Cross officials cause for optimism and has, said Ms Calmy-Rey, "opened up the process which we hope to see crowned with success at this conference."

    But it is too soon for a successful compromise to be heralded, especially given that many Arab states see the fundamental concept of a third emblem an unnecessary accommodation of Israel. While an agreement has been reached between the Israelis and Palestinians, Syria has recently waded into the row, insisting that, as the Golan Heights is a disputed territory, the Syrian Red Crescent should be allowed there. This is not something on which the Israelis appear willing to compromise. "The Syrian Red Crescent cannot operate there," Mr Levanon stressed.

    "We have no diplomatic relations with Syria, the issue is simply not in the debate. But I'm not excluding that some Arab countries will try to raise it, and if they do, the losers will be the Palestinians."

    The movement
    * 1859: Jean Henri Dunant founds the International Red Cross movement after the battle of Solferino.

    * 1863: The Geneva Society for Public Welfare, inspired by Dunant, creates the Red Cross's forerunner, the International Committee for the Relief of the Wounded.

    * 1901: Jean Henri Dunant is awarded the first Nobel Peace Prize.

    * 1917: The International Red Cross is awarded the first of three Nobel Peace Prizes for its work in the First World War. (It wins in 1944 during Second World War and in 1963 on its 100th anniversary.

    * 1965: It announces its seven guiding principles: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Unity, Universality.

    * 1983: The League of Red Cross societies changes its name to League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

    * 2003: A suicide bomb attack on its headquarters in Baghdad kills 12 workers, which forces the organisation tosuspend its activities in Iraq.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    jetsetlemming Guest
    I like the idea of using the star of david in jewish countries just like it uses the cresent in muslim countries and the cross everywhere else. A diamond sounds kinda weak, like a cop out.

  3. #3
    Partridge Guest
    There's only one Jewish State, and that's Israel (though about a 1/4 of the population of Israel [as opposed to Israel and the Occupied Territories] is not Jewish).

    I think this is a good idea.

  4. #4
    Partridge Guest
    Golan dispute halts 'Red Crystal'

    An international
    agreement on a third emblem for the international Red Cross has been delayed by a dispute between Syria and Israel. Syria has insisted on an accord giving its humanitarian workers access to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

    A 192-nation conference in Vienna is awaiting an agreement before voting on a new "red crystal" symbol that would allow Israel to join the movement.

    Israel has been denied entry because it does not use an approved symbol.

    The Magen David Adom - or Red Shield of David - is not recognised by the Geneva Conventions.

    Relief workers and ambulances bearing the symbols of the Red Cross and Red Crescent are protected under international law.

    The new "crystal" - a hollow red diamond on a white background - is regarded as being free from religious, national or cultural connotations.

    Israel has said it is ready to use it for missions outside the country's borders - as set down by the Geneva Conventions.

    Golan dispute

    Syria is prepared to approve the Red Crystal, but wants Israel to allow the Syrian Red Crescent access to the Golan Heights.

    Israel seized the plateau in south-western Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War.

    The head of the Syrian Red Crescent, Abd al-Rahman al-Attar, said they had also requested a hospital be built in the area and ambulances provided.

    Syrian Minister of State Bashar al-Shaar told reporters that his government's demands were legitimate and legal and must be heard.

    "Our people suffer terribly through lack of medical services," he said.

    The Syrian demand comes after the Magen David Adom and the Palestine Red Crescent agreed to mutual recognition.

    The accord also makes it easier for the Palestine Red Crescent to operate in areas under Israeli control.

    Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, has ruled out letting Syria have similar access.

    "The Syrian Red Crescent cannot operate there," Mr Levanon told the BBC earlier this week.

    "We have no diplomatic relations with Syria, the issue is simply not in the debate," he added.

    The chairman of the conference, Swiss Permanent Representative in Geneva Blaise Godet, said more work had to be done.

    "It's going to be a long day," he said.

    The BBC's correspondent in Geneva, Imogen Foulkes, says the world's best-known humanitarian movement is being divided by the world's most intractable conflict.

  5. #5
    ThotPolice Guest
    Man It's so damn childish, why not just call it "help for humanity" the symbol could be a circle, surley no one can find anything offensive in a circle, then we can actually start helping people other than being a bunch of idiots creating in action over symbols. What about the purpose of this org?

    Stupid history

  6. #6
    jetsetlemming Guest
    Are they going to include this crystal, or is it supposed to replace everything else?

  7. #7
    Partridge Guest
    Red Cross approves new emblem, allowing Israel to join
    By News Agencies

    The Red Cross and Red Crescent movements on Wednesday gained an additional emblem that paves the way for Israel to join the global relief network after nearly six decades of exclusion.

    The 192 signatories of the Geneva Conventions approved the new "red crystal" emblem - a diamond-shaped red crystal on a white background - into which the Red Star of David of the Israeli relief agency Magen David Adom (MDA) can be placed.

    "I can inform you that the protocol has just been adopted," said Didier Pfirter, a Swiss diplomat who has been coordinating global efforts to muster support for the new emblem.

    Magen David Adom Chairman Dr. Noam Yifrach said Israel's membership in the Red Cross will improve MDA's service within Israel and will allow access to international funds and medical knowledge.

    Twenty-nine nations voted for the new symbol and 27 voted against the move, most of them Arab states. Ten countries also abstained from voting on the matter.

    The new emblem is one that, for instance, Israeli paramedics could use during combat in place of the red cross or Muslim red crescent.

    The signatories voted to accept the symbol after last-ditch negotiations between Israel and Syria over Damascus' demands for humanitarian access to Syrian citizens in the Golan Heights broke down.

    "Unfortunately, it has not been possible to adopt the protocol by consensus, but it has been adopted by a clear majority," Pfirter said.

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