Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Sivan 5761 - May 23, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Foreign Ministry Reviewing Policy Towards International Red Cross
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Foreign Ministry said that it is reviewing its policy toward the International Red Cross (IRC) in light of that organization's characterization last week of settlements as "war crimes." The IRC is involved in humanitarian activities in the territories for which it needs Israeli cooperation and government approval. These recent comments may impair the ability of the IRC to carry out these tasks as an impartial, humanitarian organization.

Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker met with Rene Kosirnik, head of the IRC delegation in Tel Aviv, to protest his comments and inform him that Israel's relations with the IRC are -- as a result of his comments -- under review.

Kosirnik, at a press conference last week, said: "The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories, is considered as an illegal move and qualified as a grave breach [of the Fourth Geneva Convention]. It's a grave breach, formally speaking, but grave breaches are equal in principle to war crimes."

Baker said that this comment, made at such a sensitive time, is tantamount to the IRC taking a political side. Baker said that if the IRC has criticisms there are other ways to voice them than at a press conference, enabling the Palestinians to use these statements in their ongoing battle with Israel.

A spokesman for the IRC said that Kosirnik's comments were in answer to a legal question and not meant as a political characterization. He added that Kosirnik also said at the press conference that shooting civilians, "including settlers," constitutes a war crime, as does shooting from populated areas which will necessarily draw counterfire.

The US State Department also criticized the IRC after the statement last week, saying: "We don't think this comment is helpful at this particularly volatile time."


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.