Monday, November 28, 2005

AJC Praises Agreement of Israeli, Palestinian Relief Societies

To: National and International Desk
Contact: Kenneth Bandler of the American Jewish Committee, 212-891-6771 or; Web:
NEW YORK, Nov. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The American Jewish Committee welcomed today's agreement, signed in Geneva, between Magen David Adom and the Palestinian Red Crescent.
"This is a further boost to Israeli-Palestinian relations, which we trust will enhance still further the likelihood of Magen David Adom gaining formal international recognition," said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris.
The Israeli-Palestinian agreement comes one week before a Diplomatic Conference in Geneva that is expected to adopt a third humanitarian relief emblem, in the shape of a crystal, for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. If adopted, the Israeli Red Shield of David could be placed in the middle of the crystal.
"The crystal is a creative solution," said Harris. "Those nations driven by political considerations should drop their opposition to the MDA's full membership in the Federation, and join with the majority in adopting the third emblem for the universal, impartial, non-political movement."
For more than 56 years, Israel's humanitarian emblem, the Red Shield of David, has been the only symbol rejected by the Federation. "Israel's national relief society understandably refused to operate under the banner of the cross or of the crescent, choosing instead the ancient symbol of the Jewish people," said Harris.
AJC praised the Swiss government for taking the initiative to mediate today's Israeli-Palestinian agreement, as well as to invite all States party to the Geneva Conventions to gather in Geneva for a Diplomatic Conference to consider the third emblem.
AJC has been in the forefront of international advocacy on behalf of MDA's admission to the Federation. In 1999, AJC launched a letter writing and ad campaign to bring attention to the anomaly of excluding MDA, and has since raised the issue regularly with the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as with governments around the world. In recent weeks, AJC sent letters to the ambassadors of countries around the world encouraging their participation in the December 5 conference and urging their support for the new emblem.
/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


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