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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Use of new Red Crystal finally allows Israel to join Red Cross

Last update - 11:06 14/01/2007   

Use of new Red Crystal finally allows Israel to join Red Cross
By Reuters

GENEVA - The world's largest relief organization, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, on Sunday began using a third emblem whose adoption allowed Israel to join after a decades-long struggle.
The red crystal on a white background is an alternative to either the cross or the crescent and is intended to provide protection to relief workers operating in areas of conflict.
Both the Israeli Magen David Adom (MDA) and the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency services joined the umbrella relief organization in June 2006, six months after the movement's signatory states and national societies agreed to the new emblem at a specially convened conference.
Israel's MDA had resisted using the cross and crescent because of their links to Christianity and Islam.
In return for being allowed to join, Israel had to acknowledge the Palestinian Red Crescent as the internationally recognized emergency service within the occupied territory.
Arab states had insisted on this before they would accept a new emblem custom-made for Israel.
"The red crystal reaffirms the determination of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to ... enhance its strength and credibility," the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a joint statement.
Its adoption involved a new protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions which lay down rules for warfare and the treatment of prisoners and the wounded.
So far 84 countries have signed the protocol and nine have ratified it. The emblem automatically came into force six months after being ratified by the second state, which was Switzerland, on July 14, 2006.

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