Red Cross asked to expel MDA over emblem violation
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Red Cross asked to expel MDA over emblem violation

Pro-Palestinian groups say using Star of David shape in West Bank violates Geneva Convention protocol

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

MDA paramedic Tal Rabin attends to displaced Nepalese locals in Kathmandu. (photo courtesy Magen David Adom)
MDA paramedic Tal Rabin attends to displaced Nepalese locals in Kathmandu. (photo courtesy Magen David Adom)

A number of pro-Palestinian organizations have petitioned the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to expel Israel’s national emergency medical service for using the emblem of the international federation on its ambulances operating in West Bank.

The Palestinian groups charge that Magen David Adom — the country’s medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service — is in violation of a Geneva Convention protocol stipulating Israeli paramedic teams use a neutral emblem while working outside the country, the Yedioth Aharonoth daily newspaper reported Sunday.

In 2006, the MDA emerged from decades of isolation and was admitted to the ICRC after agreeing to abide by a protocol adopted by Geneva Convention signatories the year before.

The protocol introduced a neutral “red crystal” emblem to be used by any relief teams in areas where there is sensitivity about Christian or Muslim symbols.

The MDA, along with IDF medics, were instructed to use the new symbol — a red square at an angle on a white background — when participating in operations outside Israel.

Alternate Magen David Adom logos approved by the International Red Cross.  On the left, the emblem to be used by Israeli paramedics outside Israel, on the right, the emblem to be used by MDA in conjunction with other IRC operations.
Alternate Magen David Adom logos approved by the International Red Cross. On the left, the emblem to be used by Israeli paramedics outside Israel, on the right, the emblem to be used by MDA in conjunction with other ICRC operations.

While operating in missions in conjunction with other ICRC agencies, the red crystal emblem was to be used in conjunction with MDA’s star of David. In Israel, MDA was allowed to keep its traditional logo.

According to the report, ICRC officials will discuss the complaint at the body’s annual meeting in December.

A Foreign Ministry official told the paper that the initiative was being followed up though diplomatic channels.

“We will not allow anyone to remove MDA from the Red Cross,” the official said, dismissing the complaint as mere “threats and catchphrases.”

“Its a shame that officials choose not to address the issues in Syria, Libya or Yemen and instead choose to focus on Israel — a country that provides emergency and standard medical services to Jews, Muslims, Christians, Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

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