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Red Cross Satisfied by Israeli Help in Administered Territories

April 1, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

An official of the International Committee of the Red Cross has said the organization is well satisfied with the cooperation it is receiving from the Israeli authorities during the current unrest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Michel Amiguet, head of the Geneva-based ICRC’s Middle East operations, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Thursday that this was the case even in areas under curfew.

He said that since the Palestinian uprising began last Dec. 9, the ICRC has lodged 150 complaints with Israeli authorities, and these of serious cases of abuse.

Amiguet expressed understanding of the reaction of Israeli security forces in difficult circumstances. “We do not protest when a boy throwing stones is beaten up, but when a person in his home, away from any demonstration, is beaten up seriously, we protest,” Amiguet said.

He added that high-level Israeli authorities always pay close attention to these protests.

Speaking in general of Israeli cooperation, the ICRC official said, “I consider this extremely beneficial and positive.”

Amiguet said that since the disturbances began, the 30 ICRC representatives in Israel have been visiting Palestinian detainees daily to check on their material needs and psychological condition. When needed, the Red Cross delegates intervene with the authorities to effect changes, he said.

Amiguet noted that before the uprising began there were 4,000 detainees to visit. Now there are some 7,000 and “the presence of our delegates has an effect of persuasion and can help relax the atmosphere,” he said.

According to Amiguet, the presence of the Red Cross delegates in the troubled areas buoys the population’s spirits and reassures the Palestinians that they are not alone and are entitled to ICRC protection under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which protects the rights of populations in occupied areas.

Amiguet stressed that the presence of ICRC representatives has a calming effect on the population, in contrast to the Israeli claim that the presence of the news media in the territories encourages violence.

He said the ICRC has not intervened medically because it is satisfied with the presence of other relief agencies. But he said he would consider that possibility if the situation were to deteriorate.

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