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Magen David Adom chairman Dr. Noam Yifrach on Monday signed an unprecedented agreement with his counterpart at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Geneva paving the way for the Jewish state's entry into the Red Cross movement and recognition of its red Star of David symbol.
The red Star of David will continue to be used inside Israel, but when on international missions and for fundraising, MDA can be represented by a red star inside a red "crystal," essentially a diamond-shaped frame, or an empty red crystal when a red Star of David could jeopardize its staffers.
MDA has been denied membership in the movement for nearly 60 of its 75 years of existence because of opposition by Muslim countries who used the pretext of an unrecognized symbol to keep it out.
A special session of countries that are members of the International Red Cross Movement will open on December 5 in Geneva to approve the crystal symbol, which can also be used by other national first aid and humanitarian rescue societies such as in Eritrea and Kazakhstan that do not use the Red Cross or Red Crescent symbol.
Red Cross or Red Crescent societies also could use the neutral crystal if they work in areas where their usual emblem is regarded as a liability.
Under the new agreement, which was stated to have "no diplomatic implications," MDA recognizes the PRCS's right to treat Palestinian patients inside Palestinian Authority territories, while the PRCS recognizes MDA's right to treat Israeli citizens inside Israel and in the territories, eastern Jerusalem and the Jewish settlements.
The need for the Palestinian society's signature was the last roadblock to MDA's international recognition in the Red Cross Movement, as Arab and Moslem countries can no longer object if the PRCS recognizes MDA, said Yifrach.