Swiss, Syrians negotiate at last minute over MDA symbol

December 7, 2005 03:40
3 minute read.


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The Syrian delegation to the International Red Cross Movement convention in Geneva unveiled on Tuesday a last-minute surprise before the vote to recognize a third, neutral symbol that would lead to the admission as a full member of Israel emergency rescue service, Magen David Adom. The Syrians said they would vote in favor of the third symbol only if Israel allows its "humanitarian workers into the occupied Golan Heights." Swiss representatives were negotiating with the Syrians late Monday night to resolve the matter. Yehiel Goldstein of the MDA mission told The Jerusalem Post from Geneva that he couldn't predict what would occur. "We are a non-governmental organization and have no mandate to make such a concession," he said, adding that Israel government representatives were present as well. "The Red Cross usually prefers a unanimous vote on such issues, and it's possible that such a Syrian demand, if not resolved, could prevent the vote from taking place. But I don't know what will happen," he said. According to Red Cross rules, the symbol could theoretically be voted in by a two-thirds majority. Only last week, the Palestinian Red Crescent signed an agreement with MDA officials stating their support for the new symbol if the Israeli rescue, first aid and blood supply organization recognizes the "right" of the PRC to treat Palestinians in the territories, while MDA has the "right" to treat Israelis in both Israel and the Palestinian areas. Now Syria is looking for a similar status so that the Syrian Red Crescent can help to up to 30,000 Syrians in the Israeli-held Golan Heights. "We want to get an Israeli commitment to us similar to what they did with the Palestinians," Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters during a break in the conference, whose aim was to satisfy Israel after MDA has waited nearly six decades for membership. Syrian delegates claimed they had the support of the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. The move could delay until Wednesday the conference's decision on whether to adopt a red "crystal" emblem, which could be used as an alternative to the red cross or Muslim red crescent used by the organization's societies. Switzerland, as host of the Geneva Conventions on warfare and the Red Cross Movement, called the conference of the 192-nation treaty to consider the emblem. Itzhak Levanon, Israel's ambassador to international organizations in Geneva, said the first day's talks on Monday went well, despite Syria and Iran continuing to hold out. Meanwhile, Israeli-born magician Uri Geller, who is head of the MDA Friends Committee in Britain and is currently in Geneva, claimed he would "bend" the Syrians with his "powers" just as he is able to bend spoons.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town