International Red Cross (ICRC) accepts
Palestinian Red Crescent using ICRC money
for terror glorification
ICRC denies PA daily report that it participated
in ceremony to honor terrorists,
but failed to condemn the Palestinian Red Crescent's
use of donor money for the ceremony
Each branch has the right
"to define [its] own priorities and activities
and to allocate funds accordingly"
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Earlier this month, Palestinian Media Watch reported on a ceremony in the Palestinian Authority celebrating the International Red Cross' 150th anniversary. The official PA daily reported that the International Red Cross (ICRC) together with the Palestinian Red Crescent planted 150 trees bearing the names of "veteran prisoners," meaning security prisoners who have been imprisoned for many years.
Following PMW's report, the International Red Cross, in a letter to Weekly Press Pakistan - Canada, denied its involvement in the ceremony:
"Please note that ICRC was not present during the planting of the trees ceremony reported by your website."
However, not only did ICRC not condemn the Palestinian Red Crescent's glorification of terrorists in the ceremony, it chose to justify the use of ICRC money by the Palestinian Red Crescent. The ICRC issued a statement defending their right to use donor money any way they choose, even though the issue being raised was the use of ICRC money for terror glorification:
The official PA daily wrote that "the International Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent... planted 150 fruit trees that carry the names of the veteran prisoners jailed in the occupation prisons... [during] a ceremony called 'My Honor is My Freedom'... to mark the 150th anniversary of their founding."
"Over the decades, the ICRC has provided support, including financially, both to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and to [Israeli] Magen David Adom for their humanitarian programs. It remains the prerogative of the National Society to define its own priorities and activities and to allocate funds accordingly."
The PA uses the term "veteran prisoners" to refer to those who have been in jail the longest, and in most cases these prisoners are serving life sentences for murder or multiple murders.
PMW documents international organizations' association with Palestinian glorification of terrorists.
The following is the full version of ICRC's statement as received by Weekly Press Pakistan that published PMW's report, conveyed to PMW by Tazpit News Agency:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
In reference to the article entitled "International Red Cross plants trees to honor Palestinian terrorists, Ceremony named "My Honor is My Freedom" honored 150 "veteran prisoners"" published on your website on 12.05.2013.
As we were not approached at any time regarding the content of the article, we kindly request that you publish our response hereafter (as is):
"The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a neutral, independent and impartial organization. Over the last 150 years, we have been striving to uphold these fundamental principles which continue to guide our humanitarian work around the world.
Please note that ICRC was not present during the planting of the trees ceremony reported by your website.
Over the decades, the ICRC has provided support, including financially, both to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and to Magen David Adom for their humanitarian programs. It remains the prerogative of the National Society to define its own priorities and activities and to allocate funds accordingly. "
Should you have any questions on our activities in Israel and the occupied territories, we remain at your disposal and you can as well check our website: http://www.icrc.org/eng/where-we-work/middle-east/israel-occupied-territories/index.jsp
[May 22, 2013, http://weeklypresspakistan.com/2013/05/7544]
The following is the article in the official PA daily reporting on the International Red Cross' participation in the tree planting ceremony honoring terrorists:
Headline: "150 trees named for prisoners are planted in Jenin"
"The International Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent, in cooperation with the Zububa Rural Council west of Jenin, yesterday planted 150 fruit trees that carry the names of the veteran prisoners jailed in the occupation prisons.
The Red Cross and the Red Crescent conducted a ceremony called 'My Honor is My Freedom' in the village of Zububa to mark the 150th anniversary of their founding. Fruit trees were planted at the entrance to the village, where the racist annexation and expansion wall that has swallowed up thousands of acres [of land] was built."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 9, 2013]
PMW notes that the article in the PA daily included the following incorrect statement:
"Participating in the ceremony was the Representative of the European Union of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Giorgio Ferrario."
In fact, Giorgio Ferrario who participated in the event is not an EU representative but the "Representative of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies" in the PA.