Tuesday, December 14, 2010


written by Adrian Korsner

A delegation organised by the ZF including Jonathan Lux and His Honour Dennis Levy QC from the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (and UK Assn.), together with Jamie Slavin of The Board Of Deputies and Adrian Korsner from the UK Zionist Federation, met on 10th December with Michael A Meyer OBE, the Head Of International Law at the British Red Cross.
They handed a letter Mr Meyer expressing theirsadness at the apparent inaction by the ICRC in the matter of verifying the wellbeing of Gilad Shalit, imprisoned by Hamas for more than 4 years. Mr Meyer read the document and then asked Jonathan Lux to speak on the matter.
Mr Meyer then spoke, on behalf of the British Red Cross which he made clear was NOT the ICRC. The ICRC had a right to visit Prisoner's of War or Civilian Internees held as a result of an international conflict and could only visit if allowed to by the holding body (Hamas). An international conflict was one between two independent states. Since Hamas was not a state, the conflict could not be considered international.
Despite this, Mr Meyer said that, in twenty eight years at the Red Cross, he could not remember any prisoner ever having received as much attention as Gilad had. The ICRC had made repeated requests for access.
The ICRC had a remit, only to address matters from a moral standpoint, The ICRC is a completely impartial observer and has to act in this way. It is essential that actions taken or statements made do not alienate it from either side in a dispute as, if it did, it would lose all potential access. Its remit is to work, behind the scenes, not to organise marches or demonstrations.
The visitors asked Mr Meyer to take the following request to the ICRC. They asked that the ICRC made every attempt to maximise, absolutely, its efforts to visit Gilad and to express publicly its disappointment if it was unsuccessful. They also asked that the ICRC used all its considerable 'Moral Powers' to harness the plight of Gilad with the world's press. Mr Meyer listened intentively to all that was said and agreed to present the views of the group to the ICRC in Geneva.