Protesting Hamas at Red Cross HQ
Protesting Hamas at Red Cross HQsrael News photo: Hezki Ezra

Mirjana Spoljaric suggested that Israel must negotiate with Hamas to arrange Red Cross (ICRC) access to the hostages. "Israel must work out with Hamas our lack of access to hostages," she has the gall to say. Clearly the ICRC learned nothing from their disgraceful response to the Holocaust, because this would be like a statement that the Nazis and the Jews should discuss how the Red Cross should respond to the concentration camps.

We can recognize evil when we see it, can the ICRC not recognize evil? Have they learned nothing from their mistakes?

As the representative of the organization that claims it has the insights to create and oversee the rules of armed conflict this is a disgraceful response from a disgraceful woman. How can we take this woman seriously? At a minimum, she could have condemned the October 7th massacre and the taking of civilian hostages, upholding the most basic aspect of the Geneva Conventions. Instead she chose to do nothing for over 2 months and then hide behind the derisive fantasy of moral equivalence. Why would anyone ever give a donation to support such obfuscation where real work is needed?

The Red Cross wrote the Geneva Conventions and strongly criticizes those they feel are breaking them. Where is their criticism of the Hamas for the massacres of October 7th? We have only heard silence.

Where is their demand to access the hostages? We have heard no demands, just excuses. I will share with you another insight.

At their offices in Toronto when we visited them last week – they hid again, this time behind locked doors. They refused to come out to talk to a few people standing in reception who had brought donations and medicine for the hostages. On another occasion they refused to let me in the door when I came, one person, alone, to discuss the hostages. They turned and fled leaving me locked out.

Why is the Red Cross so afraid of us? Can they not stand on their record?

Maybe not. Objectively they don’t have a good record to stand on. Ignoring Israel, they have done nothing in Nigeria in a century long jihadi massacre of Christians, nothing in Sudan in a decades long jihadi massacre of other Christians, the Ukrainians say they have done little in the Ukraine recently despite spending over 380 million Swiss Francs, more than twice what they spend in any other conflict zone. There are many more examples.

Where are they doing good work? Here in Canada their efforts with simple blood donations in a non-conflict zone was so disastrous, the entire enterprise was taken away from them and awarded to a new organization. rates their impact as “low” and points out significant inconsistencies in the financial reporting.

Clearly, with respect to the hostages there are two possibilities, they can, or they can not attend to them. They claim they can but haven’t and are terrified of talking to us about it. This in turn leads us to two possibilities, one, they really can not do what they say they do or two, they don’t want to do what they say they do. Neither sounds good.

The ICRC authorizes specific bodies to carry out their good work in conflict zones and by virtue of displaying ICRC symbols creates immunity for them within conflict zones. Why are they afraid to rely on their own self defined and self established immunity in Gaza to fulfil their obligations to the hostages held there? Could it be that they know that their affiliate organization, the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC), the people the ICRC designated to represent them in Gaza, abuse those immunities constantly, transporting and protecting combatants, munitions and rioters in the ambulances in violation of Red Cross rules. This is incredible disrespect.

Could it be that Mirjana Spoljaric knows that the abuses of the Red Cross immunity by the PRC endanger every Red Cross worker in Gaza and in fact, around the world, but is afraid to confront them?

If the ICRC can not trust the PRC(Hamas) to protect them because they have severely compromised the ICRC brand and immunity, instead of blaming the problem on Israel for not making the necessary arrangements with the murderous Hamas, they should revoke the PRC credentials, condemn them soundly and invoke the rules of the Geneva Conventions in recognition of those massacred of October 7th by Hamas.

There is no more compelling reason for the ICRC to demand immediate access to the hostages who we know from released hostages have not been appropriately treated and protected by the PRC (aka Hamas).

In light of their record in numerous conflict zones around the world, much of the world has completely lost confidence in the ICRC. If they can not enforce the standards and values their words require the ICRC and all its non-functioning Red Cross affiliates should be defunded. If we believe in the principles of the Geneva Conventions we need a new organization that doesn’t absorb billions of dollars and does so little. We need a new organization that respects the rules of the Geneva Conventions and protects non-combatants so that others will respect them.

Paul Rotenbergheads theToronto Zionist Council