Red Magen David Explains Emblem Change

Red Magen David has responded to A7 's report. Below is MDA's response, the link to the article and the entire document signed in 2005.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Magen David Adom ambulance
Magen David Adom ambulance
Israel news photo:

Arutz Sheva recently ran an article concerning a Memorandum of Understanding that had come to its attention,  signed by Israel's Red Magen David's chairman and the Palestinian Red Crescent's president  in 2005 in the presence of International Red Cross representatives in Geneva.

To read A7's article, dealing with the Memorandaum's wording, and part of which dealt with the Red Crystal symbol adopted in the Third Additional Protocol quoted there, click here.

At the time, Arutz Sheva was unable to reach Red Magen David's Chairman for a response, despite efforts to do so. A response in Hebrew arrived today and in keeping with our journalistic standards, below is an unedited translation:

Red Magen David at present works regularly and without any change in all parts of Judea and Samaria with the organization’s symbol as it was up to now. The political interpretation that an attempt is being made to attach to the organization is out of place and upsetting. Red Magen David did not give up its symbol and is proud of it. The operative change in the symbol on the ambulances rented to factories and communities is not connected with Yesha but with operational work.

We wish to make clear that Red Magen David has two groups of ambulances, one group that works out of its stations and the other, community ambulances that are permanently parked in hundreds of villages, kibbutzim and moshavim all over the country. These communities run the ambulances independently, pay the workers’ salaries and also maintain the ambulances. Red Magen David decided to change what appears on these ambulances all over the country so that it will be clear to which community each ambulance belongs, including the name of the community that operates them.

Regrettably, there are those who are attempting to distort this reality and interpret the step as a political change and claim that Israel gave in to the Palestinian Red Cresecent and the International Red Cross. Red Magen David rejects these claims and notes that the facts prove that the organization’s ambulances and their symbols, continue to operate as usual in Judea and Samaria and will continue to do so.

At the request of Danny Dayan, the head of the Yesha Council, Red Magen David has begun by placing the new symbol on the ambulances in the rest of the country before doing so in Yesha.

Arutz Sheva is pleased to hear that the Star of David will remain on those ambulances that work out of its stations.  Arutz Sheva's article deals mainly with the wording of the memorandum, which appears unabridged below. Arutz Sheva put key expressions in bold type:

Memorandum of Understanding                                                                                                                                                                                                   between                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Magen David Adom in Israel                                                                                                                                                                                                           and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Palestine Red Crescent Society

Magen David Adom in Israel (MDA) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PCRS), in an effort to facilitate the adoption of a Third Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and to pave the way for the membership of both societies in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement committed to operating in accordance with International humanitarian law and with the Statutes, Rules and fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement; and wishing to facilitate their cooperation, agree that:

1. MDA and PRCS recognize that PRCS is the authorized national society in the Palestinian territory and that this territory is within the geographical scope of the operational activities and of the competences of PRCS. MDA and PRCS will respect each other's jurisdiction and will operate in accordance with the Statutes and Rules of the Movement.

3. After the Third Protocol Additonal is adopted and by the time MDA is admitted by the General Assembly of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:

         a. MDA will ensure that it has no chapters outside the internationally recognized borders of the State of Israel.

         b. Operational activities of one society within the jurisdiction of the other society will be conducted in accordance with the consent provision of resolution 11 of the 1921 international conference.

         c. MDA and PRCS will use a distinctive emblem in conformity with the requirement of the Geneva Conventions and its Third Additional Protocol, and the Statutes and Rules of the Movement.

4. MDA and PRCS will work together and separately within their jurisdictions to end any misuse of the emblem and will work with their respective authorities to ensure respect for their humanitarian mandate and for international humanitarian law.

5. MDA and PRCS will operate in accordance with a peace agreement reached between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

6. MDA and PRCS will cooperate in the implementation of this Memorandum of Understanding upon the signature of this Memorandum and through operational arrangements as agreed by the joint technical working group.

7.This Memorandum of Understanding will enter into force upon signature by the Chairman of MDA and the President of PRCS subsequent to its approval by their respective executive boards.

Signed in Geneva on 28 November 2005

For Magen David Adom in israel: Dr. Noam Yifrach,Chairman

For the Palestine Red Crescent Society:Younis Al-Khatib, President

In witness thereof:  For the Swiss Government, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Federal Councillor; For the ICRC, Jakob Kellenberger, President; For the IFRC, Bengt Westerberg, Vice President; For the Standing Commission, Philippe Cuviller, Special Representative for the Emblem.  

(note: all actual signatures are on photostatted document)