Red Cross: 'IDF has no orders to shoot to kill'

Red Cross head Jacques de Maio says Israel not violating human rights 'based on racial inferiority' and is not an apartheid state.

Yoel Domb ,

Red Cross
Red Cross
צילום: אייסטוק

Jacques De Maio, who heads the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation to Israel and the PA, asserted in an interview with Israeli media site Ynet that there is no IDF order to shoot suspects to kill, despite claims to the contrary by 'political officials'

De Maio also rejected claims of apartheid, stating that: 'There isn't a regime here that is based on the superiority of one race over another; there is no disenfranchisement of basic human rights based on so-called racial inferiority.'

The International Red Cross has been in Israel since 1948 and expanded its presence to Judea and Samaria in 1967. However De Maio, a 53-year-old Swiss national, says that "We still have to explain to the Israeli public who we are, what we're looking for here and what are our principles."

De Maio was asked how the Red Cross can maintain neutrality and treat both terrorists and those who fight against terrorism—with the same level of leniency. He answered simply that "we offer help to people as human beings who need our help. Almost all of our work is done quietly, without publicity, often in secrecy, and our only goal is to protect people's natural rights. Not to deal with politics."

As an example of the attempts to politicize the Red Cross, De Maio singled out two issues:the claim of "extrajudicial killings" by Israel and the claim that it is an apartheid state.

Regarding the former claim De Maio said that "In contrast to the security systems in many countries, including Western ones, Israel allows us rapid access to senior military, prison and other security services. We have a productive, efficient and professional dialogue with them. We checked with them the question of the shooting of perpetrators of terror attacks, and we came to the unequivocal conclusion that there are no shoot to kill orders of suspects by IDF, as some political elements tried to convince us. Rules of engagement have not changed, and became even stricter. True, there are wrong decisions of individual soldiers and there are many instances of outrageous behavior at checkpoints, sometimes against the explicit instruction. We did not hesitate to report this to the IDF and we usually receive a substantive response. So that we rejected the accusation, and immediately there were those who claimed that we were whitewashing IDF war crimes and serving the Zionists."

As for claims that Israel is an apartheid state, De Maio categorically rejected them:

"The Red Cross was very familiar with the regime in South Africa during Apartheid, and we respond to anyone who makes the argument that Israel is an apartheid state: No, there is no apartheid here. There isn't a regime here that is based on the superiority of one race over another; there is no disenfranchisement of basic human rights based on so-called racial inferiority. What does exist here is a bloody national conflict, the most prominent and tragic feature being that it is decades long, and there is occupation. Not apartheid."

De Maio reiterated that he has no obsession with Israel, adding that "I do not hesitate to reject the comparisons and parallels made between the situation here and Somalia, Sudan, Yemen or countless of other hot spots around the globe. However, we will not just give you permission for the continued control of another people, and we will not agree to serve as a scapegoat. Not yours, not of the Palestinians, nor of anyone else. We do not work for countries, we do not work for regimes, we work for humans."

The International Committee of the Red Cross is different from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the latter of which is a federation of national Red Cross, Red Crescent and Magen David Adom organizations. The ICRC became a full member of the federation only in 2005.