(Jerusalem) More than 1,500 attorneys from around the world have signed on to a letter to the International Red Cross (ICRC) demanding that it act immediately to safeguard the lives and well-being of Israelis taken hostage by the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza. The letter, organized by the Israeli human rights group, Shurat HaDin, is demanding that the Geneva based ICRC take imminent action and accuses the international agency of employing only superficial steps to free the Israeli captives.
The deadly massacre by Hamas of Israeli civilians in southern communities on October 7th, left more than 1,400 people murdered and more than 220 people kidnapped, including women, children and elderly citizens. There is great concern as to the safety and well-being of the hostages taken to Gaza, considering the brutality of the acts accompanying the massacre and accumulated evidence and information elicited from Hamas terrorists arrested during the attack. The documented reports indicate that women and children are being abused, that the hostages are being held in inhumane conditions and are subject to torture, humiliation, and violence. Further concern lies as to the use of the hostages as human shields by Hamas during its war with Israel.
The lawyers’ letter argues that, despite Red Cross claims of “sustained and daily contact with Hamas… the ICRC has not fulfilled its duties to demand to see the hostages, to ensure their humanitarian care, and to arrange for their immediate release.” Nineteen days later, the ICRC still does not know how many hostages there are and how many are alive.
The letter continues to provide a chilling comparison between the ICRC’s own publicly admitted errors and cruel indifference during the Holocaust and its conduct in the current crisis regarding the Israeli hostages. The 1,500 lawyers conclude, that “mistakes that the ICRC admits having made during the Holocaust alarmingly resemble the mistakes that you are making today: in your desperate attempt to appear ‘impartial’ you do the minimum necessary. You issue hollow statements, serving a policy of going through the motions. You are passive. You are ‘neutral.’ You choose not to ‘risk’ your ties with the Nazi-like terror organization, and other anti-Israel and anti-Semitic entities, for the sake of innocent Jews.”
The letter sharply charges the ICRC with biased treatment of Israel and the application of double standards towards the Jewish State. While the international organization has raised false allegations against Israel, it repeatedly refrained from criticism against the Hamas terrorist organization. “The sad irony” continues the letter, “is that Israel goes to extraordinary, unprecedented lengths to preserve the lives of Gazan civilians while Hamas forces them to be human shields and cannon fodder.”
The lawyers’ missive concludes with the demand that the ICRC “immediately take decisive actions to secure the release of the hostages” and until their release, the letter sets out 10 action items the ICRC is required to take in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of the Israelis, including the undertaking of a thorough census of the hostages, visiting the hostages, assuring that any injured captive receives appropriate medical care, ensure that there are adequate provisions for the Israelis and more.
“These are moments in which the Red Cross’ relevance will be determined,” says Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder and president of Shurat HaDin. “The Red Cross has already stabbed the Jewish people in our backs once before, and so far, it looks like it is doing the same now. The Red Cross must not join the choir of anti-Semitic organizations that champion a despicable terrorist organization, like Hamas, which committed atrocities against Jews not seen since the Holocaust. If the Red Cross deserts the Jewish State in its most vulnerable dark days, it will be clear they have learned nothing from history. The Red Cross is exposing for all to see what their true agenda is.”
Shurat HaDin has established a “legal war room” to utilize volunteer lawyers worldwide to aid Israel at this challenging hour.