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Israel: ICRC visits detained activists

01-06-2010 News Release 10/98

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) strongly deplores the tragic loss of civilian lives and the injuries resulting from Israel's military operation on 31 May against a flotilla heading for Gaza. The high number of casualties raises serious questions concerning the methods and means used by the Israel Defense Forces to prevent the flotilla from proceeding to Gaza.

" Our priority now is to check on the condition and whereabouts of the people wounded and of those detained by the Israeli authorities, " said Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation in Israel and the occupied territories. The ICRC has also offered to serve as a neutral intermediary in behalf of citizens from countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel, who are protected by the Fourth Geneva Convention. " We have been granted access to dozens of activists from the convoy of ships now being held by the Israeli authorities, and we are re-establishing contact with their families, " said Mr Wettach.


Gazans continue to suffer the effects of siege-induced poverty and warfare . The closure imposed on Gaza three years ago and the effects of Israel's military operation in the Strip in January 2009 are crippling the entire economy. Humanitarian aid alone cannot address the massive needs in Gaza, where civilians are paying the price of the blockade and ongoing hostilities.

The ICRC urges Israel to lift the closure and calls upon States, political authorities and the organized armed groups concerned to do what is necessary to reopen the Gaza Strip and safeguard the life and dignity of its civilian population.

For further information, please contact:
  Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18
  Cecilia Goin, ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 91 50


  See also the latest update on ICRC activities carried out in Israel and the occupied territories.