Misplaced public pressure towards the ICRC

03 October 2019

Jerusalem - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) laments the misplaced public pressure directed towards its offices and staff over the past days which has led to the cancellation of a number of activities including family visits to the larger detainee population.   

"In recent days, we have seen sit-ins spiral out of control outside some of our offices in the occupied Palestinian territory. Staff were insulted and accused of not doing enough to follow up on their commitment towards Palestinian detainees in Israeli detention," said David Quesne, the head of the ICRC’s mission in Jerusalem.  
"While we understand the street’s anger and frustrations in relation to the case of Samer Arbid, we assure everyone that we were following up on Samer’s case with the Israeli authorities from the moment we learned about his hospitalisation. Thanks to this follow up, the ICRC doctor conducted a visit to Samer at Hadassah hospital yesterday in full respect of the ICRC’s working modalities. Samer’s wife has also been informed," added Quesne.  
Visiting detainees in Israeli detention has been a cornerstone of the ICRC’s work in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory for more than fifty years. The ICRC remains the only entity at present which is mandated and capable of visiting all Palestinian detainees in Israel.
“We have always shouldered our role with regards to Palestinian detainees in Israeli detention. Our working modalities, in particular confidentiality, do not enable us to speak in detail about what we do, but we do meet our obligations and deliver on our mandate,” concluded Quesne.  
The ICRC seizes this opportunity to call upon all entities as well as the general public to give it space to carry out its work, and to respect the safety and integrity of its staff. Absent of that, people who need the ICRC’s services the most, will be impacted.  

For further information, please contact: 

Dan Waites (English), ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 9150
Suhair Zakkout (Arabic and English), ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 59 92 55 381
Yehonatan Saban (Hebrew and English), ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: +972 52 513 3000