New Red Cross, Crescent emblem comes into force
Geneva, Jan 14: The world's largest relief organisation, theInternational Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, today began using athird emblem whose adoption allowed Israel to join after a decades-longstruggle.
The red crystal on a white background is an alternative to eitherthe cross or the crescent and is intended to provide protection torelief workers operating in areas of conflict.
Both the Israeli Magen David Adom (MDA) and the Palestinian RedCrescent emergency services joined the umbrella relief organisation inJune 2006, six months after the movement's signatory states andnational societies agreed to the new emblem at a specially convenedconference.
The Jewish state's MDA had resisted using the cross and crescent because of their links to Christianity and Islam.
In return for being allowed to join, Israel had to acknowledge thePalestinian Red Crescent as the internationally recognised emergencyservice within the occupied territory.
Arab states had insisted on this before they would accept a new emblem custom-made for Israel.
''The red crystal reaffirms the determination of the InternationalRed Cross and Red Crescent Movement to ... enhance its strength andcredibility,'' the International Committee of the Red Cross and theInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies saidin a joint statement.
Its adoption involved a new protocol to the 1949 GenevaConventions which lay down rules for warfare and the treatment ofprisoners and the wounded.
So far 84 countries have signed the protocol and nine haveratified it. The emblem automatically came into force six months afterbeing ratified by the second state, which was Switzerland, on July 14,2006.