Israel advocacy group files legal complaint against Red Cross

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The Shurat HaDin — an Israeli advocacy group — has taken legal action against the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) accusing the humanitarian organisation of inaction over Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. The advocacy group — which fights legal battles worldwide on behalf of Israeli victims — filed the complaint in Jerusalem on behalf of the families of 24 hostages. The group has criticised the ICRC for allegedly failing to act to fulfil its mandate and moral duty to visit the kidnapped Israelis held as captives in Gaza.

“We cannot accept this disregard and disrespect for human lives, just because the hostages are Jewish,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder and President of Shurat HaDin said. She said that the ICRC is simply “biased” and “apathetic” to Israeli lives. “The ICRC was slow to intervene and did not act firmly to facilitate visits or try to supply the medicines required to the hostages,” she said. Meanwhile, ICRC has said that the organisation is neutral and that the situation on the ground is making it increasingly difficult to operate for the organisation.

During the visit of ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric Egger to Israel, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum insisted she intervene and meet the Israeli hostages who were held in Hamas captivity. During the temporary one-week truce from November 24 to December 1, between Hamas and Israel, the Hamas released 105 hostages while at least 129 hostages are still in their captivity. The Israelis believe that out of the remaining 129 hostages, at least 20 hostages have died. There are thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails who have been held without any trials and access to legal counsel.

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The Palestinian Prisoners Club has said that Israeli forces have arrested more than 4,655 people in the occupied West Bank since October 7. Israel launched a ground offensive inside Gaza on October 27 after Hamas attacked Israel in a surprise attack on October 7 in which 1200 Israelis were killed and over 200 were taken hostage. Since the outbreak of hostilities, over 20,000 Palestinians have been killed mostly children and women while 52,286 Palestinians have been injured.