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05 December, 2005 - Published 16:56 GMT
Red Cross debates new sign
Countries who have signed the Geneva Conventions are meeting in Geneva today to discuss a third sign for the International Red Cross. Some countries want a new sign with no religious links. This report from Imogen Foulkes:
The only emblems recognised under the Geneva Conventions are the red cross and the red crescent. On the battlefield or in disaster zones the thinking goes: these two clearly symbolise neutral humanitarian relief and should not be compromised by lots of other emblems.
But Israel rejects the cross and the crescent, it's Magen David Adom Society uses the unrecognised red star of David. That means the society is not a full member of the Red Cross movement. America has been withholding its subscriptions to the International Red Cross in protest at the exclusion. Arab states meanwhile, will not accept the star of David as a neutral symbol in a war zone.
The only solution is a third emblem, a red diamond on a white background, it has no cultural or religious significance. After intense negotiations, Israel says it will use the diamond outside its internationally recognised borders. But the new emblem still has to be approved. Although a majority of countries are in favour, some Arab states are apparently not convinced that Israel needs to be accommodated in this way. The debate in Geneva may be heated.
the Geneva conventions
On the battlefield or in disaster zones the thinking goes：
clearly symbolise neutral humanitarian relief
withholding its subscriptions to the International Red Cross
it has no cultural or religious significance
to be accommodated
The debate in Geneva may be heated