Finkelstein comments: Jacques de Maio represents the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Israel/Palestine.  I read last week the new Israeli propaganda report on Operation Protective Edge, THE 2014 GAZA CONFLICT (http://mfa.gov.il/ProtectiveEdge/Documents/2014GazaConflictFullReport.pdf).  Paragraph 391 of the report cites this quote from de Maio:

[H]umanitarian access in Israel and the [West Bank and Gaza Strip] is, in a comparative sense, outstandingly good. In fact, I can think of no other context where the ICRC operates worldwide – where there exists active conflict, but even including other situations of armed violence or ongoing political/ethnic/religious tensions – where the access for humanitarian organizations is as good as it is here.

De Maio made this statement at an Israeli-based and -cosponsored conference in Jerusalem right after Operation Protective Edge.   He did not utter a single word of criticism of Israel in his opening address. (http://blogs.icrc.org/ilot/2014/11/03/the-9th-annual-minerva-icrc-international-conference-on-humanitarian-law-jerusalem-3-4-november-2014/).  For an example of Israel’s “outstandingly good” humanitarian access to Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, in which the ICRC was directly involved, I urge readers to go to http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/gazareport_eng.pdf, and look at pages 48-49 (“Failure of Coordination mechanism”).

Below I reproduce my email correspondence with de Maio.

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Me:

I was reading the new Israeli report on Operation Protective Edge, and came across this quote from you:

[H]umanitarian access in Israel and the [West Bank and Gaza Strip] is, in a comparative sense, outstandingly good. In fact, I can think of no other context where the ICRC operates worldwide – where there exists active conflict, but even including other situations of armed violence or ongoing political/ethnic/religious tensions – where the access for humanitarian organizations is as good as it is here.

I find it hard to fathom that the ICRC is heaping praise on Israel, let alone in an Israeli venue, after 550 children were killed in Gaza, and after Breaking the Silence published testimonies on the ineffable brutality of the Israeli assault, and after so many human rights reports documented Israel’s targeting of hospitals and ambulances during the attack.   Checking the context of your remark,I  notice that you did not express a single word of criticism of Israel’s actions.  In an act of self-praise, however, you do take public notice of your pluck, deeming the above-cited quote a “provocative statement.”  Oh, how brave of you!

I hope you received a generous honorarium.

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De Maio replies:

Ignorance I can bear. Ignorance + bad faith, I can’t. You’re spam.

Sent from my iPad

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Me:

Where’s the bad faith?  Be specific.

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De Maio never replied.  He did not, however, object to posting this email correspondence.   You might wish to write him expressing your own opinion of his courageous remarks in Jerusalem.  He can be reached here: jdemaio@icrc.org or on twitter @JdeMaioICRC



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