As the West Bank and Gaza enter their 50th year of occupation; as Gaza enters its tenth year of an illegal, immoral and inhuman blockade, and as it now faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis; as human rights organizations daily report on human rights atrocities in the West Bank, and of total impunity by IDF and settler perpetrators; as Palestinian political prisoners go on a hunger strike to protest their inhuman conditions, here’s what our Slut of the Year chooses to emphasize in his interview with Israel’s largest-circulation daily:

ICRC official: Israel is not an apartheid state, but there is occupation

“In contrast to the security systems in many countries, including Western ones, Israel allows us rapid access to senior military, prison and other security services,” [Jacques de Maio] said. “We have a productive, efficient and professional dialogue with them. We checked with them the question of the shooting of perpetrators of terror attacks, and we came to the unequivocal conclusion that there are no shoot to kill orders of suspects by IDF, as some political elements tried to convince us. Rules of engagement have not changed, and became even stricter. True, there are wrong decisions of individual soldiers and there are many instances of outrageous behavior at checkpoints, sometimes against the explicit instruction. We did not hesitate to report this to the IDF and we usually receive a substantive response. So that we rejected the accusation, and immediately there were those who claimed that we were whitewashing IDF war crimes and serving the Zionists.”
“The Red Cross was very familiar with the regime that prevailed in South Africa during the apartheid period, and we are responding to all those who raise their claim of apartheid against Israel: No, there is no apartheid here, no regime of superiority of race, of denial of basic human rights to a group of people because of their alleged racial inferiority. There is a bloody national conflict, whose most prominent and tragic characteristic is its continuation over the years, decades-long, and there is a state of occupation. Not apartheid.”
“The Red Cross does not intend to tell Israelis where to live, it is their political decision,” De Maio said. “But if this is accompanied by ongoing humanitarian damages to Palestinian residents, it is our duty to alert about it.”
It is evident that De Maio has a strong will to prove the absence of any bias, to avoid any deviation from the universal principles. He repeatedly emphasized the ICRC’s “exceptional” access to “commanders, decisions, facilities and events” in the IDF and IPS. He praised the deepening internalization, as he puts it, of the principles of international humanitarian law in the “Israeli side.”