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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
21 May 1948
Department of Public Information
Press and Publications Bureau
Lake Success, New York

Press Release PAL/173
21 May 1948

(The following is the text of a cable from Paul Ruegger, President of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, to Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations)

"I have the honour to communicate to you, for your information, the text of an appeal addressed today by the International Committee of the Red Cross to the Governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Transjordan.

"The International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva, gravely disturbed by the serious events in Palestine and inspired solely by the wish to protect the greatest numbers of human lives, addresses to the Governments the following urgent appeal which is based on the principles of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent.

"Since April the International Committee, with the agreement of the civil and military authorities both of the Arabs and of the Jews, and with the approval of the Government of Palestine, was on the point of instituting in Jerusalem security zones intended to take in the non-combattant population to shelter them from military operations. At the beginning of May a further project was envisaged of making the whole of Jerusalem neutral, dependent on the agreement of all the authorities. Negotiations on this subject not having succeeded in the required time and since fighting is taking place at present in Jerusalem, the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva addresses itself to your Government to ask it instantly to take the necessary measures to the end that the security zones which the delegation of the International Committee is attempting to institute inside the town itself, as the Committee had originally foreseen, shall be respected in all cases, together with the security zones which the delegation will seek to establish in other towns in Palestine.

"The aim of these security zones is to gather under the control of the International Committee of the Red Cross all non-combattants and particularly Arabs and Jews and to save in this way the greatest possible number of human lives. The International committee of the Red Cross takes the opportunity of recalling here to your Government the first results of its intervention in Palestine, firstly, the adherence of the Arab and Jewish authorities to the essential principles of the Geneva conventions; secondly the placing under the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross various hospital establishments; thirdly the despatch of medical supplies and other aid destined for the two parties; fourthly continuous individual interventions of its delegates who have in this way been able to save both Arab and Jewish wounded during the previous fighting. The International Committee remains convinced that in the spirit of the present appeal all Governments to which it is addressed will make every effort with it to limit suffering which the Palestinian conflict is now causing."

(sgd) Paul Ruegger

President of the International
Committee of the Red Cross

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