“By singling out Israel, there is a real danger that the Geneva Conventions are being politicized and undermined,” World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer wrote on Tuesday in letters to the Swiss government and to the European Union ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. Singer’s letters were sent ahead of a conference Wednesday by the signatory states of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The parley was convened by Switzerland and focuses exclusively on the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
In his letters, Singer stated: “The Fourth Geneva Convention is one of the key texts of international law. It is therefore worrisome to see that over the past 65 years, the only three times such a conference of the High Contracting Parties of the convention was convened was to discuss Israel’s actions in the West Bank and Gaza. The World Jewish Congress supports the Geneva Conventions regime and the respect of humanitarian law. However, by again singling out Israel, there is a real danger that the Geneva Conventions are being politicized and thus undermined.”
Singer urged that Israel “be treated just as any other signatory of the Geneva Conventions. If it is not, there is a danger that we undermine the respect for the conventions in the long term.” He also urged the Swiss government “to ensure that the declaration adopted by the conference will be balanced, addressing the responsibility of all parties to the conflict, including Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.”
The WJC CEO lamented the fact that the “massacre of civilians in Syria (more than 1 million), the ethnic cleansing of minorities in Iraq (1.5 million internal displaced persons and refugees) and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine are not of the same magnitude that requires the convening of the High Contracting Parties.”
“We must all strive to ensure that international humanitarian law is not being misused as a political tool with which to vilify the State of Israel. Israel should be treated just as any other signatory of the Geneva Conventions. If it is not, there is a danger that we undermine the respect for the conventions in the long term,” Singer wrote.
The United States, Australia, Canada, Israel and Rwanda have said they would not participate in the gathering on Wednesday.