This article discusses contentions voiced by ICRC President Maurer in a speech on ‘Challenges to humanitarian action in contemporary conflicts: Israel, the Middle East and beyond’, developed in the form of the article in this issue of the International Review of the Red Cross. It discusses challenges to international humanitarian law in situations where one party violates humanitarian norms, and questions some ICRC contentions and assumptions regarding the status of the West Bank territories, the status of Israel-Palestinian agreements, the status of the Gaza Strip, the concept of ‘occupation’, Israel’s settlement policy, Israel’s separation barrier, East Jerusalem, and concludes with a discussion of ICRC policies of confidentiality, as opposed to public engagement.
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