Raz and Ohad Ben Ami were kidnapped from their home in Kibbutz Be'eri on October 7, and were held separately in Gaza. Ohad, 55, remains a hostage and Raz, 57, was released after nearly two months in captivity. She was kept in inhumane conditions and her health deteriorated since she did not receive the medicine she takes for a chronic illness. While she was in captivity, her family members begged International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials in Israel, Germany and the United States to try to deliver the medicine to her, but they were rejected.
One of the ICRC officials even sent an email to the family, in which he wrote: "I wish you success in re-establishing contact with your family members."
Now, the Shurat Hadin Israeli Law Center organization has submitted a claim to the Jerusalem District Court on behalf of Raz and Ohad Ben Ami and their families against the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The lawsuit accuses the Red Cross of not acting to fulfill its mandate to visit the Israeli hostages held in Gaza, and for not guaranteeing their safety or acting for their release.
According to the lawsuit, the roles and powers of the International Committee of the Red Cross not only grant it rights, but also carry with it the responsibility to act in cases like the Israeli hostages and, despite this, it did not act as reasonably expected of it. The members of the organization began to intervene actively only weeks after the kidnapping, and lost precious time, the lawsuit asserts. The ICRC did not act with due respect to the families of the hostages, did not try to deliver the necessary medicines to the hostages - even when they were provided to the organization's representatives - and did not act firmly to visit the hostages even after it was agreed upon in the hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas, according to the lawsuit.
Since the outbreak of the war against Hamas in Gaza, Shurat Hadin has led an effort to confront the passive response of the ICRC, and their lack of concern for the fate of the more than 240 Israelis who were kidnapped on October 7. One of these efforts, which received international media coverage, was a letter signed by more than 1,500 lawyers worldwide, demanding action on behalf of the Israeli hostages.
"The International Committee of the Red Cross is reliving its mistakes from the Holocaust, when it abandoned the Jewish people in its darkest period in history," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, founder and president of Shurat Hadin. "We cannot accept this disregard and disrespect for human life, just because they are Jewish. The International Committee of the Red Cross is simply biased. It operates on a daily basis in Gaza, has no problem accusing Israel of so-called 'violations', and strongly demands that Palestinian terrorists who kidnap Israelis be punished, while it doesn't care about those they kidnapped."