Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-hsbzg Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-23T14:37:17.820Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Challenges to Humanitarian Action in Contemporary Conflicts: Israel, the Middle East and Beyond

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 June 2014

Peter Maurer*
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This article is based on a lecture hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 3 July 2013;
Get access


The latest developments in the Middle East region are of great concern to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The current level of violence, displacement and destruction in and around Syria is unprecedented in a region that has already suffered conflict and instability for most of its modern history. According to recent figures released by the United Nations (UN), over 100,000 people have died from the fighting in Syria; more than six million have been forced to flee their homes, including two million who have found refuge in neighbouring countries. This is putting an immense strain on host communities and governments.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press and The Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 ‘Syria at Risk of Sliding Further into Chaos, Senior UN Officials Tell Security Council’, UN News Centre, 16 July 2013,

2 Data as of 5 September 2013: see figures of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,

3 ‘April Deadliest Month in Iraq in Five Years’, UN News Center, 2 May 2013,

4 For more information on ICRC activities to help people affected by war, see

5 Kretzmer, David, ‘The Law of Belligerent Occupation in the Supreme Court of Israel’ (2012) 94 International Review of the Red Cross 207, 212CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

6 Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 UNTS 287.

7 See, eg, Fux, Pierre-Yves and Zambelli, Mirko, ‘Mise en œuvre de la quatrième Convention de Genève dans les territoires palestiniens occupés: historique d'un processus multilatéral (1997–2001)’ (2002) 84 International Review of the Red Cross 661Google Scholar.

8 International Committee of the Red Cross, ‘Doctrine sur l'approche confidentielle du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (CICR)’ (2012) 94 (887) International Review of the Red Cross 1.Google Scholar