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ADC Condemns Arrest, Beating of Mustapha Barghouti, International Delegates, by Israeli Authorities

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today strongly condemned the arrest and beating of Palestinian human rights activist Dr. Mustapha Barghouti by Israeli occupation authorities in East Jerusalem, and launched a formal complaint with the State Department. Members of an international delegation acting as human rights observers in occupied Palestine were also attacked and beaten by Israeli police during the incident.
Dr. Barghouti, a noted public health and human rights activist and head of Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committee, was arrested by Israeli police during a press conference at the American Colony hotel in occupied East Jerusalem this morning. The Grassroots Delegation for the Protection of the Palestinian people was presenting a report into human rights abuses by Israeli occupation forces. Dr. Barghouti was held for three hours without being charged at a police station and was then, without explanation, transported by police car to the Al-Ram checkpoint, which separates East Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. At the checkpoint, as Dr. Barghouti began speaking to journalists and members of international delegation, he was attacked and beaten by members of the Israeli police. He was left with wounds on his both hands, a foot and his nose. His eyeglasses were smashed and he was choked with his own necktie. As members of the international delegation tried to protect him, they were also beaten by Israeli police, who used tear gas and sonic weapons during the attack. One of them, Louisa Morgantine, a member of the European Parliament who showed her credentials to the police, was beaten and thrown to the ground when she attempted to save Dr. Barghouti from the assault. He was then taken by army vehicle to police station at Nevi Yacoub where he was held briefly and released without explanation or being charged.
ADC President Dr. Ziad Asali spoke by telephone with both Dr. Barghouti, who is recovering from the attack, and his attorney Jawad Boulos, was present during the assault, and with Ms. Morgantine. Dr. Asali said “this attack is yet another example of the abusive behavior of the Israeli occupation forces against innocent Palestinian civilians, including human rights activists. It reconfirms the extent to which life for all Palestinians living under this oppressive military rule is made into an endless ordeal. This case underscores not only that the occupation must end, but also the urgent need to provide immediate international protection for the Palestinian people.”
ADC has launched a formal complaint with the State Department urging the Bush Administration to support plans to provide international protection for the Palestinian people. Two weeks ago, the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for the creation of an international “monitoring mechanism” to hold both Israelis and Palestinians accountable for their actions. ADC cited today’s attack on Mustapha Barghouti as another incident demonstrating that not only monitoring, but protection for Palestinians, is urgently required.