WASHINGTON, DC – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) strongly condemned Israel’s siege of the Ramallah compound of Palestinian President Yassir Arafat and killing of at least four Palestinian protesters. Israel has reportedly cut off water, electricity and phone lines to the two remaining buildings in the compound. ADC urged the Bush Administration to urgently intervene to end the siege and ensure that Israeli forces are removed from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah. ADC notes that Israeli forces were ordered to withdraw from cities in the occupied Palestinian territories by a UN Security Council resolution earlier this year. ADC President Ziad Asali said “this renewed siege of President Arafat’s compound constitutes nothing less than an Israeli policy of national humiliation against the Palestinian people. Such actions are designed as a demonstration of the raw power Israeli occupation forces have over all Palestinians, the President included. Conveying that message is the obvious goal of this bizarre display, and fanning the flames of conflict can be its only effect. It is outrageous that the world stands by in silence while Israel stops at nothing to humiliate the Palestinian people and national leadership.”
“We call on President Bush and Secretary of State Powell to urgently use all the influence of the United States to press Israel to end this siege, and withdraw its forces from Palestinian towns and cities,” Dr. Asali continued. “The entire Palestinian population living under occupation has been subjected to months of siege and virtual house arrest, resulting in a fully-blown economic and humanitarian crisis.
Now the Palestinian President is also, yet again, enduring a personal and very public version of this abuse,” he said. Dr. Asali concluded by asking, “who can doubt that the effect of this tactic will inevitably be the escalation of violence and the intensification of a dangerous, destabilizing and tragic conflict?”