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ADC Demands US Intervention to Halt Israeli Rampage, Enforce Security Council Resolutions

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) once again called on the Bush Administration to act immediately to halt the expanding Israeli rampage in the occupied West Bank and enforce UN Security Council Resolutions 1402 and 1403 which demand that Israel withdrawal at once from Palestinian areas re-invaded over the past week. ADC warned that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was using the period before Secretary of State Colin Powell arrives in the region on a peace mission not only to destroy as much of Palestinian society and government as possible, but also to provoke a response that will justify further Israeli aggressions and ensure that the mission does not succeed.
ADC President Ziad Asali said “if it wants Secretary Powell’s mission to have any real chance of success, the Administration must act now to halt this unspeakable attack on the Palestinian people. Prime Minister Sharon is openly defying both the Security Council’s and President Bush’s demands that he halt his attacks at once. It seems clear that Mr. Sharon, who is completely opposed to peace, is using the period leading up to the mission to ensure that it fails. The scope and brutality of this assault are clearly designed to fuel the appalling cycle of violence and escalate, rather than end, the conflict. Mr. Sharon has said many times that he intends to ‘batter’ and ‘beat’ Palestinians into accepting Israel’s military rule in the occupied territories. However, the Palestinian people will never abandon their quest to establish a free and independent Palestinian state. By now almost everyone understands that this is the key to peace, and we have to move quickly in that direction in order that the bloodshed can end.”
Although the Israeli army has closed the areas under attack to the press and has shot at and arrested numerous journalists in an effort to hide the brutality of its actions, many credible reports say that scores of Palestinian civilians have been killed in the past two days alone. Among the victims are at least one Arab American and the bell ringer of the Church of the Holy Nativity, which is still besieged by Israeli tanks. Accounts speak of bodies lying strewn in the streets of numerous towns, and of medical workers being prevented from helping the injured and dying. Local and international humanitarian work has also been completely shut down, and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva issued an unprecedented statement that Israel’s “behavior is totally unacceptable, for it jeopardizes not only the lifesaving work of emergency medical services, but also the I.C.R.C.’s humanitarian mission.” The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports that Israel has been torturing prisoners and there are numerous reports of summary executions of Palestinians by Israeli forces.