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ADC Dismayed by US Veto of UN Observer Force

WASHINGTON, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation’s largest Arab-American membership organization, today expressed deep dismay at the veto by the United States of a proposal to establish a United Nations observer force in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. The resolution presented by the Security Council’s seven non-aligned members called for a UN observer force to protect Palestinian civilians in the Israeli-occupied territories. ADC has been among those calling for such a mission as Israel’s use of excessive force against civilians has turned into an all-out siege. ADC reiterates its call on the Bush Administration to take the lead in providing humanitarian protection.
In another grave escalation, today Israel once again shelled defenseless Palestinian cities under its occupation, including civilian areas of Gaza City and Ramallah. A nine-year-old Palestinian child was reportedly killed and four others injured when Israeli shells hit their home in a refugee camp near Rafah in the Gaza Strip.
ADC President Hala Maksoud said, “we strongly support all measures to provide protection to the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are the only people in the world who suffer under what the Security Council has identified as a belligerent military occupation. Israel refuses to end this occupation, and has killed hundreds of Palestinians, many of them children, to enforce it. The international community has a solemn obligation to immediately act to provide protection to this defenseless civilian population. It is deeply disturbing that our own government should block such humanitarian efforts rather than leading them.
The need for international protection of the Palestinian people was underlined by the release of a report by a special UN Human Rights Commission which denounced excessive and disproportionate force by Israel. The report, issued yesterday, called for an adequate and effective international presence to monitor and report regularly on how all parties were complying with human rights standards. At the conclusion of a visit to the Occupied Territories yesterday, Amnesty International Secretary General Pierre Sane strongly endorsed the right of return of Palestinian refugees and demanded that armed international observers be deployed to protect Palestinian civilians.