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ADC Welcomes Annan’s Call for Mideast Peacekeeping Force

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) warmly welcomed statements by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calling for the introduction of international forces in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. “I believe the deployment of a multinational force deserves serious consideration,” Annan said, “the situation is so dangerous that the international community has an obligation to provide this assistance.” Annan added that the armed force should be “robust.” ADC has been calling for international protection for the Palestinian people since October, 2000.
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “We warmly welcome and endorse Secretary General Annan’s proposals, and call on the Bush Administration to lend all its support to this plan. We are extremely disappointed with the Administration’s inconsistent stances towards Israel’s attacks against the Palestinian people and its failure to place any meaningful pressure on Prime Minister Sharon to halt his aggressions.” Dr. Asali continued, “This failure seriously undermined Secretary of State Colin Powell’s recent peace mission, and is preventing the United States from playing the role of peace-maker which we have assigned ourselves and which we ought to play.” He added, “The President has not acknowledged the human tragedy that has been inflicted on Jenin, Nablus and other Palestinian towns, and seems prepared to tolerate any level of brutality Israel cares to inflict on the Palestinian people. “
He concluded, “It is heartening that Secretary General Annan has stepped into the void to provide the international leadership so badly needed. He has seized the moral high-ground and deserves all of our support. But his plan will require the cooperation of the UN member states, especially the United States. We urge President Bush, in the strongest possible terms, to support peacekeeping or international monitoring efforts. The international fire brigades must be allowed to douse the flames before more victims are consumed by this terrible conflict.”
ADC also called for a United Nations investigation into possible Israeli war crimes during its recent offensive, especially in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. A number of journalists, international aid and human rights agencies and UN Mideast Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen have all expressed grave concerns that Israel’s destruction of Jenin involved massive suffering and deaths of Palestinian civilians. During a visit to Jenin, Roed-Larsen said, “Not any objective can justify such action, with colossal suffering” to civilians, “it is totally unacceptable and horrific beyond belief.” “The stench of death is horrible,” he added, “we have expert people here who have been in war zones and earthquakes and they say they have never seen anything like it.”