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Air Raids Against Palestinians Underscore Need for Protection

WASHINGTON, DC — In yet another major escalation of the conflict in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel, Israeli F-16 warplanes bombed numerous Palestinian towns and cities yesterday. At least 9 Palestinians were killed, and scores more injured in the Israeli attacks, which are strongly condemned by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). ADC President Hala Maksoud said “this latest escalation indicates that Israel will stop at nothing in its all out war to enforce its occupation of Palestinian land and subjugation of the Palestinian people. The use of American-made warplanes in this effort makes a review of American arms sales to Israel urgently required. Since events are quickly spiraling out of all control, the time has come for the international community to live up to its obligation to provide protection to the Palestinian people. The Bush Administration should take the lead in developing such efforts, not blocking them.”
The Israeli attacks were allegedly in response to a suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Netanya yesterday, in which 4 Israelis were killed. The warplanes targeted buildings associated with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), in spite of the fact that the PNA condemned the suicide bombing, and responsibility for it was claimed by a group not associated with the PNA.
The latest Israeli escalation marks the first time in which Israeli airforce jets have been used as weapons against the Palestinian population living under Israeli occupation. This extreme violence against a defenseless people constitutes a grave violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, which governs the behavior of occupation forces. The use of American-made warplanes in this manner is also in violation of US law and the terms of sale under which such equipment is provided to Israel. The United States, as Israel’s main patron and the supplier of the warplanes used in the latest attack, has a particular responsibility to support international efforts to provide protection to the besieged and defenseless Palestinian people. ADC also calls upon the Bush Administration to use its leverage to ensure that the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which is fueling the current conflict, is quickly brought to an end as required by international law and numerous UN Security Council Resolutions.