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American Citizens, Including ADC Member, Attacked by Israeli Troops in West Bank

Washington, DC — Dr. Ziad Asali, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), today wrote to Secretary of State Colin Powell to express deep concern regarding the behavior of Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank towards civilians generally, and American citizens in particular. Asali noted that two Americans, Jordan Flaherty and Zaid Khalil, who is an Arab American and a member of ADC, were in a group of 150 international humanitarian observers who, on April 1, marched peacefully towards the besieged Palestinian town of Beit Jala. These peaceful civilians were fired upon by Israeli troops using live ammunition, injuring seven of them along with a Palestinian journalist who works for the Associated Press. Anthony Shadid, a correspondent for the Boston Globe and former ADC intern, has also been hit by shrapnel in the West Bank and required hospitalization.
The New York Daily News quotes Jordan Flaherty reporting that “We reached the middle of Beit Jala, and an Israeli tank came around the corner and approached us. A soldier at the top of the tank waved to us to get out of here. Within 30 seconds he started firing live ammunition at the ground in front of us. Almost immediately, people were hit by shrapnel. The tank was only about 30 feet away when he started shooting. We were marching with banners, peace signs, with our hands up in the air. They knew we were internationals, but they started firing live ammunition.”
Aasli wrote that “For many months now we have been urging the Administration to support plans to provide protection for the Palestinian people who have been suffering this kind of excessive force against civilians, which has resulted in more than 1,200 Palestinian deaths. However, when Israeli guns, bought and paid for with American aid, are turned on peaceful, humanitarian U.S. citizens, it is clearly high time that our government take action to stop it. I urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to use all the considerable influence of the United States to put an end to such brutality.”
Dr. Asali also pointed out that Israeli occupation forces were continuing to systematically targeting Palestinian medical services and personnel. “This pattern of abuse has greatly increased and in recent days numerous hospitals, ambulances, paramedics and doctors have been targeted by Israeli forces,” he wrote. Dr. Asali concluded that “This tactic is unacceptable, and I renew my appeal that you intervene to stop it at once.”