Arab Americans Demand U.S. Intervention to Stop the Killing in Palestine
Washington, DC, October 2 — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the nation’s largest Arab-American grassroots organization, today appealed to President Clinton to use his influence with Israel to end the shooting of unarmed civilians by the Israeli military in occupied Palestine. ADC strongly condemned the use of extreme and excessive violence by Israeli occupation troops against Palestinians, at least 35 of whom have been killed in the past five days. The indiscriminate and murderous use of live ammunition by Israeli troops was clearly demonstrated in the shocking footage of the shooting of 12- year-old Mohammed Al-Durah, gunned down in cold blood by Israeli snipers, which horrified millions of television viewers the world over.
The Palestinian demonstrations held over the past few days were instigated by the highly provocative intrusion last Thursday by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon into one of the holiest Muslim sites, the Haram Ash-Sharif, in occupied East Jerusalem. Sharon’s visit was openly touted as a demonstration of Israel’s self-proclaimed sovereignty over all of East Jerusalem. UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 476, among others, insist Israel must withdraw from the 1967 occupied territories in exchange for peace. The reckless provocation by Sharon, whose involvement in anti-Palestinian atrocities includes responsibility for the massacre of thousands of unarmed Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut in 1982, combined with the continued Israeli refusal to withdraw from occupied Palestinian lands, sparked this latest expression of determination on the part of the Palestinian people. The Israeli reaction has included indiscriminate use of live ammunition, tanks, helicopter gunships and even anti-tank missiles against unarmed demonstrators, leading to the widespread deaths among Palestinian civilians. Among the latest victims is an 18-month-old baby shot to death by Israeli settlers who have been actively involved in the shooting of unarmed Palestinians.
At a press conference held today with other major Arab-American and American-Muslim organizations at the offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, ADC President Hala Maksoud appealed to President Clinton to use the special relationship between Israel and the United States to end the killing. “The United States has an unquestionable ability to convince Israel to restrain its troops and end the killing of Palestinian civilians,” she said. “The Palestinians of Jerusalem are guardians of a sacred trust on behalf of the entire Arab and Muslim worlds,” Maksoud continued. “The international community, especially the United States, has serious responsibility to end the killing and provide international protection for the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza who are living under this brutal occupation,” she said. Maksoud concluded, “International protection is needed at once to secure the lives and safety of the Palestinian people, but their long-term security can only be ensured by the enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 242, the withdrawal of Israel from all the territories occupied in 1967, and the creation of a Palestinian State with its capital in Jerusalem.”