At Least 47 Palestinians Killed in Israeli Rampage, International Intervention Imperative
Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expressed outrage over a massive assault by Israeli occupation forces throughout the occupied Palestinian territories which has taken the lives of at least 47 Palestinians today, most of them civilians. ADC also reiterated its call for urgent international efforts to end the occupation, stop the violence and provide protection to the Palestinian people from Israeli military forces. ADC President Ziad Asali said, “Even in the context of the wanton carnage over the past 17 months, today’s rampage by Israeli forces in the occupied territories is deeply shocking. Prime Minister Sharon, as he vowed to do, is simply trying to kill as many Palestinians as possible and is acting without the least semblance of restraint or humanity. This bloodshed has gone too far. It is high time that the international community, including the United States, live up to their responsibility to end this conflict, and the only way to do that is end the occupation, get Israel’s troops back inside their own country and establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”
Yesterday, ADC applauded the Administration’s decision to send its special envoy to the Middle East, General Anthony Zinni, back to the region to try once again to bring about a cease-fire and re-establish negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. ADC said that unrealistic preconditions, such as seven or ten days of total quiet, should not be allowed prevent the resumption of serious talks between the parties designed to end the occupation and the violence.
On March 4, Sharon described his policy to reporters, telling them: “It won’t be possible to reach an agreement with them before the Palestinians are hit hard. Now they have to be hit. If they aren’t badly beaten, there won’t be any negotiations. Only after they are beaten will we be able to conduct talks. I want an agreement, but first they have to be beaten so they get the thought out of their minds that they can impose an agreement on Israel that Israel does not want … They must be beaten.” Acting on those words, Israeli troops today attacked Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, shooting civilians from helicopter gunships and moving house-to-house in refugee camps and numerous towns. Several medical personnel involved in rescue missions to save wounded civilians have also been reported killed, including the chief of a Bethlehem hospital, along with at least 3 children. On Thursday, Israeli forces opened fire on a U.N. ambulance en route to a West Bank refugee camp, killing a guard for the U.N.’s aid agency for Palestinians, and today attacked and destroyed several Palestinian ambulances. Israeli forces also killed Maj. Gen. Ahmed Mefrej, the most senior Palestinian security officer to die in the conflict, in what Palestinians have called an assassination and Israelis called a mistake.