Israeli Death Squads Murder Senior Palestinian Political Leader
WASHINGTON, DC — In a major escalation of the conflict in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel, today Israeli death squads assassinated a senior Palestinian political leader at his office in a residential neighborhood of Ramallah. Israeli helicopter gunships fired two missiles at Mustafa Al-Zibri as he sat working at his desk. Three other persons were injured in the attack. Al-Zibri, widely known as Abu Ali Mustafa, was the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and is the most prominent Palestinian political leader to be assassinated by Israel for over 10 years. He took over the leadership of the PFLP in April 2000 after its founder, George Habash, retired. Al-Zibri is survived by his three daughters and two sons.
As a major element in its campaign to crush the Palestinian uprising against its occupation, Israeli death squads have assassinated at least 50 Palestinian activists in the last eleven months. Ten innocent bystanders, including several children, have also been killed in those attacks and numerous others seriously injured. Israel’s Deputy Minister of Internal Security, Gidon Ezra, suggested last week that Israel may widen the list of Palestinians it targets for assassination and should “liquidate the family members” of targeted Palestinians.
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “This latest assassination once again demonstrates Israel’s determination to use any method, no matter how brutal or illegal, to enforce its thirty-four year occupation of Palestinian lands and impose its will on the Palestinian people. It is this occupation which is the cause of the conflict. Israel has it within its power to end the cycle of violence once and for all by ending the occupation and acknowledging the Palestinian right to self-determination.”
Asali noted that “this expanding campaign of deliberate murder only serves to reinforce the urgent need for international protection for the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. We call on President Bush to do everything in his power to ensure that extra-judicial executions by Israel be stopped immediately. Had Palestinian fighters assassinated Israeli political leaders, killing them and injuring innocent Israeli civilians, this would be universally condemned as an outrageous act of terrorism. The moral inconsistency which permits Israel to violate all international laws, norms and standards must end.”
ADC noted that this Israeli assassination, like many others before it, appears to have been committed using American made and supplied weapons in contravention not only of the 4th Geneva Convention but also American law. The Arms Export Control Act stipulates that American supplied weapons may only be used for defensive purposes, which clearly cannot include the murder of political leaders. ADC reiterated its call on the Bush Administration to halt all further weapons transfers to Israel until it can ensure that these weapons are not used against Palestinian civilians living under Israeli occupation or in violation of US law.