As Israel Steps Up Violence in the Middle East

The Alternative Information Center Calls for Urgent International Intervention

The Alternative Information Center strongly condemns attacks on civilian populations, Arabs and Jews, and accuses the government of Israel, its military forces and its irresponsible rejectionist policy of endangering not only the life and security of Palestinians but also of Israeli citizens. Prime Minister Sharon demands “seven days of quiet” before entering into negotiations, and yet he pursues policies that tighten the grip of the occupation, increase the misery and humiliation of the Palestinian people and feed the cycle of violence.

Since its beginning Israel had responded with excessive use of force to the Palestinian uprising of 29 September 2000 (Intifada). The objective of the Israeli governments have been to force the Palestinian authority to surrender to the Israeli conditions for peace, accept as a fait accompli the settlement enterprise in the Occupied Territories and give up hopes of sovereignty.

Since September 2000 Israeli authorities have killed Palestinian at demonstrations, checkpoints and borders, summarily executed activists, made thousands of homes inhabitable by shelling residential areas and destroyed Palestinian infrastructure. The Israeli occupation has cut Palestinian towns and villages off from the outside world, uprooted fruit trees and destroyed arable land. Settlers attack Palestinian individuals and property with almost complete impunity and are even protected by the army. Since September 29, 2000, generalized violence and terror have become a part of the daily life of Palestinian men, women and children who are casualties of the Israeli fury.

The Israeli activities since September 29, 2000 act against the right to life, liberty and security of person of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. During more than 14 months, Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories have endangered the food security of Palestinians, violated their rights to freedom of movement, education, health, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and have arbitrarily destroyed Palestinian property. Those measures prevented the Palestinian community and individuals the right to dignity and worth of the human person and opened a vicious circle of barbaric violence in which innocent people, Arab and Jews, are its primary victims.

The summary execution of the Hamas military commander, Abu Hunud, ordered by the Israeli government, was clearly timed to coincide with the arrival to the region of the American envoys, led by General Anthony Zinni. Israel’s assassination of Abu Hunud crowned a bloody week in which more than 14 Palestinians were killed, among them 5 children, six Palestinian activists were assassinated and hundred of houses were damaged. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority, did its best to calm the situation before the arrival of the American delegation in a serious attempt to render their mission possible. Israel’s execution of Abu Hunud was an attempt to establish a new reality that will make the envoys’ task impossible to implement, since this criminal and irresponsible action would necessarily lead to Palestinian retaliations.

After the Palestinian retaliations in which 26 Israeli citizens lost their lives, Israeli politicians are flirting with the idea of appointing quisling governments in separated regions of the Occupied Territories. The implementation of this idea was a disaster during the war in Lebanon and will open the door to a humanitarian catastrophe in the Occupied Territories.

A stable peace between Palestinians and Israelis will be created by recognition and implementation of the unalienable rights of the Palestinian people to freedom and sovereignty, as well as the protection of the Palestinian and Israeli human rights. The Israeli governments failed to fulfill those basic conditions, to protect the rights and dignity of Palestinians and to protect the Israeli population from the consequences of its policies.

The Alternative Information Center calls on the signatory parties to the fourth Geneva convention to intercede immediately in order to protect the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories, to bring the Israeli occupation to an end and to end the nightmare for the Palestinian people, which only brings violence into Israeli life as well. In the interim, we request that an international monitoring body be immediately dispatched to the region to end the cycle of violence and counter-violence.

Facing an imminent humanitarian crisis due to the failure of the international community to force, until now, Israel to respect international human rights and humanitarian conventions to which it is signatory, the Alternative Information Center call upon civil society organizations to delegate urgent monitoring and protection missions to the Occupied Territories as an urgent and immediate measure.

The Alternative Information Center (AIC) © 2-12-2001