[m2c] Amnesty slams Israel 'war crimes'
sandinista at shaw.ca
Thu May 26 02:34:28 MDT 2005
Amnesty slams Israel 'war crimes'
Amnesty International has accused Israel of committing war crimes in the
occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The rights group's report for 2004 says Israeli forces have killed some 700
Palestinians - including 150 children - mostly in unlawful circumstances.
The report lists "reckless shooting, shelling and air strikes in civilian
areas... and excessive use of force".
It also condemns the killing of Israeli civilians by Palestinian militants
and violence by Jewish settlers.
"Certain abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted crimes against
humanity and war crimes," Amnesty's report says.
"The deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinian armed groups
constituted crimes against humanity," it adds.
An Israeli opposition MP has requested an urgent parliamentary debate on the
But an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman denied the charge of war crimes
and said Amnesty's analysis appeared "one-sided".
The report says Palestinian armed groups killed 109 Israelis, including 59
civilians and eight children, in suicide bombings, shootings and mortar
Amnesty's accusations against the Israeli army include unlawful killings,
torture, extensive and wanton destruction of property, obstruction of
medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel.
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Amnesty also says Israel has continued to use Palestinians as "human
shields" during military operations, "forcing them to carry out tasks that
endangered their lives", despite an injunction by Israel's high court
banning the practice.
The report accuses Israel of offering impunity to soldiers and settlers who
commit crimes against Palestinians.
"In the overwhelming majority of the thousands of cases of unlawful killings
and other grave human rights violations in the previous four years, no
investigations were known to have been carried out," the report says.
"The Israeli army and police ... routinely increased restrictions on the
local Palestinian population in response to attacks by Israeli settlers," it
In addition to the report's focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
Amnesty criticises a number of regimes in neighbouring Arab countries.
Egypt and Syria are blamed for systematic torture and ill-treatment of
In Saudi Arabia, Amnesty highlights killings by security forces and armed
groups, exacerbating the "already dire human rights situation in the
Jordan is said to have made scores of political arrests, amid reports of
torture and ill-treatment in custody.
In Iraq, the report says US-led forces committed gross human rights
violations, including unlawful killings, arbitrary detention and torture.
Armed groups in Iraq are similarly blamed for targeting civilians,
hostage-taking and killing hostages.
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MK wants urgent debate after Amnesty report comdemning IDF conduct
By Haaretz Service and AP
Yahad (Meretz) lawmaker Zahava Gal-On on Wednesday called for an urgent
Knesset debate following the publication of the annual Amnesty International
report on human rights violations, which accuses Israel Defense Forces
soldiers of war crimes, including unlawful killings, torture, destruction of
property, obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical
The report says the IDF is responsible for the deaths of some 700
Palestinians, including 150 children, "most of them unlawfully."
Most of the deaths were caused by shooting, explosions, and aerial attacks
on residential areas, according to the report.
Amnesty said that in the same period Palestinian terror organizations killed
109 Israelis, of which 67 were civilians, including eight children.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the report seemed biased,
although ministry officials had not yet read the entire document.
"This accusation of Israeli soldiers in the West Bank being involved in war
crimes, that is something we reject," Regev said. "It would appear to be a
very one-sided comment."
The report also stated that settlers have increased their attacks on
Palestinians, harming trees and blocking the Palestinians from harvesting
Israel's ongoing construction of the West Bank barrier, "despite the ruling
by the International Court of Justice," also comes under criticism in the
According to Amnesty, the work on the fence "continued to hinder or prevent
Palestinians' access to their land, their workplaces and to education,
health and other crucial services."
In a chapter devoted to the Palestinian Authority, the human rights group
said security officials are involved in fighting between various militant
groups, which killed dozens of Palestinians.
Eighteen Palestinians were killed in the clashes after they were suspected
of collaboration with Israel.
750 prisoners are being held in Palestinian prisons, most of them haven't
been given a trial and many of them are tortured and beaten in jail,
according to Amnesty's findings.
Despite the negative report, Amnon Vidan, director-general of Amnesty
International in Israel, said that the group feels encouraging progress has
been made in protecting human rights in Israel and the territories.
The IDF Spokesperson and Foreign Ministry declined to respond to the report,
Israel Radio reported.
Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(lied about the world, lied about me)
that you have ended by imposing on me
an image of myself.
underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
That ís the way you have forced me to see myself
I detest that image! What's more, it's a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
and I know myself as well.
- Caliban, in Aime Cesaire's "The Tempest"
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