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No Lasting Peace Without Human Rights For All

Israel/Occupied Territories: No Lasting Peace Without Human Rights For All

10 April 2002

Madrid --As US Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Madrid to discuss the situation in the Middle East with the President of the European Council Javier Solana and the Russian and Spanish foreign affairs ministers, Amnesty International renewed its call on the international community to take immediate action to stop horrific human rights abuses in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

"Reports keep coming in about unlawful killings, especially from Jenin and Nablus where the Israeli Defence Forces have reportedly killed scores of Palestinians using tank rounds and missiles from Apache helicopters," the organization said.

"The refugee camp in Jenin, housing some 14,000 people and the old city of Nablus are in a state of siege - with ordinary people in the greatest danger."

"Ambulance movement continues to be impeded or prohibited. We have reports of a body in Nablus which has lain decomposing on the street for several days as anyone who tries to collect it is targeted. We have many eyewitness reports of people said to have been left to bleed to death as ambulances and medical personnel were impeded access," Amnesty International continued.

Houses and infrastructure have been destroyed and in many places food is running low. In Tulkarem and Qalqiliya, where an IDF withdrawal is said to have taken place, tanks reportedly maintain a ring round the city, barring all access. Mass arrests have taken place, sparking fears of torture.

"In this situation we reiterate that respect for human rights must be central to any discussion. No peace, no cease-fire can be durable unless it is based on the human rights of all. As a first sign of concrete commitment, international observers must be deployed in the region," Amnesty International said.

"Moreover, all transfers of the arms used to abuse human rights should be immediately suspended and Israeli military units implicated in human rights abuses should be barred from receiving military assistance or training from other countries," Amnesty International added, addressing its call specifically to the USA as Israel's main supplier of military aid.

Amnesty International stressed its condemnation of deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinian armed groups but said that no abuses could justify Israel's gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

"The international community cannot turn its back on the suffering of thousands of men, women and children both on the Palestinian and the Israeli side," the organization concluded. "Human rights observers may be a means to save the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis."

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