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Israel: The cycle of abuse must stop

10 April 2002

Condemning this morning's attack on a civilian bus in Haifa, Amnesty International reiterated today that even the gravest human rights abuses do not justify the deliberate retaliation targeting of civilians.

"The feeling of despair on the part of the Palestinian population at the appalling abuses they are suffering must not lead to further victimization of civilians," the organization added.

According to reports received by Amnesty International, since the suicide bombing this morning every town in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been blocked off. Even Qalqiliya and Tulkarem, from where the Israeli Defence Forces were supposed to have withdrawn, are surrounded by tanks and effectively cut off from the outside world.

Reports suggest that 200 people may have been killed in Jenin. Wanton destruction of houses is continuing and ambulances are still not allowed to move freely in Jenin, Nablus and most areas of the West Bank.

"We fear that the gravest abuses against the Palestinian population are taking place behind closed doors as humanitarian agencies and the media are being barred access to most of the Occupied Territories," Amnesty International said.

"Families whose relatives have been arrested often do not know if they are alive or dead. Reports of human rights abuses including extrajudicial executions cannot be verified," the organization added, renewing its call for human rights monitors to be immediately deployed in the region.

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