ADC CONDEMNS ISRAELI ASSAULT ON REFUGEE CAMPS Palestinian death toll surpasses 1,000 in 17 months of conflict

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) condemned the ongoing assault by Israeli troops on Palestinian refugee camps near the cities of Jenin and Nablus in the West Bank. The attacks, conducted over the past 24 hours by Israeli troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, have resulted in at least twenty deaths, including a 10-year-old girl, and more than 150 serious injuries. These deaths bring the total number of Palestinians killed in the past 17 months of conflict to over 1,000, mostly unarmed civilians. In addition, Israeli troops destroyed ten homes and caused serious damage to several others in both camps. The brutality of the Israeli government prompted Alex Fishman to write in today’s Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot that “One must be either stoned or a gambler to send the army in at this time and place.”
Dr. Ziad Asali, President of ADC, characterized the Israeli invasion of the refugee camps of Jenin and Balata as “a serious escalation in violence by the Sharon government intended to block any prospects for the resumption of peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.” “It is quite revealing,” according to Asali, “that the Sharon government responds with such recklessness and brutality to offers of lasting peace by the Arab world in the form of a new Saudi initiative based on the principle of exchanging land for peace.”
ADC also voiced strong criticism of the Bush Administration’s handling of Israeli aggression against the refugee camps, particularly the statements by US official spokesmen expressing understanding for Israel’s right “to defend itself.” Dr. Asali commented that “the Administration’s urging of Israel to exercise utmost concern in order to avoid harm to the civilian population does not absolve the US government of its moral responsibility to impress upon the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the need to end the assault on the camps immediately.”
The casualties sustained during the past 24 hours bring the total number of Palestinian deaths to 1,009 and injuries to 20,000. The American equivalent would be 96,191 dead and 1,906,000 injured in 17 months.

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