Israel Defies Bush and UN, Attacks Nativity Church, Kills Hundreds

Washington, DC — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today said that the Bush Administration’s failure to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1403 and President Bush’s verbal demands that Israel halt its expanding rampage against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank may have doomed the upcoming Powell mission to the Middle East. Although the press has been banned from the areas under attack and journalists attempting to cover the conflict have been shot at and arrested by the Israeli army, reports suggest that hundreds of Palestinians, many if not most of them civilians, have been killed in recent days.
In the most shocking recent incident, Israeli troops and tanks today fired on the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem, where scores of Palestinians have sought refuge. At least one Palestinian inside the Church has reportedly been killed. “This is an act of indescribable barbarity. It is a violation of every law of humanity and civilization,” said Father David Jaeger, spokesman for custodians of Catholic sites in the Holy Land, who is currently in Rome.
Reports also suggest that the Israeli army may have buried Palestinians alive in the course of demolishing their homes in Jenin. The British press on Sunday reported in detail that Israeli troops have been using Palestinian civilians, including medical personnel, as human shields. The Palestinian human rights group Al Haq stated that “Over the last ten days Israeli forces across the West Bank have systematically carried out attacks upon hospitals and medical teams. Bodies remain rotting in the streets, the sick and wounded are being afforded no medical attention and hospitals are running out of supplies.”
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “It is clear that Prime Minister Sharon is determined to expand and extend this conflict at all costs. No one can any longer deny that his army is conducting a war against an entire population and all of its institutions, including medical facilities and holy places. No one can any longer doubt that Sharon is trying to provoke the kind of outrage and fury among Palestinians that ensures that he will find plenty of excuses for further aggressions in the near future so that he can continue his reckless and futile campaign to crush the Palestinians by brute force. By relying on rhetoric alone, some of it open to willful misinterpretation by Israel, the Bush Administration has allowed Sharon to create conditions in which Secretary Powell’s mission can hardly be expected to meet with much success. We welcome his trip and his best efforts, but given the ever-increasing carnage and the horror of the past 10 days, one cannot harbor any illusions.”

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