Israel/Occupied Territories: Bus killings underline need for international observers

In response to the bombing, which killed at least 16 Israelis and injured dozens of others, many civilians, Amnesty International said:

'We condemn this attack and all targeting of civilians. Such deliberate killing of civilians is contrary to the basic principles of humanitarian law.

'International observers should now be accepted by Israel and sent by the international community to ensure respect for human rights by all sides. The present cycle of attacks and reprisals is only leading to more killings, and more shattered lives in an atmosphere of destruction and hatred.'

Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are suffering human rights violations, including closures, arbitrary detention and prolonged curfews. The lack of any hope for the future, political as well as economic, is leading to despair. 'But there can never be any justification for deliberately targeting civilians,' Amnesty International insisted.

The organisation noted that, if international observers had been sent to Israel and the Occupied Territories when the organisation had first called for them in October 2000, lives of both Israelis and Palestinians might have been saved. 'Nineteen months later, after 1,400 Palestinians and more than 400 Israelis including more than 350 Israeli civilians have been killed, it is now time to act,' the organisation said.

For earlier statements on Israel/OT from Amnesty International see, for example:

' Amnesty International calls for a commission of inquiry into mass arbitrary detention of Palestinians ' (23/5/02)

' Reprisals are not the answer to the human rights crisis (9/5/02)

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