by Dr. Ahmed Yousef
The Senior Political Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
We, the representatives of the Palestinian people, write as we mourn the victims of another massacre in our midst. The Israeli Defense Forces committed a crime against humanity on Tuesday January 15th, resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians as well as the loss of limb among many others.
We reach out to all those of conscience to denounce the atrocious disregard of civilized conduct by an invading army; and to demand that the Israeli government end its military incursions into the sovereign Palestinian territories. We ask that all NGOs, aid organizations, and governments as well as business leaders urge members of the International Community to demand that the Israelis withdraw their soldiers and end their attack against the civilian population.
These acts of violence followed a state visit by U.S. President George Bush; and it is reasonable to assume that tacit approval was given for the Israeli leadership to attack Gaza’s inhabitants whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Israeli security services have killed in excess of 4,350 Palestinians since September 2000, according to the Israeli human rights group, B’tselem. Today’s murders add more lives to a statistic that mutes the horrors that thousands of families must face each day with their loved ones executed.
The weaponry used by the Israelis violate the United State’s own Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, which stipulate that military hardware must be used for legitimate self-defense and internal policing, and not to enforce collective punishment or prolong occupation.
If the International Community, represented by such organizations as the United Nations, European Union, ASEAN and others is to achieve its goal of making the civilized world operate under the auspices of international law and basic human civility, it is incumbent upon each and every responsible person within that community to sanction the Israelis for their heretofore unbridled aggression, including the use of internationally condemned weapons such as cluster bomb, “direct energy” weapons, and chemical as well as biological agents.
The shameless, arbitrary acts of violence that respect neither aged nor infirm, neither diplomat nor policeman, neither child nor adult are an insult to our people, a slur against our politicians and an affirmation that peace is not a language the Israeli government intends to learn.
We look to you, members of the International Community, to take the first step towards halting the escalating tyranny that is Israel, in order to avoid the inevitable cycle of war that looms on the horizon.