Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
May 19, 2004 - 12:00am

Washington DC, May 19 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) condemned the unprovoked killing today of unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli military in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. According to press reports and hospital sources, Israeli forces fired a missile, four tank shells and machine guns at Palestinians peacefully demonstrating the ongoing Israeli incursion into Gaza, killing at least 10 Palestinian children and teenagers and wounding 50 people.

The killings have been strongly condemned by the United Nations, Russia and the European Union. Britain has labeled the Israeli killings as 'unacceptable,' and the presidency of the E.U. has accused Israel of "showing a reckless disregard for human life." This follows the Amnesty International condemnation of Israeli actions over the past few days in the Rafah refugee camp as war crimes. According to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, Israel has destroyed 116 Palestinian houses, leaving 198 families (1,160 people) homeless during this ongoing assault.

"Israel must abide by its obligations under international law as an occupying power, which includes protecting the civilian population and eschewing the disproportion-ate or indiscriminate use of force," said ATFP president Dr. Ziad Asali. "The firing of missiles at unarmed, peacefully demonstrating Palestinians, most of whom where schoolchildren, is deplorable and inexcusable."

Dr. Asali called on the administration to use all of its influence to restrain Israel and affect a withdrawal from the Rafah refugee camp. "Once again, American inaction in the face of Arab civilian deaths is causing inestimable damage to the American image in the Middle East as well as to our national security interests."


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017