Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
May 18, 2004 - 11:00pm

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn Israel’s recent indiscriminate killings of innocent Palestinians, including many children. In particular, we cite the May 19, 2004 Israeli strike on peaceful demonstrators resulting in the death of at least 20 innocent Palestinians. In addition, we denounce the demolition of Palestinian homes in Gaza’s Rafah refugee camp.

As a result of Israeli’s demolition policy, dozens of homes have been bulldozed, forcing Palestinians into homelessness at a rate of one every five minutes, totaling 1,000 in the past four days. This represents a 2500% increase in home demolitions since late 2000, when, according to the United Nations, on average, a Palestinian was forced into homelessness every 2.5 hours.

Both the Bush Administration and the European Union have objected to the home demolitions. Amnesty International declared that the "extensive destruction of homes and properties throughout the West Bank and Gaza," by the Israeli Army over the past three and a half years "is not justified by military necessity," and that "Some of these acts of destruction amount to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes."

Despite these objections, and the fact that 59% of Israelis support withdrawal from Gaza, the Sharon government continues to carry out counterproductive measures and promises, according Israeli Army Chief Moshe Yaalon, the further destruction of "hundreds of houses."

These measures will do nothing but perpetuate the already devastating cycle of violence that has resulted in the death and destruction of far too many Palestinian and Israeli lives. Destroying the homes of innocent Palestinians serves only the purposes of extremists on both sides, to whom peace is anathema.

As Secretary of State Colin Powell has already noted, the United States' desire to, "do everything that it can to stop this cycle of strike and counterstrike that has resulted in the loss of so many lives within the last week" we call on the Administration to condemn the Israeli government’s illegal behavior and demand that they cease and desist.

American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee

American Muslims for Jerusalem

American Task Force for Lebanon

American Task Force on Palestine

Arab American Institute

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Muslim Public Affairs Council






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