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Barghouthi: Rate of killing doubled since Annapolis

Maan News

Jan 10, 2008


The rate of Israeli attacks on, and killings of, Palestinians has doubled since the US-sponsored Annapolis peace summit, former Palestinian information minister and head of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouthi, announced on Wednesday.

As US President George W. Bush's visited the Palestinian Territories, Dr Barghouthi exposed the extent of Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people in 2007, a year characterised by the highest ever ratio of Palestinian to Israeli killings, and unabated settlement expansion.

Dr Barghouthi presented data showing that Israeli military
killings of, and attacks against, Palestinians have soared by 100% since Annapolis, confirming an intensification of Israeli military violence against the Palestinian people even after the meeting on 27 November 2007.

He highlighted that the ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed in 2007 had risen to 40:1, up from 30:1 in 2006 and 4:1 from 2000-2005.

"We do not want anyone to die, Israeli or Palestinian, but this ratio is alarming. It is unacceptable to justify such large-scale killings under the pretext of security," Barghouthi said, adding that five of the Israelis killed in 2007 were soldiers who died whilst carrying out attacks inside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

"Israel uses security as a pretext to step up its aggression against Palestinians and to evade any commitments to peace," he went on.

"The question here is about security for everyone, not only Israelis, and about equality and the equal rights of all peoples to life. The facts on the ground show very clearly that the Israeli government and its military do not believe in this most basic and universal right when it comes to Palestinians," he added.

Barghouthi also focused on Israeli settlement expansion and their refusal to dismantle any existing settlements, saying that this was a further indication of Israel's sense of absolute impunity with regard to international law and United Nations resolutions. He described the lack of international censure at such Israeli practices as "alarming."

He warned that while there is much talk about Israel's 105 illegal outposts, with a combined population of 3,000 settlers, it also maintains 133 settlements in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) which have population of 447,500, and which are equally illegal under international law. Moreover, Israel continues to build in 88 of these
settlements.

Barghouthi stressed that settlement expansion is being facilitated by Israel's 'Roads and Tunnels' Plan. Israel is also constructing a separate highway network to link settlements on both sides of the Apartheid Wall with
Israel and to each other.

"Tell me of any other case in the world where roads are segregated on the basis of ethnicity? This is a practical manifestation of Apartheid to an extent never before witnessed, not even at the height of the Apartheid regime in South Africa" he said.

He concluded that only a peace process based on adherence to
international law, and which respected Palestinian national rights, the rights of refugees and the right to freedom from Apartheid could yield a just and lasting peace.


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