Palestinian Minister of Information: Palestinian Peace Initiatives met with Israeli Military Escalation Reveal Absence of Israeli Partner
from Bahia, HDIP, 22 April 2007
9 Palestinians killed by Israelis in past 24 hours
Ramallah, 22-04-07: The Palestinian Minister of Information and Official Government Spokesperson, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, today demanded that the international community end its policy of double standards towards Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people, and warned that Israel is dragging the region into a dangerous cycle of violence through its escalation of military activity in the Palestinian territories.
In a press conference held at his Ramallah office, the Minister of Information pointed out that 23 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since the formation of the National Unity Government on 18 March, most of whom were civilians including 3 children, while no Israelis have been killed in the same period. He drew attention to the case of a 17-year-old girl, Bushra Barghish, who was killed in her home in Jenin yesterday by a shot to the head during a so-called ‘arrest operation’, highlighting that 127 such invasions have been conducted by the Israeli military into cities and villages throughout the West Bank and the northern Gaza Strip over the past month.
Dr. Barghouthi added that most of those killed by the Israeli army have died of injuries to the head and chest, indicating a deliberate policy of ‘shoot to kill’.
The Minister emphasized that this aggression is taking place after the Israeli army spokesperson declared a tangible reduction in homemade rocket incidents since early April. This betrays Israel’s real response to the four latest initiatives made by the Palestinian and Arab governments: (1) the formation of the National Unity Government with a flexible political platform, (2) the Arab peace initiative for a comprehensive, complete solution to the conflict, (3) the Palestinian proposal for the complete cessation of all forms of violence through a mutual, reciprocal ceasefire agreement, and (4) the Palestinian proposal for a prisoner swap in exchange for the Israeli soldier captured in June 2006.
He stressed the absence of an Israeli peace partner for the Palestinians in that the Israeli government’s response to these initiatives has been to step up violence. He added that this was a deliberate strategy on the part of the Israeli government to buy time to irreversibly change facts on the ground through the continued expropriation of land and other natural resources, the construction of the Apartheid Wall, and the expansion of illegal settlements.
Dr. Barghouthi noted that Israel’s latest aggression was systematic, and based on three main components: an escalation of military violence; encouraging acts that undermine the rule of law in the Palestinian Territories; and the consolidation of the siege imposed on the Palestinian people and government especially through the continued withholding of some US$ 600 million in tax revenues. The minister added that Israel was coupling this aggression with an international incitement campaign conducted by Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni with the aim of sustaining the siege under which the entire Palestinian population is suffering.
He called urgently on the international community to provide protection for the Palestinian people and to uphold their legitimate rights. He stated that it was the duty of the international community to put an end to Israel’s impunity while it continuously violates international law.
Dr. Barghouthi urged the Arab states to call for an international peace conference and to prevent Israel from proposing the issue of normalisation with the Arab countries as an alternative to that conference, or to solving the Palestinian issue.
The Minister concluded by wishing the French people a successful democratic process in today’s elections and expressed hope that France will continue supporting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.