I.P.O. Information Service
Assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yasin: an act of state terrorism
Call for effective action by the international community against Israeli occupation forces
Vienna, 22 March 2004/P/RE/18628c-is
In a statement issued this morning on behalf of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler condemned the assassination of the founder and spiritual leader of the Palestinian organization Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, and seven other Palestinians in Gaza City as a barbaric crime and an act of state terrorism.
Killing an old man in a wheelchair upon leaving a mosque where he held his morning prayers is not only a cowardly act, but an attack against the entire community of Muslims, the President of the I.P.O. said.
The political leaders of the Israeli occupying power who ordered and the military personnel who carried out the assassination are personally liable under the provisions of international criminal law, as laid out in the Geneva Conventions, and have to be brought to justice.
The assassination of the most influential spiritual leader of the Palestinian people, who was revered not only by the people of Palestine but by Muslims everywhere in the Arab world and beyond , has profoundly destabilized the situation in the entire Middle East and further alienated the Muslim world from the West. At a crucial period of relations between the Muslim world and the West, this crime has dealt a serious blow to all efforts at dialogue and co-operation. It is a bad omen for things to come. There will be no peace in the Middle East and no peace in the world if the policy of "targeted" assassinations and of occupation of Arab land is allowed to continue, Dr. Koechler stated.
The President of the I.P.O. called upon the member states of the United Nations to do more than merely condemn this barbaric act against a Muslim religious leader near a place of worship; the UN member states should take effective action against the state of Israel including, inter alia, the imposition of economic sanctions. The Israeli occupying power has to be held accountable for this act of state terrorism.
An international security force has to be dispatched immediately to the occupied Palestinian territories. Because of the blockage of the Security Council by the US veto, the United Nations General Assembly should convene in an emergency session under the provisions of the Uniting for Peace Resolution. In this regard, the President of the I.P.O. reiterated his organization's call for joint and consistent action by the League of Arab States in order to protect the Arab people of Palestine and its political and spiritual leaders. The raison d'κtre of the Arab League will be in doubt if the organization should again be unable to act in this state of an Arab national emergency.
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