I.P.O. Information Service


Massacres and human rights violations in Palestine – Urgent appeal of the International Progress Organization

Vienna, 15 April 2002/P/RE/17652c-is


In a Declaration issued today, the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.) strongly condemned the massacres, war crimes and grave violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Palestine, particularly in the cities and/or refugee camps of Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah. The I.P.O. called upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson, and the United Nations General Assembly’s Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to dispatch immediately an international commission of inquiry into the occupied Palestinian territories.

The atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers particularly in Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah are beyond description. The Declaration of the I.P.O. stated that these war crimes and crimes against humanity cannot be dealt with fairly in the judicial system of the occupying power. Those responsible should be brought before an impartial international tribunal to be created by the General Assembly of the United Nations (as long as the International Criminal Court is not yet available to deal with these crimes).

The International Progress Organization has received information from reliable sources – including B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and the Palestinian Organization for Human Rights – according to which virtually all basic provisions of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of August 12, 1949, have been breached by the Israeli invasion and occupation forces.

The methods applied by the Israeli army, among them:

        indiscriminate killing of civilians;

        burying people alive in their homes;

        executions of Palestinian prisoners;

        killing civilians who were close to windows or left the house to bring people to hospitals or to look for food or to extinguish fires, etc.;

        deliberate attacks on ambulance cars;

        prevention of medical aid to the wounded so that they are bleeding to death;

        prevention of emergency medical aid to sick people in the sealed-off areas, which has led to the death of many civilians;

        preventing any kind of emergency humanitarian assistance;

        inhumane treatment and/or torture of prisoners;

        disrespect for and attacks on holy sites such as the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem;

        deliberate destruction of the civilian infrastructure (including water and sewage systems);

        wanton destruction of civilian houses;

        systematic destruction of the infrastructure of the Palestinian National Authority;

        etc. etc.;

all these acts have to be investigated by an independent international commission of inquiry.

In addition to that and in the absence of any action of collective self-defense (according to Art. 51 of the UN Charter) by the League of Arab States, the International Progress Organization reiterated its calls for the immediate dispatch of a United Nations Protection Force to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The I.P.O. welcomed the initiative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in that regard. The Declaration expressed support for the Secretary-General’s characterization of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza as “illegal” and reiterated its view that only Security Council resolutions based on Chapter VII of the Charter can bring about an end to this illegal occupation. The I.P.O. furthermore underlined the importance of the recent statement of Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Eçevit about the commission of the crime of genocide in connection with the present attacks against Palestinian cities and refugee camps.

The International Progress Organization further criticized the present mission of the US Secretary of State as biased and as following a policy of double standards – insofar as he does not address the issue of atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation army and avoids to visit areas like the Jenin refugee camp or Nablus. The United States cannot be an honest broker between Palestinians and Israelis as long as they do not deal with the grievances of both sides in an adequate and balanced manner.

The Declaration of the I.P.O. stated that there will be no end to the violence as long as Israeli occupation exists, settlements are not withdrawn, but existing settlements expanded and their number increased, as long as the Palestinian population is subjected to foreign occupation and inhumane treatment by a foreign army,. It was the historical mistake of the Oslo Accords that they did not properly address the issue of the Palestinian right to national self-determination and that they merely provided for a kind of Palestinian Bantustan in selected areas of the Occupied Territories. It is the firm view of the International Progress Organization that a mere withdrawal of the forces presently occupying Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps will not bring an end to the conflict. Nothing short of a complete withdrawal from all occupied territories including Jerusalem and a dismantling of all settlements without exception will create the basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.


END/ Massacres in Palestine – Urgent appeal of the International Progress Organization/15-04-02/17652c-is