Friday, January 11, 2008

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

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
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

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.

:: Article nr. 40008 sent on 11-jan-2008 08:08 ECT

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