News Release

Responses to Mitchell Report on Mideast

ALLEGRA PACHECO
An American/Israeli Jewish human rights lawyer who represents Palestinians in the West Bank, Pacheco is now a Peace Fellow at the Bunting Institute at Harvard/Radcliffe. She said today: “In calling for the end of the building of settlements on occupied territory, the Mitchell report is calling for Israel to stop an illegal act. There shouldn’t be any debate on that. Last week the Red Cross, which is the official arbiter of the Geneva Conventions, said that settlement building constitutes a war crime. The U.S. State Department responded by saying that the Red Cross was ‘not being helpful.’ Such contempt for international humanitarian law by the U.S. government seriously undermines the force of basic human rights principles. It also illustrates why the U.S. is losing its moral credibility worldwide, as we saw most recently when it was voted off the UN Human Rights Commission.”
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ZAHA HASSAN
Hassan is co-author of the recently released National Lawyers Guild report titled “The Al Aqsa Intifida and Israel’s Apartheid: The U.S. Military and Economic Role in the Violation of Palestinian Human Rights.” She said today: “Federal law requires the termination of all foreign assistance to Israel…. Under the Arms Export Control Act, Israel is permitted to use U.S. military assistance solely for ‘legitimate self-defense’ and ‘internal security.'”
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RABBI MICHAEL LERNER
Editor of Tikkun magazine, Rabbi Lerner said today: “The Mitchell report’s notion of freezing the building of settlements and calling for an end to the violence in exchange misses the point that the settlements are themselves a major source of the violence. The Palestinian uprising is in response to the occupation…”
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ALI ABUNIMAH
Vice president of the Arab-American Action Network, Abunimah said today: “The Bush administration has been pretending that it has been taking a ‘hands-off’ approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In fact, by continuing to supply weapons, funds and diplomatic protection — like vetoing a UN protection force — to Israel, the Bush administration, like its predecessors, has been fueling the conflict.”
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HUSSEIN IBISH
Communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Ibish said today: “The deteriorating cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians must be seen in its context — Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Because of this occupation, Palestinians have endured for 34 years almost everything suffered by black South Africans — including political disempowerment, impoverishment, dependence on work and travel permits, curfews, land confiscations, home demolitions and living under separate and unequal legal systems. Israel refuses to end its occupation, Palestinians refuse to endure it.”
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For further information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378