Thursday, February 22, 2001
U.S. slams Israel on human rights
By Aluf Benn
An unprecedented U.S. State Department attack on Israel's violations of human rights is to be published tomorrow in Washington, just as Secretary of State Colin Powell leaves for a Middle East tour that begins Saturday night in Israel.
The human rights report criticizes the measures Israel took in response to the Palestinian uprising in the territories, including assassinating those suspected of planning terror incidents, imposing sieges on Palestinians towns and villages, and other abuses such as damaging Palestinian ambulances.
A chapter in the report also deals with the government's handling of demonstrations by Arab citizens of Israel and the deaths of 13 of them in October 2000.
Israel provided detailed responses to the State Department report, but refused to comment on the liquidation charges, arguing they are military actions in an armed conflict and not a matter of human rights.
On March 19 the annual session of the U.N. Human Rights Commission is to convene in Geneva.
The Foreign Ministry expects the debate to be particularly rough on Israel, bolstered by the State Department report and other critical reports by human rights organizations.