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U.S., UN Condemns Israel's Use of Deadly Force

  • Both the UN Security Council and the Red Cross have condemned Israel's illegal use of lethal force against its Arab citizens and Palestinians -- but the killing of unarmed protesters continues.
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By Christopher Bollyn

The United States and 14 other UN Security Council members condemned Israel "for acts of provocation, violence and the excessive use of deadly force against Palestinian civilians." How ever, the U.S. blocked all attempts to strengthen the Oct. 3 statement and accuse Israel of violating the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which sets rules for the treatment of civilians by occupying military powers.

Scores of Palestinians, including many children, have been killed by Israeli forces using live ammunition on demonstrators in the occupied territories and in Israel following the "arrogantly provocative visit" by Ariel Sharon to Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Sharon, Israel's former military chief, was convicted in Israel of war crimes for his role in the massacres of Palestinian refugees during the Israeli invasion of Le banon in 1982 and is universally despised by Palestinians.

"I never imagined the day would come when the Israeli police would open fire on Israeli citizens," said Hashem Mahamid, an Arab member of Israel's parliament.

The Israelis have deployed tanks and helicopter gunships, which are used to fire on rock-throwing protesters. They have even used armor-piercing missiles against Palestinians in buildings and cars.

At least 18 Red Crescent ambulances have been fired upon, according to Uriel Masad, the International Red Cross spokesman in Israel.

The shooting of 12-year-old Moham med Jamal Aldura by the Israeli army and the killing of the ambulance driver who was coming to the boy's aid has shocked the world and focused international attention on Israel's disproportionate use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians.

The shooting was caught by a television cameraman and broadcast around the world.

Mohammed and his father, Jamal Aldura, were going home in Gaza when Israeli gunners targeted them.

"They started shooting at the taxi we were in and we got out to seek better shelter," Jamal said.

Photographers watched helplessly as the boy and his father crouched behind a small concrete block for cover. Moham med cried and cowered behind his father, who tried to shield his son with his body.

"The Israeli fire was heavy, although I was shouting and begging them to stop, for the boy's sake," he said, "But they never stopped and poor Mohammed died in my lap."

Giora Eiland, head of Israeli army operations, admitted his troops killed Mohammed saying, "This is not the first incident in which civilians were injured, but it has never been intentional."

Eiland seemed to excuse the army's actions saying, "It is known that Mo hammed participated in stone-throwing in the past."