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April 18, 2002
Emergency Delegation to West Bank



The following tells about the mission to the West Bank and gives contact information.

Kanaan Kanaan

National Lawyers Guild Emergency Human Rights Mission to the West Bank
DATE: April 11, 2002

The ongoing Israeli military offensive in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has led to a deepening human rights crises. Israeli military forces have disrupted human rights defenders and journalists from monitoring and reporting the situation on the ground since it began its latest invasion into Palestinian controlled areas in the West Bank on March 29, 2002. The crack down on the media and human rights workers has made it difficult to assess the full extent of the impact of the Israeli offensive on the Palestinian civilian population. Reports have emerged that Israel has engaged in summary executions, mass detentions, torture, indiscriminate killings, and shelling of Palestinian homes, businesses and medical facilities while preventing medical personnel and rescue workers from evacuating the sick and wounded. Israel is also said to have cutoff electricity and water supplies and imposed extended curfews in Palestinian cities and villages, leaving people without life necessities for dangerously long periods of time. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRIL) has stated that the human rights situation in the refugee camp of Jenin is particularly severe. There the military has destroyed houses with families still inside and deported others to remote locations, where some have been forced to strip and many remain without shelter, food or water. The latest accounts indicate that Israel is digging mass graves to secretly bury the killed.

The National Lawyers Guild is organizing an emergency human rights mission to investigate these allegations of war crimes being committed by the Israeli military against the civilian Palestinian population. Mission delegates will visit the camps in Jenin and Nablus, meet with witnesses to the incursions into the camps as well as meet with NGO representatives of Israeli and Palestinian human rights and peace groups, including humanitarian organizations. A final report of the mission's findings will be compiled and disseminated to Guild members, other legal organizations, the interested public and government officials. Future delegations may be sent as needed for follow up investigation and reporting.

The gravity of the situation unfolding in the West Bank combined with the preclusion of the media requires immediate action. The Guild delegation is being planned for May 16-24. A proposed itinerary will be distributed to confirmed delegates.

For more information or to register as a delegate, please contact Abdeen Jabara at (212) 475-3232
or Linda Mansour at (419) 535-7100 lindamansour@aol.com.

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