November 22, 2002

UN Asked to Investigate Mass Israeli Killings

Islamic nations appealed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to urgently send an international commission to investigate reports of ``atrocities'' and mass killings by Israeli forces in Palestinian-controlled cities.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference also expressed ``full support'' for Annan's call last week for deployment of an armed international force to Palestinian areas to stop the violence.

The secretary-general is scheduled to elaborate on the proposal -- which Israel has already rejected -- at a closed Security Council meeting on Thursday.

But the main UN focus at the moment is getting unhindered access to the Jenin refugee camp, which was the scene of the fiercest fighting of Israel's massive 2 1/2-week-old military offensive, for humanitarian workers.

UN officials said a UN investigating commission could be sent if both the Israelis and Palestinians agreed -- or if it received backing from one of the major UN bodies such as the Security Council or the General Assembly.

Amnesty International, whose delegates are carrying out investigations in Jenin, called on the Security Council to instruct Annan to deploy a team of international experts to investigate the alleged human rights abuses in Jenin ``without delay.''

In a letter to Annan, the secretary-general of the Islamic Conference, Abdelouahed Belkeziz, accused Israel of trying to conceal killings in Jenin by removing bodies of hundreds of Palestinians for burial in secret locations.

Israel says its military campaign is aimed at rooting out militants who plan and stage suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks against Israelis.

The Palestinians say thousands of people are unaccounted for in Jenin and that hundreds could be dead beneath the dozens of wrecked buildings. But Israel says only about three dozen bodies have been recovered or located, mainly of combatants, and some officials say they don't expect the death toll to grow substantially beyond that.

(China Daily April 18, 2002)

In This Series
Powell Leaves Middle East Without Cease-fire Deal

Powell Seeks Progress in Peace Trip

Israeli Forces Return to Tulkarm

Sharon Promises to Withdraw

Israeli Army to Lift Restrictions in West Bank



Web Link

Copyright © 2001 China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688