Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nobel Winners Petition Israel to Outlaw Targeted Killing

Published on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 by Agence France Presse

"Hundreds of Israeli peace activists, joined by three foreign Nobel laureates, asked the nation's high court to rule against targeted assassinations carried out by the army in the Palestinian territories, saying the attacks were killing civilians.

The petition, signed by 10 peace groups and 200 individuals, urged the supreme court to rule immediately on the issue in light of last week's Israeli fire in Gaza's Beit Hanun that killed 19 people, mostly women and children.

"How many more children need to die before the high court judges rule on the matter," it said.

"If a ruling is not handed down immediately, this will cause the deaths of more innocent people, as was the case several days ago in Beit Hanun," a town in northern Gaza, it said.

The signatories included Harold Pinter, winner of the Nobel literature prize in 2005, and Betty Williams and Mairead McGuire, the founders of an organization that promoted peace in Northern Ireland and who won the Nobel peace prize in 1976.

Since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, the Israeli military has killed hundreds of Palestinians in targeted strikes, aimed at hitting militants but often leaving civilians dead.

More than 300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in Israeli strikes since late June, after a soldier was seized by militant groups in the coastal strip.

A recent report by Physicians for Human Rights said that more than 60 percent of those killed were civilians and more than 20 percent minors.

The targeted assassinations have been condemned by the international community and by human rights groups inside the Jewish state.

In January 2002, Israel's supreme court rejected the first appeal over the strikes, filed by an Israeli Arab MP. A second appeal over the policy was filed more than four years ago in April 2002, with the justices yet to issue a ruling."

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