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Rights Group Condemns Israel's Targeted Killings

February 22, 2001|From Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel's targeted killings of Palestinians suspected of attacks on Israelis are part of a "policy of state assassinations," human rights group Amnesty International said in a report released Wednesday.

The group demanded that Israel stop the practice and asked the United States to review its weapons sales to the Jewish state because of it.

Amnesty fieldworkers investigated several cases in which Israeli forces targeted and killed Palestinian leaders, said the report, which concluded that the killings were illegal and unnecessary. It called the killings a "policy of state assassination."

Amnesty International, the London-based group that won the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its human rights advocacy, called on the United States to examine "all arms transfers to Israel" and provide guarantees that the weapons "are not used to violate human rights."

"There is a clear cause for concern that U.S.-made weapons are being used in attacks on Palestinians, since the U.S. is the major supplier of arms to Israel," said Curt Goering, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, which issued the report.

Palestinians say Israel has targeted and killed at least a dozen local Palestinian leaders since the current round of unrest erupted almost five months ago. Israel has acknowledged some of the cases and refused to comment on others.

Indicating that there is a policy of targeted killing, Israeli officials have said repeatedly that their forces have permission to hit Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are planning attacks.

Atty. Gen. Elyakim Rubinstein has said that the assassination policy is part of war and is legal according to international law.

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