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Rights Advocate Visits Israeli Victims of Terror

April 30, 2002|From Associated Press

TEL AVIV — Responding to criticism that human rights groups ignore Israeli victims, on Monday the head of Amnesty International visited Israelis hurt in Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Throughout 19 months of battles, Israeli officials have complained that international human rights groups have not condemned suicide bombings and shooting attacks, which many Palestinians support in their struggle for an independent homeland.

"There is no excuse for human rights abuse, whether in the name of security or in the name of liberation," Irene Khan, Amnesty's secretary-general, said Monday.

Khan said the Palestinian Authority and armed Palestinian groups have a responsibility under international law to protect the rights of civilians.

Khan, who also toured the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, came to a Tel Aviv hospital Monday and talked with two Israelis recovering from Palestinian attacks.

Aviad Ohayon, 18, remembered pleading with a tall gunman, just a year older than Ohayon, who cut through the fence of the Jewish settlement of Atzmona in the Gaza Strip.

"We said to him that we were just students, we don't have a weapon," he said from the hospital nearly two months after the attack. The gunman shot into a crowd of teens studying religious texts, killing five of Ohayon's classmates.

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