ICRC says medical personnel blocked in Palestine

Over the past few days and in response to the worsening situation, International Red Cross delegates and Palestine Red Crescent Society volunteers attempted to cater for the most pressing humanitarian needs in
the West Bank. However, the ICRC and the International Federation have cause to regret the frequent and often serious instances in which medical personnel were prevented from performing their life saving duties. The most basic humanitarian precondition in a situation of violence, is that all medical staff and volunteers be allowed to function unmolested.

Much remains to be done in virtually all humanitarian domains - medical, livelihood of the civilian populations, protection of non combatants and of arrested persons... - yet ICRC delegates were regrettably prevented from working because of a sudden degradation of the usual lines of communication between themselves and the Israeli authorities…


Powell meets with Muslims to discuss Israeli attacks

On Wednesday, April 3, leaders of national American Muslim and Arab-American organizations will meet with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to discuss Israeli’s ongoing attacks in the Occupied Territories.
Following the meeting, Muslim attendees will hold a briefing outside the State Department’s C Street entrance. Interviews are also available prior to the meeting.

“We appreciate Secretary’s Powell’s decision to call for this meeting and once again state the American Muslim community’s willingness to provide a bridge of understanding to the Islamic world during this time of crisis and conflict,” said Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the group’s invited to today’s meeting.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 3, Meeting - 2 p.m., Briefing 3:15 p.m. (or following the conclusion of the meeting)

WHERE: Briefing - Outside the State Department’s C Street Entrance.


Pope says Israel Humiliating Palestinians

Pope John Paul sharply criticised Israel on Wednesday for "humiliating" the Palestinians, while European newspapers attacked the United States for not doing enough to halt Middle East violence.

In a strongly-worded statement, the Vatican said it had called in the Israeli and U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See on Tuesday to discuss the crisis.

Although it condemned acts of terrorism, an apparent reference to a recent wave of Palestinian suicide attacks in Israeli towns and cities, the statement included a list of criticisms of the Jewish state.

It said the Pope "rejects unjust conditions and humiliations imposed on the Palestinian people as well as the reprisals and revenge attacks which do nothing but feed the sense of frustration and hatred…"

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has sent troops and tanks to reoccupy a string of West Bank towns and villages and besiege Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in his Ramallah headquarters in response to the suicide bombings…