(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/15/03) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today criticized the Bush administration’s assertion that the demolition of more than 100 home in a Gaza refugee camp was an act of “self-defense.” The recent demolitions by invading Israeli forces left more than 1,000 people homeless. Eight Palestinians were killed in the Israeli action.
This week, Amnesty International said the “deliberate and wanton destruction of homes and civilian property is a grave violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, notably of Articles 33 and 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and constitutes a war crime.”
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement:
“One-sided and uncritical support for Israel’s collective punishment will only serve to encourage even harsher measures against Palestinian civilians by an out-of-control Israeli government. America cannot maintain a faÃ§ade of neutrality while at the same time ignoring or justifying the illegal actions of the Israeli military.
“As recent studies have shown, turning a blind-eye to Israeli brutality against the Palestinian people is the main factor driving the deterioration of America’s image in the Muslim world.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 16 regional offices nationwide and in Canada.