Ramallah, April 9th, 2002
We are 40 internationals from 8 different countries, members of a civil mission for the protection of the Palestinian people. Presently besieged at the presidential palace of Yasser Arafat, we live under constant threat of Israeli tanks and snipers.
We came into these buildings in order to prevent the final assault that Ariel Sharon planned against the representative of the Palestinian Authority and the people around him. This assault would be the final step of the general offensive against the autonomous Palestinian zones and against the institutions which have been developed in them.
At this moment as we write this message, Bethlehem, Jenin, and Nablus
are subjected to an unprecedented aggression. Under the pretext of a search
for “terrorists”, tanks, attack helicopters, and army troops equipped with
sophisticated arms penetrate to the centers of cities and refugee camps,
demolishing buildings and infrastructure, shooting on unarmed civilians
and ambulances, preventing even the International Red Cross from rescuing
the injured. Palestinian policemen in uniform, as well as numerous Palestinians
who were only suspected of carrying out acts of resistance are assassinated.
Since Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the area of the Al Aqsa mosque on September 28th, 2002, about 1800 persons have been killed, amongst whom 80% were civilians, and 20,000 were badly injured, amongst whom 35% were children and teenagers.
Enormous numbers of round ups are taking place. Entire cities are subjected to collective punishment such as interminable curfews during which the army arrests suspects who are interrogated and tortured. All of these actions are war crimes committed by an army operating in the territories occupied since 1967 despite all UN resolutions, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the laws by which international society attempts to humanize the relations between peoples.
As witnesses of these crimes, we declare that we are ready to testify at the trial that should be immediately initiated against Ariel Sharon, who since he became the head of the Israeli Government bears total responsibility for the operations taking place in the occupied territories.
The 40 internationals at the Moquata’a – Presidential Palace in Ramallah