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Date posted: January 19, 2008
By MIFTAH

MIFTAH, the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy strongly condemns the latest escalation in Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, which have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians and has brought the death toll over the past four days to 35. On January 18, Israeli F-16 fighter planes dropped a bomb on the former Ministry of Interior building in the Tel Al Hawwa neighborhood of Gaza City, completely destroying it. Three people, celebrating a wedding in an adjacent building, were killed and 46 others injured.

Fifty-two year old Haniyeh Abdul Jawad was killed during the interior ministry raid while 15-year old Mahmoud Al Barsh was killed in a separate Israeli raid east of Jabaliya along with 23-year old Ismail Radwan, a member of the Izzedin Al Qassam Brigades.

This latest Israeli raid is particularly alarming in terms of its complete disregard for Palestinian civilian life. MIFTAH finds it particularly concerning that the United States, the so-called broker in the recent re-launching of Palestinian/Israeli peace efforts, has stated that Israels military escalation falls within Israels right to self-defense.

MIFTAH strongly calls on the United States and the international community at large to demand the protection of civilian life in the Gaza Strip, irrespective of their political stances. The right to life is a basic and inherent human right, which should be respected and protected by all, including an occupying power. Israel, in this capacity, should not be allowed to violate this right repeatedly with impunity and it is the responsibility of the international community to ensure that Israel is held accountable for its actions.

MIFTAH would also like to express its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and reiterate that the only solution is a just and lasting solution for the Palestinians represented in the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian state.

Source: MIFTAH
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