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Date posted: June 24, 2008
By MIFTAH

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH strongly condemns the assassination of two Nablus residents on June 23 by Israeli army troops. MIFTAH feels Israel's continued military incursions and killings in Palestinian territories are not only a violation of basic human rights, they are also not conducive to the promotion of a peaceful settlement.

According to Palestinian media sources and eyewitnesses in Nablus, Israeli forces invaded an apartment building used as a student dormitory for the city's Al Najah University. The troops broke into the room of Iyad Khanfar and Tareq Abu Ghali, the former a fourth year arts student at Al Najah, killing them at point blank range. Abu Ghali 23, is reportedly a leading commander of Al Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad and had survived several assassination attempts on his life in the past.

Israeli troops apparently surrounded the adjacent Salous and Masri buildings at 1:30 in the morning, shooting and firing sound bombs throughout the night. Five other men were arrested in the raid. Al Najah University has suspended classes for the day in mourning for 24-year-old Khanfar.

MIFTAH finds this incident extremely disturbing, especially in light of the fact that Palestinian police have controlled Nablus since November 2007. Still, Israel continues to retain the right to invade, kill or arrest anyone from the city whenever it deems necessary, thus undermining any Palestinian efforts to restore law and order.

MIFTAH is also increasingly concerned with Israel's blatant violation of Palestinian rights, which it carries out without fear of punishment from the international community. Israel has been executing extrajudicial killings of Palestinians for years with impunity even as it claims to be a democracy and respectful of all human rights.

MIFTAH calls on Israel to halt its policy of assassination of Palestinian activists and to respect the security arrangement in place in Nablus. We also call on the United Nations, the Quartet Committee and the United States in its capacity as the leading global power to hold Israel accountable for its breaches of international humanitarian law and to encourage an atmosphere of stability and peace. Israel cannot continue to preach about its own security when it continuously violates that of the Palestinians.

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