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In two letters to the President and Prime Minister, Al Mezan calls for sober tackling of the internal fighting and security chaos profiles


Al Mezan Center for Human Rights sent letters to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, yesterday, 28 May 2007.
The Center, while expresses its appreciation for the efforts both made to bring to an end the internal fighting and security chaos, calls for a more sober treatment of these profiles, which have caused acute damage to the Palestinian social textile and the Palestinian people's individual and collective rights.
The letters assert the responsibility shared by the two officials, as well as the political parties and civil society, towards the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
They also express the Center's profound concern by the extent and scope of violations that emanate from the frequent infighting and state of security chaos in the Gaza Strip.
The letters state that, according to Al Mezan's documentation, 56 Palestinians have been killed and over 200 injured only in the last wave of infighting during May 2007.
This raises the toll of Palestinians killed from internal fighting in 2007 to 214.
Some 1,301 people have been wounded during the same period.
Additionally, about 150 people were kidnapped by the two rival factions, Fatah and Hamas, and dozens of homes and other properties were intentionally destroyed or damaged.
They add that the Center has reasonable evidence to believe that certain conducts of the infighting amount to crimes that contravene with domestic and international criminal law as well as human rights standards and the inherent values of the Palestinian society.
Some of these conducts, the letters continue, are: Murder; including malicious killing and extra-judicial execution.
According to testimonies collected from eyewitnesses, many were executed after having surrendered or captured.
Others were taken from their homes by militants and then found murdered.
Moreover, many cases of ambushing and shooting for killing have been documented.
Frequent assaults on the physical integrity of the body and degrading of the human person.
This included dozens of cases of shooting of kidnapped persons in the legs.
In many cases civilians who were not part of any clashes and did not carry arms were treated so; only because of their suspected political affiliation.
Shelling and destruction of private property; including homes, vehicles and stores, and the taking of homes by force and taking civilians as hostages; including women and children.
The spread of feelings of fear and terror throughout the erection of hundreds of roadblocks and checkpoints by masked militants who search people, detain individuals and frequently open fire in densely populated neighborhoods.
The continued incitement; including dehumanization of persons and groups and stereotyping them as infidels or traitors, by the media owned by the two rival factions.
Al Mezan asserts that the tackling of the internal security profile necessitates addressing the real reasons that render it possible with such a scope.
A purely political and security approach such as that engendered in the Mecca Agreement is not sufficient since it does not establish for genuine political partnership and a legal treatment of the profiles in hand.
In the end, the letters demand that the two officials consider the following suggestions: Ensure due pursuit and trial of all the individuals who conducted criminal acts during the clashes.
For this to be possible, all kind of protection; be they political and familial, must be removed.
The PNA should work, without delay, on registering all cases of assault and damage and to duly offer restitution and compensation for the victims as decided by the judiciary.
Brining all those who prove involved in criminal conduct to courts and ensure that they enjoy fair trial and humane treatment.
Halt, with an immediate effect, all kinds of incitement, be they through leaders' statements or by the faction-owned media.
Instead, the PNA must take steps to raise awareness on the deadly impacts of the infighting, and to build on all the positive content of Palestinian heritage and culture to assert the values of tolerance and diversity in society.

Tags / #state of insecurity