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Amnesty: Assassination places civilians at risk

Nov. 14, 2012 8:47 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 14, 2012 10:37 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Amnesty International warned Wednesday that Israel's assassination of the head of Hamas' military wing placed civilians in Gaza as well as Israel at grave risk.

"All sides have to step back from the brink in order to protect civilian lives,” said Ann Harrison, deputy director of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa program.

“The Israeli military must not carry out further indiscriminate attacks, or attacks in densely-populated residential areas that will inevitably harm civilians,” said Harrison.

“Palestinian armed groups in Gaza meanwhile must not fire indiscriminate rockets into Israel," she added.

Israel 'above the law'

Diana Buttu, a Ramallah-based analyst and former adviser to Palestinian negotiators, said the bombing campaign, in particular the assassination, "highlights once again that Israel views itself as above the law.

"This is precisely why the international community, and in particular the United States, must hold Israel accountable for its provocative and illegal actions, in order to stop another bloodbath in Gaza before it happens.

"It is time for the world to send Israel the message that it is not above the law and the Palestinians are not beneath it."

Meanwhile Israeli President Shimon Peres briefed US President Barack Obama about Israel's killing of the Hamas military commander in Gaza, saying the man was a "mass-murderer".

Peres told Obama that the killing of Ahmad al-Jaabari was Israel's response to a surge in cross-border Palestinian rocket and mortar salvos from Gaza.

"Israel is not interested in stoking the flames, but for the past five days there has been constant missile fire at Israel and mothers and children cannot sleep quietly at night," Peres was quoted as telling Obama.

"There is a limit to what Israel can absorb," said Peres, who visited the Israeli border town of Sderot on Wednesday.

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