Israel/Occupied Territories: Amnesty International delegates denied access to Gaza

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News Flash

AI Index: MDE 15/040/2003 (Public)

News Service No: 117
9 May 2003

Amnesty International today condemned the Israeli authorities' decision requiring foreigners entering Gaza to sign "waivers" that absolve Israel from responsibility should they be killed or injured.

"The organization is categorically opposed to any attempt to get people to sign away their rights," Amnesty International said. "The signing of 'waivers' does not absolve the Israeli army of its responsibility in any way, nor the Israeli authorities of their duties to ensure that armed froces respect human rights in all circumstances."

The organization is concerned that one aim of these new and drastic restrictions is to prevent outside monitoring and scrutiny of the conduct of the Israeli army. It is also concerned that these restrictions will lead to more killings in Gaza and calls on the army to immediately end the use of excessive and unlawful force.

Amnesty International's delegates were denied access to Gaza today. They were required to sign the "waivers" which they refused to do. The organization has repeatedly demanded that international human rights monitors be deployed in Israel and the Occupied Territories to ensure that international standards are abided by.

"We condemn all unlawful killings of civilians, including children, in Israel and the Occupied Territories, whether committed by members of the Israeli army or members of armed Palestinian groups," Amnesty International said.

The declaration to be signed states, among other things, that the individual "accept(s) that the government of the state of Israel and its organs cannot be held responsible for death, injury and/or damage/loss of property which may be incurred as a result of military activity".

Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:

Comment on Press Release (by Clare Brandabur, 10 May 2003):

This Press Release from Amnesty is a follow-up to the Israeli announcement that no foreigners will be allowed to enter Gaza unless they sign a release absolving the Israeli Occupation Forces from all responsibility for their death or injury since it is a war zone. When a fascist group is carrying out genocide, they do not want outside observers: these are thugs who want to act behind their barbed wire fences around the concentration camps to which they have consigned the indigenous Palestinian people. Like King Leopold of Belgium (who was furious that the Kodak Camera was invented since it enabled foreigners to record graphic proof of his genocide against the indigenous inhabitants of the Congo), Ariel Sharon is furious that outsiders would dare to witness by their presence his liquidation of the Palestinians, and show the world his savagery.

Posted by: Mona Baker on May 10, 03 | 7:55 am