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Israel/South Lebanon: Fear for safety: Civilians in parts of Lebanon and Israel

, رقم الوثيقة: MDE 15/026/1996

AI fears that many more civilians may be killed in bomb and rocket attacks as a result of escalating attacks by Israel on Lebanon and by Hizbullah on Israel. At least eight civilians have already been killed and over 35 have been injured.

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 15/26/96
UA 100/96 Fear for safety 12 April 1996
LEBANON / ISRAEL Civilians in parts of Lebanon and Israel
Amnesty International fears that many more civilians may be killed in bomb
and rocket attacks as a result of escalating attacks by Israel on Lebanon and
by Hizbullah (party of God, an armed Islamist group based in Lebanon) on Israel.
At least eight civilians have already been killed and over 35 injured in an
exchange of attacks over the last four days.
On 12 April further Katyusha rockets were fired by Hizbullah at towns in Israel
with apparent disregard for the safety of civilians. On the morning of 12 April
Israel scattered leaflets and used a radio run by the South Lebanese Army,
a Christian militia allied to Israel, to warn civilians of 40 towns and villages
in south Lebanon to flee by 2.30pm Lebanese time. A mass exodus is taking place
from the threatened areas. It is unclear the extent to which the Israeli warning
seemed genuinely aimed at avoiding civilian casualties, or was rather intended
to terrorize the civilian population into fleeing.
Statements made by both Israeli and Hizbullah leaders increase the fear of
more civilian deaths. On 11 April, after an Israeli helicopter attack on several
targets (including an alleged helicopter base in south Beirut) which caused
at least four deaths, at least three of them civilians, Major General Amiram
Levine, in command of Israeli forces in Lebanon, is reported to have said that
"Residents in south Lebanon who are under the authority of Hizbullah will be
hit harder". General Amnon Shahak, Israeli Chief of General Staff said that:
"We will not hesitate to attack Hizbullah targets even if they are in the middle
of the civilian population, which we would like to spare". Shaykh Hassan
Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, said, after the attack on Beirut: "Our
response to the bombing of Beirut will not be in the north of Palestine. It
will occur elsewhere, anywhere". Hizbullah attacks using Katyusha rockets on
towns in northern Israel have already wounded many civilians.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Hizbullah attacks on Israel, which occupies a strip about 15 kilometres wide
of south Lebanon as a "security zone", have increased over the past months.
In addition to attacks on Israeli soldiers in the zone they have also launched
attacks using Katyusha rockets into northern Israel, particularly against
Qiryat Shemona, an Israeli settlement near the Lebanese border. Israel has
replied by bombing alleged Hizbullah positions, usually in Lebanese villages.
During March, south Lebanese villages were frequently shelled by Israel, causing
the deaths of two civilians, apparently in reprisal for Hizbullah rocket raids
into northern Israel and attacks on Israeli forces which killed six soldiers.
The recent escalation followed the death of a 14-year-old Lebanese boy in Brashit
village as a result of a bomb explosion. Israel denied placing the bomb. The
following day Hizbullah fired rockets against Qiryat Shemona wounding 36 people.
The Israeli Government spokesman, Uri Dromi, said: It was a minimal possible
action yesterday [11 April], we went out of our way not to hit civilians. What
we have shown yesterday was only the tip of the iceberg of what we can do.
However, in these "targeted" attacks at least three civilians were killed.
The civilians reportedly included a 60-year-old man killed in Beirut and a
27-year-old woman killed in her car which had stopped at a sandwich stall north
of Sidon.
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As the conflict escalates Amnesty International is concerned that future attacks
will lead to many civilian casualties and calls on both sides to refrain from
direct attacks on civilians or any indiscriminate attacks.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English or your own language:
Be sure to indicate in your letters that AI is making similar appeals to both
sides to the current conflict.
To the Israeli Government:
- expressing concern at reports of statements by senior Israeli civil and
military officials and politicians that appear to indicate a disregard for
the protection of civilian lives in parts of Lebanon which might be the subject
of attack by Israeli armed forces;
- urging the Israeli Government to ensure, in accordance with international
law governing armed conflict, that in any military action in Lebanon it takes
all necessary steps to ensure the safety of civilians, including by refraining
from direct attacks on civilians and from indiscriminate attacks on military
targets;
- reminding the Israeli Government that under international law attacks against
the civilian population are never permissible, even as a measure of responding
to such attacks against civilians in Israel.
To Hizbullah:
- expressing concern at reports of statements by the Hizbullah leadership that
appear to indicate a disregard for the protection of civilian lives in Israel;
- urging the Hizbullah leadership to ensure, in accordance with international
law governing armed conflict, that in any military action in southern Lebanon
or Israel it takes all necessary steps to ensure the safety of civilians,
including by refraining from direct attacks on civilians and from indiscriminate
attacks on military targets;
- reminding the Hizbullah leadership that under international law attacks
against the civilian population are never permissible, even as a measure of
responding to such attacks against civilians in Lebanon.
APPEALS TO: 1) Israel
Shimon Peres
Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street, Jerusalem 91007, Israel
Telegrams: Prime Minister Peres, Jerusalem, Israel
Telexes: 25279 MPRES IL
Faxes: +972 2 664 838; +972 2 6513 950
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
Lieutenant-General Amnon Shahak
Chief of General Staff
c/o Ministry of Defence
7 'A' Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel
Faxes: +972 3 691 6940
Telegrams: Chief of Staff Shahak, Tel Aviv, Israel
Salutation: Dear Lieutenant-General
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2) Hizbullah
Shaykh Hasan Nasrallah
P.O.Box 266-25
Beirut, Lebanon
Faxes: +961 1 601 006 (say Fax please)
Salutation: Dear Shaykh Nasrallah
COPIES OF APPEALS TO ISRAELI AUTHORITIES ONLY: to diplomatic representatives
of Israel accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 30 May 1996.

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