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May 08, 2003

There's no place like home

Church of Nativity terrorists complain: we want to return to West Bank

Don't it make your poor heart cry?
Mr. Hatem Hmood, one of the Palestinian deportees in the Bethlehem crisis, asserted that the deportation of 26 Palestinian citizens from their homes to Gaza Strip, and 13 others to European countries, is considered as a violation of human rights, and compared to an assassination.

Speaking in a press conference held at the premises of the International Press Center (IPC) in Gaza, in which representatives of the High Follow up Committee for National and Islamic Parties, the Advocate Syndicate and 26 Palestinian deportees from Bethlehem, Mr. Hmood announced that on May 10, which will mark the exact day of their deportation, a series of activities aiming to revive the incident, including a letter addressed to Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, demanding his immediate intervention for their return.

On his part, Mr. Kayed Al Ghoul, representing the High Follow up Commission, said that the Palestinian people is still facing the same policy the occupying forces used since 1948, and they're still met with silence from the international community.

Mr. Al Ghoul also added that the period of their deportation wasn't determined by the Israeli government, which further inflame the crime. He warned of that world silence on such a matter might form a motive for Israel
to start practicing mass deportations, a thing they were preparing since the early stages of the war on Iraq, using the attention it drew from the media.

Al Ghoul called upon all interested national parties to work together and exert more pressure on the international community and on the Israeli government to stop these crimes, and to stress on the Palestinians' right of return.

Speaking of a legal point of view, Mr. Abdel Rahman Abu Naser, head of the Palestinian bar association, considered the deportation of Palestinian strugglers as an outrageous violation of article 49 of the 4th Geneva
Convention, and that it's considered a war crime.

Mr. Abu Naser said that the Israeli government's legal advisor tried to cover up for this war crime, by deporting 26 of them to Gaza Strip, which is among Palestinian Authority's jurisdiction, but a group of several
Palestinian and international law makers agreed that this would also be considered a war crime, and a violation to the international humanitarian law.

Abu Naser demanded all attending reporters and media outlets to intensify their coverage of such deportations, and shed more light on their consequences and ramifications.

In the end of the conference, a representative of the Palestinian deportees in Gaza read a statement on their behalf, condemning this crime, and calling on all interested parties, whether local or international, to join them in the activities they will hold in Gaza City, to mark the first anniversary of their deportation from their homes.[more]