Amnesty International Says Israelis Fired Tear Gas in Hospitals
GENEVA (AP) _ Amnesty International said at a U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting Tuesday that Israeli soldiers have fired tear gas into hospitals and homes during the Palestinian uprising, causing up to 60 deaths.
Israel denied the charges.
An envoy of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in an apparent reference to the accusation, told the 43-nation meeting Palestinian children had died in ″Israeli gas chambers.″
Amnesty spokeswoman Ingrid Kircher read a statement saying the Israeli forces fired tear gas into hospitals and homes, a ″deliberate misuse″ because manufacturers’ instructions say the gas can kill in confined places.
She said about 60 people were reported to have died in tear gas-related incidents, ″some of them as a direct result of its misuse.″
Avi Pazner, spokesman for Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, said in Jerusalem: ″It’s all a great lie. Israel has certainly not shot into hospitals.″
An army spokesman said Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip act ″in accordance with the international law and judicial procedures.″
The spokesman said on condition of anonymity that the army will provide a detailed response to the allegations after a ″careful study of the report.″
The PLO observer, Nabil Ramlawi, made the reference to ″Israeli gas chambers″ in his remarks to the U.N. meeting in Geneva.
Many of the 6 million Jews who died in the Nazi holocaust were killed in Nazi gas chambers.
Ramlawi also accused the Israelis of beating pregnant women to cause them to miscarry, burying people alive to save ammunition instead of shooting them, and stealing organs from wounded Palestinian patients to be used in transplant operations on Israelis.
The statement of London-based Amnesty expressed grave concern over what it called ″extensive human rights violations″ by Israel despite growing domestic and international protests. It said Israeli authorities ″appear so far to have condoned - if not encouraged - the excessive use of force.″
More than 365 Palestinians and 15 Israelis have died in the 13-month revolt. The Palestinians are protesting occupation by Israel, which seized the lands from neighboring Arab states in the 1967 Middle East war.
Amnesty said about 300 civilians have been shot to death by Israeli soldiers.
The group’s statement also said thousands of Palestinians - including children, elderly people, and wounded patients - have been ″forcibly removed from hospitals″ and beaten by Israeli army and security forces. It said at least eight of the victims died.
Amnesty urged the Israeli government to crack down on excessive use of force and prosecute those guilty of abuses.