GENEVA (Jul. 14)
Four Geneva municipal officials who have just returned from the West Bank said here Wednesday that they had witnessed “a real state of siege.”
“We found villages and refugee camps under curfew, general strikes, military siege, dead and wounded persons, concentration camps and deportees,” the group said at a news conference.
The officials are preparing a report, which they will present to the Swiss government, the International Red Cross and other organizations.
The four, all members of left-wing parties, spent four days in the West Bank. They had declared prior to leaving that their purpose was to observe conditions that could be used to promote an international peace conference, and to reaffirm their solidarity with the Palestinians.
The group consisted of Jean Spielmann, a member of the Geneva City Council, who is secretary-general of the Swiss Labor Party; Erica Deuber-Pauli, also a City Council member and a member of the Swiss-Arab Friendship Association; Anjuska Weil, a Jewish political activist from Zurich; and Marie-France Spielmann, municipal councilor of Geneva.
They praised the work done by doctors and international voluntary organizations in the territory, but said conditions were deplorable.
The Palestinian population, they said, live a life fraught with terror and atrocities that have become banal.
The closure of Arab schools by the Israeli authorities was intended to “annihilate a whole culture,” the officials maintained.
They also spoke of the use of tear gas, which harms pregnant women; old women being beaten; house destroyed; and everyday humiliations.