WASHINGTON, March 18 (JTA) — A senior Palestinian representative to the United Nations has drawn swift and strong condemnation from Israel for accusing the Jewish state of injecting 300 Palestinian children with the virus that causes AIDS. Nabil Ramlawi, the Palestinian observer delegate to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, cited a litany of what he called “crimes of genocide by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people” at the opening session of the commission’s annual meeting last week. This list included a charge that Israeli authorities “infected by injection 300 Palestinian children” with HIV “during the years of the intifada.” Ramlawi claimed that the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Achronot confirmed the report in January. In fact, the Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram printed a full retraction on its front page of the same charges, “admitting that the story was completely false and that nothing of the kind had appeared in Yediot Achronot,” Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. commission, Yosef Lamdan, wrote to the body’s president. “The Palestinian observer has never had a reputation for accuracy and integrity, but today he has surpassed himself,” Lamdan said in Geneva after the charges were leveled. “This is a blatant barefaced lie, an absolute and total libel,” he said. “The product of a sick and infected mind.” The World Jewish Congress representative in Geneva, Morris Abram, called upon the president of the U.N. body, Ambassador Miraslov Somol, to “challenge the assertion of the Observer of Palestine as baseless, false and intolerable in the Commission of Human Rights.”
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