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The human rights situation in the West Bank has worsened, despite expectations that it would improve following the removal of Hamas from the Government of the West Bank. Settlements expand, the construction of the wall continues, and checkpoints increase in number. Military incursions and arrests have intensified, 779 Palestinian prisoners have been released but some 11,000 remain in Israeli jails.
Terrorism is a scourge, a serious violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. No attempt is made in the reports to minimize the pain and suffering it causes to victims, their families and the broader community. Palestinians are guilty of terrorizing innocent Israeli civilians by means of suicide bombs and Qassam rockets.
Likewise the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are guilty of terrorizing innocent Palestinian civilians by military incursions, targeted killings and sonic booms that fail to distinguish between military targets and civilians. All these acts must be condemned and have been condemned.
Common sense, however, dictates that a distinction must be drawn between acts of mindless terror, such as acts committed by Al Qaeda, and acts committed in the course of a war of national liberation against colonialism, apartheid or military occupation. While such acts cannot be justified, they must be understood as being a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation.