Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International has called for the deployment of international observers to monitor the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even as a 29-year-old Palestinian woman was killed in her home during the re-occupation of the town of Tulkarem by Israeli troops, said reports.
Amnesty's report accuses Israel of responding to attacks with disproportionate force, including the shelling of Palestinian towns, according to the BBC Online.
The report also says three million Palestinians have been subjected to collective punishment with their villages and towns closed to the outside world, said the news service.
According to AP, at least 704 Palestinians and 188 Israelis have been killed in the latest Palestinian uprising against 34 years of Israeli military occupation.
While condemning Palestinian attacks on civilian targets, the Amnesty report notes that Palestinians are at risk of being killed at roadblocks for no apparent reason by nervous or reckless soldiers, said the BBC.
The watchdog group's report came as the Israeli military decided it would not prosecute soldiers who killed an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, even though its findings indicated the troops had fired without justification from a tank-mounted machine gun near a group of children, according to internal army documents cited by AP.
"We fear that it is not an isolated case," said Yael Stein, the research director at Betselem, an Israeli human rights group which has investigated dozens of deaths of Palestinians by army fire, according to the agency.
Amnesty says the presence of international observers would help "defuse" the potential for such killing of civilians and aid in maintaining ceasefires.
Israel has repeatedly blocked, by relying on unswerving US diplomatic support, every attempt at introducing international observers to monitor ceasefires.
FIGHTING CONTINUES, WOMAN KILLED
Fighting continued Tuesday with the killing of a young Palestinian woman, who died as Israeli forces held on to positions in two Palestinian-ruled West Bank areas despite a renewed international demand for their withdrawal, said Reuters.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China - called on Monday for Israel to withdraw its troops and tanks from Palestinian areas, said the agency.
However, Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the soldiers would not leave West Bank areas around Jenin and Tulkarm until Palestinian security forces agreed to "restrain militants and prevent violence," added Reuters.
A gun battle erupted on Tuesday between the occupation troops and Palestinians in Tulkarem, during which Wafa Nasif, 29, was shot in her home, Palestinian witnesses and medics told the agency.
As the new killing took place, a top Palestinian official in Jerusalem urged Israel on Tuesday to "come to terms" with an unbending Palestinian demand for the removal of hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers from Palestinian land occupied by Israel in 1967, according to AP.
For their part, Palestinians must understand that Israel will not accept the return of some four million Palestinian refugees and their descendants to land conquered through war, Sari Nusseibeh told the Foreign Press Association, cited by the agency.
"The Palestinian demand is for a state of Palestine in the entirety of the territories occupied in 1967, no settlements, no Israeli control," Nusseibeh, a confidant of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, was quoted as saying by the agency.
There was no Israeli reaction to Nusseibeh's comments, which came amid US efforts to revive an Israeli-Palestinian peace process halted by nearly 14 months of fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been a major patron of the Jewish settlement effort and has opposed the removal of any settlers, who according to the UK-based magazine The Economist were installed on conquered Palestinian land in the tens of thousands in actions that "flouted" the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
Sharon came into office promising to achieve security for ordinary Israelis within a short period of time, but recently told his Likud Party innncer circle to prepare for a long fight - Albawaba.com
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