(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/16/2006) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for an independent investigation of allegations that America played a role in an Israeli attack on a Palestinian prison that came 10 minutes after U.S. and British monitors withdrew from the facility.

The 10-hour assault resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians and sparked protests throughout the Occupied Territories. Both the United States and Britain denied cooperating with Israel, despite the short time period between the withdrawal of the monitors and what was apparently a pre-planned attack.

SEE: Britain and US Complicit in Jericho Raid, Says Abbas (Independent)

“The fact that the assault came just minutes after the withdrawal of American monitors creates the impression that there was coordination with the Israeli military,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

He said that impression, if left unaddressed by an independent investigation, can only serve to reinforce the perception in the region that our nation’s foreign policy serves Israeli, not American, interests.

SEE: Lebanese Forces Block U.S. Embassy Protest (AP)

Awad cited a new study published by the Harvard University John F. Kenney School of Government, titled “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” that asks the question: “Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?”

The report also states:

“…the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights.”