For the past six months, the West Bank city of Hebron has been the scene of serious and sustained human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The eighty-two page report, Center of the Storm: A Case Study of Human Rights Abuses in Hebron District, documents excessive use of force and unlawful killings by Israeli forces, Palestinian targeting of Israeli civilians, and a systematic policy of Israeli blockades and curfews that amount to collective punishment. The report also brings to light a disturbing pattern of violence committed by Jewish settlers against Palestinian civilians in and around Hebron, often committed with the knowledge of Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers in the area.Human Rights Watch urged the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority take immediate steps to stop abuses by the forces under their control, and called for an independent, international monitoring presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to monitor and report on Israeli and Palestinian abuses. Human Rights Watch researchers spent a total of five weeks in Hebron in November 2000 and February 2001. They completed more than 180 interviews with victims and witnesses to abuses, Israeli and Palestinian officials, international observers, medical and educational personnel, and Israeli settler representatives.