Israel's Human Rights Violations:

Deliberate and Systematic Human Rights Fact Sheet

In the United States of America, the plight of the Palestinians is rarely acknowledged in the official circles; on the contrary, the modus operandi is an attempt to obfuscate and down –play the extent of such suffering. The scope, the systematic and deliberate nature of Israeli human rights violations, are unprecedented both in the methods and in the cover up job thereafter. The whole world watched the CBS tape of five Israeli soldiers using stones and engaged in breaking the bones of two Palestinsian who lay helpless on the ground. This case was not exception, it is the norm. The late Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin expressed the government and the army policy in dealing with the Palestinian as a "policy of might, power and beating." (N.Y.T. 1/25/1988).

    The issue is not of one or two bad soldiers, rather, it is an issue of deliberate and systematic policy of violating the basic human rights of the Palestinians. According to B’Tselem, and Israeli human rights organization, since the 1987 uprising, over 1, 318 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military. Among them 70 children were 12 and under and 262 children under the age of 16. In addition to Palestinians killed by the Israeli army, 107 were killed by Israeli civilians, i.e. settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who carry weapons at all times.

    These figures are conservative and they do not include those who died in prinson and those whom the Palenstinians managed to take away before the army could take the body. Furthermore, during the past ten years 46,000 kids under the age of 18 have become disabled due to the use of live ammunition and metal coated rubber bullets by the Israeli army. An additional 34, 000 adults over the age of 18 have also become disabled by the Israeli army. The Palestinian population in the West Bank and the Gaza only 2 million.

    If the above casualties occurred in the US with 250 million, the ration would be: 245, 000 Americans killed, 8 million disabled kids under 18, and 5.9 million adults over the age of 18 disabled. The extent of the human toll and suffering ofn the A Palestinian nation has not been fully realiszed, and all of these victims are civilians not military, which is the most shocking.

    A press release by B’Tselem dated November 19, 1996 states that " beatings and degradation of Palestinians by police and border police are common." Furthermore, B’Tselem statement points out to the existence of an "unwritten policy of using violence and humiliation" against the Palestinians by the Israeli army. It is a deliberate and a systematic policy of human rights violations.

Legalized Torture

    The Palestinians are subject to arrest without cause, can be held up to 14 days with out access to a lawyer, and detained in prison for up to six months subject to renewal without trial. It is estimated by al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization, that one out of every four Palestinians has been subject to arrest for some period of time since the 1987 Intifada.

    The Middle East Human Rights Watch Report of 1997 titled " Torture and Ill-Treatment Israeli’s Integration of Palestinians form the Occupied Territories", describes the breadth of violations directed against prisoners:

    " The dominant interrogation strategy is coordinated, rigid and increasingly painful regime of physical constraints and psychological pressure applied over several weeks at a time on detainees who are held without charge and usually without access to a lawyer. The chief method include prolonged sleep deprivation, the use of blindfolds or tight-fitting hoods, shacking or otherwise forcing detainees into body positions that grow increasingly painful, prolonged toilet and hygiene deprivations, and verbal threats and insults. Many, but not all, detainees are also beaten during rounds of questioning."

    The Israeli General Security Services has been given the right to use torture and moderate physical pressure in dealing with prisoners. This was condemned by Amnesty International in a statement issued Feb. 10, 1998 which said that the GSS guidelines "will continue to legitimize Israeli’s torture of security detainees during interrogation and to allow the perpetrators of such abuses to get away with it." Furthermore, the statement mentioned that " in May last year the United Nations (UN) Committee Against Torture explicitly requested Israel to incorporate the treaty’s provisions into Israeli law."

    Many prisoners attempted to seek legal recourse to find the Israeli Supreme Court supporting the use of torture and rejecting their appeals. Israel’s record on the treatment of prisoners places it in breach of article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which state that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Furthermore, Israel is in violation of articles 6, 7, 10, and 11 for refusing to accord the Palestinians "equal protection" under the law access to a "public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal", and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a trial at which [ a person] had all the guarantees necessary for his defense."

Palestinians are Ruled by 1300 Military Orders

    The Israeli occupation is governed y a set of 1300 military orders that are implemented by a military civil administration. The court system is made of military personnel and the Military Court allow the GSS to introduce secret evidence that the Palestinian and his/her lawyer has no right to see or refute. In many cases, this secret evidence was the only piece of evidence that made the difference in sending an innocent Palestinian to prison.

    The state of Israel is the leading country in violations of international law and the article of Geneva Convention. Palestinians under occupation have been subject to closure of their cities and villages for prolonged periods of time. The Israeli occupation forces demolished over 2,000 housed in the West Bank in the past ten years alone. Also, in the past decade, the occupation forces have cut over 185,489 olive, grape and fruit trees in the West Bank and Gaza. All these acts constitute a grave breach of the Geneva Convention and are clearly crimes against both human and the environment.


House Demolition and Land Confiscation

    The Israeli policy of demolition of demolition of Palestinian houses has reached an alarming rate and indicate a coordinated strategy the goal of which is the emptying of the land from its people. According to a 1997 report by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, between 1992 and 1995 approximately 539 Palestinians houses were demolished in the West Bank. An additional 140 houses were demolished in1996." Furthermore, since the election of Israeli Prime Minister Neanyahu in May 1996, "245 Palestinian houses were demolished in the occupied Palestinian territories". The rate of house demolition has been on the increase in 1998, with some 100 houses destroyed in the first three months alone.

    Israeli House demolition constitutes a form of collective punishment and violates article 17(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says " no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property." In addition, this Israeli act is in breach of article 33 of Fourth Geneva Convention which states that " no protected person may be punished for an offense he or she had not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or terrorism are prohibited…. Reprisal against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

    If a Palestinian is arrested for political activities then one form of punishment is the blowing up of the family house. This constitute an act of collective punishment and is intended to send a message to family members and neighbors. Often, the family of the prisoner is not given any time to take their possessions out from the house before the Israeli military blow it up.

    The Israeli propaganda machine will hide behind the lack of building permits as the cause for these demolitions, but the facts are clear that it is a coordinated policy intending to force the Palestinians off their land. It is rare for a Palestinian to be given a building permit and Palestinians would spend ten to twenty years in the process of requesting such permits.

    All these human rights violations are funded by American taxpayers and supported by US politicians of both parties. It is US made weapons that are being used to kill and injure Palestinian civilians, and it is US made explosives that are being used to blow up houses. If someone gives a gun to another while knowing that this person is intent on using the gun to commit a murder, then the supplier of the gun is an accessory to the committing of the murder. Thus, the US government is acting as an accessory to a massive campaign of human rights violations and ought to be held accountable under the law. Call your representative and demand an end to US aid to Israel. Just don’t let them tell you they did not know!!!!

Source:  Islamic Association of Palestine in North America