Israel Resource Review 16th July, 2001


40 Palestinian Authority Organizations Attack Bi'tselem

40 Palestinian Authority Organizations condemn "B'Tselem biased position towards Settlements & Settlers in the Occupied Territories": July 3rd, 2001

On 21.6.01 B'Tselem issued a press release entitled 'B'Tselem condemns Palestinian statements supporting attacks against settlers'. As Palestinian organizations, we believe that the timing of this release, which coincides with an intense and misleading media campaign in support of illegal settlement by the Israeli Occupation Authorities, is inopportune and only serves to give the impression that settlers are "civilians" on par with the indigenous Palestinian population. Moreover, the release came as a response to the settlers' appeals for Israeli human rights organizations to take a position against the killing of "innocent" and "civilian" settlers, and to issue a statement condemning the positions and statements of the PNA officials regarding attacks on settlers.

Instead of rushing behind the security establishment and responding to the settlers' pressure, we believe that B'Tselem should focus its attention on the ongoing gross human rights violations that are occurring in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and should remain independent by maintaining an honest and unbiased position based on international humanitarian law and human rights principles.

A clear major problem with this release is the way in which it divides the issues of the illegality of settlements, settler violence, and settlers illegal status from the issue of violence against settlers, and how its wording plays with the legal provisions of international law. The press release effectively places the blame for current violence on Palestinians who are the victims of the settlements and settlers' acts. The release does say that settlements are illegal, but qualifies this by stating that, "the settlers have no right to settle there permanently". This in effect legitimized the settlers "temporary" presence in the Occupied Territories and does not pay attention to the relevant legal provisions. B'Tselem should explicitly declare that international law bans the occupied country from transferring its citizens to the occupied territory, and must state that the presence of settlers in the occupied territories is illegal, even for an interim period. Consequently, B'Tselem should take responsibility towards Israeli society by addressing it in brave and clear language that reveals the illegality of settlements and the agony they cause to the Palestinian people. Contrary to all legal conventions the press release also says that, "the demand to evacuate the settlements in the context of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement is legitimate." No qualifications should be placed upon the right to demand the removal of settlements. They are blatantly illegal under international law and B'Tselem should demand that the Israeli Occupation Authorities dismantle the settlements and return the settlers to Israel even without an agreement. Until this is done, all settlers should be held liable for their crimes, which include the act of settlement, committed in the occupied territories, and must bear the consequences of their actions, which include Palestinian acts taken in self defense against their illegal aggression.

If B'Tselem had lain down the various "legal" and "human rights" it would be clear that the relationship between the law and its provisions and the issue of settlers and settlements can not be divided. By leave all legal provisions out of the content its release and dividing the illegality of settlers' actions from the consequences of these actions, B'Tselem indicates two things. First, they indicate either a failure to understand or a disregard for the legal provisions that relate to settlement, and second, they seem to be attempting to turn around the relevant provisions by stripping them of their content disregarding their objectives. In this case, B'Tselem's release in effect, "legalizes" the "illegal" settlements, and justifies the Interim presence of settlers in the Occupied Territories, in effect giving settlers an open door to continue to commit crimes and undertake illegal acts against Palestinians.

In our attempt to further explain our dismay over this release, and the political implications of the language used in the release, we will primarily depend on humanitarian law and international human rights standards to indicate the potential risks that are inherent in the B'Tselem release. The rules and the provisions of humanitarian international law are set forth through the following legal standards:

First Article 49 (6) of the 4th Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of War states that "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies". Under this explicitly clear provision all steps that have been taken by the Israeli Occupation Authorities in relation to the transfer and settlement of its citizens to the Palestinian Occupied Territories are illegal. Actions taken in contravention of this Article have resulted in severe violations of the rights of the Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories. These violations include, but are not limited to the confiscation of Palestinian natural resources, including land and water, for use by settlers. These actions are also in violation of International Law and the provisions of international humanitarian law, which prohibit the confiscation of property and resources for reasons other than security. Consequently, the presence of settlers in the occupied territories, and all forms of settlement are illegal.

Second: The Israeli Occupation Authorities have used all means within their power to illegally take possession of Palestinian owned lands, to build settlements, and to transfer settlers to these locations. The land acquired by Israel for the building of settlements was often confiscated after being declared "government property", "absentee property", or after being sealed for use as closed military zones. In most cases the Israeli government then built military posts on these lands, as with the so called "MAHAZ", "MAHOLA B" and "Warrior Youth Pioneer". These posts often later evolved into settlements. An example of this is the expropriation of the lands surrounding "Beit El" military post, following the Supreme Court decision in case No. 606/78. These lands were later turned into a large civil settlement, which swallowed much of the surrounding Palestinian territory. Additionally, settlements are considered an integral part of the "territorial defense" system, the Hagana Merhavat, in Hebrew, and often serve both military and civilian functions. Settlements, and therefore settlers cannot be viewed as truly "civilian".

In view of the above, we the undersigned Palestinian organizations, condemn B'Tselem's position that ignores the fact that all forms of settlement are illegal and qualify as war crimes. We also reiterate the Palestinians People's right to resist the occupation and its consequences by all available legal means guaranteed by international customs and conventions.

Statement signed by:

  1. The Palestinian Hydrology Group
  2. The Union of Agricultural Work Committees
  3. The Loving Care Patient Society
  4. Rawat Al Zuhur Society
  5. Center for Citizen's Rights
  6. Defence for Children International "DCI"/Palestine
  7. First Ramallah Group
  8. Popular Art Center
  9. Science and Cultural Center
  10. Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA)
  11. The Educational Network
  12. Teacher Creativity Center (TCC)
  13. Tamar Institute for Community Education
  14. Dur Al-Salam Hospital
  15. Union Of Health Work Committee
  16. Ad Dammar Association for Human Rights
  17. The Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy
  18. Al-Manhal Cultural Center
  19. Arab Thought Forum
  20. The Citizens Rights Center
  21. Besan Center for Research and Development
  22. The Development Center: "Ma'an"
  23. Muwaita: The Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy
  24. The General Committee for the Defence of the Land
  25. The Palestinian Counseling Center
  26. Democracy and Worker's Rights Center
  27. The Palestinian Society for the Study of International Affairs
  28. The Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection
  29. The Palestinian Women's Society for Development
  30. Women's Affairs Center
  31. Al Huda Women's Association
  32. Almajd Women's Assn.
  33. Al Magazzi Cultural Center
  34. Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center
  35. Women's Studie Centre
  36. Al-Hannan Association for Mother and Child
  37. The Arab Center for Agricultural Development
  38. The National Society for Rehabilitation
  39. The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
  40. The Palestinian Center for Microsprojects Development.

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Text of Knesset Members Letter to EU Complaining of Interference With Israeli Internal Affairs
- with signatures and party identification -

The Knesset
Jerusalem, 6 Tamuz, 5761
27 June, 2001

To: PM Guy Verhofstadt
President of the European Union

It has been made public in Israel that the European Union has been providing financial support to Israeli groups/institutions/organizations that are all partisan and political in nature. This is a blatant attempt at interfering in the internal affairs of the State of Israel. Attached is a list of these organizations.

The European Union represents democratic states. Its democratic character is an inherent part of its nature. As such, it should refrain from any attempt to influence the internal democratic process of another democratic state.

We, the undersigned members of the Israeli Knesset, would like to express our shock and outrage at this attempt at achieving political purposes by extending financial support to Israeli citizens and groups.

As the elected representatives of a democratic, free society, we strongly oppose such attempts at influencing our state's domestic politics and the policies of our government, by financial means.

In light of the gravity of these activities, we expect the European Union to take the following measures:

Discontinue the financial support to Israeli non-profit organizations that are politically oriented;

Publicly disclose the list of Israeli groups/institutions/organizations which receive financial support from the European Union. The citizens of Israel will thus be informed as to those organizations that are influenced by, or are serving foreign interests, and EU member-states will be apprised of the objectives of the of the expenditure of their money.

Considering that the European Union is a democratic institution, that represents free and democratic nations, we are certain that it will act out of similar respect for the sovereignty and freedom of the State of Israel.

Respectfully yours,

No./Title/Name/Faction in the Knesset

  1. Minister Nissim Dahan-Shas
  2. Minister Uzi Landau-Likud
  3. Minister Avigdor Liberman-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  4. Minister Limor Livnat-Likud
  5. Minister Reuven Rivlin-Likud
  6. Minister Natan Sharansky-Israel Ba'aliya
  7. Minister Eliyahu Suissa-Shas
  8. Minister Rehavam Ze'evy-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  9. Deputy Minister David Azoulay-Shas
  10. Deputy Minister Naomi Blumentha-lLikud
  11. Deputy Minister Yitzhak Cohen-Shas
  12. Deputy Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein-Israel Ba'aliya
  13. Deputy Minister Gideon Ezra-Likud
  14. Deputy Minister Meshulam Nahari-Shas
  15. Deputy Minister Abraham Ravitz-Yahadut Hatora
  16. Deputy Minister Yuri Shtern-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  17. Deputy Minister Yitzhak Vaknin-Shas
  18. MK Moshe Arens-Likud
  19. MK Yigal Bibi-National Religious Party
  20. MK Ze'ev Boim-Likud
  21. MK Amnon Cohen-Shas
  22. MK Eliezer Cohen-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  23. MK Haim Druckman-National Religious Party
  24. MK Michael Eitan-Likud
  25. MK Binyamin Elon-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  26. MK Moshe Gafni-Yahadut Hatora
  27. MK Yitzhak Gagula-Shas
  28. MK Arieh Gamliel-Shas
  29. MK Shmuel Halpert-Yahadut Hatora
  30. MK Zvi Hendel-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  31. MK Abraham Hirchzon-Likud
  32. MK Ofer Hugi-Shas
  33. MK Ayoob Kara-Likud
  34. MK Haim Katz-Am Echad
  35. MK Michael Kleiner-Herut
  36. MK Yechiel Lasry-Merkaz
  37. MK Maxim Levy-Gesher
  38. MK Yakov Litzman-Yahadut Hatora
  39. MK David Magen-Merkaz
  40. MK Rahamim Melloul-Shas
  41. MK Mordechai Mishani-Gesher
  42. MK Michael Nudelman-National Union-Israel Beiteinu
  43. MK Zevulun Orlev-National Religious Party
  44. MK Yair Peretz-Shas
  45. MK Meir Porush-Yahadut Hatora
  46. MK Ganady Riger-Israel Ba'aliya
  47. MK Itchak Saban-Shas
  48. MK Yuval Shteinitz-Likud
  49. MK Marina Solodkin-Israel Ba'aliya
  50. MK David Tal-Shas
  51. MK Shaul Yahalom-National Religious Party
  52. MK Nissim Zeev-Shas

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Iranian airlift sends more arms to Hezbollah - via Damascus Int'l Airport
Ze'ev Schiff
Ha'aretz Military Editor

Iran has transfered hundreds of tons of weapons, ammunition and other materials to the Hezbollah through Syria in recent days, according to reliable sources. The deliveries were airlifted in by giant Antonov 124 transport planes that landed at Damascus International Airport.

The equipment was then transported to the storage facilities of the Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon, and to the Hezbollah. Security experts estimate that some of the equipment will be smuggled to Palestinian organizations in the territories.

Iranian assistance via Hezbollah to Palestinian organizations that attack Israel, is increasing. In addition to extensive efforts to smuggle equipment, weapons and ammunition, the Hezbollah has also started training Palestinian guerrillas in Hezbollah bases in the Beka'a Valley in Lebanon.

Intelligence also shows that the Hezbollah had direct links with Palestinian cells operating in the territories - in addition to the ties it cultivates with Fatah. One center for such links is the city of Nablus in the West Bank.

It is thought that the guerrilla infrastructure the Hezbollah is setting up in the territories is intended to be deployed to disrupt any future cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The large airlift is believed to be a response to the urgent need of the Revolutionary Guards and the Hezbollah for additional equipment in Lebanon.

The previous route used by the Iranians to airlift equipment to the Hezbollah in Lebanon crossed over Turkey. However, following a request by Ankara that Iranian flights over Turkey en route to Damascus declare the nature of their cargo, the flights were stopped. The current airlift is believed to have crossed over Saudi Arabian and Jordanian airspace on its way to Syria.

The pace of weapons transfers to the Hezbollah in Lebanon was shown in the past to be dictated by security developments in Lebanon. Following the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from south Lebanon in May last year, Iran sought to replenish the military stores of the Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards stationed in Lebanon

According to Israeli estimates, the Hezbollah has some 7,000 Katyusha rockets.

This essay appeared in Ha'aretz on July 17, 2001

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Official Palestine News Agency terms Orient House "the Palestine Liberation Organization's headquarters in East Jerusalem"

Jerusalem - July 17 Wafa (Official Palestine News Agency) - Dozens of Israeli occupation police force surrounded "The Orient House", the Palestine Liberation Organization's headquarters in East Jerusalem and banned a memorial ceremony for the Martyr Faisal Husseini was to have been held.

Husseini, who held the portfolio for Jerusalem in the PLO, died in Kuwait of a heart attack about 40 days ago.

The Orient House issued a statement calling the occupation banning order "a provocation and a slander against the legacy of peace and tolerance represented by the late Faisal al-Husseini". It said it would defy the ban and go ahead with the memorial ceremony.

The late Husseni , was the man who symbolized the Palestinian hopes of making the holy city the capital of a future state of Palestine, was buried at Haram al-Sharif.

This release was issued on July 17, 2001 and available at:

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Israel Internal Security Chief Avi Dichter:
'Israeli Arab demos prompted Intifada'
Gideon Alon
Knesset Correspondent, HaAretz

Israeli Arab demonstrations after then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon went to the Temple Mount last September prompted the Palestinian Intifada, Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday.

In his semi-annual briefing to the MKs, the head of Israel's secret service said that the deaths of Israeli Arab demonstrators and subsequent incitement by the leadership of Israeli Arabs brought about the outbreak of the hostilities in the territories.

He said that there is a "worrisome" separatist movement growing in the Israeli Arab community, for both religious and nationalist reasons. According to Dichter, MK Azmi Bishara is one of the key leaders of the nationalist movement.

He said that most Israeli Arabs regard the events of last September and October as a mistake, but there is a growing emotional identification - within legal means - with the Palestinian Authority among Israeli Arabs.

Dichter gave the MKs a tour d'horizon of the state of the Palestinian organizations involved in hostilities against Israel. He said that Tawfik Tirawi's General Intelligence force "co-opted" the Tanzim and Force 17, which were responsible for dozens of terror attacks against targets in the West Bank and inside Israel proper. But since last month's cease-fire arrangements brokered by CIA chief George Tenet, Tirawi's groups have ceased their terror activities, Dichter said. Tirawi's people have begun taking preventive action, except that they don't put suspects in jail but rather in "hotel-like" conditions. Furthermore, he said, the Palestinians are not conducting interrogations or investigations, which means there's a limited intelligence picture about planned terror attacks.

By April 2000, there were indications that trouble was already brewing, he said, when some rank and file members of Palestinian security organizations, such as Mohammed Dahlan's Preventive Security force in Gaza, began conducting terrorist activity. Eventually, Dahlan began commanding those operations. But since the Tenet agreement, he said, Dahlan's organizations has ceased involvement, except for a few individuals.

A similar phenomenon took place with regard to the Tanzim, Fatah-related youth movement, which Dichter said was under the complete command of Yasser Arafat. Two organizations that have not taken part in any of the terror activity against Israel have been Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security force in the West Bank and the National Security force.

Dichter surprised the committee by saying that he favored a fence between Israel and the West Bank, similar to the one between Israel and Gaza.

A Jewish terror cell, not an underground

A Jewish terror cell is already operating in the territories, Dichter told the MKs, but he refrained from referring to it as a Jewish underground similar to the 27-member conspiracy that existed in the early 1980s and was eventually arrested by the Shin Bet.

He said that the cell has committed three shooting attacks on Palestinians in the Ramallah and Halhoul areas. One Palestinian was killed and four others wounded, he said.

Up until a few months ago there was a large measure of self-restraint on the part of Jews in the territories, but there has been an upsurge of anti-Palestinian activity, mostly in the form of vandalism, he said. The violent line in the settlement movement is led by members of Kach and Kahane Hai, as well as others in the radical right.

Dichter said that he handed over to the police the investigation into the explosion in Kach activist Noam Federman's car, after reaching the conclusion that there were no "strategic" arms involved. The weapons found in the car on Monday were mostly "the type of equipment reservists who don't respect the law take home from the army," including smoke grenades, stun grenades and flares. He said the explosion was probably the result of poor handling of the material.

Grim numbers

Dichter summed up the Intifada's statistics for the MKs, telling them that since the outbreak of the Intifada 136 Jews have been killed and 1,308 wounded by attacks, while 531 Palestinians have died, with 68 of them under the age of 16.

This article ran in HaAretz on July 18, 2001

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