Israel Resource Review 8th October, 2004


Sharon Plan Violates Basic Human Rights

Yaakov Katz, Staff Writer

A group of legal experts, jurists and academics joined the battle against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan on Monday after sending Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip a letter claiming that the evacuation plan violates basic human rights.

"After reviewing the details of the plan, we arrived at the conclusion that its implementation violates a large portion of the human rights principles which have been upheld by the Supreme Court over the past 12 years," states the letter, signed by Prof. Eliav Shochetman from the Sha'arei Mishpat Law School and attorneys Haim Misgav and Nitzana Darshan-Leitner.

Taking the struggle against the plan to the legal sphere, the group of jurists claim that the plan contradicts The Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom since it contravenes the ownership rights of thousands of the Gaza residents in addition to other rights such as the right to demonstrate and freedom of movement.

The letter further states that "the transfer of a group of people from one part of the land to another, against their will, contradicts international law as well as the local Israeli law."

Calling themselves "The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel", the group of jurists writes in the letter that it intends to keep a close watch on the plan's legislation process currently underway. Referring specifically to the draft disengagement bill made public last week, the jurists write, "this draft has intensified the legal problems which stand before the plan's initiators, and we intend to closely follow the legality of every step in the plan.

"Every time we find a deviation from the law or proper procedure or a lack of reasonability, we intend to take action," the letter adds.

Misgav, one of the letter's signatories, has already taken legal action against the plan. Two weeks ago he filed a petition to the High Court of Justice in the name of Gaza Regional Council head Avner Shimoni against PM Sharon, the security cabinet and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz. In the petition, Misgav claimed that the decision to distribute advanced compensation payments to Gaza settlers was made illegally and stands contrary to The Basic Law: State Economy and the 2004 state budget law.

The group also calls upon the settlers to abstain from submitting signed requests for compensation or advanced payments, claiming that "until the picture becomes clear, it is very important that residents are not tempted to receive advanced payments from the Disengagement Administration since the documents the residents will be asked to sign may contain 'small print' which could pose a danger and will prevent them from claiming the full damages they really deserve."

This ran in the Jerusalem Post October 4, 2004

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Law Prof:
Israel's Planned Expulsion of its Citizens From Their Homes Constitutes a Violation of International Law Which Protects Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Law professor warns that Israel's planned expulsion of its citizens from their homes would violate international law which protects human rights and civil liberties.

Eliav Schochetman, Hebrew Professor of Law Emeritus and Dean of the Shaari Mishpat Law College, gave a short interview to Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron on the subject of "The implications of forcible expulsion in the light of Israeli civil rights law and in light of international law"

Regarding the constraints on such matters in Israel, Prof. Schochetman mentioned the state of Israel preserves its democratic system under the constraints of " The Israel Basic Human Rights Law" which oversees Israeli democratic institutions in matters of human rights and civil liberties, much as the US Bill of Rights ensures that the US government can never trample on the human rights and civil liberties of American citizens.

That Israeli Basic Human Rights Law is based on the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which all democratic governments are adherents.

Prof. Schochetman asserted that in the current situation, given the legal precedents from Israeli court cases and from court cases around the world, any Israeli government decision to expel people from their homes, even in the context of a diplomatic move, would represent a wanton violation of basic human rights and civil liberties that are protected under Israeli and international human rights law.

Prof. Schochetman cited clause 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,which states that it is illegal for sovereign governments to expel their own citizens from their homes, their private properties or from their farms.

Since the only group slated for expulsion would be Jews, it may be recalled that the government of Serbia was recently held liable for international prosecution at the International High Court of Justice in the Hague, under the charge of "ethnic cleansing", after leaders of Serbia expelled an ethnic minority, solely because of their religion.

Prof. Shochetman noted that no expulsion of landowners in Katif or Samaria could take place without a decision of Israel's Knesset parliament that would hold up under international human rights law and Israeli civil liberties statutes.

No scheduled session of the Knesset has been planned to deal with the issue of international human rights law and Israeli civil liberties in the context of the Sharon Plan

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The Initial Reaction of the Egyptian Auhtorities to the Terror Attack in Taba:
Amir Rappaport
Correspondent, Maariv

For quite some time after the attack, the Egyptians insisted that a bottled-gas canister had exploded, but crowds of Israeli vacationers and tourists were not willing to take a chance. Realizing that it was not just an accident, they fled to the border crossing, leaving their luggage behind.

Within a few minutes after the reports of the explosion, ambulances began arriving at the Taba border terminal. But the confusion-stricken Egyptian side created difficulties and would not allow them to cross the border to treat the many wounded. This continued for a long time.

Afterwards, when the border was finally opened, the Egyptians would not allow Israelis to enter Egypt, except for members of the rescue forces.

Meanwhile, hundreds of terrified Israelis began arriving at the border crossing, many with cars that had been damaged in the explosion, still bearing Egyptian license plates. A large traffic jam of ambulances formed quickly, but disorganization reigned. At a certain stage reports arrived that Egyptian police at the border crossing, feeling they were beginning to lose control, started firing into the air.

In addition to all the difficulties they imposed, the Egyptians forbade the rescue unit to operate in the hotel and would not allow Israeli helicopters to land in Ras Hasatan. "There was an argument between the Egyptians because of the passports, and it took them forty minutes to go out to the Israeli side. I was not wounded and neither were my friends," recalled one of the eyewitnesses who arrived at the border crossing. "We went down to the seashore. All the people came out wounded. They were hurt, with blood on their heads, on their legs. The explosion was not in the casino but more toward the lobby, in the direction of the dining room."

And for all this time, until approximately 1:00 a.m., the Egyptians continued to claim that there was no evidence of a terror attack.

One thing was completely obvious to all the high-ranking members of the security establishment. During the rescue operation at the Taba Hilton in Sinai, every minute is critical. Past experience shows that when people are trapped in ruins, the number of people who can be saved decreases sharply as time passes.

A short while after the attack was reported, the security establishment prepared for an enormous rescue operation in Sinai. The prime minister's counter-terrorism adviser, Danny Arditi, even called on Israelis to return to Israel from all parts of Sinai for fear of additional terror attacks. In coordination with police, helicopters and buses were brought to Sinai in order to carry out the evacuation, although Egyptian bureaucracy made the task very difficult. Director of the Political-Security Staff in the Defense Ministry Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad held talks with the Egyptians in order to ask them to ease their strict inspection regulations for entering and leaving Sinai and allow Israeli security forces inside. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, too, spoke about the matter with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman.

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Confusion During the Initial Rescue Operation
Y-net, on line news service of Yediot Aharonot

The efforts to rescue casualties from Sinai continued all night, with Egyptian confusion reigning. Fire fighting teams from Eilat have so far rescued seven people trapped under the rubble of the Taba Hilton, four of them dead. The firefighters said that at least ten floors of the hotel collapsed.

The Home Front Command's rescue unit joined the rescue efforts last night after being delayed by the Egyptians at the border crossing. An IDF officials said he was "unpleasantly surprised" at the Egyptians attitude. "We would have expected them to be more flexible and sensitive and to let the IDF evacuate the wounded."

The Foreign Ministry has obtained the building plans of the hotel from Eli Papushado, who helped build the hotel, in order to transmit them to the rescue forces.

Firefighter Shimon Romah told Ynet: "We are continuing our rescue efforts but at the moment they are few because all those who could have been rescued alive, we believe have already been rescued. Apparently the rescue now will only be of corpses."

He said, "the rescue operation slowed down because we are waiting for heavy equipment and for daylight. There are some bureaucratic problems about bringing in heavy vehicles, but we are trying to work this out with the Egyptians. In the morning we will continue rescue efforts with more forces."

He also said: " Working with us are Egyptian police, who are very passive, but there are no Egyptian rescue forces."

Witnesses have said that the Egyptians detained the wounded from crossing at the border, as well as firefighters. Danieli Ophir of Tel Aviv said that children aged three and six lay at the terminal in Taba covered with blankets and bleeding and "the Egyptians did not let them pass because of passport problems. A riot broke out after parents demanded and shouted that their children be evacuated immediately." [.]

The Foreign Ministry asked the Egyptian authorities to allow Israelis without passports to cross the border without going through passport control and the Egyptians acceded.

The Egyptians also acceded to the request to allow Egged buses to go through Sinai and evacuate Israelis wanting to leave. It was agreed that that an Egyptian guard would be on each bus. Egged Spokesman Ron Ratner:

"We allocated 80 buses for the evacuation and will use them as required."

The Foreign Ministry also asked to have Air Force helicopters land in Egyptian territory to help evacuate the wounded.

Four firefighting teams and vehicles from Eilat went to the site of the terror attack about half an hour after the report came in of the explosion. After that, the Egyptians demanded that the other firefighters show passports.

This report ran in the early hours of Friday morning, October 8th

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A Perspective From Israeli Intelligence on the Taba Attack
Ben Caspit
News Analyst, Maariv

On Tuesday, The Director of the Political-Security Staff in the Israel Defense Ministry Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad returned from his talks on the Egyptian side of Rafah. There he met with Egypt security and intelligence officials and discussed arms smuggling, redeployment for disengagement and also the specific warning from the GSS on a possible terror attack in Sinai. The Egyptians promised to deal with this warning. Now it turns out that the warning dealt with them. If this was indeed a Hamas-manufactured terror attack, then this is a completely new ball game. The person who either blew himself up or blew up the Taba Hilton yesterday, dealt a blow to Egyptian sovereignty, killed and wounded Egyptian civilians and as of this morning, has to contend with the Egyptian security services. As Rabin said: without the High Court and without B'Tselem. Director of Egyptian Intelligence General Omar Suleiman, in a talk with Israeli politicians few months ago, told his interlocutors how he dealt with the terrorists in Luxor. "It's all a matter of intelligence, manpower and money," Suleiman said. What he didn't say is buried under the dunes of Luxor, along with the bodies of hundreds of terrorists (thousands of others are being held in various dungeons throughout Egypt).

To this day, Egypt did not have any real reason to take action on the other side of Gaza. The Egyptians talked nice, promised quite a bit, took some action here and there, but they had not gotten down to any real work. What did they care if Israel kept bleeding, if the conflict stayed on a low flame, there would be something for the masses at Cairo University to vent their spleen. As of today (if this was indeed a Palestinian terror attack), they do have. They too are bleeding now. Not to mention the heavy financial loss caused by the halt to Israeli tourism for the coming period.

Egypt views Hamas, on the edge of northern Sinai, as a strategic threat. Until now they spoke of this in whispers, it was played down, but the writing was on the wall. Yesterday evening this wall collapsed, along with the western wing of the Taba hotel. At this moment news just came in of an explosion in the Ras Hasatan [lit. the devil's head] area, which Israelis so love. And if the devil's head from Gaza blew up Ras Hasatan in Sinai, and if it turns out that Hamas-or the Moslem Brothers in solidarity with Hamas-made this fatal mistake, it will become clear very quickly that the Egyptians are being dragged into the game and are liable to redefine the rules. Let's see Khaled Mashal going to Cairo next time to be hosted by Omar Suleiman. Avi Dichter will no doubt make a few phone calls and say "I told you so."

Again, this must be said with reservations. At the time of this writing, it is still unclear what happened there. The signs point to Hamas. If it was they, this is the first time it has gone beyond the "Zionist entity" or the Palestinian Authority. And to Egypt yet, the leader of the Arab world, striking its soft underbelly, dealing a mortal blow to profitable Israeli tourism.

Terror, like water, will always trickle in through the cracks. Because the Gaza Strip is sealed, because the IDF is putting heavy pressure on it from its Israeli sides, the Hamasniks were forced to seep through Sinai. The warnings we had referred to other sites in Egypt. This time it went for a classic site: the Taba Hilton. Those who went to gamble in the casino, gambled for their lives. The problem is that the counter-terror office has been putting out warnings of Sinai for years, each time before Passover and Sukkot. No wonder Israelis snicker. Even a broken watch is correct twice a day. This time, when the GSS joined the warning, when it turned out to be serious, it was impossible to convince anyone to remain at home.

This analysis ran on the front page of Maariv on the morning of October 8th

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Mortar Attacks on Israelis from UN Safe Haven
David Bedein

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Sunday, October 3rd, 2004, demanding the dismissal of Peter Hansen from his position as commissioner-general of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Work Agency), the organization that administers the Palestinian Arab refugee camps, under the premise and promise of the "right of return" to the homes and villages their ancestors left in 1948. In addition, Gillerman called for the United Nations to conduct a full investigation of UNWRA.

15 months ago, the Hamas terror organization won more than 90% of the vote to run the UNRWA workers union in the UNRWA Arab refugee camps in Gaza. The salaries of UNRWA workers are paid through contributions that UNRWA receives from 38 contributing countries. The U.S. provides 30% of that budget, Canada contributes 4% of that budget, and the European countries contribute well over 55% of that budget.

In other words, the western democracies of the world pay the salaries of the Hamas terrorists on the payroll of UNRWA.

During a special UNRWA conference on the subject of Palestinian Arab refugees in Geneva last June, I asked UNRWA Director Peter Hanson about the fact that Hamas dominated his personnel. Hansen did not deny that fact. Instead, Hansen remarked that, "UNRWA does not check the religious affiliation of its workers" - as if the Hamas was some kind of religious denomination.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan reported on June 11, 2003:

Hamas followers won a remarkable victory in the elections to the clerks union of UNRWA in the Gaza strip, gaining 23 out of the 27 seats. 6,780 from among the entitled 7, 616 clerks participated in the voting. Hamas followers achieved also 6 (out of 7) seats in the workers sector, 6 seats (out of 9) in the services sector and all 11 seats in the teachers sector. Their victory enables them to form the executive committee of the union comprising 9 members.

Lebanon's Filastin Al-Muslima reported in July, 2003 (p. 5):

The Islamic Bloc affiliated with the Hamas movement won an overwhelming victory in the elections to the clerks [union] of UNRWA held on the 9th June, 2003. More than 8000 clerks from teachers, services and workers sectors participated in the voting. The Hamas organization which gained 23 seats out of 27 in the elections to the three mentioned sectors, considered this victory as a evidence to the 'popular backing' of the Hamas and its ideology advocating the continuous armed struggle against Israeli occupation.

The Islamic Bloc in the teachers sector gained all 11 seats allocated to this sector. Its candidates in the northern districts of [the] Gaza [strip] won 91.7% of the total vote. In Gaza [city] and Shati [refugee camp] areas they gained 57.04%; in central districts 88.04%; in Khan Yunis district 92.03% and in Rafah district 81.06%.

In the elections to the services sector the Islamic Bloc gained 6 seats out of the 9 allocated to all Gazan districts, while in the worker sector it achieved 6 out of 7 seats. Yusouf Abu Zubaida, the Islamic Bloc's candidate in Rafah district, attained 45.74% of the vote. Abd Aziz Daber, its candidate in Khan Yunis district, won 60.07% of the vote. In Dir Al-Balah the Islamic Bloc candidate failed to win a majority. Muhamad Darwish, the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation Of Palestine, another terrorist group) candidate won the election gaining 63.03% of the vote.

The Islamic Bloc candidates in Nuseart (Ala Jaber) and Al-Bureij (Zaki Shoubier) won the election with 50.06 % and 43.84% respectively. Amir Atallah won a noticeable achievement in the election in the Shati refugee camp gaining 100% of the vote. Maher Zaqout, another candidate of the Islamic Bloc, achieved 85.85% of the votes in the northern districts of [the] Gaza [strip].

Hamas candidate Area Percentage of Votes

Yusouf Abu Zubaida, Rafah district: 45.74%
Abd Aziz DaberKhan, Yunis district: 60.07%
Ala Jaber, Nuseart: 50.06 %
Zaki Shoubier, Al-Bureij: 43.84%
Maher Zaqout, Northern districts of Gaza: 85.85%
Amir Atallah, Shati: 100%

This is the Islamic Bloc's consecutive fourth victory since 1990 in the elections to the UNRWA clerks' union. Suhail Al-Hindi, who was elected in the teachers' sector as a representative of the Islamic Bloc, emphasized in response to the Islamic Bloc's decisive victory, the [broad] scope of support the Islamic movement enjoys in the 'Palestinian street'…He considered this victory as evidence of the "Palestinian Street support for this movement [Hamas] and its rejection to Abu Mazen's policy toward the cessation of the resistance against Israeli occupation"….The organizations which participated in the elections are: The Islamic Bloc [Hamas], the Palestinian Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Palestinian Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP) and the Fatah movement.

More information on how terrorists use UNRWA facilities can be found at

The question remains: Will the western nations also demand that UNRWA fire workers who are members of the Hamas terrorist organization, especially since the West provides the operating budget of UNRWA?

This matter is of particular interest to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), the deputy chairman of the U.S. House International Relations Committee. Exactly one year ago, in October 2003, Smith noted that a special clause of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act forbids the U.S. from aiding any humanitarian agency where military training is conducted. Congressman Smith called for the U.S. to apply this standard to UNRWA, because of reports that he received about the UNRWA camps being transformed into training grounds for military attacks against Israel. In other words, more terrorism subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer.

This article ran in on October 4th, 2004

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