|Israel Resource Review
||1st September, 2002
Libya to Head . . . UN Human
CNSNews.com Congressional Bureau Chief
Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - Libya, still led by Muammar Gaddafi, the man once widely considered a top sponsor of international terrorism, will be nominated to chair the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights for the commission's 2003 session. The U.S. State Department is opposed to the move, having labeled Libya's record on human rights, "poor," and stating that Libya continues, "to commit numerous serious abuses."
The African continental members of the U.N. commission plan to nominate Libya to chair the panel, according to statements by the Libyan government.
"Libya is a country where the respect of human rights is enshrined," the Libyan Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The security, political stability and economic prosperity enjoyed by Libya are the proof of its respect of human rights."
Africa is next in the rotation to chair the commission. The African regional group - composed of Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa - announced its intention to nominate Libya for the position at the inaugural summit of the new African Union.
State Department spokeswoman Brooke Summers told CNSNews.com that the U.S. government is "concerned" about the planned nomination, and is "looking into the matter."
"We believe that substantive qualifications for participation in the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, rather than rotational schemes or vote trading, should determine nomination and election," she said.
In its "2001 Country Reports on Human Rights: Libya," the State Department criticized the Libyan government's security forces for torturing prisoners during interrogations and as punishment. "Prison conditions are poor. Security forces arbitrarily arrest and detain persons, and many prisoners are held incommunicado," the report stated.
"The [Libyan] Government prohibits the establishment of independent human rights organizations. Violence against women is a problem . . . female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced in remote areas of the country. The Government discriminates against and represses tribal groups," according to the state department report.
An international human rights watchdog group is also criticizing plans to nominate Libya to head the U.N. panel.
"Countries with dreadful rights records should never be in charge of chairing the Commission on Human Rights," said Rory Mungoven, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "Libya's long record of human rights abuses clearly does not merit such a reward."
Human Rights Watch accused Libya of detaining government opponents without charge or trial, prohibiting political parties and independent non-governmental groups, and "muzzling" the press. The group believes the Libyan government has also been responsible for torturing, kidnapping, and assassinating its political opponents abroad.
The Libyan Foreign Ministry responded that African leaders chose the country out of "respect for Libya and its leader Muammar Gaddafi," and because of Libya's work to "foster peace and economic development."
"These are facts acknowledged unanimously by Africa when it decided to nominate Libya to chair the United Nations' human rights commission," the foreign ministry said. "Africa . . . spoke loudly and would not back down despite the lies and deceptions."
Joanna Weschler, U.N. representative for Human Rights Watch, said Libya's own defense of its nomination is incriminating.
"By equating its repressive policies with the protection of human rights, Libya is sending a loud signal that it should not chair the United Nations' most important rights body," she said. "The new African Union should avoid further embarrassment and drop plans to nominate Libya for this post."
All 53 governments represented on the commission must endorse Libya's nomination at an election in January 2003. The body will begin its annual session the following March.
This ran on the CNS wire on August 26, 2002
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The PA Summer Camps of War
Arab Affairs Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot
The school year started yesterday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and 90,000 pupils went back to school after summer vacation. Many of them spent the vacation in their homes, because of the curfew, many also spent it in summer camps that were organized by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other organizations.
Ostensibly, there is nothing wrong with that activity. Palestinian kids
are also entitled to have a fun summer camp experience. But in Gaza, Hebron
and Nablus, as in other locations in the territories, the summer camps were
turned into a hot house of hatred and were used to nurture the national
struggle against Israel, and the children were given training in the use of
guns and in terrorism.
While the dire economic situation and the IDF presence in the West Bank
cities forced the PA to reduce the scope of its summer camp activities this
year, these activities were not forsworn. The PA allocated funds and
enlisted international elements to help finance the summer camps. For
example, UNICEF alone paid for 32 summer camps, each of which were attended
by 120 children.
Every group in these summer camps was named after a shahid, while entire
summer camps were named after villages and cities that are inside the Green
Line. Children and teenagers learned how to shoot guns and were taken to
target practice, they held paramilitary marches, and blew up models of
buses and settlements.
Hamas used its summer camps, mostly in the Gaza Strip, to further
ingrain the Islamic way of thinking, and to prepare the future generation
of terror operatives. Special summer camps were held for the children of
shahids, people who had been injured or who were in Israeli prisons.
Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority exploited the summer camps to
hold political demonstrations. Three weeks ago a mass demonstration was
held in Bethlehem for the release of the Palestinian prisoners in Israel,
with Marwan Barghouti at the top of the list. The children bore placards,
chanted in unison and let off balloons in the color of the Palestinian
flag. A summer camp in Khan Yunis held a demonstration with the object of
awakening the world's attention to the desperate situation of the children
Islamic Jihad went the furthest when it turned its summer camps into
training camps for all intents and purposes. Children between the ages of
10 and 12 underwent training in operating a Kalashnikov assault rifle while
wearing bandannas on their heads covered with Islamic Jihad slogans.
Instead of drawing, playing and swimming, the children learned war calls
and were taught how to march.
The Aspiration: The Liberation of All Palestine
The summer camps, just like the school and the Palestinian educational
system in general, have been exploited since the PA was established to help
foster a consciousness of struggle against Israel among the younger
Palestinian generation. A new lesson was added to the curriculum-"national
education"-that was taught by counselors from the Palestinian Authority's
"political counseling unit." In the framework of these lessons special
emphasis was placed on developing the children's national identity and on
instilling the sense that the struggle for national liberation was not over
because the "interim agreements" were only one stage in the liberation of
all of Palestine.
In the school year in 2000 the PA began to introduce into the curriculum
text books that it had written for the first and sixth grades. This year
the PA published and distributed its own books for the second and seventh
grades. An examination of the books that was conducted by the Coordinator
of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad, found
that the books systematically educate the children to rejecting the
existence of the State of Israel and the fostering of feelings of hatred,
revenge and violence.
The study that was conducted by Gilad's office examined the incitement
against Israel and its impact on the younger Palestinian generation.
"Children between the ages of 12 to 15," reads the report, "instead of
focusing on their studies, playing, experiencing adolescence and planning a
better future, are busy thinking about how they can play a role in
terrorism and commit terror attacks." The conclusion drawn by the report is
that the souls of Palestinian children have been poisoned.
Examples? "The Canaanite Arabs were the first residents of Palestine.
The Palestinians were there before the Jews." "The Palestinian problem was
created by the Zionist movement, which brought about the destruction or
expulsion of the original residents." "The refugees are the victims of
robbery, who were forced to leave their homes under the threat of the guns
of the Zionist terror organizations."
For the Palestinian students, the Israeli Arabs live in the 1948
territories and, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they are a single
unit that is known as Palestine. In general, the Palestinian text books
completely disregard the existence of the State of Israel. Along with the
negative messages, the Palestinian educational system instills in the
pupils positive references about the destruction of Israel: the Palestinian
return is the answer to the problem of the refugees, jihad-the holy war-is
presented in positive terms, and the death of a shahid is a dignified death
that is depicted as "martyrdom for Allah and for defending the homeland."
But the incitement in the official school system pales against the
incitement in the alternative schools offered by Hamas, which run from
kindergarten through to the Islamic University in Gaza. This educational
system is part of the Dawa-the dissemination of Islam and the deepening of
the believer's faith.
For example, the graduation ceremony of Hamas kindergartens included
plays in which the children wore Hizbullah uniforms. One of the children
played the role of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, while others dipped their hands
in red paint, mimicking the picture of the Ramallah lynching.
PA officials are aware of Hamas's incitement but do nothing to prevent
it. Hamas has a lot of money from Moslem charities. Tuition to one of its
summer camps is strictly symbolic. In a few Hamas kindergartens parents are
asked to pay only NIS 15 per child. The children are not only fed, but also
trained in handling guns and they are exposed to inordinate amounts of
incitement and motivation that will turn them over time into members of a
90% Want to Fight Against Israel
At the end of June Palestinian television broadcast a 20 minute movie
called "Children who Love the Homeland and Martyrdom." The movie was full
of pictures of dead and injured Palestinian children. The child Mohammed
a-Dura, of course, was one of the stars.
The movie interviews Dr. Fadel Abu-Alhin, a psychologist from Gaza, who
explained that the participation of Palestinian children in the Intifada
was not surprising. He said the Palestinian child understands that his
death in a jihad operation will be a source of pride, and that is why
children throng to the roadblocks and other points of friction.
Abu-Alhin spoke about a study he had carried out on 996 Palestinian
children between the ages of 9 and 17. His study showed that 90 percent of
the children wanted to take part in the Intifada, 73 percent wanted to be a
shahid, 45 percent had taken part in marches and rallies, and some 50
percent said that they had been injured in the course of these activities.
Fifty-nine percent of the children said they had taken an active role in
the Intifada under the influence of the television broadcasts that showed
the IDF's violent activities in the territories, or after they watched the
funeral processions of Palestinians who had been killed in the Intifada.
Sixty-two percent of the children said they wanted to become a shahid in
the wake of the death of a classmate or a neighbor, but the overwhelming
majority of the children said that Mohammed a-Dura's death had the greatest
impact on their desire to become a shahid.
People in the territories admit today that the younger generation has a
deep hatred for Israel and for Jews in general, and its motivation to take
part in acts of terror is perpetually on the rise. PA officials nowadays
are also aware of the immense damage the pictures of armed children causes
the PA, such as the picture of the baby from Hebron who was photographed
while wearing a bomb belt. Now they are trying to fix the bad impression.
Zuheir Mansara, the commander of the Preventive Security Service in the
West Bank, who replaced Jibril Rajoub, said this week that improving the
PA's image and "instilling a new Palestinian security consciousness" would
also require the use of the media, the education system and the schools to
be successfully achieved.
The Palestinian Journalists Union, which is controlled by the
Palestinian Authority, issued instructions this weekend forbidding children
bearing arms or in masks from being photographed. "This constitutes a
severe violation of children's rights. Those pictures have a negative
impact on the Palestinian image and serve Israel and its propaganda
campaign against the Palestinians," read the statement that was issued to
all the journalists, with an attendant warning that anyone who might
disregard the instructions would be brought up on charges.
Hamas cannot afford to disregard the international and internal
Palestinian criticism of the use of children in terrorism. In July Hamas
publicly called to reduce the number of children used in the violent
struggle. "We will prevent our youngsters from sacrificing themselves on
the fences of the settlements," read the call, "but without quelling the
jihad fervor in them." The message in that statement was simple: your time
to die as a shahid will come.
And still, the children's shows on Palestinian television continue to
have songs with messages, such as the following: "Dear el-Aksa is calling
us, Allahu Akbar -- Oh little ones, take courage and hold the stones."
This article ran in Yediot Aharonot on September 1,
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