Delegation of Inquiry of the International Committee for Palestinian Human Rights (ICPHR) to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (June 1989)


-- Dr. Christoph Pan, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Innsbruck (Austria)
-- General (rtd) Nino Pasti, Senator, former Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO for Nuclear Affairs, Rome      (Italy)
-- Dr. John Quigley, Professor of International Law at the State University of Ohio, Columbus (USA)

Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine with Special Focus on Children and Juveniles







I. The general situation


II. Oppressive and expulsive strategies

of the Israeli occupying power


1. Discrimination in the economic field

  2. Discrimination in public health service

 3. Discrimination in the educational field


III. Children as the victims of the Israeli occupying power


IV. Legal uncertainty and law as a means of oppression


V. The reaction of the Palestinian people




N.B. The numbering of the pages follows the print version of the report (Vienna: I.P.O., 1989, ISBN 3-900704-07-4).





Upon the initiative of the INTERNATIONAL PROGRESS ORGANIZATION (I.P.O) and of its INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE  FOR PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS (ICPHR),  Dr. Christoph PAN, Professor of Political Sociology at the University of Innsbruck/Austria,  General (rtd) Nino PASTI, former Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO for Nuclear Affairs, Rome/Italy, and Dr. John QUIGLEY, Professor of International Law at the State University of Ohio, Columbus/USA visited the territories occupied by Israel (East Jerusalem, West Bank, and the Ghaza-strip) during the time from June 25 through June 30, 1989.


They were commissioned to collect facts and information that would allow them to judge the situation of human rights particularly as far as children and juveniles are concerned. The above mentioned group of observers visited especially East Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bir-Zeit and Ghaza. They were able to talk to more than 60 of the local Arab people, who were all willing to describe the current situation although giving and getting information is illegal and severely punished.¹)


1) "Get or give any informations is illegal and causes troubles" (comment by a lawyer well familiar with the local situation).





Among these people were lawyers, doctors, psychologists, criminologists, teachers, students, pupils, children, parents, nursery-school teachers, nurses, refugees, released prisoners, members of voluntary welfare organizations and cooperatives.


In view of the given situation, the information received by the observers was surprisingly objective and in most cases seemed reliable. What struck the observers in particular was the fact that these people, who were independently interviewed either individually or in groups, never contradicted each other, despite the deviations in precision and detail according to their respective background and educational standard.


Essentially, the orally given information proved to correspond with the written material that had been received. Moreover, the reliability of the collected oral and written informational material could be verified by numerous personal observations made either directly of indirectly.


Yet the investigation was made difficult by the fact that the IPO-delegation mentioned above could not proceed openly because they had to avoid endangering the personal security of the people interviewed or exposing them to potential acts of retaliation by the Israeli occupying power. ²)


For these reasons the following report cannot give names or information that might help to identify the people interviewed.


2)As is well known, the Israelis are very intent to deny foreign observers insight into the actual situation in the occupied territories. The special committee formed by the United Nations in 1968 is still not allowed to visit Israel, any cooperation with this committee has consistently been refused by Israel for 21 years!





I. The general situation


In general, the reports published by the IPO and the ICPHR on the situation of human rights in Palestine ³) at the turn of 1987/88 were found to be correct; there was no indication whatsoever that those reports had been exaggerated or incorrect.


On the contrary, it was unanimously noticed that the situation meanwhile, that is from the turn of 1987/88 till the end of June 1989, particularly since the middle of April 1989, has significantly worsened and been aggravated.


The Arab-Palestinian national revolt (Intifada), that has now been going on for two years, manifests itself in general strikes or strikes carried out according to a checker pattern. With a few exceptions everyone joins in the strikes. They last either a whole day, or only a morning or an afternoon. At the time of investigation there were strikes going on temporarily in East Jerusalem, in Ramallah, in Bir-Zeit, and in Ghaza. Moreover, there was a boycott of Israeli products, with which the Arab-Palestinian people tried to cope by growing their own fruit and vegetables in their home gardens, by intensely utilizing agricul- 


3)International Progress Organization: Zur Lage der Menschenrechte in Palästina, Vienna 1988; especially the topical case report by Norbert Wimmer and Josef Unterweger (pp. 25-34, printed here pp. 33 ff. below) as well as the article by Erwin Lanc about the Palestinian revolt and the procedures by the Israeli occupying power (pp. 15-24).





tural ground, by constructing irrigation plants etc., as well as founding cooperatives for the production, processing and selling of agricultural products. Protests were also signalized by inscriptions on walls, which also serve as a means of communication and information because they don't have their own media, by the secret hissing of the Palestinian flag (black-white-green-red) an well visible spots (steeples, circuit and electric lines etc.), by peaceful demonstrations, by the spreading of the index and middle finger to form a V-sign, especially done by children. Beside these non-violent manifestations of the Intifada stones are thrown at Israeli cars and military vehicles, which in view of the superior strength of the Israeli occupying power conjures up the image of David fighting with Goliath. That the means are disproportionate in this conflict is obvious. Major material damage, for example by fire bombs, is hardly ever caused due to the almost complete control by the Israeli occupying power.


During the frequent strikes the occupied territories struck the observers as a dead place. The streets were deserted, the stores closed. In Ramallah, Bir-Zeit and Ghaza they noticed that the flat roofs of the higher houses are occupied by armed military people, usually placed in sight of each other and connected wireless with the control center, which means that the urban areas of the Palestinians are completely under control. Moreover, mobile military and police patrols permanently search the streets, while at the same time the most important checkpoints and arterial roads are secured by heavily armed police and military squads.


On June 28, at around 11 a.m., the IPO-delegation was able to witness a military and police raid in the center of Ramallah. The reason for the raid could not be recognized. First there was the wailing of the sirens of the emergency cars and then the explosion of tear bombs; then shots were heard in the immediate vicinity, a "street-fighter" jumped out from behind the corner of a house and while running threw a stone backwards towards a military vehicle and, followed by two or three other Arabs, stormed by the observers in order to bring himself out of danger behind the street doors further down the road; a bullet broke the window above the observers and the person behind





the window immediately disappeared. About fifty meters down the road a tear bomb was thrown by the troops into the entrance of a house, probably the one in which those few "street-fighters" had just disappeared. The Arab-Palestinian inhabitants had retired into their houses and stores, remained completely peaceful and calm and obviously avoided the streets during the raid. Merely a vendor selling tea on the road and several workers at a road construction site at some distance from the observers indifferently continued to do their jobs.


On the afternoon of June 26th the observers saw 6 to 7 Palestinian flags waving on steeples and electric lines in Bir-Zeit, in Ramallah they discovered two on the 26th and one on the 28th. Those had obviously been made by children in the form of a dragon painted in the Palestinian colors.


With the exception of East Jerusalem, the infrastructures, particularly the streets of the town centers in the occupied territories as well as the public buildings, are in a strikingly deplorable state. Evidently, no investments have been made in maintenance or repair for a long time. Street cleaning and garbage disposal are either neglected or they don't work.


Occasionally the streets are barricaded by the military, such as for instance a main street in front of the prison in Ramallah or important connecting roads so that the people using public roads often have to put up with inconvenient and time-consuming detours.


What has been said so far refers only to the general situation in the occupied territories. Things are even more precarious in the refugee camps. Except for one single side entrance, all entrances including the main entrance are barricaded by the Israeli occupying power for controlling reasons. There is no sewage system. Due to the crucial lack of basic hygienical provision the number of diseases in these camps is said to be significantly higher than in comparable areas. Other indicators such as unemployment, incapacitation owing to injuries or invalidity, the number of family men kept in prison etc. are, according to reliable statements, significantly higher as well.




II. Oppressive and expulsive strategies of the Israeli occupying power


From the collected informational and observational material the impression could be gathered that the Israelis, intentionally taking coercive measures, are trying either to induce the Palestinian people still living in the occupied territories (about 1.4 million in the West Bank and about 0.8 million in the Ghaza-Strip) to leave their home country, or to cut off the Palestinian people from their economic, social and cultural life lines in order to reduce them to the ranks of a people of helots.

It is clearly recognizable what this strategy aims at: the expulsion of the Palestinians or the breaking of their ethnic will to survive, in order to gain the occupied territories as additional area for Jewish immigrants from all over the world. Israel wants Palestine, but without Palestinians! 4)


The various measures taken by the Israeli occupying power serve this goal more or less openly and have since the middle of April 1989 (the beginning of Itzhak Shamir's so-called "peace initiative' significantly increased and intensified.


This may be illustrated by various examples:  


1. Discrimination in the economic field


In the Ghaza-Strip fishery has always been an essential source of income. Since the occupation by Israel in 1967 has been made difficult because the fishermen from Ghaza are no longer allowed -as they used to be- to fish in Egyptian waters or to sail in the international neutral zone. This has led to the fact that the fishing areas along the


4) The Israeli press publicly regrets the fact that they will hardly be able to win the approx. 50,000 Soviet Jews, who according to Itzhak Shamir will leave their coun­try within the next three to four years, as immigrants to Israel.






Ghaza coast are meanwhile no longer profitable or are even empty of fish. Most recently this already very critical situation has even worsened in that the occupying power temporarily, for days, weeks or even months, withdraws the fishing right from the fishermen and then suddenly grants them permission again. These people living on fishery are without means of support when they are withdrawn the right to fish. They cannot turn to other lines of business because of the chronic lack of jobs in the densely populated and economically underdeveloped Ghaza-Strip. In order to apply for jobs in Israel they are required a special permission, which for inexplicable reasons is rarely granted if at all. It has already been said that since the beginning of June 1989 a great number of people from the Ghaza-Strip who are employed in Israel or in the West Bank have been withdrawn the permission to leave the Ghaza-Strip so that they are now unemployed. It is said that this measure is going to be applied to inhabitants of the West Bank as well.


On June 27, 1989 observers visited the refugee camp Al-Shaty in Ghaza-City. In riotous scenes hundreds of obviously angry women handed a petition over to the IPO-delegation, which was addressed to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and which revealed the fact that there is a famine,


1. because of unemployment, caused by a new regulation concerning the entry into Israeli territory, so that more than 300,000 employees are no longer allowed to enter Israeli territory and are therefore unemployed,


2. because Israel forbids the import of capital from abroad to all those who dispose of capital abroad,


3. because of the long-lasting unemployment due to the lack of fertile soil and factories,


4. because most of the more than 15,000 captives in Israeli prisons are family men, and add to these the great number of injured and disabled people who are unable to work,





5. because bread (which is not available in sufficient quantity) has been the basic food of the Palestinian refugees,


6. because there are no institutions, apart from the UNRWA, supporting the inhabitants of Ghaza,


7. because the prices for basic food are constantly rising while the people's standard of living is declining.


The observers were told repeatedly and identically that in the Ghaza-Strip and in the West Bank even the planting of a tree requires, supposedly for public safety reasons, special permission by the occupation authorities.


Although the inhabitants of the Arab part of Jerusalem, of the West Bank and of the Ghaza-Strip are subject to taxation, there seem to be for them- in contrast to Israel, that is the Jewish inhabitants of Israel- no public support measures to boost their economic development.


2. Discrimination in public health service


In the refugee camps there are no sanitary infrastructures whatsoever, let alone public health service. In the West Bank there are 1,722 hospital beds available for approx. 1.4 million inhabitants, in the Ghaza-Strip merely 930 for approx. 0.8 million inhabitants, which for the West Bank makes an indicator of 1.16. To compare: In Western Europe the corresponding numbers are 7 to 10 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants.


The regional hospital Maqasid in East Jerusalem, which is superior to the peripheral hospitals because it is more specialized and technologically advanced, is equipped with only about 200 beds. At the end of June 1989 it held 220 in-patients (200 beds + 20 emergency beds) and was thus filled beyond capacity by 110%. This overcrowdedness is said to characterize the normal rather than the exceptional situation.





About 40,000 patients ^5) in the occupied territories badly need physiotherapeutical treatment, but neither in the West Bank nor in the Ghaza-Strip is physiotherapeutical rehabilitation service available. According to reliable reports the establishment of a rehabilitation center sponsored by friendly organizations has recently been forbidden by the occupying power.


Patients from the Ghaza-Strip who are in need of a more specialized treatment at the regional hospital Maqasid in East Jerusalem do no longer have access to the Maqasid hospital because the transit through Israeli territory has been obstructed for the past few weeks. Many patients in the Ghaza-Strip who are in need of medical care at Maqasid are now cut off from the hospital.


Although the Maqasid hospital has a sufficient number of ambulances, recently those have often been confiscated by the occupying power on the pretext of needing them to transport prisoners. It is absurd that in urgent cases the hospital management first has to apply to the occupation authorities for the permission to use them. Thus precious time and often precious human lives are being lost.


The regional hospital Maqasid as well as other hospitals in the occupied territories are technologically dependent on Israel. This technology transfer, however, has been one-sidedly suspended by the Israelis since the beginning of the Intifada.


Lawyers and doctors unanimously report that many gunshot wounds are in the head and chest areas. Strikingly often children are wounded by shots in the back.


3. Discrimination in the educational field


Since the beginning of the national revolt in December 1987 (Intifada) the military authorities have repeatedly closed down all schools during the two school years of 1987/88 and 1988/89, supposedly for


5) wounded, mutilated, crippled





safety reasons, and thus deprived pupils and teachers of education. The whole school system in the occupied territories, from preschool and kindergarten up to the universities has been affected by this lock out.


Of the 19 months of school teaching from the fall of 1987 through the end of June 1989 (9 and1/2 months of school teaching a year) 13 and 1/2 months were lost because of the lock out, that is to say during the past two years school was only taught for about 5 months altogether.


In the school year of 1987/88 about 30,000 six-year-old children enrolled at school, but school was only taught for 4 and 1/2 months.


During the school year of 1988/89 another 30,000 six-year-old were taken an the school rolls. School lasted only for 3 to 4 months.


These two classes will practically have to start from scratch.


For the school year 1989/90 another 30,000 to 40,000 six-year-old children are expected for first schooling. Together with the two previous classes there will be about 90,000 to 100,000 children aged 6 to 8 to begin education. By June 29, 1989, however, nobody knew as yet whether school is going to be taken up in the fall of 1989 or not. 6)


Add to this the logistic problems such as the obtaining of a sufficient number of rooms, teachers, teaching aids etc.


This situation is rendered even more serious if one considers the fact that there is no way for them to make up for the classes they have lost: neither by means of additional homework nor by way of postal  


6) The Jerusalem Post edition of June 28 1989, said on page 1 that on June 27 at a summit conference in Madrid the EC had handed over to the Prime Minister Shamir the request, among others, to reopen the schools in the West Bank. The Israel News of June 30, 1989, reported on page 1: "In about two weeks the Palestinian schools in the West Bank area shall be opened again to take up teaching . . .”





tuition and extra teaching material, nor by privately organized coaching lessons. The parents are even forbidden to teach their own children at home.


Considerations of public safety are pretended to justify the school lock out. Yet with the best of wills and the most impartial of attitudes towards the occupying power it is hard to acknowledge such arguments. Rather, the lock out of these two classes and probably others as well, if this is going to be continued, seems to aim at sentencing them to illiteracy, although their law provides compulsory education for 12 years.


Add to this the problems concerning all classes of 1987/88 and 1988/89 of this 12 year compulsory educational system that will never be able to make up for the classes they lost because of the lock out and that will always suffer from this handicap. About 400,000 pupils and 20,000 university students a year are affected by this. This is approximately a fifth of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, which indicates the quantitative dimension of this coercive measure.


Another of the consequences of this lock out as a military action, which have obviously been clearly calculated, is the predictable "draining" of the Palestinian universities in the occupied territories: The senior classes of the 12-year compulsory educational system do not pass the school-leaving examination, which is a prerequisite to be admitted to the university. The approx. 20,000 Palestinians studying at the five universities in the occupied territories do not succeed in graduating etc. Many senior pupils and university students, tired of desperately waiting and idling about, are deciding to prematurely break off their aspired education.


Another aspect of the problem is the situation of the teachers. Their salaries, which are rather low anyways, have temporarily been reduced because of the lock out to half, to 40% or 30% or even been completely cut off under the pretext that they have not been teaching anyways. It remains to be seen for how long the teaching staff will last in these circumstances.





Add to this a vast number of other coercive measures. Frequently the "popular schools", where Palestinian teachers, parents or neighbors are secretly teaching their children, are stormed by the military with tear gas. Apart from the shock effect on children, the people concerned have to reckon with detention, the destruction of their houses or the sealing up of rooms or parts of their dwellings.


When houses are forcibly pulled down the people living there are often given only one hour to vacate them, and the plot of land passes to the state; it is forbidden to rebuild the houses, the families concerned have to be accommodated in provisional tents provided by the Red Cross. Rooms and parts of homes are sealed by bricking up windows and doors. They remain sealed for an indefinite period of time, sometimes for weeks, months, or even years. The mere suspicion of having taken part in the Intifada in a harmless manner (throwing stones or spreading the index and middle finger to form the V-sign), secret teaching etc. are sufficient reason for the occupying power to take such coercive measures. The resulting long-time shock effect on children must not be underestimated. It has unanimously been reported that the frequency and intensity of such coercive measures have considerably increased since the middle of April 1989.


The aim of this long-time strategy is clearly recognizable: The immobilization of public education is meant to deprive the coming generation of the educational premises that are necessary to obtain jobs; this pressure is meant to induce migration. The Israeli strategy may thus be reduced to the following simplified formula: no education = no prospect for employment and jobs = no economic basis of existence = famine or migration abroad?


III. Children as the victims of the Israeli occupying power


In the occupied territories children are increasingly often used as a dead pledge by the Israelis for their oppressive and expulsive strategies against the Arab-Palestinian people.





The number of children and juveniles under 18 arrested or taken prisoner varies from 25% to 50%, the lower value describing the situation before 1989, the higher value reflecting the most recent development. Lawyers and released prisoners, who dispose of topical information, rather tend to give the higher value, whereas the welfare organizations, that are more indirectly informed about the situation by family members and are thus lagging behind for a few weeks or months, suggest the lower value.


The number of children and juveniles7) treated at the Maqasid hospital during the three months from April through June 1989 makes up 47% of all the patients during that time who had been victims of acts of violence by the Israeli occupying power.8)


A former prisoner recently released from the Telmond prison in the North of Israel reports that there are about 500 prisoners, 400 of whom are criminal, 100 political. About half of the 100 political prisoners are young people under 18, most of them aged between 14 and 16, the youngest being only 12. The prison has only two sections, one for men and one for women. No differentiation is made between political and criminal, juvenile and adult prisoners, they are only separated according to their sex. Brutal torture for all of them without differentiation is the order of the day.


In the Ghaza-Strip the number of children and juveniles kept in prison is reckoned to be a third of the total number of prisoners.


The American welfare organization "Save the Children" takes care of about 7,000 families whose children have been killed or arrested. 9)  


7) under the age of 16


8) among them 13- and 14-year-old; recently an 11-year-old boy was taken to the hospital after having been severely injured by a shot in the back; he had been playing football with his friends when a patrol had passed, and as the boy had wanted to catch the ball and run away, he had been hit by a bullet in the back.

9)The number of political prisoners is now estimated at 14,000 to 15,000; a few months ago there were said to be only 6,000 to 7,000. The fact that the number has doubled within the past months confirms the impression that since April the situation has considerably worsened. As far as children are concerned, they are often accused of having thrown stones or made the V-sign.





This organization knows of a number of children and juveniles who were shot by "rubber bullets" and suffered bone communition. The severeness of injuries and skeletal fractures caused by this specific kind of munition in the form of "rubber bullets" is unanimously certified by the doctors.


One doctor reports to have witnessed the following scene in Ramallah on June 28, at around 8 p.m.: A bunch of boys were standing in front of an ice-cream stand to get some ice-cream. A military patrol passed, grabbed two of the boys by their heads for no apparent reason and hit them brutally against each other.


The same doctor also reports that recently the number of incidents has increased, where soldiers for no reason seize one of the playing children, drag him to a side alley and brutally beat him up, apparently to deliberately cause fractures of arms and legs. Their screaming can be heard far away and is meant to warn and shock the others.


In Ghaza the observers were able to talk to several children who had been beaten up or wounded by shots. They were children aged 8 to 12, the youngest was 7. In the fall of 1988 that child, then 6 years old, had been arrested by the military and beaten up for six hours in order that he may give away the names of his friends who were said to have made the V- sign. His head was injured and he had to be hospitalized. Now, 9 months after this horrible incident, this child is still suffering from trauma.


Lawyers, doctors and members of welfare organizations verify unanimously that in arresting, interrogation, and custody no differentiation is made between children, juveniles, and adults. They are exposed to the same severe procedures, they are equally beaten up and tortured, the prisons, jailers, the conditions, food etc. are the same for adults and young people. Children, however, cannot stand interrogation for a long time.


Thus reports a lawyer of a 16-year-old who had been beaten up in prison so brutally that the military judge immediately set him free because of his injuries. The boy had made a Palestinian flag out of rags.





The most frequent ways of torturing are described as follows:  

- having to stand for a long time, sometimes for days, with hands bound and a hood put over one's head, without being able to relieve oneself and without receiving any food;

- having to remain in a position somewhere in between sitting and standing, the rest as described above;

- incessant interrogation, for example over a period of eleven hours; being beaten (very frequently practiced);

- being deprived of the possibility to relieve oneself, to care of one's body and to make one's toilet, to change clothes (especially in Jerusalem) over a period of months.


Medical care in prisons is disastrous. For all physical complaints there is one single medicament available, that compares in its composition to aspirin.


The military regulations n. 951 in Ghaza and n. 1235 in the West Bank, both dating from April 1988 and being identical in contents, define the criminal liability in general "up to 12 years". This means that children under 12 years of age are criminally liable, respectively their parents or persons vested with the right of education. The protective measure that allowed insight into the significance of the criminal offence and that had until then been provided by the Jordanian law to protect children under 12 and without which no legal proceedings had been allowed to be taken, has thus been abandoned. From the day of his birth any child that may accidentally spread two fingers, may be called to account.


Since this new regulation was introduced in April 1988, every local military commander, if the accuser sustains a suspicion, has been allowed to demand of the accused children's parents a bail to the maximum amount of 1,500 shekel (= 750 US$) as a guarantee for not repeating the "crime".


Ever since then, this possibly has not only been frequently made use of, the frequency of its application also reveals the fact that it is





meant to squeeze out as much from the Arab-Palestinian people as possible.


A lawyer comments on this from his practice: recently a little girl was suspected of having thrown stones. Since her mother couldn't or wouldn't give the bail that is required in such cases, in this case 1,000 IS (= 500 US$), she was arrested herself.


Another lawyer reports from his practice: since September 14, 1988, a mother of two children (11 and 13 years old) has been held in prison, because her children had been accused of having thrown stones and the mother had refused to give the bail of 1,000 IS per child, that is 2,000 IS (= 1,000 US$).


Recently the incidents of administrative detention (without legal proceedings) have significantly increased as well. The people concerned are first kept in prison for 6 months and after that their imprisonment may be extended for another 6 months.


This is one of the most recent of such incidents: For 6 months a 15-year-old boy was detained in prison because of having thrown stones (administrative detention).


A member of Al-Haq, an organization in the occupied territories associated with the International Commission of Jurists, is busy collecting records and documents about victims, witnesses, deportations, the sealing and destruction of houses. Al-Haq disposes of a great amount of documentation on the violation of human rights in the occupied territories and reports that even people who are caught without a proof of identity have to reckon with one to two years of imprisonment.


For interrogations the Arab language is used, whereas Hebrew is spoken when people are arrested. Children, however, usually don't have as good a command of Hebrew as adults. Children and juveniles are not only directly but also indirectly af-





fected. The lock out from public education as a collective punishment is actually a device to undermine their future. Collective punishment such as the sealing and destruction of houses ^10), the use of tear bombs in private homes or in catacomb schools etc. affects mainly innocent children, who are the actual victims.


Apart from the fact that the Intifada essentially orients itself by Mahatma Ghandi’s way of non-violent resistance and actually is non-violent with a few exceptions, whereas violent and terrorist measures are clearly taken by the Israeli occupying army, the terrorization of a whole people, especially of children, calls forth a long-time traumatic effect that may badly affect two generations of human beings. Therefore the interviewed people of higher educational standard again and again stress the point that the direct or indirect coercive measures in the sense of collective punishment are incomparably more serious than the more than 600 casualties to be mourned so far.


In particular they emphasize the danger of getting used to this brutality, for, they say a generation of children is growing up for whom killing is part of everyday life. It can already be observed that this brutalization has affected the Israeli society as well, since violence among the younger generation has significantly increased, particularly among young men and women who are soldiers of the army engaged in the occupied territories.


IV. Legal uncertainty and law as a means of Oppression


Among the circumstances described above the general legal uncertainty among the Arab-Palestinian people is extremely high and has repeatedly raised the rhetorical question: What is legal?


The IPO-delegation cannot help thinking that this extreme uncertainty among the people in regard to legal aspects is deliberately caused and used as a means of oppression


10) The number of houses meanwhile destroyed amounts to more than 700!





The situation in the occupied territories is probably better described as one of a total absence of rights.


The testimony of one single soldier, for example, is sufficient enough to convict someone who has been accused or to arrest him (administrative detention), even if ten people with no police record witness the opposite.11)


A lawyer reports that during his 11 years of practice he was able to get only two of his clients released.


Families are never informed when one of them is arrested. Information is only indirectly available through the Red Cross. Nor are the lawyers informed of the appointments, they have to find out themselves in time-consuming manners.


The prison of Ansar is situated in the desert, a several hours' drive away. The lawyers are allowed to see only one client a day, only seven a month. About 4,000 captives are kept in the prison of Ansar under severest conditions. Recently the clients have often been forced to completely undress before the lawyer's visit, for safety reasons according to the official version. Many of them, however, feel so humiliated that they would rather do without a legal adviser.


Almost every day new military regulations are being issued. In the lawyers' opinion this is evidently an absurd way of bringing down the law to a means of oppression.


Independently of each other yet unanimously the lawyers say that they find themselves in a terrible dilemma. If someone innocently accused voluntarily confesses the deed, he usually gets away with 8 months of imprisonment and without being tortured and beaten. If he does not confess, he will still remain arrested for two years and have


11) When a soldier who had accused an innocent child of having thrown stones was called to account by the defender, he Said literally: `If he did not do it today, he did it yesterday or will do it tomorrow, so it's true; what difference does it make?'





to suffer all the physical and psychic pains connected with the imprisonment. Often the lawyer's role seems to be reduced to persuading his client to "voluntarily" confess, and to negotiate the sentence of imprisonment with the public authorities and the military court.


Whoever asks about the legal situation in the occupied territories is often given to understand that he may forget everything, for this is a situation of absolute lawlessness!


This situation may be illustrated by the following incident, that happened a week ago and was reported and documented by several doctors. A Palestinian had been wounded at a demonstration and because of his injuries was suffering from a severe loss of blood. After an ambulance had picked him up, it was shot at, the driver received three wounds of entry. The brother of the wounded man, who was also in the ambulance, pulled the wounded driver aside and drove the ambulance, despite its tattered tires, to the station, put the two wounded men into another ambulance and took them to the hospital. Meanwhile his brother had bled to death, the wounded driver had to be operated an three times within a week.


Another incident: a suspect was lying in the intensive care unit being ventilated. The military people came to pick him up and demanded of the doctors to cut him off the respirator. They refused, however, because he was in acute danger to life. Thereupon a military doctor was brought. He, too, refused to stop the ventilation. The military people, who had come at night, waited until 8 o'clock in the morning, stopped the ventilation and took the dangerously wounded patient away.


Because of this situation the Palestinian people in the occupied territories are verging an desperation. This may be best illustrated by the following comment by one of them: "The inhumane, beastly treatment of the Palestinians is immense, for everything is allowed!"





V. The reaction of the Palestinian people


The observers unanimously noticed that in view of the precarious situation all people interviewed showed remarkable emotional constraint. And this despite the fact that many of the interviewed people had dreadfully suffered.


This striking phenomenon may be considered a symptom of the fact that the aspiration to a life of fulfillment among the Palestinian people has been reduced to the absolute minimum of mere existence because of numerous inhumane treatments to which they have now been exposed for 22 years and which have even increased and intensified during the past two years. To live a peaceful life, not to be in fear of coercive measures every day is the almost utopian yet repeatedly uttered wishful thinking of the people in the occupied territories.


"The situation is unbearable, no one tells them to stop [referring to the Israelis]. Rabin said last November: ‘we need to harm them as much as possible.’"


A rabbi is said to have made the following comment in an Israeli television broadcast on June 27: "If in 1947 we solved the Palestinian problem by exodus of half a million, we simply have to solve it now by the exodus of a whole million."


"The Germans were reproached by the Jews with having remained silent about the horrible events during the Nazi-regime. Now the Israelis are silent themselves."


"We have given a lot, the best of all our land. They invite people from all over the world to take our land. Still we don't want to wipe them out, but we don't want so succumb either, we will go to the last extreme."


"We couldn't prevent their coming and what they did, but in the long run they won't prevail, that's why they push things to the extremes, which hurts them. We will hold out, even if it will eventually





lead to a civil war. The sooner this will be over, the better, because then there will be less suffering and damage and, above all, reconciliation, that comes afterwards, will be possible. But here exactly lies the problem. If this keeps on going for too long, chances for reconciliation will be small."


"Why does nobody help us? It isn't necessary to make war to help us. It would be sufficient for the EC and other nations to no longer accept Israel as a negotiating partner, because that would hurt them, they don't want to risk that."


"When in China human rights are violated for several weeks, the whole world reacts and responds. In our country human rights have been violated for 22 years, but the rest of the world seems to have got used to it."


"We no longer want good wishes, we want actions!"

These are some statements that document the seriousness of the situation.






It would be a mistake to think that because of the enormous pressure exerted by the Israeli army of occupation resignation is spreading among the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.


During the 22 years of the occupation the Israelis have not been able to win the Palestinians. Obviously they are unable to change by their own efforts their inhumane policy of oppression into a policy of humanity and economic, social and cultural support that is so badly needed by the occupied territories.


Unless the situation in the occupied territories is meant to further escalate and get out of control with serious consequences for universal peace, the following suggestions need to be emphasized:


(1) immediate replacement of the Israeli occupying power in the Palestinian territories by international (United Nations) control;


(2) preparations for handing over the occupied territories to the PLO-state (State of Palestine), that has already been internationally acknowledged;


(3) international economic boycott of Israel;


(4) immediate start of relief actions for the Arab-Palestinian people in the occupied territories, essentially by means of humanitarian support; providing, particularly refugee camps, with food, medication, teaching material etc. Support of teacher training is badly needed as well.





All these measures are urgently required if one respects the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination. The denial of this right is the real cause of the present tragedy. It should be made absolutely clear that Israel has no right whatsoever to occupy Arab territory. In conformity with the Charter of the United Nations compulsory measures have therefore to be taken in order to effect Israel's immediate withdrawal from illegally occupied territory. All legal and administrative measures taken by Israel as the hostile occupant are null and void. The only legal authority (which is also internationally recognized) is that of the State of Palestine (Palestine Liberation Organization). Governmental power therefore has to be handed over to the PLO in conformity with the resolutions of the United Nations.


In order to pursue this goal of reinstating Palestinian-Arab sovereignty over Palestinian territory and of putting an end to the tragedy of the Palestinian people and to the denial of its basic human rights, it will be necessary to effect a reversal of opinion particularly in the United States. It will therefore be necessary to make the inhumane horrors known, to expose Israel's illegal practices and to denunciate publicly those who are responsible for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people. Only this will create the worldwide awareness and moral concern for the Palestinian cause which may help to mobilize public opinion particularly in the West in order to put pressure an the respective governments to work more effectively for the solution to the problem of Palestine.


Jerusalem, 30 June 1989