THE COST OF FREEDOM Palestinian Human Rights Under Israeli Occupation 1988 A Special Repor

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THE COST OF FREEDOM Palestinian Human Rights Under Israeli Occupation 1988 A Special Report Confrontation between unarmed Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza and the Israeli military occupation authorities has been constant since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. The nature of this confrontation gradually changed during the 1980's, as more Palestinians took to the streets to protest increasing Israeli repression and "Iron Fist" policies. The development of region-wide students', workers' and women's organizations, and the periodic closure of universities and dispersion of students, helped to organize and politicize new sections of the Palestinian community. When demonstrations erupted in the Gaza Strip in December, 1987, the initial trigger was a car accident: four workers from Gaza had been killed when an Israeli tank transporter drove into a line of Arab cars near the military checkpoint at the entrance to Gaza City. Gazans considered the incident no accident, but rather a deliberate retaliation for the stabbing death of a Jewish man in the city the previous day. The funerals of the four workers, which were held in Jabalia and Mughazi refugee camps later that day, became spontaneous demonstrations that continued the following day in Jabalia with particular ferocity. There, Israeli troops shot into a crowd of mourners killing a young teenager which precipitated even wider protests. Israeli occupation authorities soon found that clashes between Palestinian civilians and the military, which had previously been centered in universities, cities, and the more militant and organized refugee camps such as Balatta, Dheisheh and Jabalia, suddenly expanded to encompass every city, camp, and village. Demonstrations quickly became massive and simultaneous in different areas, straining the ability of the Israeli military to confront these protests in force when and where they occurred. Faced with mass defiance by wide sectors of the Palestinian population, Israeli forces reacted immediately by the unrestrained firing of live ammunition into crowds of protestors, crowds gathered at hospitals, and mourners at subsequent mass funerals. Israel's harshness in its early repression of protests was no doubt a prime factor in keeping these protests at an intense level, as Palestinians reacted to "blood in the streets" with nearly continuous demonstrations, funerals and memorial marches. The unremitting and geographically dispersed pattern of the 433 killings of Palestinians during the first year of the Uprising, attributed directly or indirectly to the Israeli military, Israeli settlers, or Palestinian collaborators, also indicates that the Palestinian Uprising is a mass protest, widespread and unresponsive to Israel's attempts to repress it by violent means. By the ninth month of the Uprising this conclusion was supported by senior officers in the Israeli military. Army chief of Staff Dan Shomron told a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on August 16 that military operations can only reduce the level of hostile Palestinian activity in the territories to a certain degree. The Israeli Defense Forces "cannot alter Palestinian consciousness and cannot change Palestinian will." POLICY SHIFTS Despite the political nature of Palestinian protests, articulated by the United National Leadership of the Uprising (the underground coalition of PLO factions which developed in January 1988 to give direction to the uprising), Israel continued to respond by escalating and varying military strategies: Policies aimed at killing and injuring demonstrators, sweeping search and arrest operations in villages and towns, prolonged curfews on and military closures of large areas, mass detentions, expulsions, and large-scale house demolitions. Military aggression became particularly pronounced at times when Israel was under political pressure. This was, in fact, a stated military goal: to relieve Israel's leaders of pressure to respond politically to the Palestinian Uprising. Israel's current treatment of the 1.5 million unarmed Palestinians under military occupation has been likened to the military policies it pursues toward the population of South Lebanon inside its so-called "security zone." The result has been the creation of a limited war in the occupied territories which aims to intimidate the entire population. Israel is a country extremely sensitive to its public image, at home and even more so abroad. Its inability to control a declining public image has become an issue in itself which Israel has tried to remedy in two ways: by making official statements "moderating" its military policies, even if it did not do so in practice, and by banning the press from witnessing its actions. After some initial international criticism of the rising number of fatalities in the occupied territories - 18 Palestinians being killed in the first two weeks of January, 1988 - Israeli military authorities sought to complement their policy of the wide use of lethal force with so-called non-lethal "riot-control" techniques. These techniques included, principally, the systematic beating of Palestinians and the intensive use of tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets. These measures quickly became lethal through Israeli abuse and misuse, whether deliberate or not. There were, remarkably, no shooting deaths in the second half of January (although two people died from beating and a third after exposure to tear gas) as Israeli policy shifted to the use of punitive beatings rather than live ammunition. However, the publicity fallout from this policy - after news clips of Israeli soldiers sadistically beating handcuffed Palestinians with rocks, boots, and gunbutts were shown around the world - had a dramatic effect on Israel's image abroad. Israel retaliated by issuing region-wide bans or closings areas on the spot to journalists. The policy of punitive beatings continued, however, along with the reintroduction of the use of heavy gunfire. CIRCUMSTANCES OF KILLINGS In the first 12 months of this lopsided war, the Israeli army settlers, and occupation authorities had already claimed the lives of 433 Palestinians - honored by the population as "martyrs" of the Uprising. The death toll jumped by 12 on April 16 alone, as Palestinians were shot to death in demonstrations protesting the assassination of Abu Jihad in Tunis by Israeli Shin Bet (security) agents. According to documentation by the PHRIC, about one-third of all deaths occurred when Israeli troops opened fire on groups of people in the course of a demonstration, funeral, memorial march, or Israeli-initiated military raid on a village or camp. And contrary to the routine explanation of Israeli military authorities that soldiers used gunfire to extricate themselves from a "dangerous situation," the vast majority of Palestinians killed during the Uprising were engaged in passive activities: helping the injured, raising a flag, running away from a demonstration, standing on a rooftop, or simply standing in front of their homes or on the street, activities which posed no physical danger to Israeli soldiers. In only three cases were there reports that the Palestinians who were killed were holding or had just thrown a Molotov; in all other cases Palestinians were unarmed when they were killed. In at least 36 cases Israeli soldiers actively interfered with the evacuation of the wounded to the hospital, either by arresting the driver of the car trying to transport the injured, or by arresting the injured person, who later died. In at least eight known cases, the victim was beaten either before or after being shot and died as a result of these beating injuries. Seven other people were shot or beaten to death inside their own houses, usually trying to protect another family member from beating or arrest. At least 26 Palestinians died as a result of being beaten by soldiers, borderguards, or other military or security forces, according to documentation by PHRIC; five of these deaths occurred when the victim was officially in detention. Tear gas-related deaths - Palestinians who died after inhalation of large quantities of tear gas, or after being hit with gas canisters - totaled 66 by the end of the Uprising year. Hundreds of miscarriages attributed to the effects of tear gas on the mother and fetus, especially second and third trimester miscarriages, were reported by women and physicians primarily in Gaza refugee camps. Furthermore, tear gas inhalation was the predominant affliction in hospital emergency rooms for approximately 10 percent of all uprising-related injuries. SHOOTINGS Most of the killings were by army gunfire used in separate incidents over a wide geographical area and they occurred at a fairly constant rate over the course of the year. The fact that the shooting victims were both men and women, the very young and very old, demonstrators as well as people simply aiding the injured, tragically indicates Israel's confused and arbitrary shooting policy - a policy that military authorities continued to define as "self-defense," despite eye-witness testimonies to the contrary. The youngest shooting death was that of a 3-year-old child in Gaza and the eldest was a 75-year-old West Bank villager. The number of victims below the age of 16 increased dramatically in the second half of the year as a consequence of Israel's freer shooting policy. A total of 52 children (below the age of 16), representing more than 20 percent of all those killed by gunfire, were shot dead by Israeli soldiers during the year. (By January 1989, the average age of those killed had dropped to 16.) The heavy use of gunfire, especially of high-velocity bullets which explode inside the body, sent 8,000-10,000 people to hospitals to be treated for gunshot injuries in 1988. Most of these injuries required surgery and many were life-threatening and permanently disabling, resulting in the loss of an organ or paralysis. According to a report by the Physicians for Human Rights published after their fact-finding mission to the occupied territories, the x-rays and clinical findings of fragmented bullets by the team of physicians "reflect the inappropriateness of high-powered military weapons for civilian crowd control. In any case...the wounds that result from bullet fragmentation are extensive, involve damage to many structures, and often cause neurologic injury of devastating consequence." At least 64 Palestinians (over 20 percent of the cases) who were killed had been shot with more than one bullet; some by as many as 8-12 bullets in gangland-style executions, even though they were unarmed teenagers. The pattern of army killings by gunfire changed at mid-year. Formerly youths were reported shot "in demonstrations." This changed to killings of specific youths who had been wanted by the occupation authorities. These latter cases occurred most often during "search" missions of villages - when villages were held under curfew and large forces of soldiers conducted dragnet searches of fields and caves in the vicinity. On such occasions, youths on arrest lists were vulnerable to army gunfire as "wanted suspects" and could be shot on sight under standing army regulations for "resisting arrest." In the rare cases where shooting incidents have been investigated by military authorities, Palestinian eye-witnesses have not been sought. The testimonies of the soldiers who were involved are usually the only affidavits recorded. A total of 50 soldiers have been brought before military officers for disciplinary hearings related to abusive force or undue violence against Palestinians during the Uprising. There are no statistics available on the number punished for such abuses. In the few cases reported in the press, demotions and courts martial by military tribunals have routinely been overridden by the army chief of staff and lesser punishments administered. Killing unarmed Palestinians has not had a deterrent effect on popular protests, however, nor can Israel use the argument of "self-defense" or soldiers'"panic" as an excuse for the continued use of live ammunition against a civilian population. Only seven Israelis have been killed by local Palestinians during the Uprising, and all have died in isolated incidents of Molotov attacks or armed action. Not one Israeli soldier has died as a result of a demonstration - the kind of group action for which claims of "firing in self defense" are made. BEATINGS Israel's policy of punitively beating Palestinians, announced by Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin on January 19, 1988, was meant to reduce international criticism of Israel's use of lethal force. In fact, a policy of beating had been quietly in use throughout 1987 in Ansar 2 detention camp in Gaza City, where teenage Palestinian youths reported being beaten by Israeli soldiers. In October, 1987, teenagers were taken to hospital directly from the camp for surgery to repair limbs and internal injuries suffered by soldiers' blows. In the West Bank's largest refugee camp, Balatta, a similar policy was being implemented in 1987. In September of that year, 13 to 16-year-olds were taken to a rooftop borderguard lookout post opposite the camp and brutally beaten by soldiers wielding truncheons, gunbutts, and fists, then left for dead. These cases were unusual given the young age of the boys, the fierceness of the attacks, and the fact that there was no attempt to arrest the boys. The soldiers' excuse or their savagery was, however, the boys' attempts to "resist arrest." As soon as the Uprising began in the Gaza Strip, residents by the score appeared at hospital emergency rooms with reports that soldiers had beat them in their homes, on the streets, in school yards, and even in hospitals. By the time the policy was "official," beating injuries accounted for half of all recorded injuries. A group of doctors touring the area representing the Physicians for Human Rights described the pattern of injuries (mid-shaft fractures, deep lacerations, extensive soft tissue trauma, multiple limb fractures) as clearly "a deliberate policy of systematic beating designed to disable and not to kill, to inflict maximum damage while reducing the risk of death...it seemed more a planned and purposeful form of brutalization, indiscriminate in choice of victim but precise in choice of injury...." Israeli military authorities have not accepted responsibility for any beating deaths. In one on-going trial of four Givati soldiers accused of beating to death a Jabalia refugee camp resident, the soldiers were released on bail because so many soldiers were engaged in beating the man that it could not be established which soldiers were responsible for the fatal blows. According to court testimony, orders to beat residents came from the "highest military officers in Gaza." TEAR GAS The Israeli military's use of CS-gas or tear gas, as it is more commonly known, at times appeared to be nothing less than a form of chemical warfare. The aim was apparently not to disburse crowds but to punish large groups of people, whether they were engaged in demonstrations or not. Contrary to factory warnings, soldiers fired large quantities of CS gas canisters into crowded neighborhoods and refugee camps, into closed houses and hospitals, and directly at individuals. Those most affected were pregnant women and the non-ambulatory or bedridden: the very young, very old, and chronically ill. The sudden rise in fatalities and fetal deaths which occurred in areas heavily teargassed led Palestinian physicians to the conclusion that tear gas was the direct cause of death. The PHRIC documented 66 deaths attributed to the misuse or deliberate abuse of tear gas in the occupied territories, especially in Gaza refugee camps, during the first year of the Uprising. A report issued by a team of Israeli physicians and health workers after a visit to Gaza hospitals in May resulted in Israeli military authorities prohibiting soldiers from using tear gas in enclosed spaces. Since the restrictions were issued, however, no soldier has undergone a disciplinary hearing for firing tear gas into homes, despite evidence that it is done frequently and with fatal results. RUBBER BULLETS Several kinds of rubber bullets have been used against Palestinians by Israeli forces in the past year. In refugee camps in Gaza, they are plentiful enough to be scooped up from the ground and used by children as slingshot ammunition. In the first half of 1988, the bullets being fired were hard, black rubber cylinders of spheres, about the size of an eyeball, with a solid metal core. Depending on the range at which they were shot and where they hit the body, death could result and injury could be slight to crippling, from large hematomas to the loss of an eye or other organ. By December 1988, Israeli journalists confirmed reports by Gaza residents that a new spherical rubber bullet containing a shrapnel-like material was being used by the army, causing serious damage. This type of rubber bullet was found to penetrate the skull and enter deep tissue intact or in fragments with damaging effects similar to high-velocity ammunition. One example of its lethal effect is in the killing of Rana al-Masri, a 16-year-old who was shot in the back of the head outside Nablus' Rafidia Hospital with this type of "non-lethal" rubber bullet in January 1989. She died days later from massive brain damage. PLASTIC BULLETS Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced in early September 1988 that plastic bullets had been developed and were being put to use after tear gas, rubber bullets and clubs had proved "ineffective" in stopping demonstrations. Rabin predicted that injuries would increase since more demonstrators were now within shooting range but that futilities would decrease with the lighter weight bullet. He also admitted to a psychological factor, that the plastic bullets would help to "restore confidence" among the troops who were frustrated by their inability to confront an agile and youthful civilian population with standard battlefield equipment. Open-fire orders for plastic bullets, which are not considered "live" ammunition despite their proven deadly capability, subtly changed. Using plastic bullets, a soldier was now free to shoot whether or not he was in a "life-threatening" situation. The young age of the new victims showed that everyone was now at risk of serious injury in a "shoot-to-punish" policy that had official endorsement from the Israeli Defense Ministry. According to the Israeli media, plastic bullets were issued widely not just to sharp-shooters and officers but to Israeli soldiers for their personal weapons in combination with live ammunition. Although army regulations called for the plastic series to be used from a distance of not less than 70 meters, there was no practical way to limit its use when it was distributed so widely. At a range of less than 70 meters, plastic bullets can penetrate bones and organs, with results as lethal as live ammunition. On September 26, military officers held a briefing with the press at West Bank military headquarters regarding the use of the plastic bullets when an unprecedented number of Palestinians (78) were treated in the hospital for gunshot injuries. The pattern of rates of injury as well as fatalities has increased since mid-September, although the number and intensity of demonstrations has remained about the same. According to an Israeli military spokesman's statement issued on January 22, 1989, in the five months plastic bullets were in use by Israeli troops, supposedly to reduce fatalities from live ammunition, the bullets were responsible for the deaths of 47 Palestinians - about half of all fatalities for the period - and the injury of 288. Injury statistics for the same period indicate an average of 500 gunshot injuries per month by live ammunition. Why the introduction of plastic bullets would result in far more injuries by live ammunition can only be explained by a corresponding relaxation of open-fire orders. RESULTS The first year of the Uprising was a year of unprecedented loss of life for Palestinians living under military occupation as a result of the Israeli occupation forces. Early shocking statistics of shooting deaths gave way to a routineness of casualty reporting by the Israelis in which circumstances of killings were not questioned, much less investigated. The widespread brutalization of the population will no doubt have long-term psychological as well as physical consequences for Palestinians. Special note should be made of the young age of the victims, the circumstances of death, the care and treatment of the injured, the use of high-technology weapons against an unarmed population, and the lack of any defensible standards of behavior of Israeli soldiers, police, and borderguards in dealing with Palestinian residents. PRISONS AND PRISONERS DURING THE UPRISING WHO IS ARRESTED? An unprecedented number of Palestinians have been taken into detention by the Israeli military authorities during the first year of the Palestinian Uprising. Military authorities have made mass and arbitrary arrests and subjected thousands of Palestinians to long periods of detention-without-trial, similar to South Africa's 180-day detentions, in an effort to intimidate the population and break what has become a collective will of resistance to occupation. Other first-time detention practices to be utilized during the Uprising have been the large-scale arrests and physical abuse of women and children, indefinite and prolonged detentions without arrest orders or lawyer visits, interrogation and deportation of administrative detainees as well as sentenced prisoners, the holding of court sessions and sentencing of detainees without the presence of the accused or his/her lawyer, and the continuous abuse and punishment of detainees in prison. Arrests occurred daily and on a continuous basis, large-scale arrest campaigns usually coinciding with Israeli political, rather than "security," exigencies. There have been no rules in these waves of arrests, no immunity, and no system of procedures for the wholesale detentions. Palestinians have been rounded up from homes, workplaces, roadblocks, streets, hospital beds, mosques, and churches, at all hours of the day and night, by soldiers or even settlers who use no apparent criteria for making an arrest. Even people with severe physical or mental handicaps have been detained for long periods of time. Frequent army raids on hospitals have put gunshot victims in double jeopardy as targets for arrest. Often Palestinians are arrested when they appear at military headquarters to answer a summons for questioning. An atmosphere of "anything can happen for any reason" has left Palestinians bereft of legal rights or even basic human rights. "No cause" arrests are so widespread that village and camp youths in the vulnerable age of 15 to 25 have spent months in the hills near their homes, sleeping in caves to avoid arbitrary arrest by Israeli troops. But, avoiding arrest can increase the consequences for family members as well as the young men themselves: homes are regularly raided and family members are beaten or arrested as hostages in place of a sought-after youth. There are several cases of young men being targeted by Israeli snipers or being deliberately shot by Israeli "special operations" teams, after being captured. According to figures released in late November 1988 by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, more than 5,600 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza were in detention in prisons, army camps, and makeshift detention centers both inside Israel and in the occupied territories at the time. Of these, only 377 had been tried and sentenced. An estimated total of 30,000-40,000 Palestinians have passed in and out of Israeli prisons, some repeatedly, throughout the Uprising - a rate of one in 10 men between the ages of 15 and 60. And those arrests have affected nearly every family; with fathers and sons being arrested together in some cases. Human rights activists estimate that as many as 1,000 women have been detained in the last year for periods of several hours to six months. The vast majority are released without charges or trial; currently 60 women are being held in Israeli prisons. During the past year 15 women - all active in the women's movement - have been arrested arbitrarily and sentenced to 6 months administrative detention. Even young children, aged 12 through 16, who are not yet eligible for Israeli military-issued ID cards, are detained for long periods by Israeli soldiers and receive the same mistreatment accorded older detainees. Such wholesale arrests of people - often 40 to 50 people from one village are arrested in a single night - have resulted in a deterioration of prison conditions and chaos in the detention camps. Lawyers report that many times families know only that their relatives have "disappeared" and ask help in tracing them. It can take a month to six weeks, and often longer, before a Palestinian can be confirmed as officially detained and located in a specific detention facility. According to the families of detainees, prison officials have become even more uncooperative than usual, forcing them to wait hours and sometimes even for days in front of detention centers only to be told there are "no visits" or "no such prisoner." INSIDE THE PRISONS By the second month of the Palestinian popular uprising, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced that the Israeli army would not be constrained by the lack of prison facilities in making mass arrests. In addition to the 17 Israeli prisons, detention camps and jails currently in use for Palestinian political prisoners and administered by the civilian Prisons Authority inside Israel and in the occupied territories, the Israeli army now operates 10 unofficial detention and interrogation centers which it has hastily converted from military bases. Four of these detention centers were established in 1988 and hold more than 3,500 Palestinian detainees in huge tent internment camps and primitive facilities: Ansar 3 (Kitziot; inside Israel) in the Naqab desert, Ofer near Ramallah, Anata near Jerusalem, and Dhahariya in the Hebron area. Another 2,000 detainees, primarily teenagers, are held in two detention centers which have been operating since 1982: Ansar 2 in Gaza City and Fara'a in the Jenin area. In addition, scores of Palestinian youths under the age of 16 are held by the army for periods of one week or more in tents at military headquarters compounds adjacent to West Bank prisons or local police headquarters. The physical abuse meted out to Palestinian detainees by soldiers, police, interrogators, and collaborators, from the moment of their arrest to their release, has made the situation inside prisons critical. Political detainees released during the Uprising have complained of blindness, paralysis, broken limbs, disease and nerve disorders resulting from head injuries, and psychological trauma. Moreover, there is always the possibility of dying while in detention - there have been 3 detainees killed by army gunfire and at least 4 others who died apparently from fatal blows or suffocation while being detained. Israeli military authorities call these deaths "suicides," but the reports of the Israeli military-conducted autopsies allegedly confirming this cause of death are not released to the families. The physical conditions of detention are primitive and resemble internment camps which are designed not only to imprison but to punish, according to foreign lawyers visiting the detention camps. The largest camp, Ansar 3, is permanently overcrowded, with up to 28 prisoners in a single tent. Latrines are flooded and filthy, washing and drinking water are insufficient, food is inadequate and often spoiled, prisoners are not given clean clothes or sufficient supplies of foam mattresses, blankets, soap, towels, razors, or toilet paper. The health situation of the prisoners is also extremely grave. Detainees in Ansar 3 have called the prison the "camp of slow death" with prisoners reporting dehydration and weight losses of 20 to 40 pounds during their periods of detention. Skin diseases, bug infestation, intestinal and respiratory disorders, and food poisoning are all chronic and common problems among detainees. Prisoners with special problems, such as a heart condition, diabetes, kidney disease, blindness or mental retardation are given no special medical attention nor are detainees who have been severely beaten. Hundreds of detainees have had their six month detention orders renewed on their release day. And when a prisoner is released, many times long after his/her sentence or detention period has expired, his/her fate is uncertain. Detainees are released without money, transport, and sometimes without their all important identity cards. Seriously ill detainees are released in the middle of the night from distant prisons to find their own way to a hospital or village. Bedouin shepherds have found men released from Ansar 3 prison wandering in the desert, still handcuffed, and miles from the nearest village. Residents of Dhahariya village, near the army detention center in the Hebron area, have become accustomed to receiving released detainees in the middle of the night and providing them with food, beds, and transportation home. ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION Israel's policy of administrative detention: detaining people for long periods on the basis of an administrative, rather than judicial order, without charge or trial, brought the government international criticism in the 1970's. As a result, the measure was temporarily suspended until Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin launched his "iron fist" policy in 1985. Scores of activists were arrested for six month renewable periods under the new policy. Since the first weeks of the Uprising, Israel has arrested an unprecedented number of Palestinians under the order. Under administrative detention, Israeli military authorities do not have to bring charges against the detainee but have only to bring "secret" evidence before a military judge in the occupied territories, or a district court judge in Jerusalem or inside Israel, within 48 hours and 96 hours respectively, to justify a detainee's six month detention order on a claim of "preventing" security violations. The detainee and his/her legal counsel do not have access to the secret evidence, and there is no effective appeal procedure against the orders themselves, only against procedural errors. The number of detainees who have had detention periods actually reduced during the court presentations has been negligible; even after reductions in sentences, detainees are often given new six month detention orders. Previously, administrative detention orders were issued only by the minister of defense or the district commander and were officially subject to review by a military judge after a three month period. However, since the third month of the Uprising, this procedure has been streamlined to allow any field commander to issue a six month detention order. In addition, it is now reviewed in the prison or detention camp itself by a military committee with only advisory powers. By June this committee was replaced by a single military judge (usually a civil law attorney on reserve duty) who could confirm, cancel, or shorten the administrative orders. According to Israeli regulations and international law, administrative detainees should be accorded better conditions than those of other prisoners. For example, they should be kept separate from other prisoners, be provided radios, newspapers, reading materials, and civilian clothes. In fact, during the Uprising, conditions for administrative detainees have been the same, if not worse, than the other prisoners. In most detention centers - really only tent camps - there are no newspapers, radios, family visits or lawyer's visits, and often detainees must wait weeks for even a change of underwear. ADMINISTRATIVE DETAINEE POPULATION* Laborers (including union leaders) 50% Students 20% Professionals 10% Merchants 8% Skilled laborers 7% Employees (e.g. clerks) 5% *Based on 1,000 cases, predominantly from the West Bank, documented by PHRIC. Most were arrested during the height of the administrative arrests between March and May 1988. INTERROGATION AND TORTURE Increasingly, as the Palestinian Uprising continues, the Israeli government and particularly the secret police have been under pressure to keep as many Palestinians as possible in prison on actual charges. The principal "evidence" used against the detainees are so called confessions of political activity and soldiers' testimonies. This has led to a significant increase in brutality by interrogators determined to obtain confessions from detainees, whether such confessions have any basis in fact or not. Even so, by year's end only several hundred Palestinians had been tried, convicted and sentenced for security violations during the Uprising. That Palestinians are routinely beaten in prison while under interrogation is an established fact, which even Israeli military authorities do not dispute. Such abuses have been given legal sanction by the Israeli government. In late 1987 the Landau Commission was established to investigate the practices of the Shin Bet (security services) after a detainee died while being detained at Jenin prison. The commission concluded that "moderate force" could be used to extract confessions from Palestinians in detention. Exactly what constitutes "moderate force" and within what limits and circumstances it may be used were not defined in the publicly released portions of the report. Palestinians do not have to be accused of anything to be physically or psychologically tortured in prison. For example, on the first night of arrest every prisoner, without exception, is systematically hooded with a thick canvas bag pulled tight around the neck. The bag is filthy and heavy enough to impede breathing, and has a severe psychologically disorienting effect on the detainee. The prisoner, already handcuffed behind the back and sometimes leg-shackled, is then chained to a hook or pole set at varying heights to make either sitting or standing impossible. The detainee can be left in this state for hours or days, without water, food or toilet facilities. He/she is sometimes drenched purposely with water and left in the cold, as well as beaten and humiliated by passing soldiers. From this "softening up" treatment, meted out to men, women and children of all ages, whether charged with an offense or not, physical abuse can escalate to what is defined as torture by international law. During the entire period of interrogation, the detainee may not have family visits and legal counsel is often denied at least for the first 18 days. Pressure on detainees to confess to any allegation is intense, even if the charges are only holding a flag in a women's demonstration or throwing a stone. In the past year, some Palestinian detainees have reported that Israeli investigators have forced them to spend days without food, water, or clean clothes while handcuffed inside a small, narrow closet - a kind of stand-up coffin or zinzana - even before they have been asked any questions or been told the reason for their arrest. These complaints have come from prisoners, particularly women, who are held in Israeli prisons including the main detention center in Jerusalem, indicating that the use of the "closets" is systematic and widespread. After being subjected to this form of psychological abuse many of the prisoners are released without charge within two weeks of arrest. Other complaints about treatment in detention include the use of "punishment cells" - solitary confinement. A detainee is held in one of these cells for days or even a month at a time. Tear gas is often poured into these small cells as added punishment. Outright beating of detainees by guards, interrogators, soldiers or police creates an atmosphere of insecurity and terror, especially for younger detainees and those with no prior prison experience. Injuries sustained during interrogation are not treated in the minimal-treatment prison clinics, and detainees are seldom granted medical release-on-bail. A variety of methods of torture have been reported to be used on Palestinian detainees: freezing and heating units, rubber whips with stones or razors attached to the ends, metal bars and electric prods, and wooden clubs affixed with nails are among a few. Most often prisoners are simply hit with whatever is at hand: gunbutts, sticks, boots, and fists, until a confession of some kind is extracted. Threats are also used and include warnings of expulsion, long-term sentence, and even murder. DEATHS IN DETENTION During the Uprising, the obvious escalation of brutality inside the prisons has had the inevitable result of Palestinians dying in detention. A death in detention is a lonely and tragic end for a human being, and virtually impossible to prove. There are no witnesses, and prison authorities are unlikely to admit that detainees have been abused. While previous deaths in detention were isolated cases occurring in 1981 and 1987, at least six Palestinians have died in detention during a six month period in 1988. Six more Palestinians have died apparently as the result of beatings by soldiers or police after arrest. They either died in the hospital from their injuries or their bodies were found in the surrounding area. But because their deaths did not occur officially in prison or detention centers, they are not strictly considered to have occurred in detention. Two Palestinians were killed after soldiers opened fire on prisoners in Ansar 3 protesting harassment by soldiers. (One of the detainees was shot dead by the camp commander at close range, eyewitnesses said, when he bared his chest in defiance.) The deaths of four other Palestinians, all under detention without charge, were ruled suicides by prison authorities. The families of all four believe that their sons were beaten to death, judging from the serious wounds and signs of battery they saw on the bodies as well as the corroborating testimonies of other detainees. Ibrahim M'tur, a father of five, who was accused of organizing a hunger strike for better conditions in a West Bank detention center, died in detention after being separated from other prisoners for two days during which time, by all accounts, he was beaten by a dozen soldiers. Prison authorities ruled his death a "suicide." According to his family who saw the body briefly before the military-ordered burial, his arm was broken in two places, the marks of tight shackles could be seen on his wrists and ankles, and he had deep wounds on his head. Another young man, Nabil Mustapha Bedah, summoned for interrogation to Jerusalem's Moscobiyya detention center for unpaid car taxes, was returned to his family, dead, five days later. His death was also ruled a "suicide," although his family said his arm and teeth were apparently broken. A body of a third young man, Ata Ahmad Ayyad, was brought at midnight, to his family in Kalandia refugee camp near Jerusalem, after only a month in detention. His body reeked of tear gas and bore signs of beating. The fourth man, Ibrahim Rayya Zeid, was found dead in Ramle prison in an isolation cell, after spending eight months of solitary confinement without making a confession. Prison authorities also claimed his death was a "suicide." There are still more questionable cases of Palestinians who were taken away from the scene of a demonstration by soldiers after being injured by gunfire in the leg and later listed as having died in Israeli hospital of chest wounds. In the Gaza Strip, there have been a number of uninvestigated cases in which Palestinians have been seen taken from their homes or from the street by soldiers and then found dead. Hani al-Shami, a middle-aged man from Jabalia refugee camp, was beaten by soldiers in his house in front of his family and taken into custody. Later he was found dead in the Jabalia military headquarters. A military court could not determine which soldiers dealt him the mortal blow since so many had beaten him and so released the four Givati soldiers arrested in connection with the case. A few of the youths who have "disappeared" still cannot be traced and are also feared dead. One, a 14-year-old retarded boy from a village near Jerusalem, has been missing since February. EXPULSIONS Since January 1988, 60 Palestinians have been issued administrative orders by Israel forcibly expelling them from the occupied territories (compared to 45 for the previous three year period). Israel has based the expulsions on allegations by Israeli intelligence and "secret evidence" that the men had engaged in (nonviolent) political activities, primarily organizing community "popular committees." By year's end, the 26 Palestinians were still in prison either appealing expulsion orders or awaiting imminent expulsion. (On January 1, 1989, 13 were expelled to South Lebanon.) Palestinians selected for expulsion have no right to a fair defense since neither they nor their lawyers, can see what, if any, charges are brought against them. A committee of military officers must review the orders on procedural grounds and make a recommendation to the commanding officer of the district, usually the man who issued the expulsion order. In three cases in 1988, this military committee made unprecedented recommendations that expulsions not be carried out. Its recommendations were accepted in only one of the cases. The second stage of so-called "appeal" for Palestinians facing expulsion is the Israeli High Court. So far all Palestinians who have chosen to appeal to the High Court have had their expulsions upheld. Increasingly, Palestinians have appealed to the court and then withdrawn their appeals when "secret evidence" against them was not revealed. In December 1988, two Palestinians withdrew appeals in exchange for a deal from the state prosecutor that their expulsion be "voluntary," a euphemism for an expulsion order which is limited to a five year period and conditional on the expellee not engaging in "anti-Israel" activity. The two retracted their agreement on the same day and are again appealing their expulsion orders to the High Court. The average age of Palestinians expelled in 1988 is 31. Almost all are married and have children. They include physicians, lawyers, journalists, trade unionists, university lecturers, laborers, and students. Their arrest records are varied; some have been in prison since 1986, others have never before been arrested or even interrogated. None are accused of violent activities; they are being expelled clearly for their leadership capabilities. Israeli intelligence authorities reported in May that they have prepared a list of 1,200 more Palestinians whom they would like to expel. A special one-issue Israeli political party "Moledet" campaigned in the Israeli elections this past year in favor of a government policy of "transfer," that is the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied territories. The party won two seats out of 120 in the Israeli parliament. Moreover, Israeli opinion polls indicate that 41% of the Israeli public support mass transfer of Palestinians to other countries. The families of the expellees face serious travel restrictions, resulting in permanent separation from loved ones. Often Israel refuses to issue travel documents to the wives of the expellees or simply turns back the families at the Israeli-Jordanian border. In one case the wife of an expellee, herself an activist, was not permitted to join her husband outside the West Bank until she signed a self-exile order relinquishing her right to return to the West Bank for a three year period. SETTLER VIOLENCE Since the mid-1970's, Jewish settler violence has been a constant source of tension in the Israeli occupied territories. This violence peaked in the early 1980's with the advent of a settler underground organization which orchestrated a number of attacks against Palestinians and their property. Despite the indictment of twenty-seven settlers, vigilantism has continued relatively unabated since that time. Acts of settler violence committed since the beginning of the Palestinian Uprising have not only increased in number but have become more deadly. During the first twelve months of the uprising, settlers killed fifteen Palestinians. Most of these murders were committed as "reprisals" against Palestinians in response to specific acts (e.g. rock throwing). Others were committed as a method of expropriating land for the expansion of settlements. Only two of the settlers involved were indicted and brought to trial, both on charges of manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of twenty years, unlike murder with a minimum sentence of twenty-five years. On November 30, Israel Ze'ev, a recent American immigrant from Chicago, was found guilty of manslaughter for the shooting death of Judeh Taim in an unprovoked attack as Taim tended sheep on his land close to Ze'ev's settlement. Ze'ev received a sentence of only three years imprisonment. While the number of killings committed by settlers has increased dramatically during the Uprising, the principle violation of the Palestinians' rights has been incessant harassment. Settlers have used the heightened tensions in the territories as an opportunity to "demonstrate Jewish presence." This has mainly taken the form of increased raids on villages and refugee camps located near settlements or major transportation arteries. A large number of these raids have taken place in coordination with local army units and have included the destruction of property and crops, assault on residents, and the indiscriminate use of gunfire. Several killings also were committed during such raids. The settlers have continued to be active on the political front, repeatedly calling on the government to broaden the interpretation of the "rules for opening fire." The government has officially resisted such pressure. However, in practice, the rules are indeed being interpreted more liberally by the local authorities. Settler activists have also called for the expulsion of large numbers of Palestinians on several occasions. Again, while the government did not overtly acquiesce to these demands, it continued to accelerate its own policy of expulsion. Settler violence against Palestinians could not continue without government collusion or at least approval. While expressing token disapproval, the government has consistently refused to take any serious action to curb the violent activities of its citizens living in the territories. The national government has in fact actively created a situation in the territories which provides both the means and the impetus for the settlers' actions. The settlers have been permitted to accumulate large numbers (over 10,000) of small arms. While virtually all of these weapons are legally owned and licensed, the government has chosen to exercise little practical control over them. Another exacerbating factor is the dual legal system under which Israeli settlers are subject to Israeli civil law while Palestinians are governed by Israeli military law. Settlers are thus exempt not only from the Israeli military court system but the local Palestinian court system as well. Any Palestinian wishing to bring charges against a settler must do so within the Israeli civil legal system, a step few Palestinians are willing to take. The most crucial factor which has helped to increase settler violence is the collaboration of local military and civil authorities. A government commission revealed in 1984 that the local Israeli authorities encouraged the lawless actions of the settler population by not carrying out complete criminal investigations and by committing perjury. Although the commission recommended radical reforms none were ever carried out and conditions have remained much the same. Statements by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir urging settlers to "remain strong" have been calculated to encourage their actions. This, combined with the sympathy of other government and local law enforcement officials, encourages the settlers to continue to "take the law into their own hands" with often fatal results. HOUSE DEMOLITIONS DURING THE UPRISING The Israeli military authorities' dynamiting and bulldozing of thousands of Palestinian homes, a practice carried out since the first days of the 1967 occupation, is probably the harshest collective punishment used by the Israeli army to punish whole families for the suspected "security crimes" of one family member. House demolitions accelerated dramatically during 1988, especially in the latter half of the year. These destructions have included hundreds of homes built without a military-issued license. The pretext of homes being "illegally built" was used to punish individuals and whole villages for their activities in support of the popular uprising. Demolitions are carried out suddenly to maximize shock value by a force of hundreds of soldiers who are frequently accompanied by settlers, usually between midnight and dawn. The village is curfewed and the only warning for targeted families is soldiers banging on the door and shouting orders to leave the house. Residents are given only minutes to try to empty the house of its contents before the explosive charges are set or the bulldozer begins its destructive work. The contents of the house, nearby farm animals, orchards, and grape arbors, as well as neighboring houses, are often destroyed by the force of the blasts used by the Israeli army in areas of high population concentration. Despite the curfews, village residents often take to the streets to protest demolitions of their own or their neighbors' houses. On at least two occasions during the Uprising, Palestinian youths have been killed in confrontations with soldiers after house demolitions. In the village of Beit Furik, one of the bloodiest incidents of the Uprising occurred when soldiers fired into a crowd of demonstrators after a house demolition; 17 people were injured including a son of the homeowner, who later died of his injuries. In rare cases, doors to houses or rooms are welded shut, rather than destroying the entire house, but it is not known what criteria army commanders use for choosing this particular punishment. 550 homes housing almost 5,000 people were destroyed by Israeli forces in 1988. These Palestinians have no alternative housing, only the small emergency tents given them by international relief organizations. The families who lived in houses destroyed for "security" reasons are not permitted to build again on their land. Those who built "unlicensed" houses have no hope of ever obtaining a building permit due to the deliberate Israeli policy of limiting Palestinian home building. During the Uprising, no housing licenses were issued by military authorities in the occupied territories. In fact, for the past several years a slowdown - almost a work stoppage - has been in effect in the Israeli-run West Bank planning department. Palestinians say that they are victims of the Israeli occupation's many Catch-22's designed to stop Palestinian construction by simply not issuing the needed licenses. Palestine families whose homes have been destroyed said they built without permits because they were forced to by the Israeli civil administration. The Bedouin hamlet of Qisan near Bethlehem was almost completely obliterated in October 1988 after the destruction of 30 houses and sheds which Israeli authorities said were built on land requisitioned by the military. The demolitions were carried out after most of the hamlet's remaining land was confiscated for the expansion of a modern Israeli settlement next door. In Idna village in the Hebron district, a politically active village which Israeli military authorities had threatened to "break," 112 families were given notices in May that the Israeli army intended to destroy their houses for being built without the necessary permits. In other villages under prolonged curfews, Israeli civil administration officials accompanied by soldiers used the opportunity to make tax raids as well as to survey for licenses and distribute demolition notices to those homeowners who built their houses without permits. Israeli military authorities avenged the killing of a reserve soldier by a resident of Tamoun village by displacing the entire Tamoun migrant farmer population which was living and working in the Jiftlik valley. In early November an estimated 80 to 100 huts used by the Tamoun farmers and their families during the winter working months were razed, displacing more than 400 people. Israeli authorities denied that the destruction of these huts was for security reasons although migrant farmers in the Jiftlik valley originating from other villages were not punished. One-third of the houses destroyed in 1988 were demolished in reprisal for vague "security" offenses ranging from an armed action against a soldier to stone-throwing. At least two houses were destroyed "by mistake," after the arrest of occupants who were later released without charge. Israel has also, for the first time, reacted to attacks on its informers by destroying the homes of Palestinians accused of attacking the person or destroying property of collaborators. The largest number of houses destroyed at one time for "security" reasons was in Beita in April, after a young Israeli settler was accidently shot dead by her armed settler escort in an incident near the village involving village residents. Fifteen Beita homes were destroyed within 48 hours of the incident amidst calls by settlers and right-wing Israeli government officials that the village be "razed to the ground." Another eight homes were damaged by the blasts and made unhabitable. Demolitions have been carried out in response to the political atmosphere, or the demands of Israeli settlers or government officials, rather than to the alleged offense. In more than a half-dozen cases, houses were destroyed even before arrests of a family member was made. The Israeli army became judge, jury, and executioner using bulldozers or dynamite to punish the entire families of those presumed guilty before suspects were actually charged and brought to court. Palestinians live with their extended families in solid stone houses which they build by hand over a period of years. More than 80 percent of the disposable income of the residents of the occupied territories is directed toward the building of private homes. In addition to rendering families homeless, therefore, the destruction of such homes represents great emotional heartache, the loss of years of hard labor, and economic devastation. INSTITUTIONS A cornerstone of occupation policy has always been the attempt to prevent the development of independent Palestinian institutions and the emergence of independent Palestinian leaders within them. While occupation troops have waged a military campaign during the Uprising ostensibly to "restore order," they have also busied themselves with hampering any form of normal Palestinian life and impairing the ability of Palestinians to organize to meet their basic needs. During the Uprising there has been a systematic and sustained attack on Palestinian educational, cultural, research, charitable and social institutions and on trade unions, press offices and print shops. Serious violations of the right to religious freedom have occurred through interference in workshop services and religious institutional concerns, desecration of holy places, and persecution of clergy. Health care services and facilities have also been jeopardized, seriously impeding care of the wounded and the sick. EDUCATION The closure of schools and universities, combined with sustained attacks on school facilities, teachers and students, has resulted in the virtual loss of an educational year. These repeated Israeli-instituted closures have severely jeopardized the educational system and inflicted irreparable damage on the educational development of hundreds of thousands of students. All West Bank schools were closed for four months in the spring of 1988 and only reopened, in stages, for fall classes beginning December 1. Many schools were not reopened at all and several were closed for varying periods. Gaza Strip schools have also suffered severe extended closures and disruptions, which educators estimate has meant a loss of at least 50% of the educational year. Jerusalem schools, which wee closed together with West Bank schools in the spring, reopened in October 1988, followed by sporadic closures of specific schools. All Jerusalem schools were also closed November 11-17 as a preemptive measure during the convening of the Palestine National Council. The civil administration closed all educational and research institutes on the West Bank in September 1988 to prevent alternative classes from being held there. Alternative classes organized by the popular committees have been specifically banned. Teachers in public and private schools were even prohibited from giving students workshops to continue their education at home. The universities and colleges, closed in December 1987 and January 1988, have remained closed, with no declared date for reopening them. Even when schools have been open, the educational process has been continually disrupted. The army and sometimes settlers have vandalized and raided schools, forcing students and employees to leave the premises. The army has besieged schools and not allowed students and employees to enter, has carried out individual or mass arrests of students from classrooms, and has taken over several schools to use as military installations or temporary detention centers. The closures of schools and universities has placed a tremendous strain on the financial resources of educational institutions. Teachers in public schools have faced salary cuts. Private schools which have suffered drops in tuition payment have been forced to dismiss teachers and cut back on facilities. Most importantly, hundreds of thousands of students have suffered a disruption of their educational process, which has been most severe for young students acquiring literacy and for students in their matriculation year. Other cultural and research facilities have been affected as well. The Hakawati Theater in Jerusalem, for example, has been raided and closed on several occasions. Activities of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Society of International Affairs have been disrupted. The main premises of the Arab Studies Society, the largest local Palestinian research institute, were closed July 31. Its President, Faisal Husseini, was placed under 6 month administrative detention for the fourth time. Employees of the Arab Studies Society and several other cultural and research institutes have also been administratively detained. CHARITABLE AND SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS Several formal and grassroots institutions in the West Bank and Gaza provide welfare, medical and social services to residents. They compensate for the lack of services provided by the Israeli civil administration and constitute the foundation of an independent Palestinian society. Always subject to obstruction and repression by the occupation authorities, these institutions became the targets of a concerted attack when other methods of crushing the popular uprising had failed. In'ash al-Usra, the largest charitable society on the West Bank, was closed for two years June 20. Some 34,000 people were directly and indirectly affected by the closure, including 1,300 children sponsored by the society. The Society's president, Samiha Khalil, was later charged with 11 counts of incitement and posession of illegal material. The Union of Charitable Societies in Jerusalem, which coordinates and distributes funds to over 100 charities, was closed for one year August 28. Its director, Dr. Amin al-Khatib, was administratively detained for two months. Licenses have been revoked from other charitable societies, such as the Tulkarm Patients' Friends Society, which among other medical services, houses the districts x-ray facilities. Youth centers, YMMA's (Young Men's Muslim Association) and other social centers have been closed. The Shabiba (youth movement) was declared illegal in March; within days of its criminalization people were arrested for membership and several of its youth centers closed. The popular committees, which had provided vital services in most communities, were formally banned on August 18. The authorities claim that several hundred committee activists have been detained, including the 25 men ordered expelled on August 17. Members of voluntary work, health, agricultural development and women's committees, not explicitly targeted by the ban, have also been imprisoned for committee activities. PRESS AND INFORMATION SERVICES Throughout the uprising the authorities have restricted access to events and disrupted the flow of information by the media. Foreign journalists as well as Palestinian journalists have been subject to these measures, which have included restrictions of entry to closed military zones, confiscation and destruction of equipment, notebooks and film, and withdrawal of press credentials for allegedly failing to submit material to the military censor. At least one photojournalist was shot and many others (foreign and Palestinian) have been assaulted and beaten. moreover, the media have complained that on occasion, intelligence agents have entered villages posing as journalists to make arrests, a practice which undermines their credibility with Palestinians and consequently hampers their work. Those most severely affected by such measures have been Palestinian journalists, press offices, print shops, and publications. The Palestine Press Service was closed for six months march 30; the closure was extended September 30 for another year. At least five other press offices were closed for varying periods. The licenses of Al-Awdah magazine (English and Arabic) and Derech Hazitzots/Tariq a-Sharara newspaper were revoked. Procedures were also begun in January 1989 to close the Arabic weekly, Al Ra'i. In addition, press offices have been subject to raids and telephone cuts. Newspapers face on-going censorship and periodic distribution bans. In the last year, eight journalists have been expelled, at least 38 placed under administrative detention for six months or longer, and numerous others arrested and detained for six months or longer, and numerous others arrested and detained for varying periods. HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE LAW Human rights workers and lawyers defending Palestinian clients have been subjected to harassments and serious interference in their work. Five fieldworkers of the Ramallah-based al-Haq/Law in the Service of Man, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, and three fieldworkers of PHRIC have been placed under administrative detention. Other workers have been harassed, prevented access to witnesses, had their identity cards seized, and been detained and interrogated for varying periods. At least four lawyers, three in Gaza and one in the West Bank, have been administratively detained. In some cases, the work of lawyers and human rights workers has been specified as the reason for their administrative detention. In the absence of other reasons, it must be assumed that human rights and legal work constituted the basis for the other detentions as well. The Gaza Bar Association has conducted a strike against the military court system since December 17, 1987, and the West Bank Lawyers Association has conducted similar periodic protest strikes. The Gaza Bar Association, which has continued to monitor the courts and to publicize serious human rights violations, has been raided (ostensibly for tax collection purposes); records and affidavits have been confiscated. The civil administration has threatened to prevent prison visits to turn civil court matters over to the military courts. Some civil court employees have already been dismissed. UNIONS Like the other institutions, trade unions have been systematically harassed; many offices have been closed or rendered inoperative. The Trade Union Complex in Jenin was closed for two years in March, the General Federation of Trade Unions headquarters in Nablus closed for one year August 26, and the Professional Associations Complex in Jerusalem closed for two years August 25. In addition, the local and regional offices of most unions and federations have been effectively inoperative to avoid permanent closure orders and arrests of union activists. Furthermore, union and professional association offices have been raided, documents confiscated and premises vandalized. An estimated 27 offices were formally closed by the authorities. Tens of union officers and hundreds of union members have been put under administrative detention. Two union officers have been expelled to Lebanon, and four others are in prison, appealing expulsion orders. As a result of these measures, union activity during the Uprising has virtually ceased at a time when workers, particularly those employed in Israel, face increasing exploitation, repression, and loss of jobs as a result of prolonged absences during strikes and army imposed curfews. HEALTH CARE SERVICES AND FACILITIES As an occupying power, Israel is obliged under the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure provision of health care services to the occupied civilian population. The failure to fulfill this obligation has been a source of contention throughout the occupation. Not only have Israeli-run health care facilities been inadequate in meeting the needs of a growing population, but more importantly, the Israeli occupation authorities have severely hindered the free development of independent Palestinian primary and secondary health services attempting to satisfy these needs. During the uprising, the occupation authorities have restricted medical care of the wounded in several respects, by obstructing medical treatment, delaying transportation of wounded to the hospital, and mistreating wounded Palestinians in their custody. Ambulances en route to evacuate the injured have been commandeered by soldiers who use them to enter villages and make arrests. Entire villages and camps have been denied medical care while under curfew and prolonged siege; on occasion even Red Cross officials have been prohibited entry to these besieged areas. Moreover, these curfews and prolonged sieges have prevented care for chronic health problems and induced illness, particularly among young children deprived of proper sanitation, running water, milk and basic food stuffs. Denial of adequate medical care in prisons and detention centers, common before the uprising, has become even more commonplace for the large numbers of detainees held in substandard military camps. Scores of prisoners with chronic health problems and disabilities have appealed for treatment or early release to no avail. Israeli doctors themselves, serving in army reserve capacity in several facilities, have complained that inmates under interrogation and in regular detention are abused and that these wounded prisoners are not accorded proper medical treatment. On several occasions, troops have invaded hospitals, smashing medical equipment, assaulting medical personnel and families of patients, and forcibly removing the wounded. Teargas and live ammunition have been fired in and around hospitals. Medical personnel have also been assaulted and detained while giving medical treatment or while en route to hospitals. Doctors, nurses, and other medical workers have been arrested, served administrative detention orders and three have been deported. Since Jordan's formal withdrawal of financial support for the occupied territories in August, Israel has refused to make funds available to supplement hospital budgets and salaries formerly underwritten by Jordan. It has also taken steps to ensure that the PLO does not supply the lost funds. On July 10, even before Jordan's withdrawal of financial support, Israel ordered government hospitals to demand prepayment for 3-days of hospitalization, an order the hospitals have largely circumvented as contrary to their medical obligations. Transfer of patients to Israeli hospitals for treatment unavailable in West Bank and Gaza hospitals has also been severely restricted, even for patients covered by insurance. RELIGION The most frequently violated religious right has been the right to worship. Numerous mosques in both the West Bank and Gaza have been closed or access to them denied. Residents of the West Bank have been denied access to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem for Friday noon prayers since May due to roadblocks placed at the entrances to the city specifically for this purpose. Christians as well as Muslims have suffered from this violation of rights. The major churches in Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour in the West Bank are surrounded by soldiers every Sunday. Loudspeakers used for the call to prayer have been confiscated from hundreds of minarets on the grounds that they were being used for incitement. In many locations worshippers have been subjected to identity checks upon entering or leaving mosques and churches, resulting in the arrests of numerous individuals. On more than one occasion, troops have shot teargas into mosques and churches and have even entered mosques to make arrests. Virtually all major funeral processions, Muslim and Christina, have been violently dispersed by the military, in several cases resulting in the deaths and serious injury of participants. The right to worship has also been systematically denied in detention centers, where the gathering or holding of communal prayer has been prohibited and individual attempts to pray have met with brutal beatings. Vandalism and desecration of holy sites has escalated during the Uprising. Windows, doors and sacred writings in churches and mosques have been vandalized; firearms and teargas have been used inside mosques. Several mosques have been destroyed or heavily damaged by arson. On July 3, the Israeli Ministry of Religious Affairs started an excavation adjacent to the walls of the Haram al-Sharif (the compound including the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque) in Jerusalem without informing the Islamic Waqf which controls the site. The excavation set off massive demonstrations in Jerusalem in order to defend the Haram against what was viewed as a hostile incursion into one of Islam's holiest sites. Both Muslim and Christian clergy have been targeted for harassment. Numerous Muslim imams and Waqf employees have been arrested or placed under administrative detention. Two Muslim religions leaders have been expelled. Beating and humiliation of local religious figures who refuse to cooperate with the authorities or who speak out against the occupation has become a common occurrence. The most serious incident has been the charging of Sheikh Jamal a-Rifai of the Higher Islamic Council with "encouraging illegal assembly" in connection with the July 3 demonstrations in Jerusalem. Christian clergy have also been targeted by the authorities. Patriarch Michel Sabbah of the Latin (Roman) Catholic church has twice been denied access to his parishioners under curfew, despite his diplomatic status which technically ensures such access. Other clergy have been assaulted and some called for questioning. The authorities have also continued their transparent policy of attempting to split Christians and Muslims by spreading rumors that Islamic fundamentalists plan to expel Christians from Palestine once independence is achieved. However, most Israeli policies have, in effect, helped build unity among Palestinians of all beliefs; Muslims and Christians alike have been killed, injured, besieged and imprisoned. The systematic interference with and obstruction of institutions did not begin with the Uprising but has been a persistent feature of the Israeli occupation, especially within recent years. The intensification of this harassment and the criminalization of the popular committees currently amounts to a direct attack on the Palestinian community's ability to provide for its basic needs: to educate its children and young adults; to inform itself about its conditions; to provide health care and other services for its needy; to organize and protect its workers; and to exercise its basic rights to freedom of expression and religion. The harassment and closure of specific institutions must be seen in the context of this overall attack on the ability of the Palestinian community to face the specific needs and stresses of the uprising. ECONOMIC WAR THE BACKGROUND Israel has always claimed that the occupation has been of economic benefit to Palestinians. In fact, the economic history of Israel's occupation of the territories has been one of exploitation of cheap labor and captive markets, aggressive de-industrialization, and destruction of the indigenous agricultural economy. Israel actually "earns" from Palestinian taxpayers at least six times the amount it puts back into the area in minimal services. Occupation has actually proven lucrative for Israel. Land confiscation played a major role in providing a pool of cheap, unprotected labor for Israel, especially on the West Bank. As of 1985, 52% of West Bank land had been confiscated and 40% of Gaza, hence by 1986, 48% of all employed Palestinians worked outside their villages, most of them commuting to work in Israel. Palestinian laborers officially registered in Israel are forced to pay up to 40% of their income in taxes and insurance payments, although only citizens of Israel or residents of Jerusalem are eligible to benefit from these deductions. Palestinians working irregularly in the so-called "black market" travel with Arab subcontractors from their village or camp to work sites in Israel or wait on street corners in Jerusalem, Gaza City, and other major cities for an employer to hire them. This group of Palestinians is the poorest paid segment of the Israeli work force and is given the most undesirable jobs. By the end of 1987, an estimated 115,000 men from Gaza, virtually the entire adult male population, worked inside Israel, most of the illegally. From 3:30 a.m. the center of Gaza City was packed with men who had come in from the villages and camps to travel to work in Tel Aviv. Some of the men, however, stayed all week in the city, risking arrest for staying in Tel Aviv overnight without a permit. In the course of the Israeli occupation the two major industries in Gaza, citrus and fishing, were systematically destroyed. Restrictions on permissible areas for fishing combined with the refusal to renew licenses on boats has brought the fishing industry down to less that 10% of its pre-1967 level. Total or partial restriction of access to markets destroyed the value of the citrus crop. Economic pressure on the Palestinians, however, extends far beyond the exploitation of a subject population. The stated purpose of economic policies which have destroyed the agricultural and industrial infrastructures of the West Bank and Gaza and left most Gazans in penury has been the encouragement of migration: discomfort at home combined with training and opportunities abroad have been used to induce "voluntary" emigration. To some extent, before the mid-1970's, this policy was successful. Since 1978, however, there has been a conscious effort by Palestinians to remain in their homeland, regardless of the hardships. Since 1982, indigenous economic difficulties have been exacerbated by the economic recession in the Gulf States, which had previously provided lucrative jobs for many Palestinians, and by tighter visa restrictions in the West. By 1987, there were an estimated 10,000 unemployed Palestinian college graduates. Many college graduates, including physicians and engineers, worked as day-laborers inside Israel. To create further economic difficulties for the Palestinians, the Israelis have steered visitors away from the Arab businesses in Jerusalem. This strategy plus the steady decline in tourism have worsened economic conditions. Restrictions have also been placed on marketing agricultural products, which has resulted in a pattern of annual decreases in agricultural export levels and undermined what was left of the agricultural base. THE UPRISING From the beginning the Uprising was a conscious response to the economic pressures placed on Palestinians and the underlying motives behind them. One of the first demands of the Leadership was that workers stay home from work in Israel. This demand was later modified because the community subsisted on that income. An estimated 15% of the workforce was, however, able to leave work in Israel through a system of reduced consumption, income redistribution, and development of village-based income-producing measures. The work boycott was coupled with the demand by the Leadership to boycott Israeli goods wherever possible and to refuse to pay taxes, as well as the establishment of general strike days and an ongoing partial general strike. Businesses, with the exception of pharmacies and bakeries, were open from 9:00 a.m. until noon. People were encouraged to begin home gardening and to work for small-scale economic independence. The boycott of Israeli products has proved remarkably effective, with Israeli economic sources reporting a 40% drop in West Bank-Gaza consumption of Israeli products. For months, the right of businesses to set their own hours was a major source of conflict with the army. Soldiers attempted to force shops open during closed hours and closed during open hours. Shops which refused to open were welded closed. Shops were also forced open when the owners were not present and on occasion tear gas was thrown into ships to force them to close. Since May, however, shops have for the most part been left to set their hours and obey the strikes. Shop owners have received tax assessments double or even quadruple the value of their merchandise, hence, tax resistance has been another source of conflict. Businesses have been raided, vandalized and closed because of tax resistance. Identity cards (essential for movement anywhere) have been confiscated. Family members have been imprisoned as hostages for back taxes. Dozens, if not hundreds, of cars have been confiscated at checkpoints for nonpayment of taxes. Raids on villages and curfews have become increasingly common in attempts to collect taxes and have often resulted in bloody confrontations. In May, the Israelis began replacing identity cards in the Gaza Strip. In order to obtain the required new card Gazans had to obtain clearances from a number of administrative offices including the tax authorities. New car licenses in both the West Bank and Gaza were given only under the same conditions, as were approvals for import-export licenses or travel abroad. The renewal of any regular license (drivers, etc.) also required a tax clearance. The Israelis have also considered home gardening a major threat to their rule. Soldiers have arrested gardening suppliers and people working in their gardens and have bulldozed the gardens themselves. CURFEWS AND SIEGES On almost every day of the Uprising, at least some areas of the West Bank and Gaza have been under curfew. PHRIC has documented at least 2,000 curfew days (excluding partial day and night curfews). The number of people affected ranges from a few thousand to several hundred thousand. The Gaza Strip has been under night curfew since March, and some West Bank areas have had similar curfews for prolonged periods. The army also regularly closes areas to the press, which effectively prevents any entry to and exit from designated areas; most closures are not formally announced so it is impossible to know the exact number. On two occasions, during the week of Land Day in March and on Yom Kippur in September, the entire West Bank and Gaza were sealed off. During the convening of the Palestine National Council and again on the Uprising anniversary, the entire Gaza Strip was placed under curfew and most areas of the West Bank either closed or placed under curfew. The most serious closure practices are the military sieges on villages or camps which last for several days or weeks, during which all utilities in the area are cut, entry and exit of people and products is prohibited, and villagers are prevented from harvesting or caring for crops. In many cases, a curfew is also imposed. PHRIC has documented at least 150 prolonged sieges of towns, villages and camps. During curfews imposed on villages in planting and harvesting seasons, crops have been deliberately destroyed and left to rot in the fields. Prolonged sieges have resulted in the loss of 50% or more of the agricultural income. During the grape harvest alone, 90% of the crop was lost. This is a major source of income form any Palestinians, especially in the Hebron region. Thousands of sheep, chickens and other livestock have died since residents are not allowed to care for them. Thousands of dunams of grapevines, olive, almond, date and citrus trees have been uprooted or ploughed under, as well as hundreds of thousands of seedlings. Harsh measures were taken against a number of villages during the olive harvest, the most important single crop in the West Bank. Olives have a two-year season and 1988 should have been a peak year. The income from olive oil alone could reasonably have been expected to exceed US$100,000,000, according to officials of the West Bank Agricultural Cooperative Union. At least 12 villages were prohibited from harvesting and marketing their olives. Many more olive presses were raided and closed. In other areas, settlers and soldiers shot at people going to harvest their crop. Villages which managed to harvest their bumper crop reported major income losses due to export restrictions. The long curfews also have taken an incalculable economic toll in lost wages and increased expenses. In addition to food shortages, lack of running water, and sanitation problems, there is also significant cost to families subjected to raids on their homes. Furniture is destroyed, food stores systematically vandalized, solar heating units destroyed (soldiers also urinate and defecate into them), and windows and doors broken. OTHER MEASURES Land confiscation has also continued during the Uprising. The owners of an estimated 25,000 dunams (6,000 acres) have received new confiscation notices. Settlers have also taken over large tracts of land which have not been officially expropriated, thus further prohibiting the Palestinian residents from farming to sustain themselves during the Uprising. Currency restrictions have been implemented to prevent outside aid from reaching Palestinians in need. In March, the Israeli government announced a JD400 (US$1,000) ceiling on money brought in over the bridges from Jordan (the previous level had been JD2,000(US$5,000)). Money was also confiscated, with no warning, at the Tel Aviv airport. Israel acknowledges having confiscated over $200,000 from Palestinian airline passengers. Palestinian sources claim many times that amount actually has been taken. At the same time, charitable societies have been closed and hundreds of thousands of charitable funds confiscated. Limits have also been placed on the amount and frequency of bank transfers. Jordan's renunciation of its claim to authority over the West Bank resulted in salary losses by 21,000 civil servants, an immediate loss of $45,000,000 annually in salaries alone. Monetary transfer restrictions have ensured that the PLO or any other body would not be able to make up for the lost funds. The results of most of these policies cannot be calculated precisely. annual per capita income in the West Bank and Gaza, only $1,230 in 1986 (largely buttressed by external sources of income not rooted in the Palestinian economy itself), has undoubtedly declined considerably, according to some estimates as much as one-third. Exorbitant fines and taxes, sieges, property destruction, repeated imprisonment, killings and injuries continue to drain Palestinian economic and human resources. Yet as the popular uprising continues in the face of escalating collective punishments, Palestinians say this is a price they are willing to pay for independence. CONCLUSION Human rights violations committed against Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces and their agents (settlers and collaborators), are not a new occurrence. They have been a constant feature of Israeli policy toward Palestinians since the formation of the Israeli government in 1948. Many techniques and "legal" justifications of human rights abuses were adapted from the British Emergency Defense Regulations and in large part integrated into Israeli law. Other techniques were adapted from those employed by Jewish terrorist units and militias of the 1940's, members of whom continue to play key roles in the formulation and execution of Israeli government policy, in power or in opposition, notably as military leaders, and defense, foreign, and prime ministers. Human rights violations practices or condoned by the Israeli government against Palestinians are not isolated deviations form a humane and just norm. Rather, the constitute a POLICY aimed at stripping Palestinians or their land an their rights, crushing any social, economic or political development or organization that would enable Palestinians to achieve self-sufficiency and sustain independence. The goal is to make life miserable enough to encourage or force emigration and to eliminate or neutralize leaders through imprisonment, killing, and expulsion. The ultimate goal has always been, and remains today, the achievement of a Jewish state "clean" of undesired Arabs, leaving only a manageable, submissive labor pool and captive consumer market. Human rights violations during the Uprising must be seen, first and foremost, as a continuation of this basic policy. Nonetheless, he character of the Uprising as a mass popular revolt of unprecedented dimensions, and the corresponding widespread and intensive use of force to crush it, has led to a qualitatively new situation. Today, as the Uprising enters its second year, the volume and character of human rights violations have reached a crisis point, which might quickly escalate to the extremely dangerous prospect of mass transfer and even genocide if real international constraints are not placed on the Israeli government. As the human rights community celebrates the heroic and inspirational uprising of a whole nation demanding the recognition of their most fundamental rights as human beings and as a people, it must also give serious consideration to the dangers confronting an unarmed, unprotected civilian population confronting the fourth largest military power in the world. A clear understanding of current trends in Israeli policy is essential to develop resolute and effective strategies to support Palestinian just demands for national independence and to prevent further horrors. CURRENT POLICY TRENDS AND HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS The employment of wholesale atrocities has become the explicit method of the occupation forces (Professor Israel Shahak coined the term "atrocities as a method" in a recent collection of articles translated from the Hebrew press). Troops, prison guards and interrogators, who through frustration or zeal in performing their appointed tasks, have qualitatively adjusted their behavior to employ increasingly more cruel forms of humiliation, vandalism, torture, and brutality, particularly against women and children. Official defense establishment statements, court decisions, military orders, and army disciplinary measures, however, indicate a deliberate, disciplined, and officially sanctioned strategy to crush the population and eliminate those who cannot be crushed. Human rights observers, as well as the Palestinian victims themselves, fear that the aim of this "method of atrocities" is to fulfill what has become a popularly legitimated yet still officially unstated policy of effecting a population transfer. There are six major indicators of this method as policy: 1. Despite the fact that the character of the Palestinian resistance has changed considerably since the beginning of the uprising, from large-scale demonstrations and marches to massive civil disengagement from the Israeli system combined with small-scale confrontations, the casualty rate has remained high and even increased in recent months, with a marked increase in the percentage of children killed and wounded. Since September 1988, the percentage of children 16 and under injured in Gaza alone has risen from an average of 25-30% to 50% of all injuries. By January 1989, 17 of 19 (nearly 90%) shooting fatalities were of teenagers or children. The context of shooting casualties has also changed dramatically since the beginning of the Uprising, when the army followed a policy of shooting into large crowds of demonstrators or marchers, with the apparent aim of dispersing the crowds and deterring further protests. In contrast, most casualties now occur in the context of army-provoked confrontations and raids of villages and camps. The army has adopted a systematic policy of raiding villages and camps, often at night or in the early morning hours, to ambush young men who have been sleeping in the surrounding hills, intervene in Palestinian enforcement of work strikes, and terrorize families into "turning over" wanted youth. In addition to the young men executed by "special operations" units, several others wanted by the authorities over a period of time, were killed under particularly brutal circumstances, sometimes shot or beaten while in custody. Recent changes in the rules for opening fire, which explicitly allow shooting in non-life threatening situations, even against youths fleeing the scene of a demonstration, portend far greater casualties. Testimony from the trial of four Givati brigade soldiers being prosecuted for the beating death of Hani Shami further revealed that "deterrent beating" of the kind that killed him is perceived by soldiers in the field as part of official policy. In their defense, they claimed they were "only following orders." 2. The demolition of homes as a punitive measure threatens whole communities. Licensed homes can now be demolished for "security" reasons, based solely on suspicion of "stone-throwing" or activity in popular committees by any family member. Thousands of unlicensed homes could face demolition in the coming year, as the authorities threaten to extend their demolition policy to any village continuing resistance and disengagement from the authorities. This cruel policy stands today as a prelude to "transfer," forcing hundreds of families from their homes. 3. Raids, curfews, sieges, and other forms of collective punishment against whole villages and camps, combined with economic sanctions and coercions (licensing and taxes) designed to crush popular resistance and to reassert military bureaucratic control, severely hamper the Palestinian population's ability to meet its basic needs and to assert any independent control over its lives. To date, Palestinians have paid the price of resistance in economic terms primarily through a reduction in their standard of living. The continued assault on Palestinian agriculture and infrastructure, as well as prolonged sieges and cutting off of basic utilities, pose even greater dangers in short-term health and nutritional terms, and the long-term development capacity of the entire population. 4. The policy of large-scale arrests without proper judicial procedures, the detention of thousands of people in military detention camps bereft of the most basic amenities, and the increasing use of brutality and torture which has already resulted in an alarming number of deaths in detention, appear to be continuing despite widespread international and Israeli protest. Of particular concern is the detention of young children, and the imposition of fines and prison terms on parents of children suspected of stone-throwing. 5. The assault on national institutions and other forms of popular organization continues unabated in the form of closures, bannings, and arrests of leaders. The education of an entire generation of young people is jeopardized as hundreds of thousands of children and youths are being denied access to schools and alternative education for the second year. Continued assault on health care facilities and personnel threatens not only the thousands injured by occupation troops, but also untold numbers of chronic and acute patients denied adequate treatment. 6. While the current Israeli government seems to have acknowledged that expulsions have not been effective in crushing the Uprising, backed by the Israeli High Court it maintains its "right" to expel any number of Palestinians from their homeland, despite almost universal condemnation of such actions. Israel's blatant disregard for international law concerning the unequivocal prohibition of individual or mass expulsions for any reason gives cause for concern that collective punishments and other methods of inducing "voluntary emigration" could quickly give way to forcible mass expulsions. It is imperative that the human rights community maintain its vigilance to ensure that such circumstances never come to pass. Source: PHRIC - International, 4753 North Broadway, Suite 930, Chicago, Illinois 60640 USA, Tel: (312)271-4492 (Office), (312) 271-3377 (Fax)

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