Aldubi killed his second victim when he approached with hands raised to ask Aldubi to hand over his weapon and take the hikers on their way. His rifle was then taken from him and destroyed. Settler tales about shooting by Arabs are denied by the army, which issued an official report of dubious accuracy. Israeli friends in Jerusalem told me that they had no doubt, from the first television interviews, that the hikers were lying. Though the hikers were under the control of the inhabitants for several hours after the killings, none were injured, and they were cared for by villagers, as the army emphasized in an effort to calm the hysteria that followed these events.
The official claim was that the villagers were given ample warning of the house demolitions so that they could remove their possessions. That is plainly false. According to several independent accounts, the villagers had been gathered in the mosque and given 15 minutes notice of the demolitions. These are substantial stone houses; one of those partially destroyed was a two-story building which, we were told, was more than years old.
The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict
Apart from the 14 houses officially destroyed, 16 others were damaged, many unlivable. I noticed one house with a wall caved in by a concrete block about ten feet long that had sailed some fifteen feet from the nearest demolished structure. The International Commission of Jurists in Geneva denounced the collective punishments, including the demolitions and expulsions, as yet another violation of the Geneva conventions. As elsewhere, the villagers described what had happened, and their current plight, with calm and simplicity. They are prepared to endure.
Their responses were considered and thoughtful. It was raining steadily when we visited Beita. Women were trying to cook outdoors in the rain, others in semi-demolished houses. A house may have a dozen or more inhabitants. The number of people left homeless is considerable, apart from the many arrested and deported. The sister has been charged with assault, and according to Israeli reports, may be charged with complicity in the murder of Tirza Porat. Of the victims of the events in Beita, only the name of Tirza Porat is known, and only the circumstances of her killing merit inquiry and comment.
This is only to be expected in the reigning climate both here and in Israel. Or of Jude Abdallah Awad, a shepherd murdered, his companion severely wounded, when a Jewish settler tried to drive them from a field on May 5, an incident meriting 80 words in the New York Times and none when the settler was released on bail, charged with manslaughter? The reaction here and in Israel to the grossly discriminatory treatment of Arabs and Jews by the courts stands alongside the prevailing double standard on terror and rights. Palestinian artist Fathi Ghaban receives a six-month prison sentence for using the colors of the Palestinian flag in a painting.
An Arab worker caught sleeping illegally in Tel Aviv receives the same sentence, with two-months additional imprisonment if he does not pay a heavy fine. Four young Arabs are sentenced to fines and three months at hard labor for having waved a Palestinian flag in a protest demonstration after the Sabra-Shatila massacres. In contrast, a sergeant who ordered two soldiers to bury four Palestinians alive with a bulldozer receives four months, and two soldiers, whose prolonged beating of captured Palestinians horrified Europe after a CBS filming, received three months probation.
President Herzog reduced the sentences of Jewish terrorists who murdered 3 Palestinians and wounded 33 in a gun and grenade attack at Hebron Islamic College from life in prison to 15 years; further reductions are doubtless to come. The ideologist and second highest leader of the Jewish terrorist underground, Yehuda Etzion, convicted of planning the bombing of the Dome of the Rock, organizing the attack on the mayors and other atrocities, and stealing kg of explosives from a military base, was released to a religious school in Afula after serving half of a ten year sentence, and a presidential pardon is under consideration.
Such practices have been an unrecognized scandal since the founding of the state. One revealing example is the case of Shmuel Lahis, who murdered several dozen Arab civilians he was guarding in a mosque in the undefended Lebanese village of Hula in After the assassination of Abu Jihad, curfews were extended to new areas of the West Bank, among them, the Kalandia refugee camp near Jerusalem. We were able to enter through a back road, not yet barricaded, and to spend about half an hour there before being apprehended by Israeli troops.
While we were being interrogated, a man who looked perhaps 90 years old hobbled out of a doorway with his hands outstretched, pleading that he was hungry. He was unceremoniously ordered back indoors. No one else was to be seen. The soldiers were primarily concerned that we might be journalists, and expelled us from the camp without incident. Most of the participants in an international academic conference I was attending in Israel joined a demonstration at the Dahariya prison near Hebron, organized by several of the peace groups, mostly new, that have sprung up in the past several months.
These represent the most hopeful development within Israel, and American support for them could make a real difference. Approach to the prison and the nearby village was blocked by troops, but women and children, later men as well, gathered on hills several hundred yards away and began to call back and forth with the demonstrators. A few children drifted towards us, followed by many others and finally adults as well.
At the end, a man from the village took the microphone and thanked us for having come.
A young man wanted to speak as well, but was persuaded not to. A few days before, he had carried away the body of his brother, killed by soldiers, and he showed us scars from beatings he had received the preceding day. There was concern over the consequences for him after we left, a problem elsewhere as well. While foreigners were present, soldiers were well-behaved, but there was a good deal of concern, on all sides, about what would happen later to Arabs they found us visiting or speaking to.
As we left Dahariya, children were carrying our signs, waving and shouting. What happened afterwards, I do not know. Four days later, according to the signed affidavit of an army reservist, young Palestinians were kicked and beaten with plastic pipes and handcuffs while their commander looked on as they were brought, bound and blindfolded, to Dahariya prison.
One boy 12 to 15 years old who had been crying was raked along barbed wire, thrown against a wall, kicked and beaten with a club by a soldier and jailer while he screamed with pain — facts too insignificant for report or comment in the Newspaper of Record. Ansar I was a hideous torture chamber established by Israel during the Lebanon war for Lebanese and Palestinians taken hostage.
Ansar II is a prison camp established in Gaza, with a similar reputation. They are denied water, edible food, medical attention, even an opportunity to wash for many weeks. They are subjected to such collective punishments as lying with hands bound behind the back for long periods in the scorching desert sun, forced to walk in single file with heads lowered, denied newspapers, books, mail or stationary, or the opportunity to walk about freely or change clothes, sometimes for over a month.
There are no charges or judicial review. Families are not informed of where they are, why they were imprisoned or for how long. Journalists, even lawyers, have been denied entry. They are always the most dangerous, because they raise the threat of political settlement. At Dahariya, each demonstrator asked to see a particular prisoner. There are many similar cases. He was allowed to see a lawyer only ten days after his arrest, then placed under six-month detention without trial.
Other areas under curfew were only visible from the road, over barriers erected by the army. When I visited, the refugee camp of Jalazoun had been under hour curfew for over a month. Jalazoun was a ghost town. No men were to be seen. A few older women, presumably less vulnerable, were working in gardens near the houses and there were several children out of doors. Otherwise, silence. All entrances were barricaded and under military guard. The inhabitants were not permitted to leave their houses except for a brief period every few days to purchase food with what meager resources they still have.
There was reported to be very little medical care and a shortage of medicines. They have no oil or fuel to cook. They are starting to burn old shoes and furniture to make fires.
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The situation is deteriorating every day. Inhabitants said they had no food except bread and what is left from supplies stored before the curfew.
On April 17, Israeli soldiers turned back a UN convoy carrying food and other supplies to the camp. Soldiers at the camp entrance deny that there are shortages. According to Attorney Raja Shehadeh of Al-Haq, the curfew was imposed after an alleged threat to an Israeli collaborator. Israel takes such threats very seriously. One result of the uprising is that Israel appears to have lost its network of collaborators and informers. The village of Biddu was placed under curfew on March 7 after a collaborator was approached to ask him to repent.
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In retaliation, the army cut off water and electricity for 2 weeks in this town of 15, people and demolished four houses. The courts dismissed the case. Apparently emboldened, said Klinger, the government asked the Knesset to expand the number of agencies that could request data, to include tax authorities, the Agriculture and Environment Ministries, and even the Parks and Nature Authority. As things stand today, all those agencies, and more, can request information from communications companies without having to present a warrant.
Companies that refuse to comply may be hauled into court to justify why they refused. In such cases, said Klinger, the courts invariably rule for the government. The question we have to ask is: Do we need to be defended from criminals — or from the state? The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. But by the National Security Council had stated that a logical corollary to opposition to so-called radical Arab nationalism would be support for Israel as the one reliable pro-Western force in the region.
In the early s, this became a very serious issue, because Nasser and radical Arab nationalism threatened American domination of the oil-producing regions. There were problems in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia. Israel's victory in , which the United States supported and may have participated in, was a smashing blow to Arab nationalist forces and hence a great contribution to the concept of Israel as a guardian of American interests.