TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF OCCUPATION
Dr. Ismail Zayid*
At 0745 on the morning of Monday, June 5, 1967, the first
wave of the Israeli airstrike went in, directed against all
Egyptian airfields and destroying the entire Egyptian Air
Force on the ground. The Syrian Air Force was destroyed that
afternoon, followed by the Jordanian air force, for what it
The choice of this timing was carefully made. The U.S.A.
and the Soviet Union had two days earlier warned Egypt and
Israel not to initiate any military attacks, lest there would
be devastating retribution. The Egyptians accepted this
and awaited the outcome of continuing negotiations in the
Security Council for peaceful resolution of the conflict,
then at hand. At the same time, they accepted an invitation
from the U.S. government to send Vice-President Zakraria
Mohieddin to meet President Johnson. At the time of the air
strike, President Mohieddin was in Cairo airport awaiting to
fly to Washington to meet with with President Johnson on June
7th. Israel was afraid that its planned and calculated war
would be thwarted, if this process of negotiation was allowed
*Dr. Ismail Zayid is Professor of Pathology,
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
True to form, the top Egyptian military and air force
commanders were not at their stations and were at one
airfield lined to welcome the Egyptian Chief of Staff from
an inspection trip.
The attack against Egypt forced Jordan and Syria to
declare their involvement in this war, as part of their
Mutual Defence Treaty with Egypt.
On June 8, the Security Council passed a resolution calling
for a ceasefire. Israel, with its objectives not fully
completed, refused to comply and proceeded to attack the
Golan Heights and complete its occupation of the West Bank,
having destroyed, on June 8, the U.S.S._Liberty, stationed
off the coast of Sinai and functioning as a listening post
to all the happenings in the area. The destruction of the
U.S.S._Liberty, which brought about the killing of 34
American servicemen and injury to 171 others, was a
calculated attack to complete its occupation of the Golan
Heights, in defiance of Security Council resolution, and to
cover-up Israel's premeditated unprovoked attack on the
Golan Heights and the West Bank, which went beyond the green
light given to Israel by the U.S. to occupy Sinai and bring
about the destruction of Nasser. The story of the
U.S.S._Liberty and its coverup is another long story that
needs to be told elsewhere.
By the end of June 10, Israel had succeeded in occupying the
whole of Sinai, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
I am relating this account for the simple reason that
Israel's apologists and surrogate media in North America,
have succeeded in brainwashing the North American public to
believe that in 1967, Israel_was_attacked by the Arabs and
Israel was conducting simply a defensive war to repel its
It is true that Israel foisted this fable, at the Security
Council on June 5th to justify its expansionist war. Many of
its leaders claimed, at the time, that Israel was facing a
threat of extermination and genocide. However, it did not
take the world long to see through this lie and Israel's own
leaders came to admit that Israel started the war and the
threat of extermination was a fable created after the fact:
"There was never any danger of extermination ....
This hypothesis 'had never been maintained
in any serious body'."
General Ezer Weizmann
Maariv, 4 April 1972
(quoted in Le_Monde,
3 June 1972).
"All this story about the danger of extermination
has been a complete invention and has been blown
up a posteriori to justify the annexation of new
Mordechai Bentov, former
Mapam Minister and member of
the coalition during the June war.
Al_Hamishmar, 14 April 1972
(quoted in Le_Monde, 3 June 1972).
"The thesis that the danger of genocide was
hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel
was fighting for its physical existence is
only a bluff, which was born and developed
after the war."
General Matitiahu Peled,
Ha'aretz , 19 March 1972
(quoted in Le_Monde 3 June 1972).
Not only was there no threat of extermination directed at
the State of Israel but in fact there was no threat of attack
from Egypt at all, as testified to by none other than the
commander of the Israeli Armed Forces, General Yitzhak Rabin
"I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two
divisions he sent to the Sinai in May would
not have been sufficient to launch an
offensive against Israel. He knew it and
we knew it."
General Yitzhak Rabin,
Le_Monde, 29 February 1968.
and the Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Levi Eshkol
"The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general
military build-up actively there, testified to a
military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel."
Prime Minister Levi Eshkol,
Yediot_Aharonot 18 October 1967.
All this did not perturb the Encyclopaedia_of_Zionism
and_Israel which printed in 1971 the following:
"When, in the early hours of 5 June 1967,
Israeli radar screens indicated approaching
flights of Egyptian planes and armoured units
moving towards the Israeli border, the Israeli
Air Force was ready. Within hours, practically
all the U.A.R.'s military airfields had been
Official spokesman of the Israeli
Foreign Ministry quoted in
New York, 1971.
And finally, in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a
speech at the Israeli National Defence College, gave away
"The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai
approaches do not prove that Nasser was really
about to attack us. We must be honest with
ourselves. We decided to attack him."
This may be labouring this point but the perpetuation of this
lie by our North American media, to this day, justifies my
attempt to put this fable to rest, hopefully.
I do not need to remind you that this war was planned for
twenty years and Israel's expansionist objectives go back
farther than that and Israel's attempted annexation of
"liberated Sinai", as Mr. Ben Gurion called it in 1956, was
thwarted by President Eisenhower who went before the
American T.V. public on February 20th, 1957 and stated:
"Should a nation which attacks and occupies
foreign territory, in the face of U.N. disapproval,
be allowed to impose conditions on its own
If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve
the purpose of the assailant, then I fear we will
have to turn back the clock of international order."
February 20, 1957.
Be that as it may, by June 11th Israel's objectives were
completely achieved, through the connivance and collusion of
the U.S. government. The remaining territory of occupied
Palestine, namely the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well
as the Golan Heights and Sinai, became Israeli-occupied
territory. It is there that I want to direct your attention
to what happened to the Palestinian territories occupied for
the last twenty-five years and how the State of Israel
treated the 1.7 million civilian inhabitants in these
Despite the repeated statements by Israel's leaders days
before this invasion which included Prime Minister Eshkol,
who told Washington Post on the 23rd of May 1967:
"Israel has no aggressive designs."
And later, on June 5:
"We do not demand anything except to live in
tranquility in our present territory and
we do not covet a single inch of Arab
despite these hollow assertions, it did not take Israel's
leaders long to uncover their designs.
No sooner had Israel's projected victory been completed and
occupation of these coveted territories assured, than a
process of destruction, expulsion and uprooting of people
from their homes and villages was started. The extent of the
destruction varied from one area to another. In the Latroun
area, the villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba (my own home
town) were occupied on the 6th of June, without a shot being
fired, and, two days later, a process of systematic
dynamiting of every home, and later bulldozing, was carried
out. A population of approximately 12,000 people were driven
away, many of them trucked to the River Jordan and told to go
to Hussein. Those of you who may have seen the Fifth_Estate
program on the 22nd of October last year will have seen the
callous disregard that Yitzhak Rabin and his soldiers
displayed towards these innocent people. The inhumanity of
dispossession and the brutality that goes with it are
difficult to describe. In the characteristic style of the
Zionist ideology and its machinations, the process of
the destruction of these villages was hidden from the rest of
the world and the process of re-writing history ensued. It
was only for the courageous and gallant objections of an
Israeli soldier, the writer Amos Keinan, and the work of the
noted British journalist Michael Adams, that brought about
the disclosure of this crime, because the stories and the
anguish of the dispossessed were totally overlooked by the
world media. It is with shame, I state as a Canadian, that
today stands at the ruins of these villages what is called
Canada Park. Mr. Uri Avneri, the Israeli Member of the
Knesset and a man of honour, described this act as a war
crime that Canada should not allow itself to be a party to
it. However, our governments continue to allow Canadian tax
deductible dollars to be used for the erection of picnic
areas and recreation facilities for Jews from Kiev, Moscow,
Toronto and New York, while the villagers who, and their
forefathers, have built these homes and cultivated these
orchards, have now to live in refugee camps in Jordan. My
protestations to our Ministers of Revenue Canada, including
Mr. Elmer MacKay, Perrin Beatty and our current Minister,
Mr. Otto Jelinek, have achieved nothing but the usual cliches
of "we are investigating and we will let you know", and they
have been investigating for years, and nothing happened.
The destruction was not limited to these areas but in
Jerusalem, 160 homes, historic sites, ancient libraries
and museums were demolished to create a plaza outside the
Western Wall. The process of destruction and expulsion went
on, and over approximately 400,000 people from the West Bank
were driven out to Jordan. The same loudspeakers that we
heard in 1948 were going again in Jerusalem, telling people
that the road to Jericho and Amman is still open and flee
before death and tragedy befalls you.
1967 was only the beginning of a new chapter of dispossession
and agony for the Palestinian people and twenty-five years
later this saga of pain, torture, deprivation and humiliation
under occupation, continues. It is perhaps appropriate at
this stage to describe what international law stipulates as
to the behaviour of an occupying power towards civilians
under its occupation. After the Second World War, and to
prevent the atrocities committed by the Nazis against
civilians under its occupation, both Jewish and non-Jewish,
the world community formulated an international convention
to complement the Hague Convention of 1907 and adopted the
Fourth Geneva Convention in August 1949, which remains until
this day, the international convention to which all its
signatories, which include all countries of the world,
including Israel, Canada and the United States, are committed
to abide by it and see that it is enforced. Ironically,
however, the State of Israel today violates every article of
the Fourth Geneva Convention. We do not have the time to go
through the mammoth brutality that Israel practises against
the civilians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. A few
examples might highlight what I am trying to say.
Article 27 states:
"Protected persons shall at all times be humanely
treated and shall be protected especially against
acts of violence."
Article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:
"No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised
against protected persons in particular to obtain
information from them or from third parties."
and Article 32 prohibits corporal punishment, torture and
"The high contracting parties specifically agree
that each of them is prohibited from taking any
measure of such a character as to 'physical
suffering'. This prohibition applies not only
to murder, torture, corporal punishment, but
also to any other measures of brutality whether
applied by civilian or military agents."
Israel's record in this field has excelled in its brutality
and ingenuity in developing appropriate methods of torture.
On the 26th of February 1968, the International Committee of
the Red Cross, in a report on conditions in the Tulkarm
prison, stated that:
"Detainees have undergone torture during
interrogation by the military police.
This torture took the following forms:
(a) suspension of the detainee by the hands
and the simultaneous traction of his other
members for hours at a time until he loses
(b) burns with cigarette stubs;
(c) blows by rods on the genitals;
(d) tying up and blindfolding for days;
(e) bites by dogs;
(f) electric shocks at the temples, the
mouth, the chest and testicles."
Amnesty International has repeatedly described that a process
of systematic torture and brutalization is undertaken in
Israeli prisons against individuals who have not been charged
and who have had no access to legal counsel. The Insight
Team of the Sunday_Times of London wrote in June 1977:
"Torture of Arab prisoners is so widespread and
systematic that it cannot be dismissed as rogue
cops 'exceeding orders'. It appears to be
sanctioned as deliberate policy."
Felicia Langer, a distinguished and humane Israeli Jewish
"With my own eyes, I have seen marks of torture
on the faces and bodies of suspects and accused
persons. I say it here and now and challenge
any one to contradict it."
Mr. Michael Adams of The_Guardian wrote on 26th of January
"I had my ups and downs during four years as a
prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, but the Germans
never treated me as harshly as the Israelis are
treating the Arabs of the Gaza Strip, the
majority of whom are women and children."
To add insult to injury, the Landau Commission which
investigated the reports of torture and killing of
Palestinian prisoners, confirmed this but proceeded,
incredibly, to sanction the use of "moderate physical
pressure" during interrogation.
Here a judiciary commission sanctions torture, giving
it a new name, "moderate physical pressure", in violation of
international law and every notion of civilized behaviour.
This ingenious description of torture as "moderate physical
pressure" reminds me of the Orwellian newspeak of 1984.
Israeli leaders have a great skill at this, and, perhaps
while we are about it, I might give you a few examples: the
territories under Israel's occupation are not occupied but
"administered" territories. A policy of expelling
Palestinians from their homeland is not described as
expulsion or more appropriately as a national genocide
against an entire nation but 'transfer'. In 1982, Israel
waged a war of aggression against Lebanon, killing 20,000
Palestinian and Lebanese civilians and destroying whole
villages and communities, and this was called "Peace for
Galilee". I don't think George Orwell had much to teach
Israel's leaders. The stainless steel bullets covered with
a thin coating of rubber are described as "rubber bullets"
... Incarceration, without charge or trial, is
"administrative detention", and I could go on and on ...
I must, however, go back and tell you that the killing and
torture continue unabated. During the period of the
Intifada since December 7, 1987, over a thousand
Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and so-
called settlers who are armed to the teeth, roaming towns
and villages in the West Bank and Gaza, abusing people and
destroying their property and humiliating parents in front
of their children. Of these thousand people killed, over
200 are children who have had the audacity to resist this
oppressive occupation and lift their fists with stones
against this mighty oppressive occupier.
Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:
"Destruction by the occupying power of
real or personal property belonging individiually
or collectively to private persons is prohibited."
Yet, apart from the destruction of total villages and
communities, thousands of Palestinian homes have been
bulldozed and dynamited, at the whimsical command of an
Israeli military officer, because a child suspected of
living in that household or in the neighbourhood may have
dared to throw stones at this mighty occupier. The home or
homes or the accused are demolished without as much as being
charged, tried or convicted, let alone the fact that such
destruction of property is totally prohibited under any
pretext by international law. During the Intifada alone,
and until the end of 1991, 2,108 homes and buildings have
been demolished or sealed. Approximately one-half of these
have been demolished because of the claim that no permit was
obtained for building these homes. Over the last twenty-five
years of occupation, Israel has, while building settlements
for Jews on Arab land, persistently refused to allow the
Palestinians to build new homes for their expanding families
and communities and hence this brutal act, destroying
people's homes and leaving families with children completely
homeless, and denying them even the right to rebuild their
homes. To compound the brutality, the families whose homes
are destroyed are required to pay for the cost of the
explosives and bulldozers that dynamite and bulldoze their
homes! Israeli Supreme Court Justice Maltz, supporting the
demolition of a convicted Palestinian's home which left a
grandmother, children and a mentally-ill woman, homeless,
said: "I agree. It is legal, according to Clause 119 of the
Defence Emergency Regulations of 1945 which in the words of
defence lawyer Lea Tsemel "gives the military commander
authority to order the destruction of an entire street or an
It is ironic that these British Mandatory regulations
imposed in 1945 were described in 1946 by Dr. Bernard Joseph,
who later became Israeli Minister of Justice:
"With regard to the Emergency Laws,
the question is: Are we all to become
the victims of officially licensed terrorism?"
Ya'acov Shapiro, who became Minister of Justice in 1949
and enforced these laws, described them in 1946:
"Unparalleled in any civilized country.
No such laws existed in Nazi Germany."
Yet both of these distinguished men of law re-imposed these
same laws, which were annuled by the British on May 15, 1948,
and duly enforced them, against Arabs only, in Israel and the
Alas, none of this disturbs the likes of Messrs. Bush,
Mulroney and Major.
This is, my friends, only one example of Israeli justice.
A headline in July 1990, in the Jerusalem_Post captured the
current spirit of Israeli justice in the occupied territories
where the headline read:
"Soldier kills man, gets four months; youth stones
bus gets two years."
Four Palestinian children were buried alive and the soldiers
who committed the act were reprimanded.
District Court Judge Zvi Tal lightened the sentence of Yehuda
Ben Ariel, a settler in the Ma'ale Levona settlement, who
shot and killed a Palestinian worker in the settlement.
Tal sentenced him to 6 months and stated:
"One must lighten the punishment of Jews
who take revenge on Arabs."
In May, 1990, a study from the Swedish Save the Children
Organization and funded by the Ford Foundation, documented
that: "the Israeli army has systematically become child
killers." Between December 1987 and December 1989,
159 children under age 16 were killed by soldiers. The
average age of the dead was l0 years. Between 50,000 -
63,000 children were beaten, gassed or wounded. More than
half of those killed were not near a demonstration when they
met their death. Only 19% were involved in stone-throwing.
Even after slaughtering children, the Israelis weren't
content: "soldiers obstructed or interferred with more than
half of the funerals".
The Guardian_Weekly_Report of July 22, 1990, by Colman
McCarthy, of the Washington_Post, went on:
"When not killing children or mistreating
prisoners, the Israeli military has found
other outlets for violence. In May,
Amnesty International documented allegations
of torture and harrassment of Palestinian
members of a joint Israeli-Palestinian group
called Runners For Peace. The athletes
wearing T-shirts calling for peace between
Israelis and Palestinians and jogging through
the West Bank were threatened and beaten.
If George Bush can lecture Nelson Mandela
on the virtue and necessity of non-violence,
why not the same message to the Shamir
government which needs to hear it a
The brutality and torture of prisoners have no limits. The
description of the conditions in the prison called Ansar III
However, a novel mode of torture and humiliation was
described in the Globe_and_Mail on May 17, 1988 when it
reported an account by an Israeli member of the Knesset,
reported in the Israeli newspaper Hadashot, of May 16,
1988, who described the happening as follows:
"Soldiers of the base invited Israeli high
school students to participate in a new
'sport' -- beating Arab prisoners. Some of
the boys accepted and later told their friends
about this great experience."
In an interview with one of the students who said he had
participated in beating Palestinian prisoners, the student
"We saw three Arabs whose hands, feet and
eyes were tied",
the youths said.
"We asked a soldier if we could hit them freely
and he said 'Sure, why not?'".
"After dinner I took off his blindfold and punched him in
the face. He started begging for us not to hit him and
then I got a truncheon and hit him in the face. Another
prisoner started screaming. I went into a rage. I
picked up a piece of metal and beat the hell out of him.
He looked like mush -- a lump of flesh and bones when I
finished with him.
I had an immense urge to beat them. I am telling you,
if I had a machine gun at the time I would have
killed him. Not that he did anything to me or said
some bad word, but because of what those Arabs do
here in this country."
It is clear that this process of brutality is inculcated in
this young new generation of Zionist children who, and their
leaders, have not learned the lesson of history. This
reminds me of what the great British historian, Professor
Arnold Toynbee told a largely Jewish audience at McGill
University in 1961:
"The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1947
(He might have said "and since") was as morally
indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of
of 6 million Jews.
He pointed out:
The most tragic thing in human life is when
people who have suffered impose suffering
in their turn."
In 1948, the Jews knew, from personal experience,
what they were doing. It was their supreme
tragedy that the lesson learned by them from
their encounter with Nazi German gentiles
should have been not to eschew, but to imitate
some of the evils that the Nazis had committed
against the Jews."
The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the expropriation of
property. Nearly 70% of the land of the West Bank has been
expropriated to create Jewish settlements. In the tiny strip
of Gaza which is the most densely populated strip on earth,
approximately 50% of the land of that tiny strip has been
expropriated to accommodate approximately 3,000 settlers
while the rest of that strip provides accommodation for
750,000 Palestinians. The creation of these settlements is
clearly in violation of international law and the Fourth
Geneva Convention. Article 49 of the Convention states:
"The occupying powers shall not deport or transfer
part of its own civilian population into the
territory it occupies."
Speaking of deportation, another newspeak for expulsion of
people from their homes, their country and their families,
thousands of Palestinians have been expelled from their home-
land, leaving behind families uncared for and in violation of
international law. Article 49 states:
"Individual or mass forceable transfer as well as
deportations of protected persons from occupied
territory to the territory of the occupying power
or to that of any other country, occupied or not,
are prohibited, regardless of their motive."
Another aspect of this most brutal form of inhumanity is the
continuing refusal to allow families to unite. Wives and
children are not allowed the right of residence with their
husbands or fathers and the struggle for the unification
of these hundreds of families remains untouched by human
conscience. It is ironic that the Palestinians are not
allowed to be reunified with their families or returned to
their homeland, and this continues without any impulse of
humanity on the part of great powers, who claim democracy and
humaneness and civilized behaviour like in the United States,
Canada, Britain or others. Yet hundreds of thousands of
Russian Jews are allowed to move into Palestinian land and
An interesting aspect of the expropriation of homes
and property in Jerusalem, that is going on now at fast
speed,is being done under the so-called Israeli Law_of
Absentee_Property, formulated in 1950, which dictates that
any person, meaning Christian or Muslim and not Jewish, who
may have left his home, after the 29th of November 1947 and
until it became occupied by Israel, to any other town under
enemy control, becomes an absentee. Tens of thousands of
Palestinians who may have gone to a dentist between 1947 and
1948, or happened to become occupied after 1947 having been
in territory not yet occupied by Israel, become absentees.
Some of these live in Israel and are Israeli citizens but
they are called "present_absentees" and their property is
subject to expropriation. "Present absentees", I ask you?!
Where, except in the state of Israel, such laws would exist
and the state is described by the so-called free world as the
oasis of democracy?
The recent expropriation of homes in Silwan, to be taken over
by Jewish settlers, is another example of this incredible law
and Israeli justice. The owners may have visited Amman,
Damascus or Cairo for any period of time and thus have become
absentees and their property is open for expropriation.
This process is just beginning in Jerusalem and these are
another collection of "present absentees". Only Israeli
justice can invent such modality of fraudulence and
Not only the homes may be destroyed but the trees may be
uprooted. Over 120,000 olive and fruit trees have been
uprooted during the years of the Intifada alone, for they may
have committed the crime of hiding between them a child who
may have dared to throw a stone at an Israeli vehicle. This
is the same ideology of Zionism that is supposed to have come
to make the desert bloom. The uprooted Palestinian trees and
orchards are a testimony to this big lie.
In 1962 an Israeli soldier spoke of seeing a small child
younger than 12 years being punished and kicked by three
Israeli soldiers at Ramallah military government headquarters
in the West Bank:
"The scene that followed was one of the most
distressing I have ever seen: brutality and
cruelty such as I had never before witnessed."
Today this brutality would go unnoticed because it has become
a routine mode of behaviour. One in every twenty children in
Gaza has been seriously injured by gunfire, beatings or so-
called tear gas. Over 50,000 children have been seriously
injured since the Intifada. Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, as a
Minister of Defence who is now being sold to us by the
American administration as a dove, ordered his soldiers to
beat and break the arms and legs of these children. We have
seen this on television as we have seen this most oppressive
and brutal behaviour. An Israeli colonel accused of ordering
soldiers to break limbs of Palestinian children testified
that beatings were "part of our accepted norm in this
period". (The_Chronicle_Herald, June 23, 1990). British
surgeon Pauline Cutting, who worked in hospitals in Lebanon
and Gaza said when interviewed (Globe_&_Mail, 29 May 1990):
"The war in Lebanon was terrible but I never saw
a child who was systematically beaten up.
But here I have seen a 10-year old boy
who was beaten unconscious with big wheals on
his head. I keep thinking about what it takes
to stand and repeatedly hit a child, what that
soldier thinks about when he goes home."
This process has gone further and now these children and
youth are being shot and killed on sight without prior
warning, if they happen to wear their Arab headress or for
any reason that may occur to the appropriate soldier or
settler. These death squads now roam in Arab dress,
camouflaged as Arabs, to do the killing. The killing and
brutalization of children is not incidental according to
Dr. James Graff of the University of Toronto, who wrote:
"Palestinian children are being targeted because
they are actively engaged in a common struggle
to realize those aspirations for freedom and
self-determination. In our view they are
targeted because the present government of Israel
seeks to smash them, their older brothers and
sisters, physically and psychologically in order
to secure a relatively docile demoralized subject
The process of killing and beating and torture of children
is only one aspect of this brutality. The denial of
education to these children is another manifestation of what
Zionism means to the Palestinians. For nearly four years or
more all universities in the occupied territories were closed
and schools of all stages were closed for nearly three years.
It was a crime for a family to teach their children even in
their own homes. Where else would you find such behaviour
totally condoned by the leaders of the so-called civilized
world? Besides the closure of schools and universities, the
academic freedom of teachers and students has been violated
persistently and repeated closures and imprisonment of
students and teachers for any peaceful demonstration or
protest. The school syllabuses have not been spared.
The Israeli authorities have erased from school syllabuses
any material referring to Palestine, love of country,
Palestinian nationalism and the Palestinian people's national
identify. Any reference to the Arab contribution to human
civilization history are subject to censorship. Periodicals
and books that are available in Israel to Jewish schools and
universities are denied to Palestinian schools and univer-
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child stipulates that
"The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth
in this declaration. All children without any
exception whatsoever (even if they are Palestinians)
shall be entitled to these rights, without
distinction or discrimination on account of race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national or social origin, property,
birth or other status, whether of himself or his
In the Zionist state of Israel, there is a policy of
discrimination against the Palestinian child, not only in
education but in every aspect of life.
The second_principle is that:
"The child shall enjoy a special protection
and shall be given opportunities and facilities
by law and by other means to enable him to develop
physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and
socially in a healthy and normal manner and in the
conditions of freedom and dignity."
Under Israeli occupation a child may see the humiliation of
his parents before his own eyes and the destruction of his
own home and the closure of his own school, in defiance of
all these principles.
"That the child shall be entitled from
his birth to a name and a nationality.
The Palestinian child is the only child in the world who is
denied any recognition of his nationality.
I could go on about the denial of all rights to the
Palestinian child. Our distinguished Prime Minister not long
ago chaired an international convention on the rights of the
child and proclaimed himself as an ardent supporter of the
rights of the child. Yet, when questioned about Israeli
treatment of Palestinians, including children, in the
occupied territories, he was angered by the question and
stated that Israel is a democratic country and upholds all
human rights. Mr. Mulroney and his Foreign Minister do not
see beyond their financial supporters, who are committed to
the cause of Zionism.
All these violations of human rights and international law
go virtually unnoticed by Mr. Bush, Mr. Major, or
Mr. Mulroney and others. The hypocrisy and double standards
are blatant. In 1990 half a million troops were sent to
the Gulf to enforce a Security Council resolution, we were
told. Iraq was destroyed and its 17 million people continue
to die of starvation and disease, because U.N. resolutions
have been incompletely enforced. Yet, Israel continues to
violate human rights and occupy illegally Palestinian,
Syrian and Lebanese territory, in continuing defiance of
repeated Security Council resolutions. Yet, U.S. military,
economic and political aid to Israel continue, in support of
this violation of international law. Has the word Sanctions
against Israel been whispered? Does Mr. Bush and his "New
World Order" mean anything but that the world must remain
subject to the interests of the U.S. and its friends,
including Israel? The dictionary, my friends, on our
leaders' hypocrisy is voluminous ...
Since 1948, the Palestinian people have endured the hardship
and indignity of exile and have waited for the world
conscience to allow them the right to return to their homes,
a right that is fundamental in The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and a right that has been repeatedly reaffirmed
by the United Nations General Assembly since the 11th of
December 1948, when Resolution No. 194 resolved that:
"Refugees wishing to return to their homes
and live at peace with their neighbours
should be permitted to do so at the earliest
practicable date, and that those wishing
not to return should be compensated for
The U.N. mediator, Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden stated
in a report to the U.N.:
"It would be an offence against the principles
of elemental justice if these innocent victims
of the conflict were denied the right to return
to their homes while Jewish immigrants flow into
Palestine, and, indeed, at least offer the threat
of permanent replacement of the Arab refugees
who have been rooted in the land for centuries."
It was interesting that two weeks ago in the Globe_&_Mail of
May 22nd, Mr. Joel Cuperfain, an ardent Zionist, wrote that
it is "outrageous and unprecedented" for the Palestinians to
claim the right of return. This is ironic when Israel
entitles every Jew from any corner of the globe, including
millions of Russian Jews who, and their ancestors, had never
set foot in Palestine, to have the "right to return" while
the Palestinians who were born, and their forefathers had
lived, and cultivated the land of Palestine for thousands of
years are now denied this right, which is described by
Zionists as an "outrageous claim". Only in Zionist
philosophy and rewriting of history can such an incredible
statement be made.
In 1967 more injustice was inflicted upon the Palestinians.
For the last twenty-five years they have been subjected to a
system of manipulated administrative and legal structure
causing political oppression and economic exploitation.
Their fundamental rights are denied to them. The rule of
law does not exist. More than 1,290 military orders have
been passed in the West Bank amending local laws beyond
recognition and in violation of the Fourth Geneva
Convention. These laws stipulate that the Palestinian
cannot dig a well in his own land or deepen an existing well.
He cannot plant a tree without the order of the military
governor. The four colours of black, green, white and red
are prohibited to be gathered. A grocer who arranges his
tomatoes and apples and oranges in any system pertaining to
these four colours, is liable to be gaoled. A child may
not carry these four colours, which are his national flag.
The Palestinian is denied any system of law. He or she may
be arrested and detained for as long as a year without charge
or trial, and this may be renewed by the stroke of the pen of
a military officer. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians
have been held in this manner. A university professor in
Bethlehem was detained, in the most oppressive conditions,
because he dared to teach his community how to plant carrots
and tomatoes to feed themselves, a crime in the eyes of the
I have only scratched the surface of the oppression, the
cruelty and injustice to which the Palestinians have been
exposed over the last twenty-five years. Every facet of
human right has been violated and every method of torture,
humiliation and indignity has been apportioned to them and
the world remains silent. Not only that, there was a time
when many of Israel's apologists in the media, or as Mr. Pat
Buchanan described them as the "Amen_corner", who described
the Israeli occupation as a liberal occupation. To
this, Professor Israel Shahak, who had experienced the Nazi
Belsen concentration camp, and saw what goes on in Israel,
described this statement in these words:
"The Israeli occupation regime in the conquered
territories is not only not a liberal one, it
is one of the most cruel and repressive regimes
in modern times."
Brutality is legislated. Racism is the order of the day.
Discrimination is manifest in every aspect of life, and by
legislation. But I assure you my friends that the
Palestinian people's tenacity is unyielding. Our people are
willing to struggle and sacrifice and you cannot defeat a
people with this tenacity, when a child turns his little
hand into a fist, with a stone, that defies the oppressor.
The oppressed people of South Africa were able to teach
F. W. De Klerk a lesson that has made Mr. De Klerk
declare that the book on apartheid is closed. I am afraid
the book on the Zionist ideology is not yet closed but I can
assure you that Zionism, like apartheid, is running against
the natural course of history and I am optimistic that right
will overcome wrong. I am also optimistic because there are,
though few, Jewish voices who are speaking out. The great
Jewish journalist, I. F. Stone, wrote a few years ago:
"How can we talk of human rights and ignore them for
the Palestinians? How can Israel talk of Jewish
rights to a homeland and deny one to the Palestinians?"
Similarly, Professor Israel Shahak, Chairman of the Israeli
League for Civil and Human Rights, said:
"The majority of the Israeli public are shutting
their eyes to the simple human cry of the
and warned his people:
...not to allow the experience of the German
people between the two World Wars to befall them.
I am not afraid to say publicly that Israeli Jews
and with them most Jews throughout the world,
are undergoing a process of Nazification.
He went on to state that he is saying this:
... so that no one can say as the German
people did, 'I did not know'. And like
Albert Speer, I am trying to act before
it is too late."
This is the kind of authentic Jewish voice that I am happy to
say gives me hope that, in time, there will be more people
like I. F. Stone, Israel Shahak, Felicia Langer and
Mordecai Briemberg. For if the other voice, the voice which
has come to dominate Israeli and Zionist thinking, arrogant
with power, which thinks only of territorial expansion and
practise discrimination and terror, the voice of Ariel
Sharon, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, if that voice
should continue to speak for Israel, then Israel will bring,
I am afraid, tragedy on herself and the Palestinians and
very likely on the rest of the world.
Palestinians are calling for a modicum of justice for
without justice, I am afraid, there will be no peace for
Arab or Jew in the Middle East.