TWENTY FIVE YEARS OF OCCUPATION 

 

By

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

 

was.

 

 

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

 

to continue.

_____________

 

*Dr. Ismail Zayid is Professor of Pathology,

Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

 

 

 

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.

 

 

WHO_STARTED_THE_WAR?

 

 

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

 

attackers.

 

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

 

"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

Arab territories."

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

 

who said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

"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

 

who said:

 

"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

bombed...."

Official spokesman of the Israeli

Foreign Ministry quoted in

Encyclopaedia_of_Zionism_and_Israel,

New York, 1971.

 

 

And finally, in 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin in a

 

speech at the Israeli National Defence College, gave away

 

the fable:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

"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

withdrawal?

 

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."

 

President Eisenhower

February 20, 1957.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

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

 

territories.

 

 

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

territory."

 

 

despite these hollow assertions, it did not take Israel's

 

leaders long to uncover their designs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

 

 

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.

 

 

THE_FOURTH_GENEVA_CONVENTION

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

 

 

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.

 

 

TORTURE

 

 

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

 

killings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

"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

consciousness;

 

(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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13

 

 

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

 

lawyer, stated:

 

 

"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

 

1968:

 

 

"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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

Palestinian prisoners, confirmed this but proceeded,

 

incredibly, to sanction the use of "moderate physical

 

pressure" during interrogation.

 

 

THE_ORWELLIAN_NEWSPEAK:

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

DEMOLITION_OF_HOUSES_AND_DESTRUCTION_OF_PROPERTY:

 

 

 

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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

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

 

entire neighbourhood".

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18

 

 

same laws, which were annuled by the British on May 15, 1948,

 

and duly enforced them, against Arabs only, in Israel and the

 

Occupied Territories.

 

 

Alas, none of this disturbs the likes of Messrs. Bush,

 

Mulroney and Major.

 

 

 

ISRAELI_JUSTICE:

 

 

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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

 

 

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

hundredfold more?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

 

 

The brutality and torture of prisoners have no limits. The

 

description of the conditions in the prison called Ansar III

 

defies description.

 

 

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

 

said:

 

 

"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.

 

 

 

 

21

 

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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

 

 

EXPROPRIATION_OF_PROPERTY

 

 

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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

23

 

 

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

 

homes.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24

 

 

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

 

inhumanity.

 

 

UPROOTING_TREES:

 

 

Not only the homes may be destroyed but the trees may be

 

uprooted. Over 120,000 olive and fruit trees have been

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

 

 

 

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.

 

 

BRUTALITY_AGAINST_CHILDREN

 

 

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."

 

 

he stated.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

 

 

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

27

 

 

"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

population."

 

 

 

ACADEMIC_FREEDOM_AND_EDUCATION:

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

 

 

 

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-

 

sities.

 

 

 

THE_RIGHTS_OF_THE_CHILD

 

 

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child stipulates that

 

the first_principle:

 

 

"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

family."

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

 

 

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.

 

 

Principle_No.3 states:

 

"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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

 

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 ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31

 

 

A_NATION_UNDER_SEIGE

 

 

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

their property."

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33

 

 

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

 

Zionist ideology.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34

 

 

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."

 

 

 

QUO_VADIS_ZIONISM?

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35

 

 

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

Palestinian.

 

 

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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36

 

 

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.