Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (caabu)

  In the Human Rights Annual Report 2000, there is a clear absence of any reference to Israel's human rights violations between June 1999 to June 2000. Israel remains in occupation of East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Between June 1999 and May 2000, Israel also occupied 10 per cent of southern Lebanon. In its report, the Foreign Office fails to identify the long list of Israel's human rights violations, some of which are listed below, and also neglects to mention whether it is taking Israel to task over its multiple human rights violations and if so, in what ways.

  A number of human rights organisations, international as well as local Israeli and Palestinian organisations, have gathered significant and irrefutable evidence to illustrate the various ways in which Israel has violated the human rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, Arab citizens of Israel, and Lebanese, including those in Khiam prison[1]. Israel has violated the human rights of the following groups:

Palestinians in the Occupied Territories

  Israel has failed to protect Palestinian life in the Occupied Palestinian territories.

  It has used live ammunition, shells and rubber coated steel bullets resulting in the deaths of numerous Palestinians. This is in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention which calls upon the occupying party to protect civilians under its control.

  Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for illegal settlements, bypass roads and military camps.

  Using trained snipers to hit Palestinian demonstrators, including children in the upper body.

  Israel has continued its massive restrictions on all trade and movement of Palestinians across borders.

  Demolition of Palestinian houses.

  Israel continues to torture hundreds of Palestinians it detains without trial.


  Confiscating land and demolishing houses of Arab citizens of Israel.

  Israel has consistently refused to grant official status to the "unrecognised villages"[2]. These Arab villages are denied access to all municipal services including primary health care, mains electricity and piped water.

  Israel continues to deny some 3.6 UN registered Palestinian refugees the right to citizenship, compensation and the right to return to their homes.

Mordechai Vanunu

  Since 1986 Mordechai Vanunu has been in solitary confinement in conditions that Amnesty describes as "cruel, inhuman and degrading", for revealing details of Israel's nuclear arsenal to the Sunday Times.

Lebanese nationals

  Israel has captured and illegally imprisoned 19 Lebanese nationals without trial. These include Sheikh Obeid and Sheikh Mustapha Dirani who were kidnapped by Israeli forces from Lebanon in 1989 and 1994 respectively. They are being detained in a single cell and are not allowed to see anyone including their lawyers.

  Between June 1999 and June 2000, Israel launched indiscriminate attacks on Lebanon and its civilian infrastructure causing the loss of Lebanese civilian life.

Lebanese nationals held in Khiam prison

  Thousands of Lebanese men and women were arrested, some kidnapped and held without trial in Israeli controlled Khiam prison in South Lebanon. The Israeli government has finally admitted that it trained, debriefed and paid the salaries of the Lebanese administrators and staff of Khiam prison in what was Israel's self-declared security zone. Israel has yet to be brought to account for the human rights violations it perpetrated in Khiam prison between 1985-2000. It is currently hosting a number of Lebanese torturers from the SLA and their families in Israel.

  The Foreign Office's omission of any reference to Israel's human rights violations in the Human Rights Annual Report 2000 indicates Britain's desire to turn a blind eye to these serious abuses. Even the US State Department has identified a number of the above-mentioned violations in various reports it has published, including the State Department Annual Report 1999.

  The Council urges the Foreign Office to reconsider this position and take measures which would make clear to Israel that its conduct is unacceptable. It can do this in one of two ways:

    1.  By supporting the establishment of a comprehensive EU-wide arms embargo, both on the export and import of all arms and military equipment to Israel.

    2.  By suspending the EU-Israel Trade Association Agreement on the grounds that Israel has violated Article II, which refers to adherence to human rights law. This is a fundamental part of the agreement, and surely there has been a fundamental breach of it. The Foreign Office has already reprimanded other states for human rights abuses. We would refer you particularly to Human Rights Annual Report 2000 (page 76) where the Foreign Office clearly recognises the human rights dimension underpinning the Association Agreement between the EU and Syria. However, it fails to do so with regards to Israel which has signed a similar agreement with the EU. Why is Israel exempt from any criticism of its many human rights violations?

1   Amnesty International ( and Human Rights Watch website: have documented these violations as have Palestinian human rights organisations such as Al-Haq, an NGO was established in 1979 to defend Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, website:, LAW the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, website: Israeli organisations include Badil website:, B'Tselem, and the Alternative Information Centre<ep<fy10>g<rsAIC. Back

2   It is estimated that 70,000 Palestinians live in these communities, the majority of them in the Negev in southern Israel. Back

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