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.
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
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".
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 (http://www.amnesty.org) and
Human Rights Watch website: www.hrw.org 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: www.alhaq.org,
LAW the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights
and the Environment, website: http://www.lawsociety.org. Israeli
organisations include Badil website: http://www.badil.org, B'Tselem,
www.btselem.org and the Alternative Information Centre www.netgate.net/<ep<fy10>g<rsAIC. Back
It is estimated that 70,000 Palestinians live in these communities,
the majority of them in the Negev in southern Israel. Back