IIN in Shimon Tzabar's own words Shimon Tzabar's Political Legacy
IIN Today Spend the night with a mosquito Israel Imperial News March 68
Israel Imperial News Oct 68 ISRAC May 69 ISRAC March 70


Winter 2004

1. IDF attitude during Ramadan
2. I punched an Arab in the face
3. Humanitarian Catastrophe
4. Amneh Mounah
5. Boycott of Israeli academia
6. What is it all about?
7. Ethnic cleansing
8. Conditions in the OPT
9. Settler Terrorists
10. A new designer flag for Israel

Illustration by Laura King of the  'security wall' and the 3 wise men
Illustration by Laura King. First published: Los Angeles Times 10.12.03

The attitude of the Israeli army towards the Palestinian population during Ramadan MachsomWatch

Ramadan is the Muslim holy month, a moveable date (in 2003 from October 27 to November 24) during which many obligations are placed on the daily lives of the Muslims. The characteristic activities of Muslims during this period: fasting from sunrise to sundown, breaking the fast around 5:00 p.m., attending Friday prayers in the great mosques in Jerusalem and visiting family members. All these were significantly hindered or prevented altogether by the Israeli occupying forces.

There was a complete contradiction between official Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson announcements to the Palestinian population and the situation on the ground.

On October 29 the following announcement was published: "due to recognition of the month of Ramadan, the IDF and the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories are implementing a policy of easing of restrictions for the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip". On November 2 further easing of restrictions in movement were announced and on November 3 the IDF spokesperson declared that the closure around all Palestinian cities, except Nablus and Jenin had been lifted. On November 20 it was announced again that IDF and the Civil administration are preparing to facilitate the passage of Palestinian civilians desiring to attend the "Lelat al-Kadir" prayers and the last Friday of the month of Ramadan prayers. These announcements produced the image inside Israel and abroad that Israeli Government is sympathetic to religious and traditional needs of the Palestinian population. At the same time it was announced to the Palestinian population that only persons with special permits issued by the Civil Administration will be allowed to enter Jerusalem for prayers at the Temple Mount.

The small number of permits issued shows the difficulty of obtaining them. During the whole month of Ramadan 5000 permits for praying at the Temple Mount were issued (4000 for the West Bank and 1000 for the Gaza Strip) for a population of 3.5 million people. Our volunteers, who took field notes at the Civil Administration offices in Beit El (responsible for Ramallah population) reported on November 23 (Morning) and at the Civil Administration offices in Gush Etzion (responsible for Bethlehem population) reported on November 21 and 25 (Bethlehem, morning), all describing serious malfunctioning of these offices, where people spend long hours and often have to return again and again in order to receive the required permit. The absurd Catch 22, of people needing a permit in order to reach the Civil Administration office in order to get a permit is well documented in the report from November 19, Qalandiya, afternoon . The pretence of the Israeli Government to a recognition of the Palestinian population's needs, including freedom of worship, while on the ground the opposite is true, and the Civil Administration in fact functions, as an additional tool to persecute the civilian population, is fully disclosed in the extensive report "Systematic Abuse by Administrative Means: A Matter of Policy" prepared by our volunteer and published on our website (see below for link).

MachsomWatch volunteers reported on the first Ramadan Friday Oct 31 morning at checkpoints A-Ram and Qalandiya, that a big crowd of Palestinians, many of them old people, was prevented from going to Jerusalem to pray at the great mosques in the most rude and aggressive way. On Friday November 14 morning our observers reported from Abu Dis, about the most appalling scene of abuse of a whole crowd of people festively dressed and headed for their Friday prayers (including many old persons and children) by border policemen who drove their jeep through a crowd and "herded it like cattle down the muddy alley". On November 17 at Tulkarem checkpoint it was reported that a group of teachers were prevented from going to their school in order to prepare the traditional feast for their students. On Thursday November 20 (Leilat al-Kadir) and Friday November 21 (the last Friday of Ramadan) no southbound passage whatsoever for Palestinians without special permits was allowed as reported at Qalandiya and A-Ram checkpoints. The promised concessions during Ramadan were never implemented. On the contrary, it seems that hard line policy became even harder and the detention time, as a punishment for bypassing the Qalandiya checkpoint was increased from 3 hr to 7-8 hr (see November 11 and November 18, both afternoon, Qalandiya).

The difficulty in observing traditional family visits during month of Ramadan was well described at Qalqiliya checkpoint on November 22 afternoon. This complete disregard of the religious needs of the whole Muslim population in the occupied territories was in complete contrast to the attitude towards a large zealous Jewish group in 40 buses, (first week of November) who for three days celebrated with music and dancing at the traditional site of the Tomb of Rachel located at the entrance to Bethlehem city.


During November there were two attacks on Israeli security forces and the policy of collective punishment of the whole Palestinian population was very evident. On November 19 afternoon (two days after the killing of two Israeli soldiers at the tunnel road near El-Khader area) our volunteers reported from Qalandiya about the most rude and aggressive behavior towards Palestinians with disregard towards humanitarian cases and open justification of this behavior as a legitimate response to the above mentioned soldiers killings. Similarly, on November 23 morning (two days after the killing of two security guards at the separation wall in Abu Dis) people present at the wall area were sprayed in the eyes with tear gas and ambulances were prevented from entering Abu Dis.

The need to create friction so that the subsequent response (by security forces) can show "who is a boss" is well documented by the report from November 18 morning where our volunteers witnessed stone throwing by students from Abu Dis University towards patrolling border police, who responded with rubber bullets causing injury to 10 persons. Blue (civil) police join the Israeli army in the effort to abuse and persecute the civilian Palestinian population in the West Bank. Our volunteers reported absurd fines of 50 to 500 NIS ($10 to $110 for a population where nearly 70% live below the poverty line - i.e. an income of less than $2 per day) imposed by Israeli police, on November 6 in Huwarra, November 18 morning in Abu Dis, and November 31 morning in Waadi Nar near Abu Dis. On November 16 morning in the Bethlehem area a Palestinian woman was fined 250 NIS ($50) for crossing the main road illegally or imprudently (according to civil laws, i.e. not at a designated pedestrian walkway).

The Nablus area checkpoints

Our volunteers made extensive observations at Huwarra, Beit Furik, Saara ,Izhar and Tapuach junctions, checkpoints placed in the heart of the West Bank. The reports about those checkpoints can be found under Huwarra section at our website. It is very clear that settlers and soldiers from settlements who very often serve at those checkpoints have a very negative impact on the attitude towards Palestinians (see report from November 4-afternoon, Izhar junction part).

Each of those checkpoints has its own characteristics. Through Huwarra checkpoint the largest number of people pass and sometimes hundreds of people are checked by only a few soldiers. Soldiers are usually very aggressive, putting a lot of energy into enforcing order instead of speeding up the passage. (see reports from November 11 afternoon, November 15 morning ,November 19 afternoon ) The lack of any common sense in order implementation was observed on November 11 morning when an ambulance was denied passage, because of bypassing a waiting line of cars. At the slightest sign of 'disobedience' people are punished by long (3-5 hours) detention (see November 16 morning ) with the most extreme case of detaining a 14 year old boy by handcuffing for 6 hours , see November 20 afternoon . Very often people going for medical treatment are denied passage on the alleged grounds that their medical papers are forged, and the absurd argument that "if you are ill go by ambulance" could be heard (see November 22, morning ).

At Beit Furik our volunteer noticed the presence of particularly violent and rude soldiers who felt free to force people to wait on their knees with handcuffed hands behind their backs and to make joyful rides on "beach buggy-vehicles" in order to hunt Palestinians who tried to bypass this checkpoint (see November 24 afternoon and November 29 morning reports). Saara checkpoint is an example of those checkpoints that are obviously intended as harassment, preventing local Palestinian residents from getting using transportation to reach their homes. Instead, they are supposed to climb a very steep hill on foot and our observers reported old and young doing this with great physical effort. (see November 19 afternoon, November 26 afternoon and November 29 morning).

Jubara-Tulkarm checkpoints

These checkpoints are near to the Green Line with the notorious Separation Wall nearby, greatly disrupting the life of villages in this area. Jubara village is one of many along the Separation Wall, where people live under constant closure, see November 3-morning and November 17-morning . Jubara is trapped between the Separation Wall and the checkpoint and citizens of this village are required to obtain special residency permits allowing them to move through Jubara checkpoint, see October 20 morning , however very often those permits are not respected and people cannot leave this "ghetto" not in order to seek medical help (see November 17 morning). Jubara village totally depends on food aid distributed by the Red Cross and medical services are provided once a week by Physicians for Human Rights. (The Red Cross and other international aid agencies announced in November that they are discontinuing their services to the West Bank because of the difficulties created by the Curfew-closure-checkpoint policy and the Israeli security forces there). School children need to pass through a special gate in a wall, which is opened for a few minutes by soldiers in spite of many promises that it will be open at least for half an hour, when children go and come back at the beginning and the end of their school day. Our observers reported about serious disruptions in schoolchildren's and student's passage to their school in A-Ras and to their collage in Tulkarm, respectively (see November 3 morning and afternoon, November 10 afternoon, November 17 morning and afternoon and November 20 afternoon).

I Punched an Arab in the Face
Gideon Levy, Haaretz Weekend Magazine 21/11/2003

Introduction: For years and years one of our chief slogans in demonstrations against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians was: "The occupation corrupts". Decades have elapsed, and Israel reaps what it sowed: average Israeli kids go to the army and turn sadistic animals, just by complying with the consensus, with the general rule.

Here is one soldier's belated report about his regular service at the checkpoints of the IDF.

Please read the recent report by Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz, and think: where does the monster grow? Not in remote, twisted regions, but in our own back yard (or rather front yard?).

For better days,
Professor Avraham Oz

I Punched an Arab in the Face - Gideon Levy, Haaretz Weekend Magazine - 21/11/2003

Staff Sergeant (res.) Liran Ron Furer cannot just routinely get on with his life anymore. He is haunted by images from his three years of military service in Gaza and the thought that this could be a syndrome afflicting everyone who serves at checkpoints gives him no respite. On the verge of completing his studies in the design program at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, he decided to drop everything and devote all his time to the book he wanted to write. The major publishers he brought it to declined to publish it. The publisher that finally accepted it (Gevanim) says that the Steimatzky bookstore chain refuses to distribute it. But Furer is determined to bring his book to the public's attention.

"You can adopt the most hard-line political positions, but no parent would agree to his son becoming a thief, a criminal or a violent person," says Furer. "The problem is that it's never presented this way. The boy himself doesn't portray himself this way to his family when he returns from the territories. On the contrary - he is received as a hero, as someone who is doing the important work of being a soldier. No one can be indifferent to the fact that there are many families in which, in a certain sense, there are already two generations of criminals. The father went through it and now the son is going through it and no one talks about it around the dinner table."

Furer is certain that what happened to him is not at all unique. Here he was - a creative, sensitive graduate of the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, who became an animal at the checkpoint, a violent sadist who beat up Palestinians because they didn't show him the proper courtesy, who shot out tires of cars because their owners were playing the radio too loud, who abused a retarded teenage boy lying handcuffed on the floor of the Jeep, just because he had to take his anger out somehow. "Checkpoint Syndrome" (also the title of his book), gradually transforms every soldier into an animal, he maintains, regardless of whatever values he brings with him from home. No one can escape its taint. In a place where nearly everything is permissible and violence is perceived as normative behavior, each soldier tests his own limits of violence impulsiveness on his victims – the Palestinians.

His book is not easy reading. Written in terse, fierce prose, in the blunt and coarse language of soldiers, he reconstructs scenes from the years in which he served in Gaza (1996-1999), years that, one must remember, were relatively quiet. He describes how he and his comrades forced some Palestinians to sing "Elinor" - "It was really something to see these Arabs singing a Zohar Argov song, like in a movie"; the emotions the Palestinians aroused in him - "Sometimes these Arabs really disgust me, especially those that try to toady up to us - the older ones, who come to the checkpoint with this smile on their faces"; the reactions they spurred - "If they really annoy us, we find away to keep them stuck at the checkpoint for a few hours. They lose a whole day of work because of it sometimes, but that's the only way they learn."

He described how they would order children to clean the checkpoint before inspection time; how a soldier named Shahar invented a game: "He checks someone's identity card, and instead of handing it back to him, just tosses it in the air. He got a kick out of seeing the Arab have to get out of his car to pick up his identity card ... It's a game for him and he can pass a whole shift this way"; how they humiliated a dwarf who came to the checkpoint every day on his wagon: "They forced him to have his picture taken on the horse, hit him and degraded him for a good half hour and let him go only when cars arrived at the checkpoint. The poor guy, he really didn't deserve it"; how they had a souvenir picture taken with bloodied, bound Arabs whom they'd beaten up; how Shahar pissed on the head of an Arab because the man had the nerve to smile at a soldier; how Dado forced an Arab to stand on four legs and bark like a dog; and how they stole prayer beads and cigarettes - "Miro wanted them to give him their cigarettes, the Arabs didn't want to give so Miro broke someone's hand, and Boaz slashed their tires."

Chilling confession

The most chilling of all the personal confessions: "I ran toward them and punched an Arab right in the face. I'd never punched anyone that way. He collapsed on the road. The officers said that we had to search him for his papers. We pulled his hands behind his back and I bound them with plastic handcuffs. Then we blindfolded him so he wouldn't see what was in the Jeep. I picked him up from the road. Blood was trickling from his lip onto his chin. I led him up behind the Jeep and threw him in, his knees banged against the trunk and he landed inside. We sat in the back, stepping on the Arab ... Our Arab lay there pretty quietly, just crying softly to himself. His face was right on my flak jacket and he was bleeding and making a kind of puddle of blood and saliva, and it disgusted and angered me, so I grabbed him by the hair and turned his head to the side. He cried out loud and to get him to stop, we stepped harder and harder on his back. That quieted him down for a while and then he started up again. We concluded that he was either retarded or crazy.

"The company commander informed us over the radio that we had to bring him to the base. `Good work, tigers,' he said, teasing us. All the other soldiers were waiting there to see what we'd caught. When we came in with the Jeep, they whistled and applauded wildly. We put the Arab next to the guard. He didn't stop crying and someone who understood Arabic said that his hands were hurting from the handcuffs. One of the soldiers went up to him and kicked him in the stomach. The Arab doubled over and grunted, and we all laughed. It was funny ... I kicked him really hard in the ass and he flew forward just as I'd expected. They shouted that I was a totally crazy, and they laughed ... and I felt happy. Our Arab was just a 16-year-old mentally retarded boy."

In his sister's rooftop Tel Aviv apartment, where he is living now, Furer, 26, comes across as a thoughtful, intelligent young man. He grew up in Givatayim, after his parents immigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Before Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, his mother was a right wing activist, but he says that their home was not political. He wanted to be in a combat unit in the army, and served in two elite infantry units. He did his entire army service in the Gaza Strip.

After the army, he traveled to India, like so many others. "Now I was free. The crazy energies of Goa and the chakras opened my mind ... You stuck me in this stinking Gaza and before that you brainwashed me with your rifles and your marches, you turned me into a dishrag that didn't think anymore," he wrote from Goa. But it was only afterward, when he was studying at Bezalel, that the experiences from his army service really began to affect him.

"I came to realize that there was an unchanging pattern here," he says. "It was the same in the first intifada, in the period that I was serving, which was quiet, and in the second intifada. It's become a permanent reality. I started to feel very uncomfortable with the fact that such a loaded subject was hardly mentioned at all in public. People listened to the victim and they listened to the politicians, but this voice that says: I did this, we did things that were wrong - crimes, actually - that's a voice I didn't hear. The reason it wasn't being heard was a combination of repression - just as I repressed it and ignored it - and of deep feelings of guilt.

"As soon as you get away from army service, the political and media reality around you is not ready to hear this voice. I remember that I was surprised that no soldier had gone public with this yet. It all somehow dissolved in the debate about the legitimacy of settlement in the territories, about the occupation - for or against - and nothing connected to the routine of maintaining the occupation appeared in the media or in art."

Not an individual case

Furer is out to prove that this is a syndrome and not a collection of isolated, individual cases. That's why he deleted a lot of personal details from the original manuscript, in order to underscore the general nature of what he describes. "During my army service, I believed that was atypical, because I came from a background of art and creativity. I was considered a moderate soldier - but I fell into the same trap that most soldiers fall into. I was carried away by the possibility of acting in the most primal and impulsive manner, without fear of punishment and without oversight. You're tense about it at first, but as you get more comfortable at the checkpoint over time, the behavior becomes more natural. People gradually test the limits of their behavior toward the Palestinians. It gradually becomes coarser and coarser.

"The more confident I became with the situation, as soon as we reached the conclusion – each one at his own stage - that we are the rulers, we are the strong ones, and when we felt our power, each one started to stretch the limits more and more, in accordance with his personality. As soon as serving at the checkpoint became routine, all kinds of deviant behavior became normal. It started with 'souvenir collecting': We'd confiscate prayer beads and then it was cigarettes and it didn't stop. It became normative behavior.

"After that came the power games. We got the message from above that we were to project seriousness and deterrence to the Arabs. Physical violence also became normative. We felt free to punish any Palestinian who didn't follow the 'proper code of behavior' at the checkpoint. Anyone we thought wasn't polite enough to us or tried to act smart - was severely punished. It was deliberate harassment on the most trivial pretexts.

"During my army service, there wasn't a single incident that made us understand, or made our commanders interfere. No one talked about what was permitted and what was not. It was all a matter of routine. In retrospect, the biggest source of guilt feelings for me didn't happen at the checkpoint, but by the Gush Katif fence, when we caught the retarded boy. I demonstrated the most extreme behavior. It was a chance for me to catch one - the closest thing to catching a terrorist, a chance to vent all the pressure and impulses that had built up in all of us. To lash out the way we wanted to. We were used to giving slaps, to handcuffing, to a little kicking, a little beating, and here was a situation in which it was justified to let go entirely. Also, the officer who was with us was himself very violent. We gave the kid a real beating and as soon as we got to the post, I remember having a great feeling of pride, that I'd been treated like someone strong. They said, 'What a nut you are, how crazy you are', which was basically like saying, 'How strong you are'.

"At the checkpoint, young people have the chance to be masters and using force and violence becomes legitimate - and this is a much more basic impulse than the political views or values that you bring from home. As soon as using force is given legitimacy, and even rewarded, the tendency is to take it as far as it can go, to exploit it much as possible. To satisfy these impulses beyond what the situation requires. Today, I'd call it sadistic impulses ...

"We weren't criminals or especially violent people. We were a group of good boys, a relatively 'high-quality' group, and for all of us - and we still talk about this sometimes - the checkpoint became a place to test our personal limits. How tough, how callous, how crazy we could be - and we thought of that in the positive sense. Something about the situation - being in a godforsaken place, far from home, far from oversight - made it justified ... The line of what was forbidden was never precisely drawn. No one was ever punished and they just let us continue.

"Today, I feel confident saying that even the most senior ranks – the brigade commander, the battalion commander - are aware of the power that soldiers have in this situation and what they do with it. How could a commander not be aware of it when the more crazy and tough his soldiers are, the quieter his sector is? The more complex picture of the long-term effects of this violent behavior is something you only become conscious of when you get away from the checkpoint.

"Today it's clear to me that that boy whose father we humiliated for the flimsiest of reasons will grow up to hate anyone who represents what was done to his father. I definitely have an understanding of their motives now. We are cruelty, we are power. I'm sure that their response is affected by elements related to their society - a disregard for human life and a readiness to sacrifice lives - but the basic desire to resist, the hatred itself, the fear - I feel are completely justified and legitimate, even if it's risky to say so.

"It's impossible to be in such an emotional state and to go back home on leave and detach yourself from it. I was very insensitive to the feelings of my girlfriend at the time. I was an animal, even when I was on leave. It also sticks with you after your service. I saw the remnants of the syndrome in India - something about being in the Third World, among dark-skinned people, brings out the worst of the 'ugly Israeli', which is as Israeli as it gets. Or the way you react to a smile: When Palestinians would smile at me at the checkpoint, I got tense and construed it as defiance, as chutzpah. When someone smiled at me in India, I immediately went on the defensive.

"I was an average soldier," he says. "I was the joker of the group. Now I see that I was often the one to take the lead in violent situations. I often was the one who gave the slap. I'm the one who came up with all kinds of ideas like letting the air out of tires. It sounds twisted now, but we really admired anyone who could beat up some guy who supposedly had it coming. The officer we admired most was the officer who fired his weapon at every opportunity. Out of everyone I've spoken to, I've been left with the most guilt feelings ... A friend from the army read the book and said that I'm right, that we did bad things, but we were kids. And he said that it's a shame that I took it too hard."

Palestinians Face 'Humanitarian Catastrophe', UN Report 12/11/2003

People living in the Israeli-occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank are "on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe," according to a report released at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday by the UN Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler.

The report, based on a visit to the territories last July, as well as statistics accumulated over the past year by UN and U.S. agencies that have studied the situation, describes the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians as a "horrifying tragedy" and stresses that Israel has the right to take defensive measures to protect its citizens against attacks.

But Ziegler, a recognized authority on international law and human rights from Switzerland, charges Israel with failing to uphold its legal obligation to ensure the right to food of the civilian Palestinian population, with the result that more than half of Palestinian households are currently eating only one meal a day and are fully dependent on international food aid.

"Many Palestinians who the Special Rapporteur met spoke of trying to subsist on little more than bread and tea," Ziegler wrote in his 24-page report. "Severe malnutrition reported in Gaza is now equivalent to levels found in poor, sub-Saharan (African) countries, an absurd situation as Palestine was formerly a middle-income economy" with a rich agricultural base.

"The consequences of the ways in which current security measures are applied in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories) are entirely disproportionate in the sense that they jeopardize the food and water security of the great majority of the Palestinians and thus amount to collective punishment," according to Ziegler who called on Israel to "immediately lift internal closures within the OPT" that restrict movement and access to food and end "the regime of closures and curfews where these are causing an increase in the malnutrition and poverty levels of the civilian Palestinian population."

The new report was released just one day after another UN study by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warning that Israel's construction of a barrier separating Palestinian from Israeli populations around and within the West Bank will cause major additional hardships for Palestinian civilians, separating some 680,000 of them from their fields, jobs, and schools.

It said that, when completed, the 400-mile-long fence/wall will also effectively expropriate or render useless some 14.5 percent of the West Bank.

Responding to the report, the Israeli government, which says the wall is necessary to prevent the infiltration into Israel and Jewish settlements of Palestinian suicide bombers and other assailants, insisted that no more than four percent of the land will be cut off by the barrier, and that the number of Palestinians to be affected will run into the thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands.

Israel rejected an overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly last month to cease work on the wall and tear down what has already been built. Only four countries voted against the resolution: the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and the United States, and Israel itself. The U.S. earlier vetoed a similar Security Council resolution condemning the barrier's construction.

At the same time, however, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also appears to be increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation in the occupied territories, particularly since the armed forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, told reporters late last month that Israel risked an explosion if the situation remain unchanged.

The cumulative impact of curfews, road-blocks and crackdowns, he warned, are "tactics that operate against our own strategic interests" and are only increasing hatred for Israel among the Palestinian population likely to translate into greater support for terrorism. "The war," he said, "is taking place on the backs of civilians."

On Tuesday Sharon announced that he was ordering an easing of restrictive measures in advance of Wednesday's investiture of a Palestinian government under its new prime minister, Ahmed Qurei. "I have a strong desire to implement humanitarian measures rapidly but our problem is that as we take important steps to ease the situation and open the roadblocks, terrorist actions will increase," he said after reportedly warning his fellow Likud Party members Monday that he was increasingly concerned that a collapse of the Palestinian Authority would force Israel to assume responsibility for the welfare of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

In his report, however, Ziegler insists that "the vast majority of the OPT is under the effective control of the occupying army," and thus Israel has the responsibility under international humanitarian law to ensure that the civilian population receive adequate supplies of food and water.

He also criticized the construction of the barrier, which he referred to as "the security fence/apartheid wall" in a reference to the racial separation policies implemented by the National Party government in South Africa, noting the assessment of "many Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals and non-governmental organizations" that it is intended to further a strategy of "Bantustanization" of the Palestinian territory that will make it impossible for any future Palestinian state to "realize the right to food of its own people."

"The confiscation of land, extension of settlements and settler-only roads, and the building of the security fence/apartheid wall, where this deprives thousands of Palestinians of their lands, homes, crops and means of subsistence, is a violation of the right to food," according to the report.

Closures, he wrote, often appear arbitrary and sometimes result in the spoilage of produce or other food. The number of checkpoints through which produce trucks must pass also delay delivery of food and add to their costs.

"For many Palestinians, the inability to feed their families is leading to a loss of human dignity, often heightened by bullying and humiliation at checkpoints," according to Ziegler who noted that at one point during his nine-day visit to the territories, a soldier at one checkpoint "deliberately took aim with his weapon at very short range at the Special Rapporteur's vehicle."

"Fortunately, the soldier did not fire his weapon, but the Special Rapporteur noted that these types of incidents are occurring far too frequently."

Please ask critical questions about Amneh Mounah's situation, 02/11/2003

About life in the Neve Tirtza Prison we don't hear and don't see a lot. Today we got the following very worrying information about Amneh Mounah, now on the 7th day of hunger strike after being attacked by prison guards.

Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association is gravely concerned for the health of Palestinian female prisoner Amneh Mounah, who has begun her seventh day of open ended hunger strike, protesting against physical attacks against her and her continued isolation. Addameer's lawyer, Adv. Mahmoud Hassan, was able to take a full account of the attack against Mounah during a visit on Thursday 30 October 2003, and able to see the physical effects of the attack. Mounah is suffering from extreme pain in her lower back, left hand, and eyes as a result of injuries sustained from the attack. She has to date not received adequate medical attention.

On the morning of Saturday 25 October 2003, Mounah was transferred from her cell at Ramleh Prison to an isolation cell within the same prison. After an hour of being in isolation, a number of prison guards came to her cell and told her to strip in order for them to search her. According to testimony given by Mounah, the prison guards gave her a choice, either she removed her clothes of her own free will, or they would bring a large force of guards to strip her. She refused to strip, particularly as there were male prison guards in the cell. The prison guard told her that they would make the male guards stand behind the door while she stripped, but she again refused.

The prison guards then left, but after an hour returned with a larger force of soldiers and prison guards, headed by "Asher", and began to physically assault Mounah, also forcing her to strip and attacking her with tear gas in the isolation cell. She suffered forceful blows to the waist, back and hands. According to Mounah's testimony, one of the guards, "Shabi", grabbed her by the throat and began to strangle her, at the same time screaming at her "You are a terrorist!" She began to lose consciousness, and also began to bleed from her mouth. At that point, Mounah felt someone pull "Shabi" away from her.

Three hours later, she was transferred to another isolation cell and given a sedative. She received no other medical attention. The prison director visited her in the isolation cell, informing her that she was to remain in isolation for 7 days, charging her that she had attacked 3 prison guards. On Sunday 26 October, Mounah began an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the attack and the conditions of her detention in isolation. On Monday 27 October, she was transferred to another isolation cell at the Ramleh Hospital, where she has also not received medical attention, and on Tuesday 28 October, she began refusing water.

The isolation cell in which she is being held at Ramleh hospital does not have a toilet, and in order for her to use the toilet or to bathe she must be taken out of the isolation cell in shackles. Mounah has refused to bathe while shackled, and was not allowed to bathe without the shackles until Wednesday 29 October.

In her testimony, Mounah also noted that 40 of the female prisoners held with her began a solidarity hunger strike in protest of the attack on Monday 27 October. Six women were subsequently placed in isolation, including 'Aishah 'Abeyat, 'Umayah Dammaj, Ra'eda Jadallah, Wasfiyeh Abu 'Ajamiyeh, Samar Bader and Su'ad Ghazal. Prison guards also attacked two of the female prisoners, 'Aishah' Abeyat and Su'ad Ghazal. As punishment, the prison administration confiscated mattresses and television sets from the cells, and refused all 40 women canteen privileges, which are vital in order to acquire basic necessities.

Addameer is gravely concerned for the well being of Amneh Mounah, particularly as she has not received medical treatment for her injuries and the fact that she remains in isolation despite her health conditions. Addameer strongly urges the international community to protest these conditions. Letters of protest and enquiries regarding the well being of Amneh Mounah may be addressed to:

Mrs Orit Adato
Israel Prison Service
Fax: +972 8 921 0649

Elyakim Rubinstein
Attorney-General/Legal Advisor to the Government
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax: 02 6285438
Email: sar@justice.gov.il
(Department for International Agreements and International Litigation)
Phone: 03-6899801
Fax: 03 6899792/758, Email: international@justice.gov.il

To query the Israeli Prison Service directly, contact:
IPS Spokesman
Tel: +08 9776806
ADDAMEER - Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association
PO Box: 17338, Jerusalem.
Ramallah, West Bank.
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Call for boycott of Israeli academic institutions, 26/11/2003

This statement outlines the position of Palestinian academics and intellectuals on the international boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Our position is a consequence of decades of debilitating occupation, the dispossession of most Palestinians, Israel's continuing atrocities, its campaigns to disrupt Palestinian educational and other civil institutions, its breaches of international law and of humanitarian standards, as well as the general discriminatory nature of its system. These practices are all well documented in UN resolutions, in reports of human rights agencies, and are starkly visible in the form of facts on the ground.

Because the facts speak for themselves but a solution is nowhere in sight, it is time for people of conscience to take a stand and influence both public opinion and government policies. It now must be so since the world's powers have failed to take measures that hold Israel, like any other state, accountable for its abuses and force it to adhere to international standards. In the absence of any such accountability, it becomes the duty of citizens to act independently to expose and resist injustice.

The boycott of Israeli academic institutions is a peaceful form of resistance already available the world over and has demonstrated growing potential. It sends a strong message of concern over the ongoing destruction of Palestinian educational institutions and, in particular, helps expose to the world's public the culpability of Israeli academic institutions in perpetuating the illegal occupation.

This boycott entails a pledge not to support or participate in any conference, cooperative research, grant writing or grant evaluation, or other supportive activities, such as academic exchanges or visits, held at or involving Israeli universities and other state institutions.

We believe this international boycott should be sustained until Israel withdraws from all lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, removes all its colonies [settlements] in those lands, agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian rights, and dismantles its system of apartheid. Meanwhile, we encourage dialogue with people (internationally and in Israel) who demonstrate readiness to participate in realizing these objectives.

We challenge other academics and intellectuals not to remain unmoved, or by their silence become complicit, but rather to take a stand and act in solidarity with the Palestinians, with Israeli dissenters, and with the growing international movement against the Israeli government's colonial war in occupied Palestine. We urge fellow academics and intellectuals worldwide to adhere to and publicize this call to boycott, and to affirm it as an act of conscience.

What is it all about? - Samah Jabr, M.D. native of Jerusalem

The overwhelming and ceaseless atrocities of Israel's government leave most Palestinians with little opportunity to reflect on the moral aspect of our resistance. Most often our reactions to events are immediate, instinctive and emotional. The few who still manage to consider the moral, political and strategic aspects of our struggle may find themselves all but stymied by the contradictions, the lack of choice, and the damage done by war to both reason and conscience.

How can Palestinian resistance be fairly assessed, then, with due consideration given to the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The occupation of Palestine is based on a 19th century ideology that denied the very existence of the Palestinian people and pursued a colonial agenda asserting divine claims to a "land without a people". In response to this "theo-colonial" aggression, the Palestinian resistance adopted the strategy of "a protracted people's war" to regain recognition as a dispossessed, rather than "nonexistent" nation.

To this day Palestinians still have no state or armed forces. Our occupiers subject us to curfews, expulsions, home demolitions, legalised torture, and a highly imaginative assortment of human rights violations. No justifiable comparison can be drawn between the level of official accountability to which Palestinans are held for the actions of a few individuals and the responsibility for the systematic and intense violence against the entire Palestinian population practiced with impunity by the state of Israel. The American media call our search for freedom "terrorism", thus casting the Palestinian in the role of the international prototype for the terrorist. This has shaped Western public consciousness and resulted in an international bias that tends to describe instances of violence against Palestinian civilians in neutral language, reducing Palestinian losses to mere faceless statistics, while using emotional language and visuals to describe Israeli losses.

This distortion of the Palestinian resistance has clouded all reasonable dialogue. Many of our efforts to defy the arbitrary rules of the occupier are reflexively dismissed as "terrorism," and we are always expected to apologize for and condemn Palestinian resistance, despite the lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism, and the fact that the right to self-determination by armed struggle is permissible under the United Nations Charter's Article 51, concerning self-defence.

Why is the word "terrorism" so readily applied to individuals or groups who use homemade bombs, but not to states using nuclear and other internationally prohibited weapons to ensure submission to the oppressor? Israel, the United States and Britain should top the list of terrorism-exporting states for their use of armed attacks against non-combatants in Palestine, Iraq, Sudan and other parts of the world. But "terrorism" is a political term used by the colonizer to discredit those who resist - as the Afrikaaners and Nazis named the Black and French freedom fighters, respectively.

Distortion of the Palestinian resistance has clouded all reasonable dialogue. There also is a trend among those who oppose Palestinian resistance to use the term "jihad" as a synonym for terrorism. In doing so, they reduce the meaning of jihad to mere death. Jihad is a rich concept which includes struggling against one's lesser self, the effort to do good deeds, actively opposing injustice, and being patient in times of hardship. It is not about violence against God's creatures, or not fearing death in defending the rights of God's creations. Violence can, however, be a rational human's means of defense. When a woman reacts violently when threatened with rape, that is a form of jihad.

Moreover, jihad is an Islamic value, and not all Palestinian fighters are Muslims. The reason why young, sincere altruistic Palestinians blow themselves up is a secret they take with them to the grave. Perhaps it is the strange fruit of revenge growing in the fertile soil of oppression and occupation, or their profound protest against merciless cruelty; or a desperate attempt at attaining equality with Israelis in death, since it is impossible for them in life. Those who live under inhuman conditions all their lives are, unfortunately, capable of inhuman acts. What is left for the homeless thousands in Rafah except their resistance? It is not Islam; it is human nature, shared by religious, secular and agnostic Palestinian men and women. Certainly our women bombers do not die in the expectation of 70 virgins awaiting them in Paradise.

Another factor influencing Palestinian resistance is the gloomy history of peace talks and the lack of international support. Negotiations with Israel have given us nothing but promises of autonomy over our impoverishment, while enforcing the will of the powerful and establishing illegalities, as the basis for a lasting settlement. The most glaring absence in this peace process was an honest peace broker. The United Nations has been unable to take steps to ensure the implementation of Palestinian rights. The world has offered not a single remedy for the numerous wounds the Palestinians have suffered; Washington repeatedly has used its veto in the Security Council to thwart the broad consensus calling for an international monitoring presence in the West Bank and Gaza. The relentless denial of Palestinian rights without an effective verbal or actual international response has left us acutely aware that self-defense is our only hope.

International law grants a people fighting an illegal occupation the right to use "all necessary means at their disposal" to end their occupation, and the occupied "are entitled to seek and receive support" (I quote here from several United Nations resolutions). Armed resistance was used in the American Revolution, the Afghan resistance against Russia (which the U.S. supported), the French resistance against the Nazis, and even in the Nazi concentration camps, or, more famously, in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Palestinian resistance arises out of a similarly oppressive situation. The degree of violent response varies from case to case, indeed, in many instances resistance is mainly non-violent. Despite all the odds against them, people resiliently continue to live, study, pray and plant crops in occupied land. In a few cases, they actively resist and resort to violence. This violent resistance may be defensive (and, thus, to my mind, morally acceptable), such as the resistance of the Jenin refugee camp fighters as Israeli death machines approached; or it may take the form of unacceptable offensive acts, such as the bombing of Israeli civilians celebrating a Passover meal.

In all cases, however, it is individual Palestinians who choose the form of resistance, and the choices they make should not characterize the entire nation. Also, as we have seen, both peaceful and violent resistance are met with sanctioned, deliberate state violence by the democratic and free Israeli government and its forces. The death of American peace activist Rachel Corrie is evidence enough of that.

"Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?" some people wonder. Our Gandhis are either in prison, in exile or in graves. Nor do we have a population in the hundreds of millions. We are 3.3 million unarmed, defenseless individuals facing 6 million Israelis, virtually all of them soldiers or reservists. This is not industrial colonization; the Israelis are practicing ethnic cleansing to secure the land for Jews alone.

It is ironic that few of those who exhort Palestinians to emulate Gandhi question Zionism, the root cause of the Israeli occupation. In 1938, however, Gandhi himself questioned the premise of political Zionism. "My sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice", he said. "The cry for the national home for the Jews does not much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and in the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after their return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?"

Gandhi clearly rejected the idea of a Jewish state in the Promised Land by pointing out that the "Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract".

Violent resistance arises from an inhuman military occupation, one that levies punishment arbitrarily and without trial, denies the possibility of livelihood and systematically destroys the prospects of a future. The Palestinian people have not gone to another people's homeland to kill or dispossess. Our ambition is not to blow ourselves up in order to terrify others. We are asking for what all other people rightfully have, a decent life in the land of our birth.

What is most troubling about the criticism of our resistance is that it cares little for our suffering, our dispossession, and the violation of our most basic rights. When we are murdered, these critics are unmoved. Our peaceful, everyday struggle to live a decent life makes no impression on them. When some of us succumb to retaliation and revenge, the outrage and condemnation is directed at us all. Israeli security is deemed more important than our right to a basic livelihood; Israeli children are seen as more human than ours; Israeli pain more unacceptable than ours. When we rebel against the inhuman conditions imposed upon us, our critics dismiss us as terrorists, enemies of human life and civilization.

But it is not to appease our critics that we must revisit our resistance. It is because we care about Palestinian morality and morale.

International law and the historical precedent of many nations sanction the right of a people suffering from colonial oppression to take up arms in their freedom struggle. Why should it be different in the case of Palestinians? Is not the point of international law that it is universal?

Americans claim life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as their most fundamental human rights. It is fitting that the right to life should be mentioned first. After all, without the right to remain alive, to be safe from attack, to defend oneself against attack, the other rights become meaningless. Fundamental to that right is exercising the right of self-defense.

We Palestinians continue to face a brutal occupation with exposed chests and empty hands. I believe in dialogue in the Israeli-Palestinian encounter, but negotiations should never be the only option; they must go hand-in-hand with resistance to the occupation. While the Israelis talk to us they continue to build settlements and hastily construct a wall that will further constrict and violate our rights. Why should we abandon our right to resist and remain living in the realm of the murderously absurd?

To live under oppression and submit to injustice is incompatible with psychological health. Resistance not only is a right and a duty, but is a remedy for the oppressed. Even if not as a strategic, pragmatic option, we should resist as an expression of, and insistence on, our human dignity.

Violent resistance must always be in defense, and as the last resort. It is important, however, to distinguish between permissible (military) and impermissible (civilian) targets, and to set limits for the use of arms. Nor must the oppressor be exempt from these same principles.

The history of our resistance must be explored and assessed from the perspectives of law, morality, experience and politics, taking timing and context into account and with due regard for human rights, international law and widely shared norms of behavior. Palestinians must be creative in providing effective peaceful alternatives for resistance that can invite the progressives of the world to join our struggle.

Ultimately, the strength of the Palestinian plight lies in its moral, humanitarian characteristics; it is to our benefit to find moral, humanitarian means to protect that strength.

Samah Jabr, M.D. is a native of Jerusalem.

Israel carrying out policy of ethnic cleansing by inducing
poverty, starvation, and cases of forceful expulsion, 20/10/2003

The Israeli construction of the West Bank apartheid wall is clearly a politically motivated maneuver intent on reshaping the West Bank, rendering a viable Palestinian state, and with it any lasting peace through a two state solution, impossible.

In reshaping the West Bank and slicing off huge portions of Palestinian land east of the 1967 border, Israel has also annexed thousands of Palestinians - Palestinians it is now trying to expel through forceful expulsion but also through destroying any remaining quality of life within this isolated area of land.

On October 2, the Israeli military released an order declaring all occupied West Bank land between the "security" wall and Israel's pre-occupation 1967 border a "Closed Zone". The order states that "no person will enter the (Closed Zone) and no one will remain there". Free access to the Closed Zone will only be granted to "Israelis". In this October 2nd order, General Moshe Kaplinski defines "Israelis" as any citizen of the state of Israel, resident of the state of Israel, and any one eligible to immigrate to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return, 1950. This means therefore, that while the 15,300 Palestinian residents in this 115 square km area, or those in adjoining communities who own agricultural land here (180,000 people) must now obtain highly unreliable permits to validate their existence, any Jewish person, from anywhere in the world, is quite free to come and settle on this land.

The order stipulates that all crossing into the isolated areas is prohibited unless a "permit" from the Occupation "Civil Administration" is obtained, which can only be done by land owners who "prove" that they have land residing behind the Wall or are "officially registered" workers. Farmers and residents are fearful however that were they to apply for "permits" the well-grounded reality is that they would be denied on the basis that their Jordanian land certificates will not be recognized - Israeli authorities are all too aware that the majority of Palestinian certificates are Jordanian since land registration in the West Bank took place under Jordanian rule prior to the 1967 Occupation.

On the ground this policy is already causing extensive suffering. The prevention of access to land has meant that many families are losing their livelihoods - farmers prevented access to their crops are forced to watch their untended crops rot - either that or see their produce stolen by settlers free to wonder through Palestinian lands.

The idea of applying for a permit to be on one's own land is rejected by Palestinians who have been on these lands for generations. Those few who have sought permits have been confronted with a haphazard policy of discrimination which randomly rejects applications for permits citing
various criteria yet at the same time failing to establish any formal

set of guidelines. Many heads of households for instance have already been denied permits to reside in their villages on the grounds that they were not born there. Furthermore those who are granted permits are not assured permanent residency rights - the permits are to be renewed from "time to time" as demanded by the Occupation Civil Administration.

Palestinian efforts to protest this latest stunt in Israel's ongoing colonization process have been met with severe punishment. The community of Jubara for instance lies west of the apartheid wall and is completely isolated within the de facto annexed area. Jubara has no schools or health facilities of its own, residents have always depended on reaching nearby Kafryat for such services yet residents are doing their utmost to defy the Occupation's system of expulsion and permits. As a result the village has remained under closure for more than sixteen days - no one is allowed in or out which, considering that all services are only available outside the village, is having stark consequences for the residents.

The obvious intention of the Israeli government is to see that the reality of forced poverty and starvation, brought on by the imposition of the wall and the new "closed zones" become so unbearable for communities in the northern West Bank that people choose to leave in the hope of finding a better life. The village of Jubara is just one of many cases being fatally affected in this latest attempt by Israel and it's military to cleanse the recently seized "closed zone" of all its Palestinian inhabitants and thus annex the land, and its existing illegal settlers to Israel proper.


Press Conference with Dr Mustafa Barghouthi, Director,
Health Development and Information Policy Institute, 16/10/2003

The purpose of the press conference was to present an update of conditions within the Occupied Palestinian Territories, after 3 years of the Second Intifada, which began on the 28th of September 2000. Israeli measures taken against the Palestinians have been and are perhaps more dangerous than those taken in 1948. Under Sharon's plan for the Palestinians, they may now be clustered in ghettoes over no more than 9% of historic Palestine. Although Palestinians are described as having thrown away opportunities for achieving their own state and peace, it is actually Israel that has destroyed all such opportunities. 45% of historic Palestine has been reduced to 9%, and this is not the end. They are actively seeking to decrease this amount even more.

Between the 29th of September 2000 and the 14th of October 2003, 2,654 Palestinians have been killed. Of this figure, 493 were children – one in every five killed was a child aged 17 years or younger. 47,000 have been injured. Of this, 2,500 will be permanently disabled, 500 of who are children. 100 children have lost their eyes due to being shot with rubber bullets. 279 people have been killed by Israeli assassinations - 132 were civilian bystanders and of this 32 were children and 25 were women.

In October 2003, Israeli occupation forces reinvaded Rafah (Gaza Strip) leaving 8 people dead; 114 destroyed refugee shelters; 117 damaged buildings; 120 demolished houses; and 1240 homeless. One of the youngest killed was 15 year old Sami Salah - shrapnel ripped his head off his body. This recent attack on Rafah has brought the total number made homeless in Rafah, since the start of the second Intifada, to 7,523. In the whole of the Gaza Strip, 11,987 have been made homeless.

There are now 482 Israeli military checkpoints across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, dividing the West Bank into 300 clusters and the Gaza Strip into 4 pieces. These checkpoints have resulted in 82 Palestinians dying because they have not been allowed to pass through checkpoints to access medical care. Of this figure, 27 were children. There have been 52 cases of women giving birth at checkpoints resulting in the death of 17 new born babies. Together with closures and checkpoints, curfews have imprisoned more than 2 million people in the homes.

The Apartheid Wall is playing a major role in the appropriation and annexation of Palestinian land, as it does not follow the Green Line. The first phase of the Apartheid Wall is now almost complete and it cuts deep into the West Bank. Land between the Wall and the Green Line is, as of a recent declaration made by the Israeli Army, a "closed zone". This area is only open to Israelis or people of Jewish origin. Palestinians living in these areas have to prove this, in order to be granted permission to remain living there. All other Palestinians are prevented from entering these areas. Once the Wall in the West Bank is complete, a total of 600,000 people will be isolated in this zone and 58% of the West Bank will be practically annexed by the Israelis. The wall will also be constructed within the West Bank, to take in Israeli settlements. This is an extremely dangerous development in the Israeli Policy. The Apartheid Wall is a clear indication of Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing - by annexing all this Palestinian land, the Israelis hope to force the Palestinians to leave.

In protest against the Wall, we are conducting a major campaign using the slogan "The Wall must Fall". During the week of the 9th of November, events are to be held in cities across the world including Florence, Rome, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, London, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Belfast, Dublin, Los Angeles, Seattle, and in Switzerland, Bahrain, Bangladesh, locations in Israel and in every Palestinian village/district affected by the Wall in order to draw attention to this clear violation of human rights and International Law.

With regards to current discussions in Geneva, what is being discussed is far from related to what is happening on the ground because they center on the possibility of a two state solution, however, the existence of the wall completely destroys this hope. What is really happening now is the destruction of the physical possibility of a Palestinian State. This is the destruction of the possibility of a two state solution and Sharon is engaging in the second stage of 1948. As the late Edward Said claimed, "We have been made the victims of the victims"


Israeli settlers are running terrorist organizations, 26/08/2003

Recent discoveries have revealed a shocking new dimension to the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Not only do Palestinian civilians experience attacks by the Israeli armed forces, but Jewish illegal settlers are also contributing to their inhumane oppression through terrorist attacks. Whilst the Israeli armed forces continue to impose "security" measures upon the Palestinians, underground Jewish terrorist cells seem to be flourishing.

Shahar Dvir-Zeliger, from the West Bank settlement of Edi Eid is one of nine settlers recently arrested for plotting, and carrying out, terror attacks against Palestinian civilians. Dvir-Zeliger is suspected of planning terror attacks against Palestinians, preparing dangerous materials and attempted murder. On Friday the 8th of August two Jewish settlers were also charged with possessing army explosives and preparing for a terrorist attack on Palestinian civilians. At least fifteen terrorist attacks have been carried out in Palestinian territories since April 2001, killing nine people.

These recent arrests have helped to expose the very real existence of a terror network within the settlements; however, Jewish terror attacks against Palestinians are certainly not a marginal phenomenon. One of the most horrific attacks was carried out by Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler who shot and killed 29 Palestinians, while they were praying in Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque in February, 1994. In the past two years, five bombs have also been planted in Palestinian cities and schools. Last May a Jewish terrorist cell was uncovered as it planed to bomb an Arab Hospital and a school. Shlomo Dvir, 26 and Yarden Morag, 25, both from the illegal Israeli settlement of Bat Ayin were apprehended whilst planting a powerful bomb near a Palestinian Girls school in occupied East Jerusalem. Just weeks later another bomb exploded in the courtyard of an Arab boy's school in Sur Bahir. In July 2001 a group calling itself "the committee for security on the roads" claimed responsibility for the killing of a Palestinian family in a drive-by shooting near the village of Idna. Similar groups were uncovered during the 1980s, and members were charged with plotting to blow up Arab buses and the Dome of the Rock. Only last month Israel publicly admitted that there were Jewish terror cells operating within the West Bank who they knew were responsible for a series of attacks on Palestinian civilians over the past years.

It is difficult to establish the extent of these Jewish terrorist organizations. Israeli authorities have forbidden the publishing of any real details and the security service, Shin Bet, claim their investigations are impeded due to the difficulty of penetrating the hard core of extremists living in the settlements. In truth, the resources and legal measures the Shin Bet and the police use against Israeli citizens living in the Palestinian territories are significantly weaker than any used against the Palestinians. And, with the existence of such organizations as Kah's illegal summer camps, where Jewish youth are taught how to bluff interrogation, it seems likely that last weeks exposures are just the tip of the iceberg.


illustration of A new designer flag for the state of Israel
A new designer flag for the state of Israel