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Palestine Media Center News in Brief - 4 June

The News in Brief

04 June 2002 Palestine Media Center - PMC

Find in today's Brief:

- President Arafat Meets Tenet, Urges End to Israeli Incursions
- PNA Fears PFLP Leader's Life if Released
- LAW Condemns Physical Abuse of Young Palestinian by Israeli Border Police

President Arafat Meets Tenet, Urges End to Israeli Incursions

President Yasser Arafat asked visiting CIA Director George Tenet to urge Israel to abide by UN Security Council resolutions and end it daily incursions into Palestinian cities and towns.

At a time during which American, European and international efforts are underway to bring about peace in the Middle East, Israel has persisted in its daily incursions, its closure, and its incessant aggression against a defenseless Palestinian People, with a devastated security apparatus.

During his meeting with Tenet in Ramallah today, 4 June, the President also outlined a plan for reforming Palestinian security services, proposing to halve their number and tighten supervision.

CIA Director George Tenet had arrived in Israel yesterday on mission to ensure reforms of the Palestinian security services, paralyzed by the recent Israeli incursions and invasions of Palestinian-controlled cities and towns. Yet the success of such a mission remains dubious while the Israeli occupation army continues its incursions and closure of Palestinian cities, which it has effectively divided into separated and isolated Bantustans.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials have made it clear that in order to achieve reforms, the international community, namely the United States, ought to adopt a more balanced policy that would call for an end to Israeli closure, confiscation of land, home demolitions, and killings of Palestinian civilians.

"By concentrating on Palestinian internal reform, this policy overlooks the Israeli crimes being committed on a daily basis and aims to place the ball in the Palestinian court instead of providing a balanced alternative, which holds Israel responsible for its crimes," stressed Minister of Culture and Information, Yasser Abed Rabbo, in a press conference yesterday.

PNA Fears PFLP Leader's Life if Released

The Palestinian leadership decided yesterday in its weekly meeting not to release the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Sa'adat, who is currently jailed in the West Bank town of Jericho, under the supervision of British and American wardens.

The Palestine National Authority High Court in Gaza ordered Sa'adat's release after they found no evidence linking him to the assassination of Israeli Tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi, as alleged by the Israeli government.

In an official statement, the Palestinian cabinet expressed "respect for the High Court of Justice decision" but announced that its ruling to release Sa'adat "cannot be implemented under these circumstances because of Israeli threats."

"President Arafat finds himself in a big dilemma because on the one hand, he has to respect the decision of the Court, and on the other hand, the Israeli government will exercise blackmail or try to assassinate or abduct Sa'adat" if he is released, said the Minister of Local Governoance, Sa'eb 'Erekat.

Immediately after the ruling was passed, Israeli occupation forces sealed off the city of Jericho, eyewitnesses confirmed. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday that he would take all "the necessary steps" to ensure that Sa'adat is not released from prison.

Israel Radio, suggesting a possible meaning of the "necessary steps" Sharon announced he would take, reported that Israeli officials were threatening to assassinate Mr. Sa'adat upon his release.

LAW Condemns Physical Abuse of Young Palestinian by Israeli Border Police

The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and Environment, LAW, issued a press release yesterday, condemning the physical abuse of a Palestinian youth by Israeli border police. It further demanded an official investigation into the measures taken by the policemen, who "should be tried and punished accordingly if they are found guilty".

According to LAW's report, on Saturday 1 June, 19 year-old Baker 'Allan, a resident of the Beit Hanina neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem, was beaten and physically abused by four Israeli Border Policemen for several hours. After they beat him, one of the policemen cut the 'Star of David' into his left arm, and an 'X' into his right cheek with a razor blade. He also scarred his forehead and beat him for several hours. 'Allan was detained for several hours before the Israeli policemen began chasing other Palestinians in the area.

At around 7 am that day, 'Allan went to work at a gas company, where he delivers gas barrels in Beit Hanina's Al-Fouka area. He used a dirt road to bypass the military roadblock in Beit Hanina. At that time, an Israeli military jeep appeared and the policemen started chasing those who took this road.

"I ran away quickly but unfortunately the four caught me on a hill behind the Nusseibeh buildings. They started to beat me up and pulled me on the top of the hill. They first scarred the Star of David on my left arm, then an X on my right cheek and they also scarred my forehead and kept on beating me until 10 o'clock. Suddenly, they saw other Palestinians go through the dirt road so they left me and chased them," recalled 'Allan.

'Allan stated that the Israeli Border Police did not ask him for his identity card or even his name throughout his detention. When he ran away and arrived at his home, his brother Samir took him to the Augusta Victoria Hospital where he was treated.

In light of the above, LAW stressed, the "military checkpoints, dirt piles and trenches constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

"Beyond the daily arbitrariness and the fear it involves, Palestinians are subject to daily harassment, humiliation, beatings and other forms of violence perpetrated by Israeli soldiers and Border Police at checkpoints or on dirt roads," added the human rights organization.

LAW further noted that in November 2001, the UN Committee Against Torture affirmed that the closure policy in certain circumstances, such as described above, "may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' in violation of Article 16 of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee recommended that Israel 'desist from the policies of closure... where they offend Article 16 of the Convention," which prohibits cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment.

"Any member of the security forces or police who has ordered or carried out an order to use cruel or degrading treatment must be brought to justice," it emphasized. It also demanded an official full investigation into the actions and measures carried out by the Israeli border policemen involved.

Finally, LAW reiterated its call on the Israeli government to end all acts that amount to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, whether they be in interrogation rooms, at military checkpoints or elsewhere. It further called on the Israeli government to ensure that the rights of Palestinian detainees are protected in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.


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