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Punishing The Father For The Sins Of The Son

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

We want to share with you the well-founded statement of the Al Haq Human Rights Organization in Ramallah. After it, in the end of this mail, we also give the translation of a Gush Shalom statement sent yesterday to the Israeli press, immediately after the news of the arrest and planned deportation.

------- Forwarded message follows -------

Subject: Al-Haq Press Release # 132

Date sent: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 09:35:16 +0200

For Immediate Release Al-Haq Press Release # 132

19 July 2002

Al-Haq Condemns the Arrest and Threatened Deportation of

Family Members of Wanted Men and the Demolitions of their Homes

Israeli forces entered into the village of Tel and the Asker Refugee Camp, both near Nablus, and arrested family members of several wanted individuals. According to Israeli sources 21 men were arrested. However, at this time Al-Haq has only been able to confirm the identities of 17 of the men arrested. The army also destroyed the homes of two of the wanted men. According to Israeli sources a decision has been taken to deport the arrested men from the West Bank to Gaza. The implementation of this decision is awaiting final approval of Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein, but high-level government officials including Foreign Minister Shimon Peres have already raised their voices in support of the deportations.

According to Al-Haq’s fieldworker in Nablus Israeli forces entered into the village of Tel during the early hours of this morning and carried out raids on a number of homes in the village. One of the first homes searched was that of Naser‘idin Mustafa Asida. Naser is a member of Hamas and is wanted by the Israeli authorities on suspicion that he was connected with the attack near the settlement of Emmanuel earlier this week. Although the soldiers were unable to find Naser they arrested his father, Mustafa (62) and his four brothers: Abdul Nasser (34), Nasserallah (31), Qazem (23) and Assem (21). The soldiers also blew up Naser’s home using dynamite without allowing his family to remove any of their possessions. The explosion damaged another 20 homes located nearby, several of them seriously.

The homes of Sami Mohammad Samir Sht’ah and Assem Samieh Mohammad Assideh in Tel were also raided. Both men are wanted by the Israeli authorities on the suspicion that they are active in Hamas. Sami’s father, age 60, and his five brothers: Yacoub (35), Jihad (34), Osama (24) Abdul Allmo’ti (19), and Zeidan (16) were arrested, while Assem’s father, age 54, and brother Hazem (23) were arrested.

Another raid into Asker Refugee Camp was carried out simultaneously. The home of Ali Mohammad Ahmed Ajouri was both raided and destroyed. Ali is wanted by the Israeli authorities under the suspicion that he is a member of Fateh, and under the suspicion that he was involved in organizing the bombings that occurred in Tel Aviv earlier this week. Ali lived in a three-story building that was home to 26 people including six women and twelve children.

The Israeli forces that destroyed the building did not allow its residents to remove any of their possessions. The explosion damaged ten surrounding buildings, four of which are now too unstable to be lived in. As a result 62 people have been left homeless. Ali’s father, age 70, and two brothers Kifah (28) and Ahmed (30) were also arrested. Finally, Dr. Abdel Rahim Handali from Asker was arrested. His son Mohammad is on Israel’s wanted list.

Most of the men arrested are married and many of them have children. None of the men are wanted and Israel has made no claim stating that any of the men have been involved in attacks upon Israel. Their arrests are clearly meant to serve as a form of collective punishment and Israeli leaders have stated that they hope that if the men are deported to Gaza other Palestinians will be dissuaded from participating in actions against Israel and the Occupation. It must further be noted that the wanted family members of the men to be deported have also not been afforded due process before a court of law. Accusations have been made, but no evidence against these men has been made publicly available, they have not been charged, and they have not been tried in court.

These arrests follow the decision taken on June 21st by the Israeli political security cabinet to “in principle” allow the deportation of the families of individuals accused of having carried out suicide bombings and of Palestinian activists. This decision and Israel’s deportation policy were reported on by Al-Haq in an Urgent Action Alert from June 26th.

The Israeli authorities have used transfer and deportation as forms of punishment since taking control of the West Bank and Gaza, with the first transfers carried out in September of 1967. Numerous UN resolutions have condemned the policy and it stands in direct contravention of International Humanitarian Law. Israel has argued in the past that transfers may be carried out in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has stated that the alleged security threat posed by the individuals it has transferred or plans to transfer poses a threat to their ability to maintain control over the Occupied Territories and that the transfers should therefore be regarded as a military necessity. However, in claiming its authority to transfer Palestinians inside the territories under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel has ignored the limitations placed on such transfers. According to Article 49 the Occupying Power may only evacuate protected persons for “imperative military reasons” or for their own safety.

Article 49 also contains the requirement that persons subject to evacuation must be moved back to their homes as soon as possible.

Regarding the transfers currently under consideration, no justification can be found. The men who are to be transferred are not wanted, have not committed any criminal acts, and have never stood trial before a court. No evidence has been given to show that these men are security threats. They are being forced from their homes and families and may never have a right to be reunited with their relatives. These transfers are being advocated as a form of collective punishment that targets individuals because of their association or relations to a wanted individual, not because of their own guilt. Such collective punishment is prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention in Article 33, and by the Hague Convention of 1907 in Article 50.

The unlawful deportation or transfer of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention under article 147 and therefore qualifies as a war crime, and under Article 8, Paragraph 7 of the Rome statute the deportation or illegal transfer of individuals qualifies as a war crime.

Judicial procedures, run through the court system, allow for the trial and if necessary imprisonment of individuals considered a threat to the Occupying Power. The transfer or deportation of individuals accused of activities threatening to the Occupying power in effect ignores the judicial system and allows the political and military structures to impose punishments upon individuals who have not been provided with a right to defense or trial.

The demolition of the homes of those accused of either carrying out or planning attacks on Israel are also violations of the above mentioned articles prohibiting collective punishment. The destruction of the property and possessions of wanted individuals, their families and their neighbors can not be justified under the rubric of security, but are punitive measures that punish not a guilty individual, but instead punish persons accused of having committed crimes and those around them.

In light of these actions Al-Haq calls for the following:

1. The International Community should immediately call for the release of the men arrested today, should demand that Israel respects the rights of innocent individuals and should call upon Israel respect both local and international law.

2. The International Community must take immediate action by censuring Israel for these arrests and home demolitions and should censure Israel for its actions should Israel continue to blatantly disregard the rights of the Palestinian people.

3. The Security Council of the UN should meet to take concrete actions to force Israel to end its attacks upon the Palestinian people, and the UN General Assembly should convene in an Emergency Special Session to take action to ensure the immediate protection of the civilian Palestinian population.

[end of Al-Haq press release]

* * *

[The following is the translation of yesterday's Gush Shalom press release.]

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 -

Gush Shalom: Deportation of suicide bombers' family members is illegal, immoral and will increase the hatred

July 19, 2002

The idea of deporting the family members of suicide bombers is in contradiction to the basic principle of all judicial systems - that a person may not be punished for the acts of somebody else. Among other sources, this basic principle was introduced into world culture by the Bible, where it is often and forcefully expressed. The state of Israel now seems ready to discard that principle, bending the Israeli legal code in order to violate International law. The inability, or unwillingness on the side of our politicians to see suicide bombings for what they are: a result of a too-long-dragged-on occupation leads to Israel being branded as a barbaric country which tramples upon basic norms of behaviour. Implementation of this measure can further fan the flames of hatred.


Full transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site For Hebrew For English French available at request Also on the site: photo's - of action or otherwise informative the weekly Gush Shalom ad - in Hebrew and English the columns of Uri Avnery - in Hebrew, Arab and English (and a lot more)

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