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Note verbale dated 24 March 2004 from the Permanent Mission of Israel
to the United Nations Office at Geneva addressed to the secretariat of the
Commission on Human Rights
In view of Lebanon’s expected initiative to introduce at the sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights a draft resolution on Lebanese detainees in Israel, similar to its past initiatives at the Commission under agenda item 9, Israel would like to clarify the following.
Israel is not holding any Lebanese detainees as so-called “hostages” or for “bargaining purposes”. The Lebanese currently held in Israel are as follows:
Samir Kuntar, a renowned terrorist, is a prisoner serving a life sentence for five consecutive terms, in addition to 47½ years’ imprisonment following conviction by the Israeli District Court in Haifa in 1980 on charges of murder of three Israelis in a terrorist attack in the city of Naharia in 1979. The victims of his murderous attack were a father and his 4-year-old daughter, and a policeman on duty who tried to prevent the murder. In addition, Kuntar was convicted of the crimes of infiltration, membership in an unlawful organization, attempt to kidnap and kidnapping for the purpose of apprehension, as well as attempted murder.
Hamed Abu-Amra, a member of the Hizbollah terrorist organization, was apprehended in May 2003 on a ship smuggling firearms and weapons from Lebanon on its way to the Gaza Strip. He was indicted on charges of trading in firearms by the military court in Gaza, and is currently detained pending trial. When apprehended, Abu-Amra did not provide any formal documents attesting to his nationality, but claimed to be a Lebanese resident. Israel does not have any additional information as to the formal status of his nationality.
A third case involving a Lebanese national who entered Israel voluntarily in the beginning of 2004 is currently being dealt with by the Israeli authorities, which are also in contact with the relevant international humanitarian agencies.
In light of the above-mentioned facts, there is no basis for the Commission to entertain discussion on “Lebanese detainees” in Israel under agenda item 9.
The Permanent Mission of Israel requests that this document be circulated as an official document under item 9 of the agenda of the sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights.