Question of Palestine home
31 July 1987
Item 76 of the provisional agenda*
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO
INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES AFFECTING
THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE POPULATION OF
THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Letter dated 30 July 1987 from the Permanent Representative of Jordan
to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I am transmitting to you you the most recent information on Israeli settlement operations, land confiscation and acts of aggression against Arab citizens and their property in the occupied Arab territories since June 1987. The most outstanding incident was the attack made by the Israeli settlers of Kiryat Arba on the Dheisheh camp for Palestinian refugees and their infliction of numerous losses, including the burning of a number of automobiles and the causing of damage to 10 houses in the above-mentioned camp. I set forth in the annex the details regarding these attacks and practices, which are in consonance with the implementation of Israeli settlement schemes, the oppression of the Arab inhabitants, their expulsion from their land and the appropriation of that land, in contravention of the principles of international law relating to military occupation and, in particular, the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. I wish to emphasize to you, and through you to the international community, the danger which the continuation of such a policy presents for international peace and security and for peace eftorts and prospects in the region.
I request you to have this letter and its annex circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 76 of the provisional agenda, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Abdullah SALAH
Establishment of Israeli settlements, confiscation of land and
acts of aggression against Arab citizens and their property during the month of June 1987
I. CONFISCATION OF LAND AND ESTABLISHMENT OF SETTLEMENTS
l. During June 1987, the Israeli occupation authorities confiscated land with a total area of 5,022 dunums in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as indicated below:
Area of land confiscated
Lands belonging to the village of Beit Dajn/Nablus
1 June 1987
Village of Salim/Nablus
1 June 1987
South-west of Khan Yunis/Rafah road
10 June 1987
Al-Baq'ah region, Tubas/Nablus
12 June 1987
2. The Israeli occupation authorities established three new settlements during June 1981. Two of them are located in the Nablus region, and one in the Jerusalem region. These are the following settlements,
(a) Har Arad settlement, close to Jerusalem: it is planned to erect 300 housing units and settle almost 1,200 Jewish families in them;
(b) Nahliel settlement, close to Nablus;
(c) A group of Jewish settlers broke into a former Jordanian Army camp in the Al-Mas'udiyah area, between the villages of Barqah and Sebastian, Nablus district, in order to take possession of it, and settled in the area with all their settlement equipment;
(d) The Gush Emunim movement has decided to establish two new settlements over the next two months at Tulkarm and Hebron. The Avni Hefitz settlement will be installed 3 km east of Tulkarm, and a major settlement town extending over more than 1,000 dunums will thus be established. The second settlement is to be established south of Mount Hebron and 150 Jewish families are to be installed there.
II. ATTACKS ON ARAB LAND DURING JUNE 1987
The Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories have been subjected during June to numerous attempts to to dispossess them of their land, and have also been victims of acts of destruction committed by the Israeli Army and the Jewish settlers, which have taken various formal earth-moving works on agricultural land, uprooting of fruit trees and olive trees, burning of orchards and crops. These acts of aggression are detailed below:
1. Israeli settlers from the Alon Moreh settlement attacked Arab lands belonging to the neighbouring vi llage of Azmut, setting fire to numerous olive-trees;
2. "Unknown persons" uprooted 2,400 olive and other trees on the lands of the village of Batun, close to Beit Furik, Nablus district. The Israeli authorities had previously informed the owner, Mrs. Leila Sadek Al-Bazzari, that they intended to rent the lands in question, and that she should therefore leave;
3. Using bulldozers, the Israeli water company Mekarot undertook earth-moving works on agricultural land belonging to the inhabitants of the village of Al-Abidiyah, in Bethlehem district, for the purpose of extending the water supply network to the Israeli settlement at Maale Adumim;
4. A group of Jewish settlers from the Hebron region attacked the land of a resident of the village of Yata, Hebron district, Mr. Khalil Muhammad Hasan Abidat. They set fire to the cultivated land, causing loss of all the crops as well as other substantial damage;
5. Equipped with bulldozers, the Israeli occupation authorities undertook earth-moving works and the uprooting of fruit trees on land covering an area of about 45 dunums located in Za'tarah region, close to the town of Yassuf (Nablus district). The Israeli authorities intend to annex this land, which belongs to 50 Arab families, to the Taqu' settlement established on land belonging to Yassuf.
III. ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE SETTLEMENT POLICY
1. Last June Jewish settlers of the Hebron region conducted a ferocious attack on the population of the town and neighbouring camp of Dheisheh. The pro-settlement Jewish movements and the extreme right-wing parties in Israel are not satisfied with the acts of harassment and terrorism committed by the settlers against the defenceless Arab inhabitants, but are calling for a stepping-up of Jewish settlement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and for the strengthening of the "iron fist" policy imposed on the Arab inhabitants.
Following a meeting of its leaders, the pro-settlement Gush Emunim Movement has decided not to condemn the acts of terrorism committed by some of its members and by members of the Kach party in Dheisheh camp. Gush Emunim stated that a popular effort for the maintenance of security was required, and the Movement's leadership decided to establish a special committee on security responsible for drawing up a plan comprising new measures for the maintenance of order and making recommendations for submission to the Israeli Government and the Army with a view to strengthening the individual and collective penalties, including expulsion, imposed on those the Movement terms "Arabs disturbing order in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip".
2. The Council of the Kiryat Arba settlements has adopted a decision relating to the acts of aggression on the night of 6 June in Dheisheh camp from which it appears that the persons who went to the camp on that night should be regarded as having accomplished a million of the highest importance and that such missions should not be disowned but given moral and material support.
3. During a meeting with members of the National Religious Party, Reuren Rolenblatt, Chairman of the Council of the Gush Qatif settlements in the Gaza Strip, supported the annexation of the Gaza Strip to Israel and called on the Ministers and Deputies who are members of the Party, as well as on the leaders of the Gush Emunim movement, to seek to mobilize 1,500 Jewish families over the next two years to go and live in the settlements established in the Gaza Strip.
4. The right-wing movement Ha Tehiya has called on the leaders of the Likud bloc and on the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to step up the establishment of settlements in the occupied Arab territories and has threatened to bring down the Coalition Government, to put a motion of censure to the vote and to call for new elections to be held if the Government does not undertake tho establishment of a series of new Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Likud has responded to the demands of the Israeli movements and parties which are in favour of stepping up the settlement policy in the person of its representative, Knesset member Haim Kaufman, who announced the Government's intention to implement a major settlement programme under which 100,000 Jews would settle in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In Mr. Kaufman's statement, published in the Jerusalem daily
for 20 June 1987, it was indicated,
, that the purpose of this plan was to improve Israel's economic situation, complete the implementation of the "Trans-Samaria" highway project, designed to construct a network of major roads running the length of the West Bank, and to disperse the Arab agglomerations by separating them from one another by building lateral secondary roads branching out from the main highway. It should be recalled in this respect that the Israeli Minister of Housing, Mr. David Levy, stated at the opening ceremony of the Nahliel settlement in the Nablus region that his Ministry would now seek to install 1,600 new housing units in the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
5. The volume of resources allocated to Jewish settlement and settlers in the occupied Arab territories has been indicated by Israeli sources. This disclosure took place during a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Knesset on 15 June 1987. On this occasion, Knesset member Mr. Haim Ramon, representative of the Ma'arach, revealed that the Israeli Government had spent more than $2 billion on settlement of the occupied territories since 1967 and that more than $400 million had been allocated to that objective during the first two years of the current Coalition Government (1985-1987). Mr. Ramon added that in 1981 the amount of public funds allocated to Jewish settlers, who then numbered no more than 30,000, was higher than the total funds the Government had spent on the Arab inhabitants of the occupied Arab territories from the beginning of the occupation up until 1981. Yigal Cohen-Orgad, a Knesset member belonging to the Likud, for his part stated that the Israeli Government was spending annually on the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip an amount ranging between $200 million and $300 million.
6. Mr. Matattiahu Drobles, head of the Settlement Department of the World Zionist Organization, stated that as of that date 132 Jewish settlements had been established in the occupied West Bank and that 70,000 people were already living in those settlements. He further indicated that new settlements had been established: 25 in the Jordan valley, 15 in the Gaza Strip and 32 in the Golan Heights. Mr. Drobles indicated that the settlement plan of the Jewish Agency was currently focused on establishing new collective settlements on the West Bank, as well as on strengthening the settlements already existing there. He further revealed that a third of the investments allocated to the regions beyond the "Green Line" (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) would be devoted to the implementation of that new plan. Furthermore, the Chief of the Youth Department of the Jewish Agency, Mr. Eliezer Sheffer, announced that his Department would be co-operating with the Settlement Department with a view to the establishment in the Jerusalem region of a new settlement called "Tel Or", which would serve as a Jewish cultural and artistic centre and would be designed to absorb new Jewish immigrants coming from the United States of America.
IV. ATTACKS AGAINST ARAB CITIZENS AND THEIR PROPERTY
Incidents at Dheisheh
On 6 June 1987, over a hundred armed Jewish settlers from the settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjoining the town of Hebron, invaded the Palestinian refugee camp of Dheisheh, where a clash ensued between the armed terrorists and the defenceless inhabitants of the camp, who armed themselves with stones. The settlers had decided to take revenge on the inhabitants of the camp because stones had been thrown at some Israeli military vehicles passing along the main Jerusalem-Hebron highway. The settlers isolated the camp area, using care to barricade the main road opposite the camp. A group of settlers stationed at this point proceeded to stop Arab cars, striking the passengers and smashing the windows. At the same time another armed group invaded the camp, opened fire on the houses and their windows and smashed the windows of shops and vehicles. Meanwhile the settlers chanted racist slogans calling for revenge against the Arabs. The security forces and Israeli troops stationed opposite the camp did not intervene to stop the actions of the Jewish settlers. Their turn came, however, when a number of families from the camp demonstrated in protest against the armed attack: at this point the Israeli troops entered the camp and broke up the demonstration, firing shots and tear-gas shells. They then imposed a curfew on the camp. As a punishment, the Israeli forces on 10 June 1987 barricaded one of the entrances to the camp, using reinforced concrete, and erected a 6-metre-high barbed-wire fence for a distance of 500 metres along the side of the camp facing the main highway. It should be noted that the settlers who had attacked Dheisheh were very well organized. They had vehicles, communications equipment and modern weapons, whereas the besieged families of the camp possessed no means of self-defence. As the settlers attacked the camp with their machine-guns and automatic rifles, their womenfolk carried hammers which they used to smash the windows of the cars and shops.
Meir Kahane, leader of the racist Kach Party, commended the Jewish settlers who had attacked Dheisheh. He promised to work together with the Gush Emunim Movement for the release of the six settlers who were still imprisoned; Israeli troops had detained 13 armed settlers who had taken part in the attack, subsequently releasing seven of them. In his speech, which he gave in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, Kahane also called for acts of violence against the inhabitants of the camp. He cited one Jewish terrorist, a member of the Zionist organization Etzel, who is considered a national hero in Israel for having placed a bomb in the market-place of the Holy City, the explosion of which had caused the death of 27 Arabs. Kahane went on to say that "we must become heroes of Israel... we must place bombs in Dheisheh".
2. In the context of the attacks which occurred during June, it should be mentioned that, on 4 June 1987, an armed group of Jewish settlers attacked Arab property in the market-place of Hebron and carried out provocative acts against Arab citizens of the town. The settlers forced the Arab shopkeepers to leave their shops, and then proceeded to damage and destroy their contents.
In addition, Jewish students from the religious school in the Aqabah al-Khalidiyah quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem carried out further attacks against Arab citizens. At the beginning of June, a group of the students threw stones and hurled verbal abuse and insults at Arab citizens in various parts of Jerusalem.
3. Jewish settlers in the town of Hebron attacked the owner of a shop in Shilalah street, in the Arab part of the town, and smashed the windows of the shop.
4. On 2 June 1987 a group of religious Jews threw stones at an Arab vehicles in the Ramat Eshkol quarter of the city of Jerusalem, smashing the windscreen and wounding the passengers. On 16 June 1987, in the same district, religious Jews attacked and damaged a car belonging to an Arab citizen.
5. A group of Jewish settlers carried out an attack on property belonging to Arab citizens in the Shuja'iyah quarter of Gaza City, breaking the windows of houses, cars and stores. Another group of about 50 settlers attacked the drivers of two cars carrying Arabs from the eastern part of Gaza City, seriously wounding the drivers and damaging the body-work of the cars.
6. A number of inhabitants of the settlement of Melilot in the Gaza Strip threw atones at the houses of Arab citizens situated near their settlement, smashing some of the windows.
7. Inhabitants of the settlement of Netivot, situated on the road between Beersheba and Gaza, stoned Arab cars coming from the Gaza Strip, smashing some of the car windows.
8. Israeli extremists attacked an Arab worker from the Beach camp in the Gaza Strip while he was in Tel Aviv.
9. In the town of Asqalan, an Arab youth from Gaza City was stabbed and seriously wounded by Israelis.