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Home > Issue 28: Democratic Formation in Palestine Periodic Reports (18) & (19) >

Israeli Practices: Are they classified under the term "War Crimes"?

2006-02-11
by Nassir Yaqoub

The Palestinian people are one of the mostly victimized people by war crime practices carried out at a large scale against them by successive Israeli governments and by the aggressive war which was staged by the Occupation against Palestinians, their lands and property. In order to keep on struggling and defending their rights, Palestinians have searched for any means, method and platform to enable them to put an end to their suffering, stop Israeli practices against them and incriminating Israeli officials for such acts.

On the other hand, the Israelis are becoming more vicious and strongly resist any attempts to launch an investigation into their practices, army measures and settler s hostile acts against Palestinians to look into the possibility of considering them as war crimes. Also those responsible for carrying out such crimes should be considered war criminals who should be properly prosecuted. When a journalist asked the head of the Israeli delegation Elyakim Rubinstein who withdrew from the deliberations of the International Criminal Tribunal about whether it would be possible to submit names of settlers to the Interpol or a specialized party which will carry out its role in arresting them as war criminals. His comment was, The intentions of this tribunal; he means the International Criminal Tribunal - exceed the settlers themselves to include decision makers."

There are several outlets for Palestinians to follow and benefit from in this context. For example, they resort to :

  • International Criminal Tribunal whose basic constitutional laws were approved in 1998 and it is known as Rome Constitutional Law.
  • National Courts in States which permit discussion of Genocide crimes and war crimes within the frame work of the Comprehensive Judiciary of the State like Belgium and Switzerland.
  • United Nations.
  • Fourth Geneva Convention and appended Protocols.

Since this article doesn t aim at discussing the procedural laws and by laws, offering explanations and reviewing mechanisms of specialized bodies, it is worth to draw attention to the crimes that can be followed up. They are:

  • Genocide Crimes
  • Crimes against Humanity
  • War Crimes

From a Palestinian point of view, they can greatly benefit from the last two topics since most practices carried out by the Israeli occupation come under the concept of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity; it includes torture, killing, kidnapping, assassination, dislocation of citizens, house demolition, shelling of civilian areas, some kinds of weapons, settlements, checkpoints, barring patients from reaching hospitals, depriving the injured of treatment and the list is very long.

Consequently, there are mechanisms and possibilities to follow and sue Israeli War Criminals in relation to their actions against Palestinians and prosecuting them either individually or collectively. This maybe due to the fact that the mechanism to implement such action at a larger and more systematic scale was not tried out except in some cases.

The notion of this subject matter is based on reviewing instances and cases which show how Palestinians fell victims to vicious acts which should not be ignored and the persons responsible for carrying out should not be immune from punishment and indictment.. Three different and varied cases have been chosen in order to document Israeli crimes.

First case: Shelling a residential area in Darag Neighborhood in Gaza; Assassination of Martyr Salah Shehadeh.

  • Brief background about the Political Situation:

F-16 jetfighter bombarded a residential area in Darag Neighborhood in Gaza; it was completely destroyed and many citizens were killed; this crime comes within the framework of a deliberate, systematic and genuine Israeli attack against civilians and premeditated killing. The crime took place at a crucial time which makes it as important as the ugliness of the crime itself. This crime took place following a relative calm in the previous weeks after the execution of Palestinian military operations and the drop in the level of acts of violence between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. International bodies like the United States, European Union, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have exerted special efforts to introduce security reforms in the Palestinian National Authority. Direct contacts between Palestinian factions have been resumed. The PLO started negotiations with Hamas Movement in order to declare a unilateral ceasefire. Few weeks before happening of the crime, the Palestinian arena had witnessed internal debate on the use and effectiveness of military operations in Israel. Alistair Crook, the head of the European Security Team contacted Palestinian factions especially Fatah movement to launch a new political initiative in which the Palestinian side issues a unilateral ceasefire statement. The European ex-envoy to the Middle East supported this proposal. Crook contacts included Hamas movement whose leader Ahmad Yassen announced that his movement was ready to reconsider halting operations in Israel and to consider joining a stipulated ceasefire. After consultation with PLC member Marwan Barghouti while in detention, he approved the initiative and put his signature on the initiative. The initiative was due to be published very soon on 25 July2003 in three languages: Arabic, Hebrew and English in local newspapers in Palestine and abroad.

The Israeli government by committing this ugly crime which targeted a civilian neighborhood and assassinating Sheikh Salah Shehaddeh one of Izz Ad Din Qassam Brigade- Military wing of Hamas Movement, has pulled the acts of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis back to square one.

  • Israeli Objective behind Committing the Crime

The Israeli government under the leadership of Ariel Sharon targeted the assassination of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh after it had postponed his assassination decision several times ( 6-8 times according statements of the then Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer).

The Israeli government has achieved another objective indicated by several politicians and analysts which is to bombard the relative calm in the past weeks in order to prevent what Palestinians and Europeans were planning to declare which is a political initiative to declare a unilateral ceasefire since the initiative was scheduled to be published in the important newspapers in Arabic, Hebrew and English in the world.

The Israelis have also achieved another target which is to continue the Israeli army presence/occupation of Palestinian cities for a longer duration and to avoid any possibilities for any withdrawals from the West Bank cities under the pretext of preventing any possible operations following a wave of rage that broke out in the Palestinian street in protest of the execution of the crime in Gaza and the broadcast of live footage of the crime and painful outcomes especially what had happened to the two month old child who passed away as a result of the shelling. Her picture was repeatedly broadcasted by Television station inducing Palestinians and Factions to make vows and threats calling for retaliation.

3.Information related to the crime:

1. Type of crime:

  • Premeditated killing (assassination) of Sheikh Salah Shehaddeh a member of Izz Ad Din Qassam Brigade- the military wing of Hamas Movement.
  • Deliberate attack and drop of a 1000 kg bomb(missile) on a two storey house and against a civilian location which does not constitute a military target whatsoever, killing of 15 civilians and wounding of about 150 other civilians (according to some sources 80 injured).
  • A mass killing of civilians and state terror since it represents a systematic pattern which includes a repeated implementation of such acts against civilian agglomerates and which are adopted and authorized by the Israeli government policy against property and innocent civilians.
  • Killing of women, children and old aged people as a result of the raid.

2. Crime Scene

Darag Neighborhood-Gaza city

3.Date of crime

Tuesday morning 23 July 2003

4.Time of Crime and duration

At 12:30 a.m. , a clever heavy bomb weighing about 1000 kg was dropped. The rescue operation of the civilian citizens under debris which was carried out by Health Ministry teams and Palestinian Civil Defense lasted for three days.

5.Victims

15 martyrs and about 150 injured some sustained serious wounds according to Palestinian sources.

Amnesty International confirmed the death of at least 15 persons 9 of which are children and 80 others wounded. 5 of the dead children belonged to one family. The two floor building in which Salah Mustafa Shehadeh lived was leveled down together with 4 other nearby houses.

Victims:

  • Dead

1.Salah Mustafa Shehadeh (50 years)

2.Laila Khamis Safira ( 40 years) Salah s wife

3.Iman Salah Mustafa shehadeh (15 years their daughter

4.Salih Abu Husain Nassar (47 years) Sheikh Salah s assistant( All four victims were in one flat)

5. Muna Fahmi Huwati (30 years)

6. Subhi Mahmud Huwati ( 4 years)

7. Mohammad Shawah (40 years)

8. Ahmad Mohammad Shawa (3 years)

9. Iman Hasan Matar( 27 years)

10. Ayman Raid Matar( 18 years)

11. Mohammad Raid Matar( 4 years)

12. Diana Raid Matar( 5 years)

13. Dunia Rami Matar( two months)

14. Ala Mohammad Mohammmad (11 years)

15. Dalia Matar ( 6 years)

b. Injured

The number of injured exceeds 80 (their full names can be given)

c. Demolioshed Houses

As for demolished houses, their number was four ( more details are available)

  • Reasons for Direct Orders and Repercussions of the Operation

Israeli Harae tz newspaper published on 24 July 2003 that general orders to assassinate senior members in Hamas movement were discussed at the small Israeli cabinet meeting. Salah Shehadeh s name was on the assassination list; the very much reduced cabinet ( Sharon, Ben Eliezer and Shabak) discussed the topic and approved it.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the then Minister of defense Binyamin Ben Eliezer approved on Monday July 22 the assassination of Salah Shehadeh hours before implementation of the raid since authorization was hastily carried out by their military secretaries following an army report that there was a good opportunity to carry out the operation; so Ben Eliezer before his plane took off from London to Israel approved the assassination. Authorization to use Jet fighters was granted since the small cabinet decisions authorize Sharon and Ben Eliezer to use this technique up to their discretion.

Following the publication of the number of the victims and the injured in the aftermath of the operation, the Israeli government abstained from giving any official comment on the subject. The Israeli Army issued the next day a statement of apology; both the army and the Ministry of Foreign affairs held a press conference for foreign and local correspondents in which they demonstrated the Israeli version of the incident.

It focused on the fact that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Minister of defense Benyamin Ben Eliezer blamed the Intelligence especially Shabak which provided the information that stated the absence of civilians in spite of the fact that Darag Neighborhood is famous for its over crowdedness.

There was a controversy on the nature of the examination and scrutiny of the assassination plan and the reason behind using a 1000 kg bomb to carry out the assassination mission instead of using a shell or a missile to cause fewer damages. Also there was an argument concerning the deliberations that took place before the operation between the army, Shabak and the political level. These deliberations lead to the use of a heavy weight bomb- a suggestion made by the army and backed by Shabak.

Besides denying that there were civilians, the Israeli version claimed that it did not expect the massive destruction caused by the bomb on the nearby houses since Salah Shehadeh s house consists of two storeys it could have been destroyed by an apache missile. The collaborator Akram AzZatma confirmed informing officials in the Shabak that the area was residential and over-crowded.

The rhetoric and accusations between Sharon,Benyamin Ben Eliezer, the Shabak and the Army were nothing but a play meant to mislead and not to hold any side responsible for the crime.

  • Direct Officials:
    • F-16 fighter pilot and head of Israeli Air Force General Dan Holuts
    • Chief of General Staff Lt.General Moshe Ya alon
    • Minister of Defense Binyamin Ben Eliezer
    • Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
    • Intelligence Agents- Shabak Officer nick named "Abu Ihab" who contacted collaborator Akram AzZatma when the latter informed the former about the presence of Salah Shehadeh in his house which was over crowded.
    Exhibits:

Several documents can be provided as exhibits:

      • Confessions of Akram Mohammmad Nathmi AzZutma (22 years). He had a leading role in the assassination of the martyr Salah Shehadeh.
      • Articles which contradict Israeli claims about not knowing about the presence of civilians.
      • Israeli reports on not targeting children and civilians and considering them as victims of an armed conflict.
      • Israeli instigation and the declared justifications to harm Palestinian civilians

    Second Case: Demolition of historical buildings and houses in Hebron

    • Brief background about the political situation:

    The Israeli policy in Hebron is based on expanding confiscated lands to connect Kiriyyat Arba settlement with Ibrahami Mosque. When implemented, this policy means expelling and evacuating thousands of Palestinian residents of Hebron from their houses, stores and gardens. Attacks targetted historical and archeological buildings.

    Documents have revealed the existence of policies already implemented by settlers and backed by the Israeli army and the political level. The policy encouraged settlers to harass, attack and disturb Palestinian residents in Hebron. The army backs settlers in pressuring Palestinians by imposing curfews for long periods, blocking secondary and main streets to prevent Palestinian cars from using them under the pretext of providing security to settlers and combating Palestinian terror.

    The Aqsa Intifada and the armed operation against the Israeli army called "Death Alley Battle" have given the settlers more justifications to go ahead with what they are doing. In this armed operation, an armed exchange of fire between three Islamic Jihad militants and Israeli military forces(Border Police, Kiriyyat Arba Security guards ) lead to the death of 12 Israeli soldiers and three militants after a battle which lasted for four hours and a half. The battle took place on Friday in the middle of October 2002. This has provided the settlers and the Israeli army with more excuses to confiscate lands and demolish houses to provide security to settlers.

    In this context, the Israeli army issued on 29 November2002 a military order ( no.2/61/th to open a 6-12 meters wide street which connects Kirryat Arba with the Ibrahami Mosque; it ordered the demolition of 22 houses including a group of historical and archeological buildings in Jabir Neighborhood in Hebron; their historical value dates back to Mamluki and Ottoman periods.

    The main reason behind all the tension, acts of violence with all complications , acts of killing and demolition of houses in Hebron is due to the presence of Kiriyyat Arba settlement which is inhabited by 450 settlers who are both extreme and racist and are guarded by army soldiers, border police and settlement security guards whose number is triple the settlers number. They are main the cause for the crises and conflicts which are happening between the settlers who are backed by the army and politicians on one side and the Palestinian residents on the other side.

    • Israeli aims behind the Intended Crime
      • Providing security to Kiriyyat Arba settlers while they are heading to perform prayers in Ibrahimi Mosque and on their trip back.
      • Constructing a 6-12 meters wide street between the settlement and the Ibrahimi Mosque.
      • Evacuating Palestinian residents from their houses in Hebron and expelling them from the whole city.
      • Demolishing the group of historical buildings ( 22 houses) in Jabir Neighborhood. These houses date back to the Mamluke and Ottoman periods especially in the period between the two centuries 15 and 19.
      • Destruction of the architectural make up of the buildings of the Old city in Hebron and removal of a part of the surroundings of the Ibrahimi Mosque; Damaging the cultural heritage in the area which International conventions and agreements stressed the need to conserve and safeguard to be safely transferred to the next generation.
      • Harm Palestinian official and national efforts to rehabilitate and revitalize historic buildings.
    • Information Related to the Crime
      • Type of Crime:
    • Evacuate Palestinian residents from their houses and stores in Jabir Neighborhood; make 110 members living in 8 houses out of the 22 houses to be demolished homeless. The Military order ( no. 61/2/th states that a group of historical buildings representing part of the cultural and architectural heritage are to be demolished. International conventions and agreements state that it is essential to preserve such heritage and transfer it to coming generations since the endangered houses date back to the 15 and 19 centuries.
    • Persecution of a group of residents and deliberately depriving them of their basic rights since they are Palestinians.
    • Confiscation of lands by a military order.
    • Damage the cultural and Palestinian heritage.

    2. Crime Scene:

    Jabir Neighborhood- Hebron

    3. Date of Crime:

    Israeli Defense Force issued a military order ( no 61/2/th) signed by the Military Leader of the West Bank region on 29 November 2002 authorizing the construction of a 6-12 meter wide street between Kiriyyat Arba settlement and Ibrahimi Mosque. The order included an order to demolish a group of historical buildings in Jabir Neighborhood. The order is known as, " Order regarding laying hand on Land number 61/2/th ( Judea and Samaria 2002 ) effective upon signature until 31 December 2004.

    4. Victims and damages resulting from the Crime:

    • The implementation of this Israeli Military Order will result in the demolition 22 houses (a detailed description of the houses including number of rooms, floors, names of owners, historical and archeological value and date of construction are available). It is worth mentioning that not all houses are inhabited.
    • Confiscation of large areas of land.
    • Expelling residents who live in the endangered houses since 110 members live in 8 houses out of 22 endangered houses.
    • Exerting more and more pressure on the residents in that area by blocking side streets, imposing curfew for long periods and preventing residents from movement in order to guard 450 settlers living in Kiriyyat Arba. In order to keep 450 settlers alive, the whole population of Hebron city are subject to torture and suffering.

    5. Officials who are directly responsible:

    • Head of Israeli Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria General Moshe Kaflinsky Alof
    • Chief of General Staff Lt. General Moshe Ya alon
    • Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz
    • Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

    6. Exhibits:

    It is possible to produce the following documents:

    • Israeli Military Order no. 61/2/th in Hebrew and its translation into Arabic.
    • Air maps and other maps showing the intended street to be constructed between Kiriyyat Arba and Ibrahimi Mosque.
    • Names of historical houses, descriptions, names of owners and inhabitants.
    • A statement by Hebron Renovation Committee explaining the military order.
    • Local, Arab and International activities to oppose and cancel the military order( Arab Archeologists, Hebron Renovation Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, International Organizations)
    • Articles showing the premeditated Israeli intentions to demolish houses in Hebron and the existence of a plan to confiscate houses and lands and to increase Palestinian suffering,
    • Articles on the direct reasons behind taking the Israeli Military Order ( Death Alley Battle).

    Third Case: Systematic Destruction and direct targeting of Civilian Houses in Jenin Camp

    • Brief background about the political situation:

    The Palestinian Intifada has entered a new stage in March 2002 when the Israeli Army invaded Palestinian cities and besieged President Arafat in Ramallah. In retaliation for the series of operations carried out by Palestinians 2 leading to the loss and injury of tens of Israelis, the Israeli Army besieged President Arafat in his Muqata Complex and made incursions through Qalqiya, Tulkarm and besieged Nativity Church and the rest of Palestinian Districts.

    It was clear that the Israeli Army wanted to each the head of Jenin Refugee Camp in his large scale operations since the camp represents one of the elements of the Iron Triangle, Hornets Nest or Devils Hiding Place as described by Israelis. The camp itself had already undergone four incursions. The camp total population is 14000 individuals (more precisely 13600) who have roots in 40 cities and villages destroyed in 1948. The camp area does not exceed 160 Dunoms ( other sources state its area is 374 Dunoms); it is characterized by its narrow alleys and streets. Hawashin Quarter lies in the heart of the Camp and it is distinguished for its over-crowdedness ( about 2 thousand inhabitants).

    The Israeli Army attacked the camp after it entered Jenin on Wednesday 3 April 2002 at 3:00 a.m. from three axes; it used more than 200 tanks and Armored Personnel carriers (APC), 4 Apache Helicopters and an F16 jet fighter; it was claimed that the last did not launch any attacks. Nahhal Brigade took part in the operation , and they were backed by an elite force from Joulani battalion but were replaced later by a unit from Joulani, Gibati and Special Force units after the sixth day-April9 and the loss of 14 Israeli soldiers. The most important and serious development took place in the camp which was only defended by a group of 150 Lightly armed ( Kalashnikov, M-16 and one RBG missile launcher) Palestinian militants assisted by scores of civilians and youths. This development took place when the Israeli army brought 12 bulldozers (other accounts say 18 bulldozers and another states that there were 22 bulldozers; a fourth source mentioned that there were 40 bulldozers brought from Ramallah and Gaza) which started its attack on Dahab Neighborhood in order to reach Hawashin Neighborhood and divided it into four squares in order to besiege the militants. The ex-Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz and the then Defense Minister Benyamin Ben Eliezer directly supervised and run the operation.

    The militants either surrendered or died after they ran out of ammunition; many were executed and many ambulances were prevented from reaching the injured or taking them to hospitals.

    News agencies reported that the one who was in charge of putting the plan to invade the camp was M ir Daghan. However, after April 9 and the death of 14 Israeli soldiers, the plan was modified and a camp wipe out policy of the houses was adopted.

    • Purpose of the Military operation implemented in Jenin Camp

    It appeared from the Israeli address that there was a group of objectives to be fulfilled by this operation.

      • Reduce the danger of Terror by delivering a strike to the infra structure of terror in Jenin camp.
      • Liquidation and arrest of Palestinians accused of planning operations or participating in resistance.
      • Searching for Weapons and bombs hiding places and workshops in the camp and dismantling them.

    There is another objective which appears in the size of devastation in the camp and the harm inflicted upon its civilians. It is represented in an attempt to curb and quell the high spirits of Palestinians in Jenin Camp after they defended its several times against previous incursions and inflicted losses among Israelis.

    3. Information related to the Crime

    1. Type of Crime:

    It is possible to discuss several cases of crimes committed in the camp. The choice in this article was on one crime which is the crime of systematically demolishing civilian houses and directly targeting their inhabitants by killing them especially what had happened in Hawashin Neighborhood which lies in the heart of the camp and Gorat Dahab Neighborhood which leads to the first neighborhood.

    The policy of demolishing Palestinian civilians houses is a repeated pattern carried out by the present Israeli government headed by the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the preceding governments. He followed the government policy. What was meant to happen in Jenin was the premeditated killing of residents and inflicting large scale devastation of property and delivering direct strikes and blows to civilian residents and their houses in addition to starving them and increasing their sufferings by preventing them from receiving treatment and reaching hospitals.

    This crime included a deliberate intention to impose new living conditions on civilians like depriving citizens of obtaining food and medication in order to starve part of the camp inhabitants.

    As a result of the policy adopted by the Israeli State, Palestinians were expelled and forcefully evacuated from their houses and transferred to nearby villages like Rumana, Zaboba, Taiba and Burqin.

    This crime of house demolition included a testimony made by a driver of one of the bulldozers in which he deliberately inflicted severe pain , suffering and death on residents of the demolished houses by destroying them while their inhabitants were still inside.

    2. Crime Scene:

    Jenin Camp- Gorat Dahab and Hawashin Neighborhoods.

    3. Date of Crime:

    9-12 April 2002 (75 successive hours)

    4. Time and Duration of the Crime:

    The crime of "Kirdy Bir"" Moshe Nassim, the D-9 bulldozer driver lasted for 75 consecutive hours. He drove the bulldozer while he was drunk although he didn t previously how to drive a bulldozer; he was taught and trained to drive a bulldozer just two hours before driving it.

    5. Casualties and Losses Resulting from Committing the Crime:

    Moshe Nassim " Kirdy Bir" has contributed to the following results which were carried out by the Israelis:

    • Demolishing and leveling of 680 houses ( 30% of the camp houses) while Peter Hansen proved that 800 houses were completely destroyed. Other statistics had shown that 140 houses were completely damaged and 200 houses were partially damaged (according to Human Rights Watch)
    • 1166 houses sustained partial damage.
    • Moshe Nassim has contributed in wiping out 100 houses in Hawashin and Gorat Dahab Neighborhoods. He testified that he made a 100m*100m stadium in that area while the total area of the camp is 500m*400m. A D-9 bulldozer which weighs 60 tons started the process of demolition by widening alleys to make them similar to a 10 meter wide street in that neighborhood and Gorat Dahab Neighborhood. The width of the streets allowed heavy tanks to enter and reach militants.
    • Houses were demolished with their residents inside. Out of 58 martyrs, there were 26 civilians ; half of them were recovered from under debris of houses. At least , Amnesty International confirms the death of 6 persons as a result of demolishing their houses by bulldozers. The total number of martyrs included seven women, four children and 6 adults above 55 years of age. In his testimony, Nassim said, " I am sure that there were people who were killed inside their houses, but it was difficult to verify that." He goes on to say, " I didn t give any chance to anyone; I did not wait: I didn t give a warning sign and waited for them to go out. I delivered a strong blow to the house in order for it to fall as quickly as possible."
    • One of the houses was demolished on top of a handicapped person called Jamal Mahmoud Rashid Faid (37 years). He was physically handicapped as a result of a First Intifada injury; the demolition of the house lead to his death although soldiers new beforehand that he was inside the house.
    • Complete destruction of the contents and furniture of the completely or partially demolished houses.
    • Complete destruction of the historical Ottoman Train Station.
    • Devastation of Institutions, societies, worship houses, water and electricity networks.
    • Making more than 4 thousands of the camp inhabitants homeless ( more than a thousand resorted to Rumana village, 300 to Zaboya village and the rest went to Jenin city, Taiba and Burquin)
    • The unavailability of shelter to hundreds and 400 hundred apartments were rented by help of Peter Hansen.

    4. Direct Israeli Officials:

    • Moshe Nissim, reseve soldier, D-9 bulldozer driver.
    • Head of Engineering Unit known as "Screwdriver" ( Leader of the Fifth Battalion).
    • Shaul Mofaz,-then Chief of Staff.
    • Benyamin Ben Eliezer- then Minister of Defense.
    • Meir Dagan- General- He put forward the invasion plan which was later changed after the Israeli army sustained causalities.
    • Ariel Sharon- Prime Minister

    5. Exhibits:

    The following exhibits can be put forward:

    • Testimony of the bulldozer driver which was published in Idaot Ahrunot newspaper on 31 May 2002. The translation of the same testimony is found in Ayyam newspaper on 14 June 2002.
    • Photographs of the camp before and after devastation.
    • Awarding of the defendant Moshe Nissim Unit an award in recognition of his efforts.
    • Testimonies of residents and those international and local representatives who visited the camp.

    Conclusion

    Maybe it is possible for the well informed average Palestinian in the issues of Israeli war crimes to inquire about the possibilities of prosecuting Israeli officials in order not to escape from punishment. It is also the right of all Palestinians to criticize the negligence in the official reaction or the loss of enthusiasm by Palestinian individuals and institutions following up this matter. Following up the process of incriminating Israeli officials does not take place by intentions and enthusiasm only but there should be a firm belief in the fairness of the case and the illegitimacy of Israeli occupation measures. In fact there is a group of prerequisites to this effect:

    • Making files, data, archives, documents and testimonies available in a categorized, classified and titled forms and related to Palestinian victims and Israeli officials appended with their fully detailed biographies.
    • Providing enough funds in order to carry out an accurate study with high precision to gather data in a scientific way including consultations with legal experts and international specialists in relevant issues to give consultation , supervision and follow up.
    • Completion of required follow ups and procedures and providing press coverage by renting halls in hotels and inviting lawyers, journalists and others.

    What has happened in Jenin camp and the commitment of the crime without taking those responsible for it to court is an indication of the Palestinian negligence even without ignoring the different sub issues, interventions and obstacles which accompanied this issue. The news about the intention and determination of a group of Swiss lawyers to prepare Jenin camp lawsuit or Rafah camp lawsuit and other cases to be put before the Swiss judiciary to prosecute Israeli officials proves that things do not pass by quite easily and the closing of such cases of war crimes is considered as an abortive attempt nowadays.

    Indeed, things can yet be worked out. The Israeli Occupation crimes are not dropped in the course of time. It is still too early for Israeli Occupation leaders to sleep soundly since it is logically possible, if not a must, to see them in prisoner s dock and accused of carrying out terrorist acts against the Palestinian people. The interaction inside the Israeli society and the fear of bringing to court all those who wee involved and listing their names on War Criminals Lists like what had happened with the group of 27 pilots stress the seriousness and decisiveness of the situation since this is only the beginning.

    2 March 2002 witnesses a number military operations as mentioned by news agencies: march2, Jerusalem operation-9 Israeli victims and 75 injured.march5 Afula Operation one victim 5 injured. March9, Jerusalem Operation11 victims 50 injured. March20 Um Fahim Operation, 7 victims. March Jerusalem operation two victims 20 injured, March 26 Jerusalem Operation 3 injured. March 27 Netanya Operation 28 victims tens were injured. March 29 Jerusalem Operation two victims. March 30 Tel Aviv Operation 3 injured. March 31, Haifa Operation 14 victims and tens injured.

    Source: ATF Shu‘un Tanmawyyeh Issue 28



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