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From: "Lawsociety" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2001 1:06 PM
Israeli seizure of Palestinian organisations in Jerusalem F16 shelling of Palestinian targets; tanks trespass PA-controlled areas
Following a suicide attack by a Palestinian on the ground floor of a two-story pizzeria in West Jerusalem at 2pm on Thursday 9 August 2001 that killed 17 Israelis and wounded more than 100 other customers and passers-by, Israel in the past 20 hours has committed a number of military attacks on Palestinian organisations. Among these have been the seizure of Orient House and other Palestinian institutions in occupied Jerusalem, and the military escalation represented in the F16 and American Apache helicopter shelling attacks on Palestinian targets. In addition, Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles trespassed into several PA-controlled areas where they destroyed outposts.
According to LAW's documentation, at around 2am on Friday 10 August 2001, about 150 Israeli special forces, accompanied by police dogs, border guards, police and a helicopter hovering overhead, blocked the streets leading to the Orient House and Al Nuzha building in the middle of occupied Jerusalem. They removed the building's outside doors, badly assaulted two guards and broke into the Orient House before spreading within the building and replacing the Palestinian flag flying overhead with an Israeli one.
57-year-old Ishaq Ahmad Budeiri from Jerusalem, Director General of the Arab Studies Society inside the Orient House, stated that the Israeli forces carried out a thorough search of the Orient House and Arab Studies Society offices, confiscating many important files, documents and maps relating to Jerusalem and its citizens, as well as some office equipment.
Eyewitnesses living in the Orient House area stated that the Israeli troops loaded large boxes full of the confiscated items into military vans and took them away.
The Orient House's attorney requested the Israeli officers present to show him a warrant for their inspection of Orient House and other institutions. However, they prevented anyone from accessing the area. At around 3am, during the search, one of the officers produced an order, issued by Israeli Interior Security minister Uzi Landau, for the closure until further notice of Orient House and all its Jerusalem offices. When the attorney requested a list of confiscated items and to be able to witness the search, they showed him an Israeli magistrate court decision permitting them to inspect the buildings and confiscate their contents without the presence of any Orient House representatives. Both the Security Minister's order and the court judge's decision were signed on Friday 10 August 2001 and stated that the owners of the closed institutions could contact the Interior Security minister's legal consultant within seven days should they wish to prosecute.
The following branches of Orient House have been affected:
Prisoners and detainees protection
Relief and Repair committee
Small Projects development centre
The High Tourism council
The soldiers also arrested the Orient House security guards present at the time, all of whom are from Jerusalem:
Mahdi Al Halabi, 32
Ammar Sider, 22
Sami Sarhan, 37
Abdullah Al Sibawi, 22
Fahed Al Basiti, 25
Ishaq Hijazi, 26
Radi Jubran, 40
The guards were taken to the Russian Compound detention centre in West Jerusalem, where they were informed that they would be detained for 20 days.
The soldiers also forced the three Palestinian families living there to evacuate the house at gunpoint, holding them on the road outside the building until 4am. The families of Taher Husseini, his sister Ruwayda and Abdil Salam Husseini own the Orient House building.
Israeli forces also broke into Hind Husseini College, Dar Attifel Al Arabi, a charitable educational institute with an intermediate girls' orphanage and school, and forced around 100 boarding students and their supervisors to gather in a room in the building's yard until 4am.
In addition, Israeli troops besieged the 5-storey Al Nuzha building at the entrance to Al Nuzha Street (leading to the Orient House). The building contains the offices of six Palestinian non-governmental organisations, including the LAW Society's Children's Unit, the Arab Studies Society's Land Research Centre, Al Qasabeh Theatre and Al Nuzha Theatre, as well as the British Council and more than 40 professional and commercial offices, including the office of Israeli attorney Li'a Tseimel, who is known for her support for the Palestinian cause.
At the same time, Israeli troops also closed the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce building and the Palestinian Prisoner's Club in Wadi Al Joz.
Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce director Mr. Azzam Abu Al Su'uod stated that around 10:30 am on Friday 10 August he attempted to enter his office but was prevented from doing so by Israeli security men surrounding the building. On the door was hanging a closure order signed by Uzi Landau, which claimed that the Chamber of Commerce has λpolitical involvement'. This is the first time that the chamber has been closed since its establishment in 1936. It has 10 employees and the Orient House has 62 employees.
At around 2:15am, Israeli troops entered the east Jerusalem districts of Bethany and Abu Deiss, took over the Jerusalem governorate building in Abu Deiss, replaced its Palestinian flag with an Israeli one, occupied the Ministry of Religious Endowments and Palestinian Religious Affairs in Bethany, imposed curfew on both districts and randomly arrested a number of civilians. LAW was unable to record their number as the Israeli authorities have made all communication with them impossible.
According to information gathered by LAW from the Palestinian Civil Liaison, the Jerusalem governorate building in Abu Deiss contains offices belonging to the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Preventative Security and the Palestinian police and intelligence. In conformity with the agreement signed between the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry and the Israeli Civil Administration, the Jerusalem governorate building is considered λArea A,' which Israel cannot transgress.
At noon, demonstrators including Palestinian and Israeli peace activists, as well as International Solidarity Campaign members, convened at the entrances to Al Nuzha Street protesting at the Israeli action against the Palestinian institutions. However, Israeli forces hindered their demonstration, arresting six and taking them to Al Qashleh police station. They were:
Charles Lechter, Israeli citizen
Ronaro Dubini, Italian
Jon Pierre Sling Yu, French
Angie Zilter, British
Rif'at Nasr Addeen, Palestinian
Imad Sub Laban, Palestinian
In the early hours of Friday 10 August, Israeli F-16 fighter jets fired four air-to-surface missiles at the police headquarters in the Al Tireh suburb of Ramallah, destroying it completely. Eyewitnesses stated that two missiles hit the Abu Ja'far housing complex near the police headquarters, causing severe damage and fire in a number of apartments.
In the early hours of Friday morning in the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops destroyed a Palestinian national security force post, east Gaza. According to information gathered by LAW, Israeli forces with tanks and bulldozers trespassed 2,000m into the city to the hills of Al Shuja'iyeh quarter, shelling the post before an armoured bulldozer levelled its ruins to the ground. On their way back, the bulldozers demolished a cattle farm belonging to Iyada Bakroun north of the post.
Palestinian security sources reported that a large number of Israeli soldiers in tanks and armoured cars broke into the area from two directions, before breaking into a juice factory east of Martyrs' Cemetery, and settling at the eastern route west of the factory.
LAW Society is firmly against the taking of civilian life as happened yesterday in Jerusalem, because the right to life is a fundamental universal human right. However, it is clear that Israel, especially Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and War Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer, is totally responsible for the escalating tension in the region due to its repeated and sustained assault on Palestinian life and property over the past eleven months. LAW Society urgently calls for the following:
1. The Israeli Government to:
Halt its non-stop aggression against Palestinians, their public organisations and private property, and put an end to the policy of killing Palestinian civilians.
Withdraw from the Palestinian offices seized by its military forces and return all the confiscated possessions and documents.
Release the Palestinians who were detained and imprisoned inside Israel.
Return its military forces to their pre-28 September 2000 positions.
Openly investigate the conditions of the killings committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian civilians in conformity with Article 146 of the 1949 IV Geneva Convention, which stipulates μthe high contracting parties undertake to enact any legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its courts. ξ
2. The United States of America to:
Impose restrictions on the export of American weapons to Israel since it uses them in the commission of grave human rights violations in the Occupied Territories.
Halt its advocacy of aggressive Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories.
Fulfil its legal and moral responsibilities in the region.
3. The UN Security Council to:
Hold an urgent meeting to discuss Israel's violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in general and in Jerusalem in particular.
Form an international investigation committee in conformity with International Security Council resolution
1322 of 7/10/2000 so as to investigate the crimes committed by the Israeli authorities within the Occupied Territories.
Form an international criminal court to bring Israeli war criminals to justice.
Place Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories under international protection.
Force Israel to implement all the resolutions issued by the International Security Council on the Palestinian issue.
4. The European Union to:
Take effective steps in conformity with Article 2 of the Israeli-European partnership agreement that stipulates Israel's adherence to human rights.
5. The International Community to:
Hold a meeting for the High Contracting Parties to the IV Geneva Convention to take practical measures to ensure Israel's compliance with and implementation of the Convention.
Immediately work on ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories and implement the relevant international resolutions.
LAW publications and press releases since 1994 are available on our website at http://www.lawsociety.org
LAW ρ The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy.
LAW is affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), FΘdΘration Internationale des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and Member of the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network
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