Islamic Human Rights Commission
23 December 2003
Alert: Israeli “anti-terrorist” camp for U.S. citizens
The IHRC is deeply concerned by the existence of an Israeli-run “anti-terrorist” camp for U.S. citizens in Occupied Palestine. The camp, named “Operation Shiloh”, was the subject of a BBC programme, “Terror Tourists”, on the 7th December. According to information obtained from the organisation’s website (www.opshiloh.com), the camp provides “anti-terrorist” training such as special firearms handling, hand-to-hand combat and escape techniques.
The training is provided by members of the Israeli Defense Forces and security experts from M.A.1, an international security firm. It takes place in the Dani Hai Tactical Training Centre, home of MOSSAD, the Israeli secret service responsible for numerous assassinations of Palestinian and other figures both within the occupied territories and indeed abroad.
The camp organisers are two Jewish American settlers who immigrated to Palestine. These settlements are illegal under international law and have been condemned by both the United Nations and the United States as “an obstacle to peace”. Furthermore, both Israeli and international human rights groups have described the vast majority of these settlers as extremely violent individuals. This violence includes “shooting at roof-top water heaters, burning cars, smashing windows, destroying crops and uprooting trees, and harassing merchants and owners of stalls in the market. Some of the settlers\’ violence against Palestinians is intended to force Palestinians to leave their homes or land, so that the perpetrators can take control over Palestinian land.”
Although thus far only U.S. citizens have attended the camp, IHRC is concerned that others including British citizens may also avail themselves of the opportunity. The organisers claim that the function of the camp is to train citizens to defend themselves against terror attacks. However we are concerned that this camp is exploiting people’s fears post-9/11 and encouraging hatred of others, notably Palestinians and Muslims. Indeed during their visit participants do not meet with any Palestinians. This coupled with the fact that participants are trained in the use of firearms and other offensive activities is not only an incitement to hatred but also violence against others.
Further we note that the participation of the IDF in this course is a cause of deep concern. The IDF has been widely condemned as a major violator of human rights by all major human rights organisations. It has also been charged with perpetrating war crimes.
The Home Secretary, David Blunkett recently stated that the British Government would not tolerate British citizens training in foreign terrorist camps. Write to the Home Secretary, David Blunkett and ask whether that he take the same stance on the issue of the ‘Operation Shiloh’ course and any similar courses.
Rt. Hon. David Blunkett
The Home Office
50 Queen Anne’s Gate
London SW1H 9AT
Dear Mr Blunkett,
I am writing to express my concern about an Israeli training camp, which provides training to ordinary U.S. citizens in activities such as special firearms handling, hand-to-hand combat and defensive driving, including escape techniques. The camp, called “Operation Shiloh”, was the subject of a BBC programme (“Terror Tourists”) shown on the 7th December. The training is provided by security experts from M.A.1, an international security firm, and by members of the Israeli Defense Force. Most of the training takes place in the Dani Hai Tactical Training Centre in Caesarea, north of Tel Aviv. These facilities are used to train elite IDF and MOSSAD personnel.
The camp is run by Yehoshua Mizrachi and Jay Greenwald, two American immigrants who live in Gush Etzion, in co-ordination with the Gush Etzion Tourism Association. As you are doubtless aware Gush Etzion is an illegal Jewish settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These settlements have consistently been declared illegal and an obstacle to peace by the United Nations. Violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Palestinians has also been well documented by amongst others, the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem.
Both men are fanatical Zionists who believe violence against Arabs is justified in the interests of “Greater Israel”. Indeed, both men admittedly carry Uzi sub-machine guns with them at all times. Yehoshua Mizrachi has written many articles urging American Jews to emigrate to Palestine to set up more illegal settlements. Jay Greenwald once claimed that his son was a victim of Palestinian terror due to the fact that “he witnessed a helicopter shooting a missile into an Arab village” and has suffered from sleeplessness since. By blaming the victims of an Israeli attack for his son’s condition, Mr. Greenwald reveals his extreme prejudice against Arabs.
The organisers claim that the function of the camp is to train citizens to defend themselves against terror attacks. It is difficult to comprehend how knowing how to fire a Kalashnikov will prevent a bomb exploding in a supermarket. The organisers are exploiting American citizens’ post-‘9-11’ fears to make a substantial profit. Greenwald has stated that the training might help them deal with a \\\”terror attack, not if, but when it occurs in the US,..\\\”. According to the “Operation Shiloh” website, this is “a war without borders, where some of the enemy are our own neighbors”. Furthermore, there is a grave danger that the skills that participants learn at this camp may themselves be used to commit terrorist acts.
I am concerned that British citizens too may enrol in such a camp in the future. I am aware that the Home Office has made various remarks regarding British Muslims allegedly participating in such training in Afghanistan. Will the Home Office treat British citizens who receive identical training in Operation Shiloh or any course under any other name, similarly? I demand that you use all your influence to shut down this camp immediately.
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Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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