Islamic Human Rights Commission
17 March 2003
URGENT ALERT: IHRC CONDEMNS SENSATIONALIST ‘TERROR TOUR’ BY ILLEGAL JEWISH SETTLERS
Morbid fascination with violence surrounds this sensationalist and outrageous ‘terror tour’, with the organisers seemingly keen to profit from the misery of the oppressed Palestinians. The settlers behind this outrageous ‘terror tour’ offer the chance to take part in a mock attack on civilian Arab villages, learn hand-to-hand combat and listen to lectures giving by Israeli soldiers who participated in the infamous Jenin massacre. Also offered is the chance to sit in warplanes capable of dropping nuclear bombs on neighbouring (non-nuclear) Arab countries.
The offer of mock armed assaults on civilian Arab villages adds a further disturbing dimension. This serves to highlight the culture of anti-Arab hate, prejudice and demonisation which has become a predominate theme not just in the environment of illegal settlements in the occupied territories, but has come to characterise the collective attitude of Israeli society and has long framed both internal and external Israeli state policy.
This insidious ‘terror tour’ does little more than promote this culture of violence, thinly disguised under the pretext of security training. From December 1997 to the end of December 2002, illegal Jewish settlers murdered 138 Palestinians, including 25 children. These very same settlers are conducting an armed campaign of intimidation against the Palestinian civilian population. This includes forcing Palestinians from their homes and land, the destruction of crops and trees, the disruption of commercial life and destruction of Palestinian water provisions and property. These acts have reinforced the image of the aggressive and racist Jewish fundamentalist settler.
The settlements are central in Israel’s efforts to permanently displace Palestinians from their own land. Consecutive Israeli governments have sought to ‘de-Palestinianise’ the occupied territories through land expropriation and the establishment of settlements populated by transferred Israeli Jews. There are 205 settlements in the West Bank (including Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip. There are more than 403,249 settlers in the West Bank. One million Palestinians live on 360 square kilometres of land in the Gaza Strip, making it the most densely populated area in the world. Despite this fact, 5000 Israeli settlers continue to reside illegally in the Gaza strip and control 30% of the area, in violation of international law:
o Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.
o The United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 242 calls for \”just and lasting peace\”. The confiscated territories on which the settlements are built were confiscated illegally and in war.
o The UN Security Council Resolution 465: \”Israel\’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants\” in the occupied territories constitutes \”a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East\”. The Security Council also called upon Israel to \”dismantle the existing settlements.
Please also send letters to the following stating the Israel’s authorities’ continued non-compliance with the above UN resolutions and urging them to apply pressure on Israel to undertake an immediate closure of all settlements:
Mr Jack Straw MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
Fax No: 020 7270 3539
Mr Sergio de Mello
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights
8-14 Avenue de la Paris
1211 Geneva 10
Commissioner Chris Patten
Directorate General for External Relations
200 Rue de la Loi
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