LONDON (Sep. 23)
Amnesty International, a private organization active on behalf of political prisoners, has agreed to testify before a special committee of the United Nations Human Rights Commission on the treatment of Arab civilians in the Israel-occupied territories. An investigation by Amnesty has reportedly found no evidence of the alleged mistreatment of Arab prisoners in Israeli jails. But Israel nevertheless asked it not to appear before the UN group which Jerusalem has refused to recognize.
The UN body has already heard testimony in four Arab capitals, entirely from Arab or pro-Arab sources who have charged Israel with torturing prisoners and inhumane treatment of Arab civilians. Israel has refused to admit the committee to its territory unless a similar investigation is made of the condition of Jews in Arab countries. Israel has not replied to the Arab charges but has pointed out that the occupied territories are open to the press and tourists who can determine for themselves the validity of Arab allegations.
Amnesty International has reportedly urged Israel to counteract the Arab charges by setting up its own inquiry in conjunction with the International Red Cross and representatives of Amnesty. Israel so far has refused and Amnesty International has accepted the UN committee’s invitation to appear. The group’s governing council has approved a resolution asking Iraq to permit its representatives to visit Iraqi jails and attend future trials of political prisoners and alleged spies in that country.