UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 10)
Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah personally submitted to Secretary General Kurt Waldheim today a copy of the complaint the Israeli government has lodged with the International Red Cross charging crimes of murder, torture, brutality and degradation committed on Israeli soldiers taken prisoner by Egypt during the Oct. war and subsequently during their period of captivity In Oct. and Nov, The Doc.ument states that the investigation now being conducted by Israeli authorities Into the treatment of the Israeli POWs “has already revealed a shocking chronicle of Inhuman acts of cruelty perpetrated on the Israeli soldiers who were taken captive by units of the Egyptian army–deeds unimaginable In relations between civilized nations.” It promised that “additional reports and evidence will be transmitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross in due course.”
According to the complaint, the Israeli government “is in the possession of proven evidence indicating beyond any doubt that a large number of officers and men of the Israel Defense Forces taken prisoner by Egyptian troops were deliberately murdered, many of them while lying wounded and helpless.” Israel charged furthermore that “the many instances of murder, acts of brutality and calculated humiliation are the result of a planned policy of the Egyptian authorities.” The Doc.ument cited a message to Egyptian soldiers from the Egyptian Chief of Staff, Gen. Saad al Shazli, contained in a pocket booklet distributed to the men which said in part, “Kill them wherever you find them and be careful that they do not trick you, for they are a people of deceivers, pretending to surrender so that they may overcome you and kill you easily. Kill them and do not show any pity or mercy.”
The Israeli complaint Doc.ument cited specific instances of the murder of Israeli soldiers who had surrendered. One case described nine Israeli soldiers lying wounded and helpless who were shot to death in cold blood after indicating “in the clearest possible way their intention to surrender.” In another instance “Egyptian soldiers went up to the (captured) soldiers lying on the ground and stabbed them with their bayonets, killing the wounded among them.” The Israeli Doc.ument cited testimony from returned POWs of “incessant tortures and humiliation which were the lot of the Israeli prisoners of war throughout the duration of their captivity. All of them report that, notably during the early part of their captivity, they were most cruelly beaten all over their bodies….”
“The unbridled savagery of the Egyptian soldiers is seen more than anything else in the fact that they made a point of assaulting wounded prisoners more than the others,” the Israeli Doc.ument stated. “Many of the returned Israeli prisoners of war have testified that Egyptian soldiers kicked them cruelly on their open wounds and even spat on them instead of bandaging them. When the captives finally reached prisons in Egypt, their Egyptian Jailers made a point of competing with each other in inventing acts of brutality and humiliation such as forcing the prisoners of war to kneel on the floor of the prison and lick it with their tongues, or urinating into the palms of their hands. The following is a representative sample of the acts of brutality and degradation as related by the returning prisoners of war.”
“The Israeli prisoners of war were beaten over all parts of their bodies with any weapon that came to hand, from rifle butts to clubs, whips and palm branches. Many of the returnees still bear marks of the beatings on their bodies, despite the long period of time that has passed since then. A particularly favored means used by the Egyptian jailers was the beating of the prisoners of war over their heads and on the soles of their feet with rubber truncheons.
“The Egyptian jailers made a practice of putting out the stubs of their cigarettes on the necks and backs of the prisoners of war. Some of them would order the prisoners of war to kneel on the ground and would then sit on their shoulders and order them to crawl the length of the room with their Jailers astride them Another system of torture used by the Jailers was to perform their bodily functions on the faces and hands of the prisoners of war. On several occasions they prevented the prisoners of war from performing their own bodily functions and brought them to a stage where they were forced to perform these functions in their clothes accompanied by the shouts and laughter of their Jailers.”
The complaint said that “According to the testimony of some of the prisoners of war, sexual assaults, unnatural acts and sodomy were committed on a number of Israeli prisoners. There are attested cases of sharp objects having been inserted into the anus of Israeli prisoners of war.” The Israeli complaint also charged the Egyptians with denying wounded POWs medical aid and striking the wounded on their wounds if they asked for medical assistance. Israel charged the Egyptians with deliberately withholding food and water from Israeli POWs, forcing them to live in vermin Infested cells, denying them washing facilities and, when finally allowed to wash, forcing them to do so in sewage water. “It is clear from the foregoing that the murders and acts of brutality described here in were part of a deliberate policy and were committed in accordance with systematic instructions issued by a high central authority,” the Israeli complaint stated.
Meanwhile, some 150 women chained themselves this afternoon to the iron fence that surrounds the United Nations to protest the Syrian treatment of Israeli POWs and to demand that Syria comply with the Geneva Convention and turn over the names of the POWs and the MIAs to Israel. Police permitted the demonstrators to remain for two hours after which UN security guards arrived on the scene and cut the chains. By that time, however, many of the women had already begun to-leave, The contingent was led by Mrs. Max Schenk, chairman of the Executive of the American Zionist Federation, and Mrs. Sylvia Eisen, a Hadassah leader and read of the Long Island AZF.