JERUSALEM (Apr. 11)
Israel expelled eight Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Lebanon on Monday and ordered 12 others deported.
Four of those ousted are from Beita village in the West Bank, scene of a clash on April 6 in which a teen-age Jewish girl was killed. The other four, from Gaza, had been under deportation orders since Jan. 3 and had waived their right to appeal.
The remaining 12 ordered deported may appeal to a military tribunal and, if rejected, to Israel’s Supreme Court.
Monday’s expulsions were the first by Israel since Jan. 13 when four West Bank residents were deported after deciding not to appeal.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the latest expulsions were “counterproductive” to peace in the Middle East.
“We have said before we believe they are counterproductive; that they are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (of 1949) and that they only further inflame tensions.” Redman said.
Israeli military authorities described the deportees as “senior activists in terrorist organizations who were involved in incitement and subversion.”
But their attorneys charged that the Israel Defense Force was appeasing militant Jewish settlers who have demanded vengeance for the death of 15-year-old Tirza Porat in Beita last Wednesday.
She was among 16 Jewish teen-agers from nearby Eilon Moreh settlement on a Passover hike in the region, accompanied by two armed adult settlers. An autopsy and investigation by the IDF determined that the girl was killed by a bullet apparently fired in panic by one of the settlers not from stoning by an Arab mob as originally reported.