TEL AVIV (Jul. 8)
The Israeli army has labeled an Amnesty International report that accuses Israel of human rights violations as “disturbing,” saying the report fails to give a fair account of Palestinian attacks against Jews and fellow Arabs.
The Israel section of Amnesty International’s 1993 annual worldwide report, covering events in 1992, includes allegations of executions of Palestinians without trial, torture and mistreatment of prisoners and detainees.
The report, released Thursday, also criticizes the Palestinian phenomenon of “eliminating” those accused of cooperating with the authorities.
Israel is, of course, not the only country to be criticized by Amnesty in the report, which cites human rights violations in all major regions of the world.
The report details abuses in 161 countries. Among them is Syria, where the report says “several thousand political prisoners, including at least 195 prisoners of conscience, remained held, most without charge or trial, from previous years.”
Human rights violations in the former republics of Yugoslavia are also highlighted, including the Serbian “ethnic cleansing” campaign in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“In Bosnia, rapes continue to be carried out on a large scale,” Curt Goering, acting executive director of Amnesty International USA, said at a news conference Thursday in Washington.
Jewish groups have been deeply concerned about the atrocities in Bosnia, some of which are reminiscent of crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis during World War II.
Reacting to the report on Israel, the Israel Defense Force spokesman said: “This report doesn’t differentiate between the effort the IDF must make to maintain security and public order in the territories in a legal framework, and the uninhibited acts of murder by terrorist organizations and gangs that don’t see themselves subject to any moral or legal restraints at all.”
But Amnesty claims that Israeli actions in many cases were illegal.
Amnesty claims that at least 120 Palestinians were shot in 1992 by security forces under circumstances that could be described as either execution without trial or otherwise unjustified killings.
In some cases, medical treatment was either not offered or was delayed by the security forces, the report charges.
ALLEGATIONS OF TORTURE
The report also claims that four Palestinians died last year during interrogation and that many interrogations were accompanied by torture and mistreatment.
Deviations from the regulations governing interrogations are not properly investigated or punished, the report complains.
It says several hundred people have been subject to administrative detention and have spent weeks or months in jail without being tried or even indicted.
In most cases, neither these prisoners nor their lawyers were ever given definitive reasons for detention, according to Amnesty.
A total of 25,000 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces in 1992, the report adds.
In its defense, the Israeli army released a statement including statistics showing an escalation in Palestinian violence, against both Jews and fellow Arabs accused of collaboration with Israel, between 1991 and 1992.
For example, there were nearly 50 more Palestinians killed as collaborators last year than in the previous year, and over 200 more shootings by Palestinian gunmen.
A new book published by the Defense Ministry this week defends Israeli rule in the territories, claiming Israel is more sensitive to law than any other occupier in history.
The book, “Israel, the Intifada and the Rule of Law,” deals with the oft-repeated charges of torture, death squads and collective punishment, arguing that Israel meets and often surpasses Western human rights standards.
It cites documents such as the Fourth Geneva Convention and U.S. and British army military manuals to support its claims.