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April 25, 2001
Natl. Lawyers Guild report on the Middle East

A letter from Betty Molchany


National Lawyers Guild report on the Middle East

Here is the beginning of the Table of Contents and a beginning of the actual report to give you an idea of the thoroughness of this report.


  A. Members of the Delegation
  B. Itinerary
The Israeli Apartheid System in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel
  A. Introduction
  B. Nature of Apartheid System: Palestinians under Israeli Military Occupation
     1. Illegal Settlements and Bypass Roads
     2. Restricted Movement of Palestinians
     3. Economic Dependence
  C. Nature of Apartheid System: Palestinian Citizens of Israel
     1. Israelís Discriminatory Land Policies
     2. Differential Treatment of Jews and Palestinian non-Jews


After the Al-Aqsa Intifada began to rage in late September 2000, several members of the National Lawyers Guild who were attending the International Association of Democratic Lawyersí Congress in Havana, Cuba met to discuss how the Guild should respond. Historically, the Guild has taken strong positions against Israelís violation of Palestinian rights. In 1977, a delegation of its members was sent to the Middle East. In 1978, the report of that delegation, Treatment of Palestinians in Israeli-Occupied West Bank and Gaza: Report of the National Lawyers Guild 1977 Middle East Delegation, was issued. The report was the first comprehensive analysis of Israelís practices published by any non-governmental organization concerned with human rights. It documented violations by Israel, as a belligerent occupant of the West Bank and Gaza, of the 1949 Geneva Convention.

The Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, known as the "Intifada," which began in December 1987, represented increased resistance to the Israeli occupation and led to increased repression of resistance by Israel and further violations of the rights of Palestinians. Israelís repressive practices were, for the most part, the same as those identified in the Guildís 1978 report.

The Guild issued a second monitoring report in 1988 based on material compiled by human rights organizations, the United Nations and the press, and further based on inquiry missions to the occupied Palestinian territories by Guild members between December 1987 and October 1988. That report, titled International Human Rights Law and Israelís Efforts to Suppress the Palestinian Uprising, highlighted the substantial violations of rights of the Palestinian people during the 1988 uprising. The report called on the United Nations to send an international force into the West Bank and Gaza Strip to protect the local population from vigilante attacks by Israeli settlers, repression by the [Israeli Defense Force], and the threat voiced by leading Israeli politicians to expel the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

As was the case with many activists and organizations working for peace and justice in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, the Guild was lulled into a sense of complacency as a result of the Oslo Accords, and our activity around these issues diminished. That complacency ended with the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada in late September 2000. In Cuba, Guild lawyers met with Allegra Pacheco, an American and Israeli attorney representing Palestinian citizens and prisoners in the occupied Palestinian territories. Our discussions focused on the reality of the continued oppression of Palestinians: hundreds of Palestinians had been killed and thousands injured by the Israeli Defense Forces ("IDF") during the Al Aqsa Intifada; weapons manufactured in the United

To read the full report go to: www.nlg.org/committees/International/middle_east_delegation_report.htm