Francis A. Boyle
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
From: Boyle, Francis [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 11:33 AM
To: CPRR-ROR list (E-mail); free palestine (E-mail);
LongLivePalestine@egroups. com (E-mail); msanews@msanews. mynet. net
Subject: [ROR activists] Baloney!: AI's (just-released) report on
Israel's Lethal Force, Part I of III
Subject: Baloney!: AI's (just-released) report on Israel's Lethal Force,
Part I of III
I have only scanned through the document. There is no mention of
Geneva Convention of 1949 here. You will note that the recent Security
Council Resolution pointed out that the Fourth Geneva Convention clearly
applied to occupied Palestinian Lands. Despite the recent Security Council
Resolution, AI deliberately says absolutely nothing at all about the Fourth
Geneva Convention that I can see on the basis of my preliminary scan. AI
knows better. As I said before, AI is treating this as a case of domestic
law enforcement gone awry, which fits in very neatly with Israeli propaganda
on the matter. Hence they sent out a UK "police trainer" with experience
training the "police" in the former British colonial enclave of Nepal, which
is not a democracy and has little respect for the rule of law and human
rights that I am aware of.
Pursuant to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all
Palestinians are "protected persons." The willful killing and other
atrocities inflicted upon them by the Israeli Army are for the most part
"grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In other words, serious
war crimes. The Fourth Geneva Convention mandates universal prosecution for
all Israelis who commit or order the commission of "grave breaches"
against the "protected persons" of Palestine. This Report says nothing at
all about that. It does not demand prosecution of anyone for committing
grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Perish the thought that
Amnesty International would issue a public call for the prosecution of
Israeli war criminals. That would certainly hurt their funding, would it
But this is not a case of incompetence by Amnesty International.
They know exactly what they are doing.
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
Board of Directors, Amnesty International USA
Co-Founder, AIUSA Mideast Coordination Group
Francis A. Boyle
504 E. Pennsylvania Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
Tuesday, October 19, 2000
ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Excessive use of lethal force
Since 29 September 2000 more than 100 Palestinians, including about
children, were killed by the Israeli security forces. The impunity for
those who commit human rights violations and the lack of investigations
into so many deaths at the hands of the security forces has led to a
breakdown in the rule of law.
In response to concern at repeated reports of Israeli security forces
using excessive lethal force in the policing of demonstrations by
Palestinians, on 4 October Amnesty International sent two delegates to
Israel and the Occupied Territories to investigate the use of force by
Israeli security forces in the light of international standards on the
use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials.
This report deals only with the excessive use of force by Israeli
security forces. Amnesty International has drawn attention to other
serious human rights abuses which have occurred in Israel and the
Occupied Territories, including the areas of under the jurisdiction of
the Palestinian Authority (PA), and will continue its fact-finding in a
forthcoming visit to the area.
In accordance with international standards, law enforcement officials
shall use firearms only if other means remain ineffective, or without
any promise of achieving the intended result. Firearms may be used
against people, after appropriate warnings are given, only to prevent
death or serious injury where less extreme means are insufficient to
achieve these objectives. In doing so law enforcement officials must
respect and preserve life and minimize injury and damage. The standards
underscore that law enforcement officials may resort to the intentional
lethal use of firearms only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.
The organization’s delegates, an Amnesty International staff member and
Dr Stephen Males, a former senior police officer from the United Kingdom
and a specialist in sensitive public order policing, visited several
the areas where lethal force had been used: in Jerusalem; in the north
of Israel (Amnesty International delegates visited Nazareth, Arrabeh and
Sakhnin); in the West Bank (delegates visited Ramallah and Nablus) and
in the Gaza Strip (delegates visited Nezarim Junction, Khan Yunis and
Rafah). Delegates received information from Palestinian, Israeli and
international human rights organizations in attempting to monitor as
wide an area as possible.
In Jerusalem and within Israel protestors participating in
demonstrations from 29 September threw stones; delegates received no
information that firearms had been used by protestors in these
demonstrations. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, although most of the
demonstrations involved stone-throwing protests, on a number of
occasions firearms were used against Israeli security forces by members
of the PA’s security forces or others.
Based on its investigations, including on-site visits to areas of
demonstrations, Amnesty International is concerned that in policing
demonstrations since 29 September 2000 Israeli security forces have
repeatedly resorted to excessive use of lethal force in circumstances in
which neither the lives of the security forces nor others were in
imminent danger, resulting in unlawful killings. The organization is
also concerned that the security forces have impeded access of the
wounded to medical assistance in a number of cases.
Amnesty International is calling for the establishment of an independent
international investigation, composed of criminal justice and other
experts known for their impartiality and integrity to investigate all
killings and other serious human rights abuses that took place since 29
September 2000 in circumstances indicating that they were carried out
contrary to international law and standards in Israel, the Occupied
Territories including the areas under the jurisdiction of the PA, and
September/October 2000 is not the first time when excessive use of
lethal force by the Israeli security forces has claimed Palestinian
lives: protesters and bystanders, including many children, died during
the 1987-93 intifada, in September- October 1996, in May 2000, and on
many other occasions.
The organization believes that these practices have continued, among
other reasons, because of the lack of any investigation by the Israeli
Government into the circumstances surrounding past cases of excessive
use of force and the failure to bring the perpetrators to justice and
bring about a change of practice in the use of force by the security
forces in the wake of such killings in order to meet international human
Amnesty International therefore calls on the Israeli Government to
initiate a review of policing of demonstrations without delay to ensure
that in the future, the practices of its security forces are consistent
with international standards and thereby respect and protect the right
On 29 September at least five people died in Jerusalem and more than 200
were wounded after stones were thrown over the Western Wall after Friday
prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque. The demonstrations which followed were in
protest at these killings, and became even more widespread after
television viewers saw the prolonged agony ending in the death of a
12-year-old boy, Muhammad al-Dura, shot at Netzarim Junction on 30
September in the Gaza Strip by Israeli security forces, while his father
tried to protect him.
In the following days, demonstrations, which often developed into
violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, took
place - sometimes daily - in cities and villages in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip. Demonstrations also took place in Arab towns and
villages within Israel. At least 11 Arabs were killed in Israel and
hundreds of others were wounded. On some occasions in the West Bank and
Gaza members of the Palestinian security forces or others fired on the
Israeli security forces. Palestinians and Israelis have also both been
the victims of serious human rights abuses, including killings, by
private individuals. On 12 October an angry Palestinian crowd killed two
Israeli reservists in the custody of the Palestinian police; this
followed by reprisal bombings on PA facilities in various Palestinian
towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip which injured about 30 people.
International standards and the Israel Defence Forces’ open fire
International standards for law enforcement officials state that the
role of law enforcement officers, including the armed services when they
take on law enforcement duties, is to protect and respect the human
rights of all people and protect and preserve life:
“In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall
respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human
rights of all persons” Article 2 of the Code of Conduct for Law
Enforcement Officials (Code of Conduct). These rights include the right
“Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary
and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.” Article 3
of the Code of Conduct. The commentary on this article clarifies that
the use of firearms is considered as an extreme measure. It also states
specifically: "Every effort should be made to exclude the use of
firearms, especially against children."
“Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons
except in self-defence or in defence of others against the imminent
threat of death or serious injury...and only when less extreme means are
insufficient to achieve these objectives.” Article 9 of the Basic
Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials
“The intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when
unavoidable in order to protect life.” (Principle 9 of the Basic
“Whenever the lawful use of firearms is unavoidable law enforcement
officials shall ...
(b) minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life;
(c) ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured
or affected persons at the earliest possible moment.” (Principle 5 of
the Basic Principles)
“...In cases of death and serious injury a detailed report shall be sent
promptly to the competent authorities responsible for administrative
review and judicial control.”(Principle 22 of the Basic Principles)
Israeli regulations for the use of firearms laid out in the Israel
Defence Forces’ (IDF) Orders for Opening Fire in Judea and Samaria (i.e.
the West Bank) state:
A soldier will use a weapon, in the event of immediate danger to life,
his own or that of others, and when it is impossible to effectively
defend oneself from the assailant other than by the use of a weapon.
The firing is intended to hit the assailant alone, in the measure
necessary for preventing the danger.
No shooting should be done except while the danger still exists.
In the same document the section “Methods for dispersing riots” stresses
the need for soldiers first to employ non-lethal means for dispersing
The regulations state that in order to disperse a riot there must first
be a call to the rioters to disperse.
If the riot does not end within a reasonable period of time, it is
permitted to employ means for dispersing demonstrations according to the
1) Means such as: tear gas, water jets, blasting cap, stun grenades.
2) Warning shots in the air.
3) Firing rubber ammunition [codes RRNM and Roma GG, RM].
The passage from one stage to the next will be done, only if the
previous stage did not lead to the ending of the violent riot. A stage
may be skipped, if certain means are not at the disposal of the force,
or if they are not applicable in the circumstances of the event.
The use of means for dispersing the riot, and the passage from one stage
to the next, will be done according to the orders of the commander.
If the use of all other methods including rubber bullets fails
disperse the riot, then plastic bullets may be used. But first “there
must be an attempt to end the riot or the stone-throwing, by other means
for dispersing demonstrations”.
Demonstrations: the pattern
Although in the clashes caused by riots the differences in policing
between Israel and East Jerusalem, which has been annexed by Israel, on
the one hand and the Occupied Territories on the other are great the
methods used in suppressing the demonstrations did not vary widely.
Within Israel and annexed East Jerusalem, the delegates received
information that Palestinians used firearms, so there was no serious
danger to life to the well-equipped Israeli security forces. Although
some demonstrators within Israel did try, apparently unsuccessfully, to
make petrol bombs; their use was rarely reported; in any case petrol
bombs, like stones, pose no great threat to a police force well-equipped
and trained for riot control. As regards policing rules, an IDF
spokesperson told Amnesty International delegates that the command role
in policing any demonstrations within Israel would be played by the
police, although the army and border police might be called on to assist
them. On the other hand, within the Occupied Territories, the IDF has
law enforcement role. However, whether the command role was played, as
in Israel, by the police or, as in the Occupied Territories, by the
army, the methods used in facing the demonstrators were similar and
strongly tended to be military methods rather than policing methods
aiming to control and defuse violent demonstrations.
Within the Occupied Territories the process begun by the Oslo peace
process has left a maze of jurisdictions. In the West Bank Area A, a
small proportion of the land containing 98% of the population, is under
full control of the PA for both security and civilian affairs. In Area
B, composed of a number of villages, the PA is responsible for civil
affairs while Israel has overriding responsibility for security, and in
Area C Israel has full control. Often the connecting roads are under
Israeli control and the areas on the side of the road are part of Area B
under Palestinian control.