israel has put 200,000 Palestinians before military tribunals since 1990
MEMO - A report from the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs has claimed that 200,000 Palestinians have been tried by Israeli military tribunals since 1990. What the report describes as "unfair and arbitrary" trials in Israel have led to thousands of Palestinians languishing in the Zionist state's prisons.
"Military court rooms surrounded by the fences of military bases have operated since the beginning of the Occupation shrouded in mystery," said the report. "Journalists are prevented from attending the trials and so the proceedings are not reported." The sentences passed in these courts don't provoke any discussion or controversy inside Israel; neither the judicial nor academic communities take any interest, it added.
The military tribunals are, claims the report, the backbone of Israel's occupation apparatus. The official and civic silence about the courts' affairs strengthens the Israeli security forces by allowing violations of international law to occur with impunity. Israel's military courts reject international law although the latter obliges occupying powers to implement its provisions.
Lieberman has recently acknowledged Israel's "cooperation" with Hariri's tribunal, also known as the US-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), and said that Tel Aviv has been transparent and open to the investigation, Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper reported Friday.
Hariri was killed alongside more than 20 other people in a massive car bombing in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on February 14, 2005.
The US-sponsored STL was subsequently set up by the UN and the Lebanese government in May 2007 to investigate the murder. The court is expected to announce its findings by the end of 2010.
Meanwhile, the Israeli foreign minister accused Lebanon's resistance movement of Hezbollah of trying to undermine the tribunal.
The accusation has been made despite Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's repeated rejection of the allegations and warnings against Israeli plots.
In an August speech, the resistance leader presented evidence proving that Israel masterminded the assassination. In his televised address Nasrallah presented footage captured by Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), as well as recorded confessions by Israeli fifth columnists, substantiating that Tel Aviv had been behind the killing.
Nasrallah also pointed out that the investigators had been infiltrating deep into Lebanon and channeling date outwards even before the tribunal took its current form.
The UN-peacekeeping force set the plan ten days ago and is to implement it in a joint maneuver with the Israeli army, Naharnet cited a report the Lebanese paper al-Akhbar published on Monday.
The paper said that the Lebanese army contacted UNIFIL command to confirm the news of the maneuver. The military warned that the move would be a negative development and would demonstrate UNIFIL's siding with Israel.
On August 30, the UN Security Council decided to expand the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon for another year without modifying its rules of engagement.
The UNIFIL was set up in 1978 to monitor the border between Israel and southern Lebanon and was given a wider role after the 2006 war Israel waged against the country.
However, UNIFIL's inaction towards border conflicts and almost daily violations of Lebanon's airspace by Israeli warplanes has made it unpopular among people in southern Lebanon.
Early in July, the UN forces had to stop a unilateral maneuver in the wake of mounting protests from people in the region who blocked roads to UNIFIL troops and their armored vehicles.
The angry protesters condemned the peacekeeping forces' drills which they said were aimed at protecting Israel from possible missile attacks from southern Lebanon.
The country's popular resistance group Hezbollah also denounced the move as out of ordinary and not in accordance with the mandate of the UNIFIL, whose forces must be accompanied with the Lebanese army soldiers.