[Copies of this leaflet were distributed to the participants; the text was later published in ISRAC no. 2, March 1970]
As you certainly know, you have been invited to take part in this international gathering in order to serve the political and propaganda needs of the Zionist movement and of the Israeli government. If you are a zionist, and you came to this bluff-congress knowingly, our words are not addressed to you; but if candor, or lack of proper information brought you here, you should read this and think about it before you draw any conclusion.
The organizers of this conference want you to protest against the discriminatory policies of the Soviet Bureaucracy and against the use of arbitrary measures, legal murder and oppressive practices by the reactionary ruling circles of Iraq. They also want to involve you in the campaign for the defence and rehabilitation of the arbitrary and oppressive policies of the Israeli government in the conquered territories and in Israel itself.
For your information:
- Colonial oppressive laws are unto this day in effect in israel. In professional language their name is “Defence (Emergency) Regulations, 1945”.
- Those are laws that the Israeli government inherited from the British imperialists who ruled this country until May 1948. They were “passed” by colonial officers and civil servants three years before the State of Israel came into existence.
A few examples:
- Regulation 109 & 110 invest the military commander with the authority to place any citizen under police observation. The military commander may, by decree, prohibit for this citizen residence or presence in any particular place, village, city or area. He may compel a citizen to inform the police about his traveling inside the country and even within the same police district. The military commander may prevent a man from holding onto his property, that is may confiscate it; he has the power to prohibit contacts between citizens, to prohibit a citizen’s leaving his apartment or house, etc…
- Regulation 111 invests the military commander with the authority to arrest any citizen and detain him for any length of time, without having to press against him any particular charge.
- By virtue of Regulation 112, the military commander may decree the deportation of any citizen outside the country, exile him, dispossess him and proscribe his return home.
- Regulation 119 gives the military commander legal authority to confiscate and/or to destroy the house of one or several citizens.
All those are prerogatives of the military commander by virtue of the authority delegated to the Minister of Defence (security), who in Israel inherited the power of the colonial British High Commissioner. They are used arbitrarily, without any judiciary course.
Ask the organizers of the conference; read these regulations by yourself; as a jurist, meditate on them.
Are these laws really enforced? Aren’t they dead letter, haven’t they long been out of use?
Thousands of residents of the conquered territories as well as israeli citizens have been, and are to this day, the victims of those “laws”.
In Israel there are several hundred Arab citizens whose liberty to move is limited; who need a special permit from the military authority to move from town to town inside Israel itself; who live under the regime of home-arrest; who must daily report to the police station; who are sent to prison without a trial and without having been charged with anything.
Did the organizers of the conference inform you of those facts? Did the conference discuss these questions, are they on the order of the day? Were you given an opportunity to converse face to face with the very citizens who are victim to this arbitrary, to this oppression? Indeed not! Such is not the purpose of this fake-congress.
In the course of the conference, you must have heard the exceptional prose of the Israeli minister of Justice, lawyer Yaacov Shimshon Shapira. We want to quote here for you Shapira’s own words, which he spoke along time ago, before he was even appointed a minister, at a conference of jewish jurists that took place in Tel Aviv (Palestine) on February 7th, 1946.
Said Y.S. Shapira:
“The regime instated with the enactment of the Defense Regulations in Palestine has no equivalent in any civilized country. Even in nazi Germany, there were no such laws; what happened in Maidanek and other places was in contradiction with the letter of the law. Only one type of regime is conceivable in such circumstances – that of an occupied country. They console us and underline that these regulations ought to serve against criminals, and not all the citizens. The nazi governor of occupied Oslo had also assured that no harm would be done to the law-abiding citizen. . .
“We must declare to the face of the world: the Defense Regulations of the Palestinian government threaten the very foundations of the law. Military tribunals are presented under the name of “Courts”, while they are in fact “military judiciary commissions counseling the general”. The transfer of a great part of civilian jurisdiction to the exclusive or parallel jurisdiction of military “courts” means the negation of the law itself. No authority can afford to enact such laws…”
At the same conference, another lawyer was to pronounce a remarkable intervention. It was Dr. Joseph Bernard, from the Jewish Agency. His name today is Dov Yossef, and he was the former Israeli Minister of Justice.
“The question raised (by these regulations) is as follows: shall we all be the victims of legal terrorism? Or shall we be able to preserve the freedom of the individual? Will the authorities be invested with the power to intervene in the life of every individual without a guarantee being given to our lives?
“The citizen is helpless before the eventuality of life-imprisonment without a trial, he has no guarantee or individual rights. There is no possibility of appeal before a higher court. The authorities are entrusted to deport a citizen whenever they please. An offence doesn’t even have to be committed. It’s enough for a decision to have been taken in one of those offices, and a man’s destiny is sealed… The principle of collective responsibility has reached the absurd. The totality of the 600’000 members of the Hebrew community can be hung for the crime one of them has committed.
“One can’t demand from the citizen that he trust the goodwill of some civil servant, and abandon his life and his property.
“Between Freedom and Anarchy – there is no alternative. When the authorities themselves inspire the citizen with hate, disgust, and distrust of the laws, one can’t expect the law to be respected. One can’t ask the citizen to comply with a legislation that pushes him out of the law”.
Aren’t these words clear? And what will you do?
Will you be the advocate of arbitrary and oppression?
Will you help and cover injustice, or will you raise your voice and struggle?
NOT ONLY AGAINST THE SOVIET BUREAUCRACY ;
NOT ONLY AGAINST THE REACTIONARY RULERS OF IRAQ ;
ALSO AGAINST ISRAELI OCCUPATION AND OPPRESSION!The Israeli Socialist Organization (Matzpen) P.O.B. 28061 – Tel Aviv August 1969