-Nejla Shahrour, describing her family's situation after she was expelled with her father and two brothers from the village of Kfar Hamam in January 1989. Her mother was expelled in December 1988.
Some of the expulsions of civilians from occupied Lebanon have been carried out in swift and punishing reprisal for the known or suspected activities of family members. A teacher from the village of Rihan who wasexpelled in 1988, with his wife and five children aged twelve to twenty years, told Human Rights Watch that he was questioned about a distant relative who belonged to the resistance and then was informed of his family's expulsion with these words: "Your relatives are a source of danger for us. Go to them."47 Cases similar to these, described below, constitute collective punishment, a violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (see "Violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law," below).
The age of persons targeted for expulsion clearly has not been a factor when decisions have been made. Men and women from sixty to over ninety years old have been expelled from towns and villages where they were born and lived all their lives. Some of them have endured this traumatic experience alone, while others have been expelled with their children. For example, on January 25, 1989, eleven members of the family of teacher Yehia Ali were expelled from the predominantly Sunni Muslim village of Sheba' in the northeastern section of the occupied zone. The group included his father, Assad, seventy-seven, and his mother, Fatima Nasr, seventy-five, as well as his wife and eight children, aged four to sixteen.48
The abrupt dispossession has imposed difficult and enduring economic hardships on expelled families. Human Rights Watch found former homeowners living in small, overcrowded, rented apartments in the suburbs of greater Beirut and other urban centers. They said that their houses in the occupied zone sat empty, or in some cases were occupied rent-free by SLA militiamen. Families were forced to leave without personal possessions such as clothing, home furnishings, and vehicles, adding to their financial loss. Valuable income-producing livestock, most typically sheep, chickens, and cows, had to be left behind. Many families have been reduced to poverty because of lost income from agricultural land and small businesses in their villages. Farmers expressed deep concern about the deterioration of their idle land, particularly olive groves and orchards, from lack of care. Those men and women who managed to find some type of employment in Beirut earned meager salaries that did not match former earnings in the occupied zone, and their standard of living has been dramatically reduced. This was particularly true for families who were farmers and had minimal food costs because of a high degree of self-sufficiency.
The cases below describe some of the expulsions from the occupied zone between 1988 and 1999 that represented arbitrary punishment that was collective in nature.
January 1999: Sheba'
In an extraordinarily sweeping action, on January 7, 1999, twenty-five members of the families of five brothers - including their wives, sixty-year-old mother, and sixteen children between the ages of nine months and thirteen years old - were expelled from Sheba'.49 The expulsion followed the imprisonment on December 27, 1998, of two of the brothers, Ismail Naba', thirty-five, and Hassan, twenty-seven, both traders, in the wake of the December 26 killing of Ghassan Daher, the head of SLA security in Sheba'. The Lebanese press speculated that the killing of Daher was not a political act but was linked to a dispute "over sharing the spoils of the SLA-runprotection racket concerning Sheba's lucrative smuggling trade."50 A Lebanese foreign ministry official expressed a similar view to Human Rights Watch.51
Human Rights Watch visited the families in Shuweifat, near Beirut, in March 1999. The adults and children were sharing a small two-room apartment that a relative had made available for their temporary use. Ten of the children were under the age of six. The youngest of the five brothers, twenty-five-year-old Qassem Naba' - who was expelled with his wife Nawal and their six-month-old daughter and twenty-month-old son - described what happened:
We were at home, preparing iftar [the meal that breaks the sunrise to sunset fast during Ramadan]. It was about 4:30. Three civilian cars came to each house, with three men in each car, SLA and Israelis. [He said that the Israelis wore military clothes and spoke Hebrew]. They said that all of us had to come with them to Hasbaiya. They gathered us with our cars at the entrance of Sheba'. In my car was my mother, my wife and my two children. There was one security car in front of my car, and two cars behind me.
The families were thus escorted to the security office in Hasbaiya. "We stayed outside in the cold for one hour, until about 6:30," Qassem said. "Then Alameddin al-Badawi and Fares al-Hamra [two senior SLA security officials] told my brother Ahmad that they were expelling us. Ahmad asked why, and he was hit with a Kalashnikov on his back. Then four militiamen beat him in front of us for five minutes. He was bleeding from his face."52
The twenty-five family members were then crammed into two cars, including the trunks, and expelled at the Zumrayya crossing point. Qassem was allowed to bring his car, but four vehicles belonging to his brothers were seized.53
In Beirut, the families received clothes, bedding, canned goods and some basic household furnishings from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Council of the South, Hizballah, and members of the community, but ongoing financial support came from one of the brothers' uncles. At the time of the interview with Human Rights Watch, the standard one-time payment of LL3 million (U.S. $2,000) that the government provides to expelled families through the Council of the South had not yet been paid.54 Qassem expressed his frustration at the families' predicament, with two brothers in prison in the occupied zone, and his older brother Ahmad injured: "There are twenty-four people55 living in these two rooms and we have no money. I am responsible for all of them. I am trying to get work in a factory, but they prefer to hire Syrians. Even when I get a job, how can I feed twenty-four people?"
December 1998: Sheba'
Two middle-aged brothers, along with their wives and nine children, were expelled from Sheba' in December 1998. This family's ordeal began almost one year earlier, on November 22, 1997, when Muhamed Hassan Hashem, fifty-four, and his brother, Khalil, forty-two, were taken from their homes by SLA security officials Muhamed Naba' and Ghassan Daher.56 "They said that the Israelis wanted to talk to us. They didn't say that we were being arrested," Muhamed Hashem told Human Rights Watch.
The men were first transported to the SLA headquarters in nearby Hasbaiya and then moved to Khiam prison. They said that their initial days of detention were spent in solitary confinement in small, windowless cells measuring 1.5 meters by 80 cm, the only air coming through a tiny opening with horizonal bars through which food was passed. Muhamed was held in solitary for thirty-seven days, and Khalil for twenty-eight days. During this time, they said that they were interrogated and tortured, pressured to confess that they were supplying information about the SLA to the Lebanese government.
The brothers told Human Rights Watch that the charges were baseless. Muhamed said that his own movements possibly raised suspicion because he traveled frequently to Beirut for medical treatment.57 But he also stressed that the reason that he and his brother were targeted may have been due to a dispute they had with the SLA. He explained that he and his brother farmed two large plots of land, owned by Sheba' residents who lived in the Gulf, that yielded cherries, walnuts, grapes and figs. The militia took part of this land to widen the road between Sheba' and Hasbaiya and cut down the trees. The brothers insisted that the SLA remove from the property the trees that had been cut down. "Fifteen days later they took us," Muhamed told Human Rights Watch.
Khalil Hashem was released from Khiam on October 2, 1998, because he was suffering from severe depression and other medical problems. His brother Muhamed was released on December 24, 1998, and taken directly from the prison to the Kfar Tebnit crossing and expelled.58 Muhamed told Human Rights Watch:
They covered my eyes with a towel, handcuffed me, and put me in a car. Once we were outside the prison, they removed the towel. After about twelve minutes, they told me that I was being expelled.
He said that he was deposited at the crossing, and walked one and a half kilometers to the first Lebanese army checkpoint, where he was briefly questioned. He had LL30,000 (about U.S. $20) that his wife had given to him during her last visit to him in prison, and used the money to take a taxi directly to a relative's house near Beirut.
The next day, at nine in the morning, four SLA militiamen arrived at Muhamed's house and the nearby house of his brother Khalil to gather the remaining family members for expulsion. Khalil's wife Ibtisam Ghayad described the swiftness of the procedure: "They did not allow us to take anything. It was immediate. We were out of the house in five minutes." The nine children of the two families were already in school, seven of them in Marjayoun and two in Sheba'. The children were collected, and then the entire group was transported to the KfarTebnit crossing. The SLA soldiers at the checkpoint were informed that the families were not permitted to reenter the occupied zone. Their permits were confiscated and torn to pieces in front of them.
The economic impact of the imprisonment and then the expulsion on the two families was considerable. In addition to their two houses, furnishings and other personal effects, they said that other losses included about U.S. $5,000 annually from the harvest of cherries, $4,000 from vegetables that Khalil sold in the coastal city of Sidon (which is located outside the occupied zone), and another $5,000 from olives consigned to a producer of olive oil. Deprived of two breadwinners during the time that Muhamed and Khalil were detained in Khiam, the wives were forced to sell their jewelry and borrow heavily. Muhamed's wife Rabiha, with eight children to support, sold olives and oil to generate some income, and borrowed LL7 million (approximately $4,600), which she said had not been repaid at the time of the interview. Khalil's wife sold the two gold bracelets that he had given to her when they were engaged. The women told Human Rights Watch that they needed money not only for daily living expenses but also to "purchase" access to their husbands at Khiam prison and bring them food and other supplies. Ibtisam said that "it was well known that you had to bring gifts" to obtain a visit, noting that families who arrived empty-handed were turned away. Ibtisam, describing one visit, said that she brought with her a large vase, about four kilograms of honey, cartons of cigarettes, yogurt, and sweets. The women also estimated that only about twenty-five percent of the items that they brought for their husbands reached them.59
October 1998: Hasbaiya and Ibl al-Saqi
On October 2, 1998, two elderly Druze sheikhs and their wives were expelled from their villages in the northeastern area of the occupied zone, one couple because a son had defected from the SLA intelligence apparatus and the other because a son had allegedly killed an SLA intelligence officer. According to Future News (Beirut), the parents "were summoned early [on October 2] to the militia's security office in Hasbaiya. The two couples were ordered by militia officers to leave the Israeli-occupied border zone through the Zimraya crossing point at the edge of its eastern sector."60
Mahmoud Hassan Ward, eighty years old, and his wife Zahr Muhamed Nammur, seventy, lived in the predominantly Druze town of Hasbaiya.61 Their thirty-seven-year-old son, Raja Ward, a high-ranking SLA intelligence officer in the eastern sector of the zone, turned himself in to the Lebanese army in June 1998 and caused an uproar. According to Lebanese military security officials, Ward handed over a notebook with the names of fifty-two Lebanese who allegedly collected information for an arm of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency known as Section 501.62 The alleged collaborators were indicted by the military prosecutor, and nineteen were arrested in July; their trial opened in August 9, 1998.63
After Raja Ward's defection, he was replaced by Nidal Nasr. According to the Lebanese media, Nasr was killed on September 26, 1998, reportedly by Naji Mundhir, an SLA militiaman who then fled the occupied zone.64 The expulsion of Mundhir's father and mother, Fawwaz Husayn Mundhir, seventy-five, and Aziza, seventy, from Ibl al-Saqi, took place less than a week later.
May 1998: Sheba'
A family from Sheba' paid a high price in May 1998 for publicly celebrating the release of a relative who had been detained without charge for twelve years in Khiam prison on suspicion of involvement in the armed resistance. On May 7, 1998, thirty-one-year-old Ghassan Moussa was released from Khiam and expelled immediately. He told Human Rights Watch that he was escorted to the Zumrayya crossing by SLA security officers Fares al-Hamra and Muhamed Naba'. "If we see you here, we have orders to kill you," he said al-Hamra told him at the crossing. A week later, Ghassan's sixty-four-year-old father, Muhamed, and his sister, Mona, a twenty-nine-year-old teacher, were expelled, along with Mona's infant daughter.
On the day of Ghassan's release, a welcoming gathering was arranged for him in the town of Chtoura, at the office of Asaad Hardan, a former Lebanese government minister who also is a member of the ruling Higher Council of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party.65
Relatives, residents of the village, and some SSNP officials attended the event. The next day, Ghassan, his parents and his brothers were interviewed on Lebanese television. Ghassan's mother remained in Beirut with her son, and his father and sister returned to Sheba'. Security officer Muhamed Naba' visited the family's house at midnight with a message from his superior, Fares al-Hamra, instructing Mona and her father to report to the security office in Hasbaiya the next day. Mona protested that she was a teacher and had to be in school. "You had time to go away for Ghassan, and you cannot come to us?," she said Naba' told her.
They traveled to Hasbaiya the next morning, with Mona's five-month-old daughter Maya. According to Mona, a security officer in civilian clothes asked them to identify themselves and then said that he had orders to expel them at the Zumrayya crossing point. "I told him that we did not have milk for the baby, or our identity cards. I asked to see Fares al-Hamra and Alameddin al-Badawi [another senior security officer] to know what we did wrong. He said that we could not see them, and that the expulsion decision had been taken," Mona told Human Rights Watch. They were also told that no other members of the immediate family could return to Sheba'. (Ghassan's mother, fifty-nine-year-old Shihira Atweh, for example, had remained in Beirut with her son and did not return to the village with her husband and Mona.)
The family was stunned by the expulsion. "His life is there," Mona said, referring to her father. "Our house was old, and my brothers sent money to renovate it and to maintain our land. They invested everything in Sheba'." She added that the family pursued many avenues to have the expulsion decision reversed, including then-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, the International Committee of the Red Cross, a local parliamentarian, and a prominent Druze sheikh from Hasbaiya. "Hariri told us that the government would speak to the U.S. embassy about getting us back," Mona said. "After fifteen days, Hariri's people told us that there was no way. They said that the U.S. ambassador talked to [Gen.Antoine] Lahd [the commander of the SLA] and he said `no way.'"66
In a separate and unrelated case, sixty-four-year-old Khowlah Daleh and her husband, Ibrahim Hashem, fifty-seven, were also expelled from Sheba' in May 1998. They had returned to the occupied zone from Beirut the previous day and said that they found SLA security official Muhamed Naba' waiting near their house. Khowlah Daleh told Human Rights Watch that the official asked for their permits. When the couple presented the documents, she said that Naba' tore the photographs out and told them to report to the security office in Hasbaiya the next day, May 19, 1998.
In Hasbaiya, Naba' and another security operative whose name they did not know questioned them for about an hour. The militiamen asked detailed questions about their son, Sheikh Khalil Hashem, who lives in Beirut and gained prominence in Hizballah since his conversion from Sunni Islam to Shia Islam ten years earlier. They also questioned the couple about their thirty-one-year-old daughter Hana', a teacher of Islamic education in official schools who had not visited Sheba' for ten years and was studying law in Beirut at the Islamic Sharia School of the Islamic Sunni Council, the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon (dar al-ifta' in Arabic). Khowlah Daleh told Human Rights Watch that she believed the questions were perfunctory and that the decision to expel her and her husband had already been made. The two men put the couple in a car and drove them directly to the Zumrayya crossing. They refused Ibrahim Hashem's request to stop at the house and gather some clothing.
This was not the family's first encounter with SLA security officials. Khowlah said that she was summoned four years earlier and questioned about her children by senior SLA security officer Fares al-Hamra: "He told me that my son was in Hizballah and asked questions about my daughters. He said that they all wore the veil and that maybe they were members of Hizballah. One year later, he summoned me again and said the same things." At the second meeting, he asked Khowlah to deliver a letter to her son, but she refused. She added that al-Hamra said that Hana' was studying Shiism in Beirut, when in fact her daughter was a Sunni religious scholar.
Khowlah and her husband were financially and emotionally devastated by the expulsion and particularly by the loss of their farmland. "We invested all of our money in our house and land. The children helped us build the house, and we planted and worked on the land," Khowlah said. The couple said that their orchards of cherries, walnuts and pomegranates produced about U.S. $6,600 in income each year. The expulsion marked the second time the family had been dispossessed. Until 1967, they lived in a section of the Arkoub known as the farms of Sheba' and lost their twenty-dunum farm in Haret Qafwa when Israel seized this area.67
April 1998: Ramieh
Qassem Muhamed Eissa, a father of four from the
village of Ramieh, told Human Rights Watch that he escaped as he was about
to be questioned at SLA security headquarters in Bint Jbail and fled the
occupied zone. Following her husband's flight, his wife Ghazala said that
she was barred from leaving the zone for almost two years and was harassed
by SLA security operatives until she was finally expelled in April 1998.
According to Ghazala, after her husband left the zone, three SLA militiamen
- Ali Saleh, Ridda Nasr, and Bassam Obeid - stormed her house and ransacked
it, claiming to be searching for weapons. She said that they found no arms,
but took Qassem's pick-up truck, which had been sent to him by his brother
in Saudi Arabia and was worth about U.S. $9,000. She also charged that
the militiamen stole $5,000 in cash that the family had been saving to
purchase aschool bus. "Ridda Nasr counted the money in front of me," said
Qassem's mother, Nimri Ali Eissa, who also witnessed the search.
After this, Ghazala reported that she lived uncomfortably in the village, ostracized by her neighbors. "Ahmed Shibley [an SLA security officer] warned everyone not to have contact with us or help plough our land," she said. "Once, my youngest son broke his hand and no one would drive him to the hospital in Bint Jbail. Taxis that charge LL10,000 refused LL20,000. We walked until we found a car from outside the village that would take us to the hospital." Ghazala said that she was expelled with her children on April 1, 1998, and was not permitted to bring any possessions with her.68
December 1996: Markaba
The parents of two slain Lebanese guerrillas were expelled from the village of Markaba on December 23, 1996. According to Agence France-Presse, Hussein Dakik, fifty years old, and his wife were expelled ten days after their son Ali, a fighter with the Amal Movement, and another guerrilla were killed in a clash with Israeli forces in Wadi Slouki.69 Radio Lebanon reported that seventy-year-old Muhamed al-Hayik and his sixty-four-year-old wife Khadija were also expelled from Markaba through the Beit Yahoun crossing on the same day. It noted that their son Ahmad had recently been killed in a military operation in Wadi Slouki, and that another son, Husam, had fled the SLA and turned himself in to the residents of Qabrika village. "The Israeli forces sent a message with the deportees threatening any relatives of the martyr [Ahmad] against entering the occupied region again," the report concluded.70
December 1988 - January 1989: Kfar Hamam
In 1988, Youmna Khalil and three of her children from Kfar Hamam, a village in the northeastern part of the occupied zone, were detained without charge in Khiam prison to force the return of her sons Jamal, twenty years old and Ahmed, nineteen, who had joined the resistance. The pressure of the imprisonment of immediate family members did not yield the return of the two brothers, resulting in the expulsion of their mother in December 1988 and their father and three siblings in January 1989.
According to family members, for two months the SLA inquired repeatedly about the two brothers. Then Naji al-Qadi and Nidal Jamal, two militiamen from the SLA security office in Hasbaiya, came to the house and questioned their mother. "They asked me where my sons were. I said that I did not know, and they said that they were taking me," said Youmna, who was in her sixties at the time of her interview with Human Rights Watch. According to the family, Youmna and her thirteen-year-old son Rabah were detained in Khiam prison on March 23, 1988. Rabah was taken, the family said, because the SLA suspected that he had been in contact with his brother Jamal and knew where weapons were hidden. Two of Youmna's daughters were imprisoned the next month: twenty-five-year-old Nadia on April 4 and seventeen-year-old Jamila on April 26.71
Youmna told Human Rights Watch that she was held without charge for three months and tortured during interrogation for fifteen days. She said that her interrogators would come at night, blindfold her eyes, place a sackover her head, and cuff her hands in front. She was then pushed to the floor and beaten. She was also doused with very cold or very hot water, and electricity was applied under her fingernails and on her breasts.72
They beat me while I was on the floor. Then, they would stop and there would be silence. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, they would start beating me again. They told me that I would be released if my sons returned. I refused to bring back my sons. They threatened to expel me or dynamite our house.
After her release, Youmna said that SLA militiamen came to the family's home at night and threatened to blow it up. On December 17, 1988, she was summoned to the security office in Hasbayya and again instructed to bring her sons or face expulsion.
Youmna was expelled alone, without her husband and four children who lived at home. She told Human Rights Watch that she tried once to enter the occupied zone at the Zumrayya crossing, but was informed that there were orders not to admit her unless her sons returned. "I told them that I had other children in the village, and sheep, but they said that was not their problem," Youmna recalled.I refused. So they drove me to Zumrayya [crossing]. It was raining heavily and there was nowhere to sit, so I sat on the wet ground. I wanted to go to my sister's house in the Beka' and had only LL4,000. The taxi driver [who took her there] would not accept my money when I told him what had happened.
On January 5, 1989, Youmna's husband Qassem Ali Shahrour and three of his children were expelled from the village.73 Over ten years later, sixty-nine-year-old Qassem recounted some of the details:
Badawi and an Israeli officer appeared to be in charge of the operation, he said. He watched as Badawi used a folding knife to tear pieces of fabric from the sofa to use as blindfolds. Before he was blindfolded, he saw them loot gold, money, and a television set. The children were herded into a convoy of cars in their nightclothes.They woke us up at 3:30 in the morning. There were tanks and many cars, and soldiers on the upper floor of our neighbor's house. They searched the house and told us that we were going to be expelled. It was a mixed group, and Arabic was spoken. But there were Israelis with them. [SLA security official] Alameddin al-Badawi was in our house, speaking with an Israeli in Hebrew.
October 1988: Markaba
On October 19, 1988, seven Israeli soldiers were killed instantly and eight wounded when a suicide bomber blew up a car with 330 pounds of explosives near an IDF military convoy at the border gate that leads to the Israeli town of Metulla. The New York Times reported that "[a]n Israeli Army official said the suicide bomber, driving a Toyota, detonated the explosive as the Israeli convoy of six vehicles, including a small bus loaded with troops, stopped next to another small convoy headed in the other direction."75 An eighth Israeli soldier died from his injuries several days later. Hizballah's military wing, the Islamic Resistance, claimed responsibility for the attack, and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Shamir pledged that "Israel's just and secure hand will reach the killers."76 On October 23, 1988, the Israeli Army said it had had carried out arrests of residents it suspected were involved in planning the attack, and that the IDF had "apprehended the terrorist who is suspected of escorting the suicide car bomber to the area of the terrorist attack."77
Khadija Naim Raghda, from the village of Markaba in the occupied zone, told Human Rights Watch that it was her seventeen-year-old son Mustafa Abdel Karim Hamoud who had accompanied the suicide bomber in the vehicle.78 She said that after the attack her son returned to the village, which is located about five miles southwest of Metulla, and that the SLA promptly apprehended him. According to Mustafa's brother Ismail, the suicide bombing occurred at about 11:00 or 11:30 in the morning, and Mustafa was arrested at about 4:00 that afternoon. The next day, the SLA returned to the family's house. According to Khadija:
The day after her arrest, a high-ranking Israeli intelligence official and another Israeli commander, accompanied by at least four SLA security officials, arrived at the family's burnt house and dynamited it, according to Khadija's son Ismail who was hiding in the village and watched.79They found nothing. They came back again and ransacked the house. They put a gun to my head and said: "Where does your son hide the weapons?" Then they sprayed something like gasoline and set the house on fire. I watched this. Then they grabbed me and put me in a car, while the house was burning, and took me to Khiam prison. During the ride there, Ahmed Abdel Jalil Sheet [an SLA security officer] kicked me with his boot and spit in my face.
Three days after the bombing, Khadija said that her husband, Abdel Karim Hamoud, who was ninety-nine years old, was expelled from the village and the occupied zone.
Khadija, who was fifty-seven years old in 1988, told Human Rights Watch that at Khiam prison she was interrogated and tortured for fifteen days in the investigation room, with two Israeli officers present. "They wanted information, but I had none," she said, mentioning that electricity was applied to her fingertips and breasts. After fifteen days, she said that she was handcuffed and blindfolded, and transported to somewhere in Israel, where her son was already in custody. She recalled that this time she was interrogated by Israelis, with one Lebanese in attendance. On the first day, "it was the same type of investigation [as in Khiam], but there was no torture. They brought my son Mustafa, and I passed out. The next day, an Arabic-speaking policewoman told me not to faint.They brought my son again and I hugged and kissed him. I never saw him again," Khadija said.80 She added that Mustafa was quickly tried in an Israeli court - "which he refused to recognize" - and is serving a twenty-year sentence in Ashkelon prison in Israel. Khadija and her son Ismail emphasized that Mustafa was just seventeen, born in 1971, although Israeli newspapers in 1988 reportedly said he was twenty-eight years old. They repeatedly requested that Human Rights Watch include this information in the report.
Khadija was released after two months and twenty-two
days, Ismail told Human Rights Watch. She returned to Markaba, but said
that she was separated from her expelled husband because she was not allowed
to leave the village: "I wanted a permit to go out because I no longer
had a house. I had nowhere to go, but Abu al-Rida [the head of security
for Markaba] would not give me a permit to go to Beirut." Finally - Khadija
could not remember the exact date - she said that she was given a white
piece of paper that allowed her to leave Markaba but never return. She
stated that the paper was taken from her at the crossing point on the day
that she left. When her husband died in May 1994, the family was not permitted
to bury his body in the village.81
47 Human Rights Watch interview, Nabatiyeh, Lebanon, March 1999. Name not provided to Human Rights Watch.48 Yehia Ali described to Human Rights Watch his history in Sheba' as an outspoken and peaceful opponent of the occupation, and his opposition to Israeli attempts since 1984 to gain the support of prominent residents for the establishment of a Civil Administration. He escaped expulsion with his parents and family because he was in another house when Israeli and SLA forces entered the village at five o'clock in the morning to assemble the families. Ali said that three days later he fled the occupied zone through the mountains. Human Rights Watch interview, Beirut, Lebanon, March 1999.
49 See Appendix B for the names and ages of the expelled family members.
50 See, for example, Daily Star, January 9, 1999.
51 Human Rights Watch interview, Washington, D.C., May 1999.
52 At the time of Human Rights Watch's visit, Ahmad, twenty-eight years old, was reportedly still suffering from the injuries that he sustained that day. His brother Qassem said that his spine had been injured and he was visiting a chiropractor twice weekly.
53 He said that the SLA took the keys of his brother Ismail's 1978 Mercedes 230, his brother Muhamed's 1984 Mercedes 280, and a 1980 Datsun and 1983 Nissan pick-up truck that belonged to his brother Hassan.
54 Qassem Naba' informed Human Rights Watch later during the mission that the money had finally been received from the Council of the South.
55 Muhamed Naba', one of the brothers who had been expelled, was arrested by Lebanese authorities after the expulsion, and was detained at the time that Human Rights Watch interviewed the families.
56 Daher was later assassinated in December 1998, and his successor, Muhamed Naba', deserted the SLA in February 1999. See "1999: A Pattern of South Lebanon Army Defections and Expulsions," above, for additional information.
57 He showed Human Rights Watch a radiology report from a Beirut hospital that noted "degeneration and diffuse bulging" of three discs, and other spinal problems.
58 Journalist David Hirst entered the occupied zone through the Kfar Tebnit crossing, and described it this way: "I had left the last Lebanese army post, on foot, about 500 meters behind. The eery silence, the barbed wire and fortifications, the row of burnt-out cars, casualties of a recent artillery exchange, made this passage from one part of the same small country to another as striking as the border between enemy states." David Hirst, "South Lebanon."
59 These also included milk, biscuits, Tang, Nescafe, fruits, vegetables, and tissues. Human Rights Watch interviews, Na'ame, Lebanon, March 1999.
60 "Israeli-allied militia expels elderly Druze couples from border zone," Future Television, Daily Report, October 2, 1998.
61 "SLA officers throw elderly couples out of occupied zone," Daily Star, October 3, 1998.
62 Robert Fisk, "Israeli spies exposed by defector," Independent, August 28, 1998.
63 Youssef Diab, "Trial of 78 alleged Israeli `informers' gets under way," Daily Star, August 10, 1998.
64 Daily Star, October 3, 1998, and Future Television Daily Report, October 2, 1998.
65 Asaad Hardan served as secretary of defense for the SSNP from 1985 to 1995, according to a Lebanese member of the party. Human Rights Watch telephone interview, June 1999. The first suicide bombings with vehicles in Lebanon occurred in 1983. "The initial spate of Shia suicide bombings was so successful that it inspired other, secular organizations - particularly the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party - to adopt the tactic in 1984 and 1985," the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress reported. Thomas Collelo, Ed., Lebanon: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: 1989) p. 228. The SSNP "claimed responsibility for eight of the eighteen suicide bombings directed against Israel in southern Lebanon between March and November 1985." Daniel Pipes, Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition (New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press: 1990) p. 127.
66 Human Rights Watch interviews, Shuweifat, Lebanon, April 1999.
67 Human Rights Watch interviews, Beirut, Lebanon, April 1999. The "Sheba' farms" area is located at the borders of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Other families expelled from Sheba' and interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they too had title to land in this area. The names of the farms are: Maghr Sheba', Zibdeen, Qafwa, Ramta, Barakhta al-Tahta, Barakhta al-Fouqa, Marah al-Malloul, Fashkoul, Khalla Ghazala, Ruaissa al-Qaran, Joura al-A'qarib, al-Raba'a, Beit al-Barraq, Dahar al-Baidar, and Mazra'a Bastara. See General People's Council, Sons of Arqoub, Mazaaria' Sheba' al-lubnaniyya fi muwajahat al-atmaa' al-sahyuniyya [The Lebanese Sheba' Farms in the Face of Zionist Ambition] (Beirut, National Studies Center: undated), p.8.
68 Human Rights Watch interviews, Ras al-'Ain, Lebanon, March 1999.
69 Agence France-Presse, "Israel expels parents of slain guerrilla from buffer strip," December 23, 1996.
70 Radio Lebanon (Beirut), December 23, 1996, as reported in FBIS Daily Report, December 26, 1996, FBIS-NES-96-248.
71 Jamila was held without charge until November 1989, and Nadia until August or September 1989 (the family was not sure of the exact date but said that she was released three months before Jamila). Rabah was detained for fourteen months, until May 16, 1989, and was expelled immediately after his release.
72 Youmna and other women torture victims who told Human Rights Watch that electricity was applied to their breasts said they were clothed when this occurred.
73 The children were Ramez, twenty-three; Ikram, fifteen; and Nejla, thirteen.
74 Human Rights Watch interviews, Beirut, Lebanon, March 1999.
75 Joel Brinkley, "A Car Bomb in Southern Lebanon Kills 7 Israeli Soldiers and Hurts 8," New York Times, October 20, 1988.
77 "Bombing Suspects Seized by Israelis," New York Times, October 24, 1988.
78 As a security measure, residents of occupied Lebanon are not permitted to drive vehicles unaccompanied by passengers.
79 The names of these officials were provided to Human Rights Watch.
80 Khadija and other family members have not been permitted to visit Mustafa in prison, although they said they do exchange letters. Khadija pleaded with Human Rights Watch to help arrange a visit with her son. In October 1997, Human Rights Watch recommended to the government of Israel that it facilitate family visits for Lebanese prisoners, either directly or through the good offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross. See Human Rights Watch, "Without Status or Protection: Lebanese Detainees in Israel," A Human Rights Watch Short Report, vol. 9 no. 11 (E), October 1997, p. 9.
81 Human Rights
Watch interviews, Beirut, Lebanon, April 1999 and May 1999.
The prohibition of the burial of some elderly residents in their home villages in the occupied zone has continued. Agence France-Presse reported that on May 2, 1999, the burial of ninety-year-old Safiya Fouani was not permitted in Houla, and that SLA militiamen turned away her funeral cortege at the Beit Yahoun crossing. According to AFP: "The Israeli army has been imposing `collective punishment' measures against the village of Houla...since a deadly anti-Israeli guerrilla attack there in March. Houla residents have been prevented from entering or leaving the occupied border strip since then." The same day, AFP added, militiamen at the crossing "allowed two other funeral processions to enter the border zone towards the village of Mais Al Jabal and the town of Bint Jbeil." See "SLA forcibly prevents funeral in south Lebanon village," Jordan Times (Amman), May 3, 1999.