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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem



The barbarous crimes committed between 1967 and 1987 against the population of the Gaza Strip on the orders of the top Israeli political and military leaders were similar to the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed under the Nazi political and military leaders in Occupied Europe during World War II. More than 2,000 Palestinians of the Gaza Strip were murdered and more than 5,000 injured and maimed. More than 10,000 Palestinians of the Gaza Strip were either imprisoned or put in detention camps and tortured by the most brutal and inhumane methods. More than 1,000 houses were demolished. Collective fines were imposed and the economy of Gaza was destroyed. These crimes were committed under the Israeli leadership for the purpose of breaking the will and resistance to the occupiers and for emptying the Gaza Strip of its population.

Since the beginning of the lntifada in December, 1987, Israeli crimes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have increased in number and intensity. More details of these crimes will be dealt with in the chapter on the lntifada.


During their entry into the Gaza Strip the Israeli forces directed their artillery fire against the civilian population. As a result, many houses in Gaza and Khan Yunis suffered extensive damage. The enemy fire was especially heavy against the refugee camp at Khan Yunis, the towns of Jabalia and Rafah and the refugee camp of Al-Maghazi. On June 5, 1967,23 houses were demolished during the shelling of the city of Rafah. At the refugee camp of Al Muaskar 45 rooms were destroyed and the ceilings of 62 rooms were smashed. UNRWA officials estimate the units destroyed at the refugee camp at Khan Yunis as 847. Many families occupying those units were killed. Many of the inhabitants of Khan Yunis sought refuge in the woods near the city where they remained for five days without food and water. The Israeli forces destroyed an ambulance, killing its occupants, then broke into the hospital killing a number of patients and taking the rest as prisoners, The water reservoir at Khan Yunis was wantonly destroyed. Several hundred persons were murdered during those two days. At the Al-Muaskar refugee camp twelve houses were destroyed by shelling the camp on June 5. Eight persons were killed and fifteen were wounded. The refugee camp and the town of Jabalia were shelled for three hours on June 7. More than three hundred units were destroyed and many families were wiped out.

The Israeli forces imposed a continuous curfew in all the Gaza Strip for seven days. During that period they fired at any person on sight. At Rafah on June 1 1 they took ten men from their homes and shot them because a mine had exploded under a military car. On June 10 Israeli soldiers demolished a whole block of units in the northern refugee camp at Rafah because a mine had exploded under a military car - 40 houses comprising 144 rooms were destroyed. 23 bodies were found under the rubble, mostly those of women and children, as well as of 4 men. A large number of persons died during that period in the Gaza Strip - mass and individual murder. It is estimated that about four thousand civilians were killed.

The Israeli soldiers went on a looting campaign, breaking into commercial buildings and dwellings and taking everything they found in them.


During this period the curfew was lifted only for four hours a day. In spite of that, terroristic acts and mass murder of civilians continued unabated. The occupying forces would encircle refugee camps, villages or city quarters, then order Al1 males between sixteen and sixty to proceed to an open section in the area with their hands raised and order them to sit under the scorching sun Al1 day long. The occupying forces would order civilians to hand over any firearms they had in their possession and warn them that their houses would be searched and that houses containing firearms would be blown up. The military forces would select a few houses at random - then destroy them. Later they would pick up several hundred men, claiming that they were soldiers, send them to a forced labor camp and then ship them to the Suez Canal Zone. All villages, refugee camps and city quarters were encircled starting from June 16. Certain areas were besieged more than once. Khan Yunis was besieged on June 17 and 2 1. More than two thousand young men were taken from that town, most of them teachers. From the Beach Camp the IDF took more than 800 men and from the Jabalia Camp 600 young men. More than 5,000 young men were forced out of the Strip by Israeli soldiers.


A new tactic followed the encirclement actions. Civilians were terrorized in order to force them to leave the Gaza Strip. Travel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of the Jordan was made possible and easy. This campaign of terror was concentrated against the refugee camps.

For one full week during the early part of August 1967, Israeli soldiers raided different sections of the Beach Camp at night. They ordered men to lie flat on their stomachs and started beating them. Other soldiers searched their homes, frightening women and children. As a result, two demonstrations by the refugees took place.

A unit of Israeli soldiers attacked the Al-Mughazi refugee camp, in particular Block 2, beating the refugees while pretending that they were searching for firearms. On that night about 20 persons were taken into custody.

On the night of June 19 Israeli soldiers attacked the refugee camp at Khan Yunis firing in all directions, claiming that nails had been scattered on the roads causing damage to their cars. The attack was concentrated on Block M. After completing their terrorist action the Israeli soldiers arrested 21 men. On August 29 another army force began breaking into the houses and beating men, women and children. Similar actions took place in November.

On November 19 an Israeli military force attacked the Nusairat refugee camp throwing explosives in the lanes, claiming that they were searching for mines. At the Jabalia refugee camp military raids took place almost every night.


Having failed to force the refugees into leaving their country through nocturnal terror and raids, the Israeli forces resorted to siege and encirclement of the refugee camps over long periods, depriving the refugees of the senices and rations of UNRWA. These actions were followed by the ingathering of men in open areas.

Beach Camp
(a) The camp was placed under siege and curfew for 36 hours on July 3 1 because a bomb had exploded near the Port of Gaza. (b) The camp was encircled for 6 days, from January 9 to 14, 1968, for the purpose of searching for a person alleged to have thrown a bomb in the Port area. All men in the camp were gathered in a small area from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. during very stormy and rainy weather. About 40 men were arrested and tortured for four days in order to find the alleged culprit. At the end of the siege the Israeli soldiers blew up the fishing boats owned by the refugees in the Beach Camp, as well as a number of houses. The value of the fishing boats destroyed is estimated at $100,000. (c) On January 25, 1968, the camp was again besieged. A curfew was imposed and eleven persons were arrested.

The City of Gaza
(a) On January 29, 1968, the city was besieged and a curfew imposed for three days. (b) The Shujaiyya Quarter was under siege and curfew three times - the last was on February 28, 1968. (c) Tuffah Quarter was under siege and curfew for two days, February 22 and 23, 1968. (d) Jabalia Quarter was under siege ten times because of the explosion of mines. The last siege started on December 29, 1968, and continued for three days. All men were gathered at Birkat Abi Rashid during very severe cold weather. Many men were maltreated. A number of men became frostbitten. Similar actions took place at Beit Hanun. A renewed siege of the same Quarter took place on January 24 and 25 for the purpose of arresting versons.

The Central Camps
(a) On December 22, 1967, siege and curfew were imposed upon the Central Refugee Camp for the purpose of a search for Fidaiyyin. (b) The siege of Al-Maghazi Camp lasted for five days. During that period men were gathered every day in the schoolyard of the camp in the open air. Investigation of eachperson tookplace during stormy, windy, cold and rainy weather while they were fasting. (c) Renewed siege and curfew of the Central Refugee Camp started on December 29, 1967, and continued until January 3, 1968. This same treatment of the men was repeated during the curfew.

Khan Yunis
On December 29, 1967, the tribes of Bani Suhaila, Abasan and Khuzaa were under siege for 3 days. The village of El Kararah was under siege for 5 days. In these villages more than twenty homes were demolished.

Rafah was under siege and curfew a number of times in a search for explosives. The last and the most cruel search started on January 22, 1968, lasting three days.

The occupying authorities continued their dynamiting of dwellings and sources of production, claiming they were searching for arms and explosives invariably because of an explosion near a dwelling.

(a) On June 9, 1967, the occupying forces demolished 40 dwellings in the northern refugee camp at Rafah, claiming that a mine exploded under a military car. (b) On June 1 1, 1967, the house of the Suyam family was demolished by Israeli soldiers claiming it contained explosives. (c) On June 11, 1967, the dwelling of Jaber Annahal was dynamited, after it was claimed that it contained firearms. (d) On February 21, 1968, several houses were dynamited, after it was claimed that they contained armed men and firearms. (e) The dwelling of Nasr Allal Hamdan was dynamited, after it was claimed that it contained arms.

Khan Yunis
On December 29, 1967, Israeli soldiers dynamited more than hventy dwellings in the villages of Abasan, Khuzaa, Bani Suhaila and Al-Kararah.

Central Refugee Camps
On June 29, 1967, the water pump and engine, owned by Siad Khaleel Abu Al Auf, were dynamited and the owner was killed.

On November 26, 1967, more than 25 dwellings and four water pumps and engines near El Buraij were dynamited as a reprisal for the death of an Israeli soldier. At the same time, two warehouses in the El Buraij Refugee Camp, used as dwellings by 40 families, were dynamited. On January 8, 1968, ten houses near the Dair El Balah station owned by the El Zariaee tribe were dynamited. Six more houses in the same area were destroyed. On November 29, 1967? a dwelling owned by two orphans, one 14, the other 1 1, and their grandmother, aged 80, was dynamited in the Nusairat Refugee Camp. On June 7, 1967, a dwelling was blown up and on February 5, 1968, another was destroyed.

(a) Al Shujaiyyeh Qumer: the home of Mohamed El Ankar was blown up on the first day of the occupation as an act of terror. (b) El Zaytoun Quarter: the home of Adeeb Rubeen Al Akook located near the railroad station was blown up because a bomb had exploded in the station square. (c) Attufah: on February 2 1, 1968? the homes of Mohammed El Zahama and Khairy Abu Thuraya were dynamited because the Israeli occupying forces claimed they contained arms. (d) Addaraj: on February 29, 1968, six homes were blown up because of the explosion of a bomb in the street, the Israelis claiming that they contained arms.

Al Manshiyyah
On February 29, 1968, the dwellings of Izzat Kassab and Fawzi Kaheel were blown up on the claim that they contained arms.

Al Ramel
The homes of Najeeb Jaradeh and Salah Abu Ramadan were blown up as an act of terror. The home of Abdul Khalek Abu Shaban was demolished on January I., 1968, because a bomb exploded near it. The homes of Theodor Tahawa and Norman Adeeb were demolished because the Israelis claimed they contained arms.

Shati Refugee Camp
On June 16, 1967, during the siege of the camp and as an act of terror three homes were blown up. On January 14, 1968, Israeli soldiers destroyed 31 fishing boats and fishing gear, ten rooms and a coffee house valued at $280,000.

Town of Jabalia
Over ten houses were destroyed on June 18, 1967, as an act of terror.

Refugee Camp at Jabalia
The homes of Mohamed Abu Jalaleh and Ahmed Nafeesah were demolished on June 18, 1967, as an act of terror. The house of Atta Abdul Kader Saleh was destroyed because his son was accused of having thrown a bomb into the Jabalia market.


Detentions continued unabated from the start of the Israeli occupation until June 5* 1968. The Israeli army incarcerated more than 550 persons and prisoners in the Gaza and Beit Hanan Prisons were inhumanly tortured. On January 13* 1968, the occupation authorities carried out wide-scale raids against various members of the Palestine Liberation Organization and nationalist groups, arresting 115.

In spite of all this Gaza never yielded or gave in to this brute force.

Suddenly one moming the Israeli occupation authorities were faced with the distribution of a mimeographed communique announcing the creation of the United National Front whose aim was to forge all resistance in the Gaza Strip and to demonstrate the determination of the people to hold to their national homeland in spite of the Israeli terror and torture. This small sheet later was transformed into a daily paper which contained records of acts of resistance and the repressive measures taken by the enemy occupation forces.

The occupation authorities concentrated their terror against the refugee camps in order to disintegrate and destroy the resistance therein. The raids against the camps were carried out by night for the purpose of frightening the children, elderly and women, beating the citizens and molesting the young girls.

At the Shati Camp the refugees demonstrated against the robbery that was carried out by a group of Israeli soldiers. The following day two demonstrations by women took place; they carried black flags and called for the downfall of the Israeli gangs. UNRWA officials also went on strike. More than 40 notables of the Gaza Strip met at the Municipal Building and signed a protest petition.

A member of the Israeli forces molested a citizen in an Al Mukhatar street for no reason whatever - then shot him in broad daylight. Members of the public were so enraged that they were about to kill the soldier but other members of the military forces saved him. All shops in that area went on strike for the next two days.

The National Students Committee, an affiliate of the National United Front Committee, addressed a communique to its students urging them to boycott the examination arranged by the occupation authorities on September 2, 1967. Prior to this, the National Committee of Male and Female Teachers issued a statement declaring their determination to thwart all attempts by the Jewish occupation authorities to incorporate their educational system into that of the Strip.

The Israeli occupiers and their agents resorted to devious methods to justify their acts of terror against the citizens of the Strip by planting mines or throwing explosives. An explosion occurred on the main road at the entrance to Jabalia, destroying a truck owned by Arabs and injuring four residents. The Israeli occupation authorities made use of this incident by laying siege to the whole area of Jabalia for over twelve hours. The exmination set by the Israeli occupation authorities for students was a total failure in spite of the efforts undertaken by the occupation authorities.

The Israeli military governor of the Gaza Strip summoned notables of the city of Gaza, urging them to persuade the parents and guardians to send their boys and girls to schools. He added that any action discouraging students from going to schools would be considered unfriendly acts toward the occupation authorities. The notables rejected his request.

Soldiers attacked citizens in the refugee camp at Khan Yunis with metal pipes. This terror led to a demonsaation by the women of the camp. They carried black flags and called for the downfall of the Israeli occupiers. During that demonstration forty young men were injured by the brutal attacks of the Israeli soldiers.

In the evening of October 21, 1967, the Israelis resorted again to attacks against the refugee camp at Khan Yunis, not sparing women, children or the aged. The pretext of the soldiers was that stones were being thrown at them.

The occupation forces continued their looting and sequestration of property. They ordered the expropriation of all property belonging to absentee citizens of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military governor in the Gaza Strip issued a proclamation during August 1967, cancelling the concession given by the Arab Abinistration to the Gaza municipality to supply electricity. He transferred the said concession to an Israeli company. The Municipal Council collectively resigned in protest against this aggressive and unjust act and did not heed the threats directed against it by the Israeli authorities. The Israeli authorities incarcerated members of the Council for one night in an attempt to intimidate them.


The military occupation authorities gather by force Gazans from the coffee houses to force them to work in the centers where the occupation forces resided. They also beat the citizens while they work. As a method of terror they put persons in a large bag, tied its opening and beat them.

The occupation authorities were forced to countemand their order to cancel the concession of the Gaza municipal authorities to supply electricity, Thus the Municipal Council succeeded through its noncooperation to regain its concession.

When Moshe Dayan visited the Municipd Council, he told the Mayor: "You are at liberty to take a position different than that of the Governor and I will support you,"

However, when Moshe Dayan requested the assistance of the Mukhtars (headmen of an area) to help in transferring the refugees to Jericho, one of the Mukhtars, Khalil Al Masjal, retorted: "We are not ready to acquiesce." At that moment Dayan ordered the arrest of the headman and later told the other headmen in a threatening manner: "You are not to lodge any more complaints about the treatment by the army of the refugees."

The Israeli radio station attacked those persons who distributed publications on November 2 and 29, 1967, calling for a strike. The pblications were distributed by the National United Front. The first publication was circulated on the 50th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, while the second was on the 20th anniversary of the unjust United Nations partition resolution of 1947.

The occupation authorities arrested Fayek Rawad, a nationalist, and deported him to the East Bank of the Jordan. The occupation authorities arrested a number of young men from Jabalia, accusing them of having pulled down the flag of Israel.

The occupation forces detained twelve persons from the central part of the Gaza Strip. They were members of a delegation that went to see the Governor of Dair Balah to present him with a protest. All were deported.

The occupation authorities dismissed all the refugee workers who were employed by the Public Works Department in Gaza, closed three secondary schools in the Strip and dismissed the school children. This was done in order to force the refugees out of the area. The occupation authorities arrested the widow of Khamir Hamidan and her baby after they dug up her yard and scattered her belongings in a search for arms. They released her on February 25, 1968, after she had spent three days in prison. The military court in Gaza issued an order to demolish thirteen houses in the Strip, claiming that they had found arms in them. During the siege of the Ashujaiyya Quarter the occupation forces killed an orange grove attendant by beating him with an iron pipe.

The Teachers National Committee, an affiliate of the United National Front in the Strip, and the Federated Teachers Front of the West Bank of the Jordan issued a statement strongly condemning the occupation authorities for meddling in the Arab teaching curriculum, for demolishing and setting fire to the headquarters of the Department of Education in Gaza, and for arresting many teachers.

After the Fidaiyyin operations in areas contiguous to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli authorities besieged the village of Abasan, the refugee camp at El Buraij and the Ashushaiyya Quarter in Gaza. The Israelis combed the whole area searching for Fidaiyyin, then arrested many persons.

The occupation authorities summoned some notables from Gaza, the central area, Dair Balah, and threatened them with additional restrictive measures against the citizens of the area unless the Fidaiyyin operations ceased.

On April 4, 1968, the cars of the Israeli authorities were cruising in Ashushaiyya, announcing the start of a curfew. This took place at four o'clock in the morning. At one o'clock in the afternoon the cars of the occupation authorities cruised the area, calling on men between fourteen and sixty to come out of their houses and gather in the square in that area. Suddenly a large wave of women and children opened the doors of their houses and came out with loud cries detemined to defy the authorities. The occupation authorities attempted to stop the stampede of women and children by firing in the air at one time and over their heads at another time. However, the occupation forces were subjected to a barrage of stones and sticks and cries "Down with the occupiers!''

Unemployment is rampant in Gaza and among the sailors of the Port of Gaza as a result of the diversion of the shipping of the orange crop from Gaza to Ashdod.

The occupation forces resorted to a new method of looting in the Gaza Strip. They tied the doors of shops with a rope and then fastened that rope to their jeeps. In this manner they pulled away doors, then opened the stores and looted the merchandise.

Many children were seriously wounded in the Ashushaiyya Quarter and were hospitalized. This was caused by bestial attacks committed by the Israeli forces. The pretext for such behavior was that a child of less than six years of age had thrown a stone at a car.

A force of Israeli soldiers attacked on April 5, 1968, twenty houses in the Jabalia refugee camp, forcing the men and the children out of their homes - then began beating them with the butts of their rifles. Later they arrested three brothers of the Habub family, cl~ming that one of their brothers was a member of the Fidaiyyin group.

A graduate of a Haifa secondary school for girls residing in Khan Sunis applied to the Department of IUucation at Gaza for a position as a teacher. The Israeli inspector responsible requested that she meet him at the Legislative Building for an interview with one of the officers. In a room allocated for the Criminal Investigation Department she met a certain officer who tried to convince her to work for the Criminal Investigation Depmment in return for a salary of 60 Israeli Pounds and 50 Israeli Pounds extra for every family she succeeded in convincing to leave the Gaza Strip. The brave Arab girl yelled in the face of the Israeli officer, declaring that she had come in search of a teaching position and not to become an agent of the Israelis.

In spite of the threats and terror of the Israeli authorities, the people in the Gaza Strip held a protest march against the Israeli military parade in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

In Khan Sunis a group of Arab freedom fighters clashed with the IDF on May 1 and 2, 1968. In Gaza as well as in Khan Yunis and many other towns and villages the refugees i and the citizens of the Strip stayed in their homes. As a result the streets and markets were empty of people and cars. At the girls' school of Dair Balah the students gathered in the schoolyard and attempted to proceed in a demonstration I protesting the military parade in Jerusalem, In Gaza, as in many other cities and towns, the notables and the headmen rejected the invitation sent to them to attend the Israeli military parade.



1. "In Gaza last night, the dwellings of suspected saboteurs were reduced to rubble." (New York Times, 10 August 1967).

2. "Israeli security forces blew up anumber of Arab houses in Deir Al-Balah village in the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for the murder of a farmer." (A.P., 28 November 1967).

3. "In order to intimidate the population, the military authorities have dynamited houses where saboteurs might have found shelter or help." (Le Monde, 20 January 1968).

4. The Israelis blew up 9 fishermen's huts, which were used for storing their nets and tackle, and destroyed a number of fishing boats." (The Guardian, 26 January 1968).

5. "Israeli soldiers dynamited 4 houses - and the explosion brought down 8 others - in Wahda Street in Gaza, after a fire cracker was thrown from one of these houses. The inhabitants were given 10 minutes to evacuate their families, including small children, and they can still be seen searching the rubble to see if they can salvage anything."(Reuters, 7 February 1968).

6. "Several shanties and storage sheds were demolished in a Bedouin encampment near Khan Yunis." (The Jerusalem Post, 11 January 1968).

7. "3 houses were blown up yesterday as a reprisal for an incident in which a homemade grenade was thrown at a lorry." (A.F.P., A.P., Reuters, 22 February 1968).

8. "The order to destroy the houses of anyone found to be connected with saboteurs or to have sheltered them is still enforced. At least 100 houses have been destroyed." (The Times, 7 March 1968).

9. 'Won-Arab residents of the strip share the Arab view that punishment is meted out to tens of thousands of people who could not possibly be implicated in the incidents: the destruction of houses7 whose inhabitants' only crime is to be living near the spot where a bomb explodes, is out of all proportion to the acts committed.'' (The Observer, 28 January 1968).


1. "Public cars leave Gaza regularly every morning for the West Bank. The number of travellers vary from 400 to 500 daily, only 10 per cent of which return to Gaza in the evening."( Red Cross Report No. 3, 1 1 August 1967)

2. Each day for the last 2 weeks, 500 residents have left the Gaza Strip. Any reduction in Gaza area's population is a benefit to eveeone in Israel's view." (New York Times, 26 August 1 967).

3. "The opportunity of reprisals on security grounds has been taken to hasten the departure of more people from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to prevent the return of those who had fled. The Israeli authorities believe that whatever the eventual political status of the Gaza Strip, the refugees there should be moved elsewhere." (Observer, 17 December 1967).

4. "It is estimated that between 30,000 and 35,000 people have left the strip as a result of the measures taken by the Israeli authorities.'' (Observer, 28 January 1968).

5. "The Israelis encourage the population to leave." (The Times, 7 March 1968).

6. "The non-Arab, non-Jewish population of Gaza believe that the only danger to security in Gaza comes from the present determined and often brutal attempts by the Israeli army to persuade the Arab refugees to leave the Gaza Strip, thus opening the way to its annexation by Israel. My observations confirm this view." (The Guardian, 26 January 1968).

7. "There was a well-attested intimidation of Arabs in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere to encourage them to leave," wrote British M.P.'s Ian Gilmour and Colin Jackson in a letter to The Times on 10 February 1968.

8. "No Israeli, when he deals frankly with you (and many do) will deny that he would prefer to accept "the dowry without the bride," meaning that, from Israel's point of view, the ideal solution to the problem of the occupied territories would be their absorption by Israel but without their Arab population," wrote Michael Adams. (The Guardian, 19 February 1968).


1. In a letter to The Observer, Michael Adams wrote: "The Jerusalem Post reported that the 2,500 male residents of the Al-Shati' Camp (in the Gaza Strip), aged 17 to 50, were herded into a stockade for interrogation by teams of army police and security service men. The Post did not add that the stockade was on a beach, that a violent storm was raging, that there was continuous small arms fire over the men's heads, and that they were kept there for 7 hours." (The Observer, 18 February 1968).

2. In the same letter, Mr. Adams says: "At Jabalia Camp, the men were held in similar conditions for 25 hours, in a shallow depression where rainwater had gathered. The hospitals had to deal with a number of cases of exposure after this episode."

3. "The intimidatory measures imposed by the Israeli authorities on the village of Al-Arish have been so strengthened in the last few days that it is difficult to find a single boy in the town who has not been imprisoned for some days without any reason. It is also reported that during the last few days, and between midnight and 3 a.m. each night, every family lives in a state of anxiety and expects to be arrested by the security forces at any minute; the men may be taken off for several days or even a week at a time, and during this period of detention would be subjected to the ugliest possible forms of torture." (All Press Agencies, 18 December 1967).

4. "The Israeli authorities imprisoned all the Mukhtars of Gaza for the past four days, and subjected them to all possible methods of torture in an effort to extort information from them. As a result, one of them, Alyan Al-Masri, has died." (A.F.P., 30 July 1967).

5. "The Gaza Strip went on strike in protest against the Israeli forces' appropriation of sums of money estimated at a million dollars, in addition to robberies by individual Israeli soldiers. The Israeli authorities arrested the Mayor of Gaza, Mr. Munir Al-Rayess, and three prominent tradesmen, because of their refusal to ask for a stop to the strike. Many personalities from Khan Yunis, including the Mayor and his assistant, were also arrested for the same reason. The judges and public prosecutors in Gaza refused to work, even after they had been threatened with imprisonment and after some of them had been beaten up." (Reuters, A.P., A.F.P., 3 August 1967)

6. "The Israeli authorities imposed a curfew on the Gaza Strip yesterday. Many of the men aged between 18 and 40 were arrested, and taken to the main square, where their hands were tied behind their backs and they were ordered to lie face down on the ground; at the same time there was shooting above their heads in order to intimidate them. Later these men were taken to an unknown destination."(A.F.P., 30 July 1967)

7. "The Israeli authorities perform their so-called "Search Operations" brutally and violently, and in the middle of the night. Citizens are made to leave their homes and are not permitted to return until the searches are over. In order to spread panic amongst the populace, the Israeli authorities fire shots from machine guns while they are carrying out these searches." (Red Cross Report No. 3, 11 August 1967).

8. "The Israeli authorities imposed a 24 hours curfew and search in the town of Al-Arish yesterday." (A.F.P., A.P., 20 August 1967).

9. "The Israeli authorities perform nightly search operation in the sector, which creates great panic amongst the women and children." (Report submitted by the Secretary- General of the United Nations, 15 September 1967).

10. "A general curfew was imposed yesterday on the Gaza Strip and "Search Operations" were carried out. There have been several similar incidents within the last few days in the Gaza Strip." (Le Monde, 31 December 1967).

11. "The Israeli authorities have imposed a curfew on the Gaza Strip and have launched "Search Operations," in reprisal for a homemade grenade which was thrown into the Gaza fish market and which resulted in no casualties." (Le Monde, 10 January 1968)

12. "In the town of Gaza, a curfew was imposed for 61 hours, and for the first 24 hours not even doctors were allowed to move outside their houses. In Shati' Camp, the curfew lasted for 5 days (9-14 January) and UNRWA was not allowed to distribute food until the fourth day. Moreover in Jabalia Camp, the curfew lasted for 9 days and nights." (In a letter from Michael Adams to The Observer).

13. "Curfews are now so frequently imposed in the Gaza Strip that life in the sector is almost completely paralyzed. During these curfew hours, armed Israeli patrols often break into private homes and carry out their search operations." (A.P.,A.F.P., 18 January 1968).

14. "A total day and night curfew, whose duration was not specified, was imposed on 200,000 Arabs in the Gaza Strip yesterday. The Israeli authorities are proceeding to search every single house in the sector. Schools, shops and offices were closed in Gaza and streets were deserted except for army patrols." (Le Monde, 20 January 1968).


News agencies reported on February 2, 1969 that thousands of women and children demonstrated in protest against the massacres and the repressive acts carried out by Israeli military occupation authorities in that sector, as well as the prison sentences pronounced by Israeli military courts on three girls for varying terms. Israeli occupying forces fired on demonstrators after tear gas bombs had failed to disperse them, thus resulting in the killing and wounding of more than a hundred school girls between the ages of fifteen and twenty, several of whom were transported to hospitals as a result of bullet wounds inflicted by occupying forces.


Palestinian resistance to the occupation of the Gaza Strip by the Israelis continued, as did the brutal Israeli repression of the Palestinians. On March 25, 198 1, The Washington Post reported that the "only thing happening in Gaza these days is the business of violence and repression. Some 5,000 Gazans (average age, 20) have been brought to court or detained under old British Mandate emergency law defense regulations. Held incommunicado for a month, many are not brought to court for a year. Regularly they complain of torture and brutality. The jails are so overcrowded that the Israelis have sent prisoners to Beersheba."


From the beginning of its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel ruthlessly destroyed the economy of Gaza. On November 23, 1969 The Sunday Times of London reported that "One can observe children crazed from hunger, willing to do anything for a piece of bread."

As in Nazi-occupied Europe, the starvation of the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza was deliberately imposed upon them as part of a deliberate policy. The Israelis' aim, as it had been with the Nazis in World War 11, was to reshape their victims' economy to the occupiers' requirements, regardless of the effect on the victims.

"Before 1967, agriculture accounted for about a quarter of the employment in Gaza, particularly seasonal work in the orange groves. Production was labor intensive. Now Israel has restructured Gaza's agriculture to Israeli requirements. Farmers are prevented from exporting to Israel products which might compete with Israeli agriculture. Since 1967, melons, grapes, olives, almonds and onions have all declined in output, according to local researchers. Fanners have been required to get a permit before planting any new vegetables or trees since 1983, with the result that the Israelis control the development of Gaza's agriculture, particularly in citrus.

"At the same time, Gazan farmers have to compete with subsidized Israeli produce on sale in Gaza, Indeed, marketing is the key and the Israelis control it, as they control price, quantity for export and even which produce should be grown."(1)


From the start of their occupation of the Gaza strip, the Israelis harassed Palestinian students and teachers with the aim of crippling education in the territory. The children of those Palestinians living in UNRWA refugee camps were the primary victims.

"Between July, 1969 and June, 1970, according to the reports of UNRWA's Commissioner General, 57 teachers from UNRWA were detained by Israeli authorities in the Gaza Strip for periods that ranged from 3 days to more than 6 months."(2)

"Between July, 1970 and June, 1971, there were 36 cases of arrest and detention of members of UNRWA's staff for various periods, more than six months in one case. They were not charged with any criminal offense."(3)

According to the testimony of Abu Ali, an UNRWA teacher: "The invasion and occupation of 1967 seriously disrupted education in the Gaza Strip. Many schools were targets of Israeli looting and all kinds of things were carried off to help furnish soldiers' houses in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - desks, books, even laboratory equipment."(4)

From such criminal beginnings in 1967, the Israelis continued the crippling of education in the Gaza Strip. Nearly twenty years after 1967, we hear the testimony of Iyad, who was sixteen when he was arrested following a demonstration at the school in Jabalia refugee camp:

There had been a demonstration at our school which finished when the soldiers arrived. The students had gone back into the classroom and everything was quiet as the soldiers entered the school. They went into each of the classrooms and picked out some of the students. I was taken along with seven others from my class. I think they took the same number from each class so there were about one hundred of us altogether. All the way to Gaza, the soldiers beat us with clubs and their rifles.

The first place they took us was the Military Governor's compound in Gaza town. They made all of us kneel in the sun. One soldier looked at me for a couple of seconds, then just kicked me in the chest.

Beatings and interrogation lasted for several days. My legs had swollen like barrels, three times their normal size.(5)

The Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, often called "benign" by Zionist apologists, is in fact a reign of terror and deprivation. "UNRWA schools are desperately overcrowded, but no new schools can be built due to the Israelis' refusal to grant building permits. In 198 1, UNRWA wanted to build a school between Khan Yunis and Rafah because elementary pupils had to walk 8 km. to school. The contractor, who had begun building on land donated by a local landlord with materials from an international agency, was arrested and building stopped."(6)

In December, 1987 the pattern of wanton violence, cruelty and other war crimes perpetrated by the Israelis against the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip continued. Testimony regarding the first Israeli occupation of Gaza in 1956-1957, could just as well be about the situation in Gaza when they occupied it in 1967. or in 1989. UNRWA teacher Abu Ali testified about the 1956-1957 Israeli occupation forces:

There were times when the Israelis perpetrated what I can only describe as acts of mindless brutality. On one occasion some Israeli soldiers entered the house of a school teacher friend of mine and tried to rape his wife. He defended her and they killed him and her too. There was another person I knew, a fire-brigade official from Shajaiya called Harazin. One day when he was at his station, Zionist soldiers came by. Because he was an official he came out to meet them openhanded, and they shot him dead in his own doorway. And during the curfews, the soldiers would shoot anything they saw moving, even someone walking in front of their window.(7)

When the second occupation of Gaza, which began in 1967, marked its twentieth anniversary in 1987, the Palestinian Arabs of the Gaza Strip were still afraid of walking in front of their windows for fear that they might be killed by an Israeli bullet.

The war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide practiced by the Israelis against the Palestinian Arabs of the Gaza Strip are continuing to this day. The crimes of murder, rape, arson, theft, torture, arbitrary arrest, economic thralldom and deprivation of basic human rights perpetrated by the Israelis against the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza are still daily occurrences.

As a result of this criminal policy the people of Gaza and the West Bank revolted in December, 1987. Shamir, Peres, Rabin and Sharon and their fellow war criminals used their army to commit the most brutal and inhuman acts of repression. On December 16, 1987 the popular organization in the Gaza Strip issued the following statement to the press:

The roots of the present upheaval in the Occupied Territories, that has been so costly both in casualties and material loss on the hands of occupation forces - stems in our opinion from the contradiction and hostile confrontation that came into existence between the occupation and the Palestine inhabitants since June 1967. The Palestinian people have declared their rejection and denunciation of occupation right from the start. In affirming their innate rights to self-determination in an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil, they have resorted, as an acknowledged right of all peoples under occupation, to all available means in resisting occupation. In their resolve to perpetuate occupation the Israelis responded by very harsh and brutal conduct. Furthermore they soon became involved in a wide ranging program for helping Israeli entrenchment on the one hand, and for ultimately alienating and uprooting the local inhabitants on the other, such is the basic contradiction that existed and continues to exist since June 1967 and which has formed the background for all the episodes of unrest and violence. The relatively minor incidents that occurred from time to time, served only as a spark to ignite an already flammable and explosive situation.

The Palestinian people cannot condone or remain silent to Israeli practices that compromise the chances of their continued existence in their innate rights of self-determination and independent political existence on Palestinian soil. They believe that the following would help preserve quietness in the occupied territories until the basic problems are resolved:-

1. That Israel refrain from acquisition of land and establishing settlements.

2. Stop accommodating the settlers and put a limit to their intransigent behavior.

3. Refrain from all practice in violation of the principles of human rights.

4. Desist from the present economic policy that is dedicated to the benefit of Israel and the detriment of the occupied territories.

5. Improve the services in the fields of health, education, police and civic construction in a manner commensurate with the heavy taxation it is imposing on the territories.

6. To be more responsive and humane on the issue of family reunion policy.

We state this in the sincere hope that Israel will stop making roadblocks against the establishment of a just and durable peace.(8)


1. Richard Locke and Anthony Stewart, Bantustan Gaza (London: Zed Books, 19851, pp. 24-26.

2. Report of the Commissioner General of UNRWA, July 1, 1969-June 30, 1970.

3. Report of the Commissioner General of UNRWA, July 1, 1970-June 30, 197 1.

4. Paul Cossaoli and Clive Robson, Stateless in Gaza (London: Zed Books, 1986), p. 88.

5. Ibid., pp. 67-69.

6. Locke and Stewart, pp. 36-37.

7. Cossali and Robson, pp. 16- 17.

8. Jerusalem Press, Bulletin dated December 16, 1987.




Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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