Israel throws out Lebanese

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The Independent Online
For the fourth time in a month, Israel has ordered Lebanese families out of their homes in its south Lebanon occupation zone and deported them north of their front line without money or identity papers.

The latest victims of Israel's policy are a 30-year-old widow and her five children who were told by an Israeli officer that their presence was "undesirable", before being taken by soldiers of the so-called South Lebanon Army - Israel's proxy militia - and deported northwards near the village of Kfar Tibnit. Wadad Hussein had earlier been held for 45 days by the Israelis in their notorious jail at Khiam - where torture has been widely used on the inmates - but she says she was given no reason for her imprisonment.

Another Lebanese woman, Fatima Akhrass, 25, was earlier expelled from her home in identical circumstances. So was Amal al-Baba on 14 August, along with her five children. In her case, however, there is no doubt as to why Israel deported the family - to punish her husband Mohamed al- Gharamti, who was once Israel's most trusted collaborator in the Lebanese city of Sidon.

Leading a gang of indisciplined militiamen who would arrest Lebanese for interrogation by the Israelis, he was then known by his Israeli code- name, Abu Arrida. When they retreated from Sidon in 1985, the Israelis provided Abu Arrida and his riff-raff army with a ship to sail for Israel where he and his fellow collaborators were rewarded with Israeli citizenship.

Israel has now stripped Abu Arrida of his new citizenship and imprisoned him in Haifa, after accusing him of "collaborating with the services of the Lebanese state" during his trips between the Israeli town of Nahariya and the family's village of Qleia inside the occupation zone. Whether true or not - and many of Israel's SLA men are now secretly giving information to the Hizbollah guerrillas in south Lebanon and Lebanese army intelligence - Abu Arrida's family were punished for his apparent double betrayal.

According to Amal al-Baba, the Israelis took their identity papers and the Israeli-issued residence permits to live in the occupation zone away from the family. She says that an Israeli lawyer contacted her, offering to defend her husband in court, but that she had no money to pay him.The family of another SLA man, apparently kidnapped by the Hizbollah, has suffered the same fate. A week ago, his father Toufic Salame, along with his wife and daughter, were taken from their home by Israeli troops and expelled from their village. No reason was given for the deportation.