Israeli court refuses to oppose expulsions

ISRAEL'S Supreme Court last night refused to overturn the government's decision to deport 418 Palestinians to south Lebanon, saying it did not want to get involved.

Civil rights lawyers had argued that Israel, as the occupying power in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, was in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which sets out safeguards for people living under occupation and outlaws deportation.

Hanan Ashrawi, the spokeswoman for the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace talks, said the ruling was a 'deliberate attempt to destroy the peace process and legitimise violence'.

The Supreme Court had already ruled last Thursday that the deportations could go ahead. Yesterday it ruled that the safety of the Palestinians was not Israel's responsibility as they were now on Lebanon's sovereign territory and not in no-man's land.

The fact that Lebanon does not wish to accept them is not Israel's concern, the court decided. Giving evidence, the Chief of Staff, Lt-Gen Ehud Barak, said rejection of the Palestinians by Lebanon and the subsequent stand-off was just a 'political and public-relations game'.

The Supreme Court's decision was widely expected, in view of its general reluctance to question decisions relating to Palestinian rights that the government says are taken for security reasons. Now the only hope for a resolution of the crisis rests with international bodies.

The United Nations, the European Community and the International Committee of the Red Cross have condemned the action, but none of them appears ready to put further pressure on Israel to take the deportees back. Last night, Israel agreed to allow the UN Under-Secretary-General, James Jonah, to make a 'goodwill visit' to Israel following a telephone call on Tuesday from the Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, to Israel's Foreign Minster, Shimon Peres.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, remained unmoved by world opinion. Yesterday, Gen Barak told the court that Israeli troops had been ordered to shoot to prevent the return of the Palestinians, who were expelled last Thursday because of their support for Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement.

Mr Rabin personally ordered shells to be fired near the Palestinians when they tried to return on Monday. 'I authorised firing some shells in their direction,' Mr Rabin told the parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. 'To the best of my knowledge, not one person was hurt. Everything was a show.' The Israeli army had at first denied that it had fired live ammunition at the Palestinians.

In the Gaza Strip, where nearly 200 of the detainees are from, curfews remained at least partially in place because of anxiety that violence would erupt if they were lifted. In Gaza there is intense shock and anger at the killing by Israeli soldiers of eight Palestinians - including a seven-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy - during violence in Khan Younis town and refugee camp on Saturday.

Western officials say medical evidence shows most of the dead and wounded were shot above the waist, indicating that Israel's usual regulations on opening fire were breached.

Israel says the dead were armed, and the soldiers were in a life-threatening situation. But aid officials say that no warnings were given and no tear-gas was used before soldiers opened fire. They also point to the child killings. UNRWA, the United Nations aid agency in the occupied territories, has protested to the government and demanded an inquiry.

Beyond an eye for an eye, page 17

(Photograph omitted)

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam