This week the Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) released “‘Let Them Suffocate’: Police Brutality during House Demolition in Upper Galilee Village of al-Bea’neh, February 25, 2004,” the first in a series of case studies documenting instances of human-rights abuse committed against the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel. The purpose of the report is to focus on the continuing brutal mistreatment of Israeli citizens belonging to the Palestinian Arab minority by the country’s security forces. One of the major confrontation lines between the police and the Palestinian Arab minority is over the enforcement of house demolitions, and it is clear from the testimonies contained in the report that the police continue to regard the Palestinian Arab population as “enemies” who can be handled only through the excessive use of violence.
“Let Them Suffocate” was produced by the HRA’s new Research and Reporting unit, a human-rights monitoring program whose methodology relies on field research and interviews and legal analysis of domestic and international human-rights standards. The idea of establishing a Research and Reporting program was first developed by the HRA in the wake of the events of October 2000, when 13 minority citizens were killed by state police forces. Since that time, a steady trickle of serious and often physical human-rights abuses against minority citizens means that the need for human-rights documentation and reporting of these abuses is more vital than ever.
“Let Them Suffocate” is available on the HRA’s website through the following link: http://www.arabhra.org/BeanehReport_English.pdf. We hope that this report will be useful to your work and that you will continue to draw on our reports in the future as resources for well-researched information on the human-rights situation of Palestinian Arabs inside Israel. We would also welcome any comments or questions that you might have concerning the report or the HRA’s activities in general.
Best regards from Nazareth,