REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ISRAELI
PRACTICES AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE POPULATION
OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Letter dated 10 October 1986 from the Permanent Representative of
Oman to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
In my capacity as Chairman of the Arab Group for the month of October 1986, I am pleased to transmit herewith a letter addressed to you from Mr. Zehdi Labib Terzi, Permanent Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations (see annex), and to request you to circulate this letter and its annex as a document of the General Assembly under agenda item 71.
(Signed) Saoud Bin Salim AL-ANSI
Letter dated 9 October 1986 from the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization
to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I am instructed by Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to bring the following to your immediate attention.
Palestinian Issa Shamassneh, 30 years old, was found dead near the Zionist settlement of Ramat Rahel on 15 August 1986, two days prior to his planned wedding day. Shamassneh's whereabouts had been a source of great concern to his family after he failed to return home from a visit to his fiancée on 11 August. On 16 August, the Shamassneh family was summoned to Israeli military headquarters at Bethlehem, where they were informed that Issa's body had been found under a tree at Sur Baher, near Bethlehem. Family members viewed the body on 17 August and reported that the body was complete, except for some missing lower teeth, and still clothed. The deceased's clothes were soaked in blood and his shirt open. Family members noted a hole in his undershirt near his heart which may have been a bullet wound. The occupying Power, Israel, has refused to release the coroner' report that was issued in this case, instead, they claim that Issa Shamassneh "blew himself up while preparing an explosive device".
This is the fifth time in the last 1 1/2 years that the Israeli occupation authorities have attributed mysterious Palestinian deaths to such a cause. In each case, there has not been any clear evidence that would lend credibility to this official explanation. We would here recall our letter of 23 December 1985, informing that Hassan Abdul Halim, a journalist for Al-Fajr newspaper, left his home in Kattaneh on an assignment and did not return. He was found mutilated and headless, 79 days after he disappeared. The fact that his glasses were found intact next to his body and head, and that his head has been neatly severed from his body, do not indicate death by explosion. Halim and Shamassneh were both from the same village, Kattaneh.
Action by the Israeli occupation authorities surrounding the case of Issa Shamassneh lends an air of suspicion to the entire matter. It took the military authorities over a week to issue an official statement on the case. Initially, the occupation authorities tried to place blame on the fiancee's family. All attempts by the Palestinian press in the Israeli occupied territories to publish the story were prohibited by Israeli censors. They went as far as to place a curfew on the village of Kattaneh, to prevent journalists and mourners from reaching the family.
As we have already noted, the Israeli occupation authorities have refused to release the autopsy report to the family, a practice usually occurring within three days on an inquiry. No official cause of death was entered on the burial certificate. All facts point to another summary execution by the notorious Shin Bet.
We would recall that the Shin Bet came under public scrutiny after two Palestinian prisoners were beaten to death by their Shin Bet interrogators in 1984. Recently, Shimon Peres indirectly confirmed that these killings were not isolated incidents; an Israeli Foreign Ministry official, quoted in the Los Angeles Times (20 July 1986) , stated "Who cares?" in response to a question about the two prisoners slain by the Shin Bet in 1984.
Chairman Arafat calls upon your good offices to take whatever action you deem appropriate to put an end to the summary executions of Palestinians by the occupying Power, Israel.
(Signed) Zehdi Labib TERZI
Document Type: Letter
Document Sources: General Assembly, Group of Arab States, Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices
Subject: Agenda Item, Armed conflict, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Incidents, Palestine question
Publication Date: 10/10/1986