Appendix V: Selected testimony and reports
Part 3: Evidence relating to the nature of the Israeli Occupation
Statement of Dr Chris Giannou, Canadian, made on 15 August 1982 in Nicosia, Cyprus
My name is Dr C. Giannou. For the last two years I have been a surgeon with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). I was Medical Director of the Nabatieh Hospital and most recently was working in Sidon, Lebanon, during hostilities there. I am not a spokesman or representative of the Lebanese Government, nor of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Lebanon, and then until 20 June in the Megiddo prison in the north of Israel. The Israeli authorities denied holding me and my two Norwegian colleagues* in detention until 18 June, in spite of representations by the Canadian and Norwegian Foreign Ministries. My release from Israeli prison on 20 June was ‘unconditional’. I was not released into the custody of the Canadian Embassy, nor was I expelled from the country, and no charges were ever made against me. We were released and are free today to appear before this Committee because we are holders of Canadian and Norwegian passports. My colleagues of various nationalities are still in custody. Surgeons, general practitioners, male nurses, para-medical technicans and ambulance drivers who have done no more or less than we, are still being detained because they are not in possession of passports such as ours.
(*) Dr Steinar Berge, Physician / Mr Oyvind Möller, Child Psychologist
[Describing the scene when he was arrested and detained, along with several hundred mainly Palestinian prisoners, in a schoolyard at Sidon shortly after the Israeli invasion, Dr Giannou said:]
The scene in the schoolyard was one of savage and indiscriminate beatings of the prisoners by the forty Israeli guards. A prisoner would call out for water and be told that there was none. When he continued to call out, he would be insulted and then a guard would wade into the crowd and start to beat him. The physical abuse ranged from simple punching and kicking to beatings with wooden sticks, plastic hose or even a bunch of pieces of rope with nuts and bolts tied to the ends; a sort of modern cat-o-nine-tails. One Palestinian, Dr Nabil, was at one point hung by his hands from a tree and beaten. An Iraqi surgeon, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim was beaten by several guards viciously, and left to lie in the sun with his face buried in the sand. Other surgeons and doctors were also beaten: Dr Ahmed Sou bra, a Lebanese; Drs Saifeddin, Mohammad Iman and Shafiq al-Islam, Bangladeshi nationals. The two Norwegians and I were not beaten. I, myself, was struck but once. It was obvious that orders had been given that we were not to be molested. The darker-skinned Arabs, Africans and Asians (Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians), present were those who were beaten the most severely.
I have been a witness to four prisoners who were beaten to death. I was called upon by an Israeli soldier to examine two of the cadavers. Dr Berge examined another two cadavers and saw another five or six piled into an ambulance. It is impossible to say whether the two corpses that I examined were amongst the five or six in the ambulance, and therefore I cannot say with exactitude the number of prisoners beaten to death during those four days.
I have been a witness to the Israeli officers and even the military governor of Sidon, a Colonel Arnon Mozer, being witness to these beatings and not doing anything about it. I have also been a witness to several of the Israeli guards who attempted to stop the beatings, and on several occasions, actual arguments breaking out amongst the guards, between those doing the beating and those who attempted to have them cease.
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The Commission interviewed Dr Yehuda Melzer, of the ‘There is a Limit’ Group of Israeli Reservists, in Jerusalem, 8-9 September 1982
I represent a group which calls itself ‘Yesh Gvul’, which literally means ‘There is a Limit’. Basically, the connotation which we want it to have is, ‘Enough is enough’; ‘there is a border’ [limit] too, in other words don’t cross that border. Anyhow, this group was organised very quickly in the first week of the war, and I guess the general motivation was a feeling on the part of many of us that there’s no hope that the Peace N ow movement, which is the biggest protest group in the country, will come forth strongly enough and quickly enough. . . people who are like myself, active or have been active for many years, either on the left, or generally in the anti-government groups in the country are basically used to a lot of disappointment and a lot of frustration, and generally feeling apathetic about organising with a lot of rage because nothing comes out of it. So we were very sutprised to find that instead of getting like 10, 15, 20 people who would be willing to be very outspoken about not wanting to go to serve in the war suddenly the group managed to get several hundred very quickly, and this is with almost no organisational basis. In other words, we feel that if we had more money, more time, and more people available, we would have grown to maybe several thousand. For you people, coming from outside, that may not seem so meaningful, but for us it’s really a dramatic change. . .This is a major breakthrough in terms of the resistance movement, which is basically non