Israel Deports Four Palestinians
May. 18, 1991
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel, defying international pressure, today deported to Lebanon four Palestinian refugees accused of fomenting anti-Israeli violence, the army command said.
It was the second group of Palestinians to be deported this year and raised to 67 the number of Palestinians deported by Israel since the start of the December 1987 uprising against Israeli occupation.
The United States and other Western governments have criticized the expulsions, saying they violate Geneva Conventions regulating the treatment of civilians in occupied lands.
The deportations came as Secretary of State James A. Baker III concluded his latest diplomatic shuttle to the Middle East to try to set up an Arab- Israeli peace conference. Baker has repeatedly asked Israel to stop the deportations to demonstrate its seriousness in seeking peace.
The families of the four Palestinians, all from the occupied Gaza Strip, had appealed to Baker to intervene and halt the expulsions.
The Palestinian lawyer for the four, Freih Abu Medien, head of the Gaza Bar Association, denounced the expulsions as a ''political decision taken by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to block any process toward peace.''
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the Palestinians' appeals of their expulsion.
Arab reporters said the four men - Jamal Abu Habel, 43, Muein Msalam, 31, Hashem Ali Dahlan, 31, and Jamal Abu Jadyan, 33 - were taken in a jeep from the Gaza Central Prison and then flown to southern Lebanon by helicopter.
The army spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the deportations.
In Lebanon, security sources reported the four crossed into Lebanon's Syrian-policed Bekaa Valley.
In the Gaza Strip, the army clamped a curfew on the Jabalya refugee camp and the town of Beit Lahiya, where the four men lived, to prevent rioting.
Throughout the Gaza Strip, Palestinian shops and schools were shuttered in a general strike to protest the deportations, Arab residents said.
The four were ordered expelled in March after a wave of Arab stabbing attacks on Israelis. They were not accused of actually carrying out the stabbings, but of being ''organizers of violent activity'' and belonging to Fatah, the mainstream faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
All four had histories of violent anti-Israel activity. Three were convicted of throwing grenades at an Israeli army outpost or patrol.
The deportees are from refugee families who lost their homes when Israel won statehood in 1948.