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 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

 Alternative Report on Israel to the Pre-Sessional Working Group of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

22-26 November 2010 

Prepared by:

Al-Haq and

The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)

 

Endorsed by:

Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights

Defence for Children International – Palestine Section

 

About Al Haq

Established in 1979, Al-Haq documents violations of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians in the OPT, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and seeks to end such breaches by way of advocacy before national and international mechanisms and by holding the violators accountable. The organisation conducts research; prepares reports, studies and interventions on breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law in the OPT; and undertakes advocacy before local, regional and international bodies. Al-Haq also cooperates with Palestinian civil society organisations and governmental institutions in order to ensure that international human rights standards are reflected in Palestinian law and policies. The organisation has a specialised international law library for the use of its staff and the local community.

Al-Haq is the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists - Geneva, and is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Habitat International Coalition (HIC), and the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO).

About WCLAC

The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC) was established by a small group of women in Jerusalem in 1991 as a Palestinian, independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation. The Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling aims to address the causes and consequences of gender-based violence within the community as well as the gender-specific effects of the occupation.

WCLAC provides social and legal counselling, awareness raising programs, offers legal and social support and training, proposes bills and law amendments, and participates in the organization of advocacy and pressure campaigns nationally and internationally on behalf of Palestinian women and the community.

WCLAC’s International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law program was recently established to monitor and document Israel’s violations of human rights and the impact of these violations on women.  WCLAC documents women’s testimonies using the frame-work of international law and human rights, combined with a feminist vision of equality and social justice.

 

The program seeks to ensure that Palestinian women’s rights violations are effectively monitored, then collected through a process of documentation. The documentation is used to advocate on behalf of women in Palestine, to promote awareness of human rights violations and to work towards accountability for those responsible. The documentation also provides testimony to women’s experiences of war and occupation.

WCLAC has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

 

Introduction................................................................................. 4

1.  Article 1 – The Right to Self-determination........ 5

Settlements as a Violation of the Right to Self-Determination.... 5

Israel’s Annexation and Demographic Transformation of East Jerusalem     7

2. Article 2 – Applicability of the Covenant to the OPT   8

3. Article 2 – Non-discrimination and Right to a Remedy 10

4. Article 6 – The Right to Work....................................... 12

Confiscation and destruction of agricultural land..................... 13

Blocked access to agricultural land............................................. 15

Harassment and use of excessive force against workers .............. 16

The Gaza Strip ...................................................................................... 16

West Bank.............................................................................................. 18

5. Article 10 – The Right to Family Life......................... 18

Denial of Family Unification ........................................................... 19

Gazan Families in the West Bank...................................................... 21

Family Visitation Rights of Palestinian Prisoners held in Israel 22

6.  Article 11 – Right to Adequate Living Conditions 23

Adequate Housing and Living Conditions....................................... 24

 Forced Evictions: East Jerusalem.......................................................... 25

Forced Evictions:  Area C...................................................................... 27

Inadequate Housing: The ‘Seam Zone’.................................................. 28

Inadequate Housing: Gaza ................................................................... 29

Inadequate Living Conditions: Impact of Settlements............................. 30

Water................................................................................................... 32

7. Article 12 – Right to Health........................................... 33

8.  Article 13 – The Right to Education......................... 38

Demolition of Schools....................................................................... 39

Impact of the Wall............................................................................. 40

Settler violence................................................................................. 41

The closure of the Gaza Strip........................................................... 42

 

                

                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               Introduction

 

 

As leading human rights organizations based in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Al-Haq and WCLAC wish to bring certain specific issues relating to violations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) by the State Party affecting Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to the attention of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee). Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association and Defence for Children International – Palestine Section, human rights organisations based in the OPT, have also endorsed the contents of this report.

 

This report is a provisional report for the Pre-Sessional Committee and focuses on the following issues:

 

  • Article 1 – The right to self-determination

 

  • Article 2 – The applicability of the Covenant to the occupied Palestinian territory

 

  • Article 2 – Non-discrimination and the right to a remedy

 

  • Article 6 – The right to work

 

  • Article 10 – The right to family life

 

  • Article 11 – The right to an adequate standard of living

 

  • Article 12 – The right to health

 

  • Article 13 – The right to education

 

 

The report is not intended to comprehensively cover all violations but rather focuses on the certain issues that have been identified as particularly affecting Palestinians living in the OPT at the time of reporting.  The information is relevant for the Committee's entire reporting period.

 

                

 

 

 

               1.  Article 1 – The Right to Self-determination

 

  • How does Israel’s settlement policy and the ensuing consequences of its practice for the Palestinian population in the OPT comply with Israel’s obligations under the Covenant?
  • Israel’s acts of annexation and unlawful exercise of de facto sovereign rights over large tracts of the OPT strongly indicate the occupation’s colonial character. Could Israel provide information concerning these practices and policies and explain the intentions behind these actions?

 

1.1  The UN has repeatedly reiterated the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to an independent State of Palestine.[1] With respect to the situation in the OPT, in its Advisory Opinion on the Wall, the ICJ expressly states that Israel has violated the erga omnes obligation “to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”[2] Nonetheless, Israel’s policies in the OPT have failed to respect the Palestinian right to self-determination and have created grave consequences for its realisation through the fragmentation of the territory of the OPT.[3]

 

1.2  Israel’s third periodic report does not contain any information concerning the implementation of the cardinal right to self-determination, which is an essential condition for the guarantee of all the other individual human rights enshrined in the Covenant.

 

                   Settlements as a Violation of the Right to Self-Determination

 

1.3  The built-up area of the settlements consists of less than 3 percent of the area of the West Bank, but the area under their municipal jurisdiction, constitutes 9.28 percent of the West Bank.[4] In September 2009, the number of settlers reached about 500,000 in the West Bank, about 200,000 of whom live in East Jerusalem.[5] The annual growth rate of the settler population in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) is 3.7 percent, which is significantly higher than the population growth inside Israel.[6] Many settlements exceed their jurisdictional area and gradually gain control over more land area of the West Bank. The total area controlled by settlements is about 42 percent of the West Bank.[7]

 

1.4  Israel’s settlement practices and policies in the OPT constitute a serious violation of the Palestinian right to self-determination. The presence of settlements and their associated infrastructure including checkpoints, roadblocks and settler-only bypass roads not only severely restricts Palestinian freedom of movement, but also effectively fragments the West Bank into enclaves. The possibility of a contiguous territory in which Palestinians can freely dispose of their natural resources is therefore severely limited, precluding any meaningful exercise of the Palestinian right to self-determination.

 

1.5  Measures that Israel has taken to assert its extensive and systematic control over the areas where settlements are built are manifest evidence of the fact that settlements are intended as permanent changes. Combined with the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem and settlement expansion therein, they are indicative of Israel’s intent to acquire sovereignty over Palestinian territory (despite Israel’s denial of sovereignty claims over the West Bank) in breach of the prohibition of the acquisition of territory by force, enshrined in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

 

1.6  Since Israel began the implementation of its settlement policies in the OPT, the construction and expansion of settlements has been initiated, supported and financed by the state authorities in a systematic and institutional manner. Settlement expansion is further encouraged by state authorities through social benefits and favourable economic conditions afforded to settlers.[8]

 

1.7  The growing control over land and natural resources by Israeli settlers in occupied territory as well as the extensive human rights violations caused by the presence of settlements, their infrastructure and ensuing hardships,[9] such as settler violence, in intent or effect, are creating an environment that is leading to the indirect forcible transfer of the Palestinian population.[10] Israel’s systematic land appropriation policy, and the ensuing physical and psychological harassment of the local Palestinian population through restrictions on movement, as well as decreased access to natural resources and services for Palestinians cumulatively create unbearable living conditions that make it increasingly difficult for people to remain in their homes.[11]

 

1.8   Israel’s policy of creating “facts on the ground”, undertaken through the construction of settlements and the Wall along with its accompanying components (e.g., depth barriers, asphalt roads and trace paths), aims at creating permanent measures that will affect any final status agreement.

 

1.9  In so far as settlements contribute to the cumulative outcome of Israel’s practices and policies of subjugation, domination and exploitation of large parts of the OPT, they constitute a form of unlawful exercise of de facto sovereign rights, revealing the colonial character of Israel’s occupation.[12]

 

                   Israel’s Annexation and Demographic Transformation of East Jerusalem

 

1.10        In 1967, during the Six Day War, Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Israel proceeded to illegally annex East Jerusalem on 28 June 1967 when the Israeli Parliament amended the Laws of the State of Israel and used it to extend Israeli jurisdiction over the newly declared municipal borders,[13] In 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed the “Basic Law” on Jerusalem, stating unequivocally "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel".[14]

 

1.11       The international community of States has never recognised Israeli sovereignty over occupied East Jerusalem and maintains that the annexation is in blatant violation of international law.[15] On 20 August 1980, following the Israeli Parliament’s ratification of the “Basic Law” on Jerusalem, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 478, determining that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void.”[16]

 

1.12       In spite of consistent international condemnation, Israel has continued with its expansionist and annexationist policies in East Jerusalem, which are focused on achieving a strong Jewish demographic majority within Israel’s declared municipal boundaries of the city. Since 1967, there has been a clear Israeli strategy to limit the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem.[17]

 

1.13        In the years following the illegal annexation, Israel articulated a clear government policy that sought to maintain a demographic balance of 70 per cent Jews to 30 per cent “Arabs” within the Israeli declared boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality.[18] This official policy remains in effect today. Master Plan 2000 for Jerusalem, which was ratified by the Planning and Construction Committee of the Jerusalem municipality in 2007, directly addresses this policy while considering the more realistic option of achieving a 60/40 ratio because high Palestinian birth rates have made the 70/30 goal unlikely.[19]

 

1.14       Israel’s ongoing attempts to consolidate further control over occupied East Jerusalem are deliberately aimed at undermining the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The construction of the Wall has physically severed occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank through the construction of a de facto border over which Israel exercises complete control. The disruption of the territorial contiguity of the OPT has been particularly evident in the areas surrounding Jerusalem, and is intended to prevent Palestinian aspirations of having East Jerusalem as a capital for their State. Through the simultaneous implementation of other Israeli policies such as the denial of family unification to Palestinian Jerusalemites and imposing the centre of life test, Israel is effectively limiting Palestinian growth in occupied East Jerusalem to fundamentally change the Palestinian character of the city.[20]

 

 

               2. Article 2 – Applicability of the Covenant to the OPT

 

  • Could Israel explain why its report does not reference the human rights situation in the OPT, including the occupied Gaza Strip?
  • Could Israel provide information on whether Israelis living in the West Bank are covered by the Covenant? If so, where does the application of the Covenant stop? How does Israel reconcile the application of the Covenant to Israelis and not to Palestinians who reside in the same territory?

 

 

2.1            Israel is under a clear obligation to respect and protect the rights of the Palestinian population in the OPT, in accordance with its obligations as an Occupying Power under international humanitarian law. In its most recent concluding observations, the Human Rights Committee urged Israel to give full effect to the Convention to all persons under its jurisdiction.[21] This position was affirmed by the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences Arising from the Construction of the Wall in the OPT.[22]

 

2.2            The Gaza Strip is continues to be considered occupied territory under international law; this having been confirmed by a number of UN resolutions and reports, as well as countless opinions by international legal experts.[23] Withdrawal of the Israeli troops alone does not render the Gaza Strip unoccupied. The facts on the ground, which show that Israel continues to maintain its effective control over the Gaza Strip by different means, such as control over air space, sea space and the international borders, are those that determine the legal status of the territory.

 

2.3            In the Human Rights Committee’s recent consideration of Israel’s third periodic report to the Committee, it scrutinised Israel’s position on the application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in the OPT. Israel stated that it did not report on the implementation of the ICCPR in the OPT “for several reasons, ranging from legal considerations to the practical reality”, and noted that it does not consider the Gaza Strip as occupied territory as a result of the “disengagement” in 2005. The Committee and the participants of the session heavily condemned Israel’s failure to comply with its obligations under international law by applying the Covenant to the OPT.

 

2.4            Despite numerous confirmations by UN bodies and experts that Israel is under an unequivocal obligation to ensure the enjoyment of the provisions of the Covenant in the OPT, Israel continues to reject its responsibilities as an Occupying Power and fails to guarantee the human rights of the Palestinian population in occupied territory.

 

 

 

               3. Article 2 – Non-discrimination and Right to a Remedy

 

 

  • In the OPT, Israel applies a completely different set of laws and policies to the settler population than it does to the local Palestinian population. Could Israel explain how it reconciles these practices with its obligations under the Covenant?
  • Could Israel provide information about the implementation of the provisions of the Covenant to Israeli settlers living in the West Bank?
  • Could Israel provide detailed information about the mechanisms that provide remedies to Palestinians from the OPT? Could Israel compare these with the mechanisms that are available to the settler population in the OPT?

 

3.1            Israel’s settlement policy is the source of a host of severe and systematic human rights violations against the local Palestinian population. The violence that ensues from land appropriations enforced by the State Party and its facilitation of settlers’ aggressive control of land results in raids of Palestinian homes, destruction of Palestinian property, and severe restrictions on freedom of movement, which negatively impacts Palestinian family life, access to education, food, health care and other rights. The human rights situation of Palestinians in the OPT is dramatically different to that of Israel’s settler population, which benefits from the same rights as Israelis inside Israel.

 

3.2            In effect, the settlement project results in the creation of two parallel and unequal societies in the OPT. An Israeli settler society benefits from superior living conditions, greater protection under Israeli civil (as opposed to military) law, greater access to the resources of the OPT, including water, the freedom of movement and the enjoyment of all other human rights.[24] Meanwhile, the disadvantaged Palestinian society living in the same territory, by contrast, is denied many of its basic human rights as a result of the furtherance of the settlement project.

 

3.3            This bifurcated system of norms legitimising the perpetration of inhuman acts against Palestinians in a systematic and institutionalised manner is a formal and direct form of discrimination, which is reflective of a practice of apartheid in violation of international law. The strong indicators of the crime of apartheid inherent to Israel’s egregious practices include policies and systematic practices of racial segregation and discrimination for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over another.[25] The Statute of the International Criminal Court lists the establishment of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another under the category of crimes against humanity.[26]

 

3.4             In examining Israel’s practices, a study by a group of high-profiled international legal experts, published by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, found that the State Party’s exercise of control in the OPT, with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by settlers over Palestinians, constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid.[27] The study found that Israel’s laws and institutions, which seek to ensure its enduring Jewish character as a “Jewish State”, are channeled into the OPT to convey privileges to settlers to the disadvantage of Palestinians on the basis of their respective group identities. This domination is associated principally with transferring control over land in the OPT to exclusively Jewish use, thus also altering the demographic status of the territory.[28] It thereby concludes that this discriminatory treatment cannot be explained or excused on grounds of citizenship, as it goes beyond what is permitted by the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).[29]

 

3.5            Furthermore, acts of organised violence are being systematically perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians,[30] particularly during the annual harvest seasons when Palestinian farmers try to access lands located near settlements. These acts, which are part of the settlers’ violent reaffirmation of control over land, consist of beatings, shootings, theft and the destruction of property. Israeli security forces generally fail to prevent, stop or redress instances of settler violence. Settlers are rarely held accountable for their acts, and when they are, the punishment is lenient. Al-Haq’s documentation and monitoring of these incidents has shown that the actions of the Israeli law enforcement authorities in response to settler violence are either ineffective, nonexistent or verging on complicity.[31]

 

3.6            Israel has consistently violated and ignored the human rights of the Palestinian population in the OPT, while no effective remedy has been provided by Israel to ensure that victims of violations are able to obtain adequate reparations.[32] Moreover, Israel’s High Court of Justice does not provide remedies for many violations, since the Court has declared them to be non-justiciable, this includes Israel’s practices and policies on the existence and construction of settlements in occupied territory and its establishment of a bifurcated system of norms between settlers and Palestinians.

 

               4. Article 6 – The Right to Work

 

The State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.

 

  • Please provide information on the total agricultural land area in the West Bank that has been confiscated by the Israeli military, or is under order to be confiscated.
  • Please provide information on the total agricultural land area in the West Bank that has been declared a closed military zone. 
  • Please provide information on the number of permits requested, and the number granted, to Palestinians seeking access to their agricultural lands located in closed military zones or behind the Wall.
  • Please provide information on the specific measures employed by the Israeli military to ensure protection for Palestinian agricultural workers from attacks by Israeli settlers.
  • Please provide information of the number of Palestinian fishermen who have been injured or killed by Israeli gunfire off the coast of the Gaza Strip.
  • Will the State Party provide information on the number of fishermen who have been detained and later released by the Israeli navy?
  • Will the State Party clarify its open-fire policy with respect to the three nautical mile limit on fishing off the coast of the Gaza Strip?
  • Please provide information on the nature of compensation provided to Palestinian fishermen and farmers who have had their property destroyed by Israeli fire.
  • Will the State Party clarify its open-fire policy with respect to the border area between the Gaza Strip and Israel and explain why workers have been subject to attack when they are working outside of the restricted border area.

 

4.1                                          In General Comment 15, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“the Committee”), stated that the right to work "affirms the obligation of States parties to assure individuals their right to freely chosen or accepted work, including the right not to be deprived of work unfairly."[33] The Committee clarifies that “Violations through acts of commission include … denial of access to work to particular individuals or groups, whether such discrimination is based on legislation or practice; and the adoption of legislation or policies which are manifestly incompatible with international obligations in relation to the right to work.”[34]  The Committee further explains that acts of omission constitute violations “when States parties do not regulate the activities of individuals or groups to prevent them from impeding the right of others to work.”[35]

 

4.2                                          Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza strip are routinely denied their right to work by the State Party in its broadest sense as defined by the Committee. The confiscation and destruction of Palestinian agricultural land and blocked access to this land by the State Party as well as settlers is discriminatory and severely impacts the right of Palestinians to work.  Furthermore, the excessive use of force used by Israel against workers in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank directly violates Israel’s obligations under this article.

 

                   Confiscation and destruction of agricultural land

 

4.3                                          Throughout the West Bank, Israeli occupying forces have continued their policy of land confiscation and destruction of property in order either to expand or to enclose existing illegal Israeli settlements or to build Israeli infrastructure. These policies are causing severe hardships for Palestinian farmers, who are prevented from working on their land and securing income from their crops. In one example that took place on 31 January 2009, Israeli bulldozers levelled the land of Ramadan ‘Amer, in Mass’ha village, in Salfit governorate, uprooting approximately 60 olive trees, which were ‘Amer’s main source of income.[36]

 

4.4                                          On 3 February 2009, Israeli occupying forces levelled the land of Rawhi Jaradat in Sa’ir, Hebron governorate, uprooting numerous olive trees on the pretext that this land had been seized and declared Israeli state land in 1982.  Below, Rawhi explains how his family's olive trees were destroyed:

 

“I was at home when I saw diggers, military vehicles, cars belonging to the Israeli Planning Authority, civilian cars and Israeli police cars. At around 10:00 am, they arrived at the 12 dunums piece of land belonging to my brother and I. This land lies around 300 metres to the east of Bypass Road No. 60 and is cultivated with olive trees.… One of the bulldozers demolished the 200 metre stone fence that belonged to Haj Amin Yousef Jaradat, Haj Kamel Yousef Jaradat, and Yousef Ismail Yousef Jaradat. The other bulldozer helped in demolishing it and uprooting olive trees from our land. Individuals dressed in civilian clothes spread out and uprooted trees with their hands, while the bulldozer uprooted those trees that they were unable to uproot by hand. They also uprooted trees that belonged to the people whose stone fence was demolished.”[37]

 

4.5                                          On 16 April 2009, the Israeli authorities announced their confiscation of 1,770 dunums of Palestinian privately owned land for the construction of a new Israeli settlement. The land is mostly agricultural and is situated in the village of Artas, south of Bethlehem. Since early 1980, several thousand dunums of Palestinian land were confiscated in this area in order to build the settlement of Efrat.[38]

 

4.6                                          On 21 May 2009, the Israeli authorities issued several confiscation orders in Jenin governorate, namely in the villages of Ya’bad and Toura al-Gharbiyya, located west of Jenin city. The orders are for Palestinians, mostly farmers, to evacuate their homes and abandon their agricultural lands, which contain mainly vineyards and olive and almond trees, and will deprive them of their main source of income.[39] As explained by Muhammad ‘Abed Qabaha, a resident of Ya'bad:

 

“On 21 May 2005, an Israeli military force, which included green military jeeps and a distinct white jeep belonging to the Israeli Department of Construction and Zoning, raided the area. Israeli troops distributed a number of papers or flyers. After they left, I hurried to my land. Like other landowners, I found a paper file, including a notice demanding the evacuation of my land and an aerial map indicating the exact location of my piece of land; that is Block No. 24.16.11 and Lot no. 9. The map also showed other pieces of land. The total area of land, which the Israeli occupying authorities intend to confiscate measures 350 dunums, all of which is cultivated with olive trees. The affected land is located in an area called ‘Qatayen Suleiman’, which belongs to residents of Ya’bad. The confiscation order was issued by Israeli military authorities, and is to be executed within 45 days from the date of service.”[40]

 

4.7                                          On 8 June 2009, the Israeli authorities demolished Palestinian water pools and seized drip irrigation pipelines from Palestinian land in al-Baq’a, east of Hebron City. A private Israeli company employed by the Israeli authorities also cut off the pipelines of the irrigation network on the agricultural land of farmer Rashed Jaber, causing him material damage of 20,000 NIS.[41]

 

                   Blocked access to agricultural land

 

4.8                                          The construction of the Wall on the West Bank side of the Green Line has resulted in increased hardships for Palestinian farmers, as significant portions of agricultural land have been blocked off by its path. In 2004, the International Court of Justice affirmed that the construction of the Wall, which effectively annexes parts of the OPT to Israel, is illegal. Extending deep into the West Bank, the Wall separates many Palestinians from their agricultural lands, which are designated “closed military areas” or have become part of the ‘seam zone’ between the Wall and the Green Line.

 

4.9                                          In January 2009, the State Party extended “closed military zone” designation to agricultural lands in the Ramallah, Hebron and parts of Salfit, Bethlehem and Jerusalem governorates.[42] As such, Palestinian farmers must obtain special visitor permits from the State Party in order to access their lands, but such permits are not always accessible, making farming impossible. The Israeli State Attorney submitted data to the High Court of Justice indicating that the number of permits issued to Palestinians farmers to access the ‘seam zone’ in the northern West Bank between 2006 and mid-2009 sharply decreased.[43]

 

4.10                                     The introduction of the permit system has led to a significant reduction in harvesting for Palestinian farmers. Many of the gates are only open for limited times during the olive harvest season, which does not permit the farmers to complete essential agricultural activities throughout the year.[44] During the 2008 harvest season, 1,500 farmers from the Hebron district accessed their olives through the Khirbet Al Dier gate. In contrast, during the 2009 harvest season, only 370 farmers accessed their land through the same gate.[45]

 

4.11                                     On October 11, 2009, the State Party prevented 400 villagers from the town of Beit Sourik from reaching their agricultural lands.  The villagers were denied access through a Wall gate, which had been installed by the Israeli military as part of a promise to facilitate villagers' access to their lands.[46] One of the villagers, Rashed Muhammad, has been unable to obtain a permit to access his land since 17 December 2008, leaving him unable to tend to his land or to harvest his olive trees.[47]

 

4.12                                       Violations of Palestinians' right to work also result from Israel's failure to protect Palestinian agricultural land and farmers from attacks by Israeli settlers. Such acts of omission by the Israeli occupying authorities impede Palestinians from safely accessing their land and prevent them from harvesting their crops. In a notable example, on 10 April 2009, a group of armed and masked Israeli settlers physically assaulted residents of the Um al-Kheir village in Hebron as they were harvesting plants and grazing their sheep. Ruqayya Hathalin, who was eight months pregnant, was beaten with sticks and assaulted with stones.[48]

 

4.13                                     On 2 May 2009, 18-year-old Muhammad Abu-Bakr and his three brothers were physically assaulted by a group of 20 Israeli settlers, some of whom were armed, as they were ploughing their land in the Qalqiliya area. One of the settlers threw a poisonous substance at Muhammad, which caused burns to his face. The settlers were accompanied by Israeli soldiers who refused to intervene and eventually ordered the young Palestinians to leave their land. Prior to the incident, the Abu-Bakr family had been continuously prevented from cultivating their land by settlers who have assaulted the family, and uprooted their plants and trees, depriving them of their only source of income.[49]

 

                   Harassment and use of excessive force against workers

                        The Gaza Strip

 

4.14                                     Israeli occupying forces often use violence against Palestinian workers who are found working closely to the border area with Israel, or near areas Israel declares to be closed military zones.  Such incidents of harassment and excessive use of force violate the physical integrity of workers and prevent them from sustaining basic livelihoods. In one incident on 15 November 2009, Israeli soldiers opened fire on farmers while they were ploughing a field east of Beit Hanoun, about 850 meters from the Eastern Gazan border with Israel. A tractor was damaged by the gunfire, and one of the farmers, Mahmoud al-Shawish, explains how he sustained serious bullet wounds to both of his feet while he tried to move the tractor out of range of the bullets:

 

“The other workers and I sat down to rest. During this time, 'Awni and another worker continued to plough the land with a tractor. Suddenly, occupying troops who were positioned behind the Israeli border fired a bullet towards them. The bullet hit and damaged a wheel of the tractor. My neighbour 'Awni decided that we all should leave the land, fearing that the Israeli troops would open fire again and injure one of us. [...] I went to the second tractor in order to drive it to a safe place further away. As I sat in the driver’s seat and drove the tractor for a distance of almost one metre, the Israeli soldiers opened intensive fire on us. I sustained bullet wounds in my feet and fell on the ground.[50]

 

4.15                                     On 2 June 2009, Israeli soldiers positioned behind the border separating the occupied Gaza Strip from Israel, shot at 66-year-old farmer, Saleh al-Zmara, and his 63-year-old brother without prior warning. The Israeli army had previously dropped leaflets forbidding Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip from coming within 300 metres of the border. At the time of the incident, the two brothers were ploughing their land situated north of Beit Hanoun at a distance of approximately 800 metres from the border and had therefore not entered the prohibited zone. As a result of the shooting, Saleh sustained a bullet wound in his left hand, Ali was shot in the back, and their wheat crop caught on fire, causing material damage of JD 1,900.[51]

 

4.16                                     Palestinian fishermen who fish off the coast of the Gaza Strip are often harassed, subject to arbitrary detention and shot at by Israeli navy boats, despite sailing within the three nautical mile limit unilaterally imposed on Palestinian fishermen by Israel.  On 21 July 2009, Israeli navy officers arbitrarily detained Qusay al-Sultan and his cousin, Ra‟ed al-Sultan as they fished 300 meters off the coast of al-Waha in Beit Lahiya, Gaza governorate. Officers onboard Israeli navy ships and a battleship surrounded their fishing boat and ordered the two men to strip, jump into the water, and climb aboard the ship. Qusay and his cousin were beaten, handcuffed, blindfolded and interrogated before they were both eventually released.[52]

 

4.17                                      On 16 January 2010, Jamal Nu’man and three of his colleagues were arrested by masked Israeli navy officers whilst returning from a fishing trip off the Gazan coast, sailing 200 meters off the beach. They were detained for nearly 24 hours in poor conditions with no charge made against them and were questioned about the whereabouts of Gilad Shalit. When Jamal said he did not know, he was told that it was forbidden to fish in those waters, and that the two boats, fishing equipment and the day's catch would be confiscated. The four men were then brought to the Erez crossing and released.[53]

 

4.18                                      On 31 August 2009, Israeli navy ships opened fire on a number of Gazan fishing boats that were located one kilometre from the northern territorial waters of Israel and 700 metres from the beach of al-Sudaniyya.  Fisherman Adham al-Habil, a resident of al-Shate’ refugee camp explains how the Israel navy opened fire at the boats, completely destroying one valued at USD 60,000.

 

“When I looked back, I saw two navy boats with Israeli flags. They stopped at a distance of almost ten metres away from our boat. On each boat, I saw five soldiers carrying submachine guns and wearing green military uniforms. The Israeli soldiers opened heavy fire on our boats. [...] Despite the fact that we waved to soldiers with our clothes so that they would not open fire, they fired several bullets on our boat [...] Suddenly, I saw a soldier on board the boat carry a mortar and put it inside a projectile. He pointed the projectile towards our boat and launched the mortar. The burning mortar landed in the middle of our boat, setting it on fire. My colleagues and I were standing on the edge of the boat. We jumped into the sea and swam to Ayman ‘Ali al-Habil’s fishing boat, which was 20 metres away, and climbed aboard.” [54] 

 

                        West Bank

 

4.19                                     Palestinian workers from the West Bank who are caught trying to enter occupied East Jerusalem or areas of Israel by the State Party are regularly subjected to beatings and ill-treatment. On 8 August 2009 near the area of al-Ram north of Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers severely beat Tha’er Jaradat after he was caught crossing over a wall gate to enter Israel to work.  Tha’er was threatened, fingerprinted, and made to sign a document, the contents of which he could not remember. Tha’er was left at Qalandiya checkpoint and had sustained fractures in his legs.[55]

 

4.20                                     Israeli soldiers opened fire towards a pick-up truck carrying seven Palestinian workers as they returned from an area in the vicinity of an incomplete section of the Wall, through which Palestinian workers regularly pass into Israel to access their workplaces. Rather than asking the driver to stop the vehicle, the soldiers – who had been hiding behind dirt barricades – shot at the passengers without prior warning. As a result of the incident, Ahmad Fatafta sustained a bullet wound to his right hand and his cousin Muhammad Hasan was injured in his left ear.[56]

 

               5. Article 10 – The Right to Family Life

 

The Nationality and Entry into Israel (Temporary Order) Law suspends family unification between Israeli citizens and permanent residents and a person residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

  • Will the State Party provide detailed statistical analysis of the short and long term impact on those affected?
  • Will the State Party set up clear mechanisms to ensure that family unification applications of Palestinian family members are accepted and processed within a reasonable time frame?
  • Please provide information on steps taken by the State Party to bring the Temporary Order in line with article 10 of the Covenant as well as in line with the State Party’s obligations under article 2 to guarantee that the rights under the Covenant will be exercised without discrimination.

 

Since 2000, the State Party has forcibly transferred Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip solely on the basis of their registered address.  The issuing of Israeli Military Orders 1649 and 1650 on the 13th April 2010 has further entrenched this practice. Both policies violate Article 10 of the Covenant.

  • Will the State Party provide disaggregated statistical data on the number of Palestinians deported to Gaza and the numbers potentially affected by Military Orders 1649 and 1650?
  • Will the State Party provide information on how the practice and Military Orders comply with its obligations under article 10.
  • Please provide information on why the State Party continues to hold Palestinian prisoners inside Israel?
  • In particular, when will the State Party allow 691 Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip to receive regular visits from their families?

 

                   Denial of Family Unification

 

5.1             The Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (2003) (temporary order)[57] (hereinafter the  ‘Law’) remains in place severely impairing the family life of tens of thousands of persons, citizens and residents of Israel and residents of the OPT.[58] The Law, which prohibits the granting of Israeli citizenship to ‘a resident of the region’,[59] aims to prevent family unification between Palestinians with Israeli nationality and their spouses who are residents of the OPT.  It therefore prevents the Palestinian husband or wife of a permanent resident in Jerusalem or citizen of Israel, from acquiring permanent residency status. In comparison, Israelis who marry foreigners who are not Palestinian residents of the OPT may submit requests for family unification, and the foreign spouse can obtain legal status in Israel.  The law discriminates on the basis of ethnic origin and nationality.

 

5.2            Only Palestinian women over 25 and men over 35 married to residents or citizens of Israel may receive a temporary permit to remain in Israel, which grants no civil status or social benefits. But the law further provides for the denial of applications for such a permit, if there is a claim that the resident of the OPT, applicant or anyone from his or her extended family (including spouses of siblings) might be considered a security risk.[60]

 

5.3            As stated by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, the argument that the law is required for security reasons is baseless:

 

The state argues that the law is needed for security reasons, contending that the entry of residents of the Occupied Territories – as such – endangers Israeli citizens. This argument is baseless and was only recently raised to cover-up the real reason: Israel is seeking to prevent the further increase of the Arab population in Israel in order to preserve the Jewish character of the state. The state’s attempt to avoid relying on demographics as the stated reason for the law is a result of its understanding that such a reason is racist and illegal, and would be nullified upon judicial review.

 

5.4             Palestinians from the OPT who married Jerusalem permanent residents or Israeli citizens continue to be affected by this law, and are not able to live with their spouse or are forced to live together illegally.  Couples who choose to violate the law and live together in East Jerusalem find it impossible to live normal lives and are in constant fear of being caught. If a couple decides to live in the OPT, the Israeli spouse will be considered a lawbreaker, unless he or she receives a special permit from the State Party. Palestinians who hold permanent residency status in Jerusalem risk losing this status if the State Party discovers that their ‘centre of life’ is no longer in Jerusalem.  Documented cases reveal the social, economic and cultural impact of this Law.

 

5.5             Rimaz, a Palestinian woman from a village near Jenin, lives with her husband in Jerusalem but without the right papers, cannot live a normal life.  She described how the policy impacts on almost every aspect of her life:

 

It became more and more difficult for me to go to my work or to get anywhere in  Jerusalem. I couldn’t do my shopping, I couldn’t visit my friends, I couldn’t take my children to school or to a doctor or a hospital. During the summer holidays, my children and I could not go anywhere together. I couldn’t take them to summer camps where other children their age went. I was completely dependent on my husband who was very busy.[61]

 

5.6                                                       WS, who has lived with her husband in East Jerusalem for 20 years was told in May 2010 that her temporary permit to live in Jerusalem was going to be cancelled because of security checks on her brothers and brother in law.  She described the impact of this on her life:

 

I feel anxious and worried all the time. It has been 20 years since I got married and I still am not allowed to live with my husband and children. It has been too long, I don’t think I can take it any longer. Moving to another place in the West Bank is not an option. If we move to the West Bank the Israeli authorities will cancel my husband’s residency rights and that of our children.   I feel I am stuck. The situation is impossible. In about a month I will again be living illegally in Jerusalem with my husband and children. I will be under house arrest. [62]

 

5.7    Article 10 of the Covenant provides that the widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to the family.  The State Party is failing to provide this protection and is also in direct violation of this article by virtue of the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law: far from protecting the family, the State Party is preventing families from being together and denying them their right to family life.

 

5.8  The documented impact of the denial of the rights  illustrates the  intersection of the denial of rights under article 10 with the denial of other Covenant rights.   The right to health care, employment, education and social benefits are all affected.  West Bank Palestinians married to Jerusalem residents, even if they have a permit, are not entitled to work in Jerusalem, they are not entitled to health care, social security benefits and they are not permitted to drive a car. Women can be particularly impacted by these policies, which can leave them isolated in their homes, or having to bring up children alone.

                   Gazan Families in the West Bank

 

5.9            Since 2000, the State Party has forcibly transferred Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip solely on the basis of their registered address. The State Party  refuses to correct and update these individuals’ addresses, declaring them in Israel’s registries as "living in Gaza Strip". The consequence of this is that Palestinians who have, in many cases, lived in the West Bank for many years,  established their lives in the West Bank, married, had children, and provide for their families are at risk of deportation and losing everything.[63]

 

5.10        The issuing of Israeli Military Orders 1649 and 1650 on the 13th April 2010 has further entrenched this practice and increased the fear and anxiety of those potentially affected.  The Military Orders cement the previous restrictions of movement for Palestinians travelling between Gaza and West Bank as well as restrictions that exposed people to the risk of deportation for not having the identity papers deemed necessary by the Israeli authorities. These orders allow for any person in the West Bank, including a resident of Jerusalem, to be termed as an ‘infiltrator’ liable to transfer, deportation, criminal charges, fines, and/or imprisonment. This order is applicable to anyone who has entered the area ‘unlawfully’ or who does not carry an Israeli issued permit. The phrasing of these orders is suitably vague to enable the Israeli authorities to apply them arbitrarily.[64]

 

5.11         WCLAC and Al-Haq have documented the impact of these restrictions on Palestinians who are originally from Gaza and are living in the West Bank, unable to return to Gaza  They have been denied the right to choose their residence in the West Bank, they are unable to return to Gaza to visit their families there and are unable to travel freely in the West Bank for fear of arrest and deportation.

 

5.12       The case of Faiza from the village of Kifil Hares near the West Bank city of Nablus is illustrative. Faiza was born in the Gaza Strip but has lived in the West Bank since she married a man from the West Bank in March 2005. She has not returned to Gaza since then, fearing she would not be able to return to her husband and children in the West Bank. Equally, her family in Gaza has been unable to visit her.  Moreover, Faiza is unable to travel within the West Bank, fearing that her Gaza ID will be discovered at a checkpoint. She is even more fearful of travelling now because of Military Orders 1649 and 1650 that term her as an ‘infiltrator’ and confirm that she can be deported to Gaza at any time.  Faiza, like many women in her position, is left a virtual prisoner in her home.[65]

                   Family Visitation Rights of Palestinian Prisoners held in Israel

 

5.13       As of 1 October 2010, there were approximately 6,180 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel in 19 prisons spread around the country. All but one Israeli prison, where Palestinian men, women and children are detained, are inside Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which provides that an occupying power must detain residents of an occupied territory inside that territory. The practical consequence of this violation is that many prisoners do not receive any family visits as their relatives are denied permits to enter Israel.

 

5.14       Until the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, family visits to Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons were regular and took place largely without interruptions. However, following the Israeli re-invasion of the West Bank and as a result of imposed movement restrictions, all Palestinian families from the occupied territory who wish to visit a family member detained in Israel – with the exception of Jerusalem ID holders – must receive an entry permit into Israel. The application process is lengthy and can take between one and three months, while the permit itself is valid for only one year. The application is submitted via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and then transferred to the Israeli authorities. Visits are restricted to first degree relatives – children, spouses, parents, siblings and grandparents only, thus isolating the detainee from his or her social and professional environment. Men between the ages of 16 and 35 are typically prevented from visiting prison and receive special permits only once a year if they are the brother of the detainee and biannually if they are the son of the detainee. In practice, however, hundreds of families fail to receive permits at all, based on “security grounds”. The reason for the rejection of a permit application is never given apart from the standard phrase: “forbidden entry into Israel for security reasons”.

 

5.15       Najat Hamad’s 16 year old son, Jehad, was arrested and detained by the State Party. Her husband has received a permit that only allows him to visit Jehad on one occasion. Despite being a child, she was not able to visit him for the first three months that he was detained and then only after a long and arduous journey with many security checks for just 45 minutes:

  

“The first time I was allowed to visit Jehad was on August 10th, more than three months since his arrest. They were the worst three months in my life. It was the first time that any of my children had slept outside home. It was very difficult. He never escaped my mind. I constantly wondered how he was doing and what was going on in his mind. It took two-and-a-half months for the Israeli authorities to process my application for a permit to visit him in Israel. I applied for a permit on May 16th which is when I knew he was moved into a prison inside Israel and received the permit on July 30th.  The first time I was able to visit him was on August 10th. But then something very bad happened; Jehad was deprived of a family prison visit on August 24th. I had a valid permit but still I couldn’t visit him.” [66]

 

5.16       When family visits are allowed, they take place once every two weeks for 45 minutes. In the visiting room, a glass window separates the visitor and the prisoner. Communication takes place through a telephone or through holes in the glass. Family visits are frequently suspended when there are Jewish religious holidays or when there is closure of the West Bank for other reasons.

 

5.17       On 6 June 2007, citing unspecified security reasons, Israeli authorities suspended the ICRC Family Visits Programme in the Gaza Strip, effectively barring all means of communication between Gazan prisoners and the outside world. The ongoing family visits ban, which was upheld by Israel’s High Court of Justice and which is compounded by an Israeli Prison Service prohibition of telephone communication between all detainees and their families, currently affects approximately 691 detainees from the Gaza Strip. The use of phones was not made available to Gazan detainees even after the suspension of the ICRC Family Visits Programme or during Israel’s aerial and ground aggression against Gaza from 27 December 2008 – 18 January 2009. When and if phone contact is allowed, it remains a very rare exception.

 

 

               6.  Article 11 – Right to Adequate Living Conditions

 

Palestinians, particularly those living in East Jerusalem, Area C and the ‘seam zone’ are not provided with adequate living conditions, as should be guaranteed by Article 11 of the Covenant.  Palestinians in these areas often live in poor, inadequate and overcrowded living conditions as permits are rarely granted to Palestinians to build homes and also because houses and other structures are routinely demolished for lack of permit. Additionally Palestinians are often denied permission to renovate, extend or improve their homes. 

 

Housing:

  • Provide information on the number of building permits granted to Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank.  Particularly, provide comparative data on the number of building permits granted to Palestinians and the number of permits issued to citizens of Israel in these areas?
  • Provide information on whether alternative accommodation is provided to families affected by forced eviction and home demolitions?
  • When will the State Party reduce its restrictions on construction and renovation in East Jerusalem, Area C and the ‘seam zone’?
  • Will the State Party provide disaggregated statistical data on the number of Palestinians who are affected by inadequate and overcrowded conditions as a result of Israel’s planning and zoning regimes in East Jerusalem, Area C and the ‘seam zone’?
  • Provide information on how the State Party will ensure its compliance with Article 11 and the Committee’s General Comment 4 and ensure Palestinians in the ‘seam zone’, behind the Wall, have access to energy for cooking and heating, sanitation facilities, refuse disposal and emergency services?
  • Based on the previous questions, please provide information on how the State Party’s planning and building policies comply with its obligations to guarantee the rights under the Covenant without discrimination.
  • When will the State Party cease the closure on Gaza so that construction and other materials can enter the area, in order to build necessary homes and infrastructure, including water projects?

 

Water:

  • Provide the number of communities that do not have a connection to a piped water network due to restrictions on constructions permits issued by the Civil Administration.
  • What percentage of projects submitted to the Joint Water Committee for the construction and maintenance of water-related infrastructure, including the drilling of wells,  construction of filling points and water networks are approved and what percentage rejected each year?
  • Please explain the discrepancy between water consumption between Israeli citizens living in the OPT and Palestinians?

 

                   Adequate Housing and Living Conditions

 

6.1            In General Comment 4, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“the Committee”), stated that "the right to housing should not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with, for example, the shelter provided by merely having a roof over one's head or views shelter exclusively as a commodity. Rather it should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace, and dignity." [67] The Committee further stated that to be considered adequate, a home should contain certain facilities essential for health, security, comfort and nutrition.  They  clarified that this means that “adequate housing should have sustainable access to natural and common resources, safe drinking water, energy for cooking, heating and lighting, sanitation and washing facilities, means of food storage, refuse disposal, site drainage and emergency services.”[68]

 

6.2             Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank are routinely denied their right to adequate housing in its most narrow meaning and its broadest sense as defined by the Committee. The UN Human Rights Committee in its review of Israel in July 2010 made the following statement in relation to Israel’s policies:

 

[T]he Committee is concerned at frequent administrative demolition of property, homes, as well as schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem due to the absence of construction permits, their issuance being frequently denied to Palestinians… The State party should further review its housing policy and issuance of construction permits with a view to implementing the principle of non-discrimination regarding minorities, in particular Palestinians and to increasing construction on a legal basis for minorities of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It should further ensure that municipal planning systems are not discriminatory.[69]

 

                         Forced Evictions: East Jerusalem

 

6.3            As the Human Rights Committee stated, the State Party is responsible for the frequent administrative demolition of homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In many cases the forced eviction of Palestinian families takes place prior to the demolition of their home.  In other cases, such as those in Sheikh Jarrah, families are forcibly evicted in order to make way for Israeli settlers to move into their homes. Both situations usually involve the presence of armed soldiers and police and the use of violence. The term "forced evictions" has been defined by the Committee as the permanent or temporary removal against their will of individuals, families and/or communities from the homes and/or land which they occupy, without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection.[70] 

 

6.4            During 2009, 271 structures were demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C, displacing 319 people including 167 children, [71] displacing or otherwise affecting 1377 people, including 730 children. As of July 2010, at least 230 Palestinian structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C in over 40 separate incidents since the beginning of the year. As a result, more than 1100 Palestinians, including over 400 children, have been forcibly displaced or otherwise affected owing to extensive damage of property or destruction of livelihoods. This includes an incident on 13 July when 7 Palestinian homes, were demolished in East Jerusalem, leaving 25 people, including 14 children - one of them only 2 months old – forcibly displaced. [72]

 

6.5            The demolition of Palestinian homes is usually ostensibly justified for administrative reasons, that is, because a permit has not been obtained.  In East Jerusalem, one third of the land area has been expropriated for the construction of illegal Israeli settlements, while only 13 percent is currently zoned by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian construction.[73] However, even in this area, much of this land is already built up, the permitted construction density is limited and the application process for construction permits or land zoning changes is complicated and expensive. Those who go through this process will commonly be refused. As a result there is a serious housing shortage caused by Israel’s failure to provide adequate housing and many Palestinians risk building on their land without a permit and face forced eviction and the demolition of their homes.[74]  Others live in overcrowded, unsuitable and unsanitary conditions, unable to build larger accommodation,  to build extensions to existing homes or even in many cases, to make any structural repairs or improvements to their homes. 

 

6.6            In a typical example, 'Ala’ al-Shuweiki, was served with a demolition order in February 2008 and had to pay a fine of NIS 28,000. Despite making several applications to the municipal authorities to gain the correct permit, all of 'Ala’s applications were unsuccessful because his land was zoned “green land”, on which houses cannot be built. In December, the family was issued a second demolition order, which was upheld  by the municipal court. On 13 July 2009 'Ala' and his family of eight were given just ten minutes to vacate the home they had lived in for ten years before it was demolished along with much of their personal belongings. Moreover, 'Ala must continue to pay the 28,000 NIS fine.[75]

 

6.7             In August 2009, 53 Palestinian refugees were forcibly evicted from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood after an Israeli court issued a judgment in favour of an Israeli settler organization claiming ownership of the buildings in the area. Estimates from UN OCHA suggest a further 475 Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah are at risk of forced eviction and displacement as a result of ongoing settler activities in the area.[76]

 

6.8            Khawla Hanoun was forcibly evicted from her home in Sheikh Jarrah on 2 August 2009:  “I was up for most of the night and it was only at 4.30am that I put my head down to get some sleep. It was only moments afterwards when I heard shouting and screaming and the sounds of glass breaking and I knew what was happening.  Suddenly I saw five soldiers standing over me screaming and shouting, I was half asleep and couldn’t respond straight away to what I was seeing although I had been prepared….

The soldiers didn’t let me put my slippers on and they were pushing and punching me all over as I was getting out – it felt like I was at the front line of a war.  The soldiers were wearing black uniforms and had masks on their faces and then gas masks over the top of them.   I fled  outside of the house, and was shouting ‘Where is my husband? Where are my children?” … Outside on the street I could see the soldiers opening up the door of my brother in law’s house with what sounded like explosives. I think there were about five or six hundred soldiers around the house that night – they looked like ravens in their black uniforms.” [77]

 

6.9            In the Silwan/Bustan neighbourhood, where there are plans to build a Jewish archaeological park, the Jerusalem municipality has approved a plan to demolish 22 of the 88 houses in the area to make way for it.[78]  In addition,  at least 28 percent of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been built in violation of Israeli zoning and planning requirements, meaning that a further 60,000 Palestinians are at risk of  forced eviction and having their homes demolished.  [79]

 

6.10       The documented cases highlight the cross-cutting nature of many of the issues and rights violations. While Article 11 is the principle right violated, many other rights contained within the Covenant are affected including the right to family life and the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

                        Forced Evictions:  Area C

 

6.11       Palestinians living in Area C are also subject to an Israeli planning and zoning regime.  Palestinian construction is prohibited in 70 per cent of Area C, while a range of restrictions mean that it is virtually impossible to obtain a permit to build in the remaining 30 per cent, and in practice UN OCHA states that the Israeli Civil Administration only allow construction in less than one percent of Area C, much of which is already built up.[80]  Consequently, many Palestinians living in Area C also live either in inadequate and overcrowded housing conditions or build ‘illegally and risk demolition of their homes and displacement.    

 

6.12                  The case of Waela Sultan, is illustrative of the problems faced by Palestinians living in Area C.  Her family’s newly constructed home in the West Bank village of Hares in Area C was demolished by the State Party in March 2010.   She, her husband and their five children were living in overcrowded conditions, in just two rooms in the house they shared with her parents-in-law, three of her husband's brothers and their large families.  In 2006, they used their savings to start constructing a new home in the village so they could have more space and Waela herself more privacy.  She described the day of the demolition.

 

          “I was about three houses away from the house, when I couldn’t go any further           because about 10 to 12 Israeli soldiers were standing on the road and had           blocked the way with an army jeep. I went over to the soldiers and begged them   to allow me to pass but they refused. I could hear the bulldozers and there was        dust in the air.  There were only about three houses between me and our house and I could see that our house was being demolished. I felt so upset, I was crying         and slapping myself in the face. My dream was being destroyed.” [81]

 

6.13                  The consequences of the demolition are that Waela and her family have to remain living in overcrowded and inadequate conditions, economically unable to finance an alternative. Waela's case and the impact on her is consistent with documentation of women affected by home demolitions in other areas, particularly East Jerusalem.  This documentation shows that women are profoundly affected by home demolitions, with their lives usually revolving around the private sphere of the home where they raise their children and take care of the home. In other cases, women interviewed by WCLAC suffer from anxiety and depression during the long process leading up to the demolition of the family home. After displacement, women find themselves living in overcrowded and unsuitable conditions, which further perpetuates their anxiety as well as other psychological symptoms.

                        Inadequate Housing: The ‘Seam Zone’

 

6.14                   Due to the construction of the Wall on the West Bank side of the Green Line, many Palestinians have found themselves caged between the Wall and the Green Line, in an area called the ‘seam zone’.  Around 10 percent of the total area of the West Bank is located on the “Israeli” side of the Separation Wall and has been declared a closed military zone for Palestinians.[82] Palestinians who reside in the area have to obtain a special permit and those who have land inside the area have to obtain ‘visitor’ permits to access their farming land and water resources through a particular designated gate. 

 

6.15                   Palestinians living in the ‘seam zone’ are largely disconnected from the major Palestinian cities and towns that provide vital services in health, education, employment and administration as well as from their extended families and communities.  In the ‘seam zone’, the State Party is failing to ensure adequate living standards for Palestinians, in particular in respect of their housing, water supply, transport and communications. All are impacted by the State Party's control and policies in the ‘seam zone’.  The Palestinian Authority has no control over planning, zoning, or the availability of public transport in the ‘seam zone’. Palestinian communications networks and other service providers find it extremely difficult or impossible to operate in the area because of access restrictions.

 

6.16              Figures are unavailable for the number of Palestinians affected by inadequate or overcrowded housing conditions, but there is documentation that highlights the poor living conditions of the Palestinians living in the ‘seam zone’ and the impact on families and communities. It is impossible for Palestinians to get permits to extend their homes as their families expand or to make improvements to them. JD lives with her large and growing extended family in the village of Al-Khalayleh in poor and overcrowded conditions. Her home is located behind the Wall and between the Israeli settlements of Givat Ze'ev and Gavon: 

 

“We built a small house next to our house which was meant to be for S, [her disabled son] his wife and their four children. They moved into it although it was not really finished but in 2005 the Israelis demolished it. They had to move back into the main house, but it’s so crowded. They are six people living in one room in the house.  There are 25 people living in the house altogether  and we can’t extend the house and build any extra rooms although we have a lot of land around the house and there are lots of new houses in the settlements of Givat Ze’ev and Gavon just by our house.  We have just five rooms and a kitchen and a bathroom.  We’re having to use the rooms that we used to use for sheep for people to sleep because it’s so crowded.” [83]

 

6.17             Palestinians living in the ‘seam zone’ are routinely prohibited from bringing in basic foodstuffs like meat and eggs through the checkpoint. Gas for cooking and heating is also prohibited at these checkpoints, contrary to the guidance given by the Committee in its General Comment 7. Palestinians living in these areas also encounter difficulties in ensuring adequate sewage drainage as a result of Israeli checkpoints. A representative case is that of Sadiqa Hassan, who lives in Azzun Atme. She has a ‘seam zone’ permit, and lives in one of the houses in the village behind the checkpoint and the Wall, separated from the West Bank yet not allowed to enter Israel. 

 

“They also won’t allow us to take certain things through the checkpoint at all. We’re not allowed to take meat and chicken from the West Bank side through the checkpoint or gas cylinders.  In the same way, the vet wasn’t allowed through, also workmen aren’t allowed to come through to help us fix machinery or other machines like the washing machine or fridge, we have to take them to the other side to be fixed. If I needed a doctor to make a house-call, it wouldn’t be possible, I would have to go through the checkpoint to see a doctor. Another restriction is that it’s forbidden to build new houses in the area we live in and we also can’t extend our own home or make any structural changes. We’re not connected to the sewage network and so we regularly need a truck that comes to pump and empty the tank. Sometimes the Israelis won’t even allow the truck through to empty the system.” [84]

                        Inadequate Housing: Gaza

 

6.18               In Gaza, the closure is having a devastating impact on the standard of living, including their housing conditions. Since 2007, the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been unable to complete any of its construction projects, including those projects meant to re-house 14,200 people, many of whom had their homes destroyed by Israeli military operations between 2000 and  2004.  While some materials were allowed in, in March 2010, much more is needed to enable more homes to be rebuilt. [85]

 

6.19           The Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem interviewed Nawal al-'Athamneh, 59, who is married and has fifteen children, and lives in ‘Izbat Abed Rabo, in the northern Gaza Strip.[86] Nawal's three storey home and their olive groves were destroyed during the Israeli attack on Gaza in January 2009.  She described what she found when she returned to the house:

 

      Everything was destroyed: the houses, the furniture in the five houses, the clothes, household items, as well as the three Mercedes taxis and the olive trees that provided our livelihood. The land and the houses had been torn up by heavy machinery. We were left with the ruins in the cold, without electricity and water, and without the minimum needed to live in dignity, like we had previously.

 

6.20             Almost a year after the State Party attack on Gaza, when she was interviewed in December 2009, Nawal was facing her second winter in a tent, the family unable to  rebuild their home because of the difficulty getting building materials into Gaza.  She described the hardships of living in the tent, living for five months without electricity and with a makeshift shower and bathroom.  Here she describes how her life is affected by living in a tent:

 

      I have a very hard time working in the kitchen. Rain falls on the utensils and food, and when it hits the sand floor, it ends up dirtying everything. This means that I have to wash the utensils two or three times a day. This is very tiring, and takes lots of time, which takes me away from doing other things that have to get done. We have a constant feeling of dirtiness and poor hygiene because of the sand floor. Flies and insects are all around us and the food. The dust gets over us and our things. We feel we’re living like animals, and not like human beings in 2009. We don’t know how to live in a tent. Our life has become like tar. It is hard and awful living without anything pretty. Everything is black.

 

                        Inadequate Living Conditions: Impact of Settlements

 

6.21       A major study conducted by the World Bank has identified that “settlement sewage has become a major environmental problem”[87] and that “the Israeli occupation may also prevent the normal operation of wastewater treatment plants”.[88]  The study cites the case study of the Palestinian town of Salfit, which is located next to the large Israeli settlement of Ariel. It states: “Untreated waste water from the large Ariel settlement flows just 15 metres from the spring of Salfit”, meaning that settlement sewage is running untreated directly into the Palestinian water supply and over Palestinian agricultural land.

 

6.22            Field reports also highlight the negative impact that Israeli settlements in the OPT are having on Palestinian environment, land, water, crops and on Palestinians' livelihood and health.  In one such example, the discharge of Israeli waste water from the Bitar 'llit settlement  continues to pollute the Ein Fares spring, the primary source of water for Nahhalin village. The discharge of settler waste water contaminates the land and agricultural crops in the area and adversely affects the human rights of the Palestinians residing in this village, including the local residents rights to an adequate standard of living and to health.  The problem has been occurring since 1986 and despite the fact that the village has filed complaints to all respective authorities, nothing has been done by the State Party to address this damaging situation.

 

                 "Since 2005, I have been monitoring this issue. Three pump stations inside the settlement discharge wastewater through pipes measuring approximately 24 inches in diameter into the areas of 'Ein Fares, Wadi Sakran and Wadi al-Hala. [...]The wastewater current usually extends for a kilometre and a half in length in the midst of farmland, contaminating all agricultural crops as well as 'Ein Fares spring. The spring has now been polluted. Even animals do not drink from it.[...] In 2009, settlers continued to discharge wastewater at a similar pace – once or twice a month. In June 2009, wastewater was released on two occasions. I estimate that approximately 70 dunums of land were contaminated by wastewater. Therefore, the village residents had to uproot crops, including vegetables, grapevines and olive trees, rendering the whole area wasteland. [89]         

                   Water

 

6.23       In relation to the issue of water, the Palestinian population are discriminated against, in comparison to Israeli settlers living in the same areas.  According to the WASH Cluster[90], some 60,000 Palestinians currently living in 71 communities in Area C are not connected to a water network.  In the southern West Bank, there are some 32 under served communities in Area C, which receive less than 60 litres per capita per day, well below the World Health Organisation standard of 100 litres per capita per day. [91]  Amnesty International estimates that some 180-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water. [92]  Palestinian women, who will usually have responsibility for cleaning, washing, cooking and for the care of children, are particularly impacted by the lack of clean running water, often having to collect the water from wells and other sources. 

 

6.24       There is a gross inequality between consumption rates in the illegal Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities. In the north-eastern West Bank district of Tubas, average consumption of water for the 48,000 Palestinians who reside there is 30 litres per person per day. However, the residents of the illegal settlement Beka’ot, just twelve kilometers south of Tubas, consume around 401 litres daily.[93]

 

6.25                The Palestinian Authority has no authority in the West Bank to make decisions regarding the drilling of new wells, upgrading existing wells or implementing other water related projects. Israel continues to control the amount of water that may be extracted from existing wells and springs in the OPT.[94]  According to the World Bank, the Israeli Civil Administration is considered a “severe constraint” to implementing projects in Area C.[95]  

 

6.26                                             The Wall, checkpoints and other barriers are additional physical obstacles that cut Palestinians off from their water sources. The Wall isolates over 20 Palestinian groundwater wells, 14 of which are from the governorate of Qalqilya, as well as 17 springs in Bethlehem. While some households have underground cisterns to collect rain water, the water is often of poor quality. Restrictions on movement and access mean that people in communities that are not connected to the water network (a third of West Bank communities) have to travel long distances to access the nearest water point. [96]

 

6.27                For Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli closure of Gaza, which has been particularly severe since 2007, has exacerbated what was already a dire situation in the water sector. [97] In relation to this situation in Gaza, the International Committee of the Red Cross stated that:

 

      The lack of proper sanitation and certain agricultural practices are polluting Gaza's aquifer. Only about 60% of the territory's 1.4 million inhabitants are connected to a sewage collection system. Raw sewage discharged into the river Wadi Gaza, which snakes through urban areas, jeopardizes the health of the communities living on its banks. ...The water is unfit for consumption, and the risk of contracting an infectious disease is high.[98]

 

6.28                    On 3 September 2009 the UN OCHA expressed concern that “equipment and  supplies needed for the construction, maintenance and operation of water and sanitation facilities have been denied entry to Gaza, leading to the gradual deterioration of these essential services. Destruction caused during the Israeli military offensive in 2008/2009 exacerbated an already critical situation, leaving some services and facilities on the brink of collapse”. [99] Maxwell Gaylard,  the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the OPT, stated on 3 September 2009, “The deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding an already severe and protracted denial of human dignity in the Gaza Strip. At the heart of this crisis is a steep  decline in standards of living for the people of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic infrastructure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital  services in health, water and sanitation”.[100]

 

               7. Article 12 – Right to Health

 

Article 12 of the Covenant recognizes the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. Yet, a range of restrictions on the movement of Palestinians severely limits their access to health services, and thus their enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health.

  • Please provide information on the number of permits requested, and the number granted to Palestinians seeking medical treatment in East Jerusalem and to their relatives wishing to accompany them.
  • Provide information on when the State Party will comply with the International Court of Justice’s decision regarding the Wall to ensure that Palestinians can access health services in East Jerusalem?
  • Will the State Party provide statistical data on accessible health services available to Palestinians living in the ‘seam zone’ and Area C.
  • Will the State Party provide statistical data on the number of Palestinians living in Gaza who have applied for permits to leave Gaza seeking medical treatment, the number of permits granted and refused.
  • When will essential medical equipment be allowed into Gaza to improve the current medical facilities there?
  • When will the State Party cease to restrict residents of Gaza from accessing healthcare outside of Gaza strip?

 

7.1                                                  The route of the Wall, which is contrary to international law, as affirmed by the International Court of Justice, [101] particularly impacts on the right to health.  As stated in a recent report by UN OCHA:

                    “As the single largest barrier to Palestinian movement within the West Bank, including to and from East Jerusalem, the Barrier constrains Palestinians from accessing health facilities and health providers from servicing the Palestinian population.  The Barrier, with its associated permit and gate/checkpoint regime directly infringes the right to health of the Palestinian population as a whole, as it isolates East Jerusalem from the remainder of the OPT.” [102]

 

7.2                                                   East Jerusalem has six hospitals with 624 beds, providing 12.4% of the total available in the OPT.  They also provide specialist care unavailable elsewhere in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.[103] The permit regime means that Palestinians without residency rights in East Jerusalem have to apply for a permit to access Jerusalem. The UN OCHA report confirms the difficulties faced by Palestinians requiring health treatment in Jerusalem:[104]

 

  • All medical cases must use a complicated and time consuming process to obtain the relevant permit;
  • Permits, especially for young men between 15 and 30 years old, are often refused;
  • It is difficult for families of sick children or elderly relatives to obtain permits to escort patients to Jerusalem; and 
  • Permits are also invalid during times of general closure such as Jewish holidays: between April 2009 and March 2010, the Israeli authorities imposed general closure for a total of 50 days.

 

7.3                                                  On 8 February 2010, ‘Ala’-al-Din Taslaq, who suffers from colon cancer, missed an important follow-up treatment in Jerusalem because of a delay in processing his permit by the Israeli District Coordination Office (DCO). The State Party claimed the  delay was due to necessary security checks, despite the fact 'Ala-al-Din has never been “wanted” or arrested by the Israeli authorities.

 

                 (...) Two days prior to my appointment, I submitted an application to the Palestinian DCO to receive a permit in order to continue my medical treatment at the Augusta Victoria Hospital. The Palestinian DCO handed the application over to the Israeli DCO. Upon reporting to the Palestinian DCO on the second day, my wife was told that the Israeli side was still examining the issue from a security perspective. Therefore, I lost my appointment. Because an alternative treatment is not available in the West Bank hospitals, my health condition has deteriorated.” [105]

 

7.4                                                  Women wanting to give birth in Jerusalem hospitals, which offer a higher standard of services than West Bank hospitals, are also affected.  A.A, who was interviewed by WCLAC, was refused a permit to enter Jerusalem to give birth at the Al Maqassed Hospital.

 

“Ten days before I gave birth to Ranin, I applied for a permit to enter Jerusalem to give birth to her at Al-Maqassed Hospital. I knew that I would need to have a Caesarean section because I had done with my other two children. I wanted to give birth in Al-Maqassed hospital because the hospital in Ramallah is very bad. My permit application was refused, again for security reasons. I cried a lot; I was afraid that I would have to give birth in the Ramallah hospital. So 2 days before the birth of my daughter, I secretly entered Jerusalem in a car. I left my first daughter with my sister in-law in Ayzariya and my son with my sister in Aysawiyya, on the other side of the wall. I cried a lot at having to be separated from them; my son cried too, he found this very difficult.” [106] 

 

7.5                                                  Since the construction of the Wall, access to Jerusalem for medical care has become almost impossible for those without permits. Access for those with permits is limited to only three out of a total of 14 checkpoints: Qalandiya, Gilo and Zaytoun.  These checkpoints are crowded, the procedures arduous, time consuming and stressful, particularly for those with health problems or disabilities.

 

7.6                                                  Those requiring emergency treatment are particularly affected by delay in accessing Jerusalem through the checkpoints. Permission for emergency cases requires coordination between the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Israeli DCO. They require authorization for the patient to cross a specific checkpoint, and the coordination of ambulances, as West Bank ambulances cannot enter Jerusalem. Often emergency cases are delayed at checkpoints – in 2009 PRCS recorded 440 delays and denials of ambulances throughout the OPT, two thirds of these occurring at checkpoints accessing Jerusalem.[107]

 

7.7                                                  Documentation from Palestinians living in the West Bank illustrate the difficulties that they have in accessing health care and the failure of the State Party to ensure the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health in violation of article 12. 

 

7.8                                                  JD lives in Al-Khalayleh, a small village disconnected from its larger neighbouring village, Al Jib, by the Wall, with access only through a checkpoint, restricted to those Palestinians registered in Al-Khalayleh.  She and her family, including her disabled son, have experienced considerable difficulty in accessing health care.  Her daughters and daughters-in-law have to travel through the checkpoint for pre-natal and post natal care, and for immunizations for their children as the nearest clinic is located on the other side of the Wall.  When she herself fell ill and needed medical attention she delayed seeking help because of the difficulties of getting to a doctor and the expense. Eventually she saw a doctor who told her she needed a hysterectomy, and recommended a hospital in Jerusalem:

 

“On the day I had to go to the hospital, my friend’s son took me to the checkpoint at Givat Ze’ev and dropped me at the crossing. I then walked through the checkpoint and took public transport to Ramallah and then to the checkpoint at Qalandiya where again I had to walk through.  I had to go to the hospital on my own because they did not give a permit for anyone to go but me and none of my family have permits for Jerusalem. I am now recovered but after the surgery every six weeks or so I would have to go back to the doctor in Ramallah for follow up.  Travelling was very difficult…. At the hospital, I had no one, I was completely alone…” [108]

7.9  Another illustrative case is that of  Hamza Jaradat, his wife Falastin, and their two-year-old son Anas, who on July 16 2009, were denied for the 15th time, the permit they require to travel to Jerusalem to seek medical examination and treatment for Anas, who has suffered from a chronic illness from the time he was six months old. After numerous visits to West Bank hospitals, doctors were unable to diagnose or effectively treat the illness, and the family was advised to take their son to al-Maqased hospital in Jerusalem. As a result of the travel restrictions imposed on the family, Anas is unable to receive the medical care necessary to improve his condition.[109]

7.10       IR, from the West Bank village of Beit Iksa is 72 years old and has had two heart bypass operations and requires regular treatment which she usually obtains at a specialist hospital, in Jerusalem. Up until June 2010, the Ramot checkpoint, close to her village allowed Palestinians with the correct permit to travel into Jerusalem, meaning only a ten minute journey to the hospital. Now the checkpoint and the road  is closed to her and other West Bank Palestinians, risking her health and her life:

“In June 2010 – after the checkpoint closed – I fell very ill. I woke and was feeling very dizzy.  Because we couldn’t go to Jerusalem, my family took me to the Palestinian Red Crescent Hospital in Ramallah. They didn’t know my medical history, even the fact that I’d had two heart bypass surgeries and made mistakes with my treatment. I was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 5-6 days, very ill before I was discharged.  But I wasn’t better and felt very sick while I was back home and felt like I was going to die.  My skin was turning black and I was very sick.  In fact, I told my family that I was going to die I felt so bad. I went back to Ramallah, but this time to see my regular doctor, who comes to Ramallah once a week on a Tuesday to see his patients who can’t go to Jerusalem. He told me that I had internal haemorrhaging and immediately said that I had to go to the Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem. He arranged coordination with the Red Cross and arranged for an ambulance.  I was taken out on a stretcher to one ambulance which took me to the Qalandiya checkpoint, when I was taken out and transferred from one ambulance to another.

 

Once I was in the hospital in Jerusalem, I spent another two days in the ICU there.  They transferred seven units of blood into my body and gave me the right injections that they hadn’t done in Ramallah. My family couldn’t come to visit me in hospital in Jerusalem because they don’t have permits to visit Jerusalem. My brother got a permit for one day, but could only stay for the afternoon with me.”  [110]

7.11       In respect of the Gaza Strip, it is acknowledged that the health conditions, perpetuated by the situation of the health care system, are endangering the lives of all Palestinians.[111] The ICRC has described the health system in Gaza as follows: “almost completely isolated. There is chaos at even the most basic level of service delivery. Some specialized training not available in Gaza also cannot be obtained elsewhere because of very severe restrictions on the movement of people into and out of the territory.” [112]

7.12         One of the main causes for this is the failure by the State Party to allow parts in for medical equipment. On 1 July 2010, Eileen Daly, who oversees health activities of the ICRC in Gaza, stated: 

Medical equipment can remain in disrepair for extended periods, because a thicket of bureaucracy has to be overcome to get the necessary spare parts into Gaza.
To bring into the territory materials considered by Israel to be usable for other than medical purposes, it is extremely difficult to obtain approval. Anything electronic, such as laboratory blood analysers, falls into this category. It took the ICRC eight months to bring spare parts for a mammography machine into Gaza. [113]

7.13          Patients requiring treatment outside of Gaza are regularly denied permission to leave by the State Party.  At least 49 patients were denied exit from the Gaza Strip by Israeli authorities for the purpose of receiving medical care between January and June 2009, while a further 863 were delayed.[114] Figures released by the Israeli organisation Physicians for Human Rights note that in the past two months, they have received about 80 applications from Gaza patients whose requests to exit Gaza to receive medical treatment had been rejected by the Israeli authorities.[115]

7.14         An illustrative example took place on 5 January 2010, when Muhammad Abu-Za'nouna, a resident of Jabaliya camp in Northern Gaza governorate, was refused a permit to enter Israel and travel to Ramallah to undergo cornea transplant surgery. Summoned to Erez to meet with the Israeli authorities, Muhammad waited for almost six hours, was subjected to an intensive security search and was forced to watch videos of Hamas violence. An intelligence officer proceeded to bribe him in return for collaborating with them. Muhammad refused and was sent home from the border crossing. He has yet to receive a reply about his request for a permit to travel for the operation and his sight continues to deteriorate.[116]

7.15         On 15 October 2009, a 52 year old woman from Gaza City suffering from a cartilage disorder was denied a permit to travel to a hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment. After obtaining the necessary documents, Tharifa al-Katnani was instructed to travel to the Erez crossing. She was stopped for over eight hours, questioned, and sent home when an Israeli officer accused her of lying about the purpose of her travel.[117]

               8.  Article 13 – The Right to Education

 

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

 

  • Please provide information on the number of demolition orders pending against Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem and Areas B and C.
  • Please provide information on the number of permits requested, and the number granted, to Palestinians holding West Bank and Gazan IDs seeking access to education in East Jerusalem
  • Please provide information on how access to educational institutions is facilitated for Palestinians living in the ‘seam zone’ and Area C.
    • Will the State Party provide statistical data on the number of the number of permits granted and refused to Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip who have applied for permits to leave Gaza to attend educational institutions?
    • When will the State Party cease to restrict Palestinian residents of Gaza from travelling to the West Bank to study?
    • When will essential supplies be allowed into Gaza to permit the rebuilding of schools there?

 

                   Demolition of Schools

 

8.1                                          A number of Israeli occupation policies have resulted of infringements on the right to education for Palestinians in the West Bank. In particular, the demolition of schools by Israeli authorities is having a negative effect on Palestinian students, reducing the number of classrooms available and generally making access to education more difficult for Palestinians.

 

8.2                                          On 10 January 2010, Israeli occupying authorities demolished a primary school, along with 17 other structures, in the village of Khirbet Tana in Nablus governorate. This was the second time the village had been affected by demolitions. In 2005, many buildings in the town had been demolished because the Israeli military claimed they were built in a closed military zone and the residents did not have the required building permits. The villagers launched a petition to the Israeli High Court challenging the demolition. On 26 January 2009, the High Court issued a decision sanctioning the demolition. Almost a year later, the demolition was carried out without prior notice to residents of the village:

 

 Immediately the bulldozer driver started the demolition process, which lasted ten minutes. In the company of several patrols, the bulldozers, including the one which demolished our place of residence, moved on to demolish many other makeshift houses belonging to residents of the Khirbet Tana village. These included houses built of zinc plates and bricks as well as tents. Furthermore, the bulldozers demolished the village’s primary school, which consisted of four rooms. In about three hours, approximately 18 makeshift houses, barracks, tents and the school were pulled down.”[118]

 

8.3                                          On 4 May 2010, workers building a new school in Qabatya, north of Jenin, were handed demolition orders by the Israeli Civil Administration. Located in Area B, the school was being built on land that had been registered and licensed by the Palestinian Authority.  A lawyer succeeded in temporarily stopping the demolition through a court order, but another hearing is pending.  The building was completed in July 2010, but the principal. Husni Dalbah, is afraid to open the school to students in case the demolition is ordered.[119]

 

8.4                                            On March 12, 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality issued a demolition order for the Al-Huda school in East Jerusalem, on the basis that a wing that had been added 15 years ago did not have the proper permit.  Despite a court injunction that has temporarily halted the demolition, the school is still at risk, and 130 students could be affected.[120]

 

                   Impact of the Wall

 

8.5                                          In order to access education, many Palestinian children travel long distances, and often must pass through physical barriers such as checkpoints or wall gates.  Such restrictions on freedom of movement negatively impact Palestinian access to education, particularly for girls.  JD is a resident of Al Khaleyleh, an area of Al-jib that has been cut off from the rest of the West Bank by the Wall.  JD describes the impact of the Wall on her family:

 

My daughter Suheir and my son Sufian’s children go to school in Al-Jib.  Every school day they have to go through the checkpoint.  If I could I would send them to the school further away in Beit Iqsa so they wouldn’t have to go through this checkpoint but I can’t afford the money for transportation.  They and I are afraid on a daily basis having to walk around an hour to get to school and pass through the checkpoint.  I have encouraged all my daughters to marry young to try and end the situation so they don’t have to do it anymore.  My daughter Niama married when she was 16 years old.[121]

 

8.6                                           Jamila Diab Masbah, also from Al Khaleyleh, describes the impact of the Wall on her children’s education: 

 

I no longer send my children to school in Al-Jib where they used to go because I don’t like them to pass through the checkpoint.  The soldiers used to joke with the girls and this is not good.  So I transferred Bayan and my son Hamdan from the school in Al-Jib to Beit Iqsa.  She now has to pass through the Ramot checkpoint where there is a co-ordinated arrangement for the school bus to pass through.   It is much further for them to go.  My older daughter Ilham was in Class 9 when I transferred Bayan but instead of transferring schools with just one year to go, she left school early.  Me and her father did not want her to have to go through the checkpoint every day and were afraid for her of the soldiers.  I would not let my daughters go alone through the checkpoint.[122]

 

                   Settler violence

 

8.7                                          Settler violence continues to be a general problem across the West Bank, resulting in a number of violations of human rights, and particularly affects the right to education for many Palestinians.  Incidents of settler violence take many forms, including damage and destruction of property and physical assaults on Palestinians.  Many of these situations are rarely investigated or prosecuted by the Israeli authorities, resulting in a situation of impunity.[123]

 

8.8                                            On two occasions in January 2010, Muhammad Dweikat witnessed settlers breaking into the school adjacent to his home in Balata village, Nablus governorate. The settlers caused significant damage to the school, breaking locks on the doors and destroying objects inside.[124]

 

8.9                                          In 2004, the Israeli Knesset arranged for a military escort to accompany Palestinian children on their daily route to school in the village of at-Tuwani, in the South Hebron Hills, to protect them from attacks by settlers from the nearby settlement of Ma’on and the settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on. Despite the arrangement, the children remain vulnerable due to the fact that the escort often does not show up on time or at all.[125] The children must wait for the Israeli military in an area controlled by the Israeli settlers, a location where settlers have attacked the children several times in the past.

 

8.10            On 30 December 2009, an Israeli settler from the outpost of Havat Ma’on chased and attacked Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al-Abeed while the children were waiting to walk to school. The Israeli army escort was more than 30 minutes late, exposing the children to attack. 15-year-old student Tareq Abu Jundiyye describes the incident:

 

“the younger kids started crying as we were running away because they were afraid the settler would catch them. I mean, we had to run away, if I would have stayed I would have been struck on the head by a rock.[126]

 

8.11            On three occasions since May 2009, Thamina Nafeth El-Haq has been harassed and assaulted by settlers and soldiers while on her way from her home in Qusra village to her university in Salfit.  Most students from Qusra go to university in Nablus, because travelling there is much easier. To reach her university, Thamina must wait for transportation at Za’tara checkpoint, which separates Nablus and Salfit. Israeli settlers and soldiers are often present at the Za’tara junction, as it is close to many settlements in the area. To continue her studies in Salfit, Thamina has no other choice but to travel through the Za’tara junction. She describes two of her experiences below and contends that despite the continued attacks, the situation has not improved:

 

On 26th May 2009, I was badly beaten up by a settler at Za’tara checkpoint.[127]  I made a complaint to the Israeli police and went to the police station in Ariel settlement.  I described the man who did it to them, but they then just showed me pictures of men who looked completely different – all religious looking men.  I was rushed to look through the pictures, they only gave me two minutes to look at each page of eight pictures.  After this nothing happened, there was no further investigation.

On a Monday at the end of December 2009, it was 7 am and I was traveling to Salfit to university as usual…I noticed a Israeli military vehicle – a hummer – about 3 metres from where I had got out of the car. I was walking away along the roundabout, when one of the soldiers called out at me from the hummer.  He called “Talli hun” which is Arabic for “Come here”.  I called back “No, I don’t want to.”  Then the two soldiers got out of the vehicle and came towards me.  One of the soldiers grabbed my bag which I was carrying my books, pencils and pens for university.  He held it upside down and emptied my things onto the ground and threw the bag onto the ground.   I started to cry and was going to pick it up but the soldier called for one of the young Palestinian men standing round and told him to pick the things up from the floor.

Then one of the soldiers took my identification document, my hawiyyeh and tore its green cover.  He shouted at me “If you come here again, I’ll stamp your hawiyyeh to say you can’t come back and I can’t tell you what might happen to you.”  I was still crying but wanted to get away, and took my bag and hurried away to wait for the Salfit taxi. I didn’t make a complaint about the soldiers’ behaviour, there wouldn’t be any point and I was tired of having to deal with the whole process which I had to go through before which ended with nothing.

                   The closure of the Gaza Strip

 

8.12             In the Gaza Strip, the closure imposed by Israel continues to have devastating effects on the right to education. In September 2010, 40,000 children were turned away from UNRWA schools because the agency requires 100 new schools to meet enrolment demands.  Despite Israel’s declared easing of the closure, the building materials UNRWA requires for the construction of the schools have not been allowed into the Gaza Strip.[128] Due to the shortage of classroom space, children in some UNRWA schools attend classes in oversized metal shipping containers and study in two shifts, with up to 50 students per classroom.[129]

 

8.13            The closure imposed by Israel also affects the ability of Palestinians resident there to leave the Gaza Strip to study. Since 2000, Israel has enforced a comprehensive ban that prevents Palestinians from Gaza from studying at universities in the West Bank. In 2007, the Israeli High Court determined that Palestinians from Gaza who wished to attend university in the West Bank would only be permitted to do so only in humanitarian cases.[130]  According to Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization, since this judgment, Israel has not issued a single entry permit to a student from the Gaza Strip to study in the West Bank.[131]  In the summer of 2008, Israel refused to allow 12 students from the Gaza Strip to study at Bethlehem University.[132]

 

8.14              On 29 October 2009, Berlanty Azzam, a 22-year-old student at Bethlehem University was apprehended, handcuffed and blindfolded before she was forcibly transferred to the Gaza Strip. Originally from the Gaza Strip, Berlanty is not considered a security threat by Israel, but was removed from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip two months before the completion of her degree for the stated reason that the address listed on her identity card is in Gaza.[133]  Berlanty was able to complete her degree in Gaza, despite having been denied permission to return to Bethlehem by the Israeli military.[134]

 

8.15                On 7 July 2010, the Israeli High Court denied Fatma Sharif, a 29-year-old lawyer from the Gaza Strip, permission to travel to the West Bank to pursue a master’s degree in democracy and human rights at Birzeit University.  The ruling affirmed the State’s official position that the situation did not constitute a humanitarian case, with the judges stating "We are not convinced that under the present political and security situation, the personal circumstances [of the petitioner] justify intervention in the decision of the respondent [the defense minister]."[135] In his arguments to the Court, the deputy state prosecutor argued that it was dangerous to allow students like Fatma into the West Bank because Israel had to stop the set up of “branches of the Gaza terrorist infrastructure.”[136] As a result of the ruling, Fatma, who works for Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights – an independent NGO that regularly criticises the Hamas government – will be unable to complete the course, as there is no equivalent program available in the Gaza Strip.

 

 

 

 

 



[1]               See, for instance, UNGA Resolution, The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, A/61/442, 29 November 2006; UNGA Resolution, The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, A/C.3/62/L.63, 20 November 2007; UNGA Resolution, The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, A/RES/63/165, 19 February 2009.

[2]               International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory, 9 July 2004, para 154.

[3]               B’Tselem Report, “Jewish Settlements in the West Bank: Built-Up Areas and Land Reserves”, May 2002.

[4]           B’Tselem Report, “By Hook and By Crook: Israeli Settlement Policy in the West Bank”, July 2010.

[5]               Ibid.

[6]               Haim Levinson, “Civil Administration Report: Rate of Population Growth in 66% of Settlements Higher than in Israel,” Haaretz, 2 February 2010 (in Hebrew).

[7]               B’Tselem Report, July 2010.

[8]               The coercive nature of Israel’s actions is implicit in the cumulative effect of the means of encouragement used by state authorities. Article 11 of the ILC Articles on State Responsibility for International Wrongful Acts, states “[c]onduct which is not attributable to a State...shall nevertheless be considered an act of that State under international law if and to the extent that the State acknowledges and adopts the conduct in question as its own.”

[9]               A UN OCHA study has determined that almost 40 percent of the West Bank is now taken up by Israeli settlement infrastructure, in which settlements, linked by a major highway system to Israel, have geographically fragmented Palestinian communities; See, UN OCHA, “The Humanitarian Impact on Palestinians of Israeli Settlements and Other Infrastructure in the West Bank”, July 2007.

[10]             Indirect transfers are not ordered by a government, but result from governmental actions or policies that create social and economic conditions intolerable to such civilians. Such hostile social and economic conditions include fear of threat, harassment and attacks by settlers; See, Amicus Brief by Legal Expert Dr. Yutaka Arai, presented in the HCJ Qabalan case, available at http://www.hamoked.org/Document.aspx?dID=Documents1236.

[11]             UN OCHA, “Unprotected: Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and their property”, December 2008, pp. 2-3, 6, 15; See also, UN OCHA Report, July 2007, pp. 26, 117.

[12]             See, the analysis in Human Sciences Research Council, “Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A re- assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law”, May 2009, Full Report, pp. 120-121; See also, General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 (Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples).

[13]             COHRE and Badil, "Ruling Palestine: A History of the Legally Sanctioned Jewish-Israeli Seizure of Land and Housing in Palestine" (Geneva, COHRE and Badil, 2005), p. 125; See also, John Quigley, “The legal status of Jerusalem under international law”, Turkish Yearbook of International Law, Vol. XXIV, (1994) p. 16.

[14]             Article 1, The Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, 30 July 1980.

[15]             Al-Haq, “Building Walls, Breaking Communities: The Impact of the Annexation Wall on East Jerusalem Palestinians”, October 2005, p. 24.

[16]             UN Security Council, Resolution 478(1980) S/RES/478 of 20 August 1980.

[17]             B’Tselem, “East Jerusalem: Legal status of East Jerusalem and its residents”, available at http://www.btselem.org/English/Jerusalem/Legal_Status.asp.

[18]             Nadav Shragai, “Demography, Geopolitics, and the Future of Israel’s Capital: Jerusalem’s Proposed Master Plan”, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2010, p. 14, available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/27960017/Jerusalem-Master-Plan.

[19]             Ibid.

[20]             Al-Haq Report, The Jerusalem Trap: The Looming Threat Posed by Israel’s Annexationist Policies in Occupied East Jerusalem, October 2010, available at http://www.alhaq.org/pdfs/Report%20-%20The%20Jerusalem%20Trap.pdf.

[21]             Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Israel, 29 July 2010, para. 5.

[22]             International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory, 9 July 2004, paras. 102 – 113.

[23]             See, the report of the international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance, 22 September 2010; ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ (15 September 2009) UN Doc. A/HRC/12/48, 85, para. 276; ‘Report of the Independent Fact-Finding Committee on Gaza: No Safe Place’ (Presented to the League of Arab States 30 April 2009) p. 16, available at http://www.arableagueonline; See also, John Reynolds, Shane Darcy, “‘Otherwise Occupied’: The Status of the Gaza Strip from the Perspective of International Humanitarian Law”, 15 Journal of Conflict and Security Law 2, 2010.

[24]             Whilst Palestinians throughout the OPT are denied freedom of movement through a system of “road apartheid”, settlers are given preferential treatment over Palestinians in respect of movement (major roads are reserved exclusively for settlers) and can enter the closed zone between the Wall and the Green Line (the ‘Seam Zone’) without permits; See, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Professor John Dugard, A/HRC/7/17, 21 January 2008, para. 30.

[25]             See, International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid 1973 (the Apartheid Convention).

[26]             Article 7, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 2002.

[27]             Human Sciences Research Council study, pp. 271-276.

[28]             Ibid., Full Report, pp. 152-276; Executive Summary, pp. 9-15.

[29]             Furthermore, certain provisions in Israeli civil and military law provide that Jews present in the OPT, who are not citizens of Israel also enjoy privileges conferred on Jewish-Israeli citizens in the OPT by virtue of being Jews; Ibid.

[30]             See, for instance, UN OCHA, “Protection of Civilians Report: 1-14 September 2010”: See also, B’Tselem, “Documentation and Reports on Settler Violence”, available at http://www.btselem.org/English/Settler_Violence/.

[31]             Al-Haq: 25 Years Defending Human Rights 1979-2004, Annual Report 2004, p. 149; See also, Yesh Din, “Too Little, Too Late: Supervision by the Office of the State Attorney over the investigation of offenses committed by Israeli civilians against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories”, May 2008, pp. 16-21, available at http://www.yesh-din.org/sys/images/File/TLTLreportEng.pdf.

[32]             Al-Haq Report, “Legitimising the Illegitimate? The Israeli High Court of Justice and the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, (forthcoming) 2010; Al-Haq Press Release, “Sacrificing Justice for Politics: Four Years on, Israel’s High Court Continues to Disregard the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion,” 9 July 2008; David Kretzmer, The Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories (State University of New York Press, 2002); Nizar Ayoub, The Israeli High Court of Justice and the Palestinian Intifada: A stamp of approval for Israeli violations in the Occupied Territories (Al-Haq, Ramallah, 2004).

[33]             Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 18 - The Right to Work (article 6), para. 4.

[34]             Ibid, para. 32.

[35]             Ibid.

[36]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4669/2009.  

[37]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4685/2009.

[38]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4892/2009. 

[39]         Al-Haq Affidavits No. 4898/2009 and No. 4899/2009. 

[40]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4898/2009.

[41]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4924/2009.

[42]             UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “The Impact of the Barrier on Health”, Special Focus, July 2010, p. 5.

[43]         HCJ 639/04, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel vs. IDF Commander of Judea and Samaria, Response from August 2009, as cited in ibid.

[44]             UN OCHA, “The Impact of the Barrier on Health”, Special Focus, July 2010, p. 5. 

[45]             Ibid, p. 6. 

[46]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5102/2009.

[47]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5102/2009.

[48]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4823/2009.

[49]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4870/2009.

[50]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5151/2009.

[51]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4919/2009.

[52]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4974/2009.

[53]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5230/2010.

[54]         Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5050/2009.

[55]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5021/2009.

[56]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 4920/2009.

[57]             English translation of the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) available at http://www.hamoked.org/items/5727_eng.pdf.

[58]             See B’Tselem, “Family unification and child registration in East Jerusalem”, available at http://www.btselem.org/English/Family_Separation/East_Jerusalem.asp.

[59]             Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), para. 2.

[60]             Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), para. 3D.

[61]             WCLAC Affidavit SD0903.

[62]             WCLAC Affidavit OJ1001.

[63]             Hamoked, “Stop Immediately the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip”, (press release), 25 May 2010, available at http://www.hamoked.org/Document.aspx?dID=Updates1027.

[64]               Al Haq Position Paper, “Al-Haq’s Legal Analysis of Israeli Military Orders 1649 and 1650: Deportation and Forcible Transfer as International Crimes”, available at http://www.alhaq.org/pdfs/legal-analysis-of-new-israeli-military%20Orders.pdf.

[65]               WCLAC Affidavit SD1003.

[66]             WCLAC Affidavit SD1004.

[67]             Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 4 - The Right to Adequate Housing (article 11(1)), 13 December 1991, para. 18.

[68]             Ibid, para. 8(b).

[69]             Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, 99th Session, 12-30 July 2010,  CCPR/C/ISR/CO/3, para. 17.

[70]             Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 7 - The Right to Adequate Housing (article 11(1)): Forced Evictions, 05/20/1997, para. 3.

[71]             Demolition Summary Table produced by UN OCHA for the OPT Displacement Working Group, updated December 2009.

[72]               UN OCHA, “Sharp Increase in Demolitions and Displacement in the West Bank”, update July 2010.

[73]             UN OCHA, “The Planning Crisis in East Jerusalem: Understanding the phenomena of “Illegal” construction” in Special Focus, (April 2009), p. 2.

[74]             Ibid.

[75]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5089/2009.

[76]             UN OCHA, “Sheikh Jarrah”, August 2009, p.1, available at http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_shiekh_jarrah_english_2009_08_15.pdf.

[77]             WCLAC Affidavit HRBSD1007.

[78]             B’Tselem, “Jerusalem Municipality plans to demolish 22 houses in Silwan”, 28 June 2010, available at http://www.btselem.org/English/Jerusalem/20100628_JM_Municipality_plans_to_demolish_22_houses_in_Silwan.asp.

[79]             UN OCHA, “The Planning Crisis in East Jerusalem: Understanding the Phenomenon of “illegal” construction’, p. 2.

[80]             UN OCHA, Special Focus, “Restricted Space: The Planning regime applied by Israel in Area C of the West Bank”, December 2009, p.1, p. 6. They include the following issues as reasons for this: lack of detailed plans for Palestinian villages, the Israeli Civil Administration's restrictive interpretation of outdated plans that do exist and difficulties Palestinians face in providing ownership of land.

[81]             WCLAC Affidavit RT1008.

[82]             Bimkom, “The Prohibited Zone: Israeli Planning Policy in the Palestinian Villages in Area C”, June 2008, p. 19.

[83]               WCLAC Affidavit RT1011.

[84]               WCLAC Affidavit HRB1009.

[86]              Statement available at:  http://www.btselem.org/english/testimonies/20091201_nawal_al_athamneh_still_in_a_tent_almost_a_year_after_castlead.asp

 

[87]               Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development, West Bank and Gaza, World Bank, Report No. 47657-GZ, April 2009, p.20.

[88]               Ibid.

[89]             Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5003/2009.

[90]               The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) cluster consists of all emergency WASH actors, it is led globally by UNICEF.

[91]                UN OCHA, Special Focus, ‘Restricting Space: The Planning regime applied by Israel in Area C of the West Bank’, December 2009, p.12

[92]                Amnesty International, 'Demand Dignity: Troubled waters - Palestinians denied fair access to water', October 2009, p 12.

[93]               EWASH Fact Sheet, “Water Resources in the West Bank”, p.3, available at:  http://www.cohre.org/store/attachments/2%20Fact%20Sheet%20- %20Water%20Resources%20in%20the%20West%20Bank.pdf

[94]               Amnesty International, 'Demand Dignity: Troubled waters - Palestinians denied fair access to water', October 2009, p.21

[95]                 World Bank, Sector Note, Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development, April 2009, p.54-55 cited in  UN OCHA, Special Focus, ‘Restricting Space: The Planning regime applied by Israel in Area C of the West Bank’, December 2009, p.12

[96]             EWASH Fact Sheet, “Water Resources in the West Bank”, p.2

[97]               The impact of the blockade on water and sanitation in Gaza:

                http://www.ochaopt.org/cluster/admin/output/files/ocha_opt_wash_cluster_fact_sheet_20090903_english.pdf  and also see Amnesty International, 'Demand Dignity: Troubled waters - Palestinians denied fair access to water', October 2009, p.29

[98]                ICRC, 'Gaza closure: Not another year!', 14 June 2010, available at http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/palestine-update-140610

[99]               http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/hc_aida_statement_gaza_watsan_20090803_english.pdf

[100]              Ibid.

[101]            International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territory, 9 July 2004, para. 141.

[102]              UN OCHA, “The Impact of the Barrier on Health”, Special Focus, July 2010, p. 13.

[103]            Ibid. p. 9.

[104]            Ibid.

[105]            Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5345/2010.

[106]              WCLAC Affidavit CJ1001.

[107]            PCRS statistics cited in UN OCHA, “The Impact of the Barrier on Health”, Special Focus, July 2010, p. 10.

[108]              WCLAC Affidavit RT1011.

[109]            Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5007/2009.

[110]            WCLAC Affidavit HRB1006.

[111]            The International Committee of the Red Cross, “Gaza: ailing health-care system puts lives at risk”, 1 July 2010, available at http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/palestine-interview-250610.

[112]            Ibid.

[113]            Ibid.

[114]         See Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, “The Closure of Gaza and Its Effects on the Right to Health”, Submission to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), July 2009.

[115]           Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, “Position Paper: Who get to Go? In violation of Medical Ethics and the Law: Israel’s Distinction between Gaza Patients in Need of Medical Care”, June 2010.

[116]            Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5229/2010.

[117]            Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5150/2009.

[118]       Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5232/2010.

[119]            Al-Haq Affidavit No. 5495/2010.

[120]            “Court temporarily halts demolition of East Jerusalem school”, Ma’an , 14 March 2009, available at  http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=209215; and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights(PCHR), “PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the OPT”, 1 April 2009, available at http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5796:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183.

[121]       WCLAC Affidavit RT1011.

[122]            WCLAC Affidavit RT1010.

[123]            Yesh Din, “A Semblance of Law: Law Enforcement Upon Israeli Civilians in the West Bank”,  June 2006, p. 6, available at  http://www.yesh-din.org/report/ASemblanceofLaw-Eng.pdf.

[124]            Al-haq Affidavit No. 5303/2010.

[125]       Right to Education Campaign, “Several settler attacks on children in South Hebron Hills in July.” 31 July 2008, available at:  http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/printer560

[126]       Christian Peacemaker Teams, Press Release. “At-Tuwani: Israeli army negligence permits Israeli settler attack on children”,  31 December 2009, available at http://cpt.org/cptnet/2009/12/31/tuwani-release-israeli-army-negligence-permits-israeli-settler-attack-children.

[127]             WCLAC Affidavit RT0903.

[128]            Gisha, “Due to Gaza closure, 40,000 students refused from UNRWA schools” 15 September 2010, available at http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1871&intSiteSN=113.

[129]            Ibid.

[130]       Gisha, “Press Release: At Gisha’s Request: High Court to hold additional hearing – with Berlanty in Attendance”, 26 November 2009, available at

             http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1647&intSiteSN=113

[131]            Ibid.

[132]            Ibid.

[133]       Gisha, “Press Release: At Gisha’s Request: High Court to hold additional hearing – with Berlanty in Attendance”, 26 November 2009, available at

         http://www.gisha.org/index.php?intLanguage=2&intItemId=1647&intSiteSN=113.

[134]            Bethlehem University, “Gaza Student Completes Her Bachelors Degree from Bethlehem University”, 12 January 2010, available at: http://www.bethlehem.edu/archives/2010/2010_003.shtml.

[135]            Amira Hass, “Israel bans Gaza woman from studying human rights in West Bank”, Ha’aretz, 12 July 2010, available at

                http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/israel-bans-gaza-woman-from-studying-human-rights-in-west-bank-1.301372.

[136]            Donald MacIntyre, “The lawyer who hopes Baroness Ashton can free her from Gaza”, The Independent, 17 July 2010, available at

                http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-lawyer-who-hopes-baroness-ashton-can-free-her-from-gaza-2028697.html.