Dorothy Online Newsletter


Everyone has the right to preserve his or her identity, heritage and history. All people have the right to receive proper education at schools they attend; no one deserves to receive censored, politicized propaganda that aims to control the minds of young people in any way. We will not be forced to forget nor will we be forced into ignorance about our own identity.[ Jalal Abukhater, item 2 Israel imposes censored Palestinian textbooks on schools in East Jerusalem ]


Dear All,

As time passes, the situation for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories especially, but also for Bedouin citizens of Israel in Israel , worsen.    Clearly the fault lies with Israel , but not only.  There is no reason that the Security Council and individual countries do not place sanctions on Israel .  They certainly are free and easy with such pressure on other countries. 


Today’s collection focuses mainly on certain of Israel’s immoral and atrocious acts and their results—beginning with the lack of water in Gaza, then to censoring Palestinian textbooks and imposing their use on Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem (as if censorship will alter history!), to Richard Falk’s damning report to the UN, in which he particularly gives attention to Palestinian children and how the occupation impacts on them. 

Following these 3 is a report on a gender issue.  Female soldiers left a religious rite after they were separated from the males—they can fight together but not pray together! 


Last but by no means least is Today in Palestine , whose first section continues in the spirit of the first 3 items—that is to say, revealing Israel ’s immoral and unhappy conduct towards Palestinians. 


Israel’s behavior does not bode well for the future,  to put it mildly



 1.  From Mondoweiss

Struggling for water in Gaza


by Leila al-Najar and Ishraq Othman on October 22, 2011


The Beach camp “Al-shate” is located to the west of Gaza City . Small houses are crowded together with an unbearable smell springing from the wastewater running through the alleys. As volunteers in Youth for the Right of Water and Sanitation project (YRWS) we occasionally visit homes there randomly for our case study on water problems. Residents suffer enormously from serious water problems caused by the Israeli occupation which for years has undertaken exploiting and withdrawing all our pure water resources; groundwater, the Jordan River, the Gaza valley and Lake Tiberius . Thus, all aquifers start to run out and the problem of salty water is increasingly appearing in most houses in Gaza .

We visited the home of Haider Saed Abu-Jazya, a 51 year old carpenter and a father of 14 children whose family has a long miserable history with water. “We have been suffering from water shortage and unfair distribution for 10 years. It’s only available for two days a week beginning at midnight only to run out again in the morning. Along with the problem of polluted insufficient supply another problem has emerged, salty water” said Haider who looks older than his age.

The tone of Haider’s voice tells us he is extremely worried about his family’s life. He is likely to pass on the misery he inherited from his refugee parents to his children. “Can you drink a cup of tea melted with three spoons of salt? Absolutely you cannot” he stresses. He describes how salty and polluted water negatively affects his family. For this, he is obliged to buy a 500-liter gallon supply of water which costs 15 NIS 4 US dollars a day. Sometimes he borrows from a neighbor or friend to pay for it , ‏ other times his friends have no money to offer.

Not only is pure water used for drinking but also for ordinary daily use. Haider has a big family, yet he earns a low income to cover the simplest and most important needs of life like water ‏which must be affordable to all people as a matter of human rights.

“A house without water as quiet as a desert”, he concludes.

Once, he ran out of water for two weeks in a row, so his wife couldn’t do the house chores like cooking, washing and laundering. Thus, they had to throw their dirty clothes away, which were not laundered for days and could not be used again.

How can a human being survive in such conditions?! How can not one be infected by diseases of salty water?

“The low quality of water causes allergies and red pimples arising on my children’s skin” his wife whispers.


“All dwellers of the neighborhood gathered and headed to the municipality to complain about the water problems we all face, there were promises made but never fulfilled” he said.

Haider speaks on behalf of the Palestinian nation, hoping this voice will be heard all over the planet.

To those who read this article, imagine that you cannot get a drop of pure water while your baby is strongly crying because his milk is his only food.

Palestine suffers from severe lack of water and Gaza ’s water in particular is going to run out by 2020. As long as the world commits absolute silence, Gaza will turn into a wasteland. Gaza needs your help, don’t hesitate to help our people.


2.  Independent commentary from Israel & the Palestinian territories

Saturday, October 22 2011|+972blog

Israel imposes censored Palestinian textbooks in East Jerusalem


Israeli authorities are attempting to impose new censored textbooks in Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem . Jalal Abukhater provides a sample of the changes and argues that censorship of Palestinian heritage and history is illegal, ineffective and dangerous. Students and parents are mounting protests.


Censored E. Jerusalem textbook (Photo: Jalal Abukhater)


By Jalal Abukhater

While the mainstream media has been dominated by big stories, others are not getting enough attention. For example, Israel ’ s Jerusalem Education Administration (JEA) recently decided to enforce the use of new, censored textbooks in all private schools in East Jerusalem . The JEA is a joint body of the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli Ministry of Education. At present, public Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem administrated by the JEA are already forced to use Israel-issued censored textbooks, and the JEA is trying to force private schools to use them too, despite the fact that it has no authority over them.

The decision was an initiative of Knesset Member Alex Miller from Yisrael Beiteinu, who is also head of the Knesset’s education committee. Miller stated (Hebrew) that in East Jerusalem “the whole curriculum should and must be Israeli.”

At the start of the 2011-2012 academic year, students and parents protested against the decision to impose the new censored curricula upon their schools. Students and parents have threatened to escalate their protests if the JEA keeps up its pressure and have said they will not attend the schools if the school administrations comply with the JEA decision. This action by the Israeli Education Ministry is completely illegal under international law, which considers East Jerusalem to be occupied territory; as such the move is yet another direct violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, specifically Article 13 of the ICESCR. The move aims to deform Palestinian identity; the changes in the textbooks are dangerous and cannot be ignored.

I have obtained a copy of a report that highlights the modifications made by the JEA to the Palestinian textbooks that have been used since the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993. The report lists most of the changes made to textbooks used from first to tenth grade.

1. The logo of the Palestinian Authority that has been printed on all book covers has been removed and replaced with the logo of Jerusalem Municipality .

2. In the censored textbooks, every mention and picture of a Palestinian flag has been removed, even in the coloring books for six-year olds.

3. Also in the first grade textbooks, a story about a female prisoner returning home, and a poem about the “dawn of freedom” were deleted from the censored versions.

4. All mention of the terms Nakba (meaning “catastrophe,” referring to Palestinian dispersion/exodus in 1948) and Palestinian right of return have been removed, including poems by exiled Palestinian poets expressing their longing for their beautiful homeland. Poems and songs about the beauty of Palestinian landscapes or poems that mention Israeli checkpoints have also been deleted.

5. Earlier history – from hundreds of years ago – is being equally censored. In the fourth-grade textbook, a story about Saladin and the Battle of Hattin was deleted from existence for no apparent reason. Similarly a story about the Siege of Acre during the Napoleonic invasion has been deleted.

6. In fact, all mentions of the city of Acre have been removed including a poem which calls Acre “the bride of the sea” and a story about students visiting the city for the first time. Additionally, all mentions of Jerusalem as “Al Quds” have been removed; a story in the second-grade textbook about a field trip to the Old City of Jerusalem has also been removed.

7. Any mention of Israel as an occupying force or East Jerusalem as an occupied city have been removed. This aims to assert Israeli control over occupied Palestinian lands behind the 1967 armistice lines. Furthermore, Palestinians inside Israel are not referred to as Palestinians anymore, anywhere.

8. Stories, songs, and poems about of the first and second Palestinian uprisings have all been deleted. Here is a sample the report cites from a deleted song that the JEA accuses of inciting to violence, translated: “ Jerusalem is waiting for the dark occupation to wither away and for the bright day of freedom to arrive.” This is the only part of the song cited in the report.

9. In the geography textbooks of eight-grade students, the issue of pollution in the Palestinian environment addresses the waste sewage water dumped by settlements in the West Bank onto Palestinian villages; this whole lesson has been deleted. Also in all geography textbooks, facts about the Palestinian water crisis – such as in the Jordan Valley where roughly 8,000 settlers receive 20 times more water than almost 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank – are entirely deleted, in the newly censored textbooks.

10. In ninth and tenth grade history textbooks, almost the whole book has been deleted. Whole units that address the Palestinian issue from the time of the Balfour declaration (1917) until the Nakba (1948) have been deleted, leaving blank white pages for students to stare at.

Pages of Censored E. Jerusalem textbooks (Photo: Jalal Abukhater)

David Ben-Gurion once said in a conversation with Nahum Goldman: “That is natural: we have taken their country […] Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance.”

We have not forgotten, and we will never be forced to forget.

This issue is dangerous beyond description, and such illegal acts must not be allowed to pass unnoticed. People must act quickly and support the schools that have refused to deal with such misleading textbooks. The JEA has now threatened to cut funding to those schools, which are in need of support.

Everyone has the right to preserve his or her identity, heritage and history. All people have the right to receive proper education at schools they attend; no one deserves to receive censored, politicized propaganda that aims to control the minds of young people in any way. We will not be forced to forget nor will we be forced into ignorance about our own identity.

Jalal Abukhater is a resident of East Jerusalem, and a high school senior attending school in Ramallah. You can follow him on twitter @JalalAK_jojo


UN Report on Human Rights Situation in Occupied Palestine


Richard Falk


UN Report on Human Rights Situation in Occupied Palestine

Saturday, October22, 2011

By Richard Falk

I am making available here my latest report to the UNGA in my role as Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine. Because of translation requirements within the UN the early deadline for submission of the text means that recent developments are omitted, including the issuance of the Palmer Report on the flotilla incident of 31 May 2010, the statehood bid put forward by the PLO/PA in the historic speech of Mahmoud Abbas on 23 September 2011, and the very recent prisoner exchange that freed over 1000 Palestinians and the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, but has left over 5,000 Palestinians in captivity. These issues are dealt with briefly in my oral presentation to the Third Committee of the General Assembly on 20 October 2011, and I will put here an edited version of that text in a few days.


United Nations

General Assembly

Sixty-sixth session

Item 69 (c) of the provisional agenda*

Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives


Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967

Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1.

* A/66/150.

11-49552 (E) 290911


Distr.: General 13 September 2011

Original: English



Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967


The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, gives particular attention to the right of Palestinians to self-determination, the situation of Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel, Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their properties, the especially vulnerable situation of children in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the impact of the blockade by Israel on Gaza.


I. Introduction…………………………………………………………. 3 II. Issuesofnon-implementation…………………………………………….. 3 III. Palestinianself-determination ……………………………………………. 5 IV. Protectionofthecivilianpopulationlivingunderoccupation……………………… 7 V. Detentionandimprisonment……………………………………………… 9 VI. Israelisettlements…………………………………………………….. 10 VII. Palestinian children, human rights and international humanitarian law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 VIII. Recommendations…………………………………………………….. 19






I. Introduction

1. The Special Rapporteur has continued to be unable to obtain cooperation from Israel in the discharge of his obligations under the mandate. He continues to believe that Israel is not fulfilling its duties as a United Nations Member State in this regard. The Special Rapporteur recalls that when he made an attempt to enter Israel on 14 December 2008, in pursuance of his mandate, he was detained in a prison facility near the airport, denied entry and expelled. Because there is no regularized access to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, except by way of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and Israeli-controlled crossings from Jordan , there exist no means to visit these areas of the occupied Palestinian territories in the manner that was possible for his predecessors.

2. The changed circumstances in Egypt have created a prospect of access to Gaza by way of the Rafah Crossing, which Egyptian officials have indicated will be kept open for both the entry and exit of persons. In an encouraging related development, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of Occupied Territories was able to gain entry to Gaza for the first time in its 43 years of existence.

3. On this basis, a mission under the mandate of the Special Rapporteur was planned to take place between 25 April and 3 May 2011. Unfortunately, the Special Rapporteur was forced to cancel the visit to Gaza owing to a determination by the United Nations on the prevailing security situation during the period. He plans to make another attempt to visit Gaza . Despite this inability to visit the occupied Palestinian territories during the trip, the Special Rapporteur proceeded with the mission to Egypt and Jordan , where he met with Government officials, academics, representatives of civil society organizations and United Nations agencies, human rights defenders and journalists familiar with conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories. Although the visit covered the full range of human rights issues raised by the continuing occupation by Israel, the Special Rapporteur’s particular focus was on how prolonged occupation, the blockade of Gaza and long-term refugee status encroach upon the human rights of children. Those concerns will be given special emphasis in the present report. The mission did provide valuable information that informs all sections of the report, although it remains an inadequate substitute for first-hand visits to the occupied Palestinian territories.

II. Issues of non-implementation

4. As usual, there are many more serious human rights concerns associated with the occupation by Israel than can be addressed in this report, which is subject to United Nations guidelines as to a maximum number of words. In order to avoid the impression that earlier concerns no longer persist, the Special Rapporteur stresses that there are continuing violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law arising, inter alia, from the issues discussed below.

5. The recommendations of the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict1 (the Goldstone Report”) have not been implemented, despite


1 A/HRC/12/48.





follow-up reports by the Committee of Independent Experts.2 The reports of the Committee of Independent Experts took particular note of the failure by Israel to conduct investigations of alleged war crimes in a manner that accords with international standards.

6. The findings and recommendations of the Human Rights Council-mandated fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla of 31 May 2010,3 involving naval attacks by Israel in international waters, which resulted in the death of nine peace activists on the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara, have not yet led to appropriate action.4 It is observed that the failure to follow through on initiatives recommended by competent international experts under the auspices of the United Nations contributes to a lack of accountability for serious allegations of war crimes and human rights violations. The failure is particularly unfortunate given its impact on those living for many years under a regime of belligerent occupation, which has systematically deprived them of the normal rights and remedies associated with a law-abiding society. Without committed and capable international protection, those living under prolonged occupation are exposed to excesses and abuses perpetrated by the occupier, as the realities of the occupied Palestinian territories confirm in numerous ways.

7. Concern about non-implementation was underscored by the repudiation by Israel of the near-unanimous advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004 relating to the construction of the separation Wall in the occupied Palestinian territories.5 This authoritative judicial interpretation of the international obligations of Israel, which was endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/15, has been repudiated by Israel without generating any result-oriented international reaction. Although advisory opinions are non-binding in a formal sense, they have important legal effects because they provide an authoritative interpretation of the issues at stake, which is based on legal reasoning by the world’s highest judicial body concerned with international law.6 The advisory opinion is particularly notable in the present instance, since the vote in the Court was 14 to 1— a rare display of consensus among judges drawn from the world ’ s major legal systems and cultural backgrounds. It is worth noting that even the dissenting judge was in substantial agreement with much of the legal reasoning in the advisory opinion, making the conclusions virtually unanimous. While rejecting the authority of international assessments of illegality, the Government of Israel has agreed to comply with Israeli law to the extent applicable to the construction of the Wall. Yet in practice Israel has been slow to comply with relevant Israeli judicial decisions ordering the removal and relocation of segments of the Wall. In some instances these judicial directives have been ignored for several years, imposing acute suffering on Palestinian communities that are isolated or cut off


2 A/HRC/15/50 and A/HRC/16/24. 3 See A/HRC/15/21; see also A/HRC/16/73 and A/HRC/17/47. 4 It is noted that the panel appointed by the Secretary-General to investigate these same events

postponed the release of its report until late-August 2011. 5 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory ,

Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports 2004 (see also A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1). The International Court of Justice concluded in its advisory opinion that the Fourth Geneva Convention was applicable in the Palestinian territories, which before the 1967 conflict lay to the east of the Green Line and which, during that conflict, were occupied by Israel .

6 See Bekkar, “The United Nations General Assembly Requests a World Court Advisory Opinion on Israel ’s Separation Barrier”, Insights, December 2003.



from agricultural land.7 Weekly demonstrations against the Wall have continued, especially in Palestinian villages near Nablus , most prominently in the villages of Ni’lin and Bil’in. As with other issues of violations of international law by Israel, there continues to be a lack of will within the United Nations, and especially among its Member States, to challenge the existence and continuing construction of the Wall , which intrudes so negatively on the lives of many Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem.

8. There are two conjoined issues present : the refusal of Israel to adhere to its obligations under international law in administering the occupied Palestinian territories, and the failure of the United Nations to take effective steps in response to such persistent, flagrant and systematic violations of the basic human rights of the Palestinians living under occupation. Yet such steps would seem to be given increased prominence in the light of the adoption of the responsibility to protect doctrine by the Security Council (resolution 1674 (2006)), and its recent application by way of Security Council resolution 1973 (2011) mandating the protection of civilians in Libya .

9. It is worth recalling the language of mutuality and rights emphasized in the Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917, which underpins the founding of Israel, even now, almost a century after it was issued: “… it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. This explicit acknowledgement of support in the contested declaration for the establishment of what was then called “a national home for the Jewish people” is the foundation of the claim of right relied upon in the establishment of the State of Israel, and its recognition and admission to membership by the United Nations in 1948. Although the Balfour Declaration was a colonialist overriding of the right of self-determination that was later recognized in international law, its insistence on showing respect for the reciprocal rights of the non-Jewish communities affected, particularly the Palestinians, should continue to provide political and moral guidance in the search for a peaceful and just solution to the conflict.

III. Palestinian self-determination

10. As has been stressed in prior reports, of all the human rights at stake due to the prolonged occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory, the most fundamental is the right of self-determination. This right inheres in the Palestinian people, as much as any other people in the world. However, the fulfilment of this right has been denied by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories since 1967. Further, various developments in the course of the occupation have entailed encroachments that diminish the scope of self-determination even further than what was envisioned by the historic Palestinian acceptance of the territorial dimension of a two-State solution to the conflict, by way of the 1988 decision of the Palestine National Council, which accepted the parameters of Security Council resolutions 267 (1969) and 338 (1973). It should be appreciated that such a territorial compromise represented a major


7 In June 2011 Israel began dismantling a section of the barrier near the West Bank village of Bil’in , in compliance with a decision of the High Court of Justice of Israel four years earlier. See Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Protection of Civilians Weekly Report, 8-21 June 2011” , 24 June 2011. Available from





concession by the Palestinian leadership, as it reduced to 22 per cent the approximately 45 per cent of historic Palestine apportioned by the United Nations as belonging to the Palestinians in General Assembly resolution 181 (II). This partition arrangement was rejected in 1947 by leaders of both the resident Palestinian population and the neighbouring Arab Governments at the time, because they deemed it unfair and unacceptable. Palestinian self-determination continues to be widely understood in the international community to be based on the establishment of a viable and contiguous State within the totality of the 1967 borders, subject to agreed small-scale adjustments and equivalent land swaps. This position was reaffirmed by President Obama of the United States of America in May 2011.8 Innumerable efforts, by way of direct negotiations between the parties, to transform this consensus into a solution have failed, contributing to intense disillusionment among the Palestinians and their leadership. It should be further observed that delay in finding a solution has continuously diminished Palestinian prospects for a viable State, especially because of Israeli settlement expansion, the construction of the Wall and the relating network of Israeli settler-only roads.

11. It is against this backdrop that several recent developments bearing on the intergovernmental pursuit of a peaceful and negotiated solution need to be considered, as they relate to the struggle for the protection and attainment of Palestinian rights under international law. A reconciliation or unity agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza , signed at the end of April 2011, pledged the establishment of an interim Government tasked with arranging general elections at some future time throughout the Palestinian territory. This intra-Palestinian agreement has been criticized by the Governments of Israel and the United States as undermining prospects for direct negotiations because of objections to including representation of those belonging to a designated “terrorist organization”. At a meeting of the Middle East Quartet held in Washington, D.C. on 11 July 2011, there was a general call for resumed direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian side, but no agreement could be reached on preconditions for such negotiations.9 On several occasions, President Mahmoud Abbas has restated his position that negotiations would not be resumed without a complete stoppage of Israeli settlement expansion, including within East Jerusalem. It appears that there is no likelihood of this condition being met by the Government of Israel. On the contrary, accelerated expansions of settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have been regularly announced during the past several months;10 and the announcement by President Abbas that the Palestinian Authority intends to approach the General Assembly with the purpose of achieving recognition of Palestinian statehood, based on the 1967 borders, and possibly also seek membership in the United Nations by way of the Security Council. Such a proposed diplomatic initiative is being presented as an alternative to direct negotiations and, for this reason, among


8 Barack Obama, President of the United States, “Remarks by the President on the Middle East and North Africa”, White House press conference, Washington, D.C., 19 May 2011. Available– north-africa.

9 See Office of the Quartet Representative, “Quartet principals meet with Tony Blair in Washington , D.C. , to promote direct negotiations”, 11 July 2011. Available from– negotiations/.

10 See A/66/364.



others, it is being condemned as “unilateral” and vigorously opposed by the Governments of Israel and the United States .

IV. Protection of the civilian population living under occupation

12. It is unfortunately necessary to restate the basic obligations of Israel under international humanitarian law as the occupying Power of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem , and the Gaza Strip. These obligations are mainly set forth in the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention), to which Israel is party. Most pertinent is section III (arts. 47-78), which addresses issues associated with occupied territories. Of greater detail and more recent origin is the protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts (Protocol I), which entered into force in 1978, particularly part IV, which establishes the legal framework applicable to the civilian population. There are 171 States parties to Protocol I. While Israel is not a party to Protocol I, it is bound by the provisions of the Protocol because they have become embedded in international customary law, which does not require the explicit consent of a State to be binding. Other highly relevant international legal instruments pertaining to circumstances in the occupied Palestinian territories are the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with 197 States parties (including Israel ) and the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, with 107 States parties. It is not possible to consider in detail the applicability of these various legal instruments, so only a few salient features will be described.

13. One of the overarching objectives of international humanitarian law, whether in treaty or customary form, is to ensure that the civilian population is not made to suffer unduly from a belligerent occupation — which is assumed to be a temporary condition — and that the occupying Power does not take advantage of the occupation to secure benefits for its Government and society. The legal framework has been negotiated by States, in particular experienced diplomats and military advisers, and balances security considerations against those humanitarian objectives. With those considerations in mind, it can be observed that systematic abuse of civilians as individuals or in their community identity are particularly grave assaults on the international legal regime of occupation, which makes the Israeli settlement project in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, of continuing concern, especially when coupled with ongoing efforts by Israel and the United States to alter the 1967 borders to incorporate Israeli settlement blocs, notwithstanding their almost universally acknowledged illegality.

14. There are many other issues that illustrate the violation of the legal framework by the occupation policy of Israel . Examples include the annexation — and what even Israeli sources refer to as the “Judaization” — of East Jerusalem;11 the purported geographic expansion of the boundaries of the city of Jerusalem;12 the inability of more than 10,000 Palestinian children to be legally registered in East Jerusalem, thereby forcing Palestinian families to choose between staying together, at the risk of


11 See, for example, Nir Hasson, “The Orthodox Jews fighting the Judaization of East Jerusalem”,Haaretz (Tel Aviv), 24 June 2010. Available from– orthodox-jews-fighting-the-judaization-of-east-jerusalem-1.298113.

12 See Security Council resolutions 252 (1968), 446 (1979) and 478 (1980).





losing their Jerusalem residency permits, or accepting an enforced separation from their family members;13 the appropriation of increasingly scarce water resources from aquifers in Gaza for use in Israel and by Israeli settlers; the imposition and enforcement of a blockade on the entire population of Gaza for a period of more than four years, which dramatically curtails basic rights to education, housing and health; the maintenance of a dual system of law and administration in the West Bank, which privileges Israeli settlers and openly discriminates against Palestinians; and the systematic abuse of Palestinians arrested and detained by Israeli security forces, including children of a young age.14

15. As well as the patterns of violations of international humanitarian law highlighted in the preceding paragraph, it is important from a moral perspective to take into account the dimension of time on the underlying psychological and physical health of the occupied people. As noted, belligerent occupation is assumed to be short-lived and conducted so as to leave a light footprint, modelled in modern times by the occupations of Germany and Japan after the Second World War, with the restoration of sovereign rights at the earliest practicable time and, above all, the diligent protection of civilians for as long as the occupation lasts. Here, without providing an explanation for the prolonged nature of the occupation, which has increasingly taken on annexationist dimensions, the duration of more than 44 years is a cause for independent and urgent concern and action. This concern is aggravated by the absence of any near-term foreseeable end to the occupation.

16. Israel has contended that its “disengagement” from Gaza in 2005 ended occupation of the Gaza Strip, and thus Israeli responsibilities there as the occupying Power. Such a contention is generally rejected in international law circles, given continuing Israeli control over Gaza’s border, airspace and territorial waters which, along with the blockade (severely curtailing the Gaza fishing industry), has generated a persistent human rights crisis. Even without threats of cross-border violence from Israel , the ordeal of living under confined, crowded, impoverished and utterly disempowered conditions for a period of many years is incompatible with the fundamental purpose of international law to protect the dignity and well-being of an occupied civilian population. Living under siege has a proven deleterious effect on children and young people.15 Among other privations, students are prevented from exercising their right to education outside the confines and limited opportunities available in the Gaza Strip. As stressed in previous reports, international humanitarian law needs to be re-examined to take into account the particular hardships for the civilian population arising from prolonged occupations, which call for special arrangements to allow civilians to have a decent life based on education, travel, employment and social normalcy. For three generations, to varying degrees the Palestinian people have been denied these components of human dignity. It is time for


13 Information received from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs during mission. See also Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Special Focus: East Jerusalem: Key Humanitarian Concerns, March 2011.

14 See, for example, Defence for Children International — Palestine Section, “In their own words : a report on the situation facing Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military court system”, February 2011. Available from JANUARY2011.pdf.

15 See, for example, United Nations Children’s Fund, “UNICEF oPt monthly update, July-August 2011” . Available from August2011.pdf.



the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and key Member States to meet this challenge.

V. Detention and imprisonment

17. An issue of grave consequence from the perspective of human rights is the failure by Israel to uphold the basic rights — enumerated under international law — of persons it detains in the occupied Palestinian territories, many of whom are subsequently imprisoned in Israel . According to reports dated March 2009, there were 8,171 Palestinians being held in detention. Of these, 1,052 were held at the Ofer military base in the West Bank, south of Ramallah. The remaining 7,119 Palestinian prisoners and detainees are being held in confinement within the territory of Israel at the present time. The numbers of prisoners vary, but although the current total is slightly reduced, there are still thousands of Palestinians being held by Israel under conditions that violate international law. According to the non-governmental organization Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, as at June 2011 Israel was holding 5,554 Palestinian political prisoners, of whom 229 were being held in administrative detention without having been convicted of any crime. Of the prisoners, 211 were children, of whom 39 were not even 16 years old.

18. The Israeli policy of transferring Palestinian prisoners to Israeli territory violates the obligations of Israel as the occupying Power. Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention is unequivocal: “Protected persons accused of offenses shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.” That is not only a technical requirement; it also relates to the hardship experienced by someone imprisoned for a long time. Family members have almost no visitation rights, and those who are formally available are made essentially irrelevant due to the onerous permit and permission system imposed by Israel . Young Palestinian males are almost always denied access to Israel , and thus have almost no opportunity to visit their imp

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