1. This report is presented to the Conference pursuant to the Director-General's previous commitment, as recalled in last year's report and in application of the above-mentioned resolution adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 66th Session in 1980. It also complies with the request made by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 38/79 of 15 December 1983.'
2. In order to prepare this report, the Director-General made similar arrangements to those of past years so as to be sure that the situation of the Arab workers of the occupied territories was examined objectively. A mission composed of the Chief of the Equality of Rights Branch (Mr. C. Rossillion) and the Director of the ILO Regional Office for Arab States (Mr. S. Dajani) visited the Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan to hold consultations with the governmental, employers' and workers' circles of those countries. The Government of Egypt and representatives of Egyptian employers' and workers' organisations were consulted during a subsequent mission to that country carried out by the Chief of the Equality of Rights Branch. Further consultations were held with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation during certain of these missions.
3. The fact-finding mission itself, which the Director-General has sent to Israel and the occupied Arab territories regularly since 1978, took place this year from 23 February to 4 March 1984. As in 1983, it was headed by Mr. Ian Lagergren, Chief of the International Labour Standards Department, accompanied by another official of the Department who had taken part in the earlier missions (Mr. J. P. Arles) and an official from the Equality of Rights Branch (Mr. G. Minet).
4. The mission's mandate is broad, consisting as it does of preparing the report which the Director-General is requested under paragraph 6 of the above-mentioned 1980 resolution to submit to the Conference "on the situation of Arab workers in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories in accordance with the provisions of this resolution". As in the past, the mission considered that the Golan still came within its mandate as an "occupied territory"2 and accordingly informed the Israeli authorities that it wished again to include a visit to the Golan in its programme. The Israeli authorities allowed the mission to visit this territory after formally restating their position on the subject.'
5. During its visit the mission had talks with the Israeli authorities, and specifically with representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Defence and Labour and representatives of the civil administration in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Two main meetings were held at the Ministry of Labour on the follow-up to the recommendations made in the Director-General's previous report, on specific employment and labour issues and, with the participation of representatives of the Bank of Israel, on general economic matters relating to the occupied Arab territories. The economic and social situation was discussed with the representative of the co-ordinator of government operations in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza (Ministry of Defence) and with the heads (or their deputies) of the civil administrations of these territories. The mission also had talks with officials of the General Federation of Labour of Israel, the Histadrut, and the principal employers' organisation of Israel, the Israel Manufacturers' Association. In the occupied territories, besides the above-mentioned meetings with the civil authorities, the mission met Israeli and Arab labour administration officials and visited employment offices, vocational training and rehabilitation centres and local undertakings and co-operatives. Much of the mission's time was devoted to talks with the Palestinian municipal authorities in office or removed from office, officials of the East Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus chambers of commerce and various union leaders of the occupied Arab territories. The fact that many leading West Bank personalities were in Jordan at the time of the mission's visit restricted somewhat the range of contacts it was able to establish. In the Golan, the mission visited the employment office and met the mayor and representatives of the local council of Mas'ada and, subsequently, some of the heads of the Syrian Druse community in Majd-el-Shams. Finally, the mission visited undertakings in Israel where Arab workers from the occupied territories are employed.
6. The Israeli civil and military authorities offered the mission the necessary facilities to carry out its work successfully during its stay in Israel and its visits to the occupied Arab territories. The mission was able to speak in private with anybody it chose whenever it wished to do so. The Arab authorities, employers and workers in the occupied territories showed considerable interest in the mission and indicated their continuing desire to have the ILO examine the employment and labour situation of the population of these territories.
7. The mission has based its report on information collected on the spot in Israel, in the occupied Arab territories and in the Arab countries consulted. It has also used documentation supplied, on the one hand, by the Governments of Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Egypt and, on the other, by the Government of Israel. A number of employers' and workers' organisations and Palestinian bodies also provided it with information. Finally, the mission examined various communications received since the previous report, mainly from the Government of Jordan, the Arab Labour Organisation, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions, the General Federation of Jordan Trade Unions, and trade unions in the occupied Arab territories such as the West Bank General Federation of Trade Unions.
8. When preparing its report, the mission took into account the various recommendations made in previous reports of the Director-General, in particular those contained in the 1979 and 1983 reports. As on previous occasions, it based its considerations on the ILO's constitutional principles, especially those embodied in the Declaration of Philadelphia concerning the aims and purposes of the ILO, and, more specifically, on the detailed standards concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, freedom of association and protection of the right to organise, which the International Labour Office uses as a reference framework for assessing the actual situations from the standpoint of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity and treatment. It is in the light of these standards and principles that the mission endeavoured to evaluate the situation of the workers of the occupied Arab territories. The mission was also guided, as were the previous missions, by the relevant standards of public international law, especially the 1907 Hague Convention and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. This assessment must thus be seen in the context of the state of occupation of these territories.
STATE OF OCCUPATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF SETTLEMENTS
9. The continuing state of occupation naturally casts a very special light on the economic and social problems of these territories which the mission has endeavoured to identify within its terms of reference. Earlier reports by the Director-General have invariably pointed out that, although the problems posed by occupation do not themselves come within the purview of the ILO, the values of equality, freedom and dignity on which the Organisation's standards are based are bound to be affected by the state of occupation and, therefore, that the special circumstances of the workers living under this regime must be borne in mind because of their repercussions on the field of labour.
10. Apart from the state of occupation as such, the specific situation of these workers is determined by the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. As early as 1979, the mission stated that it found it difficult to imagine that the settlement policy of the Israeli authorities could be pursued without conflicting with the objective of development by and for the local population and, therefore, without jeopardising their chances of employment. It therefore recommended that measures be taken vis-a-vis the development problems resulting from the Israeli settlements. In 1980 the resolution adopted by the Conference emphasised the implications of these settlements in connection with the situation of Arab workers. The mission therefore set out to lake stock of developments in this respect from the standpoint of their impact on the labour problems and the general situation of the workers of the occupied Arab territories.
11. Communications that the ILO has received from the Governments of Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic mention the establishment by Israel of a number of settlements during 1983. According to information supplied by the Government of Jordan, 19 new settlements were established in 1983, bringing the total to 200, of which 150 are on the West Bank (including 37 in East Jerusalem) and 14 in Gaza. The number of settlers on the West Bank alone (excluding East Jerusalem) was estimated to be around 39,000 at the end of 1983, an increase of about 11 percent since 1982. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic mentions the existence in the Golan, in 1983, of 40 settlements with a population of 10,000 Israeli settlers. A new development in the settlement policy that is causing particular concern is the fact that more and more are being established or planned in Arab towns such as Hebron and Nablus and in the old part of Jerusalem. Moreover, the various incentives offered by the Government, a number of which have been cited in information received at the ILO from Arab sources, combined with the attraction which a suburban lifestyle has for many Israeli town-dwellers, have already resulted in a considerable change in the West Bank landscape. Consequently, most of the available information on this point refers to the "continuation of the consolidation of the Israeli presence in the occupied territories to the detriment of the civilian population" - to quote the report of the United Nations Special Committee to the 38th Session of the General Assembly.1 There has been no fundamental change in the settlement projects outlined in the previous report (paragraph 11), despite the regular debate in Israel about the advisability of freezing the establishment of settlements in the light of the economic crisis currently facing the country. The cuts that may have been made in the budget have been presented as not signifying any change in the Government's attachment to its stated objectives; indeed, it has recently announced plans for the establishment of a number of new settlements on the West Bank.
12. The Israeli authorities have reiterated the position they have long maintained that the immediate impact of the settlements is altogether marginal and that they therefore have virtually no effect on the labour and employment problems of the Arab population. On the other hand, Arab sources maintain that they have considerable repercussions and a periodical report by the United States Government has once again drawn attention to the very substantial effect which the taking of land for settlements and for military use has had on the lives of Arab residents, many of whom have had to leave farming to become day labourers2 — though this situation is seen by the Israeli authorities as following a natural pattern that is independent of the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories.
13. The reports of the Governments of Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic to the ILO cite a number of instances where land has been confiscated in order to establish or extend settlements or to build or widen roads. They make the point that for many of those affected this land is their only source of income. According to information supplied by the Government of Jordan, 41.7 per cent of all the land on the West Bank had by the end of 1983 been placed under Israeli administration, an increase of about 13 per cent over 1982. These estimates include all the land fenced off, seized or purchased for civilian and military purposes, and the information received from the Government of Jordan refers to a series of specific instances in 1983 of the Israeli authorities taking over land of varying legal status. According to the former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, 40 per cent of the land on the West Bank is liable to be used by Israel — enough to settle 200.000 people — and roughly a third of the Gaza Strip has been reserved for settlements.1
14. The Israeli authorities have again denied the allegations that agricultural land and water resources are being diverted to the settlements. They state that so far 600,000 dunams2 have been allocated, half of it on a long-term planning basis; this is public land and accounts for roughly 12 per cent of the total area of the West Bank. According to Ministry of Justice officials, there are strict controls 10 ensure that no private cultivated land is allocated for the establishment of settlements; only unregistered land that has not been cultivated for the past ten years may be declared state land and no proof of ownership is required if a person can prove that the land is used for cultivation. On the Palestinian side, on the other hand, the procedures employed and the allocations made are being challenged precisely on the grounds that the onus lies on the complainant to produce such proof, that land rights in the territories concerned are very complex and that there are gaps in the 1967 land register. Another complaint is that, by Military Order No. 1060, cases relating to land title were transferred in 1983 from the local Arab courts to a military tribunal. Consequently, as the aforementioned United States Government report points out, a large number of legal disputes have arisen between the administration and the Palestinian owners and farmers,3 which tend to find expression in strained relations with the Israeli settlers. It is in any case worth recalling the conclusion reached by the former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, already mentioned in the 1983 report, that all uncultivated land to which no property right can be invoked is now under the control of the Israeli authorities.
15. With regard to the settlements' economic activities, the mission noted last year that their effect on production and consumption in the areas concerned seemed limited, as they mainly involved the actual construction and establishment of the settlements. This Finding was confirmed this year when the mission was informed that except for construction materials and the temporary employment of local workers, all the technology and facilities needed for setting up a settlement are brought from Israel, without any attempt to find them on the spot which means that there is no benefit whatsoever to the local economy. Economic circles in the occupied territories therefore see the situation as altogether negative from the standpoint of its repercussions on employment and the creation of development opportunities. The fact already noted in the past that the settlements tend to be enclaves now seems well established, as for example the financial assistance they receive from the Government indicates. According to observers,1 the whole process is pan of the industrialisation plan that the Israeli authorities drew up for the territories in 1980. The plan combines two basic features: the location of the Israeli industrial centres in the most densely Arab-populated regions of the West Bank, and the predominance of Israeli labour in the new industrial zones, in a proportion ranging from two to five times that of the Arab labour force. A total of 27,000 people residing in the settlements are expected to be employed by 1986, more than 60 per cent of them inside the West Bank - 87 per cent of the latter in industry, tourism and social services.2 The emphasis would seem above all to be on the creation of advanced technology production units that are unaffected by the constraints of the local employment market. Israel's industrialisation of the occupied territories could, in this way, help to transfer Israeli manpower from the country's services sector to production units in the territories.3 According to observers, however, it would be liable to encourage the proletarisation of the Arab labour force.4 Moreover, if there were to be any confirmation of reports that Israeli planners intend to limit the development of Arab undertakings on the West Bank while aiming at a high rate of employment of Israelis in the settlements, the probable outcome is that the daily commuting of Arab workers of the occupied territories will not be reduced in absolute terms.5 Although these forecasts have not yet been fulfilled, they are nevertheless worth noting here, since their realisation is very closely bound up with the implementation of the officially announced projects under Israel's settlements policy in the occupied Arab territories.
16. As far as agriculture is concerned, there is no doubt that the Israeli settlements and Arab villages are competing for the use of the land and water resources. The total cultivated area of the settlements accounts for 1.6 percent of that of the West Bank; in the Jordan Valley, it is more than 25 per cent of the total. Furthermore, the irrigated area of the settlements is estimated at 42 per cent of the total irrigated area. In the Jordan Valley, the consumption of water for the irrigation of one dunam of land in the Jewish sector is double that of the Arab sector. Moreover, the restrictions imposed since 1967 on the drilling of new Arab wells for irrigation purposes are thought by observers to be harmful to the future development of West Bank agriculture since, given the control of the water resources by the Israeli authorities, new investment in irrigation to increase the cultivable area is unlikely to occur. The restrictions are in fact likely to result in a decline in arable land.1 A number of Arab spokesmen whom the mission talked with further pointed out that, in practice, it was the local population that suffered and the settlements that benefited from the Israeli authorities' insistence on the need for the water resources to be utilised rationally.
MANPOWER AND EMPLOYMENT IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
17. The population of the occupied territories in 1982 may be estimated at 1,310,900 persons, 1,178,900 for the territories of the West Bank and Gaza that are covered by Israeli statistics plus approximately 120,000 in East Jerusalem and between 11,000 and 12,000 in the Golan Heights. This includes Palestinians living in refugee camps in Gaza and on the West Bank who Arab sources claim are scheduled for resettlement by the Israeli authorities in an attempt to abolish their refugee status. The allegation is denied by the Israeli authorities.
18. The active population in 1982 was estimated at 225,200 persons, almost 87 per cent of whom were men. The labour force participation rate is still extremely low, as the active population accounts for only slightly more than one-third of the working-age population and less than 20 per cent of the total. The low overall participation rate is attributable to a number of known factors, including the very low female participation rate (less than 9 percent in 1982 and less than 8 per cent during the period January-September 1983), the fact that the population is young, the school enrolment rates and the emigration of a population category with a naturally high participation rate (men in the 25-44 year age group).
19. The unemployment rate, which fell from 4.1 per cent in 1970 to 1 per cent in 1982, was 1.5 per cent of the active population (3,400 persons) in January-September 1983, the period for which the most recent data are available, a small increase over the corresponding period in 1982 (2.200 persons). The declining rate of growth since the middle of the 1970s continued during the early 1980s. There has been a levelling off of the gross national product on the West Bank, which was roughly the same in 1982 as in 1980, whereas in Gaza it rose on average by 2 per cent a year in 1981 and 1982. The annual rate of increase in per capita expenditure on consumption was around 1 to 2 per cent on the West Bank and 1 per cent in Gaza between 1980 and 1982. Taking the period 1968-82 as a whole, the annual average growth of the gross national product in these two territories was 10 per cent (8 per cent per capita) and that of private consumption 8 per cent (6 per cent per capita). Data supplied this year point to the same substantial gap between the gross domestic product and the gross national product which is one of the features of overall growth in the occupied territories, where a quarter of the gross national product of the West Bank and a third of that of Gaza are created outside the area.
20. A number of factors have fuelled the fears voiced on a number of occasions by several Palestinian representatives the mission spoke to that the level of employment of the labour force of the occupied territories is on the decline. While emphasising that Israeli unemployment figures in fact reflect only the percentage of Arab workers of the occupied territories who have unsuccessfully requested a permit to work in Israel, they point to the rising unemployment among Arab workers employed in Israel, which they say is due to the difficulties facing the Israeli economy. It is not easy to evaluate this phenomenon accurately, particularly since - as was explained to the mission - many jobseekers are disinclined to admit that they are unemployed. The building recession in Israel and its possible impact on the sector's demand for workers from the occupied territories is a further cause for concern. The mission's various consultations also drew attention to the negative repercussions of the new immigration policy pursued by the Gulf States as regards employment and of the restrictions that Jordan recently imposed on the residence of young Palestinians in the country. The decline of the Arab tourism sector, together with the stagnation of local industrialisation, add to the list of problems facing Arab workers of the occupied territories. Particularly alarming, because it concerns a vital aspect of the development of these territories, is the situation of the skilled labour force, as the number of graduates of West Bank institutions has increased while the offers of employment corresponding to their qualifications have remained stationary.
21. However, as has already been suggested, emigration is no longer an easy answer to this lack of openings, and there have been frequent reports of university-trained workers finding themselves obliged to take up unskilled work in Israel. The 200 or more unemployed engineers on the West Bank that the mission was told about certainly pose an unfortunate paradox in an area whose modern production sectors are so undeveloped. The Israeli authorities, on the oilier hand, argue that the increase in the number of workers of the occupied territories employed in Israel during 1983, in spite of the country's economic recession, is a positive sign. However, although unemployment among these workers is still quite low, the level of employment in the occupied territories is virtually unchanged, with the latest estimates showing it as 139,800 persons for the period January-September 1983 against 141,800 for the same period in 1982 and 152,700 in 1970. This is particularly surprising considering that there has been some increase in total employment of Arab workers of the occupied territories, from 220,700 in 1982 to 225,000 in 1983 compared with 173,300 in 1970. In other words, there is no sign of an end to the decline in employment opportunities on the spot that was observed between 1970 and 1981, let alone of the trend being reversed. Finally, the sectoral structure of employment in the occupied territories shows that the share of agricultural employment in the total has continued to fall, from almost 39 per cent in 1970 to only just over a quarter in 1982-83 (26 per cent), that the share of industrial employment is more or less stationary (about 16 per cent in 1982-83) and that the services sector takes the largest share, with nearly 48 per cent or almost half of total employment in the occupied territories in 1983. The mission had already observed this excessive share of the services sector in 1979, in some ways characteristic of the economic stagnation of the occupied territories. Finally, the construction sector increased its share from 8.4 percent in 1970 to roughly 10 per cent in 1982-83.
22. The small share of employment in the industrial sector is a reflection of the persistent lack of development in this area. Jordan's report to the ILO refers to various obstacles that the Israeli authorities have placed in the way of normal production and trade activities in the occupied Arab territories during 1983. According to this information, they have closed down businesses in several places and have ordered production workshops to be torn down, sometimes with no explanation at all and sometimes on a variety of grounds such as the organisation of strikes in the town concerned or the location of a particular establishment. Security arrangements, especially the curfew on the centre of Hebron for over two weeks, have also meant considerable financial loss for Arab businesses. The tax collection campaigns aimed at these establishements and at production enterprises have moreover been described as particularly brutal and damaging, particularly where late payment of taxes has caused many businesses to be closed down. The mission's talks with the representatives of several chambers of commerce have confirmed these reports. They have also shown the depth of the gloom over the economic situation pervading business circles in the occupied territories, who have drawn attention to a number of tell-tale signs such as the increased tax burden on operators, the lack of any banking system capable of encouraging and sustaining the development of the Arab industrial sector in the area, and the cost of transporting goods over the bridges between the West Bank and Jordan, which entails the payment of various taxes. Reference has also been made to the way the Israeli authorities have hindered the implementation of certain specifically West Bank industrial projects.
23. As long ago as 1978, the mission sent by the Director-General came to the conclusion that an active investment and employment policy was needed in the occupied Arab territories corresponding to their specific needs and to those of their inhabitants. A recommendation was accordingly made in 1979 that the municipal authorities responsible for local affairs be encouraged to take development action, in other words that Israel should at least refrain from any interference in the efforts of these authorities to carry out economic and social development projects and, better still, take positive action to facilitate the success of such initiatives. However, it is only too obvious that, because of the limited means at their disposal, the municipalities still seem to find it very difficult to undertake any substantial investment directly. The continuing restrictions on the inflow of foreign capital naturally undermine the execution of development projects for which, as we have seen, there is no appropriate credit institution. And there is now the added requirement that any money transferred from abroad must be deposited with the Development Fund administered by the Israeli civil administration, a measure which would seem already to have had the effect of discouraging such transfers. As to the civil administration's development budget, press reports indicate that it has increased by 250 per cent since 1981 and that Israel will contribute 42 per cent of the area's total budget for 1983-84 a substantial part of which also comes from taxes collected from the local population.1 Yet the authorities recognise that most of the development budget is spent on infrastructure and that it is too small to assist the area's industrial development. According to figures provided by the Israeli authorities, gross domestic fixed capital formation from public sources on the West Bank — roughly 10 percent of total fixed capital formation - was 20 percent up in 1981-82, after a drop of 16 per cent in 1980-81; in Gaza, after a 15 per cent decline in 1980-81, it remained at the same level. The municipal representatives currently in office whom the mission encountered claimed that certain major projects in their municipalities had been blocked. Finally, elected municipal officials in a number of the biggest towns in the occupied territories such as Gaza, Nablus, Ramallah and, since 1983, Hebron have been relieved of their duties and replaced by Israeli officials. This being so, the representatives of the population are inevitably excluded from the decision-making process as regards public expenditure.
24. As to private investment in the occupied Arab territories, data supplied by the Israeli authorities indicate that gross domestic fixed capital formation in '.he private sector of the West Bank dropped on average by 8 per cent in 1981 and 1982, after a similar decline in 1980. This is presumably attributable to the reduction in capital formation in the building sector (8 to 9 per cent in 1981 and 1982 and 6 percent in 1980 and 1981), combined with a fall in capital formation in the machinery and equipment sector - which accounts for about 20 percent of private-sector capital formation - of 6 per cent on average in 1981 and 1982 and 18 per cent in 1980 and 1981. In Gaza, on the contrary, there has been a slight increase in private-sector capital formation of around 2 to 3 per cent since 1980-81. Reference has already been made in the past to the traditional weakness of the industrial sector in the occupied Arab territories, whose share of the gross domestic product was under 9 per cent in 1982 down about three points since 1978. The reasons for this have already been explained in previous reports: in addition to the fact that the industrial sector in the occupied territories suffers from a primitive structure and a long history of low productivity and poor competitiveness, other factors are involved that stem from its dependency on the Israeli economy, the obstacles already mentioned that the Israeli authorities have created to capital investment and the construction of new factories which is restricted through a number of regulations.1 Similarly, the severe restrictions that Jordan has imposed on West Bank exports have inevitably deprived local industry of a natural market where its products would be fairly competitive. From the very beginning, and as is already known, the Israeli authorities have for a number of reasons limited their support for the industrial sector of the occupied territories to a few small loans and export subsidies; yet for several years now even these meagre loans have come to an end. However one looks at the situation, there does not seem to be much hope of any significant change in the continuing stagnation of the industrial sector of the occupied territories, unless it is allowed to function in a more favourable environment, especially from the tax and financial standpoint.
25. An examination of the sectoral structure of the economy of the occupied territories shows how the agricultural sector's share of the domestic product has declined, from almost 34 per cent in 1978 to 27 per cent in 1982. Agricultural employment, which accounted for nearly 39 per cent of the total in 1970, was nevertheless still the main source of employment in 1982, with close to 26 per cent. The reasons for this trend are fairly well known and include the combined effect of attractive salaries in Israel and the Gulf States and the mechanisation of agriculture in the occupied territories. The Israeli authorities point to the progress made since 1967 in the agricultural sector of the occupied territories, as regards both the advance in technology and the parallel increase in production, productivity and the farmers' income, all of which they attribute to the direct and indirect contacts established over the years between the territories and Israel. They particularly emphasise the 40 per cent increase in the value added in agriculture between 1976 and 1982 on the West Bank and the doubling of agricultural production in real terms between 1970 and 1980. As in the past, the authorities claim that the West Bank agricultural sector has not suffered from the reduction in the labour force employed, as can be seen from the fact that the agricultural workers' earnings and the owners' income both increased regularly between 1970 and 1981 - by 6 per cent per year in the first case and 8.5 percent in the second. On the other hand, Arab sources and information obtained from Palestinian circles draw attention to the difficult situation of agriculture in the occupied territories: first, because of the lack of capital and credit institutions, the sector is unable to introduce capital-intensive crop processes: second, agricultural products from the occupied territories do not have free access to the Israeli market whereas there is nothing to prevent Israeli products from flooding the local market. In many cases exportation to external markets, which is subject to various taxes,1 may be impossible for a number of reasons deriving, for example, from Israeli foreign trade objectives that run counter to the interests of production in the occupied territories, or from quite extraneous considerations. The blocking of exports to Egypt of citrus fruit, which is the principal produce of Gaza. and the difficulty of exporting agricultural products from the West Bank to Arab markets are typical of the kind of problems which farmers in the occupied territories encounter in the search for outlets for their produce. In addition, military orders issued in 1983 have restricted the production of certain foodstuffs by Jordan Valley farmers - 1,700 of whom are already said to have suffered from the measure - and have made prior authorisation from the authorities necessary to plant certain crops on the West Bank. These measures, which Israeli sources explain by the need to conserve water resources and avoid overproduction, have naturally been interpreted by those affected as a sign of Israeli protectionism. The recent government decision to include Arab farms in the occupied territories in Israel's fanning master plan follows exactly the same pattern.2 The situation is compounded by the confiscation of land described elsewhere in this report and the problem of water resources which is discussed in connection with the settlement policy. Finally, the activity of co-operatives, which the Israeli authorities see as encouraging, is on the contrary believed to be sluggish, if not dormant, by certain Palestinian sources.
26. According to Ministry of Labour statistics, the wages of workers employed in the occupied Arab territories were 88.6 per cent of those of workers employed in Israel over the period January-September 1983, as against 90.5 per cent for the same period in 1982. The gap of roughly 10 per cent between the wages of these two categories has therefore undergone little change since 1981, whereas it was still 20 per cent in 1979 and 45 per cent in 1970. One must, however, bear in mind certain observations contained in a study published by the Bank of Israel,3 particularly as they relate to the persistence of both a structural gap deriving from the different characteristics — such as age and education - of the labour force employed in the two situations and a large industrial gap reflecting the weakness of that sector in the occupied territories. According to data supplied by the Israeli authorities on nominal wages and consumer prices, the Arab wages in the occupied territories rose in 1983 by 6.6 per cent in real terms on the West Bank and by 3.5 per cent in Gaza. However, Arab sources and some of the people with whom the mission talked emphasised the negative repercussions on Palestinian consumers and on intermediaries of the price increases and the devaluation of the Israeli currency. Several specific examples were given of a drop in purchasing power and of declining standards of living that make it increasingly difficult to purchase even such staples as food. Another complaint is about the impact of the value-added tax on consumer prices. It is generally felt that wage increases are not keeping up with rising prices and that there has actually been a drop in real earnings. It must in any case be borne in mind that consumer prices on the West Bank and in Gaza are tied to the inflation rate in Israel, which in 1983 was around 190 per cent, and that the occupied territories have no system of indexation comparable to that used in Israel.
27. In its earlier reports the mission has consistently made the point that a coherent employment policy is only possible if an effort is made at the same time to provide vocational training that is planned in terms of the specific needs of the local economy so that it can benefit property. The information provided this year by the Israeli authorities on the Ministry of Labour's training programmes in the occupied territories suggests that this is now being given very close attention. By the end of 1983 the 27 vocational training centres that have been in operation since 1968, several of which the mission visited, had provided training for a total of 52,000 people-though the 19 West Bank centres still turn out only slightly more than half the total for an active population 60 per cent higher than that of Gaza. Between 1968 and 1983 there was roughly the same proportion of trainees in industry and in construction (about 20 per cent in each case). Almost a third received training in transport and various other unspecified occupations, and 16 per cent of the total were trained in more specifically feminine activities (dressmaking and hairdressing). Five new courses were introduced in 1983 that seem to be specially geared to local requirements. Instructor training courses were also organised in 1983 to improve present standards and the centres were provided with new equipment. While the mission was in Israel a study was being made of the requirements of undertakings in the occupied territories, with an eye to the syllabus of future courses. In spite of these indications that the authorities are making an effort in the field of vocational training, however, other factors point to the need for the whole structure of the training programmes to be looked at again. In practice, the level of skills of the local labour force continues to serve essentially for semi-skilled employment in the Israeli economy, and the decision to carry out the study referred to above is therefore certainly welcome. In a centre it visited on the West Bank, for example, the mission noted that only 10 per cent of those who had completed their training had managed to find work on the West Bank itself, while the remainder had gone to work in roughly equal proportions in Israel and in the Arab countries. In another centre it saw in Gaza, the proportion of former trainees employed locally was barely 20 per cent. There is therefore an urgent need for manpower resources and requirements to be geared specifically to the development of the occupied Arab territories. Moreover, despite some progress, the rate of increase in the total number of trainees — 8 per cent between 1981 and 1983 - is still fairly low. However, the promotion of the kind of training referred to in the two previous reports, which concentrates on industrial and transport occupations rather than on construction work, together with the effort to provide women with equal opportunities and to continue vocational rehabilitation activities for the handicapped, is a positive feature of Israel's recent approach to vocational training for Palestinian workers.
28. Last year's report emphasised the need for the authorities to encourage the regular and autonomous operation of the various training and teaching institutions in the occupied territories and, in particular, to interpret as narrowly as possible the notions of public order and security. However, the regulations based on the latter were still being strictly applied in 1983. University establishments continue to be closed down, sometimes for long periods as in Bethlehem and Bir Zeit, and on several occasions various measures were again taken - which numerous reports received by the mission described as involving searches, fines, suspension without pay of teachers in schools closed by the authorities, dismissal and arrest of teachers, expulsion of students and exclusion from examinations - that jeopardise the normal completion of the students' education. Reports were also received of the enforcement of Military Order No. 854, which empowers, the authorities to supervise such matters as the appointment of teachers, and of threats to expel teachers not living in the occupied territories who refuse to sign a statement that they do not support certain organisations defined by the law. Generally speaking, the argument that these steps are taken in the interests of security is felt to be groundless by the Palestinian students and teachers concerned, who see them on the contrary as a deliberate attempt to restrict their academic freedom and disrupt the smooth running of the education system. The result of this situation, which is more particularly the domain of UNESCO, is in any case to undermine earlier efforts in the field of education that had led to the creation of a number of higher education establishments on the West Bank.
Trade union rights in the occupied territories
29. The mission sent by the Office has devoted particular attention to the trade union situation in the occupied territories ever since its first visit in 1978. For the ILO the recognition and effective exercise of trade union rights is universally relevant and, as such, applicable to the workers of the occupied territories as it is in Israel. Last year, the mission recommended, in the light of its observations, that the legal prohibition placed on trade unions to carry out political activities should not be interpreted in such a way as to undermine the fundamental principles laid down by ILO standards with regard to the exercise of trade union rights.
30. Since its last report the Office has received a number of communications from Arab trade unions and organisations referring to various violations of freedom of association and trade union rights in the occupied territories. The allegations mainly concern the searching of trade union premises by the military authorities and the confiscation of union files and documents, the closing down of union headquarters, the impossibility of receiving any assistance or documentation from outside sources and the application of the amendment to Jordanian labour legislation which, inter alia, empowers the authorities to supervise the submission of candidatures for election to trade union executive bodies. The complaints also refer to the persistent refusal of the authorities to register many new trade unions; on this point, the authorities have in fact stated that there are 140 active unions in the territories that have not been registered. Other cases brought to the attention of the Office have to do with repressive action against individual union officials and members. These measures, which are taken in pursuance of the emergency legislation promulgated under the British Mandate, consist of arrest, detention and various restrictions on freedom of movement such as sometimes repeated periods of house arrest. According to the United States Department of State's report on human rights which refers to an Amnesty International document on the subject, these restrictions, which involve no formal charges and are ordered by the military authorities with no requirement for judicial approval, often make it difficult for those affected to practise their profession or to pursue their course of study.1
31. The mission was informed by the West Bank General Federation of Trade Unions of the searching of its Nablus headquarters by the military authorities, followed by the confiscation of union records and the interrogation of a number of persons, which the Israeli authorities justify on the grounds of the Federation's involvement in political activities. During the mission's talks with representatives of East Jerusalem trade unions, they reasserted their determination, already mentioned last year, to remain members of the West Bank General Federation of Trade Unions; they, too, mentioned cases of union premises being searched by the authorities.
32. The mission passed on to the Israeli authorities a list of names of 33 union leaders and members who were allegedly arrested in 1983 or early 1984 and three other union leaders under house arrest on the West Bank or in East Jerusalem. A list of names of workers and union officials allegedly arrested or imprisoned in the Golan was likewise communicated to the authorities, who did not feel called upon to take them into consideration in view of the Israeli Government's position vis-a-vis this territory already stated above. The Israeli authorities assured the mission that the relevant information would be sent on in the near future.
33. The number of registered trade unions has not changed since 1982; 28 on the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) and seven in Gaza. As on the occasion of earlier missions, the Israeli authorities recalled that local legislation concerning freedom of association and the right to bargain was still applicable and that workers employed on the West Bank and in Gaza could, by law, be represented by their own trade unions. They repealed their assertion that there was no interference in trade union activities unless these were likely to threaten the security of the region for which they were responsible.
34. In Gaza, which the mission visited, trade union activity appeared to be very limited, judging from the membership of the seven unions affiliated to the Gaza Trade Union Federation: 464 members in all, or 1 per cent of all workers employed in Gaza. The authorities have, admittedly, met some of the requests which the Federation communicated to the mission last year: they have provided it with a plot of land on which to build offices, granted financial facilities for the purpose and authorised the transfer of funds. Obviously, though, what seems vital to the effective exercise of trade union rights in the territory and to the existence of any genuine union protection for the roughly 46,000 workers employed there is the authorisation to accept new members, and this has still not been granted. Two other requests — the possibility of managing their own budget and the freedom to exercise trade union activities — have not yet been met, although discussions have been held on the former.
35. Past reports have consistently stressed the fundamental impact that the state of occupation has on the general context of union activities and that under the circumstances political and trade union considerations inevitably overlap. The mission must, however, once again insist on the corollary to this, which is that the legal prohibition on trade unions to carry out political activities must not be interpreted in such a way as to restrict significantly the organisations' possibilities of trade union action, limit trade union rights or hinder the normal defence by the trade unions of the occupational interests of their members. More generally, it will be recalled that in 1970 the International Labour Conference identified certain civil liberties in one of its resolutions as being essential for the normal exercise of trade union rights: namely, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly, the right to freedom and security of the person and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to a fair trial by an independent and impartial tribunal and the right to protection of the property of trade union organisations. In 1983 the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations made a series of recommendations along the same lines that were referred to in last year's report (paragraph 55). Finally, several persons with whom the mission spoke mentioned the desirability of the ILO providing assistance in workers' and trade union education, an area in which the Office has already offered its services in the past and is fully prepared to respond to any request it receives, as is indicated below.
Labour regulations and medical care
36. The Israeli authorities have communicated to the Office a certain amount of information concerning the enforcement of labour regulations in the occupied territories from which it is apparent, in particular, that virtually all the establishments covered are obliged to take out employment injury insurance and that labour inspectors carried out 6,000 visits in the occupied Arab territories during 1983. In addition to the enforcement of labour regulations, the work of these inspectors includes the provision of assistance to workers in the exercise of their social rights. According to Arab sources, however, the working conditions in Israeli undertakings located in the occupied territories leave much to be desired from the standpoint of their Arab employees. As to the application of the ordinances respecting the minimum age of employment in Gaza and on the West Bank, the Israeli authorities state that the situation is quite encouraging as only eight cases had to be brought against offenders by the labour inspectors in 1983. It would seem that the employment of young Arab workers of the occupied territories in Israel is a matter for rather more concern.
37. As far as medical care is concerned, workers of the occupied territories employed in Israel are able to receive scheduled benefits under collective agreements for themselves and their dependants, and the Israeli authorities state that nearly 200,000 residents of the occupied territories are thus covered through employment in Israel. The special voluntary sickness insurance scheme introduced in the occupied territories in 1978 currently covers 43 per cent of the population of the West Bank and 64 per cent of that of Gaza, according to information supplied by the authorities. Taking into account the residents employed in Israel, this would mean that 68 per cent of the population now have medical coverage. One category of residents - pensioners, the members of whose families are not insured - would, however, seem to be in difficult straits as they have to use part of their usually meagre resources to pay for such coverage, and the mission felt that the possibility should be considered of waiving their contributions. A number of young residents, moreover, apparently do not feel any need to join a voluntary insurance scheme, even though the monthly premiums are low (about $8 per family in Gaza and $12 on the West Bank).
38. According to other sources, 40 per cent of the population of the occupied territories still have no insurance coverage and would therefore be hard put to it to meet the high cost of admission to hospital ($100 a day) which, though more or less the same as in Israel, is beyond the means of a large segment of the population. As to the general situation of health services in the territories, the mission's attention was drawn to certain facts, some positive - such as the extension of the services of the Sheefa Hospital in Gaza which it visited - and others a matter of some concern - such as the fact that about 200 doctors on the West Bank are unemployed and that a hospice for uninsured and destitute Arabs in East Jerusalem is in danger of being closed down. Developments in the health conditions of the population of the occupied territories are kept under careful scrutiny by the World Health Organisation, and reference is made to the report of its Special Committee of Experts on the subject.1
39. The mission's talks in East Jerusalem, especially with the Arab Chamber of Commerce and the Trade Union Workers of Hotel and Restaurant, confirmed the fears it voiced last year. The situation in the tourism sector, which plays a dominant role in Jerusalem's economy because of its many spin-off effects, has shown no sign of improvement over the past year; on the contrary, a tax system that is seen as arbitrary and applied without consideration for those involved adds to the costs of the businesses whose activities, at best, have been barely maintained. The employers' and workers' representatives once again spoke of discrimination against Arab interests, mainly in the form of persistent attempts to direct much of the tourism flow to West Jerusalem, to the detriment of Arab services and hotel facilities. The Office has for example received information about the use of pressure and harassment — cited by the union of Jordanian tourist guides — against the 70 still active Arab tourist guides to make them give up their occupations so that Israeli guides can benefit; it is also alleged that the authorities do not recognise the diplomas issued by the school of tourism of Bethlehem.
40. Unemployment in East Jerusalem is moreover said to be on the increase, largely because of the reduction in construction work throughout the town and its total stoppage in the eastern sector where the authorities no longer issue building permits, in addition to the decline in tourism. It must be remembered, furthermore, that West Bank workers employed in East Jerusalem, of whom there are a great many in the hotel trade, have no unemployment protection.
41. Judging from the mission's talks, the economic situation of the Arab town would seem to be sufficiently depressed as to provide cause for alarm. It is estimated that some 85 per cent of the East Jerusalem population do not have even the minimum needed to live without outside help. The mission was informed of a recent initiative by the union of hotel workers — representing 1,350 members — which has set up a medical health insurance fund that any Arab workers employed in Jerusalem may join on payment of a contribution of 3 Jordanian dinars, an additional dinar being contributed by the hotels for each paid employee. This fund, which already has 600 members, is an attempt to respond to the special circumstances of workers employed in this branch of activity in Jerusalem: whereas normally no contribution for medical care is deducted from the wages of those employed in East Jerusalem, it is automatic for persons working in the western part of the town, in exchange for benefits that are said to be non-existent.
42. The situation the mission encountered in the Golan reflects the persistent problems posed by Israel's unilateral application of its "law, jurisdiction and administration" as far as respect for the cultural and national identity of the workers involved is concerned. It seems to be true. for instance. that, even though they refuse Israeli citizenship, most of the residents have to have Israeli identity cards without which their day-to-day life. including their working life, would inevitably be disrupted; yet Arab sources (mainly Syrian) report that the Israeli authorities continue to adopt all kinds of measures that undermine the population's economic liberties in the area. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic also refers 10 discrimination in favour of Israeli settlers in the agricultural sector and, more generally, to the negative repercussions of the establishment of Israeli settlements on the activities and income of the local populations, as well as on the area's demographic composition - repercussions which the planned intensification of the settlement policy is bound to aggravate. One can cite instances of the confiscation of land for security reasons with little or no compensation, the diverting of water resources and the introduction of high taxes on irrigation, obstacles to grazing rights and stock-breeding in general, the compulsory marketing of agricultural products through Israeli intermediaries at low prices fixed by them, discriminatory taxes and restrictions on freedom of movement towards the West Bank. Some local representatives were also worried about the possibility of preserving their Arab identity - which is particularly threatened in the field of education by the fact that young people cannot study in the Syrian Arab Republic, by the laying off of many teachers and by the contents of syllabuses - and of maintaining family contacts. Others repeated the requests they had voiced during the mission's previous visit, which have still not been met, for bigger schools and for the creation of undertakings, especially so as to promote the employment of women in the villages.
Technical assistance to the population of the occupied Arab territories
43. Two types of measures are examined in this section: the assistance provided through ILO participation in the UNDP's programme of assistance to the Palestinian people, and the assistance provided directly by the ILO.
44. The ILO has been involved from the beginning in the UNDP's programme of assistance to the Palestinian people and participated, during the project formulation stage, in the drawing up of initial projects in the fields of labour and training in the occupied territories namely (i) specific training in industrial management; (ii) the promotion of vocational and technical education, particularly for women; (iii) the development of co-operatives; (iv) the study of social security systems; (v) assistance to trade union organisations.
45. Amongst the projects mentioned above, one is operational, concerning the promotion of vocational and technical education. Its aim is to expand the existing vocalic nal training facilities offered by the centres of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), government services or private institutions to enable them to meet urgent needs. Additional premises have been built and the necessary equipment purchased and delivered. The courses provided with UNDP assistance include two for radio and television repairers on the West Bank and a similar one in the Gaza Strip; there are also a course for repairers of air-conditioning equipment, refrigerators and household appliances and two training courses for women's jobs. Another project, which is reaching the implementation stage, is for specific training to meet urgent needs in the field of industrial management. The ILO International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training in Turin is directly involved in the implementation of this project, which aims at enabling about 20 participants selected from undertakings in the occupied territories to improve their managerial abilities and to acquire the necessary technological know-how, especially with a view to the replacement of production equipment, in order to improve the competitiveness of manufactured projects on the West Bank and in Gaza. Those eligible for this specialised training are owners or managers of undertakings in the region employing at least ten persons in one of the following branches of activity: food, textiles, metal products, non-metallic minerals (tiles, cement blocks) and footwear.
46. The other three above-mentioned projects in the field of labour initially submitted could not be included in the programme because of limited funds; in view of their importance, it would undoubtedly be desirable for them to be implemented in the near future, provided the necessary funding is made available. The first of these is the project of assistance to trade union organisations whose purpose is to award fellowships to Palestinian trade unionists to increase their ability to run trade unions and to exercise the relevant responsibilities (cost estimated at $36,000 in 1979). The assistance provided in this field could also contribute towards promoting equality of treatment in practice for workers employed in Israel, through the more active participation of better-trained workers from the occupied territories in works committees. This project would appear to be in line with the wishes expressed to the mission concerning the organisation of seminars on training for trade unionists in the occupied territories, enabling them to play a fully effective role in defending workers' interests. The second project provided for the appointment of a specialist to carry out a study on the nature and scope of the kind of social security system that could be envisaged and developed in the occupied territories; its cost was estimated at $25,000 in 1979. Finally, the project concerning development of co-operatives on the West Bank and in Gaza envisaged the setting up of training programmes at all levels and assistance in defining teaching methods and in the development and management of consumer, marketing, rural electrification and research co-operatives (cost estimated at $650,000 in 1979).
47. Apart from the participation of the Turin Centre in the implementation of the UNDP projects of assistance to the Palestinian people, the Director-General has offered the services of ILO experts, as mentioned earlier. Consequently, an ILO expert in the vocational training of women was made available to the UNDP to implement a project of assistance to Palestinian women's institutions. This project is designed to expand the vocational training opportunities offered by these institutions and by Palestinian community development centres. Following the expert's first mission to Israel and the occupied territories to formulate the project, the ILO declared its willingness to collaborate with the UNDP in finalising project documents outlining a programme of suitable assistance to Palestinian women in fields within its competence, such as the promotion of long-term vocational training facilities at more advanced levels (technical schools for girls on the West Bank), the promotion of vocational training courses in income-producing skills (at the elementary and intermediate levels), the reinforcement and expansion of the educational activities of the best-organised and most effective women's organisations, and the support of handicraft production activities experiencing difficulties or threatened with disappearance. In addition, the ILO is prepared to consider carefully other possible ways of increasing its technical contribution to the UNDP's programme of assistance to the Palestinian people.
48. As in the previous biennium, the Director-General has granted an additional credit out of the Organisation's regular budget for 1984-85 to finance technical assistance projects for the population of the occupied territories. Isolated assistance activities in this respect have already been implemented in the past, especially by the International Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training which has provided assistance in the form of vocational training fellowships to Palestinians from higher training institutions on the West Bank. Several fellowships offered in 1983 were not taken up but the invitation remains open to make as much use as possible of the opportunities provided by the Turin Centre's programmes; indeed, these are likely to be of interest to a wide range of occupational categories, since they provide training opportunities for officers of trade unions, employers' organisations and co-operatives, or in the technical spheres of special interest to the region (in particular solar energy technology and its applications and the preservation of foodstuff's). Proposals for candidatures for programmes of this type, of which a detailed list is given in the 1982 report (paragraph 66), would gladly be examined within the framework of a suitable procedure.
49. As already mentioned, the mission had the opportunity to hold lengthy discussions with the representatives of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce on the West Bank and the chambers of commerce in East Jerusalem, Hebron and Nablus and to meet several individual employers on the West Bank and in Gaza. Those attending these meetings stressed the difficult situation with which employers' organisations in the occupied territories were faced. In this context, it seems that such organisations could benefit from assistance aimed at consolidating the development of their services, in view of the worrying instability of the economic environment. The ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities is at the disposal of the chambers of commerce and Palestinian employers to examine with them the desirability of providing assistance, which could take the form of fellowships, further training of managerial personnel or the organisation of seminars.
50. Finally, mention should be made here of the services which the Office can provide in assessing needs in the field of vocational training and social security and in drawing up legislation on equality of opportunity and treatment, the last of which is particularly relevant in the context of the employment in Israel of Arab workers from the occupied territories.
THE EMPLOYMENT IN ISRAEL OF ARAB WORKERS FROM THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
51. Last year, the mission noted an upward trend in the volume of employment in Israel of Arab workers from the occupied territories, which has since been confirmed. The proportion of residents of the occupied Arab territories employed in Israel increased in 1983 (January-September) when it reached 38 per cent - or more than 85,000 workers - as compared with nearly 36 per cent in 1982. The proportions in each territory were as follows: 33 per cent of the labour force of the West Bank (47,000 workers) and nearly 46 per cent of that of Gaza (38,000 workers) were employed in Israel in 1983. Estimates for the last four months of 1983 gave the figure of 92,000 workers, an increase which has been attributed to the decline in activities and demand in the Gulf States.1 The volume of employment of workers from the occupied territories in Israel therefore remains high in proportion to their total. Similarly, the number of workers from the occupied territories as a proportion of the total employed in Israel rose slightly in 1983, when it accounted for about 6 per cent of the latter. For their part, Arab and Palestinian sources estimate that about two-thirds of the workers from the Arab territories are employed in one way or another in the service of the Israeli economy, taking into account subcontracting in the occupied territories and employment in Israeli agricultural and industrial units located in these territories.
52. The level of employment in Israel of workers from the occupied Arab territories therefore remained unaffected in 1983 either by the state of the Israeli economy or by a persistent average unemployment rate of more than 5 per cent of the active population. According to the Director of the Employment Service, there is a monthly turnover rate of about 5 per cent amongst workers from the occupied territories, as those leaving their jobs are replaced by other workers from the territories of whom there is a growing supply, in spite of the wish expressed by the authorities that attempts should be made to replace them by Israelis. This situation illustrates the continuing lack of real possibilities of substitution between Israeli workers and Arab workers from the occupied territories as the latter continue to do the jobs rejected by the former.
53. During the first three quarters of 1983, the proportion of residents of the occupied Arab territories employed in the building sector somewhat declined. Nevertheless. in spite of this relative downward trend, the concentration of workers from the occupied territories in Israel remains the highest in this sector, accounting for 50 per cent in 1983 (as compared with 54 per cent in 1970 and 52 per cent in 1982). This is explained by the high demand for unskilled building workers in Israel and also by the fact that this type of work makes it possible to maintain a marginal agricultural activity in the home territories. At the same time it can be noted that, in the sectoral structure of employment, the relative downward trend in employment of these workers in Israeli agriculture (less than 13 per cent in 1983) has been maintained, as has the upward trend in the proportion of these workers employed in industry, as pointed out in the previous report (nearly 19 per cent of workers from the occupied territories were employed in the Israeli industrial sector in 1983).
54. The Israeli authorities recalled once again the principles of the government policy regarding employment in Israel of Arab workers from the occupied territories; the first is to ensure full employment for these workers, who are free to seek employment on the Israeli labour market, which is viewed as supplementing the local market, and the second is to guarantee them equality of treatment with Israeli workers as regards wages, social benefits and working conditions. Since 1968, a network of employment offices has been entrusted with implementing this policy, the main features of which are as follows: compulsory hiring through the above-mentioned offices, compulsory registration of workers and issue of a work permit for a given job, and payment of wages and social benefits through the payments division of the Employment Service. In addition, collective agreements and cost-of-living adjustments are applied to all workers alike. Finally, the policy of the Histadrut (General Federation of Labour of Israel) with respect to the Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel is officially based on the principle of equal rights. The examination of a number of areas covered by the recommendations made by the Director-General since 1979 should now reveal to what extent this principle is applied in practice.
55. The conclusion drawn from last year's evaluation of government policy to combat irregular employment in Israel was that the number and proportion of irregular workers had not changed and that the phenomenon was. to say the least, persistent. This year, the situation still appears to be the same. Admittedly, the Israeli authorities informed the mission once again that they were doing their utmost to encourage regular employment and were committed to regularising situations after the event without prejudice to those concerned. In this context they pointed out that, in 1983, the Government had continued applying various measures to curb irregular employment, especially by stepping up road checks. information campaigns and the regular distribution of brochures in Arabic to inform workers of their rights and advantages if they sought employment through regular channels. A total of 350 persons have been appointed as inspectors in this field, while the penalties ensuing from violations of the law have become stricter and some 240 employers have been brought before the courts. Furthermore, the findings of an inquiry carried out by the authorities in 1983 on the attitudes of workers from the occupied territories show that the latter attach considerable importance to the advisory role played by the employment offices concerning the various aspects of work in Israel and often use the services of the latter.
56. The fact remains that, as the authorities themselves acknowledge, only about 70 per cent of all the workers from the West Bank and Gaza employed in Israel passed through the recruitment channels in 1983 the rest accounting for about 25,000 persons, of whom some 10,000 were must probably independent workers employed in the agricultural and building sectors. The estimates given by the Histadrut are somewhat higher, putting the figure at 25,000 to 35,000 workers in the building sector, the Israeli federation even estimates that as many as half the workers (18,000) are illegally employed. Indeed, the problem seems to have changed very little in nature. The phenomenon of irregular work and the reasons for resorting to "illegal workers" are sufficiently well known. In this respect, the authorities also pointed out once again that much of the blame for irregular employment practices lies with small undertakings, where there is no trade union organisation. However, they acknowledge themselves that the action undertaken, whether preventive or repressive, is far from adequate, either from the point of view of the number of inspectors employed or as regards the size or the penalties against middlemen and employers, which until now have apparently failed to act as a deterrent. Doubts can also be raised as to the efficacy and the precise function of road checks, in the light of some allegations that these are more intended for statistical or security purposes than for specific action against irregular employment. In another context, the mission once again noted the existence of an ambiguous situation, already mentioned in the previous report: a percentage of irregular workers are paid through the payments division of the Employment Service without either the employers or the government services apparently being concerned about providing them with a work permit or renewing it.
57. The Histadrut reiterated its concern at the persistently high level of irregular employment and the poor results of governmental measures in this field. It recalled its conviction that more effective action could be taken if it were made responsible for monitoring the wages and social contributions of workers from the occupied Arab territories, as it considers that it is better equipped than the Government to guarantee that workers are employed in accordance with the law and collective agreements. The mission noted that the authorities were not willing, at least in the present circumstances, to envisage this course of action, which they considered inappropriate; however, discussions were continuing on the matter. Be that as it may, the vital importance of successfully combating the phenomenon of illegal employment in Israel cannot be stressed enough, since it is the major obstacle preventing Arab workers from the occupied territories from benefiting from an effective application of the principle of equality of opportunity and treatment.
58. The phenomenon of irregular employment inevitably raises the problem of the employment of young people, to which previous reports of the Director-General have consistently given special attention. The authorities reminded the mission of the regulation stipulating that work permits may not be granted in Israel to young persons under 17 years of age. However, it is commonly held that the irregular employment of young persons far below this age is widespread, especially in agriculture and small undertakings. Arab sources refer to the employment of children aged 12 years and upwards from the occupied territories and estimate that 20 per cent of irregular workers are minors who enter the labour market without having received a secondary education. Various Arab representatives with whom the mission spoke stressed the harmful consequences, both for the individuals concerned and for the world of labour in general, arising from the employment of young people below the legal age for work. Admittedly, as is the case everywhere in this field, this phenomenon is shaped by family needs and attitudes and, as a result, it is difficult to combat successfully. It is nevertheless vital that suitable and effective steps should be taken to this end in order to obtain tangible results. In this respect, the preventive action carried out by the Israeli authorities - which consists at present of special courses given during the summer to young persons from 13 to 15 years of age, among other things to encourage them not to take up employment in Israel - could be usefully backed up by information measures on a sufficiently large scale and aiming at a wider audience, such as the family. In addition to this and in view of the importance of protecting young people, labour inspection services in this field should be strengthened and heavy penalties imposed to deter persons from infringing the law concerning the employment of minors.
Employment and labour conditions
59. In a previously quoted study published at the end of 1982, the Bank of Israel considered it likely that the first to lose their jobs in the event of a decline in a sector's activity would be temporary and part-time workers, whereas in the case of the other workers the initial response would be to reduce working hours. While visiting undertakings in Israel, the mission found that this hypothesis was borne out; it was informed that almost the only difference between the Israeli workers and workers from the occupied territories was that the latter were not regarded as permanent, in spite of the fact that some of them had achieved substantial seniority in the undertaking. Furthermore, this situation raises doubts that the rule as regards dismissal based on the criterion of seniority ("last in first out"), which is embodied in Israel's collective agreements, is effectively applied to Arab workers from the occupied territories. Another factor endangering the objective and non-discriminatory application of this rule is linked to the level of skill of the manpower employed; during the visits mentioned above, the mission was informed that in cases of staff cuts unskilled workers from the occupied territories were dismissed rather than Israelis in the same category; this discrimination does not, however, apply to skilled or semi-skilled workers. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the undertaking's main criterion in dismissing staff was its own interest, a notion which is questionable from the standpoint of protecting workers against discrimination. For its part, the Israeli Employers' Association has demanded the strict application of the criterion of seniority. Arab and Palestinian sources give examples of dismissals on abusive pretexts, which mainly affect Arab workers from the occupied territories. However, it was also mentioned that in some cases — especially in the building sector - the quality and the somewhat lower cost of these workers resulted in their being given preference over Israeli workers. Whatever the case, it would seem that the principle of non-discriminatory dismissal is more strictly applied to skilled or semi-skilled Arab workers from the occupied territories than to their unskilled colleagues, who suffer more from discriminatory practices.
60. As pointed out by the mission in its previous report, the inadequacy of the statistics makes it difficult to compare the level of remuneration of Arab workers from the occupied territories with that of Israeli workers. In 1982 the Bank of Israel calculated that the relative wage gap had narrowed by 70 per cent during the 1970-80 decade. The Israeli authorities affirm that there is full equality between the wage scale of workers from the occupied territories and that of the Israelis, for jobs of equal merit and skills. However, Arab sources continue to report a wage differential of at least 50 per cent and there are frequent allegations that Arabs from the territories working in Israel suffer from wage inequalities. In trying to understand this situation, various factors should be taken into account: first of all, the fact that workers from the occupied territories are considered as temporary, irrespective of their permanency in actual fact or their effective seniority, results in their receiving a lower wage because they fail to receive the seniority bonus to which they would be entitled if they were Israelis. Furthermore, in some undertakings at least, the practices adopted in this field are questionable. This is the case, for instance, with the practice of considering any worker from the occupied territories to be unskilled during the first six months of his employment, before establishing his initial salary. Another factor which no doubt contributes towards perpetuating the inequality of treatment suffered by these workers is that. although an increasing number of them have obtained qualifications - a fact which the Israel authorities never fail to point out - those concerned often lack the necessary documents or certificates to prove it and recognition of their skills depends on the good will of the employer; consequently, the level of wages and bonuses is strongly affected by comparison with those of the Israeli worker, whose occupational classification is recognised from the outset. Another factor accounting for inequality of wages, mentioned elsewhere in this report, is that some undertakings make cuts in the daily remuneration of workers from the occupied territories to cover the reimbursement of transport costs; this practice is both abusive and unauthorised by collective agreements. Finally, on another level, the unsolved problem of irregular employment cannot fail to act as a brake to any real equality of wages, especially in a sector such as construction, where only half the workers have permits. Furthermore, although the payment offices of the Employment Service arc in a position to ensure that the minimum wage as established by collective agreement is respected, they are much less able to keep checks on the wage rates actually paid; these include the various bonuses stipulated by collective agreements, the supervision of which is more a matter for the Histadrut. The latter recently decided that the branch federations and labour councils should communicate any information concerning the remuneration rates established by collective agreement and any subsequent adjustments to the Employment Service so that the payment offices might be in a position to carry out the necessary checks. For its pan, the Employment Service declared that it was willing to provide the trade union federation with the wage slips of undertakings suspected of not strictly applying the wage scales established by collective agreement. It is therefore apparently considered that by improving co-ordination, the official principle of equality of treatment with respect to wages will be more fully applied in practice. In any case, such a step should contribute towards identifying the causes of inequalities - which have been hinted at in this report — and finding appropriate remedies.
61. In the past, the mission had noted that the special system under which wages and social benefits are paid not directly by the employer but through the employment services tended to delay payment to workers from the occupied Arab territories. This time, it observed that this system, which is a possible source of inequality of treatment, does not seem to satisfy the undertakings, which are against the assumption by a third party of responsibility for something they consider a basic aspect of the employer-employee relationship. This observation raises doubts as to the advantage of this separate system of payment, especially in view of the fact, mentioned earlier in the text, that the checks on wages carried out by the payment offices of the Employment Service have so far been limited to ensuring that the minimum wage as established by collective agreement is respected.
62. One aspect of the employment conditions of the Arab workers in the occupied territories is that more than 80 per cent of them return home at the end of each working day. It is generally acknowledged that travelling time, although usually more than that spent by Israeli workers, is nevertheless within reasonable limits. However, the mission was informed of some disturbing practices - referred to above - consisting of charging travelling expenses to the worker. Indeed, in some cases, especially in the metal trades sector, undertakings take it upon themselves to deduct a sum amounting sometimes to as much as two or three daily working hours from the wages of the workers concerned, to cover the transport costs they have to bear. When this situation was brought to the attention of the Israeli Employers' Association, the latter informed the mission that it entirely disapproved of such a practice, which is contrary to the provisions contained in collective agreements; it maintains that this practice is only justified in rare cases, provided for in the national agreement on the minimum income, when travel expenses are deducted, within specific limits, from the allowance granted to those workers whose wage is lower than the minimum income. Consequently, the Employers' Association declared its intention to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. At this point, it should also be recalled that it was recommended last year that appropriate ways should be sought to take into account the time and expenses involved in travelling, when these are excessively high.
63. As regards the regulations governing work permits, there have been no special developments to follow up the recommendation made last year to continue with the policy of flexibility, which had resulted in the validity of work permits for the industrial sector being extended to six months in 1982; last year, this new system had been extended to other sectors. The authorities merely referred to the flexibility of procedures for renewing work permits. Similarly, no further information was received on permission for workers to stay overnight; although this is freely granted according to the authorities, in its last report the mission had recommended that it should be improved to take into account the needs of the workers as well as those of the employer. Finally, the possibility of adopting legislation and procedures to guarantee and promote equality of opportunity and treatment was once again raised with the authorities; the latter referred to the setting up, announced last year in this context, of workers' assistance bureaux at the regional level and to their intensive efforts to train specialised staff for these bureaux.
64. On the whole, the measures taken in the field of occupational safety and health still seem to be effective, as mentioned in the previous report. The mission was provided with statistics showing that, during the 1982-83 period, the occupational accident rates amongst the Arab workers from the territories were lower than the national average. However, these figures do not take irregular work into account and, in view of the fact that this is prevalent in the building sector and smaller undertakings, where there is often a poor working environment, there are bound to be - as was confirmed by information received by the mission - a number of occupational accidents for which no compensation is paid, except perhaps the hospital bill by an employer who is threatened with legal action by the worker concerned; this is yet another example of how vital it is to reduce irregular work. Moreover, although many undertakings make serious attempts to inform workers from the territories on occupational safety, information from trade union sources reveals that some establishments employing large numbers of these workers still pay inadequate attention to safety and health conditions and fail to warn them in their language of the occupational hazards to which they are exposed; this shows to what extent continuous supervision in this field is important. Finally, the mission was informed that the regulations about to be adopted in accordance with a 1982 amendment to the labour inspection legislation should in future permit safety and health committees to meet during working hours, thus making it possible for the Arab workers from the occupied territories to participate more fully in their activities.
The right to social security
65. There have been no changes in the situation of workers from the occupied Arab territories with respect to social security, in so far as the residence requirement for entitlement to certain benefits under the National Insurance Scheme (old-age and survivors' benefits, invalidity benefits, unemployment benefits and child allowances) still holds; previous reports have advocated that these workers should be entitled to these benefits without such a requirement. Because of the Israeli legislation on social security the workers from the territories employed in Israel are therefore still unable to receive benefits corresponding to the contributions they are under the obligation to pay in conformity with the principle of levelling labour costs, adopted long ago by the Government and the Histadrut. Since there seem to be no plans to amend these regulations and principles, which prevent the entitlement of these workers to the above-mentioned benefits from being acknowledged, the authorities would do well to recall the possibility, raised in the 1979 report, of granting benefits on the sole basis of contributions paid; this could be done by reimbursing the accumulated contributions in the event of the corresponding contingency arising or by making special lump-sum payments based, for example, on the number of years in employment. At the same time, there is still the question of how surplus funds are used; the authorities recalled that they are paid into the budget of the occupied territories without being allocated for any specific purpose. The mission requested information on the use of these funds, which must amount to a large sum, and was promised by the authorities that it would receive a statement of the projects financed under the above-mentioned budget. At this point the mission must reiterate its opinion that it would be appropriate to re-establish the fundamental principle that the contributions should be used for the original and specific purpose for which they were collected, in other words for the payment of social security benefits, and not for welfare, social assistance or any other purposes. It follows from this rule, as the mission has already pointed out, that the workers must be entitled to the benefits which correspond to the contributions paid in respect of their employment in Israel. The mission also received information that Israeli nationals residing in the settlements in the occupied territories belong to the insurance scheme, with corresponding entitlements to all the benefits; objectively speaking, this suggests an anomaly in the situation of residents in the territories, depending upon whether they are Israelis employed in the settlements or Arabs employed in Israel — with the latter being at a disadvantage - since it is inconsistent with the principle of residence established by the Israeli social security legislation for the branches under consideration. Finally, concerning the benefits to which workers from the territories employed in Israel are normally entitled, the mission was informed by official sources that these benefits — sickness and leave allowances, compensation for dismissal, clothing allowance, allowance for a spouse, provident fund insurance, and pensions payable under the Histadrut's supplementary retirement scheme - were only indexed in 1982 and that in themeantime they were paid at a depreciated value. The mission was provided with statistical data concerning the number of the benefits paid between April and November 1983 to workers employed in the agricultural, building, industrial and services sectors, showing that 298 pensions were paid during this period under the Histadrut's supplementary scheme.
The trade union situation
66. The trade union membership of Arab workers from the occupied territories still constitutes a problem. As far as trade union coverage is concerned, these workers are at a disadvantage for reasons of a political nature. The Histadrut, which has informed them of their right to organise in Israel, reiterated its position that it did not encourage their membership. For their pan, the Arab workers from the occupied territories do not seem any more prepared now than in the past to join the Israeli federation or anxious to set up their own trade unions in Israel. However, without actually belonging to the Histadrut, they benefit from its services through the compulsory "union contribution" deducted from their wages (corresponding to about 1 per cent of the monthly wage). In the past, the mission report had concluded that, ultimately, it was for the workers concerned themselves to decide which method they considered most suitable for the effective exercise of their right to establish and join trade union organisations of their own choosing. Two solutions had been envisaged on these lines: on the one hand, the setting up of "quasi trade union" organisations such as groups, associations or other committees for defending workers' rights and, on the other hand, the membership of trade unions operating in the occupied territories. As far as the latter is concerned, the trade union situation in the territories, especially in Gaza (as described earlier), makes it difficult to draw up any positive assessment of the present possibilities for the trade union organisations operating in the territories to defend the interests of the Arab workers employed in Israel. Moreover, it does not appear that any "quasi trade union" organisation of the type mentioned above has been created. The way out of a situation apparently so little amenable to change would seem above all to lie in the development of trade unions in the occupied Arab territories, which would then take care, with all the difficulties this implies, of the interests of residents of the territories employed in Israel; however, this brings us back to the problems of conditions for union development.
67. Concerning the participation of Arab workers from the occupied territories in works committees in Israel - for which they are eligible and in which they may vote - the mission noted last year that the Histadrut's policy was to encourage this participation; it had subsequently recommended that arrangements should be made to ensure that these workers took part in works committees in practice. This year, however, it observed that on the "whole very few of these workers, if any, took part in the works committees, as was the case in the two large undertakings it visited, and that this still represents a disturbing problem. A survey on the attitudes of workers from the territories concerning employment in Israel shows that they feel neglected by the works committees, as well as by the labour councils. This situation seems to have been brought about by the Histadrut itself, the behaviour of some Israeli workers and the attitude of some managements subjected to pressures and faced with the prospect - either real or imaginary - of tensions which they are trying to avoid. These obstacles are therefore much more deep-rooted than the difficulties, previously mentioned by the mission, with which the workers concerned have to cope, such as working hours and daily commuting, making them little inclined to take part in these committees. On this subject, the Israeli trade union federation referred to its recent decision to step up the effective implementation of the right of these workers to elect representatives to the works committees and to be elected themselves. In some undertakings it was suggested as an alternative that a separate committee of the workers from the territories might be elected or that a delegate might be elected from their midst and then appointed as a member of the works committee. If any progress is to be achieved in this field, it is vital that there should be strong union support to encourage workers from the territories to take part in the elections of the works committees and to sit on these committees themselves. An effort on the same lines - as the trade union federation itself acknowledges - must also be taken to ensure that union members with special competence for issues affecting workers from the territories are appointed to and serve on the labour councils; at present there are representatives on only 42 of these councils, which number 73. The Histadrut intends, as is clear from the decision recently endorsed by its executive, to appoint a permanent official within each labour council, entrusted with matters concerning the workers from the occupied territories. In this way, and provided all these measures bear fruit, the equal rights policy declared by the trade union federation, which has established special machinery for supervising the implementation of these rights, might finally carry more weight in practice.
REVIEW OF THE MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS
68. An examination of developments since the last report of the Director-General suggests that, as the state of occupation continues, there is growing cause for concern over the situation of Arab workers in the occupied territories, whether they are employed in Israel or in these territories. The measures suggested below should make it possible to improve their position in the various fields under consideration.
Employment and manpower situation in the occupied Arab territories
(1) Three basic recommendations were made by the Director-General in 1982, and again in 1983, on the implications of the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories. These concerned, respectively: (i) the review of the appeals procedure against decisions to declare land state property; (ii) the involvement of the local population or authorities in the implementation of water utilisation policies: (iii) the fostering of the rights of the local population to equal opportunity and treatment as regards their possibilities to work their land and to increase their production without any discrimination. The mission was unable to note any marked improvements in any of these three spheres; however, the possibility of carrying out a survey on the socio-economic implications was raised. It is also relevant to recall the recommendation contained in the previous report, which advocated that an inquiry should be carried out into the conditions of work in Israeli undertakings established in the occupied territories or subcontracted work performed at home and that information should be supplied on these subjects.
(2) Three other general themes contained in previous recommendations should be recalled at this point, in view of the lack of any visible improvements in the overall situation in the occupied territories from the point of view of (i) the promotion of investment, both public and private, and productive employment, in the light of the needs expressed by the population; (ii) the participation of the population, in one way or another, in decisions concerning development activities under way or in the planning stage and (iii) the possibility for the authorities and institutions which really represent the interests of the local population to have access to the necessary resources for carrying out their projects in the economic and social fields. The dependency of the occupied Arab territories and especially the fact that the state of their economy does not enable them to use fully their human and natural resources adds to the many obstacles continuing to hamper the development of the region; as these obstacles are of a varied nature, the ways to deal with them should also vary according to each specific case, taking the form not only of direct encouragement but also of refraining from intervention.
(3) The activities noted in the field of vocational training, the positive aspects of which have been underlined, should continue to be strengthened; at the same time, an effort should be made to adapt the structure of programmes in the best interests of the development requirements of the occupied Arab territories themselves. Excessive attention to security requirements should not be allowed to jeopardise the normal functioning of the educational system, since it may have a lasting negative effect on the quality of education in the area. As a general rule, all measures should be taken to preserve the cultural identity of workers from the occupied territories.
(4) The impact of the state of occupation, with its inherent concern for public order and security, on the exercise of trade union activities should be reduced to a strict minimum, respecting the guarantees on which freedom of association is based and thus ensuring that Arab workers from the occupied territories enjoy effective trade union coverage in accordance with the basic principles of the ILO in this field.
(5) With respect to working conditions, it should be stressed once again that the supervision of the application of labour regulations, especially the ordinances concerning the minimum age for admission to employment, should be pursued, in order to consolidate the results already achieved.
(6) Concerning the state of medical coverage in the occupied Arab territories, ways should naturally be sought to extend the coverage of the care already dispensed and to improve the quality of services, as well as to work out arrangements by which the most disadvantaged categories of the population, more especially those workers who receive limited pensions upon terminating their period of employment in Israel, may have access to subsidised care.
The situation of Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel
(7) The extent of the phenomenon of irregular employment in Israel of Arab workers from the occupied territories remains disturbing, casting a doubt on the aptness of the measures already adopted to combat it. There should be a reassessment of the efficacy of the preventive and repressive action taken so far and the necessary additional resources should be set aside for this purpose, especially with regard to the illegal employment of young Arab workers from the occupied territories.
(8) As regards improvements in conditions of employment, there has been no follow-up to two of the recommendations made in 1983, which should therefore be reiterated: the need to follow a flexible policy in extending work permits and to take into account, within the system governing permits to reside in Israel, not only the requirements of the employers but also those of the workers. Special attention should also be paid to the need to avoid any direct or indirect discrimination in the dismissal of Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel. Furthermore, suitable investigations should be conducted on the practices of some undertakings, which consist of making cuts in wages to compensate for transport costs.
(9) Measures should also be taken to ensure that the occupational qualifications of Arab workers employed in Israel are duly recognised, implying also equality of opportunity in employment; if these measures are not taken, the achievements noted in vocational training given in the occupied territories will be cancelled out.
(10) As regards entitlement to social security benefits, the significance of the problem of equality of treatment between Israeli workers and Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel should finally be duly recognised, especially in the light of the general objective of non-discrimination to which the Israeli authorities affirm they are committed; at the same lime. the principle of using social security contributions for the original and specific purpose for which they are collected should be applied.
(11) Ways should be sought to improve upon the results already achieved in the field of occupational safety and health and to encourage the participation of Arab workers from the occupied territories in the safety and health committees of the various undertakings.
(12) A far-reaching effort should be undertaken to implement in practice the still theoretical right of workers from the occupied Arab territories to elect representatives to the works committees and to be elected themselves; this participation is even more vital in view of the fact that these workers do not enjoy the full exercise of trade union rights in Israel, which in turn depends to a great extent to the state of the trade union movement in the occupied territories themselves.
(13) The development of assistance activities to workers, especially borne out by the recent setting up of regional bureaux for this purpose, should be continued, especially with a view to examining the desirability of adopting specific legislation and procedures to guarantee and promote equality of opportunity and treatment, which the mission has long been advocating.
(14) Finally, concerning the development of technical co-operation to the benefit of the populations of the territories concerned, the present report shows that some activities have been undertaken and successfully implemented, whereas others have met with delays or been confronted with obstacles of a varied nature, while closer and more active co-operation between the ILO and the UNDP came about. In order to further the necessary implementation of an extended technical assistance programme in this field, the Director-General would like to recommend to the various parties concerned that all measures should be taken with a view to implementing proposals based on the suggestions outlined in this report, as well as to make funding available so that these objectives may be achieved.