Question of Palestine home
25 September 1981
Agenda item 69 (k)
DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION:
Living conditions of the Palestinian people
Report of the Secretary-General
II. REPLIES RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS
German Democratic Republic
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
1. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 35/75 of 5 December 1980 on the living conditions of the Palestinian people, the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) addressed notes verbales to all States drawing their attention to the resolution and requesting information on the action taken or contemplated to be taken by them in response to the provisions of that resolution.
2. A report (A/36/260) indicating the actions which had been taken subsequent to the adoption of the above resolution was also prepared for submission to the General Assembly at its thirty-sixth session through the Economic and Social Council at its second regular session of 1981. In that report, the Secretary-General,
, indicated his intention to prepare an addendum based on the replies which were expected to be received from Governments. The Secretary-General's report was considered and taken note of by the Economic and Social Council at its second regular session of 1981.
3. As at 31 August 1981, the Executive Director had received replies to his notes verbales from the Governments of the Bahamas, Canada, Cuba, the German Democratic Republic, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
4. In this connexion, it should be recalled that, in submitting his report to the General Assembly at its thirty-fifth session (A/35/533 and Corr.1) to which was annexed the report of the Group of Experts on the Social and Economic Impact of the Israeli Occupation on the Living Conditions of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Arab Territories, the Secretary-General indicated that the experts charged with the responsibility of preparing the report on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Arab territories had been unable to visit these territories, as permission for such a visit had not been granted by the Government of Israel. It has still not been possible for those experts to visit the occupied territories since, as has been indicated in the reply of Israel, "it is difficult to foresee a change in the Government of Israel's attitude to Habitat's activities in this matter". Only such a visit could provide an independent basis for any substantive addition to, or modification of, the original report of the group of experts.
II. REPLIES RECEIVED FROM GOVERNMENTS
[19 August 1981]
The Permanent Mission wishes to advise that the Bahamas has no comment on the said resolution at this time.
[22 June 1981]
Continuing Canadian humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people through United Nations auspices is a matter of public records. This assistance is extended through a variety of multilateral and private channels. Of these, the most important direct channel of Canadian Government assistance is by means of cash grants and food aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In the current fiscal year 1981/82, the total value of the Canadian contribution was 7.4 million Canadian dollars, representing an increase of approximately 30 per cent over the previous year's contribution.
[20 July 1981)
1. Cuba supported General Assembly resolution 35/75. Our country has also repeatedly and publicly denounced the policy of Israel in the occupied territories, the increase in its acts of aggression in arrogant defiance of the international community and its systematic rejection of United Nations resolutions. The serious obstacles and difficulties created by the occupying authorities in Palestine obstruct efforts to provide assistance to the Palestinian people. In its capacity is Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, Cuba has on many occasions appealed to all non-aligned countries to strengthen their militant solidarity with the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people and to denounce in the most categorical terms the militaristic actions of the Zionist State and the support given to it by United States imperialism.
2. Cuba has consistently provided the heroic Palestinian people with moral support and fraternal co-operation and has also demonstrated its unwavering support for their legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
3. In the same way, Cuba has been active in the field of human settlements in the United Nations with a view to ensuring the implementation of resolutions on assistance to the Palestinian people and of the projects approved by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in that connexion. At the recently concluded fourth session of the Commission on Human Settlements, held in Manila, Philippines, Cuba, as a member of the Commission, submitted a draft resolution which was co-sponsored by other countries and in which the Executive Director is requested to continue efforts, within the responsibility and competence of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), to implement the General Assembly resolutions concerning assistance to the Palestinian people and in particular to report the results to the Commission at its fifth session. This resolution was adopted by a majority vote.
4. The Government of Cuba is pleased to note your concern on this matter and requests you to emphasize the need for the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the United Nations in this connexion. It also requests that note should be taken of the actions of the Government of Cuba in furtherance of the spirit of resolution 35/75 and that this should be reflected in the report which the Secretary-General is to submit to the General Assembly at its thirty-sixth session on the progress made in the implementation of the said resolution.
GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
[4 August 1981]
1. The German Democratic Republic has always attached great political importance to the support of the struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights. The German Democratic Republic believes that the most important aspect of a solution to the problem of the Palestinian people is to guarantee their inalienable rights, including the right to return to their homeland, the right to self-determination and establishment of an independent Palestinian State. The implementation of this basic demand is, in the opinion of the German Democratic Republic, a prerequisite for improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people. This implies the immediate implementation of the demand for a complete and unconditional withdrawal by Israel from all Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 as laid down in the relevant decisions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.
2. The German Democratic Republic has always actively supported all international initiatives and United nations activities which are conducive to a fundamental solution of the Middle East problem and which include measures aimed at mitigating the living conditions of the Palestinian population suffering under Israeli occupation.
3. The German Democratic Republic again manifested this attitude when it became co-sponsor of resolution 35/75, in which the General Assembly condemned, in particular, Israel's policy which was causing a further deterioration of the Palestinian people's living conditions in the occupied territories and expressed regret at the refusal of the Israeli Government to grant access to the occupied territories to the Group of Experts on the Social and Economic Impact of the Israeli Occupation on the Living Conditions of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Arab Territories.
4. Before the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements, the German Democratic Republic has repeatedly emphasized the urgent necessity to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the territories occupied by Israel. The draft resolution on the support of the Palestinian people submitted to that Commission at its fourth session was approved by the German Democratic Republic without reservation.
5. As regards the contribution of the German Democratic Republic towards mitigating the tragic living conditions of the Palestinian people, our country has intensified its solidarity and assistance to render effective aid in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. the entire population of our country takes part in these activities. Moreover, the German Democratic Republic's position to take account of the political realities were manifested when it became one of the first States to recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. The logical consequence of that position was the conclusion of an agreement on the establishment of a Permanent Mission of the PLO in Berlin, the capital of the German Democratic Republic. The close political relations with this Mission are being conducted on the basis of
State-to-State relations. The German Democratic Republic has placed the relations with the PLO on a contractual basis in terms of international law as the German Democratic Republic Government concluded with the PLO Executive Committee an Agreement on Co-operation in the Fields of Culture, Science, Education and Health.
6. The German Democratic Republic will continue to support, with all its strength, any necessary measures and activities within and outside the United Nations system which are likely to help find a just solution to the problem of the Palestinian people which would be acceptable to all sides.
[25 March 1981]
1. The politically motivated nature of the United Nations resolutions pertaining to the "living conditions of the Palestinian people", upon which the Secretary-General's report (A/35/533 and Corr.1) is predicated, as well as their negative approach towards Israel make it impossible for the Government of Israel to associate itself with the ventures undertaken, in accordance with these resolutions, by Habitat.
2. The resolutions presuppose consultations and co-operation with the PLO, which aims at the destruction of the State of Israel, and which Israel neither recognizes nor accepts in any form. Due to their bias against Israel, the concern in those resolutions for the betterment of the living conditions of the inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is largely overshadowed and many useful developmental activities in these territories are ignored. Against this background it is difficult to foresee a change in the Government of Israel's attitude to Habitat's activities in this matter.
3. These political difficulties notwithstanding, the Government of Israel is doing its best to co-operate with those United Nations bodies whose aim is to assist in the improvement of the living conditions of the inhabitants of the territories under its control. Thus, we closely co-operate with the Administrator of UNDP in carrying out development projects for their benefit. Some of these projects, submitted by UNDP and duly approved, are already in the process of being implemented.
4. A constructive pattern of relations has developed since 1967 between the Israel authorities and UNRWA, and fruitful co-operation exists in all fields of activities of UNRWA such as education and vocational training, health and relief services.
5. Israel has, in recent years, co-operated with some of the specialized agencies in the field of technical assistance in the Administered Territories. The World Health Organization (WHO), for instance, has sent experts in various medical domains; the International Labour Organisation assists in vocational training.
6. Despite the complexity of the situation in the territories substantial progress has been attained in many areas. A survey follows and should be considered an integral part of this communication.
Living conditions of the inhabitants of the areas administered by Israel - a survey of progress 1967-1980
Economic prosperity and social stability
1. Social and economic change is a slow-moving process. Yet, in the relatively short span of just over a single decade,
(a) Gross national product has increased at an average annual rate of about 13 per cent, in real terms;
income, which is indicative of changes in the standard of living, has increased at an annual average of 11 per cent, in real terms;
(c) Private consumption has increased at an average annual rate of 9 per cent, in real terms.
2. The rise of private consumption standards is specifically apparent in the growth of households possessing durable goods. There has been a considerable rise in the number of electrical or gas stoves (from 8.3 per cent in 1974 to 17 per cent in 1979), gas or electrical ranges for cooking (from 5 per cent in 1967 to 73 per cent in 1979), electrical refrigerators (from 5 per cent in 1967 to 42 per cent in 1979), washing machines (from 5 per cent in 1967 to 20 per cent in 1979), television sets (from 2 per cent in 1967 to 47 per cent in 1979), etc.
3. The rise in the standard of living is also apparent in the growth of the number of various types of vehicles (from 7,500 in 1968 to 33,000 in 1979). The same is applicable to the private building range which has escalated in Judea and Samaria from 32,000 sq. metres in 1968 to 700,400 sq. metres in 1979, and from 3,300 sq. metres in 1968 to 289,000 sq. metres in 1979 in the Gaza district and Northern Sinai.
4. Another evident aspect of the growing standard of living is the rise in the number of telephone sets: from 6,300 connected customers in 1967 up to approximately 19,000 at the end of March 1980. Furthermore, the actual potential reaches approximately 26,000.
Employment and labour matters
5. Unemployment has been virtually eliminated - decreasing from 13 per cent in 1968 to almost zero at the present time. Since 1968 about one third of the GNP of the areas has resulted from such employment. In 1968, 127,000 inhabitants were employed while in 1979 the figure reached 212,000. The number of those employed in Israel has grown from 5,000 in 1968 to 73,000 in 1979.
6. Extensive vocational training programmes did not exist under the Jordanian and Egyptian occupation.
7. In these centres workers are trained in various skills including carpentry, draftsmanship, accountancy, metal-working and construction trades. Women are also offered a wide range of programmes, including sewing and embroidery, dressmaking and cosmetic training. All students are paid while studying. All graduates receive certificates as skilled workers, which entitle them to wages and work conditions commensurate with their qualifications. Graduates are also assisted in finding work.
8. In 1979-1980 activities in all areas of vocational training continued and more than 3,500 individuals have graduated from vocational training courses and thus the total number of graduates (male and female) during the past 13 years has been more than 37,500.
Formation of trade unions and their functioning
9. There are currently some 25 unions in Judea and Samaria alone, of which 12 have been registered since June 1967 or are currently in course of registration. Nearly all of them have had Executive Board elections within the past three years.
10. In the Gaza district, there is a registered trade union - the Federation of Workers of Gaza.
Conditions of Arab workers in the administered areas
11. The standard of living of the Arabs in the Administered Areas has risen steadily. The U.S. State Department Human Rights Country Report on Israel of January 1979 stated,
, that "unemployment has nearly disappeared and real per capita income has more than doubled under the Israeli occupation" and that "the gap between income levels in Israel and the territories has narrowed steadily since 1967".
12. The following are some of the social benefits available to Administered Areas residents who work in Israel in an organized fashion and who have submitted the required payments to the Payments Unit:
(a) Severance pay;
(b) Work accident insurance;
(c) Official action taken with regard to holdovers of pay;
(d) Annual vacation pay;
(e) Sick pay;
(f) Child allowance payment;
(g) Clothing allowance payments;
(h) Additional allowance for spouse;
(i) Seniority increment;
(j) Annual holiday pay;
(k) Religious holiday pay;
(l) Health services in Israel;
(m) Health insurance in local health facilities.
13. The minimum age for employment has been raised to 14 years from the age limits previously permitted.
14. Until the Six-Day War, the economy of these areas was characterized by slow development. The main sector of the economy was agriculture, whose backwardness was characterized by:
(a) Disjointed interrelationship with other sectors;
(b) Low labour productivity;
(c) Inefficient utilization of land and water;
(d) Limited use of production intermediates;
(e) High dependence on natural climatic factors - especially in Judea and Samaria.
15. Between the years 1967 and 1980, these areas absorbed new agricultural technology and as a result output increased significantly, production per unit of land and water was doubled, the use of production intermediates expanded and improved and labour productivity in agriculture grew at an average annual rate of 17.5 per cent in Judea and Samaria and 13.2 per cent in Gaza district.
16. This process brought about a relative decrease in the number of those employed in agriculture out of total employment in the regions over the period 1968-1979. Concomitantly, exports from these regions to Israel grew over the period from about 47 million Israeli pounds in 1968 to 4,368 million. In 1979 the income of self-employed farmers grew at an average annual rate of some 20 per cent in Judea and Samaria and 15 per cent in the Gaza district with similar income growth rates for agricultural employees.
17. The improvement in income derived from agriculture as a proportion of the growth of
income of the population in the area was expressed in increased food consumption and expenditure on durable goods, in addition to improvements in services such as education and health, etc.
18. With regard to the improvements in the agricultural sector and the rapid advances which characterized the sector on the eve of the Six-Day War - a number of key factors can be mentioned. The first was the structural change in the over-all economy of the regions which was in turn influenced by the increased demand for agricultural products.
19. The second was the possibility of alternative employment, and the third, the increased utilization in higher quality production inputs in the agricultural sector. The close contact with the Israeli economy which emerged after the 1967 war contributed to the increased alternative employment opportunities open to the agricultural labour force, on the one hand, and became the major source of production inputs to the agricultural sector, on the other hand. The strengthening of the economic ties between the Israeli economy and that of the Administered Areas, however, while contributing to rapid agricultural development, still maintained the pattern of disequilibrium characterizing the interrelationship between agriculture and other sectors in the regions, since agriculture now became more closely linked with the Israeli economy, rather than with that of the regions themselves.
20. Over the period surveyed, agriculture was the principal economic branch. By its expansion, it assisted in regional economic development - as reflected in agriculture's contribution to growth in over-all gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per employed person.
21. The interregional aspects of agriculture's contribution to development is expressed in the increase of exports, over the period under consideration, of agricultural production - as reflected both in the marketing of produce to Israel (based on comparative advantage) and the increased flow of agricultural produce between the two regions themselves. This expansion of marketing produce to new destinations had a neutralizing influence on the "polarization effect" (which usually accompanies and is characteristic of economic linkage between neighbouring economies differing in their levels of development). The reason for this process emanated from the fact that the agricultural sector acted as a base having a comparative advantage - for capital absorption, knowledge, and technology from Israel, which in turn, contributed to its accelerated development.
22. The development pattern of agriculture is characterized, on the one hand, by a lack of local investment in infrastructure, capital utilization, and paucity of local initiative, little differences in social patterns, and, on the other hand, by its widening interrelationship with the Israeli economy. The latter phenomenon provides the main explanation for the accelerated growth of the agricultural sector in these regions over the period surveyed.
23. In gauging the process of agricultural transformation presented in this work, we have utilized quantitative indicators and measures of agricultural development and transformation which have also been applied in other developing areas and countries.
The water resources and their use
24. The main sources of water in Judea-Samaria are wells and springs.
25. Similar to Israeli law, Jordanian law (which is still in force in Judea-Samaria) requires an official permit to be obtained prior to the digging or boring of a new well. At present, the competent authority of the Israeli administration for this matter is a water staff officer, who examines applications for permits with the assistance of an advisory committee.
26. In the 10 years of Israeli administration between 1967 and 1979, a total of 80 applications for permits to prospect for water were received from Arab inhabitants. Thirty of these were approved, but not a single new well was sunk by the applicants. The reason for this failure is the high cost involved, amounting to about a quarter of a million dollars for each bore. Some wells, however, were sunk by municipalities or local councils and by the water staff officer.
27. At present, some 300 Arab wells and 17 Jewish-owned wells are operating. The Jewish- owned wells (sunk since 1967) have in no case caused a reduction of the water supply available to the Arab population. On the contrary, very often Arab farmers have benefited from the sinking of the Jewish-owned wells.
28. The majority of the Jewish-owned wells serving the Jewish villages have been sunk into water-bearing strata which had never been tapped before 1967, and, with the aid of modern equipment, have been drilled to a depth never before reached by Arab prospectors. In addition, new wells have been sunk for drinking water for the exclusive benefit of the Arab population. Thus, in no case has the sinking of a well for the Jewish villages been allowed adversely to affect the water supply available to the Arab inhabitants. Where any sunk for the use of the Jewish population caused the yield of an existing source of water of Arab villagers to diminish, care has been taken to make good the deficiency from the new source at the same cost as would have been incurred by the Arab users in producing the
quantity in question from their own source.
29. The rights of the existing population to the use of water springs have not been infringed upon since 1967. Only in the case of a few absentee owners were those rights vested in the Custodian of Abandoned Private Property, who disposed of them partly to Arab farmers and partly to Jewish settlers.
30. During the 13 years of Israeli administration the water consumption habits of the population have undergone profound changes. This has been a result of the rise in living standards, the increase of population, and the general development in agriculture, industry and building. These changes have made it necessary to make readjustments and to take more vigorous action to ensure adequate water supplies to all. Despite the virtually unchanged consumption in agriculture, the cultivated area under irrigation was expanded by 150 per cent and the yield was increased twelvefold; income from agriculture rose from $32.5 million (1967/78) to $90 million (1978/79). This was the result of modern methods of cultivation and economical watering systems introduced from Israel.
31. A comparison of the standard of the water supply and services today with that which prevailed under Jordanian rule reveals that Israel has, since 1967, brought about a vast improvement in this field, visible in the large increase of the quantities of water supplied to the Arab population and in many other features listed below:
Water supplies for domestic use
32. Throughout the period of Jordanian rule, no basic development was undertaken to ensure a regular water supply for domestic use. Most of the inhabitants drew water for their homes from nearby springs or from rainwater cisterns; piped water was available only in some of the larger towns, and its supply was intermittent or rationed; the quality of the water was low, and no chlorination was applied according to standards set for drinking water. In 1967 domestic water consumption was 5.4 million cubic metres. In 12 years since, it rose to 14.6 million cubic metres.
33. Up to 1967 there were two public waterworks in the whole region, supplying together about 50 cubic metres per hour, or about a quarter of a million cubic metres per year. Since then, the two existing waterworks have been enlarged and eight new regional establishments added.
34. In 1967 there were 10 small storage pools in the villages served by the government waterworks, with a total capacity of about 1,000 cubic metres. Today, 10 additional pools have been constructed with a total capacity of 9,850 cubic metres - an increase of nearly 900 per cent in storage capacity.
35. In 1967 there was a total of 45 kilometres (28 miles) of water mains, laid by the Jordanian Government. Since then, 200 kilometres (125 miles) of mains have been added representing an increase of 350 per cent.
Linkage to supply system
36. Under Jordanian rule, the supply system extended to 12 villages only - to public distribution points in each, with no extension to individual houses. Since 1967, supply networks have been laid in 43 villages, and running water is thus supplied from the main system to consumers' homes.
Installation of water meters
37. Up to 1967, no water meters were used at wells nor was any other control exercised over quantities of water drawn, every well operator drawing as much water as he pleased. Since 1967, some 290 meters have been installed at wells to register the quantities of water drawn, and in 1976 a water quota was fixed and enforced for each well, in accordance with a Jordanian law for the control of natural sources promulgated by the Jordanian parliament in 1966.
Water balance between Israel and Judea-Samaria
38. Since 1967, there have been reciprocal transfers of water between the
Administered Territories and Israel within the Green Line, according to geographic
and economic considerations. The balance of these water transactions in 1978-1979, for example, was adverse for Israel. Thus, 1,069,000 cubic metres was pumped from the territories to Israel, while 2,098,000 cubic metres was pumped from Israel (within the Green Line) to the Territories. In 1979-1980, a quantity of 2,734,000 cubic metres was pumped from Israel, as against 546,000 cubic metres pumped to Israel, making an adverse balance for Israel of 2,188,000 cubic metres.
39. The water potential of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is almost fully exploited. the continually rising need for water for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses will, in the future, present grave problems concerning the continued development of the whole area. Hope for a substantial change in this situation lies in the projected construction by the Government of Jordan of the Makaren Dam, which is to store the waters of the Yarmuk River, with its estimated flow of approximately 500 million cubic metres per year.
40. The Government of Israel has indicated that in principle it favours the construction of the dam at Makaren in the context of regional agreement and co-operation that would ensure that the local population residing west of the Jordan River receives an equitable portion of the water. By the diversion of the Yarmuk waters solely to the east bank of the Jordan the development of Judea-Samaria would be stifled.
41. Under international law this principle of equitable distribution among riparians is a well-established right. The actual quantities of water to be apportioned is an issue that will have to be negotiated with Jordan.
42. It is clear that only by regional co-operation between the States concerned can satisfactory solutions be worked out for the water problems.
The water resources and their use in the Gaza district
43. Gaza is an arid area where annual precipitation is 150 mms in the south and 350 mms in the north. Agriculture in the strip is based mainly on irrigated crops which are therefore dependent on the amount of water available.
44. Today, 1,776 wells are in operation in the area, 1,716 for agriculture and 58 for urban consumption. These wells pump water from a great depth and are the only source of water.
Problems associated with water
45. Since 1967, research has been carried out in the area. Surveys and hydrological measurements showed that over-exploitation was causing the water level to drop and the salt content of well water to rise.
46. In recent years, 120 million cubic metres of water a year was being used while the wells refilled at a rate of only 70 to 80 million cubic metres. These figures showed that over-pumping was at a level of 40 to 50 million cubic metres a year.
47. It was clear that the quality of water in the region was depreciating. Sixty per cent of the water had more than 400 milligrams of chlorine per litre which endangered some of the crops. Water of this low purity level is on the borderline of what is permitted for human consumption as drinking water.
Underlying causes of the problem
48. There was no planning or direction in the development of agriculture. Many citrus fruit groves were planted without taking into account the amount of water available in the area as a whole.
49. Wells were drilled without paying heed to this problem and in practice, anybody with the necessary authorization could drill a well and use as much water as he wanted.
50. In the past, all the crops were watered using open irrigation methods and flooding. This caused considerable wastage of water. Sometimes twice or three times as much water as necessary was squandered on the crops.
The proliferation of wells
51. There were no guidelines regulating the spacing of wells and the distance between them. Each farmer selected his own drilling site without taking into account the damage he might cause his neighbours or the damage to the area as a whole.
52. The situation was especially serious in the south of the strip.
53. In 1975, an order was issued concerning water in the area and giving legal validity to arrangements concerning the use of water. The order lays down the following provisions:
(a) It is forbidden to sink wells without the permission of the appropriate authorities.
(b) It is forbidden to plant new citrus groves without permission.
(c) The distribution of water for agriculture is according to the crops already being cultivated.
(d) It is obligatory to measure the water in all existing wells.
(e) Problems between water consumers and well owners are to be settled.
54. In addition the following measures have been taken:
(a) A wide-ranging information service was started which worked through written publications, the broadcasting media, organized farmers' conferences and activities in schools, etc.
(b) An expert committee of the Water Commission gave technical assistance in planning irrigation systems by evaluating all proposed schemes.
(c) Farmers ready to set up sprinklers, rotators or drip irrigation systems on their land were given financial encouragement. This today amounts to a grant of 1,000 Israeli pounds for every dunam where such systems have been introduced.
(d) Loans were given to transform pumps in wells to permit high-pressure pumping.
(e) Intensive counselling was undertaken in the use of irrigation systems and on the amount of water needed for each crop.
(f) Financial compensation was granted to farmers changing the crops on their land from those which need a lot of water such as citrus fruits to other crops.
(g) Four water councils were established in the area to assist in finding solutions to particular problems between water consumers and well owners.
Results so far
55. In 1978-1979, after the imposition of a water ceiling for the whole area, we achieved a saving of 20 million cubic metres which meant that overpumping had been decreased to a level of 20 to 30 million cubic metres a year. Last year, we saved an additional 1 to 2 million cubic metres despite a controlled increase in the area under cultivation and a rise in the ceiling as laid down by the local appeals committee. People who broke the water regulations were heavily fined, and this year also we have begun collecting the money from people who were fined.
Solutions for the future
56. In this area, there are nearly 100,000 dunams of cultivated land and it is impossible to supply the amount of water needed for this area in addition to the domestic water requirements of the existing population.
57. In the light of this, there are two possibilities:
(a) A considerable reduction in the area under cultivation which in practice would be extremely difficult to implement.
(b) Bringing water from outside - we have been informed that an Egyptian scheme exists to bring water from the River Nile to the area and that this would be economically feasible.
58. Water desalination is today too expensive and therefore impracticable for the Gaza region.
59. The foreign commerce sector of the administered areas has been characterized by continual growth, both in import and in export. Industrial products have continually accounted for 83 per cent of the areas imports. In 1978 industry accounted for £I 2.1 billion out of £I 2.7 billion representing the areas exports as compared with £I 0.03 billion in 1969. This is largely due to a steady increase in exports. The "Open Bridges" policy has significantly bolstered commerce in the areas. The main products exported via the Jordan bridges are citrus fruits, dairy products, olive oil and soap.
60. The really rapidly growing industries are the light industries and textiles. These have excellent domestic markets and a growing potential of markets in Israel. This arises from the fact that most of these industries are based on semi-skilled workers, whose relative availability is greater in the Administered Territories.
The educational system
61. Immediately after the 1967 war, the Government of Israel set itself two paramount goals in the administration of the territories that had come under its control as a result of that war:
(a) The early achievement of normalization in all walks of life, based on the economic and social well-being of the area's inhabitants;
(b) The guarantee of personal and civic freedoms.
62. Throughout the intervening years, the common denominator underlying all facets of Israeli policy in these areas has been that of non-intervention and minimal interference in the internal affairs and lives of the inhabitants, allowing them to manage their own affairs, except in matters that might adversely affect Israel's security.
63. Since 1967, the educational system has been allowed to operate according to the prevailing formula in each area: Jordanian standards in Judea and Samaria and Egyptian norms in the Gaza district. The Israeli administration has in no way interfered with the traditional Arab system. The only difference is that anti-semitic and anti-Israeli slanders and hate propaganda contained in the textbooks were eliminated.
64. The over-all educational system in the Administered Territories is supervised by Israel's Ministry of Education and Culture through a special advisor to the Minister. The advisor is assisted by educational staff officers in each area to whom teachers and supervisors, administration and service employees are responsible. The educational institutions are divided into three types, based on the ownership and funding of the schools - by the State of Israel, UNRWA or private international organizations.
65. The overwhelming majority of the education staff in these areas comes from the local population, while only very few are Israelis. Suffice it to mention that in 1979 there were 10,892 local employees and 19 Israelis in the educational system in all three regions.
66. Major changes in the educational system, both quantitative and qualitative, have been taking place since. These changes have been the result of accelerated economic development, full employment, and a mounting demand for skilled manpower, and due also to the modernization process influenced by the direct and almost unlimited contact with Israel's economy and society. These changes necessitated large-scale development and investments in the educational system. This found expression primarily in government-run educational institutions.
67. During the past 13 years a growth of 83 per cent has been registered in the number of children attending school, although the population has grown by 23 per cent only. In 1967-1968, only 57 per cent of youths aged 5 to 18 attended educational institutions. By 1979/80, the percentage had jumped to 87.
Education of girls
68. The changes which have begun to take place in the woman's place in society in the Territories are also discernible in relation to the education of women.
69. The number of girls in all types of educational institutions has increased from 92,110 in 1967/68 to 179,130 in 1979/80 (95 per cent increase). In 1967/68, girls accounted for only 41 per cent of the total number of pupils, while in 1979/80 the ratio of girls to boys reached 44 per cent.
70. The number of high school graduates among girls has doubled in the given period. A significant increase has also taken place in the number of women applying for university studies in professions such as medicine, engineering and law. These dramatic changes testify to diminishing opposition to the education of women among the inhabitants.
Schools and class-rooms
71. The Israeli Government carries a heavy burden in maintaining the educational system in the Administered Territories, in contrast to the other administrative organizations which are active in the area - UNRWA and such as kindergartens, elementary, preparatory, secondary, vocational and agricultural schools. UNRWA supports only primary, preparatory and vocational schools. Although private bodies support all types of institutions, these serve only 10 per cent of the number of pupils served by governmental institutions.
72. In 1979-1980, there was a total of 1,366 educational institutions in the territories; 938 of these were governmental institutions. During the 13 years of Israeli administration, the total number of class-rooms grew by 80 per cent, from 6,187 in 1967/68 to 11,187 in 1979/80. The average number of pupils per class-room remained stable: 36.
73. School textbooks are of Jordanian origin in Judea and Samaria, and Egyptian in Gaza district and Sinai. The Administration is responsible for supplying these textbooks to governmental educational institutions. Changes which are made in textbooks in Jordan and Egypt are consequently visible in books used. Every year the school system is updated with approximately 30 new textbooks which the Jordanian Government has certified for use. Taking into account the prevailing animosity towards Israel in the neighbouring countries, the Israeli authorities have to clear textbooks for schools in order to ensure that anti-Israel, anti-semitic and other racist incitement is not included in these texts. During the 1967/68-1977/78 decade, Israel disallowed only 14 textbooks from Jordan and only 23 from Egypt.
74. In general, students finish elementary school, and the problem of dropouts begins only in junior high school, primarily among girls from rural areas and those whose parents do not wish them to continue their education.
75. A certain increase has occurred in the number of dropouts among males as a result of the fact that high school education is not mandatory, and due also to the growing number of job offers in the Israeli economy. As a result, these youth prefer to enrol in trade courses offered by the Labour Ministry, lasting 6 to 12 months, and afterwards join the job market. Steps have been taken to lower the dropout rate, mainly by preventing the employment of juveniles, especially those who are still in the mandatory education age.
76. Prior to 1967, there was almost no vocational training, except for a few scattered institutions. Israel's Ministry of Labour established and developed over the 13 years 26 vocational training centres in 19 cities, with some 2,500 places for students. The courses offered cover dozens of vocations - construction, industry, transportation, mechanics, etc. The study programmes are based on vocational requirements in Israel, and the courses are taught by local Arab instructors.
77. Within this framework women are trained in sewing and knitting. In point of fact, these vocational centres have greatly facilitated the entry of women into the job market, in the face of the long-standing tradition, in this society, that severely frowned upon women engaging in anything but strictly household chores.
78. The diplomas granted by the vocational training centres are honoured in places of employment in Israel, the Administered Territories and even in some Arab countries. Between 1968 and 1977, a total of 33,408 students graduated from vocational training courses.
79. Until 1967, no institution for higher education existed in the Administered Territories. Today, Arab high school graduates may continue their studies at four such institutions in Judea and Samaria and one in the Gaza district. These universities have arisen within a very short period. They began as schools, became colleges and attained the status of renowned universities. Over the years, they have built modern plants, including libraries and laboratories, and have enlarged their staffs. They are co-educational. The universities' operations are expanding yearly thanks to increasing financial support. The number of students has grown significantly: in 1980/81, the total number of students reached 6,176 - compared with 4,652 for the previous year - while the number of lecturers jumped from 248 to 311.
80. In 1967 the level of public health in the areas was relatively low, due to the prevailing social and economic conditions. Epidemics and child deaths were common because of poor sewage systems, overcrowding in refugee camps, lack of running water in homes, and a low level of personal and family hygiene. Hospitals, particularly in Gaza, were poorly equipped and overcrowded. Doctors, as in most developing areas, were few in number.
81. In view of the severity of these health problems, resulting from generations of neglect, the administration undertook a wide-ranging programme of improvements that have already begun to have a marked effect on the state of the areas' medical facilities. The improvements include the introduction of advanced medical technology and expertise provided by the Israeli medical teams; expansion of existing training facilities for local Arab medical teams; the establishment of new hospitals, medical centres, nursing schools and para-medical schools; the training of local Arabs in Israeli hospitals; the introduction of new equipment; expansion of immunization programmes; the establishment of school health services; collection of information on contagious diseases; the improvement of sanitation systems, the installation of running water; and the establishment of mother-and-child health care centres.
82. Partial health care insurance was introduced in Judea and Samaria in 1973 and in the Gaza district in 1976.
83. In February 1978 a voluntary health service scheme was introduced. This health insurance scheme provided the insured individual and his dependents with comprehensive, free health care in all health care agencies, this scheme also rendered the insured individual and his dependents eligible for hospitalization, when necessary, in Israeli hospitals.
84. A comprehensive insurance scheme was introduced for administration workers and for Administered Area residents working in Israel, while a voluntary scheme was introduced for all other residents.
85. The rates for health insurance are low when one considers the real costs that are involved; these rates are low when compared with the rates for health insurance offered by the Health Insurance Scheme of the Histadrut - Israel Labour Federation or when compared with the rates for any similar scheme.
86. For four dollars a month, the worker and his family can enjoy comprehensive health insurance. This rate is extremely low when one considers that hospitalization in Israel costs $125 per day and when one considers the high cost of drugs and the heavy costs entailed in medical treatment of any sort.
87. Up to the present time more than 600,000 individuals from the Areas have joined this health insurance scheme within which expansion and improvement have taken place in services, which now include the possibility of treatment for Administered Area residents working in Israel at health care clinics with afternoon reception hours.
88. With the introduction of comprehensive health care insurance, the Administered Areas now have a health scheme that is more advanced than the ones currently in effect in Israel.
89. Higher nutritional levels resulting from greater prosperity and a greater awareness of the principles of basic hygiene have also contributed to improve health standards in the areas, which are now virtually free of the epidemics and widespread infant mortality known previously.
90. Social welfare services before 1967 were limited to the distribution of food and money. The emphasis since 1967 has been on the rehabilitation of welfare recipients by trained Arab social workers, with the ultimate aim of freeing them from dependence on relief and allowing them to achieve social and economic independence. As a result of this policy and the increase in the number of gainfully employed persons, the number of non-refugees receiving various forms of welfare assistance dropped from 312,000 in 1968 to 135,856 in 1979. The amount of assistance provided to families in need is determined by both the average wage and the price index.
Freedom of religion
91. Ever since June 1967, the holy places of all religions, throughout all the Administered Areas, have been freely accessible to all. The inhabitants enjoy absolute religious freedom, including freedom of worship and belief, free access to holy places, freedom to administer the holy places and appoint clergy, freedom to maintain contacts with clergy in the Arab States, etc.
Freedom of speech and press
92. Since 1967, area Arabs have enjoyed freedom of expression - to a degree previously unknown to them or the citizens of any Arab State to this very day.
93. Arab-language dailies, published in East Jerusalem, are written, edited and published in their entirety by Arabs from East Jerusalem and the areas - despite the fact that they have been critical of the Israeli Government and military administration, and have, more than once, called for the termination of Israel's presence in the areas. The sole restriction - as in the case of the Hebrew press - is military censorship, for obvious security reasons.
Freedom of movement
94. Area Arabs enter and leave Israel freely, as do Israelis and foreign visitors wishing to visit the areas. In addition, under Israel's "Open Bridges" policy, Arabs resident in the areas have been visiting Arab States in growing numbers, as have citizens of other Arab countries coming to visit relatives in the areas. Well over 9 million persons have already crossed the bridges into the areas and Israel itself. The visits, which have continued even in wartime, have recently been expanded, especially in the spheres of religious pilgrimage and medical care.
95. On 12 April 1976, for the second time under Israeli administration, municipal elections were held in Judea-Samaria, under conditions of scrupulous non-interference by the Israeli administration; the first elections were held in 1972. The decision to hold elections is a key element in the policy to entrust the management of local affairs to the inhabitants themselves. During the 1976 elections women were allowed to vote - for the first time in these areas. Of 88,000 eligible voters, 35,000 were women; 73 per cent of those eligible went to the polls, including some 22,000 women.
[6 August 1981]
1. The Government of Japan has been making contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) since 1953. In the last year (1980) the Government of Japan extended a grant of $US 4.5 million as a Kennedy Round (KR) Food Aid in addition to the usual contribution of $US 5 million.
2. The Government of Japan is now planning to increase its contribution for this year, that is, instead of its usual contribution of $US 5 million, the Government will contribute $US 6 million and KR Food Aid of $US 4.5 million.
[19 August 1981]
The Netherlands, not having voted in favour of General Assembly resolution 35/75 of 5 December 1980 on the living conditions of the Palestinian people, would not normally have responded to the aforementioned letter. However, in view of the importance of the subject-matter, the Netherlands wishes to point out its support for a comprehensive peace settlement in the region, and its financial aid to and support for UNRWA.
[25 May 1981]
1. New Zealand's concern for the needs of the Palestinian people has been demonstrated in the past by the annual donations in the order of $120,000 New Zealand has made to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
2. In this connexion New Zealand, recognizing the continuing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, expects to continue this level of contribution to the Agency in 1981-1982.
[11 May 1981]
The Government of Saudi Arabia has made a special contribution of $US 5 million in 1981 to UNRWA in addition to its annual contribution of $1.2 million and food-stuffs supplied to the refugees through UNRWA. Furthermore, the Government of Saudi Arabia continues to grant bilateral aid to the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza in the economic, social and cultural fields. This aid is provided through the legitimate Palestinian representatives in the occupied Arab territories and outside of those territories.
[27 May 1981]
Turkey voted in favour of resolution 35/75 and the Government of Turkey contributes in cash to the fund of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian People each, within the bounds of its economic possibilities.
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
[18 August 1981]
1. The United Kingdom, together with the other members of the European Community, was unable to support General Assembly resolution 35/75 and does not regard itself as bound by its terms.
2. The United Kingdom nevertheless wishes to draw your attention to its continuing firm support for a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement which will,
, involve an end to the military occupation maintained by Israel since the 1967 conflict.
3. The views of the United Kingdom and its partners in the European Community in this respect are set out in the European Council Declaration on the Middle East issued in Venice on 13 June 1980.
4. The United Kingdom has also consistently supported UNRWA, which assists the Palestinians, including in the occupied territories both politically and financially. In addition to our share of the EC contribution, the United Kingdom contribution for 1981 is 5.19 million pounds sterling, which is the second largest contribution this year.
5. The United Kingdom has over the 30-year period of UNRWA's existence been the second largest contributor over-all.
6. The United Kingdom also maintains a modest national programme of assistance to the Palestinians in the occupied territories, mainly in the field of education and training.