Question of Palestine home
18 July 1986
Item 73 of the provisional agenda*
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES
AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE POPULATION
OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Report of the Secretary-General
(in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 40/161 G)
1. The present report is submitted in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 40/161 G of 16 December 1985, the operative part of which reads as follows:
The General Assembly
the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;
Israeli policies and practices against Palestinian students and faculties in schools, universities and other educational institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially the opening of fire on defenceless students, causing many casualties;
the systematic Israeli campaign of repression against and closing of universities and other educational and vocational institutions in the occupied Palestinian territories, restricting and impeding the academic activities of Palestinian universities by subjecting the selection of courses, textbooks and educational programmes, the admission of students and the appointment of faculty members to the control and supervision of the military occupation authorities, in clear contravention of the Geneva Convention;
that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with the provisions of that Convention, rescind all actions and measures against all educational institutions, ensure the freedom of those institutions and refrain forthwith from hindering the effective operation of the universities and other educational institutions;
the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly as soon as possible and not later than the beginning of its forty-third session on the implementation of the present resolution."
2. On 13 February 1986, the Secretary-General addressed a note verbale to the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, in which he requested, in view of his reporting responsibilities under the resolution, that the Permanent Representative inform him of any steps which the Government of Israel had taken or envisaged taking in implementation of the relevant provisions of the resolution.
3. The reply of the Acting Permanent Representative of Israel, dated 2 July 1986, is reproduced in the annex to the present report.
Note verbale dated 2 July 1986 from the Acting Permanent Representative
of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
Israel rejects the accusations levelled against it in General Assembly resolution 40/161 G regarding the situation in the educational institutions in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. These accusations are baseless and completely contradict the truth. The actual motives of the sponsors of this resolution are reflected once more by their annual attempt to politicize the issue of academic pursuit.
Since 1967, the school system in the administered territories has experienced unprecedented growth. While the population in these areas increased by about 28 per cent in the years from 1967 to 1986, the total number of pupils receiving schooling in governmental, UNRWA, and private educational networks during the same period has increased by 105 per cent. Similarly, the number of classes run solely by the Government has increased by over 100 per cent. The following table demonstrates this growth:
This remarkable growth is due mainly to the development in the governmental education network during the years of Israel's administration. As the following table shows, in Judea and Samaria, the number of pupils and classes in the education network more than doubled in the years from 1967 to 1986. In the Gaza District during the same period, the number of pupils increased by over 120 per cent and the number of classes by over 200 per cent.
The significant growth in the number of those attending school since 1967 also reflects a remarkable decline in the total rate of illiteracy. In 1970, the percentage of those with zero years of schooling was 47.5 per cent of the total population aged 14 and over in Judea and Samaria, and 51.1 per cent in the Gaza District. Since 19185, the illiteracy rate has dropped to 26.6 per cent in Judea and Samaria, and 26.5 in the Gaza District.
In June 1967 there were no university facilities in Judea and Samaria. Today, under Israeli administration, there are close to 10,000 students enrolled in the five major universities established in these areas since 1967. An additional 5,000 students are enrolled in colleges, teacher training schools and agricultural, technical and paramedical institutions, all providing higher education. These institutions are staffed by several thousand local Arab teachers, inspectors and administrative personnel. Compared to 1967-1968 when the government educational network in Judea and Samaria included 913 local employees, current numbers show a ninefold increase in the number of local Arab employees over the 1967 level. The following table gives the current number of students enrolled in the major institutions of higher education in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District:
1. Al Najah University (Nablus)
2. Bir Zeit University
3. Bethlehem University
4. College of Islamic Studies (Hebron)
5. College of Science (Abu Deis)
6. Al-Azhar Islamic College (Gaza)
Academic activity on the university campuses is conducted without interference by the Israeli administration. The curricula in the institutions are, in Judea and Samaria, those of the Jordanian educational system and, in the Gaza District, those of the Egyptian educational system. Matters concerning curricula are directly handled by the Jordanian and Egyptian authorities, without any interference on the part of Israel.
Academic freedom, however, does not include disruption public order by incitement threats or violence. Recognizing this fact, over the past year when such activity surfaced at several campuses, university administrators themselves forced the closure of their own schools for limited periods of time. These decisions to close campuses were taken solely by university personnel and had no connection to Israel's administrative authorities.
Nevertheless, when security and public order are endangered, the authorities are permitted by international law to restore and maintain public order and safety. In the event such action is taken, it is done without any relation to academic consideration.
These facts and figures amply demonstrate Israel's long-standing commitment and dedication to improving the educational standards of the inhabitants of the administered territories. When compared to the dismal educational situation in surrounding countries, the distortions and misrepresentations contained in resolution 40/161 G become even more apparent. In light of these facts, this resolution should be dropped from the agenda of the General Assembly.