Question of Palestine home
31 December 1989
International Labour Conference
76th Session 1989
Report of the Director-General
Appendices (Vol. 2)
First published 1989
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: Report on the situation of workers of the
occupied Arab territories
: Technical co-operation to the occupied
Arab territories in 1988-89
: Communications received from Arab
countries and organisations
: Communications received from the Israeli
REPORT ON THE SITUATION OF WORKERS OF THE
OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
1. This report is submitted to the Conference in accordance with the mandate it conferred upon the Director General in 1974 and 198O to examine the situation of Arab workers in the occupied Arab territories. In preparing The report the Director-General made arrangements similar to those of previous years to ensure an objective examination of the situation.
2. A mission consisting of Mr. Claude Rossillion, Chief of the Equality of Rights Branch, and Mr. Shukri Dajani, Director of the Regional Office for Arab States, was dispatched in mid-January for the purpose of holding consultations with government authorities and employers' and workers' organizations in Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic, with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Palestine Trade Union Federation in Amman and Tunis, the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions in Damascus, and the League of Arab States in Tunis. On its return to Geneva the mission also held consultations with representatives of the Arab Labour Organisation.
3. A second mission - a fact-finding mission - visited Israel and the occupied Arab territories in order to carry out, for the twelfth consecutive year, an in-depth examination of the situation of the Arab workers of these territories and prepare a report thereon. The ILO officials appointed to represent the Director-General were the same as those appointed last year, namely, Mr. André Zenger, Chief of the Application of Standards Branch, and Mr. Jean-Michel Servais and Mrs. Catherine Comtet.
4. The mission of the Director-General's representatives took place from 24 February to 8 March 1989, after being postponed for one week at the request of the Israeli authorities for reasons of force majeure. The mission had initially been scheduled to end on 7 March, but as a result of practical complications caused by the curfew in Nablus, which prevented the Director-General's representatives from meeting with the leaders of the General West Bank Trade Union Federation, it was extended by one day with the consent of the Israeli authorities to allow this meeting to take place. The mission visited Israel and the occupied territories of the West Bank of the Jordan river, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The practical arrangements were made with the co-operation of the Israeli authorities, who granted the mission full freedom of movement as well as every possibility to make its own arrangements. This enabled any changes to the schedule which the mission requested from time to time to be made so as to ensure a complete and objective appraisal of the situation. As in previous years, the mission informed the Israeli authorities of its intention to visit the Golan Heights. Permission for the mission to visit the Golan Heights was granted on condition that the Israeli Government's position on this matter be included in the report.
5. The representatives of the Director-General held lengthy meetings in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv with the representatives of Israeli civil and military authorities, with both high-level officials and administrative and technical personnel, and with the representatives of Israeli employers' and workers' organizations. In addition, they visited three Israeli enterprises in Jerusalem's industrial zone and city centre (a manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment, a biscuit and chocolate factory, and a modern textile enterprise) which employ workers from the occupied Arab territories. They also met with the Israeli directors and managers and the Palestinian employees of these enterprises, with whom they were able to discuss conditions of work and other matters. In addition, they held technical talks with senior officials of the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Bank of Israel.
6. In the occupied Arab territories the representatives of the Director-General met the deputy military commander for the administration of the occupied territories in the Tulkarm district. They also visited employment offices in Tulkarm in the West Bank, and in Rafah in the Gaza Strip, where they talked with Israeli and Palestinian officials. They were able to visit a sweets and biscuit factory and a pharmaceutical plant in Ramallah, as well as a horticulture firm in Nur Shams, none of which employ workers other than from the occupied territories, and to interview the (non-Israeli) managers of these enterprises. In addition, they talked at length with a number of leading Palestinians, including the Director of the East Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, the President and General-Secretary of the Jerusalem Arab Hotel Association, the Personnel Manager of the East Jerusalem Electricity Company, the President of the Arab Studies Association, the President of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), and the Mayor of Bethlehem, as well as one of the city's leading businessmen. In spite of the practical difficulties arising from the current tension in the area, they were able to meet freely (in other words, without witnesses other than those chosen or accepted by their interlocutors) and at length with trade unionists from a number of trade unions in East Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah and Gaza. In the Golan Heights they met with the municipal authorities of the town of Majdal Shams, and with workers from various sectors in the towns of Massada and Ain Kenya.
7. As in previous years, the mission made a point of trying to meet and talk with the greatest possible number of persons, both on the Israeli and on the Arab side. In addition, it met with the Director of the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who is based in East Jerusalem.
8. During their many meetings, the representatives of the Director-General were able to raise and explore issues at will. In general, they were received cordially on all sides and in a spirit of interest and co-operation. They once again pointed out to the civil and military authorities of Israel that they regarded it as of the utmost importance that no measures whatsoever, including subjecting them to interrogation, should be taken against any of the persons whom they had met by reason of that meeting or of statements made by such persons on the occasion of such a meeting. Indeed, every year the representatives of the Director-General have received reports that the police or military authorities have carried out such interrogations. It has been pointed out that such measures, when they affect trade unionists, constitute an infringement of the principles of freedom of association. They also constitute a violation of basic right of freedom of speech, and, as such, would be all the more unacceptable within the framework of the mission.
9. This year again, the Israeli civil and military authorities provided the Director-General's representatives with the facilities necessary for carrying out their visit and for moving from place to place, despite the problems in the occupied Arab territories and the strict security measures taken in response to the general uprising of the Palestinian people against the occupation authorities, which uprising ("intifadah" in Arabic) began on 9 December 1987.
10. This report is based on the information gathered on the spot by the Director-General's two missions, on their observations and analyses, and on the voluminous documentation placed at their disposal by both sides. Annex 1 describes new as well as ongoing technical co-operation activities carried out in the course of the past year for the benefit of the Palestinian workers of the occupied Arab territories. Annex 2 contains a summary of the communications received on the occasion of the talks conducted with the Arab authorities and organizations in connection with the mission mentioned in paragraph 2 above. Lastly, Annex 3 reproduces the communications received from the Israeli Government.
11. This report describes the current situation of the Arab workers of the Israeli-occupied Arab territories, and developments in their situation over the past 12 months. Its object is to bring up to date the information gathered last year, in keeping with a yearly practice which dates back to 1978, and following the same pattern, to determine, in particular, the extent to which the Israeli Government has given effect to the recommendations contained in the report presented by the Director-General to the 75th Session of the International Labour Conference (1988).
12. The recommendations contained in the previous report
/ recalled that the various recommendations previously made were mostly still relevant. These can be summarised as follows:
(l) application of an appropriate employment and development policy, especially by promoting productive activities in the territories and lifting the restrictions on trade;
(2) quantitative and qualitative extension of vocational training at all levels, paying particular attention to the needs of the occupied territories, and development of job opportunities for young graduates;
(3) improvement of working conditions by the full application in practice of the principle of equal treatment for workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel, particularly in view of the impact of the work permit system on job security;
(4) action to combat irregular employment in Israel;
(5) application and monitoring of the regulations governing work in the occupied territories and, as part of a policy to improve working and living conditions, improvement of the health infrastructure for the entire population of these territories;
(6) elimination of inequality of opportunity and treatment resulting, in the field of employment and development, from the policy relating to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories:
(7) elimination of inequality of treatment with respect to social security for workers from the occupied Arab territories employed in Israel, and extension of the social protection provided in those territories for workers and their families;
(8) effective exercise of trade union rights by Arab workers from the occupied territories, both in Israel and in the occupied territories.
It was then emphasized that additional and especially energetic measures would be needed in order to achieve the objectives stated in those recommendations and in order to eliminate the inequalities of opportunity and treatment which persist in various fields, such as vocational training, social security, the implications of the system of work permits for job security, and the impact of the policy concerning Israeli settlements on employment and development. In general, the request was made that active and determined measures be taken to avoid in practice any kind of discrimination in the area of employment or occupation. So far as trade union activities in the occupied Arab territories are concerned, it was deemed eminently desirable and urgent that the Israeli authorities should take the necessary measures in order that the promotion and defence of the occupational interests of the Arab workers might at last be developed so as to ensure the exercise of legitimate trade union activities free of any interference by the civil and military authorities. In addition, the previous report noted that new causes for concern had arisen with the uprising in the occupied Arab territories, producing very serious and profound repercussions on the living and working conditions of the Palestinian workers of these territories and their families. Fresh efforts were essential if their situation was to be improved. Lastly, emphasis was placed on ILO technical co-operation activities in the fields within its competence, designed to improve the working and living conditions of the workers concerned.
THE SPECIAL CONTEXT IN WHICH THE PROBLEMS WERE STUDIED
13. Throughout their mission, the Director-General's representatives were guided by the above-mentioned recommendations. They also bore in mind a number of standards and basic principles adopted by the International Labour Conference, namely the Preamble of the ILO's Constitution and the Declaration of Philadelphia (which is appended to it) concerning the aims and purposes of the ILO which states that "all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity." More specifically, the standards of reference used were essentially the international labour standards on discrimination in employment and occupation as well as on freedom of association and protection of the right to organize. It was, of course, in the light of these principles and standards that the mission sought to assess the situation of the Arab workers of the occupied Arab territories. Clearly, the state of occupation which has governed these territories and their populations since 1967 does not as such come within the competence of the ILO; nevertheless, it cannot be disregarded for, as each of the Director-General's reports has noted since 1978, the state of occupation inevitably affects the values of equality, freedom and dignity on which the above-mentioned principles and standards are based. As its predecessors, the mission was also guided by the relevant rules of public international law, including the Hague Convention of 1907 and the IVth Geneva Convention of 1949, of which Israel is a signatory. Nevertheless, in accordance with the Director-General's mandate to report on the situation of Arab workers of the territories occupied by Israel, it is important to bear in mind not only the principles contained in international labour Conventions, but also those adopted by other recognised international organizations which form part of written international law. Consequently, the Director-General's representatives assessed the situation in the light of universally recognized principles which have been adopted by the international community, and which constitute the General framework of international law in force.
14. Political problems, public order and security, and social and economic life have become so complex under the military government that it would be unrealistic to consider labour matters in isolation from the general context which conditions them so thoroughly. None the less, the mission unfailingly sought to remain within the framework of its mandate by limiting itself to identifying the direct or indirect effects of the military occupation and the "intifadah" on the conditions of employment and work of the Arab workers of the occupied Arab territories. Previous reports, and in particular the Director-General's 1988 report, have repeatedly emphasized the severely adverse effects on employment and industrial relations as well as on economic and social life in the occupied Arab territories of the continuation of the state of occupation. Since 9 December 1987, there has been a sharp change in the attitude of the inhabitants of the occupied territories which has led the Israeli authorities gradually to harden their position. The events which have continued since the previous mission visited Israel and the occupied Arab territories in March 1988, when the mission was only able to examine the initial consequences of these unhappy developments, have had a profound and dramatic effect on workers and enterprises in Israel as well as in the occupied territories, and have led to other commonly known politically important events at the international level which do not come within the ILO's field of competence. It must be said that at no time during their stay in the region were the Director -General's representatives not reminded, in one way or another, of the "intifadah", regardless of whether they were speaking with Israelis or Palestinians, and whatever the topic of discussion.
15. The respect for the freedom of movement of the populations of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and of the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, is an aspect of human rights, and more specifically, of workers' rights, which must be examined within the context of the present situation, since the freedom to work depends on it. The inhabitants of East Jerusalem and the Golan - territories which have been formally annexed by the State of Israel - are required to carry an Israeli identity card which does not in itself confer citizenship; citizenship is granted only after it has been formally requested. Palestinians in these areas who have not made such a request are not given passports; in order to travel abroad they must obtain a periodically renewable laissez-Passer. As for the residents of the West Bank and Gaza, since 1972 they have enjoyed the freedom to move between these territories and Israel, no special permit being required, provided, however, that they do not remain in Israel between 1.00 and 5.00 a.m. unless they are in possession of a special permit. More will be said on this subject in the context of conditions of employment, inasmuch as overnight permits are delivered exclusively by the Ministry of Defence for purposes of employment to workers from these territories in the service of Israeli enterprises.
AN OVERVIEW OF THE ECONOMIC
SITUATION IN THE 0CCUPIED TERRITORIES
16. The "intifadah" and its multifarious consequences have considerably altered the economic landscape, making it virtually impossible to make a detailed technical study owing to the unavailability of reliable and publishable statistics, as Israelis Central Bureau of Statistics has itself pointed out. The reader is, therefore, cautioned against placing too much reliance on any of the figures contained in this report for the period in question; these figures are given only where they are considered indispensable for a proper understanding of the overall situation. However, it is simpler and more realistic to seek out general trends.
17. In his 1988 report the Director-General had emphasized that one approach to solving the problem was to undertake a genuine effort for the benefit of development in the occupied Arab territories. The Palestinian employers and workers are of the opinion that any development for their benefit has been reduced to a minimum in recent years, and that any efforts which they themselves have undertaken for genuine development have been slowed or wrecked in certain sectors in order to keep the Palestinian economy as dependent as possible on that of Israel.
18. A number of factors explain this state of affairs. The Israeli job market, which is open to workers from the occupied territories, pays higher wages. Then too, there is an enormous gap between the modern and highly developed Israeli economy and the traditional economy of the territories, which consists largely of small food and clothing outlets, repair shops, and subcontracting firms in the textile or shoe industry, for example, which do work for Israeli enterprises. In addition, firms in the territories must import most raw materials, owing to the lack of natural resources; they have limited trade outlets and their domestic market is very small. While there are no restrictions on the sale of Israeli products in the territories, the Israeli market is protected (by tight quotas and strict controls imposed on certain goods by virtue of a military order) against any competition. On the international market, exports to the Jordanian market have always been restricted by a number of protectionist measures, although Jordan sometimes serves as a conduit for exports from the territories to other Arab countries. The EEC market has very recently opened up to the territories, but many practical and more effective arrangements must still be worked out before it can offer genuine prospects. The territories' uncertain future discourages potential investors; investment credits are virtually non-existent since the Israeli authorities, by their own admission, do not grant any economic development loans to the territories, and foreign efforts to provide investment capital through the Cairo-Amman Bank, which opened in 1986, have not yet been successful.
19. To illustrate the dimensions of the situation, it may be useful to recall that in 1986 there were a total of 2,363 industrial enterprises in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, employing some 10,976 workers, while in the Gaza Strip there were 1,725 enterprises with 6,720 workers.
/ According to the office of the Co-ordinator for Administered Areas (Israeli Ministry of Defence), industry grew by 12 per cent in the West Bank, and by 34 per cent in Gaza between 1979 and 1987. The following table illustrates the situation of trade in these territories:
Trade with Israel
Trade with Jordan
(in millions of
: WB = West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem;
GS = Gaza Strip.
20. Against this backdrop, which is viewed and interpreted differently by the parties concerned, and which has been analysed since 1978 in successive reports of the Director-General, the "intifadah" has effected upheavals whose consequences cannot yet be measured, but certain aspects of which can none the less be described already. Information from Israeli and Palestinian sources, and from on-site interviews and observation, confirms that relations between the Palestinian population of the occupied territories and the Israelis have become exacerbated to the point of generating tensions that are serious, not to say dramatic for the people involved as well as real economic and social conflict.
21. In this context mention must be made, inter alia, of the intermittent failure of many persons from the territories who work in Israel to go to work, the series of strike days and the acts of civil disobedience. With the passing of time, resistance has become organized and has woven its way into the daily lives of the population; for example, shopkeepers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza open their establishments voluntarily only from 9.00 a.m. to noon, except when the Palestinians declare general strikes or when the Israeli army imposes curfews from which only bakeries, pharmacies and street vendors are exempted. To the extent possible, the population boycotts Israeli products, especially where local alternatives exist. Israeli analysts, however, scoff at this measure, pointing to its virtually insignificant impact on total Israeli exports: in 1986 Israeli exports to the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, and to the Gaza Strip accounted for 10.5 per cent of Israeli net exports.
/ For 1987, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics reported total exports to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of US$928 million; over the first nine months of 1988 these exports came to $477 million. The corresponding figure for 1987 (i.e. covering three-quarters of the year) was $696 million. There was thus a decline of approximately 3.36 per cent in Israel's total exports. However, the purpose of the boycott is not only to harm Israel's economy, but also to support the domestic economy of the territories and encourage Palestinian enterprises to grow in response to the new demand.
22. In spite of the growth of domestic demand, which paradoxically remains relative owing to the population's diminished resources, several factors have pushed enterprises and businesses in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip into financial crisis. Exports to Israel remain very low, owing to the above-mentioned quotas; at the same time, Jordan has placed restrictions, and in some cases temporary bans, on the import of agricultural produce. Furthermore, the Jordanian dinar has-been devalued by about 50 per cent (the diner has remained legal tender in the territories along with the Israeli shekel), leading workers in these enterprises who are paid in dinars, or in shekels at a rate tied to the diner by the employer, to demand compensatory wage increases to compensate for the devaluation. In some of these disputes the Palestinian trade unions have sought negotiated settlements. A number of Palestinian employers reported to the Director-General's representatives that some enterprises, unable to surmount these difficulties, had been compelled to close or reduce their activities, while others had a number of their workers on strike. In addition, employers have been faced with the necessity of providing employment for needy bread-winners in a spirit of solidarity. Lastly, contrary to the situation before the "intifadah", no financial assistance may be brought in from outside since in March 1988 individuals were prohibited from importing from Jordan or transferring to their accounts with the Cairo-Amman Bank, more than 400 Jordanian diners per month, unless especially authorised by the Israeli authorities. In August 1988 this amount was further restricted when the frequency of such imports or transfers was reduced to one in any two-month period. Moreover, the operations of the Cairo-Amman Bank as well as the accounts of organizations such as the UNRWA
/ are closely monitored. It should also be mentioned that various sources
/ as well as Palestinian communications received in recent months at the ILO, have reported the closing of a number of charitable organizations for reasons linked to the sources of their funds.
23. The payment of taxes during these difficult economic times has added to the financial problems of the inhabitants of the territories, and spelled ruin for some businessmen. As part of their acts of civil disobedience, the residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza decided in early 1988 to stop paying any taxes whatsoever to the Israeli civil administration. In order to collect these taxes, the authorities resorted to the confiscation of property used in business (the vehicles of taxi drivers, for example), arrests, the confiscation of identity cards or driver's licences, the freezing of bank accounts, etc. At present, all requests presented to the authorities (for such official documents as identity cards, driver's licences, birth certificates and work permits) must be accompanied by evidence that the person concerned has paid all taxes owed. Since May 1988 this evidence has been required of residents of the Gaza Strip upon the renewal of identity cards and the compulsory replacement of vehicle registration plates, both of which carry a fee.
24. The above-mentioned economic factors are directly responsible for a substantial deterioration in the standard of living of the Palestinian people of the occupied Arab territories. Some observers estimate that living standards have fallen by 50 per cent since the start of the "intifadah". According to Palestinian economists, consumer spending in the territories has fallen by 40 per cent.
/ According to official sources in Israel's Ministry of Defence, economic activity in the territories has fallen by 30 per cent. Account should nevertheless be taken of the effect on agriculture of the particularly adverse weather conditions in recent months. The economic decline, caused essentially by the "intifadah",has led the population to organise a resistance and survival economy, certain aspects of which have been mentioned above, centred on the provision of basic needs through a return to family agriculture. This has done little to change the lives of Palestinian farmers, but has had a significant impact on those of middle-and working-class persons. In the opinion of a number of Palestinians interviewed by the Director-General's representatives' the military authorities seize any excuse to undermine this agricultural subsistence economy.
25. The despondency of the Arab population of the occupied territories caused by the conditions of material deprivation and the absence of social and economic progress is aggravated by the frustration of having no prospect of a more just and decent life. The Director-General's representatives consider that this situation can be reversed only by lifting the restrictions described above, and by instituting a genuine policy of development, comprising a programme to promote productive activities in the territories and to liberalise trade. They are also convinced that the continuing deterioration of the economic situation in the occupied territories can only increase tensions and harden positions. They therefore consider it indispensable and vital that resolute and effective measures be taken as soon as possible to halt the serious economic decline in the territories and to develop economic structures which at the very least will enable the Palestinian people to meet their basic needs.
VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
26. Vocational training is one of the most effective ways of helping workers to escape from unskilled, poorly paid and uninteresting work; it is also one of the ILO's major areas of action. Vocational training must be part of a general plan for economic development which, as noted above, is still missing in the territories. Previous reports have always called for efforts to implement an active policy to promote equal opportunity for the Palestinian workers of the occupied Arab territories, whether male or female, in the acquisition of skills, access to better jobs, and the full realization of their abilities.
27. The structures set up for vocational training in the occupied Arab territories are old and outdated, and there has been no significant improvement as regards either quality and standard or the number of trainees. The number of Israeli training centres has not changed (18 in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, and 6 in Gaza); the number of trainees awarded certificates, according to Israel's Ministry of Labour, has ranged from 4,300 in 1986, to 5,500 in 1987, to only 3,000 in 1988.
28. Having inquired into the current operations of these centres, the Director-General's representatives were informed by the Israeli authorities that there had been no interruption or suspension of their activities. In Nablus, however, they found that the vocational training centre which they had visited one year earlier was closed; it is true that no centre remains open during a curfew or when other security measures are in force. According to Palestinian sources, vocational training cent res as well as schools are closed from time to time, which has a marked effect on the teaching dispensed. Let us recall that these vocational centres offer basic training programmes to young people in such areas as mechanics, sewing, tiling, electricity, hairdressing, masonry, etc., as well as apprenticeships and further training programmed to adults wishing to become taxi or lorry drivers or driving instructors (the Director-General's representatives visited such a centre in Gaza, staffed by Israeli instructors). Young persons and adults who have received such training can thus look for work in Israel as well as in the occupied territories. Of course, their training must often be supplemented by training given by the employer in the light of the needs of the enterprise. Unfortunately, the training acquired in these centres does not prepare Palestinian workers from the occupied territories to assume skilled, supervisory or managerial positions in Israeli enterprises on an equal footing with Israeli cadres. The Director-General's representatives have always noted from their visits to Israeli enterprises and their interviews with Palestinian workers that the career prospects of Palestinian workers depend as much on the employer's open-mindedness and relations with the employee as on the quality of the employee's work and length of service. Where all these conditions are favourable, a Palestinian worker may reasonably hope to rise to the level of foreman in the enterprise, but never higher. The reason for this will be explained below.
29. In the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, universities and secondary schools have closed on and off since 23 October 1987, in other words, even before the uprising began. The Israelis consider them as "hotbeds of subversion". The situation of education at the university, secondary and primary levels, and the situation of teachers, in particular, is extremely serious.
/ It has elicited protests in international public opinion and prompted the growing concern of international trade union organizations of teachers to such a point that one such organization, the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP), sent a delegation to examine the extent of the problems first hand.
/ According to Palestinian sources, military orders prohibit teachers from holding classes for small groups of children in their homes when the schools are closed; cases of armed searches of teachers' homes by the Israeli authorities have been reported.
30. No university is able to dispense higher education since they have all been closed since 1987. It should be recalled that many Arabs from the occupied territories hold diplomas from foreign or Palestinian universities and Arab spokesmen have always alleged that university graduates experience the greatest difficulties in finding jobs in their home areas. They are thus compelled to move to neighbouring Arab States or other countries unless they are willing to join the ranks of university graduates in the occupied territories who are unemployed or who have settled for jobs that fall short of their skills and legitimate aspirations. In the absence of more recent data, we should recall that the previous report mentioned that 10,000 students of the occupied territories were looking for work in 1984. The economy of the occupied Arab territories offers few opportunities to young Palestinian graduates, many of whom naturally turn to the Israeli job market, which is regulated and organised as follows.
31. Employment in Israel is governed by the Employment Service Act of 13 January 1959. In section 32(a) it states that "in the branches of work, trades and occupations specified in the Second Schedule,
/ a person shall not engage an employee, and a person shall not start working for an employer, unless the employee has been referred by an employment office and a written confirmation to such effect has been given by the latter." Paragraph (b) states that the term "employee" applies to manual labourers; paragraph (c) states that these provisions "shall not apply to an employee whose function in the job in question is a managerial or foreman's function or requires a higher education or a special measure of personal trustworthiness ...". These provisions apply to all persons from other countries who have come to work in Israel. As regards workers residing in the occupied Arab territories, these provisions are complemented by those of a 1972 military ordinance entitled "General Exit Permit (5)"; a corresponding text applies also to Gaza. Section 2 of this ordinance states that a Palestinian worker from the territories may find employment in Israel only through the employment office in his region which assigns him to a job offered by an Israeli employer. Section 32(a) of the above-mentioned Act and section 2 of the military ordinance are closely related. Moreover, the Palestinian worker is authorised to work only in the specific job and place of work to which he has been assigned by the employment office. It is clear that if the employer can impose his preference and choice through the employment office in question, the Palestinian worker has no choice but to accept the job offered, for it is in respect of that fob that the work permit is issued. In theory, a Palestinian university graduate can register with the employment office, but the real question is whether he will find a job to match his qualifications. In most cases the answer is no, because an Israeli employer is never required to notify employment offices operating in the occupied Arab territories of vacancies for which there are persons in Israel who are qualified and interested. In this connection, it should be recalled that these employment offices are expected to "direct [Palestinian workers] to job vacancies unfilled by Israeli workers".
32. In the area of discrimination, properly speaking, section 42(a) of the above-mentioned Act provides that "the employment office shall not discriminate against a person on account of his age, sex, religion, ethnic group, country of origin, view or party affiliation, and a person requiring an employee shall not refuse to engage a person for work on account of any of these factors." However, paragraph (b) of section 42 limits this prohibition in the sense that "no discrimination shall be seen where the character or nature of the task or considerations of
prevents or prevent a person's being referred to or engaged for some particular work." These considerations of state security are omnipresent in relations between the Israeli authorities and the Palestinian people and workers of the occupied territories, and they are likely to lead to discriminatory and arbitrary practices. In this connection, it should be noted that the 1988 human rights practices report prepared by the Department of State of the United States, noted in the section concerning Israel and the occupied territories that Israel "defines 'security' very broadly".
The consequences for the lives of Palestinians are very serious, since these criteria are decisive and apply to the granting, maintenance and extension of Israeli work permits and overnight permits to workers of the occupied territories.
33. The Director-General's representatives consider that in the interest of ensuring equal opportunity, the legislation should be amended to make it possible for university-trained or highly skilled Palestinians to obtain jobs in Israel which correspond to their qualifications and from which they are at present virtually excluded. In addition, the granting of work permits and their extension should be based on fair and objective criteria which offer all workers an opportunity to obtain jobs that are available and for which they are qualified, and to hold jobs without the fear that their work permits may be withdrawn arbitrarily and suddenly owing to an overly broad definition of state security.
LEVEL AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT IN ISRAEL
34. There has not been a census of the Arab populatio the occupied Arab territories since 1967; consequently, figures cited here are estimates. Information made available Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics for the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, reports a population of 858,000 on December 1987; however, according to Israel's Ministry of Interior, in November 1987 the population numbered 1,252,000 figure some 46 per cent higher. Benvenisti and Khayat
/ on an intermediate figure of 1,067,873; as regards East Jerusalem the Arab population in 1987 is given at 136,000 persons, and this Gaza Strip at 633,000. They tentatively estimate the average population of the Golan Heights at between 14,000 and 15,000 persons. According to the most reliable estimates, population of the occupied Arab territories in 1987 approximately 1,851,873. The proportion of working-age reside of the West Bank and Gaza (in other words, those between 16 and 65) was estimated at 47.72 per cent by Israel's Central Bureau Statistics, and at 51.35 by the Israeli Ministry of Interior. The active population of the territories, which generally considered to represent one-third of the working- population, is estimated by the Central Bureau of Statistics number 285,000, while the figure cited by Jordanian sources 302.529.
35. As regards the number of workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip employed in Israel, estimates range from 105,000 according to the General Trade Union Federation at Nablus, 109,000, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (for period January-November 1988). The figure quoted by the Israeli source represents approximately 38 per cent of the actual population; Palestinian statistics put the proportion at 35 cent. The present decline in the total number of Palestinian workers in Israel is tentatively estimated at 10 per cent by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, and at 30 to 40 per cent by Palestinian trade unionists, taking into account the number persons dismissed for repeated absences from work, arrests and detentions, house arrests, as well as the number of victims etc.
Palestinian workers may be employed in Israel on so-called "regular" basis; in other words, they are in possession of a work permit, as required by section 2(4) of the above-mentioned General Exit Permit, according to which workers cannot work in Israel unless they have been referred to the employers by the employment office. The situation of persons whose employment has not been reported by their employer or who do not have a work permit is "irregular". Jobseekers from the West Bank or Gaza wishing to work in Israel or in a Jewish settlement in one of the territories, must, according to Israeli law, apply to one of the Israeli employment offices in the occupied territories. Since 1968, 39 employment offices have been opened in the West Bank and Gaza, but officials at the Israeli Ministry of Labour report that 12 of these have been ransacked by Palestinian "activists". Nevertheless, it seems that these employment offices continue to operate, although Palestinian trade unionists claim that they receive no new applications from jobseekers.
36. The Israeli authorities have reported that the validity of ordinary work permits has been extended since last year: they are now issued to workers who have been offered a job in Israel through employment offices for a period of four months, and are renewable upon their first expiration for a period of six months, and subsequently for a period of one year, provided the worker remains with the same employer. It should be recalled that this permit is granted at the discretion of the military authorities, and is totally contingent on the employment in respect of which it is granted. This means that the permit expires automatically in the event the worker loses or gives up his job, and that a new permit is not issued until he finds new employment, whereupon the procedure starts over again as in the case of a first-time application. Moreover, the permit may be withdrawn at any time for reasons of state security. As noted in previous reports,this system of work permits has always been thought to contribute to the precarious conditions of employment of Palestinian workers in Israel and to give rise to discriminatory practices. According to the Israeli authorities, 55,000 workers
/ are registered with the employment offices to obtain work in Israel; this does not necessarily mean that all of them have found work and been issued work permits. The Central Bureau of Statistics contends that at present it is not possible to determine the exact number of Palestinian workers in Israel. The Director-General’s representatives pointed out, however, to the Israeli authorities that it should be easy to determine the number of currently valid work permits, inasmuch as the issuance of such permits is entirely computerized. According to a report of the Ministry of Labour dated February 1989 (see Annex 3 of this report), the Payments Division of the Employment Service, a central service responsible for paying the wages of all Palestinian workers, has redeveloped an advanced computer system that makes it possible to locate the file of any worker quickly
and examine his complete work history, including the wages he has earned and payments made into the social benefit funds for him."
Moreover, articles in the
have cited figures released by the Employment Service, according to which there were 45,827 work permits in force in October 1988, and 45,183 in November, and an attendance rate of 79 per cent.
/ The number of work permits in force in December was quoted at 46,011.
37. The difficulties mentioned in the previous report concerning the daily commuting of Palestinian workers employed in Israel, have eased somewhat as a result both of directives issued by the leaders of the "intifadah" and the fact that the Israeli authorities and employers have adapted to the situation. According to Palestinian sources, it seems that the measures which had been taken within the context of the "intifadah" in the early days of the uprising to prevent Palestinian workers from travelling to Israel, and thereby to hobble Israeli enterprises, have been relaxed for workers from the Gaza Strip owing to the fact that most of the workers concerned are refugees - and therefore among the most disadvantaged - and that they do not benefit from any national development plan. On the other hand, in the regions of Bethlehem and Ramallah there are a number of Palestinian enterprises which can offer an alternative to employment in Israel; these enterprises have been required to hire more workers and double the size of work units and time slots. It is claimed that some 60 per cent of the Palestinian active population in this region is now working locally, compared to 20 per cent before the "intifadah". As regards the regions of Tulkarm and Kalkilya, because of the absence of local enterprises and the widespread poverty, especially among the refugees, many of these workers, like those in
38. In order to cope with this uncertain situation and promote better attendance among their workers, Israeli employers have combined various methods to safeguard their operations, with the support and assistance of the authorities. First of all, they have made a point of drawing their Palestinian workers from a variety of areas, in order to even out the absenteeism resulting from the curfews in specific villages or areas of the occupied Arab territories. The Director-General's representatives were able to establish clearly from several sources that when a curfew is imposed in a town, village or refugee camp, or when an area is classified as a "closed military zone", absolutely no one is allowed to leave home, and only ambulances and the very few persons holding special permits are allowed to move about. Employers also seek to persuade their workers to spend the night at or near their place of work when it is known in advance that there will be a curfew, or when a strike has been called by the leaders of the "intifadah". This practice has accounted for a 10 per cent increase in the number of overnight permits issued (3,052 in 1987,
/ versus 3,397 in 1988
/); these permits authorize Palestinian workers to remain in Israel from 1.00 a.m to 5.00 a.m. According to the Manufacturers' Association of Israel, it is very easy for an employer to obtain overnight permits for workers who already hold a work permit. They claim that such permits have become indispensable for Israeli enterprises employing Palestinian workers to ensure the continuity of their operations, so much so that plants built since the uprising began are outfitted with dormitories and other facilities to accommodate Palestinian workers, as needed. None the less, it seemed to the Director-General's representatives, from certain information, that many workers, whether regular or irregular, disregard the law and spend the night at their place of work without the special permit and at their own risk. (In this connection, see the information provided by Arab sources in Annex 2 of this report.)
39. Not all persons from the occupied territories who work in Israel have a work permit. This phenomenon is not new and has been noted in previous reports. But it has been only since mid-February 1988 that measures seem to have been taken to curb irregular employment. Most estimates of the number of irregular workers are in the neighbourhood of 5O per cent of Israel's Palestinian labour force. Many reasons compel these workers to seek and accept irregular employment. In most cases workers are reluctant to have substantial deductions withheld from their wages, especially since they derive little benefit from social contributions (see the section on “social insurance schemes" below); the failure to declare wages also works to the employer's advantage, since he thereby avoids paying his share of the contributions as well as the employment tax, which can range as high as 7 per cent of the employee's wage. In other cases workers may need work urgently, perhaps on the very day, with the guarantee of receiving their wages when the work is done, without having to wait for a permit, which may not be issued owing to reasons of security, and without having to wait for their wages to be paid by the Payments Division, which may take two weeks or more. In addition, the workers' freedom of choice, as limited as it is in these circumstances, concerning their choice of employer, occupation and place of work, can be exercised only within the context of irregular employment, for there is NC individual choice when the matter rests with an employment office, as noted in the previous section. Some workers are reluctant on grounds of principle or necessity to look for work through the employment offices. The fact that 12 such offices have been ransacked since the "intifadah" began reflects the contempt in which they are held by some. Other workers seem not to wish to commit themselves to a single enterprise, or simply prefer to work on an intermittent basis. Also, the economic slow-down in certain sectors of the Israeli economy (40 enterprises closed in 1988, leading to the loss of 8,562 jobs, of which 3,765 in the textile industry
/), resulting in particular from inflation, rising unemployment in Israel (7.5 per cent), high interest rates and the "intifadah", has led to the dismissal of workers from the territories, obliging them to seek alternative employment. Whatever the reasons which lead Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to seek work in Israel without a work permit, it is disquieting that so many workers are hired by the hour, by the day or by the season, without any protection or guarantees. The greatest demand for irregular workers comes from the building industry, the agricultural sector at harvest time and the hotel industry. Most irregular workers in the hotel industry, however, come from other countries; in order to compensate for the drop in the number of Palestinian workers and for high rates of absenteeism, Israeli employers in 1988 turned to many foreign workers from southern Europe, Cyprus and Lebanon, most of whom were employed illegally. According to the General Director of the Employment Service,
/ there were an estimated 14,000 foreign workers, of whom only 1,805 held a valid work permit. Rising unemployment in Israel prompted Israeli authorities to clamp down on illegal foreign workers, and by December 1988 it was reported that there were 5,400 foreign workers legally employed in Israel,
/ including 1,800 from southern Lebanon. According to Israeli employers, with the exception of workers from southern Lebanon, the employment of foreigners is confined to those with skills in a particular area; they believe that there are few illegal foreign workers in construction or industry, but admit that there may be more at work in hotels. The recruitment of foreign workers has been officially curtailed in order to fight unemployment among Israeli citizens; for example, the General Director of the Employment Service told the Israel Farmers' Association that "if the growers increased the wages they offered, Jewish workers would return to the fields",
/ and in fact, several incentives were offered to attract unemployed Jewish workers to this type of employment. It is fairly clear that Palestinian labour from the occupied territories and substitute foreign labour is cheaper and more flexible than Israeli labour. But the foregoing analysis also seems to confirm complaints that have long been voiced by Palestinian workers, to the effect that in the hypothetical event that Israeli workers occupied jobs now held by Palestinians, they would be paid higher wages.
40. Workers of the West Bank or Gaza who hold a work permit are employed on either a daily or monthly basis; in either case their wages are paid monthly through the Payments Division of the Employment Service. An important difference, however, was brought to the attention of the Director-General's representatives by the head of an Israeli enterprise in Jerusalem's industrial area, who declared that the status of workers employed on a daily basis ("wage-workers") is upgraded to that of workers employed on a monthly basis ("salaried workers") as a bonus, in recognition of their time on the job, loyalty to the enterprise and good work. According to Israeli employers, wages figured on a daily basis are lower than wages figured on a monthly basis. In addition, in the event of sickness, wage-workers are paid only for days of sick leave which are also working days (pursuant to section 2(b)(2) of the 1976 Act on sick leave), while salaried workers are paid for all days of sick leave, including those which fall on weekly days of rest or during annual leave (section 2(b)(1) of the same Act). Both wage-workers and salaried workers who have worked for 75 consecutive days for the same employer are entitled to annual leave (sections 3 and 4 of the 1951 Act on annual holidays); but while a salaried worker is paid the equivalent of his normal remuneration in respect of days of leave, a wage-worker is paid at the rate of an average daily wage (established by dividing by 90 his wages received during the three months preceding the holiday, which is therefore considerably lower than the remuneration he forfeits by taking leave), multiplied by the number of days of leave to which he is entitled (section lO(b) of the above-mentioned Act. Furthermore, wage-workers are not paid for days on which they are absent from work, while salaried workers may be entitled to pay for such days if their absence from work is due to a curfew or strike. According to officials of the Histadrut, absences attributed to curfews or strikes are investigated by the Employment Service and the trade union organization to ascertain whether such contingencies indeed prevented the worker from coming to work, and where this is so, negotiations are undertaken with the employer to obtain payment for the days in question.
41. It therefore appears that the employment situation is substantially unchanged from previous years; even the extension of the validity of work permits has had no real impact on a system which tends to encourage discriminatory practices. The inequality of opportunity and treatment is evident in access to employment and conditions of employment, both of which are marked by the application of security criteria to the issuance of work permits, and the preference for hiring workers on a daily, rather than monthly, basis. These inequalities contribute to the vulnerability and dependence of the workers of the occupied Arab territories, and expose them to possible arbitrary measures which legislation allows employers and the authorities to take in their regard. There is no doubt that this unjust situation is largely to blame for building up the tensions which have led to violence; it offers virtually no prospects to young people, whatever their level of education. Moreover, it confirms fears expressed in earlier reports to the effect that employment depends not only on the objective requirements of a given job, but to a large extent on ethnic considerations as well.
42. In matters of employment the Arab workers of East Jerusalem and the Golan do not have a different status than those of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, except for the fact that as Israeli residents (by virtue of the annexation of their territories), they are entitled to social benefits not available to non-residents. Israeli legislation applies to all aspects of industrial relations in Israeli enterprises, regardless of whether they are located in Israel or in Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories. Israeli legislation should also apply without distinction to Arab enterprises in the annexed territories; however, Arab hotels and restaurants in East Jerusalem, following the lead of the city's Arab enterprises and shops, have managed to continue to apply the legislation in force in 1967, in other words, Jordanian law. During a series of interviews held in East Jerusalem with several Arab employers, including the President and the General Secretary of the Jerusalem Arab Hotel Association, the Director-General's representatives learned of the serious difficulties facing the hotel sector in East Jerusalem: the lack of any financial or promotional support, the exorbitant level of taxes and the administrative obstacles to the construction of new hotels. In support of their contentions these employers stated that in the past 20 years the number of Israeli hotels had increased by 75 per cent, with a jump of 380 per cent in the number of rooms, while the number of Arab hotels in East Jerusalem had declined by 5 per cent, and the number of rooms had increased by only 3 per cent. In their opinion, this was evidence of unfair competition. Moreover, Arab hotels in East Jerusalem have had to slash their rates to remain competitive.
43. These persons also mentioned that when the "intifadah" began the Israeli authorities had decided to apply the provisions of section 32(a) of the 1959 Act in East Jerusalem, thus requiring hotels and restaurants to recruit all service and cleaning staff through an official Israeli employment office. Consequently, workers from the West Bank could no longer be hired without the intervention of the employment office, thereby making it impossible for the hotels to select their own workers on the basis of personal qualifications, which are so important in the hotel industry (72 per cent of the workers in East Jerusalem hotels come from the West Bank). They stated that this system discriminated between Arabs living in Jerusalem, and those living in the West Bank, although they were in fact one people. They also claimed that the decision in question was unjustified from a social standpoint, explaining that under the 1959 Act the wages of workers from the West Bank would be subject to certain taxes and contributions, but that the workers would not enjoy all the corresponding benefits. Moreover, the decision would prejudice Arab trade unions since the workers would come exclusively under the tutelage of the employment office.
44. According to these Arab employers, the Israeli authorities had argued that their decision would guarantee that workers from the West Bank earned the minimum wage, which had not previously been the case. But these persons claimed that the Act had been adopted without consideration for the specific conditions and economic situation prevailing in East Jerusalem, and that at any rate, fewer than 10 per cent of Arab workers in the city earned less than the minimum wage. They also emphasized that Arab hotels retained their staff at full wages throughout the off-season, while Israeli hotels paid their workers only in respect of the hours they had been asked to work, and that in any cases these hours fell far short of 42 hours per week. Lastly, they complained that these measures, as well as the ban on staying in Israel overnight, applied to Palestinian workers from the West Bank, but not to the Israelis who live in West Bank settlements.
45. Workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who have found work in Israel through an employment office are required to contribute 1 per cent of their wages to the General Federation of Labour (Histadrut), under the "agency shop" trade union system. This contribution guarantees that Arab workers will be covered by collective agreements negotiated in their sector by the Histadrut, and ensures their representation in respect of their employer as regards the application of Israeli labour legislation within the enterprise. However, the contributions paid by Palestinian workers who do not live in Israel or in the annexed territories do not make them full members of the Israeli labour federation. Nor can they become full members even if they so wish, since government decrees expressly prohibit their full affiliation; moreover, the Histadrut has always opposed the full integration of workers from the occupied territories, on the grounds that it would imply the federation's recognition of the annexation of the territories, to which it is opposed.
46. Under the agency shop system, these workers are represented within the enterprise by works committees which they help to elect. In accordance with its by-laws, in enterprises where Palestinian workers number at least 20, or account for at least 10 per cent of the workforce, the Histadrut requests the Palestinian workers to elect one or more of their own representatives to sit on these committees. Histadrut representatives stated that there was one trade union secretary for the occupied Arab territories representing Palestinian workers in 53 committees set up by the trade union organization in Israeli enterprises. Throughout Israel there are 5,000 to 6,000 works committees, each with 3 to 70 members, depending on the size of the enterprise. The Arab workers of the occupied territories are not eligible to hold office and do not have the right to vote in the elections of the Histadrut or its national trade unions. It seems, therefore, that the Palestinian workers of the occupied territories are not adequately and fairly represented in comparison with other workers in the enterprise, and that they enjoy equality only in the application of collective agreements. But even in this connection, it was recognized in the past that works committees often fail to take an interest in the defense of Palestinian workers: in December 1987 the Histadrut intervened with local sections and works committees to remind them of their obligation to ensure that Palestinian workers enjoy the same wages and contractual protection as other trade union members.
47. According to the Director-General's representatives, the ongoing aggravation of the employment problems of the workers of the occupied territories and the differences in treatment to which they are exposed should prompt the Histadrut to take a greater interest in these workers and intensify its action on their behalf. This same suggestion was made in last year's report (paragraph 57), but there is little evidence that it had been heeded. The Director-General's representatives must emphasize that only vigorous trade union action can help to eliminate many of the inequalities in the conditions of employment of the Arab workers of the occupied territories, and lead to the creation of a legal framework which will offer better protection to temporary workers. Inasmuch as the Palestinian workers cannot undertake such an action in Israel through their own trade unions, it falls to the Histadrut to show greater solidarity with these workers with a view to eliminating inequalities in treatment and guaranteeing a more effective protection.
THE SOCIAL INSURANCE SYSTEM
48. A number of statutory deductions made from the gross wages of workers employed in Israel, including workers from the occupied Arab territories who hold a work permit, vary according to whether they are employed in industry or services (Circular No. 10/87 of the Employment Service), or construction (Circular No. 12/87 of the Employment Service). Deductions for national social insurance are the same for all workers (Circular No.40/88); they amount to 16.2 per cent of the gross wage and may be broken down as follows:
Industrial 0.5555 Accident
In addition, the following percentages, which differ according to sector, are deductible as social security contributions and taxes:
All told, in the
sector the employer pays 10.85 per cent plus 36.33 per cent plus 4 per cent (employers' tax), totaling 51.18 per cent, while the worker pays 5.35 per cent(national insurance) plus 5.5 per cent (pension and miscellaneous) plus 1 per cent (Histadrut), totaling 11.85 per cent. Employers in
industry or services
pay 28.35 per cent and the worker 11.35 per cent. Additional charges are a contribution of about 43 Israeli shekels per month for entitlement to medical care in Israel and income tax withheld at source at the same rate as residents in Israel.
9. These deductions call for the following comments. In the construction sector, 2.5 per cent of the employer's 36.33 per cent share is earmarked for the social development of the territories; how these funds are actually used is unclear and very difficult to ascertain. Out of the 16.2 per cent of gross wages paid as contributions to national insurance, only 1.3 per cent is used to finance benefits for the worker; the remaining 14.9 per cent is paid into a special fund which, owing to its size and the fact that its intended use has not been disclosed by the State, has become a source of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. An elementary calculation based on the current minimum wage (750 Israeli shekels) for normal hours of work, the number of currently valid work permits (about 46,000 in December 1988) and the US dollar exchange rate (1 dollar = 1.80 Israeli shekels), shows that the 14.9 per cent that is paid on the basis of the Palestinian workers' wages adds up to $2.8 million per month. The benefits covered by the 1.3 per cent contribution are those paid in the event of industrial accidents, maternity and the employer's bankruptcy, and are the only benefits paid back to eligible workers of the occupied territories. In the case of maternity, the law provides for a special allowance of US$150 to cover the cost of hospitalization and clothing, on condition that the child is born in Israel, a rare occurrence for the Muslim residents of the occupied territories, the more so because, as was pointed out in the section entitled "Conditions of employment in Israel", residents of the occupied territories are not allowed to spend the night in Israel except with a special permit linked to their work.
50. As regards paid leave, the pay granted in respect of paid annual leave by the Department of Social Payments of the Employment Service to a construction worker is 12 days with up to 12 additional days, depending on seniority (Circular No. 12/87 mentioned above), although the Annual Leave Law of 1951 provides, in section 3(a), that the duration of paid leave shall be 14 days for the first four years up to a maximum of 14 additional days, depending on seniority. Industrial workers are entitled only to 12 days, without any additional leave in respect of seniority. In this specific case, Israeli law is not fully observed.
51. The social insurance deductions indicated in the Employment Service circulars (18.5 per cent in industry and services and 41.83 per cent in construction) are used to finance insurance to which Palestinian workers of the occupied territories are not entitled, since the grant of benefit is conditional upon residence in Israel: this applies to old-age and survivors' insurance, and invalidity, occupational disease, dismissal, unemployment, sickness and convalescence insurance.
52. Thus, the situation as regards deductions and social benefit resembles that of previous years. It is not satisfactory and has not undergone any of the changes advocated in the previous recommendations of the Director-General, i.e. elimination of inequalities of treatment in this respect between Palestinian workers from the occupied territories and Israeli workers, and the development of social protection in these territories for the benefit of these workers and their families.
53. Palestinian workers have always complained that they are treated equally as far as deductions from their wages are concerned but that they are discriminated against as regards grant of benefits conditional upon residence in Israel. In order to justify their position, the Israeli authorities have always stated that if the deductions from Palestinians' wages were and corresponded to the benefits provided, this would infringe the legal principle of equality among workers within the enterprises and constitute unfair competition vis-à-vis employers between resident workers on the one hand and non-residents on other. The Israeli authorities are concerned to equalize the cost of labour. Nevertheless, in the view of the Director-General's representatives, it should be possible to solutions without infringing this principle of equality as regards deductions, in order to promote the application of the principle of equal treatment between Israeli workers and Palestinian workers from the occupied Arab territories. For example, in the case of the social benefits which are not paid Palestinian workers who do not reside in Israel, the funds accumulated over the years out of their contributions, in addition to the special fund, should be used and be seen to be used for the benefit of the inhabitants of the territories. as it was pointed in the section on the economic situation in occupied territories, the needs of the Palestinian population considerable, whether in the sphere of economic development, health, social welfare or vocational training.
54. The comprehensive study of social benefits undertaken two years ago by the Ministry of Labour and referred to in previous reports has just been completed. According to the Israeli authorities in the Ministry of Labour, it is purely descriptive, comparing the schemes applied in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel itself. The Director-General's representatives consider that it should be the starting-point investigation aimed at improving an inequitable system that a source of conflict and frustration. This system also evidently encourages both Palestinian workers and Israeli employers to resort to irregular employment, which is at variance with the wish expressed by the Israeli authorities to put an end to such employment. The ILO has always been prepared to provide the necessary assistance towards setting up an appropriate social security system in the occupied territories. Such assistance been offered for years and will continue to be available even though it has not yet been accepted by the authorities.
55. The current system remains one of the fundamental and disquieting problems besetting Arab workers from the occupied territories, to which solutions must be found in order to eliminate its discriminatory nature. Between 105,000 and 109,000 workers are affected: over half of them are in an irregular situation and thus deprived of essential and fundamental rights which every worker nowadays should enjoy vis-à-vis his employer, while the other half, in regular employment, contribute substantially to a system of social protection from which they benefit only to a small extent. However, because of the poor economic situation of the occupied territories, employment in Israel - despite the sizeable deductions from wages - still pays better than employment in the place of residence of the Palestinian workers; and irregular employment is even more tempting, since an employer who can save on social security contributions and taxes is in a position to offer the worker a slightly higher net remuneration. Thus, the adverse consequences of the situation described above make it even more necessary to establish appropriate and efficient social protection for Palestinian workers and their families within the framework of an equitable system which the ILO could help to devise and set up.
OBSERVANCE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
56. The importance which the ILO attaches to freedom of association, a principle embodied in the Preamble to its Constitution, was constantly borne in mind during the visit of the Director-General's representatives to Israel and the occupied Arab territories. As on previous missions, they observed that the exercise of this freedom in the occupied territories was deeply affected by the state of occupation, where the broader concepts of security and law and order are considered by the authorities in control to be of prime importance.
57. Under the legislation in force in the West Bank (Labour Code of 1960 of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) any group of 20 workers in the same occupation or establishment may form a trade union. The number of trade unions registered is 31, but since 1979 no application for registration has been accepted by the authorities of the civil administration of the territories. A number of trade unions therefore operate without being registered. The situation is substantially the same in the Gaza Strip, where the labour legislation dating back to the Egyptian mandate (Act of 1954) is still in force and contains provisions on the exercise of trade union activities; officially, there are seven trade unions grouped together in a federation. The even applicable legislation has been amended by military orders (over 2,000 orders have been issued for the occupied territories).
58. For many years, allegations of violation of freedom of association have referred to the closure of trade union premises after they had been ransacked by the army and documents seized, the banning of trade union meetings, restrictions on the freedom of movement of trade unionists or trade union leaders, etc. Trade union organizations in the occupied territories or based abroad and international trade union organizations have repeatedly requested the Director-General of the ILO to intervene with the Israeli Government in order to put an end to violations of freedom of association. From April 1988 to March 1989, the Israeli Government was requested some ten times on behalf of the Director-General to reply to allegations relating to the closure of trade union premises, and the arrest, house arrest, expulsion or threat of expulsion of trade unionists. In the case of most of the trade unionists concerned, the Israeli Government stated in communications to the Director-General dated 20 and 21 February 1989 that the action taken against the trade unionists referred to was justified by their membership of political groups (Fatah, PFLP, DFLP, Shabiba) and their activities within these groups; that the closure of the premises of the General Federation of Trade Unions of Nablus on 25 August 1983 for two years was motivated by the fact that they had been used for political purposes on behalf of Fatah and Shabiba under the guise of trade union activities; and that the trade union premises of Beit Hanina which were closed on 28 August 1988 had been used by seven trade unions whose meetings "were generally of an extremist nationalist character, their aim being to encourage illegal activities against state security". During their meetings with senior officials of the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv, the Director-Generals representatives gave them a list of trade unionists on whose behalf the Director-General had intervened in April and May 1988 and concerning whom no information had yet been received from the Israeli Government, so that the observations of the Israeli authorities could be communicated to the Director-General of the ILO. In the course of conversations with the military authorities, the Director-General's representatives were given lengthy explanations regarding the political activities of trade unionists in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, on their links with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its factions and on the organizational structure of the "PLO terrorist operations through the West Bank and Gaza labour unions".
59. On the other hand, the trade unionists whom the director-General’s representatives met confined themselves, as in previous years, to work-related aspects of the problems of the Palestinian workers whom they represent. They informed them of the many difficulties which they encountered in exercising their legitimate trade union activities, their administrative and police harassment and the coercive measures against them mentioned above. Nevertheless, they do their best to carry out their duties as trade unionists. Some trade unionists gave examples of their contacts and negotiations with Arab employers on behalf of Palestinian workers. On the other hand, it is virtually impossible for them to defend and promote the interests of the Arab workers employed in Israeli enterprises, though they make every effort to inform them of their rights and provide assistance wherever necessary. As was mentioned in the section on employment, the Histadrut is the trade union organization to which workers in regular employment in Israel are obliged to contribute. However, the Palestinians do not consider the representation afforded by this trade union through its works committees to be sufficient and usually prefer to join a trade union operating in the occupied territories, of which they can be full members (which is not possible in the Histadrut) and which they have chosen in accordance with the principles of freedom of association.
60. In the Gaza Strip the Director-General's representatives visited the headquarters of the "Palestinian trade union in the Gaza Strip", an umbrella organization, where they held lengthy discussions with its General Secretary, with the leaders of the seven trade unions grouped together in this organization, and with other trade unionists. In addition to hearing allegations of harassment by the military authorities, the Director-General's representatives were reminded that on 21 January 1988 the military authorities had ransacked the premises of the building industry trade union, broken into cabinets and seized documents and files. The General Secretary of the Palestinian trade unions in the Gaza Strip was questioned about the financial situation and the accounts of the organization by the tax office. Six months later, after the authorities had to admit that no violation of legislation had been committed, all but a few of the documents and files were returned to the trade union. The trade unionists also referred to the authorization received from the authorities to reopen the trade union's dispensary which had been closed in spring 1986 and which they are reorganizing so that it may resume providing free medical care to members and their families.
61. In addition, Case No. 1414 which was pending before the Committee on Freedom of Association at the time of the previous mission was examined by the Committee in May 1988.
/ It concerned a complaint alleging violations of trade union rights and in the Gaza Strip, presented by the Gaza Building Workers' and them Carpenters' Union and the Gaza Commercial and Public Service out Workers' Union. Two sets of allegations were presented: firstly, non-recognition by the authorities of the new executive committees of the two complainant unions, elected in February and April 1987, and the ban on their involvement in trade union rests activities; and secondly, physical harassment of trade unionists and union leaders and the arrests made in June 1987. The complainants linked these various incidents to the oppression of the Gaza trade unions, which are attempting to resume their activities on behalf of their members after a long period of inactivity dating back to 1967. In its definitive conclusions in the this case, the Committee emphasised "the importance of the principle which guarantees the right of workers' organizations to elect their representatives in full freedom", and reminded the Government that "the practice of giving a broad interpretation to trade union election legislation so as to deprive certain persons of the right to hold elected posts solely on the grounds of their political belief or affiliation is not compatible with this right". The Committee also considered that "the ban on it's involvement in any union activities applied to eight recently elected members of trade union executive committees should be reviewed in the light of ILO principles on freedom of with association". Lastly, the Committee recalled that "the apprehension and systematic or arbitrary interrogation by the police of trade union leaders involves a danger of abuse". This, message should be heeded by the authorities who should, in conformity with the principles of freedom of association, abstain from any interference in the trade union activities of the Palestinian trade unions of Gaza.
62. In the West Bank and in East Jerusalem the Director-General’s representatives met sector-level trade unions, as mentioned above, and federations grouping together several trade unions. The trade union leaders described the many problems encountered by workers in their jobs and in their relations with the military authorities and expressed their concern regarding the deterioration of the economic situation, the increasing unemployment, and the numerous arrests and curfews; all of these aspects have been dealt with in the preceding sections.
63. The Palestinian trade unionists made particular mention of the total disregard which, in their view, the Israeli Government continues to display of the recommendations contained in the reports of the Director-General. More specifically, the trade unionists stated that they suffered continuous harassment by the military authorities, who interfere in their activities, regularly carry out unexpected raids on trade union premises, accompanied by brutal searches, and arrest trade unionists on any pretext. For example, they stated that 31 out of 47 members of the Council of a federation of East Jerusalem have already been arrested since the beginning of the "intifadah" and that 1,500 of the workers represented by this federation are, or have been, in detention. In addition, members of the federation are regularly subjected to intimidation by the authorities, who order them to stay away from the union premises.
64. As regards the General Federation of Trade Unions in the West Bank, established in Nablus, it is no longer able to use its premises, which were closed by the army on 25 August 1988 - a measure regarding which action has been taken by the Director-General, as stated above. Since the Federation now has no premises, and because of the curfew in Nablus, the Director-General's representatives met its General Secretary at his home. The Federation, established in 1965, is the main one in the West Bank and has 80,000 members. During the discussions, the General Secretary emphasized the need, in the current difficult circumstances, to defend actively the interests of Palestinian workers in enterprises of the occupied territories, such as those in Ramallah or in Bethlehem, where the trade union was called upon by the employer to intervene in a labour dispute and to gather information concerning the labour market so as to set up a system of reliable statistics with the object of organising trade union activity more efficiently. The trade unions are powerless to promote the occupational interests of their members working in Israel, which is the exclusive prerogative of the Histadrut; it should be emphasised in this connection that, while the privileges afforded to a majority trade union which is an exclusive bargaining agent are not contrary to the principles of freedom of association, the Palestinian trade unions to which Arab workers are affiliated should have the right to defend the interests of their members within the enterprise employing them, especially as Palestinian workers are unable to become full members of the Histadrut should they wish to do so. The Palestinian trade unions also direct their efforts towards social assistance in health and education in order to meet the growing needs in the occupied territories. The General Secretary of the Federation denied the accusations made against trade union leaders of being PLO activists and terrorists and emphasized his lively interest in labour matters, which, moreover, had been mentioned in the Israeli press; he stated that he had been recognized as a genuine trade union leader by foreign trade unions in Denmark, Egypt, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom, which have formally invited him to visit them; he fears, however, that it is likely that he will be unable to take up these invitations as it is necessary to obtain a visa from the military authorities. The point was made that visas to travel abroad are issued at the authorities' discretion and that some trade union leaders are allowed more freedom to travel on trade union business than others, depending on the circumstances. Freedom of movement of trade union leaders, even within the occupied territories, is subject, as for everyone else, to the good will of the military authorities. This year of again, this trade union leader mentioned to the Director-General's representatives the interrogations to which the secret police subjected him following his meeting with them the previous year.
65. Trade union movements for the defence of Palestinian women workers, like the federations visited, appear to have organized themselves more efficiently. During the meeting with the Union of Palestinian Working Women's Committees, emphasis was laid on the growing and active determination of women in promoting better living and working conditions. For example, when the trade union called for a boycott of the products of the "Polgat" Israeli textile enterprise in protest against the dismissal of 40 Palestinian workers for striking, the boycott was strictly observed.
66. Another problem brought to the attention of the Director-General's representatives concerned the fishermen of Gaza, with whom meetings were held last year together with their trade union. These workers' difficulties appear to have worsened since the last visit. The fact is that the military authorities have taken measures to place the fishing zone under surveillance and combat smuggling efficiently. From now on, fishermen may only fish at fixed hours and within a limited distance and can no longer return at night; the size and power of their vessels must be restricted to ensure that they are below those of patrol boats; in addition, the fishermen must moor their boats along a new dock guarded by soldiers which it is impossible to enter or leave without going through registration formalities.
/ The fishermen view this new regulation as unacceptable and have carried out a protest as a result. A trade union leader whom the Director-General’s representatives met in East Jerusalem stated that the fishermen had been on strike for 40 days.
67. During the many discussions they held with Palestinian trade unionists and workers in the occupied Arab territories, the Director-General’s representatives noted that their observation made the year before, that a more acute and more responsible trade union spirit had developed, was even more in evidence this year. Events both within and outside the occupied Arab territories appear to have contributed to this spirit.
68. The trade union situation in the occupied Arab territories continues to be a matter for extreme concern. The violations of trade union rights, interference in trade union activities and the repression against trade unionists constitute infringements of the principle of freedom of association embodied the Preamble of the ILO Constitution. One can only deplore such violations, whose effect is to destroy the trade union movement by preventing members of trade union organizations from participating in normal trade union life; they create an atmosphere of intimidation and a climate of violence which tend to draw workers away from trade unions and make their leaders' work more difficult. Tripartism and the dialogue which it implies should be used by the authorities as a positive force to enhance the economic and social development of the occupied Arab territories and the welfare of the entire population. Social peace cannot be achieved without concertation and dialogue, and there can be no concertation on social and labour matters without respect for freedom of association. It is essential to bear in mind that workers' and employers' organizations have their own duties to perform irrespective of the political problems surrounding them, and that a distinction must be drawn between such problems and matters relating to the exercise of freedom of association, on which the defence and promotion of workers' occupational interests depend.
69. It is true that, for serious reasons involving a country's security or in a state of emergency, restrictions on certain trade union rights may be temporarily applied. However, one cannot but note that, in the occupied territories, interference by the army in the exercise of trade union activities has often taken place in an indiscriminate and exaggerated manner without any account being taken of the genuine trade union activity that exists.
IMPACT OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SETTLEMENTS ON THE
LIFE OF ARAB WORKERS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
70. Previous reports have dealt with the economic and social consequences of the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories. In 1980 the International Labour Conference expressed concern in this connection and called for an end to the establishment of settlements and the dismantling of existing settlements. According to the Arab spokesmen, the settlement policy aggravates the difficulties of development in this region. It is also, in their view, a source of discrimination, as residents in the occupied Arab territories enjoy different rights according to whether they are Arab workers or inhabitants of the settlements.
71. During their visit this year, the Director-General's representatives were informed by several spokesmen, both Israeli and Arab, that new settlements had been established or old ones expanded.
According to Mr. Benvenisti, investment in West Bank settlements in 1984-85 constituted almost one-third of total public investment in infrastructure for the whole country.
72. The annexation by the State of Israel of East Jerusalem and the Golan meant that Jewish settlements there are not considered by the Israeli authorities to be colonies. This annexation also resulted in a generally uniform application of Israeli legislation, administration and jurisdiction in these territories. In the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, on the other hand, the legislation in force is a mixture of various legal systems inherited from the Ottoman empire, the British or the Egyptian mandate, or from Jordan, in addition to Israeli military orders. The Israeli settlements, however, are considered by the Israeli Government as Israeli territory; Israeli legislation applies there and their inhabitants are deemed to be resident in Israel for the purpose of any entitlement based on the criterion of residence in Israel. In legal, economic and fiscal terms, these Israeli settlements are "islands" of Israeli territory. As several Arab spokesmen pointed out, this legal situation has led to discrimination between two types of workers in these territories.
73. Thus, the Law of 1984 extending to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip the enforcement of the emergency regulations contains a section 6B, under which any Israeli citizen -or anyone who is eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return -living in the occupied territories shall be treated as if he were a resident of Israel. In addition, a Regulation issued under the National Insurance Law in 1987 secured for all Israeli citizens (or anyone who is eligible to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return) living in the occupied territories entitlement to the 11 types of benefit provided for by the legislation on national insurance.On the other hand, as was pointed out on previous occasions, non-residence in Israel is cited as grounds for refusing Arab workers of these territories the social benefits to which the payment of contributions would normally entitle them.
74. The same duality is to be seen if one studies the economic situation of these areas. It should be pointed out that the economy of the settlements established in the occupied Arab territories is included in the figures for the economy of the State of Israel. The distinction is to be found, in particular, In all of the problems of infrastructure mentioned by the Arab Spokesmen, especially those relating to water, electricity and Communications, which are essential factors of economic and Social development. The crucial importance of water supply in the Middle East, especially for agriculture, is well known. A recent study of Mr. Benvenisti shows that the per capita water consumption of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank is twice the amount of water allowed for each Palestinian inhabitant of the occupied territories.
/Previous reports of the Director-General, and that of 1988 in particular, referred to the controls imposed by the military authorities, who prohibit the sinking of new artesian wells and impose strict quotas on existing wells, from which pumping (which, according to the Israeli military authorities, used to be quite haphazard) is not always allowed. The Arab inhabitants of the occupied Arab territories complain constantly that the water supply is frequently cut off; the Director-General's representatives were told that most of the time they had to install emergency water reservoirs to collect rain-water in order to irrigate their land.
75. As regards the electricity supply, the Electricity Company of East Jerusalem, a Palestinian public enterprise, supplied all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem until 31 December 1987. Since then, their concession has been renewed only subject to changes and certain conditions: in particular, it had to stop supplying electricity to the Israeli settlements, which resulted in a loss of 40 per cent of its users, and transfer its installations to the Israeli Electric Corporation. Its financial difficulties increased, compelling the enterprise gradually to cut back production to about 5 per cent and to buy Israeli production for resale; these difficulties also made the situation of the workers employed by this enterprise more precarious. As regards communications, it was also observed that road alignment and construction is more a reflection of the plans of the authorities controlling the area than of the transportation needs of the population of the West Bank of the Jordan.
76. In order for settlements to be established, land confiscated by the army or, more often, by the State is allocated to them by the government authorities. According to both Arab and Israeli estimates, over 52 per cent of the total area of the West Bank and over 40 per cent of the Gaza Strip have been seized since 1967. Appropriation has been and continues to be carried out either by transferring to the Israeli State land abandoned by expatriated populations or registered in the past (for the West Bank, in the name of the State of Jordan), or by declaring uncultivated, unregistered land as state land. Confiscation of land may also result from a declaration of public need and benefit, mainly for the construction of roads for the settlements. Land seized is used for establishing new settlements, the construction of access roads to these settlements or roads linking them, public institutions or the expansion of existing settlements. The military authorities may also at any time prohibit or halt construction of Palestinian houses or buildings and seize land for security reasons.
THE SITUATION IN THE GOLAN
77. In this area, which was visited as it has been every year by the Director-General's representatives, the situation remains the same as in previous years, despite the impact of certain events that have taken place. The Arab population in the Golan continues to consider itself under military occupation despite the annexation of the territory by the Israeli Government on 14 December 1981, and the anniversary of the first strike protesting against this decision which began on 14 February 1982, is still celebrated every year. Estimates of the number of Arab inhabitants fluctuate between 14,000 and 15,000, to which must be added some 7,500 Jewish settlers. Jewish settlements are established in the Golan to the detriment of the inhabitants. The same can be said of all settlements in the occupied territories, since they entail confiscation of land and tapping of water resources, not to mention the hostility to which they give rise because of the inhabitants' feeling of being deprived of lands which belong to them. The problems of the Arab population in the Golan arise both from the settlers' presence and from the state of occupation. They involve questions of economic resources, agriculture and livestock, and education.
78. Agriculture, and in particular the cultivation of fruit trees and the raising of livestock, provides the main resources of the inhabitants of the Golan. Land cannot be boundary-marked without the authorization of the Israeli military authorities, who regularly take aerial photographs in order to keep a check on crops and unused land. When a piece of land has been abandoned for three years it is seized by the authorities; in addition, cultivation of new land requires authorization -in other words, new cultivation is not allowed.
79. The irrigation that is needed for the cultivation of fruit trees (mainly apple trees) and other crops is subject to strict quotas and is distributed exclusively by the "Mekorot" Israeli Water Company which taps water from the Golan springs and the Massada lake to supply the settlements. The Golan 1nhabltants complain that these installations cause the Water-table to drop, so that the Syrian authorities have had to slok wells on the other side of the cease-fire line in order to Supply the village of Massada. In addition, for some years Arab landowners have built uncovered water reservoirs to collect rain-water in order to irrigate their crops and meet their personal needs. The presence of these reservoirs, the number of which impressed the Director-General's representatives on their previous visit in March 1988, is the focus of a trial of strength between the inhabitants of the Golan and the military authorities. Firstly, the building of reservoirs is prohibited without authorization, which the inhabitants have never obtained since they refuse to meet the requisite conditions. They then decided to build the reservoirs, but doing so at night to avoid any clash with the army. The inhabitants have always pointed out that they cannot be denied the right to collect rain-water, which in season is abundant on the Golan Heights and that reservoirs are their only means of irrigating their crops sufficiently and at an affordable cost. The authorities' reaction was to dynamite some reservoirs or ask the inhabitants to destroy them themselves if they were built without the authorization of the Israeli Water Company. Thus, 12 to 15 reservoirs have been destroyed since last year, inflicting substantial losses on their owners, who claim that each reservoir costs up to US $8,000. A lawsuit is currently pending before the Israeli courts concerning the destruction of reservoirs which occurred without proper legal procedures being followed.
80. Other means of pressure have been denounced by the inhabitants of the Golan: the apple crop, their main source of income, is becoming increasingly difficult to sell on the Israeli market, which is the only available commercial outlet since farmers in the Golan no longer have permission to export their produce directly. Their apples may be sold only through an Israeli agricultural co-operative located in Galilee, which buys them at a price that has dropped by 60 per cent since last year. In addition, the market which used to be available in the occupied territories has become unstable and the Golan farmers believe that the Israelis make sure that their produce does not reach there. For all of these reasons, the Director-General's representatives were told that the inhabitants who cultivate apples and other agricultural products would like to be able to avail themselves of the opportunity recently afforded to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of exporting their products directly to the EEC countries if it is not possible to export them to the Syrian Arab Republic, which is still prohibited.
81. Livestock is another source of conflict between the Golan inhabitants and the Israeli authorities. As was mentioned in the previous report, special authorizations are needed to raise black goats, and herds accused of damaging Israeli settlers' crops have been seized by the army and sold off at bargain prices.
82. The inhabitants expressed the view that the Israeli authorities were seeking to weaken their fighting spirit and resistance and to ruin their economy so that to survive they will have no alternative but to emigrate or to work in Israel in enterprises which would pay them minimal wages for the most menial jobs, while traditionally they have always worked the land and raised livestock.
83. Education is another aspect of the situation that was mentioned again to the Director-General's representatives. Cases of teachers being dismissed for striking on 14 February 1987 have old been reported; their reinstatement is conditional on their out signing a statement of allegiance to the Government of Israel. Most teachers have refused to accept the conditions laid down by the authorities, so that the education situation has become and critical and a matter of considerable concern for the ite inhabitants, who believe their cultural identity is at stake. yes University education in Israel is hardly possible, as universities are beyond the means of most inhabitants of the Golan. The only alternative is to study in the USSR with the cost being covered by the Syrian Government. It appears that, in is line with the inhabitants' wishes, an easing of relations between he the Israeli authorities and the Golan authorities will make it al possible for young persons to study in Damascus, which has been prohibited for the last two years following the violent demonstrations of 14 February 1987.
8. The situation of the Arab inhabitants of the Golan is difficult and the Director-General's representatives observed that no substantial improvement is in sight. The traditional means of subsistence of this population should be respected without harassment by the military authorities and without discriminatory practices. There can be no doubt that the adoption of a number of measures such as the unconditional reinstatement of dismissed teachers, the possibility to export agricultural produce directly abroad and the cessation of administrative and economic harassment would contribute to a considerable improvement of the situation. The Director-General’s representatives hope that appropriate measures will be taken in this direction.
85. As stated in the Introduction, this report has been drawn up on the basis of information, studies and research from various sources. As usual, care has been taken to maintain objectivity in analysing the situation and to bear in mind the ILO’s sphere of competence. The objective has been to contribute to the application of the Organisation's fundamental principles as regards the living and working conditions of the Arab workers of the occupied Arab territories and, by the same token, to an improvement in their social welfare. The Director-General's representatives welcome the fact that they obtained the fullest co-operation and assistance in the fulfillment of their mandate from the Israeli authorities, the Palestinian representatives and the Arab authorities, which enabled them to gather the necessary information during their mission. The complexity of the situation in the occupied Arab territories is such that the Director-General's representatives do not claim to have highlighted all the difficulties or to have put forward all the h solutions which may be envisaged. Reference is made in this a respect to the recommendations at the end of each of the sections of this report, to which the Director-General draws the attention of the Conference and the Israeli Government.
86. Obviously, the context in which the Director-General's an missions have been carried out since 1978 has changed radically in the last few years. Last year's report referred already to oc the abrupt change that had taken place since December 1987 with the outbreak of the "intifadah". In these new circumstances, it is becoming increasingly clear that all possible steps must be taken to ensure a genuine economic and social development of the occupied Arab territories that will truly take into account the needs and aspirations of the population concerned. The ILO, for its part, will unflaggingly pursue its efforts, within its mandate, and continue to offer technical assistance in order to use promote and secure in this region, as in other regions of the au world, the fundamental principles of the International Labour or; Organisation.
Geneva, 11 April 1989.
TECHNICAL CO-OPERATION TO THE OCCUPIED
ARAB TERRITORIES IN 1988-89
1. Since its last report, the International Labour Office the has pursued its activities to assist workers in the occupied Arab his territories. A number of projects planned earlier have been carried out, whilst others have been deferred because of the difficult circumstances prevailing in the territories since 9 December 1987. The programme for these activities is prepared and updated by the Director-General's representatives in the l's light of the needs they identify during visits to Israel and the occupied Arab territories and in the course of their to consultations with the Arab Governments and organizations ith concerned. The programme also takes account of the outcome of it the inter-agency meetings on economic and social assistance to be the Palestinian people which are convened regularly by the United the Nations.
2. The programme is designed and implemented in close its co-operation with the UNDP, whose representatives in Jerusalem to usually undertake the negotiations with the Israeli occupation the authorities and the follow-up on all project proposals of our organizations of the United Nations family in this field, whatever the method of financing.
3. In the last report, it was apparent - on the basis of the needs identified and the priorities determined - that three main areas required ILO assistance to Palestinian workers: vocational training in general, trade union training and the training of entrepreneurs.
4. As regards vocational training, action was taken on the initial proposals made by an ILO consultant expert after a mission he undertook in April/May 1987 to evaluate the corresponding needs for skilled manpower and training in the main sectors of activity and occupation. Proposals for the development of training programmes and institutions to meet these needs were, during an initial stage, oriented towards a certain number of actions designed to set up specific training programme for various skills - especially for the training of instructors. In November/December 1988, an ILO consultant expert was sent on mission (funded by the ILO regular budget) to Jerusalem to hold Various consultations in close co-operation with the UNDP. It is proposed to implement this project in the second half of 1989. A second mission to train travelling instructors is also envisaged.
5. The need for trade union training has been stressed on
several occasions in previous reports. The ILO International
Centre for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training in Turin had devised a training programme for developing workers education, intended to equip Palestinian trade unionists with the know-how to strengthen their ability to run their own unions and to promote and defend their members" occupational interests. It was hoped that this programme would have a multiplier effect and that those participating in it might in turn be able to provide their colleagues with trade union training. To attain this objective, a course on training methodology for trade union instructors was prepared by the Turin Centre, financed by the regular budget for technical co-operation (approximately $70,000); it was to be held in Amman (Jordan) in April 1988. However, since a large number of the participants who had been expected did not turn up, the course had to be cancelled at the last moment. The ILO's proposals to transfer the course to Geneva, London or Turin failed to materialism because of the difficulties the participants would have had in obtaining the necessary travel authorizations and because of the tension now prevailing on the trade union scene in the region. The ILO is trying to organise this course in the near future, as well as other courses of a similar nature elsewhere.
6. The ILO usually responds favourably to requests for grants provided they are within the scope of its educational programme. In July 1988, for example, a Palestinian trade unionist undertook a three-week training course at ILO headquarters in Geneva, where he followed a varied and full oroaramme on the training of labour administrators.
7. As regards the training of entrepreneurs, the Turin Centre has prepared a two-tier programme, to be financed by the UNDP, to supplement the programmed previously carried out in this field. First of all there is a project designed to supplement the training of entrepreneurs from the West Bank and Gaza; the courses are to be given locally in association with the University of Bethlehem. This project, which was originally to have been carried out in 1988, could be implemented as soon as arrangements can be made at the local level. A second project concerns the training of instructors in entrepreneurship development skills and follows the pattern of the three previous programmed carried out in 1984-86 for participants from small and medium-sized enterprises. This project is intended for teachers from higher education institutions which have or would like to set up entrepreneur training units. As with the first project, implementation measures are being examined.
8. The ILO is giving increasing attention to the vocational rehabilitation of handicapped persons, not only because their number has been steadily rising since the beginning of the uprising but also because their occupational reintegration has become more difficult in the light of present labour market conditions; what is more, vocational training is inadequate.
Contacts have been established for organizing a programme to set up, strengthen or develop activities for the vocational rehabilitation of handicapped persons. To this end, it has been decided to send a consultant to the region in the near future to study, together with the UNDP, funding possibilities and ways of implementing a sound rehabilitation programme for these workers.
9. It will be recalled that a seminar on product promotion and marketing was organized by the UNDP in Jerusalem in March 1986 for Palestinian women from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The topics discussed covered product promotion and marketing, new associations and co-operatives, in the context of the needs of small producers. Recommendations were submitted on these points and, to put them into effect, a project is being drawn up concerning the vocational training of Palestinian women in the field of co-operatives. It would be carried out in two stages: first, there would be a training course for about 15 participants, then, at a later stage, follow-up would be provided by the local UNDP office. The financing could be provided jointly by the UNDP and the ILO.
10. Further fields in which technical assistance might be granted are the following: special programmer likely to contribute to the employment and training of women; replacement work that might be necessary as a result of the disruptions in the labour market; the occupational reintegration of persons who have been in prison and consequently have difficulties in finding a job; social security; occupational safety and health in the broad sense of the term; assistance to organizations for agricultural workers and extension services.
11. The need for these activities has, in some instances, become pressing in view of the developments in the occupied Arab territories since December 1987 - and the ILO is attempting to finalise methods of implementing them. This might take the form of grants, seminars, training courses or advice given by a consultant sent to the area; the implementation is facilitated when needs are clearly identified in advance and when there is a specific and pressing demand.
12. The financing of projects to assist workers in the occupied Arab territories is covered by a special allocation in the ILO's regular budget for technical co-operation. For the 1988-89 biennium this allocation was US$100,000. It was agreed that this sum, based on expenditure for the previous period, might be increased if further requirements arose during project implementation or if needs could not be met by other methods of financing. Funds granted in this way cover expenditure in respect of courses and seminars as well as of expert missions for the elaboration and evaluation of various projects.
13. Technical co-operation to Palestinian workers in the occupied territories is also financed by the UNDP; it not only finances its own projects but also those proposed by the ILO, which is then sometimes required to finance the mission of the expert sent to prepare the proposed project. The UNDP programme includes -at least until 1991 -various other projects in the fields of employment development, agriculture, crafts and industry as well as in training, especially for women. The ILO will probably undertake the implementation of some of these projects, either entirely or in part, provided that they are within its terms of reference.
14. As regards the possibilities of multi-bilateral financing by national or regional agencies concerned, steps have been taken with a view to mobilizing more concerted action. At the inter-agency meetings convened by the United Nations on economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people (see paragraph l), intergovernmental organizations or bodies such as the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Commission of the European Communities were represented in order to promote both the co-ordination of their own programmes with those of the United Nations family, and the possibility of their making contributions to these latter programmed. Although the national and regional agencies that are likely to participate in these efforts generally prefer to do so through their own projects rather than by financing those of other organizations, contacts are being maintained so as to develop co-ordination and co-operation between these agencies and the ILO in this field.
COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED FROM ARAB COUNTRIES
The following has been compiled from documentation received in connection with the consultations mentioned in paragraph 2 of the present report.
According to these communications, Arab workers in the occupied Arab territories have been enduring increasing hardship and difficulties since the beginning of the "intifadah" (uprising). Despite the resolutions of international institutions condemning Israeli practices against the Arab population of the occupied territories, the Israeli authorities continued to use force throughout 1988. Thus, they stepped up their action during the "intifadah": attacks on trade union premises, arrests and deportation of trade unionists, increase in the taxes levied on employers and economic establishments and closure of schools and universities throughout 1988.
The population and the labour force
Statistics show that in 1988 the Arab population residing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip numbered to 1,582,320 persons; 63.7 per cent of this population live in the West Bank and 36.3 per cent in the Gaza Strip. The Arab labour force in these territories amounted in 1988 to 302,529 male and female workers, 198,590 of whom were employed in the West Bank and 103,939 in the Gaza Strip. The Jordanian report provides a statistical table of the distribution of the Arab labour force of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1988, according to the main sectors of the economy (in percentages).
Employment of Arab workers from the
occupied territories in Israel
Given the deterioration of security in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1988, the number of Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel in 1988 dropped by 60 per cent compared with 1987. In 1988, there were 39,880 Arab workers from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip employed in the various sectors of the Israeli economy; of these, 40 per cent were regularly employed while 60 per cent were in irregular employment. The Jordanian report provides a statistical table showing the distribution of these workers among the different sectors of the Israeli economy in 1988.
Unemployment increased in 1988 by between 20 and 25 per cent, thus affecting the Arab labour force in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This increase is due to the fact that several economic establishments have ceased their activities and that recourse has no longer been had to the many Arab workers normally employed in Israel or in the service sector (education, public health, etc.) in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. All of this has led to a decline in employment opportunities.
COLONISATION PRACTICES IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
The "intifadah" has not prevented the occupation authorities from continuing to apply their colonization policy, which underlies the Israeli laws providing for confiscation of land, ostensibly for reasons of national security or public interest, and at the same time serving the expansionist designs of the occupation authorities. Thus, the area of land confiscated from 1967 to 1988 in the West Bank represents 50.3 per cent of the total area of the West Bank (which is 5,500,000 dunams), while the land confiscated in the Gaza Strip represents 42.3 per cent of the total area of this territory (which is approximately 363 square kilometres).
In this respect, the press reports that in 1988 the Israeli authorities confiscated a very large area of land in different regions of the occupied territories (Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, etc.). It is mostly agricultural land belonging to Arab citizens; the authorities claim that the land is intended for the construction of roads to link the Jewish settlements; another pretext invoked is that this land belongs to the State and that the latter is therefore entitled to appropriate it.
Other examples revealing expansionist designs include confiscation by Jewish settlers of 200 dunams of land in the Ramallah district with the aim of enlarging the "Ofra" settlement in this district. The occupation authorities also began construction on Route No. 60 linking Jerusalem and El-Khalil via the village of Beit Jala and the village of El-Khodr, which lost 1,600 dunams of land for this purpose.
(2) The establishment of settlements
In 1988 the Israeli authorities established seven new settlements, which brings the total number of settlements in the West Bank (where there are 209 settlements) and the Gaza Strip (where there are 34) to 243. A brief account of the establishment of these new settlements is given below:
-On 12 January 1988, Mr. David Levy, the Minister of Housing, laid the foundation stone of a Jewish settlement called "Lefta" to be built south of El-Khalil. Construction of this settlement was planned in 1984; it is to house 33 Jewish families who will settle here permanently.
-The "Shano" settlement, located on the main road linking Nablus and Jenin, was inaugurated in April 1988. Another settlement called "Artists' Village" was also inaugurated last April; 14 families from the USSR have settled there.
-In July, the "Elei Sinai" initial-stage settlement (Gaze Strip) became a fully-fledged one. Ten Israeli families now live there.
-The Davar daily newspaper wrote on 12 July that the
movement had decided to replace the "Shama'a" military base, which is part of a "Nahal" centre, by a civilian settlement in the El-Khalil region. This new settlement will cover an area of 600 dunams.
-The "Beit Batir" settlement, south of El-Khalil, was inaugurated in the presence of the head of the Rural Settlement Department of the Jewish Agenc
-The daily newspaper
z states that the Israeli Prime Minister inaugurated a settlement called "Na'ala", which is to house 27 families of workers employed in the aeronautical industry, 4.5 kilometres from the "Nili" settlement.
-The Secretary-General of the "Amnah" movement announced that he was studying the possibility of establishing the following six new initial-stage settlements without prior authorization from the Government: "Tovit" and "Dojjit" in the Gaza Strip, "Itan" near Ariha, "Aloe" near Wadi El-Kalat and "Atra" in the Nablus mountains, as well as a sixth settlement which was not specified.
-An agreement provides for the construction of a Jewish settlement to house Israeli soldiers on military service. This settlement will be established in the "Moditin" region.
-The council for Jewish towns and settlements of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip plans the construction of 53 settlements in the occupied territories within three years.
daily newspaper reported on 23 November that an Israeli economic establishment is building a major industrial centre in the "Ariel" settlement near Nablus for a political purpose, since this cent enables Israeli industry to be extended to the West Bank and industrial development to take place in the settlements of this territory.
At the end of 1988, 150,000 Israeli settlers had settled in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Palestine Trade Union Federation states that the new Israeli Government plans the construction of several other settlements: in the West Bank: "Kalmot", north-west of Ramallah (area: 1,300 dunams); "Mektam", 15 kilometres from Jerusalem (area: 101 dunams); "Zifi", south of El-Khalil (area: 300 dunams); in the Gaza Strip: "Katif", south of Gaza (area: 600 dunams); "Fani Shada", south of Khan Yunis (area: 600 dunams).
(3) Increasing the number of settlements
Despite the "intifadah", Jewish settlers are calling for an increase in the number of settlements. Recent statements by Israeli officials reflect the determination of the occupation authorities to carry out settlement projects in the occupied territories. Thus, work has begun on construction of a road which would enable settlers to avoid driving through Arab villages. This road will link "Gush Katif" and the "Kid Kim" triangle in the Gaza Strip. The number of dwellings in the settlements is also increasing. According to the Jewish Agency, 100 dwelling units are planned for the settlements established in the Nablus region. The Ministry of Housing intended to increase housing construction in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by 30 per cent, thus building 2,000 dwelling units in 1988. The settlers, for their part, do not hesitate to seize Arab land in order to enlarge their settlements or the roads leading to them. In this respect, the El-Fa~r daily newspaper reported on 21 September 1988 that the inhabitants of the Sitar settlement took advantage of the curfew to enlarge their settlement at the expense of the Arab-owned land belonging to the villages of Hussan and Nahalin (in the Bethlehem district). Also as regards expansion of settlements, the Israeli subcommittee on settlements has announced its intention to enlarge the "Ma'aliat Amuss" settlement (Bethlehem district) as part of project No. 413. To this end, Arab land totalling 2,000 dunams in area will be confiscated and vast areas of pasture land used by Arabs to raise livestock will be destroyed.
ISRAELI PRACTICES AGAINST ARAB WORKERS
(1) Dismissal of Arab workers
According to information received in Jordan, the Israeli authorities, in order to suppress the uprising, continue to take arbitrary measures against Arab workers, threatening to stop employing them in Israeli industry or dismissing them and replacing them by foreign workers (Europeans, Brazilians, Turks, Cypriots, etc.). Thus, the authorities have recruited over 3,000 foreign workers and have granted them work permits and employed them in various sectors of the Israeli economy; some of them are even employed without a work permit. These practices, examples of which are given below, have resulted in an increase in unemployment among the Arab labour force:
The Israeli authorities have authorised Israeli employers to recruit 450 Lebanese workers instead of Palestinian workers. In addition, in February 1988, the Ministry of Labour granted 300 work permits to Europeans employed in Israeli industry to replace Arab workers from the occupied territories who were dismissed arbitrarily.
The administration of the Rambam hospital in Jaffa sent 45 of its employees notice of dismissal on the pretext that the latter had been absent from work on 15 January 1988 and had joined the strike held by the workers of the occupied Arab territories. In addition, 80 workers employed in various agricultural administrations in the West Bank under a one-year contract were dismissed; this was also the case for eight others in Nablus.
The Israeli military authorities have decided (i) to cut Arab public administration staff by dismissing, as from 31 July 1988, all public employees engaged under a one-year contract; and (ii) to require everyone with 25 years of service to retire.
Examples of this kind abound. The Israeli press is revealing in this respect, reporting hundreds of dismissals in the Israeli public sector and referring to thousands of work permits being granted to foreign workers replacing Arab workers. The latter are replaced as a form of reprisal against the Arab workers undertaken by the Minister of Defence, Itzak Rabin. There have also been reductions in hospital staff and dismissals of doctors on the pretext that they support the "intifadah". In the public hospitals, the Israeli civil administration has refused to pay hospital staff remuneration due for overtime, as a collective economic punishment against Arab workers.
Arrests of workers, journalists,doctors and nurses
(a) Arrests of workers
According to the information received in Jordan, the occupation authorities have attacked Arab workers of the Tel-Aviv region, have beaten them, jailed several of them and issued orders for their administrative detention. They have also imprisoned workers employed in a printing press in Jerusalem on the pretext that they were printing leaflets supporting the "intifadah".
The Israeli press reports that the "Green Patrols" have arrested about a hundred Arab workers of the occupied territories employed on Israeli plantations because they had been allowed to stay overnight at the workplace by their employers. As this is prohibited, the workers and their employers will be brought before the courts.
It was reported on Israeli radio that a Palestinian musician had been arrested for having recorded songs in praise of the "intifadah". The report added that during a campaign of "preventive arrests" carried out in October 1988 in the West Bank, several persons had been imprisoned, including Riad El-Solh, an employee of "Balsam" (a pharmaceutical company), Samir Abu Diat, Said Hindie and Saleh Asskalan. These persons were accused of engaging in trade union activities.
(b) Arrests of journalists, doctors and nurses
The Israeli authorities have imprisoned several Palestinian journalists, the President of the University Council of El-Khalil University, Dr. Nabil El-Ja'bari, as well as the President of a centre for Arab research in Jerusalem. The latter was imprisoned without trial. The arrest was also reported of six doctors and nurses during the siege of the village of Qabatiya where these persons were working as volunteers.
(3) Deportation of workers, journalists and teachers
In 1988 the Israeli military authorities issued orders for the deportation of 40 Palestinian citizens from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These citizens include workers, journalists and teachers. One of them is Mr. Freij Ahmed Khalil Khairi, Vice-President of the Engineers' Trade Union.
On 8 July 1988 the Israeli authorities approved a decision providing for the deportation of ten other citizens from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Some deans of the Islamic University of the Gaza Strip were also deported.
Acts of violence committed against Arab workers
Arab workers are often victims of acts of violence perpetrated against them by the occupation forces or by fanatical Jewish settlers. They are often beaten by the occupation authorities without any reason being given; cars transporting Arabs are sometimes stoned by settlers; Zionist fanatics have even thrown petrol on Arab workers and set them alight; racist Jews threw a toxic-gas bomb at a bus transporting workers from the occupied territories, injuring two of them; Zionist "gangs" set fire to a hut in which three Arab workers lived in "Uryahuda", killing two and injuring one of them. There have been several cases of arson of this kind in the region.
In addition, the Israeli press reports that three Arab male nurses working in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv were beaten and humiliated by Israeli police. The Arab press in Jerusalem states that workers have been stabbed by Zionists and that the accountant of the Electricity Company of Jerusalem was accosted in the street by unidentified Jews who robbed him of all of the money he was carrying as he was on his way to a bank to deposit the Company's funds.
The report of the Syrian Arab Republic states that unemployment, which affects a large proportion of Arab workers, vastly increased in 1988. The report quotes the Israeli press, which states that the number of jobseekers in August 1988 was 49,000, compared to 37,400 in August 1987. The press further reports that 45 to 50 per cent of workers of the occupied territories have been unable to go to their place of work in Israel since the beginning of the "intifadah".
The report of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) states that unemployment especially affects university graduates who, unable to find a job in sectors of the Israeli economy, are often obliged to emigrate in order to earn a living.
Policy of discrimination and inequality
The General Federation of Trade Unions of the Syrian Arab Republic criticises the 1988 report of the Director-General, stating in its own report that the ILO has failed to comment sufficiently on and to denounce the bad faith of the Israeli not practice racial or religious discrimination against Arab workers, but that they do not recruit them under the same conditions as their Israeli counterparts for the simple reason that these workers are not sufficiently qualified. In fact, adds the Federation, the Israeli authorities are hiding behind spurious arguments because their reason for having recourse to Arab labour is that it is cheap.
The International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions had hoped that the 1988 report of the Director-General would place greater emphasis on the problem of the deductions from the wages of Palestinian workers.
The PLO notes in its report that the Israeli Government pays 1 per cent of the wage of each Arab worker to the Histadrut, which in exchange, should provide the worker with the trade union protection and benefits to which he is entitled. But this is far from being the case, as the Histadrut claims that this is the responsibility of the state employment office and that it lacks the means to study the workers' files. The PLO adds that this situation is to the advantage of Israeli employers, since neither of the above-mentioned bodies checks the contracts signed by Arab workers. Employers are thus left free to pay very low wages to Arab workers.
The General Federation of Trade Unions of the Syrian Arab Republic considers that, contrary to what was stated in the report of the Director-General in 1988, the establishment of a unit responsible for checking on irregular employment has not borne fruit, since as early as the beginning of 1988 there were 60,900 Arab workers from the occupied territories who were recruited by employers rather than employment offices and employed in conditions over which there has been no supervision whatsoever; moreover, children account for 20 per cent of the workers from the occupied territories. The Federation thanks the ILO for paying particular attention to the problems arising for Arab workers from the rotating shift system (excessive working hours in shifts) adopted by Israeli employers.
ISRAELI PRACTICES AGAINST TRADE UNIONS
AND TRADE UNIONISTS
All of the communications received from Arab countries and organizations state that Israeli terrorist practices against Palestinian trade unions in the occupied territories are continuing and have even been stepped up since the beginning of the "intifadah".
According to the report of the General Federation of Trade Unions of the Syrian Arab Republic, 50 per cent of the 15,000 prisoners taken during the "intifadah" are workers.
The report of the Jordanian Government provides the following list of trade unionists arrested by the Israeli authorities: Mr. Mohamed Ruhi Hoshie, Deputy Secretary-General of the Trade Union of Workers in Enterprises and the Construction Industry in El-Yamun (Jenin district); Mr. Adnan El-Assi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Trade Union of Workers of Municipalities and Public Institutions in Tulkarm; Mr. Jamal Zakout, a trade unionist and an inhabitant of the El-Shate'e camp; Mr. Hani Saradat, a trade unionist and an inhabitant of the village of El-Yamun; Mr. Mufid Arkub of Ramallah and Mr. Yussef El-Tamizi, members of the executive of the Federation of Trade Unions of Workers of the Occupied Territories; Mr. Majed El-Labadi, secretary of the Trade Union of Printing Workers of the West Bank (the occupation authorities conducted a systematic search of his home before arresting him); Mr. Shaher Sa'ad, President of the Federation of Workers of the West Bank; Mr. Hadj Adel Hashen Abu Rmeile of Jerusalem, a member of the executive of the General Confederation of Trade Unions of Workers of the West Bank; Mr. Wadi'i El-A'ama, a member of the administrative body of the Trade Union of Workers of Enterprises in Bethlehem; Mr. George Harb, a member of the administrative body of the trade union of workers and employees of the Electricity Company of Jerusalem; Mr. Samir Khazbuna, member of the Trade Union of Workers of the University of Bir Zeit; and trade unionists Riad Salhab and Omar Shehade. The occupation authorities raided the homes of these trade unionists in order to arrest them.
Israeli radio names the following among the trade unionists imprisoned during the campaign of preventive arrests carried out towards the end of October 1988 by the Israeli authorities: Mr. Samir Abu Shawish of Ramallah; Mr. Adel Haraz Allah, a member of the Federation of Trade Unions of Employees; Mr. Mohamed Abdel Hadi Bashir, Secretary of the Trade Union of Health Service Workers; Mr. Nasser Yunes, a member of the General Confederation of Trade Unions of Workers of the West Bank; and Mr. Adnan El-Natche, a trade unionist.
In addition, the occupation authorities have placed trade unionist Omar Abdel Latif, of the town of Batir (Bethlehem district), under house arrest for the third time, for six months.
The Palestine Trade Union Federation submitted the following list of arrested trade unionists: Assa' ad Muna, Secretary of the Trade Union of Bakery Workers; Malek Mohamed Marmosh of Nablus;
Said Mustafa Hindie of Nablus; Saleh Aklane of Nablus; Yakub Awde of Jerusalem; Samir Abu Diab of Jerusalem; Nabil El-Julani of Jerusalem; Khaled El-Ash'hab of Jerusalem; Bassam El-Sa'eh of Jerusalem; Ghassan Ayub, a member of the executive of the Palestine Trade Union Federation; Anis Baryush, a member of the executive of the General Confederation of Trade Unions of Workers of the West Bank and a member of the administrative body of the Trade Union of Private Education Workers in Jerusalem; and Imad El-Attara of Ramallah.
The report of the PLO lists the trade unionists placed under administrative arrest whose names appeared in the communiqué issued in May 1988 by the General Confederation of Trade Unions of Workers of the West Bank: Hilal El-Ahmed; Salame Halseh;
Abdel Aziz Nazal; Fares Abu Ishe; Mohamed Fakih; Mussa Manassara; Nidal Jreish; Iyad Hilal; Hakam Kadri; Ihab Salame; Salem Halseh; Jamal Issa; Mohamed Badran; Jamal Abu Saleh; Ahmed El-Wahsh; Hussein Amr.
The Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions communicated the following list of arrested trade union officers: Mohamed El-A'raj of Ramallah; Bayer Said of Qabatiya; Anis Al-Barysch of Jerusalem; Rateb El-Za'atari of El-Khalil; Mohamed Uwaida of Ramallah; Ziad Ibrahim of Ramallah; Anwar El-Nabulsi of Jerusalem; Abdallah Alkam of Jerusalem; Fadl El-Sharabati of El-Khalil; Zaher El-Atrash of El-Khalil; Riad Jubran of Jerusalem.
According to the report of the Jordanian Government, in June 1988 the Israeli authorities confirmed the decision to expel three inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including Mr. Adnan Mohamed Dagher, a member of the administrative body of the Trade union of Workers in Public Institutions.
The Palestine Trade Union Federation lists the following trade unionists as having been deported: Radwan Ahmed Ziade;
Mohamed Abdallah El-Labadi; Lutai Ali Abdo; Jamal Diab Abu Latifa.
The PLO states in its report that in the last quarter of 1988 several trade unionists were expelled, including Jubril Rajub; Hussam Khodr; Jamil Jbaro; Ghassan El-Massri.
The PLO adds that trade unionist Adnan Mohamed Dagher, mentioned above, received the expulsion order without any charges having been brought against him and without being tried. He had been imprisoned for the first time in 1974. He was placed under six months' administrative detention on 19 March 1988.
Closure of trade
nion premises and
confiscation of their property
The report of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions contains the following list of trade unions whose headquarters were closed down in 1988:
Trade Union of Construction Workers in Jenin;
Trade Union of Drivers and Maintenance Workers in Jenin;
Trade Union of Service Workers in El-Khalil;
Trade Union of Maintenance and Metal Workers in El-Khalil;
Trade Union of Engineers in El-Khalil;
Trade Union of Quarry Workers in El-Khalil;
Trade Union of Construction Workers in Tulkarm;
Trade Union of Public Service and Municipal Workers in Tulkarm and in Nablus;
Trade Union of Construction Workers in Nablus;
Trade Union of Food Industry Workers in Nablus;
Trade Union of Olive Woodworkers in Bethlehem;
Trade Union of Workers in the Building Industry and Public Works in Ramallah, Bald, El-Arba, Dora, Beni Naim, Deir El-Ghusun and Qabatiya.
According to the report of the PLO, other trade union headquarters were closed down in Jerusalem, E1 Khalil (Hebron) and Nablus, including the headquarters of the Trade Union of Bank Employees; Trade Union of Hairdressers; Trade Union of Stonemasons, etc. According to the report of the Jordanian Government, in closing down certain trade unions, the Israeli authorities invoked the grounds that the latter were organising the uprising in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They also ordered the closure of the General Federation of Workers' Trade Unions as from 15 September 1988 for two years. In addition, they closed down three people's committees on the West Bank. The report recalls that the Histadrut fails to react and even goes so far as to support Israeli military measures against Arab trade unionists, such as the destruction of property on trade union premises, confiscation of files and documents relating to labour disputes, inter alla, acts of violence to which trade unionists are subjected (some have been beaten until their bones are broken, while others have been burned alive) as well as their arrests. All of this goes to confirm the racist nature of the Histadrut which, however, did admit at a press conference to Israeli arbitrary practices against Arab trade unionists.
Ban on meetings and attend
ce at conferences
The Israeli occupation authorities in Hebron and Ramallah prohibited Dr. Yunes Amr, a professor at the University of Hebron, and Dr. Abdel Latif El-Barghuti, a professor at the University of Bir Zeit, from attending a conference on the Arab heritage of Christians and Moslems in the Holy Land held at the Tantur Institute in Bethlehem. According to information from Israeli sources, the civil occupation authorities and the Israeli police prohibited a meeting of the Economic Development Group from being held at the Group's headquarters in Jerusalem on the pretext put forward by the Israeli authorities that the aim of this meeting was to incite the Arab workers to rise against the occupying power. It should be pointed out that the authorities have traditionally used this accusation to justify their repressive and racist behaviour and practices against the Arab citizens of the occupied territories.
One of the reasons for which the occupation authorities prohibited meetings is to restrict the activities of the Arab trade union movement in the exercise of its right to defend the workers of the occupied territories.
IV. ISRAELI PRACTICES AGAINST ARAB EMPLOYERS
According to the report of the Jordanian Government, the arrests, expulsions and threats by the occupation authorities against Arab employers are part of a planned campaign aimed at undermining the economy of the occupied territories and making it dependent on the Israeli economy. Shopkeepers, engineers, lawyers, etc., are sometimes arrested without a reason being given or on the pretext that they have not paid the taxes due to the authorities concerned. Thus, a pharmacist, Fathi Abdel Aziz El-Shakati, was expelled, while another, Makram Saad, was arrested after the Israeli authorities raided his home and his pharmacy and confiscated a television and a considerable amount of medicines worth several hundred diners.
V. ISRAELI PRACTICES AGAINST
According to the Jordanian report, it has become current practice in the occupied Arab territories to impose arbitrary restrictions and to attack or destroy commercial establishments. Thus, the Israeli authorities notified the owners of a stonecutting establishment in Beit Iba that the establishment would be closed down as from 27 October 1988 if they did not pay the authorities concerned 3,000 Jordanian diners by way of additional tax. The occupation authorities do not hesitate to explode establishments with plastic bombs or set fire to them for no reason. In the Gaza region, for example, they set fire to a car tyre establishment; losses are estimated at 30,000 diners. In Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers threw a bomb into a shop after shutting in three people who happened to be there, aiming to kill them. The press in the occupied territories reports several closures of shops imposed on Arab owners by the Israeli authorities. Three enterprises, in Qalqiliya, Nablus and Tulkarm, were closed on the pretext that they were organizing activities hostile to the occupation. The press also reports armed attacks in which unidentified persons stole 50,000 diners from a foreign exchange office in Nablus belonging to Walid El-Alul. In addition, the occupation authorities raid commercial establishments, attack their owners, destroy the contents of premises and confiscate account books. They also prohibit Arab publishing houses or press agencies from selling their publications on the pretext that the latter have not been submitted to military censorship, in conformity with Israeli orders, before being put on sale. The occupation forces confiscated several tons of citrus fruit in the Gaza Strip on the pretext that their Arab owners were marketing their goods in Israel, and therefore were engaging in illicit trade; it should, however, be pointed out that Israeli products are sold without restriction in the occupied territories.
In the occupied territories, agriculture is the economic activity which is the most affected by the Israeli colonization policy, since the latter consists in confiscating land, especially agricultural land. Israeli arbitrary practices which most threaten the Arab agricultural sector include the destruction of olive trees, almond trees, vines, the destructive raking of land and restrictions imposed by the Israeli army on the marketing of agricultural produce. Such restrictions have proved harmful to the fruit harvests in the West Bank, where poor plum and grape sales have entailed losses of $6 million and $18 million, respectively. The Palestinians are also concerned at the obstacles placed by Israel in the way of olive production, which accounts for 20 per cent of the gross national product of the West Bank. The following examples illustrate these practices: in 1988, the Israeli authorities destroyed thousands of fruit trees by uprooting them, cutting them down or burning them. Olive and citrus trees and vines grown in various regions of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been damaged by raking. The occupation authorities even confiscate agricultural machinery and produce, thus depriving their owners of their main source of income.
These actions are in fact collective punishments imposed by the Israelis, in particular against Arab farmers whose lands are located in the regions where the uprising and various hostile activities are occurring (such as throwing stones or petrol bombs at Israeli cars, demonstrations, etc.). Jewish settlers have also engaged in such practices. Thus, in the Bethlehem district, "settlers" destroyed 225 vines belonging to an Arab by spraying them with a toxic chemical. In the region of Akabat Jabr, settlers also destroyed 171 beehives belonging to Khalil Bou El-Assal.
Livestock is considered to be the sole source of income for some Arabs in the occupied territories; however, the Israeli authorities do not hesitate to confiscate herds of sheep, often bringing their owners before a military court or compelling them to pay a tax in order to have their sheep returned. Sheep are often confiscated on the pretext that they are grazing in a closed or a military zone. Such actions include the death of 15-year-old Mohamed Ahmed Jamia'at, who was deliberately run over by an Israeli truck as he was grazing his sheep, 30 of which were killed in the operation.
Confiscation of water resources is the best way for the Israeli authorities to damage Arab farming, exert economic pressure on the inhabitants of the occupied territories and provide Jewish settlements with the water they need. According to Israeli information, one-third of the water used by Israel comes from the West Bank. Statistics show that 27 wells are used by Israelis on the West Bank; they contain more than half the water obtained by the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories.
It should be pointed out that a number of Palestinian wells have run completely dry due to the Israeli practice of drilling very deep in order to sink wells in the nearby Jewish settlements. In the West Bank, when Arabs are granted authorization to drill, the wells must not exceed 60 metres in depth. In the Gaza Strip, on the other hand, the Israeli authorities have prohibited the drilling of artesian wells altogether on the pretext that underground water resources in the occupied territories must be conserved, but also in order to limit the use of water by Arab farmers.
Repressive fiscal policy
In order to offset the expenditure incurred by the occupation of the Arab territories and to put down the "intifadah", the Israeli authorities have, these past few years, adopted new taxation measures to provide for an increase in the so-called "settlement tax" levied on Arabs. During 1988, Israeli authorities and customs officials forcibly entered various shops and factories, the premises of charity organizations and private property (houses, flats) and confiscated furniture, machines and files under the pretext that the occupants were guilty of tax evasion. The press in the occupied territories reports that the customs authorities, backed by the Israeli army, set up "tax roadblocks" in the streets of various towns on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, forcing car drivers to go to tax offices where they were asked to pay exorbitant taxes beyond their means; if they refused to pay, their identity card was withheld; some were even imprisoned. In the Gaza Strip the military authorities ordered fishermen to pay a tax of 12,000 shekels per boat; if the fishermen paid this tax, they were given permission to fish; otherwise, they were liable to heavy penalties.
THE VIOLATION OF BASIC RIGHTS AND
The Israeli authorities are continuing to apply their "iron-fist" policy, characterized by waves of arrests and repressive measures against the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These actions constitute a violation of human rights which, moreover, are condemned by a number of Israeli officials. Seventeen Israeli army officers held a meeting with Mr. Haim Herzog to discuss this problem; they stated that the repressive practices were immoral and flouted international conventions and resolutions. These practices are illustrated by the following examples:
(l) During 1988, there was a fresh outbreak of violence, marked by
collective imprisonments, administrative detentions and
violations of the rights of Arab prisoners.
Every day, Israeli soldiers imprisoned hundreds of persons, without any grounds or on the pretext that they were involved in anti-occupation activities. These prisoners often included women, men over the age of 60 years and even minors. When the Israeli authorities failed to find the people they were looking for, they imprisoned the members of their family (father, mother, brothers or sisters), thus forcing the persons concerned to give themselves up. It is calculated that in 1988, 26,000 persons, including women, were imprisoned for about 18 days without being tried. Most of the prisoners were accused of having thrown stones or petrol bombs at Israeli cars. In addition, 200 persons suspected of belonging to people's committees, which have recently been banned by the Israeli authorities, were arrested. During the demonstrations against the occupation, the Israeli authorities used a new weapon which fires projectiles on to the demonstrators that totally paralyze the body upon contact.
Administrative detentions are carried out on a massive scale by the occupation authorities. On 21 November 1988, the Israeli radio announced that 400 persons had recently been remanded in custody and had later been imprisoned in the "Ansar 4" prison in the Ramallah area. The Israeli military radio added that there had been 2,150 administrative detentions of Palestinians. However, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), more than 5,500 persons have been arrested since the beginning of the "intifadah"; amongst these, 2,500 are under administrative detention and are held in the "Ansar 3" prison in the Negev. It should be stressed that no grounds were given for the arrest of these prisoners, who have not been tried. Conversely, 3,000 Arabs from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip appeared before the courts during the "intifadah" on the pretext that they had been involved in hostile activities. Some were sentenced to several years' imprisonment, others to several months; very heavy fines were imposed. It should be noted that most of them were youths.
Arab prisoners, it should be recalled, are subjected to the most inhuman forms of torture; for instance, a l9 year-old prisoner, after being brutally tortured, was paralysed down one side of the body and had to be taken to hospital. Furthermore, prisoners are humiliated and live in unacceptable conditions. They are crowded into cells that are too small and very badly fed; some have even suffered from food poisoning; the water is often cut off and the bathrooms, which are malodorous, are crawling with insects which transmit diseases. To make matters worse, the prisoners receive totally inadequate medical treatment and there is only one doctor for 1,300 prisoners. A member of the Knesset wrote a letter to Itzac Rabin in which he stated that 17 persons held under administrative detention in "Ansar 3" were ill and could not be looked after in the prison, given the prevailing health conditions. The prisoners in this same prison had even called a strike to protest about the hardship of their living conditions. What is more, prisoners' families are forbidden to visit them.
2. Throughout 1988, the life of the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories was marked by house arrests, curfews, a ban on travel and exile, all of which helped to worsen their social and economic situation. On several occasions, the Israeli authorities declared all the towns and camps on the West Bank, as well as all areas in the Gaza Strip, to be closed military zones, thereby restricting the freedom of movement of their inhabitants. Many eminent Palestinians (doctors, lawyers, civil servants or journalists) were placed under house arrest for periods ranging from 20 days to six months. Certain military orders of house arrest were even extended. The curfew, decreed on several occasions, cut all the occupied territories off from the outside world and naturally resulted in an economic blockade. Consequently, the inhabitants in these territories were short of food and were deprived of water, electricity, the telephone and fuel; milk was not always available for infants and Israeli soldiers did not hesitate to fire on persons failing to respect the curfew.
Since the beginning of the "intifadah", travel has become difficult - not to say impossible. For example, the Israeli authorities, without reason prevent certain Palestinians from going on their annual pilgrimage to Mecca, from crossing the bridges to Amman and from leaving the occupied territories for any other foreign country. Requests for travel authorization, made several times. are often turned down.
As regards deportations, referred to earlier in the text, the Israeli authorities are increasingly resorting to such measures in an attempt to put down the "intifadah" and wage war on the people's committees set up to provide social assistance to the Palestinians. According to the Israeli press, the military occupation authorities are trying none the less to take measures to limit the deportation period, thereby enabling deported Palestinians to return to the occupied territories after a certain period of time. Such measures would make it easier for the authorities concerned to expel large numbers of people and, above all, the leaders of the "intifadah". A list of deported persons is contained in the report from Jordan.
The Palestinians subjected to the repressive measures mentioned above include many injured and martyred. According to Israeli sources, more than 25,000 have been injured and 365 killed during the "intifadah". In addition to explosives, poison gas and torture, tear-gas bombs set off in streets, schools, hospitals and mosques have caused the death of elderly persons, pregnant women and children. According to Amnesty International, injured Palestinians have been turned out of hospitals in spite of doctors' protests; they have even been beaten before being transported to prisons. The Israeli press reported that an Israeli military unit had been set up to eliminate militants of the "intifadah". Finally, it should be noted that the number of injured and dead given by Israeli sources is lower than that indicated by Palestinian figures.
3. The repressive measures taken by the occupation authorities amount to collective punishments, which include: (a) the closure of the premises of charity organizations and those of the "Youth" movement on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip; (b) the increase in the fee for travel authorization; (c) the restriction to $400 of the sum of money that a Palestinian may import when he enters the occupied territories; (d) the issue to inhabitants of the Gaza Strip of an identity card bearing a distinctive sign; and (e) restrictions on the transport of agricultural produce.
ATTACKS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY
During 1988, 343 Palestinian-owned dwellings were destroyed. The Israeli authorities find various pretexts to order the demolition of homes, as a punitive measure, such as the owner's failure to obtain a permit before building or participation in hostile activities. The occupation authorities also claim that they must pull down houses to widen roads and make it easier for army vehicles to pass through. On this subject, a member of the Knesset pointed out that the demolition of dwellings built without a permit is not contrary to Israeli law; he nevertheless added that the occupation authorities have not granted Arabs a single building permit during the past two years. It should be noted that the ICRC provided assistance to 500 Palestinians in the El-Jaftalk region, on the West Bank, after their homes had been destroyed following the application of collective punishments. This assistance consisted of tents and various equipment. As regards attacks against individuals, the Israeli authorities stopped an inhabitant from Nablus, returning home over the El-Amir Mohamed bridge, and confiscated 97,000 diners. In addition, acts of sabotage have been perpetrated by Jewish settlers against Arab inhabitants.
PRACTICES AGAINST TEACHING
AND RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS
1. The occupation authorities are continuing to close down Palestinian universities and schools in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There have been no regular classes since the beginning of the school-year because of the successive closures ordered by the Israeli authorities; they claim that they are acting in this way to put down the "intifadah", but the real reason is that they wish Arab students to remain ignorant and to deprive them of all means of education.
Throughout 1988, there were orders to close educational establishments; some of the orders were extended. Several universities and hundreds of primary, middle and secondary schools were closed. The universities closed include the Islamic University of Gaza, the University of Bir Zeit, the University of El-Khalil, and the Polytechnic of El-Khalil. In addition, the Israeli authorities closed all the Arab state schools in occupied Jerusalem for a period of one week. This action, the first of its kind in Jerusalem since 1967, was reported in the Israeli press. Sixteen thousand pupils were involved.
Not only have the occupation authorities violated educational freedoms but they have also transformed certain Arab schools into prisons (intended for Palestinian prisoners) or military barracks. The schools that have been occupied by the Israeli army have often been wrecked and can no longer be used by the pupils. The Israeli authorities also prevented students from the Islamic University of Gaza from taking their end-of-year exams in May. Thousands of other pupils were obliged to interrupt their studies before the end of the school-year. Schools administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) have also been closed down and work on the building of three Arab schools remains unfinished.
2. Heedless of religious beliefs, a member of the Knesset declared that the Israeli authorities should no longer forbid the army to raid mosques. She added that the inhabitants of the occupied territories should expect the mosques to be closed or confiscated. The occupation authorities do not think twice about violating religious freedoms, as may be seen from the following examples: they arrested a Muslim holy man; they broke into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and attacked the faithful who were praying as an expression of solidarity with the residents of the occupied territories; they have banned the call to prayer in certain towns and forbidden their inhabitants to go to the mosques for the Friday prayers. Furthermore, they confiscate the loudspeakers in the mosques or cut off the electricity to prevent their use, on the pretext that the religious sermons which they transmit encourage resistance against the occupation. Jewish extremists moreover have desecrated Islamic holy places in Jerusalem and Israeli soldiers raided a mosque in the Jabalia camp, opening fire on the faithful and wounding 40 people.
3. As regards hospitals, the occupation authorities have taken steps to reduce on the number of doctors and nurses and cut down on the number of beds, they have closed five health establishments on the West Bank and several medical services in central establishments; they have also decided to give up treating the injured in public hospitals.
According to a report drawn up in the occupied territories on the health conditions of Arab inhabitants, the Israeli authorities have opened fire on ambulances, imprisoned injured people who were in intensive care, raided several hospitals, forcibly entered operating theatres and they set off tear-gas bombs there, humiliated and arrested doctors and nurses who were carrying out their duties, prevented ambulances from reaching trouble areas, seized ambulances and used them to arrest young men, thoroughly searched ambulances and forbidden them to drive during the curfew, and left the injured to bleed to death.
In its report, the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU) considers that the 1988 report of the Director-General on the occupied Arab territories did not pay enough attention to the problem of attacks on hospital staff.
The report of the Jordanian Government appends three lists containing the names of persons whose homes were destroyed, names of those killed and the names of settlements set up during 1988.
Furthermore, the PLO has provided a set of documents giving a day-to-day account of the events since the beginning of the uprising.
THE SITUATION IN THE GOLAN
The Syrian authorities recalled the various Zionist attempts to take over Arab land, from the last century up to the annexation of the Syrian Golan. This annexation followed a decision taken by the Knesset on 14 December 1981, which provided for the extension and application of Israeli laws to the occupied Golan. On 14 February 1982, the occupation authorities promulgated an order obliging Arab inhabitants in the Golan to have an Israeli identity card. The report of the Syrian Government quotes articles that appeared in the Israeli and international press during 1987 which clearly show that the Israeli authorities are determined not to give up the Golan, which they consider as an integral part of the rest of the Israeli territories. The report then refers to articles in the press during 1988, of which the following are examples: the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz of 20 July 1988 reported that five fires had, according to the police, been started by unknown persons for patriotic reasons in wooded areas and pasture land in Galilee and the Golan. The Israeli newspaper
of 4 August 1988 wrote that heads of Jewish settlements and pro-Israelis in the Arab villages were angry about the summer camp attended by 150 young people from villages in the north of the Golan Heights because the young people wore clothing displaying the word "Land" and a map of Syria.
On 26 August 1988, the Israeli daily newspaper
reported that the Israeli police were searching villages in the north of the Golan for young Arabs suspected of having blown up the premises of the local village council of Massada and other buildings with home-made explosives. The newspaper
of 15 February 1988 wrote that the Palestinian "intifadah" had spread the previous day to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and that demonstrators, in clashes with the Israeli army, had been beaten, injured and even imprisoned. The newspaper added that the Israeli army had set up road blocks to prevent the inhabitants of Galilee from going to join in the demonstrations in the occupied Arab territories.
As regards the
confiscation of land
, the Syrian report recalls that the Israeli authorities have promulgated military orders amending legislation on ownership of Arab land. It quotes examples reported in the press during the 1986-87 period.
According to information published in 1988, the Israeli authorities confiscated 25 hectares of land belonging to Syrian inhabitants in the Golan, declaring it to be a military zone; this land was subsequently handed over to Israeli settlements set up near occupied Syrian villages. The Israeli newspaper Yediot
reported on 14 August 1988 that Yehudi Fullman, President of the regional council, had called for a meeting of the representatives of 31 settlements on the Golan Heights, at which he declared that this region was committed to a struggle for survival against the Israeli Government and the settlements. The daily newspaper
, on 25 May 1988, gave an account of widespread fires that had swept over pasture land on the Golan Heights, involving the loss of thousands of dunams. According to the daily newspaper
of 12 August 1988, Israeli land registry employees uprooted dozens of fruit trees belonging to Arab inhabitants in Zatoura (a village in the Golan), on the pretext that when their owners planted them they did not abide by the Property Act. These incidents show that the Israeli authorities stop at nothing to seize land belonging to Arabs and to force them to emigrate.
As regards the
confiscation of water resources in the Golan
, the Israeli authorities have taken over the springs of Yafoura, El-Mecherfeh and Rass Abou Sa'ad; they have also used water from Massada lake to irrigate agricultural land in the settlements. This has led to a drop in the level of underground water used to irrigate orchards in Syrian villages. The Syrian authorities have therefore been obliged to sink wells in Syria itself to supply the village of Massada with water. The Arab inhabitants of the Golan none the less complain of the shortage of water and the disturbed conditions under which they live. For instance, the press agencies reported on 28 March 1988 that the occupation authorities had requested farmers in the Golan to destroy the water tanks they had set up to irrigate their orchards, on the grounds that these tanks had been built without authorization from Mekorot (the Israeli national water company). However, in order to obtain this authorization, farmers must comply with the conditions laid down by the Israeli authorities; in other words, refrain from taking part in hostile demonstrations or opposing the occupation.
As far as
are concerned, the Israeli authorities have increased the taxes imposed on Syrian inhabitants in the Golan to such an extent that they have taken over approximately half of their production, thus weakening them economically and forcing them either to submit to the wishes of the occupier or to emigrate.
, in addition to the confiscation of land and water resources and other economic pressures, there has also been a policy to boycott agricultural products. On 12 March 1988, Schlomer Weizman, President of the Israeli Farmers'Union, stated that the union had decided to boycott apples harvested by Syrian Arab citizens. The Syrian authorities stressed that as apples were the major crop and basic source of income for Syrian Arab citizens living in occupied Golan, the closing of the apple market and a refusal to allow apples to be sold would be a real economic disaster, leading to a deterioration in the inhabitants' living conditions; this would naturally also have an adverse effect on their state of health and social conditions and swell the ranks of the unemployed. Finally, the inhabitants would become a source of cheap labour for Israel. Matters are made even worse by the occupation authorities' refusal to grant Syrian Arab citizens permission to export their apples anywhere in the world. Previously, they had been allowed to sell their apples on foreign markets though they did not obtain permission to transfer their money to the occupied Syrian Arab Golan. Until 1978, Syrian citizens therefore sold their apples to an Israeli state fruit and vegetable company (Tenova). From 1978 to 1986, they were obliged to restrict the sale of their apples - of which they produce up to 40,000 tons per year -to West Bank traders. After February 1987, however, the Israeli authorities took measures forbidding Syrian citizens to sell their apples to West Bank traders or on the Syrian market. Israel's economic boycott of Syrian Arab products is part of an Israeli colonialist campaign to prevent agriculture being a specific source of income for Syrian Arab citizens. Israel is thus, as part of its "iron-fist" policy, trying to bring them under its control and undermine their heroic struggle against the occupation; at the same time, it is trying to force them to leave their property and homeland and to emigrate in search of other sources of income so that none of occupied Golan's original population remains. In so doing it is contravening the IVth Geneva Convention of 1949.
In 1988, agricultural produce grown in the Golan settlements provided Israelis with revenue totalling 95 million shekels, whereas the revenue of the Syrian inhabitants of the Golan did not exceed one-tenth of this sum. The international organizations should do everything in their power to end the boycott and restrictions on the marketing of apples in the Golan and to oblige Israel to apply international resolutions and the IVth Geneva Convention of 1949.
The Israeli authorities are trying to put an end to
by banning the raising of black goats in occupied Golan except with special authorization. Furthermore, the authorities have seized the herds of black goats usually reared in this area and sold them at very low prices.
With regard to
y, the Israeli authorities have prevented the development of local industry in the occupied territories in order to avoid any competition with Israeli companies, such as the canning factory in Kensrine (a settlement in occupied Golan).
There has been an upsurge in
violations of human rights
, such as torture and massacres, since 1988, i.e. during the "intifadah". The Syrian inhabitants of occupied Golan have not been spared. In February 1988, the occupation authorities did not hesitate to fire on villagers from Beka'ata, Massada, Majdal-shams and Aïn Kania who were demonstrating against being forced to acquire an Israeli identity card; more than 200 Syrians were injured in the process. Following this demonstration, the occupation authorities declared the four villages to be a military zone; they barred journalists access to the villages and cut off their electrify, water supply and telecommunications. Furthermore, they arrested three doctors who had treated the injured demonstrators. There have been other cases in which inhabitants of the Golan have been subjected to harsh and inhuman treatment; for instance, 50 Israeli soldiers broke into the house of Mr. Najib El-Kahlouni in Majdal Shams, attacked his family and injured his wife and two children. Furthermore, adolescents have been arrested and deported for a period of one month and obliged to pay a fine. The Arab and Israeli press have reported further arrests and deportations. It is calculated that there are 55 prisoners in the Golan. The press also reported the death of Mr. Fares Souleiman Ibrahim as a result of the serious injuries he received from Israeli soldiers during clashes between the inhabitants of the Golan and the occupation forces in February 1988.
Education is increasingly on the decline. As part of Israeli policy to deprive inhabitants of the Golan of their Arab culture, the occupation authorities are replacing Syrian teaching programmer by Israeli programmed, preventing students from studying in Syrian Arab universities or universities in Eastern European countries, dismissing Arab teachers from their posts, raiding teaching establishments and arresting students.
As regards the situation of the workers, the Syrian authorities have reaffirmed all the information already contained in the 1988 report of the Director-General. Discriminatory practices have continued and worsened. Furthermore, the Government's report quotes the statements condemning Israel's policy of discrimination against Arab workers of the occupied territories made by two eminent Americans within the framework of United States legislation in respect of trade preferences.
There is also a marked decline in
. Arabs living in the occupied villages of the Golan must agree to acquire Israeli nationality if they want to receive sickness or old-age insurance benefits. Doctors' fees and the price of medicines are still very high. There are only four clinics in the Golan; equipment is lacking and there are not enough beds or nursing staff. Nor is there a chemist's shop. The health insurance scheme fund does not cover emergency treatment for inhabitants in the occupied villages. Health care is not dispensed in schools. Mosquitoes are an overwhelming problem in the region but the authorities are not doing anything about it. There is no sewage system and the inhabitants are complaining about water pollution.
In conclusion, the Syrian authorities have stressed that the Israeli offensive to Judaize the Golan and to take any Syrian Arab identity away from its inhabitants is continuing in this region, which has been occupied since 1967. To this end, the Israeli authorities are confiscating land, establishing settlements, exerting pressure and imposing economic sanctions in an attempt to change the demographic and socio-cultural structure of the Golan, thereby violating international conventions, resolutions and charters. But the Arab population of the Golan has rebelled against the occupation authorities and their actions, thereby demonstrating its allegiance to its true homeland, Syria. Moreover, it has joined the Palestinian uprising by providing material assistance to the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and by setting up people's committees of support to collect funds. Apart from the foodstuffs and clothing sent to the occupied territories, US$82, 000 have been collected to assist the inhabitants of these territories. In view of all the information given above, the Syrian Arab Republic calls upon the ILO and its specialized bodies to take the relevant measures and exert the necessary pressure to overcome the injustice and repression and to put an end to the Israeli occupation which stands in the way of fair and overall peace in the Middle East.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION
Reference was also made to United Nations resolutions and other actions and to the need for the United Nations specialized agencies to abide by them.
The Syrian authorities considered that recommendations should be submitted to the International Labour Conference with a view to proposing practical solutions and measures to guarantee the full implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Conference (resolution No. II in 1980 and resolution No. IX in 1974). Furthermore, a working programme to provide technical assistance to Arab workers and employers in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories should be set up. Increased financial means should be devoted to establishing development projects in the occupied Arab territories. There should be co-operation with other international organizations such as the WHO, UNESCO, the FAO and UNICEF, to ensure that Arab workers in the occupied territories have the services they require as regards health, culture, education, nutrition and work. ILO member States should be invited to try to stop the emigration of Jews to the occupied territories, the establishment of settlements and the sale of arms and economic, financial and technological assistance to Israel. It should be stressed that the decisions taken by Israel to impose its laws and authority in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are illegal and invalid.
It is relevant to recall the following United Nations resolutions and other action:
-On 26 August 1988, the President of the Security Council issued a statement (S/20156) on behalf of the members of the Council, to the effect that they were gravely concerned by the continued deterioration of the situation in the Palestine territories occupied by Israel since 1967 and by the persistence of Israel, in continuing its policy of deporting Palestinian civilians in contravention of Security Council resolutions and the IVth Geneva Convention, which, they recalled, is applicable to the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem.
-General Assembly resolution 43/21 concerning "the uprising ('intifadah') of the Palestinian people" was adopted on 3 November 1988 by 130 votes in favour, 2 against, with 16 abstentions. It invited the member States, the organizations of the United Nations system and governmental and non-governmental organizations to continue and enhance their support for the Palestinian people.
-General Assembly resolutions 43/54 A to C concerning "the situation in the Middle East" were adopted on 6 December 1988. Resolution A condemns various aspects of Israel's policy and calls once again for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations: it was adopted by 103 votes in favour, 18 against, with 30 abstentions. Resolution B refers to Israel's measures of annexation and continued occupation: it calls upon the member States to suspend their assistance to and sever relations with Israel and urges the specialized agencies to conform their relations with Israel to the terms of the resolution; it was adopted by 83 votes in favour, 21 against, with 45 abstentions. Resolution C, which rejects once again the annexation of Jerusalem, was adopted by 143 votes in favour, 2 against, with 7 Abstentions.
-General Assembly resolutions 43/58 A to G. concerning the "Report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories", were adopted on 6 December 1988.
Resolution A refers to various policies and practices pin-pointed by the Special Committee and urges the ILO and other specialized agencies to continue to examine the situation of Palestinian and Arab workers within their terms of reference; it was adopted by 106 votes in favour, 2 against, with 43 abstentions. Resolutions B and C deal with the applicability of the IVth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 and were adopted by 148 votes in favour, 1 against, with 4 abstentions, and by 149 votes in favour, 1 against, with 2 abstentions, respectively. Resolution D concerns detentions and imprisonment and was adopted by 150 votes in favour, 2 against, with no abstentions. Resolution E concerns deportations and demands that they cease; it was adopted by 152 votes in favour, 1 against, with 1 abstention. Resolution F condemns the annexation of the Golan and was adopted by 149 votes in favour, 1 against, with 3 abstentions. Resolution G condemns measures against universities, schools and other educational establishments in the occupied Palestinian territories and was adopted by 147 votes in favour. 2 against. with 3 abstentions.
General Assembly resolutions 43/175, 43/176 and 43/177 concerning the "Question of Palestine" were adopted in Geneva on 15 December 1988. In addition to matters usually dealt with by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (resolutions 43/175 A to C), resolution 43/176 calls for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and affirms the principles for the achievement of comprehensive peace: it was adopted by 138 votes in favour, 2 against, with 2 abstentions. Resolution 43/177 noted the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council and decided that, effective as of 15 December 1988, the designation "Palestine" should be used in place of the designation "Palestine Liberation Organisation" in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the observer status and functions of this organization. It was adopted by 104 votes in favour, 2 against, with 36 abstentions.
Finally, General Assembly resolution 43/178, concerning "Assistance to the Palestinian people" was adopted on 20 December 1988 by 118 votes in favour, 14 against, with 13 abstentions; this resolution requested organizations of the United Nations system to sustain and increase their assistance to the Palestinian people "in close co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organisation". Various aspects of assistance to Palestinian refugees were covered by other resolutions (43/57 A to J of 6 December 1988).
At its 45th Session (1989), the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted two resolutions on the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories. One of these resolutions concerns "human rights in occupied Syrian Arab territory" and reaffirms the principles expressed in the above-mentioned General Assembly resolutions which condemn the annexation of the Golan and the treatment of its inhabitants. It was adopted by 31 votes in favour, l against, with lo abstentions. The other resolution, concerning "the question of the violation of human rights in occupied Palestine", condemns, in Part A, a certain number of Israeli policies and practices; in Part B it recalls the applicability of the IVth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and condemns violations of this Convention. Part A was adopted by 32 votes in favour, 8 against, with 2 abstentions; Part B by 32 votes in favour, 1 against, with 9 abstentions.
COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED FROM THE
A. DOCUMENT RECEIVED FROM THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS OF ISRAEL
The Government of Israel has approved this year once again, as in the 11 successive years since 1978, the visit of three ILO officials for the purpose of assessing the situation of workers of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. The Government of Israel agreed to allow the visit upon the request of the Director-General of the ILO, though it is convinced that nothing could justify this annual singling out of the State of Israel.
In its repeated agreement to receive successive visits of ILO officials, the Government of Israel has shown that it has never had reason in its administration of these areas to hide its achievements in their development from the eyes of the outside world. On the contrary, the standards it has set since 1967 and the advances in the fields of labour and employment made by the Israeli administration in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District are visibly impressive. They mark a considerable advance by any yardstick, but especially in comparison to the current situation of workers in neighbouring countries.
The Government of Israel has never used workers' rights and the working conditions of the Palestinian inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District as a political tool. Regrettably, the last 15 months have shown a growing tendency to sabotage economic relations between these areas and Israel, to the detriment of local workers, by hostile elements acting upon incitement from Palestinian terrorist organizations and using obstruction and prevention of employment in Israel for advancing extremist and violent goals.
The ILO Director-General has reported that the conditions of labour and employment should be discussed in a separate context from the political conditions which prevail in the region.
Freedom of employment and labour should be demanded in accordance with the will of the residents of the areas. There is room to ask the ILO, therefore, to make a public declaration against the obstruction of the free will of the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District who wish to work in Israel, since freedom to work represents one of the fundamental principles of the ILO.
Comments on the 1988 report of the Director--General of the ILO on the situation of the workers of Judea,Samaria and the Gaza District
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs read with care the report issued in 1988 by the ILO on the situation of the workers of the administered areas. The report represents a continuation of the character of the previous reports and is noteworthy for its political overtone, even when dealing with professional subject-matter. Before entering into a current survey of the labour and employment situation in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, it is important to emphasise some comments on that report.
General economic development
In the preface to his report, the Director-General of the ILO, Mr. Francis Blanchard, calls for the implementation of "a genuine development effort" in the administered areas. However, the report refrains from analyzing the broad economic and social developments over the years. We must point once again to the significant expansion in economic activity which has taken place in these territories under Israel's administration. As noted in detail by the Israeli Government, the economic growth of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District has been exceptionally rapid over the past two decades and the population of these regions has widely participated in and benefited from this growth.
The pace and pattern of economic activity, the growth in employment, the virtual elimination of unemployment and the improvement in levels of living, wages and social benefits, education and training since 1967 stand in sharp contrast to earlier periods and compare favourably with those of neighbouring countries, other developing regions and with United Nations development goals. Before 1967 and the advent of Israeli administration in the areas, the situation there-was characterized by a low level of development, slow growth, substantial emigration, very low educational levels, very limited capital stock, low employment and the stagnation of income levels.
With respect to the Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District and their possible impact on economic development and prospects in these regions (paragraphs 61-68), it is striking that the ILO report fails to review and analyse the substantial increase in agricultural output and productivity which has occurred in local farming. As has been shown, the successful application of modern technology to agriculture in the areas has resulted in marked expansion of farm output, with significantly increased productivity and incomes. This improvement in agricultural performance is a major factor to be taken into account in any consideration of the utilization of land and water resources in this region.
In paragraph 18, the ILO report claims that Israel's economy "drained off" more than one-third of the areas' labour force to supply its own needs for manpower. The Government of Israel has pointed out repeatedly that Judea, Samaria and Gaza have never been independent self-contained economic units, and its residents have long needed -both before and after 1967 -to seek employment outside these areas. Job opportunities in Israel have made it possible for residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to find employment in Israel while continuing to live in their own villages. According to a recent ILO study (Employment and manpower problems and policy issues in Arab countries, 1984), the migration of persons seeking work is characteristic of many countries in this part of the world. Employment in Israel, unlike many work migration flows elsewhere, does not entail the uprooting of workers from their homes and cultural environment.
Moreover, the rapid growth of activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has been stimulated in no small measure by contacts established with the economy of Israel. Employment in Israel and the subsequent increase in real wages and other income have served to lessen appreciably the effect of one of the classic constraints on development in regions such as Judea, Samaria and Gaza -namely limited market size or the very low purchasing power of the local population. The sustained and substantial increase over the past 20 years in the purchasing power of the rapidly growing population has been the driving force behind significantly expanded local demand and has called forth sustained and substantial increases in local production to meet that demand. This is shown in an increase in real terms of an average of 4.5 per cent per annum in the per capita GDP from 1970 to 1986. It should not be forgotten that Israel is the primary source of the technical knowledge by which this production has been achieved.
Additionally, it should be emphasized once again that employment in Israel, though beneficial to the Israeli economy, constitutes only 7 per cent of Israel's total employed labour force. Thus, residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza represent a very small proportion of employed persons in all sectors of the economy except construction, where they represent about 40 per cent of total employment. Even this sector, however, could continue to develop without workers from the areas through increased mechanization, reorganization and changes in the wage structure.
Low level of unemployment
In the previous reports of the ILO of the past four years, the authors expressed their concern that employment of the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel would be reduced or suffer as a result of the rise in the level of unemployment in Israel, which reached 8 per cent or more. They warned of the danger that the workers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza would be first to be dismissed en masse, and that unemployment in Israel would be "exported'' to the territories.
Reality was otherwise, and the employment of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel was not reduced, but even increased to reach more than 100,000 workers in 1987, while the level of unemployment in Judea, Samaria and Gaza dropped to below 3 per cent during this year. Even the ILO delegation reports (in paragraph 19) that "a purely arithmetical comparison of the data ... shows an unemployment rate for 1987 estimated at 2.2 per cent”.
The ILO mission has for years been grudging regarding the unemployment rate. We must stress again that unemployment in the administered areas is measured by means of labour force surveys following accepted international definitions endorsed by the ILO itself.
The low level of unemployment among residents of the areas today reflects a significant drop in joblessness in comparison with the pre-1967 level, which was in excess of 10 per cent. This achievement is all the more noteworthy having occurred despite a slow-down in emigration from this region and despite the significant release of labour from agriculture brought about by rising output and productivity in this sector due to the introduction of modern agricultural technology acquired primarily from Israel.
It should be noted that employment of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel since the 1970s was accompanied by a rise in productivity in the employment of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the territories themselves (an annual rise in productivity per worker of 4.4 per cent in the years 1970-85).
The increase in the scope of work in Israel for the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza compensated, among other things, for the large number of dismissals and cut-backs in workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the Persian Gulf region, which were caused by a reduction in the oil income of these States. Workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who were dismissed from their work in the countries of the Persian Gulf, returned to their homes and were absorbed in jobs in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and in Israel.
The fact remains that working in Israel represents a stabilizing factor in the employment situation of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and a decisive factor in the level of output, income and standard of living in these areas.
On the question of irregular employment, we are pleased to note the recognition by the ILO report of the widespread nature of this phenomenon in work migration movements throughout the world (paragraph 23) and the serious efforts being made in Israel to reduce it. The report also mentioned, however, that irregular employment did not decline in 1987.
It should be emphasized again that in contrast to irregular employment in many other places in the world, irregular work in Israel stems mainly from the preference of some residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to work in this manner. As has been pointed out to successive ILO delegations, Israel encourages areas' residents to regularise their status by securing permission to work in Israel through official channels. The fact that irregular employment is so widespread a feature of migration of workseekers indicates perhaps the extent of the difficulties faced by other governments in controlling it.
It was noted in the report that there was supposedly a change this year in the attitude of the Israeli authorities to unorganized work, while previously the authorities only formally condemned the phenomenon. Without faulting what has been done in this area in recent years, we cannnot agree with the view according to which the Israeli authorities did not deal with this phenomenon in previous years.
The fact that the number of organized workers did not decrease in previous years is due to the unending efforts in publicising the benefits gained by workers who are organised and to the imposing of fines on employers who employ workers in an unorganized fashion. It should be remembered that in spite of continuous efforts by the Israeli authorities to ensure organised work among the workers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel, one of the main opposing factors is the reluctance of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to be in need of the official Israeli network in order to work in Israel, and this reluctance has recently become stronger.
The wages of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza who are employed in Israel rose in real terms in 1987 (in the first nine months) by 12 per cent, a rate of increase higher than the average wage increase of all those employed in Israel.
It should be recalled that the minimum wage law and agreement in Israel also apply to workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel, and are implemented in practice by means of the employment service for workers who are organised.
At the same time, the average wage of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel is higher in recognizable percentages than the minimum wage; this is an expression of the different occupations and levels of output of the various categories of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel, for whom the minimum wage is the "bottom" wage to which they are entitled -contrary to the statement of the ILO report that the workers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza receive only a minimum wage in Israel.
The ILO report justifiably notes that the handling of vocational training and upgrading courses for workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the civil administration in the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is given high priority. But in the description of what is actually being done in this area, a number of misunderstandings have entered the report.
On page 15 of the report, it is stated that vocational training and upgrading courses in Gaza are dependent on the labour authorities, and this is not the case. In Gaza and in other areas, considerable efforts are made to attract residents to vocational training and upgrading courses. The fact that more than 70,000 men and women graduates have completed vocational training and upgrading courses during the 20 years of Israeli administration represents the results of these efforts.
Most vocational training and upgrading courses in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are conducted within the framework of the civil administration and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs by means of hundreds of professional instructors from amongst the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. These instructors benefit from continual professional upgrading, which is carried out in the Arabic language at the Technological Institute in Beersheba.
Our organised visit of the ILO delegation to this Institute was intended to show that advanced technological courses can be conducted in Beersheba in Arabic, because, among other reasons, of the geographic proximity to Gaza and to Judea and Samaria and in order to prepare a reserve of professional instructors for the residents of these areas.
Advanced technological courses cannot be implemented at the present time in the areas themselves because of the lack of a suitable infrastructure which would allow for the immediate and economically viable operation of advanced technological courses.
Now we shall move on to the occupational composition of the labour force in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. During the past 20 years, two positive trends, among others, have stood out: a decrease in the rate of those employed in agriculture and an increase in the productivity of the worker (the percentage of those employed in agriculture dropped from 30 per cent in 1972 to 21 per cent in 1988), while the level of skilled workers during this period rose from 23 per cent to 27.3 per cent. These facts notwithstanding, however, the authors of the report note a decrease in the number of agricultural workers and the stagnation of industrial employment.
The authors of the report devote a great deal of space and energy to the subject of the technical procedures related to the issuing of work permits in Israel for residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. They claim that these permits are detrimental to the stability of job tenure of residents of the areas.
As we have mentioned previously, employment in Israel has been shown to be stable and continuous in all the years of Israeli administration (until the outbreak of the "intifadah" in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and its sabotage of employment in Israel).
It was explained to the ILO delegation that the issuing of a work permit does not impair the employer-employee relationship, and that all the rights and obligations in this regard between the worker from Judea, Samaria and Gaza and his employer in Israel are determined by and anchored in the law and collective agreements in force in Israel.
The work permit issued to the worker from Judea, Samaria and Gaza has no bearing on the subject of his tenure in the workplace and this is proven by the facts. The dwelling of the authors of the report on the subject of the work permit is thus irrelevant to the employer-employee relationship.
Deductions and allowances for those working in Israel
In 1988 also the delegation received an explanation on the principles behind the deductions and allowances made in respect of the work of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel. It was shown that the major part of the payments to the National Insurance Institute for social benefits are made by the employer. It was also explained that a worker from Judea, Samaria and Gaza who is employed in Israel, even though he is not a resident of Israel, enjoys a lower rate of income tax in comparison with residents of Israel, which finds proven expression in his salary slip. Despite this fact, the authors of the report take exception to this and note that "this
situation is the subject of disputes".
Activities of the Histadrut Labour Federation
The activities of the Histadrut Labour Federation on behalf of workers from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District in Israel have increased in recent years and reinforced co-operation between representatives of the union and the government network which deals with the employment of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Joint symposia under the auspices of the Histadrut for residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza who serve as placement clerks in employment bureaux in the areas, visits of union representatives to workplaces which employ residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, information meetings for workers from the areas, and a circular from the head of the union emphasising the equality of benefits and treatment of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, are some of the activities which have been carried out during the past year. Unfortunately, the report (on page 28) did not mention these facts.
As for the occupational organisation of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel, the previous ILO reports pointed out that the opportunity existed for workers from the areas in Israel to organise in special labour unions and/or to join labour unions of the Histadrut. This alternative is open to them and they have the possibility of deciding.
Social benefits connected with work in Judea, Samaria and Gaza
As indicated and described in an appendix presented by Israel to the ILO delegation, the system of social benefits connected with work is anchored in the laws, regulations and agreements in force in each and every area (meaning Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza). The system differs from area to area and, as a result, the social benefits acquired as a result of working are different in every area.
At the same time, due to the initiatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the civil administration, a number of basic social benefits have been added in recent years in those areas in which they have been lacking.
Among the benefits added in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as a result of orders and agreements, are voluntary health insurance, insurance against work accidents, sickness allowance, linkage for compensation, the raising of the minimum working age, etc. These benefits have been accepted and implemented in these areas and have advanced the condition of the workers. Consequently, it is not true, as the report claims, that a resident of Gaza who works in Gaza is not entitled to the entire social programme as a result of his work (page 21 of the report). The opposite is true. In addition to the labour law which was effective in Gaza from the time of the Egyptian administration, a system of social benefits was added by the Israeli administration for the benefit of workers in Gaza, complemented by health insurance in cases of work accident and so on.
Technical assistance by the ILO
The subject of projects and technical assistance by the ILO for the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza region is mentioned several times in the report and even appears in a special annex to the report (Annex I).
The Israeli Government has always strongly supported and encouraged the efforts of international voluntary agencies in their work on behalf of the population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including financial input by the Government in the form of customs duty and tax exemptions. An intensive effort has been made to persuade the ILO to undertake projects in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as suggested repeatedly by the ILO delegation as a result of successive missions to the area. Despite our complete co-operation with the ILO and the UNDP to this end, we are at present awaiting the implementation of those projects suggested by the ILO and agreed upon with the Israeli civil administration in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Moreover, the Government of Israel has itself proposed several projects which it feels would be most beneficial to the working population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and looks forward to the positive consideration and co-operation of the ILO in the future implementation of these projects.
Economic conditions and employment
Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, in contrast to Israel, have continued in the past few years to maintain relative full employment. Thus between 1967, when Israel assumed responsibility for the administration of these areas, and 1970, unemployment dropped from the pre-1967 level of more than 10 per cent to a level of 3 per cent in Judea and Samaria, and to 5.8 per cent in the Gaza District. In the following years, it dropped even further, reaching the 1981 rate of 1 per cent unemployment in Judea and Samaria and 0.2 per cent in Gaza. Although the unemployment rate rose to 3-3.5 per cent in 1985-86, it declined to about 2 per cent in 1987 -in comparison with approximately 6 per cent in Israel in the same period and even higher levels in many industrialised countries.
The present economic and employment situation in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District can be understood only when put in a comparative perspective. This requires primarily a comparison with the situation in the period prior to the Israeli administration and, secondly, a comparison of the situation in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District -since 1967 -with that of the neighbouring countries and with other developing nations. Let us begin with the pre-1967 situation where a low level of development, long experience of slow growth, very limited capital stock, low employment, and stagnation of income levels prevailed. Of equal importance is the fact that the human skills and institutional arrangements necessary for sustained economic and social development were lacking. Judea, Samaria and Gaza have never been independent, self-contained economic units, nor did these areas - before 1967 - have development institutions of their own to assist in guiding economic development.
Thus, residents of these areas who were unable to maintain themselves on locally generated economic activity have long needed to seek employment outside these areas. Prior to the Six-Day War in 1967 villagers residing in Judea and Samaria left their homes in large numbers in search of employment, both during the British Mandate period, especially in the early years of the Second World War when there was an increased demand in the public sector in connection with work on the railroads, in public construction, and in army camps, and during the 1960s under Jordanian rule when the state sector, the army, and work opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States again uprooted Palestinian villagers in tens of thousands from their homes and lands.
In sharp contrast, the job opportunities that became available in Israel, near to home, after 1967, made it possible for villagers to find ready employment and, at the same time, to continue to reside in their own village. Mechanisation and new farming methods and techniques learned from Israel enabled farmers to increase their agricultural output, thus gaining additional income and a boost in their standard of living.
In fact, a remarkable development over the past decade is that, although migration has continued under Israeli administration, it has appreciably slowed.
Thus, in the period 1970-87, the working-age population and the labour force of Judea and Samaria and Gaza grew by 2.5 per cent per annum as against a 1 per cent per annum growth in the working-age population
/ in the ten years preceding 1967. In this period, employment expanded more rapidly, by 2.8 per cent
annually, the consequence being the virtual elimination of unemployment. In the period of Israeli administration, unemployment dropped from a pre-1967 level well above 10 per cent to about 1 per cent at the beginning of the 1980s. In recent years, with the downturn in employment opportunities in the Gulf States and the slow-down in the growth of employment for area residents in Israel, the unemployment rate has risen somewhat, despite increased employment in the areas themselves, and reached 3 per cent in 1986. In 1987, however, the unemployment rate dropped to 2 per cent.
Information on labour force participation, employment and unemployment is derived from labour force surveys conducted in the areas by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics in full accord with ILO recommended definitions, concepts and methods. The 1987 2 per cent unemployment rate in the area is considerably lower than that of Israel itself (approximately 6 per cent in 1987), than that in most industrial countries and far below the rate that characterises most of the developing countries.
From the data available on economic activity in Judea, Samaria and Gaza before 1967, it is possible to put together the following picture. In 1965-66 gross domestic product per capita was approximately US$220 in Judea and Samaria and US$120 in Gaza, with about 13 per cent of the gross national product in Judea and Samaria stemming from net factor payments from abroad.
This level of product and income was low on any scale and reflects the slow historical growth. As is to be expected from economies at this level of development, a relatively high share of the domestic product originated in agriculture -largely of a traditional nature -and a relatively low share in extended industry (manufacturing, construction, electricity, water, transport and communication).
The share of agriculture in total employment -
approximately 40 per cent -
was considerably higher than its weight in total output, which was about one-third. Thus agriculture was at the same time the dominant sector of the economy and a sector of low productivity. The weight of the other goods-producing sectors, i.e. manufacturing, mining and quarrying and construction, in employment was also significantly greater than their weight in total output (roughly 20-25 per cent against 10-15 per cent) indicating the prevalence of low productivity in all goods-producing sectors.
The available data on occupational distribution tend to confirm that only about 10 per cent of the employed population in Judea, Samaria and Gaza were engaged in professional, managerial and clerical occupations, while some 40 per cent were in agricultural occupations and somewhat less than 30 per cent were artisans and production workers.
In 1967 when the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza came under Israeli administration, the population was largely illiterate, with very few people equipped with the skills needed to diversify and develop the economy. Thus, in Judea and Samaria, more than two-thirds of the population of 15 years of age and over were illiterate -about half the males and 85 per cent of the females. The dependency ratio was very high -less than 25 per cent of the population in the area were economically active -reflecting on the one hand the high proportion of children (under age 15) in the population and, on the other hand, a very low labour force participation rate. The Economic Planning Authority of the Israeli Ministry of Finance estimated that unemployment came to at least 10 per cent of the labour force.
Assessed against this background, as well as against 1nternational experience in launching sustained economic growth in undeveloped areas, it is clear that considerable economic gains have been achieved in Judea, Samaria and Gaza over the past 20 years. This rapid growth has been stimulated in no small measure by contacts established with the economy of Israel. Employment in Israel, and the subsequent increase in real wages and other income, has served to lessen appreciably the effect of one of the classic constraints on development in regions such as Judea, Samaria and Gaza -namely, limited market size or the very low purchasing power of the local population. The sustained and substantial increase over the decade 1970-80 in the purchasing power of the rapidly growing population has been the driving force behind significantly expanded local demand, and has called forth sustained and substantial increases in local production to meet that demand. This is shown in an increase in real terms of an average of 7.1 per cent per annum in the per capita GDP over the decade. It should not be forgotten that Israel is the primary source of the technical knowledge by which this production has been achieved.
The opening of Israel's markets for goods and labour to the residents of these areas has served to enlarge the markets for local products and expand incomes and purchasing power, thereby stimulating the growth of local output. Trade data substantiate the beneficial impact of widened markets on economic activity. Between 1970 and 1987 export volume climbed by an average of 8 per cent per annum and import volume by 7.5 per cent annually.
Two of the most striking features of economic performance in these areas in the 1970s were the exceptionally rapid growth in activity and the extension of this increased activity to encompass broad sectors of the economy and population. In the decade from 1970 to 1980 per capita GDP grew in real terms by 7.5 per cent in Judea and Samaria and by 5.5 per cent in the Gaza District, an exceptionally rapid rate of growth by any standard which not only far exceeds growth in these areas in earlier periods and in neighbouring countries but also the growth goalsset by the United Nations for developing countries over the decade 1970~80, the Second Development Decade (table 1).
Economic growth has continued throughout the early 1980s albeit at a slower rate than in the 1970s. Thus, from 1980 to 1987 the per capita GDP in Judea and Samaria rose at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent. In the Gaza District the per capita GDP remained relatively stable, on average, during that period.
Perhaps the most important example of these general trends is the development of agriculture during the period of Israel's administration. Since farming was the primary economic activity in this region before 1967 -providing about one-third of the total product and roughly 40 per cent of all employment in the mid-1960s in Judea and Samaria -performance in this sector is clearly a key indicator of local developments. In general terms agriculture has, under Israel's administration, been characterised by rapidly expanding output and productivity, a reduction in employment, and a sharp rise in the real return to those who have remained in farm employment.
Our data show that despite the continued sensitivity of farm products in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to the fluctuations of weather there has been steady and marked progress, which must be perceived in contrast to the prior situation which was characterised by the use of primitive farming methods, the pervasiveness of underemployment on the farm and the low agricultural output. This is brought out in a study carried out by the Bank of Israel:
The production level in the areas' agriculture before the Six-Day War was extremely low. The primitive cultivation methods used in the West Bank would seem to indicate that no significant progress had been made in this branch for centuries. For example, the number of draught animals (mainly donkeys) exceeded 50,000, sowing was performed manually and reaping with traditional implements -sickle and scythe. Irrigation was rudimentary: no organised irrigation system existed, and part of the water flowing in open dirt ditches evaporated or was lost through seepage. There was no efficient control over the optimum quantities of water required for each crop, resulting in waste.
Since 1967, the increase in agricultural produce has been dramatic. This has been the result of capital accumulation (introduction of tractors and other agricultural machinery), technical progress and the application of scientific methods to the production process. The successful utilisation of modern technologies is the direct and indirect result of contact established with Israel since 1967. It is this contact which led to the introduction of modern farming methods and the replacement of low-yield with high-yield strains and low-income with high-income crops. Moreover, much Israeli agricultural know-how has been transmitted to farms in the areas via some of the areas' residents working in the agricultural sector in Israel. Their experience in Israel has spurred them to innovation on their own farms, often through adaptation of new technologies to local conditions.
Thus, aided by these technological improvements, output of the major crops in Judea and Samaria - vegetables and potatoes, olives, citrus and other fruit -has increased substantially since 1970. This has been accompanied by rising yields (per dunam), particularly in vegetable and potato production, citrus and field crops. The marked expansion of markets for farm produce and the subsequent increase in output has been met, as mentioned above, by significant improvements in labour productivity leading to an appreciable decline in agricultural employment coupled with a steady climb in income and wages of those still employed in the sector. Between 1970 and 1981, the number employed on farms in Judea, Samaria and Gaza declined by 31 per cent (the number of farm employees by 74 per cent and farm owners by 9 per cent) while the real per capita wage rose by 6 per cent annually and farm owners' income by approximately 8.5 per cent per year.
This phenomenon of rapid increases in agricultural output and income, made possible by rising levels of productivity and accompanied by the release of labour, is not unique to the areas in question, having characterised the economic development of most of the developed world and Israel itself. It may of course be argued that agricultural development should have been more labour intensive and that Israel should have pursued a more active policy to achieve this goal. However, there are many serious questions as to the real feasibility of such a strategy and, in any case, this contention should not obscure the fundamental improvement in technology, output and productivity in the agricultural sector in the areas under discussion.
This point brings us to the second kind of comparative perspective which is crucie1 to an understanding of developments in the area. An ILO regional report
/ on employment and policy issues in the Arab countries, which was published in 1984, is highly relevant in this respect, for it facilitates the assessment of developments in Judea, Samaria and Gaza within the context of the overall situation in neighbouring countries. Essentially, the report shows that the difficulties found in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are not unique to them but rather common to the region as a whole. This report states that:
Many Arab countries suffer from basic structural economic problems. They suffer indeed from the predominance of traditional agricultural patterns coupled with weak modernisation and the insufficient development of the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy, in particular industrialisation.
The report goes on to point out that most Arab countries have serious employment and manpower problems. The nature of these problems varies, ranging from situations of acute skill shortages necessitating large-scale immigration of workers, notably in oil-rich countries, to problems of chronic unemployment, underemployment, and poverty, especially in capital-poor countries. The report then examines the factors that have led to deficiencies in employment creation in many of these countries and calls attention to the lack of the necessary institutional framework and mechanisms for securing coherent approaches to the resolution of these problems (page 7). It is also worth noting that in the words of the study (page 6):
The Arab region experiences large-scale movements of manpower. International migration between Arab countries represents normal market response to differential levels of employment and pay opportunities... Migrants themselves perceive substantial benefits through better employment and income opportunities and improved wage and working conditions. As to the Arab States of emigration, migrants' remittances form a significant part of their national incomes.
The similarity between these circumstances and the situation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1967 is marked and this offers an additional benchmark for assessing developments in these areas under the Israeli administration.
It is along these same lines again that the contention that the industrial sector within the territories has not been sufficiently developed due to the very low level in investment should be viewed. For it should be borne in mind that the areas had virtually no industry before 1967 and that most of the neighbouring States, as well as very many developing countries in other regions of the world, have met with little success in furthering sustained and economically viable industrial development, despite the availability of investment funds. The basic factors constraining industrial development in areas such as Judea, Samaria and Gaza are well known and include elements of similar economies. To attribute the "improper development" of industrial activity in the areas to the obstacles that Israel is alleged to have created to capital investment represents a basic misreading of the situation. It is not the lack of available investment funds which has constrained industrial development but rather the far more basic limitations noted above that have led the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza to channel their funds to other uses. In fact, it should be noted that the widening of the local market and the vast expansion of education and vocational training which have taken place under Israeli administration should contribute to some easing of these constraints, but in terms of the requirements of industrial development the still extremely limited size of the local market, the lack of managerial experience, and the availability of more attractive outlets for potential investment funds remain basic and fundamental constraints.
Standard of living
Recent years, as noted above, have been marked by a slow-down in the economic growth of the areas. This trend reflects first of all the difficulty of maintaining the high rates of growth from the low starting base of 1967. Second, it reflects the changes in the international economic climate in the last few years, which have affected Israel, the neighbouring countries, as well as virtually all of the world's major economic regions. Nevertheless, the pattern of post-1967 economic performance represents a sharp break with the past, and that is due in no small measure -as shown in the previous section -to the interaction with Israel's economy. Before 1967, low income levels were manifested in low purchasing power and represented a serious constraint to economic development. Since 1967, access to Israel's markets for goods and labour has served to expand incomes and purchasing power, thereby stimulating local output.
In the ten-year period 1970-80 per capita private consumption increased by 5.3 per cent per annum in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In more recent years, data gathered by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics indicate, as noted earlier, that economic growth in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza District has slowed. Between 1980 and 1986 total real private consumption rose by approximately 4.5 per cent annually in these areas while Year.
The marked improvement in the standard quantitative improvements in food consumption, in increased purchases of clothing and other household items, in much higher levels of investment in housing, in larger real capital expenditure on health and public education and, perhaps most strikingly, in the growth in the number of families possessing consumer durables (table 15).
The number of families possessing an electric stove has increased greatly in Judea and Samaria since 1967, with 85 per cent of the population now owning this appliance. In Gaza, only 3 per cent of the families owned stoves in 1967, as against 86.1 per cent in 1985. Two-thirds of the families in Judea and Samaria and more than three-quarters of those in the Gaza District now own refrigerators; only a small fraction of the population in these areas had the use of this appliance in 1967. The percentage of families owning a car has doubled in Gaza and tripled in Judea and Samaria since 1967. Both the capacity of the telephone exchange and the number of telephones in use have more than doubled.
While in 1971 the average family size in Judea and Samaria vas 5.8 persons per household and in Gaza and Northern Sinai 6.1 persons per household, by 1987 this had increased to 6.5 persons per household in each area. Notwithstanding the increase in family size, the number of persons living in residential accommodation had dropped from 3.2 persons per room in Judea and Samaria and 3.0 persons per room in Gaza and Northern Sinai in 1971 to about 2.5 persons per room in these areas in 1987.
The very rapid increase in gross domestic capital formation of 13.5 per cent per annum during 1970-86 is reflected in a marked acceleration in residential construction as well as in investment in machinery and equipment (table 2). An expression of the increased outlay on educational development can be found in the fact that whereas, in 1970, 49 per cent of the working-age population had zero years of schooling, by 1987 the proportion of those without schooling had declined to 23 per cent. Similarly, 43 per cent of the working-age population in 1987 had nine years or more of schooling as against only 19 per cent in 1970. A major contribution has been the establishment of universities in the areas, all of which were founded after 1967 under Israeli administration. These improvements -the expansion of employment, the growth in private consumption, the rise in educational attainments -are all indicators of the progress achieved to date in meetina the basic needs of the population.
The quality of life in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has also been improved through social and community development. The Government of Israel through its Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has introduced a comprehensive social services system including a wide range of new social services
/ over the past 22 years, including the provision of a minimum income for those in need of public assistance, and has encouraged the expansion of rural development projects, neighbourhood development projects, and the activities of public charitable organisations.
The Government has encouraged the active co-operation and participation of international voluntary organisations and United Nations agencies in projects designed to enhance economic and social development in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently funding projects carried out by American voluntary agencies in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District in the fields of community development, economic development, health, education, expansion of co-operatives, improvement of marketing potentials and the development of local infrastructure such as electricity and water supplies, access roads and sewage systems.
The UNDP has approved funding for projects totalling US$16.6 million including manpower development in the field of medical services, development of educational and vocational training services, and assistance in the development of social and community services.
UNICEF has allocated US$1.7 million during the past four years for the establishment of child development centres in Judea, Samaria and Gaza designed to identify and treat disabilities in children up to six years of age, as well as to undertake prevention, public education, professional instruction, and out-reach programmes in this field. Four child development centres -three in Judea and Samaria and one in Gaza -have already been established. In addition, almost 50 villages in the Hebron District have been covered by a programme for the training of community health workers in primary health care. Additional programmes carried out under UNICEF funding include upgrading and in-service training of "dayas" (traditional birth attendants), kindergarten teacher training and improvement of the physical conditions of kindergartens.
It should be noted that during the years 1967-88 the Government of Israel has contributed directly to the education, health, social services and rehabilitation of refugees with a budget of US$200 million over and above the allocation of UMRWA for providing aid to the refugee population.
More than 25 foreign and international agencies contribute to a wide range of economically and socially oriented projects together with the Government. These projects have the additional goal of encouraging residents to take the initiative in identifying their community's needs, in playing an active role in developing projects to answer these needs, and in providing financial participation for their implementation. The element of encouraging self-help and community solidarity is stressed as an important objective in itself, over and above the obvious economic benefits derived from such projects.
Local public charitable organisations were in existence in Judea and Samaria before 1967, but their activities have been encouraged and expanded through the initiative of the Government. They are active in such areas as the operation of nutrition and child development centres, mother and child care centres, kindergartens, day centres for the retarded and services for the handicapped. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs co-ordinates the activities of these organisations and offers professional guidance, while channelling their activities into new areas of need and encouraging the establishment of new organisations. Some 260 such organisations are now active in Judea. Samaria and Gaza. 186 of them established since 1967.
Neighbourhood development projects result from a government initiative to establish new residential neighbourhoods to accommodate families that have been enabled to leave refugee camps in the Gaza District. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is involved in community work in these and other neighbourhoods in the Gaza District and, together with newly organised neighbourhood committees, carries out projects such as the establishment of community centres and the provision of other necessary services for the community. About 19,500 families numbering more than 95,000 persons have already been relocated in modern housing projects initiated by the Government and have been able to move out of the refugee camps maintained by UNRWA.
Many new social services have been introduced by the Government to deal with problems that had no solutions prior to 1967. For instance the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has established 29 classes in Youth Vocational Rehabilitation Centres (Miftanim) for 644 boys and girls who have dropped out of the general school system and who are considered to be in danger of becoming delinquents. Likewise, the treatment of the retarded, the aged, epileptic and disabled persons has acquired new dimensions during the past 18 years. The first residential homes for the retarded were established, one in Gaza and one in Judea and Samaria, a residential facility for epileptic children was opened in Beit Jalla, and modern vocational rehabilitation centres were opened in 1980, one in Judea and Samaria and one in Gaza. The network of kindergartens in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has been reinforced by the provision of new furniture, teaching, aids, play equipment, and teacher training, the latter through courses funded by UNICEF and the UNDP together with the Government. Educational, recreational summer camps were initiated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in 1969 to offer holidays by the sea to disadvantaged children from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Some had never seen the sea before or had a vacation of this kind. Since then, every year some 2,000 children are able to enjoy a vacation which they could not otherwise afford. The Government together with the municipality of Ashkelon has established a campsite by the seaside with permanent structures and facilities for just this purpose. Plans to construct a swimming pool on the campsite are now being considered, for use when swimming in the sea is restricted by weather conditions.
Employment in Israel
Three major goals guide the policy of the Government of Israel with regard to the employment of workers in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. The first is full employment of all jobseekers -with employment opportunities in Israel being regarded as supplementary to those in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Second is freedom of choice and of movement in obtaining work;and the third, equality of wages, social benefits and working conditions for those working in Israel.
In 1987 approximately 109,000 workers from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District were employed in Israel. Residents of these areas began looking for work in Israel soon after they came under Israeli administration in 1967, and by 1968 about 5,000 were employed in Israel. The number reached almost 70,000 in 1974, and has increased only gradually since then. Today, over 80 per cent of these workers are commuters who return home daily. Thus, employment in Israel, unlike work migration elsewhere, does not entail the uprooting of workers from their homes and cultural environment. Finally, it bears emphasising once again that employment in Israel, though beneficial to the Israeli economy, constitutes only 7 per cent of Israel's total employed labour force (and trade with the areas accounts for an even smaller percentage of Israeli domestic product).
The opening of job opportunities in Israel has contributed to virtually full employment for over a decade. The low unemployment figures, as noted earlier, are based on continuing labour force surveys conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics that include all workers who are residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including irregular labourers. This general pattern of employment and unemployment, it must be noted, has continued in 1986 and 1987. Indeed, despite the growth of the unemployment rate in Israel to around 7 per cent in 1986, the rate within the administered territories has increased to only 3 per cent. In 1987 the unemployment rate in Israel declined to about 6 per cent and in the areas to about 2 per cent. This seems to be due to two factors. First, it is related to the continued demand for labour from the territories for seasonal and other types of work. Second, there is an increase in the number of workers with seniority in Israeli enterprises, a fact which ensures continued employment despite a certain reduction in job opportunities and an increase in stoppages of work within Israel. Indeed, in 1986 and in 1987 the demand for labour from the territories -as expressed through the requests put to the regional employment offices - still exceeded the supply of manpower.
Those working in Israel account for somewhat more than a third of the total labour force of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which now numbers 285,000 workers and these in turn are about one-third of the working-age population. The low participation rate is largely due to the following factors: the outflow of workers to take jobs in neighbouring countries (albeit at a slower rate than in the 1960s), the continued non-participation by the majority of Arab women, as is traditional in many countries in this part of the world, and the increase in the number of persons of working age whose attendance at educational establishments directly affects labour force participation ratios.
Table 10 indicates the branches of the economy in which workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza are employed. The availability of work in the Israeli labour market to these workers, as well as the economic development of these areas themselves, has created a more highly skilled labour force. There has been a significant increase in the number of workers in skilled industrial jobs and a significant decrease in the number of unskilled agricultural workers. In 1970, 24 per cent of those employed in Israel were employed in agriculture. By 1987 this had dropped to 14.5 per cent. The percentage of those employed in industry rose from 12 per cent to 18 per cent during the same period.
While the number of workers employed in Israel rose from 20,000 in 1970 to 95,000 in 1986 and 107,000 in 1987, the number of employed persons during the same period in the administered territories themselves remained virtually unchanged despite the marked outflow from agricultural employment, as noted earlier. In this context, it should be noted that the major outflow of workers from agriculture and the consequent decrease of employment of area residents within the areas took place between 1970 and 1975. Since 1975-76, the outElow from agriculture has very appreciably slowed, whereas the total employment of area residents within the administered areas themselves has increased.
The safety and health of workers in Israel are provided for as part of their social benefits. A worker injured on the job is insured by the National Insurance Institute and within this framework he is entitled to the advanced medical care available in Israel. Furthermore, every worker has comprehensive medical insurance coverage through which he can receive special health services in clinics in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the area of his home. These clinics provide examinations, medicines and hospitalisation for the workers and their families. They are financed in part by a small additional deduction from the workers' paychecks. The Government provides the remainder of the budget needed for this purpose.
In order to keep track of all wages and social benefit payments in a very fluid labour market, the Payments Division of the Employment Service has developed an advanced computerised syste0 that makes it possible to locate the file of any worker quickly and examine his complete work history, including the wages he has earned and payments made into the social benefit funds for him. In case of a misunderstanding, mistake or dispute, the employment office in the worker's home district can locate the relevant facts on a microfiche read-out and solve the problem almost immediately.
This system is universal - that is, when a worker changes jobs and begins working in an area served by a different branch of the Payments Division, his records are transferred and kept up to date. In this way, social benefit contributions from his new job can accrue to those paid in his former iobs.
To ensure that the worker understands what rights he is entitled to and what deductions are being made from his check, he receives along with his paycheck every month a detailed payslip indicating the amounts paid that month for social benefits and taxes. The payslip includes a small stamp certifying that he has paid into the medical insurance fund and is entitled to medical care at the clinics in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Each item on the payslip is in both Arabic and Hebrew. Over the past few years signs of potential difficulties have appeared in relation to the scope of employment of residents from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. These include an increase in the sums paid to residents of these areas for severance payments and other benefits; a decrease in the number of requests filed for workers to work in Israel; and the slight increase in unemployment to 3.3 per cent. In order to prepare for any eventuality of increased unemployment in the areas, the Ministry of Labour' and Social Affairs, in co-operation with the Ministry of Defence and the civil administrators, has drawn up contingency plans based on starting public works projects through the regional employment offices and increasing vocational training opportunities. These plans can be activated even at short notice. It should be stressed again, however, that despite this situation the demand for labour from Judea, Samaria and Gaza still exceeds supply.
The employment service
In order to provide employment for workers who wish to work in Israel, to direct them to job vacancies unfilled by Israeli workers and at the same time ensure that these workers receive the equal pay and benefits that the law prescribes, a network of 39 employment offices has been in operation in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District since 1968. These offices -which are staffed by Arab residents of the districts in which they are located - carry out a whole array of tasks which includes: receiving notices of job vacancies in Israel and operating a job placement service; providing counselling on the rights of employees in Israel; mediating between workers and employers in order to help in solving problems and handling complaints; handling requests for sick leave and severance pay; registration for health services; reporting and handling of the unemployed; and managing relations with such bodies as trade unions. Workers are encouraged to bring their problems to the employment offices, and are doing so in increasing numbers. These offices handle over 80,000 cases of all kinds each year. This number did not decrease but remained stable even in 1988, which was characterised by the "intifadah".
When the employment office is unable to resolve a dispute between a worker and his employer, the matter is referred to the Histadrut or a labour court, where the case is heard in accordance with the law and with the Collective Agreement that exists in Israel.
An Israeli employer who wishes to hire workers from Judea, Samaria or Gaza files a request for workers with the Israeli employment office which then applies to the employment service in those areas. If jobseekers are available, they are then referred to the employer. The employer undertakes to pay the workers' wages and social benefits to the Payments Division of the Israel Employment Service. This safeguards the workers, guaranteeing that the employer pays wages and social benefit contributions in accordance with the rates laid down by the collective agreements between the relevant trade unions and employers' organisations. The Payments Division makes out paychecks to be given to the worker at his place of work.
A worker who wishes to seek employment in Israel is required to register with the employment office in his home area. There, his personal details and work experience are put on file so that he may be referred to an appropriate job. Upon being given a job, he is issued a work referral certificate, which certifies that he has gone through proper legal channels in obtaining his specific job. Tenured workers in industry need renew them only every six months. Some 55,000 workers register annually with the employment service to find jobs.
Youths under the age of 17 are not issued with work certificates for employment in Israel, and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza the minimum working age is 14. Employers are forbidden to employ youths under this age. The minimum working age was established in 1978 by a special ordinance of the Israeli administration, raising it to 14 from 13 in Judea and Samaria and from 12 in Gaza. This requirement is enforced by regular inspection of workplaces. As of 1 January 1982, every worker from the Gaza District under the age of 18 is required to pass a medical examination in his home area before being issued with a certificate to work in Israel.
A worker from Judea, Samaria or Gaza who works in Israel pays income tax on the same level as an Israeli worker. Amounts equal to the taxes paid by the former are budgeted to fund development projects and services provided by the Government in those areas.
The great majority of workers live at a reasonable commuting distance from their place of work, and travelling to and from work, often together with people from the same village who work at the same place, can help to reinforce village identity. In the relatively few cases in which the nature of the work or the distance from home makes it necessary for a worker to stay overnight in Israel, he is supplied with a lodging permit. For the worker to obtain this permit, his employer must allow inspection by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the sleeping quarters he provides. The accommodation is required to include proper facilities, such as a shower, and meet standards of sanitation, space and safety. In 1988, 3,397 lodging permits and 2,762 permits for working night shifts were issued to workers.
A worker from Judea, Samaria or Gaza who is employed in Israel receives all the social benefits that an Israeli worker receives, with the exception of some National Insurance benefits which carry a legal requirement of residence in Israel. Some benefits vary somewhat from occupation to occupation, depending on collective agreements applicable to that branch of the economy.
In recent years the number of allowances to workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza by right of their employment in Israel was over 65,000. Virtually all of these workers have received vacation and sick leave payments, and 15,684 received severance pay in 1987. A few years ago, the first retirement pension payments were made. Since the receipt of this benefit requires ten years of contributions to the pension funds, the age of 65 for men and 60 for women, the first workers qualified only five years ago. In 1988, 753 retirees received old-age pensions under this scheme (see table 17). In 1984 the first three requests for a disability pension -for workers in the construction sector covered by a comprehensive pension scheme -were accepted. In order to ensure an orderly processing of such requests, medical and administrative procedures have also been established.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in co-operation with the Institute for Applied Social Research in Jerusalem carried out a survey in 1983 into the conditions of employment of those residents from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District who work in Israel. The findings of the survey may be summarised by the following points: the generally positive view of and satisfaction with the employment offices; the increasing knowledge of workers about their rights and benefits within Israel; the expressed wish of over half of the workers interviewed to continue working in Israel after three years or more; and the citing by these workers of the social benefits and health insurance as the primary advantages of working in Israel.
During the past year and a quarter we have witnessed serious disturbances that have disrupted the normal pattern of employment of residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel. One of the main goals of these disturbances has been to prevent workers from the areas working in Israel, thereby attempting to harm Israel's economy.
The steps taken by the inciters of the disturbances include:
- distribution of leaflets giving notice to workers not to work in Israel;
- attacks on transport taking workers to Israel and sabotage by burning buses and cars;
- both verbal intimidation and physical violence against workers;
- blocking-off of roads from villages to prevent workers from reaching their places of work.
Despite all this, the majority of workers desire to continue working in Israel and do everything possible to get to work. Interested employers do what they can to assist, and the employment service has taken measures to support the efforts of workers to continue working, such as the issue of 50 per cent more lodging permits in December 1988 (3,400) than in December 1987 (2,250) to enable workers to remain near their places of work .
Although Israeli law and the ordinances issued in the territories require workers who are employed in Israel to be registered with the employment service, it is estimated that almost half of the 109,000 residents working in Israel are not. These irregular workers -or workers in irregular employment, as they are officially classified -do not acquire all the social benefits described above, even though they nevertheless still enjoy some rights under Israeli law.
Irregular workers are illegally circumventing the employment office of their own free will, and both employee and employer are defrauding the State of taxes and depriving themselves of social benefits which would be due to them as a result of their working in Israel, while nothing prevents them from registering and receiving social benefits. The unfilled requests for workers indicate that these workers could easily find regularised employment through the employment service.
Israel has an interest in regularising all employment to ensure that workers receive the benefits to which they are entitled, as well as, of course, to ensure that workers and employers pay taxes and contributions as the law and collective agreements prescribe. The workers themselves should be interested in promoting organised employment so that they may enjoy all these social benefits.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has made great efforts to persuade and encourage workers to find jobs through the accepted legal channels, for their own good. To a certain extent, these efforts have succeeded.
It is regrettable that no Arab organisation or personality in Judea, Samaria or Gaza has either condemned irregular labour or acted to reduce it.
This phenomenon of irregular employment is far from being limited to the Israeli case. Thus Martin and Richards
/ note that:
An estimated twenty million persons live and work in countries where they are neither citizens nor intend to be permanent immigrants. One-half of these are legally admitted "guest workers". The rest are illegal aliens or undocumented workers. A recent ILO study
/ emphasizes once again the prevalence of this phenomenon in many areas of the world and offers further testimony as to the tenacious nature of the problem and the difficulties most governments face in attempting to eliminate this phenomenon.
There is, however, one significant difference between the situation facing the irregular worker in Israel and that facing him in many other countries, namely that in most countries his only real possibility of securing work is through irregular employment whereas in Israel he can as a matter of course secure permission to work in Israel through official channels. Moreover, these irregular workers are able to regularise their status after the event with no prejudice to those concerned. Indeed one of the major implications of the Martin and Richards study is that Israel shares, with other governments throughout the world, the difficulties encountered in eliminating this phenomenon, although in Israel there is the added problem of most irregular workers wanting to find jobs along irregular routes.
At this point it should be reiterated that the Government of Israel is categorically opposed to any kind of irregular employment, and that it has in the past and is at present applying a host of measures and procedures aimed at curbing this phenomenon. Thus an intensive information campaign in Arabic has been waged since 1976 in an effort to explain to workers the benefits of working through the employment offices. Among the measures taken in order to ensure that every worker is aware of the advantages of being registered with the employment office are the dissemination of leaflets and pamphlets and the transmission of radio and television announcements. In addition, representatives of the Histadrut, the Israeli General Federation of Labour, have met with workers to explain their rights and the benefits of registering. Finally, both unregistered workers and their employers have been brought to trial and fined. The fines which may be imposed on an employer who hires a worker illegally have been recently increased.
In recent years special attention has been paid by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Histadrut to activities promoting the great importance of organised labour among workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel.
Since 1968 nearly 73,500 youths from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District have learned trades in graduated vocational training courses and upgrading programmes sponsored by the Government of Israel. Moreover, the demand for such training and for additional subjects has been growing steadily throughout this period.
Before 1967 only three Government-sponsored institutions for vocational training existed, two in Judea and Samaria and one in Gaza, but these had a limited effect on the labour force. One of the institutions in Judea and Samaria accepted only refugees. The school in Gaza offered only a lengthy four-year programme that had not yet graduated its first class by 1967. One UNWRA centre for vocational education served each area, but these were also very limited in the number of students they could serve.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has established and operates 24 vocational training centres, 18 in Judea and Samaria and six in the Gaza District. A centre in Rafah was closed with the return of a part of the city to Egypt, and its activities transferred to another location in a newly built centre in Rafah. The role of the centres has changed over the years, from retraining adults to providing teenagers with the skills they will need to find work. The emphasis is now on teaching industrial and manufacturing skills. Courses in the construction trades continue but make up only about 10 per cent of the curriculum, since about 70 per cent of workers in this branch from Judea, Samaria and Gaza are already skilled workers. Courses offered vary from centre to centre according to local needs. The centre in Beit Jalla, for instance, offers a course in olivewood carving, a traditional local craft, in addition to standard skills such as carpentry, dressmaking, hairdressing, typing and bookkeeping.
During 1987 some 3,000 trainees graduated from more than 230 such courses. These vary in their duration and in the type of instruction provided. Most combine practical training with classroom studies, and all comply with the same standards met by vocational education institutions in Israel. Centres are also open to requests from students. In some courses, for instance, pupils asked that a Hebrew lesson be included as a regular part of their studies and the centres have complied with the request. New courses in additional fields of vocational training are being added in accordance with the needs of workers for new or additional skills.
In their practical work, students produce items which are marketed to private or public buyers, or used in the centres themselves. Additions to the curriculum are driving courses for adults, offered in the evenings, for drivers of private or public vehicles and for those who wish to work as driving instructors or managers of driving schools. Evening courses for adults are also offered in auto-mechanics and garage management. A course in Hebrew for office workers employed by the Government has been offered for the past several years.
In recent years, vocational upgrading and extension study programmes for transportation-related occupations were expanded. In the Gaza District a centre for training safety representatives in manufacturing plants has been established.
Co-operation with the UNDP has led to a proposal for the establishment of four new courses in Gaza, one in radio and television repair, one in home appliance repair, and two in women's hairstyling. These new courses have begun to operate during recent years. Special programmes for younger students have also been established. Until recently, youths aged 14 and 15 who did not want to study, or whose families were in need of the income they could provide, were deprived of anything beyond an elementary education. Under a new programme, 260 youths in this age group in Judea and Samaria are granted one day a week to attend classes in theoretical and vocational studies at a vocational training centre. Another new programme started in 1981, providing young people in Judea and Samaria with courses in which they learned vocational skills during their vacation from school.
In addition, efforts have been made in Gaza to employ blind and handicapped adults productively. As part of a Labour and Social Affairs Ministry-sponsored programme, a day club for blind and disabled men offers them a chance to learn a craft and work at it in the centre. Work such as bookbinding or weaving wicker items, for example, provides these people with an independent income and a sense of dignity. Two vocational rehabilitation centres, one in Gaza and one in Bethlehem, provide a new opportunity for handicapped or chronically unemployed individuals to acquire work habits, skills, resocialisation, and eventual placement in the open work market.
The vocational training centres have been instrumental in providing women with greater opportunities to work. As mentioned above, the participation rate of women in the labour force of Judea, Samaria and Gaza is traditionally low. Social and religious pressures have prevented many women who wanted or needed to work from finding jobs. The vocational training centres, by accepting women into their courses, have been helping to pave the way for their entry into the labour force. In spite of the importance of providing women with equal training opportunities, the Government works towards these goals with local sensitivities in mind. Many courses created specifically for women train them in skills they can use to earn money at home rather than go out to work, such as dressmaking, knitting and weaving. There are also courses in office work, however, and women are free to study in any of the other courses offered by the centres if they wish to do so.
Indeed, a recent report on the employment and working conditions of Palestinian women
/ underlines just these points. According to this report, while there is a quite evident increase in the job opportunities now open to women in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, this increase has not been accompanied by adverse effects on local social mores or expectations.
It is through the vocational training centres that co-education has been introduced for the first time into some parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. In 1980 the vocational training centre in Hebron opened the first class in which men and women studied together in this city. The experiment was successful and was continued. Students who prefer not to study in mixed classes, however, are not required to do so.
The vocational training cent res are well known and places in them are in demand. The institutions are publicised through advertisements in local newspapers and on radio and television. In addition, letters are sent to each graduating high-school student and visits by the centres' staffs are made to high schools every year in order to publicise the programme. Students accepted into the course receive their education free of charge and are provided with work clothes and pocket money for the duration of their studies. The graduation certificates are printed in Arabic, with either a Hebrew or English translation, as the student requests. The vocational training programmes are constantly being evaluated and ways are always being sought to make better provision for the needs of the students. Seminars are held regularly for the teachers in the centres in order to help them to maintain and improve the standard of instruction.
One more rather general but quite revealing point should be noted in regard to the vocational training programmes offered in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The ILO regional study referred to above states on page 8 that "the field of education and training is at the heart of policies aiming at employment promotion and human resource development". The study then goes on to recommend a marked expansion of the education and training systems in Arab countries. This is basically what has occurred in Judea, Samaria and Gaza under Israeli administration. For it is in these areas that the promotion of vocational training has been geared to local conditions: a concentration on industrial and transport occupations rather than on construction work, and the provision of equal opportunities for women and of chances for vocational rehabilitation for the handicapped.
Past ILO missions have at times criticised the vocational training network for failing to provide courses directly related to development needs in the territories themselves and have attributed the outElow of trainees to neighbouring areas to deficiencies in the curriculum itself. Note should be taken in this respect that the courses offered in the administered territories are similar to those offered by UNWRA and reflect the needs and wishes of the areas' population, as is shown in the relative decline in the building trades as demand for industrial skills has grown. Moreover, skills are transferable and the skills taught in one area are directly applicable in other geographic areas (workers with certificates of graduation from vocational training centres in these areas are highly regarded in Arab States), and providing workers in the areas with vocational training has widened their employment opportunities and increased their earning power. Thus it is the offer of higher wages both in Israel and in the oil-producing Gulf States which tempts skilled workers to seek work outside the area. Consequently, it must be understood that the attribution of the outflow of trainees to deficiencies in training or to Israeli policy aimed at providing semi-skilled workers for Israel's labour market is completely unjustified. This conclusion is in fact reinforced by the aforementioned ILO study which discusses similar flows affecting other countries in the region.
The co-operative movement in Judea and Samaria is very active, with new associations being formed every year. There are now 743 registered co-operative societies in Judea, Samaria and Gaza with a total membership of 90,000. Of these, 350 co-operatives have been established since 1967, and 40 during 1987 itself.
Co-operatives may serve a variety of purposes. Farmers in a village may desire to establish a communal olive press, to buy expensive equipment as a collective, or to market their produce together. A village may decide to provide itself with electricity or young couples may join together to build an apartment building. In each case, the group is able to help its members by providing services that the individuals could not provide for themselves.
The present membership of 90,000 people must be compared to the 14,000 members that were affiliated with the co-operatives before 1967. At that time there were about 400 co-operatives in Judea and Samaria. Many of these ceased to be active after 1967, but efforts were made by the Israeli administration to persuade them to renew their activities. The co-operatives which began to function again tended to be those which provided essential services to their members -production co-operatives and health insurance schemes, for instance. Since the services were vital, the members of these co-operatives worked and sacrificed to pull them through the difficult period after the war. This effort paid off. and these co-operatives are thriving today.
One example of the extent to which these co-operatives are influencing the economy is that of an agricultural co-operative in Jenin which allows local farmers to market their produce in bulk directly to an agricultural export company. In this way they avoid paying commissions to middlemen. Through its members, this co-operative controls some 300,000 dunams of farmland.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs actively encourages the co-operative movement. Thirteen Ministry employees, all residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, work in processing applications for new co-operatives and advising established ones. According to the existing local law, any group with at least seven members may apply for co-operative status. Each member pays an agreed fee to buy a share in the co-operative with all members holding an equal interest in the enterprise. As the project progresses, members may invest more money. Even in cases like a housing project, where the original goal is achieved with the completion of the apartment building, the co-operative continues to operate -running, perhaps, a neighbourhood kindergarten or-a neighbourhood store, as well as looking after the upkeep of the building. Groups applying for registration are handled according to local laws. In addition, applicants may receive guidance on how to proceed with their project. Co-operatives elect their own officers and the members jointly decide how the group is to be run.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has re-established an Institute for Labour and Co-operative Studies in Hebron. During 1987 about 500 active members of co-operatives in Judea and Samaria participated in courses offered by the Institute.-
During 1987 five representatives of marketing co-operatives in Judea and Samaria were sent to the United States for a six-week study tour.
In discussing the exercise of trade union rights in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, it is important to reiterate the following points: workers from these areas have the same right as Israeli workers to affiliate with trade unions or to set up their own trade unions; trade unions operate freely, negotiate collective agreements, and protect their members' rights in labour matters; and existing laws and regulations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza concerning trade union rights are strictly observed by the Israeli authorities.
Advice and assistance to workers in Israel who have questions about or problems with their rights are provided by the employment offices and by the relevant Israeli trade unions at the Histadrut, Israel's General Federation of Labour. All of these endeavour to ensure that workers receive the social benefits to which they are entitled.
Histadrut policy is open to the participation of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza on work committees in Israel, and moves to bring this about are continuing. Indeed, according to the Histadrut's constitution every worker in a plant has the right to vote and to be elected to the workers' committees, although increasing the actual participation of workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a slow process. This right, moreover, is not conditional on membership in the Histadrut itself.
Finally, all collective agreements negotiated by the Histadrut are extended to cover all workers, including those from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, who work in Israel, regardless of whether or not they are actually union members.
In the past years co-operation between the Government and the Histadrut with regard to workers from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District has increased. This has involved holding joint seminars, dissemination of information, and holding study visits to these areas.
Workers who are employed within these areas themselves may be represented by their own trade unions. Local law guarantees their right to organise, to negotiate collective agreements with their employers and to offer protection to their members in labour matters.
There are seven registered unions in the Gaza District and 31 in Judea and Samaria. The latter tend to be more active. According to local law any group of 21 workers may register as a trade union. The scope of union activity must be determined by the workers themselves, and the Government does not interfere in the organisation of activities. Fifteen new unions have registered in Judea and Samaria since 1967.
Though the law forbids trade unions to engage in political activity, in many cases union structures are exploited as a front for just this purpose.
Unfortunately the trade unions rarely involve themselves in labour matters but are mostly engaged in internal politics and infighting within the ILO, and in the fight against Israel. Evidence of this can be found in the fliers, manifestos, and proclamations distributed by the unions in recent years. Some of the material has been uncovered in searches that were conducted in buildings and cent res belonging to the organisations or to their affiliated unions. On occasion, when intelligence is received concerning hostile activity taking place in the headquarters of one of the organisations or unions, a search is carried out, sometimes followed by the arrest of a number of activists.
Examples of terrorist activity by unions within the union framework
Members of trade unions have been active in terrorism too, as seen in the following examples:
1. The head of the trade union in the village of A-Dik -a branch of the trade union in Salafit (in the Tulkarm district) and part of the Fatah-affiliated union in Shechem (Nablus) -was killed three years ago while preparing a bomb in the offices of the union. His deputy was badly injured. In a search, explosive materials and bomb components were found.
2. In June 1985, a terrorist squad was uncovered in Jerusalem. Its founder, who was recruited by the Fatah, had received orders to attack Israeli cars, kidnap soldiers for hostage bargaining, and commit other acts of terror. A direct connection between the squad's members and the Fatah-affiliated trade union was proven.
3. In September 1988, a terrorist squad, which was operating within the trade union in East Jerusalem, was uncovered. This squad placed a bomb at the Gilo intersection (no casualties resulted from the explosion), another bomb at the Egged bus stop near Sha'arei Tsedek Hospital (a young boy was injured and his leg had to be amputated), and one at the Beit Shemesh intersection.
4. It is important to emphasise that many of these union activists had in the past been imprisoned for terrorist acts and after their release had to be detained and imprisoned again.
Other anti-Israel activity
This is primarily characterised by the activists organising within "workers"' centres (at the municipal, township or village levels) and conducting "information gatherings" which are supposedly connected to labour, wage and other similar issues. In reality, however, indoctrination is carried out in support of the PLO and/or the specific faction with which the union is affiliated; this is done through anti-Israel activity accompanied by incitement and calls for action against government institutions. It must be noted that prominent activists-of the various trade unions who were arrested for their terrorist activity or for inciting disturbances hurriedly "hid behind" their membership in one of the trade unions and, in complaints which they submitted to the International Labour Organisation, presented themselves as "unionists". The following prominent activists are some examples:
Walid Muhammad Ibrahim Talawelah -Jenin
Talawelah is known to be a leading activist of the DFLP in the Jenin district and was imprisoned for his hostile activity. Furthermore, an order was issued restricting his movements between July 1986 and January 1987. In complaining to the ILO, he presented himself as a trade unionist belonging to the "Workers' Association Bloc" which, as noted above, is DFLP-oriented.
Muhammad Abdallah Labadi -Ramallah
Known and identified as a prominent activist of the DFLP in the Ramallah area, he was involved in organising disturbances and was imprisoned a number of times in the past. From August 1986 to August 1987 his movements were ordered to be restricted. He, too, has presented himself to the ILO as a "unionist". Recently, he was given an expulsion order because of his continued activity on behalf of the DFLP terrorist or organisation.
Muhammad Bashir and Yusuf Id -Shechem (Nablus)
Both are known to be prominent activists of the Fatah in the Shechem area, and in the past both have been involved in disturbances and incitement, for which they were imprisoned. When presenting themselves they do so as members of the "General Association of Trade Unions in the West Bank" (Fatah faction).
George Hazbun -Bethlehem
Hazbun is a most dominant personality who has served for a long time as the deputy of the Secretary-General of the "General Association of Trade Unions in the West Bank" (PCP faction). He has been arrested and jailed for his involvement in hostile activity of a very grave nature.
There is an additional long list of similar activists, a few of the more prominent being: Yassin Kuwasmah -DFLP (Hebron); Muhammad Aruri -DFLP (Hebron); Aminah Rimawi -DFLP (El-Birch); Adnan Kilani -DFLP (Yabed, Jenin district); Shaher Sa'ad -Fatah (Shechem); Amad Labadi -Fatah (Tulkarm); Kedoura Musa -Fatah (Jenin); Zahirah Kamal -DFLP (Ramallah).
Trade unions in the Gaza District
In the Gaza District, only six trade unions operate. They are organised under one workers' association -the "Workers' Association of the Gaza Strip" (except for the DFLP's "Workers' Association Bloc", which sees its authority as extending also to the Gaza District). The unions are: the Union of Builders and Carpenters, the Union of Commercial and General Services Workers, the Drivers' Union, the Tailors' Union, the Farmers' Union, and the Metal Workers' Union. The association, which was functioning in the years before 1967, suspended its activities until 1979, when it legally resumed operating under the leadership of Abd El-Rahman Darbih (a merchant and factory owner). On 25 October 1984 a Fatah terrorist squad tried to assassinate Darbih in order to remove him so that the Fatah could seize control of the association. Since then, the situation in terms of the association's activities has deteriorated, and all the elements of terrorist activity have found their way into it.
Since the assassination attempt, Abd El-Rahman Darbih has ceased serving, for all practical purposes, as the Chairman of the association, which has become a focus for activity directed by the terrorist organisations, including the DFLP, in the Gaza District. The various trade unions have entered into confrontation (in a well-planned and directed manner) with the Military Government and civil administration: first, by trying to "establish facts on the ground", and, when that did not work, by resorting to propaganda and even legal channels.
The following are examples of the main violations committed by members of the trade unions in the Gaza District -through what they refer to as the "Executive Committee":
(a) On 23 July 1986 they published in the press a resolution supporting the PLO as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" and opposing Security Council resolution 242. Afterwards, a complaint was issued against them for having violated the relevant Egyptian Law (331) and a file was opened against them by the Gaza police. The members of the unions (in a complaint to the ILO) presented their questioning on 16 December 1988 as a case of "false arrest".
(b) Refusal to present the financial balance (as required by law) and the general boycotting of the headquarters office for labour affairs in the Gaza District.
(c) Illegal structuring of and appointments in the unions, such as increasing -without approval and in violation of the law -the number of members in the Executive Committee from 7 to 13, and conducting meetings while ignoring the association's legal Chairman, Abd El-Rahman Darbih.
Of the seven members who were elected to the new executive of the association, three were imprisoned in the past for terrorist activities, and are forbidden by law to officiate because of their former criminal record. They are Hussein El-Jamal, who served five years; Yihue Abid, who served six months, and Mustafa Barbar, who served ten years' imprisonment.
Two trade unions (the Union of Builders and Carpenters and the Union of Commercial and General Services Workers) have asked for elections to be held, but this request was rejected for the reasons referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 above. However, the civil administration's rejection did not prevent the unions from resorting to devious ploys vis-a-vis Israeli security and holding illegal elections at the headquarters of the Red Cross in Gaza.
Other activists who belong to the Union of Builders and Carpenters were previously given relatively lengthy sentences and imprisoned for terrorist activity. The same is true of several activists within the Union of Commercial and General Services Workers.
Not all activists who belong to the association and the unions engage in their stated profession: e.g., Elias Jelda, a jeweller, and Mustafa Barbar, a book salesman, neither of whom are active in a manner in keeping with their trades.
Besides acts of terrorism, the activities of the trade unions have been characterised thus far by theiritaking advantage of legal channels and combining them with propaganda/media tactics. The unions have waged their campaign simultaneously through the ILO and through propaganda efforts aimed at audiences in the area and abroad (e.g., press conferences, held in East Jerusalem, against what the unions referred to as "the authorities' refusal" to allow them to operate and "the oppression of the workers' trend"; and inviting members of the foreign press to witness the elections that were held at the Red Cross headquarters).
Existing local labour laws in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District did not deal with all contingencies, some of which have arisen since the beginning of the Israeli administration. As a result, the latter has issued a number of labour ordinances, some of which are described below:
The Labour Dispute Ordinance
(1972 -Judea and Samaria) streamlines the process of settling labour disputes.
The Raising of the Minimum Working Age Ordinance
(1978 -Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District) raises to 14 the minimum working age for youths who have received permission to work.
The Compulsory Work Accident Insurance Ordinance
(1977 -Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District) provides insurance to all workers through the various insurance companies, makes payments to the victims of work accidents and raises the level of compensation oaYments. It also frees the employer from the burden of the payment of compensation through the requirement for regular insurance contributions.
- The Amendment to the
Civil Service Act Ordinance (1977 -Gaza) equalises the benefits of daily workers employed by government agencies in Gaza with benefits specified by local labour legislation.
During 1986 two additional ordinances were issued. One deals with payment by the employer of sick-leave pay for illness, previously made only in the case of accidents. The second demands periodic adjustments -according to the rise in the cost-of-living index -of payments made to workers who have accidents at work.
About 15 labour inspectors work within the framework of the civil administrations of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. These inspectors, who visit each plant at least once a year, are in charge of ensuring that existing labour laws are enforced; advising local workers as to their rights; and lecturing on subjects related to occupational safety and hygiene.
Israeli law and judicial system ensure equality of treatment in employment for all persons working in Israel.
Section 42(a) of the Employment Service Law, 1959, states In its referrals to work, the employment office shall not discriminate against a person on account of his age, sex, race, religion, ethnic group, country of origin, views or party affiliation, and a person requiring an employee shall not refuse to engage a person for work on account of any of these factors, whether or not that person was sent to work by the employment office.
Sections 15(3) and 16(3) of the Collective Agreements Law, 1957, provide that a special collective agreement (relating to a specific enterprise or a number of specifically designated enterprises) or a general collective agreement (relating to a whole branch of the economy or to several such sectors) shall apply to
of the classes, trades or functions included in the agreement who are employed in the relevant enterprises or branches of the economy.
The result of these provisions is that wages, social benefits, conditions of work, etc., provided for by collective agreements apply equally to all workers
in the enterprise, without any distinction whatsoever as to residency, status at work, membership or non-membership in a trade union, etc.
In this connection, the following may be noted:
(a) Collective agreements in Israel make no distinction whatsoever between workers as to their nationality, residence, place of origin, etc.
(b) Section 19 of the Collective Agreements Law states that:
Provisions of a collective agreement concerning terms of employment and termination of employment, and personal obligations imposed on, and rights granted to, an employee and employer by such provisions (hereinafter referred to as "personal provisions") shall be regarded as a contract of employment between each employer and each employee to whom the agreement applies, and shall have effect even after the expiration of the collective agreement, so long as they have not been validly varied or repealed; participation in a strike shall not be regarded as breach of a personal obligation.
(c) Section 20 of the said Law provides that: "Rights granted to an employee by personal provisions of a collective agreement cannot be waived".
Thus, the provisions of a collective agreement are auto-matically binding, and are enforceable in the courts. Since a worker cannot waive his rights under a collective agreement he is immune from any pressure that may be exerted on him by an employer to give up his rights.
This protection is granted to all persons employed in Israel, without any discrimination or distinction whatsoever.
It may be noted that in Israel more than 80 per cent of the workers are covered by collective agreements, and it is estimated that approximately another 10 per cent are covered by "extension orders" issued bY the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Israel has a vast network of labour laws which apply equally to all persons employed in Israel, notwithstanding their nationality, residence, country of origin, status at work, etc. These laws cover such matters as minimum wages, severance pay, protection of wages, employment of women, equal remuneration, equal opportunities in employment, youth employment, apprenticeship, annual leave, hours of work and rest, sick pay, safety at work, etc.
Disputes between workers and employers or between workers' and employers' organisations are settled by a system of labour courts, which comprise regional labour courts and a higher National Labour Court.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is also responsible for maintaining appropriate conciliation and arbitration in resolving labour disputes, as well as a counselling service for the general public in labour matters.
The labour courts and the services provided by the Ministry are, of course, open to Arab workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who in fact apply to the labour courts and the Ministry for legal redress or advice, as the case may be.
Information, occupational safety
In order to ensure that workers are properly aware of their rights and social benefits, and of proper safety and hygiene precautions at the workplace, an intensive information campaign has become a regular part of the activities of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This campaign, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by the Ministry, with the co-operation of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene and the National Insurance Institute. The campaign is conducted in Arabic and is directed at factories employing workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, especially those factories with a high potential for work accidents and a high risk rating.
In every factory employing workers from Judea, Samaria and Gaza, one of these workers is chosen to be the factory's safety representative. These people receive special training so that they may serve as a source of information on safety matters for their fellow workers, and monitor the employer's compliance with safety regulations.
Regular seminars for these safety representatives are provided to train and update them on safety precautions. In these seminars, the participants are provided with copies of booklets that explain the relevant laws and regulations, as well as the rights and duties of the safety delegate in the workplace. They also receive instructions on the proper use of tools and safety equipment, permitted noise levels at workplaces, causes of work accidents, fire prevention, and first aid. All this information is in Arabic. Over 680 safety representatives have been trained to date.
Pamphlets, leaflets, booklets and posters in Arabic are regularly published and distributed to workers at workplaces and on their way to and from work. They include updated information on safety and also explain social benefits -what they are and how to receive them -to the workers, explain the benefits of finding work through the employment offices, and encourage workers to register.
The following information activities in the field of occupational safety and hygiene have been undertaken over the years: lectures given to workers at their place of work; courses for new safety representatives; upgrading courses for people already appointed as safety representatives; public service programmes in Arabic on the radio and television; and periodicals, newsletters and pamphlets distributed to workers throughout the territories. Thus, by 1987 more than 800 lectures were given in various plants to over 40,000 workers, over 680 safety representatives were trained in 22 courses, and about 475 workers have been trained in the fields of safety and hygiene at work.
Until now most of this activity was conducted in Israel, but in recent years courses for safety representatives have been given in Gaza itself by local judges, doctors and other experts. Moreover, in 1987, 250 lectures were given in Gaza to 8,231 workers.
Thoughout the campaign there was both full co-operation on the part of employers, and an understanding of the importance of the subjects taught by the workers themselves.
A 20-year overview of labour and employment activities, 1967-87
The following are the salient features of developments in the fields of labour and employment in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District during 20 years of Israeli administration:
1. Employment in Israel and the prevention of unemployment have been major factors in the significant increase in income, wages, private consumption and the standard of living, all of which have more than doubled in real terms.
2. Pre-1967 levels of unemployment of 10-15 per cent have been drastically reduced to 2-3 per cent, a situation of full employment.
3. Thirty-nine employment offices have been established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza which serve annually more than 55,000 workers who work in Israel. The services include job guidance and referral and the handling of social benefits.
4. Approximately 35 per cent of the labour force of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District is employed in Israel.
5. The rate of skilled workers has increased from 23 to 27 per cent.
6. The rate of employment of persons with no schooling has decreased from 50 to 25 per cent and that of persons having nine years of schooling or more increased from 19 to 40 per cent.
7. More than 50,000 registered workers enjoy social benefits including paid vacation, sick leave, health insurance, work accident insurance, etc.
8. More than 150,000 workers who have been employed in Israel have accumulated social benefits, including the right to old-age and disability pensions.
9. Some 750 workers who have retired from their work in Israel at the age of 65 and have worked ten years or more receive pensions.
10. Twenty-six vocational training centres have been established, 18 in Judea and Samaria and eight in the Gaza District.
11. The number of co-operatives in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has increased from 381 in 1967 to 730 in 1987.
12. In the field of occupational safety and health a broad network for the dissemination of written material, lectures and information through the media has been established. More than 700 occupational safety representatives have been trained for their work in this field in Israel and some 300 for this purpose in the areas themselves.
13. Enlightened legislation through ordinances has considerably advanced the situation of workers in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District.
14. A system of comprehensive social benefits has been developed for residents of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District working in Israel.
LETTER DATED 4 JANUARY 1989 FROM THE PERMANEN
REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL, GENEVA, TO THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
In reply to your letter of 6 December 1988,
/ in which as Director-General of the International Labour Office you seek the agreement of the Government of Israel to the sending of three officials from your Office to Israel to collect information on the situation of workers in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, I should like to draw attention to the following points.
The Government of Israel does not consider that there is any objective justification for your representatives to visit Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, to the exclusion of all other regions of the world.
Moreover, the situation on the spot and current development projects by their very nature preclude rapid changes that would require an annual visit: they are part of a gradual process that is taking its course
Nevertheless, in the interest of good relations between Israel and the International Labour Office, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs agrees to receive the three officials you have designated and to facilitate their visit to the above-mentioned territories, either in late February or the first two weeks of March, without prejudice, however, to the position of principle adopted by the Government of Israel concerning such visits.
I trust that the report on this visit will be impartial and free from any political considerations.
EXCHANGE OF CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL AND THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ISRAEL, GENEVA, CONCERNING THE DATES OF THE VISIT
1. Letter from the Director-General, dated 12 January 1989:
Pursuant to our recent talks and your letter of 4 January, in which you report that your Government wishes to change the dates of the visit of the officials I plan to send to Israel and the occupied territories, I should like to propose that this visit take place from 17 to 28 February next.
I should be grateful if you would ask your Government if these dates are acceptable, and to confirm its agreement as soon as possible.
2. Letter from the Permanent Representative of Israel, Geneva, dated 16 January 1989:
I am in receipt of your letter of 12 January 1989 concerning the dates suggested for the visit of ILO officials to Israel.
I am pleased to inform you that the Government of Israel has agreed to receive them from 17 to 28 February 1989.
/ As mentioned in previous reports, the position of the Israeli Government on this matter was stated in the following terms: "The ILO mission is meant to collect material for the Director-General's report on the administered areas. It is the position of the Government of Israel that the Golan, to which Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration have been applied, is not now such an area. In view of this consideration, approval for a visit of the ILO mission to the Golan was given as a gesture of good will without prejudice. The decision to facilitate such an informal visit shall not serve as a precedent and does not contravene the Israeli Government's position."
Report of the Director-General, Appendices (Vol.
International Labour Conference. 75th Session, Geneva, 1988, pp. 6, 7, 34 and 35.
Statistical abstract of Israel 1987
, Table XXVII/35.
pp. 736-737, and Table XXVII/12, p. 711.
Statistical abstract of Israel, 1987
, Table VIII/1, pp.216-217.
Dr. Andrew Rigby, Senior Lecturer, University of Bradford (United Kingdom):
Economic aspects of the Intifada
(East Jerusalem, PASSIA, 1988).
/ For example,
, 5 Aug. 1988.
/ Dr. Andrew Rigby, op.
United States Department of State:
Country reports on human Knotts practices for 1988
(Washington, Feb. 1989), pp. 1366 and ff.
, 7 and 13 Dec. 1988, and information received from the WCOTP by the Director-General's representatives.
/ The Second Schedule concerns employment in the building trades, in civil engineering, industry, handicrafts, water, electricity, mines, transport, agriculture, security services, restaurants, hotels, entertainment
, offices or trade, excepting household work.
/ See the report of Israel's Ministry of Labour, in Annex 3 of this report.
/ United States Department of State, op. cit., p. 1379.
Meron Benvenisti and Shlomo Khayat:
The West Bank and Gaza Atlas,
published in September 1988 by the West Bank Database Project, an independent Jerusalem-based research group, and
the Jerusalem Post
/ This is the same figure as that given last year in the Ministry of Labour’s report; it therefore does not reflect changes in the employment scene in 1988.
, 14 Dec. 1988.
/ idem, 20 Jan. 1989.
/ See Annex 3 of the previous report, p. 81.
/ See Annex 3 of this report.
/ Jerusalem Post, 21 Nov. 1988, quoting statements made by Mr. Katsav, then Israel's Minister of Labour.
/idem, 14 Dec. 1988.
/ idem, 20 Jan. 1989.
/ idem, 30 Nov. 1988.
, Vol. LXXI, 1988, Series B, No. 2, 256th Report of the Committee on Freedom of Association (May-June 1988), paras. 90-130.
9 Feb. 1989.
/ See Annex 2 to this report.
/ See Meron Benvenisti:
The West Bank Handbook: A political lexicon
(Jerusalem Post, 1986), p. 124.
The West Bank and
, op. cit., p. 36.
/ idem, pp. 61 and ff.
, 20 Feb. 1989.
/ Due to the lack of space, the voluminous documentation received this year has not been reproduced in its entirety, but is available for consultation at the International Labour Office. The information already contained in previous reports has generally not been reproduced here.
/ The statistical tables referred to in the text could not be reproduced for reasons of space and are available for consultation at the International Labour Office.
/ In Judea and Samaria only.
/ A. Bregman:
Economic growth in the administered areas,
(2nd edition, Jerusalem, Bank of Israel, 1975), p. 48.
Employment and manpower problems and policy issues in Arab countries: Proposals for the future
Social services in the administered territories in Judea Samaria and Gaza: Views on the present and future
, edited by Daniel J. Elazar and published by the American Enterprise Institute, 1982.
P. Martin and A. Richards: "International migration of labor: Boon or bane?", in
Monthly Labor Review
, Oct. 1980, PP. 4-9.
37/ R. De Grazia: Clandestine employment (Geneva, ILO, 1984).
/ American Jewish Committee:
Employment and working conditions of Palestinian women
(New York, 1985).
/ Letter dated 6 December 1988 from the Director-General to the Permanent Representative of Israel, Geneva:
In anticipation of the 76th Session of the International Labour Conference and in order to collect information on the situation of workers of the occupied territories, and to report to the Conference accordingly, I should like to send three officials of the International Labour Office to the area, namely Mr. A. Zenger, Mr. J.M. Servais and Mrs. C. Comtet.
I should be grateful if your Government would agree to such a visit, which could take place between 27 January and 7 February 1989.