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Source: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
9 March 2007




COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CONCLUDES SEVENTIETH SESSION

Issues Concluding Observations on Reports of Canada, Israel, India, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Liechtenstein, Antigua and Barbuda and Czech Republic
9 March 2007

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Concluding Observations and Recommendations on Country Reports
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Israel

Having considered the tenth to thirteenth periodic reports of
Israel, the Committee noted with satisfaction the domestic legislation implementing article 4 of the Convention (on racial propaganda and racist organizations). It also welcomed affirmative action programmes to ensure better representation of minority groups in the civil service and within government-owned corporations. The Committee noted with satisfaction that for the first time an Arab Israeli citizen has been appointed to the Cabinet. Furthermore, it welcomed the enactment of the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services and Entry into Places of Entertainment and Public Places Law (2000), and noted with appreciation that the civil service sector had taken steps to accommodate the different cultural and religious traditions and practices of minority employees at work. Finally, the Committee welcomed Israel's efforts to improve the status of Arabic language, in particular steps taken to add Arabic to all existing intercity and highway sign roads.

The Committee noted with concern that the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) of May 2003 suspended the granting of citizenship and residence permits in Israel, including through family reunification, to residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, except in limited exceptions. Such measures had a disproportionate impact on Arab Israeli citizens, and the Committee was concerned that those “temporary” measures had systematically been renewed, and had been expanded to citizens of “enemy States”. The Committee recommended that Israel assess the extent to which the maintenance of separate Arab and Jewish “sectors” might amount to racial segregation. Mixed Arab-Jewish communities and schools should be promoted and strong action taken to promote intercultural education. Israel should also assess the extent to which the alleged discriminatory attitudes by employers against Arabs, scarcity of jobs near Arab communities, and lack of day care centres in Arab villages were a cause of high unemployment rates among Arabs. The Committee further noted with concern information according to which a high number of complaints filed by Arab Israeli citizens against law enforcement officers were not properly and effectively investigated and that the Ministry of Justice’s Police Investigations Unit lacked independence. The Committee recommended that Israel consider the establishment of a national mechanism for redress of racial discrimination either as a specialized agency on racial discrimination or a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.

The Committee reiterated its concern about Israel's position that the Convention did not apply in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights. Such a position could not be sustained under the Convention or under international law. The Committee was further concerned at Israel's assertion that it could legitimately distinguish between Israelis and Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the basis of citizenship. The Committee recommended that Israel cease construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, dismantle that structure, and make reparation for all damage caused. It also recommended that Israel take action to give full effect to the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Committee was deeply concerned that the severe restrictions on the freedom of movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories targeting a particular national or ethnic group had created hardship and had had a highly detrimental impact on the enjoyment of human rights by Palestinians, in particular their rights to freedom of movement, family life, work, education and health. The Committee also reiterated its call for a halt to the demolition of Arab properties, particularly in East Jerusalem, and for respect for property rights irrespective of the ethnic or national origin of the owner. Finally, the Committee urged Israel to ensure that the excavations at Al-Aqsa Mosque in no way endangered the Mosque or impeded access to it.

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CERD07014

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