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Conditions de vie du people Palestinien dans les territoires Palestiniens occupés – CEDIPP, étude de DDP – Publication de DDP Français

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 January 1985


Prepared for, and under the guidance of
the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable
Rights of the Palestinian People

New York, 1985


Land and settlements
Water resources
Population and housing
Sectoral structure of employment
Trade and monetary situation
Some general characteristics
The Karp Report
Trade union rights in the occupied territories
Health conditions
Jordan valley regional water plans
List of educational institutions closed down between February 1983 and February 1984
General Assembly resolution 31/110 "Living conditions of the Palestinian peoople"


The Arab-Israeli war of June 1967 dramatically shook the existing status quo in the Middle East. It resulted in Israel occupying the remainder of mandated Palestine including East Jerusalem, as well as Egyptian and Syrian territory.

Israel's de facto annexation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has had a tremendously negative impact on the political and socio-economic life of the Palestinian population. It has resulted in the overall stagnation of the Palestinian economy, dismantling of the Palestinian communities, violations of the fundamental human rights and exploitation and depletion of natural resources in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories. This also gave impetus to the second Palestinian exodus. Half a million Palestinians became the "new refugees", forcefully driven out of their homes and indigenous communities. Immediately after the 1967 war Jewish settlements began to "mushroom" in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.*

* It should be noted that Israel's occupation in 1967 of Egyptian and Syrian territories is not considered in this study.

Ever since, the question of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and living conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories have been a matter of concern of numerous organizations and bodies of the United Nations family. Moreover, the well-being of the Palestinian people has been continuously scrutinized by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, composed of three Member States and established in December 1968 in accordance with General Assembly resolution 2443 (XXIII).

On 10 December 1969, the General Assembly, in its resolution 2535 (XXIV), recognized the political dimension of the issue, declaring that "the problem of the Palestine Arab refugees has arisen from the denial of their inalienable rights under the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". From 1970 to 1972 and again in 1974 General Assembly resolutions declared that full respect for these rights of the Palestinians "is an indispensable element in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" (resolutions 2672 {XXV) of 8 December 1970; 2949 (XXVII) of 8 December 1972 and 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974).

On 10 November 1975, the General Assembly, concerned with the violations of the fundamental rights of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, adopted resolution 3376 (XXX) which, inter alia, stated the following;

The recommendations of the Committee on the Palestinian people's rights to self-determination and return to their homes have been clearly formulated and widely publicized.


A. Land and settlements

Land and water resources continue to be of utmost concern to the Palestinian population and are major factors in the evaluation of the living conditions of the Palestinian people. The total land area of the occupied territories is approximately 2,350 square miles of which 2,200 square miles are in the West Bank and 150 square miles in the Gaza Strip. According to Jordanian information, the amount of land under Israeli control as of February 1985 has risen to 52 per cent of the total land. 41 per cent of it, an area of 2.5 million dunams* out of a total of 5.5 million dunams, had been placed under the control of the Israeli authorities by direct means, such as declaring it to be State land, preventing its exploitation, and seizure; and the remaining 11 per cent, an area of 570,000 dunams, was indirectly controlled by Israel by such means as prohibiting construction and cultivation and declaring the land to be subject to the Nature Reserves Authority.1/ By November 1983 the total estimated number of different types of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories has risen to 267.**

The process of expropriation, in association with other factors, has led to a decline in the amount of land used for agriculture and, to some extent, in agricultural output of certain commodities traditionally produced in the occupied territories.

* 1 dunam = 1,000 m2 = 0.25 acre (approx.)
** This information is based on the data contained in the study prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights entitled "Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank (including Jerusalem). Their nature & purpose, Part II".

That expropriation of land is widespread and is continuing, adversely affecting the living conditions and viability of the Palestinian farming population, is backed by the information presented to the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories and set forth in its report to the General Assembly at its thirty-ninth session (A/39/591). The effect of these measures on the Palestinian farmers and communities has been a heightened sense of insecurity and consequently their reluctance to make long-term investments to improve the land.

In addition to the direct expropriation of land, under existing emergency laws and Israeli regulations, the authorities have started inserting a clause in building permits to the effect that while the Palestinian applicant has permission to build a house on the land, the land on which the house stands does not belong to him. This appears to apply mainly to urban land, especially when the Israeli authorities maintain that the land comes under the category of absentee owner's property. 2/

The practice of expropriation and confiscation of land by Israeli authorities, combined with their practices with regard to the use of water resources, have resulted in a major decline in the agricultural activities of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Various sources differ on the estimate of the total cultivated land appropriated for Jewish settlements.* However, there seems to be a consensus that, since 1967, the decline of the amount of land cultivated by Arab citizens has been very significant.

* See, for example, Showkat Mahmoud, West Bank Water and Agriculture under Israeli Occupation (Ministry of Occupied Territories Affairs, Amman, November 1982), p. 2 (31.6 per cent between 1967 and 1979); and Emile Sahliyeh, "West Bank industrial and agricultural development: the basic problems", Journal of Palestine Studies, No. 42, Winter 1982, p. 64 (27.3 per cent between 1967 and 1973).

Categories used by the Israeli authorities for expropriation of land in the occupied territories up to 1979 have been listed and discussed by the former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti, in a report 3/ presented to the American Enterprise Institute. Those categories have been classified as follows:

(a) "Absentee" property in respect of which the Israeli authorities act as custodian;

(b) "Registered State Domain": the occupying authority (Israel) replaces the previous Government, Jordan or the Jordanian King;

(c) "Land requisitioned for military purposes": land remains under ownership. The military Government pays for the use of the land (according to Benvenisti, many settlements have been built on these lands).

(d) Lands closed for military purposes;

(e) "Jewish lands": lands owned by Jews prior to 1948 and administered by the Jordanian custodian of enemy property;

(f) Lands purchased by Jewish bodies (organizations);

(g) Lands expropriated for public purposes.
Since 1970, Israeli authorities have adopted a new policy based on the old Turkish Land Code, whereby any vacant land, such as mountains, rocky places, stony fields and grazing grounds, under certain circumstances, can be considered ard al-mawat (dead land), and anyone who is in need of such land can, with the permission of the authorities, cultivate it on the condition that the ultimate ownership shall belong to the Sultan, to whom the Government of Israel considers itself to be a successor. 4/ In 1968, the military Government had already "temporarily halted" all title settlement procedures (Military Order No. 291). At that time, only one third of the occupied territories were "settled" by definition and entered into the Land Registry. According to Raja Shehadeh, 5/ Israeli authorities, by means of the above-mentioned two instruments (the Turkish Law and Military Order No. 291), can virtually expropriate any piece of property they wish.

The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is closely linked with the colonial settlement in these lands. The Israeli authorities mapped out a large-scale settlement programme, beginning with agricultural-military enclaves and followed by urban industrialized centres. Through establishing Jewish centres that forced the Palestinians to localize themselves in limited spaces surrounded by the new settlements, the occupying Power introduced changes to the demographic pattern of the occupied areas.

The trends in the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Arab territories occupied after June 1967 can roughly be divided into three phases, namely: 6/

(a) 1967 to 1970;

(b) 1971 to 1977 when the Labour Government was in power;

(c) 1977 to the present during the tenure of the Likud Government and afterwards..

These periods do not form distinct phases but rather a continuing process; the difference lies more in emphasis than in radical changes in policy.

The years of 1967 to 1970 were marked by the establishment of a number of military outposts known as nahals, mostly in strategically vital areas, as security steps as well as with the aim of maintaining law and order in these zones. In 1968 three nahals were established in the Jordan Valley (Mehola, Kalia, Argaman). One (Phatzael) was established in 1969 and four (Gilgal, Massua, Yitar and Maele Efrayim) in 1970. Kfar Daron nahal outpost was set up in the Gaza. In the meantime, the Ministry of Housing and Construction undertook the construction of urban residential units within the Arab area incorporated in the City of Jerusalem, namely the Arab sector of Jerusalem, and the surrounding Arab villages of Sour Bahr, Beit Safafa, Eltour, Elam, El Issawiya and Anata as well as the area around the airport. Units were being constructed, particularly in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Ramat Eshkol and French Hill. 7/

On the whole, the establishment of Israeli settlements during this period appears to have followed the Allon Plan, presented by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Yigal Allon, to the Government on 13 July 1967, which included fixing the Jordan River as Israel's "secure border" with Jordan; holding a strip of 15 to 20 kilometres wide in the Jordan Valley which would include the first ridge of mountains west of the Valley; holding the eastern slopes of Mt. Hebron and the Judaean Desert to the Dead Sea; and making minor border adjustments in places like Datrun and Etzion Block. 8/

By the beginning of the second phase in 1971, there was growing evidence of an emerging policy on settlement. The press made reference to the existence of a Ministerial Committee for the settlement of the occupied territories, and announcements to that effect were made by Israeli Government ministers and leaders. 9/ While settlements during this period were established in the priority areas outlined in the Allon Plan, other considerations appear to have influenced the shaping of policy, as was indicated in a statement in the Knesset made on 19 July 1972 by Mr. Israel Galili, Minister without Portfolio and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement. He was quoted as saying that the Israeli Government had put no area out of bounds for Jewish settlements and that the only limitations to Israeli settlement in the occupied territories were moral ones; and that settlement policy was not dictated by security alone but historical right as well, if not more so. 10/

With the election of the Likud Government in early 1977, settlement trends in the occupied territories were influenced by certain decisions taken by the Government, particularly to "thicken" and strengthen already established settlements and to accelerate the pace of establishing new ones.11/ While continuing to establish settlements in the priority areas determined by the Labour Government, the Likud Government opened new areas for settlements, which included the northern West Bank, the western slopes of the Jerusalem hills and the vicinities of Palestinian towns, such as Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin. Not only was the Government to establish settlements in these areas, but also private groups, notably the Gush Emunim. 12/

Speaking about this period of time, it should be noted that the World Zionist Organization (WZO) came out with another scheme, the so-called "Drobles Plan" (1978, 1980, 1981). Matityahu Drobles, one of the heads of the WZO Department for Rural Settlement, tabled a government "master plan" to drastically intensify the process of establishing new settlements and thickening the existing ones thus converting these lands into "homogenous settlement areas" and subsequently into densely populated kirya type habitat.

During the period 1977 to 1983, the following settlements were established: Jordan Valley, 177 East Jerusalem, 11; Gaza, 11; Hebron, 15; Bethlehem, 87 Ramallah, 17; Nablus, 217 and Jenin, 5. 13/ (See annexes I to III.)

B. Water resources

Palestinian communities inhabiting the West Bank and Gaza are predominantly agricultural. To them the basic elements of land and water are of vital importance. The June 1967 war brought West Bank water resources under full Israeli control. While this region has more abundant water resources than most of the surrounding area, much of it is dependent upon rainfall. In this regard, Benvenisti notes:
To control water resources in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, these resources have, since June 1967, been placed under the direct responsibility of the Department for Water Allocation and Certification of Israeli Water Commission.* Israel attaches great importance to the water potential of the West Bank and considers this to be a strategic asset to its settlement policy. 15/ In Al Hamishmar of 25 June 1978, Amir Shapira shows the connection between Israel's intentions concerning West Bank waters and its political stand on the West Bank:

* This Commission administers Israeli water resources. The Israeli Water Law (1959) governs the operations of the Israeli Water Commissioner, who heads the Commission and works under the authority of the Minister of Agriculture.

Jewish settlements are using the limited water resources of the West Bank at the expense of Arab farmers. Israel has imposed severe restrictive measures in terms of limiting the consumption of water by the Palestinian population to the maximum level used in 1967,17/ which has had a direct and detrimental impact upon the living conditions of the Palestinian people. Simultaneously, Israeli settlements are being created in increasing numbers every year, each agricultural settlement consuming an average of 2.4 million m3 of water per year. 18/ Drilling of irrigation wells has been substantially restricted in the West Bank since 1967.

On the basis of a previous report of the Secretary-General (A/38/282-E/1983/84, paras. 44-49), his recent report entitled "Living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories" (A/39/233-E/1984/79, paras. 51-54), Arab sources 19/ and Israeli sources, 20/ the following factual picture of water supply and water consumption emerges: while Israel consumes about 1,700 million cubic metres (MCM) per year, the Arab population in the West Bank consumes about 100 MCM (86 MCM for irrigation and 14 MCM for domestic use) from a supply available, in principle, of 800 to 850 MCM (600 MCM underground, 50 MCM surface and 200 MCM from the Jordan). Israeli settlements in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) consume about 26 MCM, mostly for water-intensive irrigation in the Jordan Valley {see annex I).

The Israeli Water Commissioner, with exclusive control of water supplies and water allocation, can exercise his control either through Mekorot, Israel Water Co. and/or Tahal, Water Planning for Israel Co., or directly through the granting of permits to individuals or to village associations to sink wells locally. The denial of access to the national resource of water to the Palestinian Arab population under Israeli rule is legally structured and patterned to correspond to their exclusion from access to the national resource of land.

According to the paper "Economic activity and access to national resources: legal restrictions on access to land and water in Israel", prepared for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, the legal structures regulating the activity of Mekorot and Tahal result in virtually total exclusion of Palestinian Arab peasants and farmers under Israeli rule from access to irrigation water. All Israeli Jewish settlements are connected to the national grid of running water supply and are fully electrified by the national electricity company before the first Jewish settler family sets foot in the place. Thus, Mekorot and Tahal regard it as their national mission to secure running water to every home in every Israeli Jewish settlement. 21/

At the same time, the increase in demand for water in Israel has led to expanding expropriation of the water resources of the Palestinian Arab people. In this regard, James Lederman, correspondent for National Public Radio in Jerusalem, observed in The Wall Street Journal of 22 January 1985,

C. Population and Housing

The population of the occupied territories has increased considerably since 1967 owing to high fertility and low mortality. In the West Bank the population increased from 583,100 in 1968 to 767,300 by the end of 1983. The population in the Gaza Strip increased from 356,800 in 1968 to 493,000 by the end of 1983. 22/

Although the population of the occupied territories has increased considerably since 1967 no institutional arrangements have been created at the official level to ensure adequate provision of housing for the increase in population to alleviate the prevalent overcrowding, or to ensure replacements for demolished or dilapidated housing. In the West Bank there are no public housing schemes, or any publicly supported financial institutions for the development of housing. 23/

Housing constitutes one of the basic requirements for satisfactory living in any society. In 1966, 255,000 sq m of housing were reported as being completed. After the 1967 war, building fell drastically, creating a large shortfall in housing provision. This in turn led to high rents, and with the low levels of income, it was inevitable that density of use would be very high. 24/

The long-term impact of the occupying authorities' lack of attention to residential construction in particular and construction activities in general could be expected to further aggravate the shortages in housing units and public buildings.

The contrast in housing and community facilities is most apparent in occupied Arab Jerusalem. While new apartment complexes have been built in and around it with all modern amenities, paved roads and open spaces, little or no improvement has been made to the housing and infrastructure in the Arab sector of the city. This neglect also extends to municipal services such as garbage collection, street cleaning and public lighting.

As regards the standard of housing, the houses in the Israeli settlements are by far better constructed and equipped than those occupied by the Palestinians. Assuming that all new house construction in the settlements includes such facilities as kitchen, bathroom, toilet, running water and electricity, an assessment of the lack of these facilities in Palestinian dwellings in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza can be made from the table below.

The Israeli regional planning concept of rural settlements, rural service centres and regional towns has been applied with advantage to provide the basic necessities and services to the Israeli settlers. However, no such planning approach has been applied to improve the living conditions of the Palestinian residents. Palestinian communities have been limited by various regulations from undertaking new construction whether private or public, and municipalities have been restricted from improving services or providing new facilities. Many restrictions have been placed on improving water service and electricity supply while the neighbouring settlements have been provided generously with these amenities.

The impact of the above-mentioned discrepancy and differing standards in housing conditions of Israeli settlers and Palestinian population is expected to have far-reaching effects of deprivation, frustration and antagonism of the local inhabitants of the area as regards the Israeli-Jewish population in the neighbouring settlements. Some of the violent incidents between Israelis and Palestinians, recorded in the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, can be reasonably assumed to have been partly due to the frustration resulting from preferential treatment of Israeli settlers.

According to the 1984 report of the Secretary-General "Living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories", the occupying authorities are continuing their practice of demolishing houses and therefore punishing the families of those suspected or convicted of committing violent acts or engaging in demonstrations, stone throwing, etc. against Israeli settlers and authorities.


A study of the economic structure of the occupied territories necessitates some understanding of the environment in which the economic activities are taking place. The main feature of this environment is the systematic effort of the occupying authorities to integrate the economy of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with that of Israel through such measures as monetary and taxation policies, employment, production in agriculture and industry and trade practices. The policies adopted and implemented by Israel have resulted in a high level of economic dependency of the occupied territories on the Israeli economy, including its inflationary trends, thus preventing the generation of conditions which, in the long run, could benefit the indigenous population.

Apart from the above, an adverse effect on the development of the whole economic infrastructure is produced by the lack of economic planning and programming. In addition to this, the Palestinians are deprived of control over the monetary situation and fiscal policies in the occupied territories.

Since the detailed data on economic activities in the occupied territories is either not available or unreliable, only some of the economic factors are considered below.

A. Sectoral structure of employment

According to the 1984 "Statistical abstract of Israel", there has been an overall decline in the level of employment during the years of Israeli occupation. Besides, Israel has utilized increasing numbers of workers from the occupied territories. While in 1970 only 11.9 per cent of Palestinian workers were employed in Israel, the percentage had increased to 32.4 by 1975 and 37.8 by 1982. Simultaneously, employment in the occupied territories declined from 88.1 per cent in 1970 to 62.2 in 1983 25/ (see table below):

For years 1971 and 1978, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, "Palestine: options for development" (TD/3/960), report by P.C. Sadler and B, Abu Kishk, 11 May 1983, table 1.7, p. 9.

It is clear from the above table that employment of Palestinians in Israel declined from 1975 to 1977 as a result of the general recession in Israel, suggesting the contribution made by Palestinian labour to the growth of the Israeli economy, and its role as a "buffer" in time of recession. The employment index soared again, however, from 1978 to 1983.

The sharpest decline in employment was observed in agriculture, from 42 per cent of the employed in 1969 26/ to 28 per cent in 1979 and 26.3 per cent in 1983 (for sectoral employment date, see table below).

The land and water policies associated with the settlement policy, by reducing agricultural employment in the territories, have modified not only the structure of employment therein, but also the class structure of Palestinian society, as a large portion of those engaged in agriculture have been transformed into wage-labour, 27/ that is into an industrial proletariat which, however, is not utilized for industrialization. This is impeded by occupation policies on land and water, agricultural production, industrial production as well as trade. The above table seems to confirm this situation.

As regards industry, one should realize that the small share of employment in the sector constitutes a reflection of the persistent lack of development in this area. Normal production and trade activities in the occupied Arab territories are considerably hampered by the Israeli authorities in the way of closing down Arab businesses, issuing orders, forcing production workshops to be torn down, with no explanations at times, conducting tax collection campaigns targeted at Arab businesses and production enterprises which have been described as particularly brutal and damaging, since late payment of taxes has caused many businesses to be closed down. 28/

A relatively recent economic concept given primary attention in Israel is the creation of three types of industrial zones or parks within the framework of the Israeli plans for industrialization of the occupied Arab territories. Industrialization is expected to solve economic problems and meet the needs of the primarily Jewish population. According to M. Benvenisti, the industrialization "will be Jewish, not Arab". 29/ He goes on to mention that,
One of the dangerous trends in the occupied territories' industrialization concept is that the mentioned high technology plants are usually defence-related. 31/ This is illustrated by the fact that one half of all workers employed in the largest industrial park of Maaleh Adumim, for example, are Jewish workers employed in military installations. 32/ According to Najwa Makhoul, 33/ there is a reluctant and selective induction of Palestinians into military-related industries. Arabs are normally hired to work in non-sensitive, routine and often hazardous jobs.

Another significant characteristic of employment in the occupied territories is that a substantial portion of the labour force works in Israel. Although this study deals with the living conditions within the occupied territories, the problem of Palestinians having to commute to their working places in Israel is closely and directly linked to the question under consideration. Those Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in Israel continue to be disadvantaged in many ways with respect to their conditions of work compared with Israeli workers.

The workers employed in Israel have no job security. They are engaged on short-term work permits, and the continuity of their jobs largely depends on fluctuations in the Israeli economy. They are the first to be laid off in times of recession and the last to be engaged in times of economic recovery. They are not entitled to unemployment benefits. Very often skilled workers seek unskilled jobs because of the lack of suitable opportunities commensurate with their skills either in the occupied territories or in Israel. 34/

In examining the data on Palestinian workers employed in Israel, one must bear in mind the following circumstances:

B. Agriculture

The economy of the West Bank and Gaza is basically agricultural. Agriculture is the most important and productive sector. However, as is mentioned above, there has been an obvious decline in the total employment in this economic branch since 1970. According to the report of the Director- General to the International Labour Organisation at is fourth session,
According to the Palestinian sources, 37/ other factors inhibiting the development of this extremely vital factor are as follows:
C. Industry

Industry is not a leading sector in the economies of the West Bank and Gaza. Its structure has not altered significantly over the occupation period. It is still characterized by small firms, low level of capitalization, low level of technology as well as by preponderance of manually operated machinery and equipment. Most of the industrial enterprises are small-scale ones. This is partly due to their being administered, prior to 1967, by separate countries in accordance with those countries' national economic priorities. 39/ The predominance of small establishments is illustrated by the fact that in 1979, only 205 of the then total of 3,540 establishments employed more than 10 people, whereas only 65 employed more than 20.40/

In the West Bank and Gaza, industrial enterprises engaged in production of textiles and clothing, wood and its products, basic metals and metal products and leather and its products prevail in the existing industrial structure. From 1967 onwards there has been insignificant development in the West Bank and Gaza industries. Moreover, according to P.G. Sadler and B. Abu Kishk, "there has been no real industrialization since 1967". 41/ M. Benvenisti observes that,

The Israeli policy of establishing the above-mentioned industrial parks in the West Bank also deprives Palestinians of their lands. By 1983, six parks were established, namely: Maaleh Adumim, Barker, Kernel'. Shomron, Maaleh Ephraim, Kiryat Arba and Shaked (total of 1,260 dunams). There are plans for seven additional parks (with a total area of 15,010 dunams) to be established in the occupied West Bank by 2010. 43/ This policy however requires heavy financing which is readily available for these purposes from the Government.
The Palestinian industrial sector has suffered before and is suffering now from the imposed unfair competition with Israeli products as well as from the policies of the Israeli authorities aimed at encouraging the production of cheap labour-intensive goods to meet the needs of the Israeli economy. Major exports of the occupied territories to Israel are construction materials. Products created by the Palestinian craftsmen of Jerusalem and Bethlehem are purchased by the Israeli firms and then re-exported abroad under Israeli labels. Exports of industrial products (total - West Bank and Gaza) from the occupied territories to Israel account for almost one third of the imports from Israel to the West Bank and Gaza. According to Israeli statistics, the total value of industrial merchandise imported from Israel to the West Bank and Gaza in 1983 is estimated at 35,314.5 million shekels (20,410.8 million - West Bank and 14,903.7 million - Gaza) whereas the total of only 13,245.6 million shekels' worth of goods were exported to Israel in the same year. 45/

As in other production sectors, there is no long-term planning and programming to reorganize and vitalize the industrial sectors to respond to the demand for industrial products by residents of the occupied territories or to develop an export market [or the products. This situation is likely to prevail as long as the indigenous leadership in the industrial sector is excluded from directing industrial development and as long as no local institutions are available to meet the technological, commercial and financial needs of those sectors. 46/

D. Trade and monetary situation

No trade existed between the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel prior to 1967. Agricultural products sold to Arab countries of the region were the only export commodity. The occupied Palestinian territories formerly imported goods manufactured in developed countries while the nearby Arab countries played the role of the major export market for the high quality agricultural products of these territories.

After the 1967 occupation, trade between the Palestinian territories and the outside world has been drastically changed and restructured. Currently almost all of the trade operations are conducted via Israel and controlled by the Israeli authorities as Sadler and Abu Kishk point out,

Except for Israel and Jordan, trade between the occupied territories and other countries is virtually non-existent. According to Sadler and Abu Kishk:

Apparently, the only facet of the economic life in the occupied territories which has not been totally dependent on the Israeli economy is the monetary system. In the post-1967 period, Israel closed down virtually all commercial banks that were integrated with Egyptian banks in Gaza and with Jordanian banks in the West Bank, consequently replacing them by Israeli banks. The Israeli shekel became the main unit of exchange while Jordanian dinar continues to be legal tender in the West Bank and, since it is relatively strong and stable, a preferred currency. Although the relationship between the two currencies is officially regulated, there exists an informal money market made up of exchange agencies that act as intermediaries with the Jordanian banks in Amman.

The absence of an adequate banking system and the restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on investments coming from Jordan have injurious effects at the level of economic activity and stifle the West Bank economy. According to Antoine Mansour, the present monetary situation is characterized by two features: the absence of integration along with the presence of destruction. 49/


A. Some general characteristics

The living conditions of the people in the occupied territories have been profoundly affected by various constraints and restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities as regards social life, outlook, aspirations and cultural environment of the Palestinians. Policies and practices of the occupying Power embodied in many military orders, totalling over 975 since the occupation, have brought about numerous changes in the life style of the Palestinian families. 50/

Expropriation of private and public land, and restrictions in the use of water for agricultural needs of the Palestinians, have resulted in a deep sense of insecurity and disincentive to pursue the traditional rural mode of life. Some family members are therefore forced to seek wage employment in nearby settlements or in Israel; moreover some Palestinians, in order to feed their families, have to go for employment as far as the Gulf States. 51/

Israelis continue to destroy dwellings under "The Defence (Emergency) Regulations" of 1945. The Israeli Government has adopted the same Defence Regulations, changing some terminology in them, while preserving the substance. Imprisonment and incarceration without trial is also observed. Israelis resort to deportation of Palestinians for political and other reasons. 52/

According to the 1983 Report of the Secretary-General entitled "Living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories",

The current policy of the Israeli authorities is to establish settlements in dense clusters in proximity to Palestinian communities. This results in an increasing tension between the Israeli settlers and Palestinians. In the areas of Hebron and Nablus, where Israeli settlements comprise members of radical religious groups, such tensions and physical confrontations were reported highest. 54/

The Israeli settlers, in the exercise of their role as "maintainers of law and order" being supported by the military administering the territories, exceed their powers and harass and intimidate Palestinians individually as well as collectively.

The Palestinians in their own land are still restricted in their movements. The frequent curfews are periodically imposed on Arab towns, villages and refugee camps thus disrupting the day-to-day life and activities of the population. This hampers the conduct of commerce and business activities, commuting to work (including work-places in Israel), attendance at schools and performance of religious duties. The Military Government of the West Bank issued numerous orders within a brief period of time restricting mayors, municipal councilors and other public figures to their towns of residence or their homes.

Regarding the frequent Israeli violations of the religious practices and performance of religious duties by the Palestinians, the 1984 report of the Secretary-General on the "Living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories" concluded the following:

Incidents of attacks against Muslim and Christian religious places have been widely reported throughout the occupation period. The above have been attributed to Israeli groups, such as the so-called "Terror against Terror" which have emerged in Jerusalem and the occupied territories with the aim of harassing, intimidating and terrorizing Palestinians and subsequently forcing them to abandon their domiciles. 57/

The Palestinian refugee camps have often been the objects of interference by the Israeli settlers as well as military personnel who frequently accuse camp residents of being involved in all sorts of unrest and demonstrations. According to the same report,

B. The Karp report

In its last report the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories considered the so-called "Karp report", prepared by the special inquiry commission of the Israeli Ministry of Justice established to investigate anti-Arab vigilantism by Jewish settlers and enforcement of law in the occupied West Bank. It was established on 29 April 1981 by the Israeli Attorney-General Yitzhaq Zamir in response to a petition submitted to the Attorney-General's office in July 1980 by 14 law professors from Tel Aviv and Hebrew universities. The petition expressed concern about the state of law enforcement in the occupied territories and cited numerous instances of violence committed by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian population. The Commission was headed by Deputy Attorney General Mrs. Yehudit Karp.

In performance of its investigative functions the Commission encountered numerous obstacles and lack of co-operation from some military government administrators and police officials. Moreover, The Jerusalem Post reported on 8 February 1984 that during the period under consideration in the Karp Report, Jewish settlers in the West Bank were under Israeli Defence Forces orders not to co-operate with the civilian police after incidents in which Arabs were fired on. The report was submitted to the Attorney-Genera1 and to the Ministers of Justice, Interior and Defence and to the police on 25 May 1982. Details of this report were not made public until February 1984.

The report is of great importance to the international community since it uncovered in an official Israeli document numerous cases of serious and consistent violations of human rights of the Palestinians of the West Bank by Jewish settlers. Ha'aretz reported on 6 February 1984,

On 7 February 1989, the Karp report was finally released. The 33-page report was drawn up by a committee headed by Deputy Attorney-General Yehudit Karp and also consisting of the Jerusalem District Attorney, the legal advisers to the West Bank military Government and the head of the Israeli police prosecutions division. The Committee examined 70 complaints from Arabs regarding alleged offences by Jewish settlers, over a period of one year, beginning in May 1981. Fifty-three of the investigations into these complains ended with no action being taken. Files were closed because of the inability to trace suspects, lack of evidence, or the absence of public interest. In addition to the examination of the performance of the Israeli police, the Committee also examined several investigations by the military police. It found that a lack of co-ordination between the two agencies severely hampered the efficacy of their operation. The Committee noted that, while it was not authorized to examine the IDF policy regarding the use of firearms, the increase in the number of local Arab residents wounded in the head and upper body raised the need for a re-examination of this policy. It also found that in several instances where the Border Police was involved in alleged offences against local residents, its own internal investigations were incomplete. No information on these investigations was provided.

C. Trade union rights in the occupied territories

As regards the trade union movement in the occupied territories, the ILO fact-finding mission visited the territories in February and March 1984 and reported various violations of freedom of association and trade union rights. The trade unions' rights are restricted in many different ways. This includes, for example, the searching of trade union premises by the Israeli military authorities and the confiscation of union documents and records, the closing down of union headquarters, the impossibility of receiving any assistance and documentation from outside sources. Also hampering the trade unions' normal activities are the persistent refusal of the Israeli authorities to register any new trade unions as well as repressive actions against individual union members and officials. Another negative feature is that the Arab trade unions are prevented by the Israeli authorities from quantitative growth. According to the 1984 Report of the Director-General of the ILO:
Trade union activity in Gaza is extremely limited, largely due to the limited strength of the union ranks. The above seven unions, affiliated to the Gaza Trade Union Federation, for example, consist of 464 members or 1 per cent of all workers employed in Gaza. 60/

D. Education

In any society education is a vital element in the living conditions since it not only provides the opportunity and leverage for self-improvement but also helps to enhance a person's standard of living through upward occupational mobility. As Sarah Graham-Brown observes,

Generally speaking, the system of education is the same in all the occupied territories, starting with kindergarten for children under the age of 6, then followed by elementary or primary school for children between the ages of six and 12, proceeding to preparatory school, normally for three years. The primary and preparatory schools form the compulsory cycle of education and are followed by secondary, vocational and teacher training institutions and institutions of higher learning.

The curricula continue to be those in use at the time of the occupation, namely, the Jordanian one in the West Bank and the Egyptian one in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli curriculum and educational system in general have been adopted in East Jerusalem in the education of Palestinian children.

There is constant Israeli interference in the functioning of schools and other educational institutions in the territories. This is manifested in a number of ways. For instance attempts are made to revise the curriculum to incorporate changes in Arab culture and society. Books which are recommended for use in classes are closely censored and revised by the occupying authorities. Such revisions lead to the distortion of facts as they relate to the students' understanding and perception of their socio-cultural heritage. Books in the humanities are the primary target of these practices. The system of education in general in the occupied territories has been continuously disrupted by the Israeli authorities' measures aimed at closing down for indefinite time of individual schools, groups of schools and universities (see annex II). Besides, the situation today is such that any teacher trying to remedy these shortcomings and attempting to create nationalistic sentiments among the students is most likely doomed for transfer, dismissal or other punitive measures including arrest, detention or fine. 62/ Sometimes students creating these sentiments are arrested, incarcerated or transferred to other schools.

Speaking about the higher education system, university education, it should be noted in the outset that the system has been subjected over the last few years to various pressures by the occupation authorities. There are three universities in the West Bank and an Institute of Islamic Religious Studies in Gaza, all of which are supported by private foundations and individuals and obtain practically no assistance from the Government. The 1984 ILO report emphasized that:

Probably the most notorious even entailed by this Israeli Military Order No. 854 (of 8 July 1980) has been the expulsion, in October 1982, of 28 professors of Palestinian origin teaching in the West Bank universities. They were charged with refusal as a matter of principle, to sign a "pledge" not to support any terrorist organization. Twenty one of them were from the Al Najah University. By the same order,

The situation is becoming more dramatic due to the physical interference of the Israeli authorities in the attendance of the universities by the Palestinian students:

Year after year ILO missions have reported on the status of the vocational training in the occupied territories. Equipment and fellowships have been made available to the Palestinians by many United Nations-family organizations, notably UNDP, UNICEF, the ILO, UNESCO, UNIDO and WHO. UNRWA has been especially active in the past several years.

Despite claims by the Israeli authorities of the on-going expansion of the vocational training programmes, the 1984 ILO mission observed that:

E. Health conditions

The Thirty-sixth World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA36.27 on 16 May 1983 which, inter alia, requested the Special Committee of Experts:

The Committee's visit to the occupied Palestinian territories lasted from 5 through 14 April 1983. Upon completion of their mission the Committee came up with this conclusion..
According to the findings of the above Committee, certain improvements had been made in the medical care infrastructure for the delivery of health services and in the supply of equipment. However, despite the effort of the international community, in particular, WHO, UNRWA, UNDP, UNICEF, medical care in the occupied Palestinian territories is still inadequate due to the lack of funds, closure of hospitals, lack of qualified medical personnel, poor equipment and the heavy workload in the existing hospitals. There have been no significant changes during the past few years.
More specifically, as regards the health of schoolchildren in the occupied territories, the Committee established that:
It has also been pointed out by the Committee that in the area of workers' health protection, no code of occupational medicine has been issued to deal with hygiene problems that affect agricultural and industrial workers (construction industry and small companies).

Life of the Palestinians under the occupation leads them to psychological traumas and excessive negative stresses. In this respect the Committee observed the following:

Poor overall health care in the major hospitals of the West Bank and Gaza resulted in a situation where local physicians were compelled to refer an increasing number of Arab patients to hospitals in Israel.
According to some sources, 40 per cent of the population of the occupied territories still enjoy no insurance coverage which makes it extremely difficult for them to meet high costs of admission to hospitals (approx. 3100 per day), which, though more or less the same as in Israel, is still out of reach for a large segment of the Palestinian population. 73/


Present living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories are fundamentally affected as a direct result of Israeli occupation policies pursued for almost two decades. Apart from political domination and de-Palestinianization policies, Israel's occupation of the Palestinian lands has had a number of far-reaching socio-economic consequences.

The economy and infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza are being tied and made subservient to Israel. Settlement policy required confiscation of Palestinian lands, annexation of Jerusalem and settlement of Jewish residents therein. Systematic depletion of the West Bank's water resources and their use for the needs of Jewish settlers led to severe drought and forced Palestinian farmers to abandon their traditional households. The demographic consequences of the occupation are described by Janet L. Abu-Lughod as follows:

A number of United Nations organs and specialized agencies have been dealing with various aspects of the question of living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories for over a decade. On 16 December 1976 the General Assembly adopted resolution 31/110 entitled "Living conditions of the Palestinian people" (see annex III) pursuant to the previously adopted resolution 3 of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held at Vancouver from 31 May to 11 June 1976, and ECOSOC resolution 2026 (LXI) of 4 August 1976 on the same matter.

The first report on this subject was prepared by the United Nations Environment Programme and submitted to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session. Ever since this question has been under the Assembly's close attention.

It should be noted that throughout all these years, Israel has consistently voted against the adoption of any resolution on the subject.

Despite Israel's refusal to co-operate with the consultant appointed by the Secretary-General to draft the report as well as its negative posture during the voting on the above-mentioned matter, the question of the living conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories has continued to be an important socio-economic item on the General Assembly 's agendas. In this regard, resolution 39/169, strongly endorsed by the overwhelming majority of United Nations Member States at the thirty-ninth session of the General Assembly, states that the Assembly:

1/ United Nations document A/40/470-S/17332, 10 July 1985, p. 3.

2/ Report of the Secretary General, "Living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories", United Nations document A/37/238 (15 June 1982), p. 5, para. 10.

3/ Meron Benvenisti, "The West Bank & Gaza Data Base Project: Pilot Study Report", presented to the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C. 1982 (unpublished), p. 55.

4/ Benvenisti, op. cit., p. 32.

5/ Raja Shehadeh, "The West Bank and the rule of law", The International Commission of Jurists and Law in the Service of Man, Geneva, 1980, pp. 59-62.

6/ United Nations document A/39/233, p. 9, para. 25.

7/ Reply received by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population in the Occupied Territories from the Government of Jordan (United Nations document A/8089, annex V, pp. 4 and 7). See also annexes I and II.

8/ Yigal Allon, "Israel: the case for defensible borders", Foreign Affairs Review, vol. 55, No. 1 (October 1976), pp. 38-53. See also the statement of Mr. Raymond Tanter, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan, in his testimony before the Subcommittee on International Organizations and on Europe and the Middle East of the House Committee on International Relations, 95th Congress, 1st session, 12 and 21 September and 19 October 1977 (Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1978), p. 55.

9/ Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, United Nations document A/8389 (5 October 1971), pp. 27-32.

10/ The Jerusalem Post, 20 July 1972.

11/ See statements by Mr. Ariel Sharon (The Jerusalem Post, 11 November 1977), and by Mr. Weissman (Ha'aretz, 13 May 1978).

12/ The Israeli Government's decision to allow the Gush Emunim to set up settlements in army camps was reported in The Jerusalem Post, 2 December 1977, and Al Quds, 2 December 1977.

13/ United Nations document A/39/233, p. 11, para. 31.

14/ Meron Benvenisti, "The West Bank Data Project: A Survey of Israel's Policies" (Washington, D.C., American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1984), p. 14.

15/ Uri Davis, Antonio E. L. Maks and John Richardson, "Israel's water Policies", Journal of Palestine Studies, No. 34, (Winter 1980), pp. 18-20.

16/ A. Shapira, "Water specialists warn that autonomy in the West Hank will expose Israel to the danger of loss of water reserves", Al Hamishmar, 25 June 1978.

17/ P. G. Sadler and Abu Kishk, "Palestine: options for development", UNCTAD document TD/B/960 (11 May 1983), p. 17, para. 46.

18/ Elisha Efrat, "Pattern of Jewish and Arab settlements in Judea and Samaria", "Judea, Samaria, and Gaza: Views on the Present and Future", Daniel Elazar, ed., (Washington , D.C., American Institute for Public Policy Research, 1982), p. 22.

19/ Showkat Mahmoud, "Agriculture and waters in the West Bank under Israeli occupation", (Amman, Ministry of Occupied Territories Affairs, November 1983), p. 20.

20/ Meron Benvenisti, "The West Bank and Gaza, Data Base Project" (Washington, D.C., American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1982), p. 23,

21/ "Economic activity and access to national resources; legal restrictions on access to land and water in Israel". ICQP/RM/6 {7 April 1983). Paper prepared for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, p. 19.

22/ Statistical Abstract of Israel, 1984 (Jerusalem, Central Bureau of Statistics, 1984), p. 742, table XXVII/1.

23/ United Nations document A/37/238, p. 13, para. 34.

24/ M. W. Khouja and P. G. Sadler "Review of the economic conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Arab territories", UNCTAD document TD/B/870 {26 August 1981), pp. 44, para. 94.

25/ United Nations document A/39/233, p. 32, para. 79.

26/ United Nations document A/37/238, p. 19, para. 42.

27/ Najwa Makhoul, "Changes in the employment structure of Arabs in Israel", Journal of Palestine Studies, vol.XI, No.3, issue 43 (spring 1982), pp. 77-102.

28/ ILO, report of the Director-General, International tabour Conference, Seventieth session, 1984, p. 26, para. 22.

29/ Meron Benvenisti, "The West Bank and Gaza, Data Base Project", p. 17.

30/ Ibid.

31/ Ibid., p. 18.

32/ Ibid., p. 17.

33/ Makhoul, loc. cit., p. 84.

34/ United Nations document A/37/238, p. 22, para. 51.

35/ Edward W. Said, Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Muhammad Hallaj and Elia Zureik, "A Profile of the Palestinian People". Published by Palestine Human Rights Campaign for distribution to the participants of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, Geneva, August 27-9 September 1983, p. 21.

36/ ILO, Report of the Director-General, 1984, pp, 28-29, para. 25.

37/ "Impact of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian national economy". A PLO paper prepared for the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, Geneva, 29 August-7 September 1983, pp. 12-13,

38/ Meron Benvenisti, "The West Bank and Gaza, Data Base Project", p. 14.

39/ Khouja and Sadler, op.cit., p. 36, para. 77.

40/ Sadler and Kishk, op.cit., p. 33, para. 74.

41/ Ibid., p. 31, para. 72.

42/ Meron Benvenisti, "The West Bank and Gaza, Data Base Project", pp. 15-16.

43/ Ibid., p. 17.

44/ Ibid., p. 18.

45/ Statistical Abstract of Israel, 1984, p. 751, table XXVII/10.

46/ Report of the Secretary-General "Living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories", United Nations document A/38/278-E/1983/77, (22 June 1983), p. 37, para. 97.

47/ Sadler and Kishk, op. cit., p. 31, para. 77.

48/ Ibid., para. 80.

49/ Antoine S. Mansour, "Monetary dualism: the case of the West Bank under occupation", Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. XI, no. 3, Issue 43, (spring 1982), p. 116.

50/ United Nations document A/38/278, p. 38, para. 98.

51/ Ibid.

52/ United Nations document A/37/238, p. 30, para. 67.

53/ United Nations document A/38/278, p. 38, para. 101.

54/ United Nations document A/39/233, p. 43, para. 109.

55/ Ibid., pp. 43-44, para. 110.

56/ Ibid., pp. 44-45, para. 114.

57/ Ibid., para. 115.

58/ Ibid., para. 116.

59/ ILO Report, 1984, op.cit., p. 32, para. 33.

60/ Ibid., p. 33, para. 34.

61/ Sarah Graham-Brown, "Impact on the social structure of Palestinian society", "Occupation: Israel over Palestine", Naseer H. Aruri, ed. (Belmont, MA, AAUG, 1983), p. 245.

62/ United Nations document A/38/278, p. 42, para. 115.

63/ ILO, Report of the Director-General, 1984, p. 31, para. 28.

64/ United Nations document A/37/238, p. 37, para. 88.

65/ United Nations document A/38/278, p. 42, para. 117.

66/ ILO, Report of the Director-General, 1984, p. 30, para. 27.

67/ WHO, "Health conditions of the Arab population in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine", Report of the Special Committee of Experts appointed to study the health conditions of the inhabitants of the occupied territories, A/37/13 (7 May 1984), p. 2.

68/ WHO, "Health conditions of the Arab population in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine", Report of the Special Committee of Experts appointed to study the health conditions of the inhabitants of the occupied territories, A/36/14 (28 April 1983), p. 17.

69/ United Nations document A/37/238, p. 24, para. 80.

70/ WHO document A/37/13, p. 8, para. 3.2.2.

71/ Ibid., para. 3.2.5.

72/ United Nations document A/27/238, p. 33, para. 78.

73/ ILO, Report of the Director-General, 1984, p. 34, para. 38.

74/ Janet L. Abu-Lughod, "The Demographic Consequences of the Occupation", "Occupation: Israel over Palestine", Naseer H. Aruri, ed. (Belmont, MA, AAUG, 1993), p. 255.



Annex III



"The General Assembly,

"Recalling the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976 and the recommendations for national action adopted by Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held at Vancouver from 31 May to 11 June 1976,

"Recalling also resolution 3 of the Conference on living conditions of the Palestinians in occupied territories, and Economic and Social Council resolution 2026 (LXI) of 4 August 1976,

"Recalling further the recommendations adopted at the Regional Preparatory Conference for Asia and the Pacific, held at Teheran from 14 to 19 June 1975,

"1. Requests the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the relevant United Nations organs and specialized agencies, to prepare and submit to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session a report on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories;

"2. Requests the Secretary-General, in preparing the above-mentioned report, to consult and co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people;

"3. Urges all States to co-operate with the Secretary-General in this matter.

101st plenary session
16 December 1976"

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