Question of Palestine home
Situation au Moyen-Orient/Palestine - Effets des colonies sur les travailleurs arabes - Lettre de Jordanie
8 March 1983
Item 69 of the preliminary list*
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE
ISRAELI PRACTICES AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS
OF THE POPULATION OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Letter dated 1 March 1983 from the Permanent Representative of
Jordan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a report entitled "Effects of Israeli settlements on the situation of Arab workers in the occupied Arab territories", which was prepared by the Research Department of the Ministry of Labour of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during the last quarter of 1982 and issued in January 1983.
I would be grateful if you would circulate this study as an official document of the General Assembly, under item 69 of the preliminary list for the thirty-eighth regular session, and of the Security Council.
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
) Abdullah SALAH
EFFECTS OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS ON THE SITUATION OF ARAB
WORKERS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
This document deals with the practices of the Israeli authorities with regard to the labour force and production enterprises and also the Israeli settlement policy during the last quarter of 1982 and the repercussions of these factors on the situation of the labour force in the occupied territories, as follows:
I. Practices with regard to the labour forcer
(a) Volume of the labour force;
(b) Practices with regard to trade-unionists;
(c) Practices with regard to education;
II. Practices with regard to employers and production enterprises;
III. Israeli settlement:
(a) Confiscation of land;
(b) New settlements;
(c) Intensification of settlement and its effects.
Practices with regard to the labour force
Volume of the labour force
In December 1962, the Arab labour force in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip employed in the portion of Palestine occupied in I.948 comprised 59,793 male and female workers. Their distribution over the Israeli economic sectors was as follows:
It may be noted from the above figures, published by the Israeli Employment Department, that the number of Arab workers from the occupied territories employed in the various Israeli economic sectors increased by approximately 17 per cent in the course of one year. This increase represents only regular workers, whereas more than 27,000 work on an irregular basis (through agents). These figures reflect the increase in the number of Arab workers in construction activity and the marginal sector of industrial activity. These are the two sectors where the work does not require expertise and skill, and, moreover, the wages are low. The employment of Arab workers from the occupied territories increased 34.9 per cent in the first sector and 23.4 per cent in the second in the course of one year. This demonstrates the exploitation to which the Arab workers are subject, their employment figures started to decline in the occupied territories as a result of settlement, which took over large areas of agricultural land, the sole source of sustenance of the Arab population, and was a result of the difficulties faced by production enterprises in the occupied territories, which restricted job opportunities.
Practices with regard to trade-unionists
The arbitrary practices followed by the Israeli authorities with regard to trade-unionists and trade unions in the occupied Arab territories continued during the last quarter of 1982. They consist of restrictions, raids on trade union premises, prohibition of the registration of new trade unions and arrests of trade-unionists.
We may mention in this regard:
The raiding of the headquarters of the carpentry and sewing trade unions in the city of Hebron at the end of the last week of 1982. The identity cards of three of the members were seized, and the books and informational literature found there were confiscated.
Practices with regard to education
The last quarter of 1982 witnessed arbitrary practices with regard to education and to higher education, in particular. The Israeli authorities took a number of measures, the most important of which were as follows:
1. Prohibition of and repression of trade union organisation for persons working in universities and institutes of higher education.
2. The raiding of universities and institutes of higher education and the arrest and imprisonment of students and lecturers, in addition to suspension of courses.
3. Deportation of university lecturers and non-renewal of the licences of professors not resident in the occupied areas , which lowers the level of instruction generally.
4. A demand that lecturers at the various universities and institutes of higher education should sign a document whereby they undertake not to oppose the Israeli authorities , practices regarding education and to implement the orders of the Civilian Administration. Anyone contravening those rules is liable to imprisonment, being barred from teaching or deportation.
5. Confiscation and banning of some of the books which the students need for their studies. The Israeli authorities' main objectives in applying these measures are as follows:
(i) To destroy the structure of higher education in the occupied territories in accordance with Israeli plans for the expulsion of skills and intellectuals from the area;
(ii) To create an atmosphere of psychological and economic instability among students and lecturers, in order to promote the decline of the level of education and discourage lecturers from remaining in the institutes and universities;
(iii) To restrict the raising of the educational level in the occupied territories, in order to keep the population at a low level of training, so that the Israeli authorities can exploit them in their marginal economic sectors, such as construction and services, which are characterised by a need for unskilled manpower that can easily be exploited at the cheapest prices and be dispensed with at any time.
Practices with regard to employers and p reduction enterprises
The most important of the conditions and practices to which employers and production enterprises were exposed during the last quarter of 1982 may be summarised as follows:
1. The Israeli authorities continued to restrict the entry of funds into the occupied areas and set 1,000 dinars as the maximum to be brought in by each person entering the occupied territory from outside, particularly by way of the Jordan
bridge. The Israeli authorities are confiscating amounts in excess of this, and the confiscated sums could be recovered only with difficulty and after their conversion into Israeli currency.
2. A continued fall in the value of Israeli currency. During the last three months of 1982, its value fell by 20 per cent against other currencies, which caused great harm to citizens and production enterprises, particularly to wage-earning workers in the occupied areas and in Israel.
3. The Israeli authorities prohibited the Arab citizens in the Jenin area from cultivating their land except with the consent of the occupying authorities.
4. On 4 November 1982, the Israeli authorities cut off the electric current from the city of Hebron because the Municipality was late in paying its electricity bill, which totalled 6.2 million shekels. In order to be reconnected, the Municipality had to pay 4.5 million shekels immediately. Payment of the balance was required within 24 hours) otherwise the electricity cut would continue.
5. The Israeli authorities began to move Israeli factories and workshops into the occupied territories, so as to create job opportunities for Israelis and to help to combat Arab goods on their own ground, as well as to tie the economy of the occupied territories more closely to the Israeli economic machine.
6. The occupying authorities continued their fiscal policy against Arab citizens and production enterprises in the occupied areas. These fiscal measures resulted in the imposition of a tax on every citizen entering or leaving the occupied territories by way of the Jordan bridges and in,the imposition of a tax on the products of Arab enterprises in the West Bank being exported to the East Bank and to other Arab States by way of the bridges, thus restricting their competitive position on those markets.
7. The occupying authorities continued to try to link the electricity grid of the occupied territories to that of Israel and to create difficulties for the Jerusalem Electricity Company and the power stations in Arab towns and villages. In addition, the Israeli authorities began to link Arab towns and villages to a water grid under the supervision of the occupying authorities through the Israeli regional water company (Mekorot), so that more than 60 per cent of the water resources of the West Bank came under the control of the Israeli authorities.
By all these measures; the Israeli authorities are seeking multiple objectives, the most important being the following:
1. By linking Arab towns and villages to regional water and electricity grids, Israeli authorities seek to establish their control over the vital activities of the occupied,territories, which harms the citizens generally and the production enterprises in particular. They have increased,water and electricity taxes and dues, so that they can cut off the electricity and water supplies at any time they wish and harass the production enterprises and factories; which are dependent on electricity and water, in order, to facilitate their control over them and prepare the way for curtailment of their activities and their future
elimination. Electricity and water projects in the West, Bank are executed jointly by the Arab citizens of the region and the occupying authorities on a proportional basis. The occupying authorities then link those projects to Israeli settlements, without the citizens' participation.
2. They seek create in the occupied territories two distinct situations, the one characterised by the economic and psychological constraints to which the Arab citizens, the Arab labour force and the Arab production enterprises are exposed and the other by economic and moral incentives for Israeli settlers, consisting of settlement, cheap land in the occupied territories, easy communications and economic subsidies and grants, for the purpose of encouraging Zionist investors to set up their production projects in the Arab occupied territories. The West Sank is regarded as a Class A development area, which gives it priority with regard to loans, tax exemptions and cheap labour.
3. It seeks also to encourage the expulsion of the Arab inhabitants from their land and install Israeli settlers in their stead, in accordance with Israeli plans.
Confiscation of land
. During the last quarter of 1982, the Israeli authorities confiscated 9,600 dunums of land in the West Bank alone, so that the total land area confiscated by the Israeli authorities from 1967 to the end of 1982 was 2,026,778 dunums or 36.9 per cent of the total area of the occupied West Bank.
. As a result of the political situation in the region during the last Quarter of 1982 (and in Israel in particular), no new settlements were established in the occupied territories, except for one, named Birka, in the region of Nablus. That brings the total number of settlements established by the Occupying authorities in the Arab territories during the period from 1967 to 1982 to 182. It should be recalled that, at the end of 1982, the Israeli authorities decided to carry out large-scale settlement projects, unprecedented in the Arab occupied territories, during 1983. In particular, they decided to embark on the establishment of 35 new settlements in diverse localities in the occupied Arab territories, and those settlements are to comprise 22,500 residential units, at a cost of 4.5 billion shekels. most of these settlements are to be concentrated in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
(c) Intensification of settlement and its consequences. Israeli settlement officials have revealed that the Finance Committee of the Knesset has approved an increase in the budgetary appropriations of the Israeli Government for the promotion of settlement to an estimated 450 million shekels. It should be noted that, in 1982, the budget for settlement in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip totalled only 3.1 million shekels.
The main thrust of settlement operations is now being directed towards the northern regions of the West Bank, whereas the cancer of Israeli settlement has hitherto been spread over the southern and eastern regions of the West Bank, where it has taken the form of the encirclement of Arab towns and villages and settlement inside towns, as happened in the case of Jerusalem and Hebron. It has also involved the confiscation of new lands and the installation of new settlements, so that the number of settlements in the West Bank, not including Jerusalem, rose from 27,000 at the end of 1981 to approximately 35,000 at the end of 1982, an increase of 30 per cent in the course of one year. This settlement has caused direct harm to the Arab citizens. Forty-three houses were demolished, and planning has begun for the demolition of the Ain al-Sultan camp and a portion of the houses of Arab citizens in Hebron for the purpose of expanding the area known as the Jewish quarter and developing it to absorb the new settlers.