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Department Seal


DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


This report deals with territories under military occupation, 
whereas most others in this volume describe practices within 
sovereign states and deal with the relationship between 
governments and their own citizens.  Israel occupied the lands 
known as the "occupied territories" (the West Bank, Gaza Strip, 
Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem) as a result of the 1967 war.

Israel is not recognized internationally to have sovereignty 
over any of the occupied territories.  Israel has, however, 
asserted sovereignty over and annexed East Jerusalem.  The West 
Bank and Gaza legal regime derives from Ottoman, Jordanian, 
Egyptian, and British law, as modified by Israeli military 
orders.  Israel has extended its law and administration to the 
Golan Heights.  The United States considers Israel's occupation 
to be governed by The Hague Regulations of 1907 and the 1949 
Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of
Civilians in Time of War.  Israel considers the Hague 
Regulations applicable, but not the Geneva Convention, though 
Israel states that it observes the Geneva Convention's 
humanitarian provisions.  

Israel has governed the West Bank and Gaza through the Civil 
Administration (CIVAD), which is answerable to the Minister of 
Defense.  Most Palestinian municipalities have Israeli-
appointed mayors, the majority of elected mayors having been 
dismissed in the early 1980's.  Palestinians have not had the 
opportunity to participate in significant political or economic 
decisions regarding the occupied territories, except for East 
Jerusalem, where Palestinian residents have largely boycotted 
the Israeli political process.  Israeli settlers in the 
territories (about 5 percent of the population of the 
territories, exclusive of East Jerusalem) are subject to 
Israeli law and receive better treatment than Palestinians 
under military occupation law.  Israeli economic policies 
discriminate in favor of Israeli interests and Israeli settlers 
in the territories.

The security forces in the occupied territories have consisted 
of the army (Israeli Defense Forces-IDF), the Shin Bet (General 
Security Service-GSS), the police, and the paramilitary border 
police.  Crimes by Palestinians related to "security," as 
defined by the authorities, have been tried in military courts.

The economies of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are small, poorly 
developed, and highly dependent on Israel.  The West Bank 
produces many agricultural items and some light manufactured 
goods.  Gaza's economy is more focused on agriculture and 
depends heavily on earnings from day laborers in Israel.  Both 
economies have suffered from the effects of the occupation, the 
6-year-old Palestinian uprising (intifada) against Israeli 
rule, the Gulf war and resulting cutoff of Arab funding, and 
the March 29 closure of the occupied territories.  

The first 5 months of 1993 witnessed a dramatic increase in 
violence and confrontation.  After a series of killings and 
stabbings of Israeli soldiers and civilians in Israel and the 
occupied territories during the first 3 months of 1993, the 
Government on March 29 sealed off indefinitely the West Bank 
and Gaza from Jerusalem and Israel.  While proving an effective 
measure in curbing Palestinian attacks against Israelis in 
Israel, closure has severely constricted Palestinians' freedom 
of movement and has caused a deterioration of economic 
conditions (see also Sections 2.c. and 2.d.).  The closure, 
which was partially eased later during 1993, does not apply to 
Israeli citizens, who are not required to obtain special 
permits to cross into and out of the West Bank and Gaza.

On September 13, Israel and the Palestine Liberation 
Organization (PLO) signed an historic Declaration of Principles 
on a gradual transfer of authority from Israel to an interim 
Palestinian self-governing authority.  The Declaration lays out 
a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and 
Jericho, scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 
1994.  In addition, the Declaration calls for a redeployment of 
Israeli security forces away from populated areas in the West 
Bank by as early as July 1994, which is the target date for 
election of a Palestinian council and for the dissolution of 
the Israeli military-backed CIVAD which has administered the 
occupied territories since 1981.  Through this process, 
Palestinians will also assume early responsibility for 
functions such as the health sector; educational, cultural, and 
social welfare affairs; tourism; and taxation.  The 
Palestinians are also to create a Palestinian police force for 
the occupied territories.  Israelis are to continue to control 
external security, internal security, and public order in 
Israeli settlements, foreign relations, and certain other areas 
until an agreement on permanent status is achieved.  This 
historic agreement, when implemented, should fundamentally 
transform the basic relationship between Palestinians and 

Both Palestinian and Israeli opponents of the Declaration of 
Principles have attempted to exploit the violence as a means of 
derailing the agreement.  The Palestinian Islamist extremist 
organizations Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched a 
number of attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians between 
September 9 and the end of the year.  Armed settlers also 
blocked roads, harassed Palestinian commuters, destroyed 
Palestinian property, and fired at unarmed Palestinians.  From 
October through mid-December, six settlers were killed by 
Palestinians, while eight Palestinians were killed by 
settlers.  As the occupying power, Israel remained obligated 
under international occupation law to ensure, as far as 
possible, public order and the safety of the civilian 
population in the occupied territories.  Violence in the 
occupied territories also included killings of Palestinians by 
other Palestinians because of alleged collaboration with Israel.

All of the 414 Palestinians deported to southern Lebanon in 
December 1992 because of their alleged association with Hamas 
and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were allowed to return in 1993, 
with the exception of about 15 who chose not to return.  Some 
were then administratively detained.

There were credible reports that during 1993 Israel mistreated 
and, according to those reports, in some cases tortured 
Palestinians during arrest and interrogation, utilized 
undercover units implicated in possible extrajudicial killings, 
ordered administrative detentions, used heavy weaponry to 
destroy houses in which IDF soldiers believed security suspects 
to be hiding, limited freedom of movement, employed harsh tax 
collection practices, and followed discriminatory policies in 
land and resources use and trade.  The longstanding U.S. 
position is that several Israeli practices, such as the 
transfer of prisoners outside the occupied territories and the 
demolition or sealing of houses for security offenses as a form 
of collective punishment, contravene specific provisions of the 
Fourth Geneva Convention.  

Apart from the major development reflected in the Israeli-PLO
Declaration of Principles, there were other improvements in the 
human rights situation.  Israel liberalized its policy on 
family reunification for residents of the West Bank and Gaza 
(see Section 2.d.), carried out significantly fewer 
court-sanctioned demolitions of Palestinian houses (although 
demolition orders were usually converted to orders for 
sealings), and used curfews less frequently in the West Bank.  
The nighttime curfew imposed on Gaza since 1987, however, 
remained in effect, and general curfews were used extensively 
throughout the year in Gaza.  In October Israel released 617 
Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture following the 
signing of the Declaration of Principles.  As of the end of the 
year, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were discussing the 
timing and numbers of additional releases.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Credible sources report that undercover units disguised as 
Palestinians killed 27 Palestinians as of late November.  This 
number represents a significant decrease from the 45 
Palestinians reported killed by undercover units in 1992.  As 
in 1992, the task of the undercover units appeared to have been 
to arrest activists wanted by the authorities for serious 
crimes.  The undercover units also focused on stone-throwers or 
graffiti-writers.  Human rights organizations continued to 
charge that the undercover units targeted certain activists, in 
some cases killing suspects under circumstances in which it may 
have been possible to apprehend them without killing.  Israeli 
authorities acknowledge the operation of special undercover 
units whose members circulate among Palestinian activists and 
claim that such units observe standard rules of engagement 
applicable to other IDF units and that all killings and 
allegations of misbehavior are investigated.  Investigations of 
abuses by IDF troops are conducted by IDF investigators.  These 
investigations rarely result in imposition of serious 
punishment.  According to the Israeli Government, one 
investigation into the killing of a child by an undercover unit 
did result in an undercover unit lieutenant's conviction on 
charges of negligence.  The officer was sentenced to 6 months' 
imprisonment and was demoted to the rank of sergeant.

According to some human rights groups, the General Security 
Service (GSS) was responsible for at least one extrajudicial 
killing--the death of Omar Khamis Yusef Al-Ghula, who, 
according to eyewitnesses, was handcuffed and offering no 
resistance when he was shot by a security officer on January 
27.  The Israeli Government states that members of an army 
patrol shot and killed Al-Ghula, while he was in their custody, 
when he attempted to draw a handgun.  The military prosecutor 
for Gaza investigated this case.  He concluded that the 
soldiers acted in accordance with the rules of engagement and 
instructed that the file be closed. 

Palestinian attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in 
1993 resulted in the deaths of 49 Israelis in the occupied 
territories, compared to 23 such deaths in 1992.  Most deaths 
were by knifing or gunfire.  After a series of killings and 
stabbings of Israeli soldiers and civilians in Israel and the 
occupied territories in the first 3 months of the year, the 
Government sealed off the West Bank and Gaza from Jerusalem and 
Israel on March 29 for an indefinite period as a means of 
reducing the number of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.  

As of mid-December, 79 Palestinians had been killed by other 
Palestinians, most often because of alleged collaboration with 
Israeli security services but also because of disputes between 
political factions or street gangs or because of personal 
feuds.  These killings included Palestinian women accused of 
collaboration with Israeli authorities, infidelity, or 
prostitution.  (The Government of Israel claims that 139 
Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians in 1993.)  
Sixty-six of these killings took place in Gaza, a dramatic 
decrease from 149 killings in 1992; in the West Bank, the 
phenomenon continued a downward trend begun in 1992.

During the October to December period, there were credible 
reports of IDF inaction during several settler attacks, which 
occurred usually in retaliation for the killing of a settler, 
on Palestinians and their homes and property.  In late 
December, the IDF appeared to investigate more vigorously two 
separate incidents in which Palestinians were killed, 
reportedly by settlers, and it appeared that by the end of the 
year the IDF had begun taking stronger measures to protect
Palestinians from settler attacks.  These measures included the 
provision by the IDF's Judge Advocate General to IDF officers 
of a 14-page handbook on how to deal with disturbances 
involving Israeli citizens in the occupied territories.  
According to that guidance, soldiers were authorized to arrest 
Israelis if they were breaking the law.

Israeli authorities prosecute Palestinians accused of killing 
other Palestinians as well as those accused of killing 
Israelis, and, although there is no capital punishment, 
sentences are severe.  Palestinians suspected of killing 
Israelis and alleged collaborators have been a principal target 
of undercover unit operations.  The Government also prosecutes 
Israelis accused of killing Palestinians, though sentences 
given to Israelis are generally much lighter than sentences 
handed down to Palestinians convicted of killing either 
Israelis or Palestinians.  (See Section 1.e. for additional 
information on trials; for further discussion of killings, see 
Section l.g.)

     b.  Disappearance

There were no confirmed reports of disappearances.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

As in 1992, international, Israeli, and Palestinian human 
rights groups and diplomats continued to provide detailed and 
credible accounts of widespread abuse, which they claim in some 
cases amounted to torture, of Palestinian and Palestinian-
American detainees, both immediately after arrest and during 
interrogation.  According to credible reports, hooding, forced 
standing or tying up in contorted positions, prolonged exposure 
to extreme temperatures, blows and beatings, confinement in a 
small space, sleep and food deprivation, threats against the 
detainee's family, and threats of death were common practice in 
interrogation facilities.  The apparent intent of these 
practices was to disorient and intimidate prisoners, often with 
the goal of obtaining confessions or information about third 
parties.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 
in 1992 declared such practices to be violations of the Geneva 

In June the Israeli-Palestinian Association of Physicians for 
Human Rights published a form reportedly used in the 
interrogation section of Tulkarem Prison in the West Bank.  The 
form requested an examining physician to certify the medical 
fitness of a detainee for interrogation and specifically asked 
the doctor to indicate any medical "limitations" by reason of 
which the prisoner should not be chained, forced to wear a 
hood, or forced to stand for long periods.  Subsequent to the 
publication of the form, the Israeli Medical Association issued 
a statement forbidding member physicians to answer such 
questions.  The Government asserts that the form, while 
considered, was never put into use.  Human rights groups 
believe that IDF and prison service doctors have routinely been 
called upon to certify prisoners for interrogation, whether or 
not a specific form is required.  

Torture is forbidden by Israeli law.  Israeli authorities say 
that torture is not authorized or condoned in the occupied 
territories but acknowledge that abuses occur and state that 
they are investigated.  In 1987 the Landau Judicial Commission 
specifically condemned "torture" but allowed for "moderate 
physical and psychological pressure" to be used to secure 
confessions and to obtain information; a classified annex to 
the report defining permissible pressure has never been made 
public.  In a case brought by the Public Committee Against 
Torture, the Israeli Supreme Court refused to halt the use of 
"moderate physical pressure."

In April the director of the GSS, responding to a petition 
before the Israeli Supreme Court, presented the court with an 
affidavit in which he announced amendments to the GSS's policy 
on interrogation.  While the GSS was to continue to adhere to 
principles contained in the Landau Commission Report, he listed 
the following activities as prohibited:  torture and 
humiliation, denial of food, water, and access to a toilet; and 
subjecting a detainee to extreme temperatures.  Interrogators 
were required to proceed in steps, starting with "psychological 
pressure" and moving on to "additional pressure methods" in 
accordance with regulations.  Human rights groups assert that 
despite these announced changes in policy, there was no 
perceivable difference in treatment of suspects under 

The Israeli Ministry of Justice established two units in 1992 
to investigate allegations of misconduct by police and GSS 
officers, including ill-treatment of detainees during 
interrogation.  As of late November, 61 complaints of 
maltreatment during interrogation had been filed against GSS 
interrogators during 1993.  Investigations into most of those 
complaints had not yet been completed.  The Government claims 
that during 1993 unspecified legal or disciplinary measures had 
been taken in 13 cases, approximately half of which had been 
initiated prior to 1993.

In 1993 six Palestinians died in detention, four from what 
appeared to be natural causes.  Human rights groups claim, 
however, that lack of prompt and adequate medical attention 
while in detention in at least three cases aggravated the 
medical conditions of those three prisoners.  The Israeli 
Government states that all of these prisoners received medical 
examinations, and none complained of chronic ailments.  
According to credible sources, one detainee, a 23-year-old from 
Gaza, was denied medical attention for smoke inhalation for at 
least 3 days after his arrest.  A second case was an apparent 

Most convictions in security cases are based on confessions.  
An attorney is normally not allowed to see a client until after 
interrogation is complete and a confession, if obtained, has 
been made.  The ICRC is not allowed access to detainees until 
the 14th day after arrest.  Human rights groups point to this 
prolonged incommunicado detention as contributing to the 
problem of abuse.  Detainees frequently tell judges that 
confessions were coerced.  Human rights groups assert that 
Palestinian detainees often fail to lodge complaints either 
from fear of retribution or because they assume their 
complaints will be ignored.

Charges of beatings and physical abuse by Israeli security 
forces continued in 1993.  The IDF says that it investigates 
automatically every fatality but that it does not routinely 
investigate nonfatal violent incidents unless a complaint is 
made.  According to the IDF, from January 1 to September 1 
there were 11 indictments against 24 soldiers and officers for 
"intifada-related offenses."  Twelve soldiers were convicted 
while none were acquitted.  Five indictments are still 
pending.  No information was provided as to the sentences in 
these cases.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

As of the end of 1993, a total of 9,573 Palestinians were 
incarcerated in IDF (5,308) and prison service facilities.  Of 
those, roughly 68 percent had been tried and were serving 
sentences, 29.6 percent were awaiting charges or trial, and 2.3 
percent were detained administratively, i.e., sentenced to a 
specific period of detention without formal charge or trial.  

In October Israel released 617 Palestinian prisoners as a 
goodwill gesture following the signing of the Declaration of 
Principles.  At the end of the year, Israeli and Palestinian 
negotiators were discussing the timing and numbers of 
additional releases.  

Since the beginning of the intifada in late 1987, Israel has 
routinely transferred Palestinian prisoners from the occupied 
territories to detention facilities within Israel, especially 
to the Ketziot camp in the Negev desert and Megiddo prison near 
Afula.  This practice, which continued in 1993, contravenes 
Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Estimates of the 
number of Palestinian residents of the occupied territories 
incarcerated within Israel range up to 7,000.  In late 1993, 
there were indications that Palestinian prisoners were being 
transferred from detention centers in Gaza to facilities in 
Israel prior to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza scheduled to 
begin on December 13.

The use of administrative detention for alleged security 
reasons without formal charges or a full opportunity for 
detainees to defend themselves continued in 1993.  As of 
October, 277 Palestinians were held in administrative 
detention, compared to 520 held at the end of 1992.

Detention periods are for a maximum of 6 months and are 
renewable.  Evidence used at hearings frequently is declared 
secret and unavailable to either the detainee or his attorney.  
Israeli officials state that administrative detention is used 
only when IDF legal advisors have determined that there is 
sufficient evidence to detain a person and that the evidence 
has been corroborated by two sources.  They assert, however, 
that the evidence cannot be presented in open court because to 
do so would compromise the method of acquiring the evidence, 
which is often provided by informers whose lives would be 
jeopardized if their identities were known.  Human rights 
monitors contend that administrative detention is often used 
when evidence against a suspect would not stand up in court.

District military commanders may order administrative detention 
without formal charges.  Detainees may appeal detention orders 
or renewal of detention before a military judge.  Attorneys may 
question security service witnesses concerning the general 
nature of that evidence.  The Supreme Court may review rulings 
by military judges and may examine secret evidence.  

Any soldier may arrest without warrant a person who has 
committed, or is suspected of having committed, a criminal or 
security offense.  Persons over age 12 are treated as adults by 
the court system.  Persons arrested for common crimes are 
usually provided the opportunity for bail, access to an 
attorney, and a statement of charges (although these 
opportunities are sometimes delayed).  Bail is rarely available 
to those arrested for security offenses.  Special summonses are 
reportedly issued to Palestinians wanted by authorities for 
security reasons.  Israeli Military Order 1369 allows 
authorities to sentence to 7 years' imprisonment any person who 
does not respond to a special summons that is delivered to him 
or a family member or is posted in the Civil Administration 
office nearest his home address.  

Persons may be held in custody without a warrant for 96 hours 
and then must be released unless a warrant is issued.  A 
warrant may be issued by a police officer for two periods of 7 
days each.  For extensions beyond 18 days from the date of 
arrest, the detainee has to be brought before a military judge, 
at which point he is entitled to defense counsel.  In 1992 
Israeli authorities shortened this period to 8 days for minors 
and those accused of less serious offenses (such as stone 
throwing).  A military judge may extend the detention for a 
period of no longer than 6 months from the date of arrest.  If 
there is no indictment during this period, the detainee must be 
released.  If there is an indictment, a judge may order 
indefinite detention until the end of the trial, though the 
detention may be appealed.

In theory a detainee has the right to see a lawyer as soon as 
possible.  In the cases of security detainees, however, 
officers routinely issue a written order to delay access to 
counsel for up to 15 days for reasons of security or to conduct 
the investigation.  Higher ranking officials or judges may 
extend this period by up to 75 more days for the same reasons.  
In June the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental 
right to consult a lawyer required the Government not only to 
inform a detainee of his right but also to advise the detainee 
of any orders preventing him from seeing a lawyer.  Israeli 
regulations also permit prisoners to be held in isolation from 
family and from other detainees during interrogation.

Israeli authorities claim that they attempt to post 
notification of arrest within 48 hours; Palestinians assert 
that families and lawyers are normally notified much later and 
generally locate the detainee through their own efforts.  
Notification to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General of 
detained Palestinian-American citizens has almost always been 
through the family.  The ICRC attempts to help by passing on to 
families (by telephone) the information it receives from 
Israeli prison officials.  A senior officer may extend for up 
to 12 days denial of notification of arrest to immediate family 
members, attorneys, and consular officials.  A military 
commander may appeal to a judge to extend this period in 
security cases for an unlimited time.

The Israeli authorities acted in a number of areas to improve 
prison conditions in the occupied territories after Palestinian 
prisoners staged an 18-day hunger strike in September and 
October 1992 to protest prison conditions.  Implementation of 
the specific measures, however, was not uniform throughout all 
detention facilities.  In August 1993, prisoners at Hebron 
prison staged a hunger strike to protest lack of water for 
toilet and bathing facilities.  The Israeli Supreme Court 
agreed to consider a petition presented by the prisoners but, 
as of October, the case had not been resolved.  In the 
meantime, Israeli authorities reportedly agreed to truck in 
water supplies to meet prisoner needs.  In September the 
Association of Israeli-Palestinian Physicians petitioned the 
Israeli Supreme Court to close the Ketziot Military Detention 
Camp in Israel because of "inferior conditions of 
imprisonment."  The petition argued that the conditions at the 
camp, which reportedly houses 4,900 Palestinian security 
detainees, violated the Geneva Convention.  Overcrowding (26 
inmates to a tent), inferior diet, lack of adequate medical 
care, and lack of arrangements for religious worship were cited 
as key problems.  At the end of the year, Ketziot camp was 
still in use.  According to the IDF Judge Advocate General, the 
IDF has been granted a postponement to study the report of an 
advisory panel.  Consideration of the case by the Supreme Court 
has been postponed until March 1994.

In December 1992, the United Nations Security Council adopted 
Resolution 799, which called for the immediate return of 415 
Palestinians who had been deported to South Lebanon earlier 
that month because of their alleged association with Hamas--the 
Islamic Resistance Movement and the largest Islamist 
organization in the occupied territories--and the Palestinian 
Islamic Jihad.  Israel agreed in March to a two-phase plan to 
return the deportees.  In September 186 deportees returned from 
the edge of the Israeli-declared security zone in South Lebanon 
where they had been camped since December 1992.  Upon their 
return, the deportees were investigated by the Israeli 
authorities, and some were freed while others were placed in 
administrative detention.  In mid-December, the remaining 
deportees returned except for about 15 deportees who reportedly 
elected to remain outside the occupied territories to avoid 
imprisonment.  Like those who had returned in September, the 
197 who returned in December were subject to interrogation and 
investigation.  As of the end of the year, approximately 65 
remained in detention.  

In addition to the deportees in southern Lebanon, Israel 
allowed 30 pre-intifada deportees to return to the occupied 
territories in May as a confidence building measure.  Among 
those who returned was one former West Bank mayor elected in 
1976 and later deported to Jordan.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Palestinians accused of nonsecurity offenses are tried publicly 
in local courts by Palestinian judges appointed by Israeli 
officials, except where jurisdiction has been transferred by 
military order.  Since the beginning of the uprising, local 
administration of justice has deteriorated seriously.  At the 
beginning of the intifada in December 1987, the intifada 
leadership ordered Palestinian police and judges to resign.  
Since then, Palestinian courts have functioned sporadically.  
Palestinians accused of security offenses are tried in Israeli 
military courts.  Security offenses are broadly defined by 
Israel and may include charges of political activity, such as 
suspected membership in outlawed organizations.  Following the 
exchange of letters of recognition between Israel and the PLO, 
membership in the mainstream Fatah organization ceased to be 
considered a "security offense" by the Israeli authorities.  
Charges are brought by military prosecutors, and suspects are 
entitled to counsel.  Serious charges are tried before 
three-judge panels, and defendants are entitled to appeal the 
judgments of such courts as a matter of right.  Lesser offenses 
are tried before single-judge courts.  The Court of Military 
Appeals may accept appeals of decisions by those courts based 
on the law applied in the case, the sentence imposed, or both.  
The right of appeal does not apply in all cases, and appeals 
sometimes require court permission.  In practice, it is rare 
for Palestinians tried for security offenses to be acquitted, 
though their sentences sometimes are reduced through the appeal 

Trials are delayed for several reasons:  witnesses (including 
Israeli military or police officers) do not appear; the 
defendant is not brought to court; files are lost; or attorneys 
fail to appear.  These delays may constitute an additional 
source of pressure on the defendant to plead guilty in order to 
avoid serving a period of pretrial detention that would exceed 
the sentence likely to apply in the context of a plea bargain.  
In cases involving minor offenses, such as stone throwing, an 
"expedited" trial may be held, in which a charge sheet is drawn 
up within 48 hours and a court hearing scheduled within days.  
In 1993 the IDF reported that approximately two-thirds of 
detainees in military prisons had completed their trials.

By law, most military trials are public, although access is 
limited.  Consular officers are allowed to attend military 
court proceedings involving foreign citizens, but there have 
been delays in gaining admission.

Most convictions in military courts are based on confessions.  
Israeli officials assert that Palestinians rarely cooperate as 
witnesses to crimes, refusing to deal with Israeli 
authorities.  Physical and psychological pressures and reduced 
sentences for those who confess contribute to the likelihood 
that security detainees will sign confessions.  Confessions are 
usually recorded in Hebrew, which many defendants cannot read.  
Israeli authorities say that confessions are made by and 
repeated to the defendant in Arabic, although they are written 
down in Hebrew because, while many Israeli court personnel 
speak Arabic, few write it.

Crowded facilities and poor arrangements for attorney-client 
consultations in prisons hinder effective legal defense 
efforts.  Palestinian attorneys report that appointments to see 
clients are difficult to arrange and that prison authorities 
often fail to produce clients when scheduled.  In addition, 
prison authorities often limit the time available to meet with 

Israeli settlers in the occupied territories accused of 
security and ordinary criminal offenses are tried in the 
nearest Israeli district court under Israeli law.  Civilian 
judges preside over these courts, and standards of due process 
and admissibility of evidence are not governed by military 
occupation law.  Settlers convicted in Israeli courts of crimes 
against Palestinians regularly receive lighter punishment than 
Palestinians convicted of crimes against either Israelis or 
other Palestinians.

In 1992 an amendment to Israel's penal law provided greater 
discretion in sentencing for cases of self-defense or necessity 
where a defendant has used excessive force.  Palestinians 
raised concerns that this might result in unjustifiably lenient 
sentences for Israeli settlers who use force.  As of October, 
however, the Israel state attorney's office was unaware of any 
cases in which that amendment had been applied.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

Military authorities in the occupied territories may enter 
private Palestinian homes and institutions without a warrant on 
security grounds.  Authorization by an officer of the rank of 
lieutenant colonel is required prior to entry.  Forced entries 
are used in IDF operations and are sometimes accompanied by 
beatings and destruction of property, including foodstuffs.  
Undercover units have engaged in destructive and violent 
behavior during searches, as well as harassment of families of 
wanted Palestinians.  Israeli authorities claim that forced 
entry may lawfully occur only incident to arrest when entry is 
resisted, that beatings and arbitrary destruction of property 
during searches are punishable violations of military 
regulations, and that compensation is due to victims in such 
cases.  The Government did not provide information regarding 
such compensation. 

In 1993 the security authorities sealed 27 houses for security 
reasons, a decline from 33 sealed in 1992.  Indicating the 
continuation of a policy begun in 1992, the Israeli Government 
reports, and some human rights groups agree, that no houses 
were ordered demolished for security reasons in 1993.  Other 
credible sources, however, believe that three house demolitions 
which occurred during 1993 were ordered for security reasons, 
not because of building permit violations or during military 
operations.  Using bulldozers and other construction equipment, 
security forces may demolish or seal the home of a suspect, 
whether he is the owner or only a tenant, before any trial is 
held.  The final decision to seal or demolish a house is made 
by a number of high-level Israeli officials, including the 
coordinator of the Civil Administration.  Owners of houses 
ordered to be demolished have 48 hours to appeal to the area 
commander, and final appeals may be made to the High Court.  A 
successful appeal generally results in the conversion of a 
demolition order to sealing.  When a house is demolished, the 
land on which it sits is confiscated by the Israeli 
authorities, and the house owner is not allowed to rebuild or 
even remove the rubble.

Israeli authorities say there is a formal procedure whereby 
owners may apply to regional military commanders for permits to 
rebuild or unseal, but this procedure is rarely used.  The 
Israeli Government did allow two homes to be rebuilt after 
being demolished, and four homes were permitted to be opened 
after being previously sealed.  The Government reports that 10 
houses in Gaza and 10 in the West Bank were sealed in 1993.  
During 1993, the IDF continued the practice of using various 
heavy weapons, including rockets, to destroy houses in which 
soldiers believed security suspects to be hiding (see Section 

The security services sometimes monitor mail and telephone 
conversations.  The authorities sometimes interrupt telephone 
service to specific areas.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Estimates vary on the number of casualties caused by use of 
excessive force in the occupied territories.  Figures compiled 
from press, Palestinian, international organizations, and 
Israeli government sources indicate that a total of 184 
Palestinians were killed by security forces in 1993, compared 
to 158 in 1992.  Estimates of the numbers of Palestinians 
wounded vary; the number could be as high as 4,120.  IDF 
figures report approximately 890 Palestinians were injured as 
of September 1 by the security services.  Forty-nine Israeli 
soldiers and civilians were killed by Palestinians in 1993 in 
the occupied territories, and estimates of Israelis wounded 
were about 366.  Extremists associated with Hamas and 
Palestinian Islamic Jihad were responsible for many of the 
lethal attacks on Israelis.

After May it appeared that both the security forces and 
Palestinian activists pursued less confrontational policies in 
order to reduce violent clashes.  The killing of an Israeli 
settler near Ramallah in October began a cycle of killings and 
reprisals which had not ended as of late December.  Many of the 
IDF observation posts erected in camps and cities throughout 
Gaza, which had provoked violence, were removed in August.  Of 
the total number of Palestinians killed, the Israeli human 
rights group B'tselem estimates that 37 were children aged 16 
or under, 33 of whom were killed between January and June.  
Many of these children were involved in demonstrations or were 
near the sites of confrontations or incidents at the time they 
were shot.  In July, however, a soldier reportedly shot 
10-year-old Ezzat Mattar while the boy was flying a kite in an 
open field.    

In a June report on IDF killings of Palestinian children under 
age 16, B'tselem charged that the IDF pursued a deliberate 
policy of opening fire in situations in which soldiers were not 
in mortal danger.  Citing the IDF's rules of engagement for 
dispersing demonstrations and pursuing suspects which allow, in 
the last resort, use of live fire, B'tselem declared that "the 
many instances in which Palestinians in the territories have 
been killed by soldiers...are unequivocal proof of the danger 
inherent in such orders and of the need to change them."  
B'tselem acknowledged that the IDF had no deliberate policy to 
kill children but contended that "in hundreds of instances 
security forces had the option of refraining from shooting, at 
the risk of having suspects (the vast majority are 
demonstrators or stone-throwers) escape, in order to ensure 
that innocent people would not be hurt."

In its response to the B'tselem report, the IDF stated that 
soldiers were under orders to act with the greatest care in 
dealing with "riots" in which women and children participated 
and noted that opening-fire regulations prohibited shooting at 
children.  Children were injured, the IDF said, because they 
were near or among rioters or armed terrorists who endangered 
the lives of IDF soldiers.  The IDF statement attributed the 
increase in deaths to the escalation of violence in the first 
half of 1993.

Until April IDF regulations permitted the use of live 
ammunition only when soldiers' lives were in immediate danger, 
to halt fleeing suspects, or to disperse a violent 
demonstration.  In April the IDF issued an amendment to those 
regulations permitting the use of live fire on an "individual 
unlawfully carrying firearms."  Palestinians asserted, and the 
Government of Israel denied, that this modification ipso facto 
allowed soldiers to open fire on anyone carrying a firearm.  It 
was not clear how soldiers were to determine if an individual 
was authorized to carry a firearm.  According to IDF policy, 
soldiers are to direct fire at the legs only and at a fleeing 
suspect only if they suspect a serious felony and have 
exhausted other means of apprehending the suspect.  In 
practice, however, uniformed soldiers, police, and undercover 
units used live fire in situations other than those described 
above (see Section l.a.) and often shot suspects in the upper 
body and head.  Uniformed soldiers, police, and undercover 
units also injured many bystanders (including children) by live 
fire, rubber bullets, or beatings while pursuing suspects.

During 1993 the IDF continued the practice of using various 
heavy weapons, including rockets, to destroy houses in which 
soldiers believed security suspects to be hiding.  These 
demolitions took place almost exclusively in Gaza.  Although 
the IDF stated that no figures were available on the number of 
houses damaged in these operations, human rights groups count 
up to 220 houses or apartments either destroyed or partially 
damaged by the IDF in the course of military operations in 
pursuit of suspects.  Israel defended this practice as a 
necessary military operation and a measure to save the lives of 
Israeli soldiers.  The Israelis assert that the operations were 
based on intelligence received that certain suspects were in 
the reported places.  In practice, IDF units regularly 
evacuated houses in which they believed suspects to be hiding 
and then fired rockets into the buildings.  In several 
instances, no suspects were found in the houses.  Since late 
1992, 177 Palestinian claims have been filed for damages to 
homes by the security forces.  Sixty claims have already been 
settled to the sum of approximately $500,000 (one and a half 
million NIS).

On a number of occasions, security forces forcibly removed 
Palestinian suspects undergoing medical treatment from 
hospitals or prohibited Palestinians in need of medical care 
from crossing roadblocks or going out during curfews.  The 
Israeli Government asserts that a patient is removed only after 
a doctor certifies a patient is fit for transfer; the transfer 
must be made with a doctor present.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Israeli authorities impose some restrictions on freedom of 
speech.  Israel prohibits, for example, public expressions of 
support for Muslim extremist groups, such as Hamas, and other 
banned organizations.  For most of the year, the display of 
Palestinian political symbols, such as flags, national colors, 
and graffiti was punishable by stiff fines (usually the 
equivalent of $150-300 for graffiti), or imprisonment.  
Security forces often forced Palestinians to erase graffiti 
found on their property, regardless of whether they were 
responsible for it.  Since September, after Israel and the PLO 
signed the Declaration of Principles on the transfer of 
authority, Israeli authorities have generally permitted 
displays of the Palestinian flag or national colors, although 
there has been no formal change of policy.  

The Israeli authorities impose restrictions on the Arabic 
press, citing security reasons.  Arabic-language publications 
in East Jerusalem must submit to the military authorities for 
prior censorship all copy relating to the security, public 
order, and safety of Israel and the occupied territories.  Many 
reports and editorials related to the uprising and Palestinian 
political goals were permitted, but other articles and 
editorials were routinely expurgated.  Arabic translations of 
news stories about the intifada, which had previously appeared 
in the Hebrew-language press, were routinely censored from the 
Arabic press.

A permit is required for publications imported into the 
occupied territories.  Imported materials may be censored or 
banned for anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli content.  According to 
the Government, publications supporting Palestinian nationalism 
are not censored or banned unless they advocate violence.  
Possession of banned materials, such as uprising leaflets 
espousing violence, is punishable by fine and imprisonment.  
Reports by foreign journalists are subject to a system of 

No broadcast media originate from the occupied territories.  
Jordanian radio and television is broadcast throughout the 
occupied territories.

Israeli authorities continued to close individual secondary and 
elementary schools for short periods, citing security problems 
emanating from the schools.  In addition, strike days called by 
Palestinian activists continue to cause students to lose a few 
days of school each month.  In contrast, Palestinian 
universities generally operated normally for the first time 
since the intifada began in 1987.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Military orders ban public gatherings of 10 or more people 
without a permit.  Until September, when Israel recognized the 
PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people, 
Palestinian political parties and other groups, including some 
labor unions viewed as political, were banned.  However, 
student and professional associations have been allowed to 
operate and hold democratic elections.  Since the signing of 
the Declaration of Principles in September, Israeli authorities 
have permitted large-scale rallies in support of the agreement 
in a number of towns.  The authorities also permitted several 
rallies organized by opponents of the agreement.  

Private organizations are required to register with the 
authorities, though some operate without licenses.  Israeli 
authorities permitted Palestinian charitable, community, 
professional, and self-help organizations to operate unless 
their activities were viewed as overtly political or supporting 
the uprising.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is respected, and no group or sect is 
banned on religious grounds.  Muslim and Christian holy days 
are observed, as are Jewish holy days in Jerusalem and the 
settlements.  All faiths operate schools and institutions.  
Religious publications circulate subject to the laws for 
publications described in Section 2.a.  After the occupied 
territories were sealed off in March, Muslim and Christian 
Palestinians who wanted to visit or attend services at holy 
places in Jerusalem were often unable to obtain permits to 
enter the city.  While some Palestinians were allowed to travel 
by bus from the West Bank directly and only to the Haram 
as-Sharif (where the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques are 
located), authorities often restricted access by male 
worshipers under a certain age.

In April many Palestinian Christians protested the closure of 
Jerusalem, which prevented their attending Easter Rites at the 
Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  While some congregations refused 
to apply for permits, claiming it would establish a precedent 
for Israeli control over holy sites, other Christians did apply 
and found that their applications were denied or delayed.  
Various sources alleged that Israeli police interfered with 
passing of the "holy fire," one of the most important rituals 
of the Greek Orthodox Church during the Easter season, by 
extinguishing lanterns that worshipers at checkpoints were 
using to pass the flame among themselves.

Israeli authorities also banned West Bankers and Gazans (even 
those with permits) from entering Jerusalem on several major 
Jewish holidays, citing this as a precautionary security 
measure.  These restrictions were not applied to Jewish 
settlers in the occupied territories.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Occupied Territories, 
         Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The escalation in violence both in the occupied territories and 
inside Israel during the first 3 months of 1993 led the 
Government to seal off indefinitely the West Bank and Gaza from 
Jerusalem and Israel on March 29.  By inhibiting the free 
movement of goods and people, the closure caused deterioration 
in economic conditions in the occupied territories and 
disrupted patterns of religious, educational, cultural, and 
family life as well as access to medical care.  The March 29 
closure constitutes the longest period during which the Israeli 
security forces have employed this measure, which was first 
used in 1991.  

Closure severely constricted Palestinians' freedom of movement 
between the West Bank and East Jerusalem, between the northern 
and southern sections of the West Bank, and between Gaza and 
the rest of the occupied territories.  As during previous 
periods of closure, any Palestinian wishing to enter Jerusalem 
or Israel must obtain a special permit issued by the Civil 
Administration.  Any Palestinian found in Jerusalem without 
such a permit is subject to a fine (usually the equivalent of 
about $160) or arrest.  Because most main roads pass through 
Jerusalem, closure effectively divides the West Bank into two 
parts, with the result that Palestinians from the north may not 
travel to the south without special permission, and vice 
versa.  In addition, Gazans may only travel to Jerusalem and 
the West Bank if they are able to obtain permits.  

The closure had a serious effect on the economy of the occupied 
territories.  Of the 120,000 Palestinians who prior to March 29 
worked in Jerusalem or Israel, only about half had received 
permits to resume their employment by year's end.  Palestinian 
factories in the occupied territories, having lost their 
markets in Jerusalem and Israel, were unable to pay their 
workers.  Unemployment rates in the West Bank were estimated at 
25 percent before closure and are now estimated at 40 percent.  
Palestinian businesses and institutions in Jerusalem suffered 
because their West Bank clients were unable to enter the city.  

The IDF states that the number of Palestinian workers who have 
been issued permits since closure (about 52,000), added to the 
number of Palestinians exempt from the permit requirement who 
work in Jerusalem (15,000), is roughly equal to the number of 
Palestinians (70,000) who had been legally permitted to work in 
Israel and Jerusalem before March 29.  The IDF maintains that 
only Palestinians who had been working illegally in Israel and 
Jerusalem lost their employment.  After closure, however, the 
Israeli Government significantly reduced the number of permits 
issued to unskilled Palestinian day laborers allowed to work in 
Israel or Jerusalem.  Permits to enter Jerusalem and Israel 
were valid for periods varying from a few hours to 3 months.  
Permits were denied for a variety of reasons, including 
security concerns and nonpayment of taxes.  As of October, the 
CIVAD had issued 268,309 temporary permits of varying duration 
for various purposes to Palestinians from the occupied 
territories who were not employed in Israel or Jerusalem. 

In April Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups issued a 
joint statement in which they condemned the closure.  The 
statement described closure as an illegal collective punishment 
of the population of the occupied territories and as 
"disproportionate to any legitimate security concern."  As 
noted in Section 2.c., many Muslim and Christian Palestinians 
were denied the right to worship at holy places associated with 
their faith because of closure.  The closure also affected the 
movement of health care personnel and prevented or slowed the 
provision of health care services to some emergency and 
critically ill patients in the West Bank and Gaza strip.  In 
October Israel eased certain restrictions on access to 
Jerusalem as a "goodwill gesture."  At the end of the year, 
Palestinians employed in the city, women over 25, men over 50, 
and children under 16 accompanied by a parent were the 
categories of individuals not required to present permits.  All 
Palestinians entering Jerusalem, however, were still required 
to stop at checkpoints and present either their permits or 
identification proving they were exempt from the permit 

Israeli authorities also continued to issue "green" identity 
cards, which identified the bearer as a security risk and 
precluded travel in or through Jerusalem, as well as travel 
abroad.  "Green" cards generally were valid for 6 months, 
renewable indefinitely.  The issuance of such cards, like 
administrative detention, is a form of punishment without 
formal charge or trial.

The Israeli authorities continued to impose curfews and 
military closures as security controls in 1993.  Curfews were 
more frequent in villages and refugee camps than in urban areas 
but occurred less frequently in the West Bank than in previous 
years.  Curfews were still used extensively in Gaza in 1993, 
including the continued imposition of a night-time curfew in 
effect since 1987.  Human rights groups criticized the 
prolonged curfews, which do not apply to Israeli settlers, as a 
form of collective punishment.  

All Palestinians need permits, which require several 
clearances, in order to travel outside the occupied 
territories, and Israeli authorities have imposed travel 
restrictions on certain political activists.  However, 
thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories travel 
abroad each year.    

In 1991 Israeli authorities announced that bridge-crossing 
permits to Jordan could be obtained at post offices without a 
screening process.  In July Israel announced that the 
requirement for Palestinian males crossing the bridge into 
Jordan to remain out of the occupied territories for 9 months 
no longer applied to men above the age of 25.  The requirement 
remained in effect, however, for Palestinian males between the 
ages of 16 and 25.  In late 1993, Jordan tightened restrictions 
on entry, with the result that Palestinians granted permission 
to travel by Israeli authorities were sometimes denied 
permission to enter Jordan.

Obstacles to emigration include the inability to obtain a 
travel permit and the fear of losing residency.  Restrictions 
on residence, tourist visas, reentry, and family reunification 
have applied only to Palestinians resident in the occupied 
territories.  Israel sometimes refuses to renew laissez-passers 
of Palestinians from the occupied territories who live or work 
abroad, on the grounds that they have abandoned their 
residence, even though they may not have acquired foreign 
citizenship.  Palestinians who obtain foreign citizenship 
ordinarily are not allowed to resume residence in the occupied 
territories; those who acquire the right to residence elsewhere 
or who remain outside the occupied territories for over 3 years 
are often not permitted to resume residence.  They are 
permitted to return only as tourists and sometimes are denied 
entry entirely.  These restrictions do not apply to Israeli 
settlers resident in the occupied territories.  Israeli 
authorities have limited family reunification for demographic, 
political, and economic reasons.  Most Palestinians who were 
abroad during the 1967 war (estimated to be one-fourth of the 
Palestinian population at that time) or who have lost their 
residence permits for other reasons are not permitted to return 
to reside permanently with their families.

Permanent residency permission or family reunification has 
usually been denied to foreign-born spouses and children born 
in the occupied territories to nonresident mothers, although 
they were generally allowed to reside as temporary residents 
with renewable permits.  

In August the Israeli Government announced a change in its 
policy on family reunifications.  Following the presentation by 
human rights groups of a series of petitions to the Israeli 
Supreme Court, Israel decided to expand its policy on family 
reunification for residents of the West Bank and Gaza by 
offering to consider the cases of 6,000 immediate family 
members who had arrived and applied for visitors' visas between 
June 1990 and November 1992.  As of the end of August, the 
Israeli authorities had considered 3,249 applications from 
residents of the West Bank and Gaza for family reunification, 
of which they had approved 723 and denied 861.  Still pending 
were 1,781 applications, including 116 held over from previous 
years.  Israel also announced it would consider 2,000 new cases 
annually, allowing the return of up to 5,000 persons.  However, 
immediate family members of Palestinian residents of East 
Jerusalem were excluded from the new policy.  

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The people of the occupied territories do not enjoy this 
right.  Israel's Ministry of Defense has ruled the West Bank 
and Gaza through a military government and civil 
administration.  The Government of Israel has not recognized 
the right of Palestinians to participate in policy decisions 
concerning land and resource use and planning, taxation, trade, 
and industry.  Israeli authorities have permitted some 
Palestinian municipalities, which have approved town plans, to 
issue building permits within their boundaries.  Municipal 
elections were last held in 1976 in the West Bank; most mayors 
elected then were later dismissed.  Palestinians appointed by 
Israel have filled most vacancies.

On September 13, Israel and the Palestine Liberation 
Organization (PLO) signed a Declaration of Principles on a 
transfer of authority from Israel to an interim Palestinian 
authority.  The Declaration lays out a timetable for Israeli 
withdrawal from the Gaza strip and Jericho, scheduled to be 
completed in early 1994.  In addition, the declaration calls 
for the redeployment of Israeli security forces away from 
populated areas in the West Bank by as early as July 1994, 
which is the target date for the election of a Palestinian 
council, and for the dissolution thereafter of the Israeli 
military-backed Civilian Administration (CIVAD), which has 
administered the occupied territories.  Through this process, 
Palestinians will also assume early responsibility for 
governmental functions such as the health sector; educational, 
cultural, and social welfare affairs; tourism; and taxation.  
The Palestinians will also create a Palestinian police force 
for the occupied territories.  Israel is to continue to control 
external security as well as security and public order in 
Israeli settlements, foreign relations, and certain other areas 
until an agreement on permanent status is achieved.  Although 
Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem has not been recognized 
internationally, East Jerusalem is governed as part of Israel.  
Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are permitted to vote 
in Israeli municipal elections but have largely boycotted them.

No Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem sits on the city 
council.  In the November municipal election less than 7 
percent of Jerusalem's Palestinian population voted.  According 
to the Declaration of Principles, negotiations on the final 
status of Jerusalem are scheduled to start by 1996.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Many local groups--Israeli, Palestinian, and mixed--monitor 
human rights.  Israeli authorities permit their publications 
and statements to circulate in the occupied territories, and 
they are allowed to hold press conferences.  Some Palestinian 
human rights workers encountered administrative obstacles to 
their work in 1993, such as denial of permits to enter 
Jerusalem (where their offices are located) after the occupied 
territories were sealed off in March.

Although Israel normally permits international human rights 
groups to visit the occupied territories, Israel declined to 
accept the visit of the U.N. Human Rights Commission Special 
Rapporteur for the occupied territories.  The Government stated 
that while Israel has always been open to individuals, groups, 
and representatives of organizations concerned with human 
rights, Israel was being asked to comply with a decision of a 
body to which, unlike every other U.N. member state, Israel 
cannot be elected because it is not a member of any regional 
group.  Israel generally cooperates with human rights 
organizations, and officials are generally available for 
meetings on human rights issues.  Some of these organizations, 
however, find that Israel's responses are inadequate.  Not all 
inquiries receive answers, and some groups' requests for 
meetings with officials or access to detention facilities are 

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Palestinian women living under military occupation face similar 
human rights problems as do men in their contact with Israeli 
authorities.  In addition, many Palestinian women face poverty, 
lack of education, and social repression.  Palestinian society 
is only now coming to recognize the problem of violence against 
women.  A major difficulty in dealing with this highly 
sensitive issue is lack of resources:  women's organizations 
are working to raise consciousness and provide help and 
intervention when needed, but funds are not available for 
shelters or centers.  The CIVAD has made no significant attempt 
to relieve the situation, and Palestinian social institutions 
have so far failed to focus on the issue.  

Palestinians are governed by a mixture of Jordanian and 
Egyptian law, British mandate law, and Israeli military 
regulations.  There are no laws guaranteeing women's rights in 
the workplace.  Palestinian women often work outside the home 
and are prominent in many professions, including medicine, law, 
and teaching.  Personal status law for Palestinians is based on 
religious law.  For Muslim Palestinians, personal status law is 
derived from Shari'a (Islamic) law.  Women have certain rights 
regarding marriage and divorce, inheritance, property 
ownership, and children.  Many women's rights activists 
believe, however, that many women are not aware of their rights 
and often fail to demand what is guaranteed to them by law.

Women's rights groups are active throughout the occupied 
territories, dealing traditionally with social issues 
(children, health, education) but have more recently begun to 
venture out into practical training, women's rights education, 
advocacy work, and political activism.  The major concern of 
women's groups is that women who have contributed significantly 
to Palestinian political efforts will be relegated to 
traditional roles in the interim period.


There is no pattern of societal abuse of children.  Palestinian 
children have, however, probably suffered disproportionately 
from the effects of military occupation and the intifada.  
Since the uprising began in 1987, schools, which are often 
overcrowded and underfunded, have been subject to frequent 
closings by both the Israeli authorities and by Palestinian 
activists enforcing strikes.  Political tensions and lack of 
funding have closed most of the few sports and recreation 
facilities that existed for children.  Encouraged by political 
rhetoric and the example of older siblings, children have been 
drawn into street violence and have frequently provoked it by 
throwing stones.  During 1993, credible sources report that 37 
children (aged 16 and under) were killed by Israeli security 
forces.  While some had been involved in demonstrations or 
rock-throwing incidents, others had been merely in the vicinity 
of clashes when killed.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Under the dual system of governance applied to Palestinians and 
Israelis, Palestinians are treated less favorably than Israeli 
settlers on a broad range of issues, including the right to due 
process, residency rights, freedom of movement, sale of crops 
and goods, land and water use, and access to health and social 
services.  Since the occupied territories were sealed off in 
March, Muslim and Christian Palestinians have often been denied 
access to holy places associated with their faith, while the 
same restrictions have not applied to Jewish settlers (see 
Section 2.c.).  Israeli settlers involved in security 
violations have been treated far more leniently than 
Palestinians guilty of similar offenses.  Offenses against 
Israelis are investigated and prosecuted more vigorously than 
offenses against Palestinians.  Some Israeli agriculture and 
manufacturing are protected against Palestinian competition 
from the territories, whereas all markets in the territories 
are open to Israelis.  Significant disparities exist between 
personal income taxes levied on Palestinians versus Israeli 

Despite tax reforms that took effect in January 1992, the 
minimum taxable income applied to Israelis and Palestinians 
differs markedly:  while an Israeli pays no tax if his monthly 
income is below about $1,000, Palestinians are liable for taxes 
on any monthly income in excess of about $250.  Corporate tax 
breaks available to Israeli business people in settlements are 
not applicable to Palestinians.  Harsh tax enforcement 
practices, including raids at night backed by Israeli soldiers, 
are used against Palestinians who attempt to avoid paying 
taxes.  Tax raids directed at businesses and individuals 
typically involve teams of tax inspectors, backed by soldiers, 
who confiscate movable property and cash.  Tax raids frequently 
result in the temporary confiscation of identity cards as 
well.  According to the Declaration of Principles, direct tax 
authority over non-Israelis will pass to the Palestinian 
authority once the agreement is implemented.  As of the end of 
the year, transfer of that authority and other powers had not 
yet been agreed.   

     People with Disabilities

There is no mandated provision of accessibility for the 
disabled in the occupied territories.  While some Palestinian 
institutions for the care and training of disabled persons 
exist, they generally suffer from chronic underfunding.  This 
sector has received little attention from Israel.

Section 6  Worker Rights

The applicable sections for West Bank and Gaza Palestinians 
working in Israel are contained in the country report for 

     a.  The Right of Association

The labor law in the West Bank is Jordanian Law No. 21 of 1965, 
as amended by military orders.  It permits workers to join 
unions without government authorization.  It also permits 
formation of unions by any group of 20 or more workers from the 
same trade or workplace, with prior government authorization.

Nevertheless, Israeli authorities in the West Bank require all 
proposed new unions to apply for a permit.  During 1993 two new 
unions were formed, but no new unions were licensed by the 
authorities.  Israeli authorities have licensed 31 unions out 
of approximately 125 unions functioning in the West Bank.

The labor law in Gaza is Egyptian Military Order No. 331, which 
supplements the prior British Mandate labor law and which has 
been amended by Israeli military orders.  It allows the 
organization of unions on a workplace or craft basis.  Since 
1979, unions have been permitted to operate under strictly 
enforced restrictions that permit only the 6 unions that 
existed in 1967 to function in Gaza, under an umbrella 

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are governed by the 
same law as workers in Israel and are free to establish their 
own labor unions.  The Israeli authorities officially bar East 
Jerusalem unions from joining the West Bank trade union 
federations, though this restriction has not been enforced.  
Individual Palestinian workers in East Jerusalem may belong to 
both local unions, some of which are affiliated with a West 
Bank federation, and the Israeli Histadrut Labor Federation.

West Bank unions are not affiliated with the Israeli Histadrut 
Labor Federation.  Palestinian workers who are not resident in 
Israel or East Jerusalem are prevented by government order from 
being full members of Histadrut.  Nevertheless, all legal 
Palestinian workers in Israel are required to contribute an 
agency fee of 1 percent of their wages to Histadrut.  
Palestinian workers also are required to contribute to the 
National Insurance Scheme (NIS) which provides worker benefits, 
e.g., unemployment, old age, maternity, and disability from 
occupational accidents.  Palestinian workers are not eligible 
for all NIS benefits.  (Israeli authorities maintain that the 
Palestinians receive tax allowances and benefits through CIVAD 
investment programs which adequately compensate Palestinian 
workers.)  The 1993 International Labor Organization (ILO) 
Director General's report noted that:  "Contrary to what is 
maintained by the Israeli authorities, there is not a country 
in the world that excludes such a high number of workers living 
outside its territory from full social protection--which is 
paid for by workers and employers--solely on the grounds that 
their place of residence is outside the national territory."

The great majority of West Bank unions belong to either the 
General Federation of Trade Unions in the West Bank (GFTU) or 
the General Federation of Trade Unions in the West Bank - 
Workers' Unity Bloc (WUB).  Membership in the West Bank unions 
was estimated at 100,000 in 1992, but deteriorating economic 
conditions and the closure of the occupied territories 
significantly reduced union membership in 1993.  According to 
the 1993 ILO Director General's report, membership in the GFTU 
(the largest federation of unions) at most numbered 63,000, of 
whom only 19,000 were full dues-paying members.  The four 
principal trade union blocs in the West Bank, including the 
WUB, told an ILO mission that they were moving toward a full 
reunification of the GFTU.  The General Federation of Trade 
Unions of the Gaza Strip consists of the six registered 
unions.  The GFTU participates in meetings of the International 
Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), although it is not 
formally affiliated.  Both the GFTU and the WUB have applied 
for membership in the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions (ICFTU).  The GFTU and the Gaza Federation began a 
dialog in 1993 with the Histadrut as a result of the 
Declaration of Principles.

The West Bank unions are independent of the Government of 
Israel.  However, union organizations do reflect the prevailing 
Palestinian political factions.  Israeli authorities tend to 
view unions more as political organizations than as labor 
unions and occasionally inhibit union activities in the West 
Bank and Gaza.  Union leaders have been subject to harassment 
ranging from arrests and administrative detention to 
interrogation, denial of travel permits, and the refusal of 
telephone and fax facilities.

Citing the reports of the ILO, the ICFTU's annual report for 
1993 observed that a general fear of intimidation and possible 
arrest by the Israeli authorities for participation in union 
activities inhibits the development of union membership in the 
territories.  Like all organizations in the territories, 
Palestinian labor organizations are subject to disciplinary 
measures for engaging in political activities.  All meetings of 
10 or more non-Israeli citizens in the territories must have 
prior CIVAD approval.  During 1993, however, unions were able 
to conduct meetings without reported interference.  The Gaza 
Federation was able in 1992 to hold its first May Day since 
1967.  According to the ILO's report, however, CIVAD told the 
ILO mission that the IDF had prevented fundamentalists from 
establishing what they considered to be a trade union front in 

Military Order 825 of 1980, officially applied in the West Bank 
and unofficially in Gaza, requires that Palestinian unions 
present lists of candidates for union office to the CIVAD for 
approval 30 days before elections.  The order authorizes the 
CIVAD to remove from the lists any candidates who have been 
convicted of a felony, including those sentenced for security 
offenses.  Despite this restriction, nearly half a dozen West 
Bank trade unions held elections in 1992.  West Bank unions 
held no elections in 1993 due to internal organizational 
difficulties and uncertainty about how the newly approved peace 
accords would affect labor law and union structure.

There has been no dissolution of unions by administrative or 
legislative action.  Under prevailing labor law, unions have 
the right to strike only after submitting a complaint to the 
CIVAD for mandatory arbitration.  Only one abbreviated strike 
in the West Bank occurred in 1993, and the Israeli authorities 
did not interfere.  There are no laws that specifically protect 
the rights of striking workers, and, in practice, such workers 
have little or no protection from employers' retribution.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

A majority of workers in the occupied territories are 
self-employed or unpaid family helpers in agriculture or 
commerce.  Only 40 percent of employment in the territories 
consists of wage jobs, most in services provided by CIVAD, the 
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), or 
municipalities.  Collective bargaining is protected.  The CIVAD 
does not record collective agreements because it does not 
recognize some unions and union leaders.  However, most 
union-employer agreements are honored without interference from 
the authorities; approximately 60 are currently in force in the 
West Bank.  According to the ILO Director General's report, 
several labor committees, consisting of 3 to 5 members each in 
businesses employing more than 20 workers, have been formed to 
mediate labor grievances.  The Center for Trade Union Rights, 
headquartered in Bethlehem, is also active in conducting labor 
courses and working with many different trade unions on the 
spectrum of labor-related issues.  Existing laws and 
regulations do not offer real protection against antiunion 
discrimination.  The labor dispute ordinance of 1972 
established a process for settling labor disputes in general 
but does not deal specifically with antiunion discrimination.

There are no export processing zones in the occupied 

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There is no forced or compulsory labor in the occupied 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

A 1978 military order raised the minimum working age in the 
West Bank and Gaza to 14.  This order is not effectively 
enforced, and underage labor is used in the agricultural sector 
and in some West Bank and Gaza factories.  Hours of young 
workers are not limited compared to the regular work force.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no minimum wage provision in the West Bank or Gaza.  
In the West Bank, Jordanian law allows for a maximum workweek 
of 48 hours with a required 24-hour rest period, except for 
certain hotel, food service, and cinema employees, whose 
workweek is 54 hours.  In Gaza, Israeli authorities amended 
this law to provide for a 45-hour workweek for day laborers and 
a 40-hour week for salaried employees.  There is no effective 
enforcement of maximum workweek laws.  

The Ministry of Labor's Office of Inspection services is 
charged with enforcing health and safety standards in the West 
Bank and Gaza and claims to have undertaken a small number of 
inspections.  Health and safety conditions in some factories do 
not meet industry standards established by international labor 

[end of document]


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