The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal




This report differs from past reports because it reflects the 
fundamental changes that have occurred in the West Bank and 
Gaza Strip as a consequence of the implementation of the 
Declaration of Principles (DOP) signed by the Government of 
Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on 
September 13, 1993.

In May Israel transferred most responsibilities in the Gaza 
Strip and Jericho area to an interim Palestinian self-governing 
authority, the "Palestinian Authority (PA)," pursuant to 
agreements between Israel and the PLO.  Additional 
responsibilities were transferred to the PA in the West Bank 
between August and December.  The PA exercises authority over a 
large Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip and Jericho 
area, and more limited authority in the rest of the West Bank.  
Accordingly, this report discusses the policies and practices 
of both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority in 
the respective areas where they exercise jurisdiction and 

The DOP fundamentally altered the relationship between 
Palestinians and Israelis.  This historic agreement put into 
motion a process designed to end their conflict and to guide 
negotiations over the future of the territories.  The DOP 
provides for a 5-year transitional period in which specified 
responsibilities are to be transferred to the PA to permit the 
Palestinian people of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to govern 

Implementation of this process began in May, when Israel and 
the PLO agreed (the Gaza-Jericho Agreement) on the initial 
transfer of powers and responsibilities relating to the Gaza 
Strip and the Jericho area in the West Bank.  In August the 
Government of Israel and the PLO agreed (the Agreement on 
Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities) on the 
further transfer of five areas of responsibility (education and 
culture, health, tourism, taxation, and social welfare) in the 
rest of the West Bank, excluding Israeli settlements.  The 
transfer to the PA of responsibility for these areas was 
completed in December.  Israel continues to be responsible for 
external security, internal security and public order in 
Israeli settlements, foreign relations, and certain other areas 
until an agreement on permanent status is achieved.  At year's 
end, Israel and the PLO were continuing discussions on the 
modalities for elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 
the related redeployment of Israeli security forces away from 
populated areas of the West Bank, pursuant to the DOP.  In 
accordance with the DOP this election will establish a 
Palestinian Council to replace the PA.

The situation in the occupied territories remains complex and 
subject to change.  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.  The 
international community does not recognize Israel's sovereignty 
over any part of the occupied territories.  Israel has, 
however, asserted sovereignty over, and annexed, East 
Jerusalem.  The Israeli Government has also extended its law 
and administration to the Golan Heights.  Under Israel-PLO 
agreements, the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza 
Strip, as well as the issue of Jerusalem, are to be addressed 
in subsequent negotiations.

The West Bank and Gaza legal regimes derive from Ottoman, 
Jordanian, Egyptian, and British law, Israeli military orders, 
Israel-PLO agreements, and decisions by the PA.  The United 
States considers Israel's authority in the occupied territories 
to be subject to the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the 1949 
Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of 
civilians in time of war.  The Israeli Government considers the 
Hague Regulations applicable, but not those of the Geneva 
Convention, although it states that it observes the Geneva 
Convention's humanitarian provisions.

Israel has governed the territories through the Israeli Civil 
Administration (CIVAD), a body overseen by the Minister of 
Defense.  Most West Bank towns are governed by mayors appointed 
by the Israeli Government, although there are exceptions, such 
as Hebron, Nablus, and Bethlehem.  With elections for a 
Palestinian Council still under negotiation, the majority of 
Palestinians have not yet had the opportunity to participate in 
a broad-based electoral process.  An exception is in East 
Jerusalem, where Palestinian residents are eligible to vote in 
Israeli municipal elections.  However, most Palestinians 
eligible to vote boycott such elections on the grounds that 
Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal.  Israeli 
settlers in the territories (about 12 percent of the population 
there) are subject to Israeli law and are better treated than 
Palestinians who are subject to military occupation law.  The 
Government's economic policies in the occupied territories 
favor Israeli settlers and Israeli interests in general.  Under 
Israel-PLO agreements, Israel retains jurisdiction over 
settlements and settlers during the transitional period.  The 
final status of the settlements will be addressed in future 

Israeli security forces in the West Bank consist of the Israel 
Defense Forces (IDF); the Shin Bet, or General Security 
Services (GSS); the police; and the paramilitary border 
police.  Military courts try Palestinians accused of security 
crimes as defined by the Government of Israel.  The Palestinian 
Police Force (PPF) was established in May.  It is responsible 
for security and law enforcement in Gaza and in the Jericho for 
Palestinians and other non-Israelis.

The economies of the West Bank and Gaza are small, poorly 
developed, and highly dependent on Israel.  Both areas rely on 
agriculture, services and to a lesser extent light 
manufacturing.  Many West Bank and Gazan workers are employed 
at day jobs in Israel.  The West Bank and Gazan economies have 
been adversely affected by the occupation, the Palestinian 
uprising known as the intifada, the Gulf War and the resulting 
cutoff of Arab funding, and tensions caused by continued 
terrorist incidents.

There were clear improvements in the human rights situation in 
the occupied territories in 1994.  With progress on 
implementation of the DOP, Palestinians are acquiring more 
opportunities to participate in political and economic 
decisions that affect them.  The withdrawal of Israeli forces 
from Gaza and Jericho has reduced the frequency of large-scale 
confrontations and unrest.  The nighttime curfew that had been 
imposed on the Gaza Strip since 1987 is no longer in effect.  
In addition, Israel released several thousand Palestinian 
prisoners, for much of the year held fewer Palestinians in 
administrative detention, eased restrictions on freedom of 
expression, relaxed enforcement of restrictions on public 
gatherings, and made some improvements to prison conditions.  
There were no deportations for the second straight year and a 
substantial decrease in the number of house sealings.  
Moreover, Israel and the PLO have for the first time 
established channels and procedures for dealing with a variety 
of their differences over political, economic, and security 

At the same time, there were credible reports that during 1994 
Israel mistreated, and in some cases tortured, Palestinians 
during arrest and interrogation.  According to these reports, 
Israel also utilized undercover units in possible extrajudicial 
killings.  Military courts imposed harsh sentences on 
Palestinians.  Discriminatory policies on land and resources 
use and trade, and limits on freedom of movement remained in 
place.  There were also restrictions imposed on the ability of 
Palestinians in the territories to travel to Israel.  During 
the period covered in this report, Israeli civilians and 
military personnel were the targets of repeated lethal 
terrorist attacks.  Israel also imposed periodic and often 
sustained closures, which were designed to meet Israel's 
security needs, but which did have a severe impact on the 
Palestinian economy in the territories.

The PA assumed authority in Gaza and Jericho only in May.  It 
is difficult to assess fully the PA's human rights record for 
the period under review (May to December).  Because of its 
recent establishment, the process of institution-building, 
especially of the judiciary, has been slow.  There have been 
credible reports that the Palestinian Police Force (PPF) has 
mistreated detainees.  The PA stated that it would investigate 
incidents of mistreatment.  Members of the PPF reportedly 
committed at least one extrajudicial killing, that of a 
detainee in custody.  Although individuals were charged with 
misconduct in this case, none has been brought to trial.  The 
PPF has also used excessive force on occasion, such as in 
November, when at least 16 persons were killed and hundreds 
wounded in an effort to quell an armed demonstration at Gaza's 
Filistin Mosque.  There were also limitations on press 
freedom.  In July the PA banned the distribution in Gaza and 
Jericho of An-Nahar, an East Jerusalem daily, purportedly 
because the paper took a pro-Jordanian line.  In November the 
PA temporarily stopped distribution in Gaza of four newspapers 
that provided accounts of demonstrations against the PA to 
which the Gaza police chief, speaking on behalf of the PA, 

Both Palestinian and Israeli opponents of the DOP have resorted 
to violence as a means to derail the agreement.  A number of 
extremist groups, specifically the Islamic Resistance (Hamas) 
and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), made a concerted 
effort to undermine Israeli-PLO negotiations by killing 
Israelis and discrediting the authority and effectiveness of 
the PA.  A terrorist bombing in Tel Aviv in October, for 
example, killed 22 Israelis.  There were also acts of violence 
committed by Israeli settlers, including killings and the 
destruction of property.  In several instances, security forces 
took little or no action to halt settler attacks.  In February 
a settler extremist killed at least 29 Palestinians worshipping 
at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.  Following this attack, the 
Israeli Government began to implement in March strict measures 
to control extremist settler violence against Palestinians.  
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 territories also included killings of Palestinians by other 
Palestinians because of alleged collaboration with Israel.


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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Credible sources report that Israeli undercover units, 
disguised as Palestinians, killed at least 13 Palestinians.  
This is a decrease from the 27 Palestinians reported killed by 
undercover units in 1993.  The Government does not publish its 
guidelines on the conduct of undercover operations in the 
occupied territories.

The mission of these undercover units appears to be to arrest 
activists suspected of committing serious crimes.  Human rights 
organizations charge that undercover units deliberately kill 
suspects under circumstances in which the suspects might have 
been apprehended alive.  Authorities acknowledge that the 
undercover units conduct operations among Palestinian 
activists, but claim that such units observe the same rules of 
engagement as other IDF units.  They further claim that the IDF 
investigates all killings and allegations of misbehavior.  
However, human rights groups state that the investigations are 
not conducted efficiently and rarely result in the imposition 
of serious punishment.  The IDF does not announce the findings 
of its investigations.

A Palestinian free-lance journalist recorded on videotape an 
apparent incident of extrajudicial killing in September.  The 
tape depicts an Israeli soldier firing a bullet into the head 
of a Palestinian, Nidal Tamimi, who reportedly tried to stab a 
soldier in Hebron.  Tamimi was lying on the ground with a 
gunshot wound in the chest.

In March an Israeli undercover unit reportedly opened fire 
without warning on six masked members of the Fatah Hawks 
Organization, four of whom were armed, at the Jabalya Refugee 
Camp in Gaza, as they reportedly stopped cars and handed out 
political pamphlets.  In May credible sources reported that an 
Israeli undercover unit shot two Palestinians, one a Hamas 
fugitive, without warning, after they had disembarked from a 
bus in Al-Ram near Jerusalem.  Human rights groups demanded an 
independent investigation into the Jabalya incident and what 
they termed the shoot-to-kill policies of the undercover forces 
and the IDF.  According to the Judge Advocate General's office, 
at year's end the incident was still under investigation.

According to the Government, Palestinians killed 23 Israelis in 
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 52 within Israel; the 1993 
figures were 49 and 14, respectively.  The worst incidents were 
an October bus bombing in Tel Aviv that killed 22, and bombings 
in Afula and Hadera in April that killed 12.

Israeli settlers killed 37 Palestinians in the West Bank and 
Gaza in 1994, compared to 14 in 1993.  Most of these resulted 
from a single incident in February when an Israeli settler 
extremist killed at least 29 Palestinian worshippers at the 
Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, also known as the Tomb of the 
Patriarchs.  In the other instances, the IDF reportedly took 
little or no action to halt attacks.  After the Hebron 
massacre, Palestinians and many human rights groups questioned 
whether the IDF adequately protects Palestinians in the 
occupied territories.  In the wake of the incident, the Israeli 
Army shot and killed over 20 Palestinians and wounded many more 
during unrest associated with the massacre.  The Government 
later appointed an independent commission of inquiry which 
found that there was a near total absence of law enforcement 
against settler violence in the territories.  The commission 
called for more stringent on-site security measures and a 
clarification of the rules governing the use of deadly force 
against Jewish settlers in extreme circumstances.

During the inquiry, Army officers testified to confusion about 
the rules on firing at Israeli citizens during confrontations 
between Palestinians and Israelis.  They stated that most 
soldiers would not fire on settlers, even if they attacked 
Palestinians.  The inquiry revealed what human rights groups 
termed a double standard regarding the treatment of Israeli and 
Palestinian residents of the occupied territories.

In a report on settler violence published in March, the Israeli 
human rights group B'tselem stated that, since the beginning of 
the intifada in 1987, only one Israeli settler had been 
convicted of murdering a Palestinian, even though 62 
Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians.  The report 
concluded that the settlers appeared to be in mortal danger in 
only four cases.  Later in the year, another settler was 
convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Human rights groups note that Palestinians often fail to report 
cases of settler violence because they fear being labeled as 
collaborators with Israeli authorities and retribution by 
settlers.  These groups claim that police investigations of 
settler violence are often superficial, delayed, and rarely 
lead to arrests or sentencing.  In October, the Israeli press 
reported that West Bank military commander Major General Ilan 
Biran asked the police and the Attorney General's office to 
speed up 88 criminal cases pending against settlers.  Biran 
charged that the police and the courts inefficiently process 
army complaints against settlers.  For this reason, the IDF 
maintains it must restrict the movements of violent settlers by 
issuing administrative orders to confine them to their 
neighborhoods or villages or to deny them entry to specific 
sites, such as the Ibrahimi Mosque/Tomb of the Patriarchs in 
Hebron.  Approximately 35 Israeli settlers fall into this 

Figures compiled from a number of sources indicate that 
Palestinians killed 65 Palestinians in 1994, most often because 
of alleged collaboration with Israeli security services, but 
also in disputes between political factions, or street gangs, 
or in personal feuds.  The PLO leadership pledged in 1994 that 
it would try to halt the killings of "collaborators."  The 
number of such killings has declined in the past few years:  
there were 79 killings in 1993 and 149 in 1992.  However, there 
were reports that the PA sought to persuade Israeli Arabs to 
refuse to allow families of collaborators to resettle in Israel.

The PA police also reportedly committed at least one 
extrajudicial killings.  Farid Jarbou', a taxi driver, was 
arrested by the PA police as a suspected collaborator with the 
Israeli security services, and detained at the Gaza Central 
Prison where he was reportedly beaten during interrogation.  
Jarbou' died in detention on July 5, reportedly from injuries 
sustained during interrogation.  After an investigation by the 
PA Department of Justice, four Palestinian police officials 
were arrested in connection with Jarbou's death.  They have 
been released pending trial.

In August members of the Palestinian preventive security force 
(PSF) shot and killed Nidal Al-Khuli, a security officer, in a 
confrontation with members of another Palestinian security 
service in the West Bank town of Tulkarem.  In September PSF 
officers killed another PSF officer during a confrontation with 
members of Hamas in Gaza.  The PA police arrested the security 
officers responsible for the killings; at year's end, they were 
awaiting trial.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no confirmed reports of any disappearances 
attributed to either Israeli or Palestinian security services 
in 1994.

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

International, Israeli, and Palestinian human rights groups and 
diplomats continue to provide credible reports indicating that 
Israeli security forces are responsible for widespread abuse, 
and in some cases torture, of Palestinian detainees, including 
those who possess U.S. citizenship.  According to the reports, 
such abuse takes place immediately after arrest and during 
interrogation.  Common practices reportedly included hooding; 
forced standing; tying the detainee in contorted positions; 
prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures; blows and beatings 
with fists, sticks, and other instruments; confinement in a 
small and often filthy space; sleep and food deprivation; 
threats against the detainee's family; and threats of death.  
The apparent intent of these practices is to disorient and 
intimidate prisoners, and to obtain confessions or 
information.  The International Committee of the Red Cross 
(ICRC) declared in 1992 that such practices violate the Geneva 

Several Israeli settlers, arrested in 1994 for suspected 
membership in a new underground terrorist organization, claimed 
they were tortured after arrest.  An investigator from the 
Attorney General's office was unable to substantiate their 
assertion that security guards hooded, and "otherwise tortured" 
them in "rat-infested cells."

Israel's Criminal Code prohibits torture.  Authorities maintain 
that torture is not condoned in the occupied territories, but 
acknowledge that abuses sometimes occur and are investigated.  
However, the Government does not generally make public the 
results of such investigations.  In June Human Rights Watch 
published a report based on courtroom testimonies and on 
interviews with 36 Palestinians interrogated since June 1992, 
their defense attorneys, Israeli soldiers, and GSS agents.  The 
report concluded that torture and mistreatment perpetrated by 
Israeli security services are "not isolated excesses" but "a 
pattern that could persist only with the acquiescence of the 
Government of Israel."

After 40 Israelis were killed in several terrorist attacks by 
the extremist group Hamas, the GSS decided in November to allow 
interrogators "greater flexibility" in applying the guidelines 
established by the 1987 Landau Judicial Commission, which 
condemned torture but allowed for "moderate physical and 
psychological pressure" to secure confessions and obtain 
information.  The Government has not defined the meaning of 
"greater flexibility."  The decision will be in effect for 3 
months, after which it will be reviewed.

Most convictions in security cases before Israeli courts are 
based on confessions.  An attorney is not allowed to meet with 
a client until after interrogation, a process that may take 
days or, in some cases, weeks.  The Government does not allow 
representatives from the ICRC to have access to detainees until 
the 14th day after arrest.  Human rights groups point to this 
prolonged incommunicado detention as contributing to the 
likelihood of abuse.  Detainees often claim in court that their 
confessions were coerced, but judges rarely exclude such 
confessions.  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 

In January the Knesset (Parliament) ruled that the Ministry of 
Justice, instead of the GSS, would investigate complaints 
against GSS interrogators.  Complaints against Israeli soldiers 
are investigated by the IDF.  According to the Israeli 
Government, in the period between January and September, 14 
soldiers were indicted on allegations of improper behavior, 4 
of which were counts of negligent manslaughter.  In those 
cases, eight convictions have so far been obtained.  The 
remainder of cases are awaiting trial.  Of the aforementioned 
convictions, penalties handed down have ranged from demotions 
in rank to imprisonment.

The Israeli Central Prisons Authority closed the Nitsan 
Isolation Section of Al-Ramleh Prison in 1994 because of its 
poor conditions and moved the prisoners to other prisons.  The 
prisoner population at Ketziot Military Detention Camp, the 
object of a 1993 legal petition due to its poor conditions, has 
fallen to about 820 in 1994 from 4,900 in 1993.  Some problems 
concerning prison conditions, however, remain unresolved from 
1993.  The Israeli Supreme Court has yet to rule on a petition 
filed in 1993 by prisoners of Hebron Prison protesting the lack 
of water for toilet and bathing facilities.

In May Israeli security forces relinquished the administration 
of detention facilities in Gaza and Jericho to the PA.  The 
physical conditions at these facilities do not meet minimum 
international standards.  Food and clothing for prisoners are 
inadequate and must be supplemented by donations from families 
and humanitarian groups.  The PA has not allocated its Ministry 
of Justice adequate funds to make improvements.  Credible 
sources have reported that Palestinian security officials have 
abused prisoners at the Gaza Central Prison.  PA officials 
acknowledge such abuse.

In July the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen's 
Rights (PICCR) recommended that PA prison administrators 
implement the basic international standards for the treatment 
of prisoners, including ensuring that prisoners have the rights 
to legal counsel and humane treatment.  In August the PICCR 
observed that prison authorities had implemented most of the 
recommendations for changes in procedures and that the 
treatment of prisoners had improved (see Section 1.a. on the 
death of Farid Jarbou').  Other Palestinian human rights groups 
have reported that abuse of Palestinian detainees continues in 
Jericho and Gaza prisons and that several irregularities have 
been reported in courtroom proceedings there.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Any Israeli soldier may arrest without warrant a person who has 
committed, or is suspected of having committed, a criminal or 
security offense in the territories, except for the Gaza Strip 
and Jericho area.  The vast majority of arrests are for alleged 
security offenses.  Persons arrested for common crimes are 
usually provided with a statement of charges and access to an 
attorney, and they may apply for bail.  However, these 
procedures are sometimes delayed.  Authorities reportedly issue 
special summonses for security offenses.  Israeli military 
order 1369 stipulates a 7-year prison term for any person who 
does not respond to a special summons delivered by a family 
member or posted in the civil administration office nearest his 
home address.  Bail is rarely available to those arrested for 
security offenses.  The courts treat persons over age 12 as 

Persons may be held in custody without a warrant for 96 hours 
and then released unless a warrant is issued.  Military orders 
were amended in 1994 to shorten the period of prearraignment 
detention to 11 days for Palestinians arrested in the occupied 
territories.  The previous maximum prearraignment detention was 
18 days.  A ruling in 1992 shortened this period for minors and 
those accused of less serious offenses, such as stone throwing, 
to 8 days.  Authorities must obtain a court order for longer 
detentions--up to 6 months from the date of arrest.  Detainees 
are entitled to be represented by counsel at their detention 
hearings.  They must be released at the end of the 
court-ordered detention if they are not indicted.  If there is 
an indictment, a judge may order indefinite detention until the 
end of the trial.  Detainees have the right to appeal continued 

Although a detainee generally has the right to consult with a 
lawyer as soon as possible, authorities may delay access to 
counsel for up to 15 days in security cases.  Higher ranking 
officials or judges may extend this period an additional 75 
days for the same reasons.  Authorities must inform detainees 
of their right to an attorney and whether there are any orders 
prohibiting such contact.  Human rights groups charge that 
authorities sometimes schedule appointments between attorneys 
and their detained clients, only to move the clients to another 
prison prior to the meeting.  Authorities reportedly use such 
tactics to delay lawyer-client meetings for as long as 90 
days.  Israeli regulations also permit detainees to be held in 
isolation from family and other detainees during interrogation.

Israeli authorities claim that they attempt to post 
notification of arrest within 48 hours.  However, Palestinian 
suspects are sometimes kept incommunicado for several days 
after their arrest by Israeli authorities who do not inform the 
family of the detainees' whereabouts.  Palestinians assert that 
they generally locate the detainee through their own efforts.  
Notification to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate General of 
detained American citizens of Palestinian origin has almost 
always been by the detainee's family.  The ICRC attempts to 
help by telephoning families with information received from 
prison officials.  A senior officer may delay for up to 12 days 
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 

Israeli district military commanders may order administrative 
detention without formal charges.  The use of administrative 
detention continued in 1994, but at a lower level than in 
previous years.  An estimated 220 Palestinians were in 
administrative detention at year's end, compared to 277 at the 
end of 1993.  Detention periods range up to 6 months and are 
renewable.  Israeli officials state that administrative 
detention is used only when IDF legal advisors determine that 
there is sufficient evidence to detain a person and that the 
evidence has been corroborated by two sources.

Evidence used at hearings for administrative detention is 
secret and unavailable to the detainee or his attorney.  
Authorities maintain that they are unable to present evidence 
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.  However, human rights monitors contend that 
administrative detention is often used when evidence against a 
suspect would not stand up in court.

Detainees may appeal detention orders, or the renewal of a 
detention order, before a military judge.  At the hearing, 
defense attorneys may question security service witnesses 
concerning the general nature of the evidence.  The Supreme 
Court may review rulings by military judges and examine secret 

There were no deportations in 1994.

Since the signing of the DOP in September 1993, the Government 
has released 5,477 Palestinian prisoners, according to 
statistics from the Mandela Institute for Prisoners.  Of these, 
4,500 were released over a period of several months after 
Israel and the PLO signed the Gaza-Jericho Agreement in May.

At the end of 1994, an estimated 6,050 Palestinian prisoners 
were incarcerated in Israeli administered prisons, military 
detention centers, and holding centers, a significant drop from 
the 1993 figure of 9,573.  Of these, 2,450 were in military 
detention centers and the others were in facilities 
administered by the Israeli Central Prisons Authority.  Since 
the beginning of the intifada in 1987, the Government has 
routinely transferred Palestinian detainees from the occupied 
territories to facilities in Israel, especially to the Ketziot 
detention camp in the Negev Desert and Megiddo Prison near 
Afula, notwithstanding Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva 
Convention.  As of September 1, nearly half (2,912) of the 
Palestinian prisoners were being detained in Israel.

The Palestinian police in Gaza conducted several mass arrests 
in response to acts or threats of violence against Palestinians 
and Israelis.  These arrests were conducted without warrants 
against groups whose members have engaged in violence.  In most 
cases, Palestinian authorities released detainees without 
charge within the 48-hour limit stipulated by Gaza law, 
although some suspects remained in custody longer.  The PA's 
Ministry of Justice requires that all detainees held beyond the 
48-hour limit must be formally charged, but acknowledges that 
some detainees are held longer without change.  Gazan law 
allows the Attorney General to extend the detention period to a 
maximum of 90 days during investigations.  According to the 
PA's Ministry of Justice, 20 opposition members were in 
detention as of September 1.  Authorities generally permit 
prisoners to receive visits from family members and attorneys, 
except for prisoners held in the Gaza Central Prison security 
wing.  In principle, detainees may notify their families of 
their arrest.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Palestinians accused of non-security offenses are tried 
publicly in local courts by Palestinian judges appointed by 
Israeli officials, except where jurisdiction has been 
transferred by military order.  At the beginning of the 
intifada in December 1987, the intifada leadership ordered 
Palestinian police and judges to resign.  This weakened the 
ability of the courts to enforce decisions.  Since then, 
Palestinian courts in the West Bank have functioned 

Palestinians accused by Israel of security offenses are tried 
in Israeli military courts.  Security offenses are broadly 
defined and may include charges of political activity, such as 
suspected membership in outlawed organizations.  Charges are 
brought by military prosecutors.  Serious charges are tried 
before three-judge panels; lesser offenses are tried before one 
judge.  Defendants have the right to counsel and to appeal 
verdicts to the Court of Military Appeals, which may accept 
appeals based on the law applied in the case, the sentence, or 
both.  The right of appeal does not apply in all cases and 
sometimes requires court permission.  Israeli military courts 
rarely acquit Palestinians of security offenses, but sentences 
are sometimes reduced on 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, in some cases reportedly because they have not 
been informed of the trial date.  These delays add pressure on 
defendants to plead guilty to avoid serving a period of 
pretrial detention that could exceed the sentence.  In cases 
involving minor offenses, an "expedited" trial may be held, in 
which a charge sheet is drawn up within 48 hours and a court 
hearing scheduled within days.

By law, most Israeli 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.  
There is practically no testimony provided by Palestinian 
witnesses because, Israeli authorities maintain, Palestinians 
refuse to cooperate with the 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 spoken in 
Arabic, but recorded in Hebrew because, authorities maintain, 
while many Israeli court personnel speak Arabic, few are able 
to write it.

Crowded facilities and poor arrangements for attorney-client 
consultations in prisons hinder legal defense efforts.  
Palestinian attorneys report that appointments to see clients 
are difficult to arrange, and that prison authorities often 
fail to produce clients for scheduled appointments.

Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip accused of 
security and ordinary criminal offenses are tried under Israeli 
law in the nearest Israeli district court.  Civilian judges 
preside and the 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 

The PA inherited a court system based on structures and legal 
codes predating the 1967 Israeli occupation.  The Gaza Legal 
Code derives from British mandate, Egyptian, and some locally 
generated law.  Jordanian law applies in Jericho.  However, 
this body of law has been substantially modified by Israeli 
military orders.  According to the DOP and the Gaza-Jericho 
Agreement, Israeli military decrees issued during the 
occupation theoretically remain valid in both areas and are 
subject to review pursuant to a specific procedure.  The PA is 
undertaking efforts to unify the Gaza and West Bank Legal 
Codes.  Until that is completed, the PA will keep in place 
existing civilian court structures in Gaza and Jericho.  There 
is also a military court with about 600 cases pending from 
Israeli arrests and prosecutions.

The PA's Ministry of Justice supervises the eight judges in the 
Shari'a religious courts in Gaza.  They adjudicate divorce 
cases almost exclusively.  Jericho's court system was separated 
from the Ramallah District in September.  Appeals from the 
Jericho courts are referred to the Gaza Court of Appeals.  At 
the end of 1994, no controversial cases--including those of 
opposition members detained during roundups--had been brought 
to trial.

The PA Ministry of Justice appoints all judges for 10-year 
terms.  The Attorney General, an appointed official, reports to 
the Minister of Justice and supervises judicial operations in 
both Gaza and Jericho.  The Chief Justice dismissed a woman 
judge in Gaza shortly after assuming office, reportedly on the 
grounds that such positions were not appropriate for women.  
She was subsequently reinstated.

In Jericho, in addition to the civilian court system governed 
by pre-1967 Jordanian law, the PA maintains a security court 
which is constituted under the PLO's 1979 revolutionary conduct 
code.  Jericho's security court is presided over by a senior 
officer of the Palestinian police.  The prosecutor, also a 
Palestinian police officer, investigates disciplinary 
complaints involving all branches of the Palestinian Police 
Forces in Jericho.  He has also conducted investigations of 
security-related incidents in Jericho, although the suspects 
implicated in those incidents were civilians.  Normal limits on 
the amount of time individuals may be detained before being 
brought before a court do not appear to apply to suspects held 
by the security prosecutor.  In the case of three youths 
accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a tourist bus, the 
security prosecutor reportedly held the suspects in detention 
for approximately 2 months while the incident was investigated 
by the local Palestinian intelligence branch.  The suspects, 
who had confessed to the charges at the time they were first 
detained, were ultimately turned over to the civilian court for 

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

Israeli military authorities in the West Bank may enter private 
Palestinian homes and institutions without a warrant on 
security grounds when authorized by an officer of the rank of 
lieutenant colonel.  In conducting searches, the IDF has used 
forced entries, and has sometimes beaten occupants and 
destroyed property.  Undercover units have also 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 
when incident to an arrest and when entry is resisted.  They 
maintain 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 does not provide information regarding 
such compensation.

Authorities sealed 5 houses in 1994 for security reasons, a 
sharp decline from 27 houses sealed in 1993.  Security forces 
may demolish or seal the home of a suspect, whether he is the 
owner or tenant, without any trial.  The decision to seal or 
demolish a house is made by several high-level Israeli 
officials, including the coordinator of the Civil 
Administration and the Defense Minister.  Owners of houses 
ordered demolished have 48 hours to appeal to the area 
commander; a final appeal may be made to the High Court.  A 
successful appeal generally results in the conversion of a 
demolition order to sealing.  After a house is demolished, 
military authorities confiscate the land and prohibit the owner 
from rebuilding or removing the rubble.

In November part of a house was demolished by military order 
for security reasons after an appeal to the Israeli High Court 
was rejected.  This was the first house demolition, albeit 
partial, since 1992.  The home was the residence of the 
Palestinian responsible for the October bus bombing in Tel Aviv 
and belonged to his parents.  Many human rights groups maintain 
that the sealing or demolishing of homes is a form of 
collective punishment because such acts target families and 

Owners may apply to regional military commanders for permits to 
rebuild or unseal their homes.  In 1994 the Government 
processed 94 requests to open sealed rooms and houses; 61 
applications were approved.  In June the Palestinian Center for 
the Study of Nonviolence began a campaign to reopen many homes 
sealed during the occupation.  At the Center's urging, 
activists and family members opened 130 of more than 350 sealed 
houses before they were arrested.  Authorities resealed several 
of the homes.  In December the Israeli Government decided to 
allow the opening or rebuilding of homes sealed or demolished 
as a result of security offenses committed by a family member 
who had been released from prison.  Each former prisoner must 
apply for a rebuilding or unsealing permit after which the 
Government will approve or reject the application.

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

In Gaza and Jericho, the existing law requires that a chief 
prosecutor issue warrants for entry and searches of private 
property.  These requirements were ignored in October, when the 
Palestinian police conducted a sweep of several districts in 
the Gaza Strip to search for a kidnaped Israeli soldier.  Homes 
were searched without the consent of their owners; in some 
cases, the police forcibly entered premises, destroying doors 
and windows.  Palestinian human rights groups and political 
leaders protested the police's conduct, but the PA did not 
officially respond.

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

Section 1.a. provides information on Palestinians killed by 
Israeli forces and settlers, and Israelis killed by 
Palestinians.  Many of these victims were deliberately 
targeted; however, others were killed, or injured, by the 
excessive use of force.  Extremists associated with Hamas and 
Islamic Jihad were responsible for most of the lethal attacks 
on Israelis.

Estimates vary on the number of casualties caused by use of 
excessive force in the occupied territories.  Figures compiled 
from a number of sources indicate that 108 Palestinians were 
killed by Israeli security forces, a decrease from the 184 
killings in 1993.  Killings continued at rates in the West Bank 
similar to the frequency in the previous year.  Estimates of 
the number of Palestinians wounded also vary; IDF figures 
report that 925 Palestinians were wounded in 1994, as of 
December 26, as compared to the IDF estimate of 890 wounded 
between January and September 1993.  Human rights groups 
estimated that 2,487 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli 
security forces in 1994, a decrease from the 1993 estimate of 
4,120.  Palestinians killed 23 Israeli soldiers and civilians 
in the occupied territories, a decrease from the 49 killed in 
those areas in 1993.  The number of deaths within Israel, 
however, increased from 14 in 1993 to 52 in 1994.  Estimates of 
Israeli wounded were about 427.  Extremists associated with 
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were responsible for most 
of the lethal attacks on Israelis.

Israeli security forces killed 15 Palestinians under the age of 
16 in 1994.  Information on the results of the investigations 
of these incidents was not available.  Human rights groups 
report that the IDF killed 19 people--including at least one 
Israeli--at military checkpoints since the closure of the West 
Bank and Gaza Strip in March 1993.  These individuals were 
killed for fleeing, or failing to halt, at the checkpoints.  
Human rights groups maintain that incidents could have been 
avoided and called for an investigation into military practices 
at the checkpoints.  After the killing of a Palestinian at a 
checkpoint in September, the IDF said it would revise the open 
fire orders at checkpoints.

IDF regulations permit the use of live ammunition only when 
soldiers' lives are in immediate danger, to halt fleeing 
suspects, to disperse a violent demonstration, or to fire on an 
"individual unlawfully carrying firearms."  According to 
policy, soldiers should direct fire at the legs only and may 
fire at a fleeing suspect only if they believe a serious felony 
has occurred and they have exhausted other means to apprehend 
the suspect.  It is forbidden to open fire in the direction of 
children and women, even in cases of severe public disorder, 
unless there is an immediate and obvious danger to a soldier's 

In practice, soldiers, police, and undercover units used live 
ammunition in situations other than when their lives were in 
danger (see Section l.a.) and often shot suspects in the upper 
body and head.  Soldiers, police, and undercover units also 
injured many bystanders, including children, by live fire, 
rubber bullets, or beating while pursuing suspects.

In 1994 a reserve soldier testified to B'tselem, an Israeli 
human rights organization, that as part of his military 
training, he was taught to shoot at a hypothetical suspect, in 
this case someone who had thrown a Molotov cocktail, without 
giving any warning, and to fire additional shots in the 
suspect's head as he lay on the ground.

The IDF continued using heavy weapons to destroy houses 
believed to be the hiding place of security suspects.  An 
estimated 12 houses were destroyed by antitank missiles during 
such operations.  There are no statistics on the number of 
damaged homes.  The IDF apologized and offered compensation to 
an UNRWA senior staff member whose house was demolished by 
antitank missiles in April 1994.

In July an IDF unit raided the Augusta Victoria Hospital in 
Jerusalem, apparently searching for a group of armed men 
distributing Islamic Jihad leaflets on the hospital premises.  
The IDF unit reportedly interrupted medical procedures, 
intimidated staff, patients, and visitors, reportedly beating 
some of them and damaged property.  The Government of Israel 
expressed regret for any damage or harm raised by the search.  
The incident remains under investigation.  Human rights groups 
claimed that on two instances in 1994, Israeli soldiers used 
children as shields to protect themselves from stonethrowers.

The Palestinian Police Force used excessive force to quell a 
demonstration at Gaza's Filistin Mosque on November 18.  
According to Gaza-based human rights organizations, the 
demonstration's sponsors did not request a permit.  The 
confrontation resulted in the deaths of at least 16 persons and 
left hundreds wounded.  The PPF arrested hundreds of 
demonstrators in the wake of rioting that followed the clash.  
Most were released without charges within a few weeks.  The PA 
established a commission, which at year's end, was still 
investigating the incident.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Israeli Government generally respects freedom of speech in 
East Jerusalem and the West Bank, but prohibits public 
expressions of support for Islamic extremist groups, such as 
Hamas, and other groups avowedly dedicated to the destruction 
of the State of Israel.  The Government eased other 
restrictions during the year.  It did not enforce the 
prohibition on the display of Palestinian political symbols, 
such as flags, national colors, and graffiti, acts which are 
punishable by fines or imprisonment.

Overall, censorship of specific press pieces decreased during 
the year.  However, citing security reasons, Israeli 
authorities continue to restrict the Arabic press.  Military 
censors review all Arabic publications in East Jerusalem for 
material related to the public order and security of Israel and 
the occupied territories.  Israeli authorities prohibited the 
distribution of the PLO-affiliated Al-Awdah publication for 
several months in 1994.  In August the Ministry of the Interior 
ordered the closure of the Hamas-affiliated East Jerusalem 
weekly Al-Bayan.  In addition, an Arab press in Hebron was 
closed in November by the Israeli authorities for 1 year on 
charges of printing inflammatory material against the peace 
process.  Reports by foreign journalists are also subject to 
review by Israeli military censors for security reasons, and 
the satellite feed used by many foreign journalists is 
monitored.  Some journalists have reported that their stories 
arrived at their filed destination with a blank segment in the 

Some areas continue to be closed to journalists, usually in 
conjunction with a curfew or security incident.  After the 
Hebron massacre in February, the IDF temporarily denied entry 
permits to Palestinian journalists, preventing them from 
attending their places of work in East Jerusalem.

The IDF requires a permit for publications imported into the 
occupied territories.  Imported materials may be censored or 
banned for anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli content.  According to 
the IDF, publications supporting Palestinian nationalism are 
not censored or banned unless they advocate violence.  
Possession of banned materials is punishable by a fine and 
imprisonment.  Most Palestinians punished by this order in 1994 
were members of Hamas.  Security forces closed several mosques 
after Hamas pamphlets were found inside.

Citing security problems, authorities continued to close 
individual secondary and elementary schools for short periods.  
The frequency of such closures greatly declined from previous 
years.  Palestinian universities generally operated normally, 
also in sharp contrast to previous years.

Palestinians living in areas under the jurisdiction of the PA 
generally enjoy freedom of speech and criticize PA performance 
and policies and the peace process.  The PA has granted 
licenses to publish to a variety of periodicals, including some 
operated by groups opposed to the peace process and critical of 
the PA.  Two new papers, Al-Watan and Al-Istiqlal, affiliated 
with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, respectively, appeared late in 
the year.  Both take a critical line against the PA and PLO 
Chairman Yasir Arafat.

However, PA officials and those acting in the name of the PA, 
imposed restrictions on the press in several instances.  In 
July the PA prohibited the distribution of the East Jerusalem 
daily An-Nahar in Gaza and Jericho, purportedly because the 
newspaper expressed a pro-Jordanian line.  There were also 
warnings not to distribute in the West Bank, and as a result, 
the newspaper stopped publishing.  After a series of protests, 
the PA allowed An-Nahar to resume distribution in Gaza and 
Jericho.  After it resumed publication, the paper adopted a 
more pro-PA editorial line.

Palestinian police authorities also blocked the distribution of 
several Arabic and one Israeli newspaper for several hours 
November 28 in reaction to press coverage on a Hamas/Islamic 
Jihad demonstration that reported the crowd size to be much 
larger than the "official" estimate.  Over the next two days, 
newspaper distribution was blocked, including the pro-PLO daily 
Al-Quds, apparently in reaction to the newspaper's strong 
editorial against the PA's distribution blockage.  There were 
also credible reports that senior PA leaders have intimidated 
editors into practicing self-censorship, and that they have 
been pressured not to publish certain writers who are out of 
favor with the PA or Fatah officials.  These actions have had a 
chilling effect on the willingness of reporters to criticize PA 

Prior to 1994, no broadcast media originated from the occupied 
territories.  However, after the signing of the Gaza-Jericho 
Agreement, the PA established the Palestine Broadcasting 
Company (PBC) with a television station in Gaza and a radio 
station in Jericho.  The PBC's broadcast news almost 
exclusively reflects the PA's views on issues.

Under the August Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers 
and Responsibilities (the "early empowerment agreement") 
reached with the Government of Israel, the PA assumed 
responsibility for all levels of education in the West Bank, in 
addition to its jurisdiction in Gaza and Jericho.

There were no reports of interference with academic freedoms.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Although Israeli military orders ban public gatherings of 10 or 
more people without a permit, authorities relaxed enforcement 
after the signing of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) in 
September 1993.  In 1994 Israeli authorities permitted 
large-scale rallies in several towns in support of, and in 
opposition to, the peace agreement.  Private organizations are 
required to register with the authorities, though some operate 
without licenses.  Authorities permit Palestinian charitable, 
community, professional, and self-help organizations to operate 
unless their activities are viewed as overtly political or 
opposed to the DOP.

PA officials maintain that there are no restraints on freedom 
of assembly, although they require permits for rallies and 
demonstrations.  These have been denied on occasion.  In 
September Gaza Police Commander Ghazi Jabali issued an order 
prohibiting specifically "political" meetings at Al-Azhar 
University, the Rashad Shawwa Cultural Center, the YMCA, and 
the Gala Cinema without police approval.  Later that month, 
Jabali issued a second order prohibiting buses from 
transporting passengers to attend political meetings without 
written permission from the Gaza police commander.  The 
November confrontation at the Filistin Mosque in Gaza occurred 
after Islamists tried to demonstrate without a permit.  In 
Jericho, the PA requires permits for outdoor rallies and 
demonstrations.  Other restrictions prohibit calls for 
violence, a display of arms, and racist slogans.  After the 
October signing of the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty, 
authorities prohibited a planned anti-Jordanian rally in 

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Israeli Government respects freedom of religion and does 
not ban any group or sect on strictly religious grounds.  The 
Government permits all faiths to operate schools and 
institutions.  Religious publications are subject to the 
publications laws described in Section 2.a.

The PA also does not restrict the freedom of religion.

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

Israeli authorities continued to issue some Palestinians green 
identity cards which signify that the bearer is a security risk 
and prohibit the bearer's travel in or through Jerusalem and 
abroad.  As of October 1, the Government had issued 1,823 such 
cards which are generally valid for 6 months and renewable 
indefinitely.  Issuance of the cards is a form of punishment 
without formal charge or trial.  According to Arabic press 
reports, Palestinians with blue identity cards, signifying they 
are residents of the Jerusalem area, must obtain permits from 
Israeli authorities to enter the Palestinian Authority areas.

Closure of the West Bank and Gaza, originally instituted in 
March 1993 as a means of reducing the number of attacks on 
Israelis, continued at intervals in 1994.  Most Palestinians in 
the West Bank and Gaza Strip encountered difficulty in 
obtaining permits to visit, work, study, or attend religious 
services outside their areas of residence.  During the periodic 
closures of the occupied territories, Christians and Muslims in 
the West Bank and Gaza Strip have encountered difficulties in 
obtaining permits to visit the holy sites in East Jerusalem.  
As a security precaution, authorities also banned West Bankers 
and Gazans from entering Jerusalem during major Jewish holidays.

Serious security incidents generally prompt the Government to 
tighten or close entry from the territories and the Palestinian 
Authority areas for extended periods.  Israeli officials 
acknowledged that no Palestinian holder of a legal work permit 
has committed an act of terrorism in Israel:  terrorists have 
been either legal residents of East Jerusalem or entered 
Israeli territory clandestinely.

Curfews were more frequently imposed in villages and refugee 
camps than in urban areas.  A serious exception was the 
repeated and prolonged curfews on the Hebron area following the 
February massacre.  The curfew was imposed to ensure the safety 
of 450 settlers in the heart of Hebron.  Like all curfews, it 
inhibited Palestinian residents from going to work, shopping, 
receiving visits or assistance from family members, pursuing 
their education, and observing religious holidays.

Following the Hebron massacre, the Government briefly 
restricted the travel of local Israeli settlers, but they were 
not subject to the curfew.  Even after the curfew was lifted in 
the surrounding area, it remained in effect for shops and 
offices in the Hebron business district.  Authorities required 
residents to obtain permits to gain access to their shops and 
homes in the business area.  A vegetable market adjacent to a 
small Israeli settlement remains closed and several roads to 
Palestinian neighborhoods that branch off of a main road were 
closed in order to create a safer passage for Israeli settlers 
in the Hebron area.

The Government requires all Palestinians to obtain permits for 
foreign travel and has restricted the travel of some political 
activists.  However, thousands of Palestinians in the occupied 
territories travel abroad each year.

Bridge-crossing permits to Jordan may be obtained at post 
offices without a screening process.  Palestinian males between 
the ages of 16 and 25 who cross the bridge into Jordan must 
remain outside the territories for 9 months.  Expedited entry 
for Palestinian travelers crossing into Gaza at Rafah, and into 
the West Bank from the Allenby Bridge, went into effect in 
November.  Travel documents and identification cards for the 
residents of Gaza and Jericho are issued by the Palestinian 
Authority; residents in the rest of the West Bank continue to 
be issued documents by Israeli authorities.

Obstacles to emigration include the inability to obtain a 
travel permit and the fear of losing one's residency.  
Restrictions on residence, tourist visas, reentry, and family 
reunification apply only to Palestinian residents of the 
occupied territories.  Israel sometimes refuses to renew the 
laissez-passers of Palestinians from the occupied territories 
who live or work abroad, on the grounds that they have 
abandoned their residences.

The Government ordinarily does not permit Palestinians who 
obtain foreign citizenship to resume residence in the occupied 
territories; nor does it permit those who acquire legal 
residency abroad, or who remain outside the occupied 
territories for over 3 years, to resume their residency.  Such 
persons are permitted to return only as tourists and are 
sometimes denied entry entirely.

Israeli authorities also place restrictions on family 
reunification.  Most Palestinians who were abroad before or 
during the 1967 war (estimated at one-fourth of the Palestinian 
population at that time) or who have lost their residence 
permits for other reasons, are not permitted to reside 
permanently with their families in the occupied territories.

The CIVAD usually denies permanent residency in the occupied 
territories to the foreign-born spouses and children of 
Palestinian residents, and to nonresident mothers.  The 
Government usually issues temporary residency permits to 
persons in these categories.

The CIVAD liberalized its family reunification policy in 1994, 
allowing relatives who entered the territories prior to 
September 1993 to remain pending approval of their applications 
for permanent residence.  The CIVAD also increased the number 
of approvals for family reunification cases.  The PA has also 
presented the Israeli Government with 2,000 new cases, which 
the Government currently have under review.  In June the 
Minister of Interior permitted female Palestinian residents of 
Jerusalem to apply for family reunification for their 
nonresident husbands.

The PA does not restrict the travel of Palestinians in Gaza and 
Jericho.  However, travel between Gaza and Jericho is subject 
to a future agreement with the Government of Israel as 
travelers must transit Israeli territory.  By year's end, these 
arrangements were not yet concluded.

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

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jericho have not yet 
been afforded an opportunity to exercise this right.  The DOP 
provides for an election for a Palestinian Council.  The 
Government of Israel and the PA are negotiating an agreement 
for such elections.  The PA is now responsible for a wide range 
of governmental functions in Gaza and Jericho.  In the West 
Bank, the functions in five areas (health, education, culture 
and social welfare, tourism, and taxation) have been 
transferred to the PA.

Most Palestinians in East Jerusalem do not recognize the 
jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality; less than 7 percent 
of Jerusalem's Palestinian population voted in the November 
1993 municipal elections.  No Palestinian resident of East 
Jerusalem sits on the city council.

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

Many local groups--Israeli, Palestinian, and mixed--monitor the 
Government's human rights practices.  The Israeli Government 
generally cooperates with human rights organizations; officials 
normally agree to meet with human rights monitors.  The 
Government permits them to publish and hold press conferences.  
However, some groups maintain that the Government does not 
adequately respond to their inquiries and sometimes does not 
respond at all.

Security forces arrested a fieldworker from the human rights 
organization Al-Haq in March and again in June during apparent 
roundups of suspects associated with the Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).  Al-Haq claimed that the 
fieldworker was arrested and placed under administrative 
detention because of his human rights work.  The Israeli 
Government claimed that the fieldworker was connected with 
violent activities undertaken by the PFLP.

Following the Hebron massacre, Israel and the PLO agreed to 
accept the presence of 121 international monitors in Hebron.  
The monitors arrived in May and left on schedule in August.

In the areas under the PA's jurisdiction, the Palestinian 
Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights (PICCR) was 
established in 1993.  PICCR is independently funded and its 
board of directors is drawn from Palestinians without official 
connections to the PA.  PICCR reportedly has access to PA 
officials and records.  It was one of the few Palestinian 
organizations to protest the PA's ban of An-Nahar newspaper.  
In areas outside the PA's jurisdiction, other Palestinian 
groups, including the Mandela Institute, the Palestine Human 
Rights Information Center, and Al-Haq, cover human rights 

The PA has a cooperative relationship with the ICRC and the ILO.

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


Palestinian women living under military occupation face human 
rights problems similar to those of men.  In addition, women 
endure various forms of social prejudice and repression within 
their own society.  While there is an active women's movement 
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, attention has only recently 
shifted from nationalist aspirations to women's issues like 
domestic violence, employment, and marriage and inheritance 

There are no laws providing for women's rights in the 
workplace.  Many Palestinian women work outside the home and 
some are prominent in such professions as 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 custody of children.  However, women's rights 
advocates believe that many Palestinian women are not aware of 
their legal rights.

Although the issues of rape, domestic violence, and violence, 
as related to "family honor" have gained greater prominence, 
public discussion is generally taboo.  Victims are often 
encouraged by relatives to remain quiet and are themselves 
punished or blamed for the "shame" which has been brought upon 
them and their family.  While women's groups seek to educate 
women on these issues, women's rights advocates claim that few 
resources are available to shelter the victims of violence.  
They also maintain that society has not been receptive to 
attempts to provide counseling or outreach services to victims.


There is no pattern of societal abuse of children, either among 
Israelis or Palestinians.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Israeli settlers are treated more favorably under Israeli law 
and practices than Palestinians under the complex mixture of 
the laws and regulations that apply to the occupied 
territories, Gaza and the Jericho area.  This includes the 
right to due process, residency rights, freedom of movement, 
sales of crops and goods, land and water use, and access to 
health and social services.  Travel restrictions are not 
applied equally (see Section 2.c.).  Similarly, the Government 
treats Israeli settlers involved in security violations more 
leniently than Palestinians guilty of similar offenses (see 
Section 1.a.).

The Government traditionally had subjected Palestinians to 
higher rates of income tax than Israeli settlers.  While these 
rates are not appreciably higher than those for Israeli 
citizens, Palestinian tax assessments are generally more 
arbitrary.  The PA has assumed tax authority over Palestinians 
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and is in the process of 
establishing full responsibility for this function following 
the conclusion of appropriate arrangements with the Government 
of Israel.

     People with Disabilities

There is no mandated accessibility to public facilities in the 
occupied territories under either Israeli or Palestinian 
authority.  There are some Palestinian institutions that care 
for and train disabled persons; these efforts, however, are 
chronically underfunded.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Labor affairs in the West Bank are governed by Jordanian Law 21 
of 1965, as amended by Israeli military orders and, more 
recently, for Jericho, decisions by the PA.  The law permits 
workers to establish and join unions without government 
authorization.  However, Israeli authorities in the West Bank 
require all proposed new unions to apply for a permit.  One new 
union was established in 1994, and two others applied for 
registration.  Israeli authorities have licensed 31 of the 
approximately 125 union branches.  There are approximately 15 
trade unions in the West Bank registered with the Israeli 
Government and 6 trade unions in the Gaza Strip.

PA officials are drafting a new labor law which reportedly 
provides for the right to establish unions, the right to 
collective bargaining, the right to strike, a minimum wage, 
minimum working hours, minimum age employment restrictions, and 
health and safety regulations.

Palestinian workers in East Jerusalem are governed by Israeli 
labor law.  They are free to establish their own unions.  
Although the Government prohibits East Jerusalem unions from 
joining the West Bank trade union federation, this restriction 
has not been enforced.  Palestinian workers in East Jerusalem 
may simultaneously belong to unions affiliated with a West Bank 
federation and the Israeli Histadrut Labor Federation.

West Bank unions are not affiliated with the Histadrut 
federation.  West Bank and Gaza labor leaders met formally with 
Histadrut officials for the first time in 1994.  The Government 
prohibits Palestinian workers who are not resident in Israel or 
East Jerusalem from being full members of Histadrut.  
Nevertheless, Palestinian workers in Israel are required to 
contribute 1 percent of their wages to Histadrut.  Negotiations 
between Histadrut and West Bank union officials to return part 
of this fee began in 1994 but are not yet complete.

Palestinians who work in Israel are also required to contribute 
to the National Insurance Institute (NII) which provides 
unemployment insurance and other benefits.  Palestinian workers 
are eligible for some, but not all, NII benefits.  Israeli 
authorities maintain that the Civil Administration (CIVAD) 
provides Palestinian workers with tax allowances and other 
benefits that amount to adequate compensation.  According to 
the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Palestinians working in Israel will 
continue to be insured for injuries occurring in Israel, the 
bankruptcy of a worker's employer, and allowances for maternity 

The Government has agreed to transfer the NII fees collected 
from Palestinian workers to the PA which will assume 
responsibility for the pensions and social benefits of 
Palestinians working in Israel.  Implementation of this change 
will be made by a joint Israeli-Palestinian economic committee.

The great majority of West Bank unions belong to 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).  In the fall, the GFTU, the WUB, and the Gaza 
unions merged informally to create a single union, the 
Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).  
Pending elections, scheduled for spring 1995, the PGFTU is 
acting as an informal coalition in negotiations with 
Histadrut.  When completed, the reorganization of unions under 
the PGFTU should enable the West Bank unions, now joined with 
Gaza unions, to better represent the interests of union members.

Union membership has declined continuously since the intifada, 
in part because the periodic closures of the occupied 
territories has restricted the number of work permits issued to 
Palestinians.  An estimated 85,000 workers are members of the 
GFTU, the largest union bloc.  There are approximately 25,000 
union members in Gaza.  The GFTU participates in meetings of 
the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), 
although it is not affiliated.  Both the GFTU and the WUB have 
applied for membership in the International Confederation of 
Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

Union organizations in the West Bank are associated with 
various Palestinian political factions.  Israeli authorities 
tended to view Palestinian unions as political organizations 
and occasionally inhibited their activities in the West Bank 
and Gaza.  The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the 
ICFTU have observed that fear of intimidation and arrest for 
labor activities inhibited the development of unions in the 
territories in the past.

Palestinian labor organizations are subject to disciplinary 
measures for engaging in political activities.  The CIVAD must 
approve all meetings of 10 or more non-Israeli citizens in the 
territories.  The ILO reported that the CIVAD permitted it to 
hold a conference in Nablus, although Israeli authorities did 
not grant travel permits for union organizers to meet in 

According to the CIVAD, Islamists were permitted to establish 
one union in 1994, with two branches, in contrast to none in 
1993.  The union represents workers in several Islamic 

West Bank unions held no elections in 1994.  Israeli military 
order 825 of 1980 requires Palestinian unions to provide the 
CIVAD with the names of candidates for union office 30 days 
before union elections.  The order authorizes the CIVAD to 
remove from the lists any candidate convicted of a felony, 
including those sentenced for security offenses.

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.  Approximately 10 strikes 
occurred in the West Bank in 1994.  Israeli authorities did not 
interfere with them.  There are no laws in the territories that 
specifically protect the rights of striking workers, and, in 
practice, such workers have little or no protection from 
employers' retribution.

The Gaza-Jericho Agreement provides that Palestinians employed 
in Israel will have the right to bring labor disputes before 
the Israeli labor courts.

     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 the CIVAD, 
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), or 
municipalities.  Collective bargaining is protected.  The CIVAD 
does not record collective agreements because it does not 
recognize some unions and union leaders.  Nonetheless, Israeli 
authorities honor such agreements and do not interfere in 
them.  About 60 labor agreements are in force in the West Bank.

Labor disputes are reportedly adjudicated by committees of 3 to 
5 members in businesses employing more than 20 workers.  The 
Center for Trade Union Rights, headquartered in Bethlehem, and 
European and U.S. unions have recently conducted seminars on a 
spectrum of labor issues, including labor dispute resolution.

Existing laws and regulations do not offer real protection 
against anti-union discrimination.  There are no export 
processing zones in the occupied territories.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There is no forced or compulsory labor in the occupied 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum working age in the West Bank, Jericho and Gaza area 
is 14.  This order is not effectively enforced, and underage 
workers are employed in agriculture and in some West Bank and 
Gaza factories.  Work hours for young workers are not limited.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no minimum wage in the West Bank, Jericho or Gaza 
area.  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 workweek for salaried employees.  There 
is no effective enforcement of maximum workweek laws.

The Israeli Ministry of Labor's Office of Inspection Services 
is responsible for enforcing health and safety standards in the 
West Bank and Gaza.  It maintains that it has undertaken 
several inspections, but health and safety conditions in some 
factories do not meet international standards.


[end of document]


Department Seal

Return to 1994 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.