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Title:  Occupied Territories Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                     THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES 
(including areas subject to the jurisdiction of the Palestinian 
Authority and its successor, the Palestinian Interim Self-Government 
Authority) 
 
 
This report 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 Israel and Palestinian 
representatives on September 13, 1993, and the Israeli-Palestinian 
Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ("the Interim 
Agreement") signed on September 28, 1995. 
 
Beginning in May 1994, Israel transferred most responsibilities for 
civil government in the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area to the Palestinian 
Authority (PA). In late 1995, Israel began redeploying its forces from 
the West Bank and turning over major towns and surrounding villages to 
PA administration. Currently the PA exercises authority over about 2.2 
million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  By year's end, 
those areas in the West Bank and Gaza were largely administered by the 
Palestinian Authority. 
 
As of early 1996, the PA is being succeeded by an elected council 
pursuant to the Interim Agreement.  Accordingly, this report discusses 
the policies and the practices of both the Israeli Government and the 
Palestinian Authority in the areas where they exercise jurisdiction and 
control. 
 
The DOP and the Interim Agreement fundamentally altered the relationship 
between Palestinians and Israelis.  These historic agreements are part 
of a process designed to end their conflict and to guide negotiations 
concerning the future of the territories.  The DOP provides for a 5-year 
transitional period in which specified responsibilities are to be 
transferred to Palestinian Authorities to permit the Palestinian people 
of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to govern themselves. 
 
Implementation of the process began in May 1994, 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 1994, 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 1994. 
 
The Interim Agreement signed in September transferred additional spheres 
of responsibility, including statistics, local government, insurance, 
commerce and industry, fuel and gas, agriculture and labor.  Israel 
continues to be responsible for external security, and the overall 
security for Israelis, including public order in the Israeli 
settlements, foreign relations, and certain other areas.  The Interim 
Agreement also provides for the redeployment of Israeli forces, and 
modalities for elections for the Palestinian Council and the chief 
executive of its Executive Authority.  The situation in the West Bank 
and Gaza will continue to change as the Israelis and Palestinians 
implement their agreements. 
 
Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and East 
Jerusalem during the 1967 War.  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 the permanent status negotiations 
due to begin in May 1996. 
 
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 and 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.  
West Bank towns had been governed by Palestinian mayors appointed by the 
Israeli Government, with some exceptions such as Hebron, Bethlehem, and 
Nablus.  In late 1995, the PA began to take over the administration of 
other municipalities as part of the transfer of authority between Israel 
and the PA.  Following the redeployment of Israeli forces from most 
Palestinian populated cities and surrounding villages in the West Bank, 
the CIVAD was dissolved and replaced with the IDF's Office of 
Coordination and Liaison, known by its Hebrew acronym "MATAK."  The 
election for the Palestinian Council and the chief executive of the 
Executive Authority of the Council was held in January 1996 (see below). 
 
In the past, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have been eligible 
to vote in Jerusalem municipal elections, but have generally declined to 
vote, claiming that Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal.  
However, these residents voted in the January 1996 Palestinian election. 
 
Israeli settlers in the territories (about 11 percent of the population 
there) are subject to Israeli law and are better treated by Israeli 
forces than Palestinians who have been subject to military occupation 
law.  Under the Israel-PLO agreements, Israel maintains jurisdiction 
over the settlements and settlers during the transitional period.  The 
permanent status of the settlements will be addressed in future 
negotiations. 
 
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 in Israeli-controlled areas of security crimes as 
defined by the Government of Israel.  The Palestinian Police Force (PPF) 
was established in May 1994 and consists of the Palestinian National 
Security Force (PNSF); the Palestinian civil police; the Preventive 
Security Force (PSF); Palestinian intelligence, or the Mukhabarat; the 
civil defense force; and the Palestinian Presidential Security Force.  
Palestinian police are responsible for security and law enforcement for 
Palestinians and other non-Israelis in Gaza and in Jericho, and in 
November and December took over security and law enforcement for West 
Bank towns and surrounding villages except for Hebron City. 
 
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 tensions caused by continued 
terrorist incidents and closures of the territories by Israel, which 
significantly limits the number of Palestinians permitted to enter 
Israel, especially in times of heightened security alerts.  The flow of 
goods in and out of the West Bank and Gaza has been severely restricted 
from time to time under the closures. 
 
There were improvements in the human rights situation in the occupied 
territories in 1995.  As agreed to in the Interim Agreement, most of the 
large Palestinian cities were placed under Palestinian control by the 
end of 1995.  The January 1996 election gave Palestinian residents of 
the territories their first democratically elected representative body.  
The Council will be responsible for the executive and legislative powers 
transferred to the Palestinians under the Interim Agreement. 
 
The numbers of Palestinians killed by Israelis, Palestinians killed by 
other Palestinians, and Israelis killed by Palestinians, decreased in 
comparison with 1994, in some cases dramatically.  The number of 
confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli security forces has also 
dropped dramatically in the past 2 years. 
 
With the continued implementation of the DOP, Palestinians steadily 
acquired more opportunities to participate in political and economic 
decisions that affect their lives.  Moreover, Israel and the PLO have 
continued to use channels and procedures established in 1994 for dealing 
with a variety of their differences over political, economic, and 
security matters.  PA security forces have generally allowed opposition 
rallies and demonstrations to run their course, without using excessive 
force to prevent or disperse them.  The PA has also issued licenses to 
opposition and independent publications. 
 
During 1995 Israeli civilians and military personnel were the targets of 
repeated lethal terrorist attacks.  There were credible reports that 
Israeli security officials mistreated, and in some cases tortured, 
Palestinians during arrest and interrogation.  According to these 
reports, Israel also utilized undercover units in possible extrajudicial 
killings.  Six Palestinians died in the custody of Israeli security 
forces.  Israeli military courts imposed harsh sentences on 
Palestinians.  Prison conditions remained poor.  Discriminatory policies 
on land and resource use and trade, and limits on freedom of movement 
remained in place.  There were continued restrictions imposed on the 
ability of Palestinians in the territories to enter Jerusalem, and 
travel between Gaza and the West Bank, as well as between Jericho and 
the rest of the West Bank.  Toward the end of the year, Israeli 
authorities implemented new measures to facilitate travel and commerce 
across the Erez checkpoint between Gaza and Israel, which incresed the 
flow of Palestinian day laborers entering Israel. 
 
The PA exercised jurisdiction in Gaza and Jericho since May 1994 and in 
the remaining West Bank cities and surrounding villages since late 1995.  
The process of institution-building has proceeded slowly, and in some 
areas, such as the judiciary, there has been little progress.  There 
were credible reports that the Palestinian Police Force (PPF) mistreated 
and in some cases tortured detainees, and did not comply with proper 
arrest and detention procedures.  International and local human rights 
groups widely criticized the establishment in April of a state security 
court to try terrorist or security cases.  They maintain that this court 
denies Palestinians the right to adequate legal defense and a fair and 
public trial.  Five detainees died in the custody of Palestinian 
security forces.  These incidents have been or are being investigated, 
and some officers were disciplined internally.  There were numerous 
limitations on press freedoms, such as temporary closures of newspaper 
offices, confiscation of publications, and prohibition on distribution.  
There was societal discrimination against women and the disabled. 
 
A number of Islamic groups, specifically the Islamic Resistance Movement 
(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.  In the worst 
incident, two suicide bombers reportedly from PIJ killed 21 Israelis at 
the Beit Lid junction in central Israel in January.  Suicide bombers 
also killed 18 others in several other attacks throughout the year. 
 
There were also acts of violence against Palestinians committed by 
Israeli settlers, including killings and the destruction of property.  
Overall, the IDF was more effective in stopping or preventing such 
attacks than in previous years.  The number of Palestinians killed by 
other Palestinians for alleged collaboration with Israel dropped 
dramatically, continuing a downward trend for the third straight year. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
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 10 Palestinians during the year.  At least 
13 such killings occurred in 1994.  The Israeli Government does not 
publish its guidelines on the conduct of undercover operations in the 
occupied territories. 
 
These undercover units seek to arrest activists suspected of committing 
serious crimes.  According to human rights organizations, undercover 
units deliberately kill suspects under circumstances in which they might 
have been apprehended alive.  Such operations normally take place at 
night when there are few eyewitnesses.  Accounts of witnesses, when 
available, often differ from the IDF version. 
 
Israeli authorities acknowledge that the undercover units conduct 
operations among wanted Palestinians, 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 lead to serious punishment.  The IDF 
does not announce the findings of its investigations. 
 
In January undercover soldiers killed 4 Palestinians, at least one of 
whom was a wanted person, after one of them reportedly opened fire on 
the undercover unit's vehicle.  Eyewitnesses said that the Palestinians 
were ambushed by the undercover unit and killed without an opportunity 
to surrender.  A foreign observer at the scene added that the soldiers 
denied medical treatment to the victims. 
 
At least six Palestinians died in Israeli detention, two apparently from 
pre-existing medical conditions, one from an apparent suicide attempt, 
two apparently as a result of beatings by other Palestinian inmates, and 
one as a result of torture.  Human rights groups claim that lack of 
prompt and adequate medical attention while in detention aggravates the 
medical conditions of ill prisoners, and overcrowded cell conditions 
contribute to intra-prisoner violence. 
 
In April detainee Abd Al-Samad Hereizaat died while in the custody of 
Israeli security officers.  Pathologists who performed the autopsy on 
Hereizaat determined that his death--from a large edema and internal 
hemorrhaging of the brain--was a direct result of torture.  His 
interrogator had reportedly shaken Hereizaat violently by the shoulders, 
allowing his head to snap back and forth, causing injury to the brain.  
Israeli press reported that Hereizaat's interrogators did not have 
permission from the head of the GSS to exceed the "moderate physical 
pressure" limits (see Section 1.c.).  The Israeli Ministry of Justice 
announced that the GSS agent involved would be brought before a 
disciplinary tribunal, but not criminally charged.  However, in October 
the Israeli High Court of Justice issued an order to the Attorney 
General requiring him to explain why the interrogator should not be 
criminally prosecuted.  At the recommendation of the Ministry of 
Justice, the state attorney decided that criminal charges could not be 
brought against the agent as he could not have foreseen that his actions 
would result in death.  The Public Committee Against Torture has brought 
a petition before the High Court of Justice to show cause why no 
criminal charges have been brought against the GSS agent.  The agent was 
later brought before a disciplinary tribunal on the grounds that he had 
deviated from interrogation procedures.  His case was still ongoing at 
year's end. 
 
During the year, Israeli settlers killed 4 Palestinians in the West Bank 
and Gaza Strip.  By comparison, there were 37 such killings in 1994, 29 
of which took place in a single incident in Hebron.  In one case in 
August, a settler shot and killed a Palestinian demonstrating against a 
makeshift campsite erected by settlers on disputed land.  The settler 
was arrested and charged with manslaughter and obstructing justice.  
Settlers also engaged in several other attacks on the property and 
persons of Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem.  Overall, the 
IDF was more forceful in attempting to halt such attacks.  The IDF has 
imposed protective curfews on the Palestinian population when it expects 
violence from settlers. 
 
Human rights groups note that Palestinians often fail to report cases of 
settler violence from fear of retribution by settlers, or of labeling as 
collaborators with Israeli authorities.  These groups claim that police 
investigations of settler violence are often superficial, delayed, and 
rarely lead to arrests or sentencing.  The IDF has also complained of 
police and court inaction against settlers and has resorted to 
administrative orders restricting the movement of violent settlers.  In 
May the Government began exploring ways to enforce the law more 
effectively. 
 
Five Palestinians, including one who was also an American citizen, died 
in the custody of PA security officers.  Investigation determined that 
one of the deaths was accidental and another due to pre-existing medical 
conditions.  The interrogators involved in those cases were disciplined.  
The remaining three cases are still under investigation.  Several 
Palestinian officials have been sentenced for their role in some of 
these cases. 
 
In April a detainee, Muhammad Ahmad Mahmud Al-Jundi, who had been in the 
custody of Palestinian police in Gaza for several months, was shot to 
death on a street in Jabalya refugee camp, reportedly after police 
officers either handed him over to members of the "Fatah Hawks," a 
strike force formed during the Intifada, or alerted the group that he 
was returning home.  Al-Jundi was killed at the same location where he 
was accused of having helped an Israeli undercover unit kill 6 Fatah 
members in 1994.  Eyewitnesses claim that 4 men in civilian clothes shot 
the hooded victim numerous times at close range in full view of the 
public.  An investigation into the incident is ongoing.  Five PA 
intelligence interrogators have been arrested in the case, but not yet 
tried. 
 
In September detainee Azzam Rahim, a Palestinian who was also an 
American citizen, died in the custody of PA intelligence officers in 
Jericho.  Members of his family reported that bruises and cuts were 
visible on his head and face after his death.  Results of an autopsy, 
conducted on Rahim after he had been interred for several weeks, showed 
that Rahim had broken ribs and appeared to have no heart damage, but the 
report said it was not possible to determine the cause of death.  Three 
intelligence officers were sentenced for their role in the case.  Two 
were sentenced to 1-year terms and one for 7 years. 
 
During the year, Palestinians killed 45 Israelis and 2 American citizen 
tourists in the occupied territories and in Israel.  This marked a 
decrease from 75 persons killed in terrorist attacks in 1994.  The worst 
incidents were a January suicide bombing that killed 21 Israelis at the 
Beit Lid junction in central Israel, and suicide bombings in Gaza, the 
Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan, and the Jerusalem Ramot Eshkol 
neighborhood that left 20 dead, including two American citizens. 
 
Palestinians also killed an estimated 14 Palestinians during the year, 
for either suspicion of collaboration with Israeli security services or 
as a result of criminal action, personal disputes, or street gang 
infighting.  This is a dramatic decrease from the 65 reported killed in 
1994, the year the PLO leadership pledged that it would try to halt the 
killing of "collaborators."  Although these figures do not differentiate 
between collaborator and other types of killings, the number of 
Palestinians killed by Palestinians has continued to decline.  There 
were 149 in 1992 and 79 in 1993. 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances attributed 
to either Israeli or Palestinian security services. 
 
   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.  According to the reports, such abuse 
takes place immediately after arrest and during interrogation.  
According to the 1987 Landau Judicial Commission GSS interrogation 
guidelines, torture is condemned but interrogators are allowed to use 
"moderate physical and psychological pressure" to secure confessions and 
obtain information. 
 
Although there were fewer arrests in 1995, local human rights monitors 
cite a marked increase in the number of complaints of mistreatment and 
torture during interrogation, especially from those suspected of 
belonging to Islamic groups.  Interrogation sessions have reportedly 
become longer and more severe.  The frequency and duration of solitary 
confinement has also increased.  According to human rights monitors, the 
GSS systematically uses interrogation methods which do not result in 
detectable traces of ill-treatment on the victims or which leave marks 
that disappear after a short period of time. 
 
Common interrogation practices reportedly include 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.  Detainees have also been subjected to violent "shaking" by 
their interrogators (see Section 1.a.).  The apparent intent of these 
practices is to disorient and intimidate prisoners in order to obtain 
confessions or information.  The International Committee of the Red 
Cross (ICRC) declared in 1992 that such practices violate the Geneva 
Convention. 
 
Although Israel's Criminal Code prohibits torture, the GSS Chief is 
permitted by law to allow interrogators to employ "special measures" 
that exceed the use of "moderate physical and psychological pressure" 
allowed in the Landau Commission guidelines when it is deemed necessary 
to obtain information that could potentially save Israeli lives in 
certain "ticking bomb" cases.  The GSS first permitted interrogators 
"greater flexibility" in applying the guidelines shortly after a bus 
bombing in Tel Aviv in October 1994 that killed 22 Israelis.  The 
Government has not defined the meaning of "greater flexibility."  At 3-
month intervals throughout the year, the Government approved the 
continued use of "special measures," arguing that they were vital 
because their use had prevented numerous terrorist attacks. 
 
Israeli authorities maintain that torture is not condoned, but 
acknowledge that abuses sometimes occur and are investigated.  However, 
the Government does not generally make public the results of such 
investigations.  There is a growing public debate within senior levels 
of the Government as to whether some of the "special measures" 
constitute torture and should be banned. 
 
According to the Israeli press, five members of the Jerusalem police 
were sentenced in September to jail terms ranging from 2 months 
community service to 15 months imprisonment for mistreating Arabs from 
East Jerusalem during questioning.  The five were also charged with 
fabricating evidence and violating the public trust. 
 
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 ICRC representatives 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 are 
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 that their 
complaints will be ignored. 
 
There were 65 complaints submitted by Palestinian detainees resident in 
the occupied territories against the GSS for mistreatment during 
interrogation.  All were forwarded to the Department for Police 
Investigations at the Ministry of Justice, which investigates complaints 
against the GSS.  During the year, there were no known cases in which a 
confession was disqualified because of improper means of investigation 
or interrogation. 
 
Human rights groups provided credible reports that PA security forces 
abused, and sometimes tortured, Palestinian detainees.  According to the 
reports, such abuse takes place immediately after arrest and during 
interrogation.  The Gaza civil police commander issued a circular in 
1995 that forbids torture during interrogation and directs the security 
forces to observe the rights of all detainees. 
 
A report produced by the Israeli human rights group B'tselem claimed 
that mistreatment of detainees and improper arrest and detention 
procedures by the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in Jericho reflects 
PA policy.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and other 
Palestinian human rights groups denied that there is evidence of 
systematic abuse, but cited numerous incidents of mistreatment, 
especially of detainees accused of collaboration with the Israelis, drug 
trafficking, prostitution, rape, or membership in extremist groups.  
Human rights monitors have reported the following abuses used by PA 
police authorities:  hooding, beating, tying in painful positions, sleep 
deprivation, preventing medical care, and threats.  In June, PA security 
officials in Gaza arrested HAMAS spokesman Mahmud Zahar on charges of 
incitement. Palestinian human rights organizations say Zahar was 
severely beaten and his hair and beard were shaved as unusual and 
degrading punishment. 
 
PA investigatory committees have ruled that interrogators have been 
negligent for not providing detainees with medical care upon arrest and 
during interrogation, and for not following correct interrogation 
procedures.  PA security officials acknowledge that problems exist but 
attribute most abuses to lack of training and education.  Some security 
officials involved in mistreatment of prisoners were disciplined. 
 
Palestinian inmates of several Israeli prisons and detention centers 
undertook hunger strikes throughout the year to protest either harsh 
conditions or to pressure the Government to release prisoners as a 
goodwill gesture during the peace process.  Prisoners criticized 
overcrowding, mistreatment, filthy and deteriorating conditions of cells 
and tents, inadequate medical care, extended use of solitary 
confinement, and in some cases, lack of visits by lawyers (see Section 
2.c. of the Israel report). 
 
The PA took over the administration of detention facilities in Gaza and 
Jericho from Israeli security forces in May 1994.  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.  In 
Jericho, for example, the one prison, a former police station, is 
dilapidated and overcrowded with about 80 prisoners.  The PA has not 
allocated its Ministry of Justice adequate funds to make improvements. 
 
   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 areas under exclusive PA control.  
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 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 adults. 
 
Persons may be held in custody without a warrant for 96 hours and then 
released unless a warrant is issued.  Prearraignment detention can last 
up to 11 days for Palestinians arrested in the occupied territories and 
up to 8 days for minors and those accused of less serious offenses.  
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 detention. 
 
Although a detainee generally has the right to consult with a lawyer as 
soon as possible, in security cases authorities may delay access to 
counsel for up to 15 days.  Higher ranking officials or judges may 
extend this period an additional 75 days.  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 often kept 
incommunicado for several days after their arrest by Israeli 
authorities, who do not inform their families of their whereabouts.  
Palestinians assert that they generally locate the detainees through 
their own efforts.  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 time. 
 
Israeli district military commanders may order administrative detention 
without formal charges.  In January the period of administrative 
detention was extended from 6 months to 1 year, with renewals possible.  
Many Palestinians administratively detained over the past 2 years have 
had their detention orders renewed repeatedly with no meaningful chance 
of appeal.  One detainee is currently serving his fifth consecutive 
order, which is due to expire in April 1996. 
 
An estimated 220 Palestinians were in administrative detention in 
Megiddo military detention center as of December, the same number as at 
the end of 1994.  According to the Mandela Institute for Political 
Prisoners, 60 of the 220 administrative detainees had their detention 
orders renewed. 
 
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.  Detainees may appeal detention orders, or the renewal of a 
detention order, before a military judge. 
 
A HAMAS supporter who was arrested in January 1993 and was not 
administratively detained, was held nonetheless until August 1995 after 
21 hearings.  An Israeli military court finally sentenced him to 42 
months' imprisonment for belonging to HAMAS and providing support to its 
members.  In another case, security forces detained and interrogated a 
reporter for a Palestinian newspaper for over a month (see Section 
2.a.). 
 
There were no deportations for security reasons in 1995. 
 
As of December, an estimated 4,900 Palestinian prisoners and detainees 
were incarcerated in Israeli-administered prisons, military detention 
centers, and holding centers, a decrease from the 1994 figure of 6,050.  
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. 
 
The restrictive procedures regulating the movement of goods and people 
between the territories and Israel, which have been in effect since 
1993, have made it impossible for those with security records to visit 
imprisoned relatives in Israel, and has caused difficulty for other 
family members and lawyers to visit as well. 
 
Israeli security forces conducted several mass arrests in response to 
acts or threats of violence against Israelis.  For example, about 1,500 
Palestinians suspected of belonging to HAMAS or Islamic Jihad were 
arrested after the January Beit Lid suicide bombing.  In October in 
connection with the Interim Agreement, about 1,100 Palestinian criminal 
and security prisoners were released from Israeli jails and detention 
centers.  Another 1,200 were scheduled to be released in January 1996. 
 
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 being charged.  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, 45 
opposition members were in detention as of September 26, compared with 
20 members as of September 1, 1994.  Authorities generally permit 
prisoners to receive visits from family members, attorneys, and human 
rights monitors, except for prisoners held in the Gaza central prison 
security wing.  In principle detainees may notify their families of 
their arrest, but this is not always permitted. 
 
The several PA security services have overlapping or unclear mandates.  
Although only the civil police are authorized to make arrests, other 
security services reportedly do so as well.  The operating procedures 
and regulations for conduct of police in the various services are not 
well developed and have not yet been made available to the public.  In a 
letter to an international human rights group, the civilian police 
commander in Gaza admitted that there have been problems regarding 
proper arrest and detention procedures, which he attributes to either 
ignorance of proper procedures or "bad habits" which certain officers 
picked up during the "revolutionary period." 
 
There are many detention facilities in Gaza and Jericho, a situation 
that complicates the ability of families, lawyers and even the Ministry 
of Justice, to track detainees' whereabouts.  Many security services, 
including Preventive Security, General Intelligence, Military 
Intelligence, and the Coast Guard, have their own interrogation and 
detention facilities.  In general, these services do not, or only 
sporadically, inform families of a relative's arrest.  Most PA police 
officers lack the training and knowledge of such things as proper arrest 
procedures and human rights standards.  In 1995 Palestinian human rights 
groups conducted training at the PSS police academy in Jericho on such 
matters, and have held human rights seminars for interrogators and other 
officials. 
 
Until the signing of the Interim Agreement in September, Palestinian 
police did not have the legal authority to arrest, try, or imprison 
Palestinians who committed crimes outside of Gaza or Jericho.  
Reportedly for this reason, such suspects were usually released without 
charge, sometimes after several weeks of detention.  This activity also 
resulted from the general vacuum of law enforcement of civil and 
criminal cases in the West Bank, where the IDF concentrated almost 
exclusively on security cases. 
 
Prior to the Palestinian police deployment in the rest of West Bank 
cities in 1995, there were numerous reports that officials from various 
Palestinian factions, and Palestinians working for PA security services, 
forced or persuaded--sometimes under false pretexts--West Bank suspects 
to travel to Jericho for interrogation by PA security services. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
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 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.  The 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 officials 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 translated into Hebrew for the record because, authorities 
maintain, many Israeli court personnel speak Arabic but few read 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 similar crimes against either Israelis or other 
Palestinians. 
 
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.  Pre-1967 
Jordanian law applies in those areas in the West Bank under PA control.  
However, the body of law in both Gaza and West Bank 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, but has made little 
progress. 
 
The court system in general is still recovering from years of neglect.  
Judges and staff are underpaid and overworked and suffer from lack of 
skills and training; court procedures and record-keeping are archaic and 
chaotic; and the delivery of justice is often slow and uneven.  Judges 
suffer from lack of police protection.  The ability of the courts to 
enforce decisions is extremely weak, and Palestinian courts in the West 
Bank function sporadically.  There is also administrative confusion in 
the appeals process. 
 
The PA Ministry of Justice appoints all civil 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 and, 
since late 1995, in other West Bank cities. 
 
In February in response to Israeli and international pressure to take a 
tougher stance on terrorism and to charges that extremist opposition 
groups intimidated civilian court judges, the PA established a state 
security court in Gaza to try cases involving internal or external 
security.  The court was established by special decree on the basis of 
legislation in place during Egyptian control of the Gaza Strip from 
1948-1967 and on a Palestinian constitution enacted in Gaza in 1962.  
Three military judges preside over the court, which reportedly applies 
civilian law.  There is no right of appeal, but verdicts may be either 
ratified or repealed by the head of the PA. 
 
During the year, the PA State Security Court in Gaza handed down 
sentences to at least 18 defendants, ranging from 25 years for 
recruiting suicide bombers and assisting bombers to acquittal of all 
charges.  A similar court operates in Jericho under the same guidelines 
as the Gaza court.  It is headed by a senior police official and 
presided over by three military judges.  The State Security Court was 
also used in Jenin in December, when it sentenced two former Fatah 
"Black Panthers" to 9 years in prison and hard labor for abducting two 
Israeli border policemen in Jenin in November. 
 
Local and international human rights groups have criticized the PA State 
Security Court, arguing that it is subordinate to the power of the 
executive, undermines the independence of the judiciary, and violates 
defendants' rights to a fair and open trial. 
 
Normal limits on the length of pre-arraignment detention do not appear 
to apply to suspects held by the PA security prosecutor.  Defendants are 
brought to court without knowledge of the charges against them or 
sufficient time to prepare a defense.  Court sessions often take place 
on short notice, sometimes even in the middle of the night, often 
without lawyers present.  In some instances, the State Security Court 
has tried a case, issued a verdict, and imposed a sentence in a single 
session lasting several hours. 
 
A Palestinian human rights organization estimated that 35 political 
prisoners and 90 detainees suspected of "collaboration" with Israel were 
incarcerated in the Gaza central prison as of December.  This does not 
include detainees who may be held in other detention facilities in Gaza.  
Thirty "security prisoners" and 10 "military violators" (i.e., 
Palestinian security service employees facing prosecution) were 
reportedly held in Jericho prison in November. 
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
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. 
 
In July IDF soldiers, without identifying themselves, reportedly 
attempted to enter the home of a Palestinian with American citizenship 
by force, and then opened fire on the house indiscriminately, damaging 
the house and its contents while the family was inside.  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. 
 
Security forces may demolish or seal the home of a suspect, whether 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. 
 
The number of house demolitions and sealings continued to be low.  
Authorities demolished one house for security reasons in 1995, compared 
to one partial demolition in 1994.  They also sealed the stairway to the 
roof of one house, compared to five such sealings in 1994. 
 
Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of the house of the Ramat Gan 
suicide bomber.  The family has appealed the order.  The authorities 
also ordered the demolition of the house of an alleged accomplice in the 
attack, as well as the house of the Jerusalem suicide bomber. 
 
Many human rights groups maintain that the sealing or demolishing of 
homes is a form of collective punishment because such acts target 
innocent families and children.  The Israeli High Court has stated that 
the goal of such demolitions is to deter terrorists. 
 
Owners may apply to regional military commanders for permits to rebuild 
or unseal their homes.  In December 1994, 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.  In March the IDF unsealed about 40 houses in the West 
Bank, many sealed since the 1970's, as a goodwill gesture to mark a 
Muslim holiday. 
 
The IDF continued using heavy weapons to destroy houses believed to be 
the hiding places of security suspects.  In at least 3 cases, houses 
were destroyed apparently to punish families believed to have harbored 
suspects.  In one case in Hebron, 2 houses were demolished reportedly as 
a result of their proximity to an orchard in which a wanted person had 
sought refuge.  According to official Israeli sources, 5 houses were 
demolished in 1995 in military operations, a decrease from 12 in 1994.  
A wall dividing two houses was also partially demolished in one military 
operation. 
 
Israeli security services sometimes monitor the mail and telephone 
conversations of Palestinians resident in PA areas and the West Bank.  
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 are occasionally ignored in Palestinian police sweeps for 
security suspects.  Homes have been searched without the consent of 
their owners; in some cases police have forcibly entered premises, 
destroying doors and windows. 
 
 
   g.   Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
The human rights organization B'tselem estimated 47 persons were killed 
by Israeli security forces in 1995.  Israeli forces killed a total of 
108 persons in 1994. 
 
Human rights monitors say that one reason for the decrease appears to be 
a change in IDF tactics in confronting Palestinian demonstrators and 
stonethrowers, as well as apparent Israeli decisions to keep away from 
schools and other flashpoints.  The IDF generally did not use deadly 
force to disperse crowds, and adopted the use of batons, tear gas, and--
with less frequency--rubber bullets.  There were still instances, 
however, in which live ammunition was used to disperse peaceful crowds, 
especially during demonstrations throughout the West Bank in solidarity 
with hunger striking prisoners in June. 
 
Palestinians killed 15 Israeli soldiers and civilians in the West Bank 
and PA areas during the year, and 30 people in Israel.  Extremists 
associated with HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were responsible for 
most of the lethal attacks on Israelis. 
 
According to an Israeli human rights organization, Israeli security 
forces killed 4 Palestinian children under the age of 16.  There were 15 
such killings in 1994.  Information on the results of the investigations 
into these incidents was not available.  Human rights groups report that 
the IDF killed at least 3 Palestinians at military roadblocks and 
checkpoints at Israeli borders and inside occupied Territory.  In these 
cases, the IDF said that the individuals were shot after they failed to 
obey soldiers' orders to halt.  The IDF said in late 1994 that it would 
revise the open fire orders at the checkpoints, but has so far not 
released any new orders. 
 
IDF regulations permit the use of live ammunition only when a soldier's 
life is 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 that 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 or women, even in cases of severe public disorder, unless there 
is an immediate and obvious danger to a soldier's life. 
 
In practice, soldiers, police, and undercover units used live ammunition 
in situations other than when their lives were in danger (see Section 
1.a.) and sometimes 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. 
 
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 Israel.  Continuing a policy began in 
1994, the Government generally 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 continued to be low.  
Israeli authorities continue to restrict the Arabic press for security-
related issues.  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 security forces raided 
several press offices in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on suspicion 
of publishing or possessing material linking them to militant Islamic 
groups, and seized files, equipment, and computer disks.  In another 
case, security forces detained and interrogated a reporter from An-Nahar 
Palestinian newspaper for over a month on his relations with HAMAS 
without bringing charges.  The International Federation of Journalists 
petitioned the Prime Minister to urge his release. 
 
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.  PA authorities accused the 
Government of being behind unexplained technical failures that cut off 
communications several times to the PA "Voice of Palestine" radio 
station located in Ramallah.  PA authorities charged that these 
unexpected service lapses coincided with news events that the Israelis 
did not want reported on Palestinian radio. 
 
Some areas continue to be closed to journalists, usually in conjunction 
with a curfew or security incident.  From time to time during security 
closures, the IDF denies 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-Israel content.  Possession of banned materials is 
punishable by a fine and imprisonment.   
 
Security forces raided and in some cases closed several mosques in 1995 
after HAMAS pamphlets were found inside. 
 
Palestinian universities and schools generally operated normally, 
although students and teachers still had problems traveling between Gaza 
and the West Bank.  The Government denied to hundreds of Gazan students 
the travel permits required to reach the West Bank or the residency 
permits required to study or teach there.  Some Palestinians were also 
denied permits to travel to academic meetings abroad or to engage in 
cultural exchange programs in Israel.  Several private schools in 
Jerusalem were shut down for weeks at a time during strict closures 
after many teachers were unable to obtain permits to enter.  In January 
Israeli police raided a university in Jerusalem, destroyed property, and 
arrested and reportedly beat several students. 
 
Palestinians living in areas under the PA's jurisdiction have been 
allowed to criticize PA performance and the peace process.  The PA has 
granted licenses to a variety of periodicals, including some published 
by opposition groups.  Nonetheless, the PA has a generally poor record 
on freedom of expression and freedom of the press.  The PA Press Law 
published in 1995 has been described by Palestinian journalists as the 
best in the Arab world, but it has not been adhered to in many cases. 
 
PA officials imposed restrictions on the press in several instances, 
including temporarily closing some opposition and mainstream papers, and 
confiscating copies of others, including a Fatah publication.  While 
some were closed for publishing inflammatory material, others published 
articles critical of the PA.  There were credible reports that a 
reporter from the mainstream An-Nahar newspaper was detained by security 
forces for reporting on an alleged bomb factory in Gaza.  On several 
occasions, PA officials detained the editors of opposition papers. 
 
There were also credible reports that senior PA leaders have intimidated 
editors into practicing self-censorship, and pressured them not to 
publish certain writers who are out of favor with the PA or Fatah 
officials.  In an incident in Nablus, a Palestinian professor who 
published an article that labeled Yasir Arafat as a dictator received 
anonymous threatening calls, and was later shot in the legs, reportedly 
by local Fatah renegades. 
 
In a report issued in September, Reporters Without Frontiers, a Paris-
based journalists' rights group, charged the PA with resorting to 
"pressure, harassment, arrests, and suspensions" to stifle the 
independence of the press.  They labeled the PA Press Law as 
restrictive, because it prevents criticism of the police and permits the 
seizure of newspapers which do so.  In  
 
December PA police officials summoned an editor of Al-Quds newspaper, 
Mahir Al-Alami, to police headquarters in Jericho, to question him about 
his refusal to publish on Al-Qud's front page a story about PLO Chairman 
Yasir Arafat.  Alami was released after being detained without charge in 
Jericho for nearly a week. 
 
Under the August 1994 Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and 
Responsibilities 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 PA interference with academic freedom. 
 
   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 in September 1993.  However, in 
January after several well-attended Palestinian demonstrations against 
confiscation of Palestinian land and settlement expansion, the IDF 
banned demonstrations involving land issues.  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 overly political or opposed to the DOP. 
 
PA officials maintain that they do not impose restraints on freedom of 
assembly, although they require permits for rallies, demonstrations, and 
many cultural events.  These were rarely denied.  In a notable exception 
in March, the PA refused permission for the Gaza Center for Rights and 
Law to hold a seminar on the PA State Security Court.  In Gaza, police 
approval is required for "political" meetings at several specific large 
meeting halls.  Written permission is also required for buses to 
transport passengers to attend political meetings.  There have been no 
reports that such permits or permissions were denied.  In PA cities in 
the West Bank, the PA requires permits for outdoor rallies and 
demonstrations and prohibits calls for violence, a display of arms, and 
racist slogans. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Israeli Government respects freedom of religion and does not ban any 
group or sect on strictly religious grounds.  It permits all faiths to 
operate schools and institutions.  Religious publications are subject to 
the publications laws described in Section 2.a.  The IDF raided several 
mosques in the West Bank and closed some for several days or months 
after "incitive material" was found on the premises. 
 
The PA 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 
(ID) cards which signify that the bearer is a security risk and prohibit 
the bearer's travel in or through Jerusalem and abroad.  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 PA areas. 
 
Closures of the West Bank and Gaza continued to occur in 1995.  Any 
Palestinian holding a Gaza or West Bank ID card was required to obtain a 
permit to gain entrance to Israel or Jerusalem.  Most Palestinians in 
the West Bank and Gaza encountered difficulty in obtaining permits to 
visit, work, study, obtain medical care, or attend religious services 
outside of the West Bank and Gaza.  Palestinian journalists, many 
working for the foreign media, were denied entry during strict closures.  
As a security precaution, Israeli authorities also banned West Bank 
residents and Gazans from entering Jerusalem during major Jewish 
holidays.  Even with a valid permit, entry by Palestinians was subjected 
to the decision of soldiers manning the checkpoints into Israel or 
Jerusalem; these soldiers sometimes refused entry.  In January women, 
who previously did not need permits, were required to obtain them.  
After March the IDF banned Palestinian vehicles from entering or exiting 
Gaza. 
 
Serious security incidents generally prompt the Government to cancel all 
permits, forbidding completely Palestinian entry from the territories 
and the PA areas for extended periods, and requiring Palestinians to 
reapply for permits.  Israeli officials acknowledge that no Palestinian 
holder of a legal entrance permit has committed an act of terrorism in 
Israel; terrorists have been either legal residents of East Jerusalem or 
have entered Israeli territory clandestinely.  Palestinian sources 
report that Israeli police arrest at random an average of 1,000 
Palestinians a month in Israel and Jerusalem for lack of entrance 
permits.  The offenders are often jailed for 48 hours and may be fined 
up to $133.00. 
 
The Israeli authorities have also closed off for security reasons the 
Palestinian city of Jericho, inside the West Bank, from periods ranging 
from hours to a 9-day closure in August.  The August closure was imposed 
during a period of contention with the PA concerning suspects in Jericho 
who were wanted for the murder of Israelis.  Many Palestinian non-
residents of Jericho, as well as tourists, were trapped in the city as a 
result of the closure. 
 
Curfews were still in use, generally in response to security incidents 
or in advance of anticipated incidents, or as part of an on-going 
security operation.  Israeli settlers are generally free to move about 
during curfews, while Palestinian residents are confined to their homes. 
 
The Government has issued travel restrictions against 17 Israeli 
settlers, prohibiting them from entering sensitive locations in the West 
Bank.  At least 18 Israelis living in Israel are prohibited from 
entering any part of the West Bank.  After the assassination of Israeli 
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November, the Israeli Government clamped 
down on extremist settler activities.  About 50 settlers were charged 
for activities that took place several months prior to the 
assassination.  Three settlers were charged with sedition, the first 
time such charges have been issued for activities not related to the 
Israeli-Arab conflict.  One prominent settler later received a 6-month 
prison sentence, plus a 6-month suspended sentence for rioting.  
Seventeen settlers were placed under administrative detention, or house 
arrest; administrative detention sentences usually range from 3 to 6 
months.  Three members of the extremist Kahane Chai organization were 
imprisoned, although they were later released on appeal. 
 
The Government requires all Palestinians resident in areas under Israeli 
control 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 into Jordan must remain outside the territories for 9 
months.  Passports and identification cards for the residents of PA 
areas are issued by the PA.  In late 1995, the PA began to issue 
documents to Palestinian residents throughout the West Bank. 
 
Obstacles to travel by Palestinian residents of the occupied territories 
include the inability to obtain a travel permit and the fear of losing 
one's residency.  Restriction on residence, tourist visas, reentry, and 
family reunification apply only to Palestinian residents of the occupied 
territories.  Israeli authorities sometimes refuse 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 and its successor, MATAK, usually denied 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 PA does not restrict the travel of Palestinians in Gaza and PA 
cities in the West Bank.  However, a "safe passage" ensuring travel 
between Gaza and PA cities in the West Bank for Palestinian residents 
provided for in the Interim Agreement is awaiting implementation.  The 
PA Ministry of Civil Affairs requires women to show the written consent 
of a male family member before it will issue them a travel document (see 
Section 5). 
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
For the first time in their history, Palestinian residents in the West 
Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem went to the polls on January 20, 1996.  
They elected an 88-member Palestinian Council and the head of the 
Executive Authority of the Council.  Despite calls for an election 
boycott from the Islamist party HAMAS and other factions opposed to the 
peace process, voter turnout was high, about three-fourths of the 
estimated 1 million registered voters.  Yasir Arafat won almost 89 
percent of the vote in a two-person race for chief executive of the 
Council. 
 
Some 700 candidates ran for Council seats.  Council members were elected 
in multi-member electoral districts.  The Council is expected to convene 
in early 1996.  On its agenda will be the tasks of drafting a basic law 
specifying the powers of the Council.  A sizable number of independents 
and critics of Mr. Arafat and his Fatah faction, as many as 35, won 
seats on the Council. 
 
The election was monitored by hundreds of international and local 
observers.  They agreed that while there were some irregularities, the 
election was generally satisfactory overall. 
 
Most Palestinians in East Jerusalem do not recognize the jurisdiction of 
the municipality of Jerusalem; 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--monitored the 
Israeli Government's human rights practices.  The Israeli Government 
generally cooperates with human rights organizations; officials normally 
agree to meet with human rights monitors.  The Israeli Government 
permits them to publish and hold press conferences.  However, some 
groups maintain that the Israeli Government does not adequately respond 
to their inquiries and sometimes does not respond at all. 
 
The director of a Palestinian Workers' Rights Center was arrested and 
called in for several hours of questioning and accused of "encouraging 
workers to use violence against their employers."  The director said 
such charges were unfounded, and several human rights and other 
organizations worked for his release, including Israel's Histadrut Labor 
Federation. 
 
Many local human rights groups--mostly Palestinian--as well as several 
international human rights organizations, monitored the PA's human 
rights practices.  The PA generally, but not always, cooperates with 
these organizations and PA officials normally meet with their 
representatives. The PA licensed a new human rights organization in 
Gaza, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.  The PA also has a 
cooperative relationship with the International Labor Organization.  
Many of the Palestinian human rights organizations work behind the 
scenes with the PA to overcome areas of alleged abuse.  They also 
publish criticism if they believe the PA is not responding adequately to 
private entreaties.  The PSS in Jericho is working with local 
Palestinian human rights groups to train its members in proper human 
rights procedures. 
 
The ICRC operates in the PA areas under the terms of a memorandum of 
understanding signed between the ICRC and the PLO.  The memorandum 
accords the ICRC access to all detainees held by the PA.  However, the 
ICRC has experienced difficulties in gaining access to all detainees.  
PA officials did not grant  
 
ICRC representatives permission to visit Gaza Central Prison from July 
to December. 
 
In February PA police arrested and detained for several hours Raji 
Sourani, a Palestinian lawyer and director of the Gaza Human Rights 
Center for Rights and Law.  Sourani was arrested after the Center 
published a report condemning the establishment of the PA State Security 
Court.  In December PA security officials in Gaza arrested the chairman 
of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen's Rights (PICRR), 
Iyad Sarraj, and held him for 9 hours, reportedly for criticizing human 
rights violations by the PA. 
 
In September the head of Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS) 
in Jericho labeled Bassam Eid, a Palestinian human rights field worker 
from the Israeli human rights organization B'tselem, an "agent of the 
Israeli police" after B'tselem released a report critical of PSS 
treatment of Palestinian detainees.  Human rights groups charged that 
such a public statement put the researcher in danger because it implied 
he was a "collaborator" with Israel.  The PSS head has not publicly 
retracted the statement. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
   Women 
 
Palestinian women living under military occupation face human rights 
problems similar to those of men.  In addition, Palestinian women both 
in the occupied territories and in the Palestinian Authority areas 
endure various forms of social prejudice and repression within their own 
society.  Because of early marriage, girls frequently do not finish the 
mandatory level of schooling and often do not attend colleges and 
universities because of cultural restrictions.  While there is an active 
women's movement in the West Bank and Gaza, attention has only recently 
shifted from nationalist aspirations to women's issues such as domestic 
violence, education, employment, and marriage and inheritance laws. 
 
Although the issues of rape, domestic violence, and violence related to 
"family honor" have gained greater prominence, public discussion is 
generally muted.  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 families.  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 providing counseling or 
outreach services to victims of a problem they see as more widespread 
than is acknowledged.   
 
There are no reliable statistics available on family violence or other 
forms of violence against women. 
 
There are no laws providing for women's rights in the workplace.  Some 
Palestinian women work outside the home; a recent United Nations study 
set the female workforce at 8.8 per cent in the West Bank and 1.7 
percent in Gaza. 
 
Women are underrepresented in most aspects of political and professional 
life.  There are almost no women in decisionmaking positions in the 
legal, medical, educational, and scientific fields.  However, a small 
group of women is prominent in politics, medicine, law, teaching, and in 
non-governmental organizations. 
 
Personal status law for Palestinians is based on religious law.  For 
Muslim Palestinians, personal status law is derived from Shari'a 
(Islamic) law.  The PA Ministry of Civil Affairs requires women to 
obtain the written consent of a male family member before issuing a 
travel document.  This requirement is based on Jordanian law.  In the 
West Bank and Gaza, Shari'a law pertaining to women is part of the 
Jordanian Status Law of 1976, which includes inheritance and marriage 
laws.  Under the law, women inherit less than male members of the 
family.  The Marriage Law allows males to take more than one wife, but 
few do so.  Under this law, women are permitted to make "stipulations" 
to protect them against divorce and questions of child custody.  
However, only 1 percent of women take advantage of this section of the 
law, leaving most women at a disadvantage when it comes to divorce or 
child custody. 
 
   Children 
 
Current British Mandate, Jordanian, and military laws, all of which 
exist in the West Bank and Gaza, offer protection to children under 
labor and penal codes.  While there is no juvenile court system, judges 
specializing in children's cases generally sit for juvenile offenders.  
In cases where the child is the victim, judges have the discretion to 
remove the child from a situation deemed harmful.  However, the system 
is not advanced in the protection afforded children. 
 
There is no pattern of societal abuse of children, either among Israelis 
or Palestinians. 
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
There is no mandated accessibility to public facilities in the occupied 
territories under either Israeli or Palestinian authority.  
Approximately 130,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are 
disabled.  Some Palestinian institutions care for and train disabled 
persons; their efforts, however, are chronically underfunded.  According 
to a report by the  
 
Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, Palestinians with disabilities 
are segregated and isolated from Palestinian society.  They are 
discriminated against in most spheres, including education, employment, 
transportation, and access to public buildings and facilities. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Israeli settlers are treated more favorably under Israeli law and 
practices than Palestinians under the complex mixture of laws and 
regulations that apply to the territories.  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.). 
 
Settlers and other Israelis opposed to the peace process established a 
semi-permanent demonstration site outside Orient House, former 
headquarters for the Palestinian bilateral negotiating team and center 
of Palestinian political activity in Jerusalem for several months.  At 
times, the demonstrators harassed and bullied visitors, passersby, and 
children at a nearby school. 
 
The Israeli human rights organization B'tselem released a report in 
September charging that the Government has failed to protect the lives 
and property of Palestinians in Hebron from repeated attacks by settlers 
there.  Israeli security forces in Hebron were charged with acting half-
heartedly with regard to repeated acts of settler violence, including 
attacks on property and beatings and stonings.  In numerous cases, the 
police conducted no investigation and only in isolated incidents were 
those responsible brought to trial. 
 
The same B'tselem report stated that from February 1994, when an Israeli 
settler killed 29 Palestinians in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, until 
the conclusion of B'tselem's research in August 1995, the IDF increased 
its presence in the city and created a more restrictive environment for 
Palestinians than in other West Bank cities.  The IDF imposed 50 curfew 
days and 40 curfew nights, erected 32 roadblocks and 10 manned 
checkpoints, and closed entire sections of the city to Palestinians. 
 
Section 6   Worker Rights 
 
   a.   The Right of Association 
 
Labor affairs in the West Bank came under Palestinian authority with the 
signing of the Interim Agreement in September 1995.  As a result, labor 
regulations are currently in a transitional state because of the 
transfer of authority.  Palestinians are in the process of writing a new 
labor law.  In the meantime, labor matters in the West Bank are governed 
by Jordanian Law 21 of 1965, as amended by Israeli military orders, and 
in Gaza and Jericho, by PA decisions.  The law permits workers to 
establish and join unions without government authorization.  The 
stipulation by Israeli authorities that all proposed new West Bank 
unions apply for a permit is no longer being enforced because of the 
peace process.  No new unions were established in 1995, although one 
applied for registration.  Israeli authorities have licensed about 35 of 
the estimated 185 union branches now in existence.  There are close to 
30 licensed trade unions in the West Bank and 6 in Gaza. 
 
PA officials are drafting a new labor law which reportedly provides for 
the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, a minimum wage, 
maximum working hours, minimum age employment restrictions, and health 
and safety regulations.  It does not allow for the unionization of 
domestic servants, family members of employers, and PA civil servants. 
 
Palestinian workers in East Jerusalem are governed by Israeli labor law.  
They are free to establish their own unions.  Although the Government 
restricts East Jerusalem unions from joining West Bank trade union 
federations, 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 and signed a cooperative agreement with Histadrut 
in March 1995.  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 half of this fee to 
the Palestinian Union Federation were also completed in March 1995. 
 
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 CIVAD provided 
Palestinian workers with tax allowances and other benefits that amounted 
to adequate compensation, a process that Israeli-Palestinian peace 
agreements have disrupted.  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 leave. 
 
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 is still underway. 
 
The great majority of West Bank unions belong to the General Federation 
of Trade Unions in the West Bank (GFTU) or the Workers' Unity Bloc 
(WUB).  In the summer of 1994, the GFTU, the WUB, other West Bank 
unions, and the Gaza unions merged informally to create a single union, 
the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).  Pending 
elections (postponed until after the Palestinian general elections), the 
PGFTU acted as the informal coalition in the completion of the 
negotiations with Histadrut regarding workers' fees.  The reorganization 
of unions under the PGFTU--although not yet finalized--is intended to 
enable the West Bank and Gaza unions to represent worker interests more 
effectively. 
 
Union membership has declined continuously since the intifada, in part 
because the periodic closures of the occupied territories have 
restricted the number of work permits issued to Palestinians.  The 
number of Palestinians working in Israel fell in 1995 because of the 
closure and the Government's policy of hiring workers from abroad to 
work inside Israel.  An estimated 85,000 workers are members of the 
GFTU, the largest union bloc.  There are approximately 25,000 union 
members in Gaza.  The PGFTU estimates actual organized membership, i.e., 
dues-paying members, at about 30 percent of all Palestinian workers, and 
is working to add more.  Although the GFTU has participated in meetings 
of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), the 
PGFTU has yet to do so because of a conflict over jurisdictions.  The 
GFTU, the PGTTU, and the WUB have applied for membership in the 
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). 
 
Since union organizations in the West Bank are associated with various 
Palestinian political factions, Israeli authorities at times have 
inhibited union activities in the West Bank and Gaza.  That situation is 
changing under the peace process, however, as Israeli authorities have 
generally not interfered in union activity.  At least one organization 
organized by Islamists now operates legally. 
 
West Bank unions held some elections in 1994, which were suspended until 
after the Palestinian general elections.  The CIVAD, which had the power 
to remove candidates convicted of security and other offenses, did not 
exercise that power after the DOP. 
 
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, but in current practice, this law is not being executed.  
Many small scale, non-union sanctioned strikes occurred in the West Bank 
without Israeli interference.  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. 
 
   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 35 percent of 
employment in the territories consists of wage jobs, most in services 
provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the 
CIVAD, or in municipalities.  Collective bargaining is protected.  
Although the CIVAD did not officially recognize collective agreements, 
it nonetheless honored such agreements and did not interfere in them.  
About 150 labor agreements were in force in the West Bank in 1995. 
 
Labor disputes are reportedly adjudicated by committees of 3 to 5 
members in businesses employing more than 20 workers.  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 territories. 
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
The minimum working age in the West Bank, Jericho, and Gaza 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, the normal workweek is 48 hours in most areas; in Gaza 
the workweek is 45 hours for day laborers and 40 hours for salaried 
employees.  There is no effective enforcement of maximum workweek laws. 
 
The Israeli Ministry of Labor's Office of Inspection Services has been 
responsible for enforcing safety standards in the West Bank.  While it 
maintains that it has undertaken inspections, health and safety 
conditions in Palestinian factories and other businesses in the West 
Bank and Gaza often do not meet international standards. 
 
(###)

[end of document]

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