In Palestine/Eretz Israel live the Palestinian Arab people. Here their spiritual political and national identity was shaped. Here they created cultural values of national, Arab and universal significance.
Jews live in numerous places around the world, where they developed rich and unique cultural traditions in relation to the human environment in which they were situated. I truly hope that also in Palestine we are able to develop a unique culture in continuing dialogue with the environment and the Arab Palestinian people living here. Jews in the diaspora created unique languages, literature, theatre and philosophy, representing glorious creative attainments and have gained world recognition for their achievements. I truly hope that also
in Palestine, Jews will be able to develop a unique culture in continuing dialogue with the environment and the Arab Palestinian people living here. As result of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the emergence of the national idea, a minority of European Jews chose to set themselves apart and establish a separate national movement for the Jewish people whose aim was to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. Jewish immigration to Palestine was supported by the British empire, which aspired to consolidate its influence and cultural
values in the Arab world. The support of the British empire was typically expressed in the Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917.
The majority of the Jews living in Europe were annihilated by the Holocaust that afflicted the peoples of Europe. The Holocaust proves again and in the most tragic manner the necessity of combating every form of national bigotry and the denial of the other. Our doors are open to Jews who have not found shelter from the horrors of the Holocaust and we shall assist them in all manner possible to rehabilitate their lives in Palestine or any other place of their choice. The absorption of Jews in Palestine will not, however, be done at the expense of the Arab Palestinian inhabitants of the country. The terrible violence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine caused many deaths and the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes. One and a half months ago Jews have perpetrated a despicable massacre of the peaceable village of Deir Yasin, where 93 people were murdered. This massacre brought about the terrified fleeing of many Palestinians from their homes. Today I met the uprooted people of Miska, and I have invited them to join us here. I had occasion to visit their village, from which they have been forcibly expelled about a month ago, and was profoundly shocked by what I had witnessed. Their village has
remained vacant since. Our forces have today occupied the village of Umm al- Zaynat, and forcibly expelled the majority of its inhabitants. From this podium I call for the return of all the refugees to their hundreds of respective villages, from which they have been expelled. The Jewish armed forces shall withdraw from the occupied villages and will assist with the rehabilitation of those villages damaged in the fighting. We shall compensate every person for bodily or material damages.
On 29 November 1947 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the implementation of a plan for partition of Palestine with economic union and the internationalization of Jerusalem. This partition plan endows the existence of the Jewish collective in Palestine with legal international legitimacy, which enhances our appeal to integrate in the political entity that is to be established here.
We proclaim that as of the termination of the British Mandate midnight tonight, at the commencement of Saturday, the 6th Day of the Month of Iyar, 5708, 15 May 1948, and until the elected regular institution of government of the projected state are put in place, the "People’s Council" will act as the prmary representative of the Jewish public wishing to negotiate with the Palestinians Arabs living in the country as well as with the relevant trans-national bodies, the establishment of a sovereign state in the framework of the UN resolution above. With the termination of the British Mandate the opportunity has been formed for Jews and Arabs in Palestine to establish a common life, without being held hostage to the dictats of the superpowers.
The state that will be established will offer shelter to Jews and Palestinians who are in distress anywhere in the world, as well as to refugees and persecuted people everywhere; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on the principles of freedom, justice and peace; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of nationality, religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. In witness our endorsement of this we affix our signatures to this Proclamation in the city of Tel Aviv, today, 13 Iyar 5763, 15 May 2003
23 May 2003
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
5 May - 23 May 2003
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT
Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the second periodic report of Israel on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/1990/6/Add.32) at its 17th, 18th and 19th meetings, held on 15 and 16 May 2003 (E/C.12/2003/SR.17, 18 and 19) and adopted, at its 29th meeting held on 23 May 2003, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the second periodic report of the State party, which was prepared in general conformity with the Committee’s guidelines. The Committee appreciates the extensive written replies to the list of issues, as well as the readiness of and efforts made by the high-level delegation to respond to the oral questions. The members of the delegation were knowledgeable with respect to most of the Covenant rights, but the Committee regrets that a number of the questions it posed during the dialogue remained unanswered.
3. The Committee notes with appreciation the large amount of information received from non-governmental organizations concerning the implementation of the Covenant in the State party.
B. POSITIVE ASPECTS
4. The Committee welcomes the steps undertaken by the State party to implement the Multiyear Plan for the Development of Arab Sector Communities (2000), aimed at closing the gap between Jews and Arabs by promoting equality in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.
5. The Committee notes with appreciation the various affirmative action measures taken, as mentioned in the State party’s replies to the list of issues, with respect to various disadvantaged sectors such as the Arab Druze, Circassian and Bedouin communities, despite the decline in economic growth in the State party in recent years.
6. The Committee further notes with appreciation that the Supreme Court’s rules of standing have been relaxed allowing any person, regardless of citizenship, residency or other status, who contends that his or her rights were unlawfully denied or infringed, formal access to the Court, and allowing even for an actio popularis. In particular, the Committee particularly appreciates that in the State party, plaintiffs seeking remedy for alleged violations of economic, social and cultural rights have access to and can make use of the judiciary system, which provides opportunities for the justiciability of the rights enshrined in the Covenant. In this regard, the Committee welcomes the information given on cases before the courts, in which reference has been made to Covenant provisions.
7. The Committee further notes the amendment of the Women Equal Rights Act in April 2000.
8. The Committee welcomes the improvements in the conditions for foreign workers, allowing them to change employers for the legal duration of their stay, prohibiting against employers withholding workers’ passports, as well as the regulations regarding the system of compulsory health insurance for these foreign workers.
9. The Committee notes that, while gaps still remain, the State party has achieved some positive results towards expanding basic education and special education for non-Jewish sectors.
10. The Committee notes with appreciation the efforts undertaken by the State party to address the problem of trafficking and exploitation of persons, such as the criminalization of trafficking, increased penalties for trafficking of minors, and the enhanced cooperation between government agencies to combat trafficking with a victim-sensitive approach.
C. FACTORS AND DIFFICULTIES IMPEDING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE COVENANT
11. The Committee reiterates its statement in previous concluding observations that Israel’s continuing emphasis on its security concerns, which have even increased in recent years, has impeded the realization of economic, social and cultural rights within Israel and the occupied territories.
D. PRINCIPAL SUBJECTS OF CONCERN
12. The Committee notes with regret that a number of the issues raised in its concluding observations of 1998 (E/C.12/1/Add.27, hereinafter: 1998 concluding observations) and 2001 (E/C.12/1/Add.69, hereinafter: 2001 concluding observations) remain outstanding issues of concern. In this regard, the Committee reiterates its concerns contained in paragraphs 11, 25, 26 and 28 of its 1998 concluding observations, and paragraph 14 of the 2001 concluding observations.
13. Despite the positive measures mentioned in paragraph 6 of the present concluding observations, the Committee reiterates its concern that the Covenant has not been incorporated in the domestic legal order, and can therefore not be directly invoked before the courts.
14. The Committee regrets that the judgment of the Qa’dan case has still not been implemented.
15. The Committee also reiterates its concern about the State party’s position that the Covenant does not apply to areas that are not subject to its sovereign territory and jurisdiction, and that the Covenant is not applicable to populations other than the Israelis in the occupied territories. The Committee further reiterates its regret at the State party’s refusal to report on the occupied territories (1998 concluding observations, para. 11). In addition, the Committee is deeply concerned at the insistence of the State party that, given the circumstances in the occupied territories, the law of armed conflict and humanitarian law are considered as the only mode whereby protection may be ensured for all involved, and that this matter is considered to fall outside the sphere of the Committee’s responsibility.
16. The Committee is deeply concerned about the continuing difference in treatment between Jews and non-Jews, in particular Arab and Bedouin communities, with regard to their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in the State party’s territory. The Committee reiterates its concern that the “excessive emphasis upon the State as a ‘Jewish State’ encourages discrimination and accords a second-class status to its non-Jewish citizens” (1998 concluding observations, para. 10). This discriminatory attitude is apparent in the continuing lower standard of living of Israeli Arabs as a result, inter alia, of higher unemployment rates, restricted access to and participation in trade unions, lack of access to housing, water, electricity, health care and a lower level of education, despite the State party’s efforts to close the gap. In this regard, the Committee expresses its concern that the State party’s domestic legal order does not enshrine the general principles of equality and non-discrimination.
17. The Committee is concerned that in spite of the enactment of the law on Equal Rights for People with Disabilities in 2000, the majority of its provisions have not been implemented. The situation is aggravated for persons with disabilities from the Arab sector.
18. The Committee is particularly concerned about the status of “Jewish nationality”, which is a ground for exclusive preferential treatment for persons of Jewish nationality under the Israeli Law of Return, granting them automatic citizenship and financial government benefits, thus resulting in practice in discriminatory treatment against non-Jews, in particular Palestinian refugees. The Committee is also concerned about the practice of restrictive family reunification with regard to Palestinians, which has been adopted for reasons of national security. In this regard, the Committee reiterates its concern contained in paragraph 13 of its 1998 concluding observations, and paragraph 14 of its 2001 concluding observations.
19. The Committee deeply regrets the refusal of the State party to provide additional information on the living conditions of population groups other than Israeli settlers in the occupied territories in its second periodic report, as requested in its 2001 concluding observations. The Committee continues to be gravely concerned about the deplorable living conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, who – as a result of the continuing occupation and subsequent measures of closures, extended curfews, road blocks and security checkpoints – suffer from impingement of their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights enshrined in the Covenant, in particular access to work, land, water, health care, education and food.
20. The Committee expresses its concern about the general increase in unemployment in the State party, which rose from 6.7% in 1996 to 10.5% in 2002, as well as about the significant increase in unemployment of the non-Jewish sectors: 13.5% for the Arab sector, and more than 15% for the Bedouin sector. The Committee also expresses concern about the rate of unemployment in the occupied territories, which is over 50% as a result of the closures which have prevented Palestinians from working in Israel.
21. The Committee is concerned about the persisting inequality in wages of Jews and Arabs in Israel, as well as the severe under-representation of the Arab sector in civil service and universities.
22. The Committee is concerned about the fact that it is extremely difficult for Palestinians living in the occupied territories and working in Israel to join Israeli trade unions or to establish their own trade unions in Israel.
23. The Committee expresses concern about the fact that the Jewish religious courts’ interpretation of personal status law with respect to divorce is discriminatory to women, especially the regulation that allows the husband to re-marry even when the wife is opposed to the divorce, whilst the same rules do not apply to the wife.
24. The Committee is particularly concerned by information received concerning the construction of a “security fence” around the occupied territories, which allegedly would infringe upon the surface area of the occupied territories, and which would limit or even impede access by Palestinian individuals and communities to land and water resources. The Committee regrets the fact that the delegation did not respond to questions by the Committee concerning the security fence or wall during the dialogue.
25. The Committee is particularly concerned about limited access to, distribution and availability of water for Palestinians in the occupied territories, as a result of inequitable management, extraction and distribution of shared water resources, which are predominantly under Israeli control.
26. The Committee reiterates its grave concern about the continuing practices by the State party of home demolitions, land confiscations and restrictions on residency rights, and its adoption of policies resulting in substandard housing and living conditions, including extreme overcrowding and lack of services, of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, in particular in the old city (1998 concluding observations, para. 22). Furthermore, the Committee is gravely concerned about the continuing practice of expropriation of Palestinian properties and resources for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories (1998 concluding observations, para. 24).
27. The Committee continues to be concerned about the situation of Bedouins residing in Israel, and in particular those living in villages that are still unrecognized (1998 concluding observations, para. 28). Despite measures by the State party to close the gap between the living conditions of Jews and Bedouins in the Negev, the quality of living and housing conditions of the Bedouins continue to be significantly lower, with limited or no access to water, electricity and sanitation. Moreover, they continue to be subjected on a regular basis to land confiscations, house demolitions, fines for building “illegally”, destruction of agricultural crops, fields and trees, and systematic harassment and persecution by the Green Patrol, in order to force Bedouins to resettle in “townships”. The Committee is also concerned that the present compensation scheme for Bedouins who agree to resettle in “townships” is inadequate.
E. SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
28. The Committee urges the State party to take into consideration the subjects of concern and give effect to the recommendations raised in its 1998 and 2001 concluding observations.
29. The Committee urges the State party to undertake steps towards the incorporation of the Covenant and its provisions in the domestic legal order. The Committee refers the State party to its General Comment No. 9 on the domestic application of the Covenant.
30. The Committee urges the State party to undertake steps to facilitate the implementation of the Qa’dan case judgment.
31. The Committee recognizes that the State party has serious security concerns, which must be balanced with its efforts to comply with its obligations under international human rights law. However, the Committee reaffirms its view that the State party’s obligations under the Covenant apply to all territories and populations under its effective control. The Committee repeats its position that even in a situation of armed conflict, fundamental human rights must be respected and that basic economic, social and cultural rights as part of the minimum standards of human rights are guaranteed under customary international law and are also prescribed by international humanitarian law. Moreover, the applicability of rules of humanitarian law does not by itself impede the application of the Covenant or the accountability of the State under Article 2(1), for the actions of its authorities. The Committee therefore requests that the State party provide more extensive information on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights enshrined in the Covenant by those living in the occupied territories in its next periodic report.
32. The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State party undertake steps to ensure equality of treatment for all Israeli citizens in relation to all Covenant rights (1998 concluding observations, para. 34).
33. The Committee urges the State party to undertake effective measures to combat discrimination against persons with disabilities, especially in providing access to public facilities, promoting access to basic services and to employment, with particular attention for persons with disabilities from the Arab sector.
34. The Committee reiterates its recommendation contained in paragraph 36 of its 1998 concluding observations that, in order to ensure equality of treatment and non-discrimination, the State party undertake a review of its re-entry and family reunification policies for Palestinians.
35. The Committee reiterates its request that the State party provide detailed information on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights of all population groups living in the occupied territories in its next periodic report (1998 concluding observations, para. 46, and 2001 concluding observations). The Committee also calls upon the State party to give full effect to its Covenant obligations and, as a matter of the highest priority, to undertake to ensure safe passage at checkpoints for Palestinian medical staff and people seeking treatment, the unhampered flow of essential foodstuffs and supplies, free movement to go to their place of employment, and the safe conduct of students and teachers to and from schools (1998 concluding observations, para. 39).
36. The Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures to reduce the rate of unemployment, and to pay particular attention to reducing the inequalities between the Jewish and non-Jewish sectors with respect to employment. The Committee further recommends that the State party ensure that workers living in the occupied territories be permitted to continue to work in Israel.
37. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party undertake measures to reduce the inequalities in wages between Jews and Arabs, in conformity with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, as enshrined in Article 7 of the Covenant.
38. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake steps to ensure that all workers working in Israel can exercise their trade union rights, in accordance with Article 8 of the Covenant.
39. The Committee recommends that the State party undertake steps to modify the Jewish religious courts’ interpretation of the law concerning divorce to ensure equality between men and women, as provided for in Article 3 of the Covenant.
40. The Committee urges the State party to ensure that any security measure it adopts does not disproportionally limit or impede the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights enshrined in the Covenant, and in particular access to land and water resources by Palestinians, and that adequate restitution and compensation be provided to those who have incurred damages to and loss of property and lands as a result of these security measures.
41. The Committee strongly urges the State party to take immediate steps to ensure equitable access to and distribution of water to all populations living in the occupied territories, and in particular to ensure that all parties concerned participate fully and equally in the process of water management, extraction and distribution. In that connection, the Committee refers the State party to its General Comment No. 15 on the right to water (E/C.12/2002/11).
42. Reiterating its recommendation of 1998 (para. 41), the Committee urges the State party to cease the practice of facilitating the building of Israeli settlements, expropriating land, water and resources, demolishing houses and arbitrary evictions. The Committee also urges the State party to take immediate steps to respect and implement the right to an adequate standard of living, including housing, of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Arabs in cities with mixed population. The Committee recalls in this connection its General Comments No. 4 (the right to adequate housing) and No. 7 (forced evictions). The Committee requests the State party to provide detailed information on this issue in its next periodic report.
43. The Committee further urges the State party to recognize all existing Bedouin villages, their property rights and their right to basic services, in particular water, and to desist from the destruction and damaging of agricultural crops and fields, including in unrecognized villages. The Committee further encourages the State party to adopt an adequate compensation scheme that is open to redress for Bedouins who have agreed to resettle in “townships”.
44. The Committee encourages the State party to continue to provide human rights education in schools at all levels and to raise awareness about human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, among state officials and the judiciary.
45. The Committee also encourages the State party to develop the system of mixed schools for Jewish and Arab pupils, in order to promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among the citizens of the country.
46. The Committee requests the State party to disseminate its concluding observations widely among all levels of society and to inform the Committee on all steps taken to implement them in its next periodic report. It also encourages the State party to continue to consult with non-governmental organizations and other members of civil society when preparing its third periodic report.
47. The Committee requests the State party to submit its third periodic report by 30 June 2008.
Palestinian National Liberation Movement Hebron District
A Statement Issued by the Palestinian National Liberation Movement/Fatah -
To our heroic people, brave men and women, old and young, our leaders in all parts of this blessed land, who are willing to sacrifice their freedom and lives, our brave people in the homeland and in exile, our people displaced in the homeland,
Dear residents in every place,
Today, just a few days before the 55th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the racist Zionist assault against our Palestinian people continues and escalates in every place, whether by means of daily massacres, or by means of efforts to erase our awareness and our people's collective memory of history and struggle by undermining the substance of international resolutions and principles of international law and justice. Our people, however, stand up strongly against these assaults. They employ all their means to remain steadfast and continue their resistance. Nonetheless we are in danger: the Zionist affront has succeeded to find some mercenaries - or frustrated or ignorant people - who have adopted a project entitled "The Goal Map" prepared by the former head of Israeli intelligence, Ami Ayalon. Spending effort and unlimited resources, they are now trying to obtain support and infiltrate Palestinian collective conscience and popular memory in various ways and under different names. Their major aim is to erase the Palestinian right of return, because this right represents the core of the issue and conflict in Palestine. Therefore, we of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement/Fatah in the District of Hebron call upon the rank and file of our Movement to be alert and to strengthen our unity. We alert our people and our communities in Palestine and outside to not fall prey to the tricky ambush of the Zionist intelligence by, for example, participating in workshops, signing documents or memoranda, or filling out opinion polls. The latter were carefully designed to undermine the right of return, because they are tools for a political purpose, i.e. to shake the foundations and the essence of Palestinian rights. In this context, we affirm the following:
1. The right of return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194 is a sacred, individual and collective right and part of the Palestinian people's right of self-determination. It is a right that cannot be compromised or negotiated, and a principle that requires implementation in a way that permits every refugee to return to the original home he was evicted from, to receive compensation for losses and damages incurred and to be reinstated into his civil rights and personal properties.
2. Our Palestinian community inside the "Green Line" is part and parcel of the Arab Palestinian people and entitled to full citizens' rights as prescribed by international law, including the Law of Nationality, the Law of State Succession and UN Partition Resolution 181 (1947), which, although the basis for Israel's establishment, did not resolve for the establishment of two racist states, but rather for two states whose citizens would live in equality and exercise their rights. It is amazing, therefore, that mercenaries or ignorant people are raising racist notions that promote an apartheid-like system of ethnic separation at the beginning of the 21st century.
3. Jerusalem is the only and eternal capital of the Palestinian state, and Palestinian sovereignty includes the holy sites of Islam and Christianity in accordance with the Ummariyya Convention. There is no need, therefore, for lofty ideas, which will fly only with stupid people, such as "God is the sovereign over Jerusalem" and not this or that party. God is the sovereign of the skies and the land everywhere, not only in Jerusalem!
4. The undermining of the legitimate Palestinian leadership headed by our leader Abu Ammar does not require lengthy explanation. It is driven by Sharon and his racist mafia and represents the Zionist-U.S. position, enemy of our people's rights. We hope that no one of us in Fatah will share in the undermining of Yasser Arafat, the symbol, the elected leader and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
5. Efforts and projects aimed at finding alternatives to the legitimate Palestinian leadership and the PLO have continued since the 1970s and led to the establishment of the "Village Leagues." All these projects aiming to destroy the independence of Palestinian political will and decision-making and establish an elite that would adopt and promote locally and internationally the program and notions of the racist occupation, however, have failed.
6. Despite the ongoing attack against the international resolutions concerning our people's historical rights, we of Fatah and our leadership have accepted these resolutions as representing the minimum of our national, political and civil rights, in order to build a just, comprehensive and durable peace. Therefore, Fatah stands for a peace built on the international resolutions 181, 194, 242, 273, 338 and on all decisions affirming human rights principles and justice - and not for initiatives of the kind promoted by Ami Ayalon, his accomplice Sari Nusseibeh and some other frustrated and ignorant people, who, when confronted with the first obstacle, forgot or try to forget international law, principles of rights and fairness and the principle of modern democracy and raise deceptive and empty slogans calling for "rationalism," "realism" and "democracy."
7. The Fatah Movement affirms that the personal history and the current position of these persons, whether former colonels, major generals or other, does not give them the right to market Zionist proposals and to pull others into the swamp of U.S.-Americanization and Israelization.
Our heroic people, you have challenged and brought to a fall numerous projects aimed at compromising your cause, your right of return and your right of self-determination. You have rejected all projects of resettlement, expulsion and transfer. You will certainly be able to challenge and fail these compromise projects in their new disguise. Our people will remain able to stand steadfast and continue on the road to freedom and independence based on the implementation of the return program, self-determination and the independent sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Long Live the Free Arab Palestine
Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs
Rapid Recovery to the Injured and Freedom to the Brave Prisoners
With the Revolution until Victory
The Palestinian National Liberation Movement
Three Regions/Hebron District
4 May 2003
Our Colleagues in Institutions, Unions, Committees and Centers Operating among Palestinian Refugees in the Homeland and Exile,
Guided by our national and historical responsibility and by our firm belief in the sacred character of the right of return of Palestinian refugees - and in our right to defend the issue of Palestinian refugees, the core of the conflict in the region - we approach you with our call for urgent action, in order to expose the false and deceptive character of the initiative sponsored by Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, the academic from Jerusalem. This initiative organized under the banner of democracy and freedom of expression is working to relinquish the individual and collective rights of the Palestinian refugees in line with the policy of acceptance of the status quo as dictated by the Israeli occupation.
This dangerous initiative, which has been launched in different forms, targets the Palestinian refugee issue and aims at the cancellation of the right of return. It also aims - under the title of 'proposals' and 'initiatives' - to create a new culture among our national Palestinian society, in which open and declared treason is part of the legitimate public discourse.
It is, therefore, our national duty to block with all our strength all those who compromise our basic rights, and we call upon all of you to live up to your national and historical responsibility, and to avoid cooperation with initiatives and schemes of this kind.
Union of Youth Activity Centers - Palestinian Refugee Camps
30 April 2003