Adalah's Statement to the Committee on Economic, Social

and Cultural Rights (CESCR) (November 1998)

 


 Presented in Geneva, November 1998


The following remarks respond to the questions posed by the CECSR to Israel, dated 10 June 1998, concerning Israel's initial report on its implementation of the ICESCR. Adalah provides additional information and interpretation in response to the Committee's questions and suggests other issues for discussion by the Committee in its meeting with representatives of the State. 


MAIN POINTS


I. Racism and Hate Speech (Question 2)

 

A. There is a very high incidence of anti-Arab racism and a lack of respect for Arab rights among Jewish youth. 

 

B. The prosecutor's office and judiciary of Israel send citizens the message that hate speech is not important when directed against the Arab minority.

 

II. Economic Rights

 

A. The National Priority List (NPL), which identifies towns in need of special financial support from the government, discriminates against Arab communities in favor of Jewish communities. 

 

III. Employment Rights (Questions 33& 40) 

 

A. Employment figures from the public sector indicate a pattern of state-sponsored discrimination against Arab citizens. 

 

B. Discrimination against Arabs is practiced by both public and private employers by using military service as a precondition of employment, even for jobs for which military training and experience has no relevance whatsoever. 

 

C. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (1988) prohibits discrimination in matters of employment, it is not enforced and has been ineffective in protecting the Arab minority in Israel. 

 

IV. Language Rights (Question 31)

 

A. Government practices ignore the official status of the Arabic language in Israel, and Arabic is consistently marginalized by the state.

 

V. Education Rights (Questions 32 & 34)

 

A. Although there is a separate Arab school system, it is not independently run, and the curriculum presently offered by the state does not provide an opportunity for Arab students to learn about Palestinian culture and national history. 

 

B. The lack of an Arab university in Israel forces Arab students to study in Hebrew or in a foreign country. 

 

C. Arab students are not given equal access to education in the sciences or to training in the use of technology. 

 

D. Academic enrichment programs provided to underprivileged Jewish students are not offered in Arab communities. 

 

E. It is widely recognized that Arab students with special needs are not adequately provided for by the state, and that funds for special education are unequally allocated to the Jewish and Arab school systems.

 

F. Arab students are underrepresented in higher education, yet no affirmative action programs have been instituted. 

 

VI. Culture Rights (Questions 32 & 33)

 

A. Arab citizens are underrepresented or are presented negatively by the mainstream media in Israel. 

 

B. There are no publicly-funded museums and libraries which honor and preserve Palestinian heritage. 

 

C. Israel not only underrepresents but has deliberately excluded the Arab minority from its cultural life as enshrined in national symbols, location names and public holidays. 

 

VII. The Rights of Women (Questions 35-37)

 

A. The most urgent issue on the agenda is family honor killings.

 

B. Arabs are underrepresented in the recently-formed Authority for the Status of Women. 

 

C. There are no laws, regulations or guidelines in Israel which secure Arab women's representation in elected or appointed bodies. 

 

VIII. Land and Housing Rights (Questions 6, 19, 20, 23, 26-30) 

 

Please see the chapter on "Land and Housing Rights" in Adalah's report to the CERD Committee (March 1998).

 


 

EXTENDED STATEMENT


In reference to Committee Question 2: 

 

I. Racism and Hate Speech

 

There is a high incidence of anti-Arab racism and a lack of respect for Arab rights among Jewish Israeli youth. A survey of 400 youths, aged 13-18, published in February 1998 by the Geocartography Institute found that 44% of Jewish youth believe that Arab citizens should be deprived of some or all of their rights. Nineteen percent agreed that "Arabs endanger the state's security, and therefore we need to get rid of them," while 7% felt that "Arabs do not deserve rights in the Jewish state." A study published in 1997 by Dr. Ofra Mezels of Haifa University and Dr. Reoven Kal of the Carmel Institute for Social Studies found that the curriculum taught in Jewish state schools portrays Arabs as dangerous, as murderers, and as thieves. The researchers also stated that anti-Arab racism appears to be on the rise among Jewish youth: In 1974, 34% of the Jewish youth surveyed "hated Arabs," while by 1988 that figure had increased to 39%. The prosecutor's office and judiciary of Israel send citizens the message that hate speech is not important when directed against the Arab minority. Research by Adalah shows that "although Israel's legal system possesses all the necessary tools to institute criminal charges against individuals for incitement to racism and racist speech, the Attorney General's Office generally declines to use these powers where the speech is directed against the Arab minority." The Supreme Court has also generally declined to use its ability to prevent racist speech through prior restraint.


II. Economic Rights 

 

The National Priority List (NPL), which identifies towns in need of special financial support from the government, discriminates against Arab communities in favor of Jewish communities. Towns on the NPL receive significant benefits from various Ministries in the forms of extra educational funding, mortgage grants to residents, and tax breaks to local industries. In a petition submitted to the Supreme Court in May regarding the NPL for 1998, Adalah argued that the designation of towns on the NPL is discriminatory and pointed out that although 11 of the 14 Israeli towns in the lowest socio-economic cluster are Arab, none of these towns were named to the NPL. In many cases impoverished Arab towns were disregarded in favor of more prosperous Jewish communities nearby; for example, Ein Mahal, with a monthly per capita income averaging NIS 377, was ignored while nearby Natseret Illit, with an average monthly per capita income of NIS 1039, was placed on the NPL. Moreover, although over 80% of Israel's dropouts come from the Arab community, no Arab towns were placed on the priority list to receive educational benefits. Adalah's petition regarding the NPL is currently pending before the Supreme Court.


In reference to Committee Questions 33 & 40: 

 

III. Employment Rights

 

Employment figures from the public sector indicate a pattern of state-sponsored discrimination against Arab citizens. Arabs are vastly underrepresented among Israeli civil servants: Less than 5% of Israel's 50,000 government employees are Arab. Out of a total of 641 managers of governmental companies, only 3 are Arab (less than 0.5 percent), while out of a total of 1059 directors of governmental companies, only 15 are Arab (less than 1.5 percent). Discrimination against Arabs is practiced by both public and private employers by using military service as a precondition of employment, even for jobs in which military training and experience has no relevance whatsoever (e.g., as a lawyer for the Registrar of Associations). All Jewish and Druze citizens, except students at the yeshivot (religious universities), are required to serve in the Israeli military. Arab citizens from any other religious community are barred from entering the military. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Act (1988) prohibits discrimination in matters of employment, it is not enforced and has been ineffective in protecting the Arab minority in Israel. Discrimination on the basis of national origin (i.e. against Arabs) is the most pervasive form of employment discrimination practiced in Israel. The Government has failed to provide statistics on this matter in its report to the Committee.


In reference to Committee Question 31:

 

IV. Language Rights 

 

Government practices ignore the official status of the Arabic language in Israel, and Arabic is consistently marginalized by the state. Traffic signs appear predominantly in EngliHebrew, although English is not recognized as an official language. Often signs are not posted in Arabic even when they appear near an Arab town. Adalah's petition concerning the use of Arabic on national road signs is pending before the Supreme Court. Laws, regulations, and court decisions are written and published only in Hebrew unless translated by a private or non-governmental body. 


In reference to Committee Questions 32 & 34 

 

V.Education Rights 

 

Although there is a separate Arab school system, it is not independently run, and the curriculum currently offered by the state does not provide an opportunity for Arab students to learn about Palestinian culture and national history. The state-religious schools, part of a publicly-funded alternative school system, devote increased class time to studying Jewish religious heritage and history. This unspecified "religious" curriculum devotes no extra time to Islamic, Christian or Druze studies and clearly does not serve all Israeli public school students equally. A new curriculum, scheduled to begin in the year 2000, provides 3 options for study of Arab culture: Arab scientific achievements in the Middle Ages; Islamic culture and history; and Christian culture and history. Thus, although putatively studying Arab culture, Arab students will have no opportunity to learn about modern Arab history, politics, or secular culture. The lack of an Arab university in Israel forces Arab students to study in Hebrew or in a foreign country. Those students who choose to study abroad find it extremely difficult to enter the professions in Israel, as licensing examinations are given only in Hebrew. Arab students are not provided with equal opportunity to study the sciences or to receive training in the use of technology. These skills are absolutely necessary in a competitive labor market, and lack of access to them will significantly harm Arab graduates' career prospects. The Shahar programs, established in the 1970s to provide academic assistance and encouragement to weaker students from low socio-economic backgrounds, are not offered in Arab communities, despite the fact that a disproportionate share of these students are Arab. Eighty-four percent of high school dropouts are Arab, while only 25% of Arab students, as compared to 45% of Jewish students, pass their matriculation exams. In May 1997, Adalah submitted a petition to the Supreme Court to compel the Ministry to provide these enrichment programs equally for Arab and Jewish students. A written decision on this case, addressing the issue of whether cases of historical intentional discrimination require a gradual or immediate remedy, is still pending. It is widely recognized that Arab students with special needs are not adequately provided for by the state, and that funds for special education are unequally allocated to the Jewish and Arab school systems. Although Israel, in its report to the Committee, has given information on public special education, the data is presented in such a way that it is impossible to tell what funding Arab schools receive relative to Jewish schools. Arabs are underrepresented in higher education, constituting only 6% of university students, yet no affirmative action policies have been insituted. 


In reference to Committee Questions 32 & 33:

 

VI. Culture Rights 

 

Arab citizens are underrepresented or are presented negatively by the mainstream media in Israel. Recent research by Hebrew University media experts Issam Abu Ria, Eli Avraham and Gadi Wolfsfeld found that of newspaper articles dating back to 1973, only an average of 2 % regarded Arab citizens. Of these, approximately 70% covered "disturbances": news of crime or demonstrations. Language used to describe Arabs included "derogatory elements, stereotypes and generalizations," and invariably presented Arabs as "the other," in contrast to a Jewish "we." Not one Arab movie has been aired on the Israeli cable's Family, Movie, or Children's Channels, and no programs from Arab countries are broadcast. On public Channel 2, the only quasi-governmental channel with a public oversight board, only 8 % (rather than 20%) of programming is required to be "Arabic." This category includes, and mostly consists of, foreign programming subtitled in Arabic. No Arabic programming is offered during prime time hours, when the viewing audience is largest. There are no museums and libraries which honor and preserve Palestinian heritage. Libraries devoted to Arabic texts are rare. If they exist, they are small and maintained by funding from Arab municipalities rather than the State. The Ministry of Education and Culture cites the existence of only two museums honoring Arab culture in its report to the Committee and these are hardly reflective of the richly varied history and literature possessed by the Palestinian people. Israel not only underrepresents but has deliberately excluded the Arab minority from its cultural life as enshrined in national symbols, location names and public holidays. The national symbols of the State of Israel (e.g. the flag bearing the Magen David) are taken from Jewish history. Jewish religious holidays are recognized as official public holidays, while Islamic, Christian and Druze holidays are not afforded the same status. Names of streets and public institutions such as airports and hospitals, even in areas with mostly Arab populations, overwhelmingly reflect Jewish cultural heritage or Zionist history rather than Arab culture.


In reference to Committee Questions 35-37:

 

VII. The Rights of Women 

 

The most urgent issue on the agenda is family honor killings. Arab women's organizations have documented over 50 cases of family honor killings in last several years, but this number does not reflect the full extent of the problem, as many women are missing, and their fate is unknown. The Government must support national campaigns against family honor killings. Specific attention must be paid to eradicating the myth that violent crimes against women can be justified by "the norms of Palestinian society" or "Palestinian culture." The defense of honor should not be considered in the decision to investigate, prosecute, to prosecute for a lesser offense, or as a mitigating circumstance in sentencing. The Authority for the Status of Women has recently formed. Out of 36 seats on the Authority, only one is held by an Arab woman, a representative of Albadeel (a coalition formed to fight against honor killings & other forms of gender-based violence). According to the rules of the Authority, 40% of seats must be held by men. A Sub-Committee on Minorities was created for discussion of concerns to "Arabs, Bedouins & Druze," the first meeting of which will be held on 18 November. Whether the Sub-Committee will have decision-making or consultative status to the Authority is not decided. There are no laws, regulations or guidelines in Israel which secure Arab women's representation in nationally or locally elected bodies. Moreover, to date, no measures have been taken by the government to support or ensure women's representation. Each political party decides whether or not to institute an affirmative action or quota system regarding the inclusion of women on a party list. Out of a total of 120 seats in the Knesset, 9 are currently held by women (down from 12 in the 13th Knesset), and none of these women are Palestinian. Since the establishment of the State, no Palestinian woman has been elected to the Knesset or has served as a Minister. On the local level, since 1948, only one Palestinian woman has been elected mayor of a Palestinian town. In the local elections held on 9 November 1998, only 3 Arab women secured seats on local councils. As to appointments to civil service posts, please see discussion under "Employment Rights."


In reference to Committee Questions 6, 19, 20, 23, 26-30: 

 

VIII. Land and Housing Rights

 

I will not address these matters because I anticipate that they will be discussed in depth by my colleagues from other NGOs. However, I wish to direct the Committee's attention to the chapter on "Land and Housing Rights" contained in Adalah's report to the CERD Committee. This chapter briefly analyses four laws dealing with land and housing which discriminate against Arab citizens, including The Absentee's Property Law, and The World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Law (Committee Questions 6 & 19). It also offers a legal perspective on the issues of uprooted and unrecognized villages (Questions 20, 23, and 26-30). 

 


 

 

Concluding Comments of the CESCR Committee


CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER

ARTICLES 16 AND 17 OF THE COVENANT



1. The Committee considered the initial report of Israel on the implementation of the Covenant (E/1990/5/Add.39) together with the written replies to the list of issues, at its 31st to 33rd meetings, held on 17 and 18 November 1998 and adopted1 the following concluding observations.

 

A. Introduction 

 

2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the initial report which generally conforms to its guidelines on the preparation of reports. The Committee, however, regrets the delay in the submission of the reports.

 

3. The Committee expresses appreciation for the presentation of the State's representatives and the additional information they provided during the dialogue. The Committee also takes note of the extensive information submitted to it by a large number of non-governmental organizations which was available to the Committee for its constructive dialogue with the State Party. 

 

B. Positive Factors 

 

4. The Committee welcomes the enactment in 1995 of the National Health Insurance Law which provides for primary health care and ensures equal and adequate health services for each citizen and permanent resident of Israel. The Committee also welcomes the amendment in 1996 of the same law so that housewives now receive the minimum old-age pension while still exempt from contributions. 

 

5. The Committee welcomes the recent establishment of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women which is vested with advisory powers on policies to promote gender equality, eliminate discrimination against women and prevent domestic violence against women. 

 

6. The Committee takes note of the acceptance by State Party's representatives that on the question of the Covenant's applicability in the Occupied Territories, Israel has direct responsibility in some areas covered by the Covenant, indirect responsibility in others and overall significant legal responsibility across the board. This conforms to the Committee's view that the Covenant applies to all areas where Israel maintains geographical, functional or personal jurisdiction. 

 

C. Factors and difficulties affecting the implementation of the Covenant. 

 

7. The Committee notes that Israel's emphasis of its security concerns, including its policies over closures, has hampered the realization of economic, social and cultural rights within Israel and the Occupied Territories. 

 

D. Principal subjects of concern 

 

Land and People 

 

8. The Committee notes with concern that the Governments written and oral reports included statistics indicating the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories but excluded the Palestinian population within the same jurisdictional areas from both the report and the protection of the Covenant. The Committee is of the view that the State's obligations under the Covenant, apply to all territories and populations under its effective control. The Committee regrets therefore that the State Party was not prepared to provide adequate information in relation to the Occupied Territories. 

 

Status of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 

 

9. The Committee notes that economic, social and cultural rights have not been granted constitutional recognition in Israel's legal system. The Committee is of the view that the current Draft Basic Law: Social Rights, does not meet the requirements of Israel's obligations under the Covenant.

 

Discrimination 

 

10. The Committee expresses concern that a excessive emphasis upon the State as a "Jewish State" encourages discrimination and accords a second class status to its non-Jewish citizens. The Committee notes with concern that the Government of Israel does not accord equal rights to its Arab citizens, even if they comprise over 19% of the total population of Israel. This discriminatory attitude is apparent in the comparatively lower standard of living of the Israeli Arabs, as a result inter alia of lack of access to housing, water, electricity and health care and their lower level of education. The Committee also notes with concern that despite the fact that Arabic has official status, it is not given equal importance in practice. 

 

11. The Committee notes with grave concern that the Status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist Organization/ Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries including the Jewish National Fund to control most of the land in Israel, since these institutions are chartered to benefit Jews exclusively. Despite the fact that the institutions are chartered under private law, the State of Israel nevertheless has a decisive influence on their policies and thus remains responsible for their activities. A State Party cannot divest itself of its obligations under the Covenant by privatizing governmental functions. The Committee takes the view that large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies, constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties by non-Jews. Thus, these practices constitute a breach of Israel's obligations under the Covenant. 

 

12. The Committee notes with deep concern the situation of the Jahalin Bedouin families who were forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands to make way for the expansion of the Ma'aleh Adumim and Kedar Settlements. The Committee deplores the manner that the Government of Israel has housed these families in steel container vans in a garbage dump in Abu Dis under subhuman living conditions. The Committee regrets that instead of providing assurances of solution for this matter, the State party has insisted that it can only be resolved through litigation. 

 

13. The Committee notes with concern that the Law of Return, which permits any Jew from anywhere in the World to immigrate and thereby virtually automatically enjoy residence and obtain citizenship in Israel, discriminates against Palestinians in the diaspora upon whom the Government of Israel has imposed restrictive requirements that make it almost impossible to return to their land of birth. 

 

Employment 

 

14. The Committee notes with concern the rapid growth of unemployment in Israel as a result of which more and more workers are employed in low-paying part time work where they have little or no legal protection. 

 

15. The Committee notes with regret that more than 72% of persons with disabilities are unemployed. The new Law of Equality for People with Disabilities 1998 has not set any quota for the employment of such persons.

 

16. The Committee is alarmed that only half of workers entitled to minimum wage actually get it, and that foreign workers, Palestinians and "manpower contractor" workers are particularly vulnerable in this regard. 

 

Closure 

 

17. The Committee regrets that the Government of Israel has maintained "general closures" continuously since 1993, thereby restricting and controlling the movement of people and goods between Israel and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; between Jerusalem and the West Bank; and between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Committee notes with concern that these restrictions apply only to Palestinians and not to Jewish Israeli citizens. The Committee is of the view that closures have cut off Palestinians from their own land and resources resulting in widespread violations of their economic, social and cultural rights, including in particular article 1(2) of the Covenant. 

 

18. The Committee notes with grave concern the severe consequences of closure on the Palestinian population. Closures have prevented access to health care, foremost during medical emergencies which at times have tragically ended in death at checkpoints and elsewhere. Workers from the Occupied Territories are prevented from reaching their workplace thus depriving them of income and livelihood and the enjoyment of their rights under the Cove. Poverty and lack of food are aggravated by closures which particularly affects children, pregnant women and the elderly who are most vulnerable to malnutrition. 

 

19. The Committee is concerned at the forcible separation of Palestinian families because of closures and the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow Gaza students to return to their universities in the West Bank.

 

Permanent Residency Law 

 

20. The Committee expresses its concern at the effect of the directive of the Ministry of the Interior, under which Palestinians may lose their right to live in the city if they cannot prove that East Jerusalem has been their "center of life" for the past seven years. The Committee also regrets a major lack of transparency in the application of the directive as indicated by numerous reports. The Committee notes with concern that this policy is being applied retroactively both to Palestinians who live abroad and to those who live in the West Bank or in nearby Jerusalem suburbs, but not to Israeli Jews or to foreign Jews who are permanent residents of East Jerusalem. This system has resulted in inter alia the separation of Arab families and the denial of their right to social services and health care including maternity care for Arab women which are privileges linked to residency status in Jerusalem. The Committee is deeply concerned that the implementation of the quota system for the reunification of Palestinian families affected by this residency law, involves long delays and does not meet the needs of all divided families. Similarly, the granting of such a status is often a long process and as a result, many children are separated from at least one of their parents, and spouses are not able to live together. 

 

Land use and Housing

 

21. The Committee is deeply concerned about the adverse impact of the growing exclusion faced by Palestinians in East Jerusalem on the enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee is also concerned over the continued Israeli policy of building settlements to expand the boundaries of East Jerusalem and of population transfers of Jewish residents into East Jerusalem so that they now out number the Palestinian residents. 

 

22. The Committee deplores the continuing practice by the Government of Israel of home demolitions, land confiscations, restrictions on family reunification and residency rights, of adopting policies which result in substandard housing and living conditions, including extreme overcrowding and lack of civic services which are the realities faced by Palestinians in East Jerusalem and in particular in the old city. 

 

23. The Committee notes with concern the situation of Arab neighborhoods in mixed cities such as Jaffa and Lod which have deteriorated into virtual slums because of Israel's excessively restrictive system of granting Government permits without which it is illegal to conduct any kind of repair and renovations.

 

24. The Committee notes that despite State Party's obligation under article 11 of the Covenant, the Government of Israel continues to expropriate Palestinian lands and resources to expand Israeli settlements. Thousands of dunams (hectares)of land in the West Bank have been recently confiscated to build 20 new by-pass roads which cut-off West Bank towns from outlying villages and farmlands. The consequence, if not also the motivation, is the fragmentation and the isolation of Palestinian communities and facilitation of the expansion of illegal settlements. The Committee also notes with concern that while the Government annually diverts millions of cubic meters of water from the West Bank's Easter Aquifer Basin, the annual per capita consumption allocation for Palestinians is only 125 cubic meters while settlers are allocated 1000 cubic meters per capita. 

 

25. The Committee expresses its concern over the plight of an estimated 200,000 uprooted "present absentees" who are Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, most of whom were forced to leave their villages during the 1948 war on the understanding that they would be allowed to return after the war by the Government of Israel. Although a few have been given back their property, the vast majority continue to be displaced and dispossessed within the State because their lands were confiscated and not returned to them. 

 

Unrecognized Villages 

 

26. The Committee notes with deep concern that a significant proportion of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel continue to live in unrecognized villages where they have no access to water, electricity, sanitation and roads. Such existence has caused extreme difficulties for the villagers in regard to their access to health care, education and employment opportunities. In addition, these villagers are continuously threatened with demolition of their home and confiscation of their land. The Committee regrets the inordinate delay in the provision of essential services to even the few villages that have already been recognized. In this connection, the Committee takes note that while Jewish settlements are constructed on a regular basis, no new Arab villages have been built in the Galilee. 

 

27. The Committee regrets that the Regional Master Plan for the Northern District of Israel and the Plan for the Negev have projected a future where there is little place for Arab citizens of Israel whose needs arising form natural demographic growth, are largely ignored. 

 

28. The Committee expresses its grave concern about the situation of the Bedouin Palestinians already settled in Israel. The number of Bedouin living below the poverty line, their living and housing conditions, their levels of malnutrition, of unemployment, and infant mortality are all significantly higher than the national averages. They have no access to water, electricity and sanitation and are subjected on a regular basis to land confiscations, house demolitions, fines for building "illegally", destruction of agricultural fields and trees, and systematic harassment and persecution by the Green Patrol. The Committee notes in particular that the Government policy of settling Bedouins in seven "townships" has caused high levels of unemployment and loss of livelihood. 

 

Other Concerns 

 

29. The Committee notes with regret the large gaps within the Israeli educational system. Dropout rates are higher and eligibility for matriculation certificates is lower within certain segments of society: Arabs, Jews in poor neighborhoods and in development towns, where many of the residents are Jews from Asian and African origin, including Ethiopian Jews. The Committee is concerned particularly about the gap in educational expenditure per capita for the Arab sector which is substantially less than the Jewish sector. 

 

30. The Committee notes with concern that the recently adopted Arrangements Law has the effect of eroding the principles of universality and equality set out in the National Health Insurance Law. The Arrangements Law imposes payments for medical services in addition to the health tax; a periodic health tax links the amount of tax required to the amount of health services needed thereby increasing inequality in health care. The Committee is concerned that this provision does not conform to the Government's avowed commitment to an equitable health care system inspite of assurances that the Knesset sets a cap on such taxes. 

 

31. The Committee notes with grave concern the high incidence of domestic violence against women which is estimated at 200,000 cases per year. The Committee is concerned about the situation of non-Jewish women who are reportedly worse-off in living conditions, in health and education. The Committee is concerned at persistent reports that the Dimona nuclear plant could pose a serious threat to the right to health and to the environment unless urgent preventive measures are undertaken. 

 

E. Suggestions and Recommendations 

 

32. The Committee requests the State Party to provide additional information on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in the Occupied Territories, in order to complete the State party initial report and thereby to ensure full compliance with its reporting obli. Deinformation including the latest statistical data is also requested on the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights in East Jerusalem keeping in mind the concerns raised by the Committee in the relevant paragraphs of these concluding observations. In addition, the Committee also requests updated information on the target dates of recognizing unrecognized villages, an outline plan for the delivery of basic services including water, electricity, access roads, health care and primary education, to which the villagers are entitled as citizens of Israel. The Committee requests that the additional information should also include an update of the Outline Plan of Ein Hod and the progress in the recognition of Arab El-Na'im, as well as an update on the Jahalin Bedouins who are presently camped in Abu Dis, awaiting court decision on their resettlement. The Committee requests the submission of the detailed additional information in this respect in time for the 23rd session of the Committee from November to December 2000. 

 

33. The Committee calls upon the State Party to undertake the necessary steps to ensure the full legal application of the Covenant within the domestic legal order. 

 

34. The Committee calls upon the State Party to ensure the equality of treatment for all Israeli citizens in relation to all Covenant rights.

 

35. The Committee urges the State Party to review the status of its relationship with the World Zionist Organization/ Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries including the Jewish National Fund with a view to remedy problems identified in para 11 above. 

 

36. In order to ensure the respect for article 1(2) of the Covenant and to ensure the equality of treatment and non-discrimination, the Committee strongly recommends a review of re-entry policies for Palestinians who wish to re-establish domicile in their homeland, with a view to bring such policies to a level comparable to the Law of Return as applied to Jews.

 

37. The Committee calls upon the State Party to take all necessary steps to reduce unemployment and to ensure proper enforcement of Israel's protective labor legislation including assigning additional personnel to enforce such legislation. Special attention should be accorded to enforcing the Minimum Wage Law, Equal Pay for Men and Women Law, and the Equal Opportunities in Employment Law. 

 

38. The Committee calls upon the State Party to complete the process of implementing the Law of Equality for People with Disabilities and to address the problem of accessibility to public buildings including schools, and to public transportation for persons with disabilities. 

 

39. The Committee urges the State Party to respect the right to self-determination as recognized in article 1(2) of the Covenant, which provides that "in no way may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence". Closure restricts movement of people and goods, cutting off access to external markets and to income derived from employment and livelihood. The Committee also calls upon the Government to give effect to its obligations under the Covenant and as a matter of highest priority, undertake to ensure safe passage at checkpoints for Palestinian medical staff and people seeking treatment, the unhampered flow of essential foodstuff and supplies, the safe conduct of students and teachers to and from schools, and the reunification of families separated by closures. 

 

40. The Committee calls upon the State Party to reassess its Permanent Residency Law with the view to ensure that its implementation does not result in impeding the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by Palestinians in East Jerusalem. In particular, the Committee urges the State Party to remove the quota system currently in place so that families separated by residency rules can be reunited without delay.

 

41. The Committee calls upon the State Party to cease the practice of facilitating the building of illegal settlements and constructing by-pass roads, expropriating land, water and resources, the demolition of houses and arbitrary evictions. The Committee urges the State Party to immediately take 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 the mixed cities. The Committee strongly recommends equal access to housing and settlement on state land for the "present absentees" who are citizens of Israel. The Committee recalls in this connection its General Comment No. 4. 

 

42. The Committee urges the State Party to recognize the existing Arab Bedouin villages, the land rights of the inhabitants and their right to basic services including water. 

 

43. The Committee calls upon the State party to undertake measures addressing the inequalities in the educational system in secondary and university levels, particularly in budget allocations. The Committee recommends that a study be made on the viability of establishing an Arab university within Israel for the purpose of ensuring equal opportunities and access to higher education in their respective official languages. 

 

44. The Committee urges the State party to adopt effective measures to combat domestic violence against women and to promote equal treatment of women in the field of employment, including in the Government and in education and health. 

 

45. The Committee requests the State Party to ensure the wide dissemination in Israel of these Concluding Observations. 

 

46. The Committee reiterates that the additional information requested in these Concluding Observations should be submitted in time for the 23rd session of the Committee from November to December 2000. 


Copyright 1998 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Geneva, Switzerland