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Adalah's Newsletter
Volume 67, December 2009

UN Human Rights Committee Sets out Critical Questions to Israel regarding its Rights Record on Equality, Citizenship and Land and Housing for Palestinian Citizens of Israel

This month the UN Human Rights Committee (the Committee) published its “List of Issues” for Israel. The list was issued in preparation for its full review of Israel’s compliance with the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) , scheduled to take place in July 2010. Israel must prepare its responses to the List of Issues prior to the Committee's review. Israel ratified the ICCPR in 1991 and is legally bound to abide by the convention.

The Committee’s questions featured numerous inquiries regarding Israel’s violations of the civil and political rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel raised by Adalah in its NGO Report , submitted to the Committee on 10 August 2009.

The Committee asked questions relating to a wide range of issues, including the right to equality, the status of the Arabic language, the Arab Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev), police impunity, freedom of religion, the right to citizenship, and the under-representation of Palestinian citizens of the state in the civil service. Among the issues raised by Adalah on which Israel now has to provide answers to the Committee are the following:

The right to equality
Please indicate why Israel has not yet included the right to equality and the prohibition of discrimination in the “Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (1992)” and whether it will do so. Please provide information on any measures envisaged to protect the right to equality, in accordance with the Covenant, and to ensure that no discriminatory laws are enacted. (Para. 2)

The status of the Arabic language 
What measures is Israel taking to ensure that Arab citizens of Israel are able to use their own language and enjoy their own culture, in accordance with article 27 of the Covenant? Please comment on the July 2009 decision of the Transport Minister to remove the Arabic names of towns and villages from all road signs and to replace them with Hebrew names. (Para. 6)

The Arab Bedouin in the Naqab: Home demolitions and access to basic services
Please elaborate on the measures taken by Israel to respect and protect the rights of Arab Bedouin to their land and traditional way of life; to stop demolitions of their homes; and to provide them with adequate basic infrastructure and services, including electricity, water, education and health facilities. (Para. 7)  

Building permits
Please provide comparative disaggregated data on the number of building permits… issued to citizens of Israel, including the Palestinian Arab community in Israel (Para. 4).

Police impunity
Please indicate whether complaints against Israeli military forces and the police are recorded immediately. Are remedies available to victims of unlawful use of force and their families? Paragraph 200 of Israel's report states that 49 complaints out of 1,273 investigations for unlawful use of force by police officers resulted in criminal proceedings in 2004. What is the reason for relatively few criminal proceedings? Please indicate the number of proceedings that have led to the conviction of the accused and the sanctions imposed on those convicted. (Para. 15)

Freedom of religion
Please comment on the recent decision of the Supreme Court that denies legal protection, under the Protection of Holy Sites Law (1967), to holy Muslim sites located in Israel. What measures does the Israel envisage to take to ensure equal protection for all holy sites and to ensure peaceful access to Muslim holy sites? (Para. 21)

The revocation of citizenship
Please provide information with regard to the “loyalty bill” stating that persons wishing to retain Israeli citizenship would have to declare their loyalty to Israel as a Jewish State, which was rejected in May 2009 by the ministerial legislative committee. (Para. 25)

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law 
Please provide information on: (a) the measures taken to revoke the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (2003) (temporary order) as recommended by the Committee in 2003; and (b) practices regarding family reunification concerning Israel and the OPT. (Para. 27)

Under-representation of Arab citizens in the civil service
Please provide disaggregated data by sex, age and ethnic origin on employees in the public service. Please also provide updated information on the progress achieved on the five-year work plans to improve the representation of Arab citizens of Israel in the public service. (Para. 30)

In addition to its NGO report on the civil and political rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, Adalah together with Al Mezan and Physicians for Human Rights – Israel submitted a further report to the Committee detailing violations of the ICCPR in relation to Palestinian prisoners and detainees and Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Of the 30 questions posed by the Committee to Israel, 14 concerned these matters as raised in the report of the three human rights organizations.

All NGO, State party and Committee documents, including Adalah's NGO report on Palestinian citizens of Israel and the joint submission by Adalah, Al Mezan and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel are available at:






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