Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Exposing Israel's Fraudulent Third Periodic
Report to the UN
By Stephen Lendman
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 29, 2010
On October 18, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights offered
an "Alternative Report" response to Israel's submission, sent to the UN
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).
Submitting to the UN, Aharon Leshno Yaar, Israel's Permanent
Representative to Geneva said "Israel was proud of its long-lasting
recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights
of all members of the human family," omitting to explain he means only
Jews, no others, especially Muslims. State belligerence for over six
decades proves it. PCHR reviewed recent facts, documenting them in its
report. Previous articles discussed them it detail, but they bear
repeating. By so doing, peace and self-determination for a beleaguered
people may come sooner.
Israeli Violations of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
addressed each article, detailing Israel's noncompliance, presenting
indisputable, convincing evidence. In its July 9, 2004 "Legal Consequences
of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory," the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that:
"In the exercise
of the powers available to it on this basis, Israel is bound by (ICESCR
provisions)." Throughout its history, however, Israel has grievously
violated all international laws, committing crimes of war and against
humanity repeatedly, the latter virtually daily in the Territories.
After its 2005 disengagement, Israel claims Gaza was no longer occupied.
Therefore, it no longer had ICESCR or other treaty obligations. False on
both counts, the ICJ stating that:
"the State's obligations under
the Covenant apply to all territories and populations under its effective
Israel has controlled Gaza since 1967, today under a
medieval siege, little changed after Israel's bogus June easing. The UN
Security Council, General Assembly, Special Rapporteur (for Palestine),
and the ICRC all said Israel has control. Therefore, it's bound by all
international law provisions.
ICEESC's Article 1: Right to
"All peoples have the right of
self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their
political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural
Israel, however, denies Palestinians that
fundamental human right, what the ICJ calls "one of the essential
principles of international law."
The Court also stated:
"The principle of self-determinatin of peoples has been enshrined in the
United Nations Charter and reaffirmed by the General Assembly in
resolution 2625 (XXV)" under which "Every State has the duty to refrain
from any forcible action which deprives peoples....of their right to
PCHR's report "show(ed) through an
article-by-article analysis of the ICESCR that Israel's longstanding
belligerent occupation of (Palestine) prevents (its people) from freely
determining their political status or pursuing their economic, social and
According to international law and numerous
UN resolutions, Israel's occupation is illegal, especially with regard to
ICESCR's Article 6: Right to Work
"States recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone
to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or
accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right."
Occupation and closure restrict this right. Palestine's economy depends
heavily on Israel for jobs, now largely restricted or denied. Gaza's siege
and West Bank/East Jerusalem free movement restrictions also greatly
impede it. As a result, unemployment and poverty are high.
1992, 30% of Palestinians worked in Israel. In 1996, it was 7% while
unemployment rose to 32.6%. In 2003, it was 41.3%. In December 1998, about
23% of Palestinians lived in poverty, defined as having incomes of $650 or
less annually, starvation wages by any standard. Before the second
Intifada and 2007 closure, Gaza depended more heavily than the West Bank
on Israel for employment. In December 1995, 36% of Gazans were
impoverished. By end of 2003, it was 64%.
West Bank/East Jerusalem
Palestinians are also impeded by free movement restrictions. More on that
below. Moreover, by controlling borders, Israel can decide what gets in or
out, including people, goods and services.
Under siege, Gaza's
economy was devastated. Unemployment rose dramatically. From 2007 - 2009,
OCHA reported the loss of 120,000 jobs, amounting to 55% of the workforce.
Moreover, 95% of Gaza's industry closed or suspended work. The other 5%
operates at from 20 - 50% of capacity. Poverty thus rose to 65%, but under
the annual $650 guideline, it's much higher.
All areas of Gaza's
economy have been affected, including agriculture and fishing, both
decimated under Israeli restrictions. Earlier articles explained this in
detail. A recent one may be accessed through the following link:
Besides other sectors, Gaza's textile industry was destroyed. At
least 40% of furniture products, 70% of clothes and textile items, and 20%
of food sector items were sold outside Gaza before closure. Over 45,000
workers lost employment in these sectors alone.
construction is at a complete standstill because basic materials are
banned, including cement, iron, paint, and all others. In addition, for
lack of fuel, factories producing construction related items have closed.
Included are 13 floor tile facilities, 30 for concrete, 145 for marble,
and 250 for bricks. Thousands more workers were affected.
ICESCR provisions, however, Israel is obligated to let Palestinians seek
employment freely. Closure and movement restrictions impede or prevent it.
Article 10: Right to Family
"The States Parties to the
present Covenant recognize that:
1. The widest possible protection
and assistance should be accorded to the family, which is the natural and
fundamental group unit of society, particularly for its establishment and
while it is responsible for the care and education of dependent children."
However, Israel restricts or denies family reunifications. In May
2002, Government Decision No. 1803 temporarily suspended residency rights
through reunifications. In 2003, the Knesset enacted the Citizenship and
Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order No. 5763), limiting residency or
Israeli citizenship rights. It denies Occupied Territory (OT) Palestinians
who marry citizens or permanent residents legal authorization to live in
Israel with their spouse. Israel's High Court upheld the law, dismissing a
collective NGO 2006 challenge.
"Significantly, the law only
applies to Palestinians," not Israeli Jews who marry foreigners who aren't
Muslims. For their part, Palestinians have few options, one is to break
the law and live in fear of being arrested, detained or deported.
Residency rights of East Jerusalemites have also weakened, PCHR believing
it's to force them out to let Israel Judaize the entire city. Yet in 1967,
East Jerusalem Palestinians got permanent residency status as opposed to
citizenship. In 1974, the law was amended, letting the Interior Ministery
revoke it from Palestinians with Jerusalem ID cards under certain
circumstances. For example, if they lived outside the city for over seven
years; if they got residency rights or citizenship elsewhere, or if they
were called a danger to Israeli security, a broad classification
endangering anyone for any reason or none at all.
In 1995, the
Interior Ministry introduced a new "center of life" policy whereby East
Jerusalemites must prove residency constantly or be forced out. It must
come through rental agreements, home ownership documents, tax receipts,
school registration, receipts of medical treatment, or other means.
Implemented without notice, Palestinians living outside the city
temporarily lost residency. As a result, since 1995, revocations have
The Separation Wall is another means by
stealing Palestinian land, in some cases destroying entire neighborhoods
or communities. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been affected. Once
construction is completed, so will many more.
in the West Bank and Gaza are also impeded, despite the Oslo Accords
transferring control of a Palestinian population registry to the PA. Under
its terms, Israel must be informed of all registry changes to update its
records. However, since 2000, it's failed to do so. As a result, families
incorrectly listed are infiltrators, subject to deportation, fines, or
imprisonment. As of 2007, 120,000 family reunification requests remained
pending, all vulnerable to expulsion or worse.
In April 2010,
Israel passed Military Orders 1649 and 1650. An earlier article explained
them in detail, accessed through the following link:
MO 1649 expanded the definition of infiltrators and increased
penalties for those convicted. MO 1650 requires all West Bank residents to
have Israeli issued permits. Otherwise, they're infiltrators, subject to
prosecution under the new orders. Yet, they're hard to observe since
Israel hasn't updated its registry. As a result, potentially thousands of
West Bank residents face immediate deportation or worse, forcing them to
live in fear.
Under ICESCR provisions, they're also prevented from
enjoying "the natural and fundamental group unit of society." Israel's
policy, in fact, denies them the rights to both family and
self-determination, gross violations of international law.
11: Right to an Adequate Standard of Living
"The States Parties to
the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate
standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food,
clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living
Israeli policies violate this provision grievously.
Expropriating land is one of many ways. Since 1967, over half of
Palestinian land was stolen - more than 73% in the West Bank. In multiple
ways, the right to adequate housing is also violated - through demolitions
and dispossessions, besides land theft and conflict-related destruction.
Cast Lead alone destroyed 2,114 houses, comprising 2,864 housing
units, affecting 3,314 families and 19,592 individuals. Another 3,242
houses with 5,014 units were partially destroyed or made uninhabitable.
Affected were 5,470 families and 32,250 individuals. In addition, 16,000
houses were moderately damaged, affecting thousands more people.
Under siege, reconstruction is hampered or impossible. As a result,
thousands must live in tents, in rented apartments or with relatives.
Post-conflict, an estimated 86,000 new homes are needed, unattainable
under Israel's blockade.
Home demolitions also continue
relentlessly so Jews can seize Palestinian land and property. Since 1967,
about 25,000 structures have been affected, denying Palestinians their
right to housing and their rightful land ownership.
West Bank and
East Jerusalem demolitions are, in fact, increasing, hundreds since 2009
as well as pending orders for more. Currently, Palestinians comprise 30%
of East Jerusalem's population, forced to live on 7% of city land in
highly concentrated neighborhoods. Even in areas where building is
technically allowed, virtually no permits are issued, including to make
repairs, enlarge existing properties, or facilitate a growing population.
Violating the law results in demolitions and/or fines.
confiscated land is used for settlements, their infrastructure, commercial
development, open spaces, or military use. In East Jerusalem, it's for
settlers. In recent years, encroachment has increased dramatically, on 121
settlements and another 99 outposts. Moreover, despite a so-called
moratorium, construction continued unimpeded. Now it's proceeding faster,
Israel hell-bent to grow its settler population (now around 500,000 in the
West Bank and East Jerusalem) at the expense of dispossessed Palestinians,
losing out without redress.
Thousands of new units are approved,
many slated for immediate construction. Under Israel's 2000 Master Plan
for Jerusalem, settlement expansion and other land expropriation will
continue toward full Judaization of the city.
Add to this
violations of the right to food. In the West Bank, restricted access to
range land and water have made 80% of communities in Israeli-controlled
Area C (about 60% of the West Bank) food insecure, compared to 25% in the
West Bank overall. In Gaza, however, it's much worse, affecting about 75%
of the population. Everything is in short supply, including the most basic
items like wheat, flour, rice, oil, fruits, vegetables, fish, and much
more. As a result, prices have risen sharply, exacerbating an already dire
situation, Israel having declared economic war on Palestine, in Gaza most
Water denial is also grievous throughout the Territories
even though "International cooperation requires States parties to refrain
from actions that interfere, directly or indirectly, with the enjoyment of
the right to water in other countries. Any activities undertaken should
not deprive another country of the ability to realize the right to water
for persons in its jurisdiction." In Occupied Palestine, the problem gets
worse, not better, Israel flaunting its obligation.
In the West
Bank, Israel uses 73% of aquifer water, all belonging to Palestinians,
denied access to what's theirs. It's led to a sharp decline in living
conditions. In Israeli-controlled areas, obtaining permits to repair or
upgrade infrastructure face lengthy delays or denials. As a result,
farmers can't water their fields, have it available for animals, or have
access to it for their families. In Area C especially, water insecurity
Overall, tens of thousands of Palestinians in dozens of
communities have no water network connection. Many others get inadequate
supplies, and pay four to ten times the average cost for water supply
service. Israel's Separation Wall exacerbates the problem, its
construction having destroyed dozens of wells and hundreds of cisterns, as
well as 35,000 meters of water pipes. Moreover, Israel will have full
control of the richest, most important Western Aquifer, along the Green
Line inside the West Bank, when construction is completed.
Cast Lead, Israel destroyed water installations, the construction ban
preventing vital repairs or rebuilding. Inadequate fuel for electricity
hampers facilities needing it, including wastewater treatment ones. Unable
to run regular cycles, an average of 20,000 cubic meters of raw sewage is
dumped into the Mediterranean daily. In some areas, it's 70,000 - 80,000
cm at times, as well as other disposal in cities like Rafah, Beit Lahia
and Khan Younis. Water contamination is thus a major problem. About 90% of
Gaza's from its coastal aquifer is polluted under siege, unfit to drink or
use for agriculture. "This is very clearly a criminal policy....violat(ing)
ICESCR but also constitutes collective punishment."
Right to Health
"The States Parties to the present Covenant
recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of physical and mental health."
From conflict and under
siege, they've declined markedly for Gazans, both access and quality. The
war damaged 15 of 27 hospitals, 43 of 110 health care centers, and 29 of
148 ambulances. Nothing can be rebuilt or properly repaired. In addition,
Israel prohibits medicines, medical equipment, and spare parts, including
what's vital to save lives.
Around 110 medicines and 123 types of
medical equipment are unavailable for import. In coming months, supplies
of 76 other medicines will run out. As a result, acute shortages exist,
Gazans denied their right to proper care. Moreover, electricity shortages
cause regular blackouts, and without spare parts, Gaza Power Plant repairs
aren't possible. As a result, patients face grave risks because vital
services aren't available or may have to shut down at critical times.
In addition, under siege, free movement in and out is prevented,
including for medical personnel and patients needing critical care Gaza
facilities can't provide. Patients have, in fact, died waiting for
permission to use Egyptian, Israeli, or better West Bank or East Jerusalem
Besides life threatening and other illnesses, chronic
or acute, the UN Special Rapporteur reported that "96% of the population
of Gaza suffers from depression and that such mental deterioration is
itself an indication of a failure by the Occupying Power to discharge its
basic duty to safeguard the health of civilians living under the
Article 13: Right to Education
Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to
education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full
development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and
shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
They further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate
in a free society."
For most other rights, realizing them depends
on education. It's "the primary vehicle by which economically and socially
marginalized adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and
obtain the means to participate fully in their communities."
Israel, however, impedes or denies it through various means, including
movement restrictions, a classroom shortage, and relentless persecution,
arresting over 6,000 children since 2000 and intimidating the entire
Moreover, especially in Gaza, shortages
of books and basic supplies exist. Foreign travel is also restricted or
denied. In addition, military operations and displacements take their
toll, including raids on hundreds of schools and eight or more
universities, arresting students, teachers, professors, and/or other
staff. Further, destroyed or damaged Gaza schools haven't been rebuilt or
A Final Comment
PCHR concluded saying its report
isn't exhaustive, "but provides an overview of some of the grave human
rights abuses suffered by Palestinians...." It urges CESCR to take
"appropriate steps toward ending Israel's repeated violations of the
economic, cultural and social rights in" Palestine. It also calls for
ending Gaza's siege, and for international support to demand it, so far
Moreover, Israel is seriously and repeatedly in
breach of all the above enumerated rights, basic ones under ICESCR and
other international laws. It puts a lie to saying it's "proud of its
longstanding recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and
inalienable rights of all members of the human family."
of many brazen Israeli lies. Only other offenders and uninformed people
can accept them. For the truth, ask Palestinians, especially Gazans,
suffocating under Israeli harshness, slow-motion genocide by any standard.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive
Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US
Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived
for easy listening.