Human rights in Israel


Human rights in Israel

Human rights in Israel have been evaluated by various non-governmental organizations and individuals, often in relation to the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When analyzing Israel's human rights records, most observers agree that it is important to maintain the distinction between Israel proper and the territories that it currently occupies (Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza strip). Israel proper is a multiparty parliamentary democracy, and while having a Jewish majority, includes religious and ethnic minorities, some of which claim "de facto" discrimination. In the occupied territories, Israel is subject to severe criticism by human rights groups inside and outside the country, which Israel mostly rejects.

While Israel does not have a constitution, it has a set of Basic Laws, intended to form the basis of a future constitution. One of those Basic Laws, , serves as one of the major tools for defending human rights and liberties.

Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel proclaimed on May 14, 1948 that "the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country" ... "was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of 2 November 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and "Eretz-Israel [Land of Israel] and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home." It also declared that the state "...will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of 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." []

tatus of freedom, political rights and civil liberties in Israel

Rights and liberties ratings

: "Notes." :"(FH):" Per Freedom House 2006 ratings. [ cite web
url=http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/pdf/Charts2006.pdf
title=Freedom in the World 2006
publisher=Freedom House
date=2005-12-16
accessdate=2006-07-27
format=PDF
] For indices PR and CL, 1 represents the most free and 7 the least free rating.:"(TICP):" According to the annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, the score ranges from 10 (squeaky clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). [ cite web
url = http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781359.html
title = The 2005 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index
accessdate = 2006-07-28
year = 2005
work = Transparency International Annual Report
publisher = Transparency International
]

Elections, political parties, and representation

According to 2005 US Department of State report on Israel, “ [t] he law provides citizens with the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right in practice through periodic, free, and fair elections held on the basis of universal suffrage...The country is a parliamentary democracy with an active multiparty system. Relatively small parties, including those primarily supported by Israeli Arabs, regularly win Knesset seats.”cite web
url = http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61690.htm
title = Israel and the occupied territories
accessdate = 2006-08-01
author = Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
date = March 8, 2006
work = Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2005
publisher = U.S. Department of State
language =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
]

In some instances, however, parties have been disqualified from listing candidates for election.

The Kach Party had run candidates under a platform which proposed forced transfer of Arabs from Israel and establishment of a theocracy in Israel ruled by traditional Jewish law. This platform was felt to be inciting of racism by the Knesset and was banned from participation in elections. In 1988, the Supreme Court of Israel upheld this Knesset decision. After a member of the Kach party slayed 29 Palestinians, the party was outlawed completely. "See also Reactions in Israel to the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre."

A concurrent 1985 decision to disqualify the Progressive List for Peace, a party which was founded to negate the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people was conversely overturned by the Supreme court in 1988.

Freedom of religion

All religious groups have freedom to practice and maintain communal institutions in Israel. According to the 2005 US Department of State report on Israel, “ [t] he law provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice.” After gaining control of the West Bank in 1967, Israel guaranteed Muslim access to mosques including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Christian access to Churches.cite news
author = Gilbert, Martin
url = http://www.mefacts.com/cache/html/wall-ruling_/11362.htm
title = Jerusalem: A Tale of One City
publisher = The New Republic
page = (cover story)
date = November 14, 1994
accessdate = 2006-07-31
] Israel has extended protection to religious sites of non-Jewish religions; most famously the IDF foiled a Kach party attempt to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and continue to protect this site from attacks by non-Muslims [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/770846.html Police arrest J'lem rabbi who threatened to carry out terror attack on Temple Mount - Haaretz - Israel News ] ] . At times, the observances of holy days by various religions has the potential to cause conflict; thus Israeli police take measures to avoid friction between communities by issuing temporary restrictions on movement [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=112595 Restrictions on Old City Jews During Ramadan - Inside Israel - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ] and audible worship. [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1159193339491&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull Yeshiva student detained for blowing shofar at 'Kotel Hakatan' | Jerusalem Post ] ]

The city of Jerusalem has given financial support, to Muslim religious activities as well has giving them facilities for their use. [ [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=112351 Jerusalem Municipality Readies to Ring in Ramadan - Inside Israel - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ] . Israel does not give funding to some religious communities including Protestants .

The Bahá'í Faith (in 1960) maintains the seat of their governing bodies, the Universal House of Justice in Haifa. [cite web
url = http://www.bahai.org/dir/bwc
title = Bahá’í World Centre
accessdate = 2006-07-31
year = 2006
publisher = Bahá'í International Community
] Buddhism is also active as a religion in Israel. [cite web
url = http://www.buddhism.org.il/?newlang=english
title = Diamond Way Buddhism in Israel
accessdate = 2006-08-01
year = 2006
publisher = Diamond Way Buddhism
language =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
] , [cite web
url = http://www.buddhanet.net/africame/m_eastdir.htm#israel
title = Buddhanet’s Middle East Buddhist Directory: Israel
accessdate = 2006-08-01
year = 2006
publisher = Buddha Dharma Education Association
language =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
]

Marriage

A major issue is the lack of civil marriage, as opposed to religious marriage, in Israel. A couple wishing to marry must do so through a religious ceremony, be it Jewish, Muslim, Christian or other. Non-religious couples must undergo a religious ceremony to marry, as do persons with no recognised religion, such as many of the immigrants from the former Soviet republics, who received citizenship based on a Jewish relative, but who are not recognized as Jews by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Common-law marriage, which gives couples the same rights married couples enjoy, mitigates this difficulty. Israeli citizens may also travel abroad for a civil marriage, which is binding under Israeli law.

Israel has been criticised for "discrimination in personal and civil status matters against non-Orthodox Jews.” Israel only recognizes Orthodox Rabbis for the purpose of marrying couples, [http://www.culturaljudaism.org/pdf/Libi_Oz_Contemplate.pdf] not allowing Reform or Conservative Rabbis to perform the ceremony.

Judiciary system and criminal justice

Israeli law provides for the right to a fair trial and an independent judiciary. The 2005 US Department of State report on Israel notes that the courts sometimes ruled against the executive branch, including in some security cases. Human Rights Groups believe these requirements are generally respected. As well the system is adversarial and cases are decided by professional judges. Indigent defendants receive mandatory representation. Some areas of the country fall under the separate judicial jurisdiction of military courts. These courts are believed to be in alignment with Israel's other criminal courts on matters pertaining to civilians. Convictions in these courts cannot be based on confession alone.

Treatment of prisoners

The 2005 US Department of State report on Israel: notes that, "conditions in IPS facilities, which house common law criminals and convicted security prisoners...generally met international standards, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had access to these facilities, and there were no reports of political prisoners in Israel.

However, the report referenced above notes that in 2005 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have filed numerous credible complaints with the government alleging that security forces tortured and abused Palestinian detainees. There have been other reports to that effect. [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/1998/07/15/isrlpa1214.htm UN should Condemn Israeli Torture and Hostage-Taking (Human Rights Watch, 15-7-1998) ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/637293.stm BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Israel admits torture ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7345025.stm BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel 'using psychological torture' ] ] According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, more than 40,000 Palestinians have been arrested since the start of the September 2000 Al-Aqsa intifada, and Israel currently holds 9,400 Palestinian prisoners in more than 30 jails located across Israel including over 369 jailed before the Oslo Accords and 330 minors. According to the Bureau, 70 of these minor prisoners are considered seriously ill due to lack of "basic medical attention." [cite web
url = http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/images/informationbrief.php?ID=160
title = Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel
accessdate = 2006-08-08
author =
last = Assad
first = Samar
date = April 18, 2006
work = Palestine Center Information Briefs
publisher = The Palestine Center
pages =
language =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
]

Lebanese citizen Mustafa Dirani has charged that Israeli security forces tortured and raped him during interrogations. Another former detainee alleged he was subjected to painful positioning, beatings, long periods of interrogation, threats, and food and sleep deprivation. An independent rights group reported “…the complainant suffered severe back pains and paralysis in his left leg from the abuse.”

Freedom of speech

According to the 2005 US Department of State report on Israel, " [t] he law provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice subject to restrictions concerning security issues. The law provides for freedom of assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. Examples of the government's exercise of restriction have been documented. On February 2, 2005 a public body which oversees aspects of Israeli television banned commercials which featured Palestinian figures speaking about the recent Geneva Accords. The body claimed rights according to regulations on television and commercial ethics.

Some government officials and others have been critical of the freedom of speech rights given to settlers during their forced evacuation from Gaza and the West Bank. This led to the criticism that “the authorities took disproportional steps, unjustifiably infringing on the right to political expression and protest.”cite web
url = http://www.acri.org.il/english-acri/engine/story.asp?id=245
title = ACRI Report Slashes Civil Rights Abuses and Privatization
accessdate = 2006-07-28
year = 2005
work = Annual Report on Israel
publisher = The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
]

Within Israel, policies of its government are often subjected to criticism by its press (the only country ranked "Free" (28 on the scale 1-100) in the region in 2005 by Freedom House [cite web
title = Press Freedom Rankings by Region 2005
publisher = Freedom House
date= 2005
url = http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=202&year=2005
accessdate=2006-08-12
] ) as well as a vast variety of political, human rights and watchdog groups such as Association for Civil Rights in Israel, B'Tselem, Machsom Watch, Women in Black, Women for Israel's Tomorrow, among others. According to the Reporters Without Borders, "The Israeli media were once again in 2005 the only ones in the region that had genuine freedom to speak out." [cite web
title = Israel - Annual report 2006
publisher = Reporters Without Borders
date= 2006
url = http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=17231&Valider=OK
accessdate=2006-08-12
]

In 2003, Israel's film board banned from commercial screenings (in cinemas) a documentary about the 2002 Battle of Jenin. [cite news |url=http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/transcripts/2003/jan/030101.gradstein.html |publisher=National Public Radio |date=January 1, 2003 |title=Israel Bans Film about Jenin Refugee Camp] The documentary, titled "Jenin, Jenin", was a collection of interviews with residents of the Jenin refugee camp filmed in April 2002, a week after the battle. Mohammad Bakri, an Israeli Arab, directed the film. The film was banned due to its claims of war crimes committed by Israeli forces, which the board deemed false and hurtful to the soldiers' families. In a later deposition following a slander lawsuit by Israeli soldiers' families, Bakri admitted to inaccuracies throughout his film. [cite news |url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42404 |publisher=WorldNetDaily |date=January 17, 2005 |title=Palestinian producer: False film funded by PA]

Following legal proceedings, a petition was filed to the Supreme Court of Israel, which unanimously overturned the board's decision, and allowed the movie to be shown in cinemas. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3262325.stm |publisher=BBC News |date=November 11, 2003 |title=Israel court lifts Jenin film ban]

Right to privacy

According to 2005 US Department of State report on Israel, “ [l] aws and regulations provide for protection of privacy of the individual and the home. In criminal cases the law permits wiretapping under court order; in security cases the defense ministry must issue the order…”

LGBT rights

Israel has not legalized same-sex marriage; however, same-sex marriages valid in foreign countries are legally recognized in Israel. [cite web
url = http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/21/africa/ME_GEN_Israel_Same_Sex_Marriages.php
title = Israel's Supreme Court approves same-sex marriages performed abroad
accessdate = 2006-11-25
date= 2006-11-21
publisher = International Herald Tribune
] [cite web
url = http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/11/21/israel.gays.ap/index.html?eref=rss_latest
title = Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed abroad
accessdate = 2006-11-25
date= 2006-11-21
publisher = CNN
] Israel guarantees civil rights for its homosexual population, including adoption rights and partner benefits. [cite web
url = http://www.thegully.com/essays/gaymundo/020220_gay_israel_history.html
title = Queer in the Land of Sodom
accessdate = 2006-08-01
last = Walzer
first = Lee
date = February 21, 2002
publisher = The Gully
language =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
] Israel also grants a common-law marriage status for same-sex domestic partners. The Sodomy law inherited from The British Mandate of Palestine was only repealed in 1988, though there was an explicit instruction issued in 1953 by the Attorney General of Israel ordering the police to refrain from enforcing this law, as long as no other offenses were involved. A national gay rights law bans some anti-gay discrimination, including in employment; some exemptions are made for religious organizations. Since 1993, homosexuals have been allowed to openly serve in the military, including in special units. [ [http://www.actwin.com/eatonohio/gay/world.htm Homosexual rights around the world] , Gay Rights Info]

Ethnic minorities and Immigration Law

Ethnic minorities have full voting rights in Israel and are entitled to government benefits. However, the 2005 US Department of State report on Israel criticized Israel for “institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against the country’s Arab citizens.”

In a report submitted to the United Nations, Bedouin claim they face discrimination and are not treated as equal citizens in Israel and that Bedouin towns are not provided the same level of services or land that Jewish towns of the same size are and they are not given fair access to water. The city of Be'er Sheva refused to recognize a Bedouin holy site, despite the high court recommendation. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/734096.html Bedouin ask UN to help fight systemic discrimination in Israel] . Haaretz, 03-07-2006]

Human rights group B'Tselem has claimed that Arabs in Jerusalem are denied residency rights, leading to a housing shortage in the Arab areas of Jerusalem. [cite news |url=http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/5937/format/html/displaystory.html
title=Arabs are denied residency rights in Jerusalem, rights group says
date=April 11, 1997
publisher=The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California
]

During the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2003, the Knesset made a temporary amendment to the "Citizenship and Entry into Israel" law which prohibited Palestinian married to Israelis from gaining Israeli citizenship or residency. Critics argue that the law is racist because it is targeted at Israeli Arabs who are far more likely to have Palestinian spouses than other Israelis; defenders say the law is aimed at preventing terrorist attacks and preserving the Jewish character of Israel.cite news |url=http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=721352006 |title=Arab spouses face Israeli legal purge |author=Ben Lynfield |publisher=The Scotsman] cite news |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/08/01/MN110656.DTL |title=Israeli marriage law blocks citizenship for Palestinians |date=August 1, 2003 |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle] The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination unanimously approved a resolution saying that the Israeli law violated an international human rights treaty against racism. [cite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3152651.stm |title=UN blasts Israeli marriage law |publisher=BBC News |date=15 August 2003] The Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Yaakov Levy, said the resolution was "highly politicized", citing the committee's failure to grant Israel's request to present evidence of the, "legislation's compliance with existing international law and practice', examples of "numerous concrete instances [in which the] granting of a legal status to Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents [was] abused by Palestinian residents of the territories for suicide terrorism", and also ignoring the fact that at the time of the UN resolution the matter was under review by the Israeli High Court of Justice. In addition, Levy noted that the UN Committee was ignoring, "existing similar laws and practices" in other states while censuring Israel. [ [http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/db942872b9eae454852560f6005a76fb/cf0add5629254eb085256e1a005a49f8!OpenDocument A/58/18 of 22 August 2003 ] ] .

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a petition to have the law struck down [cite news |url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0808/p06s03-wome.html |title=Marriage law divides Israeli Arab families |author=Ben Lynfield |publisher=Christian Science Monitor] but it was upheld by a High Court decision in 2006. In formulating the law, the government cited, "information presented by the security forces, which said that the terrorist organizations try to enlist Palestinians who have already received or will receive Israeli documentation and that the security services have a hard time distinguishing between Palestinians who might help the terrorists and those who will not [cite news|url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/1037363061.html?dids=1037363061:1037363061&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=May+15%2C+2006&author=DAN+IZENBERG&pub=Jerusalem+Post&edition=&startpage=01&desc=High+Court+upholds+law+denying+Palestinian+spouses+citizenship|title=High Court upholds law denying Palestinian spouses citizenship|Author=DAN IZENBERG|date15 May2006|accessdate=2006-09-02] "In the Israeli Supreme Court decision on this matter, Deputy Chief Justice Mishael Cheshin argued that, "Israeli citizens [do not] enjoy a constitutional right to bring a foreign national into Israel...and it is the right -- moreover, it is the duty -- of the state, of any state, to protect its residents from those wishing to harm them. And it derives from this that the state is entitled to prevent the immigration of enemy nationals into it -- even if they are spouses of Israeli citizens -- while it is waging an armed conflict with that same enemy [cite news |url=http://www.merip.org/mero/mero060106.html|title=Israel’s “Demographic Demon” in Court|publisher=Middle East Report Online|date=1 June 2006] "

Migrant workers

In June 2006, the United States Department of State issued a report which stated that "the Government of Israel does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and has failed to show efforts to address conditions of involuntary servitude allegedly facing thousands of foreign migrant workers."' cite paper
author= Ori Nir
date= June 9, 2006
url= http://www.forward.com/main/article.php?ref=nir200606081216
format=
title= Human Trafficking Report Slaps Israel
publisher= Forward
version=
accessdate= 2006-07-27
]

People with disabilities

Israel enacted an Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law in 1998. The US Department of State report on Israel, however, criticizes Israel for, “de facto discrimination against persons with disabilities.”

In Israel more than 144,000 people with disabilities rely solely on government allowances as their only means of support. According to Arie Zudkevitch and fellow members of the Israeli Organization of the Disabled: "The amount of money that we get cannot fulfill even the basic needs of people without special needs." In Tel Aviv, more than 10,000 people marched in solidarity with the disabled, demanding increased compensation and recognition from the Israeli Government.cite web
url = http://www.disabilityworld.org/04-05_02/news/israel.shtml
title = Israeli Organization of Disabled Persons Holds 77 Day "Sit-In" about Benefits
accessdate = 2006-07-28
year = 2002
work = Disability World Issue No. 13
publisher = Israeli Organizationo f the Disabled
]

A 2005 report from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel raised the concern: "It was reported this year that the Health Ministry has known for over two years that private psychiatric hospitals are holding 70 individuals who no longer need hospitalization, but continue to be hospitalized to serve the institutions` financial interests." The report suggests that, "the Health Ministry is supposed to supervise the private hospitals, but has been powerless to move these patients into an appropriate community situation." The most recent statistics of the Israeli Health Ministry showed over 18,000 admissions for psychiatric hospital care. [cite web
url = http://www.health.gov.il/download/mental/annual2004/pp.32-65psychiatrichospitalization.pdf
title = Psychiatric Hospitalization
accessdate = 2006-07-30
last = Lerner
first = Dr. Jacob
coauthors =
date = May 19, 2005
format = PDF
work = Statistical Annual 2004
publisher = Israel Ministry of Health
pages = 32–65
language = Hebrew—with English statistics below
archiveurl =
archivedate =
]

Human trafficking

Israel has been criticized for its policies and enforcement of laws on sex trafficking. Women from the former Soviet Republics are brought into the country by criminal elements for forced labor in the sex industry. In 1998 the Jerusalem Post estimated that pimps engaging in this activity derived on average $50,000 - $100,000 (USD) per prostitute, resulting in a countrywide industry of nearly $450 (USD) million annually. "Israel Trafficking, Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation. Accessed: July 27, 2006. [http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/israel.htm] ] ["A Modern Form of Slavery, The Jerusalem Post. 13 January 1998, pg. 10] By July, 2000, Israel passed the Prohibition on Trafficking Law. In its 2003 report, the Human Rights Committee noted it "welcomes the measures taken by the State party to combat trafficking in women for the purpose of prostitution” cite paper
author= Human Rights Committee
date= August 21, 2003
url= http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/7121cbf0578c594ec1256da5004b25e8?Opendocument
format=
title= Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Israel
publisher= United Nations
version=
accessdate= 2006-07-27
] . The 2005 US Department of State report on Israel mentioned "societal violence and discrimination against women and trafficking in and abuse of women."

In October 2006, the Knesset passed a new law outlawing human trade with sentences for human trade offences of up to 16 years, and 20 years when the victim is a minor. The law also addresses forced labor, slavery, organ-theft,and prostitution. The bill also requires compensation of victims of human trade and slavery. Trials will be able to be held behind closed doors to protect the identity of victims [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3316286,00.html Knesset approves harsh punishments for human trade - Israel News, Ynetnews ] ] . By November, most of the prostitution activity in Israel has disappeared. The police closed most of the places that offered sex services, and detained criminals related to prostitution and sex trafficking.cite paper
author= Walla editorial
date= November 14, 2006
url= http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//1007942
format=
title= Sex Trafficking Going Down
publisher= Walla.co.il
version=
accessdate= 2006-11-14
] However, campaigners say that police action has shifted the industry to private apartments and escort agencies, making the practice more difficult to detect. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7070929.stm?lsm]

Privatization and human rights controversy

The 2005 annual report of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) found that "accelerated privatization" is damaging human rights. According to the report, "State economic policy, including cutting stipends, reducing housing assistance, and constantly declining state participation in health-care and education costs, are forcing more elderly, children and whole families into poverty and despair. The increasing damage to citizens' rights to earn a dignified living - both due to low wages and the lack of enforcement of labor laws - is particularly prominent."

Human rights record in the Occupied Territories

Since 1967, Israel has occupied territories which it obtained during the Six-Day War. These territories currently include parts of the West Bank, and the entire Golan Heights. Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip, but has subjected it to various security measures such as closures and other measures, due to ongoing attacks originating from Gaza.

Non-Israeli residents of Israeli-occupied territory are subject to Israeli security measures and regulations. However, they are not citizens of Israel. For this reason, many organizations and groups maintain separate records of Israel's human rights record in these occupied territories.

(Note: for the Palestinian Authority's human rights record in areas under its control, see Human rights in the Palestinian National Authority)

ettlements

On April 7, 2005 the United Nations Committee on Human Rights stated it was "deeply concerned at the suffering of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan due to the violation of their fundamental and human rights since the Israeli military occupation of 1967... [and] in this connection, deploring the Israeli settlement in the occupied Arab territories, including in the occupied Syrian Golan, and regretting Israel's constant refusal to cooperate with and to receive the Special Committee" Question of the Violation of Human Rights In the Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine, United Nations Human Rights Committee. Accessed: July 27, 2006. [http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.nsf/fd807e46661e3689852570d00069e918/70b45141ca328dc385256fe70070dba1!OpenDocument] ]

Israeli military strategists defend the occupation of the Golan Heights as necessary to maintain a buffer against future military attacks from Syria. [cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/country_profiles/3393813.stm
title = Regions and territories: The Golan Heights
accessdate = 2006-08-15
date = October 1, 2004
publisher = BBC News
] The land was captured in the Six Day War.

Apartheid analogy

Israeli treatment of non-Jews, particularly in territories occupied by Israel for the past forty years, has been compared to South Africa's treatment of non-whites during the apartheid era by the Congress of South African Trade Unions [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3260201,00.html South African union joins boycott of Israel] ] and Jimmy Carter [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=799476&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1 Jimmy Carter: Israel's 'apartheid' policies worse than South Africa's] ] , among others. South Africa's Minister of Home Affairs has said "The Israeli regime is not apartheid. It is a unique case of democracy." [ [http://www.dailyalert.org/archive/2003-09/2003-09-23.html Daily Alert of Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, September 23, 2003] ]

Israeli West Bank barrier

A physical barrier, consisting mainly of fences and trenches, built by the Israeli Government which has been the center of much controversy. It is located partly within the West Bank, partly along the border between the West Bank and Israel proper. The barrier's stated purpose is "to keep the terrorists out and thereby save the lives of Israel's citizens, Jews and Arabs alike." cite web
url = http://securityfence.mfa.gov.il/mfm/web/main/document.asp?SubjectID=45219&MissionID=45187&LanguageID=0&StatusID=0&DocumentID=-1
title = The Reasons Behind the Fence: First Priority - Saving Lives
accessdate = 2006-09-11
publisher = Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
] The barrier is sometimes called a 'wall', mainly by its opponents. The barrier was condemned by a UN Resolution "overwhelmingly" passed by UN General Assembly which also called for all construction to halt. cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3212430.stm
title = UN condemns West Bank 'wall'
accessdate = 2006-08-12
year = 2003
work = BBC News Website
publisher = BBC
] The building of the barrier inside the west bank was also condemned by the International Court of Justice which stated: "Israel also has an obligation to put an end to the violation of its international obligations flowing from the construction of the wall in Occupied Palestinian Territories...reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act.." cite web
url = http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE150682004
title = Dismantle the wall, says International Court of Justice
accessdate = 2006-08-12
year = 2004
work = AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
publisher = Amnesty International
] During 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled, concerning a stretch of the barrier to the north-west of Jerusalem: "The route [of the West Bank Barrier] disrupts the delicate balance between the obligation of the military commander to preserve security and his obligation to provide for the needs of the local inhabitants." cite web
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1250608,00.html
title = Court orders changes to West Bank wall
accessdate = 2006-08-12
year = 2004
work = Special Report: Israel & The Middle East
publisher = The Guardian Unlimited
]

Echoing this sentiment, Amnesty International issued in a statement in 2005 saying: "Israel built a fence/wall through the West Bank, confining Palestinians in isolated enclaves cut off from their land and essential services in nearby towns and villages."cite web
url = http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/isr-summary-eng
title = Israel and the Occupied Territories
accessdate = 2006-08-15
year = 2005
work = Report 2005
publisher = Amnesty International
] Gwynne Dyer, writing about barriers being built around the world, including Israel's barrier with the West Bank, Thailand's 50 mile security fence with Malaysia, India's 1,800 mile fence with Pakistan and 1,950 mile barrier with Bangladesh, Morocco's 1,600 mile barrier with Algeria, Pakistan's 1,500 mile fence with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan's fence with Tadjikistan, Kuwait's wall with Iraq, and Saudi Arabia's efforts to fence the borders with Yemen and Iraq, in her article [http://www.newhamburgindependent.ca/nhi/news/news_720852.html A world of walls in the name of security] noted "The majority of the new walls springing up around the world are there to stop either terrorist attacks or illegal immigration, but sometimes they also serve as a unilateral way of defining a country's desired borders."

Military and security-related activity

In a 2004 report on Israel, Amnesty International claimed:

:"abuses committed by the Israeli army constituted crimes against humanity and war crimes, including unlawful killings; extensive and wanton destruction of property; obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel; torture; and the use of Palestinians as human shields."

:"The Israeli army killed more than 700 Palestinians, including some 150 children. Most were killed unlawfully — in reckless shooting, shelling and air strikes in civilian residential areas; in extrajudicial executions; and as a result of excessive use of force."

:"Most members of the Israeli army and security forces continued to enjoy impunity. Investigations, prosecutions and convictions for human rights violations were rare. In the overwhelming majority of the thousands of cases of unlawful killings and other grave human rights violations committed by Israeli soldiers in the previous four years, no investigations were known to have been carried out."

Gal Luft has written that Palestinian militants have utilized a tactic of blending among civilian populations, which exacerbates civilian casualties in Israeli attacks. [cite paper
author=Luft, Gal
date= October 2002
url= http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cchrp/Use%20of%20Force/October%202002/Luft_final.pdf
format= PDF
title= Urban Operations in Jenin Refugee Camp: The Israeli Experience
publisher= Kennedy School of Government
version=
accessdate= 2006-08-06
] Israel has stated it does not target civilians.cite journal
last = Luft
first = Gal
year = 2003
month = Winter
title = The Logic of Israel's Targeted Killing
journal = The Middle East Quarterly
volume = X
issue = 1
pages =
doi =
id =
url = http://www.meforum.org/article/515
format =
accessdate = 2006-08-01
quotes =
]

Human shields

In April 2004, Israeli soldiers used 13-year-old Muhammed Badwan as a human shield [ [http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/index.html?siteSect=143&sid=4886007 Activists say Israel held boy as human shield - swissinfo ] ] during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Biddu. The soldiers tied Badwan to the front windscreen of their jeep to discourage Palestinian demonstrators from throwing stones in their direction.

Such actions are condemned by human rights groups as violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 27 states: "civilians who find themselves in the hands of one of the parties are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect...They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof." In Article 28 of the Convention, the official commentary refers to this practice, which was used during World War II, as "cruel and barbaric." Articles 31 and 51 also prohibit the use of physical or moral coercion on civilians or forcing them to carry out military tasks.cite web
url = http://www.btselem.org/english/Human_Shields/20060720_Human_Shields_in_Beit_Hanun.asp
title = Israeli Soldiers use civilians as Human Shields in Beit Hanun
accessdate = 2006-07-20
year = 2006
work = The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights
publisher = B'Tselem
]

The Israeli High Court has issued an injunction against the practice. "You cannot exploit the civilian population for the army's military needs, and you cannot force them to collaborate with the army", said Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court of Israel. cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4314898.stm
title = Israel bans use of human shields
accessdate = 2006-10-05
year = 2005
work = BBC News
publisher = BBC
]

Despite this ruling, on July 17, 2006 Israel Defense Force soldiers used six civilians, including two minors, as human shields during an incursion into Beit Hanun. Two boys, one aged 14 and the other 16, were ordered to lead soldiers into an area where a heavy firefight with Palestinian militants had just taken place.

Extrajudicial killings

:"See also ."

Israel has a policy of targeted killing. Palestinian militants have planned multiple attacks against Israeli civilians such as suicide bombings while living among non-militant Palestinian civilians, and thwarting such attacks may have saved lives. [cite paper
author= Steven R. David
date= September 2002
url= http://www.biu.ac.il/SOC/besa/david.pdf
format= PDF
title= Fatal Choices: Israel's Policy of Targeted Killing
publisher= THE BEGIN-SADAT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES; BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY
version=
accessdate= 2006-08-01
] The IDF has pursued such military operations to prevent imminent terrorist attacks when it has no discernible means of making an arrest or foiling such attacks by other methods. The practice is in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention ( [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Fourth_Geneva_Convention#Article_28 Part 3, Article 1, Section 28] ) which reads: “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” International law explicitly gives Israel the right to conduct military operations against military targets under these circumstances. [cite news
author = Podhoretz, John
url = http://www.aijac.org.au/updates/Jul-02/260702.html
title = Hamas kills its own
work = Opinion
publisher = New York Post
pages = 29
date = July 24, 2002
accessdate = 2006-08-05

"Note: The New York Post link to the article may be found [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/nypost/access/141316401.html?dids=141316401:141316401&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+24%2C+2002&author=John+Podhoretz&pub=New+York+Post&edition=&startpage=029&desc=HAMAS+KILLS+ITS+OWN here] , but it requires a subscription."] [cite web
url = http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles2003/20031128.asp
title = What the Geneva Protocols Really Say
accessdate = 2007-07-06
last = Schneider
first = Scott
date = November 28, 2003
work =
publisher = StrategyWorld.com
pages =
language =
archiveurl =
archivedate =
]

For example, on July, 2002 the Israeli Defense Forces carried out an air strike targeting Salah Shahade, the commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, in a densely populated residential area of Gaza City. The bombing resulted in the deaths of 15 persons, 9 of whom were children and the injury of 150 others. [cite web
url = http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/5189f43f72a68a2785256c61005a58ea?OpenDocument
title = Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine
accessdate = 2006-07-31
year = 2002
work = Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967
publisher = United Nations General Assembly. Fifty-seventh session Item 111 (c) of the provisional agenda
author = John Dugard
] According to the Israeli Government, Shehade was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians, and earlier Israel asked the Palestinian Authority to arrest him, but no action was taken [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0207/23/i_ins.01.html] . Israel maintains that Shehade was in the process of preparing another large-scale attack inside Israel and thereby constituted a “ticking bomb”. [cite web
url = http://www.ujc.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=45723
title = Salah Shehada - Arch Terrorist
accessdate = 2006-08-04
year = 2002
work = Israel Embassy Briefing
publisher = United Jewish Communities
]

Blockades

According to Amnesty International::"Military checkpoints and blockades around Palestinian towns and villages hindered or prevented access to work, education and medical facilities and other crucial services. Restrictions on the movement of Palestinians remained the key cause of high rates of unemployment and poverty. More than half of the Palestinian population lived below the poverty line, with increasing numbers suffering from malnutrition and other health problems."

Israel maintains that the majority of checkpoints and blockades were erected following the Al-Aksa Intifada (October 2000) as security measures against terrorist attacks. [cite web
url = http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2002/Apprehension%20of%20ambulance%20harboring%20a%20wanted%20terro
title = Apprehension of ambulance harboring a wanted terrorist and weapons at a checkpoint near Ramallah - 27-Mar-2002
accessdate = 2002-03-27
year = 2002
publisher = Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
]

2006 Lebanon war

The human rights watch and other organizations have accused Israel of committing war crimes in the 2006 Lebanon war. [ [http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806 Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon ] ] Israel has rejected those accusations and accused Hezbollah of deliberately firing from civilian areas during the fighting.cite news|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/05/world/middleeast/05mideast.html?ex=1322974800&en=b8b25a9e380122ff&ei=5088partner=rssnyt&emc=rss|author=Greg Myre|title=Offering Video, Israel Answers Critics on War|publisher=New York Times|date=December 5, 2006]

Administrative Detention

Administrative detention is a procedure under which prisoners are held without charge or trial. The sentences are authorized by an administrative order from the Israeli Ministry of Defence or Israeli military commanders. Amnesty International believes that the practice breaches Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which "makes clear that no-one should be subjected to arbitrary detention and that deprivation of liberty must be based on grounds and procedures established by law". Amnesty International is also concerned that prisoners of conscience are being "held solely for the non-violent exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association". [cite web |publisher=Amnesty International |url=http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/engMDE150031997?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIESISRAELOCCUPIED+TERRITORIES
title=Administrative detention: Despair, uncertainty and lack of due process
date=30 April 1997
] According to B'Tselem there are currently 645 Palestinians being under administrative detention by the Israel Prisons Service and 105 by the IDF. [cite web |url=http://www.btselem.org/english/Administrative_Detention/Statistics.asp |title=Statistics on administrative detention |publisher=B'Tselem] Most are kept in the West Bank in Ofer Military Camp or in the Ansar 3/Ketziot Military Camp in the Negev desert. [cite web |url=http://web.amnesty.org/pages/isr-action-detention |title=Administrative Detention |publisher=Amnesty International |date= 2006-07-27]

Economic development

Israel and the Palestinian Authority began in late 2007 to explore opportunities for joint economic projects and activity, in an effort known as the Peace Valley plan. This would include construction of industrial parks in order to create new local businesses and jobs. Much of this was organized through President Shimon Peres who had been directly involved since before his assumption of the presidency.

At an economic conference in Bethlehem in May 2008, various Palestinian businessmen noted that Israel was one of the biggest markets for Palestinian agriculture and other products, but they also noted that some political and security concessions by Israel would be necessary for Palestinian businesses to grow. [ [http://www.pic-palestine.ps/download/session_note.pdf Session notes] , posted at [http://www.pic-palestine.ps Conference website] . (see p. 12 for details on agriculture in Israeli market.) ]

Allegations of anti-Israel bias in human rights organizations

United Nations

There are many who claim that the United Nations has a history of negative focus on Israel that is disproportional in respect to other members, including actions and statements of the UN Commission on Human Rights.Who|date=August 2007 Some examples of this bias include that in 2005 the Commission adopted four resolutions against Israel, equaling the combined total of resolutions against all other states in the world. Belarus, Cuba, Myanmar, and North Korea were the subject of one resolution each. [cite journal
last = Neuer
first = Hillel C.
year = 2006
month = January
title = The Struggle against Anti-Israel Bias at the UN Commission on Human Rights
journal = Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism
volume =
issue = 40
pages =
doi =
id =
url = http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-040-neuer.htm
format =
accessdate = 2006-07-30
quotes =
] In addition, in 2004-2005 alone the U.N. General Assembly passed nineteen resolutions concerning Israel, while not passing any resolution concerning Sudan, which at the time was facing a genocide in the Darfur region. [cite web|url=http://www.unwatch.org/site/c.bdKKISNqEmG/b.1359197/k.6748/UN_Israel__AntiSemitism.htm |title=UN, Israel & Anti-Semitism |accessdate=2006-08-02 |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year= |month= |format=HTML |work= |publisher=UN Watch |pages= |language=English |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

In 2006, the UN General Assembly voted to replace UNCHR with the UN Human Rights Council. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4810538.stm|publisher=BBC|date=15 March 2006|title=UN creates new human rights body]

Amnesty International

Amnesty International has been accused of having a double standard when it comes to its assessment of Israel.

Claims of disproportionate attention to Israel

In 2004, the NGO Monitor, a program of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, released a study comparing Amnesty International's response to the twenty years of ethnic, religious and racial violence in Sudan in which (at that time) 2,000,000 people were killed and 4,000,000 people displaced, to their treatment of Israel. When NGO Monitor focused on 2001, they found that Amnesty International issued seven reports on Sudan, as opposed to 39 reports on Israel.cite web
url = http://www.ngo-monitor.org/editions/v2n12/NGOsAndSudan.htm
title = Asleep at the Wheel: Comparing the Performance of Human Rights NGO's on Sudan and Arab-Israeli Issues
accessdate = 2006-07-27
last = Fredman
first = Asher Ahuvia
date = August 26, 2004
publisher = NGO Monitor
] They further called attention to the difference in both scale and intensity: “While ignoring the large-scale and systematic bombing and destruction of Sudanese villages, AI issued numerous condemnations of the razing of Palestinian houses, most of which were used as sniper nests or belonged to terrorists. Although failing to decry the slaughter of thousands of civilians by Sudanese government and allied troops, AI managed to criticize Israel’s ‘assassinations’ of active terrorist leaders.”

Expanding their investigation to include the years 2000–2003, they found the imbalance in issued reports to be 52 reports on Sudan and 192 reports on Israel. They call “this lack of balance and objectivity and apparent political bias is entirely inconsistent with AI's official stated mission.”

In 2004, Professor Don Habibi of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington lamented the limited reports on Sudan and Darfur, in contrast to reports on Israel. He criticizes Amnesty International, among others, for their “obsession” with Israel, to the exclusion of other human rights violators. Habibi wrote:cite paper
author= Don Habibi
date= July 2, 2004
url= http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/news/sudan.doc
format= Word document
title= Human Rights NGOs and the Neglect of Sudan
publisher=
version=
accessdate= 2006-07-27
] quotation|This obsession would make sense if Israel was among the worst human rights offenders in the world. But by any objective measure this is not the case. Even with the harshest interpretation of Israeli’s policies, which takes no account of cause and effect, and Israel’s predicament of facing existential war, there can be no comparison to the civil wars in Sudan, Algeria, or Congo. Like the UN, the policies of AI and HRW have more to do with politics than human rights.|Human Rights NGOs and the Neglect of Sudan|Don Habibi

Alan Dershowitz's claims

Professor Alan Dershowitz, an American legal academic, is also critical of Amnesty International's perceived bias. Dershowitz analyzed an AI report on violence, rape, and murder perpetrated against Palestinian women by Palestinian men in the West Bank and Gaza which placed blame on Israel. Dershowitz points out that AI ranks the "escalation of the conflict” and “Israel’s policies” higher than the “norms, traditions and laws which treat women as unequal”, implying Israel is more to blame than the Palestinian perpetrators.cite web
url = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/the-newest-abuse-excuse-f_b_7584.html
title = The Newest Abuse Excuse for Violence Against Women
accessdate = 2006-07-27
last = Dershowitz
first = Alan
authorlink = Alan Dershowitz
date =September 19, 2005
work =
publisher = The Huffington Post
] Dershowitz claims that when he asked Donatella Rovera, AI’s researcher on Israel and the Occupied Territories, for sources or statistical data that supported the report’s claims, he was refused anything other than a suggestion to Google "pretty much all the NGOs” in the region. He concluded that AI's excuses show that it "places its own political biases ahead of the interests of the female victims.”

See also

*Human rights in the Palestinian National Authority
*Human rights in Egypt
*Human rights in Syria
*Human rights in Jordan

References


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