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last updated May 5, 2009
published Nov. 8, 2000
Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 8-16 November 2000
Read more:  human rights international law, United Nations, high commissioner for human rights, humanitarian access, freedom of religion, second intifada, al-Aqsa intifada, freedom of movement, settlements
Summary: The report to the Commission on Human Rights summarized the outcome of the visit made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Middle East between 8th and 16th November 2000. The visit was undertaken as a result of a dramatic deterioration in human rights in the occupied territories from late September 2000. The report describes the situation as bleak, and sites the occupation itself as the cause of the second Intifada and its impact on human rights. The problems outlined by the report include: excessive use of force by the Israelis; the impact of the second Intifada on children; denial of access to medical assistance and Israeli attacks on medical personnel; destruction of property; settlements; lack of freedom of movement; lack of freedom of religion; the economic impact of the Intifada; and prevention of humanitarian access. To tackle these human rights violations and improve the situation in the occupied territories the High Commissioner made various conclusions and recommendations.
News
UNESCO eyes emergency fund, savings to counter US cuts
Nov. 10, 2011
Israeli FM wants to cut ties with Abbas over UN bid
Aug. 8, 2011
Official: Palestinian president to meet Israeli vice-PM
June 29, 2012


Multimedia
Settlers attack Palestinians and their property
US VP Joseph Bidenzzz*zs speech at Tel Aviv University
BBC Panorama: A Walk in the Park Pt. 1
PM Benjamin Netanyahu in secretly-recorded video, 2001


Documents
US Letter of Assurances on the Terms of the Peace, 1991
A Comparative Analysis of Israeli Settlement Construction in the West Bank between 2004 and 2008
Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Publications
Poll No. 44, March 2002 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards the Palestinian situation in general
Poll No. 6 Part I, May 1995 - On Palestinian Attitudes To Democracy
Poll No. 42, September 2001


Background
Refugees and internally displaced persons
Sheikh Jarrah
Closure


Resources
Znet article on Bilins struggle against the Wall and settlements
B’tselem – Land expropriation and settlements statistics (English)
Settlers push to evict two more East Jerusalem families, Nir Hasson, April 7, 2010, Haaretz online


Document Text

REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, INCLUDING PALESTINE

Report of the High Commissioner on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (8-16 November 2000)


CONTENTS
I. Introduction

II. Outline of the High Commissioner‘s visit to the region

III. General Observations

IV. Human Rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

V. Visit to Israel

VI. Visit to Egypt

VII. Visit to Jordan

VIII. Conclusions and Recommendations

Annex: Programme of the visit in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. INTRODUCTION
1. The General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights have been seized of the situation of human
rights in the occupied Palestinian territories for many years. Since late September, however, there has been a
dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied territories.

2. By a letter dated 3 October 2000, addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, on behalf of the Council of Arab Permanent Representatives of Members of the League of Arab States, requested that a special session of the Commission be convened "to discuss the grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian
people by the Israeli occupying power".

3. In the light of the agreement of a majority of its members, the Commission on Human Rights convened in its
fifth special session from 17 October to 19 October 2000.

4. On 19 October 2000, the Commission on Human Rights at its fifth special session, adopted resolution S-5/1
(E/2000/112-E/CN.4/S-5/5, chap. II), in which it decided inter alia to request the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake an urgent visit to the occupied Palestinian territories to take stock
of the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying Power, to facilitate the
activities of the mechanisms of the Commission in implementation of the resolution, to keep it informed of
developments and to report to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session and, on an interim basis, to the
General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session. On 22 November 2000, the Economic and Social Council, in its
decision 2000/311, endorsed the resolution adopted by the Commission at its fifth special session.

5. The mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights requires her to promote and protect the effective
enjoyment by all of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights; to enhance international cooperation
for the promotion and protection of all human rights; to engage in a dialogue with all Governments with a view
to securing respect for all human rights; and to carry out the tasks assigned to her by the competent bodies of
the United Nations system in the field of human rights. The High Commissioner is also mandated to report on
her activities to the Commission on Human Rights, the Economic and Social Council and to the General
Assembly.

6. Mindful of these aspects of her mandate, the High Commissioner for Human Rights undertook a visit to the
Middle East from 8 to 16 November 2000. During her mission, she visited the occupied Palestinian territories,
Israel, Egypt and Jordan. This report to the Commission on Human Rights summarizes the outcome of her
mission.

7. The High Commissioner‘s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories took place at the urgent request of the
Commission on Human Rights and because of the seriousness of the human rights situation there at the present
time.

8. With regard to her visit to Israel, the High Commissioner, in cooperation with the Israeli authorities,
undertook a visit that had been scheduled at an earlier stage but that had been postponed. The visit to Israel
focused on general cooperation on human rights issues as well as on the situation in the occupied Palestinian
territories. During her visit to Israel, the Israeli authorities expressly accepted, in a meeting between the High
Commissioner and senior Foreign Ministry officials on 15 November 2000, that the High Commissioner‘s report
on her visit to the region would also deal with the visit to Israel.

9. The visits to Egypt and Jordan were undertaken primarily in view of the situation in the occupied Palestinian
territories. From that perspective, the discussions with leaders in those countries are reflected in this report.

10. In submitting this report, the High Commissioner for Human Rights is conscious of the evolving situation in
the area, attentive to the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and others to promote peace,
and to the importance of the quest for peace with justice and respect for human rights, and mindful of the duty
of conscience regarding the situation of human rights prevailing in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is in
this spirit of conscience that this report is submitted.

II. OUTLINE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER‘S VISIT TO THE REGION
11. The programme of the High Commissioner‘s visit to the region, including lists of those with whom she met,
is annexed to the present report. The following is a brief summary.

12. In Gaza, the High Commissioner met with the President of the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the
Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO), Mr. Yasser Arafat, senior representatives of the
Palestinian Authority (PA), representatives of the NGO community, the Chairman of the Palestinian
Independent Commission for Citizen‘s Rights and with representatives of United Nations programmes, funds
and agencies, including the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Special Coordinator. The High Commissioner
visited the largest hospital in Gaza, Shifa Hospital, and met with 45 patients, including children, injured over
recent weeks, as well as medical staff and family members. She travelled to the Rafah refugee camp near the
Egyptian border, visited sites affected by the recent violence, including several UNWRA schools; visited a
health care centre, and viewed settlements and military installations.

13. In East Jerusalem, the High Commissioner met with representatives of the Muslim and Christian communities
as well as of NGOs, Palestinian officials and a delegation of expatriate volunteers. She visited Hebron, Ramallah
and El-Bireh, where she met with the Speaker and other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council as well as with Ministers of the PA. In Ramallah, the High Commissioner visited a refugee camp, including a school, and,
in El-Bireh, met with representatives of NGOs, and a delegation of schoolchildren.

14. In Israel, the High Commissioner discussed the recent human rights developments in Israel and the occupied
Palestinian territories with the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katzav, the President of the Supreme Court, Chief
Justice Aharon Barak, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Yossi Beilin, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Dr. Alon Leal and other senior officials, senior officials of the Ministry of Defence, representatives of
the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee,
representatives of NGOs, academics and Israeli settlers from Gilo, and international and local staff of United
Nations agencies.

15. In Cairo, the High Commissioner met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Mr. Amr Musa, with
senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with representatives of NGOs. She also met with the
Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Dr. Ismat Abdel-Maguid.

16. In Amman, the High Commissioner was received by His Royal Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and met
with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ahmed Khleifat, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Mr. Shaher Bak.

17. In all, the High Commissioner heard the views of several hundred people, many of whom spoke from
personal experience of the present human rights situation. The High Commissioner also received several dozen
written submissions and briefs, which have been considered in the preparation of this report. The High
Commissioner wishes to record her appreciation and thanks to all those with whom she met and to the
Governments, authorities and United Nations representatives which received her and facilitated her mission.

18. It was a difficult mission, addressing a highly politicized and complex situation with serious human rights
implications. At each meeting in both the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel the High Commissioner
emphasized the integrity of her mandate, the objectivity of her approach, and that her focus would be on the
human rights implications of what she saw and heard and of what was represented to her by the various parties
she met.

III. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
19. The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is bleak. The civilian population feels
besieged by a stronger power prepared to use its superior force against demonstrations and stonethrowing by
adolescents. During the course of the visit the violence escalated, with more shooting — including so-called
drive-by shootings — on the Palestinian side and the use of rockets and heavy machine-gun fire on the Israeli
side. At each meeting in the occupied Palestinian territories pleas for international protection or for some form of
international monitoring presence were voiced.

20. In the occupied Palestinian territories, discussions concerning the present crisis and its impact on human
rights were linked to the reality of the occupation itself. That reality was described by Palestinians as one of
grinding, petty humiliations, discrimination and inequalities which were ultimately dehumanizing. It was
explained that the anger and frustration of the present Intifada stemmed from lack of implementation of the key
United Nations resolutions, especially General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III) and Security Council
resolution 242 (1967), the continuing encroachment on land for settlements, and what was perceived as a peace
process which had not addressed the Palestinian claims of a State with East Jerusalem as its capital and some
recognition of the right of return of refugees.

21. Perhaps the strongest and most troubling impression taken away by the High Commissioner from her visit to
Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories was that of two peoples who are linked by history and geography,
but are currently separated by a wide and growing gap in their perceptions of each other. The violence of recent
months has resulted in a hardening of positions, with little willingness on either side to understand or accept
the narrative of the other.

22. Amongst Israelis there is a preoccupation with security, born of a strong sense of isolation and of being set
upon from all sides. This can easily be understood in terms of Israeli and Jewish history. However, it is not
appreciated or allowed for by a Palestinian people who see only Israel‘s overwhelming military superiority and
experience its readiness to use it. Israelis with whom the High Commissioner met, including many who deeply
believe in the peace process, said they felt shell-shocked by the recent breakdown of negotiations at a time
when, to them, a comprehensive settlement had seemed so close. Amongst Palestinians, on the other hand, the
predominant sentiment was that the process of the past seven years had delivered little or nothing to them.
Whilst Israelis point to the building of economic links as a positive sign, Palestinians see the same process as
increasing the dependence of the occupied territories and their vulnerability to exploitation by Israel during
periods of crisis.

23. The High Commissioner was offered different views about the origins of the present cycle of violence,
including on the significance of the visit of Mr. Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif, and on
whether the current intifada is a spontaneous popular uprising or an orchestrated strategy. The High
Commissioner referred repeatedly to her mandate, which addresses the underlying human rights causes of the
conflict. Such an approach acknowledges the long-standing and unresolved grievances of the Palestinian
people, many of whom are now third-generation refugees. It must also be understood, as it is by many Israelis,
that Palestinians, including Arabs who have Israeli citizenship, have suffered and continue to suffer from
serious discrimination. An inescapable conclusion is that much of the present situation has to do with the daily
reality of life under the occupation, including what Palestinians see as the numerous daily humiliations imposed
upon them, often deliberately, but sometimes through bureaucratic indifference towards people who lack
political power. However, in discussing root causes, it must also be acknowledged that over an extended period
the right of Israelis to "security of person" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 3) has been
threatened. This persistent insecurity has given rise to many of the problems which now lie at the heart of the
human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

24. A related problem is that of hate speech and incitement. Numerous examples were cited to the High
Commissioner during her visit and evidence was clearly visible on the walls of Palestinian houses and Israeli
settlements. The High Commissioner was struck, for example, by the deep hurt caused by the accusation that
Palestinian parents were forcing their children into the line of fire to achieve martyrdom. Similarly, she was
shocked by calls broadcast on Palestinian television and radio urging the killing of all Jews. At this very difficult
time it is incumbent upon leaders on both sides to avoid inciting racial and religious animosities and to condemn
such incitement when it does occur within their communities. The High Commissioner believes that the
forthcoming World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will
provide an opportunity for reflection and reconciliation, which political leaders and members of civil society
alike should begin to prepare for.


IV. HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
25. While in the occupied Palestinian territories, the High Commissioner received information from numerous
sources alleging serious violations of human rights, both in relation to recent events and more long-term
systematic abuses originating from the occupation itself. Also alleged was a failure on the part of Israel to
adhere to international humanitarian law, in particular the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the
protection of civilians in time of war, whose applicability to the occupied territories has been repeatedly
reaffirmed by United Nations bodies, including the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission
on Human Rights. Particular areas of concern with regard to recent developments included: excessive and
disproportionate use of force, including alleged attacks on medical personnel; the arbitrary destruction of
property; the effects on Palestinian residents of Israeli settlement activity, including restrictions on freedom of
movement; the serious economic impact on the residents of the occupied territories; the violations of the human
rights of children; and restrictions on access to humanitarian assistance.

Excessive use of force

26. The most persistent allegation brought to the attention of the High Commissioner was that Israeli security
forces have engaged in excessive force, disproportionate to the threat faced by their soldiers. A wide range of
observers, including United Nations representatives, expressed the strong view that the very high number of
casualties, combined with the nature of the injuries being sustained, including by young people, could only be
consistent with a military response which was both excessive and inappropriate. With only minor regional
variations, this pattern was, said the observers, repeated in different locations throughout the affected areas.

27. The High Commissioner had requested a meeting with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The meeting was
facilitated by Israel and took place at Ben Gurien Airport on 13 November prior to her flight to Cairo. It is
described in some detail in paragraphs 66 to 71 below but, as it offered an opportunity to hear the Israeli
perspective on the allegations of excessive use of force, the relevant comments or a reference to the relevant
paragraphs are inserted in the present section of the report.

28. In an attempt to disperse the demonstrations, the Israeli military authorities have used live ammunition,
rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas, all of which have resulted in deaths and injuries amongst the
Palestinians. Heavier weapons have also been used, including rockets fired by infantry and from helicopters,
armoured vehicles which have been deployed throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and heavy
machine guns. The use of heavy weapons has raised the incidence of death and injury amongst
non-combatants and, indeed, several such deaths occurred during the period of the High Commissioner‘s visit.

29. A high percentage of the injuries sustained by Palestinians have been to the upper part of their body,
including a large number of eye injuries, some caused by the firing of "rubber" bullets at close range. The result
is often the loss of an eye, but can also be severe brain damage or death. In subsequent discussions senior IDF
representatives accepted the potential lethalness of "rubber" bullets, and also that of tear gas, if used in a
confined area, as has been alleged.

30. When asked about the reported injuries, senior IDF officers told the High Commissioner (see paras. 69-70
below) that the methods and weapons employed by the IDF in dealing with the present crisis are carefully
calibrated according to the nature of the threat being faced and, in particular, that live fire, whether from small
arms or heavier weapons, has only been directed at those who have used firearms or petrol bombs in attacks
against Israeli forces.

31. While in the Gaza Strip, the High Commissioner visited Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza with 650
beds and 8 operating theatres. The High Commissioner met with 45 patients, including boys and girls under 18
and their relatives. A 15-year-old, now a paraplegic, informed the High Commissioner that he was shot by Israeli
soldiers while he was demonstrating and throwing stones in the industrial zone close to Erez checkpoint. He had
joined other teenagers after school to express his anger following the death of one of his schoolmates the
previous day. A 14-year-old wounded in the arm and leg explained that he had gone to throw stones in revenge
after a classmate had been shot and blinded in both eyes, and the doctor accompanying the High Commissioner
confirmed he had treated this other boy. The High Commissioner heard numerous anecdotal accounts of
shootings involving Palestinians who, it was said, could not have been involved in any form of protest activity,
for example, an elderly man who was shot twice near the door of his house and a pregnant woman who was shot
whilst on the roof of her house. See paragraphs 69 and 70 below for the IDF response on rules of engagement
and child casualties.

32. The Minister of Health of the Palestian Authority, Dr. Riadh Al-Zaanoun, told the High Commissioner that
by his estimates some 6,958 persons (3,366 in the West Bank and 3,592 in the Gaza Strip) had been wounded
during the period 29 September-9 November 2000 and that 1,016 Palestinians had been injured in Israel. Of those
injured, he said, 40 per cent were under the age of 18. According to the Minister, the types of ammunition
responsible for injuries were as follows: rubber bullets (41 per cent); live bullets (27 per cent); tear gas (27 per
cent); and others, including rockets (11 per cent).

33. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society estimates that 236 Palestinians were killed and 9,353 injured during the
period 29 September-23 November. During the period 27 September-23 November, Israeli official sources
estimate that 30 Israelis were killed and 375 were injured. Estimates are disputed by the parties.

Impact on children

34. According to the Red Cross/Red Crescent, as of 20 November, 86 children (aged 18 and under) had been
killed and over 3,000 injured, two to three hundred of whom, it is estimated, will have permanent disabilities.
According to the same source, hundreds of Palestinian children have been obliged to abandon their homes in
order to escape the violence. The destruction of family dwellings has left more than a thousand children without
homes, often in situations of food shortage and without access to medical care.

35. The current situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has had a serious impact on the Palestinian education
system. The High Commissioner visited two schools in the Gaza Strip and one school in Ramallah where she
was briefed by teachers on the consequences of the current situation for Palestinian pupils. She was told that
since the beginning of October more than 40 schools have been closed or are unable to operate owing to
curfews or closures. Other schools, such as one visited by the High Commissioner in the Gaza Strip, have been
damaged by gunfire and the premises abandoned, requiring that several thousand children be fitted into other
schools if possible.

36. In discussions with directors of preparatory schools and educators, as well as delegations of children in
Gaza and Ramallah, the High Commissioner was told that many children suffer from psychological and social
problems as a direct consequence of the current situation. Children themselves explained to the High
Commissioner their fear of leaving their homes or, in some cases, of going back to their homes, and of
difficulties sleeping. According to UNICEF, only about 1 per cent of adolescents in Gaza have actually engaged
in demonstrations or attacks against Israeli military positions. However, teachers have reported that the rest of
the students who have remained at their studies have nevertheless been mentally distracted or emotionally
affected by the events in the street, with the result that their educational performance has deteriorated.

Medical personnel

37. An aspect of particular concern is the allegation that the medical condition of many of the victims has
suffered, with some deaths, as a consequence of their being denied access to timely medical assistance.
Reportedly, Palestinian ambulances and medical personnel have been prevented from discharging their normal
responsibilities. During the High Commissioner‘s visit to Gaza, her vehicle was unable to proceed along the
main north-south road because of an exchange of gunfire on the road ahead which had left two Israeli soldiers
at a checkpoint seriously wounded and two Palestinians dead in their vehicle. The High Commissioner
witnessed the fact that two ambulances were not permitted to attend to the Palestinian casualties.

38. Very serious allegations were made of attacks by Israeli security forces on medical personnel and
ambulances. The High Commissioner was informed about the case of a Palestinian Red Crescent Society
ambulance driver, Bassam Al-Balbisi, who had been killed while trying to approach 12-year-old Mohammad
Al-Dura and his father in order to move them into an ambulance. According to Palestinian officials, 45
ambulances had been attacked by Israeli forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank and 23 in the Gaza Strip. The
High Commissioner was told that nine ambulances had been put out of service owing to damage between 29
September and 9 November.

Destruction of property

39. In the Gaza Strip, the High Commissioner visited Rafah refugee camp and surrounding areas where she was
able to inspect a number of private houses and apartments that had been heavily damaged by gunfire and/or
rocket attack, particularly at night. The owner of one house in Rafah told the High Commissioner that she had
been obliged to leave her house, within a few minutes, when she realized that an Israeli tank had already started
to destroy part of the house. A farm owner told the High Commissioner that Israeli soldiers had destroyed his
greenhouses and his family residence during the night of 29 October. Water wells have reportedly also been
destroyed in actions carried out by settlers or Israeli forces. The High Commissioner saw that a number of fields
of fruit-bearing trees, particularly olive trees, had been cleared in the occupied regions. The High Commissioner
was told that, in many cases, these orchards and fields represented the entire livelihood of dozens of families.

40. According to the IDF (see sect. V below), the clearances and demolitions were carried out as matter of
military necessity because these structures or plantations had been used as cover by Palestinian gunmen. The
IDF told the High Commissioner that the doctrine of military necessity meant that compensation was not
payable in these circumstances. Israeli officials told the High Commissioner that military action carried out in the
Palestinian areas often took place at night, because this was the time when Palestinian gunfire most often
occurred.

Settlements

41. At the best of times relations between Israeli settlers and Palestinians are extremely sensitive and tense. At
times of crisis the settlements can become a catalyst for violence. Amongst the main concerns raised by the
Palestinian interlocutors were the privileged position settlements enjoy with respect to land and water for
domestic and agricultural use, the negative impact on surrounding Palestinian communities, the fact that settlers
are heavily armed and live in barrier-enclosed areas protected by the IDF and that separate roads have been
created for settlers alone which are prohibited to Palestinians. The concerns raised with the High Commissioner
by three Israeli families living in Gilo whom she met at Ben Gurion Airport on 15 November are set out at
paragraph 71 below.

42. In Gaza, Israeli installations to protect settlements there are located on the main road through Gaza and have
become the focus for stone throwing and shooting by Palestinians, with severe retaliation by the Israeli military.
It was strongly represented to the High Commissioner that if these military installations and heavy armoury
were to move off the highway and closer to the settlements being protected this could ease tension. The IDF
analysis was that the protection role could only be discharged from the present positions (see paras. 69-70
below).

43. Following her visit to the refugee camp at Rafah the High Commissioner was driven along a settlement road
and was surprised to be shown further expansions of settlements taking place.

44. The High Commissioner visited the city of Hebron, one of the biggest administrative units in the occupied
Palestinian territories in terms of area and population, and went into the Israeli controlled part of Hebron known
as H2 in the company of officials of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). Since the first week of October, the IDF has imposed a curfew on 30,000 Palestinians living in the H2 zone, which has had an
enormous impact on the enjoyment by Palestinian residents of their basic human rights. As a result of the
curfew, thousands of families and their children live under virtual house arrest, confined to their homes for all
but a few hours per week. During the hours when the curfew is not imposed the use of motor vehicles by
Palestinian residents is forbidden, requiring residents to walk considerable distances to purchase food supplies,
as shops in the Hebron H2 zone are also affected by the curfew.

45. Workers from the Hebron H2 zone have been prevented from reaching their places of work, whether in Israel or in the occupied territories. Restrictions on freedom of movement make it increasingly difficult for the
Palestinians in the H2 zone to meet their most basic needs, such as food supplies and medical care, and
Palestinian children cannot attend school. In this regard, the High Commissioner was informed that 32 schools
had been closed since the beginning of the events, preventing some 15,000 pupils from exercising their right to
education.

46. The curfew does not apply to the 300 to 400 Israeli settlers living in the H2 zone of the city and the settler
school remains open. To ensure the safety of those settlers, the IDF maintains a large presence in that part of
Hebron (700 soldiers according to the IDF; 2,000 according to another source). Three schools and several
Palestinian houses in the H2 zone have been taken over by the IDF and turned into military posts.

47. At a meeting with the Mayor of Hebron, the Minister for Transport and other officials in the H1 zone of
Hebron (under the Palestinian Authority), the High Commissioner was told that, since October, 20 Palestinians
had been killed in Hebron, of whom 5 were under 18 years of age, and that many houses, stores and facilities
had been damaged, without compensation. Allegations were made that settlers were involved in violence
against and harassment of Palestinian residents, with the tacit consent of the IDF.

48 IDF representatives told the High Commissioner that their presence was necessary to secure the safety of the
settler community, which had been subjected to regular fire from Palestinian gunmen.

Freedom of movement

49. An effective closure of the occupied territories has been applied since the beginning of October and the
movement of the population there continues to be heavily restricted. The High Commissioner's own travel
between Israel and the occupied territories, and within the occupied territories, afforded an opportunity to
assess the immediate impact of these restrictions. It was noted that, while road closures impact heavily on
Palestinians, there exists a parallel road network, established by the Government of Israel, known as the by-pass
roads, exclusively for the use of Israeli settlers and the authorities, enabling them to travel freely.

50. In discussions with senior IDF representatives, the High Commissioner called for a lifting or easing of the
closures. The response from the senior officer responsible for IDF operations in the occupied territories was
that the closures were a necessary security measure. An explicit linkage was drawn between the closures and
the release in October, by the Palestinian Authority, of some 80 prisoners who had been held in Palestinian
custody and who are considered by the Israeli authorities to pose a major security threat to Israel. The High
Commissioner was told that if the Palestinian Authority were to re-incarcerate these 80 prisoners then the
closures would be lifted the same day.

Freedom of religion

51. The High Commissioner met Muslim and Christian leaders representing the Palestinian and Armenian
communities in East Jerusalem. They told the High Commissioner that the Israeli authorities continued to deny
Palestinians full access to holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

52. Since the beginning of October, access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been denied to Muslims, even religious
leaders, under the age of 45 years. As a result, only one tenth of the usual number of worshippers currently
have access to Al-Aqsa. Representatives of both communities expressed the wish to have full responsibility for
their own holy places, which is currently denied by the Israeli authorities. They complained also of disrespectful
behaviour by Israeli troops stationed at the holy sites. In discussing the need for religious tolerance, they
explained to the High Commissioner their shared vision of Jerusalem as encompassing "one city, two peoples
and three religions" and stressed the universal character of the city and the necessity to maintain its spiritual
soul.

53. The High Commissioner relayed these views to the Israeli authorities in her subsequent discussions with
them. In particular, she expressed her concern that restrictions on access to the holy sites could result in
increased tension during the coming month of Ramadhan. The Israeli authorities told the High Commissioner
that the restrictions were necessary to prevent armed extremists from occupying the holy sites, which would
necessitate an Israeli military response. They argued that the degree of control over holy sites currently given
to Palestinians was greater than that which had been accorded to Jewish communities prior to the creation of
the State of Israel. In some cases where Palestinians had been entrusted with the protection of holy sites, such
as Joseph's Tomb, these sites had subsequently been desecrated.

Economic impact

54. The United Nations development and humanitarian agencies operating in Jerusalem and Gaza provided
comprehensive briefings to the High Commissioner on the impact that the current situation, particularly the
closures, is having on the enjoyment by Palestinians of their economic rights and their right to development.
They explained that the seriousness of the economic situation required that they put development programmes
on hold and concentrate on emergency response and relief.

55. Approximately 128,000 Palestinian workers, normally employed in Israel, are currently barred from travelling to their workplaces. The movement of Palestinians within the occupied territories is severely restricted under the strict internal closure imposed, for instance, on the various parts of the West Bank.

56. According to the Israeli Ministry of Defence figures, the restrictions affect 20 per cent of the Palestinian
workforce and some 35 per cent of total salary income. According to the Office of the United Nations Special
Coordinator, unemployment had tripled since the beginning of October, which translates into a loss of
household income of some 10 to 11 million dollars per day. While most reports indicated that there were
adequate supplies of food within the occupied territories, the means with which to purchase food, medicines
and other basic necessities are rapidly becoming exhausted as affected families use the last of their savings.

57. United Nations studies also report a 50 per cent reduction in normal economic activity within the territories
themselves. Restrictions on the movement of Palestinians within the West Bank have had economic
consequences. Another serious factor has been the restriction on the import of raw materials, particularly
cement. The ban on the movement of cement has effectively brought construction, normally the single largest
industry in the occupied territories, to a standstill.

58. According to a Ministry of Defence briefing provided to the High Commissioner, loss of confidence among
Israelis has also had a major effect on economic conditions in the occupied territories. In 1999, some 100,000
Israelis travelled to the territories for commercial reasons, generating income of $500 million. Cooperative
projects in industrial zones along the "green line" between Israel and the territories had resulted in the
completion of 25 factories but since the start of the intifada, three of these factories have been burned and an
industrial estate attacked, with the result that investor confidence has plummeted. The Ministry representatives
also stated that the effects of the closures have been exacerbated in some cases by the reluctance of Palestinian
Authority officials to cooperate with Israeli security processes at border checkpoints.

59. According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) briefing provided to the High Commissioner, a factor
which has aggravated the economic impact of the closures and other restrictions has been the failure of the
Israeli authorities to make available to the Palestinian Authority in a timely manner certain tax revenues owed to
it under existing agreements, which has affected the capacity of the Palestinian Authority to pay salaries to its
employees.

60. Although the adverse economic consequences of the current situation are being felt most acutely in the
occupied Palestinian territories, they have also had a negative impact on the Israeli economy.

Humanitarian access

61. Access is a major preoccupation for all humanitarian organizations operating in the occupied territories. Of
particular concern are the restrictions imposed on the movement of United Nations local Palestinian staff, who
make up the vast majority of United Nations employees in the occupied territories.

62. The High Commissioner was informed that because of the closures, emergency evacuation of seriously
injured civilians for treatment abroad is difficult. Restrictions on access also affect the import of donations of
humanitarian goods and equipment from abroad. Imports into Gaza involve unloading of the cargo of every
truck originating from Israel at the Gaza/West Bank entry checkpoints and reloading onto other trucks for
onward delivery. United Nations agencies have reported difficulties in obtaining clearance for emergency health
kits.

63. The Ministry of Defence indicated that it was doing everything possible to facilitate humanitarian access to
the occupied territories. During October alone, the Ministry representatives said, requests from some 80
countries had been processed in relation to medical supplies, blankets and sophisticated hospital equipment. A
special coordination centre had been set up in order to bypass the usual bureaucratic channels and close liaison
had been established with the Palestinian Authority.

64. The High Commissioner, in her subsequent discussions with senior IDF representatives, raised the specific
issue of UNRWA medical supplies that had been blocked in Jerusalem. The IDF representatives indicated that
this type of cargo should not be the subject of any restriction and they undertook to facilitate its delivery.

V. VISIT TO ISRAEL
65. The High Commissioner's visit to Israel allowed her to address general human rights issues and hear the
views of a wide range of Israeli citizens and organizations, both Jewish and Arab. However, given the current
situation, most discussions focused on the human rights situation in the occupied territories. The following
paragraphs reflect the Israeli perspective on the situation.

Excessive use of force

66. On 13 November, following her visits to Gaza, Hebron and Ramallah, the High Commissioner discussed, with the Israeli authorities, the use of force by the IDF and other security forces. The High Commissioner expresses her appreciation for the very frank and informative meeting with the senior IDF officers responsible for security, intelligence, legal issues, weapons development and public affairs, which the government facilitated.

67. The IDF officers outlined their view of the genesis of the present situation - a view which was shared by
other Israeli government officials. In brief, the view was put that the current intifada had been launched as a
deliberate strategy of the Palestinian leadership. On offer at Camp David had been a Palestinian State, with
reference made to both a right of return and a negotiated division of Jerusalem. According to the IDF, the
Palestinian leadership, unwilling to make the difficult political compromises required, had ignited what it hoped
would be a "CNN war" in which Palestinian losses would rally the support of the Muslim world and sway public
opinion in the West. The aim was to increase international pressure on Israel to make further concessions. The
ultimate goal was a Kosovo-style intervention force to protect "Palestinian territory", rather than "Palestinian
people", thereby achieving a resolution without having to go to the negotiating table.

68. In terms of the pattern of the violence, the IDF officers described as typical a situation which commenced
with stone throwing but which quickly escalated into armed attacks. Whereas the previous intifada had almost
exclusively featured stone throwers, who were dealt with using riot control techniques, the Palestinians were
now armed and many incidents featured a lethal mix of stone throwers and shooters. It was stated that out of
5,085 attacks on Israeli settlements, some 1,400 had involved live fire, including machine gun fire or the use of
firebombs.

69. The IDF officers said that, according to their rules of engagement, attackers who use live ammunition could
be shot by soldiers and sharpshooters deployed for that purpose. Nevertheless, they said, the IDF was only
using 2 per cent of its military force. The High Commissioner was told that most of those killed over recent
weeks had been armed attackers, shot after opening fire on Israeli positions. Some, however, had been killed in
the crossfire, by one side or the other. Asked about the number of child casualties, the IDF officers responded
that they were unable to indicate ages and numbers as the IDF generally had no access to the dead and
wounded on the Palestinian side. However, they felt that the numbers reported were exaggerated and told the
High Commissioner that the Tanzeem militia recruited and armed children.

70. Asked why the IDF reportedly often resorts to the use of live ammunition instead of non-lethal weapons, the
IDF officers indicated that the military tactics being employed against them influenced the types of weapons the
IDF could employ. They explained to the High Commissioner that Israel was concerned to reduce the number of
casualties. So-called less-than-lethal weapons (which can still kill at short ranges or high concentrations) such
as plastic coated bullets, tear gas and water cannons are only effective at a range of 50-100 metres. But at this
range troops are vulnerable to live fire. The IDF have over the last few months field-tested dozens of weapons
but have concluded that less-than-lethal weapons effective to a range of 200 metres do not currently exist. As a
consequence, new weapons systems are being developed which, the IDF hope, will soon be deployed to
control crowds effectively at longer ranges with little or no risk of serious injury.

71. Before leaving Israel on 15 November, the High Commissioner met at Ben Gurion Airport with three families
from Gilo, a Jewish settlement on the outskirts of Jerusalem, who described nightly gunfire directed at their
homes from a neighbouring Palestinian area. They also expressed concern that this resulted in heavy retaliation
by the Israeli side, causing an intolerable situation for all civilians. They had had good relations with their Arab
neighbours and were appalled at how the situation had deteriorated. Their families had lived in Gilo for upwards
of 20 years and they did not see themselves as settlers. They urged the need to stop the violence and return to
political dialogue.

Investigations; compensation for damage

72. Matters which the High Commissioner pursued with IDF representatives were the issue of how the use of
lethal force was investigated by the IDF, what punishments were available for improper or excessive use of such
force, and how many investigations had been conducted to date and with what result.

73. She was told that, unlike the situation during the previous intifada, when the Israeli army was in full control
of the occupied Palestinian territories, there was currently no policy of routine investigation into the use of
lethal force. Investigations could, however, be carried out internally if there was a particular reason to suspect
that improper conduct had taken place. It was explained that that decision had arisen from the IDF evaluating
that the current situation could be described as a state of "active warfare". In that situation the rules of war
applied and soldiers were not required to account for each shot fired. In any case, the IDF representatives said,
the number of shots being fired made such a policy impractical. Reference was also made to the practical
difficulties of investigating incidents in areas under Palestinian Authority control. Another consequence of the
IDF decision about the state of "active warfare" was that compensation would no longer be made for the
military use of private property, as it had been in the past. Asked about the destruction of houses and orchards
in the occupied Palestinian territories, the IDF representatives advised the High Commissioner that there was no
question of compensation as, under the rules of war, those areas had been cleared as a matter of military
necessity because they had been used as cover by Palestinian gunmen.

74. The IDF representatives added that the new assessment of their current legal situation would normally also
affect their own rules of engagement. In the present case, however, a decision had been taken to maintain the
same rules of engagement as applied in previous intifada, in order not to increase the number of casualties. The
IDF representatives made the point that double standards were being applied in relation to the Palestinian side
which was not under international scrutiny about its rules of engagement or its policy on investigating
shootings and violations of human rights. The IDF representatives referred to the lynching of two Israeli
soldiers in Ramallah.

Situation of Arab Israelis

75. The situation of Arab Israeli citizens was raised at a meeting between representatives of Israeli NGOs and
the High Commissioner as a specific human rights problem, albeit one which could not be entirely separated
from the general situation in the occupied territories. Representatives of a number of Israeli NGOs indicated that
Israeli Arabs, who represent 20 per cent of the State's population, had faced decades of neglect and
discrimination on the part of the Israeli authorities.

76. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the High Commissioner that the Government of Israel
was taking measures to promote the integration of Israeli Arabs into Israeli society and to guarantee their rights
as full citizens. Most Israeli interlocutors, including officials, acknowledged, however, that Israeli Arabs had
suffered disadvantage and discrimination and that there was still some way to go in achieving full equality for
that community. The President of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Aharon Barak, briefed the High
Commissioner on judicial action taken by the Supreme Court with respect to issues of equality, including
decisions granting Arabs the right to purchase land in Israel. He also outlined the liberal approach adopted by
his court concerning issues such as standing and jurisdiction in civil cases, which enabled NGOs to bring suits
on behalf of aggrieved persons.

77. Most of the Arab Israelis whom the High Commissioner met described their situation as one of exclusion,
prejudice, official hostility and routine humiliation. Since 28 September, however, the threat of violence which
has engulfed many of their communities has become the primary concern of Arab Israelis. There was a sense of
frustration that their problems were perhaps less well recognized than those of Palestinians living in the
occupied territories.

78. Arab Israeli NGO representatives told the High Commissioner that, following the street demonstrations that
took place in Arab cities and villages in Israel at the end of September and beginning of October, the security
forces had responded with brutality and excessive force, using live ammunition, tear gas and plastic coated
bullets, in contrast to the more moderate tactics employed against Jewish protesters. This had led to the deaths
of 13 Arab Israeli citizens. Many more had been injured and more than 1,000 arrested. A particular concern was the manner in which detention policy was being implemented. Many arrests, including of minors, were being
carried out during night-time raids on homes. Once arrested, Arab detainees, including minors, were, according
to these sources, far more likely to be held in custody without bail until the conclusion of their trials. It was
asserted that this pattern was the result of a deliberate policy of discrimination against Arab Israelis on the part
of the Attorney General's Office and the State Prosecutor's Office. It was further asserted that this policy
extended to appealing every decision to release Palestinian detainees, which did not apply where Jewish
detainees were concerned. Concern was expressed that the courts had largely acquiesced to these policies, with
the result that large numbers of young Arab Israelis remained in detention. This issue was raised by the High
Commissioner with the State Attorney General who indicated that she would look into the situation of young
detainees.

Israeli Commission of Inquiry

79. On 11 November, the Government of Israel decided to establish a State commission of inquiry to inquire into
the clashes, since 29 September, between the security forces and Israeli citizens in which 13 Arabs were killed
and hundreds of people injured. The Commission, composed of three members, will be chaired by a justice of
the Supreme Court. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry Law gives this Commission full power to subpoena and
obtain information from anyone it deems may be able to assist in its inquiry. Witnesses who testify before it
enjoy full immunity. Its mandate is to investigate how the events developed, determine the facts and draw
conclusions. The Commission of Inquiry will decide for itself whether to publish its findings. It will not address
cases which occurred in the occupied Palestinian territories or cases involving non-Israeli citizens.

80. Some Arab Israeli NGOs have welcomed the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, while regretting
that time was lost by the Government in establishing initially a more limited "examining committee". Others have
expressed scepticism as to whether it will cdequately address the issues.

National human rights commission

81. Recent events in Israel have underlined the need to strengthen national mechanisms for the protection and
promotion of human rights, especially in the area of non-discrimination. In this context, the High Commissioner
noted the positive steps being taken towards the establishment of an independent national human rights
commission.

82. During the High Commissioner's meeting with the Minister of Justice and representatives of civil society
such as human rights lawyers, academics and experts, the Minister reiterated his commitment to establish a
human rights commission. He mentioned that the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem had undertaken to carry out research on national human rights institutions and to recommend a model
for an Israeli institution. In the first stage of the project, the research team examined international guidelines and
the legislative and administrative structure, function and modes of operation of human rights institutions in
other countries. The NGO community had also been consulted when the proposal was being drawn up and their
concerns, ideas and suggestions had been discussed with the research team.

83. Following these consultations the research team will prepare a draft report which will be distributed for
comments among government officials, academic institutions and the NGO community. The final proposal,
which will incorporate the responses on the draft report, will be presented to the Minister of Justice by March
2001. The High Commissioner was advised that the proposal will include recommendations on the relationship
between the human rights commission and the Parliament and the Government, as well as existing executive
bodies, such as the State Comptroller, the Ombudsman and the recently established Commission for Equal
Rights for People with Disabilities. The final report will present the amendments needed to current legislation
and recommend draft implementing legislation.

84. The High Commissioner offered the services of her Special Adviser on National Human Rights Institutions
to assist the Government in its efforts towards the establishment of a national commission. On 17 November, the
High Commissioner wrote to the Minister of Justice reiterating this offer.

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VI. VISIT TO EGYPT
85. The High Commissioner visited Egypt to discuss with senior officials and the Secretary General of the
League of Arab States the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the follow-up to the
fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights.

86. In Cairo, the High Commissioner met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Amr. Musa, together with
senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister briefed the High Commissioner on steps taken
by Egypt at the political level to assist in resolving the present conflict, including implementation of the
agreement reached at Sharm El Sheikh. He expressed his Government's deep concern at the continuing
deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the impact it was having on the
Palestinians. In this regard he raised the question of Israel's compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention and
referred to the necessity to implement the decisions taken during the fifth special session. The High
Commissioner briefed the Minister on her visit and, in response to the concerns expressed with regard to access
for humanitarian aid, the High Commissioner informed the Minister that she had made representations to the
Israeli authorities concerning access for humanitarian relief supplies destined for the occupied territories.

87. During the High Commissioner's meeting with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Dr. Ismat
Abdel-Maguid, the latter referred to the concerns expressed in Arab countries with regard to the situation of the
Palestinians and steps taken by the members of the League of Arab States following their meeting in Cairo on 19
October. He expressed his appreciation of the High Commissioner's decision to visit Israel and the occupied
Palestinian territories at a very difficult time. He also declared the readiness of Arab countries to support the
resolution adopted at the fifth special session and indicated that he was looking forward to its implementation.

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VII. VISIT TO JORDAN
88. In Jordan, the High Commissioner was received by His Royal Majesty King Abdullah II. He expressed deep
concern about recent developments in Israel and the occupied territories and mentioned that Jordan was
sparing no efforts to assist both parties in the implementation of the decisions agreed upon in Sharm el Sheikh.
In terms of humanitarian assistance, King Abdullah described the extensive relief programme put in place by
Jordan, including a hospital in the West Bank.

89. In a separate meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the High Commissioner was made aware of Jordan's concern about current events, particularly given
the strong ties between the Jordanian and Palestinian peoples.

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VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
90. The High Commissioner came away from her visit deeply concerned about the serious deterioration of the
human rights situation in the occupied territories and Israel and at the terrible cost in terms of human lives. It is
vital that both parties renew efforts to halt the current dangerous escalation.

91. Mindful of the urgent and widespread calls for international protection made to her during her visit to the
occupied territories, the High Commissioner believes that every effort should be made to explore the feasibility
of establishing an international monitoring presence.

92. The only path to lasting peace and stability is through peaceful negotiation, which calls for courage and
responsibility on the part of the leadership of both sides. When she met with Chairman Arafat in Gaza on 15
November, the High Commissioner asked him if he would publicly call for an end to the shooting by
Palestinians. Later the same day he called on Palestinians to stop firing on Israeli targets from zone "A" of the
occupied territories. In discussions with senior IDF officers, the High Commissioner also urged a withdrawal of
Israeli military forces from some of their forward positions and a lowering of the military profile in the occupied
territories. She continues to believe that some specific steps in that direction by the IDF could help to break the
present cycle of violence.

93. The High Commissioner believes that a peaceful and stable future in the region can only be achieved on the
basis of a framework conforming to the requirements of international human rights and humanitarian law. Full
application of the international human rights standards set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the two Human Rights Covenants is essential.

94. The High Commissioner recalls that the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights have
repeatedly reaffirmed the de jure applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilians in Time of War to the occupied Palestinian territories. Article 1 of the Convention places a duty on all
the High Contracting Parties "to respect and to ensure respect" of the provisions of the Convention "in all
circumstances". It would be appropriate for the High Contracting Parties to assume their responsibility under
the Convention.

95. Another way in which the international community can assist is through the work of the task force
established under the terms of the Sharm El Sheikh Agreement.

96. The High Commissioner would urge that the following specific steps be taken in order to stop the escalation
of violence:

The security forces of both sides should act in full conformity with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Whenever
force is used the principle of proportionality has to be applied and all necessary measures have to be taken to
avoid loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian property.

The construction of new settlements should cease and those located in heavily populated Palestinian areas
should be removed. As well as protecting settlers, the Israeli security forces should also protect Palestinians
from violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers.

All cases of the use of lethal force on both sides should be investigated and subjected to the processes of
justice in order to avoid impunity.

Compensation should be provided to the victims of unlawful use of force, including for the loss of property.

Curfews should be imposed only in extreme circumstances and as a last resort. In no case should curfews be
used as a punitive measure. In cases where a curfew is imposed, it should be done in consultation with the local
communities with a view to limiting the adverse impact on the human rights of those affected.

The enjoyment of economic rights within the occupied Palestinian territories, including the right to
development, should be protected.

All holy sites and access to them by all faiths should be respected.

The Israeli authorities should ensure freedom of movement of international and national staff of United Nations
agencies and facilitate access by them to those in need of assistance.

Cooperation with the United Nations agencies is vital to ensure effective humanitarian assistance in the
occupied Palestinian territories.

97. The High Commissioner will:

Continue, through her office in the occupied Palestinian territories, to assist the Palestinian Authority to build
up its institutional capacity in the area of the rule of law;

Offer the services of her Special Adviser on National Human Rights Institutions to assist the Government of
Israel in its efforts towards the establishment of a national human rights commission;

Provide the necessary secretariat support for actions undertaken by the Commission on Human Rights, and its
mechanisms, in the implementation of the resolution adopted at its fifth special session;

Stand ready to facilitate dialogue between the human rights bodies of Israel and the Palestinian Authority,
Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, and other representatives of civil society in order to enhance mutual
understanding;

Urge the international community to support the work of United Nations agencies in the occupied Palestinian
territories and, in this context, contribute generously to the different resource mobilization initiatives currently
under way including those of the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and
UNRWA.

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ANNEX
PROGRAMME OF THE VISIT IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES AND ISRAEL
A. Visit to the occupied Palestinian territories

1. Meeting with members of the Palestinian Authority
Mr. Yasser Arafat, President
Mr. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, Minister of Presidential Affairs
Mr. Freih Abu Middain, Minister of Justice
Mr. Zouhdi Nashashibi, Minister of Finance
Mrs. Intissar Al Wazir, Minister of Social Affairs
Dr. Riyadh Al-Zaanoun, Minister of Health
Mr. Youssef Abu Safia, Minister of Environment
Mr. Abdul Rahman Hamad, Minister of Housing
Mr. Ziyad Abu Zayyad, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs
Mr. Rafeeq Natshah, Minister of Labour
Mr. Ali Al Qwasma, Minister of Transportation
Mr. Talal Sadr, Minister without portfolio
Mr. Ahmad Said Tamimi, Acting Minister of the Interior
Mr. Ibrahim abu Dhaga, Presidential Adviser for Human Rights
Mr. Ahmed Soboh, Assistant to the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC)
Ms. Samia Bamia, Director, United Nations and International Organizations, Ministry of Planning and
International Cooperation

2. Meeting with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Mr. Ahmed Qurai, Chairman
Mr. Qadurah Faris, Head of the Oversight and Human Rights Committee
Mr. Ghasi Hanania, Deputy Speaker
Mr. Jamal Al Showbaki, Member
Mr. Suleyman Abu Snaina, Member
Mr. Abdul Jawad Saleh, Member
Mr. Azmi Shouaibi, Member

3. Meeting with members of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen's Rights
Dr. Hayder Abed-Elshafi, Commissioner General
Dr. Said Zeydani, General Director in Ramallah

4. Meetings with other Palestinian officials, academics and representatives of civil society
Mr. Mustafa Abdel Nabi Al-Natshah, Mayor of Hebron
Dr. Fathi Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society
Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem
Dr. Ali Jirbawi, Head, Political Science Department, Birzeit University and Project Coordinator for Human Rights
Issues, Education Department, UNRWA
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Secretary-General of Global Dialogue
and Democracy ("Miftah")
Mr. Sulaiman Al Najjab, Member of the Executive Committee of PLO

In addition, the High Commissioner met with rallies of children in Gaza and in El Bireh (Ramallah), a delegation of expatriate volunteers in East Jerusalem at the UNDP office, as well as other Palestinian civilians (refugees,
displaced persons, farmers, educators, doctors and schoolteachers).

5. Meeting with Palestinian NGOs at the office of the United Nations Coordinator in the Occupied Territories
(UNSCO), Gaza (11 November 2000)
Democracy and Workers Rights
Centre for Economic and Social Rights
Al Mizan Centre for Human Rights
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Palestinian Society for Human Rights
The Palestinian Association for Legal Sciences
Addameer
Gaza Centre for Rights and Law
Mashriqqyiat
Cultural and Free Thought Centre
Tamer Institute for Community Education
Red Crescent Society
Gaza Community Mental Health
National Rehabilitation Society for Handicapped
Women Affairs Technical Committee
General Union of Palestinian Women
Women Affairs Centre
Palestinian Hydrologist Group
Palestinian Bar Association
Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees

6. Meeting with Palestinian NGOs in East Jerusalem at the UNDP office (12 November 2000)
Rawdat-E-Zuher
St. John Eye Hospital
Jerusalem Centre for Economic and Social Rights
Gender Planning Development
Palestinian Counselling Centre
Union of Health Work Committees
Palestinian Prisoner Society
Makassed Society in Jerusalem
ECRC-PNGO
Jerusalem Centre for Women
Arab Thought Forum
Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and Environment (LAW)
Adameer Association
Land Research Centre
Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)
Palestinian Agriculture Relief (PARC)
Medical Relief Committees/Jerusalem
Al-Haq
Early Childhood Resource Centre

7. Meeting with Palestinian NGOs, El-Bireh, Ramallah (13 November 2000)
Birzeit Law Institute
Bisan Centre for Research and Development
Association of Women for Social Work
Women Union Centre
Union of Women Centres - Palestine
Palestinian Bar Association
Jerusalem Legal Aid Centre
Jerusalem Centre for Women
PNGO Network
Association of Palestinian Local Authorities
Women's Studies Centre
Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling
Al-Haq
Law Society
Arab Thought Forum/Citizen Rights Centre
Defence for Children International/Palestinian Section
Palestinian Happy Child Centre - PHCC
Adameer
Guidance and Training Centre for the Child and Family
Palestinian Mother and Child Care Society
General Union of Disabled Palestinians
Palestinian Working Women Society
Freedoms Defence Centre
Democracy and Workers' Rights Centre
Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BADIL)
Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture
Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners

8. Meeting with representatives of the Muslim, Christian and Armenian communities, East Jerusalem (12
November 2000)
Mr. Ramzi Zananiri, Executive Director, Near East Christian Council Committee for Refugee Work,
Jerusalem/West Bank
Mr. Harry Hagopian, Executive Director, Middle East Council of Churches, Convenor, Jerusalem Inter-Church
Committee, Legal Consultant, London, United Kingdom
Fr. Raed Abusahlia, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate, Secretary of Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Bishop Aris Shirvanjan, Director for Ecumenical and Foreign Relations of the Armenian Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, Director, Islamic Research Centre, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem
Sheikh Ikrama Said Sabri, General Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian territories, Preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque
Sheikh Yaakoub Karrach, Director of Islam Fiqh Centre and member of the Palestinian National Council

9. Locations visited by the High Commissioner in the occupied Palestinian territories

A. Gaza Strip
Erez checkpoint
Shifa Hospital
Netzarim junction
Al-Mazra'a school in Deir El-Balah, opposite Kfar Darom settlement
Affected houses near the border fence in Rafah
Rafah Health Centre
Rafah preparatory girls school
Uprooted farms near Moraje settlement in Rafah

B. West Bank
East Jerusalem
Ramallah
El Bireh
Hebron with the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH)
Jalazon refugee camp
Jalazon preparatory boys school

10. Meeting with United Nations officials
Mr. Terje R. Larsen, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process and Personal
Representative of the Secretary-General to the PLO and the PA
Mr. Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of UNRWA
Mr. Timothy Rothermel, UNDP, Special Representative of the Administrator

In addition, the High Commissioner met with representatives of the following United Nations bodies and
agencies in Gaza:
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
International Monetary Fund
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Development Fund for Women
United Nations Development Programme
World Food Programme
World Health Organization

11. Meeting with staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian
territories (Gaza and the West Bank)
Mr. Amin Medani, Director, Chief Technical Adviser
Mr. Saber Nairab, Human Rights Officer (Gaza)
Mr. Ammar al Dwaik, Human Rights Officer (West Bank)
Ms. Wijdan Jaber, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Eman Fathi, Secretary
Mr. Fawzi Al Akra'a, Logistics Officer

B. Visit to Israel
H.E. Mr. Moshe Katzav, President of the State of Israel
The Hon. Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court
Mr. Yossi Beilin, Minister of Justice, together with the following guests at a lunch hosted by him:
Mr. Shlomo Gur, Director General, Ministry of Justice
Mrs. Edna Arbel, State Attorney
Mrs. Osnat Mandel, Acting Director, High Court of Justice Division, State Attorney's Office
Ms. Tamar Gaulan, Director, Foreign Relations and International Organizations, Ministry of Justice
Mr. Daniel Levy, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Justice
Mr. Amir Avramovitch, Media Advisor to the Minister of Justice
Ms. Rachel Harris, legal intern
Ms. Colette Avital, Member of the Knesset
Mrs. Zehava Gal'on, Member of the Knesset, Head of the Meretz parliamentary faction
Mrs. Pnina Herzog, President, International Counsel of Women
Prof. David Kretzmer, member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee
Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Israel Democracy Institute
Prof. Ruth Gavison, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
Dr. Daphna Sharfman, Chair, Political Science Department, Western Galilee College
Dr. Eddy Kaufman, Board Member, Human Rights Watch, Middle East
Mrs. Orna Rabinovitch Pundak, former Chairperson, Amnesty International, Israeli Section
Mr. Moshe Negbi, political commentator
Mr. David Peleg, former Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations at
Geneva
Mr. Mordechai Yedid, Deputy Director General, International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Yaakov Paran, Director, Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Zeev Lurie, Deputy Director, Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Alon Leal, Director General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other senior officials of the Ministry
Major General Eiland and senior officers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
General Ya'acov Or, IDF Coordinator for the Territories, and other IDF officials
Families from Gilo community
Ms. Naomi Chazan, Member of the Knesset

In addition, the High Commissioner met with representatives of civil society (academics and human rights
defenders), Members of the Knesset and other Israeli officials, including the State Prosecutor.

Meeting with Israeli and Arab NGOs in Jerusalem (9 November 2000)
Btselem Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
HaMoKed Centre for the Defence of the Individual
Public Committee against Torture in Israel
Defence for Children International (Israel Section)
Ittijah Union of Arab Community Based Association
Physicians for Human Rights
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Rabbis for Human Rights
Adalah Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Mossawa Centre
Ms. Tamar Pelleg, human rights lawyer
Visit to the "Yad Vashem" Martyr's and Heroes' Memorial of the Holocaust

Document Text

REPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND FOLLOW-UP TO THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, INCLUDING PALESTINE

Report of the High Commissioner on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (8-16 November 2000)


CONTENTS
I. Introduction

II. Outline of the High Commissioner‘s visit to the region

III. General Observations

IV. Human Rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

V. Visit to Israel

VI. Visit to Egypt

VII. Visit to Jordan

VIII. Conclusions and Recommendations

Annex: Programme of the visit in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel



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I. INTRODUCTION
1. The General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights have been seized of the situation of human
rights in the occupied Palestinian territories for many years. Since late September, however, there has been a
dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation in the occupied territories.

2. By a letter dated 3 October 2000, addressed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, on behalf of the Council of Arab Permanent Representatives of Members of the League of Arab States, requested that a special session of the Commission be convened "to discuss the grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian
people by the Israeli occupying power".

3. In the light of the agreement of a majority of its members, the Commission on Human Rights convened in its
fifth special session from 17 October to 19 October 2000.

4. On 19 October 2000, the Commission on Human Rights at its fifth special session, adopted resolution S-5/1
(E/2000/112-E/CN.4/S-5/5, chap. II), in which it decided inter alia to request the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake an urgent visit to the occupied Palestinian territories to take stock
of the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying Power, to facilitate the
activities of the mechanisms of the Commission in implementation of the resolution, to keep it informed of
developments and to report to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session and, on an interim basis, to the
General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session. On 22 November 2000, the Economic and Social Council, in its
decision 2000/311, endorsed the resolution adopted by the Commission at its fifth special session.

5. The mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights requires her to promote and protect the effective
enjoyment by all of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights; to enhance international cooperation
for the promotion and protection of all human rights; to engage in a dialogue with all Governments with a view
to securing respect for all human rights; and to carry out the tasks assigned to her by the competent bodies of
the United Nations system in the field of human rights. The High Commissioner is also mandated to report on
her activities to the Commission on Human Rights, the Economic and Social Council and to the General
Assembly.

6. Mindful of these aspects of her mandate, the High Commissioner for Human Rights undertook a visit to the
Middle East from 8 to 16 November 2000. During her mission, she visited the occupied Palestinian territories,
Israel, Egypt and Jordan. This report to the Commission on Human Rights summarizes the outcome of her
mission.

7. The High Commissioner‘s visit to the occupied Palestinian territories took place at the urgent request of the
Commission on Human Rights and because of the seriousness of the human rights situation there at the present
time.

8. With regard to her visit to Israel, the High Commissioner, in cooperation with the Israeli authorities,
undertook a visit that had been scheduled at an earlier stage but that had been postponed. The visit to Israel
focused on general cooperation on human rights issues as well as on the situation in the occupied Palestinian
territories. During her visit to Israel, the Israeli authorities expressly accepted, in a meeting between the High
Commissioner and senior Foreign Ministry officials on 15 November 2000, that the High Commissioner‘s report
on her visit to the region would also deal with the visit to Israel.

9. The visits to Egypt and Jordan were undertaken primarily in view of the situation in the occupied Palestinian
territories. From that perspective, the discussions with leaders in those countries are reflected in this report.

10. In submitting this report, the High Commissioner for Human Rights is conscious of the evolving situation in
the area, attentive to the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and others to promote peace,
and to the importance of the quest for peace with justice and respect for human rights, and mindful of the duty
of conscience regarding the situation of human rights prevailing in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is in
this spirit of conscience that this report is submitted.

II. OUTLINE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER‘S VISIT TO THE REGION
11. The programme of the High Commissioner‘s visit to the region, including lists of those with whom she met,
is annexed to the present report. The following is a brief summary.

12. In Gaza, the High Commissioner met with the President of the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the
Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLO), Mr. Yasser Arafat, senior representatives of the
Palestinian Authority (PA), representatives of the NGO community, the Chairman of the Palestinian
Independent Commission for Citizen‘s Rights and with representatives of United Nations programmes, funds
and agencies, including the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations Special Coordinator. The High Commissioner
visited the largest hospital in Gaza, Shifa Hospital, and met with 45 patients, including children, injured over
recent weeks, as well as medical staff and family members. She travelled to the Rafah refugee camp near the
Egyptian border, visited sites affected by the recent violence, including several UNWRA schools; visited a
health care centre, and viewed settlements and military installations.

13. In East Jerusalem, the High Commissioner met with representatives of the Muslim and Christian communities
as well as of NGOs, Palestinian officials and a delegation of expatriate volunteers. She visited Hebron, Ramallah
and El-Bireh, where she met with the Speaker and other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council as well as with Ministers of the PA. In Ramallah, the High Commissioner visited a refugee camp, including a school, and,
in El-Bireh, met with representatives of NGOs, and a delegation of schoolchildren.

14. In Israel, the High Commissioner discussed the recent human rights developments in Israel and the occupied
Palestinian territories with the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katzav, the President of the Supreme Court, Chief
Justice Aharon Barak, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Yossi Beilin, the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Dr. Alon Leal and other senior officials, senior officials of the Ministry of Defence, representatives of
the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee,
representatives of NGOs, academics and Israeli settlers from Gilo, and international and local staff of United
Nations agencies.

15. In Cairo, the High Commissioner met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Mr. Amr Musa, with
senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with representatives of NGOs. She also met with the
Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Dr. Ismat Abdel-Maguid.

16. In Amman, the High Commissioner was received by His Royal Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan and met
with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ahmed Khleifat, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Mr. Shaher Bak.

17. In all, the High Commissioner heard the views of several hundred people, many of whom spoke from
personal experience of the present human rights situation. The High Commissioner also received several dozen
written submissions and briefs, which have been considered in the preparation of this report. The High
Commissioner wishes to record her appreciation and thanks to all those with whom she met and to the
Governments, authorities and United Nations representatives which received her and facilitated her mission.

18. It was a difficult mission, addressing a highly politicized and complex situation with serious human rights
implications. At each meeting in both the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel the High Commissioner
emphasized the integrity of her mandate, the objectivity of her approach, and that her focus would be on the
human rights implications of what she saw and heard and of what was represented to her by the various parties
she met.

III. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
19. The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories is bleak. The civilian population feels
besieged by a stronger power prepared to use its superior force against demonstrations and stonethrowing by
adolescents. During the course of the visit the violence escalated, with more shooting — including so-called
drive-by shootings — on the Palestinian side and the use of rockets and heavy machine-gun fire on the Israeli
side. At each meeting in the occupied Palestinian territories pleas for international protection or for some form of
international monitoring presence were voiced.

20. In the occupied Palestinian territories, discussions concerning the present crisis and its impact on human
rights were linked to the reality of the occupation itself. That reality was described by Palestinians as one of
grinding, petty humiliations, discrimination and inequalities which were ultimately dehumanizing. It was
explained that the anger and frustration of the present Intifada stemmed from lack of implementation of the key
United Nations resolutions, especially General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III) and Security Council
resolution 242 (1967), the continuing encroachment on land for settlements, and what was perceived as a peace
process which had not addressed the Palestinian claims of a State with East Jerusalem as its capital and some
recognition of the right of return of refugees.

21. Perhaps the strongest and most troubling impression taken away by the High Commissioner from her visit to
Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories was that of two peoples who are linked by history and geography,
but are currently separated by a wide and growing gap in their perceptions of each other. The violence of recent
months has resulted in a hardening of positions, with little willingness on either side to understand or accept
the narrative of the other.

22. Amongst Israelis there is a preoccupation with security, born of a strong sense of isolation and of being set
upon from all sides. This can easily be understood in terms of Israeli and Jewish history. However, it is not
appreciated or allowed for by a Palestinian people who see only Israel‘s overwhelming military superiority and
experience its readiness to use it. Israelis with whom the High Commissioner met, including many who deeply
believe in the peace process, said they felt shell-shocked by the recent breakdown of negotiations at a time
when, to them, a comprehensive settlement had seemed so close. Amongst Palestinians, on the other hand, the
predominant sentiment was that the process of the past seven years had delivered little or nothing to them.
Whilst Israelis point to the building of economic links as a positive sign, Palestinians see the same process as
increasing the dependence of the occupied territories and their vulnerability to exploitation by Israel during
periods of crisis.

23. The High Commissioner was offered different views about the origins of the present cycle of violence,
including on the significance of the visit of Mr. Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif, and on
whether the current intifada is a spontaneous popular uprising or an orchestrated strategy. The High
Commissioner referred repeatedly to her mandate, which addresses the underlying human rights causes of the
conflict. Such an approach acknowledges the long-standing and unresolved grievances of the Palestinian
people, many of whom are now third-generation refugees. It must also be understood, as it is by many Israelis,
that Palestinians, including Arabs who have Israeli citizenship, have suffered and continue to suffer from
serious discrimination. An inescapable conclusion is that much of the present situation has to do with the daily
reality of life under the occupation, including what Palestinians see as the numerous daily humiliations imposed
upon them, often deliberately, but sometimes through bureaucratic indifference towards people who lack
political power. However, in discussing root causes, it must also be acknowledged that over an extended period
the right of Israelis to "security of person" (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 3) has been
threatened. This persistent insecurity has given rise to many of the problems which now lie at the heart of the
human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.

24. A related problem is that of hate speech and incitement. Numerous examples were cited to the High
Commissioner during her visit and evidence was clearly visible on the walls of Palestinian houses and Israeli
settlements. The High Commissioner was struck, for example, by the deep hurt caused by the accusation that
Palestinian parents were forcing their children into the line of fire to achieve martyrdom. Similarly, she was
shocked by calls broadcast on Palestinian television and radio urging the killing of all Jews. At this very difficult
time it is incumbent upon leaders on both sides to avoid inciting racial and religious animosities and to condemn
such incitement when it does occur within their communities. The High Commissioner believes that the
forthcoming World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will
provide an opportunity for reflection and reconciliation, which political leaders and members of civil society
alike should begin to prepare for.


IV. HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
25. While in the occupied Palestinian territories, the High Commissioner received information from numerous
sources alleging serious violations of human rights, both in relation to recent events and more long-term
systematic abuses originating from the occupation itself. Also alleged was a failure on the part of Israel to
adhere to international humanitarian law, in particular the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the
protection of civilians in time of war, whose applicability to the occupied territories has been repeatedly
reaffirmed by United Nations bodies, including the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission
on Human Rights. Particular areas of concern with regard to recent developments included: excessive and
disproportionate use of force, including alleged attacks on medical personnel; the arbitrary destruction of
property; the effects on Palestinian residents of Israeli settlement activity, including restrictions on freedom of
movement; the serious economic impact on the residents of the occupied territories; the violations of the human
rights of children; and restrictions on access to humanitarian assistance.

Excessive use of force

26. The most persistent allegation brought to the attention of the High Commissioner was that Israeli security
forces have engaged in excessive force, disproportionate to the threat faced by their soldiers. A wide range of
observers, including United Nations representatives, expressed the strong view that the very high number of
casualties, combined with the nature of the injuries being sustained, including by young people, could only be
consistent with a military response which was both excessive and inappropriate. With only minor regional
variations, this pattern was, said the observers, repeated in different locations throughout the affected areas.

27. The High Commissioner had requested a meeting with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The meeting was
facilitated by Israel and took place at Ben Gurien Airport on 13 November prior to her flight to Cairo. It is
described in some detail in paragraphs 66 to 71 below but, as it offered an opportunity to hear the Israeli
perspective on the allegations of excessive use of force, the relevant comments or a reference to the relevant
paragraphs are inserted in the present section of the report.

28. In an attempt to disperse the demonstrations, the Israeli military authorities have used live ammunition,
rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas, all of which have resulted in deaths and injuries amongst the
Palestinians. Heavier weapons have also been used, including rockets fired by infantry and from helicopters,
armoured vehicles which have been deployed throughout the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and heavy
machine guns. The use of heavy weapons has raised the incidence of death and injury amongst
non-combatants and, indeed, several such deaths occurred during the period of the High Commissioner‘s visit.

29. A high percentage of the injuries sustained by Palestinians have been to the upper part of their body,
including a large number of eye injuries, some caused by the firing of "rubber" bullets at close range. The result
is often the loss of an eye, but can also be severe brain damage or death. In subsequent discussions senior IDF
representatives accepted the potential lethalness of "rubber" bullets, and also that of tear gas, if used in a
confined area, as has been alleged.

30. When asked about the reported injuries, senior IDF officers told the High Commissioner (see paras. 69-70
below) that the methods and weapons employed by the IDF in dealing with the present crisis are carefully
calibrated according to the nature of the threat being faced and, in particular, that live fire, whether from small
arms or heavier weapons, has only been directed at those who have used firearms or petrol bombs in attacks
against Israeli forces.

31. While in the Gaza Strip, the High Commissioner visited Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza with 650
beds and 8 operating theatres. The High Commissioner met with 45 patients, including boys and girls under 18
and their relatives. A 15-year-old, now a paraplegic, informed the High Commissioner that he was shot by Israeli
soldiers while he was demonstrating and throwing stones in the industrial zone close to Erez checkpoint. He had
joined other teenagers after school to express his anger following the death of one of his schoolmates the
previous day. A 14-year-old wounded in the arm and leg explained that he had gone to throw stones in revenge
after a classmate had been shot and blinded in both eyes, and the doctor accompanying the High Commissioner
confirmed he had treated this other boy. The High Commissioner heard numerous anecdotal accounts of
shootings involving Palestinians who, it was said, could not have been involved in any form of protest activity,
for example, an elderly man who was shot twice near the door of his house and a pregnant woman who was shot
whilst on the roof of her house. See paragraphs 69 and 70 below for the IDF response on rules of engagement
and child casualties.

32. The Minister of Health of the Palestian Authority, Dr. Riadh Al-Zaanoun, told the High Commissioner that
by his estimates some 6,958 persons (3,366 in the West Bank and 3,592 in the Gaza Strip) had been wounded
during the period 29 September-9 November 2000 and that 1,016 Palestinians had been injured in Israel. Of those
injured, he said, 40 per cent were under the age of 18. According to the Minister, the types of ammunition
responsible for injuries were as follows: rubber bullets (41 per cent); live bullets (27 per cent); tear gas (27 per
cent); and others, including rockets (11 per cent).

33. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society estimates that 236 Palestinians were killed and 9,353 injured during the
period 29 September-23 November. During the period 27 September-23 November, Israeli official sources
estimate that 30 Israelis were killed and 375 were injured. Estimates are disputed by the parties.

Impact on children

34. According to the Red Cross/Red Crescent, as of 20 November, 86 children (aged 18 and under) had been
killed and over 3,000 injured, two to three hundred of whom, it is estimated, will have permanent disabilities.
According to the same source, hundreds of Palestinian children have been obliged to abandon their homes in
order to escape the violence. The destruction of family dwellings has left more than a thousand children without
homes, often in situations of food shortage and without access to medical care.

35. The current situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has had a serious impact on the Palestinian education
system. The High Commissioner visited two schools in the Gaza Strip and one school in Ramallah where she
was briefed by teachers on the consequences of the current situation for Palestinian pupils. She was told that
since the beginning of October more than 40 schools have been closed or are unable to operate owing to
curfews or closures. Other schools, such as one visited by the High Commissioner in the Gaza Strip, have been
damaged by gunfire and the premises abandoned, requiring that several thousand children be fitted into other
schools if possible.

36. In discussions with directors of preparatory schools and educators, as well as delegations of children in
Gaza and Ramallah, the High Commissioner was told that many children suffer from psychological and social
problems as a direct consequence of the current situation. Children themselves explained to the High
Commissioner their fear of leaving their homes or, in some cases, of going back to their homes, and of
difficulties sleeping. According to UNICEF, only about 1 per cent of adolescents in Gaza have actually engaged
in demonstrations or attacks against Israeli military positions. However, teachers have reported that the rest of
the students who have remained at their studies have nevertheless been mentally distracted or emotionally
affected by the events in the street, with the result that their educational performance has deteriorated.

Medical personnel

37. An aspect of particular concern is the allegation that the medical condition of many of the victims has
suffered, with some deaths, as a consequence of their being denied access to timely medical assistance.
Reportedly, Palestinian ambulances and medical personnel have been prevented from discharging their normal
responsibilities. During the High Commissioner‘s visit to Gaza, her vehicle was unable to proceed along the
main north-south road because of an exchange of gunfire on the road ahead which had left two Israeli soldiers
at a checkpoint seriously wounded and two Palestinians dead in their vehicle. The High Commissioner
witnessed the fact that two ambulances were not permitted to attend to the Palestinian casualties.

38. Very serious allegations were made of attacks by Israeli security forces on medical personnel and
ambulances. The High Commissioner was informed about the case of a Palestinian Red Crescent Society
ambulance driver, Bassam Al-Balbisi, who had been killed while trying to approach 12-year-old Mohammad
Al-Dura and his father in order to move them into an ambulance. According to Palestinian officials, 45
ambulances had been attacked by Israeli forces in Jerusalem and the West Bank and 23 in the Gaza Strip. The
High Commissioner was told that nine ambulances had been put out of service owing to damage between 29
September and 9 November.

Destruction of property

39. In the Gaza Strip, the High Commissioner visited Rafah refugee camp and surrounding areas where she was
able to inspect a number of private houses and apartments that had been heavily damaged by gunfire and/or
rocket attack, particularly at night. The owner of one house in Rafah told the High Commissioner that she had
been obliged to leave her house, within a few minutes, when she realized that an Israeli tank had already started
to destroy part of the house. A farm owner told the High Commissioner that Israeli soldiers had destroyed his
greenhouses and his family residence during the night of 29 October. Water wells have reportedly also been
destroyed in actions carried out by settlers or Israeli forces. The High Commissioner saw that a number of fields
of fruit-bearing trees, particularly olive trees, had been cleared in the occupied regions. The High Commissioner
was told that, in many cases, these orchards and fields represented the entire livelihood of dozens of families.

40. According to the IDF (see sect. V below), the clearances and demolitions were carried out as matter of
military necessity because these structures or plantations had been used as cover by Palestinian gunmen. The
IDF told the High Commissioner that the doctrine of military necessity meant that compensation was not
payable in these circumstances. Israeli officials told the High Commissioner that military action carried out in the
Palestinian areas often took place at night, because this was the time when Palestinian gunfire most often
occurred.

Settlements

41. At the best of times relations between Israeli settlers and Palestinians are extremely sensitive and tense. At
times of crisis the settlements can become a catalyst for violence. Amongst the main concerns raised by the
Palestinian interlocutors were the privileged position settlements enjoy with respect to land and water for
domestic and agricultural use, the negative impact on surrounding Palestinian communities, the fact that settlers
are heavily armed and live in barrier-enclosed areas protected by the IDF and that separate roads have been
created for settlers alone which are prohibited to Palestinians. The concerns raised with the High Commissioner
by three Israeli families living in Gilo whom she met at Ben Gurion Airport on 15 November are set out at
paragraph 71 below.

42. In Gaza, Israeli installations to protect settlements there are located on the main road through Gaza and have
become the focus for stone throwing and shooting by Palestinians, with severe retaliation by the Israeli military.
It was strongly represented to the High Commissioner that if these military installations and heavy armoury
were to move off the highway and closer to the settlements being protected this could ease tension. The IDF
analysis was that the protection role could only be discharged from the present positions (see paras. 69-70
below).

43. Following her visit to the refugee camp at Rafah the High Commissioner was driven along a settlement road
and was surprised to be shown further expansions of settlements taking place.

44. The High Commissioner visited the city of Hebron, one of the biggest administrative units in the occupied
Palestinian territories in terms of area and population, and went into the Israeli controlled part of Hebron known
as H2 in the company of officials of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). Since the first week of October, the IDF has imposed a curfew on 30,000 Palestinians living in the H2 zone, which has had an
enormous impact on the enjoyment by Palestinian residents of their basic human rights. As a result of the
curfew, thousands of families and their children live under virtual house arrest, confined to their homes for all
but a few hours per week. During the hours when the curfew is not imposed the use of motor vehicles by
Palestinian residents is forbidden, requiring residents to walk considerable distances to purchase food supplies,
as shops in the Hebron H2 zone are also affected by the curfew.

45. Workers from the Hebron H2 zone have been prevented from reaching their places of work, whether in Israel or in the occupied territories. Restrictions on freedom of movement make it increasingly difficult for the
Palestinians in the H2 zone to meet their most basic needs, such as food supplies and medical care, and
Palestinian children cannot attend school. In this regard, the High Commissioner was informed that 32 schools
had been closed since the beginning of the events, preventing some 15,000 pupils from exercising their right to
education.

46. The curfew does not apply to the 300 to 400 Israeli settlers living in the H2 zone of the city and the settler
school remains open. To ensure the safety of those settlers, the IDF maintains a large presence in that part of
Hebron (700 soldiers according to the IDF; 2,000 according to another source). Three schools and several
Palestinian houses in the H2 zone have been taken over by the IDF and turned into military posts.

47. At a meeting with the Mayor of Hebron, the Minister for Transport and other officials in the H1 zone of
Hebron (under the Palestinian Authority), the High Commissioner was told that, since October, 20 Palestinians
had been killed in Hebron, of whom 5 were under 18 years of age, and that many houses, stores and facilities
had been damaged, without compensation. Allegations were made that settlers were involved in violence
against and harassment of Palestinian residents, with the tacit consent of the IDF.

48 IDF representatives told the High Commissioner that their presence was necessary to secure the safety of the
settler community, which had been subjected to regular fire from Palestinian gunmen.

Freedom of movement

49. An effective closure of the occupied territories has been applied since the beginning of October and the
movement of the population there continues to be heavily restricted. The High Commissioner's own travel
between Israel and the occupied territories, and within the occupied territories, afforded an opportunity to
assess the immediate impact of these restrictions. It was noted that, while road closures impact heavily on
Palestinians, there exists a parallel road network, established by the Government of Israel, known as the by-pass
roads, exclusively for the use of Israeli settlers and the authorities, enabling them to travel freely.

50. In discussions with senior IDF representatives, the High Commissioner called for a lifting or easing of the
closures. The response from the senior officer responsible for IDF operations in the occupied territories was
that the closures were a necessary security measure. An explicit linkage was drawn between the closures and
the release in October, by the Palestinian Authority, of some 80 prisoners who had been held in Palestinian
custody and who are considered by the Israeli authorities to pose a major security threat to Israel. The High
Commissioner was told that if the Palestinian Authority were to re-incarcerate these 80 prisoners then the
closures would be lifted the same day.

Freedom of religion

51. The High Commissioner met Muslim and Christian leaders representing the Palestinian and Armenian
communities in East Jerusalem. They told the High Commissioner that the Israeli authorities continued to deny
Palestinians full access to holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

52. Since the beginning of October, access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been denied to Muslims, even religious
leaders, under the age of 45 years. As a result, only one tenth of the usual number of worshippers currently
have access to Al-Aqsa. Representatives of both communities expressed the wish to have full responsibility for
their own holy places, which is currently denied by the Israeli authorities. They complained also of disrespectful
behaviour by Israeli troops stationed at the holy sites. In discussing the need for religious tolerance, they
explained to the High Commissioner their shared vision of Jerusalem as encompassing "one city, two peoples
and three religions" and stressed the universal character of the city and the necessity to maintain its spiritual
soul.

53. The High Commissioner relayed these views to the Israeli authorities in her subsequent discussions with
them. In particular, she expressed her concern that restrictions on access to the holy sites could result in
increased tension during the coming month of Ramadhan. The Israeli authorities told the High Commissioner
that the restrictions were necessary to prevent armed extremists from occupying the holy sites, which would
necessitate an Israeli military response. They argued that the degree of control over holy sites currently given
to Palestinians was greater than that which had been accorded to Jewish communities prior to the creation of
the State of Israel. In some cases where Palestinians had been entrusted with the protection of holy sites, such
as Joseph's Tomb, these sites had subsequently been desecrated.

Economic impact

54. The United Nations development and humanitarian agencies operating in Jerusalem and Gaza provided
comprehensive briefings to the High Commissioner on the impact that the current situation, particularly the
closures, is having on the enjoyment by Palestinians of their economic rights and their right to development.
They explained that the seriousness of the economic situation required that they put development programmes
on hold and concentrate on emergency response and relief.

55. Approximately 128,000 Palestinian workers, normally employed in Israel, are currently barred from travelling to their workplaces. The movement of Palestinians within the occupied territories is severely restricted under the strict internal closure imposed, for instance, on the various parts of the West Bank.

56. According to the Israeli Ministry of Defence figures, the restrictions affect 20 per cent of the Palestinian
workforce and some 35 per cent of total salary income. According to the Office of the United Nations Special
Coordinator, unemployment had tripled since the beginning of October, which translates into a loss of
household income of some 10 to 11 million dollars per day. While most reports indicated that there were
adequate supplies of food within the occupied territories, the means with which to purchase food, medicines
and other basic necessities are rapidly becoming exhausted as affected families use the last of their savings.

57. United Nations studies also report a 50 per cent reduction in normal economic activity within the territories
themselves. Restrictions on the movement of Palestinians within the West Bank have had economic
consequences. Another serious factor has been the restriction on the import of raw materials, particularly
cement. The ban on the movement of cement has effectively brought construction, normally the single largest
industry in the occupied territories, to a standstill.

58. According to a Ministry of Defence briefing provided to the High Commissioner, loss of confidence among
Israelis has also had a major effect on economic conditions in the occupied territories. In 1999, some 100,000
Israelis travelled to the territories for commercial reasons, generating income of $500 million. Cooperative
projects in industrial zones along the "green line" between Israel and the territories had resulted in the
completion of 25 factories but since the start of the intifada, three of these factories have been burned and an
industrial estate attacked, with the result that investor confidence has plummeted. The Ministry representatives
also stated that the effects of the closures have been exacerbated in some cases by the reluctance of Palestinian
Authority officials to cooperate with Israeli security processes at border checkpoints.

59. According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) briefing provided to the High Commissioner, a factor
which has aggravated the economic impact of the closures and other restrictions has been the failure of the
Israeli authorities to make available to the Palestinian Authority in a timely manner certain tax revenues owed to
it under existing agreements, which has affected the capacity of the Palestinian Authority to pay salaries to its
employees.

60. Although the adverse economic consequences of the current situation are being felt most acutely in the
occupied Palestinian territories, they have also had a negative impact on the Israeli economy.

Humanitarian access

61. Access is a major preoccupation for all humanitarian organizations operating in the occupied territories. Of
particular concern are the restrictions imposed on the movement of United Nations local Palestinian staff, who
make up the vast majority of United Nations employees in the occupied territories.

62. The High Commissioner was informed that because of the closures, emergency evacuation of seriously
injured civilians for treatment abroad is difficult. Restrictions on access also affect the import of donations of
humanitarian goods and equipment from abroad. Imports into Gaza involve unloading of the cargo of every
truck originating from Israel at the Gaza/West Bank entry checkpoints and reloading onto other trucks for
onward delivery. United Nations agencies have reported difficulties in obtaining clearance for emergency health
kits.

63. The Ministry of Defence indicated that it was doing everything possible to facilitate humanitarian access to
the occupied territories. During October alone, the Ministry representatives said, requests from some 80
countries had been processed in relation to medical supplies, blankets and sophisticated hospital equipment. A
special coordination centre had been set up in order to bypass the usual bureaucratic channels and close liaison
had been established with the Palestinian Authority.

64. The High Commissioner, in her subsequent discussions with senior IDF representatives, raised the specific
issue of UNRWA medical supplies that had been blocked in Jerusalem. The IDF representatives indicated that
this type of cargo should not be the subject of any restriction and they undertook to facilitate its delivery.

V. VISIT TO ISRAEL
65. The High Commissioner's visit to Israel allowed her to address general human rights issues and hear the
views of a wide range of Israeli citizens and organizations, both Jewish and Arab. However, given the current
situation, most discussions focused on the human rights situation in the occupied territories. The following
paragraphs reflect the Israeli perspective on the situation.

Excessive use of force

66. On 13 November, following her visits to Gaza, Hebron and Ramallah, the High Commissioner discussed, with the Israeli authorities, the use of force by the IDF and other security forces. The High Commissioner expresses her appreciation for the very frank and informative meeting with the senior IDF officers responsible for security, intelligence, legal issues, weapons development and public affairs, which the government facilitated.

67. The IDF officers outlined their view of the genesis of the present situation - a view which was shared by
other Israeli government officials. In brief, the view was put that the current intifada had been launched as a
deliberate strategy of the Palestinian leadership. On offer at Camp David had been a Palestinian State, with
reference made to both a right of return and a negotiated division of Jerusalem. According to the IDF, the
Palestinian leadership, unwilling to make the difficult political compromises required, had ignited what it hoped
would be a "CNN war" in which Palestinian losses would rally the support of the Muslim world and sway public
opinion in the West. The aim was to increase international pressure on Israel to make further concessions. The
ultimate goal was a Kosovo-style intervention force to protect "Palestinian territory", rather than "Palestinian
people", thereby achieving a resolution without having to go to the negotiating table.

68. In terms of the pattern of the violence, the IDF officers described as typical a situation which commenced
with stone throwing but which quickly escalated into armed attacks. Whereas the previous intifada had almost
exclusively featured stone throwers, who were dealt with using riot control techniques, the Palestinians were
now armed and many incidents featured a lethal mix of stone throwers and shooters. It was stated that out of
5,085 attacks on Israeli settlements, some 1,400 had involved live fire, including machine gun fire or the use of
firebombs.

69. The IDF officers said that, according to their rules of engagement, attackers who use live ammunition could
be shot by soldiers and sharpshooters deployed for that purpose. Nevertheless, they said, the IDF was only
using 2 per cent of its military force. The High Commissioner was told that most of those killed over recent
weeks had been armed attackers, shot after opening fire on Israeli positions. Some, however, had been killed in
the crossfire, by one side or the other. Asked about the number of child casualties, the IDF officers responded
that they were unable to indicate ages and numbers as the IDF generally had no access to the dead and
wounded on the Palestinian side. However, they felt that the numbers reported were exaggerated and told the
High Commissioner that the Tanzeem militia recruited and armed children.

70. Asked why the IDF reportedly often resorts to the use of live ammunition instead of non-lethal weapons, the
IDF officers indicated that the military tactics being employed against them influenced the types of weapons the
IDF could employ. They explained to the High Commissioner that Israel was concerned to reduce the number of
casualties. So-called less-than-lethal weapons (which can still kill at short ranges or high concentrations) such
as plastic coated bullets, tear gas and water cannons are only effective at a range of 50-100 metres. But at this
range troops are vulnerable to live fire. The IDF have over the last few months field-tested dozens of weapons
but have concluded that less-than-lethal weapons effective to a range of 200 metres do not currently exist. As a
consequence, new weapons systems are being developed which, the IDF hope, will soon be deployed to
control crowds effectively at longer ranges with little or no risk of serious injury.

71. Before leaving Israel on 15 November, the High Commissioner met at Ben Gurion Airport with three families
from Gilo, a Jewish settlement on the outskirts of Jerusalem, who described nightly gunfire directed at their
homes from a neighbouring Palestinian area. They also expressed concern that this resulted in heavy retaliation
by the Israeli side, causing an intolerable situation for all civilians. They had had good relations with their Arab
neighbours and were appalled at how the situation had deteriorated. Their families had lived in Gilo for upwards
of 20 years and they did not see themselves as settlers. They urged the need to stop the violence and return to
political dialogue.

Investigations; compensation for damage

72. Matters which the High Commissioner pursued with IDF representatives were the issue of how the use of
lethal force was investigated by the IDF, what punishments were available for improper or excessive use of such
force, and how many investigations had been conducted to date and with what result.

73. She was told that, unlike the situation during the previous intifada, when the Israeli army was in full control
of the occupied Palestinian territories, there was currently no policy of routine investigation into the use of
lethal force. Investigations could, however, be carried out internally if there was a particular reason to suspect
that improper conduct had taken place. It was explained that that decision had arisen from the IDF evaluating
that the current situation could be described as a state of "active warfare". In that situation the rules of war
applied and soldiers were not required to account for each shot fired. In any case, the IDF representatives said,
the number of shots being fired made such a policy impractical. Reference was also made to the practical
difficulties of investigating incidents in areas under Palestinian Authority control. Another consequence of the
IDF decision about the state of "active warfare" was that compensation would no longer be made for the
military use of private property, as it had been in the past. Asked about the destruction of houses and orchards
in the occupied Palestinian territories, the IDF representatives advised the High Commissioner that there was no
question of compensation as, under the rules of war, those areas had been cleared as a matter of military
necessity because they had been used as cover by Palestinian gunmen.

74. The IDF representatives added that the new assessment of their current legal situation would normally also
affect their own rules of engagement. In the present case, however, a decision had been taken to maintain the
same rules of engagement as applied in previous intifada, in order not to increase the number of casualties. The
IDF representatives made the point that double standards were being applied in relation to the Palestinian side
which was not under international scrutiny about its rules of engagement or its policy on investigating
shootings and violations of human rights. The IDF representatives referred to the lynching of two Israeli
soldiers in Ramallah.

Situation of Arab Israelis

75. The situation of Arab Israeli citizens was raised at a meeting between representatives of Israeli NGOs and
the High Commissioner as a specific human rights problem, albeit one which could not be entirely separated
from the general situation in the occupied territories. Representatives of a number of Israeli NGOs indicated that
Israeli Arabs, who represent 20 per cent of the State's population, had faced decades of neglect and
discrimination on the part of the Israeli authorities.

76. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the High Commissioner that the Government of Israel
was taking measures to promote the integration of Israeli Arabs into Israeli society and to guarantee their rights
as full citizens. Most Israeli interlocutors, including officials, acknowledged, however, that Israeli Arabs had
suffered disadvantage and discrimination and that there was still some way to go in achieving full equality for
that community. The President of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Aharon Barak, briefed the High
Commissioner on judicial action taken by the Supreme Court with respect to issues of equality, including
decisions granting Arabs the right to purchase land in Israel. He also outlined the liberal approach adopted by
his court concerning issues such as standing and jurisdiction in civil cases, which enabled NGOs to bring suits
on behalf of aggrieved persons.

77. Most of the Arab Israelis whom the High Commissioner met described their situation as one of exclusion,
prejudice, official hostility and routine humiliation. Since 28 September, however, the threat of violence which
has engulfed many of their communities has become the primary concern of Arab Israelis. There was a sense of
frustration that their problems were perhaps less well recognized than those of Palestinians living in the
occupied territories.

78. Arab Israeli NGO representatives told the High Commissioner that, following the street demonstrations that
took place in Arab cities and villages in Israel at the end of September and beginning of October, the security
forces had responded with brutality and excessive force, using live ammunition, tear gas and plastic coated
bullets, in contrast to the more moderate tactics employed against Jewish protesters. This had led to the deaths
of 13 Arab Israeli citizens. Many more had been injured and more than 1,000 arrested. A particular concern was the manner in which detention policy was being implemented. Many arrests, including of minors, were being
carried out during night-time raids on homes. Once arrested, Arab detainees, including minors, were, according
to these sources, far more likely to be held in custody without bail until the conclusion of their trials. It was
asserted that this pattern was the result of a deliberate policy of discrimination against Arab Israelis on the part
of the Attorney General's Office and the State Prosecutor's Office. It was further asserted that this policy
extended to appealing every decision to release Palestinian detainees, which did not apply where Jewish
detainees were concerned. Concern was expressed that the courts had largely acquiesced to these policies, with
the result that large numbers of young Arab Israelis remained in detention. This issue was raised by the High
Commissioner with the State Attorney General who indicated that she would look into the situation of young
detainees.

Israeli Commission of Inquiry

79. On 11 November, the Government of Israel decided to establish a State commission of inquiry to inquire into
the clashes, since 29 September, between the security forces and Israeli citizens in which 13 Arabs were killed
and hundreds of people injured. The Commission, composed of three members, will be chaired by a justice of
the Supreme Court. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry Law gives this Commission full power to subpoena and
obtain information from anyone it deems may be able to assist in its inquiry. Witnesses who testify before it
enjoy full immunity. Its mandate is to investigate how the events developed, determine the facts and draw
conclusions. The Commission of Inquiry will decide for itself whether to publish its findings. It will not address
cases which occurred in the occupied Palestinian territories or cases involving non-Israeli citizens.

80. Some Arab Israeli NGOs have welcomed the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, while regretting
that time was lost by the Government in establishing initially a more limited "examining committee". Others have
expressed scepticism as to whether it will cdequately address the issues.

National human rights commission

81. Recent events in Israel have underlined the need to strengthen national mechanisms for the protection and
promotion of human rights, especially in the area of non-discrimination. In this context, the High Commissioner
noted the positive steps being taken towards the establishment of an independent national human rights
commission.

82. During the High Commissioner's meeting with the Minister of Justice and representatives of civil society
such as human rights lawyers, academics and experts, the Minister reiterated his commitment to establish a
human rights commission. He mentioned that the Minerva Center for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem had undertaken to carry out research on national human rights institutions and to recommend a model
for an Israeli institution. In the first stage of the project, the research team examined international guidelines and
the legislative and administrative structure, function and modes of operation of human rights institutions in
other countries. The NGO community had also been consulted when the proposal was being drawn up and their
concerns, ideas and suggestions had been discussed with the research team.

83. Following these consultations the research team will prepare a draft report which will be distributed for
comments among government officials, academic institutions and the NGO community. The final proposal,
which will incorporate the responses on the draft report, will be presented to the Minister of Justice by March
2001. The High Commissioner was advised that the proposal will include recommendations on the relationship
between the human rights commission and the Parliament and the Government, as well as existing executive
bodies, such as the State Comptroller, the Ombudsman and the recently established Commission for Equal
Rights for People with Disabilities. The final report will present the amendments needed to current legislation
and recommend draft implementing legislation.

84. The High Commissioner offered the services of her Special Adviser on National Human Rights Institutions
to assist the Government in its efforts towards the establishment of a national commission. On 17 November, the
High Commissioner wrote to the Minister of Justice reiterating this offer.

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VI. VISIT TO EGYPT
85. The High Commissioner visited Egypt to discuss with senior officials and the Secretary General of the
League of Arab States the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the follow-up to the
fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights.

86. In Cairo, the High Commissioner met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Amr. Musa, together with
senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister briefed the High Commissioner on steps taken
by Egypt at the political level to assist in resolving the present conflict, including implementation of the
agreement reached at Sharm El Sheikh. He expressed his Government's deep concern at the continuing
deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the impact it was having on the
Palestinians. In this regard he raised the question of Israel's compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention and
referred to the necessity to implement the decisions taken during the fifth special session. The High
Commissioner briefed the Minister on her visit and, in response to the concerns expressed with regard to access
for humanitarian aid, the High Commissioner informed the Minister that she had made representations to the
Israeli authorities concerning access for humanitarian relief supplies destined for the occupied territories.

87. During the High Commissioner's meeting with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Dr. Ismat
Abdel-Maguid, the latter referred to the concerns expressed in Arab countries with regard to the situation of the
Palestinians and steps taken by the members of the League of Arab States following their meeting in Cairo on 19
October. He expressed his appreciation of the High Commissioner's decision to visit Israel and the occupied
Palestinian territories at a very difficult time. He also declared the readiness of Arab countries to support the
resolution adopted at the fifth special session and indicated that he was looking forward to its implementation.

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VII. VISIT TO JORDAN
88. In Jordan, the High Commissioner was received by His Royal Majesty King Abdullah II. He expressed deep
concern about recent developments in Israel and the occupied territories and mentioned that Jordan was
sparing no efforts to assist both parties in the implementation of the decisions agreed upon in Sharm el Sheikh.
In terms of humanitarian assistance, King Abdullah described the extensive relief programme put in place by
Jordan, including a hospital in the West Bank.

89. In a separate meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the High Commissioner was made aware of Jordan's concern about current events, particularly given
the strong ties between the Jordanian and Palestinian peoples.

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VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
90. The High Commissioner came away from her visit deeply concerned about the serious deterioration of the
human rights situation in the occupied territories and Israel and at the terrible cost in terms of human lives. It is
vital that both parties renew efforts to halt the current dangerous escalation.

91. Mindful of the urgent and widespread calls for international protection made to her during her visit to the
occupied territories, the High Commissioner believes that every effort should be made to explore the feasibility
of establishing an international monitoring presence.

92. The only path to lasting peace and stability is through peaceful negotiation, which calls for courage and
responsibility on the part of the leadership of both sides. When she met with Chairman Arafat in Gaza on 15
November, the High Commissioner asked him if he would publicly call for an end to the shooting by
Palestinians. Later the same day he called on Palestinians to stop firing on Israeli targets from zone "A" of the
occupied territories. In discussions with senior IDF officers, the High Commissioner also urged a withdrawal of
Israeli military forces from some of their forward positions and a lowering of the military profile in the occupied
territories. She continues to believe that some specific steps in that direction by the IDF could help to break the
present cycle of violence.

93. The High Commissioner believes that a peaceful and stable future in the region can only be achieved on the
basis of a framework conforming to the requirements of international human rights and humanitarian law. Full
application of the international human rights standards set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and the two Human Rights Covenants is essential.

94. The High Commissioner recalls that the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights have
repeatedly reaffirmed the de jure applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of
Civilians in Time of War to the occupied Palestinian territories. Article 1 of the Convention places a duty on all
the High Contracting Parties "to respect and to ensure respect" of the provisions of the Convention "in all
circumstances". It would be appropriate for the High Contracting Parties to assume their responsibility under
the Convention.

95. Another way in which the international community can assist is through the work of the task force
established under the terms of the Sharm El Sheikh Agreement.

96. The High Commissioner would urge that the following specific steps be taken in order to stop the escalation
of violence:

The security forces of both sides should act in full conformity with the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Whenever
force is used the principle of proportionality has to be applied and all necessary measures have to be taken to
avoid loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian property.

The construction of new settlements should cease and those located in heavily populated Palestinian areas
should be removed. As well as protecting settlers, the Israeli security forces should also protect Palestinians
from violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers.

All cases of the use of lethal force on both sides should be investigated and subjected to the processes of
justice in order to avoid impunity.

Compensation should be provided to the victims of unlawful use of force, including for the loss of property.

Curfews should be imposed only in extreme circumstances and as a last resort. In no case should curfews be
used as a punitive measure. In cases where a curfew is imposed, it should be done in consultation with the local
communities with a view to limiting the adverse impact on the human rights of those affected.

The enjoyment of economic rights within the occupied Palestinian territories, including the right to
development, should be protected.

All holy sites and access to them by all faiths should be respected.

The Israeli authorities should ensure freedom of movement of international and national staff of United Nations
agencies and facilitate access by them to those in need of assistance.

Cooperation with the United Nations agencies is vital to ensure effective humanitarian assistance in the
occupied Palestinian territories.

97. The High Commissioner will:

Continue, through her office in the occupied Palestinian territories, to assist the Palestinian Authority to build
up its institutional capacity in the area of the rule of law;

Offer the services of her Special Adviser on National Human Rights Institutions to assist the Government of
Israel in its efforts towards the establishment of a national human rights commission;

Provide the necessary secretariat support for actions undertaken by the Commission on Human Rights, and its
mechanisms, in the implementation of the resolution adopted at its fifth special session;

Stand ready to facilitate dialogue between the human rights bodies of Israel and the Palestinian Authority,
Palestinian and Israeli NGOs, and other representatives of civil society in order to enhance mutual
understanding;

Urge the international community to support the work of United Nations agencies in the occupied Palestinian
territories and, in this context, contribute generously to the different resource mobilization initiatives currently
under way including those of the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Health Organization and
UNRWA.

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ANNEX
PROGRAMME OF THE VISIT IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES AND ISRAEL
A. Visit to the occupied Palestinian territories

1. Meeting with members of the Palestinian Authority
Mr. Yasser Arafat, President
Mr. Tayeb Abdel Rahim, Minister of Presidential Affairs
Mr. Freih Abu Middain, Minister of Justice
Mr. Zouhdi Nashashibi, Minister of Finance
Mrs. Intissar Al Wazir, Minister of Social Affairs
Dr. Riyadh Al-Zaanoun, Minister of Health
Mr. Youssef Abu Safia, Minister of Environment
Mr. Abdul Rahman Hamad, Minister of Housing
Mr. Ziyad Abu Zayyad, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs
Mr. Rafeeq Natshah, Minister of Labour
Mr. Ali Al Qwasma, Minister of Transportation
Mr. Talal Sadr, Minister without portfolio
Mr. Ahmad Said Tamimi, Acting Minister of the Interior
Mr. Ibrahim abu Dhaga, Presidential Adviser for Human Rights
Mr. Ahmed Soboh, Assistant to the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC)
Ms. Samia Bamia, Director, United Nations and International Organizations, Ministry of Planning and
International Cooperation

2. Meeting with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Mr. Ahmed Qurai, Chairman
Mr. Qadurah Faris, Head of the Oversight and Human Rights Committee
Mr. Ghasi Hanania, Deputy Speaker
Mr. Jamal Al Showbaki, Member
Mr. Suleyman Abu Snaina, Member
Mr. Abdul Jawad Saleh, Member
Mr. Azmi Shouaibi, Member

3. Meeting with members of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen's Rights
Dr. Hayder Abed-Elshafi, Commissioner General
Dr. Said Zeydani, General Director in Ramallah

4. Meetings with other Palestinian officials, academics and representatives of civil society
Mr. Mustafa Abdel Nabi Al-Natshah, Mayor of Hebron
Dr. Fathi Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society
Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem
Dr. Ali Jirbawi, Head, Political Science Department, Birzeit University and Project Coordinator for Human Rights
Issues, Education Department, UNRWA
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Secretary-General of Global Dialogue
and Democracy ("Miftah")
Mr. Sulaiman Al Najjab, Member of the Executive Committee of PLO

In addition, the High Commissioner met with rallies of children in Gaza and in El Bireh (Ramallah), a delegation of expatriate volunteers in East Jerusalem at the UNDP office, as well as other Palestinian civilians (refugees,
displaced persons, farmers, educators, doctors and schoolteachers).

5. Meeting with Palestinian NGOs at the office of the United Nations Coordinator in the Occupied Territories
(UNSCO), Gaza (11 November 2000)
Democracy and Workers Rights
Centre for Economic and Social Rights
Al Mizan Centre for Human Rights
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Palestinian Society for Human Rights
The Palestinian Association for Legal Sciences
Addameer
Gaza Centre for Rights and Law
Mashriqqyiat
Cultural and Free Thought Centre
Tamer Institute for Community Education
Red Crescent Society
Gaza Community Mental Health
National Rehabilitation Society for Handicapped
Women Affairs Technical Committee
General Union of Palestinian Women
Women Affairs Centre
Palestinian Hydrologist Group
Palestinian Bar Association
Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees

6. Meeting with Palestinian NGOs in East Jerusalem at the UNDP office (12 November 2000)
Rawdat-E-Zuher
St. John Eye Hospital
Jerusalem Centre for Economic and Social Rights
Gender Planning Development
Palestinian Counselling Centre
Union of Health Work Committees
Palestinian Prisoner Society
Makassed Society in Jerusalem
ECRC-PNGO
Jerusalem Centre for Women
Arab Thought Forum
Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and Environment (LAW)
Adameer Association
Land Research Centre
Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group
Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA)
Palestinian Agriculture Relief (PARC)
Medical Relief Committees/Jerusalem
Al-Haq
Early Childhood Resource Centre

7. Meeting with Palestinian NGOs, El-Bireh, Ramallah (13 November 2000)
Birzeit Law Institute
Bisan Centre for Research and Development
Association of Women for Social Work
Women Union Centre
Union of Women Centres - Palestine
Palestinian Bar Association
Jerusalem Legal Aid Centre
Jerusalem Centre for Women
PNGO Network
Association of Palestinian Local Authorities
Women's Studies Centre
Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling
Al-Haq
Law Society
Arab Thought Forum/Citizen Rights Centre
Defence for Children International/Palestinian Section
Palestinian Happy Child Centre - PHCC
Adameer
Guidance and Training Centre for the Child and Family
Palestinian Mother and Child Care Society
General Union of Disabled Palestinians
Palestinian Working Women Society
Freedoms Defence Centre
Democracy and Workers' Rights Centre
Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (BADIL)
Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture
Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners

8. Meeting with representatives of the Muslim, Christian and Armenian communities, East Jerusalem (12
November 2000)
Mr. Ramzi Zananiri, Executive Director, Near East Christian Council Committee for Refugee Work,
Jerusalem/West Bank
Mr. Harry Hagopian, Executive Director, Middle East Council of Churches, Convenor, Jerusalem Inter-Church
Committee, Legal Consultant, London, United Kingdom
Fr. Raed Abusahlia, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate, Secretary of Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Bishop Aris Shirvanjan, Director for Ecumenical and Foreign Relations of the Armenian Patriarchate, Jerusalem
Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, Director, Islamic Research Centre, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem
Sheikh Ikrama Said Sabri, General Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestinian territories, Preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque
Sheikh Yaakoub Karrach, Director of Islam Fiqh Centre and member of the Palestinian National Council

9. Locations visited by the High Commissioner in the occupied Palestinian territories

A. Gaza Strip
Erez checkpoint
Shifa Hospital
Netzarim junction
Al-Mazra'a school in Deir El-Balah, opposite Kfar Darom settlement
Affected houses near the border fence in Rafah
Rafah Health Centre
Rafah preparatory girls school
Uprooted farms near Moraje settlement in Rafah

B. West Bank
East Jerusalem
Ramallah
El Bireh
Hebron with the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH)
Jalazon refugee camp
Jalazon preparatory boys school

10. Meeting with United Nations officials
Mr. Terje R. Larsen, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process and Personal
Representative of the Secretary-General to the PLO and the PA
Mr. Peter Hansen, Commissioner General of UNRWA
Mr. Timothy Rothermel, UNDP, Special Representative of the Administrator

In addition, the High Commissioner met with representatives of the following United Nations bodies and
agencies in Gaza:
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
International Monetary Fund
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Development Fund for Women
United Nations Development Programme
World Food Programme
World Health Organization

11. Meeting with staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian
territories (Gaza and the West Bank)
Mr. Amin Medani, Director, Chief Technical Adviser
Mr. Saber Nairab, Human Rights Officer (Gaza)
Mr. Ammar al Dwaik, Human Rights Officer (West Bank)
Ms. Wijdan Jaber, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Eman Fathi, Secretary
Mr. Fawzi Al Akra'a, Logistics Officer

B. Visit to Israel
H.E. Mr. Moshe Katzav, President of the State of Israel
The Hon. Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court
Mr. Yossi Beilin, Minister of Justice, together with the following guests at a lunch hosted by him:
Mr. Shlomo Gur, Director General, Ministry of Justice
Mrs. Edna Arbel, State Attorney
Mrs. Osnat Mandel, Acting Director, High Court of Justice Division, State Attorney's Office
Ms. Tamar Gaulan, Director, Foreign Relations and International Organizations, Ministry of Justice
Mr. Daniel Levy, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Justice
Mr. Amir Avramovitch, Media Advisor to the Minister of Justice
Ms. Rachel Harris, legal intern
Ms. Colette Avital, Member of the Knesset
Mrs. Zehava Gal'on, Member of the Knesset, Head of the Meretz parliamentary faction
Mrs. Pnina Herzog, President, International Counsel of Women
Prof. David Kretzmer, member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee
Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer, Israel Democracy Institute
Prof. Ruth Gavison, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University
Dr. Daphna Sharfman, Chair, Political Science Department, Western Galilee College
Dr. Eddy Kaufman, Board Member, Human Rights Watch, Middle East
Mrs. Orna Rabinovitch Pundak, former Chairperson, Amnesty International, Israeli Section
Mr. Moshe Negbi, political commentator
Mr. David Peleg, former Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations at
Geneva
Mr. Mordechai Yedid, Deputy Director General, International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Yaakov Paran, Director, Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Zeev Lurie, Deputy Director, Human Rights Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Alon Leal, Director General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other senior officials of the Ministry
Major General Eiland and senior officers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)
General Ya'acov Or, IDF Coordinator for the Territories, and other IDF officials
Families from Gilo community
Ms. Naomi Chazan, Member of the Knesset

In addition, the High Commissioner met with representatives of civil society (academics and human rights
defenders), Members of the Knesset and other Israeli officials, including the State Prosecutor.

Meeting with Israeli and Arab NGOs in Jerusalem (9 November 2000)
Btselem Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
HaMoKed Centre for the Defence of the Individual
Public Committee against Torture in Israel
Defence for Children International (Israel Section)
Ittijah Union of Arab Community Based Association
Physicians for Human Rights
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Rabbis for Human Rights
Adalah Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Mossawa Centre
Ms. Tamar Pelleg, human rights lawyer
Visit to the "Yad Vashem" Martyr's and Heroes' Memorial of the Holocaust

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