Despite Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, major violations of human rights continue to result from its occupation of Palestinian territories, construction of barriers and expansion of settlements, according to the United Nations official monitoring that situation in his
“The wall and settlements seriously undermine the fundamental right of self-determination of the Palestinian people upon which all other rights depend, writes John Dugard, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967.
“In large measure, the wall and settlements are a consequence of occupation. The regime of occupation by definition results in a violation of human rights,” he adds.
5 Palestinian prisoners executed by PA
There are some 8,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, “whose treatment is alleged to fall well below internationally accepted standards,” according to the Rapporteur. In addition, he charges that freedom of movement is radically undermined by over 600 military checkpoints.
Among what he categorizes as violations of social and economic rights, he says that a quarter of the Palestinian population is unemployed and half the population lives below the official poverty line.
Health, education and water services suffer and housing remains a serious problem because of house demolitions, he says, adding that women suffer disproportionately from such violations.
With the caveat that his mandate does not extend to human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority, the Special Rapporteur also notes that five Palestinian prisoners were executed by the Authority in 2005. He expresses the hope that in the future, they will “refrain from this form of punishment.”
Government sources said in a statement, “the report is detached from the new reality that has been formed following the pullout. This is the same man (John Dugard) who said the Road Map peace plan contradicts the International Court of Justice in The Hague and criticized the U.N.’s membership in the Quartet.”
“He is an extremist, and his reports are not taken very seriously,” the statement said.
The officials added that while the report said there are some 600 checkpoints in the West Bank, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan recently said there were a little more than 300.
Diana Bahur-Nir contributed to this report