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Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - Report of UN SG (A/63/518)

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A/63/518

Sixty-third session
Agenda item 30
Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

Summary

In its resolution 62/109, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Assembly at its sixty-third session a report on the implementation of the resolution. The present report, prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is submitted pursuant to that resolution. The period covered by the report is January to August 2008. Considering the width of the concerns set out by the General Assembly in the resolution, as well as the human rights mandate of OHCHR, the report addresses only a few of the issues detailed by the Assembly, specifically, the policy of closures and severe restrictions, including its impact on the socio-economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the wall and the destruction of property, and the conditions affecting Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

I. Introduction

1. In its resolution 62/109, the General Assembly expressed grave concern about ... the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power, including that arising from the excessive use of force, the use of collective punishment, the reoccupation and closure of areas, the confiscation of land, the establishment and expansion of settlements, the construction of the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949, the destruction of property and infrastructure, and all other actions by it designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It also expressed concern about the continued establishment of Israeli checkpoints in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and about the Israeli policy of closures, severe restrictions, and a permit regime that obstruct the movement of persons and goods, including medical and humanitarian personnel and goods, throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and about the consequent violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people and negative impact on their socio-economic situation, which remains that of a dire humanitarian crisis.

2. The General Assembly also expressed deep concern about the vast destruction caused by the Israeli occupying forces, including of religious, cultural and historical sites, of vital infrastructure and institutions of the Palestinian Authority, and of agricultural land throughout Palestinian cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, and about the short- and long-term detrimental impact of such destruction on the socio-economic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian civilian population.

3. In addition, the General Assembly expressed its deep concern that thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of children and women, continued to be held in Israeli prisons or detention centres under harsh conditions that impair their wellbeing, and expressed concern about the ill treatment and harassment of any Palestinian prisoners and all reports of torture.

4. Taking into consideration recent reports on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in 2008 (A/HRC/7/76 and A/HRC/8/17), which also deal with the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians as well as the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas, and also considering the width of the concerns made by the General Assembly as well as the human rights mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the present report addresses progress made in the implementation of resolution 62/109 concerning only a few of the issues detailed by the Assembly, specifically, the policy of closures and severe restrictions, including its impact on the socio-economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the wall and the destruction of property, and the conditions affecting Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

5. The question of the impact of Israeli settlements on the enjoyment of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is addressed in a separate report submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 62/108 (A/63/519). Furthermore, the Secretary-General will submit a report on the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories pursuant to resolution 62/106.

6. Considering the wealth of information available on the issue of freedom of movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the present report relies heavily on information made publicly available by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (see http://www.ochaopt.org).