In accordance with the resolution concerning the implications of Israeli settlements in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories in connection with the situation of Arab workers, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 66th Session (1980), the Director-General again this year sent a mission to Israel and the occupied Arab territories in order to make as full an assessment as possible of the situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories. As in previous years, the mission sought to gather and assess information on the situation of the workers of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza) and the occupied Syrian Golan.
The Director-General’s representatives were guided by the principles and objectives laid down in the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation, including the Declaration of Philadelphia, as well as the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization. The representatives were also guided by the resolutions adopted by the International Labour Conference, as well as the principles laid down in the relevant international labour standards and those enunciated by the supervisory bodies of the ILO.
In examining all the issues involved, both during the mission and in the preparation of this report, the Director-General’s representatives bore in mind, as they have always done, the relevant standards of international humanitarian and human rights law, in particular, the Hague Convention of 1907 (respecting the laws and customs of war on land) and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 (relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war). The mission was guided by the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 497 (1981), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1850 (2008), 1860 (2009) and 2334 (2016). It was also mindful of the Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 of the International Court of Justice (ICJ, 2004).
The Director-General entrusted Frank Hagemann, Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States and Director of the Decent Work Technical Support Team for the Arab States, to lead the mission. The mission team included Tariq Haq, Senior Employment Policy Specialist in the Decent Work Technical Support Team for the Arab States; Steven Kapsos, Head of the Data Production and Analysis Unit in the Department of Statistics; Katerine Landuyt, Legal Standards Specialist in the International Labour Standards Department; and Ludek Rychly, Senior Labour Administration and Social Dialogue Specialist in the Governance and Tripartism Department. Mounir Kleibo, ILO Representative in Jerusalem, and Rasha El Shurafa, Programme Officer in the Office of the ILO Representative in Jerusalem, undertook the preparations for the mission, in which they also participated. The mission visited Israel and the occupied Arab territories from 7 to 16 March 2017.
The mission leader also held consultations with the Arab Labour Organization and the League of Arab States in Cairo on 28 February 2017.
In the course of the mission, the Director-General’s representatives held numerous discussions with Israeli and Palestinian interlocutors, as well as those from the occupied Syrian Golan. They met with representatives of various ministries and institutions of the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel, Palestinian and Israeli workers’ and employers’ organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and community leaders. The mission also consulted representatives of the United Nations and other international organizations. In addition, focus group discussions with Palestinian workers were organized.
Once again the Director-General is pleased to recognize that his representatives enjoyed the full cooperation of all parties, both Arab and Israeli, in obtaining the factual information on which this report is based. The written submissions received by the mission are acknowledged with thanks.
This Report takes full account of written and oral information obtained on the ground by the mission, and also data, studies and reports available in the public domain. Information obtained in the interviews with various interlocutors was examined in a thorough manner and checked as far as possible with other available information. In examining the situation of Palestinian and other Arab workers, the members of the mission conducted their work with impartiality and objectivity.