Select Committee on International Development Second Report

2 The development context: closure, settlements and the barrier

19. Any conflict creates difficulties for development activity and the delivery of humanitarian relief. The threat to its security is used by the GOI as its justification for measures which have a profound impact on development, or perhaps what is better described as "de-development", in the OPT. It is necessary therefore briefly to indicate how the conflict, which both sides have faced during the last three years, affects daily life and hinders not just development, but also the delivery of emergency assistance. We identify how access to such basic services as the provision of food, water, education and healthcare have been affected by the policy of closure, by the barrier[22] and by settlements, in order to show the level at which development assistance has to operate and the constraints it faces.

20. Any and all loss of human life is insufferable and intolerable. Between September 2000 and June 2003, 747 Israelis died in the renewed hostilities which comprised the second Palestinian intifada and Israel's military re-occupation of the Palestinian territories.[23] Although the conflict has involved losses on both sides, the Palestinians have suffered most. In the period mentioned above 2494 Palestinians are estimated to have been killed.[24] Suicide bombings have had a devastating impact on Israeli public opinion and the Israeli Government has reacted with a security policy of strict closure measures and the military re-occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. A two-week period in October 2003 saw a horrific suicide bombing in Haifa in which 21 Israeli civilians were killed, in addition to three settlers killed in Gaza. In the same two weeks, we were told that 18 Palestinians were killed, 121 were wounded, 200 houses were destroyed and 1700 Palestinians made homeless in Rafah in the Gaza Strip.


21. Closures restrict the movement of people and goods. The restrictions not only apply to external movement between the OPT and Israel, or even between the West Bank and Gaza, but also to internal movement within the OPT. As part of the IDF Operation "Defensive Shield", the Israelis introduced a system of permits for movement within the West Bank. Numerous military checkpoints were established. Many West Bank towns became restricted military zones, with inhabitants kept under a sustained 24-hour curfew. Such curfews mean that people are unable to leave their homes to go to work or children attend school. The Israeli Authorities continue to hold the OPT in a state of either severe or partial closure. During severe closure, the movement of pedestrians and vehicles is restricted to Israeli military personnel, settlers and non-Palestinians. The restrictions under partial closure are less draconian, but nevertheless, Palestinians face delays and harassment and often have to use indirect routes over fields or unpaved roads.[25]

22. Closures, coupled with the separation barrier, have fragmented the OPT into areas between which movement has become difficult, if not impossible. Checkpoints may be manned, permanent structures, or "flying" temporary checkpoints in which Israeli military vehicles are used to block roads and restrict Palestinian movement. Other obstacles to movement include concrete blocks placed across roads, trenches dug in the ground and mounds of rubble piled across roads to prevent vehicular access. In July 2002 the Palestinian Ministry of Planning reported 133 permanent checkpoints in the West Bank. The "safe passage" route which, in the post-Oslo period, allowed Palestinians to move through Israel between the West Bank and Gaza has been closed since October 2000.[26] The following information was provided to us by the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for roughly the period of our inquiry spanning 1 June 2003 to 4 November 2003: Total number of "closure" barriers (preventing or restricting Palestinian access) in West Bank:
Type of physical barrier
Manned military checkpoint
Ditches/trenches preventing vehicular access
Concrete blocks preventing vehicular access
Earth mounds preventing vehicular access
Gates at entrance to roads (opening/closing times of these gates are controlled by the Israeli military)
Gates in "Wall" for use by Palestinians (opening/closing times of these gates are controlled by the Israeli military)

Israeli settlements

23. Closure is not the only challenge to development in the OPT. The network of settlements and their segregated access roads also contribute to the fragmentation of the OPT. By 2002 the settler population numbered 217,000, or 6.5% of the population of the OPTs.[27] Settlements and their associated infrastructure have a major impact on Palestinians. A network of "by-pass" roads is arranged to provide access between settlements and links to Israel. Palestinians cannot use them. The by-pass roads add to the sense among Palestinian communities of being penned into enclaves, movement between which is at the discretion of the IDF. [28] Land is confiscated without compensation on which to build settlements, their access roads and infrastructure. Palestinian infrastructure is often destroyed in the process and Palestinian agricultural lands are cut through.[29] The settlements also enjoy privileged access to natural resources. Water consumption by settlers in the Gaza and the West Bank is four to five times that of Palestinian villagers.[30] The security arrangements which protect settlements, restrict Palestinian movement, and increase the presence of Israeli military in the OPT. Written submissions highlighted many examples—to take just one:

"On 26 January 2003, bulldozers from Neve Daniel, an Israeli settlement, near Bethlehem, entered the land of Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian farmer, and uprooted more than 150 newly-planted olive trees in order to break ground for a new bypass road. The bulldozers were "protected" by armed settlers from Neve Daniel. Most of these trees had been planted through the Olive Tree Campaign on 25 December 2002".[31]

24. Settlements are the frontline of friction in this conflict. Adam Leach of Oxfam told us of a village near Nablus where, "villagers working with Oxfam staff have been interfered with, shot at by settlers and ultimately the water infrastructure has been semi-permanently damaged".[32] We ourselves heard a group of farmers near Hebron describe their harassment by settlers. Submissions to this inquiry cited reports of harassment of local Palestinian communities by settlers, which included sabotage of Palestinian irrigation systems and attacks on workers harvesting or carrying out repairs.[33] Allegations are made that settlers have deliberately polluted Palestinian water sources.[34] Settlement activity, with its associated road building, threatens Palestinian territorial contiguity in the West Bank and the viability of a future Palestinian State. Freezing settlement activity and removing outposts would boost Palestinian confidence in the peace process.

25. The UK government regards settlements in the OPT as illegal and as an obstacle to peace. The UK and the rest of the EU have called on Israel to freeze settlement activity, including "natural growth". Phase I of the Roadmap required that: "GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001" and "Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)".[35] On 23 June 2003 the Quartet[36] reiterated its position on settlements:

"The Quartet recalls its position that settlement activity must stop. In this context, it welcomes the undertaking made by Prime Minister Sharon at Aqaba, and first steps taken by Israel on the ground, to remove unauthorized outposts".[37]

26. Although there is an official freeze on the creation of new settlement outposts, the GOI have helped found new settlements in the West Bank, and settlers are continuing to consolidate what they have.[38] Under the Roadmap, the GOI committed itself to remove all outposts established since March 2001. Yet Peace Now, a DFID-funded Israeli NGO which monitors settlements, estimates that more than 60 outposts have been established in the West Bank since March 2001. The majority of these have not been removed, but have grown and condensed. In addition, since the Aqaba summit, five new outposts have been established (two of these manned).[39] The actions of the settlers in the past few months are based on reinforcing and expanding the existing outposts.[40] The GOI continues to encourage movement to the OPT with subsidised housing, tax breaks and offers of free university tuition.[41] In light of recent press reports there are clearly mixed messages being sent out about GOI's intentions in this area.

The separation barrier/fence

27. Israel's security measures have also involved the building of a barrier known as a security fence to Israelis and a separation wall to Palestinians. The GOI points to the success of the security fence around Gaza as evidence of the effectiveness of such barriers.[42] Restricting the freedom of movement by Palestinians will, the Israelis hope, reduce the risk of suicide bombers leaving Gaza or the West Bank to commit murder in Israel. The lack of freedom of movement this has created has had a serious impact on the quality of life of Palestinians, their ability to earn an income, and the destruction and confiscation of their land. Some of the evidence we received suggests other motivations behind Israeli policies, which reflect the ideological orientation of the current Israeli Government. These include land appropriation, pre-judgement of final status negotiations and collective punishment.[43] Jews for Justice for Palestinians have noted:

"The manifold economic and movement difficulties created by the Separation Wall and the settlement infrastructure could easily make conditions for Palestinians so difficult that they move out of the West Bank all together. This has been referred to in Israeli political circles for some time as 'quiet transfer'".[44]

28. In June 2002 IDF began to build a barrier along the northern edge of the West Bank, west of the town of Jenin. In most places the barrier is an electrified fence, fitted with motion detectors. A military patrol road runs alongside and on either side are deep trenches and barbed wire barricades. For a shorter length the barrier is a wall, eight metres high, made of concrete and punctuated by watchtowers. But it would be misleading to imagine the barrier as tracing the 1967 border between Israel and the West Bank. The route of the barrier, as it has been constructed so far, and according to plans published by the Israeli Authorities, goes well beyond 1967 borders.[45] At points it reaches up to 20 km east of the 1967 "Green Line", reaching into Palestinian territory to bring settlements within its protective embrace. It loops around Palestinian communities and destroys contiguity of Palestinian territory by splitting Palestinian areas into a series of cantons (See MAP 2). But despite its security justification, the barrier does not systematically separate Palestinians from Israelis. In many cases it separates Palestinians from other Palestinians, while some Israeli settlements remain on the eastern or "wrong" side of the fence. The latest OCHA update on the barrier states:

"Currently the completed wall consists of concrete walls, ditches, trenches, roads, razor wire and electronic fences and stretches for 180km. The planned new wall will be 687 kilometres long. The Head of the Knesset Economics Committee estimates that it will cost $3.4 billion, that is, US$ 4.7 million per kilometre".[46]

Debate about the barrier is largely political, but, in the OPT political actions have development outcomes. The issue of the barrier is also bound up with the viability of a future Palestinian state, the building of which is one of DFID's objectives in the OPT.

29. The construction of the barrier has cut people off from access to basic services. It has also brought about the confiscation of Palestinian land, and damage to Palestinian infrastructure, especially electricity and water facilities. The agricultural sector, traditionally providing a livelihood for 19-22% of working Palestinians,[47] is suffering particularly damaging effects because of the barrier. Farmers have had land confiscated, crops including groves of ancient olive trees have been destroyed or access to them severed.[48] Furthermore, local markets are plagued by the problems of getting goods to market and the lack of people or money with which to buy them once they are there. The area covered under Phase I of the barrier's construction (Jenin, Qalqilya and Tulkarem) is a fertile region, which has traditionally produced 45% of the West Bank's total agricultural output.[49] Construction in this area required the appropriation of 2,875 acres of land.[50] Farmers and residents now have to apply for permits to gain access to their own land. If they accept these permits, landowners fear that they will be regarded as recognising a new legal status of their land, which may dispossess them of their property. In many cases Palestinians living to the west of the barrier have been required to apply for permits to continue living there.[51] The overall impact of a combination of security measures has been to force the Palestinian population into the seven larger towns as farming becomes less and less viable.

The Qalqilya example

30. In the case of Qalqilya, a town which had a population of 43,000, the barrier has completely encircled the town, separating it not just from nearby Israeli settlements but from those Palestinian villages which depended on the town for their economic life and services. The movement of the town's inhabitants is severely restricted, as is their ability to reach their agricultural land in the surrounding area (See MAP 3). We met the Mayor of Qalqilya during our visit and saw the barrier's impact for ourselves. On the west side of the town it forms a concrete wall eight metres high. On the east it is a razor-wire topped electrified fence. There is one checkpoint through which everything moving in and out of the town must pass. This is due to be open every day between 8am and 6pm but, as we experienced ourselves, it is often closed without warning. Two gates allow people to reach their agricultural land. These gates are generally opened for 15 minutes three times a day although this is not always the case.[52] It is difficult for the 16,000 farmers, who have land in the surrounding areas, to cross backwards and forwards through the gates in such a short amount of time. Construction of the barrier has damaged water and electricity infrastructure. Houses and shops have also been demolished to make way for the wall. Forty per cent of the agricultural land belonging to people in Qalqilya is now on the "wrong" side of the barrier as are 32% of the town's water resources.[53]

31. Qalqilya and its nearby villages are in a state of economic and social paralysis. As a result there has been a rapid decline in its population. It appears, to observers, that Qalqilya is being intentionally strangled in order to secure its abandonment and thereby provide land, resources and security to the surrounding settlement complex. Similar concerns about land appropriation, and influence over future land allocation surround the construction of the next phase of the wall in Jerusalem.[54] A report to the humanitarian and emergency policy group and the local aid co-ordination committee identifies the likely impact:

"Palestinian families and communities will be separated from each other - at times affecting members of the same village and/or family. The barrier will separate children from their schools, women from modern obstetric facilities, workers from their places of employment and communities from their cemeteries. A degree of population displacement appears to have occurred already as a result of barrier construction".[55]

Legitimacy of the barrier

32. The international community has expressed concern about the impact of the barrier and its legality. On October 21 2003 Italy introduced a text, on behalf of the EU including the UK, to the UN General Assembly which expressed concern that the route of the barrier would prejudice future negotiations and make the two-state solution impossible to implement as well as causing further humanitarian hardship to the Palestinians.[56] In order to gain the backing of the USA, the text did not specifically condemn the fence as illegal but only referred to "illegal Israeli activities" in the OPT. Hilary Benn MP told us that: "the Government has made it very clear that we regard the building of the wall on Palestinian land as illegal."[57]

33. DFID provides support to the PA's Negotiation Support Unit (NSU) as part of its capacity building work within the PA. During our visit, the NSU explained their concern that the barrier, together with the settlements, was pre-determining political borders and destroying the possibility of a future Palestinian state. There is a sense among Palestinians and many others in the international community that the creation of facts on the ground is part of an attempt to forestall an Israeli withdrawal as part of a final status negotiation. The location of Israeli settlements frequently determines the path of the barrier, which sweeps into the West Bank to bring settlements within its protective fold. The GOI is seen as treating the land to the west of the barrier as Israel "proper", and many suspect that settlements which fall on its western side will be eventually annexed by Israelis. Palestinians fear that a combination of the creation of apartheid-style "homelands" for Palestinians behind the fence together with expanded Israeli settlements, will allow Israel to enter negotiations with a redrawn map of the West Bank presented as a fait accompli.

34. Israel's response to such fears is to claim that the barrier is a temporary measure, which can be removed when the security situation allows.[58] However, as Palestinians are cut off from their land and basic services, they have begun to move. Palestinians who live outside the barrier, who are now isolated, are likely to move inside the barrier. With key commercial centres cut off from the majority of the Palestinian population and the most fertile agricultural areas confiscated or fragmented, the practical impact of the barrier has been to undermine the viability of a future Palestinian state. Even if the barrier can be easily removed, it will already have had an irreversible impact on the Palestinian population. There is a concern that the barrier is not just a potential border between Israel and a future Palestinian state; it is part of an attempt to destroy any viable state for the future. We can understand why Israel, fearful of its security, wants to build the barrier. But any such security fence should be constructed on Israeli, not Palestinian, land. The construction process and path which the barrier takes support Palestinian fears about the motivation which lies behind it. The barrier destroys the viability of a future Palestinian state. One of DFID's key objectives is to help build the institutions of the Palestinian Authority in preparation for statehood—a statehood which the barrier jeopardises.


35. Widespread demolition of Palestinian property has increased the concern that Israeli military activities in the West Bank and Gaza are part of a broader strategy to move populations and so influence a final settlement and viability of a future Palestinian state. Israeli activity has involved demolitions in the course of building the barrier and the settlements. Other reasons given for demolitions include security concerns and the failure to obtain building permits, including for buildings that have existed for generations.[59] This is a conflict in which attacks from the Palestinian side come from militants, who do not identify themselves with uniforms, and who operate within the civilian community; it is difficult for the IDF to be sure of its targets. Demolition and incursions on residential and public buildings are often explained as necessary security activity. Ian Hook, a UK citizen employed by the UN, was killed by the IDF in Jenin during an Israeli military attack on an UNRWA building from which the IDF believed Palestinian militants were firing.[60]

36. The following information was provided by OCHA for the period of our inquiry, roughly 1 June 2003 - 4 November 2003:

West Bank & Gaza

No. of Palestinian houses completely demolished:   418

No. of Palestinian houses partially demolished:   265

No. of Palestinian shops demolished:     116

No. of Palestinian farm buildings demolished:   5

Land levelled:             1,455.5 dunums (359.65 acres)

Land confiscated:           1,283.6 dunums (317.18 acres)

37. On an individual and family level, the impact of house demolitions on innocent Palestinians is appalling. But more worrying is the suggestion of an intentional strategy behind house demolition. Jeff Halper, coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, told us:

"Ninety-five per cent or more of the demolitions have nothing to do with terrorism…. Israel presents itself as a democracy and because it wants to normalise its rule it uses planning, zoning, administration and laws in a very simple way in order to further its political agenda".[61]

According to Jeff Halper, the Israeli Authorities use planning rules to force Palestinians into Areas A and B: approximately 40% of the West Bank and parts of Gaza. If successful, this would leave Area C, 60% of the West Bank, including the Jordan valley, free from Palestinian inhabitants (see MAP 1). Settlements could be established more easily and the prospects for this part of the West Bank becoming part of the state of Israel would increase. Jeff Halper is not without his critics.[62] But whether or not his allegation of a strategic master plan holds water, house demolition, as we saw on our visit, is a brutal process.[63] More than 11,000 homes have been demolished and their inhabitants left without compensation to live in ICRC tents until they can find a new home for themselves with family or friends.[64]

Access to basic services: food, water, education and healthcare

Food and food aid

38. Before the intifada, food aid was used selectively by donors. But the rapid rise in poverty has brought with it an increase in food aid. UNRWA provides food aid to chronically poor refugee households, whilst the World Food Programme (WFP) provides food supplies to non-refugees categorised as "social hardship cases".[65] WFP also assist those categorised as the "new poor"; Palestinians who have lost their jobs and are enrolled in food for work/training projects.[66] By January 2004, WFP support for as many as 350,000 of the "new poor" in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip will bring the total number of beneficiaries to 530,000.[67] Half the Palestinian population now depends on food aid to reach the WFP daily minimum requirement.[68] In 1999 $11.9 million was spent on food aid by donors, by 2002 the cost had risen to $76 million. Funding requested by UNRWA and WFP for 2003 indicated a requirement of $110 million for 2003.[69]

39. Palestinians in the OPT are not, as yet, dying of starvation. But they are suffering from malnutrition, as stocks are stretched to feed more and more people.[70] There is no shortage of food in the OPT. But obtaining food is made difficult by movement restrictions imposed on those seeking to buy food and on those seeking to supply it. In addition to which, economic deterioration means there is little money available with which to buy food. In response to these problems, humanitarian agencies have provided food aid and food for work and training programmes. Food for work programmes have a low productivity but confer a greater dignity on beneficiaries than straight handouts.[71] But food aid has been criticised for creating a dependency culture and undermining local food production.[72] Food aid is only ever an emergency solution. But in the OPT farmers cannot readily fill the gaps in food production because of the extreme dislocation brought about by closure and, in particular, the impact that movement restrictions and land confiscation have had on agriculture.


40. Access to water is a core human right and a Millennium Development Goal. Lack of access to water and the difficulty of building and maintaining infrastructure threaten not only basic living standards, but development itself. The lack of water for agriculture and industry have led commentators to describe the situation in the OPT as one of "de-development".[73] On average, Palestinian water consumption per head is between 30 to 50, and some times as much as 80 litres below the World Health Organisation's recommended daily level.[74]

41. Water quality surveys undertaken in July 2003 indicate that 69% of samples failed the WHO water standard for the OPT.[75] In Gaza, where water shortages are at their most serious, the population has to drink water that would normally be deemed unfit for agriculture; its high salt content is leading to health problems.[76] Much of the rural Palestinian population does not have access to piped water and relies on tankered supplies, distribution of which has been difficult, if not impossible, under occupation.[77] Sanitation-related health risks have also increased, as containment and disposal of waste becomes a growing problem. We were told by Adam Leach, of Oxfam, that:

"With the closure, checkpoints, blockages and so on, transportation costs for water have forced up prices by as much as 80%. In some places, water supply has been reduced by as much as 75%. Settlers in the West Bank consume five times that of Palestinian villages".[78]

42. Several submissions referred to the deliberate pollution of water supplies, sabotage of infrastructure and obstruction of repairs by settlers and, in some cases, by the IDF.[79] Water infrastructure has frequently been a casualty of Israeli military incursions. The Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) have reported cases of wells being destroyed or filled with concrete in what they described as a form of collective punishment.[80] New wells built by USAID, which may have helped alleviate the water shortages in Gaza, were recently destroyed in an Israeli military incursion.[81] Construction of the separation barrier itself has brought the destruction of 35,000 metres of domestic and agricultural water pipes.[82]

43. All water resources in the OPT were confiscated by a military order of 1968 and declared Israeli state property.[83] Israel has sought to limit Palestinian use of water to 1967 levels, forbidding any new water installation without a licence from the military commander and introducing meters to regulate Palestinian consumption.[84] Extensive use of underground water sources by Israel has dried up many shallow draught village wells.[85] NGOs claim that as much as 80-95% of the water resources of the OPT are now used by Israel and Israeli settlements.[86] In 1982 Mekorot, the Israeli Water Authority, took control over all water resources and their supply. It has maintained a policy of restricting development of new water sources or infrastructure for Palestinians and in 2002 reduced its rate of flow into the OPT by 10%.[87]

44. The handover of administrative control of the territories as part of the Oslo process included the creation of a Palestinian Water Authority and a Joint Water Committee (JWC). However, practical control over water remains with Israel. The JWC is comprised of an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian representatives but has been an ineffective channel of communication between the two sides: its last meeting in June 2003 failed and further meetings have not been planned. There is no mechanism for settling disputes; the GOI can block Palestinian requests to drill wells or undertake building projects. Not surprisingly, some Israeli and Jewish organisations challenge this description of water management.[88] The organisation, "Take-A-Pen for Israel" stressed the improvements in supply of running water throughout the OPT as a result of Israeli involvement and alleged that ill-intentioned false evidence has been provided, misrepresenting the situation and blaming settlers for all Palestinian water problems.[89] But we have heard convincing evidence from a wide range of sources about Israeli control over water.[90] As Oxfam have pointed out:

"For any activity such as digging wells and repairing systems, the JWC needs to give permission. They rarely do so, and the result is that Palestinian communities are not permitted to build new water infrastructure".[91]

45. Israeli control over water and restrictions on development of Palestinian infrastructure has, and continues to, severely affect the development of West Bank and Gaza. The wilful destruction of water infrastructure by the IDF and settlers is simply unacceptable. We commend the work that DFID, other donors, NGOs and their partners are doing in enhancing Palestinian access to water, a basic human right. But we also think that there needs to be a revision of water access arrangements. This is an urgent need, which cannot be deferred to the final status negotiations. It is an area where the UK Government should be applying political pressure to move negotiations forward.


46. Healthcare services in the OPT are provided by a combination of the PA, UNRWA, and NGOs. Emergency medical assistance, as well as preventative and specialised medical services, have been particularly badly affected. Normally, a system would develop where different clinics and hospitals would specialise in different fields, but because of movement restrictions people cannot reach hospitals offering specialist treatment.[92] In August 2003 WHO reported that more than 50% of survey respondents had to change their healthcare facility, and that in 90% of these cases the change was due to restriction of access.[93] NGOs have highlighted women's health and antenatal care as being particularly affected by closure.[94] Mobile clinics, which provide services to isolated communities, have been obstructed by the blocking of access roads. Medical staff often have to carry patients and equipment over checkpoints, earth mounds and through trenches.[95]

47. The operational problems affecting health-workers, and in particular the difficulties experienced in provision of emergency medical care, concern us greatly. During our visit we witnessed UN and Red Crescent/Red Cross ambulances being kept waiting at checkpoints. Healthlink have written that:

"Since 28 September 2000, there have been more than 254 reported incidents of attacks on medical personnel, of which 15 medical staff have been killed while carrying out their duty. The Palestine Red Crescent Society has reported 197 attacks on their ambulances, damaging 80% of its fleet, with 25 ambulances having been completely destroyed".[96]

48. Under the Bertini Commitments, Israel has given a commitment to limit the waiting time for ambulances at checkpoints to a maximum of 30 minutes.[97] Despite this commitment, we met an ambulance driver who had been waiting at a checkpoint for an hour and a half. We accept that ambulances might be used to carry terrorists and their weapons and that there can be no automatic exemption for ambulances from the requirement to be searched. But equally, there is no reason why an ambulance carrying an urgent case cannot be given priority for any security search which may be needed. We discussed these matters with the Israeli authorities in Tel Aviv and whilst reassurance was offered, their description of smooth-running arrangements at checkpoints conflicted with what we ourselves had seen. We were told that checkpoints are now issued with lists of local people suffering from chronic illnesses so as to facilitate their speedy transfer to hospital when necessary. However, such a system would not work for emergency cases and might cause even more problems for those whose names are not on the lists. Nor, of course, could this practice work with temporary or "flying" checkpoints.

49. The management of checkpoints is all too often handled by young, inexperienced IDF conscripts who may lack the training and experience to deal with large numbers of people passing through on their way to work or to study. We heard that waiting Palestinians often suffer harassment at the hands of both the IDF and local settler communities, making checkpoints a flashpoint for antagonism. A more sensitive and appropriate approach to checkpoint management could be learned from experience elsewhere, including British experience in Northern Ireland.

50. Israeli Physicians for Human Rights (IPHR) told us of the increasing closure-related difficulties in importing pharmaceuticals into the OPT.[98] The import of specific medicines is also made difficult by the amount of paperwork required, which appears to have little connection to security, and no relation to the urgency with which some medicines are required. In theory medicines could be recognised as humanitarian goods and as such subjected to lesser, or at least quicker, security procedures. However, in practice, the ease and speed with which medical goods are security cleared depends on the individual soldier responsible at each checkpoint. The import of pharmaceuticals should be prioritised and classified as "humanitarian" to facilitate speedy delivery.


51. Three types of school operate in the OPT: private schools run by charitable organisations (5%), UNRWA schools (15-10%) and the PA schools. In some cases UNRWA and PA schools exist side by side with little cross-communication or activity. This serves to maintain separate identities within refugee communities and may have damaging effects in the long term. Once again, Israeli closure and curfew policies have had an impact. Teachers and students cannot get to school and, in addition, physical damage has been caused to school and university buildings during military incursions. In some cases schools have been taken over temporarily by the Israeli military and used as detention centres.[99] The Ministry of Education reported that, since the start of the intifada, 1289 schools have been closed because of curfews, sieges and district closures and that 282 school buildings have been damaged as a result of rockets, tanks and shelling.[100]

52. NGOs have also reported the psychological impact on students which affect educational performance and general behaviour. Save the Children had noticed an increased tendency to resort to violence as a means of settling playground disputes. They have also described how schools are competing with the growing network of settlements in the OPT for access to resources, and how the access difficulties brought about by the separation fence/wall compound the challenge faced by parents in "providing psychological and moral support to their children and [who] express concern at the loss of their childhood".[101] In a society where half the population is under 18, the effect of closure on education is widely felt.[102] The psychological impact on children, arising from school closure and exposure to violence, is damaging future generations of Palestinians and will only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence and hatred.

Education and allegations of incitement

53. At Oslo, Israel and the PLO agreed that both sides: "shall seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance and shall accordingly abstain from incitement, including hostile propaganda, against each other."[103] During the course of our inquiry we received written submissions about incitement to racial hatred, anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli propaganda in Palestinian school textbooks.[104] In particular, those submitting evidence was concerned at the suggestion that EU funding to the PA was being used to pay for such textbooks. UNRWA has faced similar criticisms.[105] Incitement can be broadly defined as a call to action and should be distinguished from the legitimate instilling of a sense of national identity and national aspiration.

54. The EU issued a press notice in May 2002 which drew attention to the new curriculum and text books brought in by the PA in 2000, which have been replacing old textbooks since the start of the 2001/2 Academic year.[106] Anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli quotations cited by critics were found to come from old textbooks, or to be poorly translated, or taken out of context. The EU maintains that "allegations against new textbooks funded by EU members have proven unfounded."[107] The Commissioner General of UNRWA said that "We have asked Israel to give us the evidence, and they haven't done so".[108] During our visit we raised the issue with UNRWA. We were told that, as with any educational agency operating in an area under the control of a national authority, UNRWA is required to teach the PA's curriculum in its schools. Children's education, be it Palestinian or Israeli, must be kept free of incitement. We commend the positive work that the PA has carried out recently as well as the work of organisations such as Save the Children in working with the Palestinian Ministry of Education on curriculum development.[109] In light of the allegations against the PA, we recommend that it acts to counter incitement allegations and demonstrate that it is upholding commitments made at Oslo as part of a wider programme of enhancing its public image across the world.

55. Despite the difficulties in delivering services, the education sector has significant potential to channel development work to support the peace process. Some of the most compelling evidence we heard came from the Parents' Circle. This organisation of bereaved Israelis and Palestinians have worked together to provide cross-community contact and education. Through their programme of talks in Israeli and Palestinian schools they seek to reduce the ignorance which both sides have about each other and to spread a message of forgiveness, tolerance and reconciliation. We strongly support the work of organisations such as the Parents' Circle in the education of the younger generation of Palestinians and Israelis. Support for this type of project is a way in which development can support the peace process.

Security and development

56. The State of Israel has an obligation to defend its civilian population. But many of the security measures now put in place by the GOI in an attempt to protect itself may make it more vulnerable. The strangulation of the Palestinian economy through closure; and confiscation of land and the demolition of houses and schools; the encircling of Palestinian towns by the security barrier have created an unbearable situation for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Meanwhile, suicide bombers have continued to evade new security measures. Worsening living conditions only make people more likely to turn towards extremism and terrorism. Criticism is beginning to emerge within Israel, from the very top of the military and security establishment, that the current policy of occupation and closure is more of a threat to Israel's security than a guarantor of it.[110]

57. Increasing the suffering of the Palestinian population seems unlikely to spur Palestinian leaders to make concessions in negotiations. It may simply increase their perception that they have no serious negotiating partner in the GOI. Some of the security measures that we saw in operation did not seem to be effective. Although the barrier is not yet complete, we saw gates which were open and unguarded, whilst in Jerusalem hundreds of people scrambled unchallenged over what has been constructed of the barrier so far. It may be that the lack of security around the barrier is connected to a policy of easing restrictions or allowing local communities to adjust to the barrier's existence. On the other hand there may be a deliberate policy of using the barrier to make ordinary life impossible for people. Either way, the barrier is not providing protection for Israel. The suicide attack perpetrated on 4 October 2003 was carried out by a woman who had travelled through security check from Jenin area where the barrier is complete. Whatever immediate security benefits the barrier may appear to bring to the Israelis, the level of despair and anger felt by ordinary Palestinians at being denied the possibility of any semblance of an ordinary life is likely to further increase the supply of militants and suicide bombers.

22   The barrier is known to Israelis as a fence and to Palestinians as a wall. We refer to it as a barrier. Back

23   AFP news agency Back

24   It is estimated that by October 2003 these figures will have risen to 824 Israelis and 3,379 Palestinians. Sources: AFP news agency. We were told in a meeting with the Israeli Defence Force that in March 2002 alone, 135 Israelis were killed by suicide bombings (Tel Aviv, 23 October 2003) Back

25   World Bank, Op. Cit. May 2003, page 1 Back

26   Ibid. page 3 Back

27   Ev 101 Back

28   Ev 107 Back

29   Ev 133, Ev 146, Ev 274, Ev 289 Back

30   Q 92, Ev 105 Back

31   Ev 289 Back

32   Q 82  Back

33   Ev 104, Ev 194, Visit to south West Bank, 24 October 2003 Back

34   Ev 256 Back

35   'A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict', Back

36   EU, UN, USA, Russian Federation Back

37   Statement by the Quartet, Dead Sea (Jordan), 22 June 2003 Back

38   With no new outposts going up, settlers strengthen existing ones, 17 November 2003, Back

39   Dror Etkes, Peace Now, November 2003 Back

40   Ministries defy AAG to go on building illegal outposts 12 November 2003, With no new outposts going up, settlers strengthen existing ones, 17 November 2003, Back

41   101 couples apply for Jordan Valley homes, Haaretz, October 22 2003 Back

42   See Ev 151 Back

43   Ev 64, Ev 79, Ev 102, Ev 143, Ev 145, Ev 255 Q 97, Meeting with Palestinian NGOs, Ramallah, 24 October 2003, visit to south West Bank (meeting with DFID's Hebron Water Storage Project, and evicted Palestinians), 24 October 2003, meeting with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 October 2003 Back

44   Ev 154 Back

45 Back

46   New Wall Projections, UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs OPT, 9 November 2003 Back

47   Palestinian Ministry of Information-Palestinian Land development Information Systems (PALDIS), Nov. 2001 Back

48   Ev 145, Ev 177, Ev 255 Ev 274, Ev 287 Back

49   Ev 106 Back

50   Ibid. Back

51   Meeting with the Mayor of Qalqilya, Qalqilya, 24 October 2003, Behind The Barrier-Human Rights Violations As a Result of Israel's Separation Barrier, Position Paper, B'Tselem, April 2003. See also Ev 153 Back

52   It was reported that the gates had been closed for a period of days and as a result crops had died because they had not been watered. Chickens in a local chicken farm had died because their owner had not been able to get to them to provide them with food or water. Meeting with Mayor of Qalqilya, Qalqilya, 24 October 2003  Back

53   Meeting with Mayor of Qalqilya, Qalqilya, 24 October 2003  Back

54   Cadennabia Declaration on the Jerusalem Barrier-A Joint Israeli-Palestinian Statement, 6 December 2003, Israel/Palestine Centre for Research and Information, Twilight Zone / Don't Fence Us In, Giddeon Levy, 2 December 2003,  Back

55   The Impact Of Israel's Separation Barrier On Affected West Bank Communities: The "Jerusalem Envelope" Follow-Up Report1 To The Humanitarian And Emergency Policy Group (HEPG) And The Local Aid Co-ordination Committee (LACC), September 30 2003, page 4 Back

56   UN General Assembly Press Release,GA/10179 Back

57   Q 151 Back

58   Meetings with Israeli Defence Force, Tel Aviv. 23 October 2003 Back

59   Near Hebron, the Committee met a family, whose houses and outbuildings had been demolished on three separate occasions. The demolitions had been carried out with little or no warning. The apparent reason given was the houses' proximity to a settlement bypass road. The family told us they had farmed the surrounding land for at least three generations, but as an explanation for the demolition they were shown "official" maps by the Israeli Authorities on which their property did not appear. ICAHD report that in many cases buildings are demolished because they were built without a permit during British Mandate. As such, buildings which have housed families for generations are demolished using the justification of "administrative reasons." Back

60   There is eyewitness testimony which diverges from IDF accounts of the shooting.  Back

61   Q 97 Back

62   Ev 70 Back

63   Visit to demolished properties in Hebron, 24 October 2003 Back

64   Qq 98, 99 Back

65   Chronic poverty defined as a condition whereby a household or an individual becomes frequently, or recurrently unable to meet basic needs including adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, health and basic education. See UN/WFP for further details ( Back

66   Ev 286 Back

67   WFP Emop Document 10190.1 Back

68   Losing ground: Israel, poverty and the Palestinians, Christian Aid, January 2003, page 5. See also Nutritional Assessment and Sentinel Surveillance System for West Bank and Gaza, USAID, August 2002 (submitted by John Lewis. Copy placed in the library)  Back

69   World Bank Op. Cit. , May 2003, page 89 Back

70   Ev 59, Ev 60, Ev 86, Ev 128, see also Nutritional Assessment and Sentinel Surveillance System for West Bank and Gaza, USAID, August 2002 (submitted by John Lewis. Copy placed in the library)  Back

71   Q 20 Back

72   World Bank, Op. Cit. May 2003, page 25  Back

73   Ev 91, See also: The Gaza Strip: the political economy of de-development, Sara Roy, The Institute of Palestine Studies, Washington, D.C. and I.B. Tauris, London, 1995 Back

74   Ev 274.The WHO recommended daily level is 100 litres a day. Back

75   Ev 194 Back

76   Meeting with Palestinian Hydrology Group, Ramallah, 24 October 2003, and Israel destroys UB build wells, The Independent, 5 November Back

77   Ev 193 Back

78   Q 92 Back

79   Ev 256, Ev 194, meeting with DFID funded water storage project, Hebron, 24 October 2003 Back

80   Meeting with Palestinian NGOs, Ramallah, 24 October 2003 Back

81   Israel destroys UB build wells, The Independent, 5 November Back

82   Ev 195 Back

83   Ev 104 Back

84   Christian Aid, Op. Cit. January 2003,page 29 Back

85   Ibid. See also Sustainable Water Resources Management of Gaza Coastal Aquifer / Palestine, Palestinian Water Authority, 2000 (submitted by John Lewis. Copy placed in the library)  Back

86   Ev 274 Back

87   Ev 193 Back

88   Ev 263 Back

89   Ev 262-3 Back

90   Ev 91, Ev 104-6, Ev 191-5, Ev 255, Ev 274 Back

91   Ev 191 Back

92   Ev 236 Back

93   Ev 164 Back

94   Ev 285 Back

95   Ev 127 Back

96   Ibid. Back

97   Personal Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary General (Catherine Bertini)-Mission Report, August 2002, United Nations (copy placed in the library)


98   Ev 234 Back

99   Meeting at UNRWA school, Jenin, 22 October 2003 Back

100   The Economy of Occupied Palestinian Territory, Palestinian National Authority, Ministry of Economy and Trade, October 2003 (copy placed in library) Back

101   Ev 242-3 Back

102   Ev 241 Back

103   Article XX11, Oslo II agreement, signed on September 28, 1995 by Israel and the PLO Back

104   Ev 73, The Palestinian Authority: Where does the Money Go? and Reforms in the Palestinian Authority: A Reality Check, Rachel Ehrenfeld (copies placed in the library).See also papers submitted by Peter Simpson (copies placed in the library). Back

105   House resolution 311, 28 Oct 2003 Back

106   Palestinian School Books, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Press Office, May 15 2002 Back

107   Ibid. Back

108   Hijacking the Palestinians' narrative, Daily Star, 8 November 2003 Back

109   Q 79 Back

110   Israeli army chief attacks Sharon's security policies, The Daily Telegraph, 31 October 2003, Army chief warns Sharon: we are on the verge of catastrophe, The Guardian, 31 October 2003, Grip may be eased in occupied lands after general's criticism of Sharon, The Independent, 1 November 2003 Back

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