Memorandum submitted by Discovery Analytical
THE CONTROL THAT THE NETWORK OF SETTLEMENTS IN THE
OCCUPIED TERRITORIES HAS OVER THE BASIC CONDITIONS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT
OF THE PALESTINIAN ECONOMY: AGRICULTURAL LAND, WATER, MOVEMENT
OF PERSONS AND GOODS, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
"We have conquered territories, but without
settlement they have no decisive value . . . Settlementthat
is the real conquest."
"By the side of a path on a hillside north
of Jerusalem hangs a sign offering a blunt riposte to those who
harbour plans to tamper with the fate of the land. `Only the Bible
is the roadmap of the Jewish people . . .'"
Raffi BergIsrael's religious settlers,
BBC News (18 August 2003)
1. Development Intensity
2. Instruments of Control
CThuggery and Intimidation
5. Movement of Persons and Goods
BClosure, Curfew and Checkpoints
6. Environmental Impact of Settlements
7. The Case of Al Mawasi, Gaza Strip
8. Some Priorities . . .
1. Under the current Sharon administration,
and in spite of multilateral attempts to revive peace negotiations
for a permanent two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians,
settlement of the occupied Palestinian territories appears to
be intensifying (specifically territorial expansion and employment
of military forces).
2. The ideological disposition of certain
factions in the settlement movement, notably that of Gush Emunim,
throws doubt on Israel's political commitment to the advent of
a sovereign Palestinian state.
3. Current economic difficulties in the
occupied territories are a function of integrated Israeli policies
(of which settlement of the West Bank and Gaza Strip continues
to be a key part) applied over an extended period and intensified
under the pretext of "urgent military necessity" in
response to the Palestinian intifada.
4. As a consequence, attrition of vital
resources for the social survival of Palestinian communities has
accelerated. Pressing issues are: freshwater quality, wastewater
treatment, political stability, autonomy of access.
5. Economic recovery cannot be expected
to endure without dismantling the "matrix of control"
exerted over the minutiae of Palestinian society. Neither can
aid organisations nor NGOs function effectively under conditions
of blockade and oppressive disruption.
6. Short-run economic recovery will depend
on investment support and the condition of basic resources restored
to agriculture (and, for Gazans, fishing).
7. Active support should be given from the
development aid sector to Palestinian calls for independent monitoring
of the "Road Map" peace process and of field operations
of humanitarian and developmental support organisations.
8. Israel is a High Contracting Party to
international conventions on the conduct of occupying powers.
All agencies interested in the region should lobby for an open
debate of practical measures to end settlement pressure on the
occupied Palestinian territories.
1.1 Since 1990, settler population in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip (excluding Jerusalem) has grown at a
rate of 5.2% per annum, 1 reaching 217,000 by 2002approximately
6.5% of the total population of the occupied territories. Israel's
structural plan for the West Bank alone targets a settler population
of 310,000 by 2020, although if historic growth is sustained,
the figure for the territories will exceed half a million inhabitants.
The Israeli Interior Ministry listed the settler population in
the Gaza Strip as 7,000 at December 2000 or 0.6% of the total
Gaza Strip population of 1.2 million. Most settlements have fewer
than 1,000 residents.
1.2 Definition renders a precise figure
problematic, but estimates vary between 145 (Peace Now) and 258
(Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) built-up settlement
areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 19 of these being planted
in the Gaza Strip. Following the implementation of the Quartet's
"Road Map" peace initiative after the Aqaba summit at
the end of June 2003, a number of outposts were dismantled to
be replaced by an equivalent number of others (or, as in the case
of Gilad Farm, Amona North or Neve Tzuf, reconstructed).
1.3 Peace Now, the Israeli popular movement
monitoring settlement development by aerial survey, has estimated
at least 60 new outposts established between March 2001 and July
2003 (March 2001 being the point of return status quo ante
for the "Road Map's" conditions to be fulfilled). Eight
of these have sprung up since the Aqaba summit. The settler Yesha
Council pledges to erect five new outposts for every one taken
down, while settlers are individually petitioning the Israeli
courts to stay demolitions. Peace Now has concluded: "there
is no evacuation of outposts and no freezing of construction".2
1.4 Throughout the period of occupation,
Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has
sought to contain the natural growth of Palestinian communities.
Physical location of settlements at the entrances and peripheries
of Palestinian urban areas has served to restrict the development
and expansion of Palestinian conurbations (the Drobles Plan),
while also increasing pressure on urban accessibility during
ad hoc "security" closures. Over three-quarters
of the settler population lives in 18 large urban developments,
while some four-fifths of sites are occupied by less than 1,000
inhabitants (including areas of industrial zoning).
1.5 As was remarkable during negotiation
of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, a positive correlation has evolved
between enhanced prospects for peace and an increase in settlement
activity, or as sometimes expressed, a rush to create "facts
on the ground". During the two years following signing of
the Declaration of Principles in 1993 (freezing settlement), with
the Rabin government in power, 170 km2 of land was confiscated
in the West Bank. More recently, the Israeli daily newspaper Yediot
Ahronot in the first week of August 2003 reported 60 French-Jewish
immigrants being brought under cover of darkness directly to the
Ofra settlement in the West Bank Ramallah Governorate at 2 am
to avoid unwanted publicity. 3 Shortly afterwards, the BBC's
Raffi Berg filed a series of articles reporting from the settlements:
"The battle over encampments built without
government approval has already begun. Building work at some outposts
has been accelerated. Some have been removed, only to be rebuilt
and to multiply within days, while building work has intensified
at other sites to turn the odd water tower or cluster of flimsy
caravans into permanent structures in a race to scuttle the roadmap
before it is too late." 4
1.6.1 Settlement municipal boundaries extend
far beyond current built-up areas, marking out territory for future
settlement expansion within which temporary structures are put
up to provide a token physical presence. Around each settlement,
a "zone of security" is declared over contiguous strips
of Palestinian land. Any entry onto or use of this land by the
legal owners is prohibited by military order, enforcement of which
may be carried out by armed settlement watch patrols or the Israel
Defence Force (IDF), or at times both in concert.
1.6.2 District boundaries have been subject
to "stretching" arising from new settler outposts and
military expropriations. The unacknowledged objective would appear
to be territorial contiguity of settlement blocs and the increased
"cantonisation" of pockets of the residual Palestinian
population. Increased activity around the villages of Sinjil,
Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya and Qaryut in the Ramallah Governorate
is anticipated to herald future consolidation of the Ma'ale Levona,
Rechalim and Eli settlements. These campaigns can be accompanied
by impromptu attacks on Palestinian property, such as the arson
attack on a petrol filling station in Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiya on
24 December 2001. 5
1.7 A considerable political commitment
will be required from the Sharon government to meet the Quartet's
"Road Map" objectives on settlementsit is not
clear that the prime minister is leading a majority dedicated
to achieving this end6and for the near-future settlement
activity is likely to remain vigorous.
A. Official Appropriation
2.1 The public mission of the Israel Defence
Force (IDF) is to protect the inhabitants of Israel; that is,
to defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty
of the state of Israel. 7 Clearly, as an army of occupation, the
last three should not apply to the Palestinian territories.
2.2 From the inception of the military occupation
of the Palestinian territories, the Area Commander of the IDF
assumed all legislative, executive and judicial powers, governing
by decree (or "military order", hereafter MO). Military
jurisdiction was comprehensively extended to cover, for example:
transactions in immovable property
power to expropriate land (MOs 108,
321); registration of public and private land (MO 364);
transfer of rural land development
authority, restrictions on municipal development (MO 418);
the use of water and other natural
resources (MOs 58, 59, 92; from 1982, authority transferred to
the Israeli company, Mekorot);
travel permits and licences to practise
various professions (MOs 260, 324, 437);
control over municipal and village
councils (MOs 191, 194);
proscription of import and export
of agricultural goods to and from the West Bank without military
authorisation (MOs 47, 49);
Licensing and regulation of plant
nurseries (MOs 1002, 1248); fruit trees (MO 1915); vegetables
(MO 1039). 8
2.3.1 By 1981, the formal establishment
of a Civil Administration in the occupied territories set up local
and district councils to administer settlements, transforming
temporary "security" provisions into permanent legislation
(MOs 783, 892, 947). The head of the Civil Administration, appointed
by the Area Commander to administer specified legislation, remains
accountable to the Area Commander and has no power to amend the
legislative structure (except via secondary bye-laws). The Civil
Administration has powers and responsibilities identical to its
Israeli counterparts, concerning for example:
regulation of economic activity:
imports, exports, prices, finance;
fiscal affairs: taxes, customs and
essential utilities: electricity,
telecommunications and postal services;
control over land and water;
licensing of professions;
control over tourism, roads and insurance;
censorship of publications and textbooks.
2.3.2 From the 1980s onward, the legal meaning
of "Israeli resident" was extended to separate settler
and indigenous communities under criminal and civil law, bringing
the former group increasingly under Israeli jurisdiction (eg concerning
such matters as military service, criminal prosecution, fiscal
assessment, national assurance . . .). Any person whose place
of residence was in the region or who qualified for Israeli citizenship
(under the Law of Return 1950) was deemed an Israeli resident.
2.3.3 In spite of the ambiguous legal status
of the settlementsall illegal under international law,
and many unrecognised by Israeli government policysettlers
are treated as inhabitants of Israel in as much as the Civil Administration
in the occupied territories operates autonomously as part of the
Israeli establishment. Settlers are excluded from the jurisdiction
of West Bank courts.
2.4 IDF security doctrine is broadly framed
to cover a duty to combat all forms of terrorism that threaten
daily life and to maintain a credible deterrent posture. 10 Owing
to the absence of internationally-recognised sovereignty over
the occupied territories, indigenous political resistance to the
Israeli presence is often depicted as, or supporting an infrastructure
of, "terrorism"and very often classified as a
threat to the security of Israel.
2.5 Through a broad definition of concepts
of securityneutralisation of potential threats by pre-emptive
interventionsthe IDF justifies its deployment in the territories,
defending the de facto presence of Israeli "subjects".
The impact of such intrusive military operations on Palestinian
communities is to add an unpredictable nuance of violence to the
progressive degradation of civil society, for which in practice
there is no legal redress or compensation.
2.6 Without settlement of the occupied territories,
the presence of a full-time standing army would lack rationale
under the IDF's operational doctrine. In considering the network
of control that settlements exert over basic social conditions
in the Palestinian territories, the trajectory of Israeli security
policy and the operational conduct of the IDF needs to be taken
into account as an instrument of enforcement of that control.
B. Influencing policy
2.7 Most political parties in Israel have
affiliated settler movements connected to developments in the
occupied territoriesdetails of those most committed to
the region are given in the table below. 11
2.8.1 The most dedicated is the Amana movement
of Gush Emunim ("bloc of the faithful"). Gush Emunim
grew out of the National Religious Party's youth organisation,
Bnei Akiva, in the 1970s and is motivated ideologically by a hybrid
orthodox Jewish Zionism derived from a Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi during
the Palestine Mandate, Abraham Kook. Three-quarters of Gush Emunim-affiliated
settlements have a population of less than 1,000 (including Ma'ale
2.8.2 Gush Emunim does not work through
a single political party platform, rather through developing behind
the scenes influence across the political spectrum and on key
consultative committees. Its "manifesto" revolves around
vague long term visions of a Judaic national theocracy linked
to immediate short term political goalsthus maintaining
a broad appeal and avoiding the factional pitfalls of detailing
specific programmes. The movement is highly influential on the
Yesha Council and close connections are maintained with the National
Religious Party, the Likud and smaller radical right parties (eg
Political and Affiliated Settler Movements
Affiliated sites in the occupied territories
Affiliated sites in Israel
Share of affiliated sites in the occupied territories
|Proportion of movement's work carried out in the occupied territories
|Likud||Herut Settlement Division
|United Torah Judaism||Po'alei Agudat Israel
|National Religious Party||HaKibbutz HaD'ati; HaPo'al HaMizrachi
|NAHAL ("Pioneering and Fighting Youth")
2.8.3 The movement had a significant influence on the
Drobles Plan for settlement development, after the eponymous Gush
Emunim associate Matityahu Drobles, formulated in the 1970s while
Drobles was head of the Land Settlement Department. The Plan was
adopted by both Labour and Likud governments of the day, incorporating
59 of the 60 sites proposed for development in an original petition
submitted by Gush Emunim.
2.9 Over the last decade, Gush Emunim's "fellow
travellers" in the Knesset have commanded between 40-60 seats
in the 120-seat chamber. Support for settler politics is not reflected
in popular electoral dialogue in Israel, however: whereas the
"National Union" coalition of radical right parties
obtains upwards of 40% of the vote from settler constituencies
in Israel's general elections, outside of the occupied territories
support has rarely risen above 5%.
C. Thuggery and Intimidation
2.10 A less formal kind of control exerted by settlers
occurs in the pervasive menace of vigilante attacks perpetrated
on Palestinian communities. Villages bordering settlements have
received visits from armed bands who threaten or assault residents
and target for destruction essential village utilities. With these
forays, settlers aim to persuade villagers to abandon their land
and their homes.
2.11.1 With the growth of settlements, independently
organised armed "security" patrols emerged, particularly
in the central West Bank. Under Military Order 898, issued in
the early 1980s, settlers were given powers of arrest and interrogation
without warrant for suspected offences carrying a prison sentence
of five or more years. Military Order 1456 (June 1998) permitted
settler "civil guards" to assist the IDF in security
operations outside settlements, while Military Order 1457 (also
June 1998) extended the authority of the "civil guard"
to arrest, inspect and use force outside of settlements and away
from supervision and control of the IDF. 12 Official IDF comment
on the question of settler paramilitary activity asserts that
armed settlers have powers to act in guarding settlements, regional
defence and accompanying school trips only. 13
2.11.2 Operating out of sight of the state law enforcement
system, the activities of these groups are unmonitored and their
performance as law enforcers beyond assessment. That armed gangs
of settlers do participate in targeted escapades of a violent
and destructive nature is widely and variously documented14, covering
use of firearms, stoning and beatings intended
to cause grievous bodily harm or death;
vandalising Palestinian communities: breaking
windows, damaging vehicles;
destroying essential resources (water, electricity
supplies, solar heaters);
disrupting economic activity (stealing crops,
attacking workers during harvests, ransacking markets);
permanently obstructing or digging up roads to
render vehicular passage impossible.
Often using all-terrain vehicles to speed access and getaway,
recent news reports have detailed the use of light airplanes to
drive Palestinian farmers from their land. 15
2.12 The writer of this submission can verify that instances
of assault, threatening behaviour and theft have been committed
by armed gangs originating from the Itamar settlement in the Nablus
Governorate. I have also seen attestations and circumstantial
evidence of each of the above listed offences being committed
over recent months by armed gangs from the same settlement. Donor
projects are not spared: the village of Yanun has on two occasions
had a generator burned out by marauding settlers.
2.13 In spite of such incidents being reported to the
police, prosecution of identified perpetrators has not been pursued
to trial or conviction. In general, the record of the IDF and
district police forces in either preventing or investigating these
incidents is poor, with a significant number of offences being
committed by settlers when security forces are present.
2.14 In its most extreme manifestations, such intimidation
has an ideological or religious fundamentalist justification and
has as its objective the expulsion of non-Jews from the occupied
territories. From time to time, high-profile acts of terrorism
are carried outsuch as the massacre of Palestinians at
prayer at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in 1994although
more frequently observed has been the planting of explosives on
Palestinian land abutting settlements. 16 Following an investigation
by Shin Bet, the uncovering of a terrorist cell resulted in the
arrest of nine settlers in late August 2003 (amongst whom, one
serving soldier). 17
3.1 All water resources in the occupied territories were
confiscated by a Military Order of 1968 and declared Israeli state
property. In 1982 the Israeli water authority Mekorot took control
of these facilities. The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) was
established under the Oslo Accords to take responsibility for
water in areas to be controlled by the Palestine Authority ("Area
A"), but Israel retains control over flow and volume quotas
for Palestinian usage. All new water-related projects require
Israel's consent in the Joint Water Committee, irrespective of
area, from drilling wells to building reservoir networks. Where
a project passes through "Area C" (Israeli sole control),
the Civil Administration must be consulted for approval. Owing
to the fragmented geography of Areas A and B, comprising dozens
of enclaves, networks frequently need to pass through designated
3.2 Figures vary as to the number of Palestinian communities
throughout the occupied territories that are not connected to
a water supply network. The Israeli human rights information centre,
B'Tselem, calculated in July 2001 218 communities (197,000 people).
18 In October 2002, Palestinian water commissioner, Fadal Kawash,
gave this figure as 240 villages (300,000 people). These households
rely on collection of rainfall, water from springs and purchases
from water tankers or other private sources (including settlements).
Tanker distribution can be severely affected by general restrictions
placed on freedom of movement throughout the occupied territories:
checkpoints, road blocks, concrete barriers, ad hoc dirt
heaps and trenches, some of which are established by settlers
3.3 Lack of funding is a significant factor in slowing
the connection of isolated communities to a water supply network.
The network loses approximately 30% of throughput due to leaks
and is in urgent need of repair.
3.4 Groundwater from mountain and coastal aquifers provides
the main source of water for Palestinian requirements. Annual
renewable resources are estimated at 630 mnm3 (million cubic metres)
in the West Bank and 42 mnm3 in the Gaza Strip. West Bank Palestinians
draw 110 mnm3, Israeli settlers 30 mnm3 (over four times more
per capita); the remaining 80% allocation is exploited
in Israel. A similar imbalance exists in Gaza: Israeli wells consume
758 m3/capita compared to Gazans' 137 m3/capita, almost five times
3.5 In the West Bank, 40 municipal wells yield around
30 mnm3 annually, some 300 springs 60 mnm3, while rooftop rainfall
collection cisterns contribute 6.5 mnm3. Average per capita
total water consumption is 70 litres per day.
3.6 The lower Jordan River is the only sizable permanent
surface water source in the Palestinian territories and of a brackish
quality, while three-quarters of the river's flow is diverted
by Israel before arriving in the West Bank. Palestinians have
no rights to draw water from the Jordan. Over-extraction has resulted
in an 80-90% reduction in flow, according to some surveys, and
the Dead Sea is no longer fully replenished by the Jordan River.
3.7 A critical problem is Palestinian access to new water
sources. Without supplementing supply, expanding the number of
recipients on a network necessarily reduces the per capita
capacity of that network. Israel has always rejected any increase
of Palestinian extraction quotas, insisting on negotiating into
the Oslo Accords a clause requiring that such increases be found
from new sources. In October 2002, Israeli Infrastructure Minister,
Effie Eitam, (also leader of the National Religious Party and
patron of the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip) imposed a water drilling ban on Palestinians in the
West Bank. 19
3.8 The Civil Administration has been accused of generating
delays in approving water projects. B'Tselem cites three examples
of applications for permission to lay mains conduits for nine
Palestinian villages lacking a response for up to three years.
20 Other instances have been discovered where project approvals
are held up subject to settler communities being connected to
the proposed supply network. 21
3.9 Similar delays have impacted the upgrading of a sewage
treatment plant at Beit Lahia in the Northern Gaza Strip. The
plant, originally designed with a daily peak capacity of 5,000
m3 to produce recycled water for irrigation, was upgraded in 1996
as a result of increased loading, but has had to cope with 12,000
m3 of influent per day. Treatment ponds have merged into an effluent
lake covering around 40 hectares and polluting groundwater14
wells as a consequence have had to be closed. A new wastewater
treatment plant with a daily capacity of 40,000 m3 has been planned,
but approval by the Civil Administration in the Joint Water Committee
withheld over disagreement concerning the location of disposal
of effluent. The Civil Administration is proposing to divert the
effluent for treatment and subsequent irrigation use in Israel,
thereby depriving the Gaza administration of a valuable water
3.10 Due to the proximity of residential dwellings and
developments, the routing of water contamination is not always
clear. The PWA is in the process of carrying out a definitive
study of pollution sources. Sewage discharged from Hebron settlements
has been found to cause high nitrate contamination of spring water
used for domestic supply, although the discharge of untreated
sewage remains a general problem throughout the occupied territories.
Contamination discovered in Wadi Kanah, near Qalqylia, is attributed
to the nearby settlement.
3.11.1 Settlers attack and destroy Palestinian water
pumps, pipes, cisterns, and tanks as well as polluting wells and
aquifers. One such adventure in 2002 targeting the village of
Upper Yanun in the Nablus Governorate destroyed three cisterns
serving houses with a gravity-driven distribution network, leaving
the village without a water distribution facility. Villagers relate
how the settlers regularly use the village's remaining water source
to bathe their dogs and have threatened to return to undo any
attempted repairs to the cisterns.
3.11.2 Destruction of water resources may also form part
of security policy: on 29 January 2003, the IDF used armoured
bulldozers to demolish the largest two of the six wells supplying
water to Rafah city in Gaza. The wells destroyed provided over
50% of the city's consumption and resulted in the Rafah Municipal
Department of Water and Wastewater having to tap into the private
agricultural irrigation network to maintain an emergency supply
for just two hours a day. Subsequent attempts by engineers to
repair the wells were discouraged by machine gun fire from settlement
3.11.3 The Gaza Strip has particularly suffered from
attacks on agricultural water supply infrastructure. The Palestinian
Ministry of Agriculture published a report in April 2003 detailing
damage inflicted between September 2000 and February 2003 . .
213 wells destroyed, of which 203 were situated
in the Gaza Strip.
12,249 dunums of distribution networks, of which
11,392 dunums were situated in the Gaza Strip.
792 pools, of which 789 were situated in the Gaza
342,995 m3 of water, of which 341,095 m3 was lost
in the Gaza Strip. 22
3.11.4 A Donor Support Group assessment (comprising the
Palestine Authority, European Commission, World Bank, United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), United States Agency for International
Development amongst others) estimated that $7 million worth of
damage was inflicted on water supply and sewerage infrastructure
between March and May 2002 (excluding damage to local water supply
facilitiescisterns, springs and rooftop tanks).
4.1 Agriculture would normally provide employment for
some 20% of the labour force (around three-quarters of whom are
female), although the total fluctuates significantly according
to season. A quarter of Palestinian exports derives from agricultural
produce, chiefly fruits, olives, olive oil, vegetables and cut
4.2 Before the outbreak of the current intifada in 200023,
the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics estimated that a third
of the land in the Gaza Strip was dedicated to agriculture, being
some 176,000 dunums (44,000 acres/17,500 hectares) out of a total
for the West Bank and Gaza Strip of 1,836,000 dunums (459,000
acres/184,000 hectares). Gazan agriculture is significantly more
intensive than in the West Bank, employing 14,000 greenhouses
and depending on irrigation for watering 75% of the land under
cultivation. Gross output is capable of supplying twice the requirements
of the Gazan population24.
4.3 Access to markets and restrictions on water resources
cause significant difficulties for agriculture: over 90% of West
Bank agricultural output must be raised by rain-fed farming methods.
4.4 "One of the major problems facing the agricultural
sector and the rural areas in the Gaza Strip is the organised
destruction of agricultural lands by the Israelis." 25 This
has arisen particularly during the period of the second Intifada,
but obstacles existed beforehand, such as the prevention of exports
of agricultural goods to the West Bank, Israel or international
markets. "We can't talk about free and direct access for
exportation or imports of agricultural produce. We still don't
have any political agreement between the Palestinian leadership
and the Israeli government and this presents a lot of obstacles
for the Palestinian economy." 26 Save for the exceptional
occasions when Israeli companies need to make up export orders
to European customers with an extra few tonnes, shipments of agricultural
produce from the Gaza Strip are rarely permitted.
4.5 The impact of construction of the separation barrier,
or "security fence", in the West Bank has had a significant
impact on agriculture. The first phase of the plan, appropriating
some 11,500 dunums (2,875 acres, or 1,150 hectares) largely in
the Jenin, Qalqylia and Tulkarm governorates, was implemented
in Palestinian territory irrespective of the interests of neighbouring
communities. From 18% of the territory, this region produced 45%
of the West Bank's total agricultural output27, with farmers,
whose lands have been spliced by the route of the wall, retaining
only a notional right of access to the other side.
4.6 The organised destruction referred to above forms
part of the security policy carried out by the Israeli Defence
Force (IDF) throughout the occupied territories, euphemistically
termed "clearing". "Clearing" targets land
near Israeli settlements, bordering military positions or installations
and establishes corridors of 200 m-300 m depth either side of
by-pass roads (constructed for the exclusive use of settlers).
For the period September 2000 to July 2001, the Palestinian Centre
for Human Rights reported 13,500 dunums (3,375 acres/1,350 hectares)
of agricultural land destroyed in the Gaza Strip, the equivalent
of some 7% of the total under cultivation. 28 In November 2001,
then Defence Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, stated: "The
total number of Palestinian structures that were demolished in
the Gaza Strip stands at about 300. This figure includes structures
used for residential purposes, farming, and walls. In addition,
some 175 greenhouses were destroyed . . . In total, some 5,500
dunam of orchards of all kinds on the Palestinian side were uprooted
and 4,500 dunam of planted fields and uncultivated land were destroyed."
4.7 Israel bases the lawfulness of its "clearing"
policy on the grounds of "imperative necessities of war",30
under the pretext that Palestinians launch attacks against Israeli
civilians from orchards and groves proximate to settlement enclaves.
In spite of substantial discrepancies with established international
law, attempts to halt the IDF's agricultural clearances and road-building
expropriations through Israeli courts by challenging the grounds
of "military necessity" and "proportionality"
have proved unsuccessful. The same justification has been upheld
to deny claims for compensation for loss of or damage to private
property, once again strict legal precedent notwithstanding.
4.8 B'Tselem has recorded that, as a result of the policy's
application in the Gaza Strip, "thousands of people have
been made homeless and thousands have lost their sole source of
income for many years to come. Israel caused this damage to people
although it did not contend that they themselves were involved
in attacks, or attempted attacks, against Israeli civilians or
security forces." 31 Thus the mere fact of a settlement provides
sufficient motivation for "pre-emptive" military operations
at the expense of Palestinian economic assets. In practice, the
impact of these interventions can be either arbitrary or indiscriminate.
Of equal concern must be the expedience of such "clearances"
from the point of view of prospective expropriations for extending
the existing settlements.
5. MOVEMENT OF
5.1 Although as the occupying power Israel has responsibilities
under international law to protect infrastructure, access to roads
has been progressively denied to Palestinians. Further, the geographic
disposition of roads and their availability is used as a means
of control of transport and mobility.
5.2 The network of "by-pass" roads is arranged
to provide access between settlements and their linkage with Israel.
Palestinians are prohibited from travelling on "by-pass"
roads or encroaching into security corridors cleared up to 200-300
m either side unless via military checkpoints. The pattern of
settler-only highways thus has the effect of penning Palestinian
communities into enclaves, movement between which rests at the
discretion of Israeli security forces.
5.3 Roads remaining for use by Palestinian traffic have
frequently been dug up or blocked by unilateral settler actions
where they are judged to run too close to settlement-designated
land or considered a "security" threat. Other routes
have been similarly impeded for no apparent reason other than
to restrict their viability for road traffic use or sever them
from the arterial road network.
5.4 The IDF is often instrumental in enforcing this type
of "security" initiative, such as in the case of the
damaged road accessing the main water pumping station in Rafah,
Gaza, referred to above. Palestinian municipal workers sent to
repair the road repeatedly came under machine gun fire from armoured
units stationed in the nearby Rafah Yam settlement.
5.5 Construction of roads has led to confiscation and
seizure of Palestinian agricultural and private property as well
as collateral damage to infrastructure. In 2002, for example,
the drinking water supply network to the village of Zatara in
Bethlehem Governorate was destroyed to make way for a new bypass
road. 32 The Ramallah-based research institute, Al Haq, estimated
that the total loss of land use as a result of the settler-privileged
transport network runs into hundreds of thousands of dunums. 33
5.6 In parallel with the ambivalence of Israeli government
policy concerning the ongoing establishment of settlement outposts,
construction of "by-pass" roads has not been halted
by the advent of the Quartet's "Road Map": in August
2003, Prime Minister Sharon approved a $30 million budget for
three new highways in the central and northern West Bank. 34 At
the time of writing, no figures were available with respect to
the quantity of land to be confiscated.
B. Closure, Curfew and Checkpoints
5.7 In its most concentrated form, curfew shuts down
entire citiesduring the April 2002 incursions, the IDF
blocked all humanitarian and medical aid to Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah
and other cities by declaring them closed military zones. 35
5.8 Since the outbreak of the Intifada, the ability of
Palestinian labourers to travel daily to Israel has been severely
curtailed, causing a surge in unemployment and extreme poverty.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) estimated unemployment
at above 50% of the workforce and the number of people surviving
on below the minimum daily subsistence income of $2 per day at
60% of the population. The negative impact on remittances from
employment in Israel is estimated at $521 million in 2001, equivalent
to 13% of Palestinian gross domestic product. 36 Tradestructurally
dependent on Israelhas also been affected, with exports
falling by a quarter (services' earnings down by a third). Israel
receives over three-quarters of Palestinian exports by value ($358
million in 2001). 37
5.9 Construction of the Separation Barrierwalling-in
the bulk of the Palestinian population of the West Bankcan
be viewed as an example of military strategy inflated to the scale
of government policy. The rationale, mechanics and impact of closure
at the micro-level are illustrated later in this paper in the
case of Al Mawasi.
5.10 Closure has also been applied to internal movement
of Palestinians, limiting the distance of travel from domicile
registered on personal identity cards. Residents of the West Bank
are not normally permitted to enter Jerusalem, and similar mobility
controls apply to Gazans with respect to the West Bank and Jerusalem.
5.11 Close control over movements of Palestinians are
exercised through over 300 checkpoints spread around the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, some of these being mobile or "flying"
checkpoints which daily change location. Commercial and humanitarian
traffic is monitored separately at checkpoints, requiring back-to-back
unloading and reloading of merchandise transport vehicles at junctions
judged to be security-sensitive by the military. Checkpoints result
in an informal type of closure, since in practice who or what
passes is at the discretion of the commanding officer of the IDF
unit on duty. In the worst case, Palestinians may find themselves
economically confined to small enclaves lacking the means for
self-sufficiency or the freedom to manufacture and to trade to
5.12.1 Curfew in practice means that Israeli tanks, military
jeeps and snipers patrol the streets of Palestinian towns confining
residents to their houses. Anyone seen outside their home risks
being summarily shot or arrested. Streets are deserted, there
is no transport, no one can get to work or school and shops are
5.12.2 The IDF Public Relations Office maintains that
curfew is used as a "preventative measure" that the
IDF "is forced to take" to protect Jewish communities
in the occupied territories. 38
5.12.3 Curfew is employed with cursory notice and is
announced or terminated erratically, sometimes with lethal results:
in Jenin, in June 2002, a crowded market place was shelled by
a tank seeking to impose a curfew which had been assumed lifted,
killing four and injuring 24.
C. The Separation Barrier
5.13 The Separation Barrier has entailed fundamental
social and economic disruption: roads and water networks cut;
public services impeded; access to health and education facilities
frustrated; families divided. Survival of remaining ties amongst
communities either side of the wall will depend upon the discretion
of the security services supervising the gates at any given moment.
5.14 The Committee will be receiving detailed evidence
under dedicated memoranda concerning the humanitarian and economic
impact of the Separation Barrier currently under construction
across the West Bankthe subject is not treated in detail
5.15.1 The Palestinian Hydrology Group reckons that 30
wells will be lost during the first phase of construction around
Qalqylia and Tulkarm, comprising almost one-fifth of the total
Palestinian withdrawal from the Western Groundwater Basin (an
annual discharge of 3.9 mnm3).
5.15.2 In addition to clearances for the footprint of
the barrier itself, between 160,000180,000 dunums (40,000-45,000
acres/16,000-18,000 hectares) of agricultural land will be sequestered
on the Israeli side of the Barrier, involving the loss to Palestinians
of tens of thousands of trees.
5.16 Further summary details can be found at http://www.pengon.org/wall/fact-may-2003.pdf
5.17 Below is an extract from a recent news feature that
illustrates how these controls on movement are combined irrespective
of the benefit to security:
Osama's Trees: Faces of the Occupation
International Middle East Media CentreSpecial Feature
As you drive along Highway 505 on the road to Tel Aviv there
is a little Palestinian village called Kifl Hares set back 30
metres or so from the road. Since last week the road leading into
the village has been declared a Closed Military Zone (CMZ).
The boundaries of the zone are unclear, and the reasons for
declaring it are even more obscure. The village is a few kilometres
down the road from the Ariel settlement where there was a recent
suicide bombing. The suicide bombers didn't come from Kifl Hares
or the surrounding region. Kifl Hares is also very close to a
planned section of the [Separation Barrier], which is meant to
incorporate Ariel, a settlement in the middle of the West Bank,
into Israel proper.
There is now a roadblock permanently manned by soldiers outside
Kifl Hares. The soldiers have stationed themselves on the roof
of a house that sits on the junction of the main highway and the
road into the village. The house is owned by a villager named
When Sami's family first moved to Kifl Hares the Ariel settlement
didn't exist. Sami, his wife and children had to leave the house
because they came under attack from settlers. They decided to
rent the house out as a shop. Osama, another villager has made
a plant nursery in the gardens of the house. He was doing good
business with passing traffic even after the second Intifada began.
After years of work, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) don't
allow Osama in to water the trees and plants. The current closed
military zone order lasts until the end of September, and it is
possible that it will then be extended. Sami is worried that he
will lose his house altogether. In the meantime, Osama has lost
his livelihood and many of the plants and trees will die.
Osama has contacted a lawyer, and IWPS contacted Israeli human
rights activists, who have so far been unable to learn anything
about the reason for the CMZ or how long the army plans to keep
him from his shop. Even members of the Knesset called and the
IDF refused to give them any information about the situation.
6. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
6.1 Since 1967, natural resources in the Palestinian
occupied territories have been subject to two conflicting exploitation
and development schemes. Profligate utilisation of limited resources
by a minority has resulted in greater environmental attrition
than might have been the case had a cohesive plan for the West
Bank or Gaza Strip been adopted. Political limitations on Palestinian
planning autonomy exacerbate progressive degradation of natural
resources and have helped to create a problem of long-run sustainability.
Funded landfill projects backed by the World Bank and European
Investment Bank have had to be shelved.
6.2 Styles of development found in settlements are typical
of the wealthy suburban housing estates in temperate zones of
the industrialised worldbrick-roofed villas with grass
lawns and swimming pools. These require a disproportionate share
of natural water resources for their sustenance in contrast to
the organic characteristics of Palestinian villagesflat-roofed
houses for rainfall harvesting with agricultural and livestock
6.3 Settlements tend to be constructed in a "circulade"
formation upon hilltops. Israel claims that the majority of the
annual 11 mnm3 of wastewater generated by settlements is treated,
two-thirds of settlements allegedly having treatment plants. "Security
constraints" prevented independent inspection of these facilities
by UN monitoring teams, however. 39 Palestinian sources (eg ARIJ)
claim untreated effluent is pumped out of settlements to filter
into lower level terrain in surrounding valleys, affecting agricultural
land and villages. In Hebron Governorate, the village of Beit
Ummar, situated in a valley beneath the settlements of Gush Etzion
and Karme Zur, has suffered from regular pumping of waste, polluting
hundreds of dunums and creating pools in low-lying parts of agricultural
6.4 Untreated domestic wastewater from multiple sources
is a pressing problem in the West Bankit is estimated that
90 mnm3 is discharged annually. 40 There is only one (out of eight)
fully functional Palestinian wastewater treatment plant located
at Al Bireh, near Ramallah. IDF shelling destroyed imported materials
from Germany that were intended for a new wastewater treatment
plant near Salfit, which project will now be delayed for some
years. Access of maintenance staff to wastewater treatment plants
is affected by Israeli security closures, as is supply of spare
parts for plant and process materials such as disinfectants. Untreated
sewage pumping from settlements in the Jordan valley contribute
to deteriorating pollution levels of the Lower Jordan River.
6.5 Inequality in access to and allocation of water has
led to serious contamination of groundwater in the Gaza Strip.
Annual safe yield is estimated at 55 mnm3 while annual Palestinian
needs are reckoned to be 110 mnm3. The Gaza Coastal Aquifer used
to be partially recharged from the Wadi Gaza coming from Hebron
until Israel constructed a weir diverting flow. Being a shallow
aquifer, it is exposed to the threat of sea-water intrusion and
saline pollution of the groundwater exacerbated by over-pumping.
High use of fertilisers exposes the groundwater table to nitrate
contamination, while inadequate sewerage infrastructure aggravates
degradation of water quality. In June 2002, the Israeli Hydrology
Service declared 15% of water pumped from the Coastal Aquifer
unfit for drinking. 41 Applying World Health Organisation guidelines
for chloride levels, a United Nations Environment Programme report
found only 10% of the total aquifer volume could be regarded as
6.6 Environmental hazards also accrue for villages in
the proximity of industrial developments: the pumping of untreated
industrial wastewater and liquid waste into the environment risks
degrading groundwater quality through high concentrations of heavy
metals and non-degradable toxic waste. ARIJ cites the case of
untreated wastewater flows from Barqan Industrial Zone (800,000
m3 annually) polluting groundwater with heavy metals and damaging
agricultural land belonging to the villages of Sarta, Kufr A-Deek,
and Bruqin. 43 Israel disputes these claims.
6.7 Israeli environmental protection legislation does
not apply equally in the occupied territories. Dumping of untreated
hazardous wastetypically fertilisers, cement, paints, batteries,
copper, pesticides and waste from other chemically processed productsis
not as strictly controlled by punitive legal sanction. Certain
industrial activity taking place has been banned in Israel for
environmental health and safety reasons. Geshurei Industries relocated
to Tulkarem after its site at Kfar Saba was closed down in 1982
over environmental concerns, while other hazardous product manufacturers
have located in the Tulkarm region (including asbestos, glass
fibre and pesticide industries). Evidence of use of banned agrochemicalsDDT,
lindane, methyl bromidehas been found at waste sites and
in well-water samples.
6.8 The lack of co-ordinated environmental management
policies is also critical concerning the disposal of household
refuse. Sites for solid waste are not lined to prevent to leachate
pollution of the subsoil. Sites have been closed for `security'
purposes without considering the consequences of accrual of refuse
in substitute locations: those at Al Bireh (Ramallah), Azzoun
(Qalqylia) and Hebron are reserved for settlement use only. In
Bethlehem, Tulkarem and Jenin transport of waste has been impeded
leaving waste to accumulate within urban areas.
6.9 Settlers' extensive use of irrigation for agriculture
also raises concerns about the build-up of nitrate concentrations
from fertilisers and pesticides in the groundwater table. High
levels have been detected in the Jericho Governorate, where the
groundwater table may be as shallow as one metre below the surface.
These pollutants combine with untreated sewage flows to drain
off into the Dead Sea.
6.10.1 Restrictions on Palestinian land development have
led to intensive exploitation of existing land. A by-product of
this is pressure on biodiversity: fragile flora species are being
displaced by more robust shrubs in areas of over-grazing such
as Wadi Sa'ir in Hebron Governorate.
6.10.2 As a result of prohibitions on cultivating the
Eastern slopes in the West Bank, 85% closed to Palestinians by
military order, progressive desertification is occurring. Depletion
of plant cover has accelerated soil erosion.
6.11 Land originally classified as nature reserve at
the outset of military occupation has later emerged redesignated
for settlement building or hosting military bases. Under the Oslo
Accords, three-quarters of West Bank nature reservations were
retained under Israeli authority in "Area C".
6.12 A detailed review of water resources and waste treatment
in the occupied territories was published by the United Nations
Environment Programme in January 2003: Desk Study on the Environment
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
7. THE CASE
7.1 The experiences of the inhabitants of Al Mawasi provide
a comprehensive illustration of how settlement under military
occupation impacts on the totality of Palestinian life. There
is also a foretaste here of what might lie ahead on completion
of the segregation barrier in the West Bank, or in the event of
collapse of peace negotiations, when all access to and from Palestinian
communities could be controlled absolutely with limited manpower.
7.2 Al Mawasi is a narrow stretch of land in the Gaza
Strip (approximately 13 km by 1 km), home to around 5,000 Palestinians,
lying between the Mediterranean Sea and the Gush Katif settlement
block that was first planted in the late 1970s. Eleven of the
19 settlements in the Gaza Strip surround Al Mawasi. The Oslo
II Agreement of 1995 laid down the physical and political boundaries
of influence for the Gaza Strip, which for Al Mawasi meant that
Israel retained full security control and the Palestinian Authority
civil governance within its designated boundaries. 44
7.3 Al Mawasi has exceptional soil fertility, being an
important region for production of dates, figs, guava, peppers,
tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers and sweet potatoes. Fishing is
the second key source of revenue for the local economy.
7.4 Since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000,
Al Mawasi has been out of bounds to non-residents. Access is only
possible via a single checkpoint (Tuffah) in the Khan Younis Mawasi
following the closure of the Deir el Baleh and Rafah roads. Since
May 2002, a complete curfew has been imposed, shutting off the
area entirely except for restricted hours of passage via Tuffah.
7.5 Humanitarian and social service personnel must negotiate
special access with Israeli military to enter Al Mawasi. Despite
a notional access period of seven hours per day, the Tuffah checkpoint
is reported closed for 80% of this time, with an absolute ban
on re-entry for adults below a certain age limit (varying between
30-45 years of age for men, 30-35 for women). Additional, arbitrary
criteria for passage are routinely added by IDF personnel. Delays
are excessive, queues unavoidable; the checkpoint shuts for lunch.
7.6 The closure policy is designed for the benefit of
the settlements: " . . . no separation exists between
the Muassi [sic] area and the nearby areas of Israeli communities
in Gush Katif. Palestinian terrorist organisations have in the
past carried out acts of terror against Israeli civilians by taking
advantage of this geographic proximity . . . In the framework
of coping with the activity of the terrorist organisations, the
IDF has been forced to take a number of steps. Amongst others,
the General of Southern Command declared the Muassi a closed military
area effective of May 2002." 45
7.7 "Recognised" inhabitants have been given
identity numbers and issued with smart cards, without which transit
through the checkpoints is not possible for residents. Allocation
of these identity numbers was effected without proper notice and
once only, so that there remain many residents who happened to
be absent from their homes on the date of census and who are experiencing
extreme difficulty in returning. Mobility restrictions lean towards
exclusion from Al Mawasi rather than simply impeding movement,
with a first case of expulsion of a resident, without explanatory
justification, being registered in May 2003. 46
7.8 Checkpoints are established in locations to regulate
Palestinian activity rather than protect settler circulation,
often being placed where there is little or no settler traffic.
Some 35 fixed military checkpoints operate throughout roughly
30 km2 of the combined Al Mawasi-Gush Katif region, excluding
ad hoc or "flying" checkpoints set up for temporary
shifts at varying locations. Human rights monitoring organisations
receive complaints of delays and abuse from soldiers. Internally,
curfew is enforced on occasions for continuous periods lasting
7.9 In the northern Mawasi (Khan Younis Mawasi), agricultural
production has fallen by 90% since September 200047 due predominantly
to IDF closure policy: firstly, by restricting access to Al Mawasi
area; and secondly, by the use of sniper fire, arrests and detentions
to inhibit access to cultivable land close to settlements. Fishing
was prohibited in April 2002 for fishermen in the Khan Younis
Mawasi, and is subject to severe restrictions in the southern
administrative district (Rafah Mawasi). There is concern amongst
the Khan Younis Mawasi fishermen that the closure of harbour facilities
is a prelude to their permanent appropriation for settlement use.
7.10 Essential services are subject to tight controls:
Gas shipments, used for cooking and heating, enter
Al Mawasi at the discretion of military personnel manning them.
Passage has been heavily controlled, with a total ban imposed
between February and November 2002.
Electricity: settlements are connected to a mains
network, but, with the exception of one flower-growing business,
Palestinian communities rely upon two generators running up to
seven hours each evening. Certain residents live too far away
to be served by the generators. Closure has prevented the implementation
of an EU-funded supply project.
Water: one private well in the Khan Younis Mawasi
has to provide water for the northern district. Being an agricultural
source used for irrigation, the water has a high nitrate content
that renders it unsafe for human consumption. Drilling for a fresh-water
source has been halted by military order since 2000. The Rafah
Mawasi supply is restricted to 200 m3 per day owing to restrictions
on electricity supply and diesel fuel availability to run the
pump. Sewage disposal relies upon septic tanks, which, due to
closure, have become unserviceable. As a result, sewage now filters
into the aquifer, polluting groundwater.
Mobility: asphalted roads are off-limits to Palestinians,
save for the Tuffah checkpoint and beach roads shared with Israelis.
Dirt roads are prone to flooding in the rainy season. The beach
road has spurned five checkpoints and respectively-documented
cases of physical abuse of those passing through, while the army
has obstructed more than 20 internal roads with concrete blocks.
Commerce is strictly controlled: grocers are permitted to travel
once per week outside of Al Mawasi to restock their shops (there
are just six), otherwise individuals are not permitted to bring
in food or any other products.
7.11 Access to factors of production:
Land: although constituting only 0.5% of the population,
settlers, with military support, control over 40% of the Gaza
Strip. The Gush Katif bloc houses 3,900 settlers, alongside 8,200
Palestinians in Al Mawasi, thus comprising a third of the combined
population, but occupying over three times as much land4.8
dunums (1.2 acres/0.5 hectares) per capita. Progressive
appropriation by defoliation of agricultural land for "security"
purposes, followed by militarily-enforced enclosure, is a more
frequent strategy in Gaza than in the West Bank.
Water. The ban on Palestinians sinking new wells
does not apply in the settlements, where Israeli government subsidies
assist a rate of annual water consumption of 1000 m3 per capita,
six times higher than Palestinian usage.
Electricity. The private utility providing a 24
hour mains network to the settlements refuses to connect Palestinian
villages to the grid.
7.12 Economic impact has been devastatingan area
once self-sufficient in food production has been reduced to surviving
on welfare distributed by UNRWA. Because of its agricultural importance,
the working population of Al Mawasi would rise to some 15,000
people before the intifadaa daily migration that is no
7.13 The economic pressure upon Al Mawasi is intensified
by the fine-tuning of "security" restrictions (as far
as merchandise or traded goods are concerned, only food is allowed
to cross the checkpoint):
blockade on resources and plant: a military order
of February 2001 prohibits the transport of building materials,
fuels for commercial purposes, spare parts for machinery, and
maintenance materials into Al Mawasi. Importation of fertiliser
total disruption of exports of produce: prohibitions
on vehicle crossings require back to back transit arrangements;
handling damage and substantial delays ruin the quality of fresh
produce. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that in 2002, the
entire guava crop, 80% of date and 60% of vegetable production
was lostequivalent to 90% of pre-intifada production;
land clearances: there have been three major events
since September 2000 involving settlers and the IDF razing 740
dunums (180 acres/74 hectares) of planted agricultural land. Farmers
lose access to cleared land, which is subsequently enclosed and
appropriated for incorporation into settlements;
destruction of agricultural equipment. Over a
period of a fortnight in January 2001 in the Khan Younis Mawasi,
armed settlers destroyed 30 water wells, several pumps and irrigation
systems while burning dwellings, two dozen greenhouses and storage
buildings. Later IDF clearances elsewhere destroyed water pumps,
irrigation canals and pools.
7.14 Fisherman residing outside of Al Mawasi have been
excluded from earning their living by general controls on movement,
although the industry has been effectively crippled by:
lack of access to the sea: periodically and arbitrarily
closed to fishermen from the Rafah Mawasi, while the Khan Younis
Mawasi beach has been permanently closed;
progressive reductions in fishing permits issued
and fishing zones;
restrictions on fish exports have resulted in
a 75% loss of the pre-intifada revenues;
attacks on fishermen: Israeli gunboats on occasions
have opened fire on Palestinian fishing vessels within authorised
fishing limits; and
destruction of fishing equipment: incidents of
nets being cut and motors confiscated are not infrequent, local
sources claiming over 30 motor confiscations since 2000.
7.15.1 Violence and menaces . . . with impunity
Incidents of attacks on the person, property and businesses of
Al Mawasi residents by settlers occur occasionally with the active
complicity of the IDF.
7.15.2 In November 2000, IDF soldiers assisted a group
of settlers in the illegal eviction of an elderly resident from
beach cabins in the Khan Younis Mawasi, where he had lived for
over 25 years. The settlers surrounded the several huts vacated
in this way with barbed wire fencing, taking the entire plot of
7.15.3 The majority of confrontations with the IDF occur
at checkpoints, at times involving shootings, or, more frequently,
beatings. An overriding complaint is that of humiliation or spurious
impairment of passage where no security implications are apparent.
7.15.4 Palestinians in Al Mawasi continue to be employed
in settlements, where individual cases of life-threatening assaults
have been recorded.
7.16 Al Mawasi is periodically subjected to systematic
house-to-house searches. An example of this occurred on 21-22
July 2003, when the IDF imposed a curfew on communities in the
Rafah Mawasi, forcing their way into homes to check the identities
of persons present (in spite of the closure regulations in force).
7.17 The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
(PCHR) considers that there exists a culture of impunity for soldiers
and settlers with respect to attacks on the person and property
of Palestinians. Since the outbreak of the second intifada, the
PCHR has initiated a number of actions complaining of violent,
abusive and destructive incidents, none of which effort has resulted
in punitive sanction against the responsible parties. PCHR records
that 918 Palestinians have been killed since September 2000 in
the Gaza Strip, remarking that just six indictments had been issued
against soldiers in cases of lethal shootings.
7.18 The PCHR has encountered a similar lack of success
in respect of claims submitted to the Compensation Officer at
the Israeli Ministry of Defence in respect of reparations for
loss or damages suffered by Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The recourse of launching a civil action in Israel is beyond the
means of Palestinians, where court fees alone are equivalent to
three months' earnings and lawyers from the Gaza Strip cannot
gain access to Israeli courts.
7.19 The environmental burden of the Gush Katif bloc
is systemic as much as arising from specific activities. Settlement
sewage treatment plants, four in all, are located in Palestinian
areas, as is a domestic waste tip, all contributing to air, soil
and water quality degradation of the Gazan eco-system.
7.20 There have also been cases of hazardous waste being
dumped in locations detrimental to environmental health. The Palestinian
Authority was obliged to pay $50,000 for the safe disposal of
6,000 litres of trichloroethylene discovered being unloaded from
a settler's vehicle in the Mawasi area in 1998. In a separate
incident, and although on settler designated land, a 35-metre
deep pit containing 50,000 tons of toxic waste discovered in 2000
remains to be cleaned up by Israeli authorities, despite the high
risk of leaching into the shallow ground water table.
7.21 From the security perspective, Al Mawasi is no different
from other areas in the West Bank, but the situation for Palestinian
residents of Al Mawasi has deteriorated significantly during the
last three years. The manner in which the minutiae of everyday
life is controlled by the presence of settlements and an army
of occupation has come to be known as the "matrix of control"
amongst political analysts, capturing succinctly the progressive
and co-ordinated intensification of Israeli policies in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. Not only is economic activity paralysed,
but educational and healthcare systems disrupted and quality of
life degraded to an extent where a community's distressed social
fabric no longer discourages depopulation.
8. SOME PRIORITIES
. . .
8.1.1 Despite the Quartet's "Road Map" initiative,
the future status of the Palestinian Territories in 2005 remains
unclear. Under the Oslo Accords, the Territories were divided
geographically into three interim spheres of influence to be regulated
by final status talks. Following the IDF's Operations "Defensive
Shield" and "Determined Path" in April and June
2002, these arrangements effectively ceased to function (with
the exception of certain initiatives in the fields of water and
agriculture), although the political imprint of the Accords persists.
Implicit in the negotiations, for example, was the acknowledgement
of the existence of "settlement blocs".
8.1.2 The Road Map, chronically behind schedule, has
not defined interim areas of authority but maintains as an objective
a two-state political solution within the historic Palestinian
Mandate boundaries. Thus there are no definitive frontiers of
the projected Palestinian state on which to model future economic
infrastructure. It may be assumed that the areas designated "Area
A" under the Oslo Accords (solely Palestinian jurisdiction)
will be included within its boundaries, but the issue of "territorial
contiguity" is likely to be subject to intense final stage
8.2 Given the historic success rate of peace initiatives
for the Israel-Palestine conflict, "facts on the ground"
must be counted significant determining factors of potential scenarios
in 2005. One would be the complete physical containment of Palestinian
communities within the Separation Barrier currently under construction.
The consequences of such a development would most likely entail
the loss to the Palestinian economy of territory located beyond
the barrier as an effective economic asset.
8.3.1 Whatever the eventual path of the "Road Map"
during this period, involvement of neutral observers to provide
some form of stability during its interim phases is a priority
issue. Amongst Israel's "Road Map" obligations are undertakings
to improve humanitarian conditions (including lifting curfews
and easing movement between Palestinian areas), ending attacks
in civilian areas and ceasing the confiscation or demolition of
Palestinian homes and property, either as a punitive measure or
to facilitate Israeli construction. It is difficult to envisage
economic development aid projects operating successfully without
8.3.2 At the time of writing, with or without a unilateral
Palestinian ceasefire, it is evident that there is still some
way to go to reach this point. Provision is made under the plan
for observers to monitor progress against objectives of both parties
(Palestinians have appealed to the Quartet for the placement of
international observers48). This concerns development assistance
planning in order to:
(i) prevent future or further conflict nurturing a global
dependence on development aid;
(ii) protect existing aid projects from deterioration;
(iii) deter conflicting parties from avoiding sovereign
responsibilities under international law, using back door subsidies
via third party's public funds and humanitarian assistance programmes.
A. Aid Targets
8.4 A political settlement is of overriding importance
to prospects for Palestinian economic recovery and the success
of international assistance.
8.5 Projects required as a matter of urgency with regard
to preserving the environment and public health include:
solid waste handling capacity, specifically hazardous
waste materials arriving in the occupied territories;
prevention of groundwater pollution through unsustainable
effluent disposal and agricultural practices;
construction of new and maintenance to existing
waste water treatment facilities;
repair of damage to wells and reservoirs, as well
as repair of domestic water collection tanks; and
servicing of septic tanks and pits to prevent
flooding of untreated contents.
8.6 Good water resource management dictates that appropriate
consumption be a function of both quantity and quality. Schemes
introducing technology to diversify employable water sources would
be particularly appropriate in more isolated areas.
8.7 A large proportion of Palestinian water usage is
accounted for by agricultural production. Access to new water
resources for Palestinians requires a solution both at the political
level and, while Israeli destruction of existing resources continues
unchecked, at the development level. Consumption efficiency is
essential: domestic, agricultural and industrial development and
investment projects must be compatible with water resource quantities
8.8 Boosting volume utilisation of rainwater for domestic
supply should be prioritised in order to increase total water
resources and reduce reliance on spring water sources (where faecal-coliform
contamination is frequently found). The distribution of 5,000-litre
collection tanks to isolated rural communities relieves pressure
on trucking logistics and relaxes price inflation. Water purification
technologies have a key role to play in rain water collection
8.9 Capture of rainand flood waters could tap
into some of the 95mnm3 of natural run-off per annum. Nine out
of 10 municipalities with storm water collection capability have
combined run-off systems, but only a small amount of the 14mnm3
annual urban run-off is used for domestic water supply. 49
8.10 In view of the physical isolation that the Israeli
occupation imposes on Palestinian communities, autonomous micro-solutions
may provide more robust benefits under conditions of ongoing political
instability than large scale projects. These hold greater prospects
of tangible yields in the event of persistent and severe closure
and would provide cost-effective interim solutions pending the
development of networked or macro-scale projects.
8.11 Small scale, low maintenance grey water recycling
chambers, such as those part-funded by Palestine Agricultural
Relief Committee (PARC), have been introduced into communities
in the northern Gaza Strip around Beit Lahia. Domestic waste water
is collected from households and purified through four chambers
for eventual use in irrigation of tree-bearing or perennial crops.
8.12 The United Nations Environment Programme estimated
that 72mnm3 of wastewater is generated from domestic and industrial
uses across the West Bank and Gaza, very little of which is currently
captured for potential recycling. (Desk Study on the Environment
in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, p 44).
8.13 The Palestinian agricultural sector is characteristically
entrepreneurial and ecologically sustainable. There is a need
for marketing expertise to support productivity improvements in
agriculture and to improve the competitiveness of agricultural
output in international markets.
8.14 However, the immediate concern is management of
the political climate to stall wholesale destruction of land,
invested capital and productive assets, and to restore freedom
to market goods to consumers.
8.15 Agricultural production, being a major consumer
of water and in view of the present deteriorating political outlook,
needs to take particular account of water resource management.
This entails fine tuning project design on a cost-efficient basis
to matters such as market demand for choice of cultivar, use of
marginal quality water, improvements in irrigation technology.
8.16 Provision of international monitors: to work alongside
grassroots and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to
support freedom of movement through checkpoints and to discourage
settler interference in routine relief activities. Involvement
of international volunteer groups in the occupied territories
has demonstrated that an independent observer presence discourages
spurious or illegal interventions by security forces. It also
deters reckless settler behaviour on the wrong side of the law
intended to intimidate or impoverish Palestinian communities.
8.17 The impact on NGOs at an operational level of impediments
to free circulation of staff tends to be insidious rather than
dramatic, but nevertheless impacts upon the efficiency of NGOs.
PARC cited the following in its annual report:
transportation costs increased by between three
to five times;
a six-day working week, stretched working days;
complimentary irrigation and desalination projects
unable to achieve objectives;
information deficits and co-ordination difficulties
between headquarters, branches and offices;
inability to distribute technology improvements
to farmers (eg PARC's environmentally friendly practices campaign).
8.18 Repair of damage to roads caused by military activity
and settler vandalism. Where replacement routes must be adopted,
weatherproofing of these improvised relief tracks could be required.
8.19 Israel is a State Party to international human rights
legislation and is obliged to provide human rights' protection
to Palestinians living in the occupied territories under:
the International Covenant on Civil and Political
the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights.
Israel is a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention
Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
(1949), which conveys express responsibilities as an occupying
power and in respect of civilians under its military authority.
8.20 Settlements are illegal, constituting a grave breach
of the Fourth Geneva Convention, or otherwise put, a war crime:
"the following shall be regarded as grave breaches
. . . the transfer by the occupying power of parts of its own
civilian population into the territory it occupies, in breach
of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention"50
High Contracting Parties have responsibilities with respect
to observation by other High Contracting Parties of the terms
of the Geneva Conventions . . .
8.21 Ongoing conditions of political instability in the
occupied territories favour the promotion of ideological settlement,
its delinquency under international law notwithstanding. Such
policiesthe "matrix of control"are manifestly
long-run causes of poverty and deprivation amongst Palestinian
communities. The settler presence means that aid projects will
remain vulnerable to disruption either before or shortly after
completion, since they support that which settler ideology is
trying to eradicatean autonomous Palestinian presence within
the historic Palestinian Mandate. That this situation is intensifying
and has been brought about by policy choicesrather than
natural disaster or endogenous economic mismanagementdemands
that aid strategies work to frustrate their impact.
8.22 In view of the scale of the disregard for international
law and conventions governing the conduct of occupying powers,
aid policy should be adapted to address the destruction of economic
assets (eg water, fertile land) and development capital (eg plant
and projects) on the basis that the perpetrator pays. Measures
could be introduced into aid programmes that consider the feasible
pursuit of damages in order to obtain compensation for loss of
national taxpayers' contributions to anticipated social development,
not excluding the possibility of collaborative class actions with
other agencies affected by similar type-losses. Concerning settler-perpetrated
vandalism, where the destruction is often a straightforward matter
of criminal prosecution, contingent funding for legal action in
local courts should be considered as a budgetary item in order
for donors and recipient communities to benefit from the punitive
deterrence that habitually accompanies law enforcement elsewhere.
8.23.1 The dismantling of settlements is a central issue
in the context of negotiations over contiguous territory for a
Palestinian state. Peace Now's annual survey of settler sentiment
conducted in June 2003 found that 83% of settlers would agree
to leave the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for compensation.
8.23.2 Given that settlements enjoy Israeli-government
and independently-sourced fiscal concessions and grantssome
of which are disbursed on a non-recourse basisconsideration
could legitimately be given to introducing to the aid agenda the
concept of lobbying for counter-subventions to encourage evacuation
of illegally-appropriated property (levied on those parties liable
at law for reparations and their sponsors). The approach acquires
financial viability when the aggregate cost of long-run transfers
for (re-)development projects outweighs the cost of inducing reverse
8.23.3 While it is undesirable that illegal settlement
might be seen as a profitable affair, the costs of termination
should rest finally with the governing authority responsible for
the occupied territories over the period. Distribution of liability
amongst historic beneficiaries thereafter would not be a matter
of concern for international aid and development agencies.
1 Compound annual growth rates 1990-2002 from data sourced
from: Foundation for Middle East Peace, Settlement Report; Peace
Now; Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.
2 Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now spokesperson, quoted in
Yediot Acharonot (online edition), 28 July 2003.
3 Yediot Ahronot, 6 August 2003; reported by IPC.
4 BBC News Online, Monday 18 August 2003; Israel's
religious settlers, by Raffi Berg
5 Palestinian Land Defence General Committee, Current
Characteristics of Israeli Settlement Activity in the West Bank
6 Considering, for example, "red-line" statements
of opposition to American demands issued by Likud coalition partners
the National Religious Party and National Union.
7 Statement of doctrine, Israel Defence Force [http://www.idf.il/english/doctrine/doctrine.stm].
8 All military orders referenced from Raja Shehadeh,
The Law of the Land, Part VI passim.
9 Ibid. Part V, p 100.
10 Statement of doctrine, Israel Defence Force [http://www.idf.il/english/doctrine/doctrine.stm].
11 PALDIS-LDC Report, Ideological Settlement in the
West Bank: Areas of Exclusion Enforced upon the Palestinian Population,
12 Al-Haq Institute, The Israeli Settlements from
the Perspective of International Law, Chapter 3, Section 2,
13 B'Tselem Information Sheet, Tacit Consent,
March 2001, citing letter to IDF spokesperson, p 24.
14 cf. investigative papers published by B'Tselem (Jerusalem),
Al Haq (Ramallah), . . .
15 Palestinian Villagers of Huwarra, south of Nablus,
reported that settlers from Yitshar are chasing villagers out
of their fields using light airplanes. Villager Minwer Abu Zaher
said that Israeli settlers land their light planes in their fields
and chase villagers out of their fields. Another villager, Mustafa
Al Nuri, reported that he was beaten by settlers and suffered
serious injuries to the head. News filed by Amin Abu Warda, International
Middle East Media Centre, 5 August 2003.
16 According to the National Committee against Settlement,
the Legal Centre for the Defence of Land, Nablus, 334 recorded
explosions had resulted in the deaths of 144 and serious injuries
to 320 people up to September 1998.
17 News report, International Middle East Media Centre,
25 August 2003.
18 B'Tselem Information Sheet Not Even a Drop,
July 2001, p 7, from primary sources at the Palestinian Ministry
for Local Government; Palestine Water Authority; Palestinian Hydrology
19 Associated Press report, Jordan Times, Israeli
minister bans Palestinian water drilling, 24 October 2002.
20 B'Tselem Information Sheet, Not Even A Drop,
p 10, July 2001.
21 This problem arose during the planning approval stages
for connecting villages in the Hebron Governorate. Author's interview
with Dr I Barghothi, Director, Palestine Water Authority, March
22 Press release: Les ressources d'eau de la Bande
de Gaza sont mises en peril, International Press Centre, 13
23 Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics, Land Use
24 Interview with Ahmed Sourani, Director of Relations
and Cooperation Development, Palestine Agricultural Relief Committee
(PARC), 9 February 2003.
27 Ministry of Agriculture.
28 Cited correspondence between Palestinian Centre for
Human Rights (PCHR) and B'Tselem, B'Tselem Information Sheet,
Policy of Destruction, February 2002, p 7.
29 Letter to Knesset Member MK Ran Cohen, 29 November
30 Specifically, s 23(g) of the Hague Convention (1907);
IDF spokesperson's statement, 30 January 2002.
31 B'Tselem Information Sheet, Policy of Destruction,
February 2002, p 4.
32 Palestine Hydrology Group, Water & Environmental
Resources Development, April-August 2002.
33 The Israeli Settlements from the Perspective of International
Law, Al Haq Institute 2000.
34 As reported by the International Middle East Media
Centre, 11 August 2003: One road will connect Qedar with Ma'aleh
Adomim settlements east of Jerusalem; a second will connect Nelli
with Ofrim settlement north of Ramallah; the third connects settlements
in Jenin area near the village of Ya'abad.
35 Amnesty International Report, Israel: Briefing
for the Committee Against Torture, May 2002; Collective
36 Primary data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of
Statistics, press release 21 August 2003.
37 Press release, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
(PCBS), 21 August 2003.
38 Captain Anrieta Levi, IDF Spokesperson, responding
to B'Tselem Report Lethal Curfew, p 31 (October 2002).
39 United Nations Environment Programme, Desk Study
on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, p
40 Applied Research InstituteJerusalem, The
Status of the Environment in the West Bank, 1997.
41 PASSIA Special Bulletin, WaterThe Blue Gold
of the Middle East, p 7 (July 2002).
42 United Nations Environment Programme, Desk Study
on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, p
43 Applied Research InstituteJerusalem.
44 Factual and numeric data cited chiefly relies upon:
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Suffering in Isolation,
Series Study (32), July 2003; B'Tselem Status Report, Al Mawasi,
Gaza Strip: Intolerable Life in an Isolated Enclave, March
45 Captain Anrieta Levi, IDF Public Spokesperson, Public
Relations, quoted in B'Tselem Status Report, Al Mawasi, Gaza
Strip: Intolerable Life in an Isolated Enclave, p 22 [March
46 Megbil Shurab was expelled without explanation by
military order, 13 May 2003.
47 Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, Khan Younis,
Gaza, May 2003.
48 The latest occasion via President Arafat, 29 August
2003, at a meeting with Quartet representatives, along with an
offer to extend the hudna.
49 Palestine National Water Authority, Elements of
a National Water Policy, 1996.
50 Protocol Additional I to the Geneva Conventions, Article
51 Peace Now press release, July 24, 2003.