United Nations

A/51/135 - E/1996/51


Economic and Social Council

 Distr. GENERAL
17 June 1996
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


GENERAL ASSEMBLY                          ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
Fifty-first session                       Substantive session of 1996
Item 12 of the preliminary list*          Item 8 of the provisional
REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC AND                  agenda**
  SOCIAL COUNCIL
                                          ** E/1996/100.
*    A/51/50.


             PERMANENT SOVEREIGNTY OVER NATIONAL RESOURCES IN THE 
                OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN AND OTHER ARAB TERRITORIES

          Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements
          on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory,
          including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab
                        population of the Syrian Golan

                         Note by the Secretary-General


     In its resolution 1995/49 of 28 July 1995, entitled "Economic and
social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian
people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied
since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan",
the Economic and Social Council requested the Secretary-General to
submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-first session, through the
Council, a report on the implementation of the resolution.  The
General Assembly, in its resolution 50/129 of 20 December 1995,
reiterated that request.  The Secretary-General has the honour to
submit to the members of the Assembly and the Council the annexed
report, covering the period from April 1995 to March 1996, which was
prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.


                                     ANNEX

             Report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission
                               for Western Asia


1.   The establishment of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian and
other Arab territories occupied since 1967 has been the subject of
various resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. 
In its resolution 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, the Council determined
that the Israeli policy and practice of establishing settlements in
those territories had no legal validity and constituted a serious
obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in
the Middle East.  That position was reaffirmed unanimously in Security
Council resolution 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, in the preamble of
which the Council took into account the need to consider measures for
the impartial protection of private and public land and property, and
water resources, and affirmed the applicability of the Geneva
Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of
War, of 12 August 1949, 1/ to the Arab territories occupied by Israel
since 1967, including Jerusalem.  In 1980, the International Labour
Conference also expressed concern regarding the establishment of
settlements and called for an end to that policy, as well as the
dismantling of existing settlements.

2.   At its fiftieth session, in 1995, the General Assembly, having
considered the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli
Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and
Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/50/170, A/50/282 and
A/50/463), adopted resolution 50/29 A of 6 December 1995, in which,
inter alia, it expressed its concern about the continued violation of
the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel and reaffirmed in
particular that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territory,
including Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories occupied by Israel
since 1967 were illegal and an obstacle to a comprehensive settlement.

3.   In its resolution 50/129 of 20 December 1995, the General Assembly
took note of the note of the Secretary-General on the economic and
social consequences of the establishment of settlements by Israel in
the territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and the
Syrian Golan (A/50/262-E/1995/59); recognized the economic and social
repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in
the territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem, and
on the Arab population of the Syrian Golan; reaffirmed the inalienable
right of the Palestinian people and the population of the Syrian Golan
to their natural and all other economic resources, and regarded any
infringement thereof as being illegal; and requested the
Secretary-General to submit to it at its fifty-first session, through
the Economic and Social Council, a report on the progress made in the
implementation of the resolution.  The present report is submitted in
response to that resolution.

4.   The building of settlements began shortly after the Six Day War in
1967, with the first being established in the Syrian Golan.  Since
that time, that policy has been developed more or less intensively and
has accelerated since the beginning of 1990. 2/  Financial and tax
incentives offered by the Government encourage settlers to make their
homes in the occupied territories.

5.   The signature on 13 September 1993 by the Government of Israel and
the Palestine Liberation Organization of the Declaration of Principles
on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (A/48/486-S/26560, annex) was
a landmark in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations.  The
Declaration states in its article I that the aim of the
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is to establish a Palestinian Interim
Self-Government Authority, the elected Council for the Palestinian
people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period
not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on
Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).  The issue of
settlements, in this Declaration, was deferred to the permanent status
negotiations phase, which should start not later than the beginning of
the third year of the interim period.

6.   On 4 May 1994, the Palestinians and the Israelis concluded an
agreement in Cairo for the implementation of the Declaration of
Principles (A/49/180-S/1994/727, annex).  On that date, the interim
period formally began.  Soon after the Cairo agreement, the Israeli
army completed its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, but left some
forces in the area surrounding 16 Israeli settlements occupied by
approximately 4,000 settlers.

7.   On 28 September 1995, in Washington, D.C., Israel and the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Israeli-Palestinian
Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, referred to
hereafter as Oslo II.  This accord detailed the mechanisms, and the
limitations, of the extension of Palestinian self-rule to significant
portions of the West Bank.  The main feature of the Agreement was the
provision for the division of the West Bank into three areas, each
with varying degrees of Israeli and Palestinian responsibility.  Area
A consists of the seven major Palestinian towns, Jenin, Kalkiliya,
Tulkarm, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron, in which Palestinians
will have complete authority for civilian security.  In area B, which
comprises all other Palestinian population centres (except for some
refugee camps), Israel will retain "overriding security
responsibility", while in Area C, which includes all settlements,
military bases and areas, and state lands, Israel will retain sole
security authority. 3/

8.   Oslo II provided the opportunity for the redeployment of the
Israeli army, allowing the Palestinian National Authority to assume
its civil and security responsibilities according to the schedule
provided for in the Agreement.  Indeed, the Israeli army began its
withdrawal from Jenin on 13 November 1995, followed by Tulkarm on 10
December 1995, Nablus and other villages in the Tulkarm area on 11
December 1995, Kalkiliya on 17 December 1995, Bethlehem on 21 December
1995 and finally Ramallah on 28 December 1995.  Withdrawal
from Hebron, however, was postponed to the end of March 1996, and the
120,000 Palestinians living there and the surrounding areas were
deprived of their freedom because of the presence of 400 settlers for
whom the Government of Israel insisted on providing full protection
before redeployment (see para. 21 on construction of bypass roads). 
By the end of March 1996, withdrawal from Hebron had been postponed
indefinitely following a unilateral decision by the Government of
Israel in the light of the prevailing security conditions in Israel
and the occupied territories.

9.   Oslo II also opened the way for free elections in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip, allowing the Palestinians to elect 88 members and a
President for a Legislative Council entrusted with drawing up a
constitution for the work of the Palestinian Authority as well as
establishing the necessary legislation.  The elections were held on 20
January 1996 under fair conditions, according to international
observers, and with the participation of around 1 million voters.

10.  The first indications on the thinking of Israeli politicians
concerning the future of the occupied territories, including Jewish
settlements, came in a statement by the late Israeli Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin to the Knesset on 5 October 1995 during the discussion
of Oslo II.  In that statement, he explained his views on the
requirements of the final phase:  "The security border of the State of
Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning
of that term."  Mr. Rabin also spoke of "changes which will include
the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other communities
[settlements] ... in the area east of what was the 'Green Line', prior
to the Six-Day War" and of "the establishment of blocs of settlements
in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif". 4/

11.  Less than two weeks later, Prime Minister Rabin again spoke
publicly of his vision of a final settlement with the Palestinians,
emphasizing the importance of settlement blocs.  He stressed that the
country's final borders would include - in addition to a united
Jerusalem - Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other
settlements east of the Green Line. 5/ 

12.  Successive statements by Israeli officials in the new Government
formed by Shimon Peres after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin have
confirmed this direction, which was adopted by the Israeli Labour
Party.  The Israeli press quoted Minister Yossi Beilin as supporting
the idea of gathering settlers in large settlement blocs to be under
Israeli authority after the application of the final settlement.  For
those settlements which would not fall under Israeli sovereignty, he
said: 6/

     "We will not suggest to anyone to evacuate or uproot the
     settlements.  It will be up to the settlers themselves to remain
     in an area outside Israeli sovereignty or to move to another area
     and to get the help of the Government in this matter." 

13.  It appears from the official Israeli statements that, in the
context of a final settlement, the Government of Israel intends to
gather Jewish settlers in settlement compounds with centres in the
large settlements of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Kalkiliya
(settlements close to the Green Line called "five minutes from Kfar
Sava") and Nablus.  Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley will
remain under Israeli control.  During his meeting with heads of Jewish
settlements in the Jordan Valley, Prime Minister Shimon Peres assured
them that after the final settlement their settlements would remain
under Israeli control, avoiding the use of the term "Israeli
sovereignty". 7/  He also stated his commitment before the heads of
the Gush Etzion settlement to integrate their settlements into Israel
after reaching the final settlement. 8/  On the other hand, the
Government will work on the evacuation of about 40 small Jewish
settlements and offer the settlers the choice of either moving to
other areas (within the Green Line or the settlement blocs) and
receiving compensation, or remaining where they are according to
certain arrangements to be agreed upon with the Palestinians. 9/  This
explains what an Israeli minister meant when he said that there was a
difference between keeping settlements and keeping settlers. 10/

14.  The progress in the peace process with the Palestinians, in
particular the implementation of Oslo II and the redeployment of the
Israeli Army and its evacuation of agreed areas, has led to a slight
but growing change in the attitude of Jewish settlers concerning the
future of the settlements and their own future in the occupied
territories.  According to a Modi'in Ezrahi survey commissioned by the
Peace Now movement and conducted on 17 August 1995 among a
representative sample of Jewish settlers, 32 per cent of the settlers
said they would be willing to leave their settlements if offered
reasonable compensation, while 26 per cent said they would stay in
their settlements under any conditions.  Fifteen per cent of the
settlers said they would surely be willing to leave and another 17 per
cent said they thought they would.  The poll found that willingness to
leave increased in proportion to the distance of the settlement from
Jerusalem, in places such as Ariel, Emmanuel, Alfei Menasheh, and
Kiryat Arba.  Asked what they would do if their settlements were not
included in Israel's boundaries in the final agreement with the
Palestinians, 26 per cent said they would stay in the settlements
under any conditions, 29 per cent said they would stay if security
remained in the hands of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), 25 per cent
said they would prefer moving within the Green Line and 8 per cent
said they would move to another settlement in the territories. 11/

15.  In another survey conducted by the Modi'in Ezrahi in January 1996,
5 per cent of settlers from Ariel, Emmanuel, Alfei Menasheh, Maaleh
Ephraim and Kiryat Arba said they were willing to leave their
settlements if offered reasonable compensation.  Of those, 16.3 per
cent said they would surely be willing; 18.5 per cent said they
thought they would; and 16.3 per cent said they had not yet decided
but they might be willing. 12/

16.  In practical terms, Israeli parliament sources have confirmed that
600 Jewish settler families have voluntarily abandoned their dwellings
in the settlements of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since the
signing of the Oslo Agreement.  According to those sources, a large
number of other families wish to leave the settlements but have not
received the necessary support from Israeli authorities. 13/  That
position was confirmed by the refusal of Prime Minister Shimon Peres,
during an interview, to pay any compensation to settlers who wished to
leave their settlements, saying that as long as the authorities did
not request the settlers to evacuate their settlements, they would not
receive any compensation.  At the same time, press sources indicated
that hundreds of Jewish families living in West Bank settlements had
started organizing themselves into a special association aiming at
preparing for their departure in exchange for compensation.  The Peace
Now movement, which stands behind this initiative, held several
meetings attended by hundreds of settlers, especially in the Kiryat
Arba, Karnei Shomron and Emmanuel settlements. 14/  In the Kiryat Arba
settlement, an association was formed under the name of Settlers for
Voluntary Evacuation.  Those responsible for this association said
they had a list of 200 families interested in evacuating the
settlement in exchange for compensation. 15/  The Peace Now movement
asked the Government of Israel to provide those settlers with
financial assistance, indicating that their number had increased since
the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. 16/  The movement
also protested to the Israeli Head of State for refusing to receive
representatives of the settlers who were members of the association.

17.  One major Israeli newspaper published a lengthy report based on
official sources in which it confirmed the existence of secret
contacts in European capitals between leaders of some Israeli
settlements and Palestinian businessmen for the sale of houses in the
settlements and even whole settlements.  According to the newspaper,
many settlers felt frustrated by the current situation.  Leaders of
several settlements, such as Elkanah and Itzhar, were negotiating the
sale of houses and properties in their own and other settlements after
agreeing on appropriate prices.  Such contacts were being carried out
with the knowledge - but not the intervention - of both the Government
of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 17/  This pragmatic approach
on the part of some Jewish settlers represents a new phenomenon, but
it is not that of the majority.

18.  In mid-June 1995, the settlers began implementing a comprehensive
scheme called "Land of Israel First", devised by the Council of Jewish
Settlements in Judea and Samaria.  The aim of the scheme was to
prevent the redeployment of the Israeli Army outside Palestinian towns
and villages, as called for in the agreement signed with the
Palestinians.  The scheme called for seizing government lands
neighbouring the settlements, occupying empty houses and opening
access roads in the settlements.  Thus, on 13 June 1995 dozens of
settlers occupied 13 empty houses in the Barkan settlement near
Nablus.  Three families and 20 bachelors settled on this location,
which has been called Maaleh Israel. 18/  On 17 July 1995, settlers
moved six mobile homes onto a hill near the Efrat settlement and 12
families occupied empty houses in Kiryat Arba settlement. 19/  At the
end of October 1995, the settlers were continuing their campaign to
occupy hundreds of houses in the settlements.  Referring to
declarations made by the Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing
in which he estimated empty houses in the settlements at 3,300,
Israeli newspapers reported that 12 settler families had entered empty
houses in the Maaleh Haifer settlement in the Hebron area without
formal authorization and 45 houses in Kiryat Arba continued to be
occupied by settlers.

19.  Though the Ministry of Housing officially denied having
information on this matter, a Ministry of Housing document obtained by
Peace Now shows that there have been 612 instances of settlers
squatting in the empty apartments.  That figure includes 44 in the
settlement of Meitzad in Gush Etzion, 31 in Avnei Khefetz, 34 in
Barkan, 31 in Yakir, 38 in Alei Zahav and 83 in Eli.  That number,
however, does not include dozens of settlers who squatted in flats in
Ariel and to whom the Government agreed to sell the homes. 20/ 

20.  The settlers intensified their campaign in what the Israeli and
Arab press called the "war of the hills".  In early August 1995, the
settlers established 15 settlement locations on West Bank hills near
Sussiah, Alon More, Alfe Menasheh, Neve Samuel, Karnei Tsur, Neve
Daniel, Givat Zeev, Ofra, Dolev and other settlements.  With the
support of extreme right-wing parties, the settlers were able to stage
a demonstration aimed at closing all major roads, streets and
crossroads in the West Bank and inside Israel.  The Israeli press and
television said that the settlers' protests involved more than 40
major roads. 21/ 

21.  During the period under review, the seizure of Arab lands and
their exploitation took on many forms and methods, including for the
construction of bypass roads and security fences between the occupied
territories and Israel.  The Government of Israel had in fact
committed itself to the construction of bypass roads and to providing
everything necessary for the security of Jewish settlers during the
transition period.  During the discussion of the Oslo II Agreement in
the Knesset on 5 October 1995, the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
stated: 22/

     "Activity for providing security measures for the Israeli
     communities - fences, peripheral roads, lighting, gates - will
     continue on a wide scale.  Bypass roads will be built, whose
     purpose will be to enable Israeli residents to move about without
     having to pass through Palestinian population centres in places
     which will be transferred to the responsibility of the Palestinian
     Authority.  In any case, the IDF will not carry out a redeployment
     from the first seven cities before the bypass roads are completed. 
     In all, investment in the bypass roads will be about 500 million
     new shekels [$166 million]."

In that regard, Mr. Rabin explained that the postponement of
redeployment in Hebron to March 1996 was caused by the inability to
complete the bypass roads in the area before that date.

22.  In May 1995, Israeli press sources indicated that the Israeli Army
was to begin construction of 11 bypass roads at a cost of NIS 300
million. 23/  The total length of those roads was estimated at 130
kilometres.

23.  The first bypass around Jericho was inaugurated on 1 August 1995
in the presence of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, 24/ and in
December the Ramallah bypass was inaugurated in the presence of the
Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing and the military
commander of the central zone as well as representatives of the
settlers.

24.  The construction of settlement bypass roads and other streets in
the course of 1995 required the confiscation of thousands of dunums of
Arab land in various parts of the West Bank.  (A dunum is a unit of
land area equal to 1,000 square metres.)  In the areas of Nablus and
its villages, Jenin, Tulkarm, Kalkiliya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron
and Jerusalem, the Israeli civil authorities issued tens of orders for
the confiscation of Palestinian lands.  Military chiefs also issued
military orders to seize and/or close hundreds of dunums of land. 
Defence Committee sources indicate that the amount of land confiscated
for the construction of settlement roads totalled 18,000 dunums. 25/ 
These expropriations led to thousands of Palestinian families being
deprived of their only livelihood, since most of the lands were
planted with crops and olive and fruit trees.  In some areas, the
confiscations resulted in damage to archaeological or religious sites
and in other locations threatened to destroy houses where Palestinians
lived.

25.  Affected Palestinians expressed their protests, formed committees
to defend their threatened lands and presented their objections to the
relevant Israeli authorities and courts.  In several locations,
inhabitants maintained a presence in their homes for a number of days,
attempted to prevent bulldozers from working on their lands and said
prayers on them.  Israeli left-wing and environmental protection
groups took part in the protests.  For the first time, a small group
of Jewish settlers from areas around Halhoul participated in a
demonstration to protest the confiscation of 2,700 dunums of
agricultural land for the construction of a bypass road in the Hebron
area. 26/  Protests also emanated from the Palestinian Authority, with
an official saying that bypass roads and land confiscations for their
construction had gone beyond their stated objective.  The aim now was
to confiscate more land at any price, destroy cultivations, dissolve
the geographical uniformity of Palestinian cities, towns and villages,
halt urban and demographic expansion and establish a new reality in
the occupied territories where Israeli authorities would be in
permanent control.  Moreover, the way such roads were being
constructed, the Palestinians feared, indicated that they would remain
permanently, maintaining the de facto situation and the presence of
settlements and settlers in the West Bank. 27/

26.  As for the so-called demarcation wall or security fence, the
Israeli society and politicians have discussed extensively the
feasibility and possibility of implementing the full separation
between the occupied territories and Israel.  However, after work
began to implement the separation plan prepared by the Israeli Army
and approved by the Prime Minister in March 1995 (which involved the
establishment of a 30-kilometre security zone east of the Green Line
with observation posts, an early warning system, advanced
technological techniques and trained dogs at a cost of half a billion
United States dollars), the Government reversed its position and froze
the implementation of the plan.  However, political developments,
especially the assumption by the Palestinian Authority of its
administrative and security responsibilities in both areas A and B
(see para. 7), pressure from supporters of the separation plan in
Israeli security circles and the pretext of defending settlements on
the demarcation line led the Security Committee to draw up a new plan
for a security wall.  According to declarations made by the Israeli
Minister of Police, there were 83 Jewish settlements on the
demarcation line that would be protected through cooperation between
the Israeli Army and the police and the construction, north of the
West Bank, of a 12-kilometre security wall separating the West Bank
from Israel and equipped with special electronic devices and 18
central checkpoints. 28/  Despite instructions from the legal adviser
of the Government of Israel not to confiscate Palestinian land and to
build the wall within Israel, except when it was not possible to do
so, Palestinians said that the Israeli authorities had informed them
of the confiscation of unspecified parts of their lands in the Tulkarm
and Kalkiliya areas for the purpose of constructing the wall. 29/

27.  At the end of 1995, the Government of Israel decided to freeze the
construction of the security wall. 30/  However, the series of suicide
bombings witnessed by Israel in February and March 1996 prompted the
Government to announce a comprehensive plan to counter them.  Israeli
Prime Minister Peres, who had always opposed proposals to separate the
two peoples, agreed to the proposals of the Security Committee to
build the security wall and deploy heavy military and police forces
along the Green Line, surrounding an area 360 kilometres long and 2
kilometres wide.  There would be 18 checkpoints to control the traffic
of goods and persons over a period of about one year.  In the area of
Tulkarm and Kalkiliya, a 29-kilometre-long electronic fence would be
erected and Palestinians would be prevented from entering the area,
except for landowners, to whom Israel would give special entry
permits. 31/

28.  Sources from the Centre for Land Research in East Jerusalem
estimated the total area of expropriated Palestinian land in 1995 at
18,180 dunums.  Of those, 3,500 dunums were seized as state land,
8,900 for settlement purposes, 1,100 for military purposes and 4,680
for public projects. 29/  Furthermore, Palestinian sources, namely,
the Land and Water Agency, indicated that between the signing of the
Declaration of Principles in September 1993 and the end of 1995,
Israeli authorities had confiscated 230,000 dunums under various
pretexts relating to the establishment of natural reserves, the
opening of bypass roads, the expansion of settlements or, again, the
security wall. 32/

29.  Most of the official and non-official Israeli settlement
activities of 1995 and the beginning of 1996 were concentrated in the
Jerusalem area.  Israel has implemented a number of measures targeting
the Arab presence in the City, including harassment and closure of
Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem; withdrawal of Israeli
identification cards from Palestinians registered in Jerusalem and
living outside the City limits; and direct and indirect interference
in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council in Jerusalem
by spreading rumours about depriving voters of their civil and social
rights, harassment of candidates and deploying a heavy security
presence on election day and obstructing voters' access to the polls. 
By implementing these and other measures relating to the confiscation
of Palestinian land in the Jerusalem area and the intensification of
settlement activity there, Israel has attempted to influence the
results of the "final status" negotiations called for in the
Declaration of Principles and due to start in May 1996, with the issue
of Jerusalem one of the crucial issues to be addressed. 33/

30.  In a publicly broadcast ceremony in honour of the twenty-eighth
anniversary of "Jerusalem's reunification", Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin declared: 34/

     "All Governments of Israel, including the present Government, have
     been fully confident that what was determined in 1967, what was
     legislated in 1988 - transforming Jerusalem into a unified City
     under Israeli sovereignty, the capital of Israel, the heart of the
     Jewish people - these are facts that will endure for eternity ... 
     The cabinet will act to strengthen the status of united Jerusalem
     as the exclusive capital of Israel, and will fight any attempt to
     impair this status."

31.  On 14 March 1995, the Israeli authorities announced the
expropriation of 2,040 dunums of land in the villages of Sheevat,
Anata and Issawiya, near Jerusalem, in accordance with the electricity
rights law, for the purpose of installing a 161-kilowatt power line to
supply electricity to the area between Ramon settlement and Al-Khan
Al-Ahmar region. 33/  In April the Israeli Minister of Finance issued
a decree involving the confiscation of 535 dunums of Arab land in the
towns of Beit Hanina and Beit Safafa.  This was seen by observers as
the most important expropriation decree in five years.  Officials of
the Jerusalem municipality said that this expropriation was a first
step towards expropriations of a larger scale.  Deputy Mayor Uri
Lupoliansky said that the municipality had also requested that
expropriations be carried out for Jewish housing projects near Pisgat
Zeev and Gilo.  Officials close to the planning department confirmed
that an additional 4,400 dunums had been earmarked, including about
800 dunums near Pisgat Zeev, 2,000 near Walleja village, 800 near the
Mar Elias Monastery and another 800 near Givat Hamatos. 35/

32.  The decision provoked indignation and rage among Palestinians and
in Arab, Islamic and international circles.  The non-aligned countries
in the United Nations submitted a draft resolution to the Security
Council rejecting the expropriation of land in Jerusalem by the
Israeli authorities and requesting the Government of Israel to cancel
expropriation decrees and stop expropriations in the future.  However,
a veto by the United States of America prevented the adoption of the
resolution.  In Israel itself, the expropriation decision faced a
great deal of criticism from members of the Government, left-wing
parties and anti-settlement movements.

33.  Jerusalem City Councilman Ornan Yekutieli (Meretz) asked the
Israeli High Court of Justice to stop the planned expropriation.  In
his petition he argued that the expropriations of Arab-owned land
violated the Basic Law:  Human Dignity and Freedom because the
Government was not according Jerusalem's Arab population basic
equality.  The petition read: 36/

     "Since 1967, all new neighbourhoods built in Jerusalem have been
     for Jews, though most of the land confiscated for this purpose was
     taken from Arabs.  In some 32 per cent of Arab households in the
     City, people live three or more to a room, compared with only 2.4
     per cent of the Jewish population.  In addition, though Arabs
     constitute 28 per cent of Jerusalem's population, only 12 per cent
     of construction since 1967 has been earmarked for them, and only 5
     per cent of construction since 1990."

Absorption Minister Yair Tzaban also confirmed in a statement
that: 35/

     "The expropriation of land belonging to Arab residents for the
     purpose of building or expanding Jewish neighbourhoods is done
     with complete disregard for the housing needs of Arab residents of
     Jerusalem."

34.  The Government later froze the implementation of the decision in
response to a proposed no-confidence motion presented to the Knesset
by two Israeli parties. 37/

35.  A day after the Government shelved its expropriation plans, the
Jerusalem district planning committee of the Ministry of Interior
approved the construction of the Har Homa settlement in south-eastern
Jerusalem.  The project, which would eventually include around 6,500
housing units, was to be built on some 1,850 dunums of land
expropriated four years before. 38/

36.  On the other hand, Khalil Al-Tafkaji, a Palestinian researcher,
revealed that what remained of the Jerusalem area occupied since 1967
for potential use by Arab inhabitants no longer exceeded 4 per cent. 
In a study on settlements in Jerusalem entitled "The Judaization of
Jerusalem:  facts and numbers", 39/ he indicated that since June-July
1967, the Israeli authorities had confiscated 33 per cent of the
City's area directly for settlement purposes.  Another 40 per cent had
come under their control as a result of new maps having been drawn
wherein the size of Arab neighbourhoods and villages was reduced and
only a limited area within them was designated for building, thus
bringing the total area of Jerusalem under Israeli control to 73 per
cent, with the addition of 6 per cent already designed for the
construction of roads.  The remaining 21 per cent was in Arab hands,
of which 10 per cent was inhabited and 7 per cent was unplanned,
rendering it vulnerable to expropriation or sale because of the high
taxes imposed by the Israeli authorities.  Arabs were thus left with a
mere 4 per cent of the area of Jerusalem for any future utilization by
the Palestinians, which was currently the subject of an unbalanced
fight in which the Israeli side had the upper hand.

37.  In a study on expropriation of Arab land in Jerusalem, Merom
Benvenisti, a researcher on settlements and a former member of the
Municipal Council of Jerusalem, refuted claims and declarations by
Israeli officials that expropriations affected both Arabs and Jews. 
He said that there were no similarities between confiscated Jewish and
Arab lands.  Whereas Jews were ready to accept compensation or
replacement land taken from the Arabs, an Arab would never accept land
confiscated from another Arab.  Mr. Benvenisti also described the
physical maps of Arab neighbourhoods prepared by the Israeli
authorities as misleading tricks.  Projects in the Jewish sector were
carried out by official, public and private entities with large
financial advantages and marketing personnel.  Jews approved for
themselves thousands of building permits in a single session of the
committees for quick planning, while Arabs lingered for years with
planning committees that worked according to political
instructions. 40/

38.  As for strengthening Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, Israeli
press sources indicated that 11,000 housing units were being
constructed as at the beginning of 1996, and thousands more were being
planned.  According to those sources, the Israeli Army had recently
completed the evacuation of a camp in the Neve Yaacov area north of
Jerusalem in preparation for the construction of 1,100 settlement
housing units linking the settlements of Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaacov
to Street Nos. 13 and 1.  These houses were to be built on land from
the Palestinian town of Beit Hanina that had been confiscated in the
early 1980s.  Quoting information that was available to the Planning
Department in the Municipality of Jerusalem, press sources indicated
that plans had been drawn up for the construction of 33,458 housing
units for Jews against 15,120 for Arabs in order to increase the
Jewish population of Jerusalem by 123,000.  Published figures include
planned construction of Jewish housing units in Pisgat Zeev (4,000
units), Har Homa (7,500 units), Sheevat Hill (2,200 units), Gilo
(7,000 units) and Jevat Hamtus (1,800 units). 41/  Israeli sources
further indicated that the interministerial committee on settlements
would at its next meeting consider plans to construct 3,000 new
housing units in Maaleh Adumim, 500 in Gush Etzion and more than 1,000
each in the Betar and Kiryat Sefer settlements. 42/

39.  A government committee had already approved the project, financed
by settlement associations, for the construction of 132 housing units
for religious Jews on an area of 15 dunums in the Arab-populated Ras
Al-Amud area, 2 kilometres east of Jerusalem.  The project was stopped
by the Israeli Minister of the Interior, who refused to approve it
owing to the criticism from his colleagues in the Government and from
members of the Municipal Council of Jerusalem. 43/  However, the
intervention of the Prime Minister led to the approval of the
project. 44/

40.  Regarding settlement roads in the Jerusalem area, Palestinian
sources said that the Israeli Supreme Court had, in March 1996,
approved decisions by Israeli military authorities to construct
Streets 4 and 45 in Jerusalem while it was still looking into an
appeal against the construction of Street 1.  According to those
sources, Street 4 crossed into the lands of Beit Hanina, Rafat and
Jadira from the south, linking the Givat Zeev settlement with the
Ramut settlement established on lands from Beit Aksa and Beit Hanina. 
Street 45 linked the Givat Zeev settlement with the Rift Valley area,
whereas Street 1 crossed into the village of Sheevat in order to link
the Jerusalem settlements with the Neve Yaacov settlement.  Its
construction would lead to the destruction of 17 houses in Sheevat and
Beit Hanina and the confiscation of 380 dunums ordered by the Israeli
authorities since September 1995. 45/

41.  In the Jewish settlements of the West Bank, official settlement
activity was in harmony with the vision of Israeli politicians for the
future of those settlements after the transition phase.  In that
context, activities aimed at strengthening settlements were
concentrated during 1995 in the Jewish settlements near Jerusalem the
Gush Etzion settlements, and settlements close to the Green Line.

42.  According to a report published by Peace Now, 1,400 new housing
units had been started since the beginning of 1995 in Jewish
settlements over the Green Line, most of them in the Greater Jerusalem
area.  The group said that this was the largest number of building
starts in the territories in three years.  Altogether, 6,000 housing
units were under construction to provide housing for 25,000 people. 
The report was strongly attacked by the Israeli Minister of Housing,
who called it grossly irresponsible and accused the group of creating
a possible international backlash against housing in parts of
Jerusalem such as Pisgat Zeev and nearby towns (settlements) such as
Maaleh Adumim. 46/

43.  Press sources also indicated that during 1995 government building
activities in West Bank settlements had reached 1,800 housing units,
1,528 of which were in settlements close to Jerusalem and 272 in the
rest of the West Bank settlements. 47/

44.  In the settlements near Jerusalem during the first four months of
1995 construction was begun on 1,126 units.  During the second
quarter, 224 units were begun.  Most of this construction was
occurring in Beitar (718) and Maaleh Adumim (616) as part of the 4,100
units approved by the Government in January.  The Ministry of Housing
intended to start building 2,285 units in the Jerusalem region during
1995. 48/

45.  In the settlements of Gush Etzion, the Chairman of the Regional
Council confirmed that work had started on a project to build a large
industrial area.  He said that everything was proceeding in a legal
manner with the approval of the authorities concerned. 49/  Israeli
parliamentary sources revealed that the Government of Israel was
planning to build a new settlement in Gush Etzion called Shvut
Rahil-B.  A number of mobile homes had already been installed at the
site and the Ministry of Housing was studying the developments
there. 50/  The Minister of Finance had said that the settlements of
Gush Etzion represented large reserves of land and that he would
recommend intensifying and expanding the construction of settlements
there so as to have a de facto situation imposed during the final
stage of the peace negotiations.  He reportedly declared that it was
no secret that the Government considered those neighbourhoods (i.e.
the neighbourhoods close to Jerusalem) and others, such as Maaleh
Adumim and Gush Etzion, an integral part of the future map of
Israel. 51/

46.  As for the settlements close to the Green Line, Israeli press
sources reported the Minister of Housing as saying his Ministry had
prepared the blueprints for a new neighbourhood for religious Jews
within the Green Line called "Mattiyahu", near the settlement of
Kiryat Sefer (west of the city of Ramallah), and for the Hashmonaim
neighbourhood, also within the Green Line, so that the three sites
would become one settlement with 12,000 housing units.  The sources
reported that the Government of Israel had made several proposals
concerning the religious Jews in an attempt to appease the religious
parties by building housing units especially for the religious Jews in
fulfilment of promises made to those parties in return for their
support for the Government in the Israeli Knesset and for their
agreeing to refrain from voting in a no-confidence vote proposed by
the Yemenite opposition. 52/

47.  At the beginning of 1996, the Israeli Prime Minister ratified the
establishment of a new settlement close to the Green Line in the
region of Ramallah to house the officers and soldiers of the Israeli
regular forces and their families.  The new settlement will have 680
housing units and will be part of the new Israeli town of Mawdiein
once it is completed. 53/  In the northern part of the West Bank, the
Government of Israel provided land and many other facilities to
official and semi-official authorities for the construction of five
factories in the industrial area of the Shaked-Hinnanit-Reihan
settlement bloc, west of Jenin, at a cost of US$ 8 million.  The total
area of construction will be 18,000 square feet.  Reports said that
there were efforts under way to annex the industrial area of 50 dunums
to an existing park belonging to the Israeli village of Um al-Fahum,
1.5 kilometres distant. 54/

48.  The Ministerial Committee for Planning and Construction, which is
responsible for studying and approving plans and projects for
settlements in the occupied territories, has not convened a meeting
since January 1995.  It is expected that once the Committee meets it
will study and approve various settlement projects in the West Bank,
including the establishment of new settlements and adding thousands of
new housing units to already established settlements. 55/

49.  As for the Jewish settlements in the occupied Golan Heights,
official and local efforts to strengthen those settlements by building
new neighbourhoods and bringing more settlers to live in them have
continued.  Sources said that there was a mass influx of newcomers to
Katzrin, which has experienced a population boom in the past year. 
Golan regional council officials revealed in August 1995 that 120
families had been absorbed into existing settlements in the preceding
two months alone.  The council's chairman said they were optimistic
that the number of new families coming to live in the region, apart
from Katzrin, would top the 1,000 mark within a year.  He added that
the council was continuing to develop and expand the existing
infrastructure and increase work places, in particular in industry,
tourism and agriculture, to meet the newcomers' needs. 56/

50.  In addition to land seizure, the building of settlements and the
expansion of those settlements, water utilization in the occupied
territories remains one of the problems that adversely affect the
lives of Palestinians and their economic and social conditions. 
Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an initial agreement in
July 1995 on the issue of water in the occupied territories.  Water
rights and methods of utilization in the West Bank will be determined
in the final-stage negotiations and a tripartite Israeli-Palestinian-
American committee will be formed to discuss water-related issues such
as utilization and distribution, and the supervision of the
utilization and development of new sources of water.  The agreement on
water issues was one of the most difficult subjects that the two
parties had to discuss, even threatening the negotiations of the
transitional stage.

51.  According to Israeli press sources, the western, northern and
north-eastern aquifers that flow under the West Bank hills produce 600
million cubic metres per year, from which Israel draws 490 million
cubic metres and the Palestinians 110 million cubic metres.  The
Palestinians' quota of water has been fixed since 1967, despite the
growing population, while Israel's needs have grown even faster. 
These aquifers supply 30 per cent of Israel's water consumption. 57/ 
Palestinians argue that this division of water is patently unfair,
especially since only 20 per cent of the water flows under the Israeli
side of the Green Line.

52.  Following a meeting with the Chairman of the PLO, Yasser Arafat,
and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in July 1995, Shimon Peres (then
Minister for Foreign Affairs) insisted that any new water arrangement
would not come at Israel's expense.  He said that there would be no
division of what already existed, but an effort to create new water
sources. 58/

53.  In August 1995, Israeli television broadcast a report on the
severe shortage of water in the West Bank town of Hebron.  The report
showed dried-up fields that were supposed to sustain the Arab
residents.  In contrast, the report also showed scenes from the
settlement of Kiryat Arba with green and flowering gardens owned by
the settlers, thus revealing the extent of inequality in water
distribution. 59/

54.  A Palestinian scientist specializing in water issues has said that
Israel receives an average of 94 per cent of the renewable water of
the western basin of the West Bank.  He also said that the
Palestinians in the West Bank were not allowed to use the water from
winter floods and were prevented from building dams.  The scientist
complained that Jewish settlers dumped piles of solid waste and soil
at the entrance of the villages close to groundwater wells, a practice
that polluted the water and rendered it unsuitable for drinking. 60/


                                     Notes

     1/  United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.

     2/  Clyde Mark, "Soviet Jewish Emigration", CRS Issue Brief,
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.,
1994.

     3/  Foundation for Middle East Peace, Report on Israeli
Settlement in the Occupied Territories (Washington, D.C., November
1995), p. 1.

     4/  Ibid., p. 3.

     5/  The Jerusalem Post, 19 October 1995.

     6/  Ha'aretz, 15 February 1996.

     7/  Ibid., 26 December 1995.

     8/  Ibid., 8 December 1995.

     9/  Yedioth Aharonoth, 26 November 1995.

     10/ Al-Ittihad, 14 December 1995.

     11/ The Jerusalem Post, 31 August 1995.

     12/ Al-Quds, 25 January 1996.

     13/ Al-Nahar, 8 December 1995.

     14/ Ha'aretz, 25 January 1996.

     15/ Al-Nahar, 11 January 1996.

     16/ Ha'aretz, 8 December 1995.

     17/ Yedioth Aharonoth, 22 December 1995.

     18/ Ha'aretz, 14 June 1995.

     19/ The Jerusalem Post, 18 July 1995.

     20/ Ibid., 31 October 1995.

     21/ Al-Quds, 9 August 1995.

     22/ Foundation for Middle East Peace, op. cit., p. 3.

     23/ The Jerusalem Post, 5 June 1995.

     24/ Ha'aretz, 1 August 1995.

     25/ Al-Quds, 3 March 1996.

     26/ The Jerusalem Post, 12 November 1995.

     27/ Al-Quds, 27 October 1995 (a press conference by Ahmed Qureia,
Minister of Economy in the Palestinian Authority).

     28/ Ha'aretz, 8 November 1995.

     29/ Al-Quds, 8 February 1996.

     30/ Ibid., 30 December 1995.

     31/ Al-Nahar, 5 March 1996 (report by AFP).

     32/ Ibid., 28 December 1995.

     33/ Al-Quds, 4 April 1995.

     34/ The Jerusalem Post, 29 May 1995.

     35/ Ibid., 28 April 1995.

     36/ Ibid., 18 May 1995.

     37/ Ibid., 23 May 1995.

     38/ Ibid., 24 May 1995.

     39/ The Arab Studies Society, "The Judaization of Jerusalem: 
Facts and Numbers" (report by Khalil Al-Tafakaji), Jerusalem (in
Arabic).

     40/ Ha'aretz, 11 May 1995 (report by Merom Benvenisti).

     41/ Ibid., 4 January 1996.

     42/ The Jerusalem Post, 13 February 1996.

     43/ Al-Quds, 27 January 1996.

     44/ Yedioth Aharonoth, 14 March 1996.

     45/ Ar Rai, 18 March 1996.

     46/ The Jerusalem Post, 13 October 1995.

     47/ Al-Quds, 7 March 1996.

     48/ Foundation for Middle East Peace, op. cit. (September 1995),
p. 5.

     49/ Ha'aretz, 8 December 1995.

     50/ Al-Ittihad, 15 February 1996.

     51/ Ibid., 14 December 1995.

     52/ Ha'aretz, 26 January 1996.

     53/ Yedioth Aharonoth, 9 February 1996.

     54/ Foundation for Middle East Peace, op. cit. (September 1995),
p. 3.

     55/ The Jerusalem Post, 13 February 1996.

     56/ Ibid., 31 August 1995.

     57/ Ibid., 19 July 1995.

     58/ Ibid., 20 July 1995.

     59/ Ibid., 20 August 1995.

     60/ Ar Rai, 30 January 1996.


                                     -----

This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 24 November 1999 11:15:45
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org