West Bank and Gaza Strip
As-Sulta Al-Wataniyya Al-Filastīniyya
(Administered by the Palestine National Authority)
Joined United Nations:  22 November 1974
(Palestine Liberation Organization enjoys Observer Status)
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
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Updated 12 September 2012
Ramallah (West Bank)
Gaza City (Gaza Strip)
4,332,801  (July 2012 est.)
Mahmoud Abbas
President since 9 January 2005
President elected by popular vote for a four-year term (eligible
for a second term); election last held 9 January 2005; as Fatah
and Hamas, the two dominant parties, were unable to reconcile
and, as Fatah continues to dominate only the West Bank and
Hamas controls only Gaza, the 9 January 2009 election did not
occur, Abbas unilaterally extended his term by one year.
Hamas, likewise declared Duwaik president as he is Speaker of
the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Next scheduled election: TBD
Ismail Haniya
Prime Minister since 25 January 2006
Following legislative elections the leader of the majority party or
coalition is typically appointed prime minister by the president.
Last election: 25 January 2006. Following renewed conflict
between Fatah and Hamas, Fayad appointed Prime Minister by
Abbas. Not confirmed by the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Next scheduled election: TBD
West Bank: Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%;
Gaza Strip: Palestinian Arab and other 99.4%, Jewish 0.6%
West Bank: Islam 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%;
Gaza Strip: Islam 99.3% (predominantly Sunni), Christian 0.7%
Interim administrative organization that nominally governs parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip comprised of After
the signing of the Oslo Accords, the West bank and the Gaza Strip were divided into 3 areas (A, B, and C) and 16
governorates. Area A refers to the area under PA security and civilian control. Area B refers to the area under Palestinian
civilian and Israeli security control. Area C refers to the area under full Israeli control such as settlements. Legal system is
a mixture Sharia (Islamic), civil and military law
Executive: The president of the PA is directly elected by the people, and the holder of this position is also considered to be the
commander-in chief of the armed forces. In an amendment to the Basic Law approved in 2003 (and which may or may not
become part of the Palestinian constitution once independence is established), the president appoints a "prime minister" who is
also chief of the national security services.
Legislative: The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is an elected body of 88 representatives and acts as a parliament.
The PLC must approve all government cabinet positions proposed by the prime minister, and must also confirm the prime
minister himself upon nomination by the president.  Parliamentary elections were conducted in January 2006 after the
recent passage of an overhauled election law that increased the number of seats from 88 to 132.
Judicial: The Judiciary Branch has yet to be properly formalized.
Arabic, Hebrew, English
The West Bank - the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian territories - has experienced a relatively high
single-digit economic growth rate since 2008, but this rate has been sustained by inflows of donor aid rather than private
sector economic activity. After suffering an almost decade-long downturn following the start of the second intifada in
2000, overall standard-of-living measures have recovered to the levels seen in the late 1990s. Despite the Palestinian
Authority's (PA) largely successful implementation of economic and security reforms and the easing of some movement
and access restrictions by the Israeli Government in 2010, Israeli closure policies continue to disrupt labor and trade
flows, industrial capacity, and basic commerce, eroding the productive capacity of the West Bank economy. Since
mid-2007 the PA under President Mahmoud ABBAS and Prime Minister Salam FAYYAD has depended on more than
$3 billion in direct foreign donor assistance to the PA's budget. The biggest impediments to economic improvements in the
West Bank remain Palestinians' lack of access to land and resources in Israeli-controlled areas, import and export
restrictions, and a high-cost capital structure. Absent robust private sector growth, the PA will continue to rely heavily on
donor aid for its budgetary needs.

High population density and Israeli security controls placed on the Gaza Strip since the end of the second intifada have
degraded economic conditions in this territory, which is smaller than the West Bank. Israeli-imposed border closures,
which became more restrictive after HAMAS seized control of the territory in June 2007, have resulted in high
unemployment, elevated poverty rates, and the near collapse of the private sector that had relied on export markets. The
population is reliant on large-scale humanitarian assistance - led by UN agencies. Changes to Israeli restrictions on
imports in 2010 resulted in a rebound in some economic activity, but regular exports from Gaza still are not permitted.
CIA World Factbook (select Gaza and West Bank)
The political status of these territories has been the subject of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) and of numerous statements and resolutions by the United Nations. (See List of United Nations
resolutions concerning Israel.) Since 1994, the autonomous Palestinian National Authority has exercised various degrees
of control in large parts of the territories, as a result of the Declaration of Principles contained in the Oslo Accords.

After Hamas won a majority of seats in elections for the Palestinian Parliament, the United States and Israel instituted an
economic blockade of the Gaza Strip. When that failed to topple the new government, a covert operation was launched
to eliminate Hamas by force. The covert initiative was exposed when confidential State Department documents were
accidentally leaked by the US envoy. The talking points delivered to the Fatah leadership said:

Hamas should be given a clear choice, with a clear deadline: they either accept a new government that meets the Quartet
principles, or they reject it. The consequences of Hamas’ decision should also be clear: If Hamas does not agree within
the prescribed time, you should make clear your intention to declare a state of emergency and form an emergency
government explicitly committed to that platform.

Since the Battle of Gaza (2007), the administration of the territories has been contested by two rival entities, with Hamas
controlling the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian National Authority (with Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah in leadership) continuing
to administer the West Bank. Both groups claim legitimacy over leadership of the Palestinian territories and neither
recognizes the legitimacy of the other. Most countries with an interest in the issues, including most of the Arab countries,
recognise the administration of Mahmoud Abbas as the legitimate government over both Palestinian territories.

The current and future political status of the territories is highly controversial. Specific issues include the legality of Israeli
policies allegedly encouraging settlement, whether it is legitimate for Israel to annex portions of the territories, whether
Israel is legally an occupying power according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and whether an independent Arab state
will be created in the territories.
Wikipedia: Palestinian National Authority
West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement -
permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation
barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew from four settlements in the northern
West Bank in August 2005; since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization
(UNTSO), headquartered in Jerusalem, monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents
from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region
U.S. State Department
United Nations Human
Rights Council
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
Freedom House
West Bank- Refugees (country of origin): 727,471 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2012)
Gaza Strip- Refugees (country of origin): 1.167 million (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA))
IDPs: 260,000 (largely from Israeli military operations in 2008-9) (2012)
Palestinian Centre for
Human Rights
2011 Human Rights Report: Israel and the occupied territories
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
11 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
24, 2012

The Palestinian Authority (PA) had a democratically elected president and legislative council. The PA exercised varying degrees of
authority over the Palestinian population in the West Bank and none over Arab residents of East Jerusalem due to the Israel Defense
Forces’ (IDF) continuing presence in the West Bank and Israel’s extension of Israeli law and authority to East Jerusalem in 1967.
The PA had little authority in the Gaza Strip and none over Israeli residents of the West Bank. In the 2006 Palestinian Legislative
Council (PLC) elections, candidates backed by Hamas, a terrorist organization, won 74 of 132 seats in elections that generally met
democratic standards. In 2007 President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the national unity government after Hamas staged a violent
takeover of PA government installations in the Gaza Strip and killed hundreds in the Fatah movement--the largest faction of the
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)--and PA security forces. President Abbas appointed a cabinet of independents led by Prime
Minister Salam Fayyad that continued to govern the West Bank during the year. Both PA and Israeli security forces reported to
civilian authorities. Hamas maintained control of security forces in the Gaza Strip. Various terrorist organizations, including Hamas
in a number of cases, launched rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli targets from inside the Gaza Strip.

The three most egregious human rights violations across the occupied territories were arbitrary arrest and associated torture and
abuse, often with impunity and particularly against security or political prisoners, by multiple actors in the region; restrictions on
civil liberties; and the inability of residents of the Gaza Strip under Hamas to choose or hold to account their own government.

Other human rights problems under the PA in the West Bank included at least one reported unlawful killing. Some detainees faced
abuse and mistreatment, overcrowded detention facilities, arbitrary arrest, and in some cases prolonged detention. Corruption,
although reduced from previous years, remained a problem. Societal discrimination and abuse against women, discrimination
against persons with disabilities, and child labor remained serious problems.

In addition to the lack of political freedom for residents of the Gaza Strip, human rights violations under Hamas reportedly included
security forces killing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining, and harassing opponents, Fatah members, and other Palestinians with
impunity. Hamas and other Palestinian militant factions in the Gaza Strip also launched rockets and mortars against civilian targets
in Israel, killing and injuring civilians. Gaza-based civil rights organizations reported that prisoners were held in poor conditions in
Gaza Strip detention facilities. Authorities reportedly failed to provide fair trials to a number of accused prisoners, including political
prisoners. Hamas also significantly restricted the freedoms of speech, religion, and movement of Gaza Strip residents. Corruption
was reportedly a problem. Hamas promoted gender discrimination against women, and domestic violence was a problem.

Human rights problems related to Israeli authorities included reports of excessive use of force against civilians, including killings;
abuse of Palestinian detainees, including minors and political prisoners, particularly during arrest and interrogation; austere and
overcrowded detention facilities; improper use of security detention procedures and incommunicado detention; demolition and
confiscation of Palestinian property; limitations on freedom of expression and assembly; and severe restrictions on Palestinians’
internal and external freedom of movement. The IDF maintained restrictions on the trade of goods into and out of the Gaza Strip
and largely limited the travel of Palestinians out of Gaza to humanitarian cases, in addition to some business travelers.

The PA, Israeli, and Hamas authorities took minimal steps to address impunity or reduce abuses. There were reports that the IDF
and Hamas did not adequately pursue investigations and disciplinary actions related to violations.
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25 May 2012
Human Rights Council
Twentieth session
Agenda item 7
Human rights situation in Palestine and other
occupied Arab territories
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation
of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,
Richard Falk

1. As with previous reports,1 the Special Rapporteur needs to note the continuing non-cooperation of Israel with this mandate. As
earlier, the Special Rapporteur, as well as others associated with the Human Rights Council and the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights, has tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Government of Israel to adopt a more constructive
posture that accords with its treaty obligations as a State Member of the United Nations. Since the beginning of the Special
Rapporteur’s tenure in May of 2008, despite repeated efforts, there has not been any alteration of the refusal of Israel to cooperate
with this mandate. This has made it impossible for the Special Rapporteur, in his periodic reports, to take into fuller account the
official explanations of Israel for the occupation policies and practices that it adopts, especially those that are found to be in
violation of international humanitarian law or international human rights law. Despite this non-cooperation, the Special Rapporteur
has made every effort to represent the positions of Israel fairly in relation to controversies associated with alleged Israeli violations
of human rights relating to its occupation of Palestinian territory since 1967. The recent formal announcement by Israel of a
complete refusal to cooperate with the Human Rights Council with respect to the totality of its activities underscores the difficulties
confronting this mandate.
2. The Special Rapporteur has attempted in various ways to mitigate the impact of these limitations on his mandate arising from
being excluded from the occupied Palestinian territory, and thus unable to meet with Palestinians living under occupation and
communicate with Israeli officials administering the territory. Official missions of the mandate in these years have been designed to
encourage those with knowledge and experience of the conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory to meet with the Special
Rapporteur in neighbouring countries. The Special Rapporteur has relied on well-documented reports and data on various aspects
of the occupation from generally reliable sources to identify trends bearing on human rights issues, such as expansion of
settlements, settler violence, and house demolitions.
3. In this regard, a mission was undertaken between 10 and 20 February 2012. The principal purpose of the mission was to assess
the degree to which conditions of life for refugees residing in neighbouring countries are relevant to the realization of the rights of
those subject to the occupation regime within the territory occupied in 1967.
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West Bank
Political Rights Score: 5
Civil Liberties Score: 6
Status: Not Free
Gaza Strip
Political Rights Score: 6
Civil Liberties Score: 6
Status: Not Free

West Bank
In 2011, state-building efforts by the Palestinian Authority (PA) further strengthened the rule of law in Palestinian-ruled areas of the
West Bank. At the same time, the PA government continued to operate without an electoral mandate or a functioning legislature. By
year’s end, a May national-unity agreement between the PA and Gaza-based Hamas failed to produce a new caretaker government
or a date for elections. Israeli construction of West Bank settlements continued in 2011, mostly in areas near Jerusalem, and the
year featured an uptick in attacks by Jewish settlers. While large demonstrations occurred throughout the year, both Israeli and
Palestinian security forces used legal and coercive means to prevent or disperse them.

After a temporary freeze on settlement construction during most of 2010, in 2011 Israel expanded Jewish settlements in the
territory. According to the Israeli nongovernmental organization (NGO) Peace Now, between October 2010 and July 2011 there
were 2,598 new housing starts in the settlements. The government also approved plans for thousands more, particularly in and
around East Jerusalem. While Israel dismantled a number of settler “outposts” on private Palestinian land during the year, Peace
Now reported that scores remained, and that the Israeli authorities demolished unlicensed Palestinian buildings at a far greater rate
than Jewish buildings in the IDF-controlled area of the West Bank.

In April 2011, a UN report argued that recent improvements in governance, rule of law, social services, and infrastructure in the
West Bank would allow the PA to effectively govern an independent state. The following month, Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a
national-unity government and end the schism in the PA, but no such government was formed during the year. In September, the
PA applied to the UN Security Council for recognition of a Palestinian state—including East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the
Gaza Strip—with full UN membership. In November, Palestine won membership in UNESCO. To protest the agreement with
Hamas and the PA’s moves at the United Nations, Israel withheld or threatened to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in tax
revenues from the PA.

Gaza Strip
n May 2011, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing to certain categories of Gaza residents, easing the Israeli-led blockade of the
territory and increasing Gazans’ access to external trade. Exchanges of artillery fire between Gazan militants and Israeli forces
continued sporadically during 2011. In October, the territory’s ruling faction, Hamas, released a captive Israeli soldier in exchange
for hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel. Despite a May political agreement between Hamas and the West Bank–based Fatah
faction, no date for overdue Palestinian elections had been set by year’s end.

Fighting between Israel and Gazan militants broke out regularly during 2011. In most cases, rocket and mortar fire into Israel from
Gaza prompted Israeli air strikes and artillery bombardments, killing both combatants and civilians, including children. According to
the Israeli nongovernmental organization (NGO) B’Tselem, in 2011 the IDF killed a total of 105 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, 37 of
whom were noncombatants.

In October, Israel and Hamas negotiated a prisoner exchange whereby Hamas freed IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and Israel would
release 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Of the latter, 447 were released immediately—mostly to Gaza, but some to the West Bank and
foreign countries—and another 550 were freed in December.
Click here to read more on West Bank »   Click here to read more on Gaza Strip»
10 August 2012

Administrative detainees Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq have been on hunger strike since 21 June and 22 May 2012 respectively.
They have reportedly been repeatedly illtreated
by Israeli Prison Service (IPS) guards since 30 July. Their health was assessed by
an independent doctor on 2 August and they need long-term specialized medical
treatment which cannot be provided by the clinic in
Ramleh prison.

Administrative detainees Hassan Safadi and Samer al-Barq have told their lawyers and a doctor who examined them that they were
repeatedly beaten and verbally abused during searches of their room at the
IPS Medical Centre in Ramleh. Samer al-Barq said he
was also assaulted during a transfer to and from Ofer
prison on 31 July. The two men were held together in a poorly ventilated
small room where there is no
space for their wheelchairs, which they need to use for reaching the toilet and other daily necessities.
treatment seems to be deliberate harassment and humiliation by the IPS guards as punishment for their hunger strikes.

The IPS has not allowed regular visits by independent doctors unless directed to do so by Court orders. Physicians for Human
Rights-Israel (PHR-I) appealed against this practice and the Petah Tikva District
Court ruled on 23 July that Hassan Safadi should
receive a visit from an independent doctor within two
days of the decision and Samer al-Barq should see an independent doctor by
1 August. The IPS gave the
doctor access for one visit, which took place eventually on 2 August. The PHR-I doctor was not
allowed to
conduct the examination without IPS supervision or to see the IPS medical records of the two detainees.

The doctor reported that the two men were weak and that their lives would be in danger if the hunger strike continued or if re-
feeding was initiated without proper medical supervision. The doctor recommended that
the detainees be examined on a weekly
basis. Hassan Safadi’s health has since deteriorated and he was
transferred to Assaf Harofeh hospital on 6 August, where he
remains shackled to his bed.

A mass hunger strike involving some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees protesting poor prison conditions, including
solitary confinement, denial of family visits and detention without charge came to an end on 14 May 2012 following an Egyptian  
brokered deal with the Israeli authorities. The deal included an agreement by the authorities to end the solitary confinement of
19 prisoners and lift a ban on family visits for prisoners from the Gaza Strip. Only a limited number of family visits for Gaza
prisoners are known to have taken place thus far, and detainees are still being placed in solitary confinement. Despite media
reports suggesting that Israel had agreed that administrative detention orders of current detainees would not be renewed unless
significant new intelligence information was presented, the Israeli authorities have continued renewing and issuing such orders.

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Gaza: Hamas Should Halt Executions
Three Men Hanged; Another Could Face Firing Squad
April 10, 2012

(Jerusalem) – The Hamas authorities’ execution of three convicted prisoners by hanging on April 7, 2012, highlights the need for a
moratorium on capital punishment in Gaza, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch, which opposes the death
penalty in all cases as cruel and inhuman punishment, said the persistence of unfair trials made the executions particularly egregious.

At least one other prisoner is at imminent risk of execution in Gaza. His final appeal of a death sentence was rejected by the highest
military court in February.

“The Hamas government’s stated commitment to justice should include ending the death penalty, which makes worse the well
documented injustices of Gaza’s courts,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Rather than
executing prisoners, Hamas should focus on reforming its justice system.”

Human Rights Watch has documented cases in which military courts in Gaza failed to examine credible evidence that the accused
were convicted on the basis of confessions coerced under torture, as well as other due process violations like arbitrary arrest and
failure to allow detainees to consult with lawyers until after they had been interrogated.

The Interior Ministry announced the executions of three men, convicted in unrelated cases, in a statement on its website. The men
had exhausted their appeals, and the victims’ relatives did not agree to accept compensation in lieu of their executions, the
statement said.

In the case of a man identified only as M.B., a 49-year-old resident of Deir al-Balah, the civil first instance court in Deir al-Balah
had sentenced him to death on March 30, 2010, for murder. The Gaza Court of Cassation upheld the ruling on February 16, 2012,
according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), an independent group based in Gaza. Amnesty International
identified him as Mohammed Baraka and said he had been convicted of killing a relative.

In the case of M.A’., a 20-year-old resident of Rafah, the civil first instance court in Khan Yunis had sentenced him to death on
November 24, 2010, for abducting, raping, and killing a child in July 2010, according to the Independent Commission for Human
Rights, a Palestinian rights ombudsman. The sentence was confirmed by the appeals court in Gaza City on November 2, 2011, and
by the court of cassation on February 29, PCHR reported.
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Palestinian Cabinet Meeting Statement (18)
Government Approves Immediate Measures to Decrease Spending, Improve Living Conditions

The Palestinian Cabinet convened its weekly meeting this Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The meeting focused on
the financial crisis, living conditions and means of intervention to minimize current difficulties. After examining the situation and
consulting with President Mahmoud Abbas and in light of the broad social and economic dialogue conducted by the government, the
Cabinet approved the following decisions:

Eighth: The Cabinet reaffirms our people's absolute right to freedom of expression in all peaceful and democratic forms. Concurrently,
the Cabinet also strongly condemns all forms of chaos and attacks against private and public properties as well as attacks against
security officers, who have been exemplary in safeguarding and securing freedom of expression as well as protecting the country and
its institutions. Furthermore, the Cabinet expresses pride and confidence in our people’s rejection of all forms of chaos and disruption
and the preservation of their ability to maintain steadfastness in the face of occupation, its measures and practices, including those that
cripple the national economy and which is principally cupable for the structural deficit in the Palestinian National Authority's budget.

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Occupied Lives: No justice for my son’s death     
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 00:00

On Tuesday, 16 August 2011, Saad al-Majdalawi, a 17-year-old mentally disabled boy, died when he was targeted with live fire by
Israel’s forces positioned on the border between Nusseirat, in the central part of the Gaza Strip, and Israel.  Saad was unarmed and
posed no threat to Israeli soldiers when he was shot and killed.

Abdul Rahim al-Majdalawi last saw his son on Saturday, 12 August: “Saad left the house at around 8 p.m.  He did not come back
that night and we assumed he had gone to visit a relative or friend.  The next day, he still had not come back, so we started looking
for him.  On Tuesday night, some of my relatives got news that a member of the al-Majdalawi family had been killed at the border
and that the body was in Al-aqsa hospital.  Nobody told me anything until 12 pm, so I went to the hospital when I heard the news
from relatives and neighbors.”

Abdul Rahim went to the morgue, afraid that it was his son who had been killed: “Saad usually left home for maybe a day when he
went to see relatives and friends.  He had never gone missing for 3 days before.  This is why I went to the hospital to see which
member of the al-Majdalawi family had been killed.  I viewed the body and realized that it was my son Saad.  He had a bullet hole at
the top of his head and his nose had been torn off by bullets.  There were more wounds on his chest, shoulder, leg and left elbow.”

Abdul Rahim does not believe that Saad would have posed a threat to Israel’s forces: “I do not know how far he had been from the
border when he was killed, but Saad had never caused problems for anyone.  He had never harmed anyone in the house or in the
neighborhood, and yet he was dead.  Up until now, it is really not clear to me what happened that night. I cannot even tell the total
number of bullets that were in his body.  He was alone when he was killed.”

The death of Saad has been particularly hard for his father, given that they were very close: “Saad was in secondary school, but he
dropped out because of his mental condition.  He also had a speech impairment and was punished at school for it.  He was very
sociable though and liked interacting with people, even though sometimes they would laugh at him or even hit him when they heard
him speak.  This made him very depressed and increased his psychological problems.  We had started seeking treatment for his
mental condition a month before he got killed.  I wanted better treatment for him.  I understood his suffering and we were very
close because of this.  Now, he is gone.”

The possibility of filing a legal complaint evokes strong emotions in Abdul Rahim: “What happened to my son still makes me sad.  
He is gone and nothing can change that.  It is very hard for me to talk about it.  He was respectful and always made us laugh.  The
house feels empty without him.  His brothers miss him very much and they are still greatly affected by his death.  I wanted the best
for him.  I don’t believe anything will come out of a complaint or lawsuit.  I do not want compensation and nobody can give me
excuses for why they killed my son.  I do not have faith in any legal procedures, because nobody can accuse Israel and nobody
can prosecute them even when they are wrong.  It is unfortunate, but nothing will come out of this.”

Click here to read more>>
9 Years After Killing Rachel Corrie; Israeli Judicial System Issues a Decision that IOF Are Not Responsible For Her
Posted by admin on August 28, 2012

On Tuesday, 28 August 2012, Al Dameer Association for Human Rights strongly condemns the decision of the Israeli court that
the Israeli Occupation Forces are not responsible for the death of US peace activist Rachel Corrie. At approximately 4:45pm on
Sunday 16 March 2003, the IOF killed Rachel Corrie while she was trying to prevent Israeli bulldozers from demolishing Palestinian
houses in the As-Salam neighborhood, in the town of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Corrie’s family filed a civil lawsuit before the Haifa District Court in 2005 but the family of Rachel Corrie received a final word
from the Israeli court in Haifa that the Israeli forces are not responsible for the death of Rachel Corrie because it occurred during
the time of war.

Al Dameer reiterates its strong condemnation of the killing of Rachel Corrie  and assures that the Israel’s court decision  is just one
of the many extending immunity to Israel’s forces.

Despite  the clear evidence in Corrie’s case, the large number of eyewitnesses, photos that show the IOF killing of Corrie, , but the
Israeli Judicial system continue to entrench its politicized attitude by seeking to shield IOF without any respect to the rules of
international law.

Al Dameer Association for Human Rights expresses its solidarity with Corrie’s family and its assert that the failure to criminally
investigate this case and bring the perpetrators to justice represents Israel’s insistence on providing immunity to its soldiers in the
occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

In the light of the above, Al Dameer:

1-      Asserts that the Israeli judicial system continues to entrench its politicized attitude by seeking to shield IOF, even when it
commits serious violations and defend Israel and its image and interests at the expense of the rule of law and justice.

2-      Calls on the international community to ensure justice, and to confront the policy of immunity by applying the principles of
international law to prevent further violations from being committed in the future.
Click here to read more »
The Mousterian Neanderthals were the earliest inhabitants of the area known to archaeologists, and have been dated to c.
200,000 BCE. The first anatomically modern humans to live in the area were the Kebarans (conventionally c. 18,000 -
10,500 BCE, but recent paleoanthropological evidence suggests that Kebarans may have arrived as early as 75,000 BCE
and shared the region with the Neanderthals for millennia before the latter died out). They were followed by the Natufian
culture (c. 10,500 BCE - 8500 BCE). (This and the other prehistoric cultures are named after archaeological sites, in the
absence of any indication of what they called themselves.) Yarmukians (c. 8500–4300 BCE). People began agriculture.
Ghassulians (carbon dated c. 4300–3300 BCE). People became urbanized and lived in city-states, including Jericho. The
use of the term Canaanite can be confusing. Archaeologists use it to refer to a long period of time (the entire Bronze Age)
and a wide geographical region (ranging from modern Israel to the entire Levant). Thus all of the people in this time and
place can be called Canaanites. However, Canaanites proper were a smaller ethnic group radiating out of modern day
Lebanon, who are mentioned in the Bible and Ancient Egyptian texts, and who are only one among many ethnic groups in
this area. Most of these ethnic groups assimilated to the same wider culture and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from
each other. Successive waves of migration brought other groups onto the scene. Around 1200 BCE the Hittite empire
was conquered by allied tribes from the north. The Phoenicians (who are the Canaanites of Lebanon, not the ones
conquered by the Israelites) were temporarily displaced, but returned when the invading tribes showed no inclination to
settle. The Egyptians called the horde that swept across Asia Minor and the Mediterranean Sea the Sea Peoples. The
Philistines (whose traces disappear before the 5th century BCE) are presently considered to have been among them,
giving the name Philistia to the region in which they settled. Eventually, the Israelites established the United Kingdom of
Israel, with King David of the tribe of Judah eventually ruling from Jerusalem around 1000 BCE. The reign of King David
and his son King Solomon expanded the Kingdom of Israel to include most of modern Israel (with the Negev, West
Bank, and Golan) and parts of western Lebanon, eastern Jordan and southern Syria. It did not rule the area of the Gaza
Strip, where the Philistines lived. With the death of King Solomon around 925 BCE, the Israelites fell into civil war, and
the kingdom split into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. The northern kingdom was far
more wealthy and politically influential, but its monarchy was unstable with frequent intrigue and dynastic changes. In 722
BCE, the northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, many of it's inhabitants (mainly the elite amongst
them) were deported (giving rise to the legend of "the Lost Tribes") and replaced by settlers from elsewhere in the
Assyrian Empire. The Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar conquered the (southern) Kingdom of Judah in 597–
586 BCE, and exiled the middle and upper classes of the Jews (that is, the citizens of the Kingdom of Judah, consisting
mostly of the members of the tribe of Judah but also some members of the other tribes) to Babylonia, where they
flourished. Most regard the collapse of the Israelite kingdoms as the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. Cyrus II of Persia
conquered the Babylonian Empire by 539 BCE and incorporated Judah and Israel into the Persian Empire. In the early
330s BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the region, beginning an important period of Hellenestic influence in Palestine.
The Jews were divided between the Hellenists who supported the adoption of Greek culture, and those who believed in
keeping to the traditions of the past, which resulted in the Maccabean revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Following the
Roman conquest in 63 BCE, parts of Palestine—first a client kingdom of the Roman Empire, after year 6 CE the Iudaea
Province—were in nearly constant revolt against Roman occupation. The Land of Israel became part of the Byzantine
Empire after the division of the Roman Empire into east and west (a fitful process that was not finalized until 395 CE). In
638 CE, the Christians of Jerusalem surrendered to the conquering armies of the Caliphate (Islamic Empire) under Caliph
(Emperor) Umar, the second of the initial four Rashidun Caliphs. The Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads in 750.After the
fall of Jerusalem in 1187 CE, the Crusader Kingdom survived throughout Ayyubid Period until 1291 CE well into
Mamluk Period, but here we will consider its peak period, until AD 1244. The Ayyubid Sultanate, founded by Saladin,
controlled Jerusalem and some but not all of the region until 1250, when it was defeated by the Mamluk Sultanate of
Egypt. The Mamluk Sultanate ultimately became a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, in the wake of campaigns waged
by Selim I in the 16th century. In 1516 the Ottoman Turks occupied Palestine. The country became part of the Ottoman
Empire. Constantinople appointed local governors. Public works, including the city walls, were rebuilt in Jerusalem by
Suleiman the Magnificent in 1537. Napoleon of France briefly waged war against the Ottoman Empire (allied then with
Great Britain). His forces conquered and occupied cities in Palestine, but they were finally defeated and driven out by
1801. In 1799 Napoleon announced a plan to re-establish a Jewish State in Palestine. Turkish rule lasted until World War
I. The rise of Zionism, a political movement started in Europe and Russia in the 19th century seeking to create a Jews
homeland in Palestine, increased the trend of jewish immigration. By 1920, the Jewish population of Palestine had reached
11% of the population. At the subsequent 1919 Paris Peace Conference and Treaty of Versailles, Turkey's loss of its
Middle East empire was formalized. Soon after World War II, the British decided to leave Palestine. The United Nations
attempted to solve the dispute by putting forward the 1947 UN Partition Plan, dividing the land area between the two
populations, on November 29, 1947; the Jewish Agency accepted the plan, while the Palestinian Arabs, along with their
allies elsewhere in the Arab world, rejected it as inadequate. The Arab-Jewish fighting within Palestine escalated to full-
scale war right after the UN partition plan was approved, and on May 14, 1948, the Jewish population declared
independence as the state of Israel. The armies of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria then invaded, but did not
succeed even in holding onto much of the areas reserved in the UN partition plan for the Arab state. Large numbers of
Palestinian Arabs left or were expelled from their homes during the fighting and to this day most have not been allowed to
return. After the First Intifada, attempts at the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were made at the Madrid
Conference of 1991. Following the historic 1993 Oslo Peace Accords between Palestinians and Israel (the "Oslo
Accords"), which gave the Palestinians limited self-government in some parts of the Occupied Territories through the
Palestinian Authority, and other detailed negotiations, proposals for a Palestinian state gained momentum. They were soon
followed in 1994 by the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. An attempt was made to end the struggle at the Camp David
2000 Summit between Palestinians and Israel but no agreement was reached. To date, efforts to resolve the conflict have
ended in deadlock, and the people of Palestine, Jews and Arabs, are engaged in a bloody conflict, called variously the
"Arab-Israeli conflict" or "Israeli-Palestinian conflict".
In 2005, Israel withdrew its troops from the Gaza Strip and
removed the thousands of Israelis who had settled in the territory.[57] See Israel's unilateral disengagement plan of 2004.
Since the Israeli withdrawal, Hamas has been engaged in a sometimes violent power struggle with its rival Palestinian
organization Fatah. On January 25, 2006, Hamas won a surprise victory in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative
Council, the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority. In 2007, Hamas overthrew Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip
and Hamas members were dismissed from the PNA government in the West Bank in response. Currently, Hamas has de
facto control of the city and Strip. As of December 2010, 327,750 Israelis live in the 121 settlements in the West Bank
officially recognised by the Israeli government, 192,000 Israelis live in settlements in East Jerusalem. There are
approximately 100 further settlement outposts which are not officially recognized by the Israeli government and are illegal
under Israeli law, but have been provided with infrastructure, water, sewage, and other services by the authorities. The
Ynet News stated on Jan 2012 that The European Union has decided to pursue a series of steps which may undermine
Israel's control of Area C in the West Bank, an official EU document obtained by Ynet on Thursday suggests., the
allegations draw an image of help to construct illegal outposts and constructions. Later in April 2012 some of the
constructions had been demolished. In 8 of May 2012, a petition had been filed to the Israeli Supreme Court about the
legality of more 15. Palestinian outposts and Palestinian building in "Area C". The cases were filed by the non-profit
Regavim: National Land Protection Trust.

Sources: Wikipedia History of Palestine
Click on map for larger view
Click on flag for Country Report
Dr. Salam Fayad
Appointed Prime Minister since 15 June 2007
None reported.
None reported.
Aziz Duwaik
Considered by his political party, Hamas, to be
the President of the Palestinian National
Authority since 9 January 2009