Statement by PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Saeb Erekat on the Formation of the new Israeli Government

With the dust beginning to settle on the new Israeli coalition government, the face of a new form of racist, discriminatory Israel has been revealed.  Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently leading the charge to bury the two state solution and impose a perpetual Apartheid regime, Neftali Bennet a new minister boasting the murder of Palestinians, and the new Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, openly calling on the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

Congratulations Israel, your new government has ensured that peace is not on their agenda.  This new right-wing, extremist government is not a partner for peace when the leaders call for the annexation of Palestinian land, forcible transfer of the Palestinian population, and the genocide against our people.  The time is well overdue for the International community to face the reality and hold Israel accountable for the crimes and violations made against our people.

We call on the international community to safeguard the two-State solution by stop treating Israel as a state above the law, support Palestinian rights and diplomatic initiatives including the UN Security Council, to ensure the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied State of Palestine, to support our efforts in the International Criminal Court and to recognize the State of Palestine.

Consular Services

Documents issued in the Republic of Portugal that need to be used in Palestine must be legalized by the Portuguese Foreign ministry then authenticated by the Diplomatic mission of Palestine (DMOP). Such documents include:

    • Birth certificates
    • Marriage certificates
    • Divorce certificates
    • Educational certificates from schools and universities
    • Power of Attorney

Fees for all the above documents are 20 Euros per document

Fees for all commercial documents are 80 Euros per document.

Documents issued in Palestine that need to be used in Portugal must be legalized by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs then authenticated by the Portuguese representative office in Palestine.

According to the Oslo agreement between Israel and PLO, the Palestinian Embassies and Missions abroad do not have the authority to issue passports neither do renew, extend or amend any kind of passports issued by the Palestinian Authority. However, DMOP will advise and facilitate this process for applicants.

Foreign nationals who are required a visa to travel to Israel and would like to visit the state of Palestine (the west Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza), which is under the Israeli occupation, must contact the Israeli embassy in Lisbon for this purpose due to the fact that the Palestinian National Authority does not have the control over its own border crossing.

Gaza Strip Border Crossing:
Those who intend to travel to Gaza Strip through Rafah Border Crossing must contact the Egyptian embassy in Lisbon to obtain the Egyptian Authority‘s consent before planning their trip.

Power Of Attorney
Wakalah – made to a nominated person in Palestine to deal with personal matters such as divorces, marriages, financial issues, renewal, and issuing of passports or land selling can be arranged at the DMOP. The applicant needs to attend the consular section at the DMOP offices with his original identification documents and the name of his nominee.
Powers of Attorney concerning land matters such purchase or sale are currently subject to strict regulations.

Fees are payable by cash or bank transfer.

Consular services are available between 10:00 – 15.00 Monday to Friday.
To ensure rapid processing of all your documents it is advisable to arrange an appointment with the consular section through


Tel: + 351213621098
Fax: +351213621095

May – Month of Palestinian NAKBA (Catastrophe)

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photos collected from the archive of Palestinian Nakba 

Nakba, meaning catastrophe, is commemorated by Palestinians throughout the world on May 15 every year. It marks the loss, dispossession and historic injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, through the forced expulsion from their homeland by Israeli
forces and Zionist militia. Nakba commemorates the period when approximately 800,000 Palestinians, at the time 67% of the population, became homeless and/or, stateless refugees. Today, it is estimated that 7 of the 11 million Palestinians around the world are refugees -inside and outside Palestine-, still roughly two-thirds of the Palestinian people.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) maintains that without a just and comprehensive resolution to the plight of Palestinian refugees, which includes the recognition of their loss, pain, and suffering, a comprehensive and viable peace in the region will remain elusive.
In addition to the loss of material property, including homes, land, orchards, groves, gold, money and other valuables, Nakba marks a cultural catastrophe for the Palestinian people, a loss they are still struggling to recover from.
Nakba, for Palestine, is about the loss of potential on a mass scale. It is about reducing a vibrant and highly accomplished culture into one filled with bitter-sweet memories consumed by the national cause of return and justice. Entire villages were destroyed, then rebuilt and renamed; books, music collections and works of art were left behind as people ran for their lives, expecting to return a few weeks later; sports clubs and social organizations disappeared with the communities of which they were a part. It was a systematic campaign of death, destruction, and cultural obliteration, carried out against a nation whose vibrant culture was forcibly stunted.
This document is a snapshot of Palestine before the Nakba. It is by no means comprehensive. Its aim is to provide a window into the Palestinian cultural achievements before 1948 and the devastating effects of this cultural Nakba on the Palestinians, a people whose sheer resilience has preserved a threatened heritage and collective memory. With perseverance and creativity, Palestinians have rebuilt, time and again, their institutions and reconstructed their cultural life, overcoming repeated setbacks and assaults. In short, Nakba is an on-going story of survival

The Untold Story of a Cultural Catastrophe Al Nakba (2)


Al-Nakba, a documentary produced by Al-jazeera:

Lauryn Hill cancels Israel show after Palestinian boycott call

Lauryn Hill has canceled a 7 May concert in Israel, following a request by Palestinians and a campaign by many of her fans.

The former lead vocalist of The Fugees made the announcement in a message on her Facebook page addressed to “Friends and Fans in Israel.”

“When deciding to play the region, my intention was to perform in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah,” Hill writes. “Setting up a performance in the Palestinian Territory, at the same time as our show in Israel, proved to be a challenge.”

She says she wanted to perform in the region “but also to be a presence supporting justice and peace.”

“It is very important to me that my presence or message not be misconstrued, or a source of alienation to either my Israeli or my Palestinian fans,” Hill states. “For this reason, we have decided to cancel the upcoming performance in Israel, and seek a different strategy to bring my music to ALL of my fans in the region.”

A victory

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and Palestine solidarity activists will see Hill’s move as a victory.

Her name will be added to the growing list of artists who have pulled out of shows in Israel which includes Sinéad O’Connor, Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Talib Kweli, Moddi and Carlos Santana.

But Hill’s strategy of seeking to offset the Israel show with one before a Palestinian audience in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank will likely raise concerns.

In its guidelines for the cultural boycott, PACBI states that artists “attempting to visit Palestinian institutions or groups in a ‘balancing’ gesture contribute to the false perception of symmetry between the colonial oppressor and the colonized.”

While Palestinians welcome visits, PACBI says that “solidarity entails respecting the boycott call, which is an authoritative call of the oppressed, and not combining a visit to Palestinian institutions or groups with activities with boycottable Israeli institutions.”

For now, however, Hill has heeded the Palestinian boycott call – a very significant step.

Israel’s Walla! News called Hill’s cancellation a “painful” blow at the hands of “pro-Palestinian” organizations.

Palestinian call

In a letter in April, PACBI told Hill that it was “deeply troubled to learn that you are scheduled to perform in Rishon Lezion’s Live Park amphitheater on 7 May 2015, while Israel continues unabatedly with its settler colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ethnically cleanse native Palestinians from their homeland.”

“Performing in Israel today is the equivalent of performing in Sun City, South Africa during the apartheid era,” PACBI added.

“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared that Israel has created a form of racial apartheid that is far worse than anything that existed in South Africa.”

A social media campaign, including a spoof of Hill’s hit cover of the song “Killing Me Softly,” had in recent weeks driven home the message.

In a press release, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation thanked Hill for canceling the concert and noted that more than 11,000 people had signed a petitionasking her to do so.

Separately, the director of the Israel Festival recently revealed that the flagship government-backed cultural program has had to curtail its 2015 schedule due to the growing impact of the boycott, especially in the wake of Israel’s killing more than 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza last July and August.


Five South African universities join student academic boycott of Israel

We gather here today as the Student Representative Council (SRC) presidents of five of South African universities, namely: University of South Africa, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangasutho University of Technology and the University of the Western Cape. This day will go down in history as we announce the resolutions adopted by our University Student Representative Councils (SRCs) to join the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

Today we follow the mandate provided in 2011 by the South African Union of Students (which represents all SRCs in the country) which urged “all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategize and implement a boycott of Israel”. SAUS declared in August 2011 that “all South African campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones.” Today we join the ranks of the SRCs of Wits University and the University of Cape Town who also resolved to join the academic boycott of Israel in 2012 and 2014 respectively. We also join the revolutionary decision by the University of Johannesburg that in 2011 terminated its relations with Israel’s Ben Gurion University. Finally and most importantly, our BDS resolution in support of the boycott of Israel follows South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande’s call and support for the academic boycott of Apartheid Israel.

From here we will be formally writing and approaching the Senate as well as Councils of our various institutions to implement the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. We will be auditing our universities’ investment funds and service providers to ensure that companies that are in violation of the BDS call and complicit in the Israeli Occupation such as G4S Security, Caterpillar, Veolia, Alstom, Cape Gate etc. are excluded from investment funds and service contracts. We are also in bilateral engagement with other South African SRCs to also adopt such resolutions and in general will be supporting awareness-raising campaigns such as the annual Israeli Apartheid Week initiative. We will be supporting the call for an Israeli academic boycott conference in South Africa with the Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande.

Our resolutions in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement comes just less than a year after Israel killed more than 2000 Palestinians in Gaza of which over 500 of those killed were children. Israel also attacked several schools of the United Nations, over 200 Palestinian schools and a school for disabled children. The Israeli regime is proving itself to be anti-children, anti-student and anti-education. We are here to stand for peace, justice and equality.

We make it clear, we are against all forms of racism including anti-semitism and Zionism. However, conflating criticism of Israel’s colonial policies of Occupation and Apartheid can not and should not be equated with anti-Semitism; to do so is a disservice to the real victims of anti-Semitism. This tactic by the pro-Israeli lobby to falsely accuse those critical of Israel of being anti-Semitic is a standard practice which we outrightly condemn. On a positive note we welcome the support provided by progressive Jewish organisations, comrades and counterparts for the BDS movement and the Palestinian struggle.

Its no coincidence that Miriam Makeba Hall at South Africa’s largest university, the University of South Africa, was chosen for today’s press conference. The cultural boycott of Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s (which Miriam Makeba was part of) is currently being employed against Apartheid Israel. We join Miriam Makeba in declaring “A Luta Continua…” until Palestine is free, for, in the word of former President Nelson Mandela, a graduate of UNISA: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”.


The Environmental Impact of the Israeli Occupation

By Jad Isaac

14 March 2000’Part of the ‘Fertile Crescent,’ historic Palestine is positioned at the crossroads between Eurasia and Africa. It hosts over 2,500 species of wild plants, 800 of which are rare, and some 140 of which are limited to particular areas; at least 80 species of wild mammals, and 380 species of birds are native to Palestine. This rich biodiversity is supported by tremendous climatic variation within a small area.
Unfortunately, it is now difficult to recognize the land that was described by early visitors as ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ Barren hills have replaced once-rolling woodland covered with thickets and forests, and grasslands have turned into deserts. A fetid trickle of sewage now runs where the Jordan River once flowed. The water level in the Dead Sea is so low that it is now divided into two separate seas. In short, the land is degraded, suffering from years of environmental mismanagement and neglect that has only worsened during the past 33 years of Israeli occupation.
Jewish Settlements:
Since the June 1967 war, Israel has colonized the Occupied Territories by building settlements in Gaza (housing 5,000-7,000 settlers) and in the West Bank (housing 380,000 settlers, 190,000 of them in and around East Jerusalem). The settlements are commonly positioned on hilltops overlooking Palestinian communities, and the wastewater from many is discharged into nearby valleys without treatment, polluting adjacent Palestinian communities’among them Wadi Qana, Qatanna, Nahhalin, Al-Khader, Al-Jania, Al-Walajeh, Dura, and Bani Na’im.
Moreover, solid waste generated in Israel is dumped without restriction in the Occupied Territories. Solid waste from West Jerusalem, for example, is transferred to the unsanitary West Bank dumping site at Abu Dis, which overlays the infiltration area of the Eastern Aquifer. Similarly, the Jewish settlements of Ariel, Innab, Homesh Alon Morieh, Qarna Shamron, Kadumim, and many others dump their solid waste in the West Bank, as do many military camps and communities located inside Israel.
Relocation of Israeli Industries:
Israel has moved many of its polluting industries from Israel to the Occupied Territories. For example, Geshuri Industries, a manufacturer of pesticides and fertilizers originally located in Kfar Saba in Israel, was closed down by Israeli court order in 1982 for pollution violations. In 1987, it relocated to an area adjacent to Tulkarm inside the West Bank, where its waste has damaged citrus trees, polluted the soil, and possibly poisoned the groundwater. The Dixon industrial gas factory, formerly located in Netanya inside Israel, has also moved into the same area.
Industrial Waste:
The Israeli government has constructed at least seven industrial zones in the West Bank. Located mainly on hilltops and occupying a total area of approximately 746 acres, these industries produce industrial wastewater and solid waste that often pollute adjacent Palestinian lands.
Information about industries in the Israeli industrial zones’including the amount and types of goods they produce, the labor they employ, and the waste they generate’is not available to Palestinians. The wastewater and solid waste these industries produce, however, provide important clues about the type and extent of industrial activity. At least 200 factories are located in the West Bank, notably aluminum, leather-tanning, textile-dyeing, battery, fiberglass, plastic, and other chemical factories.
Clear evidence that Israeli factories operating in the Occupied Territories do not follow pollution prevention measures is provided by the Barqan industrial zone, which houses factories producing aluminum, fiberglass, plastic, electroplating, and military items. Industrial wastewater from this zone flows untreated to the nearby valley, damaging agricultural land belonging to the Palestinian villages of Sarta, Kufr Al-Deek, and Burqin, and polluting the groundwater with heavy metals. In the central part of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom releases sewage and chemical waste from its industrial plants to the Al-Saqa valley.
Illegal Movement of Hazardous Waste:
Despite the fact that Israel is a signatory of the 1992 Basel Convention, which bans the illegal movement of hazardous waste, it transfers such waste, generated inside Israel, to the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has discovered several violations:
1. In 1998, Israel illegally dumped several truckloads of toxic and hazardous waste near the eastern border of the Tulkarm municipality and near the residential area of the ‘Azzoun municipality’50 meters from its well for drinking water;
2. An Israeli company, Telbar, moved its medical waste disposal site from Afulla inside Israel to a site close to the Jewish settlement of Yafit in the Jordan valley;
3. A paint factory located in the Israeli settlement of Ganim has dumped its hazardous and toxic wastes in the Palestinian village of Umm Al-Tut.
Moreover, according to a study published by The Center for Development Work in Ramallah, Israeli companies are flooding the Palestinian market with internationally banned pesticides. Their Israeli manufacturers are also using Palestinian land to test new pesticides.

Military Areas, Bases, and ‘Nature Reserves':
Israel has declared 290,970 acres of the West Bank (20.2 percent of its total area), mostly in the Jordan valley, as closed military areas, and has created an additional 29 closed military areas in Gaza (420 acres). Moreover, Israel maintains 71 military bases in the West Bank (totaling some 9,563 acres). Although most of these areas have low agricultural value, they constitute the major grazing areas in the West Bank. Since Palestinian pastoralists are denied access to these areas, the remaining grazing areas suffer from severe overgrazing and are under threat of permanent desertification.
Furthermore, the wildlife and rich biodiversity that characterize these areas are harmed by the use of heavy military vehicles and tanks.
Israel has also created 48 West Bank ‘nature reserves’ (covering 5.68 percent of the West Bank), mostly on the Eastern Slopes and in the Jordan valley. Palestinians question the ecological value of these reserves, which they view as another method used by Israel to deny Palestinians access to their land.
Deforestation and Uprooting of Trees:
According to a recent study by the PA Ministry of Agriculture, the total area in the West Bank and Gaza officially designated as forest land decreased from 300,736 dunums in 1971 to 231,586 dunums in 1999 (one dunum is 1,000 square meters). More than half of the affected areas are in Gaza, where 95 percent of the forests have disappeared (from 42,000 dunums in 1971 to 2,000 dunums in 1999).
About 80 percent of this deforestation is attributable to the Israeli occupation: to the establishment of military bases (two percent), to settlements (78 percent), and to bypass roads (less than one percent). Local Palestinians are responsible for deforesting 14 percent of the land, while the remaining six percent is privately owned.
Moreover, the Israeli army and Jewish settlers have uprooted more than half-a-million fruit trees, mainly olive trees, on privately owned land. While the British Mandate government, and later the Jordanian Administration, first implemented and later accelerated afforestation programs in the West Bank and Gaza, all afforestation programs ended with the Israeli occupation.
Approximately 2.18 million dunums (35 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip) are natural grazing areas. Only 47 percent of the total grazing area is accessible to Palestinian livestock owners, while the remainder has been confiscated for Israeli settlements, nature reserves and closed military areas. Overuse of the accessible areas has resulted in progressive desertification.

Jad Issac is Director-General of the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem. The above text may be used without permission but with proper attribution to the author and to the Palestine Center. This Information Brief does not necessarily reflect the views of The Jerusalem Fund or the Palestine Center.
This information first appeared in Information Brief No. 27, 14 March 2000.


Since the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in 1967, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been detained under Israeli military orders in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). This number constitutes approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the oPt and as much as 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population. It also includes approximately 10,000 women jailed since 1967, as well as 8,000 Palestinian children arrested since 2000.
As of 1 of December the number of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees is 5,033, spread around 17 prisons, four interrogation centers and four detention centers. All but one of the prisons are located inside Israel, in direct contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an Occupying Power must detain residents of occupied territory in prisons inside the occupied territory. The practical consequence of this system is that many prisoners have difficulty meeting with Palestinian defense counsel and do not receive family visits as their relatives are denied permits to enter Israel on “security grounds”. Out of the total number of political prisoners detained in Israel, 16 are female and 173 are children (16 of whom are from the age of 16). This figure also includes 14 Palestinian Legislative Council members, 145 administrative detainees, held without charge or trial and 395 prisoners from the Gaza Strip who until relatively recently were largely denied access to family visits since June 2007.
The arrest and detention of Palestinians living in the oPt is governed by a wide-ranging set of military regulations that govern every aspect of Palestinian civilian life. These military orders provide for a wide range of offenses divided into five categories: “Hostile Terrorist Activity”; disturbance of public order; “classic” criminal offenses; illegal presence in Israel; and traffic offenses committed in the oPt. The practical implication of these broadly-defined offenses is the criminalization of many aspects of Palestinian civic life. For example, the political parties that comprise the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are still considered “illegal organizations” even though Israel has been engaged in peace negotiations with the PLO since 1993. Carrying a Palestinian flag is also a crime under Israeli military regulations. Participation in a demonstration is deemed a disruption of public order. Pouring coffee for a member of a declared illegal association can be seen as support for a terrorist organization.

Interrogation, torture and ill-treatment
A Palestinian detainee can be interrogated for a total period of 90 days, during which he/she can also be denied lawyer visits for a period of 60 days. During the interrogation period, a detainee is often subjected to some form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, whether physical or psychological, and ranging in extremity.
The forms of torture and ill treatment employed against Palestinian prisoners include the following: beatings, tying prisoners in “stress positions”, interrogation sessions that last up to 12 consecutive hours, depriving prisoners of sleep and other sensory deprivation, isolation and solitary confinement, and threats against the lives of their relatives.

Military Courts
Palestinians from the West Bank who are arrested by the Israeli military and charged with security violations (as defined by Israel) and other crimes are prosecuted by two Israeli military courts located in Ofer and Salem in the oPt. Not all Palestinians who are arrested are prosecuted in the military courts; some are released while others are administratively detained without trial (see administrative detention below). Of those who are charged, approximately 99 percent are convicted, and of these convictions, the vast majority is the result of plea bargains.

Administrative Detention
Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold detainees indefinitely on “secret information” without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the Israeli army is authorized to issue administrative detention orders against Palestinian civilians on the basis of Military Order 1651 (Art. 285). This order empowers military commanders to detain an individual for up to six-month renewable periods if they have “reasonable grounds to presume that the security of the area or public security require the detention.” On or just before the expiry date, the detention order is frequently renewed. This process can be continued indefinitely. As of 1 December 2013, there were approximately 145 Palestinians held in administrative detention by Israel including 10 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

One practice utilized routinely by Israel that combines physical and mental abuse is isolation. Every year, dozens of Palestinian prisoners and detainees are held in isolation, for reasons of state, prison or the prisoners’ security. Approximately 58 prisoners are currently held in isolation out of personal choice or for health and other reasons. An unknown number of prisoners are presently held in solitary confinement. Isolation can be ordered by the courts, and by security authorities such as the Israeli Security Agency (ISA), but is most frequently levied by prison officials. The length of time in isolation that prison officials may order can extend from 12 hours to up to longer periods of six to 12 months, with court approval. The courts may order that a prisoner be isolated for up to 12-month renewable periods, and the ISA may order isolation for similar periods when citing security concerns.
Prisoners held in isolation are held in a cell alone or with one other prisoner for 23 hours a day and are only allowed to leave their cell for a daily one-hour solitary walk. Isolation cells in the various Israeli prisons are similar in size—typically from 1.5 by 2 meters to 3 by 3.5 meters. Each cell usually has one window measuring about 50 cm by 100 cm, which in most cases does not allow in sufficient light or air from the outside.

Medical neglect
Israeli authorities responsible for prisoners regularly neglect their duties to provide medical support for Palestinian prisoners in their care, as required by the Geneva Conventions. Medical problems are widespread, and range in severity from chest infections and diarrhea to heart problems and kidney failure. Treatment is often inadequate and is delivered after substantial delays. Often medication is limited to over-the-counter pain killers.

Denial of Family Visits
Family visits are routinely, and often arbitrarily, restricted or cancelled. Moreover, many Arab-Israeli, West Bank prisoners and Gaza prisoners are denied their visitation rights completely. This is in complete contradiction with Israel’s responsibility, as the Occupying Power, under international law. The right to family visits is an entrenched right in international law, expressly provided for in the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, the European Prison Rules, and, in relation to child detainees, the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Israel detains Palestinians from the oPt in detention centers outside 1967 occupied territory. This practice is illegal under international law and poses significant challenges to Palestinian prisoners’ ability to receive family visits as they must acquire permits to enter Israel in order to visit their relatives in prison.

As of 1 December 2013, there were 16 female Palestinian prisoners held by the IPS in Hasharon prison in northern Israel. Female prisoners are also often held in Damon prison, and in interrogation centers throughout Israel.
Both Damon and Hasharon prisons lack gender-sensitive approaches. This is to the detriment of female Palestinian prisoners’ health and hygiene. A study conducted by Addameer in September 2008 revealed that approximately 38% of Palestinian female prisoners suffer from treatable diseases that go untreated. For instance, those suffering from diseases such as asthma, diabetes, kidney and eye diseases, sickle cell anemia, cancer, and seizures have little to no access to medical services. Long delays in providing substandard medical treatment are typical. Although all prisons include a medical clinic, physicians are on duty irregularly and specialized medical healthcare is generally unavailable.

Each year approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 are prosecuted through Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army.
As of 1 December 2013, there were 173 children held in prisons by Israel. Of these, 16 are under the age of 16, a policy that is a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which defines a ‘child’ as “every human being below the age of eighteen.” The policy is also duplicitous since Israel’s own civilian court system (applying to Israeli citizens) defines the age of legal majority as 18, whereas the age of majority in military legislation prior to 27 September 2011 was 16 (applying to Palestinians). On that date, OC Central Command signed an amendment to raise the age of Palestinian minors in the military court system from 16 to 18 years. However, the amendment also contains a variety of stipulations that will not necessarily provide Palestinian minors with increased protection under the law, including a provision that states that minors over the age of 16 may still be held in detention with adults, which is contradictory to the requirements of international law. Furthermore, children are still sentenced on the basis of their age at sentencing rather than when they committed the offense, again in contradiction to the sentencing policy of Israel’s civilian courts when dealing with Israeli citizens, who are sentenced according to age when the alleged offence was committed.

Human Rights Defenders
In light of Israel’s non-compliance with the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on the construction of the Annexation Wall issued on 9 July 2004, Palestinians in villages affected by the Wall have adopted a number of strategies to oppose its constructionand Israeli land annexation, including petitions to the Israeli High Court of Justice, non-violent resistance and weekly demonstrations, and increased international advocacy efforts. In response to these strategies, Israel has adopted a policy of arrest, detention, intimidation, threats and, at times, collective punishment. Leading Palestinian human rights activists, prominent figures, such as mayors and teachers, and members of the Popular Committees, who are instrumental in coordinating weekly protests and advocacy efforts including legal cases, are often personally targeted and arrested in an attempt to sideline them from organizing the protests, or to discredit them and their efforts. Local cameramen and photographers, as well as members of the press, are also targeted.

Palestinian Legislative Council Members
Although according to international law and Israeli courts no one can be detained for their political opinions, in practice Palestinian political leaders are routinely arrested and detained as part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinian political processes – and, as a necessary result, political sovereignty and self-determination.
In recent years, this process has focused particularly on members of the PLC. Following the capture of an Israeli soldier on 25 June 2006 by Hamas at the Kerem Shalom Crossing on the Gaza Strip border, Israeli forces seized dozens of leaders and activists associated with Hamas in coordinated raids across the West Bank, including PLC members. The latter were either placed in administrative detention or charged with offenses based on their membership of the “Change and Reform List”, which the Israeli authorities allege is affiliated with Hamas, an illegal party according to Israeli military legislation.



Who are Palestine refugees?
Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”
UNRWA services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

Where do Palestine refugees live?
Nearly one-third of the registered Palestine refugees, more than 1.5 million individuals, live in 58 recognized Palestine refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
A Palestine refugee camp is defined as a plot of land placed at the disposal of UNRWA by the host government to accommodate Palestine refugees and set up facilities to cater to their needs. Areas not designated as such and are not recognized as camps. However, UNRWA also maintains schools, health centres and distribution centres in areas outside the recognized camps where Palestine refugees are concentrated, such as Yarmouk, near Damascus.
The plots of land on which the recognized camps were set up are either state land or, in most cases, land leased by the host government from local landowners. This means that the refugees in camps do not ‘own’ the land on which their shelters were built, but have the right to ‘use’ the land for a residence.
Socioeconomic conditions in the camps are generally poor, with high population density, cramped living conditions and inadequate basic infrastructure such as roads and sewers.

1967 hostilities
In the aftermath of the hostilities of June 1967 and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, ten camps were established to accommodate a new wave of displaced persons, both refugees and non-refugees.


Separation Wall

The Barrier around Bir Nabala, (Jerusalem Governorate), February 2013. Credit: OCHA

The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Barrier
On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The ICJ stated that the sections of the Barrier route which ran inside the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, violated Israels obligations under international law. The ICJ called on Israel to cease construction of the Barrier including in and around East Jerusalem and dismantle the sections already completed. The Court also obligated member states not to recognize the illegal situation created by the Barrier and to ensure Israels compliance with international law.
9 July 2014 marks 10 years since the ICJ Advisory Opinion, but contrary to the recommendations of the Court, not much has changed on the ground. The Barrier continues to obstruct the movement of Palestinians as well as severely impact their development and livelihood opportunities.
This portal includes materials produced on the Barrier and its impact by OCHA and partners from the Humanitarian Country Team in the oPt. It highlights the cumulative humanitarian consequences of the Barrier on Palestinian communities.
Background on the Barrier
In 2002, the Government of Israel decided to construct a Barrier with the declared aim of preventing violent attacks by Palestinian militants inside Israel. However, the vast majority of the Barriers route is located within the West Bank, rather than on the internationally-recognized 1949 Armistice Line (Green Line).
The Barrier is an integral part of the multi-layered system of physical and administrative obstacles which severely restricts Palestinian movement and access throughout the West Bank. It has worsened the fragmentation of the oPt, compounding the increasing isolation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the territory, cuts off land and access to resources needed for Palestinian development, and continues to undermine agricultural and rural livelihoods throughout the West Bank.
An estimated 62 per cent of the Barrier is complete, 10 per cent is under construction and 28 per cent is planned but not yet built. In recent years, the construction of new parts has almost completely halted. However, the negative humanitarian impact of the constructed Barrier on Palestinian communities continues:
Around 11,000 Palestinians living in 32 communities located between the Barrier and the Green Line depend on the granting of permits or special arrangements to continue to live in their own homes.
Approximately 150 communities have land located behind the Barrier, forcing residents to apply for special permits or prior coordination to access this area. Agricultural livelihoods of thousands of families have been undermined due to the permit and gate regime, which restricts access to farmland behind the Barrier.
The Barrier has reduced the access of Palestinians living in communities located behind the Barrier to workplaces and essential services.
The Barrier also adversely affects the West Banks urban centres, in particular East Jerusalem, with Palestinian neighbourhoods and suburbs divided from each other and walled out from the urban centre.