The Deterioration of the Human Rights conditions in the West Bank

and Gaza Strip

on the eve of the visit of the American Secretary of State

Human Rights Organizations express their deep concern about the deterioration of conditions in the region and admonish of the bad consequences resulting from the collective punishments imposed by the Israeli Government against the Palestinians and the National Authority.

The organizations are deeply concerned over the consequences of the pressure exerted on the Palestinian National Authority from both the Israeli and the American Governments, through the demands put forward that the Palestinian Authority collectively and illegally arrest Palestinians from the Islamic movement both in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to wreck civil organizations with Islamic affiliation.

This shall undermine the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and constitutes a gross violation of basic human rights as accepted internationally.

The Israeli authorities have stringently intensified the closure imposed on the West Bank and Gaza Strip starting July 30, 1997, after the two suicide bombing attacks in West Jerusalem, as a collective punishment against the Palestinians. Also the Israeli Government took excessive measures against the Palestinian National Authority such as halting the transfer of funds accrued as taxes on Palestinian good.

Prior to the alleviation of the seizure at the beginning of the month, the complete closure was re-imposed after a new bombing that took place in West Jerusalem on September, 4, 1997.

It is clear that the Israeli Government makes use of those measures in order to sustain the occupation and its activities, by requesting the Palestinian Authorities to Collectively arrest Palestinians with Islamic affiliations.

The American Government as always, adopted the Israeli point of view and also requested the Palestinian National Authority take illegal steps against Palestinians, and as a pressuring measure, the American Government froze its financial contribution to be paid to the Palestinian Authority.

We, as Human Rights Organizations, refuse any pressure exerted on Palestinian people and its National Authority, and any illegal measures taken will no doubt lead to undermining the rule of law and will ruin the Palestinian Civil society.

We demand the international community and the Government of the United States in particular to urge the Israeli Government to immediately lift the closure and end the collective punishment policy against Palestinians in the west Bank and Gaza Strip and the demolition of houses and the confiscation of land for building settlement. Also the American Government is asked to stop pressuring the Palestinian National Authority in order to illegally arrest Palestinians. The International community and the Government of the United States in particular should exert pressure on Israeli Government to urge it to respect human rights.

We, as Human Rights Organizations, emphasize that the only remedy against violence is the complete withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from the occupied territories and its respect and abidance to UN security council resolutions as well as honouring the interim agreements, rather than imposement of collective punishment and the total disregard to the peace interim agreements.


September 8, 1997



Jerusalem Legal Aid Center

Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights & the Environment (Law)

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights