49 Years of Control without Rights

Human rights of the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – What has changed?


At first glance, it may seem that the condition of the Palestinians who live in the territories occupied by Israel in June 1967 has changed very little, despite the passing decades. Yesterday’s headlines are the same as today’s: confrontations, arrests, military rule, terror attacks, house demolitions, land confiscation. It’s easy to form the impression that there is nothing new under the scorching sun of the Middle East.

However, closer scrutiny reveals new “paths and markings” on the familiar map. New headlines have been added throughout the years: Settlements and outposts. The Palestinian Authority. The Disengagement from Gaza. Prohibited roads. Walls and fences. Checkpoints and permits.

Israeli control of the Territories changes over time, assuming and abandoning new forms. After almost three decades of exclusive Israeli rule, the Palestinian Authority was established. A decade later, Hamas consolidated its control of the Gaza Strip. Yet despite all of these changes, Israeli rule over the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean remains the most influential force shaping the everyday lives of all those who live in this area. Israel’s power imposes a heavy responsibility.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is publishing this document at the beginning of the 50th year of the Occupation. The paper outlines the changes that have transformed the Territories into a divided and dissected area. The different degrees and forms of Israeli control that apply in this area result in the systemic violation of the basic human rights of millions of people. Control without human rights – for 49 years.

Read as pdf


The Fragmentation of the Territories


We tend to think of the “Territories” as a distinct area or entity. However, over the five decades since 1967, a dramatic process of division has occurred in the area. The fragmentation of the Territories and the accompanying regimentation, have had serious ramifications for the freedom of movement of Palestinians and for a long series of rights that depend on the ability to move –  including the right to family life, health, and education.


Creeping Annexation

Full Israeli military rule in Area C, which accounts for some 60 percent of the West Bank, together with the imposition of Israeli law in East Jerusalem, have created distinct areas in which Palestinians and Israelis live under direct Israeli rule. Over the years, diverse policy tools have been developed in order to intensify Israeli control of these areas, thereby facilitating the pushing out of Palestinians from areas in which Israel is interested and into areas that Israel does not wish to rule or annex.


Occupation and Annexation – Without Human Rights

The Territories are currently subject to a hybrid condition of “occunexation” – a combination of occupation and annexation. Despite the differences between the various types of control in different areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israeli control – in all its forms and variants – is not accompanied by the responsibility incumbent on those who hold power. For 49 years, this control has prevented the Palestinian residents, as individuals and as a collective, from realizing their basic rights.


Photos by: Activestills, Yoninah (CC BY), Amer Arouri, Btselem (CC BY)

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties

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