April 2010, Al Haq
This case study focuses on human rights violations against Palestinian workers attempting to enter Israel without a permit.
Al-Haq has recorded dozens of witness statements from Palestinian workers throughout 2009, indicating that they continue to suffer severe maltreatment and abuse at the hands of Israeli Border Guards and military personnel when they are apprehended trying to cross to Annexation Wall in search of a decent livelihood. As the witness statements included in the report will demonstrate, the practice of humiliation and maltreatment is pervasive: illegal use of firearms by Israeli occupation forces and hours of arbitrary detention of Palestinian workers involving degrading treatment, severe brutality and even torture are not unusual. The study also makes evident that the violations are not isolated incidents, but are part of a disturbing trend that is directly associated with Israel’s occupation regime.
Al-Haq strongly emphasizes in the report that the underlying reason Palestinian workers attempt unofficial entry into Israel is to secure a decent livelihood. Their inability to secure gainful employment in the West Bank is an effect of the continued and deepening failure by Israel to respect its fundamental obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law. In particular, the construction of the Annexation Wall has exacerbated the deterioration of the economic situation in the West Bank. In 2004 the International Court of Justice held in its advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that construction of the wall violates international law.