A/44/599 1989, an UN report concerning Israel

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05/03/2024 | 二〇二四年 三月 五日


This introduction to frame and contextualize report A/44/599, here presented as typical entry record of an Annotated Chronology anthology of UN Resolutions and Reports Concerning Israel, formatted with the following field:



(1) Date: DD/MM/YYYY

(2) Bibliographic citation, according to UN standard

(3) Title, topics and historical context

(4) Content, quotation, resume

(5) Link and sources, URL [data access DD/MM/YYYY ]

(6) Annotations

Within UN text corpus, reports are among the most common documents implemented by Organization’s bodies, such as committees, commissions, boards, councils and conferences, redacted in order to referring on their work. The one hereby presented belongs to the UN Secretary-General on the work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, and was published on 12th October 1989.

Data and testimonials recorded and witnessed by this document cover a period between 26 August 1988, the date of the adoption of the twentieth report of the Special Committee, and 25 August 1989, and it contains detailed oral and written testimonies on incidents linked with uprising of the Palestinian population against Israeli occupation.

It consists in a list of evidences and depositions focused about condition for administration of justice, treatment of civilians affected by harassment and physical ill-treatment, collective punishment, homicides, houses demolitions and sealings, expulsions, economic and social abuses, measures affecting fundamental freedom of movement, religion, of expression, of association, of education, with evident double standard among Israeli citizens and Palestinians in justice administration and treatment of detainees.

About homicides, reader is informed of 215 cases exposed in a scheme with nominatives, ages (when available) and synthetic description of events took to the victim’s death: for an arch of time between 1st April and 24th August 1989, c’est à dire 215 causalities in 146 days. Victim’s age analysis evinced 66 under 18 years old minors, with one 3 years old girl killed by israelian troops firing at stone throwing crowds.

Demolitions and sealing of homes as collective punishment is witnessed in this report, and these attestations result according to Btselem general report description[i], with a context, since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, of IDF demolishing 628 housing units, which were home to 3983 persons left homeless, as a punitive measure because of the acts of 333 Palestinians: on average, twelve innocent people lost their home for every person suspected of participation in attacks against Israel. Almost half of the homes demolished, 295 or 47%, were never home to anyone suspected of involvement in attacks against Israelis, but as a result to these demolitions 1286 persons lost their homes even though according to Israeli officials they should not have been punished.

Deepening the topic, the declared purpose of the punitive house demolitions is to deter potential attackers by harming the relatives of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks against Israel.

Over the last four years Israel has demolished 4100 Palestinian homes in the occupied territories: about 60% of the demolitions were carried out in the framework of what Israel calls “clearing operations”. 25% were destroyed because Israel claims they were built without permit. The remaining 15% were demolished as a means of punishment to the families and neighbors of Palestinians suspected of involvement in carrying out attacks against Israelis.

Israel has demolished Palestinian houses as a punitive measure since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, with an extension of demolishing actions which varied year in year.

  • From 1967 to December 1987 Israel demolished or sealed at least 1387 homes, most in the first few years following occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
  • From 1988 to 1992, Israel completely demolished 431 housing units and partially demolished 59.
  • From 1993 to 1997 they completely demolished 18 housing units and partially demolished 3.
  • From 1998 to October 2001 no house unit were demolished or sealed as punishment.
  • In the course of current intifada, Israel renewed the use of punitive house demolitions in unprecedent portions: from October 2001 to 20 September 2004 628 homes were destroyed, and the official decision to renew the policy of punitive demolitions was made at a meeting of the Political-Security Cabinet on 31st July 2002, about 9 months after the policy began in practice.

According to Martin Carroll[ii],

“ although there may be occurrences in which such action may satisfy peculiar requirements, there can be little doubt that in the majority of cases demolitions are in violation of international law, in particular it is in violations of Fourth Geneva Convention article 33 which clearly prohibits the punishment of innocent people for the acts of others, and article 53which forbids to demolish a house belonging to a protected person in a n occupied territory merely because the owner or tenant is suspected of rendering assistance to saboteurs[iii], and it’s since 1971 that U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2851 (XXXVI), commended the Special Committee’s report and “[s]trongly call[ed] upon Israel to rescind forthwith all measures and to desist from all policies and practices as … [t]he destruction and demolition of villages quarters and houses.[iv]

This is the context where reader should frame records report within A/44/599.

Other addictions and commentaries are reported in conclusive annotations.


[i] Cfr. Lein Yehezkel, 2004  “Through No Fault of Their own. Punitive House Demolitions during the al-Aqsa Intifada”   https://www.btselem.org/download/200411_punitive_house_demolitions_eng.pdf  [23/02/2024]

[ii] Carrol B. Martin, 1990 “The Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Houses in the Occupied Territories: an Analysis of its legality in International Law”Michigan Journal of Internationalk Law, Vol.11:1195 – 1217: cfr. https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjil/vol11/iss4/4 [23/02/2024]

[iii] Distein, 1978 “The international Law of Belligerant Occupation and Human Rights” 8, 1978 Isr. Y.B. Hum. Rts. 104, 128.

[iv] Cfr. Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, U.N. Doc. A/8389 (1971), at 44-46. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/1293360 [23/02/2024]

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