State of Israel
Ministry of Justice
The Department for International Agreements and International Litigation
Since September 2000, Israel has been confronting a terrorist onslaught by Palestinian organizations that seek to achieve their political objectives by murdering innocent civilians. Since the Palestinians began their terrorist offensive, these terror organizations have perpetrated more than 20,000 terror attacks. These attacks have taken the lives of over 1,000 Israelis and wounded over 6,000 people, many of them severely, leaving broken families, widows, and orphans. This relentless and ongoing campaign by Palestinian terrorists is aimed at spreading death and destruction, and condemning our region to ongoing turmoil.
While there is no question that the Palestinian population - women and men alike - is suffering from the conflict, that suffering is a direct result of Palestinian terrorism aimed at innocent Israelis, and the need for Israel to protect its citizens from these abhorrent attacks. Under these circumstances, no other country would act differently in the face of such an evil campaign. While Israel's operations and policy are not immune from legitimate criticism, the context in which Israel's battle against terrorism takes place is a critical component to an accurate assessment of its result.
Recent political developments
On June 6, 2004, Israel's cabinet approved the plan for disengagement from the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria.The Knesset endorsed the plan on October 25, 2004. The disengagement plan is intended to significantly promote the quality of Palestinian life, and reduce the friction between the two populations.
A summit meeting was held in Sharm el-Sheikh on February 8, 2005, attended by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and King Abdullah of Jordan. It was decided that all Palestinians would stop all acts of violence against all Israelis, and Israel would cease all its military activities against all Palestinians. PM Sharon expressed the hope that the Disengagement Plan would pave the way to implementation of the Road Map, to which Israel remains committed.
In March 15, 2005, IDF officers and representatives of the Palestinian Authority, finalized agreement concerning the transfer of the security responsibility over the city of Jericho to the Palestinian Authority. On March 21, 2005, IDF officers and representatives of the Palestinian Authority finalized the agreement on the transfer of the security responsibility over the city of Tulkarm and eight surrounding villages to the Palestinian Authority. Following this transfer all military checkpoints, closures, encirclements and curfews in these areas were concluded, as the Palestinian Authority was given the security responsibility in Jericho and Tulkarm.
Access to medical care
One of the issues that most hampers the IDF in its fight against terror is the intentional blurring of distinctions between Palestinian terrorist groups and the innocent Palestinian population. Terror groups operate from within residential centers, in civilian dress, assimilating in the local population and taking refuge in public institutions. Terrorists exploit civic buildings, hospitals and ambulances, religious institutions and schools as covers for their activities.
Under international law, the IDF is obligated to allow medical teams to operate during times of conflict. IDF guidelines consider humanitarian obligations to be both legal and moral requirements and, in fact, humanitarian aid is a priority for IDF forces serving in Judea and Samaria and Gaza Strip areas.
The IDF has two basic procedures regarding access to medical care. The first deals with the treatment of Palestinian residents in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip who arrive at a checkpoint in need of urgent medical care - such as women giving birth, heavy bleeding, severe burns, etc. Under this procedure, such a person will be allowed passage through the checkpoint. The severity of the medical condition shall be determined by the checkpoint commander, and in case of doubt decisions shall be made in favor of the local resident. In the year 2004, 550 ambulances delivering patients in need of urgent medical care were allowed passage to hospitals in Eastern Jerusalem and Israel alone.
The second procedure involves the treatment of residents of Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip who require routine medical care during closures. This procedure states that, as a rule, the residents should be allowed medical care, in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, in Israel and abroad, provided there is no security hindrance. In times of closures, residents are allowed to enter Israel for urgent medical care. Such applications shall be treated in the utmost urgency and can be appealed, if denied. In accordance with the existing regulations, when a request is denied, an alternative is offered to the applicant. Requests for escorts are approved, provided no security impediment exists.
In the Gaza Strip checkpoints, due to the intensive security threats, and the repeated attempts by terrorists to execute terrorist attacks (sometimes under the pretence of a medical emergency) the procedures are stricter. It should be noted that recently, following the advancement with regards to the political situation, and the relative improvement in the security status in the Gaza Strip, these procedures have been somewhat relaxed.
IDF authorities, in addition to securing the free passage of Palestinian ambulances in emergency cases, have instituted special measures to allow the transport of patients, usually those suffering from chronic conditions, even during those periods when other traffic is restricted for security reasons. Furthermore, Israel enables the transfer of Palestinians in need of medical treatment to hospitals in neighboring states as well as to hospitals in Israel. Patients with medical conditions who need treatment that is not available in the Palestinian Authority (for example, dialysis) are also granted permits. Under this arrangement, 600 permits are issued every month and approximately 100 civilian ambulances enter Israel from Judea and Samaria, headed to Israeli hospitals.
In the year 2004, 20,532 permits were granted to Palestinians to enter Israel to seek medical treatment, and additional 20,804 permits were granted to enter the eastern part of Jerusalem for the same purpose. In addition, 887 Palestinian children who entered Israel seeking medical treatment due to congenital defects and 33 Palestinian children who traveled abroad for the same purpose, at the expense of Israeli, Palestinian, and other groups devoted to this cause. Also, 1,500 permits were given to ambulances going through Allenby crossing.
Realizing the importance of humanitarian issues, IDF authorities constantly try to find ways to improve the assistance they grant the Palestinian population. For example, the Civil Administrator for Judea and Samaria established a "humanitarian conditions" center to provide information and assistance to inquiries from Palestinians on matters related to health - this center is available 24 hours a day. Billboards in Arabic throughout Judea and Samaria advertise the center and how to contact it.
In the year 2004, the IDF and the humanitarian center handled 330 approvals of donations of medication, medical equipment and food; granted 1,000 written permits to medical personnel; coordinated and transferred 850 shipments of medical equipment, medication, oxygen and medical crew from Israel to the Judea and Samaria area. The Civil Administration also handled over 530 applications from various bodies concerning medical issues, including NGOs and Israeli members of parliament. IDF soldiers are ordered to permit the passage of Palestinian health workers and public health teams (after presenting an identification card issued by the Palestinian Health Ministry), for example those distributing vaccines to the local population - which are also assisted by the Civil Administration in performing certain vaccinations. In addition, transport of medications, medical equipment, oxygen, food, fuel and other supplies to local civilian hospitals must also be permitted.
Unfortunately, there have been documented cases of Palestinians abusing the neutrality of ambulances and medical facilities for terrorist purposes.
On March 26, 2002, Ahmed Jibril, a Tanzim operative, was detained at an IDF roadblock near Ramah Bridge, south of Ramallah. Jibril worked as an ambulance driver for the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC). He was arrested while driving an ambulance belonging to the PRC in which were found an explosives belt and explosives. Jibril admitted that Mahmoud Titi, a Tanzim leader in Samaria, told him to deliver them to Tanzim operatives in Ramallah. In addition to Jibril, a woman and three children, aged 6 months, three and four years old, were in the ambulance. The explosives belt held sixteen pipes containing approximately 10 kilograms of explosive materials. The belt was hidden under the mattress of the stretcher on which one of the children lay.
Nidal Abd al Fatah Abdallah Nazal, an ambulance driver from Qalqilya employed by UNWRA, was arrested in August 2002 by IDF forces. He admitted using the ambulance to transport weapons and explosives for Hammas. Waffa Idris, a PRC employee, perpetrated the suicide bombing on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem in January 2002. She was dispatched by a PRC ambulance driver who is also a Tanzim operative, and she was assisted by another PRC employee. It is also believed she may have traveled in a PRC vehicle, and used PRC documents to go through IDF checkpoints.
These incidents are not exceptional. There have been others in which Palestinian terror organizations abused the privileged status of ambulances, as well as many intelligence warnings of their intentions to do so. There is also abundant evidence that terrorists operate from within hospitals and health clinics; that terrorist organizations recruit PRC employees; and that wanted terrorists frequently travel in Palestinian ambulances to escape capture. In light of these Palestinian practices, the IDF is forced to stop and search ambulances, which unavoidably results in impacting the Palestinian population, despite the IDF's efforts to minimize the disruption caused.
International law may mandate safeguarding the neutrality of ambulances, medical transports and personnel. However, it has also long recognized that when ambulances and medical transport are used for military purposes, they can no longer keep their protected status. The IDF's procedures were upheld by a Supreme Court decision that rejected a petition by Physicians for Human Rights protesting the IDF's searching of ambulances during Operation Defensive Shield:
“[T]he situation derives from the conflict itself, in the course of which several incidents were discovered in which explosives were transported in ambulances and wanted terrorists were found seeking refuge in hospitals. Despite this, the IDF sees itself obligated to uphold humanitarian law, not just because it is obligated by international law, but also because of natural law, despite utilitarian necessities to the contrary … combat forces were issued directives in accordance with these rules and the IDF devotes much effort to promoting these guidelines and to providing humanitarian aid in the areas in which they operate.”
[H.C.J. 2936/02 Physicians for Human Rights v. Commander of IDF Forces in the West Bank.]
The security situation requires that the IDF search ambulances and, unfortunately, experience has repeatedly proven that the IDF's fears that Palestinians would cynically misuse medical services and abuse the protection granted ambulances by international law, were well founded.
The IDF is conscientious in conducting itself in accordance with international laws of war. In the last few years, many of its actions have been brought for review before the Supreme Court, in the framework of hundreds of petitions to the High Court of Justice. The subject of some of these petitions has been restrictions in traffic and health services to the Palestinian population. The IDF troops are provided with a pocket manual outlining operational procedures in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, that includes guidelines for dealing with emergency medical cases and medical teams. This Manual also includes specific rules concerning the proper behavior towards Palestinian women.
Palestinian women as perpetrators of terrorism
Women are seen as arousing less suspicion than men. In each instance in which women were involved, terrorists were aware of their need for a disguise that would allow them to blend in on the Israeli street. The terrorists tried to give themselves an overall Western appearance, including by wearing non-traditional clothing such as short clothes, pregnancy outfits and modern hairstyles. In most of the incidents, these women come from the margins of Palestinian society and do not usually fit the “accepted” profile of “the average Palestinian woman”, with the main motive for the involvement of women in terrorism being personal (alongside the basic nationalistic motive). Thus, for example, there is the romantic motive (i.e. romantic links with the militants involved in recruiting them) and the personal distress motive (i.e. suicidal tendencies in the context of despair over life and parental opposition to the daughter’s marriage).
The integration of women in terrorism is divided among various levels with the uppermost being the involvement of women as suicide bombers or intended suicide bombers whose intentions were foiled before they could be realized. Moreover, women have served as assistants for terrorist activity regarding both planning and perpetration.
During the course of the ongoing armed conflict, Israeli security forces have arrested (as of March 2004) 24 women intent on perpetrating suicide bombing attacks, which so far have claimed the lives of 37 people and left over 280 wounded.
April 12, 2002: Andalib Suleiman al-Taqatiqah, a 21-year-old Fattah's Tanzim operative from Bethlehem, detonated herself at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. The attack left six civilians dead and over 60 wounded. Andalib Suleiman al-Taqatiqah apparently perpetrated the suicide bombing attack to redeem herself for her alleged extra-marital sexual relations with a Fatah operative. According to one version, she even became pregnant with his child.
October 4, 2003: Hanadi Jaradat, a female suicide bomber dispatched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Jenin, detonated herself at Maxim restaurant in Haifa. The attack left 21 Israeli civilians dead and 48 wounded. Hanadi Jaradat was a lawyer, a 29-year-old single woman, who was involved in an intimate romantic relationship with her fiancé; such relationships prior to marriage are anything but common practice in Palestinian society. Another possible reason for her action may have been her wish to avenge the death of her fiancé, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who was killed by the IDF.
January 14, 2004: Reem Saleh al-Riyashi, a female suicide bomber dispatched by Hammas, perpetrated a suicide bombing attack at the Erez workers terminal in the Gaza Strip. The attack left four Israelis dead and 10 more wounded. Reem al-Riyashi was at odds with her husband and her family; at the same time, she was closely and intimately involved with a Hamas operative.
The use of women by the Palestinian terrorist organizations is not limited to suicide bombing attacks alone. The kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum (January 17, 2001) was carried out with the assistance of Amana Mona, a female journalist and Fatah operative from Ramallah.
Additional measures to alleviate hardship for Palestinians
In light of the ongoing cooperation with the Palestinian Authority the IDF continues to ease restrictions for the Palestinian population at the entry and exit points to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Six hundred additional Palestinian workers and 300 additional merchants from the Gaza Strip have been authorized to enter Israel via the Erez crossing to work in Israel, half of these merchants have been authorized to stay in Israel overnight. This brings the total number of Palestinian workers authorized to enter Israel via the Erez crossing to a maximum of 1,600 and the total number of Palestinian merchants authorized to a maximum of 800. One hundred additional Palestinian workers have been authorized to work in the Erez industrial zone, bringing the total number to a maximum of 600. Also, the age limit of those exiting the Gaza Strip via the Rafah Terminal has been lifted.
The Karni crossing was reopened on February 7, 2005, for the passage of agricultural merchandise and humanitarian aid. The reopening of the crossing, in the northern Gaza Strip, was made possible after it was rebuilt according to security measures that would ensure the safety of the crossing and its workers. The crossing had been closed due to the murderous attack on January 14, 2005 carried out by Palestinian terrorists, in which six Israeli civilians were murdered and five Israeli civilians were wounded at the crossing. While the Karni crossing was closed, the transport of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip was allowed through the Sufa crossing, located in southern Gaza Strip.
In the same vein, the Rafah Terminal was fully reopened for entry and exit of Palestinians on February 1, 2005. The Rafah Terminal had been closed on December 12, 2004, after Palestinian gunmen carried out a coordinated attack at an IDF post securing the Rafah Terminal, killing five IDF soldiers and wounding five others.
In light of the ongoing cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, certain steps have been decided upon to ease restrictions for the Palestinian population in the city of Nablus. The easing of restrictions was made possible by the steady decrease of civilian involvement in terrorist activity in Nablus and the introduction of advanced security examination systems in the security checkpoints. Which have proved to significantly improve the quality and speed of the security examination. The purpose of the easing of restrictions is to further improve the quality of life for the residents of Nablus not involved in terrorist activity while simultaneously allowing the IDF to continue assuring the safety and security of the citizens of Israel.
Restrictions on movement
Within the framework of its duty to defend its citizens, the IDF takes certain security measures to address the terrorist threat. Unfortunately, there are few effective measures in the fight against terrorism, and many of these require some limitation on free movement.
The Palestinian terrorists operate within the civilian population and under its protection. This reality necessitates certain limitations on the movement of persons and their cargo in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, as well as between these areas and Israel. The three major methods employed are closures, encirclements and curfews.
The IDF is well aware of the humanitarian necessities of the civilian population in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip and makes every possible effort to alleviate the daily lives of the Palestinian population that is not involved in terrorism, in order to enable it to resume its regular way of life. Accordingly, even when applying restrictions on movement, measures are taken to enable the daily routine. Specific emphasis is given to the respect of freedom of movement for ambulances, medical crews and those in need of medical care. Additionally, the IDF enables the passage of medications, medical equipment and food products to Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, as well as assisting the operation of the humanitarian organizations - Palestinian, Israeli and international alike.
The IDF's activities to defend civilians from terrorist groups are performed in strict adherence to the requirements of both Israeli and international law. In certain instances relating to the restriction of movement of the Palestinian population, measures have been brought before the High Court of Justice, which upheld the military steps taken.
The Security Fence
The decision to construct the fence was a direct response to the terror attacks against Israel which began in September 2000, attacks which attained the level of a strategic threat against Israel. For example, in the month of March 2002 alone, 135 Israelis were killed and 721 were injured in terrorist attacks. The fence is a temporary security measure, not intended to annex territory or to predetermine the political border of Israel. No changes have, in fact, been made to the boundaries which remain a subject for negotiation between the parties.
The fence has proven to be extremely effective. According to a study compiled by Israel's Security Agency, the fence has deeply effected the ability of terrorists to carry out attacks, thwarted suicide bombings and has led to a dramatic decline in the number of Israeli casualties and wounded, despite the fact that the fence has yet to be completed. For example, in the period between August 2003 through August 2004, there was a dramatic decrease of 84% in the number of Israelis killed by terror attacks as compared with the period between September 2001 through July 2002. The security fence, which saves many lives, remains important even in the current atmosphere of Israel carrying on a dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, especially since the Palestinian leadership has been reluctant to crack down on the terrorist infrastructure.
A majority of the fence is situated, for security reasons, within the Judea and Samaria area, but it also runs inside Israel. Israel recognizes that the fence impacts on the residents of the area, both those who have had property seized for the purpose of the construction of the fence, and those who live and work in its proximity. The challenge facing Israel is to find the appropriate balance between the obligation to protect the lives of the citizens and residents of Israel from terror, and the obligation to limit, as much as is possible, the negative effect upon Palestinian residents as a result of the construction of the fence.
In our view, the balance struck in the routing of the fence is consistent with the legal tests regarding military necessity and proportionality as determined by the High Court of Justice in H.C.J. 2056/04 Bet Sourik Village Council v. Government of Israel. These are proportional effects, less than the significant security benefits which would be achieved by the construction of the fence. Since Israel commenced construction of the security fence, in 2002, over 70 petitions have been submitted to the High Court of Justice on the issue. A significant number of these have resulted in changes to the route of the fence, or the humanitarian arrangements accompanying its construction, either as a result of rulings by the court, or as a resulted of arrangements negotiated between the two sides.
Unemployment and poverty
The current conflict has had devastating consequences on both parties, bringing about a rise in unemployment and poverty. However, these are a direct result of the Palestinian terror, and can be reduced, and possibly eradicated, following this terror's termination. Interruptions in the entry of Palestinian workers into Israel have on several occasions been caused by terrorist attacks at the crossing terminals themselves, leading to temporary closures.
In January 2004, a female terrorist carried out a suicide bombing attack in the workers crossing terminal in the Erez industrial zone. As a result of the attack, one civilian was murdered, in addition to two IDF soldiers and a Border Police soldier. The Hamas and Fatah terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. It is important to note that this was the first time that Hammas had used a female suicide bomber. The terminal was severely damaged, and needed to be rebuilt. As a result, Palestinians were not able to enter the industrial zone for a few days.
In January 2005, six Israeli civilians were murdered and five Israeli civilians were wounded in a combined terrorist attack carried out in the compound of the Karni crossing. Three terrorists infiltrated into the compound via a hole which was created in a wall after the terrorists activated an explosive device which was placed next to a door at the Palestinian side of the crossing. The civilians were killed as result of the explosion, and after the terrorists hurled grenades and opened fire at the civilians working in Karni.
Attitudes towards the local population
IDF troops are routinely instructed to preserve the rights of the local Palestinian population and uphold the IDF regulations in this matter. In cases when these regulations are violated, the IDF examines the circumstances and takes action against those responsible. It should be mentioned that the IDF soldiers stationed in checkpoints and blockades operate under very difficult conditions, constantly exposed to the threat of the Palestinian terror. The soldiers positioned in these locations are in the front of a daily battle against this terror and were the subject of numerous terrorist attacks. This exhausting reality brings about the accessional wrong behavior by the IDF soldier, a behavior that is relentlessly denounced by the IDF.
Although the current situation does necessitate the use of restriction of movement, the IDF devotes many efforts to enable the movement of Palestinian teachers and pupils/students, to minimize the harm to schools in the Palestinian education system.
With regard to the matter of access to higher education institutions, the Military Commander is authorized to prevent passage due to security considerations. This is the case when it is required to exit or enter for the purpose of accessibility to higher education institutions, whether between the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria, or abroad. This position was approved by the High Court of Justice, which denied a petition filed by 10 Palestinians (men and women) from the Gaza Strip whose request to study in the Bethlehem University ( in the Judea and Samaria) was rejected (H.C.J. 7960/04 Muhammad Mussa Alrazi v. The Commander of the IDF Forces, (29.9.04)).
In this case the Court held as follows: "We have arrived at the conclusion that in the midst of the difficult current circumstances, the Court will not intervene with the defendant's decision. We agree to assume that at least some of the appellants asked to depart to Beit Lehem in order to study, and for no other purpose. However, we were convinced that allowing their exit from the Gaza Strip involves a substantial risk to public safety in Israel and the areas."
Restrictions on travel abroad
On December 12, 2004, five IDF soldiers were killed and five IDF soldiers were wounded in a combined attack of an explosives tunnel and gunmen attack on an IDF post securing the Rafah terminal. Despite this attack, which led to the closing of the Rafah terminal, a special humanitarian effort was made in order to allow for freedom of religious ritual to Muslim Palestinians who made their pilgrimage to Mecca. As part of this effort, the pilgrims were driven from Erez Terminal to the Egyptian side of the Rafah boarder crossing, on their way back, they were offered several options for return
The decision to fully reopen the Rafah terminal on February 1, 2005, followed the rebuilding of the Rafah terminal, security assessments, and measures taken to ensure the protection of those passing through the terminal and the structure itself.
The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision)
Since the outbreak of the armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinians towards the end of the year 2000, which led, inter alia, to the commission of dozens of suicide bombings inside Israel, a growing involvement in assisting terrorist organizations had been noted on the part of Palestinians originally from the Judea and Samaria and Gaza Strip, who carry Israeli identity cards pursuant to procedures of family unification with Israeli citizens or residents; and who abuse their legal status in Israel, which allows them free movement between the Judea and Samaria and/or Gaza Strip and Israel. In order to prevent such potential danger posed by former residents of the Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip during the current armed conflict, the Government decided in May 2002 to temporarily stop granting them legal status in Israel, including through family unification. The decision was adopted following a horrendous terror attack in Haifa in March 2002 killing 15 people, committed by a suicide bomber who received Israeli ID following family unification. The decision does not apply to persons already granted legal status in Israel, and leaves them with the same legal status they had prior to the adoption of the decision.
It is important to note that this decision does not discriminate between Israeli citizens and residents as it applies to all. It also does not prevent any Israeli citizen from uniting in Israel with spouses from Arab or Palestinian origin, who do not reside in the Judea and Samaria or Gaza Strip. The criterion is only whether the spouse is a resident of the Judea and Samaria or Gaza Strip. It should also be noted that a State has the right to control entry into its territory, and more so, during times of armed conflict, when persons requesting to enter may potentially be involved in acts of violence against its citizens.
Accordingly, on July 31, 2003 the Knesset enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision), 5763-2003, which limits the possibility of granting residents of Palestinian territories Israeli citizenship pursuant to the Citizenship Law, including by means of family unification, and the possibility of granting such residents residence permits in Israel pursuant to the Entry into Israel Law. The law was invoked for one year. At the end of that period in August, 2004, the Law was extended for another six months. It was re-extended in February 2005 for a period of four months.
The Israeli Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), is a security oriented law, the result of the wave of atrocious and indiscriminate Palestinian terrorism which broke out in 2000 and claimed the lives of over 1,000 innocent Israelis as described above. The law is the direct result of 23 murderous terrorist attacks, made possible by the involvement of persons who were granted legal status in Israel based on their marriage to an Israeli citizen, and took advantage of their Israeli ID to pass checkpoints and carry into Israel either suicide bombers or explosives. Moreover, the law does not change the status of people who already received their status prior to the day the law came into effect, stipulating only that their status shall not be advanced, but remain static. It should be emphasized that this is a temporary law, which presently expires on May 31, 2005.
Furthermore, the law's constitutionality was scrutinized by the Supreme Court in H.C.J. cases 7052/03 7102/03 Adalah and others v. The Minister of the Interior (14.12.04, 01.03.05), which are still pending. The Court noted that the Government has decided to prepare an amendment to the Law adding exceptions to the general rule that would allow withholding application of the law to groups of individuals who pose a lower security risk to the lives and security of Israeli citizens. It also pointed out the limited time frame of the law and that the Government did not extend the law for the full year. The Court thus did not issue any order concerning the law, leaving open the possibility to request further information from the Government, if necessary, following the envisioned changes to the law.
Women in Israeli detention centers
All prisoners in Israeli detention centers are entitled to medical care and can approach the medical authority in the prison as per their request.
Investigations of male and female detainees are performed by ISA (Israel Security Agency) personnel, who act in accordance with standard operational procedures, detailing acceptable questioning techniques, and receive extensive training on permissible investigation methods. Every detainee undergoing questioning is allowed full access to a medical examination on a regular basis, as well as upon request.
Under the ISA procedures it is forbidden to bring in a detainee's family member for questioning, for the purpose of threatening or extracting a confession from a detainee. However, any person personally involved in an investigated event can be brought in for questioning.
House demolition and destruction of property
In late October, the IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, ordered a thorough investigation into the policy of the demolition of terrorists' houses. As part of the research, a committee was founded to examine the issue, headed by Maj. Gen. Udi Shani. Following the completion of the committee's examination, the Minister of Defense decided to accept the recommendation of the Chief of Staff to change the policy, and stop exercising the legal right to demolish terrorists' houses as a means of deterrence. In addition, the Chief of Staff clarified that if an extreme change in circumstances takes place, the aforementioned decision regarding the policy will be reexamined.