[JURIST] Many rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories are granted only conditionally according to a report [text, PDF, in Hebrew; press release] released Sunday by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) [advocacy website]. The report found that the state infringes on the fundamental rights of political and religious dissenters as well as those of Arabs and the poor. The report cites arbitrary arrests of those opposed to last winters' Operation Cast Lead [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and attempts to pass laws requiring citizens to swear loyalty to the state and preventing residents from recognizing Israel's independence day as a day of mourning as evidence of increasing restrictions on freedom of speech. Other evidence of a decline in civil rights included Israel's rejection of independent investigations into Operation Cast Lead, increased reports of racism, housing discrimination and the increasing inability of the poor to afford health care. An English version of the report is expected soon.
Last month, the UN General Assembly [official website] adopted a resolution [JURIST report] giving Israel and Palestine three months to conduct independent investigations into possible war crimes committed during last winter's Gaza conflict. The General Assembly voted 114-18 with 44 abstentions [press release] expressing support for the Goldstone Report [text, PDF], the result of a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] fact-finding mission, which accused both Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] and Hamas [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] fighters of war crimes during the conflict. Israel criticized the report as biased, questioned the objectivity of the fact-finding, and urged the UN not to adopt the report's findings.