Wednesday, February 10, 1999
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Volume 64, Issue 90

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Israeli judge discusses Palestinian human rights

By Icess Fernandez
News Reporter

Although they live in a democracy, the human rights of West Bank and Gaza residents are limited, an Israeli judge said Tuesday.

Amnon Straschnov, the judge who presided over the trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, discussed human rights in these areas at the UH Law Center.

Barry Watson/The Daily Cougar

Israeli Judge Amnon Straschnov spoke on human rights in the West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday at the UH Law Center.

He explained that West Bank and Gaza are occupied by Israel but populated by Palestinians. Although Israel will remain responsible for governing West Bank and Gaza until the territory becomes a sovereign Palestinian state, some self-governing powers were given to the Palestinians under an agreement with Israel.

Among those powers transferred was the authority to elect a Palestinian Legislative Council. Israel remains responsible for internal and external security of the area, however, and military law is used both for order and protection.

"When we speak about human rights, we are not speaking about the same rights," Straschnov said, explaining that human rights "are not handled by civilians."

Since Israel is responsible for maintaining order in West Bank and Gaza, but Israel does not have a written constitution, the law comes directly from international documents and agreements.

Straschnov explained that the area has "less and (more) limited rights than sovereign states because it's a different organization."

Among the differences in rights cited in Straschnov's discussion was the fact that torture of witnesses for confessions is still used in the region.

Straschnov said torture is not used except under certain circumstances, but agreed, "It's a problem for a country in democracy."

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