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Report of the Secretary-General **
The report refers to correspondence between the Secretary-General and the Permanent Representative of Israel regarding actions taken by the Government of Israel in implementing the relevant provisions of the resolution. It also presents the information made available by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to the Secretary-General on the return of refugees registered with the Agency to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from places outside the occupied Palestinian territory.
** The submission of the present report was dependent on the response from the relevant Member State, which was received on 16 August 2002.
1. The present report is submitted to the General Assembly in pursuance of paragraph 5 of its resolution 56/54 of 10 December 2001, entitled “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities”, the operative part of which read as follows:
“1. Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
“2. Expresses deep concern that the mechanism agreed upon by the parties in article XII of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements1 on the return of displaced persons has not been effected, and expresses the hope for an accelerated return of displaced persons;
“3. Endorses, in the meanwhile, the efforts of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, on an emergency basis and as a temporary measure, to persons in the area who are currently displaced and in serious need of continued assistance as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities;
“4. Strongly appeals to all Governments and to organizations and individuals to contribute generously to the Agency and to the other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned for the above purposes;
"5. Requests the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General, to report to the General Assembly before its fifty-seventh session on the progress made with regard to the implementation of the present resolution.”
3. In a note verbale dated 15 August 2002, the Permanent Representative of Israel replied as follows:
“While Israel continues to support UNRWA’s humanitarian mission, it remains concerned regarding a number of issues related to UNRWA’s conduct. On several occasions, UNRWA has issued one-sided statements devoid of any recognition of the security context in which Israel operates or of Israel’ s legitimate right to take measures in defence of its citizens. Israel does not consider such statements helpful or conducive to a productive working relationship with UNRWA.
“UNRWA has also remained silent while an extensive infrastructure of Palestinian terrorism has taken root in Palestinian refugee camps. These terrorist activities are not only clear violations of Security Council resolutions, which require that the civilian character of refugee camps be maintained, but also directly endanger the lives of civilians residing nearby. While Israel recognizes that UNRWA does not have a mandate to enforce security and public order in the refugee camps, it does believe that UNRWA is in a position to draw attention to the misuse of refugee camps by armed elements in the interests of the safety and security of the civilian population, in line with Security Council resolutions adopted on this subject.
“Finally, UNRWA also must take care to ensure that its facilities, as well as the textbooks and other educational materials in use in its schools, do not glorify terrorism, incite young children to acts of violence or propagate anti-Semitic ideas and images.
“Israel continues to believe that UNRWA can play an important role in promoting the social and economic advancement foreseen in the agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, within the limits of its humanitarian mandate, and accordingly looks forward to continuing its cooperation and good working relationship with UNRWA.
“Israel urges the Secretary-General and UNRWA to consider, together with the parties concerned, ways in which the organization can enhance the fulfilment of its mandate in an accountable and responsible manner in the best interests of those whom UNRWA has been charged to serve.”
5. In connection with paragraph 3 of General Assembly resolution 56/54, the Secretary-General refers to the report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA for the period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 20022 and to the previous reports of the Commissioner-General for accounts of the continuous and ongoing assistance provided by UNRWA to persons displaced and in need of continued assistance.
1 A/48/486-S/26560, annex.
2 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-seventh Session , Supplement No. 13 (A/57/13) (to be issued).