Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXXV, No. 11 - bulletin Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien, DDP (novembre 2012) - publication de la DDP Français
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The Secretary-General is greatly concerned by the new wave of violence in Gaza and southern Israel, which has resulted in several Palestinian deaths, including civilians, and wounded people on both sides. He deplores the loss of life and calls for an immediate de-escalation of tensions.
The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and strongly condemns these actions. He calls on Israel to exercise maximum restraint. Both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times.
“We support the calls of the Secretary-General for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and his demand that both sides should do everything to avoid further escalation and must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of civilians at all times,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) added in a news release. In addition to calling for an immediate de-escalation earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israel and called on Israel to exercise maximum restraint.
The new wave of violence in Gaza and southern Israel has resulted in several people being killed or wounded on both sides. UNRWA has over one million beneficiaries in Gaza, where, earlier Thursday, one of its staff members was killed in an Israeli airstrike in the north.
The relief agency said that reports indicate that Marwan Abu El Qumsan – an Arabic teacher in his fifties at UNRWA’s Preparatory Boys School in the city of Jabalia, in northern Gaza – was in a car near the scene of an air strike at the time of his death; his brother, who was with him in the car, was severely injured. UNRWA also expressed its condolences over Mr. El Qumsum’s death.
Separately, an UNWRA spokesperson in Gaza, Adnan Abu Hasna, said that the agency had closed its schools temporarily due to the violence. “There will be no schools as long as the situation remains dangerous and the air strikes continue. The students will be in danger, that’s why UNRWA has decided to suspend the work in its educational institutions until further notice,” Mr. Hasna told UN Radio. He added that the agency’s international staff members continue with their work, noting that staff had entered Gaza today to help with emergency operations.
Also today, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlighted that the continuous waves of airstrikes and indiscriminate rocket fire have triggered widespread fear among the civilian population in Gaza and southern Israel, especially amongst children. In particular, OCHA added, the humanitarian situation remains precarious, with widespread panic amongst the population in Gaza, stockpiling of food and fuel, low levels of drug and medical supplies and the closure of crossings for humanitarian goods. In southern Israel, all schools within a 40 kilometre radius of the border with Gaza are closed and movement is limited.
OCHA said that all parties must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities, in accordance with the principles of distinction and proportionality.On Wednesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy about the situation in Gaza and southern Israel.
He expressed his concern to Mr. Netanyahu about the deteriorating situation, which in addition to the increase of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, includes the targeted killing by Israel of a Hamas military operative in Gaza. Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, the head of the military wing of the Palestinian group Hamas which controls Gaza, was killed when his car was reportedly targeted during Israeli air strikes on the territory, following a wave of rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza.
In the telephone call, the UN chief also noted his expectation that Israeli reactions are measured so as not to provoke a new cycle of bloodshed that could cause additional civilian casualties and have dangerous spillover effects in the region. He also called for the parties to exercise the utmost restraint and to respect international humanitarian law. In his call with President Morsy, the Secretary-General stated the need to prevent any further deterioration of the situation, and expressed strong support for the leadership being exercised by Egypt to restore calm in the region. The Security Council also met on the issue on Wednesday night behind closed doors.
The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the continued violence in Gaza and Israel, and deeply worried by the rising cost in terms of civilian lives. He urgently appeals to all concerned to do everything under their command to stop this dangerous escalation and restore calm. Rocket attacks are unacceptable and must stop at once. Israel must exercise maximum restraint.
The Secretary-General’s paramount concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians. All sides must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in this regard. A new cycle of bloodshed will make neither Israelis nor Palestinians more secure. Nor will bloodshed open the door to negotiations that could achieve the two-State solution necessary to end such violence permanently.
The Secretary-General has continued to speak with international and regional leaders and officials by telephone and in person as part of his efforts to call for restraint and push for an end to violence. As part of those efforts, he plans to visit the region shortly.
The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued the following statement today, 16 November:
The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the deadly military attacks perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip that have reportedly killed at least 21 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including a pregnant woman and seven children, and wounded more than 250 other Palestinians.
The Bureau of the Committee also strongly condemns the killing of three Israeli civilians and the wounding of others as a result of rocket fire into Israel, which intensified after Israel’s assassination of a Hamas leader on 14 November 2012. The Committee has consistently denounced rocket firing by Palestinian militants indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians and called for its cessation.
The Bureau of the Committee demands that Israel, the occupying Power, end, immediately and unconditionally, its military campaign in the Gaza Strip. It considers that the policy and practice of extrajudicial killings are inadmissible under international law. Nothing can justify this deadly military operation that Israel is carrying out, gravely endangering the Palestinian civilian population and spreading fear and trauma among the population. The occupying Power should be held accountable for the killing and wounding of the innocent civilians in Gaza. All these actions are not only in flagrant violation of norms of international law but also are bound to spur further violence, casualties and mistrust.
The Bureau of the Committee emphasizes that the Fourth Geneva Convention obligates an occupying Power to protect the civilian population under its occupation, including through the provision of basic services, such as food and medicines. The applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, has been repeatedly affirmed by its High Contracting Parties, as well as by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. We call on the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take urgent and decisive action to uphold their obligation, under article 1, to “respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances”.
The Bureau of the Committee also considers that it is incumbent upon the Security Council to exercise its responsibilities under the United Nations Charter and engage itself fully with a view to defusing the crisis and saving civilian lives. The Council should take immediate and concrete steps to demand that the bloodshed is brought to an end, that Israel stop its military attacks against the Gaza Strip and that the civilian population is protected. The Council must also insist that Israel lift its blockade of Gaza, in accordance with its resolution 1860 (2009) and allow for Gaza’s long-overdue recovery, reconstruction and long-term economic growth.
I am deeply saddened by the reported deaths of more than ten members of the Dalu family, including women and children, and additional Palestinian civilians killed as a result of the ongoing violence in the Gaza strip. I am also alarmed by the continuing firing of rockets against Israeli towns, which has killed several Israeli civilians. This must stop. I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate cease fire. Any further escalation will inevitably increase the suffering of the affected civilian populations and must be avoided.
I am heading to the region to appeal personally for ending the violence and contribute to ongoing efforts to that end.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi visited Gaza today to see firsthand the immense destruction taking place and to recognise UNRWA staff’s dedicated work despite the violence. Mr. Grandi met refugees, and he also spoke to staff at Jabalia distribution centre and commented on how impressed he was with their commitment. The distribution centre was badly damaged in the airstrikes, but was subsequently repaired by staff to enable food distributions to thousands of refugees.
Mr. Grandi emphasised that the immediate issue is to achieve a cease-fire, and he called for all to support the efforts of the Secretary-General in this regard. Mr. Grandi also stressed that we should not forget the underlying issues. For years Gazans have been living under a blockade that restricts their movement and exports, and has decimated the economy. “The blockade is affecting their daily lives and must be solved.”
I thank you, Sir, for the opportunity to brief the Council today on my three-day visit to Egypt, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Jordan.
Since the situation in Gaza and Israel escalated last week, I made it my priority to contribute to efforts to halt the violence, with the priority aim of protecting civilians. I cancelled a previously planned trip to travel to the Middle East instead as a clear signal of the need for international diplomatic mobilization to prevent a further escalation that would put the whole region at risk, and to strengthen the commendable efforts, led by Egypt, to reach a ceasefire.
I warmly welcome today’s ceasefire announcement. I commend the parties for stepping back from the brink, and I commend President Morsy of Egypt for his exceptional leadership. Our focus now must be on ensuring that the ceasefire holds and that all those in need in Gaza — and there are many — receive the humanitarian assistance they need.
It is a huge relief for the people of Gaza and Israel and for the international community that the violence is stopping, but we are all aware of the risks, and we are all aware that there are many details that must be solidified if a broad, durable ceasefire is to take firm hold over the longer term. It is imperative that both sides stick to the ceasefire in order to allow these underlying issues to be addressed in a sustainable fashion.
Today’s announcement follows a week of devastating violence in southern Israel and Gaza, including the terror attack today on a bus in downtown Tel Aviv, which I strongly and immediately condemned.
This brought us to an important moment, after a week of intensive diplomacy to reach a ceasefire. In that regard, I met with Egyptian President Morsy, League of Arab States Secretary-General Elaraby, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Palestinian President Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Judeh and many other leaders in each location, including the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Egypt, the Minister of Defence, the Foreign Minister and President of Israel, and Prime Minister Fayyad. I also met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while in Jerusalem. I have just spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel for a second time today.
My paramount concern throughout has been for the safety and well-being of all civilians, no matter where they are. Innocent people, including children, have been killed and injured on both sides. Families on both sides were forced to cower in fear as the violence raged around them. It pained me to be back here under circumstances similar to those that prevailed when I visited in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead. Recent events have been eerily reminiscent.
This morning, I heard from the United Nations team in Gaza. They reported on the impact of violence, including increased civilian casualties, which reached more than 139 Palestinians killed, more than 70 of them civilians, and more than 900 injured, with the displacement of 10,000 Gazans, who are now in 12 schools of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and two others run by local authorities. UNRWA has emphasized the critical need to support ongoing programmes on food assistance, health and sanitation, which are experiencing funding shortfalls and will now be burdened by having to support additional displaced persons. I am asking our emergency and humanitarian teams to be prepared to do whatever they can to alleviate the suffering.
Attacks on both sides continued today as the ceasefire approached. The bombing today in Tel Aviv injured 23 people, including three severely. The indiscriminate firing of rockets targeting Israel also continued. One long-range rocket landed in the outskirts of Jerusalem yesterday, with no injuries reported. Since 14 November, rocket fire has resulted in the deaths of four Israeli civilians, with 219 reported injured, most of them civilians. Three are in serious condition. One Israeli soldier was killed yesterday, and 16 Israeli soldiers have been wounded, one critically.
Overall, in the same period, more than 1,456 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. One hundred and forty-two fell inside Gaza itself. Approximately 409 were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Ten Fajr-5 missiles were shot at Tel Aviv suburbs and the sea, five of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Three long-range missiles hit the outskirts of Jerusalem, which is unprecedented.
Since Israel’s targeted assassination from the air, on 14 November, of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, the chief of the military wing of Hamas, and with Israel’s offensive in Gaza in its eighth day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) publicly reported that it had conducted strikes against more than 1,450 targets in Gaza. Air strikes targeted sites across the Gaza Strip and included, but were not limited to, rocket-launching sites, military bases, police stations and tunnels along the border with Egypt.
The Israeli Air Force also targeted residential and office buildings that the IDF said belonged to members of Palestinian armed groups. Hundreds of buildings were hit by Israeli Air Force attacks. Media office and personnel of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa television were targeted on 18 and 20 November, resulting in the deaths of three media professionals and injuries to 10 others.
I consistently condemn indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At the same time, I also believe that the excessive and disproportionate use of force that endangers civilian lives is intolerable. It is unacceptable for citizens on both sides to permanently live in fear of the next strike. Put simply, all parties must respect international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of all civilians at all times.
Earlier today, I travelled to Egypt for the second time this trip to support the ceasefire talks in the final phase taking place under the auspices of President Morsy, with the active support of several regional and international leaders. Visits of Foreign Ministers of several countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and many Arab countries were a further strong indication of the concerns of the international community and its shared goal of stopping the violence.
In my meeting with President Morsy only hours ago, he said that he was very close in his effort to achieve a ceasefire. He also reiterated the need to address the underlying issues of concern to both sides, so that the ceasefire could be sustainable. In addition, President Morsy expressed his concern that the comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, to which Egypt is committed, had not yet been achieved. I underscored the importance of President Morsy’s efforts given his leadership and contacts with all sides.
I know that Palestinians and Israelis both have fundamental concerns about the status quo ante. As President Morsy said, those underlying issues need to be addressed. The United Nations is prepared to help to facilitate all efforts in that regard. But people are dying every day and cities are being targeted every day. The humanitarian crisis is growing exponentially the longer the crisis continues. We need the ceasefire now, followed immediately by negotiations on the underlying issues. That is the sequence that can save lives now.
The crisis underscored that the status quo is unsustainable and that long-term solutions must be found to the problems of Gaza, and for the Palestinians as a whole. Core elements of resolution 1860 (2009) remain unimplemented. Once calm is fully restored and the violence ends, a broader ceasefire will have to address all the underlying causes of conflict, including a full opening of the crossings, Palestinian reconciliation and an end to weapon-smuggling.
It is clear that the international community must speak with one voice to prevent a return to violence. I plan to keep in touch with world leaders, and I have asked my Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, to remain in Cairo to support the efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire.
Finally, let me conclude by stressing, as I have during all my discussions during this intense trip, that in these testing times, when the entire region is experiencing profound transformations, we must not lose sight of the fact that peace must remain our ultimate priority goal. Our devotion to a two-State solution ending a prolonged occupation and ending the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is more urgent than ever. Achieving that vision, which has been affirmed repeatedly by the Council, is long overdue and paramount to the stability of the region. Only a just, comprehensive peace can bring lasting security to all.
I am deeply concerned about the reported targeting of media facilities and personnel that have left three Palestinian journalists dead: Mahmoud Al-Komi, Hossam Salameh Mohammed and Abu Eisha. The civilian status of journalists and their right to carry out their professional duties should be respected.
I am equally alarmed by strikes on schools in both Gaza and southern Israel. Schools should offer a safe environment for children. Attacks against them is a denial of the right to education and should be firmly condemned.
I wish to join my voice to the UN Secretary-General, whose paramount concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians,” the Director-General concluded.
The Secretary-General was shocked at the news of the terror attack on a bus today in the centre of Tel Aviv. He condemns this attack in the strongest possible terms. There are no circumstances that justify the targeting of civilians. The Secretary-General is saddened and expresses his sympathy to those injured in the blast.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the ceasefire agreement reached in relation to the Gaza Strip in order to bring about a sustainable and durable cessation of hostilities that had been affecting the Gaza Strip and Israel. The members of the Council called on the parties to uphold the agreement and to act seriously to implement its provisions in good faith. They expressed their continued support for the ongoing international efforts to consolidate this agreement.
The members of the Council strongly commend the efforts of Egyptian President [Mohamed] Morsy and others to achieve the ceasefire. The members of the Council also expressed strong appreciation for the efforts of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in this regard.
The members of the Council affirmed the need for the people of Israel and the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip to live without fear. They called on the international community to contribute to improving the living conditions of the people in the Gaza Strip, notably through providing additional emergency aid through appropriate established channels to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and to work in this regard with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt for the expeditious and unimpeded delivery of such humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment.
The members of the Security Council deplored the loss of civilian lives resulting from this situation and reiterated the need to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and their protection in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The members of the Council stressed the urgency of the restoration of calm in full and reiterated the importance of achieving a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders.
The United Nations is deeply saddened that it is the civilian population that has, once again, borne the brunt of violence in this region. In just eight days, at least 103 civilians were killed, including 33 children and 13 women; hundreds more were injured, many critically as a result of the recent hostilities in Gaza. About 700 families have been made homeless by the destruction of their homes and have been displaced. Bridges, schools, clinics, media offices and sports facilities were damaged. I wish to express sincere condolences to the families of those killed, and a quick recovery to those injured.
But that is not the whole picture – the latest round of hostilities has only compounded what was already a precarious humanitarian situation, with 80 per cent of Gazan families receiving aid. And it has further contributed to the “de-development” of Gaza.
Gaza was already facing tough challenges before the recent conflict. I am especially concerned about the water sector, where the aquifer – the main source of drinking water – may well be on the verge of collapse. Here we need to act at once to avoid devastating consequences for all people in Gaza, as highlighted in our recent report, “Gaza in 2020 – A Liveable Place?”
The violence has also exacerbated the vulnerabilities of some of Gaza’s poorest people and added to the psychological trauma that children in particular have suffered in recent years. I am particularly concerned about those who have been displaced from their homes and who are unable to return.
I am proud of our UN staff and our Gazan and international partners. Their courage and their commitment to humanity is humbling. I have spoken to many colleagues who feared for their families and their own lives but continued to work day and night throughout the conflict.
Throughout the recent hostilities, the UN and its partners continued working to ensure, to the extent possible, that people were able to receive the regular distributions of assistance and access essential services. We were also able to respond quickly to emergency needs of the almost 12,000 people who sought shelter in UNRWA and other schools. Since the ceasefire, we have focused on bringing pre-existing programs up to full speed, and I am pleased to report that these programmes are now fully up and running. Rehabilitating critical infrastructure will need to follow, such as schools or the coastal bridge, which has been destroyed.
Our teams are also working around the clock to assess the additional needs arising from this escalation and to respond quickly and effectively to families and communities that need shelter support, medical treatment and services, food and other assistance, in addition to the restocking of drugs and other supplies, and the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure. Mitigating the risk of explosive remnants of war and providing psycho-social support to the traumatized children and families are also high priorities over the coming days and weeks. We expect this assessment of needs will be completed in just a few days.
Meanwhile, the UN is already responding to some of these needs. For instance, today we started to repair windows, doors and other damage in 93 schools, many of which run double shifts. We are also making use of our emergency funding. In fact, we have already approved almost half a million dollars from a local Humanitarian Response Fund to provide fuel for generators so that they can continue to pump water and operate sewage plants.
While we will not have a precise figure on our financial requirements for a few days, what I can say at this point is that we need at least $14 million this year to ensure that the UN and its partners can provide immediate relief, in addition to UNRWA’s separate appeal and WHO’s recent request for medical supplies. We are also working on revising the humanitarian appeal (CAP) for next year, to include assistance during the early months of 2013.
Of course, beyond addressing immediate humanitarian and early recovery needs arising from this latest round of hostilities we need to look ahead. We cannot accept an outcome where the people of Gaza merely revert to the situation as it was two weeks ago – one characterized by widespread chronic humanitarian needs, the lack of development, and the absence of a sustainable local economy that benefits all communities – indeed an absence of hope. This situation must change.
Like Mr. Serry, I also believe the terms of the recent ceasefire offer a window of opportunity. We must seize this opportunity – all efforts must now focus on opening the crossings for people and goods. I welcome the extension of the fishing limits from 3 to 6 nautical miles, but, frankly, this is not enough. The fishing limit must be extended further to allow the Gazan fishing industry to get back on its feet. Palestinian farmers must be allowed to freely access their lands and crops in the border areas. Transfers of Gazan goods to the West Bank and exports must be permitted to support economic recovery. Gazan students must be allowed to access universities in the West Bank.
The people of Gaza have the capacity to develop their communities and to build a sustainable local economy. It is time that they are given the opportunity to do so. We in the humanitarian community call upon political actors in the region and beyond to take the necessary steps to ensure durable peace and stability in the region – and to allow hope to once again prevail for the people of Gaza and the region.
We meet today against the background of the recent disturbing cycle of violence in Gaza and Israel and a dangerous escalation that concluded with the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement on 21 November. At the same time, this week the Palestinians are expected to follow through with their intention to approach the General Assembly seeking non-member State observer status.
Those two significant political developments supersede any other aspect of our regular reporting and merit dedicated focus in my briefing today. Both underscore that the status quo is unsustainable and that it is all the more vital to identify a way ahead to urgently put the peace process back on track. Both take place amid other growing regional concerns, mainly linked to the conflict in Syria, which continues at an alarming rate.
On Gaza, the Secretary-General briefed the Council last week about his urgent visit to Egypt, Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory and Jordan, and the intense diplomatic effort that culminated in the announcement of a ceasefire agreement welcomed by the Council, which principally calls for a reciprocal cessation of hostilities. I will therefore focus my remarks first on the next steps, which require difficult work in order to finalize the details left open in the agreement before the ceasefire can take firm hold. I will also brief the Council on the proactive role of the United Nations on addressing recovery and humanitarian needs in Gaza, which I visited Sunday.
The Secretary-General asked me to stay in Cairo in the days following the announcement of a truce and his own efforts for the purpose of contributing to reaching agreement on the comprehensive elements of the ceasefire. In the so-called understanding for a ceasefire, Israel and Palestinian factions agreed to stop “all hostilities” and, after an initial period of 24-hour calm, begin discussions on some of the long-standing issues to be addressed for a broad, durable ceasefire to take firm hold over the longer term. Security remains central to those discussions. I can report that Egypt and the parties have already commenced intense discussions on how to deal with the issues listed in the understanding. The United Nations, present on the ground, is working closely with Egypt in providing inputs and suggestions to those discussions.
The calm has largely held, despite the firing of a few rockets in the hours following the agreement and renewed shooting incidents during a demonstration along the fence inside Gaza, which claimed the life of one Palestinian demonstrator. It is now paramount that the parties respect the calm and allow time for the other elements of the understanding to be worked out. Yet we know that this will not be easy.
It is painful that, despite consistent warnings, we had yet another major escalation four years after Operation Cast Lead. The devastating round of violence is a stark reminder of the fact that the status quo is unsustainable. There will be no progress if Israel’s legitimate security concerns are not addressed. At the same time, it will give Palestinians a strong additional stake in a durable calm if it leads to a lifting of the closure on Gaza. This is, at long last, an opportunity to address the underlying causes of conflict captured in resolution 1860 (2009), which provides the international legal framework for stabilizing the situation in Gaza. Core elements of the resolution remain unimplemented. These include an end to weapons smuggling and the full opening of crossings. The understanding now provides a framework to address the opening of crossings and facilitate the movement of people and the transfer of goods, as well as refrain from restricting residents’ free movement and targeting residents in border areas. It has been agreed that other matters as may be requested shall be addressed. Efforts to prevent the trafficking of arms and put in place long-term security arrangements should also be part of the discussion for a sustainable and durable calm.
I am pleased to note that implementation has started in earnest and that Israel has, in principle, agreed to the extension of the maritime fishing limit to six nautical miles. This is already a significant result, but it is not sufficient on its own. More needs to be done with respect to crossings and freedom of movement. As a next concrete measure of progress, we hope to see a liberalization of import of construction material — including aggregate, steel bars and cement — through existing crossings. Exports from Gaza and transfers into the West Bank should also become part of the mechanism.
But it also essential that we address other aspects of resolution 1860 (2009), which calls for tangible steps towards Palestinian reconciliation. The Secretary-General has continually supported efforts for Palestinian unity in the context of the Palestine Liberation Organization commitments and the work of Egypt in this regard. It is my hope that the crisis in Gaza has also created an opportunity to overcome differences in very tangible ways. People, both in Gaza and in the West Bank, expect nothing less from their leaders.
The devastating impact of the violence during the eight days of fighting is now clear. An estimated 158 Palestinians, including 103 civilians — 33 children and 13 women among them — were killed. In a particularly distressing example of civilians bearing the brunt of the suffering, 10 members of the Dalu family were killed in an Israeli air strike on their house on 18 November. Approximately 1,269 Palestinians were reported injured. Six Israelis — four civilians and two soldiers — were reported killed by Palestinian rocket fire, and 224 Israelis, the vast majority of them civilians, were injured. The bomb attack in Tel Aviv on 21 November, which the Secretary-General condemned in the strongest terms, injured 23 people, three severely.
The Secretary-General has stressed that his paramount immediate concern is for the safety and well-being of all civilians, no matter where they are. He has condemned the excessive use of force that endangers civilian lives. He has at the same time consistently condemned indiscriminate rocket fire against Israel, which is unacceptable and will only trigger escalation. Put simply, all parties must respect international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of all civilians, at all times.
Distressed that conditions during his visit so shockingly resembled the situation four years ago, the Secretary-General has instructed me and the rest of the United Nations system to urgently activate recovery and humanitarian assistance in Gaza and to step up our existing support. I visited Gaza on Sunday and witnessed myself the destruction that resulted from the hostilities. I have visited refugee families — beneficiaries of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) — and extended my condolences as they lost several of their members in an Israeli airstrike. I also saw a newly built UNRWA school that had been badly damaged in the fighting, and I spoke to Gazan fishermen of the local cooperative whose office building was also affected by the fighting.
The conclusion of hostilities prevented a large-scale humanitarian emergency. Nevertheless, there was a sharp increase in Palestinians leaving their homes to seek shelter in UNRWA and Government schools just before the ceasefire agreement was reached. At its peak, the number of internally displaced persons reached nearly 12,000. The United Nations and its partners were able to rapidly respond to the needs of these families and on Saturday had already fully resumed pre-existing humanitarian operations that were ongoing prior to 14 November. I am pleased to report that virtually all families have now returned home. UNRWA and public schools reopened on 24 November and municipalities throughout the Gaza Strip have started to remove rubble.
On the same day, I also visited Rishon Lezion, a suburb of Tel Aviv where a rocket from Gaza had destroyed large parts of an apartment building whose residents were fortunately unharmed. On behalf of the Secretary-General, I expressed my sympathies to the Israelis affected. I held some discussions with young residents that impressed on me how the recent escalation had also placed the safety of millions of Israeli civilians at risk, reaching far into the centre of the country.
I would now like to turn to the stated Palestinian intention to present a draft resolution to the General Assembly related to the status of Palestine later this week. The passion that this potential move has generated is indicative of how far apart the parties remain.
The United Nations Charter is clear that issues of recognition of a State and status in the General Assembly are a responsibility for Member States and the United Nations intergovernmental bodies, and not the Secretariat, to decide. The Secretary-General has said on numerous occasions that the Palestinians should have an independent and viable State of their own, living side by side with the State of Israel, in peace and security. A Palestinian State is long overdue; it is key to addressing the legitimate aspirations of both peoples and paramount to the stability of the region. The Secretary-General hopes that all concerned will look at the consequences of any decision they make responsibly.
However, regardless of the outcome of the move in the General Assembly on 29 November, it is also important to plan for the day after, including protecting the crucial achievements of the Palestinian Authority in building robust State institutions. These steps have brought real security and economic improvements, but both are dangerously at risk. President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad must be commended for these achievements, which must be protected.
The Secretary-General is also aware that the effectiveness of the Quartet has been called into question, including by members of the Council, and I have also in the past warned that the Quartet’s credibility is at stake. In its recent meeting amid the Gaza crisis on 17 November, the League of Arab States cited the need to reconsider the Arab position towards the Palestinian cause, the peace process and other instruments, including the Quartet. The sense of urgency is now all the greater, and Quartet members must take stock of the events of the past months and reassess their role in shaping the way forward.
I have also consistently warned about the threat of a prolonged stalemate in the peace process to the two-State solution and the viability of the Palestinian Authority. There is no substitute to meaningful negotiations to achieve this vision. This must remain our collective priority. Unfortunately, that effort continues to be undermined by actions on the ground, including continued settlement activity, settler violence and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, during which two Palestinian demonstrators were killed. The spillover of violence from the Gaza crisis into the West Bank was largely contained thanks to the effectiveness of the Palestinian security forces.
It has been 65 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, proposing the partition of the mandate territory into two States. Achieving the two-State solution, to which both Israel and the Palestinians have committed, is long overdue. During my recent trip to the Middle East following the dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza and Israel, I saw yet again the disastrous consequences -= in particular for the civilian populations - of the absence of a permanent resolution of the conflict. With the Middle East continuing to change rapidly and profoundly, it is more urgent than ever for the international community and the parties to intensify efforts towards peace.
The outlines of an agreement have long been clear, laid out in UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles - including land for peace -- the Road Map, the 2002 Arab Peace initiative and existing agreements between the parties. What is needed now is political will and courage, as well as a sense of historic responsibility and vision for younger generations.
Final status issues can only be solved through direct negotiations. However, much work lies ahead to create the conditions that will allow the resumption of credible and meaningful negotiations and preserve the viability of the two-state solution.
It is crucial to sustain the ceasefire concluded last week that ended more than one week of devastating violence in Gaza and southern Israel. There must be no rocket fire from Gaza, which I have condemned repeatedly. The issues that have been pending since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1860 in January 2009 must be resolved decisively: ending the closure, preventing the illicit trafficking of arms and achieving intra-Palestinian reconciliation. Palestinian unity that supports a negotiated two-State solution is essential for the creation of a Palestinian State in Gaza and the West Bank.
It remains essential that the Palestinians overcome their divisions, based on the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the positions of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative.
It is equally important to preserve the commendable achievements of the Palestinian Authority’s state-building efforts in the West Bank and the territorial contiguity it needs. Continued settlement activity in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law and the Roadmap, and must cease. Unilateral actions on the ground will not be accepted by the international community. Allowing proper development and planning in Area C is also necessary, instead of demolitions and land confiscation. Israel continues to build the wall on West Bank land, contrary to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. I am also concerned about rising settler violence resulting in Palestinian injuries and property damage.
Amid these many challenges to the realization of their legitimate aspirations for statehood, the Palestinians have decided to seek Non Member Observer State status in the General Assembly. This is a matter for Member States to decide. It is important for all concerned to approach this responsibly and constructively.
The goal remains realizing the just and lasting peace for which generations of Palestinians and Israelis have been longing - a peace that will end the occupation that started in 1967, end the conflict and ensure that an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel. I call on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to show vision and determination. I also urge the international community to help them forge a credible political path that will meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides.
I pledge to do everything in my power support this goal. On this International Day, I count on all involved to work together to translate solidarity into positive action for peace.
The General Assembly,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and stressing in this regard the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples,
Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,1 by which it affirmed, inter alia, the duty of every State to promote, through joint and separate action, realization of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples,
Stressing the importance of maintaining and strengthening international peace founded upon freedom, equality, justice and respect for fundamental human rights,
Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947,
Reaffirming the principle, set out in the Charter, of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Reaffirming also relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008,
Reaffirming further the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,2 to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including with regard to the matter of prisoners,
Reaffirming its resolution 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974 and all relevant resolutions, including resolution 66/146 of 19 December 2011, reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine,
Reaffirming also its resolutions 43/176 of 15 December 1988 and 66/17 of 30 November 2011 and all relevant resolutions regarding the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, which, inter alia, stress the need for the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination and the right to their independent State, a just resolution of the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948 and the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Reaffirming further its resolution 66/18 of 30 November 2011 and all relevant resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem, bearing in mind that the annexation of East Jerusalem is not recognized by the international community, and emphasizing the need for a way to be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the capital of two States,
Recalling the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004,3
Reaffirming its resolution 58/292 of 6 May 2004 affirming, inter alia, that the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation and that, in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over their territory,
Recalling its resolutions 3210 (XXIX) of 14 October 1974 and 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, by which, respectively, the Palestine Liberation Organization was invited to participate in the deliberations of the General Assembly as the representative of the Palestinian people and was granted observer status,
Recalling also its resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988, by which it, inter alia, acknowledged the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 and decided that the designation “Palestine” should be used in place of the designation “Palestine Liberation Organization” in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the observer status and functions of the Palestine Liberation Organization within the United Nations system,
Taking into consideration that the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in accordance with a decision by the Palestine National Council, is entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine,4
Recalling its resolution 52/250 of 7 July 1998, by which additional rights and privileges were accorded to Palestine in its capacity as observer,
Recalling also the Arab Peace Initiative adopted in March 2002 by the Council of the League of Arab States,5
Reaffirming its commitment, in accordance with international law, to the two-State solution of an independent, sovereign, democratic, viable and contiguous State of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security on the basis of the pre-1967 borders,
Bearing in mind the mutual recognition of 9 September 1993 between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,
Affirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,
Commending the Palestinian National Authority’s 2009 plan for constructing the institutions of an independent Palestinian State within a two-year period, and welcoming the positive assessments in this regard about readiness for statehood by the World Bank, the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund and as reflected in the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee Chair conclusions of April 2011 and subsequent Chair conclusions, which determined that the Palestinian Authority is above the threshold for a functioning State in key sectors studied,
Recognizing that full membership is enjoyed by Palestine in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the Group of Asia-Pacific States and that Palestine is also a full member of the League of Arab States, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Group of 77 and China,
Recognizing also that, to date, 132 States Members of the United Nations have accorded recognition to the State of Palestine,
Taking note of the 11 November 2011 report of the Security Council Committee on the Admission of New Members,6
Stressing the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine until it is satisfactorily resolved in all its aspects,
Reaffirming the principle of universality of membership of the United Nations,
1. Reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967;
2. Decides to accord to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the United Nations as the representative of the Palestinian people, in accordance with the relevant resolutions and practice;
3. Expresses the hope that the Security Council will consider favourably the application submitted on 23 September 2011 by the State of Palestine for admission to full membership in the United Nations;7
4. Affirms its determination to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfils the vision of two States: an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel on the basis of the pre-1967 borders;
5. Expresses the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative5 and the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict8 for the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides that resolves all outstanding core issues, namely the Palestine refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, borders, security and water;
6. Urges all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination, independence and freedom;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary measures to implement the present resolution and to report to the General Assembly within three months on progress made in this regard.
An important vote has taken place today in the General Assembly.
The decision by the General Assembly to accord Palestine Non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations was a prerogative of the Member States. I stand ready to fulfil my role and report to this Assembly as requested in the resolution.
My position has been consistent all along. I believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to their own independent State. I believe that Israel has the right to live in peace and security with its neighbours. There is no substitute for negotiations to that end.
Today’s vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations. We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel.
I urge the parties to renew their commitment to a negotiated peace. I count on all concerned to act responsibly, preserve the achievements in Palestinian State-building under the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, and intensify efforts towards reconciliation and the just and lasting peace which remains our shared goal and priority.
67/20 Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
Recalling its resolutions 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, 3375 (XXX) and 3376 (XXX) of 10 November 1975, 31/20 of 24 November 1976 and all its subsequent relevant resolutions, including those adopted at its emergency special sessions and its resolution 66/14 of 30 November 2011,
Recalling also its resolution 58/292 of 6 May 2004,
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,9
Recalling the mutual recognition between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, as well as the existing agreements between the two sides and the need for full compliance with those agreements,
Affirming its support for the Middle East peace process on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session10 and the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003.11
Expressing grave concern about the impasse in the peace process and the serious deterioration of the situation on the ground, and calling for an urgent resumption of the peace process,
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,12 and recalling also its resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,
Taking note of the application of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations, submitted on 23 September 2011,13
Reaffirming that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility towards the question of Palestine until the question is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy,
1. Expresses its appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it by the General Assembly, and takes note of its annual report,9 including the conclusions and valuable recommendations contained in chapter VII thereof;
2. Requests the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, to support the Middle East peace process for the achievement of the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders and the just resolution of all final status issues and to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people, and in this regard authorizes the Committee to make such adjustments in its approved programme of work as it may consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session and thereafter;
3. Also requests the Committee to continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the General Assembly, the Security Council or the Secretary-General, as appropriate;
4. Further requests the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other civil society organizations and to continue to involve additional civil society organizations and parliamentarians in its work in order to mobilize international solidarity and support for the Palestinian people, particularly during this critical period of political instability, humanitarian hardship and financial crisis, with the overall aim of promoting the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights and a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative10 and the Quartet road map;11
5. Requests the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, established under General Assembly resolution 194 (III), and other United Nations bodies associated with the question of Palestine to continue to cooperate fully with the Committee and to make available to it, at its request, the relevant information and documentation which they have at their disposal;
6. Invites all Governments and organizations to extend their cooperation to the Committee in the performance of its tasks;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to circulate the report of the Committee to all the competent bodies of the United Nations, and urges them to take the necessary action, as appropriate;
8. Also requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks.
67/21 Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,14
Taking note, in particular, of the action taken by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat in accordance with their mandates,
Recalling its resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977 and all its subsequent relevant resolutions, including its resolution 66/15 of 30 November 2011,
1. Notes with appreciation the action taken by the Secretary-General in compliance with its resolution 66/15;
2. Considers that, by providing substantive support to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in the implementation of its mandate, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat continues to make a most useful and constructive contribution to raising international awareness of the question of Palestine and of the urgency of a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine in all its aspects on the basis of international law and United Nations resolutions and the efforts being exerted in this regard, and to generating international support for the rights of the Palestinian people;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continues to carry out its programme of work as detailed in relevant earlier resolutions, in consultation with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and under its guidance;
4. Requests the Division, in particular, to continue to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine, organize international meetings and conferences in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community, liaise and cooperate with civil society and parliamentarians, develop and expand the “Question of Palestine” website and the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, prepare and widely disseminate publications and information materials on various aspects of the question of Palestine and develop and enhance the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority in contribution to Palestinian capacity-building efforts;
5. Also requests the Division, as part of the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29 November, to continue to organize, under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, and encourages Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation with the Division of the United Nations system entities with programme components addressing various aspects of the question of Palestine and the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
7. Invites all Governments and organizations to extend their cooperation to the Division in the performance of its tasks.
67/22 Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,15
Taking note, in particular, of the information contained in chapter VI of that report,
Recalling its resolution 66/16 of 30 November 2011,
Convinced that the worldwide dissemination of accurate and comprehensive information and the role of civil society organizations and institutions remain of vital importance in heightening awareness of and support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and independence, and for the efforts to achieve a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine,
Recalling the mutual recognition between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, as well as the existing agreements between the two sides,
Affirming its support for the Middle East peace process on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session,16 and the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003,17
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,18
1. Notes with appreciation the action taken by the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat in compliance with resolution 66/16;
2. Considers that the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department is very useful in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East and that the programme is contributing effectively to an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process and should receive the necessary support for the fulfilment of its tasks;
3. Requests the Department, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to continue, with the necessary flexibility as may be required by developments affecting the question of Palestine, its special information programme for 2012-2013, in particular:
(a) To disseminate information on all the activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine and the peace process, including reports on the work carried out by the relevant United Nations organizations, as well as on the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy vis-à-vis the peace process;
(b) To continue to issue, update and modernize publications and audiovisual materials on the various aspects of the question of Palestine in all fields, including materials concerning the relevant recent developments in that regard, in particular the efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine;
(c) To expand its collection of audiovisual material on the question of Palestine, to continue the production and preservation of such material and to update, on a periodic basis, the public exhibit on the question of Palestine displayed in the General Assembly Building as well as at United Nations headquarters in Geneva and Vienna;
(d) To organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel;
(e) To organize international, regional and national seminars or encounters for journalists aimed in particular at sensitizing public opinion to the question of Palestine and the peace process and at enhancing dialogue and understanding between Palestinians and Israelis for the promotion of a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including by fostering and encouraging the contribution of the media in support of peace between the two sides;
(f) To continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, in particular to strengthen the annual training programme for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists;
4. Encourages the Department to formulate ways for the media and representatives of civil society to engage in open and positive discussions to explore means for encouraging people-to-people dialogue and promoting peace and mutual understanding in the region.
67/23 Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine
Recalling its relevant resolutions, including those adopted at its tenth emergency special session,
Recalling further relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, 1544 (2004) of 19 May 2004 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008,
Recalling the affirmation by the Security Council of the vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders,
Noting with concern that it has been sixty-five years since the adoption of its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 and forty-five years since the occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in 1967,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General submitted pursuant to the request made in its resolution 66/17 of 30 November 2011,19
Reaffirming the permanent responsibility of the United Nations with regard to the question of Palestine until the question is resolved in all its aspects in accordance with international law and relevant resolutions,
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,20 and recalling also its resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,
Convinced that achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is imperative for the attainment of comprehensive and lasting peace and stability in the Middle East,
Stressing that the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples is among the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,
Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,
Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,
Reaffirming the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,
Expressing grave concern about the extremely detrimental impact of Israeli settlement policies, decisions and activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including on the contiguity, integrity and viability of the Territory and the efforts to resume and advance the peace process and to achieve peace in the Middle East,
Expressing grave concern also about acts of violence, intimidation and provocation by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and properties, including homes, mosques, churches and agricultural lands,
Reaffirming the illegality of Israeli actions aimed at changing the status of Jerusalem, including settlement construction and expansion, home demolitions, evictions of Palestinian residents, excavations in and around religious and historic sites, and all other unilateral measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the city and of the Territory as a whole,
Reaffirming also that the construction by Israel, the occupying Power, of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime are contrary to international law,
Expressing deep concern about the continuing Israeli policy of closures and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, including medical and humanitarian, via the imposition of prolonged closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade, as well as of checkpoints and a permit regime throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the consequent negative impact on the contiguity of the Territory and the serious socioeconomic and humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people, which is critical in the Gaza Strip, and on the efforts aimed at rehabilitating and developing the damaged Palestinian economy, while taking note of recent developments regarding the situation of access to the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank,
Recalling the mutual recognition between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,21 and the need for full compliance with the agreements concluded between the two sides,
Recalling also the endorsement by the Security Council, in resolution 1515 (2003), of the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict22 and the call in Council resolution 1850 (2008) for the parties to fulfil their obligations under the road map and to refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations, and recalling further in this regard the relevant Quartet statements, including that of 23 September 2011,23
Stressing the road map obligation upon Israel to freeze settlement activity, including so-called “natural growth”, and to dismantle all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,
Recalling the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session, held in Beirut on 27 and 28 March 2002.
Expressing support for the agreed principles for bilateral negotiations, as affirmed by the parties in the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding reached at the international conference held in Annapolis, United States of America, on 27 November 2007,7 aimed at concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, for the achievement of a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ultimately of the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole for the realization of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East,
Reiterating support for the convening of an international conference in Moscow, as envisioned by the Security Council in resolution 1850 (2008) and the Quartet statement of 23 September 2011, for the advancement and acceleration of a resumed peace process towards the fulfilment of its stated objectives,
Noting the important contribution to the peace process of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, including within the framework of the activities of the Quartet,
Noting also the continuing efforts of the Quartet’s Special Representative towards the resumption of the peace process, in particular the efforts to strengthen Palestinian institutions, promote Palestinian economic development and mobilize donor support,
Welcoming the ongoing efforts of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for the Coordination of the International Assistance to Palestinians, under the chairmanship of Norway, and noting its recent meeting at United Nations Headquarters on 23 September 2012, at which the donor countries reconfirmed the assessment that the institutions of the Palestinian Authority are above the threshold of a functioning State in the key sectors studied and reaffirmed the necessity of continued and increased donor support for the Palestinian Authority,
Recognizing the efforts being undertaken by the Palestinian Authority, with international support, to rebuild, reform and strengthen its damaged institutions, emphasizing the need to preserve and further develop Palestinian institutions and infrastructure and commending, in this regard, the implementation of the Palestinian Authority’s August 2009 plan for constructing the institutions of an independent Palestinian State within a twenty-four-month period and the ongoing implementation of its National Development Plan, and the significant achievements made, as confirmed in recent reports by international institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, while also expressing concern about the negative impact of the current financial crisis being faced by the Palestinian Authority,
Welcoming the continued efforts and tangible progress made in the security sector by the Palestinian Authority, calling upon the parties to continue cooperation that benefits both Palestinians and Israelis, in particular by promoting security and building confidence, and expressing the hope that such progress will be extended to all major population centres,
Reiterating its concern over the negative developments that have continued to occur in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, including the large number of deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinian civilians, the construction and expansion of settlements and the wall, acts of violence, vandalism and brutality committed against Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, the widespread destruction of public and private Palestinian property, including religious sites, and infrastructure, the internal displacement of civilians and the serious deterioration of the socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people,
Expressing grave concern, in particular, over the crisis in the Gaza Strip as a result of the continuing prolonged Israeli closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade and the continuing negative repercussions of the military operations in the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009, which caused extensive loss of life and injury, particularly among Palestinian civilians, including children and women, widespread damage and destruction to Palestinian homes, properties, vital infrastructure, public institutions, including hospitals and schools, and United Nations facilities, and internal displacement of civilians,
Stressing the need for the full implementation by all parties of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) of 8 January 2009 and General Assembly resolution ES-10/18 of 16 January 2009,
Expressing concern over continuing military actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including raids and arrest campaigns, and the continued imposition of hundreds of checkpoints and obstacles to movement in and around Palestinian population centres by the Israeli occupying forces, and emphasizing in this regard the need for the implementation by both sides of the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings,
Expressing grave concern about the imprisonment by Israel of thousands of Palestinians, including children, under harsh conditions,
Emphasizing the importance of the safety, protection and well-being of all civilians in the whole Middle East region, and condemning all acts of violence and terror against civilians on both sides, including the firing of rockets,
Expressing the hope for speedy progress towards Palestinian reconciliation for the restoration of Palestinian unity, under the leadership of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and consistent with Palestine Liberation Organization commitments, and of the situation in the Gaza Strip to that which existed prior to June 2007, and calling for the continuation of the serious efforts being exerted by Egypt, the League of Arab States and other concerned parties towards the achievement of this aim,
Stressing the urgent need for sustained and active international involvement, including by the Quartet, to support both parties in resuming, advancing and accelerating the peace process negotiations for the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement, on the basis of United Nations resolutions, the road map and the Arab Peace Initiative,
Noting the Quartet’s efforts, and calling upon the parties to resume negotiations with the aim of resolving all final status issues within one year and implementing an agreement between the two sides that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the independence of a democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours,
Taking note of the application of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations, submitted on 23 September 2011,24
Acknowledging the efforts being undertaken by civil society to promote a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine,
Recalling the findings by the International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion, including on the urgent necessity for the United Nations as a whole to redouble its efforts to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to pose a threat to international peace and security, to a speedy conclusion, thereby establishing a just and lasting peace in the region,25
Affirming once again the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,
1. Reaffirms the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in all its aspects, and of intensifying all efforts towards that end, and stresses in this regard the urgency of salvaging the prospects for realizing the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders;
2. Also reaffirms its full support for the Middle East peace process, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session15 and the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,13 and for the existing agreements between the Israeli and Palestinian sides;
3. Stresses the necessity for the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and welcomes in this regard the ongoing efforts of the Quartet and of the League of Arab States;
4. Encourages continued serious regional and international efforts to follow up and promote the Arab Peace Initiative, including by the Ministerial Committee formed at the Riyadh summit in March 2007;
5. Urges the parties to undertake, with the support of the Quartet and the international community, immediate and concrete steps in follow-up to the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding reached at the international conference held in Annapolis.16 including through the resumption of active and serious bilateral negotiations;
6. Calls for, in this regard, the timely convening of an international conference in Moscow, as envisioned by the Security Council in its resolution 1850 (2008), for the advancement and acceleration of a resumed peace process;
7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law and their previous agreements and obligations, in particular adherence to the road map, irrespective of reciprocity, in order to create the conditions necessary for the resumption and accelerated advancement of negotiations in the near term;
8. Calls upon the parties themselves, with the support of the Quartet and other interested parties, to exert all efforts necessary to halt the deterioration of the situation and to reverse all unilateral and unlawful measures taken on the ground since 28 September 2000;
9. Calls upon the parties to observe calm and restraint and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, especially in areas of religious and cultural sensitivity;
10. Underscores the need for the parties to take confidence-building measures aimed at improving the situation on the ground, promoting stability and fostering the peace process, including the need for the further release of prisoners following the exchange of prisoners in October and December 2011;
11. Stresses the need for the removal of checkpoints and other obstructions to the movement of persons and goods throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the need for respect and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
12. Also stresses the need for an immediate and complete cessation of all acts of violence, including military attacks, destruction and acts of terror;
13. Reiterates its demand for the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009);
14. Reiterates the need for the full implementation by both parties of the Agreement on Movement and Access and of the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing, of 15 November 2005, and the need, specifically, to allow for the sustained opening of all crossings into and out of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian supplies, movement and access, as well as for commercial flows and all necessary construction materials, which are essential for alleviating the humanitarian crisis, improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people and promoting the recovery of the Palestinian economy;
15. Stresses, in this regard, the urgent necessity for the advancement of reconstruction in the Gaza Strip, including through the completion of numerous suspended projects managed by the United Nations and the accelerated implementation of United Nations-led civilian reconstruction activities;
16. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply strictly with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law, and to cease all of its measures that are contrary to international law and unilateral actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, that are aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Territory, including via the confiscation and de facto annexation of land, and thus at prejudging the final outcome of peace negotiations;
17. Reiterates its demand for the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and calls for the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions;
18. Stresses, in this regard, the need for Israel forthwith to abide by its road map obligation to freeze all settlement activity, including so-called “natural growth”, and to dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001;
19. Calls for the cessation of all provocations, including by Israeli settlers, in East Jerusalem, including in and around religious sites;
20. Demands, accordingly, that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations under international law, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice 2 and as demanded in General Assembly resolutions ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003 and ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004, and, inter alia, that it immediately cease its construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion;
21. Reaffirms its commitment, in accordance with international law, to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders;
22. Stresses the need for:
(a) The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem;
(b) The realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination and the right to their independent State;
23. Also stresses the need for a just resolution of the problem of Palestine refugees in conformity with its resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948;
24. Calls upon the parties to resume and accelerate direct peace negotiations towards the conclusion of a final peaceful settlement on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, especially of the Security Council, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, the road map and the Arab Peace Initiative;
25. Urges Member States to expedite the provision of economic, humanitarian and technical assistance to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority during this critical period in order to help to alleviate the serious humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which is critical in the Gaza Strip, to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy and infrastructure and to support the development and strengthening of Palestinian institutions and Palestinian State-building efforts in preparation for independence;
26. Requests the Secretary-General to continue his efforts with the parties concerned, and in consultation with the Security Council, towards the attainment of a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine and the promotion of peace in the region and to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session a report on these efforts and on developments on this matter.
Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, in particular its provisions regarding the City of Jerusalem,
Recalling also its resolution 36/120 E of 10 December 1981 and all its subsequent relevant resolutions, including resolution 56/31 of 3 December 2001, in which it, inter alia, determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purported to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in particular the so called “Basic Law” on Jerusalem and the proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, were null and void and must be rescinded forthwith,
Recalling further the Security Council resolutions relevant to Jerusalem, including resolution 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, in which the Council, inter alia, decided not to recognize the “Basic Law” on Jerusalem,
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,26 and recalling its resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004,
Expressing its grave concern about any action taken by any body, governmental or non-governmental, in violation of the above-mentioned resolutions,
Expressing its grave concern also, in particular, about the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of illegal settlement activities, including the so-called E-1 plan, its construction of the wall in and around East Jerusalem, its restrictions on Palestinian access to and residence in East Jerusalem and the further isolation of the city from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which are having a detrimental effect on the lives of Palestinians and could prejudge a final status agreement on Jerusalem,
Expressing its grave concern further about the continuing Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes, the revocation of residency rights and the eviction and displacement of numerous Palestinian families from East Jerusalem neighbourhoods, as well as other acts of provocation and incitement, including by Israeli settlers, in the city, including desecration of mosques and churches,
Expressing its concern about the Israeli excavations undertaken in the Old City of Jerusalem, including in and around religious sites,
Reaffirming that the international community, through the United Nations, has a legitimate interest in the question of the City of Jerusalem and in the protection of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the city, as foreseen in relevant United Nations resolutions on this matter,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in the Middle East, A/67/3
1. Reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures;
2. Stresses that a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the City of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and Israeli sides and should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the holy places by people of all religions and nationalities;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session on the implementation of the present resolution.
1Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
2United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.
3See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1.
4See A/43/928, annex.
5A/56/1026-S/2002/932, annex II, resolution 14/221.
7A/66/371-S/2011/592, annex I.
9Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 35 (A/67/35)
10A/56/1026-S/2002/932, annex II, resolution 14/221.
12See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1
13A/66/371-S/2011/592, annex I.
14Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 35 (A/67/35).
15Official Records of the General Assembly, Sixty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 35 (A/67/35)
16A/56/1026-S/2002/932, annex II, resolution 14/221.
18See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1
20See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1.
21See A/48/486-S/26560, annex.
23A/56/1026-S/2002/932, annex II, resolution 14/221.
24A/66/371-S/2011/592, annex I
25A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1, advisory opinion, para. 161.
26 See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1