Programme of work for 2012
I. Mandate of the Committee
1. The mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for 2012 is contained in General Assembly resolutions 66/14, 66/15 and 66/16.
2. In its resolution 66/14, entitled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”, the General Assembly expressed 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 Assembly and took note of its annual report (A/66/35), including the conclusions and valuable recommendations contained in chapter VII thereof, requested it 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 authorized it to make such adjustments in its approved programme of work as it might consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments and to report thereon to the Assembly at its sixty-seventh session and thereafter. It also requested the Committee to continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the Assembly, the Security Council or the Secretary-General, as appropriate. It requested 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 Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map. The Assembly invited all Governments and organizations to extend their cooperation to the Committee in the performance of its tasks and requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities in this regard.
3. In its resolution 66/15, entitled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, the General Assembly requested 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 the relevant earlier resolutions, in consultation with the Committee and under its guidance. It requested the Division 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 (UNISPAL), 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. The Assembly also requested 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, an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations and encouraged Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity.
4. In its resolution 66/16, entitled “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat”, the General Assembly requested the Department, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee, to continue, with the necessary flexibility as may be required by developments affecting the question of Palestine, its special information programme for the biennium 2011-2012, and outlined a number of specific activities to be carried out under the programme.
5. The Committee has reviewed the various aspects of its own programme of work and that of the Division for Palestinian Rights, as well as of the mandates governing them. It will continue to make adjustments in this programme in the course of 2012 in order to enhance its responsiveness to developments in the peace process and the situation on the ground, as well as to increase its effectiveness in promoting the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
II. The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
6. The volatile situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the lack of substantive progress in the political process have remained a cause for serious concern. The Government of Israel has ignored the international community’s repeated calls for a complete cessation of settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which are illegal under international humanitarian law, constitute a major obstruction to the efforts to resume the peace process towards achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine and seriously threaten the viability of the two-State solution as the basis for such a peace settlement. Thousands of additional settlement units have been approved for construction, mostly in and around East Jerusalem, including the first new Jerusalem settlement in decades, “Givat Hamatos”. Reports by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Israeli organization Peace Now, which monitors Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, indicate an alarming increase and intensity in settlement activities in 2011, surpassing previous records in this regard.
7. On 31 October 2011, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to admit Palestine as a Member State. That was followed by the deliberate undertaking by the Government of Israel of a series of punitive steps, including a further acceleration of settlement construction and the illegal seizure of tax revenues of the Palestinian Authority, later reversed in the face of intense international pressure. As before, settlement construction has often been accompanied by demolition of Palestinian properties, particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Following the Security Council monthly briefing of 20 December 2011 on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, most of the Council members and regional groups publicly and forcefully voiced their frustration with and condemnation of the ongoing Israeli settlement campaign, the demolition of Palestinian property and the damage these illegal actions were causing to the prospects for achieving the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
8. Having monitored the situation closely, the Committee reiterates that all settlement construction, including the so-called “natural growth”, is illegal and must be halted immediately. It is recognized by all, with the exception of Israel, the occupying Power, that settlements in the Occupied West Bank, including in Occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, that they violate numerous relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly, and that they contravene Israel’s obligations under the road map. The Committee’s position is that, in addition to being illegal, settlement construction undermines trust between the two sides and obstructs the prospects for the resumption of credible Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on all permanent status issues. The objective of these negotiations is to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land since 1967; however, the continued expansion of existing settlements and the construction of new settlements make this goal increasingly unattainable. Moreover, the settlements fuel tension, perpetuate conflict, lead to violence — in particular by extremist Israeli settlers — and undermine efforts at establishing a contiguous, viable, independent State of Palestine that will live in peace and security with Israel on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.
9. The Committee has been greatly concerned by the deteriorating situation in and around Occupied East Jerusalem. The occupying Power has carried on its illegal actions in the Holy City, including house demolitions, land confiscation, settlement expansion, residency rights revocations, provocative activities at holy sites and deportations of Palestinian residents. Described as a “game changer” by the Israeli organization Peace Now, the new settlement of “Givat Hamatos” will result in the severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the Occupied West Bank, with ominous implications for the prospects of the two-State solution. The international community does not recognize Israel’s unilateral claims to the entire city of Jerusalem and continues to reject and deem illegitimate Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem remains an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel since 1967. All actions taken by Israel that alter or purport to alter the demographic composition, character and status of the city are null and void and illegal under international law. The status of the City is clearly and unequivocally outlined and addressed in resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly, and the occupying Power must abide by and respect them. Israel’s illegal actions have prevented any tangible improvements of the situation in the entire Occupied Territory, continuing to raise tensions and casting serious doubts on the real intentions of the Israeli leadership with regard to its stated interest in the negotiations on a permanent settlement.
10. In addition to the persistent expansion of settlements, Israeli military raids in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, occur almost daily. Palestinians have been killed and hundreds of others injured or arrested as a result. The number of Palestinians arrested and interrogated by Israeli authorities, including children, is on the rise. House demolitions in Area C in the West Bank continue, displacing Palestinians at a rate double that of 2010. Particularly worrying are the recent displacements from the area slated for the development of the so-called E1 settlement corridor, which when completed will destroy the prospects for a contiguous Palestinian State. Settler violence and destruction of Palestinian properties also remain a cause for serious concern. Crimes by settlers, including the uprooting of thousands of olive trees belonging to Palestinians, vandalism, theft, arson, the desecration of cemeteries and places of worship and the harassment and intimidation of Palestinians, increased by 40 per cent in 2011 and often seem to be tolerated by the Israeli authorities, who continually fail to hold settlers accountable for their crimes and violence against Palestinian civilians and properties.
11. The Committee also remains deeply concerned about the critical situation in the Gaza Strip, particularly as a result of Israel’s ongoing imposition of a blockade, which continues to negatively affect social and economic conditions, impede recovery of the economy and obstruct reconstruction. The Committee notes the limited approval by the Government of Israel of the entry into Gaza of construction materials for United Nations projects, though it is grossly inadequate compared to the reconstruction needs. The Committee maintains that comprehensive measures need to be taken to restore and revitalize the Gaza economy. It is imperative to embark without delay on the process of recovery and reconstruction of the thousands of homes, schools and hospitals destroyed and damaged during the Israeli military offensive against Gaza of December 2008 to January 2009. The isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the Palestinian Territory and from the international community has to be lifted with the regular and sustained reopening of the border crossings for the movement of both persons and goods. The Committee is concerned in this regard by the demolition by Israel of the Karni (Al Muntar) crossing, leaving Gaza completely dependent on the sole commercial crossing still functioning. Concrete steps must be taken to restore normal economic activity. Israel, the occupying Power, is obliged to create the necessary conditions, including reparations for reconstruction of civil structures destroyed during the war, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009). The Committee again emphasizes the critical importance of international donor assistance for the functioning of the Palestinian institutions at this time of crisis. It urges the international donor community to continue providing assistance and to address the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip as a matter of urgency.
12. The Committee condemns extrajudicial killings of Palestinians by the Israeli military, which often cause civilian casualties. It also denounces rocket attacks on Israel and calls for the cessation of these activities by Palestinian armed groups. The Committee reiterates that international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, must be respected by all parties. In this regard, the Committee appeals to all the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfil their obligations in accordance with common article 1, which obliges them to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, by convening a conference of the High Contracting Parties to determine measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
13. The Committee strongly supports and calls for the resumption of the permanent status negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map. The continued support by the international community is crucial for moving forward the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on all permanent status issues. The Committee, therefore, welcomes the series of exploratory meetings held in Amman between the Israeli, Palestinian and Quartet envoys, facilitated by Jordan, in line with the Quartet initiative of 23 September 2011, and hopes that they will pave the way for the resumption of substantive peace negotiations conducted in good faith. That would require a genuine commitment by the Government of Israel to the two-State solution based on the 1967 borders, and to its road map obligations. First and foremost, Israel should stop any expansion of settlements, which are illegal and directly contradict the objectives of the peace process. Those basic steps should be buttressed by appreciable improvements to the situation on the ground. Israel should put an end to the crimes perpetrated by its settlers against Palestinians, the violent repression of peaceful Palestinian protestors, the military raids into areas under Palestinian control and the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian civilians. Israel should roll back other measures of the occupation, such as the Gaza blockade and the system of roadblocks and checkpoints. Moreover, while the Palestinian side has presented its comprehensive proposals on borders and security, as called for by the Quartet, the Committee notes that, as of the time of preparation of the present document, Israel had yet to demonstrate its good faith in this regard.
14. The Committee remains strongly opposed to the illegal construction of the wall in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, and finds this activity incompatible with negotiations on the permanent settlement aimed at achieving the two-State solution. In this regard, the Committee calls for full respect of the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and the relevant United Nations resolutions and for the full cessation of the construction of the wall, which has caused vast socio-economic damage and the displacement of thousands of Palestinians and is severely obstructing freedom of movement and impairing territorial contiguity and integrity.
15. While welcoming the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners under the prisoner exchange agreement facilitated by Egypt, the Committee remains concerned about the plight of the thousands of political prisoners still remaining in Israeli detention and the ongoing arrest by Israel of more Palestinians. The Committee is of the view that Israel must release, immediately and unconditionally, all remaining Palestinian prisoners, including children, women and imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Committee also stresses the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to cease all measures of collective punishment of the Palestinian people, which it has been imposing in direct contravention of international law. Given the importance of the prisoners in the context of the peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Committee intends to dedicate an international meeting in 2012 to the issue in order to further raise awareness of the situation of Palestinian political prisoners, strengthen the support of the international community for their speedy release and reintegration and identify ways in which the judicial mechanisms of the United Nations can be more effectively used to clarify their legal status and alleviate their plight.
16. The Committee maintains its position that the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory. The occupation must end without conditions, which should allow the Palestinian people to achieve the independence of the State of Palestine on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination. The Committee is of the view that the two-State solution should be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008). It is convinced that only serious and sustained international engagement will bring about a peaceful and negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues and reverse the growing support for radical forces that promote violent and unilateral approaches to ending the conflict, for which there is no military solution. The Committee remains committed to contributing constructively and actively and to promoting, through its mandate, all international efforts aimed at the achievement of a peaceful settlement.
17. The Committee remains concerned that the divisions among Palestinian factions profoundly affect the legitimate Palestinian national interests and aspirations for statehood and peace, welcomes the recent inter-factional meetings in Cairo facilitated by Egypt, which resulted in a number of practical undertakings, and calls for a speedy implementation of the reconciliation agreement of May 2011. The Committee reiterates its call for reinvigorated efforts by all concerned parties to help reconcile their positions on the basis of the prevailing consensus on the need to achieve the two-State solution, which should bring about the end of the Israeli occupation and allow for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
18. The Committee continues to support the Palestinian Authority’s institution- and state-building initiatives and efforts aimed at achieving the independence of the Palestinian State, and calls on the international community to continue and expand its assistance in that endeavour. The Committee supports the call by President Abbas for Member States that have not already done so to recognize the State of Palestine. The Committee is of the view that the admission of Palestine to UNESCO as a Member State is a historic event, but is concerned about the deadlock in the Security Council regarding the Palestinian application for United Nations membership, which remains before the Council awaiting recommendation.
19. The Committee reaffirms that the United Nations should maintain its permanent responsibility with respect to all aspects of the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all its aspects, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law. As requested by the General Assembly, the Committee will continue to keep the situation under review and to promote a constructive analysis and discussion of these issues by the international community.
III. Priority issues in the programme of work of the Committee for 2012
20. The Committee considers that its own work and the programme of mandated activities of the Division for Palestinian Rights represent a significant contribution by the United Nations and its membership to the search for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. The Committee will continue to work towards heightening international awareness of the various aspects of the question of Palestine, international support for the rights of the Palestinian people and the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. Throughout 2012, its work will remain focused on promoting a better understanding, as gauged by international public opinion, of the importance of the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, namely the right to self-determination, the right to an independent, sovereign State and the right of return, as well as the urgency of bringing about a two-State solution.
21. As in previous years, the Committee will maintain its support of the Palestinian people and the achievement of the two-State solution through a variety of activities. The Committee will raise awareness of the achievements of the programmatic initiative of the Palestinian Authority entitled “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State”, which has laid down the foundations of a functional State, and will mobilize further international support to buttress and build upon its accomplishments. It will support efforts by the Palestinian leadership to achieve wide international recognition of the Palestinian State within the 1967 borders. The Committee will continue to mobilize international aid towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, stimulating Palestinian economic recovery and urging expanded international assistance to the Palestinian people. It will raise awareness of the massive cumulative costs of the prolonged Israeli occupation borne by the Palestinian economy and by the international donors, and will explore ways in which Israel, the occupying Power, can be held liable under international law for the losses and damages, direct and indirect, including the pilfering of natural resources and lost economic output and revenues, caused by its illegal actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and be compelled to pay restitution. It will draw attention to the plight of Palestinian women and children, the most vulnerable segment of Palestinian society, who are suffering as a result of the occupation. The Committee will highlight the responsibility of the occupying Power for ending its illegal policies and practices, especially the settlement activity, the construction of the wall and various measures of collective punishment. The Committee will also maintain its support for revitalized and active international involvement, including through the Quartet, the regional partners and the continued personal engagement of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
22. The Committee attaches great importance to enhancing cooperation and coordination between the Department of Public Information and the Division for Palestinian Rights in the implementation of their respective mandates. In its resolution 66/16, the General Assembly requested the Department, inter alia, to continue to issue and update publications and audio-visual materials on the various aspects of the question of Palestine in all fields, including materials concerning relevant recent developments, in particular the efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. The Committee will continue to cooperate with the Department in carrying out the various mandated activities.
23. The Committee will continue to make an effort to encourage participation by countries and organizations that so far have not engaged fully in its programme of work.
IV. Activities of the Committee and the Division for
A. Action by the Committee
24. In pursuance of its mandate, the Committee will continue to keep the situation relating to the question of Palestine under review and to participate in relevant meetings of the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Committee will also continue to monitor the situation on the ground and draw the attention of the international community to critical developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, requiring international action.
25. The Committee will continue to support the organizations and entities of the United Nations system in their work aimed at assisting the Palestinian people in various fields, and in advancing a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. In the course of the year, the Committee will continue to collaborate with those organizations and entities in pursuance of its mandate and will invite them to international events organized under its auspices.
26. The Committee, through its Bureau, will continue to participate in relevant intergovernmental and other conferences and meetings, as necessary. The Committee considers this activity an important aspect of its work in promotion of international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
27. In cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, the Committee will continue to maintain contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian Authority and other institutions, as well as civil society, in the areas under its jurisdiction and in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Following the practice of previous years, the Committee will continue to invite Palestinian officials and other Palestinian personalities to meetings with members and observers of the Committee and the Secretariat, as appropriate.
28. The Bureau of the Committee will continue consultations with Governments and intergovernmental organizations interested in its programme of work. Those exchanges should help to promote understanding of the mandate and objectives of the Committee.
B. International meetings and conferences
29. The Committee considers that its programme of international meetings and conferences implemented by the Division contributes to focusing the attention of Governments, intergovernmental and civil society organizations and the public on the urgency of bringing about the two-State solution and mobilizing assistance to the Palestinian people. Through its international meetings programme for 2012, the Committee intends to further generate wide support for a peaceful solution of the conflict, based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. It will continue to engage Governments, parliamentarians and civil society, including youth, to mobilize support for a just solution of the conflict. With the assistance of the United Nations entities on the ground, it will reach out to the people most affected by the status quo, refugees and Palestinians living under occupation, to new constituencies including youth and their leaders and to members of the Israeli public to involve them in the search for solutions, to promote dialogue and common projects and to win their backing of a settlement negotiated by their leaders and supported by the international community.
30. The Committee will focus its programme of international meetings and conferences in 2012 on, inter alia, widening international support for the resumption of permanent status negotiations on the achievement of a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The meetings will contribute to the creation of a favourable atmosphere for their conduct in good faith. The Committee intends to continue to draw the attention of the world community to the developments on the ground, in particular the settlement activities in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and the need to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to end its settlement campaign as well as all other illegal policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Committee will support peaceful civil society action worldwide challenging Israeli impunity and promoting the concept of Israel’s accountability for its illegal actions towards the Palestinian people. The Committee will pay special attention to highlighting the plight of the most disadvantaged Palestinians, including the Palestine refugees, the Palestinians living in Gaza and Palestinian political prisoners. The Committee will continue to mobilize support for the Palestinian Authority’s institution- and state-building efforts and all other efforts to facilitate the independence and viability of the Palestinian State. The Committee wishes to contribute to efforts towards ending incitement on both sides, to provide a venue to have narratives heard and reconciled and to promote, with the help of civil society, peace education on the ground. It will also support and promote the empowerment of women and their organizations in this process. Taking into account the urgency of resolving the situation of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails and detention facilities, and as a follow-up to its 2011 international meeting on that issue, the Committee will hold an international meeting in 2012 at the United Nations Office at Geneva on that topic. Also, considering the central role of youth as the agents of change through non violent, peaceful means, as recent events in the Arab world have shown, and the need for an increased involvement by Palestinian youth in the shaping of their future State, the Committee will convene a meeting on the role of youth in the resolution of the question of Palestine, with the participation of youth political and community leaders and diplomats.
31. In 2012, the Committee, in cooperation with prospective host countries, organizations and relevant Secretariat services, will do its utmost to ensure the success of its programme of meetings and conferences. In so doing, it will keep in mind the need for economy and the most cost-effective utilization of resources. The Committee highly appreciates the involvement in these events of Governments, intergovernmental organizations, entities of the United Nations system, parliamentarians and civil society. It encourages them to continue and increase the level of engagement and support for a just solution to the conflict. The Committee will continue to carry out this programme to foster support for the attainment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in accordance with international legitimacy. The Committee, through its Bureau, will regularly assess the outcomes of the international meetings and conferences and, where required, decide on steps that could be taken to enhance their contribution to the mandated goals of the Committee.
32. In 2012, the Committee intends to organize the following international events:
(a) United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People in Cairo on 6 and 7 February 2012;
(b) United Nations International Meeting on Palestinian Political Prisoners, to be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva on 2 and 3 April 2012. The Meeting will be followed by a civil society event;
(c) United Nations International Meeting on the Role of Youth in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 29 and 30 May 2012. The Meeting will be followed by a civil society event;
(d) United Nations Asian and Pacific Meeting on the Question of Palestine in early July 2012.
C. Cooperation with intergovernmental organizations
33. In the course of 2012, the Committee will continue to cooperate on issues relevant to its mandate with the African Union, the European Union, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the League of Arab States. Representatives of these organizations and groupings will be invited to lend their support to and participate in the Committee’s programme of international meetings and conferences.
D. Cooperation with civil society
Civil society organizations
34. The Committee highly values the work of civil society in support of the Palestinian people. It praises the courageous advocacy actions of countless peace activists, including eminent personalities and parliamentarians, who participate in demonstrations against the separation wall in the West Bank, work towards ending the siege of Gaza and keep their home constituencies informed about the realities of life of the Palestinian people under occupation. The Committee encourages civil society partners to work with their national Governments and other institutions with a view to gaining their full support for the work of the United Nations, including the Committee, on the question of Palestine. The Committee also supports all humanitarian and assistance initiatives geared towards improving the daily lives of the Palestinian people. The Committee considers that it is particularly important to build bridges of understanding and trust between the Israeli and Palestinian civil societies and to promote common goals of peace between the two peoples. The Committee will continue to assess its programme of cooperation with civil society organizations and consult them on ways to enhance their contribution.
35. The Committee intends to continue to invite civil society organizations to all international meetings and conferences organized under its auspices. The participation in such meetings of civil society organizations, eminent personalities and parliamentarians, youth and their leadership, together with Governments and intergovernmental organizations, should offer a unique opportunity to promote the exchange of views and ideas, encourage people-to-people dialogue, and develop and strengthen initiatives by all strata of the international community, with a common objective of achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The Committee believes that the meetings and conferences organized under its auspices promote Israeli-Palestinian civil society dialogue and offer a unique platform for interaction between the two sides.
36. The Committee will maintain and further develop its liaison with national, regional and international coordinating mechanisms on the question of Palestine, in addition to the established liaison with a large number of individual civil society organizations. It will continue to accredit new organizations. Periodic meetings of consultations with civil society representatives will contribute to the further enhancement of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with civil society.
37. The Committee is of the view that it is important to continue to exchange information with civil society on respective current and planned activities. The Committee requests the Division to obtain information and report periodically on civil society initiatives in order to enhance the interaction between civil society and the Committee. It also requests the Division to continue to issue the online bimonthly bulletin “NGO Action News” and regularly update the “Civil Society” page on the “Question of Palestine” website (www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/ngo ) and the Division’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/UN.palestinianrights ) as tools for the exchange of information and communication between the United Nations and civil society.
38. In 2012 the resources available for cooperation with civil society will be used for the following activities:
(a) Organization, whenever appropriate and feasible, of meetings of civil society organizations in conjunction with international meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Committee;
(b) Participation of representatives of the Committee and the Division in important forums and other events on the question of Palestine organized by civil society organizations in the region and worldwide;
(c) Periodic consultation meetings with civil society organizations with a view to keeping them apprised of the various activities of the Committee, encouraging better coordination and cooperation among them and with the Committee and other relevant United Nations entities, and receiving their views on the work of the United Nations and the Committee in particular;
(d) Briefings of the Committee by representatives of Israeli, Palestinian and international civil society on developments on the ground and their work in support of a peaceful realization of the two-State solution;
(e) Providing assistance to Palestinian civil society organizations in facilitating participation of their representatives in meetings held under the auspices of the Committee or supported by the Committee.
Parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations
39. The Committee views its cooperation with parliamentarians worldwide as one of its programmatic priorities and will continue to develop this aspect of its work. It firmly believes that national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations play an important role in shaping public opinion, formulating policy guidelines and upholding international legitimacy in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The Committee considers that the experience and political influence of lawmakers and their organizations can be instrumental in consolidating the democratic process and institution-building in the territory under the Palestinian Authority, strengthening political dialogue between the parties and applying the principles of international law to efforts aimed at resolving the conflict. The Committee reaffirms the continuing importance of developing closer cooperation and effective partnership with parliaments and representatives of inter-parliamentary bodies in order to encourage the discussion, within the respective parliaments and among all strata of society, of ways of advancing peace in the Middle East and resolving the question of Palestine. To that end, the Committee will strive to continue to involve parliamentarians and representatives of inter-parliamentary organizations in international conferences and meetings organized under its auspices. Consultations between the Committee and representatives of parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations, at Headquarters and worldwide, should improve cooperation between the two sides on issues of common concern. The Committee attaches particular importance to involving members of the Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council in events organized under its auspices.
E. Publications programme
40. The Committee considers the Division’s publications programme to be an important information source and outreach activity which contributes to the heightening of international awareness of the various aspects of the question of Palestine, the involvement of the United Nations and the work of the Committee and its mandate and objectives. The Division should continue to monitor developments relevant to the question of Palestine. It should also continue to issue the following publications:
• Monthly bulletin on action by the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations relevant to the question of Palestine
• Periodic review of developments relating to the Middle East peace process
• Monthly chronological review of events relating to the question of Palestine
• Annual compilation of resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council relating to the question of Palestine
• Reports of international meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Committee
• Annual bulletin on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
• Bimonthly summary of civil society activities on the question of Palestine, entitled “NGO Action News”, available on the “Civil Society” page on the “Question of Palestine” website
41. The Committee believes that the Division, in consultation with the Bureau, should continue to review the existing publications and make proposals with regard to those that require updating.
F. United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine
42. The Committee requests the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue its work on the further development, expansion and administration of the “Question of Palestine” website, including UNISPAL. The Division will continue to ensure that the UNISPAL collection of United Nations and related documents is comprehensive and up to date and that its access modalities and displays are user-friendly. The Committee encourages the Division to further develop this useful facility in order to provide information to users worldwide on various aspects of the question of Palestine. The Division should also continue to provide information concerning its activities, as well as those of the Committee, through Facebook and Twitter feeds, and to alert users about newly posted materials in UNISPAL. The Committee requests the Division to report periodically to the Bureau on the status of work accomplished on the system and progress achieved in its development.
G. International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
43. In accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B, the Committee will organize the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It is envisaged that special meetings in observance of the Day will be held on 29 November 2012 at United Nations Headquarters, the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna and elsewhere, in accordance with established practice. A Palestinian exhibit or a cultural event will be organized at United Nations Headquarters in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.
H. Training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority
44. The Committee considers that, in the light of the importance and usefulness of the annual training programme to the Palestinian Authority, the Division, in 2012, should continue to further develop and enhance it. The Committee remains of the view that, in selecting candidates for the programme, special consideration should be given to achieving gender balance.
I. Continuing review and assessment
45. The Committee will continue to review and assess its programme of work in the light of the situation on the ground and new developments in the political process and will make adjustments as necessary.