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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXX, No.7 - bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (juillet 2007) - publication de la Division des droits palestiniens Français

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
31 July 2007


July 2007

Volume XXX, Bulletin No. 7


Bulletin
on action by the United Nations system and
intergovernmental organizations
relevant to the question of Palestine



Contents
Page
I.
Palestinian Rights Committee expresses grave concern over situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory
1
II.
Secretary-General, relieved at release of BBC correspondent, calls for earliest release of others similarly abducted, detained
2
III.
Secretary-General, concerned at Gaza violence, calls for protection for civilians
2
IV.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism visits Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territory
2
V.
Secretary-General calls for opening of all crossings into Gaza
6
VI.
Secretary-General welcomes President Bush’s statement on Middle East peace process
6
VII.
Quartet meets in Lisbon
7
VIII.
Economic and Social Council adopts two resolutions
8
IX.
Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process briefs Security Council
14



The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://unispal.un.org.





I. PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE EXPRESSES GRAVE CONCERN
OVER SITUATION IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued the following statement on 3 July 2007 concerning the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem (GA/PAL/1058):

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has been following with grave concern the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It emphasizes that the prolonged Israeli occupation is the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For 40 years, the occupying Power has systematically altered the Palestinian land by implementing its illegal policy of settlements and, more recently, the construction of a wall in the West Bank, including around East Jerusalem. Continued closures, the sealing-off of the Gaza Strip, as well as unrelenting Israeli incursions into Palestinian population centres and the humiliating system of checkpoints throughout the West Bank, have rendered the Palestinian Authority nearly dysfunctional and contributed to the polarization within the Palestinian society and the tragic military events of the last weeks in the Gaza Strip. Concerted action must be taken in order to avoid the disintegration of the very foundations of a future Palestinian State that have been created through tremendous efforts and costs over the past decade.

The Bureau calls upon the Palestinian leadership, the leaders of all factions and all Palestinians to unite behind the elected President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and his Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and to solve their differences peacefully.

The Bureau calls upon the parties to resume without delay the political process aimed at the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State in the Territory occupied since 1967, comprising the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The international community, including the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, stands ready to support any tangible steps towards a solution of the question of Palestine. The Bureau of the Committee reiterates its long-standing position that the Palestine Liberation Organization is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and, as such, an essential party to any negotiations aimed at resolving the question of Palestine by peaceful means.

The Committee is mandated to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The Bureau reaffirms the Committee’s determination to pursue its mandate until this ultimate goal has been achieved.


II. SECRETARY-GENERAL, RELIEVED AT RELEASE OF BBC
CORRESPONDENT, CALLS FOR EARLIEST RELEASE
OF OTHERS SIMILARLY ABDUCTED, DETAINED

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson of for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 4 July 2007 (SG/SM/11077):

The Secretary-General is profoundly relieved at the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston after his ordeal of 16 weeks in captivity in Gaza.

He pays tribute to Mr. Johnston’s dignity and resilience in captivity. He acknowledges the work of all parties concerned in securing Mr. Johnston’s release - a crucial reminder of the need to protect not only the freedom, but also the security and safety, of the media around the world.

The Secretary-General calls for the earliest release, without conditions, of those abducted and detained in similar circumstances.


III. SECRETARY-GENERAL, CONCERNED AT GAZA VIOLENCE,
CALLS FOR PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson of for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 6 July 2007 (SG/SM/11081):

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the violence reported in Gaza in the context of the recent Israeli incursion. Reports indicate that, during heavy exchanges of fire, including the use of tank fire in populated areas, a number of Palestinian civilians were injured and at least one was killed. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to do their utmost to protect civilians and uphold international law. In addition, Palestinian rocket fire into Israel must stop. Calm must be restored in order to focus all energies on finding a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.


IV. UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE PROMOTION
AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL
FREEDOMS WHILE COUNTERING TERRORISM VISITS
ISRAEL AND OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Mr Martin Scheinin, conducted an eight-day mission to Israel, with visits to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, from 3 to 10 July 2007. Following is his statement, issued on 10 July 2007, upon his mission’s conclusion:

The Special Rapporteur conducted an eight-day mission to Israel, with visits to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The purpose of the mission, conducted at the invitation of the Israeli Government from 3 to 10 July 2007, was to undertake a fact-finding exercise, and a legal assessment of Israeli law and practice in the fight against terrorism, measured against international law, and considering the impact of Israeli counter-terrorism practices and policies. His conduct of country visits is also aimed at identifying and disseminating best practice in the countering of terrorism. Following this visit, a more thorough report, which will become publicly available, will be prepared and submitted to the Human Rights Council, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. The Special Rapporteur will engage in a further process of written consultations between now and the completion of his final report for the purpose of clarifying open issues.

The Special Rapporteur met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Tzipi Livni, in Tse’elim. In Jerusalem, the Special Rapporteur had meetings at the specialist level with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Israeli Defense Forces, the Israeli Security Agency, members of the Knesset (Parliament), and the Counter Terrorism Bureau, as well as the former and current President of the Supreme Court of Israel. The Special Rapporteur also travelled to other parts of Israel, including to the HaSharon and Hadarim prisons, where he was able to conduct private interviews of security detainees, and to the Ofer Military Court, where he observed ongoing proceedings. Within the Occupied Palestinian Territory he visited, inter alia, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Nablus, examined the route and impact of the barrier erected by Israel, and met with the President’s Office of the Palestinian Authority. He met with lawyers, academics, victims of terrorism and non-governmental organizations from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He was also briefed by a number of international organizations, including United Nations interlocutors.

The Special Rapporteur is deeply mindful of the difficulties faced by Israel in its efforts to combat acts of terrorism, and the long history of violence in the region, with devastating effects on the Israeli and Palestinian civilian population. He was touched by the personal accounts of victims of terrorism, who have not only faced the bereavement of family and other physical losses, but also struggle to overcome the psychological and fear-inducing consequences of terrorism. He emphazises that sustainable security can only be achieved through due respect for human rights.

The Special Rapporteur notes with encouragement that Israel is reconsidering its derogation from aspects of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights under a declared state of emergency, which has been in existence since the establishment of the State of Israel. This reform is long overdue, as the current legal framework for countering terrorism is vague and outdated, partly based on pre-1948 instruments and hardly compatible with the requirement of legality and Israel’s commitment to democracy. He was informed that new counter-terrorism legislation is being drafted and is further encouraged by advice from the Israeli Ministry of Justice that he will be consulted and invited to comment upon this legislation prior to its introduction to the Knesset. The Special Rapporteur is furthermore pleased to receive assurances from Israeli Government sources that Israel is not involved in any global programme of extraordinary rendition or secret detention.

Central to Israel’s strategy in the fight against terrorism has become the continuing construction of a barrier between Israel and certain towns in the West Bank. The route of the barrier, partly a wall and partly a fenced zone with multiple physical obstacles, does not follow the Green Line but is largely located within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, capturing on its western side or within so-called ‘fingers’ extending deep into the Palestinian Territory several Israeli settlements located there. At the same time a considerable part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including towns and villages, is being separated from the rest of the Territory by the barrier. The winding route of the barrier is creating multiple obstacles for movement between even close-by communities within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. According to Israeli Government interlocutors heard during the visit, the barrier has, together with intelligence and surveillance technologies, resulted in a higher level of security and protection against terrorist attacks. It is nevertheless having an enormously negative impact upon the enjoyment of human rights by the Palestinian people. The Special Rapporteur heard from Israeli Government sources of a long-term perspective to replace the current and not yet complete unilaterally-positioned barrier with an agreed international border with a future Palestinian State. Until this is achieved on the basis of genuine negotiations and agreement, the Special Rapporteur emphasizes that no part of the barrier must be treated as a fait accompli or annexation of territory. Further, any associated security measures must not impact disproportionately upon the lives of ordinary Palestinian people. Two crucial elements are relevant in this regard, in order to both comply with the requirements of international human rights and to counteract the experiences by Palestinians of the barrier causing increasing arbitrariness and oppression. There must be a reduction in the level of hardship to people moving within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The practical implementation of all security measures, including at checkpoints and terminals, must also be by professional, transparent, accountable and, to largest possible extent, civilian means. The current practices surrounding the route of the barrier, and associated security measures, bear a substantial risk of negative and counter-productive effects, which may in themselves create conditions conducive to the spread of, and recruitment to, terrorism.

The Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned about the impact of the barrier and accompanying measures upon the freedom of movement, the right to property, the right to work, the right to health, the right to education, the right to private and family life, the right to non-discrimination and the human dignity of all persons. The route of the barrier and associated ‘closures’ is impacting upon the access of Palestinians to their land and water resources, including through the devastation or separation from villages of agricultural land in the course of erecting the barrier, and in some cases has had a devastating socio-economic impact upon communities. As a result of closures and the system of permits regulating the movement of people from one area to another, the Palestinian people are adversely affected in their ability to access education; health services, including emergency medical treatment; other social services; and places of employment. The means of security screening and searches at checkpoints raises concerns about privacy and non-discrimination, particularly heightened in the case of women and children. The permits regime furthermore impacts upon the integrity of family units and the ability of men and women to marry with persons outside their own permit zones.

The legal framework against which Israel’s conduct in its measures against terrorism is to be addressed is the combined effect of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The Special Rapporteur identifies as a particularly problematic area in the overlap between armed conflict and policing, Israel’s policy of the targeted killing of persons identified as involved in terrorist conduct. Although always a morally inexcusable decision, participation in terrorism does not create a vacuum in the application of the law, and the Special Rapporteur is encouraged in that regard by the position of the Supreme Court of Israel that the fight against terrorism must be achieved through compliance with the law, including international law. He is, however, troubled by the decision of the Supreme Court concerning targeted killings, in which the court correctly noted that under international humanitarian law a person directly participating in hostilities may during armed conflict be a legitimate military target, but where it applied an overly broad and vague explanation of what amounts to direct participation in hostilities and paid insufficient attention to the fact that not every instance of terrorist conduct will fall under the law of armed conflict. The Court nevertheless qualified its position by stating that such recourse must be by way of last resort and that arrest must always be preferred and actively pursued. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the policy of targeted killings may in fact result in cases of extrajudicial execution.

The Human Rights Committee welcomed, in 1999, the decision of the Supreme Court invalidating the former governmental guidelines governing the use by the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) of ‘moderate physical pressure’ during interrogation. The same decision left open the possibility of the application, ex post facto, of the ‘necessity defence’ under Israeli Penal Law. Even when properly applied, this defence does not validate the application of physical or psychological means of torture or any form of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, but instead means that such wrongful conduct may, in certain very limited circumstances, go unpunished in respect of a particular individual but never absolve the duty of the state to secure accountability and provide an effective remedy for the human rights violation suffered. The Special Rapporteur was shocked by the unconvincing and vague illustrations by the ISA of when such ‘ticking bomb’ scenarios may be applicable. He was troubled by the process by which individual interrogators would seek approval from the Director of the ISA for the application of special interrogation techniques, potentially rendering this as a policy rather than a case-by-case, ex post facto, defence in respect of wrongful conduct. He was furthermore concerned by the lack of truly independent and impartial investigation mechanisms following the application of such methods.

A number of further issues will be examined by the Special Rapporteur in his full report including, but not limited to: the definition and classification of terrorism, terrorist organizations, and security suspects; the demolition of houses; the use of ‘human shields’ by the Israeli Defense Forces; the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza; the use of, and procedures surrounding, the administrative detention of security suspects and military courts to try terrorist suspects; the use of military force by Israel, including outside its own territory; and the rights of victims of terrorism and their families.


V. SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR OPENING OF ALL CROSSINGS
INTO GAZA

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 13 July 2007 (SG/SM/11086-PAL/2086):

The Secretary-General is increasingly concerned about the situation in the Gaza Strip and its impact on the economic life. He notes in particular the new figures released by the World Bank which show that in the last month alone 3,190 businesses have closed down forcing over 65,000 people into unemployment. If what is left of Gaza’s economy is allowed to collapse, poverty levels, already affecting an estimated two thirds of households, will rise further and the people of Gaza will become near totally aid dependent.

The Secretary-General calls for every effort to be made to open all crossings into Gaza for the passage of humanitarian supplies and workers, as well as commercial goods. In particular, he calls for the Karni Crossing to be opened immediately for the passage of commercial imports and exports. In addition, the Secretary-General calls for the opening of the Rafah Crossing to allow into Gaza more than 4,000 Palestinians stranded in Egypt.

The continued restrictions on Gaza will have a severe humanitarian impact and can only cause further suffering to the people there.


VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PRESIDENT BUSH’S
STATEMENT ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 17 July 2007 (SG/SM/11092):

The Secretary-General welcomes the statement made by United States President George W. Bush on the Middle East peace process. He is encouraged by the President’s renewed commitment to a two-State solution, entailing the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State living side by side with a secure Israel. The Secretary-General also welcomes the President’s proposal for an international meeting this autumn. He looks forward to discussing these ideas with his partners in the Quartet in Lisbon on 19 July.


VII. QUARTET MEETS IN LISBON

The following statement was issued by the Quartet on 20 July 2007, after its meeting in Lisbon on 19 and 20 July 2007 (SG/2130):

The Quartet principals - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner - met today in Portugal to discuss the situation in the Middle East. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.

The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to work to lay the foundation for the establishment of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as a step towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, consistent with the Road Map and United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The Quartet welcomed President [George W.] Bush’s 16 July statement renewing United States commitment to a negotiated two-State solution, and supported President Bush’s call for an international meeting in the fall. The Quartet looks forward to consultations as the meeting is prepared. The Quartet agreed that such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian State.

The Quartet welcomed the agreement by Tony Blair to be the Quartet Representative and discussed with him the urgent work that lies ahead. Noting the centrality of reform, economic development and institutional capacity-building to the establishment of a stable and prosperous Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza that will unite all Palestinians and live in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, the Quartet urged the parties and all States in the region to work closely with Mr. Blair, and encouraged robust international support for his efforts, including the convening of an ad hoc liaison committee meeting in the fall.

The Quartet expressed support for the Palestinian Authority Government headed by Salam Fayyad, which is committed to the political platform of President [Mahmoud] Abbas that reflects the 30 January 2006 Quartet principles. The Quartet encouraged direct and rapid financial assistance and other aid to the Palestinian Authority Government to help reform, preserve and strengthen vital Palestinian institutions and infrastructure, and to support the rule of law.

The Quartet welcomed the resumption of bilateral talks between Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert and President Abbas, and expressed support for steps taken by the Israeli Government, including the resumption of tax and customs revenue transfers and the decision to release Palestinian prisoners. The Quartet encouraged continued bilateral dialogue and further cooperation, including on the political horizon, as the necessary framework to move forward. It urged both parties to work without delay to fulfil their previous commitments and to build confidence.

Recognizing the continuing importance of the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet looked forward to the planned visit to Israel by representatives of the Arab League to discuss the Initiative. The Quartet expressed support for continued and expanded dialogue between Israel and the Arab States. It looked forward to an early meeting with the Arab States to follow up on their May meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Quartet emphasized the need to find ways to sustain Palestinian economic activity and the importance of creating circumstances that would allow for full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access, particularly in view of the impact of crossings on the Palestinian economy and daily life. The Quartet encouraged both parties to address their Road Map obligations, including an end to settlement expansion and the removal of unauthorized outposts, and an end to violence and terror. The Quartet expressed its deep concern over the humanitarian conditions in Gaza, and agreed on the importance of continued emergency and humanitarian assistance.

The Quartet agreed to continue to consult regularly on developments, and to meet again in September to take stock of developments, hear from Mr. Blair on his strategy for the economic and institutional agenda, and discuss the way ahead.


VIII. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS TWO RESOLUTIONS

At its substantive session of 2007 held in Geneva from 2 to 27 July, the Economic and Social Council adopted on 24 July a resolution entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,” as recommended in the report of the Commission on the Status of Women on the fifty-first session (E/2007/27). The Council also adopted on 26 July a resolution entitled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.” The two resolutions are reproduced below:

Resolution 2007/7
Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,

Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”,

Recalling also its resolution 2006/8 of 25 July 2006 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,

Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,

Recalling the importance of the implementation of General Assembly resolution 57/337 of 3 July 2003, on the prevention of armed conflict, and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000, on women and peace and security,

Expressing the urgent need for the full resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis and towards the speedy achievement of a final settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,

Concerned about the grave situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, resulting from the severe impact of ongoing illegal Israeli settlement activities and the unlawful construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as well as the severe consequences arising from Israeli military operations in and sieges of civilian areas, which have impacted detrimentally their social and economic conditions and deepened the humanitarian crisis faced by them and their families,

Expressing the importance of providing assistance, especially emergency assistance, to alleviate the harmful impact of the financial crisis which has exacerbated the already dire socio-economic and humanitarian situation being faced by Palestinian women and their families,

Welcoming the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued on 31 August 2005, on the issue of Palestinian women giving birth at Israeli checkpoints owing to denial of access by Israel to hospitals, with a view to ending this practice,

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 and recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004,

Recalling also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and affirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Expressing its condemnation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, many of them women and children, resulting in injury and loss of human life,

Emphasizing the importance of increasing the role of women in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution as part of efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of all women in the region,

1. Calls upon the concerned parties, as well as the international community, to exert all the necessary efforts to ensure the full resumption of the peace process on its agreed basis, taking into account the common ground already gained, and calls for intensified measures to be taken for tangible improvement of the difficult situation on the ground and the living conditions faced by Palestinian women and their families;

2. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development planning of their society, and encourages all women in the region to take an active role in supporting the peace process;

3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Regulations annexed to The Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;

4. Calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;

5. Calls upon the international community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families and to help in the reconstruction of relevant Palestinian institutions;

6. Requests the Commission on the Status of Women to continue to monitor and take action with regard to the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action3 and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation, to assist Palestinian women by all available means, including those laid out in the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-second session a report, including information provided by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.


Resolution 2007/26
Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 61/184 of 20 December 2006,

Recalling also its resolution 2006/43 of 27 July 2006,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and recalling relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling the resolutions of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, including ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003, ES-10/14 of 8 December 2003, ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Stressing the importance of the revival of the Middle East peace process on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 425 (1978), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1544 (2004) and the principle of land for peace as well as compliance with the agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,

Reaffirming the principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources,

Convinced that the Israeli occupation has gravely impeded the efforts to achieve sustainable development and a sound economic environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan,

Gravely concerned about the deterioration of the economic and living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan and the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of their natural resources,

Gravely concerned also by the serious repercussions on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people caused by Israel’s construction of the wall and its associated regime inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and the resulting violation of their economic and social rights, including the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living,

Recalling in this regard the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and affirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the Occupied Syrian Golan,

Gravely concerned at the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying Power, of agricultural land and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in particular as a result of its construction of the wall, contrary to international law, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East 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, recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15, and stressing the need to comply with the obligations mentioned therein,

Extremely concerned by the dire humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, further exacerbated by the repeated Israeli military operations, the severe restrictions on the Palestinian people and Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues, part of which has recently been transferred,

Expressing grave concern about the increasing number of deaths and injuries among civilians, including children and women,

Gravely concerned by various reports of the United Nations and the specialized agencies regarding the inordinate rates of unemployment, widespread poverty and severe humanitarian hardships, including food insecurity and a rise in health-related problems, among the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Commending the important work being done by the United Nations, the specialized agencies and the donor community in support of the economic and social development of the Palestinian people, as well as the assistance being provided in the humanitarian field,

Conscious of the urgent need for the reconstruction and development of the economic and social infrastructure of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as the urgent need to address the dire humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people,

Recognizing the efforts being undertaken by the Palestinian Authority, with international support, to rebuild, reform and strengthen its damaged institutions, and emphasizing the need to preserve the Palestinian institutions and infrastructure,

Affirming that the Israeli occupation is a major obstacle to the economic and social development of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Occupied Syrian Golan,

Calling on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the road map in cooperation with the Quartet,

1. Calls for the lifting of the severe restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people, including those arising from the repeated Israeli military operations, and for other urgent measures to be taken to alleviate the desperate humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

2. Demands that Israel comply with the Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed in Paris on 29 April 1994, takes note, as a first step, of the partial transfer by Israel of withheld Palestinian tax and customs revenues, and reiterates its call for the immediate, complete and regular release of the remaining and future funds;

3. Stresses the need to preserve the national unity and the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the Territory, including the removal of restrictions on going into and from East Jerusalem, and the freedom of movement to and from the outside world;

4. Calls upon Israel to restore and replace civilian properties, vital infrastructure, agricultural lands and governmental institutions that have been damaged or destroyed as a result of its military operations in the occupied Palestinian territory;

5. Reiterates the call for the full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent reopening of Rafah and Karni crossings, which is crucial to ensuring the passage of foodstuffs and essential supplies, as well as the access of the United Nations agencies to and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

6. Calls upon all parties to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and to refrain from violence against the civilian population in accordance with the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;

7. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan to all their natural and economic resources, and calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, endanger or cause loss or depletion of these resources;

8. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their natural resources, namely, the water and land resources, and pose an environmental hazard and health threat to the civilian populations;

9. Reaffirms that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, are illegal and an obstacle to economic and social development, and calls for the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions;

10. Stresses that the wall being constructed at an accelerated pace by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law and is isolating East Jerusalem and dividing up the West Bank and is seriously debilitating to the economic and social development of the Palestinian people, and calls in this regard for full compliance with the legal obligations mentioned in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 20044 and in General Assembly resolution ES-10/15;

11. Emphasizes the importance of the work of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations and 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;

12. Expresses its hope that the recently called for Middle East peace conference will pave the way for the establishment of the independent Palestinian State;

13. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-second session, through the Economic and Social Council, a report on the implementation of the present resolution and to continue to include in the report of the United Nations Special Coordinator an update on the living conditions of the Palestinian people, in collaboration with relevant United Nations agencies;

14. Decides to include the item entitled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan” in the agenda of its substantive session of 2008.


IX. SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL

On 25 July 2007, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Michael Williams briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.” The following are excerpts from the briefing (S/PV.5723):

In this reporting period there were more than 20 incidents of Palestinian attacks, involving 192 rocket and mortar shells, against the Gaza crossings and into Israel. The military wing of Hamas has been responsible for most of the rockets and mortars fired at the crossings, and it claimed responsibility for 10 attacks aimed towards Kerem Shalom and 5 aimed towards Erez. However, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade also carried out attacks against the crossings. Islamic Jihad was also responsible for most of the rockets and mortars launched against Israel, with Hamas claiming responsibility for only one such attack during the reporting period. The Secretary-General has repeatedly condemned Palestinian rocket fire, which targets civilians - causing injuries and damage - and impedes the flow of assistance to the people of Gaza.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli military actions continued throughout the reporting period, leading to 52 Palestinian fatalities, including four children, and 109 injured, three of whom were children. Thirty-three of those fatalities were in Gaza. One Israeli was killed and 18 injured, including one child.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continued targeted killings in Gaza. In the West Bank, the IDF carried out almost daily arrest raids into towns and villages, killing some 20 Palestinians and arresting at least 244 suspected activists from various Palestinian factions. I encourage Israel to cease those operations and to hand over security control of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority.

The Hamas takeover of Gaza and the absence of Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces have left the crossings connecting Gaza with the outside world mostly inoperable. The Secretary-General has stated his concern about that situation and its impact on economic life, most notably in a statement on 13 July. He believes that it is essential for the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to ensure the well-being of the Palestinians of Gaza. The United Nations encourages the PA to work with Egypt, Israel and the international community to explore all possible options to operate the crossings.

United Nations agencies have redoubled their efforts with Israel and the Palestinian Authority over the past month to facilitate and ensure the continuous flow of basic humanitarian goods through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Overall, 65,000 metric tons of basic food and medical supplies have entered the Strip commercially or through the United Nations, meeting 88 per cent of the population’s basic minimum food needs.

However, it is clear that humanitarian assistance alone will not be sufficient to stop the decline in the economy that is currently unfolding owing to the interruption of regular commercial flows to and from the Gaza Strip. The closure of the Karni crossing since early June has meant that agricultural and industrial products destined for markets in Israel, the West Bank or farther afield have not been exported. It has also meant that materials essential for the production of industrial goods and for the construction sector are not entering Gaza. For the United Nations alone, that has resulted in projects worth $213 million coming to a halt. The World Bank now estimates that more than 75 per cent of Gaza’s factories have had to close operations and that more than 68,000 workers have been temporarily laid off. Unless the crossings are open for imports and exports, the downward economic spiral will lead to extensive hardship for an already impoverished Gaza Strip.

It is particularly worrying that very little progress has been made to resolve the question of approximately 6,000 Palestinians who are unable to move from Egypt back into the Gaza Strip. I would urge all parties to act quickly to hasten the return of that displaced population.

I turn now to developments on the political front. On 13 July, Prime Minister Fayyad’s emergency Government was reappointed as a caretaker Government that will continue to function until there is a vote in the Palestinian legislature terminating its tenure or until elections are held. The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) has tried to convene on a number of occasions, but, owing to alternate boycotts by both Hamas and Fatah, no sessions have been held. The continued Israeli etention of 45 Palestinian legislators is an aggravating factor, and we join the European Union in calling for their release. As a result of those obstacles, the PLC failed to meet the Basic Law deadline for a vote of confidence on the emergency Government, as had been requested by Prime Minister Fayyad.

On 16 July, President Abbas called for early presidential and PLC elections. However, there has been no indication as to when such elections might be held, and it is not clear how or when the current impasse will be resolved. I must note that my own meetings in the region suggest that there are no immediate prospects for reconciliation between Hamas and President Abbas’s Fatah movement.

The creation of the independent emergency Government of Prime Minister Fayyad on 15 June, which was warmly welcomed by Quartet members, has led to the renewal of direct financial assistance from the donor community. Prime Minister Olmert has made commitments to support the new Government of Prime Minister Fayyad through transferring tax revenues, significantly freeing movement in the West Bank, renewing economic and security cooperation and releasing some Palestinian prisoners. In that regard, Israel transferred $117 million in Palestinian tax revenues on 1 July and released 255 Palestinian prisoners on 20 July. I am pleased to note the positive and businesslike way in which Israel and the Palestinian Authority are working together.

In a step that will help Prime Minister Fayyad on the ground, the PA and Israel also reached an agreement that led to 178 wanted militants giving up their arms and signing peace pledges in return for being removed from Israel’s most-wanted list.
I would like to commend Prime Minister Fayyad’s successful effort to pay full salaries to 160,000 PA employees in the West Bank and, in particular, in the Gaza Strip as well. This is the first time in 15 months that a full salary payment has been made to civil servants. It has injected more than $100 million into the Palestinian economy, and its effects on the daily welfare of Palestinian households were immediately felt. I should note that salaries were not paid to the 20,000 members of the Hamas-affiliated security forces or the 11,000 civil servants hired by Hamas in the past year.

As part of this positive atmosphere of trust, and in a step welcomed by the Quartet, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert met on 16 July and renewed their bilateral dialogue at a very positive meeting. I am informed that all issues were put on the table, from prisoners to serious discussion on final-status issues.

In a significant speech on 16 July, President Bush supported Palestinian institution-building ahead of serious negotiations towards the creation of a Palestinian State and announced the intention of the United States to call an international meeting this autumn chaired by Secretary Rice, with the participation of Israel, the Palestinians and regional States. The Secretary-General welcomed that proposal. As for the Quartet, it indicated in Lisbon last week that it was looking forward to consultations as the meeting is prepared and agreed that such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian State.

The process of institution-building will be led by the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was appointed as Quartet Representative on 27 June. On 19 July, the Quartet welcomed his agreement to be the Quartet Representative and discussed with him the urgent work that lies ahead. The Quartet urged the parties and all States in the region to work closely with Mr. Blair and encouraged robust international support for his efforts.

Mr. Blair is returning from the region today after consultations with Palestinian and Israeli leaders and stakeholders. His initial visit was to form an assessment of the current situation before returning to the region in September to start implementing his strategic plan ahead of the international meeting in the autumn. The Secretary-General and our Quartet partners are all committed to giving Mr. Blair all the support necessary to ensure the success of his mission.

In that context, we welcome Norway’s proposal to reactivate the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, with the stated support of President Bush and others in the international community, to discuss assistance management, financial support to the PA and Palestinian institutional reform. The meeting will take place in New York in September on the margins of the General Assembly.



In conclusion, following the collapse of the National Unity Government, the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas remains the only legitimate authority, and I have been pleased to see the quick response of the international community to deliver financial assistance and political support to Prime Minister Fayyad’s caretaker Government.

However, it is important that the people of Gaza not be punished for the Hamas takeover. Re-opening the crossings to prevent the complete collapse of the Gazan economy remains a priority. The humanitarian and emergency response has been an effective short-term measure, but a solution led by President Abbas is an urgent necessity. In the longer term, Gaza and the West Bank cannot remain separated. There is only one future Palestinian State, and it encompasses both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

There has been a promising start to the new relationship of Prime Minister Olmert, President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. We must encourage the parties to continue to build confidence through the fulfilment of their Road Map commitments. Israel must remove checkpoints in the West Bank as well as dismantle outposts and freeze settlement expansion. President Abbas should continue to work to end violence, disarm Palestinian militias and reform Palestinian institutions. Fulfilment of those conditions would constitute solid foundations for the international meeting this autumn, which will hopefully be an important step to begin bilateral negotiations for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

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