Question of Palestine home
1 June 1987
Item 80 of the preliminary list*
UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES
IN THE NEAR EAST
University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees
Report of the Secretary-General
1. The present report is submitted in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 41/69 K of 3 December 1987, the operative part of which read as follows:
The General Assembly
the need for strengthening the educational system in the Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967, including Jerusalem, and specifically the need for the establishment of the proposed university;
the Secretary-General to continue to take all necessary measures for establishing the University of Jerusalem, 'Al-Quds', in accordance with General Assembly resolution 35/13 B of 3 November 1980, giving due consideration to the recommendations consistent with the provisions of that resolution;
Calls one more upon
Israel, the occupying Power, to co-operate in the implementation of the present resolution and to remove the hindrances that it has put in the way of establishing the University of Jerusalem 'Al-Quds';
the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its forty-second session on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution."
2. The General Assembly first considered the establishment of the proposed university at its thirty-fifth session. At that session it adopted, on 3 November 1980, resolution 35/13 B in which it requested the Secretary-General, in co-ordination with the Council of the United Nations University, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to study ways and means of establishing at Jerusalem a university of arts and sciences to cater to the needs of Palestine refugees in the area, under the aegis of the United Nations.
3. Since then, the General Assembly has adopted six further resolutions on the subject (36/146 G of 16 December 1981, 37/120 C of 16 December 1982, 38/83 K of 15 December 1983, 39/99 K of 14 December 1984, 40/165 K of 16 December 1985 and 41/69 K of 3 December 1986) and the Secretary-General has submitted five reports (A/37/599, A.38/386, A/39/528, A/40/543 and A/41/457) in which he describes the steps he has taken in pursuance of the General Assembly resolutions, including his efforts to conduct the functional feasibility study on establishing the proposed university that was first requested by the Assembly in its resolution 36/146 G, as well as the position taken by the Government of Israel in regard to the establishment of the university.
4. As previously indicated by
completion of the feasibility study envisaged in resolution 36/146 G would be a necessarys tep toward meeting the request addressed to him by the General Assembly. Accordingly, following the adoption of resolution 41/69 K, the Secretary-General sought the assistance of the Rector of the United Nations University, who made available an eminent expert to carry out the study.
5. On 11 February 1987, the Secretary-General
addressed to the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations a note verbale in which, with reference to the request addressed to him by the General Assembly, he stated the following:
"As the Permanent Representative is aware, the Secretary-General is of the view that, in order to comply with the request addressed to him by the General Assembly, it would be necessary to complete the functional feasibility study referred to paragraph 5 of resolution 36/146 G. To that end, the Rector of the United Nations University, at the Secretary-General's request, has designated a distinguished Spanish scholar, Dr. Federico Mayor, of the Universidad Autonoma in Madrid, to assist in the preparation of the proposed study. In order to carry out his task, Dr. Mayor would naturally have to visit the area and to meet with competent Israeli officials, bearing in mind that Israel exercises effective authority in the area concerned.
"The Secretary-General is, of course, aware of the questions raised by the Government of Israel and of the position it has taken concerning the proposed university. Recalling the clarifications already given by the Secretariat,
/ he is of the opinion that such questions could be best discussed on the occasion of the visit of the United Nations expert. Accordingly, in view of the new resolution adopted by the General Assembly on the subject, and bearing in mind his reporting obligation, the Secretary-General would be grateful if the Government of Israel would facilitate the visit at a mutually convenient date."
6. On 22 April 1987, the Permanent Representative of Israel sent the following reply to the Secretary-General:
"The position of the Government of Israel on this subject was clarified in a statement by the Representative of Israel to the Special Political Committee on 15 December 1983 (A/38/PV.98), in a letter of the Permanent Representative of Israel dated 22 May 1984 to then Under-Secretary-General Mr. Brian Urquhart
/ and in notes verbale of the Permanent Representative of Israel dated 2 May 1985 and 10 June 1986 addressed to the Secretary-General.
"The Government of Israel has voted consistently against this resolution for reasons outlined in the aforementioned statement and documents. It remains clear that the sponsors of resolution 41/69 K seek to exploit the field of higher education in order to politicize issues totally extraneous to genuine academic pursuits.
"The existing higher academic institutions in Judea and Samaria are successfully meeting all the requirements of the inhabitants of the area, while continuing to improve their standards of education. In June 1967, there were no university facilities in Judea and Samaria. It was the Israel administration which enabled the establishment of five universities as well as other colleges and teacher training schools. Currently, more than 15,000 students attend classes at these higher academic institutions.
"It has been indicated in the above-mentioned documents that certain substantive clarifications raised by my Government are required. Thus, until the receipt of such clarifications, the Government of Israel is unable to assist in taking this matter further."
7. In view of the position taken by the Government of Israel, it has not been possible to complete the functional feasibility study on the proposed university at Jerusalem as planned.
/ See A/41/457, para. 4.
/ See A/36/593, annex I.
See A/39/528, para. 11.
/ See A/40/543, para. 10 and A/41/457, para. 6.