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17 November 1993
Monday, 18 October 1993
at 3 p.m.
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 12TH MEETING
Mr. MONGBE (Benin)
AGENDA ITEM 12: REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m
AGENDA ITEM 12: REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL (A/48/3, A/48/159-E/1993/59, A/48/172, A/48/182, A/48/183-E/1993/74 and Add.1, A/48/188-E/1993/78, A/48/276, A/48/338, A/48/353-S/26372, A/48/498)
(Executive Director, United Nations Centre for Human Settlements), introducing the report (
) requested by the General Assembly in resolution
of 22 December 1992 on assistance to the Palestinian people, said that, in compliance with that resolution, he had collected the pertinent information from the various sources concerned and the replies received were summarized in the report.
(Chief, Regional Commissions New York Office) introduced the report contained in document
, which had been prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution
of 22 December 1992 and was based on a study by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
31. The building of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory had accelerated since the beginning of 1990. Since mid-1992, two main political issues were supposed to have a direct impact on the pace of Israeli settlement in the occupied Arab territories: one was the formation, in July 1992, of a new Government, which had announced its willingness to put an end to the construction of housing in the occupied Palestinian territories; the other was the American loan guarantees for Israel, which had been approved on 6 October 1992. Construction of settlements was not "frozen", since the Israeli Government remained committed to the construction of 11,000 additional housing units. Moreover, as mentioned in the report, settlement in greater Jerusalem and along the borders with the Syrian Arab Republic and Jordan would not be affected by any future settlement policy, as the Prime Minister of Israel had declared. It was nearly impossible to determine the source of funding of settlements, since the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency could free funds for use in the occupied territories by using money obtained under the United States loan guarantees for projects inside Israel's pre-1967 borders.
32. Water continued to be one of the most sensitive issues affecting the economic and social development of the people in the occupied Arab territories. During the period under consideration, the Israeli authorities had gained control over water resources in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan, and more than 67 per cent of the water supply in the area was exploited for the benefit of the non-Palestinian population. That water policy and the confiscation of land to establish or expand settlements had been accompanied by the imposition of curfews on various areas of the occupied Palestinian territories in order to prevent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. During the first four months of 1993, approximately 3,180 trees had been uprooted in the occupied Arab territories because the landowners had failed to obtain permits to plant the seedlings from the Israel Land Administration. All those measures had significantly affected the economic and social development of the Palestinian people, especially in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
33. It was to be hoped that, with the agreement on mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel of 13 September 1993, the dispute on Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories could be ended.
(Syrian Arab Republic), referring to the Arab population of the occupied territories, condemned the Israeli practices of exploiting resources and restricting agricultural activities, which were serious violations of Security Council resolutions
, as well as of the Geneva and Hague Conventions.
60. In document A/48/188-E/1993/78, the Secretary-General had drawn attention to the arbitrary practices of confiscating land and gaining control of water resources in the Syrian Arab Golan, which had reduced the area under cultivation, and had curtailed local development potential and lowered the local income level from agriculture.
61. The Government of Israel was currently constructing 1,200 housing units in the Golan Heights. During the first five months of the current year, 3,381 dunums had been confiscated. The objective of the policy on water resources was to exhaust the water systems and reduce agricultural and livestock production, with the attendant grave consequences for the Arab population. In addition, the Israeli authorities had uprooted fruit trees and had dumped toxic wastes which had contaminated soils and polluted the environment.
62. The Golan would continue to be a victim of suppression and oppression until the occupation was brought to an end. The international community must immediately take the necessary measures to ensure that Israel complied with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and observed the provisions of the Geneva and Hague Conventions as well as international agreements on economic, social and cultural rights.
The meeting rose at 5 p.m