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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXX, No.11 - Bulletin DDP/CEDIPP (novembre 2007) - publication de la Division des droits palestiniens (30 novembre 2007) Français

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


November 2007

Volume XXX, Bulletin No. 11



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


Contents
Page
I.
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issues statement on fortieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 242 (1967)
1
II.
Quartet expresses support for Annapolis Conference
3
III.
Secretary-General addresses Annapolis Conference
3
IV.
Secretary-General appoints Robert Serry as United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
5
V.
Secretary-General appoints Vladimir Goryayev as Executive Director of the United Nations Register of Damage
6
VI.
Secretary-General’s message for Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
7
VII.
Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People welcomes Annapolis Conference
9
VIII.
Security Council hears a briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
10




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. COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF SECURITY COUNCIL
RESOLUTION 242 (1967)

The following statement was issued on 20 November 2007 by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People meeting in New York (press release GA/PAL/1067):

This week marks the fortieth anniversary of the adoption by the Security Council on 22 November 1967 of resolution 242 (1967). “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, the Council called in this resolution for “the withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied” in the conflict. The Council further affirmed the necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem. Although the message of the resolution is clear, four decades later, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem remain under Israeli military occupation. Until this day, the Palestinian people has been denied the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty in its own land. It is for this reason that the political significance of resolution 242 (1967) needs restating today.

Since 1967, the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People have repeatedly called upon Israel to live up to its obligations as the occupying Power under international humanitarian law. The Palestinian civilian population, who was to be protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention, has suffered exceedingly, long subjected to daily violence, subjugation and humiliation. Moreover, the occupying Power has continued to create illegal facts on the ground by confiscating vast areas of Palestinian land, constructing and expanding settlements, establishing settler outposts, moving its own population to the Occupied Territory. The separation wall being constructed in the Occupied West Bank and around East Jerusalem has substantially worsened the conditions of occupation through taking additional land from the Palestinians, separating Palestinians from Palestinians, and further complicating their movement. In light of this, the Committee strongly urges the world community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take appropriate and urgent action in accordance with its article 1 to ensure respect for the Convention.

The Committee reiterates that the occupation is the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine. Israel must withdraw from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan in keeping with resolution 242 (1967) and as further reinforced in Security Council resolution 338 (1973) and numerous subsequent Security Council resolutions. Resolution 242 (1967) has been at the centre of all attempts to resolve the present conflict. Also, the principle of land for peace has been recognized as the basis for any peace negotiations by the parties and constitutes the foundation of all current initiatives, including the road map and the Arab Peace Initiative.
1
The Committee calls on the Security Council to act decisively in implementation of its own resolutions with respect to the question of Palestine, in particular Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The Committee is also hopeful that, as the principal United Nations organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council will live up to its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations. The Committee for its part will continue to fulfil its General Assembly mandate aimed at helping the Palestinian people realize its inalienable rights with a view to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine.

Text of Security Council resolution 242 (1967)

The full text of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), adopted unanimously at the 1382nd meeting, reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,

“Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

“Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

“1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

“2. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

“3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

“4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.”

II. QUARTET EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR ANNAPOLIS CONFERENCE

The following is the text of the statement issued on 26 November 2007 in Washington following the meeting of the Quartet principals, representing the United Nations, the Russian Federation, United States of America and the European Union (Press Release SG/2133):

The Quartet principals - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey 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 Washington to discuss the situation in the Middle East ahead of the upcoming Annapolis Conference. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.

The Quartet expressed strong support for the 27 November Annapolis Conference. It welcomed the commitment of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to launch bilateral negotiations towards the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza, and the realization of Israeli-Palestinian peace. This reflects the results of months of work by the parties and by the Quartet, including the Quartet’s engagement with members of the Arab League Follow-up Committee to expand the circle of support for peace. The Quartet welcomed the parties’ continuing efforts to fulfil their respective commitments under phase one of the road map and urged the international community to provide robust support for all the parties’ efforts. The principals took note of the broad international support for the Annapolis Conference and looked forward to the December Paris Donors’ Conference to muster international financial backing for efforts to build the foundation for a viable and prosperous Palestinian State. The Quartet agreed to remain closely involved, and to that end will meet again in December, and looks forward to inviting members of the Arab League Follow-up Committee to attend.

The Quartet affirmed its commitment to seize this opportunity to mobilize international support to achieve meaningful progress towards a just and lasting negotiated settlement to this conflict, and ultimately a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

III. SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES ANNAPOLIS CONFERENCE

The following is the text of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech at the Annapolis Conference on the Middle East on 27 November 2007 (Press Release SG/SM/11300):

Today, we bear witness to a new beginning of the Middle East peace process. I am very pleased and moved to be a part of this historic meeting.

After years of failed hopes and terrible suffering, I commend Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert and President [Mahmoud] Abbas for rededicating Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization to resolving the conflict between them. They know the risks and sacrifices involved, and also know that there is no alternative to peace.
Let me thank and congratulate our hosts, President [George W.] Bush and Secretary [Condoleezza] Rice, and, most importantly, President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert. Their leadership and commitment has made this new beginning possible. The engagement of the United States of America has always been crucial to the peace process, and it remains so today.

I also want to thank the many members of the Arab League who are here today. Five years ago, the Arab countries made a historic strategic commitment to peace. Earlier this year, they renewed the Arab Peace Initiative. Their presence today shows their determination to participate actively in the search for peace in the region.

I pledge the full support of the United Nations family for the renewed effort. For 60 years, the Organization has provided the broad parameters for peace, first in the partition plan and then in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003). Today, the United Nations has few higher priorities than seeing this conflict resolved.

The Palestinians have been deprived of their fundamental right to self-determination for 60 years. Their society has been increasingly fragmented: territorially, by settlements, land expropriation and the barrier; socially and economically, by closure; and politically, between Gaza and the West Bank. They have begun to fear that the dream of statehood may slip beyond their grasp.

We must reverse this growing sense of despair and build a process that begins to change the lives of Palestinians and secures their independence and freedom. The process must end the occupation and create an independent and viable State of Palestine, at peace with itself and its neighbours.

For its part, Israel faces genuine security challenges. The Israeli people have sought security and freedom from threat for 60 years. But this has proven elusive. Recently, they have felt anew the threat of attack, and their very right to exist has been questioned. Some have started believing that territorial withdrawal only brings new acts of terrorism.

We must reverse this loss of faith and build a process that delivers on the vital interests of Israelis: a Palestinian State that is a true partner, secure and recognized borders and a permanent end to the conflict.

The Middle East as a whole craves peace too. An Israeli-Palestinian peace, and indeed a comprehensive peace between Israel and its neighbours, would be the surest way to stabilize the region and stem the appeal of violence and rejectionism.

Success depends not on what we say today, but on what we do tomorrow. There will be a steering committee and the Quartet will have its own role, complementary to a trilateral monitoring mechanism. To successfully implement the Road Map, we must abandon piecemeal approaches and address all aspects of the conflict.

First, final status negotiations need to begin in earnest and address all the issues: Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, security and water. The broad outlines of solutions to these issues are clear. There is no reason they cannot be resolved in 2008.

Second, we must help the Palestinian Authority to rebuild, reform and perform. I commend Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad and his Government for the responsible reform plan it has developed and the actions on security it has already taken. This must continue - and I hope a wide range of donors will step forward with political and financial support at Paris and beyond.

Third, the situation on the ground must improve, rapidly and visibly. Without implementing long-standing commitments under the road map and the Agreement on Movement and Access, the diplomatic process cannot succeed. Progress requires parallel actions and clear monitoring.

The Quartet will continue to provide international leadership and support for these efforts. I thank the Quartet Representative, Tony Blair, for the clear vision and intense focus he has brought to ensure that these three tracks are advanced together and reinforce each other.

The people of Gaza have suffered more than anyone else from conflict and poverty. We must reach out to them. Humanitarian aid is no substitute for a functioning economy. The time has come for concrete initiatives to ease their suffering and replace despair with hope.

We will also have to work politically to restore the unity of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority. This will be vital if a peace agreement is to be sustainable.

Let us also hope that today’s meeting heralds an easing of regional tensions and opens the door to exploring possibilities for comprehensive peace. I am committed to a peace between Israel and all its Arab neighbours, including Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Above all, today marks a beginning, not an end. I know that different expectations exist. But I ask you all to approach this effort with flexibility, patience and resolve. Let us base expectations on a realistic assessment and take responsibility for the things we each can do, without losing faith. As we re-embark together on this quest, there can be no second thoughts, no half-measures, no going back. This time, come what may, let us see it through.

IV. SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS ROBERT SERRY AS UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COORDINATOR
FOR THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

On 28 November 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council (S/2007/690) informing him of his intention to appoint Mr. Robert H. Serry as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. This letter, and the letter of 30 November 2007 (S/2007/691) from the President of the Security Council addressed to the Secretary-General are reproduced below:
Letter dated 28 November 2007 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council

I wish to inform the Security Council of my intention to appoint Mr. Robert H. Serry of the Netherlands as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle
East Peace Process and my Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, succeeding Mr. Michael C. Williams. Mr. Serry will act as my Envoy to the Quartet.

Mr. Serry is a career diplomat with over two decades of experience. Most recently, he served as the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ireland. His previous professional experience has also included diplomatic postings in Bangkok, Moscow, New York and Kyiv. In addition, Mr. Serry has held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary-General for Crisis Management and Operations at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He led the Middle Eastern Affairs Division of the Dutch Foreign Ministry at the time of the Madrid Conference in 1991.

It is my intention that the new Special Coordinator should be guided by the principles set out in relevant Security Council resolutions and in the road map of the Quartet, as endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003). I am also asking that he work to consolidate the efforts of the United Nations to support the political process that was announced at the conference held in Annapolis, United States of America, on 27 November 2007.

The Special Coordinator’s functions and responsibilities will include coordination of all United Nations activities on the ground related to the Middle East peace process, with the aim of ensuring that the United Nations contribution is fully integrated and coordinated.

As the Special Coordinator, Mr. Serry will represent the Secretary-General in all meetings and structures involving the parties and the international community, and provide political guidance to the United Nations family.

(Signed) Ban Ki-moon


Letter dated 30 November 2007 from the President of the Security Council addressed to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to inform you that your letter dated 28 November 2007 (S/2007/690) concerning your intention to appoint Mr. Robert H. Serry of the Netherlands as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and your Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority has been brought to the attention of the members of the Security Council. They take note of the information and intention contained in your letter.

(Signed ) R. M. Marty M. Natalegawa
President of the Security Council


V. SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS VLADIMIR GORYAYEV AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF THE UNITED NATIONS REGISTER OF DAMAGE

On 29 November 2007 the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General issued the following statement (Press Release SG/A/1110-PAL/2092):

In compliance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution ES-10/17 (2007), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has decided to appoint Vladimir Goryayev of the Russian Federation as Executive Director of the office of the United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The Vienna-based office is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly operating under the administrative authority of the Secretary-General.

Mr. Goryayev currently serves as Director a.i. for the Asia and the Pacific Division in the Department of Political Affairs, which he joined in 1988. Prior to that, he worked with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

In his new capacity, Mr. Goryayev will be responsible for overseeing and administrating the work of the office of the United Nations Register of Damage. As an ex-officio member of the Board of the Register of Damage, he will also be responsible for reviewing all the claim cases and presenting them to members of the Board for inclusion in the Register.


VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL'S MESSAGE FOR DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

The following is the text of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s statement for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, observed on 29 November 2007 (Press Release SG/SM/11301-OBV/670-PAL/2091). Special meetings in observance of the Solidarity Day were held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, as well as at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna.

This International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People comes at a time when Palestinians continue to suffer the indignities and violence of occupation and conflict, but also at a time when a new beginning has been made in efforts to achieve a two-State solution to the conflict.

Two days ago in Annapolis, President [Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert, meeting under the auspices of President [George W.] Bush and before a wide cross-section of the international community, including members of the Arab League, agreed to launch negotiations on all core issues without exception, in order to conclude a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues. They pledged to make every effort to do this in 2008.

Implementation is now paramount. What we do tomorrow is more important than what we say today. In Annapolis, I pledged the full support of the United Nations for the renewed effort. I stressed that, for 60 years, the Organization has provided the broad parameters for peace, first in the partition plan and then in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and that today, the United Nations has few higher priorities than seeing this conflict resolved.

We all know the reasons why. The Palestinians have been deprived of their inalienable right to self-determination for 60 years. Palestinian society has been increasingly fragmented - territorially, by settlements, land expropriation and the barrier in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; socially and economically, by closure; and politically, between Gaza and the West Bank. They have begun to fear that the dream of statehood may slip beyond their grasp. This growing sense of despair must be reversed.

The process launched at Annapolis must change the lives of Palestinians and secure their independence and freedom. The process must end the occupation and create an independent and viable State of Palestine, at peace with itself and its neighbours. It also must deliver on the vital interests of Israelis: a Palestinian State that is a true partner and not a source of terrorism; secure and recognized borders; and a permanent end to the conflict.

We cannot close our eyes to the profound doubt and mistrust on either side about the will and capacity of the other to achieve these goals. Despite several diplomatic landmarks, conditions on the ground have become harder, not easier, for most Palestinians, and for many Israelis too.

Israel faces genuine security threats, and Israeli civilians have died and been wounded in rocket attacks. Palestinian civilians have been killed and injured in Israeli military operations. The Gaza Strip has been almost entirely closed, with tight restrictions on supplies and movements of people, leading to a grave humanitarian situation. Settlements have expanded throughout the West Bank. Checkpoints and a barrier have been erected on occupied land. Unemployment and poverty are rising.
The indignities, injustices and fear on both sides make it difficult to build faith in the political process. But that is exactly what we have to do. We must abandon piecemeal approaches and address all aspects of the conflict.

Final status negotiations need to begin in earnest and address all the issues: Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, security and water. The broad outlines of solutions to these issues are clear.

We must also help the Palestinian Authority to rebuild, reform and perform. I hope a wide range of donors will step forward with political and financial support at the upcoming Paris conference and beyond.

The situation on the ground must also improve, rapidly and visibly. Without implementing long-standing commitments under the road map and the Agreement on Movement and Access, the diplomatic process cannot succeed. Progress requires parallel actions and clear monitoring.

If peace is built on hope, not despair, we must also reach out to the people of Gaza. They have suffered more than anyone else from conflict and poverty. Humanitarian aid is vital and United Nations efforts need the support of donors. But such aid is no substitute for a functioning economy. The time has come for concrete initiatives to ease their suffering. The unity of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority will also have to be restored for a peace agreement to be sustainable.

The vision of an end of occupation, an end of conflict and two States living side by side in peace is a vision of justice, security and peace. It is still achievable. But it will only happen if all involved take responsibility for contributing what they can. Now that the Palestinian leadership has embarked on a new quest with Israel to end the conflict and secure a better future for their children, let us show our solidarity with the Palestinian people - and the Israeli people too - by giving our unyielding support to their efforts and not resting until the goal is achieved.


VII. BUREAU OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE WELCOMES ANNAPOLIS CONFERENCE

The following statement was issued on 29 November 2007 by the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (Press Release GA/PAL/1070).

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People welcomes the holding of the Annapolis Conference and the joint understanding reached by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert.

The Bureau views this Conference as an important pivotal point for permanent status negotiations aimed at ending the occupation and establishing a viable Palestinian State on all the areas occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem, living side by side with Israel and its neighbours in peace and security. The Bureau welcomes in particular the commitment by all parties to work towards the fulfilment of that goal.

The Conference, convened under the auspices of the United States administration, was a serious and determined effort on the part of President Abbas, Prime Minister Olmert, the Quartet, regional partners, especially Arab countries, and many other key participants, to reignite the political process with a view to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine and the broader Arab-Israeli conflict.

It is now critically important for the parties not to lose the current momentum and move forward to addressing all permanent status issues, without exception, namely borders, Jerusalem, Palestine refugees, settlements, security and water resources. The world community has a stake and a major role to play in support of this massive challenge. The Bureau welcomes the initiative of the Russian Federation to host a conference in Moscow early next year to follow up on the implementation of the understandings reached at Annapolis. It is hoped that the conference will provide additional impetus and vigour to the current peacemaking efforts.

The Bureau also believes that engagement of the international community on issues of economic development of a future State of Palestine should go hand in hand with and buttress progress in the political area. In this connection, the Bureau welcomes the upcoming Paris donors’ conference.

The Annapolis Conference has opened a new page in international efforts to achieve peace in the region. We hope that the parties will have enough courage, patience and foresight to lead their negotiations to an effective and mutually acceptable conclusion during the year 2008. As they embark on this difficult journey, the United Nations should play a helping role and continue to maintain its permanent responsibility with respect to all the aspects of the question of Palestine, until it is resolved in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized.


VIII. SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS A BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST,
INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

On 30 November 2007, the Security Council heard a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”, which is excerpted below. For the verbatim record of the meeting see S/PV.5788).



Three days ago, the most significant breakthrough in the peace process in several years was achieved. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas reached a joint understanding, read out by President Bush at the opening of the Annapolis conference. That agreement had three important elements.

First, the leaders agreed to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty, resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements. They agreed to make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.

Secondly, they agreed that a joint steering committee is to meet continuously. The committee will oversee the work of negotiations teams, and its first meeting will be held on 12 December 2007. The two leaders also agreed that they will meet together on a biweekly basis.

Thirdly, they committed to immediately implement their respective obligations under the Road Map and agreed to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States of America, to follow up on implementation.

The leaders further committed to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations under the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfilment of the commitment by both sides. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map.

In addition to the joint understanding, the Israeli and Palestinian leaders individually addressed each other, the conference participants and the world. President Abbas said that “on this day, we stretch our hands to you as equal partners in peace”, stating that it was not impossible to achieve peace if there was will and good faith. He also spoke about his determination to fight terrorism “under all circumstances and from any source”, saying, “We do this for our own people because we must, not because it is a political requirement”.

Prime Minister Olmert underlined his acknowledgement of Palestinian suffering, including that of the refugees. He stated that he knew that that pain and deprivation were one of the deepest foundations that had fomented the ethos of hatred. He added that he had no doubt that the reality created in the region in 1967 would change significantly, and he acknowledged that this would be an extremely difficult process and that many of his people knew that but were ready for it.

The joint understanding was given added significance by the context in which it was presented. President Bush opened the conference and pledged to devote his efforts during his time as President to doing all that he could to help the parties achieve their ambitious goal. He gave his personal commitment to support their work with the resources and the resolve of the American Government.

In addition to the host and the parties, other participants in the Annapolis conference included the Secretary-General and other Quartet members, the five permanent members of the Security Council, the Group of Eight industrialized nations, other significant donors and supporters of the process and, importantly, the representatives of the League of Arab States. Their participation signalled Arab support for the efforts of President Abbas and the determination of the Arab League to participate actively in the search for peace. Arab League members underlined their continued, united support for the Arab Peace Initiative and their belief in the need to achieve comprehensive peace in the region.

On the evening before the opening of the conference, the Quartet principals met in Washington and expressed their strong support for the conference. They welcomed the commitment of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to launch bilateral negotiations towards the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza and, ultimately, of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The statement noted that that achievement reflected “the results of months of work by the parties and by the Quartet, including the Quartet’s engagement with members of the Arab League Follow-up Committee to expand the circle of support for peace”.

As part of the continuing process, the Quartet will meet next month, on the sidelines of the Paris Conference, and looks forward to meeting once again with members of the Arab League.

The Annapolis conference also included extensive discussion of international support for building the institutional capacity of the Palestinian Authority, setting the stage for the upcoming donor conference to be held in Paris. The Paris conference will provide an opportunity for the international community to demonstrate its determination to improve the situation on the ground. Economic recovery and the creation of a secure environment will be key to gaining popular confidence in the renewed process.

The Palestinian Authority has been working hard on preparations for Paris. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Fayyad circulated a summary of the Palestinian reform and development plan for 2008-2010. The plan, which will form the basis of the Palestinian Authority’s presentation to the donor community, demonstrates fiscal responsibility and political commitment to reform. It also lays out what Israel and the international community should do in parallel to help the Palestinian Authority to meet its economic and institutional priorities over the next three years. We trust that the plan will prove to be a solid basis for securing new financial commitments from international partners, including those in the region. We urge Council members to give it their early consideration.

During his recent trip to the region, Quartet Representative Tony Blair joined Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad and Israeli Defence Minister Barak to highlight several initiatives that will have a substantial economic impact on the ground. If carried through, this trilateral partnership for economic recovery and growth will serve to build the confidence of Israelis and Palestinians in a peaceful settlement.

In the lead-up to the Annapolis conference, a number of developments provided important building blocks. The Palestinian Authority took steps on phase I Road Map obligations through the deployment of 300 security forces in Nablus in a bid to crack down on militants and impose law and order. That has led to a significant improvement in the security environment in Nablus. The Israeli Government has facilitated this deployment by allowing the transfer of weapons, ammunition and equipment. However, night raids by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into Nablus continue, posing a challenge to the goal of ensuring Palestinian Authority security control.

The Israeli Government announced a further release of 441 Palestinian prisoners - a decision that has yet to be implemented. Settlement activity continues, and no outposts have yet been dismantled. We encourage both parties to make every effort to implement all commitments and build mutual trust.

I also wish to stress the active Arab diplomacy in the lead-up to the conference. A number of regional meetings were held ahead of the Annapolis conference, with Egypt taking the lead in hosting Arab leaders and Quartet Representative Blair. President Mubarak of Egypt also met Israeli Prime Minister Olmert on 20 November in Sharm el-Sheikh. In addition to a discussion on the Annapolis conference, there was a positive agreement to intensify cooperation to stop smuggling into the Gaza Strip. Also,
on 18 November, King Abdullah of Jordan paid his first visit to Damascus since February 2004.

We have reason to be hopeful in the light of those developments, but we must not close our eyes to the difficulties on the ground. Violence continues to plague Palestinians and Israelis. During the reporting period, 42 Palestinians were killed and more than 133 injured, among them four children killed during Israeli military operations in Gaza and the West Bank. More than 346 Palestinians have been detained by the IDF. Two Israelis have been killed and six injured. IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit is in his eighteenth month of captivity in Gaza. Rockets and mortars continue to be fired by Palestinian militants on crossing points between Israel and Gaza as well as at Israeli population centres. During the period, rocket attacks by militants from Gaza have increased to more than 116 rockets and 121 mortars. The Secretary-General continues to condemn all acts of terrorism and all acts that target civilians or endanger them owing to the disproportionate or indiscriminate character of such acts.

Factional fighting among Palestinians intensified - mostly in Gaza - resulting in 18 deaths, among them three children. In one particular incident, on 12 November, Hamas policemen fired on a rally of over 250,000 participants held to commemorate the death of President Arafat. The rally degenerated into rioting, and seven Fatah members were killed and some 100 were wounded. Approximately 400 Fatah supporters were arrested.

The humanitarian situation on the ground, particularly in Gaza, continues to be a source of acute concern - and one that the Secretary-General has raised strongly in public statements, in writing to his Quartet colleagues and with all interlocutors at Annapolis. Karni, the principal crossing for commercial goods into and out of Gaza,
remains closed. A recent food security study conducted by the World Food Programme found that although critical United Nations humanitarian food supplies are being allowed in, only 41 per cent of basic commercial food needs have been met in the past six weeks. The market has continued to witness significant price rises and shortages of commodities such as wheat and other grains, vegetable oil, dairy products and baby formula. In one positive development, on Wednesday, the Israeli Government permitted the export of strawberries and flowers from Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Rafah, the principal passenger crossing to Egypt for 1.5 million Gazans, also remains closed. Approximately 6,400 Gazans with foreign citizenship, permanent residency, work permits, student visas or university admissions have not been able to exit Gaza since June, including 670 students who are being prevented from pursuing higher education abroad. Access to specialized medical care for Gazan patients requiring treatment in Israel, the West Bank and Egypt continues to be affected, with 10 Gazans, including two women and an infant, dying since August after being prevented from leaving Gaza to receive emergency care. Spare parts are not allowed entry into Gaza, leaving medical and water sanitation equipment in disrepair.

The political divide among Palestinians continued. Hamas continues to establish structures in parallel to the Palestinian Authority and convened an illegal session of the Palestinian Legislative Council to cancel all decrees taken by President Abbas since June. In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority security forces have continued to arrest Hamas militants, and Hamas security forces have continued to arrest Fatah members in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has denounced the Annapolis conference, and held protest demonstrations in both Gaza and the West Bank.



During the reporting period, the Special Coordinator for Lebanon and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) visited the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared in order to examine the UNRWA-led emergency assistance and recovery effort. The recovery and reconstruction process of the camp is an extremely complex undertaking that will require very close cooperation between the Lebanese Government and UNRWA. The current estimated cost of the reconstruction of Nahr el-Bared is $200 million. Of the $54 million that UNRWA requested for the flash appeal only $28 million has been received so far.

UNRWA is working with affected refugees, the parties on the ground, the Lebanese Government, the army, donors and local communities to ensure that immediate and longer-term needs can be met. In the face of the enormous devastation of the camp, efforts by UNRWA to address immediate needs and restore some semblance of normal life for refugees have led to the return of nearly 1,000 families in an area on the periphery of the camp known as the “new camp”.



In a letter to you, Mr. President, dated 28 November, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Robert Serry of the Netherlands as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The Secretary-General looks forward to Mr. Serry working to consolidate the efforts of the United Nations to support the political process that was announced in Annapolis and to coordinate the work of the United Nations country team. In the meantime, Mr. Maxwell Gaylard, currently the Director of the Mine Action Service in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, has been appointed to serve as Deputy Special Coordinator ad interim.

We come away from Annapolis with a clear way forward. In his remarks at the conference, the Secretary-General pledged the full support of the United Nations family for the renewed effort. He stressed the need for the joint understanding to be implemented through the beginning of final status negotiations, support to the Palestinian Authority and action to meet commitments on the ground. He noted, “Success depends not on what we say today, but on what we do tomorrow”. The Secretary-General also emphasized his continuing concern for the humanitarian suffering of the population of Gaza and called for concrete initiatives to ease their suffering. He underlined the need to restore the unity of Gaza and the West Bank under the legitimate Palestinian Authority, and he lent his support to efforts to explore the possibilities for comprehensive peace.

For 60 years the Israeli State has feared for its survival and the survival of its people. For 60 years the Palestinian people have wandered and suffered in search of a
State. It is time for the Palestinians to have a home of their own. It is time for the Israelis to feel at peace in their home. The time to act is now. Let us go forward and each play our part.


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