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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXVII, No. 2 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (mai-octobre 2004) - 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 October 2004


May - October 2004

Volume XXVII, Bulletin No. 2

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




Contents

Page
I
    Quartet issues statement
1
II
    General Assembly adopts resolution on the status of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem
4
III
    Security Council adopts resolution 1544 (20040
5
IV
    ESCWA reports on the economic and social repercussions of Israeli occupation
6
V
    Conference on humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees convenes at Geneva
7
VI
    Secretary-General's statement before the OIC ministerial conference
9
VII
    United Nations African meeting in support of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People
10
VIII
    United Nations Forum of Civil Society in support of Middle East peace adopts declaration
13
IX
    International Court of Justice renders Advisory Opinion
14
X
    Tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly resumes, adopts resolution ES-10/15
17
XI
    XIV Ministerial Conference of theNon-Aligned Movement adopts declaration on Palestine
20
XII
    Secretary-General calls on Israel to ease West Bank settlement expansion, fulfill Road Map obligations
24
XIII
    The Bureau of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People issues statement
24
XIV
    Thirteen United Nations institutions call on Israel to find solution to Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike
25
XV
    Security Council President makes statement to the press on Middle East
25
XVI
    United Nations international conference of Civil society in support of the Palestinian People
26
XVII
    Quatet issues statement
28
XVIII
    CHR Special Rapporteur issues report on the right to food
29
XIX
    League of Arab States adopts resoution
30
XX
    Security Council considers, votes on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
31
XXI
    The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People reports to the General Assembly
32
XXII
    Arab-international forum adopts declaration, recommendations, initiatives on rehabilitation and development in ithe Occupied Palestinain Territory, including East Jersualem
35




The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.nsf
, as well as at:
http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/pub_bltn.htm.



I. QUARTET ISSUES STATEMENT


On 4 May 2004, the representatives of the Quartet - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, High Representative for European Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, European Commissioner of External Relations Chris Patten, and Secretary-General Kofi Annan - issued the statement bellow following their meeting in New York.

The Quartet reaffirms its commitment to our common vision of two States, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security; and calls on both parties to take steps to fulfill their obligations under the roadmap as called for in UN Security Council resolution 1515 and previous Quartet statements, and to meet the commitments they made at the Red Sea Summits in Aqaba and Sharm el Sheikh. In that context, the Quartet urges the Government of Israel to implement its recent affirmation of its readiness to implement certain obligations under the roadmap, including dismantling of outposts erected since March 2001 and progress toward a freeze on settlement activity, and urges the Israeli Government to implement these commitments and to fully meet its roadmap obligations.

The Quartet members reviewed developments since their last meeting in New York on September 26, 2003 and view with great concern the situation in the Middle East. The Quartet condemns the continuing terror attacks on Israel, and calls on the Palestinian Authority to take immediate action against terrorist groups and individuals who plan and execute such attacks. The Quartet members recognize Israel's legitimate right to self-defense in the face of terrorist attacks against its citizens, within the parameters of international humanitarian law, and the Quartet calls on the Government of Israel to exert maximum efforts to avoid civilian casualties. They also call on the Government of Israel to take all possible steps now, consistent with Israel's legitimate security needs, to ease the humanitarian and economic plight of the Palestinian people, including increasing freedom of movement for people and goods both within and from the West Bank and Gaza, removing checkpoints, and other steps to respect the dignity of the Palestinian people and improve their quality of life. Under the roadmap, the Government of Israel should take no actions undermining trust, including deportations; attacks on civilians; confiscation and/or demolition of Palestinian homes and property, as a punitive measure or to facilitate Israeli construction; destruction of Palestinian institutions and infrastructure; and other measures specified in the Tenet work plan. The Quartet calls for renewed efforts to reach a comprehensive ceasefire as a step towards dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure, and renewed progress towards peace through the implementation of the roadmap.

The Quartet notes the Government of Israel's pledge that the barrier being erected by Israel should be a security rather than political barrier, and should be temporary rather than permanent. The Quartet continues to note with great concern the actual and proposed route of the barrier, particularly as it results in the confiscation of Palestinian land, cuts off the movement of people and goods, and undermines Palestinians' trust in the roadmap process as it appears to prejudge final borders of a future Palestinian State.

The Quartet took positive note of the announced intention of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon to withdraw from all Gaza settlements and parts of the West Bank. The Quartet welcomes and encourages such a step, which should provide a rare moment of opportunity in the search for peace in the Middle East. This initiative, which must bring about a full Israeli withdrawal and complete end of occupation in Gaza, can be a step towards achieving the two-state vision; and has the possibility of restarting progress on the roadmap. The Quartet further notes that any unilateral initiatives by the Government of Israel should be undertaken in a manner consistent with the roadmap and the two-state vision that underlies the roadmap.

The Quartet reaffirms President Bush's June 24, 2002 call for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 through a settlement negotiated between the parties. The Quartet also notes that no party should take unilateral actions that seek to predetermine issues that can only be resolved through negotiation and agreement between the two parties. Any final settlement on issues such as borders and refugees must be mutually agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians based on Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, the terms of reference of the Madrid peace process, the principle of land for peace, previous agreements, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit; and be consistent with the roadmap.

The Quartet and the international community are prepared to intensify their engagement with the Palestinians to restore momentum on the roadmap, enhance Palestinian humanitarian and economic conditions, build transparent and accountable Palestinian institutions, ensure security and stability in Gaza and the West Bank from which Israel withdraws, prevent all acts of terrorism, and ensure the dismantlement of armed terrorist groups. In furtherance of these goals, the Quartet will undertake the following steps, with appropriate mechanisms established to monitor progress and performance by all sides:

The Quartet will act on an urgent basis, in conjunction with the World Bank, UNSCO and the AHLC, on the basis of a World Bank/UNSCO rapid-assessment study, to ensure Palestinian humanitarian needs are met, Palestinian infrastructure is restored and developed, and economic activity is reinvigorated. The Quartet welcomes the World Bank-established Trust Fund as an accountable, transparent, and appropriately benchmarked mechanism for receipt of international assistance.

The Quartet is prepared to engage with a responsible and accountable Palestinian leadership, committed to reform and security performance. The Quartet, through an empowered Prime Minister and cabinet, the Task Force on Palestinian Reform, and in connection with the major donors working through the AHLC and LACC, will engage the Palestinians to reinvigorate the reform agenda of the roadmap, including a well-prepared and appropriately-timed electoral process, paying particular attention to areas from which Israel has withdrawn. In this regard, the Quartet members will undertake to oversee and monitor progress on these fronts.

The Quartet will seek to ensure that arrangements are put in place to ensure security for Palestinians and Israelis as well as freedom of movement and greater mobility and access for Palestinians. The Quartet underscores the need for agreed, transparent arrangements with all sides on access, mobility and safety for international organizations and bilateral donors and their personnel. As Israel withdraws, custody of Israeli-built infrastructure and land evacuated by Israel should transfer through an appropriate mechanism to a reorganized Palestinian Authority in coordination with representatives of Palestinian civil society, the Quartet, and other representatives of the international community to determine equitable and transparent arrangements for the ultimate disposition of these areas as quickly as possible.

Effective security arrangements continue to be critical to any possibility of progress. In coordination with, and under the auspices of, an oversight committee led by the U.S., and in coordination with the empowered Prime Minister and cabinet, Palestinian security services should be restructured and retrained, consistent with the roadmap, to provide law and order and security to the Palestinians, to end terror attacks against Israel and Israelis, and to dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. The Quartet welcomes in particular the Government of Egypt's engagement on security issues, including efforts to achieve a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire as a step towards this goal.

The Quartet reaffirms its commitment to a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict based upon Resolutions 242 and 338; and reminds all parties of the need to take into account long-term consequences of their actions and of the obligation for all parties to make rapid progress toward resumption of a political dialogue. The Quartet will remain engaged with Israelis, Palestinians and all other parties - including through presence of its envoys on the ground - to ensure appropriate follow-up to the steps outlined above. An appropriate coordinating and oversight mechanism under the aegis of the Quartet will be established. The Quartet also calls on all states in the region to exert every effort to promote peace and to combat terrorism, and to prevent terrorist groups from making use of their territory to plan, prepare, or launch terrorist attacks.



II. GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON THE STATUS OF THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM


At its 87th plenary meeting, convened on 6 May 2004, the General Assembly considered and adopted, under agenda item 38”Question of Palestine” of its fifty-eighth session, resolution 58/292 by a vote of 140 in favour, 6 against, with 11 abstentions. The text of the resolution is reproduced below. For the verbatim record of the meeting, see A/58/PV.87.

58/292. Status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, 43/177 of 15 December 1988 and 52/250 of 7 July 1998,

Recalling also Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003,

Recalling further the relevant provisions of international law, as well as relevant United Nations resolutions, with regard to Israeli settlements and to Occupied East Jerusalem,

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Noting that Palestine, in its capacity as observer and pending its attainment of full membership in the United Nations, does not present credentials to the General Assembly,

Affirming the need to enable the Palestinian people to exercise sovereignty and to achieve independence in their State, Palestine,

1. Affirms that the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation, and affirms, in accordance with the rules and principles of international law and relevant resolutions of the United Nations, including Security Council resolutions, that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over their territory and that Israel, the occupying Power, has only the duties and obligations of an occupying Power under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 1 and the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, of 1907; 2

2. Expresses its determination to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a just and comprehensive negotiated peace settlement in the Middle East resulting in two viable, sovereign and independent States, Israel and Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and living side by side in peace and security.


87th plenary meeting
6 May 2004

Notes

1United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.

2 See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).



III. SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION 1544 (2004)

In response to the letter dated 17 May 2004 from the Permanent Representative of Yemen to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2004/393), the Council convened on 19 May 2004 to consider the agenda item "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question". The same day the Council adopted resolution 1544(2004) by 14 votes in favour, with none against and 1 abstention. The full text of the resolution is reproduced below. For the verbatim record of the meeting, see S/PV.4972.

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its previous resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 1322 (2000), 1397 (2002), 1402 (2002), 1403 (2002), 1405 (2002), 1435 (2002), and 1515 (2003),

Reiterating the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,

Calling on Israel to address its security needs within the boundaries of international law,

Expressing its grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation on the ground in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967,

Condemning the killing of Palestine civilians that took place in the Rafah area,

Gravely concerned by the recent demolition of homes committed by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Rafah refugee camp,

Recalling the obligations of the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel under the Road Map,

Condemning all acts of violence, terror and destruction,

Reaffirming its support for the Road Map, endorsed in its resolution 1515 (2003),

1. Calls on Israel to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, and insists, in particular, on its obligation not to undertake demolition of homes contrary to that law;

2. Expresses grave concern regarding the humanitarian situation of Palestinians made homeless in the Rafah area and calls for the provision of emergency assistance to them;

3. Calls for the cessation of violence and for respect of and adherence to legal obligations, including those under international humanitarian law;

4. Calls on both parties to immediately implement their obligations under the Road Map;

5. Decides to remain seized of the matter.



IV. ESCWA REPORTS ON THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF ISRAELI OCCUPATION

A report on the 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 of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, was prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in response to ECOSOC resolution 2003/59 of 24 July 2003 and General Assembly resolution 58/229 of 23 December 200 , and issued on 7 June 2004. The summary of the report is reproduced below (see A/59/89-E/2004/21).

The occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel continues to deepen the economic and social hardship for Palestinians. The Israeli army continues to resort to extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, household demolition, severe mobility restrictions and closure policies.

Economic indicators continue to show negative trends: unemployment reaching 70 per cent in some areas; greater dependence on food aid; and untold losses from physical destruction of Palestinian homes, public buildings, agricultural assets, infrastructure and private property. Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources for settlements and the erection of the West Bank barrier accelerated during 2003, affecting one third of West Bank inhabitants. Refugees, women and children bear the major brunt of these measures. Malnutrition and other health problems afflict a growing number of Palestinians at a time of curtailed access to needed services. Israeli restrictions regularly impede humanitarian services to the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israeli settlements and the construction of a barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory, contrary to the Geneva Convention and other norms of international law, continue to fuel the conflict, having detrimental repercussions on the living conditions of the Palestinian people.

Expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights continues unabated. Access to natural resources and social services, in particular schooling, higher education and medical facilities, remains inadequate for the Arab population in the Syrian Golan Heights.


V. CONFERENCE ON HUMANITARIAN NEEDS OF PALESTINE REFUGEES CONVENES AT GENEVA


A conference co-hosted by the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was held in Geneva on 7 and 8 June 2004. The theme of the conference was “Meeting the Humanitarian Needs of the Palestine Refugees in the Near East: Building Partnerships in Support of UNRWA”. At the conclusion of the conference, its Chairman, Walter Fust, Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, read Chairman’s Summary, part of which is given bellow:

Among the many themes we touched upon, the following have been identified as key issues in our deliberations, requiring priority attention and sustained action:

1. Ensuring better respect for International Humanitarian Law was underlined as being a collective responsibility of the international community. It was considered to be an essential condition for the creation of a safe environment for the delivery of services to Palestine refugees and for the protection of the integrity of UNRWA staff. The events that recently took place in Rafah have underlined once more the extreme vulnerability of the Palestine refugees living in the occupied Palestinian territory, and have served to remind us of the urgent imperative of ensuring effective protection for the Palestine refugees and for the civilian population more generally.

2. Access was identified as a priority and cross-cutting concern. It was noted that UNRWA's task would become impossible unless major improvements are achieved with regard to full, safe and unfettered access. It was furthermore noted that increased financial contributions could only have a real and lasting impact on this basis. Similarly, stakeholders have expressed concern as to restrictions that hinder refugees' access to UNRWA's services and disrupt economic activities.

3. In more a general context, protection was raised as a central theme in many discussions, although UNRWA does not have a specific protection mandate. Participants stressed that detailed data and research about the present protection needs, in particular of vulnerable groups, including children, is required. Relevant and disaggregated data covering violence, abuse and exploitation should therefore be compiled and analyzed. Social workers, teachers, medical personnel and other relevant staff should be given the means to carry out their professional duties in good conditions. Participants particularly stressed the need to ensure that the rights of the child, as contained in relevant Conventions, form the foundation and permanent reference for interventions and assistance provided to Palestine refugee children. In this regard, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the norms it contains should guide the work of UNRWA and the international community.

4. Participants expressed great concern with regards to large-scale destruction of infrastructure and housing which have recently caused emergency situations, particularly in Gaza. As a consequence, UNRWA faces the challenge of stepping up efforts to provide emergency re-housing, which has become an important component of its emergency operations. Participants were of the firm opinion that the question of responsibility for such destructions has to be addressed. At the same time, several participants called for adequate funds to be made available by donors for UNRWA's emergencies activities.

5. Improving housing and infrastructure in refugee camps should be given higher priority with a view to addressing overcrowding, poor environmental and sanitary conditions, and a lack of recreational space. The Neirab rehousing project in Syria could serve as a reference pilot project in this context.

6. Education was considered key for ensuring a better future for Palestine refugee children and youth. Participants placed heavy emphasis on improving the physical infrastructure of schools, the learning conditions for children and the working conditions for UNRWA teachers.

7. Health care was identified as an area in which UNRWA does remarkably well. However, participants felt that the available statistics may not give an accurate picture of the health status of Palestine refugees, in particular in the occupied Palestinian territory, with respect to the mental and psycho-social health of refugee children.

8. Community development came up as a topic requiring a comprehensive and innovative approach. It was suggested that an effective system of data collection and implementation indicators be established to identify gaps and monitor progress as a management tool in the planning process. Participants furthermore underlined the importance of working towards equity as regards the quality of services provided to refugees in comparison to those enjoyed by resident communities.

9. Employment creation and income generation, as well as access to microfinance and credit, were identified as, respectively, efficient tools and important prerequisites for addressing economic hardship and for enhancing a developmental approach to socio-economic challenges. The participants underlined the importance of creating the necessary additional capacity to cater to refugee youth in the field of skills development and vocational training that will help them access modern labour markets.

Many participants referred to the generosity of host countries towards Palestine refugees and UNRWA and commented on the generally excellent partnership and collaboration between UNRWA and host countries.

In terms of management issues, several useful suggestions were formulated and addressed to UNRWA among which:

· Improve needs analysis through collection and updating and sharing of relevant data regarding refugees' needs:
· Improve planning in order to increase capacity for rapid response:
· Enhance efforts aimed at widening the donor base, mobilising funding contributions from new sources, including in the private sector:
· Develop within UNRWA a stronger operational coordinating capacity such as through the setting up of a coordination unit:
· Strengthen UNRWA's partnerships with its stakeholders, by building on or adapting existing management structures, and by pursuing with partners a joint reflection on the optimizing coordination structures:
· Develop a more dynamic communication strategy.

I would like to reiterate here what I said in my opening statement: this Conference is not an end in itself; since it is part of a dynamic process of cooperation and dialogue initiated several years ago between UNRWA, its donors and the host authorities. I am very pleased to note that many participants expressed the desire for a follow-up to this Conference.

We must indeed enhance and sustain our efforts in view of achieving the goals we have set ourselves here today in support of UNRWA's mandate. I am therefore pleased that, tomorrow already, members of the Core Group - composed of representatives of UNRWA donors, host countries, the PLO and UN agencies - who have helped to shape this event, will be meeting here in Geneva to discuss how to ensure a dynamic follow-up to our recommendations.

Furthermore, considering that many of our recommendations match and complement the proposals contained in the UNRWA Medium Term Plan that still needs to be discussed with its main stakeholders, I would like to suggest that they be integrated into the Plan and, similarly, be reflected in the Annual Report presented by UNRWA to the UN General Assembly. This will ensure that this Conference's conclusions and recommendations are also brought to the attention of the whole international community.

I would also like to underline that this Conference was convened to send a positive signal of our common and sustained concern for the Palestine refugees at a moment when the peace process shows little prospect of an imminent positive development.

To the Palestine refugees we say: you will not be abandoned. Your active participation here and the level of your delegations sends a strong signal that the international community, along with UNRWA and the host countries, remain determined to continue supporting UNRWA's essential role until a just and lasting solution is found to the question of the Palestine refugees based on UN resolutions. Therefore this Conference also intends to be the starting point of a new humanitarian mobilisation in support of the Palestine refugees.



VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL’S STATEMENT BEFORE THE OIC
MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE


On 14 June 2004, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, delivered a message from the Secretary-General to the Ministerial Conference of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Istanbul. Excerpts from the message are reproduced below.

The increasingly urgent need to achieve a just and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also high on your agenda. Israel has continued extrajudicial killings, the use of disproportionate force in densely populated areas, construction of a West Bank barrier, wide-scale house demolitions such as those in Rafah in recent weeks, and other activities. We condemn those acts, and call on Israel to refrain from further violations of international law and to meet its obligations under the Road Map, especially halting settlement activities and ending the use of violence.

For their part, some Palestinian groups continue to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks that fuel hatred and fear, and set back their national aspirations. We should all strongly condemn terrorism, wherever and whenever it occurs; no cause can justify it. We call on the Palestinian Authority to meet its obligations under the Road Map, and take effective measures on the ground to curb violence and combat terror.

In this dark landscape, Israel's proclaimed intention to withdraw from the Gaza Strip could offer a possibility of putting an end to violence. Withdrawal from Gaza might even be used as a bridge back towards resuming a meaningful peace process – if it is complete, if it is done in consultation with the Palestinian Authority, and if it is carried out as part of the Quartet's Roadmap. It must also lead clearly to an end of the occupation.

I appeal to all Governments to remain focused on the need for a comprehensive negotiated settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. There is also a need to respond to the increasingly dire humanitarian plight of the Palestinians. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is a vital lifeline for millions of Palestinians. But funding has failed to keep pace with needs, and the Agency has faced an uphill struggle to maintain the quality of its services. I urge you to help UNRWA meet current emergency needs, and I call on Israel to facilitate UNRWA's humanitarian mission, including by ensuring access to people in need.



VII. UNITED NATIONS AFRICAN MEETING IN SUPPORT OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

The United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was held in Cape Town, South Africa, on 29 and 30 June 2004, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Its theme was “Achieving the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people—the key to peace in the Middle East”. Participants in the meeting included eminent personalities and experts from Africa, other international experts, representatives of Governments, Palestine, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations system entities, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, academic institutions and the media. The participants adopted a final document, which is excerpted below.

/….

The participants were greatly honoured by the opening address by H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, and embraced the principled positions and pragmatic ideas contained therein. They expressed deep appreciation for the active and constructive role played by the Republic of South Africa and President Mbeki in efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East.

3. The participants welcomed the video message received from H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, in which he reiterated the Palestinian support for international efforts to solve the conflict, in particular, the Road Map.

4. Reviewing the deteriorating situation on the ground, participants condemned the wilful and systematic violations by Israel, the occupying Power, of international humanitarian and human rights law. They stressed that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory remained the core of the conflict and strongly condemned Israel’s ongoing and escalating military campaign in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since September 2000, causing widespread death and destruction. The speakers were appalled by the continuing and increasing Israeli policies of extrajudicial killings, house demolitions and restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons and goods, including humanitarian, throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. They were deeply concerned about the severely detrimental impact on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people and the exacerbating humanitarian crisis. The participants reaffirmed their principled position of condemning the targeting of innocent civilians.

5. They vigorously condemned the continued Israeli efforts to perpetuate the occupation and create facts on the ground, singling out as particularly damaging to the peace prospects the continued settlement activities and construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They affirmed that, if completed, the wall would render the two-State solution physically impossible. They condemned Israel’s refusal to comply with the demand of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly to stop and reverse the construction of the Wall, which was essential for the revival of the peace process. They welcomed the referral of the issue to the International Court of Justice and were looking forward to its Advisory Opinion expected to be delivered on 9 July 2004. They were confident that it would be versed in international law and stressed that it should be respected by all law-abiding States and that serious and comprehensive follow-up by the United Nations organs and Member States, by regional organizations and by civil society would be necessary.

6. The participants over-whelmingly agreed that the absence of a direct political dialogue between the parties contributed to the hopelessness and despair. They welcomed the readiness of the Palestinian leadership to work with the Israeli side, the Quartet and other parties in an effort to restart a meaningful process of political negotiations with a view to achieving the goals outlined in the Road Map. They were appalled by the continuing confinement since December 2001 of the elected leader of the Palestinian people, Yasser Arafat. Noting the Palestinian determination to conduct the long-overdue presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections, and the importance of these elections for Palestinian reform, they called on all countries that value democracy to make such elections possible.

7. The participants of the Meeting believed the Quartet’s Road Map continued to represent the most viable initiative for the achievement of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for realizing a two-State vision and called upon the Quartet to expedite the action plan towards its implementation. They saw in the Israeli Prime Minister’s “unilateral disengagement plan”, as well as the Israeli-American exchange of letters on 14 April 2004, an unacceptable departure from the Road Map and a violation of international law, relevant Security Council resolutions, the terms of reference of the peace process and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the Palestine refugees. The participants took note of the meeting of the Quartet in New York on 4 May 2004, including the reaffirmation of their commitment to the Road Map and its terms of reference. They strongly supported the Quartet’s position that any withdrawal from the Gaza Strip should be a full withdrawal and part of the Road Map, which required actions in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially with regard to settlements and the wall.

8. The participants in the Meeting affirmed the important role and responsibility of the Security Council, under the Charter of the United Nations, towards the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Many speakers stressed the need for serious action by the Council in the face of the deteriorating situation on the ground and the continuing violations of international law by the occupying Power. In this regard, they stressed the importance of a Security Council action to mandate an international presence or monitoring force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which could be part of a comprehensive Security Council resolution on the matter. They further called on the members of the Quartet to engage the Council given its authority and responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

9. The participants in the Meeting took note of the Final Communiqué of the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Committee on Palestine, which was held at Putrajaya, Malaysia on 13 May 2004, and expressed agreement, inter alia, with the need for convening a special and urgent meeting on Palestine at the United Nations at the start of the 59th Session of the General Assembly that would bring together international and regional groupings to further mobilize the international community in support of the two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the pre-1967 borders.

10. The participants in the Meeting reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations with respect to all 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 full realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

11. The participants expressed their appreciation of and full support for determined and unremitting efforts of UNRWA in rendering humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees in increasingly challenging conditions. They welcomed the outcome of the just concluded conference on “Meeting the Humanitarian Needs of the Palestine Refugees in the Near East: Building Partnerships in Support of UNRWA”. They called upon the occupying Power to take all necessary measures to assist the Agency in its difficult work, to ensure the safety of its personnel and the security of its installations and infrastructure, and to facilitate its access to all areas and persons under its responsibility.

12. The Meeting took note of the African Union Summit that would open in Addis Ababa and expressed hope that action would be taken to promote the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making a particular effort to engage the Quartet. They expressed their hope that the efforts would be focussed on specific areas, including upholding international law; stopping and reversing the wall built by Israel inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem; achieving a two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders; and building a broad Coalition for Peace in the Middle East.

13. The participants expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Government of the Republic of South Africa for hosting the United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and for the assistance and support extended to the Committee and the United Nations Secretariat in its preparation.

Cape Town, 30 June 2004



VIII. UNITED NATIONS FORUM OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN SUPPORT OF MIDDLE EAST PEACE ADOPTS DECLARATION


The United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held in Cape Town, South Africa was followed on 1 July 2004 by the United Nations Forum of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace. The Forum adopted the following declaration:

CIVIL SOCIETY DECLARATION


We, delegates of African civil society meeting in Cape Town at the UN Forum of Civil Society in Support of Middle East Peace on the 1 July 2004, having heard first hand accounts of Palestinian life under occupation and having deliberated on how we can play a role in supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, make the following declaration.

We call upon the United Nations individually and collectively to take action to ensure that the State of Israel complies with all UN resolutions and requirements of international law and conventions.

We further call on the international community to:

1. End the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

2. Demand the immediate dismantling of the Wall of Occupation, also known as the Apartheid Wall.

3. Demand the immediate dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

4. Demand the right of return for all Palestinian refugees as per UN General Assembly Resolution 194.

5. Support the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.

6. Demand the freeing of all Palestinian political prisoners, including the right of President Arafat to freedom of movement.

7. Demand that Israel allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its nuclear sites.

We call on African Governments, through the African Union Summit due to take place in Addis Ababa in July 2004, to:

1. Play a facilitating role for a just peace and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State and in support of the other demands made in this statement.

2. Review their economic and military links with Israel and the effects of these links on the Palestinian people.

3. End the presence and the activities of their citizens in the Israeli Defence Force and to take the necessary action against in terms of their laws.

We affirm that the State of Israel does not speak or act on behalf of all Jews. The Conference also rejects the use of the label of anti-Semitism against critics of Israel.

We acknowledge that Palestinian women bear the harshest burden of the occupation. We call on women's organisations in Africa to express solidarity with Palestinian women.

We pledge ourselves to convene a conference of civil society organisations to build a broad movement of solidarity with the Palestinian people on the African continent. The conference should discuss the isolation of Israel in order to force it to meet its obligations in terms of international law. The specific forms of such isolation could include sanctions, disinvestment, consumer, sports and academic boycotts and the breaking of diplomatic ties.

We support the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation of their land.


Cape Town, 1 July 2004



IX. INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE RENDERS ADVISORY OPINION


At the 23rd meeting of its tenth emergency special session, on 8 December 2003, the General Assembly, by resolution ES-10/14, requested the International Court of Justice to urgently render an advisory opinion on the the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. On 9 July 2004, after hearings held from 23 to 25 February 2004, the International Court of Justice rendered its advisory opinion, which is excerpted below (A/ES-10/273).

/…

137. To sum up, the Court, from the material available to it, is not convinced that the specific course Israel has chosen for the wall was necessary to attain its security objectives. The wall, along the route chosen, and its associated régime gravely infringe a number of rights of Palestinians residing in the territory occupied by Israel, and the infringements resulting from that route cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order. The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of various of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law and human rights instruments.

/…

141. The fact remains that Israel has to face numerous indiscriminate and deadly acts of violence against its civilian population. It has the right, and indeed the duty, to respond in order to protect the life of its citizens. The measures taken are bound nonetheless to remain in conformity with applicable international law.

142. In conclusion, the Court considers that Israel cannot rely on a right of self-defence or on a state of necessity in order to preclude the wrongfulness of the construction of the wall resulting from the considerations mentioned in paragraphs 122 and 137 above. The Court accordingly finds that the construction of the wall, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law.

143. The Court having concluded that, by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and by adopting its associated régime, Israel has violated various international obligations incumbent upon it (see paragraphs 114-137 above), it must now, in order to reply to the question posed by the General Assembly, examine the consequences of those violations.

/….

151. Israel accordingly has the obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built by it in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. Moreover, in view of the Court’s finding (see paragraph 143 above) that Israel’s violations of its international obligations stem from the construction of the wall and from its associated régime, cessation of those violations entails in practice the dismantling forthwith of those parts of that structure situated within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. All legislative and regulatory acts adopted with a view to its construction, and to the establishment of its associated régime, must forthwith be repealed or rendered ineffective, except in so far as such acts, by providing for compensation or other forms of reparation for the Palestinian population, may continue to be relevant for compliance by Israel with the obligations referred to in paragraph 153 below.

/…

153. Israel is accordingly under an obligation to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized from any natural or legal person for purposes of construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the event that such restitution should prove to be materially impossible, Israel has an obligation to compensate the persons in question for the damage suffered. The Court considers that Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall’s construction.

/….

159. Given the character and the importance of the rights and obligations involved, the Court is of the view that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction. It is also for all States, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to see to it that any impediment, resulting from the construction of the wall, to the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination is brought to an end. In addition, all the States parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 are under an obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention.

160. Finally, the Court is of the view that the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated régime, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion.

/…

162. The Court has reached the conclusion that the construction of the wall by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is contrary to international law and has stated the legal consequences that are to be drawn from that illegality. The Court considers itself bound to add that this construction must be placed in a more general context. Since 1947, the year when General Assembly resolution 181 (II) was adopted and the Mandate for Palestine was terminated, there has been a succession of armed conflicts, acts of indiscriminate violence and repressive measures on the former mandated territory. The Court would emphasize that both Israel and Palestine are under an obligation scrupulously to observe the rules of international humanitarian law, one of the paramount purposes of which is to protect civilian life. Illegal actions and unilateral decisions have been taken on all sides, whereas, in the Court’s view, this tragic situation can be brought to an end only through implementation in good faith of all relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The “Roadmap” approved by Security Council resolution 1515 (2003) represents the most recent of efforts to initiate negotiations to this end. The Court considers that it has a duty to draw the attention of the General Assembly, to which the present Opinion is addressed, to the need for these efforts to be encouraged with a view to achieving as soon as possible, on the basis of international law, a negotiated solution to the outstanding problems and the establishment of a Palestinian State, existing side by side with Israel and its other neighbours, with peace and security for all in the region.

/…



X. TENTH EMERGENCY SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESUMES, ADOPTS RESOLUTION ES-10/15


At the request of the Group of Arab States (see A/ES-10/274), the General Assembly, on 16 July 2004, resumed its tenth emergency special session. The Assembly considered agenda item 5, entitled “Illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory”. On 20 July 2004, by a vote of 150 to 6 with 10 abstentions, the General Assembly adopted resolution ES-10/15 the text of which is reproduced below. For the verbatim record of the meeting see A/ES-10/PV.24-27.

ES-10/15. Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem
The General Assembly,

Guided by the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,

Considering that the promotion of respect for the obligations arising from the Charter and other instruments and rules of international law is among the basic purposes and principles of the United Nations,

Recalling its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970, on the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the illegality of any territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force,

Recalling the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land of 1907, 1

Recalling also the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, 2 and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, 3

Recalling further the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,4 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights4 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,5

Reaffirming the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all aspects in a satisfactory manner on the basis of international legitimacy,

Recalling relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) of 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 904 (1994) of 18 March 1994, 1073 (1996) of 28 September 1996, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and 1544 (2004) of 19 May 2004,

Recalling also the resolutions of its tenth emergency special session on illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,

Reaffirming the most recent resolution of the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly on the status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, resolution 58/292 of 6 May 2004,

Reaffirming also the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to their independent State of Palestine,

Reaffirming further the commitment to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders,

Condemning all acts of violence, terrorism and destruction,

Calling upon both parties to fulfil their obligations under relevant provisions of the road map, 6 the Palestinian Authority to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks, and the Government of Israel to take no actions undermining trust, including deportations and attacks on civilians and extrajudicial killings,

Reaffirming that all States have the right and the duty to take actions in conformity with international law and international humanitarian law to counter deadly acts of violence against their civilian population in order to protect the lives of their citizens,

Recalling its resolution ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003, in which it demanded that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem,

Recalling also its resolution ES-10/14 of 8 December 2003, in which it requested the International Court of Justice to urgently render an advisory opinion on the following question:

"What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?",

Having received with respect the advisory opinion of the Court on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory , rendered on 9 July 2004,7

Noting in particular that the Court replied to the question put forth by the General Assembly in resolution ES-10/14 as follows: 8

"A. The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, are contrary to international law;

"B. Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion;

"C. Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem;

"D. All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; all States Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention;

"E. The United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated regime, taking due account of the present Advisory Opinion.",

Noting that the Court concluded that "the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law", 9

Noting also the statement made by the Court that "Israel and Palestine are under an obligation scrupulously to observe the rules of international humanitarian law, one of the paramount purposes of which is to protect civilian life", 10 and that "in the Court's view, this tragic situation can be brought to an end only through implementation in good faith of all relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)",10

Considering that respect for the Court and its functions is essential to the rule of law and reason in international affairs,

1. Acknowledges the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory ,7 including in and around East Jerusalem;

2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion;

3. Calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to establish a register of damage caused to all natural or legal persons concerned in connection with paragraphs 152 and 153 of the advisory opinion;

5. Decides to reconvene to assess the implementation of the present resolution, with the aim of ending the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and its associated regime in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

6. Calls upon both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to immediately implement their obligations under the road map,6 in cooperation with the Quartet, as endorsed by Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), to achieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security, and emphasizes that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority are under an obligation scrupulously to observe the rules of international humanitarian law;

7. Calls upon all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention2 to ensure respect by Israel for the Convention, and invites Switzerland, in its capacity as the depositary of the Geneva Conventions,11 to conduct consultations and to report to the General Assembly on the matter, including with regard to the possibility of resuming the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention;

8. Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.


27th plenary meeting
20 July 2004

Notes

1 See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).

2 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.

3 Ibid., vol. 1125, No. 17512.

4 See resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

5 Resolution 44/25, annex.

6 S/2003/529, annex.

7 See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1.

8 Ibid., para. 163.

9 Ibid., para. 120.

10 Ibid., para. 162.

11 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, Nos. 970–973


XI. XIV MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT ADOPTS DECLARATION ON PALESTINE



The XIV Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Durban, South Africa, adopted the following declaration on 19 August 2004.

1. The Ministers considered the developments regarding the critical issue of the construction by Israel, the occupying Power, of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, including the Advisory Proceedings of the International Court of Justice, undertaken pursuant to the request for an advisory opinion from the Court made by the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly in its resolution ES-10/14 of 8 December 2003. The Ministers welcomed 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". The Ministers received the Advisory Opinion with the highest respect, fully accepted the authoritative findings and conclusions of the Court and considered this strong and comprehensive Opinion to represent an historic opportunity for a necessary return to the rule of international law in all efforts to justly and peacefully address the question of Palestine and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

2. The Ministers recalled in particular the Court's conclusion that "the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, are contrary to international law". In this regard, the Ministers underscored the Court's findings regarding the violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, by Israel, the occupying Power, including, inter alia, the finding that the construction of the wall and its associated regime: create a 'fait accompli' on the ground which would be tantamount to de facto annexation; severely impede the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination and therefore violate that right; have led to the destruction or requisition of properties in contravention of relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention; and violate the Palestinian people's freedom of movement and the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living. The Ministers further underscored the Court's conclusion that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have been established in breach of international law, and noted the Court's findings regarding the relationship between the route of the Wall and the illegal measures taken by Israel with regard to East Jerusalem and the settlements.

3. The Ministers emphasized the importance of the conclusions set forth by the Court in the dispositif of the Advisory Opinion. In this regard, the Ministers recalled the Court's determination: that Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law, to cease the construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto; that Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall; that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction and that all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention have an additional obligation of ensuring compliance by Israel with the Convention; and that the United Nations, especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and the associated regime, taking due account of the Opinion.

4. The Ministers strongly welcomed the adoption of resolution ES-10/15 on 20 July 2004 by the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, in which the Assembly, inter alia, demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations as mentioned in the Advisory Opinion and also calls upon all Member States of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations as mentioned in the Advisory Opinion. The Ministers regarded the overwhelming adoption of this resolution as a first important step by the United Nations in follow-up of the Opinion. The Ministers seized the opportunity to call for respect of and compliance with the Advisory Opinion by Israel, the occupying Power, and by Member States, and expressed their strong hope and conviction that such respect and compliance would positively influence efforts for achieving a peaceful, political settlement of the conflict based on international law.

5. The Ministers, in the meanwhile, took note of the immediate negative response by Israel to the Advisory Opinion and its defiant declarations to continue constructing the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The Ministers thus called for the following specific actions:

a. At the United Nations, the Ministers called for further measures to be taken, in accordance with operative paragraph 5 of resolution ES-10/15, and also called on the Security Council to fulfill its responsibilities by adopting a clear resolution and undertaking necessary measures in this regard. The Ministers also called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to expedite the work with regard to the request made by the Assembly in resolution ES-10/15 to establish a register of damages caused by the Wall and to ensure that the positions and documents of the Secretariat are fully consistent with the Advisory Opinion.

b. With regard to Member States, the Ministers called upon them to undertake measures, including by means of legislation, collectively, regionally and individually, to prevent any products of the illegal Israeli settlements from entering their markets consistent with the obligations under International Treaties, to decline entry to Israeli settlers and to impose sanctions against companies and entities involved in the construction of the wall and other illegal activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

c. With regard to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Ministers called for them to adhere to Article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions and to undertake measures to ensure compliance by Israel with the Convention. They reaffirmed in this regard the obligations of the High Contracting Parties regarding penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties. The Ministers also called on Switzerland to expedite its consultations, as requested in operative paragraph 7 of resolution ES-10/15, including with regard to reconvening the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

6. The Ministers turned their consideration to the overall plight of the Palestinian people and their prolonged struggle to achieve their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination. The Ministers stressed that the main danger to the realization of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the achievement of the two-State solution is the settler colonialism and the construction of the Wall being carried out by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They reiterated that the complete cessation of all settlement activities and of the construction of the Wall is essential for the survival of the Road Map. The Ministers reaffirmed the many relevant Security Council resolutions on such illegal Israeli measures, including measures taken by the occupying Power to change the status, character and demographic composition of Jerusalem, which are null and void, and called for the full implementation of those resolutions and as well as full compliance with the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in this regard.

7. The Ministers condemned the confinement of President Yasser Arafat for more than two and half years by the occupying Power and the repeated threats against his life, safety and well-being. They expressed solidarity with the democratically-elected President of the Palestinian Authority and stressed the necessity for ending both the confinement and threats, which are contrary to the right of the Palestinian people to freely choose their own leader and are severely hampering the proper functioning of the Palestinian Authority and potential progress in the peace process. The Ministers determined to undertake another visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory by a delegation of the Committee on Palestine in the near future.

8. The Ministers expressed the hope that the international community and the Quartet will exert the necessary efforts to salvage the Road Map and implement its provisions towards its stated aims and goals. They expressed concern at repeated Israeli attempts to evade the Road Map and to substitute it with different steps. In this regard, the Ministers stressed that any Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip should be a full and complete withdrawal, should be accompanied by similar steps in the West Bank, should be part of the Road Map and should be carried out in full cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. They reiterated the importance of preserving the agreed timeline in the Road Map.

9. The Ministers stressed that a vital role should continue to be played by the Movement and entrusted the Chair, assisted by the Committee on Palestine, to lead the efforts of the Movement with regard to the question of Palestine and peace in the region. They stressed the importance of ongoing contact and dialogue at the Ministerial level with the members of the Quartet as well as the permanent members of the Security Council. In this regard, they expressed their appreciation to the members of the NAM Caucus of the Security Council for their efforts in the Council with regard to the question of Palestine. They further reaffirmed the need to undertake the necessary contacts with the relevant parties in the peace process with a view to facilitating the achievement of a just, durable and comprehensive peace.

10. The Ministers reaffirmed the need for early convening of a special meeting of regional and international groupings aimed at building a broad partnership for achieving a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, further mobilizing the international community in support of the two-State solution, based on the pre-1967 borders and on international law, and the right of all states and peoples in the region to live in peace and security free from violence and terrorism. They underlined the importance of the work of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO), Civil Society Organisations and Peace Groups in the region and encouraged the work of these, in particular on the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

11. The Ministers concluded by reiterating their commitment to a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and by reaffirming their unwavering support for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and to sovereignty in their State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.


XII. SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON ISRAEL TO CEASE WEST BANK SETTLEMENT EXPANSION, FULFILL ROAD MAP OBLIGATIONS



The following statement was issued on 24 August 2004 by the Spokesman for Secretary-General (SG/SM/9456).

The Secretary-General expresses strong concern over reports of Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, through the Government of Israel's recent publication of tenders for construction of new housing units. Such activities clearly contradict Israel's obligations under the Road Map which unequivocally stipulate that “consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)”. The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Israel to cease this settlement expansion and to fulfil its Road Map obligations.



XIII. THE BUREAU OF COMMITTEE ON EXERCISE OF INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ISSUES STATEMENT

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People issued the following statement concerning the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention facilities on 24 August 2004 (GA/PAL/964)

At its meeting on 24 August 2004, the Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People expressed grave concern at the systematic violation of the rights of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, detention and interrogation centres, and is alarmed at the growing number of prisoners who are on an open-ended hunger strike. Over 3,000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds of ailing prisoners, are now on the hunger strike, which is in its tenth day.

More than 7,000 Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, were held in detention by Israeli army or police for political reasons. This includes well over 300 child detainees and over 100 women. The prisoners are routinely subjected to inhumane conditions of incarceration, including arbitrary and indiscriminate beatings, humiliating strip searches, solitary confinement for excessive periods of time, and severe restrictions on family visits. The Bureau is particularly distressed by reports of continued use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment of the detainees.

On many occasions, the Committee has drawn the world community’s attention to this important issue, which to this day remains unresolved in spite of a broad international criticism of the Israeli practices. The Committee has repeatedly called upon Israel to abide by its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and find a solution to the issue of Palestinian prisoners. The Bureau urges the Government of Israel to heed the strikers’ demands and ensure that the detainees, including women and children, are treated in a humane manner, that proper detention conditions are immediately established and basic human rights restored.



XIV. THIRTEEN UNITED NATIONS INSTITUTIONS CALL ON ISRAEL TO FIND SOLUTION TO PALESTINIAN PRISONERS’ HUNGER STRIKE

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),the Office of the United Nations Special Co-ordinator (UNSCO), the World Food Program (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labor Organization (ILO) issued the following statement on 27 August 2004.

Thirteen United Nations institutions operating in the occupied Palestinian territory expressed concern today about the hunger strike that reportedly more than 2,900 Palestinian prisoners and detainees have joined.

The UN's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Roed-Larsen calls on the Israeli authorities to comply with its international obligations and to make every effort to find, with the prisoners, an appropriate resolution to the hunger strike.

The UN agencies and offices remind Israel of its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant international human rights instruments which provide for the protection of detainees and prisoners. According to the Israeli Prison Service, more than 2,900 prisoners have joined the hunger strike that began on 15 August; the Palestinian Authority quotes a slightly higher figure. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, more than 8,000 prisoners are currently detained by Israel on security grounds. Of these, more than 90 are women and 360 are children, according to UNICEF.



XV. SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT MAKES STATEMENT TO THE PRESS ON MIDDLE EAST


The following press statement on the Middle East was delivered on 31 August 2004 by Security Council President Andrey Denisov of the Russian Federation (SC/8177). Members of the Security Council heard a briefing by the Secretariat on the terrorist attacks in Israel on 31 August 2004. They strongly condemned these bombings that resulted in the loss of innocent lives. They also condemned all other acts of terrorism. Council members took note of the statement of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on this tragic event.

Members of the Council denounced the escalation of violence in the Middle East and called on all the parties for the continuation of the Middle East peace process.



XVI. UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN SUPPORT OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE


The Conference was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, on 13 and 14 September 2004, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolutions 58/18 and 58/19 of 3 December 2003. The theme of the conference was "Ending the occupation - A key prerequisite for achieving peace in the Middle East". At the close of the conference, participating Non Governmental Organizations adopted a plan of action.

END ISRAEL'S OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE

International Coordinating Network on Palestine

2004-2005 PLAN FOR ACTION TO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN RIGHTS THROUGH INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE UNITED NATIONS


We meet today, non-governmental and civil society organizations, to reaffirm our commitment to ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, and to realizing the full national and human rights of the Palestinian people. Our work is based on human rights and international law, including the United Nations Charter and resolutions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions. We believe in the central role of the United Nations in upholding international law. We believe that these tools provide the only potential basis for achieving the end of occupation and a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.

We stand committed to mobilize a broad people’s movement, working together with Governments, parliaments, multinational organizations, religious organizations and especially the United Nations itself to end the Israeli occupation. Throughout 2004-2005, we will build internationally coordinated actions designed to escalate pressure to end the Israeli occupation and realize Palestinian rights.

To that end, we commit ourselves to the following actions:


IMPLEMENT THE ICJ OPINION


We will work to educate people in all of our countries, and to pressure Israel and our own Governments to move towards strict enforcement of the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ and the resolutions of the General Assembly that call for self-determination of the Palestinian people, stopping and reversing Israeli settlements and dismantling the Wall.

INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

We will work towards the realization of the international community's responsibility to provide serious protection for Palestinians forced to live under Israeli occupation, refugees and exiles, in particular the most vulnerable, such as children and women. We insist on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) mandating the full participation of women in all international peace and justice efforts regarding Palestinian rights. We will work to highlight the important role of those Israeli refuseniks facing imprisonment for their refusal to violate the Geneva Conventions. We will continue to demand full access of humanitarian and relief organizations to the entire population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as required by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

EMPOWERING THE UNITED NATIONS

We will pressure our Governments and mobilize our populations in support of a greater United Nations role in diplomacy regarding Palestine. That includes such campaigns as demanding a General Assembly, as well as a Secretariat role in diplomacy regarding Palestine, and supporting efforts by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to organize fact-finding missions of UN diplomats to the Occupied Territory.

We recognize that these demands reflect the need to uphold international law. We as civil society will encourage divestment and targeted sanctions against the Occupying Power, and we will urge our Governments to impose restrictions including arms bans, withdrawal of economic privileges, including bans against items produced by settlements, travel restrictions on violators of the Geneva Conventions and other instruments of international law.


COORDINATED INTERNATIONAL ACTIONS TO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN RIGHTS THROUGH INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE UNITED NATIONS

We have identified three important dates for global mobilization, advocacy and education campaigns to end the Israeli occupation. These dates reflect week-long periods of mobilization chosen by Palestinian NGOs to coordinate civil society actions throughout 2004-2005.

November 29, 2004– International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

We will focus on the Wall and enforcing the ICJ Opinion. To enable this work, we will encourage civil society groups to utilize the expertise of lawyers and other experts in explaining the significance of the Court’s ruling.

April 17, 2005 – Palestinian Prisoners Day

We will focus on international protection for Palestinians.

June 5, 2005 – Anniversary of the 1967 occupation

We will focus on the violations of the Geneva Conventions, such as settlement expansion, construction of the Wall, land seizures, house demolitions, arbitrary arrest and detention, refugee rights, imprisonment of children, targeted assassinations, closures and curfews and more.

We also urge international civil society and national and regional NGO coalitions to consider support for other actions in support of Palestinian rights. These may include:

- Tribunals to examine cases of violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

- Convening an international civil society conference to take up broader issues involved in defending Palestinian rights;

- Continue campaigns providing direct support for Palestinians in the Occupied Territory, including international solidarity delegations, rebuilding demolished houses, replanting olive trees, etc.


***


XVII. QUARTET ISSUES STATEMENT



The following is the text of a statement issued by the Middle East Quartet (United States, Russian Federation, European Union and United Nations), following their informal meeting at United Nations Headquarters on 22 September 2004 (SG/2091).

The Quartet met in New York today and strongly reaffirmed its 4 May statement. The situation on the ground for both Palestinians and Israelis remains extremely difficult and no significant progress has been achieved on the Road Map.

The Quartet notes with deep concern that genuine action is still needed so that an empowered Prime Minister and cabinet can fulfil the Palestinian Authority’s obligations under the Road Map, including an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism, and the dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. The Quartet noted in this regard the need for the Palestinian Authority to prepare for assumption of control over Gaza, in particular by reforming its security forces and re-establishing the rule of law.

The Quartet underscores its continued readiness to engage with an accountable and reformed Palestinian leadership, and strongly urges the Palestinian Authority to take steps now that contribute to constructive meetings to be held this fall of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and Task Force on Palestinian Reform. The Quartet welcomes steps towards well prepared, free and fair, Palestinian municipal elections, and urges Israel and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate towards this goal.

The Quartet urges the Government of Israel to implement its obligations under the Road Map, including dismantling of settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and to impose a settlement freeze, as called for by President Bush and in the Road Map. The lack of action in this regard is a cause for concern. They also call on the Government of Israel to take all possible steps now, consistent with Israel’s legitimate security needs, to ease the humanitarian and economic plight of the Palestinian people.

The Quartet reaffirms the concerns expressed in its statement of 4 May with respect to the actual routing of the Israeli separation barrier and takes note of the ICJ advisory opinion on this subject. The Quartet urges positive action by the Government of Israel with respect to the route of the barrier and reiterates its view that no party should undertake unilateral actions that could prejudge issues that can only be resolved through negotiations and agreement between the parties.

The Quartet reaffirms its encouragement for Prime Minister Sharon’s intention to withdraw from all Gaza settlements and parts of the West Bank and reiterates that withdrawal from Gaza should be full and complete and be undertaken in a manner consistent with the Road Map, as a step towards an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, through direct negotiations between the sides leading to the goal of two States, Israel and a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The Quartet urges both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to coordinate closely preparation and implementation of the withdrawal initiative.

The Quartet expresses its deep appreciation and support for Egypt’s efforts to help reform and rebuild Palestinian security services, to reach a comprehensive and lasting end to all violence, and to advance the goal of security, stability and prosperity in Gaza as withdrawal is implemented.

The Quartet calls upon all concerned parties, including Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the donor community and the World Bank, to engage constructively on economic aspects of Gaza and West Bank withdrawal. In this respect, the Quartet members reiterate their support for the World Bank Trust Fund and call on all donors to contribute to it.

The Quartet reaffirms its commitment to a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict based upon resolutions 242 and 338, and will remain engaged with all parties to help ensure that progress towards this goal is achieved.


XVIII. CHR SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ISSUES REPORT ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD

On 27 September 2004, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, issued a report (A/59/385), excerpts from which are reproduced below.

/… 23. In the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), the Special Rapporteur is gravely concerned at the continued destruction and expropriation of Palestinian land and crops by the Israeli occupying forces through recent military operations, as well as the building of the “security barrier”. These actions violate the obligations of the occupying army, as the occupying Power, to respect the right to food under international human rights and humanitarian law. Although the Special Rapporteur does not question the right of Israel to defend itself, he must still question the actions of the occupying forces inside Palestinian territories, where these are producing a humanitarian food crisis. As he indicated in the report of his mission in 2003 (E/CN.4/2004/10/Add.2), 22 per cent of Palestinian children are now gravely malnourished and approximately 50 per cent of Palestinians have become dependent on food aid, as restrictions imposed on movement inside the territory have devastated the Palestinian economy. The occupying Power also reportedly extracts more than 85 per cent of the water from the West Bank aquifers. The International Court of Justice has declared the “security barrier” or “Wall” illegal, where it is built inside the Palestinian territories and does not follow the Green Line 1967 border between Israel and the territories. Numerous resolutions of the Commission and the General Assembly have also condemned the occupation and the building of the barrier on Palestinian land, as this requires destruction and confiscation of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land. Depriving thousands of Palestinians of access to their land, farms and livelihoods constitutes a violation of the right to food. The Special Rapporteur urges the Government of Israel to respect its obligations as occupying Power regarding the right to food.

24. In response to the escalation of recent military operations in Gaza, and referring to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/19, in which the Commission urged not only States, but also private actors, to promote the effective realization of the right to food, the Special Rapporteur has written to the Caterpillar corporation, expressing concern that the company’s activities in supplying its specially modified armed D-9 and D-10 bulldozers to the occupying army, in full knowledge that they will be used to destroy farmland, greenhouses, crops and olive groves as well as water installations, might amount to complicity with or acceptance of actual and potential violations of the right to adequate food. The Special Rapporteur urges the Caterpillar Corporation, and all other corporations, to commit to undertake responsibility to promote the effective realization of the right to food through, at the very least, avoiding complicity with actions that amount to a violation of the obligation to respect the right to food./…



XIX. LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES ADOPTS RESOLUTION



On 3 October 2004, the League of Arab States meeting in Cairo at the representative level at its resumed extraordinary session adopted the following resolution (S/2004/795).

The Council of the League of Arab States, meeting at the representative level in its resumed extraordinary session on 3 October 2004 under the chairmanship of the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and in the presence of the Secretary-General,

Considering the telephone call received by the Secretary-General during the Council meeting from Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of the State of Palestine, concerning the grave situation in the occupied Palestinian territory,

And having heard the proposal submitted by the Representative of the State of Palestine and the interventions of the heads of delegations,

Resolves

1. To charge the Arab Group in the United Nations to seize the General Assembly and/or the Security Council of the matter on an urgent basis in order to stop the ongoing Israeli genocidal war against the Palestinian people and request that the necessary international protection be provided for them in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and international law;

2. To demand that the Quartet shoulder its responsibilities and take immediate action with a view to taking a decisive stand to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people;

3. To request the Secretary-General of the United Nations to present a report on the heinous crimes and aggressive practices of Israel against the Palestinian people;

4. To urge States, organizations and associations, including the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, to offer immediate assistance to the Palestinian people in coping with the grave humanitarian situation that confronts them.



XX. SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS, VOTES ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION


In response to the letter dated 4 October 2004 from the Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2004/779), the Council convened on 5 October 2004 to consider the agenda item entitled "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question". The Council took action on the draft resolution contained in document S/2004/783, which is reproduced below. The result of the voting was 11 to 1 against, with 3 abstentions. The draft resolution was not adopted, owing to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Security Council. For the verbatim record of the meeting, see S/PV.5051.

Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia: draft resolution

The Security Council,

Reaffirming its previous resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 1322 (2000), 1397 (2002), 1402 (2002), 1403 (2002), 1405 (2002), 1435 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1544 (2004),

Expressing its grave concern at the continued deterioration of the situation on the ground in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967,

Condemning the broad military incursion and attacks by the Israeli occupying forces in the area of Northern Gaza Strip, including in and around the Jabaliya refugee camp, resulting in extensive human casualties and destruction and exacerbating the dire humanitarian situation,

Reiterating its call upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War of 12 August 1949,

Recalling the obligations of the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel under the Road Map,

Condemning all acts of violence, terror, excessive and indiscriminate use of force, and physical destruction,

Reaffirming its support for the Road Map endorsed in its resolution 1515 (2003),

1. Demands the immediate cessation of all military operations in the area of Northern Gaza and the withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces from that area;

2. Reiterates its call for the cessation of violence and for respect of and adherence to legal obligations, including those under international humanitarian law;

3. Calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to ensure the unfettered access and safety of United Nations personnel and all medical and humanitarian aid workers to provide emergency assistance to the civilian population, and calls for the respect of the inviolability of the facilities of the United Nations agencies in the field, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA);

4. Calls on both parties to immediately implement their obligations under the Road Map and with this goal in mind closely cooperate with the “Quartet” of international intermediaries;

5. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


XXI. THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE REPORTS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY


The following are the conclusions and recommendations of the report of the Committee to the fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly, adopted at the Committee’s meeting on 6 October 2004 (see A/59/35):

77. The Committee’s utmost concern during the period under review has been the failure of efforts to reawaken the peace process against the backdrop of continuing violence, tragic loss of life and deepening humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Attempts to establish a ceasefire and stabilize the security situation did not achieve lasting results. The Israeli military’s disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, the practice of collective punishment, extrajudicial killings, and the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians have resulted in the further destruction of the fabric of Palestinian society. The Committee is strongly opposed to the continued construction of the wall on Palestinian land and the expansion of settlements, which jeopardize international efforts to resolve the conflict. It maintains that the continuing Israeli occupation remains at the core of the conflict. A negotiated solution that would end the occupation and enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights is urgently needed.

78. The Committee continues to believe that the road map remains the best way to achieve the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine through the establishment of two States, Israel and Palestine, based on the 1967 borders. A settlement should be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003) in particular, and other relevant resolutions. Any unilateral moves by either party will not contribute to a durable settlement unless they are based on negotiations between the two sides and are part of the implementation of the road map. The Committee expresses the hope that the Quartet and the international community will continue to work towards the achievement of this goal.

79. While welcoming the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice and the position of the General Assembly in that regard, the Committee remains concerned that the illegal construction of the wall has not stopped. Its harmful effects continue to plague the daily lives of the thousands of Palestinians. The existence of the wall will hamper efforts to resolve the conflict and renders the vision of a two-State solution almost impossible. The Committee’s position is that the international community must ensure that the occupying Power abide by the provisions of the Court’s ruling and immediately stop and reverse the construction.

80. The Committee considers that its programme of international meetings and conferences facilitates the discussion and analysis of the various aspects of the question of Palestine. The meetings highlight the most pressing issues, such as the need to end violence, stop settlement activities and improve the living conditions of the Palestinian population. They contribute to heightening international awareness of the root cause of the conflict, namely, the occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They also mobilize international support for efforts to resolve the conflict and implement the road map. The Committee is deeply appreciative of the involvement in these meetings of Governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations entities and civil society. It expresses its satisfaction with the level of dialogue, engagement and support from the international community achieved at those meetings. It will continue this programme to foster support for the attainment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights in accordance with international legitimacy. In its meetings in 2005, the Committee intends to address such issues as the application of international law to all aspects of the question of Palestine, the significance of the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, the implementation of the road map, the adverse consequences of the settlement policy and of the construction of the wall for the achievement of a two-State solution, the need to protect the Palestinian people, the humanitarian and socio-economic situation, including the plight of Palestinian women and children, and the further involvement of civil society.

81. The Committee commends civil society organizations for their efforts to uphold international legitimacy with regard to the question of Palestine through advocacy and the mobilization of public opinion and for their unremitting initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people. It notes the support it receives from the Secretariat in strengthening its cooperation with civil society. The Committee encourages civil society organizations to focus their advocacy efforts at the local, national, regional and international levels on the legal obligations of Governments, as emphasized in the advisory opinion of the Court, and to coordinate their activities. It supports all humanitarian and assistance initiatives geared towards improving the daily lives of the Palestinians. The Committee will also strive to enhance the involvement of parliamentarians in various regions in its programme of meetings.

82. The Committee emphasizes the essential contribution of the Division for Palestinian Rights in support of its mandate and the implementation of its programme of work. The Committee, therefore, requests the Division to continue its substantive and secretariat support; the programme of publications and other informational activities, such as the further expansion and development of UNISPAL, and the graphic enhancement of the “Question of Palestine” web site; the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority; and the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Committee expects the Division to continue to heighten international awareness of the question of Palestine, and to strengthen support for the rights of the Palestinian people and a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. In this regard, the Committee notes with satisfaction (a) the level of dialogue, engagement and support of the international community for its programme objectives, for instance, in terms of both participation at the meetings convened and use of printed and electronic information materials provided by the Division; (b) the number of civil society organizations that have received accreditation to the Committee; and (c) the number of pages viewed on the United Nations web site on the question of Palestine. The Committee also considers that the annual training programme for the staff of the Palestinian Authority has proved its usefulness and requests that it be continued.

83. The Committee is of the view that the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information has made an important contribution to informing the media and public opinion of the relevant issues. The Committee requests the programme’s continuation, with the necessary flexibility, as warranted by developments relevant to the question of Palestine.

84. Wishing to make its contribution to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine and in view of the many difficulties facing the Palestinian people and besetting the peace process, the Committee calls upon all States to join in this endeavour and invites the General Assembly again to recognize the importance of its role and to reconfirm its mandate with overwhelming support.



XXII. ARAB-INTERNATIONAL FORUM ADOPTS DECLARATION, RECOMMENDATIONS, INITIATIVES ON REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM

The Arab-International Forum on Rehabilitation and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Towards an Independent State was held in Beirut from 11 to 14 October 2004. The Forum, which was organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the League of Arab States and the Palestinian Authority, adopted a declaration and recommendations, and launched a number of initiatives.

DECLARATION

Under the auspices of His Excellency General Emile Lahoud, President of Lebanon, the Arab-International Forum on Rehabilitation and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Towards an Independent State was held in Beirut from 11 to 14 October 2004 and attended by representatives of governments and Palestinian, Arab and international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The objectives of the Forum included the reaffirmation of the responsibility and commitment of the international community towards the Palestinian people; and the urgent need to re-orient Arab and international efforts towards medium- and long-term economic and social development in Palestine while, at the same time, providing relief for the Palestinian people, in order to alleviate the conditions of occupation. Further objectives were to mobilize Arab support for the rehabilitation and development process in the occupied Palestinian territory and to formulate specific and effective arrangements and mechanisms to strengthen the bilateral and multilateral partnership of all sides in assisting the Palestinian people to overcome the economic and social impact of the occupation and address future challenges on the basis of the priorities and vision set by the Palestinians.

The Forum was held over a highly intensive four-day period, during which participants followed with the greatest apprehension the continuing process of the destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure, economy, society and human resources and of Palestinian public and private property.

Participants expressed their profound concern at the continued deterioration of the security situation and the Israeli military escalation in the occupied Palestinian territory, in addition to the policies of closure, isolation and the building of the barrier and the expansion of Israeli settlement in the Palestinian territory, all of which reduce the likelihood of any political settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli and the Arab-Israeli conflicts and threaten regional and international security and stability.

Participants also warned of the dangers posed by the continuous drain of Palestinian human and material resources, worsening living conditions and destruction of economic and commercial activity caused by the restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and commodities; the withdrawal of public and private investment in the occupied Palestinian territory; the collapse of Palestinian productive and employment capacities; the serious extension of the phenomena of poverty and unemployment; the growing dependence of the Palestinian people on relief assistance for survival; and the almost complete cessation of the implementation of development projects, which has serious long-term implications on capacity-building and Palestinian economic and social institutions capable of reviving the economic and on the social development process that would be the basis for the foundation of any sustainable State.

Participants considered that the deteriorating economic and social conditions resulting from the measures taken by the Occupying Power required a serious and radical response from the international community that would end Palestinian economic dependence on the Israeli economy, strengthen its independent capacities and conserve its human and material resources.

Notwithstanding the lack of security and the continuous destruction of Palestinian social and economic infrastructure, it was both possible and essential to take action to strengthen international-Arab-Palestinian partner-ship, with a view to restarting an unimpeded socio-economic development process.

Participants expressed their complete solidarity with the Palestinian people and their determination to intensify and coordinate their endeavours with a view to the following:

1. To uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people established by international conventions, norms and resolutions, including the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent State, and to exercise its right to development and to have sovereignty over its resources and use them in accordance with its own interests and in accordance with its priorities.

2. To implement the relevant international resolutions and to continue the efforts and initiatives of the international community aimed at achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

3. To link relief efforts with comprehensive development, thereby ensuring that such efforts contributed to building Palestinian capacities and helped the Palestinian people to deal with the economic and social impact of the occupation and establish a viable independent State.

4. To provide various forms of international and Arab support for rehabilitation and development in the occupied Palestinian territory in accordance with a Palestinian vision and Palestinian priorities, through the following five means:

(a) The continuation and strengthening of Arab Government mechanisms for the provision of financial support to the Palestinian people and the activation of their role in building genuine and unimpeded Arab-international partnership;

(b) The enhancement of governments and international organizations support for the process of rehabilitation and development in the occupied Palestinian territory;

(c) The establishment of Arab-international partnership with the Palestinian private sector with a view to supporting production, marketing of products and investment;

(d) The mobilization and coordination of partnership between international and Arab non-governmental organizations in the provision of relief and sustainable human development;

(e) The establishment of more dependable channels and links enabling the Palestinian Diaspora to participate in the process of rehabilitation and development in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The participants thanked the Lebanese Government for hosting the Forum and providing all the facilities necessary for its success. Similarly, they expressed their appreciation of the efforts exerted by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Palestinian Authority and the League of Arab States for the preparations for and successful convening of the event.

FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS

Participants made the following recommendations:

1. Emphasis should be placed on the support of all parties for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and its efforts to achieve those rights, including the right to development.

2. Arab and international communities should undertake to give urgent priority to social and economic development issues in the occupied Palestinian territory, despite the continuing Israeli occupation, hostility and conflict, and the necessity of linking aid programmes and emergency assistance to Palestinian development strategies, plans and programmes.

3. Efforts should be concentrated to support of Palestinian elementary education in particular and higher education in general, in order to develop human resources capable of coping with the challenges of liberation from occupation and those of economic and social development, so enhancing productivity and competitiveness and to develop the prerequisites for setting the Palestinian economy on the path of sustainable development after independence.

4. Socio-economic development for the Palestinian people should be considered as a continuous process guided by Palestinian concerns and priorities and should enjoy the support and backing of international/Arab partnership.

5. All donors and partners in the Palestinian development process should be urged to formulate development aid programmes and emergency assistance projects based on Palestinian development vision, needs, priorities and plans.

6. All parties concerned should be urged to intensify efforts to reintegrate the Palestinian economy into the surrounding Arab environment, by making it possible for the Palestinian people to obtain the maximum benefit from the League of Arab States resolutions on the granting of preferential treatment to Palestinian products and exemption from obstructive customs duties and taxes and any other restrictions on Palestinian exports to Arab markets, in addition to facilitating the entry of Palestinian businessmen to Arab States.

7. The reform plan, adopted on 27 September 2004 by the Palestinian Council of Ministers and the Palestinian Legislative Council in order to enhance the performance of government institutions, should be welcomed, as well as the rapid efforts of the National Authority to formulate a Palestinian development vision and build effective partnerships between the Authority, the private sector and civil society institutions in order to stimulate socio-economic development process.

8. Governmental and non-governmental organizations at both the regional and international levels are called upon to support the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in Palestine in the implementation of its plan of work for the coming three years, as an expression of their commitment to the issue of the advancement of Palestinian women.

9. The Palestinian Authority should be commended for its role in supporting the steadfastness of all sectors of the Palestinian people confronting the occupation and the continual military operations that seek to destroy the fabric and capabilities of Palestinian society, with emphasis on its role in confronting this hostility since it is the legally elected Palestinian entity recognized by the Arab and international communities.

10. A body of trained Palestinian media professionals should be developed that is capable of keeping abreast of recent developments and challenges in order to express them in the appropriate manner in various media, in addition to investment in the media and seeking to place development issues on the media agenda.

11. The international community should request Israel to compensate the Palestinian people for the economic and human losses that it has been sustaining as a result of Israeli policies and practices and should seek to identify and evaluate these increasing losses so that their magnitude can be clearly estimated and compensation mechanisms formulated.

12. The importance of the intervention of the international community in the prevention of Israeli aggression should be emphasized and pressure should be placed on Israel to halt policies, practices and procedures that obstruct development in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular:

(a) Depletion of human and natural resources through the confiscation of lands, water and other resources, continued construction and expansion of settlements, construction of the dividing wall and bypass roads and driving out the skilled labour force;

(b) Depletion of economic and social capital through the systematic destruction of the infrastructure, amenities, public health and education facilities, the productive base of the agricultural and industrial sectors and other natural resources;

(c) Trade barriers arising from the blockade and barriers and administrative measures that obstruct domestic and foreign trade, with Arab partners in particular, which constitute a breach of the Paris Economic Protocol;

(d) Arbitrary and systematic seizure of Palestinian public revenues for long periods, which constitutes a violation of the Paris Economic Protocol, in particular the undeclared seizure of value added tax, sales and customs tax revenues and the illegal confiscation of part thereof.

13. There should be a call to strengthen official Arab, bilateral and multilateral civil partnerships at all levels, including governments, funds, organizations, the private sector and civil society institutions, with the aim of supporting the Palestinians as well as coordinating and integrating Arab support with international aid frameworks, in order to help Palestinians to overcome the social and economic impacts of the occupation, consolidate the basic components of independence and address future challenges, through:

(a) Welcoming the resolutions of the joint meeting of Arab funds and financial institutions and Arab economic institutions held in Cairo on 7 and 8 September 2004, circulated with the Forum documents and adopted at the Arab ministerial meeting;

(b) Enhancing Arab and international support mechanisms for strengthening development and aid efforts in the Palestinian territory. In this context, it is necessary to:

(i) Call for an intensification of efforts to help the Palestinian people, with the aim of rehabilitating the Palestinian economy, strengthening its capacities and ending its dependence on the Israeli economy, within the framework of the Palestinian vision of development;

(ii) Emphasize the importance of continuing to develop Arab support mechanisms that should continue to respond to the requirements of linking aid to development and remain committed to Palestinian development needs and priorities;

(c) Strengthening partnerships between the Palestinian, Arab and international private sector institutions in order to support Palestinian production, marketing and investment, through:

(i) Encouraging investments and establishing joint economic projects in the occupied Palestinian territory;

(ii) Supporting the Palestinian and joint Palestinian-Arab private sector, in particular through the establishment of funds allocated to financing small and medium-sized enterprises in the occupied Palestinian territory and facilitation of the access of Palestinians to such funds;

(iii) Facilitating the transfer of expertise to the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular through the technical cooperation programmes of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and United Nations specialized bodies and formulating the procedures and exemptions necessary to enable Palestinians to benefit from human capacity-building programmes;

(iv) Focusing on technical support programmes and procedures that contribute to improving the quality and competitiveness of Palestinian goods and services;

(v) Providing the necessary information to Palestinian businessmen on methods of benefiting from the Palestinian export insurance programmes provided by IDB, the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation and other Arab and international programmes;

(vi) Invigorating the role of Arab private sector institutions in facilitating the access of Palestinian products to Arab markets through supporting the implementation of League of Arab States resolutions relating to the granting of preferential treatment to Palestinian exports, in addition to the establishment of exhibitions for Palestinian products and centres for the promotion of Palestinian trade in Arab markets;

(vii) Seeking to develop permanent networks of communication and information exchange between Palestinian and Arab private sector institutions and encouraging joint initiatives in this sphere;

(d) Strengthening the participation of international, Arab and Palestinian civil society institutions in sustainable development and emergency aid efforts through:

(i) Enhancing cooperation in order to invigorate the participation of Palestinian and Arab institutions in decision-making and the formulation of local, regional and global policies;

(ii) Enhancing cooperation with regard to the establishment of alliances, capacity-building and information exchange, in particular through twinning institutions and organizations and implementing training programmes for the exchange of expertise between Arab and Palestinian institutions, including students, professors, doctors and other specialists;

(iii) Establishing a permanent structure to help Arab and Palestinian civil society institutions hold regular meetings and enable them to better coordinate their efforts and encouraging these institutions to pursue their consultations after the Forum, in order to identify the objectives, terms of reference and membership criteria of this structure;

(iv) Strengthening the role of local authorities as essential partners in linking aid efforts with development in the occupied Palestinian territory, in particular in the areas of the provision of water, health services, education and roads, including increasing financial support to the Palestinian National Authority Municipalities Fund and encouraging the twinning of municipalities and support for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (HABITAT) in order to support the Palestinian people;

(e) Consolidation of relations and channels enabling Palestinians in the Diaspora to support Palestinians in the occupied territory, through:

(i) Strengthening consultations between diaspora Palestinians and their peers in the occupied territory with regard to Development Vision, priorities and strategies in the occupied Palestinian territory;

(ii) Diversifying the mechanisms and methods whereby diaspora communities can contribute to human development efforts in the occupied Palestinian territory to include financial contributions, investment and capacity-building in the occupied Palestinian territory, providing expertise and facilitating the access of Palestinian goods to Arab and global markets;

(iii) Promoting the use of knowledge transfer programmes, such as the United Nations Development Programme and Al-Aqsa Fund initiative Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN) programme in order to provide technical assistance to the Palestinian people;

(iv) Establishing new partnership programmes and plans for the construction of a database on Palestinian experts in the diaspora, in cooperation with specialized Arab and international organizations, including the International Organization for Migration (IOM);

(v) Utilizing information technology in order to establish a remote capacity-development programme and also mobilize Palestinian experts in the diaspora;

(vi) Formulating a mechanism to enable Palestinian institutions in the diaspora to strengthen coordination and consultation with regard to the application of Palestinian development strategies.

14. It should be pointed out that this Forum is considered to be a unique initiative. The Forum has witnessed the voluntary participation of global, Arab, regional and national organizations in order to mobilize resources and exchange experiences in order to support a Palestinian development strategy characterized by national sovereignty and formulated based on cooperation between the Palestinian National Authority, civil society institutions and development partners from the private sector.

15. Emphasis should be placed on the importance of maintaining the Forum as a permanent consultative process and the importance to follow up on the implementation of its recommendations through the establishment of a joint specialized committee, with the Advisory Group at its core, in order to follow up on the outcomes of the Forum. ESCWA would call for the first meeting of the follow-up committee to decide the measures necessary for its activation, identify its mechanisms and tasks, follow up on implementation of the recommendations of the Forum and encourage the initiatives announced thereat, with the possibility of reconvening the Forum at a time to be proposed by the Advisory Group.

16. Their appreciation of the efforts of the organizers and their partners in organizing and hosting the forum, in particular ESCWA, the League of Arab States, the Palestinian National Authority and the other members of the Consultative Group should be expressed.


PRACTICAL INITIATIVES LAUNCHED DURING THE ARAB-INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR REHABILITATION AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

1. The initiative on the part of the Islamic Development Bank/Al-Aqsa Fund to allocate US$ 23 million for rehabilitation in the Gaza Strip.

2. The initiative on the part of the I’tilaf al-khayr and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) to allocate US$ 5 million (of which US$ 3 million has already been paid by I’tilaf al-khayr) to support the agricultural and agro-food products sectors and to develop Palestinian capacities in the two important sectors.

3. The Qatar Red Crescent initiative for the development of human capacities in the health services sector over five years. This sector is vital in view of the occupation.

4. The “Berlin Initiative for the Removal of the Separation Barrier” (the barrier being built by the occupying authorities on Palestinian territory), to devote US$ 500,000 to media campaigns and advocacy efforts aiming to remove the barrier. EUROPAL and I’tilaf Al-khayr will contribute to finance this initiative.

5. The initiative by the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN), in Jordan, and the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), in cooperation with ESCWA, to replant one million trees uprooted in the occupied Palestinian territory by the Israeli authorities over the past few years. This initiative is in cooperation with INTERPAL which allocated the sum of US$ 500,000 to the project as seed money for its implementation.

6. The initiative by the Arab NGO Network for Development, and a group of other Arab networks, to establish a coalition of Arab and Palestinian civil society institutions to enhance and mobilize partnership and to support the development of Palestinian civil society institutions. As such, seminars in Arab countries will be organized in order to disseminate information on the Palestinian vision and strategy. In addition, a seminar with Arab funds will also be organized to adopt an integrated Arab mechanism to provide support and assistance.

7. The agreement between the Islamic Development Bank and the Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association (ASALA), pursuant to which a portfolio of Islamic loans in the amount of US$ 200,000 will be made available to support micro-projects undertaken by Palestinian women.

8. The agreement between the Islamic Bank and ASALA regarding loans for micro-projects as an experimental stage. A sum of US$ 1.4 million has been allocated to seven other Palestinian institutions involved in supporting micro-projects. Further agreements will be concluded in the future with other institutions working in Palestine in the same field.


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