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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXX, No.6 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (juin 2007) - publication de la Division des droits palestiniens Français

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




Volume XXX, Bulletin No. 6


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

Contents
Page
I.
    Secretary-General’s statement on the anniversary of the 1967 war
1
II.
    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issues statement on the fortieth anniversary of Israeli occupation
1
III.
    Non-Aligned Movement marks fortieth anniversary of occupation
2
IV.
    Non-Aligned Movement conveys its position on the Palestinian issue to the thirty-third Summit of the Group of Eight Industrialized Countries
4
V.
    Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People commemorates 40 years of Israeli occupation
6
VI.
    Secretary-General calls for cessation of intra-Palestinian violence
7
VII.
    Secretary-General expresses disappointment at failure of unity government
7
VIII.
    Quartet expresses support for President Abbas
8
IX.
    Human Rights Council places Occupied Palestinian Territory on its agenda
9
X.
    Human Rights Council reiterates call for fact-finding missions to Gaza
9
XI.
    United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process briefs the Security Council
10
XII.
    Quartet appoints Tony Blair as its representative
13
XIII.
    Secretary-General sends message to media seminar on Middle East Peace
14




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




I. SECRETARY-GENERAL’S STATEMENT ON THE ANNIVERSARY
OF THE 1967 WAR


The Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement on 5 June 2007( SG/SM/11026).

On this day, the Secretary-General remembers the men, women and children who have been killed or had their lives shattered by the tragedies of conflict in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinians, who continue to live under an occupation that has lasted 40 years. The United Nations remains committed to bringing assistance to those who suffer, and to working tirelessly for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the Security Council.

As the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war reminds us, statehood for Palestinians, security for Israelis and peace in the region cannot be achieved by force. An end to the occupation and a political solution to the conflict is the only way forward -- for Israelis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese and the wider region. This will only be achieved through negotiations to bring about an end to the occupation, on the basis of the principle of land for peace, as envisaged in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).



II. UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF ISRAELI OCCUPATION

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour issued the following statement on 5 June 2007 (HC/07/033):

This week marks forty years of occupation of the Palestinian territory, a regime which has led to wide-ranging and serious violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people, first and foremost among them the right to self-determination. The occupation must give way to a lasting political solution allowing both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

In the long-standing search for this solution, however, human rights have for too long taken a back seat. It need not and must not be so. In fact, the protection afforded by international law is most vital in situations of conflict and volatility.

Both flaring crises and longer-term resolution of the conflict must be addressed within a framework of international human rights and humanitarian law. This includes the relevant obligations as reaffirmed in July 2004 in the International Court of Justice's Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The right to life continues to be violated within a general climate of impunity in the region. Whether through extrajudicial executions or indiscriminate artillery attacks carried out by the Israel Defence Forces, or internal Palestinian violence, or indiscriminate Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians, the right to life has been stripped of its fundamental value. What needs to be urgently and concretely addressed is the paramount obligation to ensure protection of civilians in all circumstances. This also means ensuring appropriate redress in situations where such protection has failed.

Furthermore, greater efforts must be made to counter a growing sense of disempowerment among Palestinians throughout the occupied territory. Principal among these, immediate steps can and should be taken to remove obstacles, including settlements, impeding Palestinians' right to freedom of movement: within the West Bank in particular, including Jerusalem, but also between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This right is seriously compromised and has severely curtailed Palestinians' exercise of a wide range of other human rights, including health, education, work and family life. The plight and rights of those imprisoned, captured or otherwise detained – particularly children - should also be urgently addressed.

The international community has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that international human rights and humanitarian law is fully implemented by all in efforts towards a lasting solution. Achieving the highest possible level of respect for human rights in the region is an end in itself. Significantly, however, it can also contribute to building greater confidence among the parties and facilitate the search for a lasting solution. The human rights of Palestinians and Israelis cannot be subject to negotiation or compromise.

III. NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT MARKS FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY
OF OCCUPATION

On 6 June 2007 the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Felipe Pérez Roque, sent the following message on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the occupation of the Palestinian territory by Israel (A/61/952-S/2007/345):

Today, we are commemorating the fortieth anniversary of an illegal war of aggression and predation which, in open violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, Israel unleashed in 1967 against the Palestinian people and the neighbouring Arab peoples. Since then, it has maintained its control and occupation of the Arab territories, including an extensive portion of the Palestinian territory.

The Israeli illegal occupation, in violation of resolution 242 (1967) of the Security Council and other resolutions adopted by that body and by the General Assembly on the issue, has prevented the full exercise by the Palestinian people of their right to establish an independent State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Throughout its 46 years, the Non-Aligned Movement has maintained a firm position of solidarity with the Palestinian people and its just cause, based on the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the rejection of the illegal occupation of the Arab territories by Israel and the condemnation of the massive, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the occupying power.

At the XIV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Havana in September 2006, the Heads of State or Government adopted an important special Declaration on Palestine, which looks at the serious situation persisting in the occupied territory of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, and the effects of the protracted and ruthless military occupation of its land by Israel since 1967. While condemning the Israeli practices in the occupied territories, the Summit echoed the demand that the Palestinian people be allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, to the return of refugees and to the establishment of a sovereign and independent State.

The Declaration adopted expressed the profound concern of the Movement for the tragic deterioration of the political, economic, social and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It also strongly condemned the ongoing slaughter of and injuries to Palestinian civilians through the excessive and inordinate use of force; selective attacks and extrajudicial executions, now on the rise and more flagrant; the ample destruction of properties, infrastructure and farmland; and the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians.

It also reiterated the condemnation of Israel by the non-aligned countries because of the isolation of the Gaza Strip after implementation of its unilateral separation plans, as well as the construction of a wall by the occupying Power, disregarding the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004.

The Movement’s statements during the Summit in Havana, as well as those made as a result of previous and subsequent events on the ground, retain their full validity in light of the current situation, in which there was even a threat by the occupying Power to assassinate the Prime Minister of Palestine.

Last 20 March, the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement issued a statement, circulated as a document of the General Assembly and the Security Council under the symbol A/61/818-S/2007/161, in which it welcomed the creation of the Palestinian Government of national unity following the agreement reached in Mecca. It also noted that the creation of this new Government is a positive sign of the unity of the Palestinian people in these difficult times.

Despite the creation of a Government of national unity, the Palestinian people continue to endure the blocking of international assistance, which has gone on for over a year now. This state of affairs must cease, for it works against an eventual solution to the conflict through dialogue and negotiation - which the Israeli Government has refused to do on an ongoing basis.

The Non-Aligned Movement believes that there is a real opportunity for the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East and the attainment of a peaceful settlement to the conflict to fully serve the legitimate interests and aspirations of the Palestinian people. We call upon the international community to fulfil its responsibility towards that end. We also urge the Government of Israel to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, reaffirmed at the nineteenth regular Arab Summit, held in Riyadh in March 2007, and we call for the resumption of the process of serious and direct negotiations on all fronts.

The Movement, while reiterating its full solidarity with the Palestinian people, will continue to contribute, to the extent of its ability, to the attainment of just, thorough and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all the resolutions adopted by the United Nations, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, the principle of territory for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the road map.

The non-aligned countries call upon the Security Council to fulfil its responsibility, enforce its own resolutions and take the necessary measures so that Israel respects international law and puts an end to the occupation and to its illegitimate and illegal practices in the occupied Palestinian territory.

I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm Cuba’s aspiration to contribute to the attainment of global, just and lasting peace for all nations in the Middle East, without any exclusion, so that it guarantees the Palestinian people its right to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in its independent State, based on the borders prior to 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the right of the Palestinian refugees to return home. In the pursuit of peace, the Arab peoples will always count on the full solidarity of the Cuban people.

IV. NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT CONVEYS ITS POSITION ON THE
PALESTINIAN ISSUE TO THIRTY-THIRD SUMMIT OF GROUP
OF EIGHT INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES

On 6 June 2007 the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Felipe Pérez Roque, sent a letter to the Federal Minister for External Affairs of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on the occasion of the thirty-third Summit of the Group of Eight (G-8) Industrialized Countries, conveying to the Presidency and the other leaders of the G-8 the viewpoints and positions of the Non-Aligned Movement. An excerpt from the letter is reproduced below (A/61/946-S/2007/337):

...

The solution to the Palestinian issue continues to be a high priority for the Non-Aligned Movement, which firmly supports the Palestinian people and its leadership and calls for the revitalization of the peace process towards the attainment of a general, just and lasting solution allowing the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination in an independent and sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The NAM strongly condemns the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the relentless aggression by Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian people, which has resulted, among other things, in the ongoing slaughter of and injuries to civilian Palestinians as a result of the excessive and inordinate use of force, selective attacks and extrajudicial executions, the widespread destruction of properties, infrastructure and farmland and the detention and imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians.

The NAM demands that Israel, the occupying power, cease the illegal construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. In this sense, it condemns the flagrant challenge and disrespect by Israel for the Consultative 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 and its ongoing violation of General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004.

The NAM welcomed the formation of the Palestinian Government of National Unity in March 2007, as a result of the Mecca Agreement. The formation of the new government is a signal of the unity of the Palestinian people in these difficult moments.

The Movement believes that at present there is a real opportunity to resume the peace process in the Middle East, in order to achieve a peaceful solution, and calls upon the international community to discharge its responsibility so as not to lose this opportunity.

We deplore the fact the Palestinian people continues to suffer as a result of the blockade of international assistance imposed over a year ago and still in place. While attention is focused on the attempts to revitalize the peace process and the measures adopted by the new Palestinian Government, it is not possible to ignore the serious situation on the ground. In such a situation as prevails, most certainly any progress that can be made will come to a halt.

We call upon the Government of Israel to accept the Arab Peace Initiative and resume a process of serious and direct negotiations on all fronts.

The NAM will continue to support and contribute to the extent possible to the attainment of just, complete and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all relevant United Nations resolutions, the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, the principle of territory for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Road Map. We are looking forward to working together with the G-8 leaders, some of whom are members of the Quartet, on the implementation of the Road Map, in order to achieve this long-yearned objective of the international community.

...
V. COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE COMMEMORATES 40 YEARS
OF ISRAELI OCCUPATION

On 7 June 2007 the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held a special meeting to mark 40 years of occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem (GA/PAL/1055). The Bureau of the Committee issued the following statement (GA/PAL/1056) on the same day:

This week marks the fortieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. Following the end of the June 1967 hostilities, the Security Council in its resolution 242 (1967) emphasized, among other things, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and affirmed the need for a withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied in the conflict, and the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. That resolution and many others adopted since June 1967 have not been implemented to date. The military occupation of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, unprecedented in modern history, continues to this very day.

The Bureau of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People reiterates that the occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The occupation has prevented the Palestinian people from exercising their inalienable rights, namely the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced. A comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region will remain elusive until the national rights of the Palestinian people have been realized.

The four decades of occupation have brought misery and dispossession to the Palestinian people. The Palestinians are subjected to daily abuse and harassment, collective punishment, the use of excessive and indiscriminate force, extrajudicial killings and destruction of property, civilian infrastructure and agricultural land. The occupation is marked by total disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law and relevant United Nations resolutions. For 40 years, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued to alter the Palestinian land by establishing and expanding settlements and, more recently, by constructing a wall in the West Bank, including around East Jerusalem. This situation has led to an ever escalating spiral of violence in the area, which the international community unequivocally deplores and condemns.

The Bureau of the Committee reminds Israel, the occupying Power, of the need to fulfil its obligations under international law and fully adhere to the Geneva Conventions, as well as to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding the construction of the wall. Israel must cease and reverse all illegal actions in the Palestinian Territory it has occupied since 1967.

On this day, we are noting with great regret that the engagement of the international community has not brought about an end to the occupation. The situation on the ground continues to endanger international peace and security. It is incumbent upon the Security Council to ensure a speedy and full implementation of its own resolutions. The Council should decide on effective steps to protect the civilian population, end hostilities and guide the parties, with the active involvement of the Quartet and regional actors, to a negotiated settlement that will end the occupation and result in an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours. Until such a time and until the Palestinian people can exercise their inalienable rights, the Committee will continue to pursue the important mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly.

VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR CESSATION OF
INTRA-PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE

The Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement on 12 June 2007 (SG/SM/11038-PAL/2079):

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at the resurgence of violence in Gaza, which has reportedly left at least 20 people dead. The intensity of this latest round of fighting and the heightened public rhetoric marks a serious deterioration of the situation, placing the civilian population in Gaza in grave peril, jeopardizing the delivery of humanitarian assistance and threatening the future of the Palestinian Government and Authority.

The Secretary-General calls for the immediate cessation of all intra-Palestinian violence, including attacks against the Palestinian Authority and its institutions. At this extremely difficult moment for the Palestinian people and their cause, the Secretary-General calls for all parties to give their full support to the efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to restore law and order.

VII. SECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT
AT FAILURE OF UNITY GOVERNMENT

The Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement on 15 June 2007 (SG/SM/11047-PAL/2080):

The shocking violence of recent days in Gaza, much of which has involved violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, has caused great alarm and sadness around the world. The Secretary-General is deeply concerned for the welfare of ordinary Palestinians and calls for full respect for their human rights.
The ongoing crisis is of deep concern to the United Nations, particularly in view of the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other agencies in delivering humanitarian assistance to a large majority of the population in Gaza. The United Nations is determined to ensure the safety and security of the large number of United Nations employees working in Gaza, and to ensure that they can continue their vital work to assist a large section of the Palestinian population in Gaza, many of whom are dependent on emergency aid for daily sustenance. This will require the cooperation of all parties to ensure appropriate security and access conditions for the passage of humanitarian goods and personnel both within the Gaza Strip and at key crossing points.

The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed at the failure of the National Unity Government, and the violence, destruction and fragmentation that has brought about its demise. This must end immediately and calm must be restored. The Secretary-General renews his support to President Abbas as he moves to discharge his responsibilities under the Palestinian Basic Law. The Secretary-General remains in close consultation with the parties and regional and Quartet partners about the way ahead.

VIII. QUARTET EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT ABBAS

On 16 June 2007 the Quartet principals, the Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Germany Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, issued the following statement:

In a telephone call on June 15, the Quartet principals shared their deep concern over the welfare and security of all Palestinians - especially those in Gaza, whose lives have been most seriously affected by the ongoing crisis.

The Quartet expressed its support for efforts to meet the humanitarian needs of Palestinians and called for respect for the human rights of all those in Gaza and the safety and security of international workers. It called for an urgent end to the violence, and the cooperation of all parties to ensure appropriate security and access conditions for the passage of humanitarian goods and personnel both within the Gaza Strip and at key crossing points.

The Quartet expressed understanding and support for President Abbas' decisions to dissolve the cabinet and declare an emergency, given the grave circumstances. The Quartet recognized the necessity and legitimacy of these decisions, taken under Palestinian law, and welcomed President Abbas' stated intention to consult the Palestinian people at the appropriate time.

The Quartet noted its continuing support for other legitimate Palestinian institutions.

The Quartet supports the efforts of responsible regional States to help calm the situation, and will continue to promote a negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting Middle East peace in line with relevant Security Council resolutions.

IX. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL PLACES OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN
TERRITORY ON ITS AGENDA
At the 9th meeting of its fifth Session, on 18 June 2007, the Human Rights Council decided, without a vote, to agree on the text introduced by the President entitled “United Nations Human Rights Council: institution-building” see (A/HRC/5/21, resolution 5/1, annex), excerpts from which are reproduced below:



B. Agenda

Item 1. Organizational and procedural matters

Item 2. Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Item 3. Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Item 4. Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Item 5. Human rights bodies and mechanisms

Item 6. Universal Periodic Review

Item 7. Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories

Item 8. Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Item 9. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Item 10. Technical assistance and capacity-building




X. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL REITERATES CALL FOR
FACT-FINDING MISSIONS TO GAZA

At its first organizational meeting on 20 June 2007 the Human Rights Council adopted resolution OM/1/2, the text of which is reproduced below:

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling its resolutions S-1/1 of 6 July 2006 and S-3/1 of 15 November 2006,

Noting with regret that Israel, the occupying Power, has not to date implemented these two resolutions and hindered the dispatching of the urgent fact finding missions specified therein,

1. Calls for the implementation of its resolutions S-1/1 of 6 July 2006 and S-3/1 of 15 November 2006, including the dispatching of the urgent fact-finding missions;

2. Requests the President of the Human Rights Council and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to report to the Council at the next session to be held in September 2007, on their efforts for the implementation of Council resolutions S-1/1 and S-3/1 and on the compliance of Israel, the occupying Power, with these two resolutions.

XI. UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
PEACE PROCESS BRIEFS THE SECURITY COUNCIL

On 20 June 2007, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General Michael C. Williams briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The following are excerpts from the briefing (S/PV.5701):



The figures of the past month tell a gloomy story: 218 Palestinians have been killed and 910 injured in internal violence; 40 Palestinians have been killed and 159 injured by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF); one Israeli, a 13-year old quadriplegic boy, has been killed and 10 other Israelis have been injured, in attacks by Palestinian militants. At least 166 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel, and 77 mortars have been launched at the Erez crossing. There have been a total of 37 Israeli air strikes, and some ground operations into the Gaza Strip, as well as a total of 363 Israeli incursions into, and 287 arrests in, the West Bank.

The events in Gaza must necessarily be the central focus of this briefing. Since the February Mecca agreement, it has been plain that the Palestinian National Unity Government faced enormous obstacles. The agreement did not lead to the integration of common security and political structures. Nor did it lead to a lifting of Israeli and international measures against the Palestinian Authority Government in place following the January 2006 elections.

On 27 May, Egypt brokered a factional truce after bitter fighting in Gaza. That violence had also drawn in Israel, which had responded with targeted air operations to intense rocket attacks by Hamas militants against its civilian population. President Abbas proposed, and the National Unity Government endorsed, a ceasefire plan designed to ensure calm with Israel throughout Gaza and the West Bank. That plan did not materialize.

Matters were swiftly overtaken by the events of last week. Between 9 and 15 June, Hamas’s military wing and the Executive Force security organization took control of the Gaza Strip in a violent insurrection against the presidency and the Palestinian Authority security forces. The Hamas operations were well planned and executed, and Hamas fighters took over key security and strategic sites. Presidential forces were outperformed, as were Fatah militants. During the fighting, there were many grave violations of humanitarian and human rights law. The fighting included summary executions, attacks on hospitals and, at least in one case, the killing of an individual by throwing him off a building to his death. Premises of Palestinian Authority security forces and institutions were burned or looted, including the presidential compound. Additionally, three United Nations vehicles were stolen at gunpoint by presidential forces, but those vehicles have now been returned.

Inevitably, the fighting has created some population movement, including hundreds of Fatah militants and ordinary civilians who have sought to flee the violence. About 3,500 Palestinians, including some who were denied entry into Egypt, are reported to be awaiting re-entry into Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Another 250 people, some of whom are wounded or injured, are waiting at the Erez terminal for permission to cross through Israel to the West Bank. They are receiving assistance from the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the IDF.

The situation at the Rafah and Erez crossings still awaits resolution and raises increasing concerns about protection, particularly as many children are involved. We have, however, had reports today of several seriously ill Palestinians being allowed entry into Israel.

The fighting in Gaza inevitably had repercussions in the West Bank. There were clashes in Nablus and in Ramallah, and elsewhere Hamas supporters and officials were detained. President Abbas called for a halt to all such violent acts, including reprisals against Hamas members.

On 14 June, President Abbas dismissed Prime Minister Haniyeh, which led to the dissolution of the Government. He declared a state of emergency for 30 days, in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law, and appointed Salam Fayyad to serve as Prime Minister, and concurrently as Foreign Minister and Finance Minister, leading an emergency Government of 11 independents, mainly technocrats. President Abbas said that he planned to consult the Palestinian people at the appropriate time.

Meanwhile, within the Gaza Strip, the situation remains tense. Today marks the hundredth day of captivity for the BBC journalist Alan Johnston. Hamas militants surrounded the compound of the Doghmush clan on 18 June, where it is believed Mr. Johnston is being held. There have been no reports of progress in the efforts to secure the release of Israeli Corporal Shalit, who in five days time will have been captive for one year. We are troubled by reports of harassment of Gaza’s small Christian minority. This morning, we have also received reports of at least one rocket attack into Israel.

At the height of the crisis, the Secretary-General convened a teleconference of the Quartet principals on 15 June. In addition to sharing its great concern for the welfare and security of all Palestinians, the Quartet expressed understanding and support for President Abbas’s necessary and legitimate actions and noted its continuing support for other legitimate Palestinian institutions. Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo sent a strong message of support to President Abbas, as did the Council of the European Union .

With the formation of the Government, the United States and the European Union announced their intention to renew direct assistance to the Palestinian Authority. Those decisions signalled the legitimacy of the new Government and the fact that President Abbas’s positions are consistent with those of the Quartet. The Secretary-General telephoned President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad to convey his full support to the new Government. In a welcome development, in a meeting on 17 June, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel assured the Secretary-General that Israel was examining options for the resumption of transfers of VAT and customs revenues, and was planning to ease substantially movement restrictions in the West Bank.

With the situation in Gaza stabilizing to some extent, concerns about food and medical shortages are mounting. Reopening the crossings for commercial and humanitarian imports is the United Nations most immediate humanitarian concern. Our estimates indicate that commercial stocks of basic food items, such as flour and rice, will begin to run out in three weeks unless imports are resumed. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the World Food Programme, the main humanitarian providers in Gaza, have between seven and ten days’ worth of food reserves for distribution. Dairy and other fresh products are already in short supply. Yesterday and again today, small quantities of immediate food and medical relief were provided by Israel, the United Nations and the ICRC through the Kerem Shalom crossing for targeted distribution to recipients and suppliers. A relief shipment is scheduled to arrive from Jordan tomorrow. Those are welcome steps, but I must emphasize that overall food and essential commodity reserves are declining by the day. That can be reversed only by a resumption of imports through the Karni crossing.

All parties have expressed their desire to ensure that basic supplies continue to reach the people of Gaza. We welcome the fact that Israel has resumed fuel shipments for the power plant and petrol stations. Concrete steps by the parties must be taken now to reopen the crossings. We are working to find the arrangements that will enable the parties to make that happen, as called for by the Secretary-General and the Quartet.



Israeli settlement activity continued, including new construction near the Dead Sea and in the northern West Bank, in violation of the road map. Barrier construction also continued in occupied territory, notwithstanding the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. Obstacles to movement in the West Bank now number 553.



The brutal violence in Gaza and the attacks on the legitimate institutions of President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority Government are totally unacceptable and should be condemned. Those developments have generated deep sadness and shock among the vast majority of Palestinians. The Secretary-General regrets the failure of the National Unity Government and condemns the violence that brought about its demise.

Despite what has happened, Gaza and the West Bank remain one Palestinian territory, legally administered by one Palestinian Authority, headed by President Abbas, who has appointed an emergency Government led by Prime Minister Fayyad.

It is now vital that political and financial support from the international community and from Israel be immediately delivered to President Abbas and the Palestinian Government, starting with the release of all withheld Palestinian VAT and customs receipts. What is also needed is action on previous Israeli commitments, including the evacuation of settlement outposts, the removal of roadblocks and checkpoints, and the release of prisoners. Equally, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority should act on their previous commitments not only to end violence, but also to reform their institutions.

In Gaza, it is clear that the United Nations has a key role to play in addressing a myriad of challenges, none more pressing than the reopening of the crossings. I call on all not to allow this vital humanitarian issue to be overshadowed by political considerations. The people of Gaza cannot be left isolated, and all parties have indicated their desire to ensure that this issue is addressed. Concrete solutions are now needed.

In addition to these immediate issues, two larger political challenges remain: first, how to restore the unity of the Palestinian Authority and people, and prevent the de facto division between Gaza and the West Bank; and, secondly, how to advance the political process between Israel and the Palestinians and move towards a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is the responsibility of all -the parties, the regional States and the international community, including the Quartet - to provide the kind of leadership required to steer through this difficult period towards a more hopeful future. The Secretary-General is hoping that the Quartet will meet soon.



XII. QUARTET APPOINTS TONY BLAIR AS ITS REPRESENTATIVE

The following statement was issued by the Quartet on 26 June 2007 (SG/2129-PAL/2085):

Quartet principals noted that recent events in Gaza and the West Bank make it more urgent than ever that we advance the search for peace in the Middle East. The Quartet reaffirms its objective to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the Road Map, and expresses its intention to redouble its efforts in that regard. The urgency of recent events has reinforced the need for the international community, bearing in mind the obligations of the parties, to help Palestinians as they build the institutions and economy of a viable State in Gaza and the West Bank, able to take its place as a peaceful and prosperous partner to Israel and its other neighbours.

To facilitate efforts to these ends, following discussions among the principals, today the Quartet announced the appointment of Tony Blair (United Kingdom) as the Quartet Representative. Mr. Blair, who is stepping down from office this week, has long demonstrated his commitment on these issues.

As Quartet Representative, he will:

- Mobilize international assistance to the Palestinians, working closely with donors and existing coordination bodies
- Help to identify and secure appropriate international support in addressing the institutional governance needs of the Palestinian State, focusing as a matter of urgency on the rule of law

- Develop plans to promote Palestinian economic development, including private sector partnerships, building on previously agreed frameworks, especially concerning access and movement

- Liaise with other countries as appropriate in support of the agreed Quartet objectives

As Representative, Tony Blair will bring continuity and intensity of focus to the work of the Quartet in support of the Palestinians, within the broader framework of the Quartet’s efforts to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the Road Map. He will spend significant time in the region working with the parties and others to help create viable and lasting government institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy and a climate of law and order for the Palestinian people.

Tony Blair will be supported in this work by a small team of experts, based in Jerusalem, to be seconded by partner countries and institutions.

The Quartet representative will report to and consult regularly with the Quartet and be guided by it as necessary.

The Quartet looks forward to welcoming Mr. Blair at its next meeting.

XIII. SECRETARY-GENERAL SENDS MESSAGE TO MEDIA SEMINAR
ON MIDEAST PEACE

The following message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, held in Tokyo, was delivered by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, on 26 June 2007 (SG/SM/11060-PAL/2083-PI/1786):

I send my warm greetings to all participants in this Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East. Let me also convey my gratitude to the Government of Japan and the United Nations University for hosting this event.

You meet at a very critical time. After years of occupation, violence and mistrust, Israeli and Palestinian societies stand further apart than ever before. Alarming rifts have also surfaced in internal Palestinian politics, as armed clashes between rival factions spread death and destruction across the Gaza Strip.

I have voiced my deep concern about this internecine violence, particularly in Gaza. It has set back the Middle East peace process and the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance. Unfortunately, the violence has spread beyond Gaza in recent weeks, and both Palestinian and Israeli civilian lives have been lost. I have repeatedly called on all sides to uphold international law and protect civilians. The cycle of violence has to end immediately and calm must be restored.

The current outbreak of violence is cause for great dismay. But it should not lead to despair. Instead, we must focus all our energies on finding a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. And we must take heart from the numerous opinion polls of recent years that point to consistently strong grass-roots support in both Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory for peaceful coexistence within the framework of a two-State solution.

This resilient aspiration lies at the heart of your discussions on the role of civil societies in supporting the peace process. I am heartened that you will do so within the framework of a media seminar. The media is a powerful medium to inform and influence people, and to promote sustained dialogue and understanding. I hope the participating media personalities and civil society participants will explore creative approaches to spreading the message of peace and coexistence in these troubled times.

Your gathering underscores the reality that each and every one of us must remain actively engaged in the search for peace. In myriad ways, we must all contribute towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), and the principle of land for peace.

In that spirit, I wish you a most successful seminar.

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