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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol. XXVIII, No.6 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (juin 2005) - Publié par 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 2005


June 2005

Volume XXVIII, Bulletin No. 6




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


Contents

Page
I.
    International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East held in Cairo
1
II.
    Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs briefs the Security Council

2
III.
    Secretary-General welcomes meeting between Prime Minister Sharon and PA President Abbas

3
IV.
    Quartet issues statement in London
4
V.
    Secretary-General issues report on assistance to the Palestinian people
5
VI.
    Secretary-General informs Security Council of Quartet’s appointment of Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement

6
VII.
    Secretary-General appoints new UNRWA Commissioner-General
7
VIII.
    Joint Ministerial Conference of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs and Planning on the Millennium Development Goals adopts Declaration

8



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. INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SEMINAR ON PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
HELD IN CAIRO

The thirteenth International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East was held in Cairo on 13 and 14 June 2005. The Seminar, entitled “Reinvigorating the Peace Process: the Role of International and Regional Actors in Facilitating a Comprehensive, Just and Lasting Peace in the Middle East”, was organized by the Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. On the first day of the meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a message that was delivered to the Seminar by Shashi Tharoor, the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. The text of the message is reproduced below (SG/SM/9928-PI/1659:


It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to all those who have gathered in Cairo for this timely media seminar on peace in the Middle East.

Since the last such seminar, the political situation in the region has improved, thanks to the historic Palestinian elections in January, Palestinian security reforms, the understandings reached at Sharm el-Sheik and the preparations for an Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. Unfortunately, we have also seen a slow but steady increase in violent incidents in recent weeks, underlining the fragility of the moment. That only makes it more urgent that, despite hardship and fear, we take advantage of the revived spirit of cooperation and keep our eyes on our long-standing objective: two states, Israel and a sovereign, viable, contiguous and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

I have urged Palestinians to do more to prevent acts of violence and terror. I have also continued to stress the need to avoid unilateral actions, such as the Israeli Barrier and continued settlement expansion, that could prejudge the resolution of final status issues or the implementation of UN resolutions. The new United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Alvaro de Soto, has taken up his duties and is making his initial contacts with all relevant parties. He is with you today and will brief you on his first impressions. The Quartet, for its part, continues to press both sides to respect their obligations under the Roadmap, and through its Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement, James Wolfensohn, is showing its determination to make that step unfold smoothly, in a way that helps Palestinian economic recovery and builds momentum for the peace process.

Indeed, when the peace process is moving forward, much seems possible. But when it stands still, the parties are actually moving backward, as positions harden, resentment builds, opportunities are missed, and the slightest provocation or misunderstanding risks sparking great damage. Such has been the experience, all too often, with the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

The people of the Middle East are now approaching a number of important turning points. With help from their regional and international partners, they can prevent a slide back into conflict and confrontation. And with help from responsible media - media that refrain from myths, stereotypes and hate propaganda - they can avoid inflaming an already volatile climate. Indeed, let us all do our part to make recent events a new start on the road towards a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Thank you again for participating in this seminar and for your commitment to that goal, upon which so much depends.


II. UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS BRIEFS THE SECURITY COUNCIL

On 17 June 2005, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. The following are excerpts of the briefing (S/PV.5206):

Let me begin this month’s briefing by reporting that, in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, the parties are slowly, and not without difficulty, meeting to coordinate the implementation of Israel’s initiative to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank. Confidence-building measures are also being discussed. In the next few days, Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas will meet to discuss the situation. We hope that they will work together to drive forward the process of coordination and confidence-building. Those developments are indicative of the hopeful trend that we have spoken of since the beginning of the year, but there are other trends too. Renewed violence and the low level of mutual trust continue to work against progress. Militants on both sides remain strong, and they exert much influence politically.

The recent marked increase in diplomatic activity continued over the past month. Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders met with senior United States policy-makers. On 25 May, the Palestinian and United States Presidents held their first meeting since the election of President Abbas, in January this year. A range of other representatives of the international community have already visited, or will soon visit, the region, among them Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and others. Our own new United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Alvaro de Soto, has taken up his post in the region, and I expect that he will brief the Council next month on his first impressions.



To assist in this pressing immediate goal of withdrawal, the Quartet’s Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement, James Wolfensohn, arrived in the region on 7 June and began his work with the parties and other actors. Mr. Wolfensohn is continuing to develop a rapid action programme aimed at bringing about immediate and tangible economic change for the better for Palestinians not just in Gaza but throughout the occupied Palestinian territory. He is working energetically with Israelis and Palestinians to encourage them to coordinate Israel’s withdrawal from and handover of the relevant areas.



In that context, I am glad to note that Israelis and Palestinians have continued to meet to discuss the economic and civilian aspects of Israel’s withdrawal. Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie and Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres on 21 May discussed the coordination of the withdrawal initiative as well as broader efforts aimed at resuscitating the peace process between the two parties.



There has been some progress on the implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings reached between the parties in February. On 29 May, the Israeli cabinet approved the release of an additional 400 Palestinian prisoners pursuant to the understandings, and on 2 June, 398 prisoners were released. There are reports that the Israeli Government intends to hand over to Palestinian security control the West Bank cities of Qalqilyah, Bethlehem and Ramallah prior to Israel’s withdrawal.



Against the backdrop of increased internal challenges and disorder, violence between Palestinians and Israelis continued over the past month to pose a serious threat to the safety and security of both peoples as well as to the viability of the overall process of moving forward.

I want to express our particular concern over the serious escalation in rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli targets.



During the reporting period, there has been a resumption of the Israeli practice of targeting from the air Palestinian militants engaged in suspicious activity. I would like to remind both sides of the need to take special care to protect innocent civilians, in accordance with international and humanitarian law.




III. SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES MEETING BETWEEN PRIME
MINISTER SHARON AND PA PRESIDENT ABBAS

The following statement was issued on 21 June 2005 by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (SG/SM/9945):

As the announced date for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank, 15 August 2005, approaches, the Secretary-General has been following events concerning the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory carefully. He welcomes the meeting today between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and looks forward to evaluating the situation at the meeting of the Quartet in London later this week.



IV. QUARTET ISSUES STATEMENT IN LONDON

On 23 June 2005, the representatives of the Quartet - US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Luxembourg Deputy Minister for Foregin Affairs Jean Hasselborn representing the EU Presidency, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued the following statement following their meeting in London:

The Quartet met today in London and reaffirmed its support for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank, and an orderly Palestinian takeover there. The Quartet reiterates its belief that this is a moment of optimism in the search for peace in the Middle East, and is an opportunity that should not be missed to revitalize the Road Map. The Quartet encourages Israelis and Palestinians to take full advantage of this opportunity in order to move closer to the goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The Quartet affirms that a new Palestinian State must be truly viable with contiguity in the West Bank.

The Quartet welcomes the meeting on June 21 between Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. Contacts between the parties should now be intensified at all levels.

The Quartet notes that less than two months remain until the announced start to disengagement, and emphasizes the urgent need for Israel and the Palestinians to work directly and cooperatively with each other, with the assistance of James Wolfensohn, the Quartet Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. The Quartet underlines that the coordinated support of the international donor community is crucial for the success of Mr. Wolfensohn’s mission, and urges Arab States to engage fully in this regard.
The Quartet members reiterate their full support for Mr. Wolfensohn and his efforts to assist with the non-security aspects of disengagement and revival of the Palestinian economy. These efforts include strengthening the overall capacity of the Palestinian Authority; facilitating legal and judicial reform; completing the reform of the financial system to establish a sound, transparent regulatory regime; and implementing anti-corruption efforts, a comprehensive budget strategy, and wage and pension reform. Private sector job creation is also critical in reviving the economy, as is a vibrant civil society sector. The Quartet also urges Israel to take immediate steps, without endangering Israeli security, to relieve the economic hardships faced by the Palestinian people and to facilitate rehabilitation and reconstruction by easing the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza and the West Bank and between them.

The Quartet notes that peace and security are essential components for political and economic revival; and stresses that the Palestinians must confront violence and terror in order for political and economic life to flourish. It urges both parties to avoid and prevent any escalation in violence so that withdrawal can proceed peacefully. The Quartet encourages continued Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation towards that end. The Quartet condemns the recent upsurge in violence in Gaza, including the firing of mortars and Qassams into Israeli towns and homes, and which has claimed innocent lives on both sides. In this regard, the Quartet notes and welcomes the Palestinian Authority’s full cooperation with the mission of General William Ward, the U.S. Security Coordinator, to assist the Palestinians in reforming and restructuring their security forces, and to coordinate international assistance towards those efforts. Rapid reform of the security services and strengthening of the rule of law are essential elements that can improve security for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

As we work to make disengagement succeed, we must not lose sight of the path ahead. The Quartet reaffirms that the two-State vision and the Road Map are the best way to achieve a permanent peace and an end to the occupation that began in 1967. The Quartet expresses its concern over settlement activity. In this context, the Quartet reminds both parties that they continue to have obligations under the Roadmap; and reaffirms the need to avoid any action that contravenes the Road Map or prejudices final status negotiations. Any final agreement must be reached through negotiations between the two parties.

The Quartet reiterates its commitment to the principles outlined in its previous statements, including those of May 9, 2005; March 1, 2005; and May 4, 2004; reaffirms that the two-State vision and the Roadmap are the best way to achieve a mutually-agreed settlement between the two parties; and reiterates its commitment to a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Quartet envoys will convene again before the beginning of withdrawal.


V. SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUES REPORT ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 59/56 of 2 December 2004, the Secretary-General on 27 June 2005 submitted to the Assembly at its sixtieth session a report entitled “Assistance to the Palestinian People” (A/60/90-E/2005/80), the summary of which is reproduced below:

Summary

The year under review was marked by the announcement of Israel’s disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, the death of Palestinian President Arafat, successful Palestinian presidential elections and cautious efforts towards a resumption of the peace process by both the Israelis and Palestinians, in spite of continued violence, which claimed lives on both sides. Internal and external closures and other measures taken by the Israeli military, although moderately alleviated towards the end of the reporting period, continued to create economic hardship for Palestinians and restrict the delivery of necessary emergency aid supplies.

While the humanitarian situation required that emergency assistance remain the priority throughout the year, United Nations agencies took steps in their programming, through technical support and capacity-building initiatives, to assist the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to refocus on longer term planning and improved governance at both the central and the municipal level.

The present report contains a description of efforts made by United Nations agencies, in cooperation with Palestinian and donor counterparts, to support the Palestinian civilian population and institutions.



VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL INFORMS SECURITY COUNCIL OF
QUARTET’S APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL ENVOY
FOR GAZA DISENGAGEMENT


In a letter dated 28 June 2005 to the President of the Security Council, the Secretary-General informed the Council of the Quartet’s appointment of Mr. James Wolfensohn as its Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement (S/2005/432). The text of the letter is reproduced below:

Recent events in the Middle East have raised hopes of a possible resumption of the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. We have witnessed the successful completion of Palestinian presidential elections on 9 January 2005, which was followed by the convening of the Summit at Sharm El Sheikh on 8 February 2005, where Israeli and Palestinian leaders announced a series of commitments to end violence, and to rebuild trust and mutual confidence. Although formal negotiations have not resumed, the two parties agreed to hold direct discussions to coordinate the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank, scheduled to take place in August 2005.

The international community has continued its efforts to support this positive momentum. The involvement and commitment of the Security Council has been evident in the presidential statements issued after the Palestinian presidential elections (S/PRST/2005/2), the Sharm El Sheikh Summit (S/PRST/2005/6), and on the conclusion of the 1 March 2005 London Meeting on supporting the Palestinian Authority (S/PRST/2005/12), in which the Security Council looked forward to the active engagement of the Quartet, and other interested parties, in the forthcoming period.

The Quartet, comprising the United Nations, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, has been working actively to support the parties to move towards a resumption of the peace process. The Quartet has consistently stressed the importance of a full and complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, consistent with the Quartet road map, as an important step to realizing the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

To best ensure that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza takes place in a way most conducive to a renewed peace process, the Quartet appointed Mr. James Wolfensohn as its Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. His mandate is to focus on the non-security aspects of withdrawal, particularly disposition of assets; passages, access and trade; and revival of the Palestinian economy in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip during and after the withdrawal. His mandate began on 1 June and will end on 31 December 2005.

The Quartet has stressed that a successful Gaza disengagement process would be an essential component to revitalizing the road map. In Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), the Security Council formally endorsed the Quartet’s performance-based road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The road map is recognized by the international community as providing the framework to resolve the conflict and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 1397 (2002), the Madrid Conference, the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, and the principle of land for peace.

The members of the Quartet have agreed that Mr. Wolfensohn and his team should be provided with the support necessary to establish an office in Jerusalem and fulfil his mission. In the context of Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), in which the Council endorsed the Quartet’s road map and encouraged the diplomatic efforts of the Quartet and others, I should be grateful if you could confirm support for the proposed arrangements. In view of the urgent and temporary nature of Mr. Wolfensohn’s mission, it would then be my intention to proceed swiftly with the provision of logistical, technical and financial assistance in support of his office.


VII. SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW UNRWA COMMISSIONER-GENERAL

The following statement was issued on 28 June 2005 by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (SG/SM/9967-PAL/2027):

The Secretary-General is delighted that Ms. Karen AbuZayd, who has done an outstanding job in the last five years as Deputy Commissioner-General, and in the last three months as Acting Commissioner-General, of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), has now agreed to serve a full three-year term as Commissioner-General. Ms. AbuZayd is already well known to UNRWA staff, to the Palestinian refugee community and to Governments in the region, as well as donors and members of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission. The Secretary-General believes that under her leadership UNRWA will carry out its mandate and fully live up to its responsibilities, during a period which, we all hope, will see decisive progress towards lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, based on United Nations resolutions and a negotiated settlement of all outstanding issues, including the refugee problem.



VIII. JOINT MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE OF ARAB MINISTERS OF SOCIAL
AFFAIRS AND PLANNING ON THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT
GOALS ADOPTS DECLARATION

The Joint Ministerial Conference of Arab Ministers of Social Affairs and Planning on the Millennium Development Goals met on 30 June 2005 in Cairo. The Conference adopted the Arab Declaration on the pursuit of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals which was submitted by the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Lebanon to the United Nations on 5 August 2005. Excerpts from the Declaration are reproduced below (see A/59/900):

We, the Arab Ministers of Social Affairs and Ministers of Planning, meeting at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, in the Ministerial Conference on the pursuit of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals,



Affirming that a just and comprehensive peace is an essential foundation for the achievement of development and progress and that the establishment of peace requires the complete withdrawal of the occupation of all occupied Arab territories and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 194 (III),



IV. Emphasis on primary health care



VI. (d) Opposing the environmental pollution caused by the Israeli authorities by dumping waste in the Palestinian territories thus seriously endangering environmental health as well as tyrannical actions such as the uprooting of trees and the confiscation of private land with water reserves.



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