Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol. XXVIII, No.3 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (mars 2005) - Publié par la Division des droits palestiniens Français
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Volume XXVIII, Bulletin No. 3
on action by the United Nations system and
relevant to the question of Palestine
Following is the conclusion contained in the report entitled “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine”, by John Dugard, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, issued on 3 March 2005 (E/CN.4/2005/29/Add.1):
23. This is a time of hope for both Israel and Palestine. If the ceasefire is to hold, it is essential that the Palestinian Authority exercise control over militant groups responsible for violence against IDF and settlers within Palestine and for suicide bombings within Israel. There are signs that the Palestinian Authority may succeed in this endeavour. Palestinians are exhausted by the second intifada, which has resulted in great suffering, and militant groups, notably Hamas, have now turned their attention to participation in the Palestinian political process. It is equally important that Israel keep its side of the bargain. However, it is not sufficient for Israel to only cease its military activity against Palestinians. It must address, with great expedition, the causes of Palestinian militancy, the issues that have given rise to terrorism against the Israeli people. In the longer term the questions of the return of refugees, the status of Jerusalem and the occupation must be confronted, but in the short term Israel must address the release of prisoners, the abandonment of checkpoints, the dismantling of the wall and the evacuation of all settlements in Palestinian territory. If it fails to do so, it will forfeit an opportunity for peace that may not again arise.
This is a moment of promise in the search for peace in the Middle East. There is once again a real sense that, after long years of suffering, bitterness and despair, better days may at last lie ahead.
The summit in Sharm el-Sheikh in January heralded a fresh start in efforts to end four years of bloodshed among Israelis and Palestinians. The agreement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to end violence signalled a new attitude of cooperation and the rebuilding of trust between the two sides.
Last week's meetings in London built on that breakthrough. The session on Palestinian reform hosted by Prime Minister Blair pointed the way towards important changes in governance, security and economic development that are vital for the creation of an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian State. The Quartet expressed full support for those efforts, and pledged to help Israelis and Palestinians implement the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings and their obligations under the Road Map. I am determined that the United Nations will continue to work with the Palestinian Authority, the Government of Israel, the Quartet, donors and other partners to create an environment in which these new initiatives will take root and flourish.
You are meeting to discuss the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the barrier being built in the occupied Palestinian territory. As you know, in January I sent a letter to the President of the General Assembly in which I outlined a framework for the register of damage the Assembly has asked me to establish. Work is proceeding on this, and I expect to report shortly.
The long-cherished dream of a vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians has been to live a normal life in peace and security. At long last, all of us can sense a newfound movement towards that dream. I urge everyone - the parties and the international community - to refrain from any actions that would be detrimental to the resumption of negotiations and implementation of the Road Map, or that could prejudge the resolution of final status issues. Let us all remain focused on our long-standing objective of two States - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders, as called for by relevant Security Council resolutions. And let us do our utmost to turn the current moment of potential into a real end to the conflict.
On 9 March the meeting adopted a final document, the text of which is reproduced below:
1. The United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine was held on 8 and 9 March 2005, at the United Nations Office at Geneva, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The theme of the Meeting was “Implementing the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory – The role of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society”. Participants in the Meeting included eminent personalities, internationally renowned legal experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of the United Nations, Members and Observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.
2. The Meeting took place against the backdrop of a series of promising developments, including the election of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 9 January 2005, followed by the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit on 8 February 2005, where President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had reaffirmed their commitment to the Road Map and reached a number of understandings, including a mutual declaration to end violence. A set of concrete trust-building measures on the ground initiated by both sides signaled the emergence of a new spirit of goodwill. The participants expressed strong support for the new positive momentum and urged the speedy implementation of those understandings in order to pave the way for the resumption of the peace process.
3. The participants welcomed the London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority, hosted by the British Government on 1 March 2005, and noted that the Meeting had supported and encouraged steps outlined by the Palestinian Authority and agreed steps for international support to be taken in the areas of governance, security and economic development. They also welcomed the commitment reaffirmed by the London Meeting participants to achieving a resolution of the conflict through direct negotiations leading to the goal of two States – a safe and secure Israel and a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
4. While welcoming Israel’s intention to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank as an initial step to the implementation of the Road Map, the participants underscored the importance of coordinating this process closely with the Palestinian Authority, and implementing it within the framework of the Road Map. The participants, however, expressed serious concern at the continued settlement activities in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem, and cautioned against any transfer of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
5. Furthermore, the participants also expressed serious concern at the Israeli Government’s continuation of the construction of the wall in defiance of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and United Nations resolutions. They considered that the construction of the wall, if not reversed, might be viewed by Israel as a permanent political boundary thus predetermining final status negotiations.
6. The participants were also greatly dismayed that the continued construction of the wall further exacerbated the already deteriorating socio-economic situation of the Palestinians. Since the construction began, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have lost their land and property, as well as access to their work, family, educational and medical institutions. The closures regime associated with the construction of the wall has caused untold suffering particularly for the Palestinians along the route of the wall. More than 60 per cent of households have lost more than half of their income and over half a million are now completely dependent on food aid. The participants stressed that urgent attention by donor countries and the international community was needed to redress this dismal and unacceptable situation.
7. In view of the gravity of these developments, the participants expressed their appreciation to the Committee for convening this timely Meeting. Welcoming the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004, the participants called it a historic development, noting that it was the first time the highest judicial body of the United Nations addressed a substantive issue related to the question of Palestine. They supported the Court’s position that the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, were contrary to international law.
8. The participants welcomed also the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004, highlighting its demand that Israel comply with its legal obligation to cease the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem; to dismantle segments of the wall already built; to repeal all legislative and regulatory acts adopted in view of the construction of the wall; and to make reparation for the damage arising from its unlawful conduct. The participants stressed the importance of the steps taken by the United Nations Secretary-General to establish a register of damage caused to all natural or legal persons concerned. They welcomed the ongoing work for the establishment of the register and looked forward to its early completion. The participants drew attention to the General Assembly’s request to all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations, as mentioned in the Advisory Opinion. Moreover, they urged Member States to prohibit individuals or entities under their jurisdiction from assisting in the construction of the wall.
9. The participants called on the international community to adopt measures that would persuade the Government of Israel to comply with international law and the ruling of the International Court of Justice.
10. The participants also supported the continued engagement of the Quartet in efforts to resolve the conflict. In this regard, they welcomed the statement issued by the Quartet in London, emphasizing the need to ensure that a new Palestinian State was truly viable, including with contiguous territory, and stressing that a State of scattered territories will not work. Participants stressed that the Palestinian State should be territorially contiguous along the 1967 borders which include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Reiterating the central role of the Quartet in the peace process, the participants called on the members of the Quartet to redouble their efforts at this critical stage and continue to work closely with the parties together with other international and regional actors to implement the Road Map in order to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the conflict based on relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515.
11. The participants reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations with respect to all the aspects of the question of Palestine, until it is resolved in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people were fully realized.
12. The participants noted with appreciation the deliberations in some national parliaments intended to highlight the Advisory Opinion and to encourage their respective Governments to adhere to the ruling. They were also apprised of the various initiatives of civil society organizations in support of the Advisory Opinion and encouraged civil society to continue their efforts in educating public opinion on the issues and promote a solution of the conflict on the basis of international law.
13. The participants also expressed gratitude to the United Nations Secretary-General for his continued commitment to and support for the work of the Committee, and to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva for hosting this Meeting and for the assistance and support extended to the Committee and the United Nations Secretariat in its preparation.
Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,
Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”,
Recalling also its resolution 2004/56 of 23 July 2004 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,
Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,
Expressing the urgent need for the full resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis and towards the speedy achievement of a final settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,
Concerned about the grave situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, resulting from severe impact of ongoing illegal Israeli settlement activities and the unlawful construction of the wall, as well as the severe consequences arising from Israeli military operations on and sieges of civilian areas, which have detrimentally impacted their social and economic conditions and deepened the humanitarian crisis faced by them and their families,
Recalling 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”, and recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004,
Recalling also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and affirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Expressing its condemnation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, many of them women and children, resulting in injury and loss of human life,
1. Calls upon the concerned parties, as well as the international community, to exert all the necessary efforts to ensure the full resumption of the peace process on its agreed basis, taking into account the common ground already gained, and calls for measures for tangible improvement of the difficult situation on the ground and the living conditions faced by Palestinian women and their families;
2. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development planning of their society;
3. Demands that Israel, the occupying power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;
4. Calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;
5. Calls upon the international community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families and to help in the reconstruction of relevant Palestinian institutions;
6. Requests the Commission on the Status of Women to continue to monitor and take action with regard to the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation, to assist Palestinian women by all available means, including those laid out in the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women” and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fiftieth session a report, including information provided by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.
I would also like to express my appreciation to Amr Moussa, for the leadership he continues to show as Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and for his important role as a distinguished member of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which recently submitted its report with important recommendations for us all.
I have urged world leaders to unite behind the Panel's proposal for a definition of terrorism, and to conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism before the end of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. I urge you to bring your own experience to bear, and to take the lead in this effort.
Of course, where there are genuine grievances that encourage people to support or sympathize with terrorism, then we must find peaceful ways to redress those grievances, and convince the population that terror is not the way to solve them. Nowhere is that clearer than in the occupied Palestinian territory, which I visited last week.
Yet again, I encountered the daily hardships faced by Palestinians, their concerns at continuing unilateral acts in the shape of Israeli settlement activity and land confiscation, their anger at the separation barrier or wall in the West Bank, their yearning to see all political prisoners released. But I also sensed a new mood of optimism and hope after a long and bitter period of bloodshed and despair. I would like to congratulate Egypt and Jordan on their leadership in bringing President Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon together in Sharm el-Sheikh. Both sides have made positive steps towards implementing the commitments they made at that Summit. The task that faces us now is to transform opportunity into achievement. As a member of the Quartet, the United Nations will continue to press for full implementation by both sides of their Road Map obligations, and of Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515, a just, lasting and comprehensive peace on all tracks, including the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks.
We live in a difficult and unsettled world. All of us are deeply pained by basic injustice, and by needlessly prolonged suffering. The wounds they inflict help dictate the public mood. But even as they remain unresolved, they need not, indeed should not, impede action to meet the deep thirst for change, and particularly for more popular participation, in our societies. This effort must proceed in parallel.
In recent months, Iraqis, Palestinians and Lebanese have shown a strong appetite for democratic solutions to their problems. In other places, where the yearning for wider participation is felt just as keenly, political systems are showing increased openness. Arab men and women are growing more determined to make their diverse voices heard. In the Arab world, and everywhere else, democracy is not a solution in itself. But it is the best means we have to solve problems, promote peace, nurture development, and create inclusive, cohesive societies based on the rule of law. The United Nations, already your close partner in so many ways, will continue working with you to achieve these objectives, too.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you that my report, “In Larger Freedom”, is now before you, along with those of the High-Level Panel and the Millennium Project. I believe that the September summit offers us a chance to make the current moment of uncertainty turn into a moment of opportunity in our quest for peace, prosperity and human rights. The Arab region, as much as any part of the world, stands to benefit if this agenda is adopted and implemented. And therefore, I hope to see all of you at the Summit, where we will have important decisions to take.