Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXV, No. 1 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (
janvier-mars 2002) - Publication de la Division des droits palestiniens Français
Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter
Volume XXV, Bulletin No. 1
The Secretary-General continues to follow closely the worrying developments in the Middle East. He deplores the destruction of the Palestinian radio and television station in Ramallah by Israeli forces on 19 January and he is very concerned by the major Israeli incursion today into the Palestinian city of Tulkarem, in contravention of signed bilateral agreements.
The Secretary-General reiterates his conviction that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be reached through force. He again urges both sides to make every effort to stop the violence and rededicate their efforts to achieving a durable ceasefire leading to the implementation of the Mitchell recommendations and starting a meaningful dialogue aimed at a just and lasting peace based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
Upon a gracious invitation from His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco, chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, the latter held its nineteenth session in Marrakech, Kingdom of Morocco, on Friday 11 Dul Quida 1422 (25 January 2002), to examine the serious and critical situation through which the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds al-Sharif are going as a result of the continued Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the attempts of the Israeli Government to cripple the Palestinian Authority.
The meeting recorded the forced absence of the Palestinian President His Excellency Yasser Arafat due to the arbitrary decision taken by the Israeli authorities to restrain his movements. Attending the session were their Excellencies the Ministers for Foreign Affairs, as well as the delegations of States that are members of the Committee and the Secretary General of the OIC.
His Majesty Mohammed VI, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, delivered an opening speech in which he stressed the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah with the Palestinian people and their legitimate leadership represented by the Palestinian National Authority.
His Majesty also underlined the fact that the present difficult circumstances through which the Palestinian issue is going require adhering to realism and having a good sense of responsibility. His Majesty then appealed to the human consciousness and the international community to put an end to Sharon's arrogance and take the kind of action that would spare the region and the whole world tragedies while they can overcome them.
His Majesty also reaffirmed that the Muslim Ummah is committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, one that will enable the Palestinian people to recover its legitimate rights and establish its independent State with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital.
M. Farouk Kaddoumi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, delivered the message of President Yasser Arafat to His Majesty and the heads of the delegations participating in the session.
President Arafat invited the participants to forward a clear message, on behalf of the Islamic States, to the whole world exhorting it to work towards ending the war that Israel is waging against the Palestinian people, providing international protection to the Palestinian people and creating an international mechanism that would oblige Israel to abide by international legality and the signed agreements, terminate its occupation and dismantle settlements as that would constitute the ultimate guarantee for the achievement of peace and security in the region.
The members of the Committee, under the chairmanship of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, started their deliberations concerning the present situation, after which they issued the following appeal to the international community.
1. The Committee commends the responsible measures taken by the Palestinian leadership as expressed in its commitment to a unilateral ceasefire.
The Committee highly appreciates the self-restraint of the Palestinian Authority despite the unabated ferocious Israeli aggression directed against it and reaffirms its support to the resistance of the Palestinian people and their blessed intifada.
The Committee stresses that the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East was and remains the main objective of the member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, on the basis of the United Nations resolutions and the principle of "land for peace".
2. The Committee expresses its condemnation of the escalation with which Israel responds to the Palestinian appeasement measures, and reminds the international community that the continuation of the Israeli occupation is the cause of the explosive situation in the region as it was directed at besieging the headquarters of President Yasser Arafat, who was duly elected by the Palestinian people, and restraining his movement, demolishing houses, displacing hundreds of families, killing children and destroying the basic infrastructure and Palestinian institutions, in addition to assassinations, blockades and closures.
3. The Committee reaffirms that the Islamic States are active actors of the international community and its institutions and will not remain silent.
They will use all the opportunities available within international institutions to put an end to the Israeli aggression and to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land.
4. The Committee calls upon the United States, as the sponsor of the peace process, to take immediate and firm action to oblige Israel to halt its aggression against the Palestinian people, and reaffirms that Israel's behaviour is likely to trigger reactions at a time of global consensus reached in the aftermath of the criminal acts perpetrated on September 11th against innocent civilians and institutions in the United States of America. The world has indeed reached an agreement concerning the eradication of terrorism and its causes with a view to ensuring stability and security in the world.
5. The Committee expressed its support to all efforts and initiatives aimed at achieving a just and comprehensive peace that guarantees the security and stability of the region and enables the Palestinian people to enjoy all its rights, including its right to establish an independent Palestinian State with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. In this connection, the Committee reiterates its opposition to any attempt by Israel to undermine the foundations of peace embodied in the principle of "land for peace", international legality and the agreements concluded between the Palestinian National Authority and previous Israeli Governments.
6. The Committee invites the international community to assume its responsibilities vis-à-vis the serious and blatant violations against the Palestinian people, and calls upon the Security Council, in particular, to carry out its duties concerning the maintenance of international peace and security by virtue of the United Nations Charter, and adopt a resolution calling for the immediate deployment of a multinational force for the protection of the Palestinian people. The Council should also work towards the implementation of its resolutions so as to preserve its credibility as a United Nations organ.
7. The Committee notes that the Israeli Government has not responded to any appeal or attempt from international mediators.
It has, instead, continued to ignore the rules of international law, the decisions and resolutions of the United Nations as well as the signed agreements. The Committee is of the view that the issue must be brought back to the Security Council in order to enable that organ to assume its responsibility.
In view of the serious and explosive situation prevailing in the occupied territories, a situation that threatens peace in the whole world, it has become imperative for the international community to assume its responsibility by exercising pressure on Israel so that it halts its aggression, withdraws its forces immediately from the Palestinian zones, lifts the siege on the headquarters of the Palestinian President, and takes the necessary measures to achieve peace in the region in order to create the conditions that are conducive to the revival of the peace process and to the resumption of negotiations between the two parties without any preconditions.
All these measures should be accompanied and supported by the deployment of international observers to supervise the implementation of the Mitchell Report and the Tenet Plan, through a clearly defined mechanism and according to a precise timetable.
The Committee is convinced that the ending of the practices and illegal measures of the occupying Israeli authorities would create conditions conducive to the return to calm, and the resumption of negotiations from the point at which they were interrupted, and would contribute to the concretization of the call of President Bush and his Secretary of State for the establishment of the independent Palestinian State in conformity with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
The Committee expresses its deep appreciation and gratitude to His Majesty Mohammed VI, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco, for his relentless endeavours, at the Arab, Islamic and international levels, for the support of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds al-Sharif, and for convening this important session in Marrakech.
The Committee also expresses its thanks and appreciation to the Government of His Majesty and the Moroccan people for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to the participating delegations.
Earlier this month, members of the Council had decided on the need for regular briefings on the developments regarding the situation in the Middle East. This afternoon, members of the Council heard the first such briefing from the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Rød-Larsen.
Members of the Security Council were increasingly concerned at the unprecedented levels of violence and the steadily worsening situation in the Middle East. They deplored the loss of life and suffering of the civilian populations on all sides.
Members of the Council stressed that the destructive and dangerous cycle of violence should be immediately stopped.
Members of the Council also stressed that there could be no military solution and that violence would only create more violence. The only way forward was in the return to dialogue and negotiation. Members of the Council called on both parties to resume negotiations and to work for a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, based on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the Madrid principles.
In endorsing their earlier statements on the Middle East, members of the Council recalled that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have accepted the Tenet Security Plan and the Mitchell Committee Report.
Members of the Council strongly supported the efforts of the Secretary-General and those of his Personal Representative and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Rød-Larsen, to help the parties move forward. They also welcomed and encouraged sustained engagement by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, the Russian Federation, Norway, China and other countries involved in the peace process.
The following is the text of the statement issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan (SG/SM/8120) on 11 February 2002:
The Secretary-General deplores the deepening spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. He is dismayed at Israel’s shelling yesterday of facilities belonging to the Palestinian Authority in Gaza near civilian areas with bombs of heavy tonnage, which caused substantial damage to United Nations offices and injury to two United Nations employees.
The Secretary-General reiterates his belief that no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be found through violence and retaliation. Both sides must make every effort to achieve a durable ceasefire and return to the negotiating table, as there is no alternative to a political solution of this conflict.
The Committee re-elected Papa Louis Fall (Senegal) as Chairman. Also re-elected were Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla (Cuba) and Ravan Farhâdi (Afghanistan) as Vice-Chairmen and Walter Balzan (Malta) as Rapporteur.
The Secretary-General’s statement, as contained in press release SG/SM/8122-GA/PAL/878 , is reproduced below. The Chairman of the Committee introduced the draft programme of work of the Committee for the year 2002. The Committee approved the programme, as contained in document A/AC.183/2002/CRP.1 , which is also reproduced below.
Allow me first to congratulate you on your unanimous re-election to the leadership of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The renewal of your mandate reflects the Committee’s appreciation of your dedication and that of your country, Senegal, to the quest for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
I would like to congratulate you and the other elected members of the Bureau, whose determined efforts to promote the objectives of the Committee have again been recognized today.
In the past 16 months, the situation on the ground has deteriorated to unprecedented levels. The death toll now exceeds 1,100, with up to 20,000 injured on both sides, the overwhelming majority Palestinian.
We have seen too much suffering. The deadly spiral of violence must stop. The parties should move away from confrontation and recriminations, and return to the negotiating table.
To do that, it is absolutely critical that they finally start implementing, in full and without delay, the Mitchell Committee recommendations and the Tenet understandings with a view to securing a durable ceasefire. This would help reduce violence and restore a measure of mutual trust and faith in the peace process that have been lost in the past several months. In this context, I have called on both parties to make an effort to comply with the demands made by the Quartet in their joint statement of 25 October 2001.
That statement urged Chairman Arafat to make a concerted effort to ensure full and strict compliance with the Palestinian Authority’s ceasefire orders, including through arresting those who defied his orders and taking further steps against terrorist organizations. It also called on Israel to immediately withdraw from Area A, halt all extrajudicial killings, ensure greater restraint by the Israel Defense Forces, fully respect the ceasefire, move swiftly to ease closures and take steps for the immediate implementation of the Mitchell Report and the Tenet plan.
The peace process is going through an extremely trying period. Indeed, it is in distress. It has lost momentum and badly needs a renewal of energy and conviction. The parties should recommit themselves to the principles of Madrid and Oslo and return to a meaningful political dialogue aimed at achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The international community stands ready to help.
The Tenet understandings and the Mitchell recommendations, which establish clear and specific obligations for both sides, provide the basis for restoring the peace process. Their scrupulous implementation would re-establish the necessary security conditions, as well as the necessary political commitments.
Making progress on security-related issues alone, without addressing the occupation, will not bring lasting security. Ultimately, this can only be done by reviving the peace process. The urgency and gravity of the situation is such that preconditions that can all too easily be thwarted by extremists should not be allowed to become barriers to further progress. It is therefore vital that all aspects of Tenet and Mitchell should be advanced as a package.
The demand for a major improvement of the security situation needs to be linked to initiatives on the political front, in order to facilitate the return of the parties to the negotiating table. The international community must encourage both parties to take the steps required in order to break the present impasse. We have seen in the past that extremists can be isolated, and security improved, once there are renewed prospects for negotiations and the climate of mistrust, frustration and despair is eased.
The Palestinian leadership now faces great challenges. The destruction of the Palestinian Authority’s infrastructure will only increase the difficulty it has in meeting both its political and its security commitments. Certainly, the virtual house arrest imposed on President Arafat should be lifted.
Daily violence, wide-scale destruction and repeated closures have had a catastrophic effect on the Palestinian economy. There has been a sharp rise in unemployment, leaving families without a source of income. Some 50 per cent of the Palestinian population lives below the poverty line. The level of despair and hopelessness among them is at an all-time high.
Emergency humanitarian relief has therefore become a top priority. International donors have provided much-needed support to the Palestinian people – and to the Palestinian Authority, which is now operating under such severe restrictions. By all accounts, more assistance will be needed in the coming weeks and months. In view of the particular gravity of the crisis and the severe economic hardship endured by the population, the international community should address this situation as a matter of great urgency.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and many other United Nations agencies continue to provide emergency assistance and help to improve, or alleviate, the living conditions of millions of Palestinian families. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) remains at the forefront, responding to the essential day-to-day needs of nearly 1.5 million registered refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and another 2.4 million refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
In view of the worsening situation, UNRWA has recently issued its 2002 emergency appeal for assistance. I call on all the major contributors to help the Agency perform its vital humanitarian work.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Rød-Larsen, has been actively involved in repeated efforts to defuse the present crisis, restart the peace process, and coordinate donor assistance to the Palestinian people. In particular, together with representatives of the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union – the so-called Quartet – and other partners, he has been working with the parties on the immediate task of achieving a ceasefire and reactivating the political process.
I too have been engaged in these efforts, and I assure you that I will continue to work with all parties until a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine is achieved, based, as I said, on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of “land for peace”.
In conclusion, let me say how much I appreciate the important work of this Committee, and express my support for its mandate.
Thank you very much.
Programme of work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for 2002
I. Mandate of the Committee
1. The mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the year 2002 is contained in General Assembly resolutions 56/33, 56/34 and 56/35 of 3 December 2001.
2. In its resolution 56/33 entitled “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”, the General Assembly endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee contained in chapter VII of its report; 1/ requested it to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the General Assembly or the Security Council, as appropriate; authorized the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to make such adjustments in its approved programme of work as it might consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments, to give special emphasis to the need to mobilize support and assistance for the Palestinian people and to report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session and thereafter. It also requested the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation and support to Palestinian and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in order to mobilize international solidarity with and support for the achievement by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights and for a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, and to involve additional NGOs in its work. The Assembly furthermore requested the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and other United Nations bodies associated with the question of Palestine to continue to cooperate fully with the Committee and to make available to it, at its request, the relevant information and documentation which they had at their disposal. The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks.
3. In its resolution 56/34, entitled “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources and to ensure that it continued to carry out its programme of work as detailed in the relevant earlier resolutions, in consultation with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and under its guidance, including, in particular, the organization of meetings in various regions with the participation of all sectors of the international community, the further development and expansion of the documents collection of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, the preparation and widest dissemination of publications and information materials on various aspects of the question of Palestine, and the provision of the annual training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority.
4. In its resolution 56/35, entitled “Special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat”, the General Assembly requested the Department, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee, to continue, with the necessary flexibility, as might be required by developments, its special information programme for the biennium 2002-2003, and outlined a number of specific activities to be carried out under the programme.
II. Priority issues in the programme of work of the Committee for 2002
5. The Committee has reviewed the various aspects of its own programme of work and that of the Division for Palestinian Rights, as well as of the mandates governing them. It will continue to make adjustments in this programme in order to enhance its responsiveness to developments in the peace process and the situation on the ground, as well as to raise its effectiveness in promoting the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
6. In its conclusions and recommendations to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session, the Committee stated that at the start of the twenty-first century and more than five decades after the adoption by the General Assembly of its resolution 181 (II) , the Palestinian people was yet to see the promise of its own State fulfilled. Thirty-four years after the illegal occupation by Israel of its land, the Palestinians had yet to see their aspirations for self-determination and the exercise of their inalienable and natural rights realized. The Committee expressed great concern over the intensification of the crisis, the tragic loss of innocent lives, wide-scale destruction of Palestinian property and steady deterioration of the economy. As the core of the conflict remained the continuing illegal occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territory, the Committee reiterated its position of principle that the question of Palestine should be resolved on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) , as well as other relevant United Nations resolutions and the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and their own independent State. The Committee also reaffirmed its long-standing position that the United Nations should continue to maintain its permanent responsibility with respect to all aspects of the question of Palestine until it was resolved in a satisfactory manner and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people were fully realized.
7. As the crisis continues, the Committee stresses anew the importance of compliance by the occupying Power with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (Fourth Geneva Convention). In this regard, the Committee expresses full support for the results of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, reconvened in Geneva on 5 December 2001. The Committee calls upon all members and observers of the United Nations, as well as the Organization and its agencies, to observe the Declaration adopted by the Conference. It feels strongly that the High Contracting Parties should remain fully engaged on the question of the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, fulfil their obligations under the Convention and be prepared for follow-up steps, as required. In its activities during the year, the Committee will continue to put into focus the specific obligations of the occupying Power under the Convention, including the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of Palestinian civilians. In addition, the Committee will stress the illegality of settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. The Committee will also be guided by the provisions of resolutions ES-10/8 and ES-10/9 adopted by the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly.
8. The Committee takes the view that its programme of activities, mandated by the General Assembly, has continued to make a valuable and positive contribution to heightening international awareness of the question of Palestine and in sensitizing public opinion in the various regions with respect to the relevant issues. The Committee will strive to work with maximum effectiveness in order to respond adequately and in a timely manner to the rapidly evolving situation on the ground and to developments in the peace process.
9. In this most difficult period, the Committee stresses the need to support the Palestinian people and the peace process through a variety of activities. In the course of the year, the Committee will lay special emphasis on the urgency of salvaging the peace process. In particular, it will continue to advocate the implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations and the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations towards concluding a final settlement. The Committee has always maintained that economic assistance to the Palestinian people was a critical underpinning of peace in the region. With this in mind, it will remain engaged on issues relating to the state of the Palestinian economy and the urgency of providing international assistance to the Palestinian people. Furthermore, in keeping with its mandate, the Committee will continue to work towards the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and statehood.
10. The Committee attaches great importance to enhancing the cooperation and coordination between the Department of Public Information and the Division for Palestinian Rights, in implementation of their respective mandates. In its resolution 56/35, the General Assembly requested the Department, inter alia, to expand its collection of audio-visual material on the question of Palestine and to continue the production and preservation of such material. The Division will cooperate with the Department on the project of preservation and modernization of the United Nations collection of films and videos on the question of Palestine.
III. Activities of the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights
A. Action by the Committee
11. In pursuance of its mandate, the Committee will continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and participate in relevant meetings of the Security Council and the General Assembly. The Committee will also continue to monitor the situation on the ground and draw the attention of the international community to urgent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, requiring international action.
12. The Committee, through its Chairman, will continue to participate in relevant intergovernmental and other conferences and meetings, as necessary. The Committee considers this activity an important aspect of its work in promoting international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
13. In cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, the Committee will continue to expand its contacts with the Palestinian Authority and other institutions, including civil society, in the areas under its jurisdiction and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. Following the practice of the previous years, the Committee will continue to invite Palestinian officials and other Palestinian personalities to meetings with members and observers of the Committee and the Secretariat, as required.
14. The Bureau of the Committee will continue its consultations with countries interested in the programme of work of the Committee, including members of the European Union, with a view to promoting understanding of its objectives and greater participation in its activities.
B. Meetings and conferences
15. In response to the serious deterioration of the situation on the ground in 2000-2001, the Committee will focus its international meetings programme on the urgency of salvaging the peace process. It will stress the importance of implementing the Mitchell Committee recommendations, resuming the peace negotiations towards concluding a final settlement, mustering international support for the Palestinian economy and improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people. The Committee will strive to make its programme of meetings and conferences more reflective of the evolving situation, as well as forward-looking, and will continue to review and assess its effectiveness.
16. As authorized by the General Assembly, the Committee, in the past, has made adjustments in the programme in order to respond to new developments. In 2002, the Committee will continue to strive, in cooperation with prospective host countries and institutions, and the relevant Secretariat services, to limit costs of conference facilities, equipment and servicing staff, while ensuring the success of its meetings and conferences.
17. The Committee will also continue to organize thematic events, and will make an effort to encourage participation by countries and organizations which so far have not engaged fully in its programme of work.
18. Accordingly, the Committee intends to organize the following meetings in 2002:
(a) United Nations International Meeting in Support of Middle East Peace, April, Nicosia. The Meeting will be followed by a one-day United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Meeting in Solidarity with the Palestinian People;
(b) United Nations African Meeting in Support of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, May-June;
(c) United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People;
(d) North American NGO Meeting in Support of the Palestinian People, September, Headquarters.
19. The Committee is grateful to the Government of Cyprus for having agreed to provide the venue for the aforementioned meeting in its capital.
C. Cooperation with civil society
Civil society organizations
20. The role of civil society organizations in educating their respective constituencies about the fundamental issues of the question of Palestine and in mobilizing public support for the Palestinian cause remains very important. Aware of the challenges that lie ahead, the Committee is particularly appreciative of those NGO contributions that are focused on mobilizing international solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for the achievement of its inalienable rights, as well as supporting the peace process and the work and objectives of the Committee. There is a greater need for sustained campaigns aimed at informing public opinion and promoting national and international action in support of the peace process, the effective implementation of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements, and of a just and lasting peace in the region based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). As the peace process continues to experience serious difficulties and the Palestinian economy continues to disintegrate, the Committee believes that in 2002 the NGO community should focus its work on mobilizing support for the salvaging of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in accordance with international legitimacy. The position of the Committee is that, at this crucial stage, civil society organizations should make a meaningful contribution to efforts at ensuring the safety of Palestinian civilians and providing emergency relief and humanitarian assistance aimed at improving the living conditions of the Palestinian people.
21. The Committee intends to continue its practice of inviting civil society organizations to all international conferences and meetings organized under its auspices. It will encourage them to use those events as a platform for discussing their own initiatives and campaigns, and for bringing forward their views and ideas on the issues at hand. The participation of Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in those events provides civil society with a unique opportunity to support and strengthen, in particular, such positions and initiatives that are geared towards the realization by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.
22. The Committee encourages cooperation, coordination and networking among civil society organizations. It will maintain and develop its liaison with national, regional and international coordinating mechanisms accredited to it, in addition to the already established liaison with a large number of individual NGOs. It will continue the accreditation of new NGOs and their umbrella organizations and will ask the Division for Palestinian Rights to intensify its outreach to civil society. Periodic meetings or consultations with civil society representatives will contribute to further review and enhancement of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with NGOs.
23. The Committee takes the view that regular exchange of information with the NGO community on respective initiatives and the various current and planned activities and their outcomes is crucial to its cooperation with civil society. The Committee will continue to encourage the accredited NGOs to keep it abreast, on a regular basis, of major NGO activities and initiatives in support of the Palestinian people. In this connection, the Committee requests the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue to develop and regularly update its Internet web site on NGO activities on the question of Palestine (www.un.org/depts/dpa/ngo) as a central tool for the exchange of information and communication between the United Nations and civil society.
24. In the course of the year, the resources available for cooperation with NGOs on the question of Palestine will be used for the following activities:
(a) Organization, whenever appropriate and feasible, of meetings of NGOs in conjunction with international conferences and meetings held under the auspices of the Committee;
(b) Participation of representatives of the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights in important forums and other events worldwide organized by NGOs and other civil society organizations;
(c) Periodic meetings or consultations with various civil society organizations with a view to briefing them on the activities of the Committee and assessing those of their needs that can be met through the Division’s programme of work;
(d) Providing assistance to Palestinian organizations in sending their representatives to meetings held under the auspices of the Committee or supported by the Committee.
Parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations
25. The Committee strongly believes that the role and contribution of national parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations in shaping public opinion and formulating policy guidelines constitutes an important source of upholding international legitimacy in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. The Committee reaffirms the importance of developing closer cooperation with parliaments and representatives of inter-parliamentary bodies in order to encourage the discussion of the peace process and the various aspects of the question of Palestine within the respective parliaments and among all the layers of society. To that end, the Committee intends to involve parliamentarians and representatives of inter-parliamentary organizations in its international conferences and meetings. Consultations between the Committee and representatives of parliaments and inter-parliamentary organizations, to be held at international events sponsored by the Committee, should improve cooperation between the two sides.
D. United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine
26. The Committee has requested the Division for Palestinian Rights to continue its work on the further development, expansion and administering of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL), an activity initially mandated by the General Assembly in 1991. This will include updating UNISPAL on a day-to-day basis with relevant new documents; improving the quality control mechanisms and user-friendliness of the system; and furthering the development and management of the “UNISPAL” and “Question of Palestine” sites on the Internet. The Division will focus on making the collection comprehensive through the inclusion of recently issued documents in the system and on improving its organization through a wider use of hyperlinks. Additional work will be required in order to make the UNISPAL web site more technically advanced and user-friendly. The Division will continue to administer the UNISPAL web site, upgrading the system’s capacity to accommodate increased usage.
E. Other activities of the Division for Palestinian Rights
27. The Committee considers that the Division for Palestinian Rights should continue to prepare and issue in a timely manner its periodic publications, namely:
• Monthly bulletin on action by the United Nations system and intergovernmental organizations relevant to the question of Palestine;
• Periodic bulletin on developments in the peace process;
• Monthly chronological summary of events relating to the question of Palestine;
• Annual compilation of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council;
• Reports of meetings and conferences held under the auspices of the Committee;
• Annual bulletin on the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.
28. In addition, the Committee requests the Division to continue to prepare its informal periodic summary of information on significant activities of NGOs relevant to the question of Palestine for the information of the Committee and for communication to the network of NGOs.
29. The Committee believes that the Division, in consultation with the Bureau, should continue to review the existing publications prepared by the Division and make proposals with regard to those that require updating. In particular, the Committee requests the Division to complete, in the first trimester of the year, its work on updating the study entitled The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988.
Training programme for staff of the Palestinian Authority
30. The Committee considers that this useful programme, carried out in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, should be continued in 2002. The Committee considers that the experience of the previous years of the training programme should be evaluated, in consultation with the Mission, and used in such a way as to maximize the programme’s effectiveness and usefulness for Palestinian Authority trainees.
Observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
31. In accordance with the General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People will be observed on Friday, 29 November 2002. It is envisaged that the observance will take place at United Nations Headquarters, at the United Nations offices at Geneva and Vienna, and elsewhere in accordance with established practice.
32. The Committee will once again commemorate this anniversary with a solemn meeting and other activities. During the week beginning 25 November, a Palestinian cultural exhibit will be presented at United Nations Headquarters in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.
33. The Committee will continue to review and assess its programme of work in the light of new developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and the situation on the ground, and will make adjustments as necessary.
1/ Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-fourth Session, Supplement No. 35 (A/56/35).
As a follow-up to the briefing held on 30 January, members of the Security Council heard a briefing on the developments regarding the situation in the Middle East from the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Kieran Prendergast. Members of the Council expressed concern at the continuing violence in the region, and they shared the expressed dismay of the Secretary-General for the attack on the Palestinian Authority in Gaza on 10 February, causing the injury of two United Nations employees and heavy damage to United Nations offices. Members of the Council will continue to hold regular briefings on the situation in the Middle East.
The news from the Middle East is grim. Day by day, the toll of dead and wounded on both sides mounts. Day by day, the bitterness and mutual distrust between Israelis and Palestinians intensifies. Increasingly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict risks sliding towards full-fledged war. Truly, we are nearing the edge of the abyss.
During the past seven days there have been more than 60 deaths on both sides. Unless something happens to change the dynamic, it is all too likely that violence will escalate still further. Particularly alarming is the growing belief, among both Palestinians and Israelis, that there can be no negotiated solution to the conflict. As we all know, hopelessness and despair tend to lead to more extreme measures, with tragic consequences for the region.
Eighteen months after the beginning of the second intifada, the cost to both Israelis and Palestinians grows ever higher in terms of human suffering, bitterness, disillusion and mistrust. The key problems remain occupation; security — the need to end violence, including terrorism; and economic deprivation and suffering. These are interlinked problems, encompassing the political, security and economic domains.
Yet even at this darkest of hours, there is still room for hope. In the midst of the bitterness and the despair, with clamour on both sides for revenge and for ever more desperate and reckless measures, there is a path back to the negotiating table — if the parties choose to take it.
Let us not forget that the parties have agreed, in principle, that there is a way out — namely, the Tenet understandings and the Mitchell recommendations. Taken together, these documents defined an array of security, economic and political measures that would have moved the parties back to the table to negotiate the fundamental issues that divide them.
However, “in principle” is not “in practice”. In fact, as we know, the parties have not implemented either of these plans. If Tenet and Mitchell have not failed, they can certainly not be said to have succeeded. Clearly, the situation that is now unfolding requires urgent steps, moving beyond a discussion focused on how to pursue Tenet and Mitchell.
New thinking and imaginative new ideas are now being proposed from several quarters. This is to be welcomed, and such ideas should be considered promptly and thoroughly, both by the parties and by the international community. A reduction in the violence is the most immediate priority. But I have become more and more convinced that trying to resolve the security problem on its own cannot work. Security cannot be dealt with in isolation; it has to have a context. It has to be addressed alongside key political issues, particularly the question of land, and economic and social issues, including the increasingly critical, desperate conditions of the Palestinians.
Failure to address these issues together will only spawn new and perhaps deadlier exchanges of reciprocal violence. Unless both parties have a political horizon on which their hopes for peace and an improved livelihood can be based, there will be no enduring ceasefire. It is imperative that both parties exercise maximum restraint, particularly with regard to attacks against civilians. It cannot be overemphasized that both parties must adhere to their obligations under international law to protect the basic rights of civilians, including the right to security.
The lack of mutual confidence between the two sides makes a third-party role essential. The breakdown of trust is so total that neither side will believe the other when it comes to the implementation of agreements. I truly believe that it is imperative for the Security Council and the wider international community to work in a concerted manner with the parties towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Middle East.
As the Council knows, I and my representative have throughout been in very close contact with leaders on both sides, in the region and among the international community. However, in light of the gravity of the situation, I have asked my Special Coordinator, Terje Rød-Larsen, to intensify his consultations with the parties and with members of the Quartet, as well as with regional and international actors.
The outlook is bleak. But the present course of events is not irreversible. There is a high road — which the parties themselves were on not so long ago — as well as a low road. Let us do everything in our power to persuade the parties to pull back from the brink and return to the high road.
I much regret that today has seen yet another escalation of violence in the Middle East and more attacks on civilians by both sides, taking the number of deaths in the last 17 months to more than a thousand on the Palestinian side, and 288 on the Israeli side. Within the last 48 hours, five Israelis and 16 Palestinians have lost their lives. What distresses me particularly is that this time, as a result of incursions into refugee camps by the Israel Defense Forces, large numbers of Palestinians are reported dead or injured.
I call on the IDF to withdraw from these camps immediately, and I implore both sides to refrain from further actions which may endanger yet more civilian lives. They should remember that international law requires them to avoid and prevent attacks on civilians, and to respect the immunity of humanitarian facilities, including those of the United Nations.
A ceasefire is more acutely needed than ever but, once again, only renewed political negotiations can produce a ceasefire that will last.
The following is the text of the press statement issued on 28 February 2002 by the World Bank in Washington (WB/2002/224/MENA):
The World Bank approved a $20 million credit to support the provision of basic social services in the West Bank and Gaza. The need for this credit arises from the fiscal crisis brought on by an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Issued on standard International Development Association (IDA) terms with a 40-year maturity and 10-year grace period, the credit will finance an Emergency Services Support Project (ESSP) by providing funds for essential medical and school supplies, municipal solid waste management and municipal water and electricity services.
The ESSP is a $105 million initiative developed by the Palestinian Authority. Other donors who have pledged funding for the program include the European Union, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Greece.
Insofar as educational services are concerned, the ESSP will finance rent and other costs of running school facilities, as well as purchases of school equipment and technical training materials. In the health sector, the loan will enable the Ministry of Health to purchase medicines and medical supplies, and to contract NGOs and the private sector to deliver health-care services. Basic municipal services such as solid waste disposal, maintenance of roads, electricity and water services will also be supported under ESSP financing.
In my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I would like to draw your attention once again to the extremely alarming situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. Allow me to focus on some areas that are of particular concern to the Committee.
In the course of the past several weeks, the security situation on the ground has been steadily worsening. Daily, innocent civilians on both sides are killed and injured in unending violence. Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa intifada, over 1,000 Palestinians and some 300 Israelis have lost their lives. In an effort to quell actions by Palestinian militants, Israel has resorted to fighter jets and helicopter gunships, heavy armour and the use of special army units. Shelling targets in densely populated areas, in particular in the Gaza Strip, has resulted in a considerable human toll and wide-scale destruction of residential and other buildings. Incursions into Palestinian towns and areas have now become “business as usual” for the Israel Defense Forces. In yet another worrying development, the Israel Defense Forces have made several incursions into Palestine refugee camps in Balata and Jenin in the West Bank and in Rafah in the Gaza Strip, leaving large numbers of dead and injured persons. In addition, the situation at Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory has noticeably deteriorated. Over one week alone, we have witnessed several tragic incidents at roadblocks, with at least three cases involving pregnant women.
Recently, the Israel Defense Forces have stepped up attacks against the various elements of the Palestinian Authority. It has totally or partially destroyed scores of Palestinian Authority facilities, including its security and police installations, radio and TV stations, as well as Palestinian airport and naval facilities. Our Committee also strongly condemns the virtual house arrest of Chairman Arafat. This harsh measure against the leader of the Palestinian people should be lifted immediately.
In the 18 months of the intifada, the economic deprivation of the Palestinian people has reached catastrophic proportions. Thousands of Palestinian families have been left without any source of income, increasingly dependent on emergency relief. The almost methodical destruction of towns, villages and agricultural lands has made large numbers of Palestinians homeless and has led to their internal displacement — a dangerous new development. Overall, we are witnessing the unfolding of a humanitarian crisis. It is incumbent on the international community to address this situation and provide the Palestinian people with the much-needed humanitarian assistance.
It has been said on many occasions and in various quarters that the conflict cannot be resolved by means of force. The parties must restore mutual trust through positive actions on the ground and bridge their differences through meaningful negotiations. In this context, the Committee welcomes and supports all initiatives leading the parties out of the present impasse towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on Security Council resolution s 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace. We, in the Committee, also fully agree with your assessment of the present situation and share the view that efforts at re-establishing security should be complemented by dramatic steps in the political and socio-economic areas. In the Committee’s view, the work of the Quartet, composed of representatives of the two co-sponsors of the peace process, the European Union and the United Nations, has acquired special importance and can indeed catalyse the broader international effort at bringing peace to the region. This is especially critical now, as the divide between the two sides appears to be rapidly growing. Innovative approaches and fresh ideas emanating from regional and extraregional parties are therefore necessary and should be encouraged. We all have to act now. The international community cannot afford to waste more time in the quest for peace in the Middle East.
However, in working for peace in the region, we should be acutely aware that no solution to the conflict could be found without addressing its core problem - the question of the continuing illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. To be successful, all peacemaking efforts should take this central premise into account. It is also clear that the Israelis and the Palestinians will only be able to enjoy peace and normality when the occupation becomes a thing of the past.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate our Committee’s position that the United Nations should maintain its permanent responsibility for the question of Palestine until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and international legitimacy and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized.
I should be grateful if you would have this letter circulated as a document of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 5, and of the Security Council.
The following are the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report entitled “Question of the Violation of Human Rights in the Occupied Arab Territories, including Palestine” of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. John Dugard, issued on 6 March 2002 ( E/CN.4/2002/32):
55. International humanitarian law and human rights norms have been seriously violated in the present conflict by both parties. Both Israelis and Palestinians should make every endeavour to respect the rule of law, human rights and humanitarian law. Targeted killings of selected Palestinians by guided missiles, terrorist bombings in Israel, the demolition of homes in the Palestinian Territory and the indiscriminate killing of civilians by both sides must cease.
56. Israel’s restrictions on freedom of movement, resulting from checkpoints, have caused great personal, social and economic hardships to civilians in no way involved in the conflict. They constitute collective punishment of the kind prohibited by article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Moreover, sufficient doubts have been cast on both the purpose and the effectiveness of checkpoints as a means of promoting security to warrant a serious reconsideration of their retention by the Government of Israel.
57. Settlements are an ever-visible and aggravating sign of occupation and of Israel’s illegal conduct as an Occupying Power. It is not enough merely to impose a freeze on settlements. Steps must now start to dismantle settlements.
58. Children have suffered greatly in the present crisis. Every effort should be made by the Israeli military authorities to ensure that the safety and welfare of schools and schoolchildren are respected. It is further recommended that an investigation be conducted into allegations of inhuman treatment of children under the military justice system and that immediate steps be taken to remedy this situation.
The Secretary-General is saddened and distressed by the death of Kamal Hamdan, a staff member of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He was killed late this afternoon when several bullets were fired by Israeli soldiers on an UNRWA ambulance in which he was riding near Tulkarm in the West Bank. Mr. Hamdan is the first United Nations staff member to be killed since the current violence between Israelis and Palestinians began in September 2000.
The Secretary-General condemns this killing, which has occurred despite repeated letters of protest from UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen to the Israeli Government about the damage sustained by UNRWA facilities as a result of earlier attacks by the Israel Defense Forces against Palestinian targets. He appeals to the Government of Israel to thoroughly investigate the incident and to take the necessary action against those responsible. He believes that this tragedy serves as a graphic reminder of the need for the parties to respect international humanitarian law and provide security for all civilians, including the staff of international and non-governmental organizations active in the region.
The Secretary-General wishes to convey his deepest sympathy and condolences to Mr. Hamdan’s family.
On 12 March 2002, the Security Council considered the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question (S/PV.4488; S/PV.4489).
Following is the text of the statement made by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Security Council (S/PV.4488):
Three weeks ago, I briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. I warned then that we were nearing the abyss. Since that day, the toll of dead and wounded – particularly among innocent civilians – has risen to levels that can be described, without exaggeration, as appalling.
Israeli-Palestinian tensions are at the boiling point. The situation is the worst in 10 years. Escalation has been met with escalation with little – in some cases no -- regard for innocent civilian lives. Acts that are disproportionate in scale, and indiscriminate in their effect, are occurring on an almost daily basis.
The scale of the carnage is horrifying. Since the beginning of the current crisis in September 2000, there have been some 1,200 fatalities among the Palestinians. More than 180 of them have occurred in the last 10 days. On the Israeli side, out of some 350 fatalities, well over 50 have occurred in the same 10 days. I grieve as we all must for the families of those who have lost loved ones or been maimed or wounded. I grieve for Israel and Palestine.
In giving the Council my assessment of the situation on the ground, I would like to start by saying that I am profoundly disturbed by the increasing use of heavy weaponry by Israel in civilian areas. It has made life even more difficult and precarious for Palestinian civilians who were already subjected to severe physical and economic hardships.
Large-scale military operations in pursuit of Palestinian militants -- involving ground troops, attack helicopters, tanks and F-16s -- have taken place throughout civilian areas and refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, causing large-scale loss of life. In addition, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other agencies are reporting growing disregard, on the part of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), for the safety of medical and ambulance personnel who are attempting to treat and evacuate wounded from conflict zones. Only last week, a United Nations staff member was killed in a clearly marked United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) ambulance.
On the other side, the Palestinians have played their full part in the escalating cycle of violence, counter-violence and revenge. Palestinian groups have carried out a series of attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets. They have attacked IDF checkpoints and settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Kassam II rockets have been launched against civilian areas in Israeli towns. I am particularly disturbed by suicide attacks which deliberately target civilians, spreading fear and anxiety throughout the general population.
Against this backdrop, I very much welcome the decision of the United States to send General Zinni back to the region. Both Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon have taken steps to facilitate his efforts. Mr. Arafat has finally arrested all those suspected of involvement in the assassination of Rehevam Zeevi, the Israeli Tourism Minister. Mr. Sharon has wisely given up his demand for seven days of calm before beginning negotiations.
I hope both leaders will engage constructively with General Zinni in a renewed and intensified dialogue on the political, security and economic dimensions of the peace process. The alternative, for both sides, is continued bloodshed -- delaying even further the prospects for an end to the occupation and the violence.
At this time, Mr. President, I feel I must speak directly to the people and leaders of both sides.
To the Palestinians I say: You have the inalienable right to a viable State within secure, internationally recognized borders. But you must stop all acts of terror and all suicide bombings. The deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of civilians is morally repugnant. It is doing immense harm to your cause, by weakening international support, and making Israelis believe that it is their existence as a State, and not the occupation, that is being opposed.
To the Israelis I say: You have the right to live in peace and security within secure, internationally recognized borders. But you must end the illegal occupation. More urgently, you must stop the bombing of civilian areas, the assassinations, the unnecessary use of lethal force, the demolitions, and the daily humiliation of ordinary Palestinians. Such actions gravely erode Israel’s standing in the international community, and further fuel the fires of hatred, despair and extremism among Palestinians.
To the leaders on both sides -- Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat, in particular -- I say: You can lead your peoples away from disaster. You have accepted the Tenet understandings and the Mitchell recommendations as the basis for negotiations. Today, more than ever, you must recognize that security and a political settlement are indivisible. One cannot exist without the other. Many of your friends stand ready to support you if you seize this opportunity.
In closing, let me say that the recent initiative by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia set out a clear and compelling vision for peace in the Middle East, based on the bedrock of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) . I appeal to the leaders of the Arab world not to give up on the search for peace but rather to unite in support of this vision, showing the world – and the parties – that there is an alternative to war.
I call on Mr. Arafat and Mr. Sharon immediately to take the necessary political, security and economic steps on the ground which can help realize this vision. Finally, I call on the Security Council to lend its full authority and influence to the vital cause of peace.
On 12 March 2002, at its 4489th meeting, the Security Council adopted resolution 1397 (2002) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (Syria) (S/PV.4489).
The following is the text of resolution 1397 (2002):
Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973),
Affirming a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders,
Expressing its grave concern at the continuation of the tragic and violent events that have taken place since September 2000, especially the recent attacks and the increased number of casualties,
Stressing the need for all concerned to ensure the safety of civilians,
Stressing also the need to respect the universally accepted norms of international humanitarian law,
Welcoming and encouraging the diplomatic efforts of special envoys from the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations Special Coordinator and others to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,
Welcoming the contribution of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah,
1. Demands immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction;
2. Calls upon the Israeli and Palestinian sides and their leaders to cooperate in the implementation of the Tenet work plan and Mitchell Report recommendations with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement;
3. Expresses support for the efforts of the Secretary-General and others to assist the parties to halt the violence and to resume the peace process;
4. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
On 11 and 15 March 2002, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women. It had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the same subject (E/CN.6/2002/3 ). On 15 March, by a recorded vote of 38 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, it approved draft resolution E/CN.6/2002/L.2 and recommended it to the Economic and Social Council for adoption.
The text of the resolution approved by the Commission on the Status of Women is reproduced below:
The Economic and Social Council,
Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General1 on the follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration2 and Platform for Action,3 concerning the situation of Palestinian women and assistance provided by organizations of the United Nations system,
Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women,4 in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and the special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”,
Recalling also its resolution 2001/2 of 24 July 2001 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,
Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women5 as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,
Stressing the need for compliance with the existing Israeli-Palestinian agreements concluded within the context of the Middle East peace process and the need to resume peace negotiations, as soon as possible, in order to reach a final settlement,
Concerned about the continuing dangerous deterioration of the situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and about the severe consequences of continuous illegal Israeli settlements activities as well as the harsh economic conditions and other consequences for the situation of Palestinian women and their families, resulting from the frequent closures and isolation of the occupied territory,
Expressing its condemnation of acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, 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 towards ensuring the immediate resumption of the peace process on its agreed basis, taking into account the common ground already gained, and calls for measures for tangible improvements in the difficult situation on the ground and 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,6 the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention of 19077 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, 8 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. Urges Member States, financial organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and other relevant institutions to intensify their efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to Palestinian women, especially during the transitional period;
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 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 and to assist Palestinian women by all available means, and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-seventh session a report on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.
*On behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China and in accordance with rule 69 of the rules of procedure of the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council.
2 Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution I, annex I.
3Ibid., annex II.
4 Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 5-16 July 1985 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.85.IV.10), chap. I, sect. A.
5See General Assembly resolution 48/104.
6General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).
7See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).
8United Nations, Treaty Series , vol. 75, No. 973.
The following is the text of the press statement issued on 25 March 2002 by the World Bank (WB/2002/257/MENA):
The World Bank is releasing a report entitled Fifteen Months – Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisi s, which surveys the economic impact of the current crisis and proposes a strategy for managing the Palestinian economy in 2002.
Mainly as a result of the heavy restrictions on the movement of labour and goods in the West Bank and Gaza (the closures), the Palestinian economy is in severe recession. Unemployment has tripled, to almost one third of the workforce. Real incomes have fallen by almost 30 per cent, and are now lower than they were in the late 1980s. The proportion of the poor (those consuming less than US$2 per day) has doubled, to almost half the population of the West Bank and Gaza (WBG). Tremendous damage has also been done to the international donor effort to help bring peace to the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
As the report shows, however, this tragedy has not extinguished the donor community's belief in the possibility of peace, and donor financial support has virtually doubled during the intifada.
Over US$900 million was disbursed by donors in 2001.
Since the beginning of the intifada, donors were heavily involved in providing emergency assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestinian people. By mid-2001, however, many donors felt they needed a better sense of the economic impact of the crisis, and a sense of the priorities they should address in 2002.
Working on behalf of the donor community, the World Bank prepared this report with technical support from UNSCO and finance from the Government of Norway.
The report is divided into four main sections:
The first section describes the nature and extent of Israel's policy of closure (internal closure within WBG, closure of the borders between Israel and WBG, and closure of international crossings between WBG and neighboring Jordan and Egypt) and its impact on economic activity. It is clear that the main proximate cause of the Palestinian economic crisis is closure, the impact of which far exceeds that of armed confrontation and associated physical destruction.
The second section quantifies the impact of closure and confrontation on employment, trade, investment and productive capacity in the public and private sectors, and on the living standards of the Palestinian population. This section depicts an economy in severe recession. The share of the Palestinian population living below the poverty line is estimated at almost 50 percent, double what it was in late 2000, while the unemployment rate has tripled to nearly 30 percent of the labor force. Physical damage from the conflict by the end of December 2001 is estimated at US$305 million, while Gross National Income losses amounted to at least US$2.4 billion in real terms.
The PA is effectively bankrupt, since tax revenues have dwindled to one fifth of previous levels. Monthly budget needs under the "austerity budget" promulgated in March 2001 total US$90 million, but revenue collected by the PA now amounts to less than US$20 million per month. The report describes three types of pressure on PA finances arising from the crisis: the sharp drop in PA revenue collections associated with the decline in economic activity and disruption of tax administration; the suspension since December 2000 by Israel of the transfer of the revenues collected on the PA's behalf (over US$500 million at that time); and an increase in the need for emergency expenditures, particularly in health.
The third section highlights the way in which households and institutions have been coping with the crisis. The report finds four main reasons to explain the resilience of the beleaguered Palestinian economy: first, the PA has managed the crisis well, particularly the budget, the delivery of basic services and physical rehabilitation efforts. Second, after a virtual cessation of work in Israel in the first weeks of the intifada, an average of 50,000 workers from the West Bank have managed to find work again in Israel and the settlements. Third, households have reduced their expenditures and drawn down their savings, and informal self-help and sharing systems have redistributed the economic pain. And fourth, the donors (often working through NGOs) have injected timely and generous emergency assistance. Despite the difficulties of working in conflict, donor disbursements rose by 93 percent in 2001 when compared with 1999 (to almost $930 million). Over 80 percent of this was devoted to budget support and emergency relief. This unprecedented quantity of budget support has helped sustain a minimum level of market demand and has prevented the disintegration of government structures. Donor contributions to UNRWA have also been key, and numerous small-scale job creation programs for the newly unemployed have been put in place. Without the intervention of the donors, and in particular the Arab League and European Union States, all semblance of a modern economy would have disappeared by now. Even so, the surge in assistance came with a price – disbursements on growth-oriented infrastructure and capacity-building projects dropped from over US$400 million in 1999 to US$175 million in 2001, and many large projects have been seriously delayed or damaged. In effect, long-term investment has been sacrificed to short-term survival.
The report, however, stresses that the present situation is unsustainable. Households have in many cases exhausted their savings and capacity to borrow. Emergency employment schemes, for all their merits, have not made a significant dent on unemployment. The fiscal situation continues to deteriorate, and donor contributions have not closed the budget deficit. Up to now the PA has managed this deficit by borrowing from commercial banks, cutting salaries, squeezing operating costs and delaying the payment of bills – but all of these strategies are reaching their limit. By the end of 2001, the PA's arrears amounted to US$430 million, most of these to Palestinian commercial suppliers (in turn placing significant pressure on Palestinian commercial banks). Poverty is deepening, particularly in isolated communities. Serious health and environment problems are emerging.
The final section identifies the actions that need to be taken by Israel, the PA and the donors to reverse this economic decline.
It is axiomatic from the Bank's analysis that any significant recovery of the Palestinian economy requires that the Government of Israel dismantle the present system of internal checkpoints and border restrictions on goods and workers. In addition, withheld tax revenues need to be released to the PA, and regular revenue clearances resumed.
It is recommended that the donors' program of emergency support, scheduled for 2002, have seven basic priorities:
1. Budget support to the PA and the municipalities;
2. Targeted assistance to social service delivery institutions;
3. Emergency support for the private sector;
4. Enhanced efforts to support the unemployed and the poor, through cash payment and job creation schemes;
5. The reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and rehabilitation of degraded agricultural land;
6. Loans to university students who have lost the means to pay for their education;
7. Support to UNRWA's emergency programs for refugees.
Total donor financing needed in 2002 would vary according to the political scenario projected. Should the peace process resume and closure be lifted, total needs would amount to about US$1.1 billion. A continuation of the current status quo would require around US$1.5 billion from donors, and a significant further tightening of closure would increase total emergency needs to around US$1.7 billion.
Donors should also rededicate themselves to the medium-term development agenda, despite the difficulties of working under present conditions. In this connection, the report lists the main characteristics of projects which have proven particularly effective during the intifada.
The report recommends that the Palestinian Authority should maintain strong budget discipline in 2002 and make adequate provision for essential operating costs, and should develop a unified Emergency Plan for 2002 with the full participation of civil society. This will help focus Palestinian energies on immediate economic survival and subsequent recovery. The PA has described in this report its intention to implement the medium-term agenda in suspense since September 2000. This agenda has two main planks – the promotion of transparency and accountability in the public sector, and the creation of a supportive environment for private sector development. The report lists the different actions the PA now proposes to undertake. These include the transparent management of all sources of public revenue, the maintenance of a public sector hiring freeze, the application of clear public procurement standards and guidelines, the development of a unified pension system covering all public employees and the creation of a legal environment conducive to investment and open competition.
It is a special privilege for me to join you today. I am very grateful to the Government and people of Lebanon – in particular President Lahoud and Prime Minister Hariri – for the warm welcome I have received. I wish to pay tribute to His Majesty King Abdullah for his wise and vigorous leadership as Chairman of the Arab League over the past year. And I join you in welcoming President Lahoud as the new Chairman of the Arab League, and His Excellency Mr. Amr Moussa as its new Secretary-General.
There is no conflict in the world today whose solution is so clear, so widely agreed upon, and so necessary to world peace as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tragically, however, there is no conflict whose path to resolution seems so thickly entangled with hatred and mistrust, or so vulnerable to the acts of extremists. This paradox must not be allowed to persist. Through political courage and leadership, we must bridge the gap between our vision of peace and the present reality of conflict.
There is a solution to the paradox. The leaders on both sides, specifically Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat, must reaffirm the strategic choice for peace, based on a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement. It is their role, and their duty, to lead their peoples back from the brink. History, and their peoples, will remember them kindly if they rise to the challenge. History, and their peoples, will judge them harshly if they do not.
We all yearn to see a new era of peace and security for all. This yearning is reflected in Security Council resolution 1397 (2002), adopted earlier this month, which affirms a vision of the Middle East as a region “where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognized borders.” Building on the bedrock of its earlier resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the Security Council has thus established a firm framework for a just and viable solution of the problem of Palestine.
We are no less united in our grave concern for the regional dimension of this conflict, and in calling for a comprehensive peace between Israel and all its neighbours, including Syria and Lebanon. The world as a whole yearns, with your peoples and the people of Israel, for an end to the bloodshed and suffering.
The people of the Arab world are not alone in believing that the Palestinians have a right to their own State in peace and security; that the long occupation must end; that there must be an immediate improvement in the unbearable living conditions of the Palestinians; and that Israel must immediately abandon such indefensible methods as targeted assassinations and the use of heavy weaponry in densely populated areas.
But the people of Israel are not alone, either, in believing that they have a right to live in peace and security, free from terror; that suicide attacks against Israeli civilians are morally repugnant, and should not be glorified but denounced as such by all Arab leaders; and that the Arab world as a whole must come to terms – once and for all, in public and in private – with the right of Israel to exist.
These beliefs of both sides are shared by people all over the world.
The Palestinians are right to call for a horizon of peace. All of us want to see an end to the occupation, the withdrawal of Israeli settlements, and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State. And the Israelis are equally entitled to expect a horizon of peace. All of us want to hear a firm and credible assurance from you – the leaders of the Arab League – that, once Israel concludes a just and comprehensive peace and withdraws from Arab lands, it can look forward to peace and full normal relations with all the Arab world. That assurance can – and I say must – be your contribution to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
The important proposal put forward by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia can be the foundation. Based on the principle of “land for peace”, it provides a clear and compelling vision. The search for peace and stability has never been more urgent. I appeal to you today to unite in support of this vision, showing the world – and the parties – that you are ready to help them in making the crucial choices for peace.
Let me now briefly mention two other countries whose fate is, I know, a cause of great concern to Arabs, to Muslims, and indeed to the whole world.
Earlier this month I held frank and useful talks with the Iraqi Foreign Minister on how to implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and we shall be meeting again next month. Meanwhile, I appeal to the Iraqi leadership, once again -- for the sake of the Iraqi people and for the sake of peace in the region -- to comply without delay with all relevant resolutions. The sooner they accept that there is no other path to ending the sanctions regime and relieving the suffering of the Iraqi people, the sooner this problem will be resolved. And I am confident that you, leaders of the Arab world, will join me in this appeal.
Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan is yet another reminder of the destruction and misery that result from war. The international community has shown an almost unprecedented determination, notably at the Tokyo Conference in January, to help the Afghans rebuild their country and so lay the foundations of lasting peace. Saudi Arabia was one of the co-chairs of that conference and many other countries present here today made generous pledges of assistance. The Afghan people are counting on your help, which is all the more urgently needed now that natural disaster has been added to the ravages of war. I send my deepest condolences to the families of all those who have lost loved ones in the terrible earthquake that struck northern Afghanistan two days ago.
The Arab world has for too long been prevented from realizing its potential by the persistence of conflict, mistrust and instability. Though we meet at a time of crisis and tension, I urge you to look towards a future of peace and prosperity, and to take steps within your own societies to bring it closer. I appeal to you to confront the menace of extremism, hatred and intolerance, and to ensure that they find no place in your school curricula, or in the minds of your young people.
Your peoples, like all peoples – and particularly the youth – the under-twenties who represent nearly 50 per cent of your population – yearn for the opportunities of free and open societies characterized by good governance, human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law. Only in this context will they be able to make the most of their abilities and bequeath a better future to their children. Only in this way can poverty, illiteracy and extremism be replaced by peace, stability and prosperity – to the benefit of all the peoples of this region.
I wish you all success in your deliberations, and thank you for the honour of being invited to address you today.
Shoukran jazeelan wa as-Salaam aleikum.
[Thank you very much, and Peace be with you!]
Arab Peace Initiative
The Summit-level Council of the League of Arab States,
Reaffirming the decision of the extraordinary Arab summit conference held in Cairo in June 1996 that a just and comprehensive peace is a strategic choice for the Arab States to be achieved in
accordance with international legality and to require an equivalent commitment in this regard on the part of Israel,
Having heard the statement in which His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, presented his Initiative and called for Israel’s full withdrawal from all the Arab territories that have been occupied since 1967, in implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) as confirmed by the 1991 Madrid Conference and the principle of land for peace, and for its acceptance of the emergence of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital in return for the establishment by the Arab States of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel,
Proceeding from the conviction of the Arab States that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for any of the parties,
1. Requests Israel to re-examine its policies and to incline towards peace and declare that a just peace is also its own strategic choice;
2. Further calls upon it:
(a) To withdraw fully from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967, and from the territories in southern Lebanon that are still occupied;
(b) To arrive at a just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee problem in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (III);
(c) To accept the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian State in the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital;
3. Undertakes that the Arab States shall then:
(a) Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict at an end and enter into a peace agreement between them and Israel while achieving security for all the States of the region;
(b) Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace;
4. Guarantees the rejection of all forms of Palestinian resettlement, which is incompatible with the special situation in the Arab host countries;
5. Urges the Government of Israel and all Israelis to accept the foregoing Initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and spare further bloodshed, thus enabling the Arab States and Israel to live side by side in peace and ensuring for generations to come a secure future in which stability and prosperity can prevail;
6. Invites the international community and all its constituent States and organizations to support this Initiative;
7. Requests the Chairman of the summit to form a special committee, to include interested member States and the Secretary-General of the League, to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this Initiative at all levels and in particular from the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Islamic countries and the European Union.
(Summit resolution 14/221, adopted on 28 March 2002)
The Security Council convened a public meeting on 29 March to discuss the further escalation of violence in the Middle East. The Council also met for informal consultations to consider possible action. Subsequently, resolution 1402 (2002) was adopted on 30 March.
The following is the text of the statement made on 29 March 2002 by the Secretary-General during the 4503rd meeting of the Security Council (S/PV.4503):
I have just returned from Beirut, where Arab leaders made a historic decision to embrace Crown Prince Abdullah’s peace proposal, which confirmed the possibility of peace in the Middle East and proposed a way forward. And just prior to the Arab League Summit, the Security Council itself adopted one of its most significant resolutions on the Middle East, resolution 1397 (2002), which affirmed the vision of two States — Israel and Palestine — living side by side within secure, internationally recognized borders. The international community must do everything possible to advance these efforts. We should not allow terrorism and extremism to prevail over the pursuit of political settlement.
I am deeply alarmed at the rapid escalation of the violence in the Middle East that we have witnessed over the past two days. Horrific terrorist acts — or attacks, if you wish — against Israeli civilians — first in Netanya and then in Jerusalem — have been carried out. Such attacks are aimed at undermining any prospect for political settlement. I understand the anger of the Israeli Government and people over those attacks. The intention of such attacks, which I have consistently and unreservedly condemned as morally repugnant, is to subvert the possibility of any peaceful settlement. Terrorism will not bring the Palestinian people closer to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.
Yet I have also consistently voiced criticism over Israel’s use of disproportionate lethal force, especially in civilian populated areas, in response to those attacks. Such use of force will bring neither peace nor security to Israel. Both sides need to adopt policies that reinforce the prospects for a political process leading to peaceful settlement, and eschew actions that make peaceful settlement through negotiations more difficult.
I call on both Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat to exercise responsible leadership at this time. I would urge that they make every effort to take advantage of the outcome of the Arab League Summit in Beirut, which outlined a widely welcomed vision for full peace in the region. United States Special Envoy Zinni has put forward ceasefire proposals that should be accepted by the Palestinians. Israel should halt its assault on the Palestinian Authority. Destroying the Palestinian Authority will not bring Israel closer to peace.
At times like these it is possible to lose sight of the fact that there is a path away from violence and war. Via the Mitchell recommendations, the parties should move quickly to achieve the two-State vision expressed in Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, which is based on the principle of land for peace, and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
In your debate this evening, I would urge you to consider not only the alarming deterioration of the situation on the ground, but also how the international community can help ensure that your resolutions — particularly resolution 1397 (2002) — can become a reality, and how the international community can help the parties get back to the table.
The following is the text of resolution 1402 (2002) adopted by the Security Council at its 4503rd meeting on 30 March 2002 by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with Syria not taking part in the vote (S/PV.4503):
The Security Council,
Reaffirming its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and the Madrid principles,
Expressing its grave concern at the further deterioration of the situation, including the recent suicide bombings in Israel and the military attack against the headquarters of the president of the Palestinian Authority,
1. Calls upon both parties to move immediately to a meaningful cease-fire; calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah; and calls upon the parties to cooperate fully with Special Envoy Zinni, and others, to implement the Tenet security work plan as a first step towards implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations, with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement;
2. Reiterates its demand in resolution 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction;
3. Expresses support for the efforts of the Secretary-General and the special envoys to the Middle East to assist the parties to halt the violence and to resume the peace process;
4. Decides to remain seized of the matter.