Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXIII, No.5 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (
octobre 2000) - Publication de la Division des droits palestiniens Français
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Volume XXIII, Bulletin No. 5
On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I would like to express the gravest and growing concern at the continued confrontations in the Old City of Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Committee is dismayed by the loss of life as a result of these confrontations. It is particularly saddened by the tragic deaths of innocent Palestinian children.
The Committee is of the view that the events of the past several days are a direct result of the policies and practices of the Israeli occupation. To this day, Israel has continued to violate its obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (the Fourth Geneva Convention) and the provisions of dozens of Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. Our Committee has warned on a number of occasions that Israel’s failure to live up to those principles, as well as the continued lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, would allow despair and frustration to set in, putting the peace process in considerable jeopardy and leading to increased volatility on the ground.
The Committee therefore addresses an urgent appeal to you, as well as to all the parties concerned, to take the necessary steps in order to induce Israel to abide by its obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to guarantee its respect for the Holy Places and to ensure international protection of the Palestinian people.
In the light of the above, the Committee reiterates its long-standing position that the United Nations should continue to exercise its permanent responsibility towards all the aspects of the question of Palestine, including the issue of Jerusalem, until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and in accordance with 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 General Assembly, under agenda item 41, and of the Security Council.
The following statement on the situation in Jerusalem and in the Territories was issued on 2 October 2000 by the Presidency of the European Union on behalf of the European Union (A/55/483-S/2000/988):
These events show to what extent provocative action in a tense situation can have tragic consequences.
The European Union calls on the leaders of both parties to take all necessary measures to ensure that the violence ceases and that new provocative action is avoided.
It warns against the unjustified use of force.
It invites the parties involved to concentrate afresh on the negotiated search for peace, which is more necessary than ever.
The European Union is deeply concerned at the serious events of yesterday and today on the Esplanade of the Mosques in Jerusalem. It roundly condemns the acts of provocation and violence committed as well as those perpetrated over the last few days in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank.
In these tragic circumstances, the Union expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families.
The Union calls on all sides to refrain from any form of provocation or action which might give rise to further confrontation.
French President Jacques Chirac invited the Secretary-General to join him in consultations this evening with the United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the President of the Palestinian Authority Yasser Arafat. They examined the steps needed to break the cycle of violence and resume the negotiations for a just and comprehensive settlement in the Middle East.
The Secretary-General is gratified at the progress made and that the discussions will continue in Egypt. He is ready to do whatever
he can to facilitate the implementation of any agreement which may be reached by the parties.
He will continue to stay in close contact with the parties and other key players.
On 4 October 2000, Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, addressed the Security Council on the item under consideration (see A/PV.4204 (Resumption 1)). After congratulating the President of the Council as well as his predecessor, the Chairman made the following statement:
I am grateful to you, Sir, and to the other members of the Security Council for having given me the opportunity to participate, in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in this important debate on the very recent events in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.
For several months we have been following very closely the endeavours to bring about a final peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and we had been increasingly hopeful about the outcome of the peace process. Although the Camp David peace summit sponsored by the United States in July did not yield all the hoped-for results, the parties nevertheless remained together and frankly addressed all the issues. This gave us reason to hope that agreement might be reached. Indeed, the Palestinian side decided last month to postpone a declaration of statehood, even though it was entirely entitled to make such a declaration. With that courageous and responsible act, Palestine gave peace another chance.
Unfortunately, the Israeli side failed to reciprocate. Throughout the time when Israeli-Palestinian final status negotiations were under way, Israeli settlement continued without interruption, both in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip. Those unlawful measures, which seriously undermined the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in occupied East Jerusalem, are a blatant violation of international law, of the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and of the great number of resolutions and decisions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly since 1947.
As members know, the latest outbreak of violence followed in the wake of the provocative visit to the forecourt of the holy site of by the Israeli opposition leader Mr. Ariel Sharon, and of the brutal, disproportionate and indiscriminate way in which the Israeli defence forces and police responded to the protests the visit triggered among Palestinians. As we all know, the results have been tragic: 63 Palestinian appear to have been killed, and more than 1,500 injured. The victims include civilians and even innocent children, some as young as 12 years of age. These inhuman acts run counter to humanitarian law and to the letter and the spirit of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements and of subsequent implementation agreements. These actions could threaten the integrity of the peace negotiations at a time when these should be entering their most critical phase. They have struck a harsh blow to the credibility of the entire peace process, and thus threaten the peace and stability of the region.
These deplorable events have caused concern throughout the international community, beginning with the co-sponsors of the peace process, as well as the European Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People wishes to join them in calling upon the two parties to refrain from any further escalation of violence, and to spare no effort to defuse the tension once and for all. Moreover, the Committee joins with all in the international community who have called upon the Israeli Government and upon the Israeli political parties and security forces to take no further measures that could jeopardize the peace process. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People calls for respect for the holy places. The Committee calls for ensuring that the Palestinian population will be protected. The Committee calls for protection of the property of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and for a halt to all activities that could cause the peace efforts to miscarry. The Committee appeals to the parties to proceed swiftly to full, good-faith implementation of the agreements that have already been concluded, with a view to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
The Committee remains convinced that only by speedy, joint progress along the path of the peace process, towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement, will it be possible to stop the situation in the Middle East from deteriorating. Any exacerbation of the present tension could have unforeseeable consequences for peace and stability in the region - something no one could wish to see.
As we are all aware, there is no possible alternative to peace negotiations - the negotiations upon which the two parties embarked so courageously. Israeli leaders should recognize that peace and stability cannot be imposed unilaterally and by military means, but that peace and security must rest first and foremost on mutual respect and on the development of a partnership based on equity and mutual trust. There is no need to recall that Israeli policies and practices that deny the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Palestinian people can never be compatible with the peace process.
By convening this meeting, members of the Security Council have clearly shown that they have been deeply concerned at the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and at the problems that threaten to derail the peace process. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People fervently hopes that this discussion will provide an opportunity for the Council to show its determination to find ways to prevent an escalation of the violence we have all been witnessing, and also to get the peace process back on track so that it can soon reach a successful conclusion.
The international community, and in particular the sponsors of the peace process, must assist the parties in making rapid progress along the path of negotiated peace, a path to which they committed themselves together to guarantee lasting peace in the region.
In conclusion, let me state once again that the Committee I represent believes that the United Nations should continue to exercise the primary, ongoing responsibility incumbent on it with respect to all aspects of the question of Palestine, including the problem of Jerusalem, until the question is settled in a satisfactory manner, in accordance with United Nations resolutions and international law, until finally all the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized. The events that have brought us together today once again prove that the United Nations must continue to involve itself in the question of Palestine and in all the questions relating to peace and security in the Middle East.
Draft resolution S/2000/963 of 7 October 2000 was sponsored by Bangladesh, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Tunisia and Ukraine. At its 4205th meeting on 7 October 2000 (see S/PB.4205), the Security Council adopted the draft resolution with 14 votes in favour, none against and one abstention (United States of America), as resolution 1322 (2000):
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 672 (1990) of 12 October 1990 and 1073 (1996) of 28 September 1996, and all its other relevant resolutions,
Deeply concerned by the tragic events that have taken place since 28 September 2000, which have led to numerous deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinians,
Reaffirming that a just and lasting solution to the Arab and Israeli conflict must be based on its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, through an active negotiating process,
Expressing its support for the Middle East peace process and the efforts to reach a final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and urging the two sides to cooperate in these efforts,
Reaffirming the need for full respect by all of the Holy Places of the City of Jerusalem, and condemning any behaviour to the contrary,
1. Deplores the provocation carried out at in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, and the subsequent violence there and at other Holy Places, as well as in other areas throughout the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, resulting in over 80 Palestinian deaths and many other casualties;
2. Condemns acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life;
3. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;
4 . Calls for the immediate cessation of violence, and for all necessary steps to be taken to ensure that violence ceases, that new provocative actions are avoided, and that the situation returns to normality in a way which promotes the prospects for the Middle East peace process;
5. Stresses the importance of establishing a mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry into the tragic events of the last few days with the aim of preventing their repetition, and welcomes any efforts in this regard;
6. Calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis with the aim of achieving an early final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides;
7. Invites the Secretary-General to continue to follow the situation and to keep the Council informed;
8. Decides to follow closely the situation and to remain seized of the matter.
VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL, ALARMED BY MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE,
APPEALS FOR RESTRAINT
The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 7 October 2000 (SG/SM/7578):
Acutely conscious of the dangers of a further deterioration, the Secretary-General has spent the day in intensive contacts with leaders in the region. He has also been working with other statesmen with influence with the parties to try to calm the situation. In his view, the most urgent task is to break the current cycle of violence and to stop the senseless killing which has brought tragedy to so many families.
To this end, the Secretary-General appeals to the parties to show the utmost restraint and rein in their forces and supporters, so as to give the ongoing efforts to restore the peace process the best chance of success, and to respect relevant Security Council resolutions as well as humanitarian norms. He also urges each side to maintain the inviolability of religious sites of importance to other faiths, since all must understand that true faith demands respect for the beliefs of others.
And of course I have come to the region at a time when all of you may be wondering - can things get even worse? I have not come with any magic formula or solution; I do not have a magic wand. I have been in constant touch with Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Chairman Yasser Arafat throughout the crisis, and with other leaders in the region and beyond. I have come to listen, to hear the leaders, to work with them and to see how I can help, and how together we can work to find a solution to this crisis. Our first objective is clear. The action must shift from the street to the bargaining table. The bloodshed must stop and the conflict must not be allowed to spread. Time is short; the stakes are high; the price of failure is more than any one of us wants to pay.
I am hopeful that we can control the situation, but this cannot be done by the leaders alone. We are all responsible for society, individually and collectively, and we need you, the ordinary citizens, ordinary men and women, to reject violence and the use of force and reach out for peace, even if at times it seems elusive. I must leave now. You should understand we have work to do.
This committee, which was set up as a result of the Wye River Accords in 1998, is made up of senior security officials of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States (chair). It apparently has not before met at its highest level.
This agreement comes as a result of the intense contacts the Secretary- General has had over the past 48 hours with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and concerned heads of State and Government.
The Secretary-General feels this is an important step towards the cessation of violence which he hopes, in turn, will lead to a resumption of the peace process.
I appeal to all - leaders and citizens alike - to stop and think about what they are doing today and what kind of tomorrow they want for their children. Violence breeds violence. I urge you to opt for restraint.
Yesterday, I announced the decision by the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to convene an urgent meeting of the trilateral security committee chaired by the United States. The need for such a meeting is now all the more urgent.
I have cut short my visit to Lebanon to return to Israel and to Gaza for consultation with both sides. In the meantime, I want to express my deep sadness at the suffering and loss of so many victims of this chaos, and once again call upon all to respect life, renounce violence and return to rational discourse.
XI. PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE END TO
VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND SPEEDY IMPLEMENTATION
OF SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1322 (2000)
The Committee expresses grave concern at the continued confrontations in the Old City of Jerusalem and throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Almost two weeks of escalating violence and the use of excessive force by the Israeli defence forces have left more than 80 Palestinians dead, including over 20 children, and well over 2,000 injured. The Committee is greatly dismayed by the loss of life as a result of these confrontations. It is shocked by the tragic deaths of innocent Palestinian children. The Committee views these violent confrontations as a direct result of the policies and practices of the Israeli occupation and the failure of Israel to respect its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the provisions of relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
The Committee firmly believes that Israel’s refusal to abide by norms of international law, as well as the continued lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, will have a destructive effect on the peace process and may endanger prospects for peace in the region. Aware of the need to salvage the peace process and bring normalcy to the situation on the ground, the Committee reiterates its strong support for the efforts, undertaken in the past several days, by the co-sponsors of the peace process, as well as the United Nations Secretary-General and the Presidents of France and Egypt. The Committee hopes that these steps will contribute to the de-escalation of the violence, lessening of the tensions between the two sides and the early resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
In light of the above, the Committee welcomed the deliberations in the Security Council on agenda item “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” and the adoption, on 7 October 2000, of resolution 1322 (2000). As the confrontations on the ground continue and human life remains in considerable jeopardy, the Committee calls for a speedy and full implementation of the aforementioned resolution and for the immediate cessation of all acts of violence.
The Committee reiterates its position that the United Nations should continue to exercise its permanent responsibility towards all the aspects of the question of Palestine, including the issue of Jerusalem, until it is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and in accordance with international legitimacy, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are fully realized.
XII. STATEMENT BY US PRESIDENT CLINTON UPON CONCLUSION
OF THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE SUMMITAT SHARM EL-SHEIKH,
EGYPT, 17 OCTOBER 2000
I would like to thank the European Union High Commissioner Javier Solana, my longtime friend, who worked with me to bring an end to violence in the Balkans, and now is working in the Middle East. And especially I want to thank Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has been here now in the region for more than a week, and who has worked tirelessly to bring an end to violence and to make this meeting possible.
But of course, the greatest credit for the progress we have made today belongs to Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, who have had to overcome the difficulties of these past several days. And we all recognize that theirs was the primary decision to make.
Our meeting has not been easy because the past two weeks have been so hard: a tragic and terrible confrontation costing many lives and injuries, threatening everything that we have worked to achieve between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the region over the past seven years.
Even as we meet, the situation in the territories remains tense. Yesterday again was violent.
This is a reminder of the urgency of breaking the cycle of violence. I believe we have made real progress today. Repairing the damage will take time and great effort by all of us.
When we leave here today, we will have to work hard to consolidate what we have agreed. Let me summarize what has been agreed so that there will be no misunderstanding.
Our primary objective has been to end the current violence so we can begin again to resume our efforts towards peace. The leaders have agreed on the three basic objectives and steps to realize them.
First, both sides have agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end to violence. They have also agreed to take immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end to violence and incitement, maintain calm and prevent a recurrence of recent events.
To accomplish this, both sides will act immediately to return the situation to that which existed prior to the current crisis, in areas such as restoring law and order, redeployment of forces, eliminating points of friction, enhancing security cooperation and ending the closure and opening the Gaza airport. The United States will facilitate security cooperation between the parties as needed.
Secondly, the United States will develop with the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, a committee of fact-finding on the events of the past several weeks and how to prevent their recurrence. The committee’s report will be shared by the President of the United States with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the parties prior to publication. A final report shall be submitted under the auspices of the United States President for publication.
Thirdly, if we are to address the underlying roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there must be a pathway back to negotiations and a resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement based upon Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and subsequent understandings. Towards
this end, the leaders have agreed that the United States would consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward.
We have made important commitments here today against a backdrop of tragedy and crisis. We should have no illusions about the difficulties ahead.
If we are going to rebuild confidence and trust, we must all do our part, avoiding recrimination and moving forward. I am counting on each of us to do everything we possibly can in the critical period ahead.
The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit has produced agreement in three vital areas: on security cooperation; on renewing the peace process; and on a committee of fact- finding to inquire into recent tragic events and how to prevent their recurrence. It has not been easy. Feelings run high on both sides. Mutual mistrust is deep. There are wounds in the families and communities concerned that may take a generation to heal.
But we must move forward, painful though it is, so that the children and youth of today - angry and frustrated as they are - can have a better world to live in. One of the lessons of the past few days is that there can be no lasting security without lasting peace. That is why we need to look beyond the violence and bitterness, the pain and the hurt, beyond even the outcome of today’s summit, to a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in a just and lasting peace.
Silencing the guns, ending the violence, is a real achievement. But language can be violence too. I also appeal to the leadership on both sides, to all Israelis and Palestinians, and to the wider international community to weigh their words carefully. For words can inflame or soothe, and everyone needs a restoration of calm and quiet so as to create the best possible atmosphere for a resumption of peace talks.
Particularly distressing in these three weeks of violence has been the tragic impact on children, who have suffered injury, trauma, fear and loss of life. They have also been drawn directly into the conflict. I extend my deep sympathies to all the children and the families who have suffered. In this critical time, I address a solemn appeal to the parties to the conflict:
Children suffer most from the impact of armed conflict; I appeal to the political leaders to do all within their powers to end the violence as promised at Sharm el-Sheikh.
As the parties to the conflict look to the future, I urge them to make the protection and well-being of all children a common ground for building confidence and understanding. A tragic cycle of violence has marked generations of young people in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Ultimately, only a political settlement can break the cycle, and give these young people a future of hope and reconciliation. For the sake of these children, I urge the political leaders to return to the path of negotiations leading to a political settlement.
I take this opportunity to echo once again the Secretary-General’s appeal to all leaders to “stop and think about what they are doing today and what kind of tomorrow they want for their children”.
In response to developments since late September 2000 and the resulting acute situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Giorgio Giacomelli, undertook a mission to the region to ascertain the prevailing human rights conditions. The conclusions and recommendations of the report that Mr. Giacomelli submitted on 17 October 2000 to the special session of the Commission, convened to discuss the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, are given below (E/CN.4/S-5/3):
32. Quite apart from any debate over the particular spark that ignited the unrest and confrontation, the Special Rapporteur remains convinced that the current conflict has its roots in accumulated grievances and resentment at the continuing violations of human rights and humanitarian norms under Israeli occupation.
33. The Special Rapporteur is particularly concerned that any progress at confidence-building that had been made may be irretrievably lost, as augured by the rapid polarization that is taking place on both sides and at all levels of Palestinian and Israeli society. This signals the urgent need for the adoption of measures towards restoring confidence and rekindling hope in the peace process. One indispensable ingredient for achieving that is the establishment of a human rights framework.
34. As pointed out in the Special Rapporteur’s previous report to the Commission, this prerequisite is the sine qua non of any meaningful and durable peace. In addition to their cogency, these norms, once genuinely accepted, would alone allow the sense of confidence and security that would make possible the acceptance of the indispensable and painful compromises necessary.
35. With this in mind, the Special Rapporteur offers the following recommendations for urgent action:
That those orders be rigorously implemented and that the appropriate training be provided when required;
That a permanent mechanism be established to ensure that the orders are followed
and, when they are not, to determine accountability, assign punishment and redress violations;
That, to ensure the credibility of the peace process, an Ombudsman-type mechanism be established to process complaints, building on the experience of similar measures adopted in other conflict situations;
That an observer and/or guarantor body be established that, by its very presence and neutrality, would serve to build up a sense of security and confidence on both sides.
The Special Rapporteur supports the idea of establishing a mechanism for a speedy and objective inquiry into the ongoing crisis, the importance of which was stressed by the Security Council in its resolution 1322 (2000).
XVI. UN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ADOPTS RESOLUTION
ON VIOLATIONS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE
PALESTINIAN PEOPLE BY ISRAEL
The Commission on Human Rights,
Meeting in special session,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the various provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,
Recalling Security Council resolutions 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 672 (1990) of 12 October 1990 and 1073 (1996) of 28 September 1996, and taking note of Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000,
Recalling also its previous resolutions on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, the most recent of which was resolution 2000/6 of 17 April 2000,
Taking note of the report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Giorgio Giacomelli (E/CN.4/S-5/3), submitted on 17 October 2000, regarding his mission undertaken in accordance with Commission resolution 1993/2 A of 19 February 1993,
Condemning the provocative visit to Al-Haram al-Sharif on 28 September 2000 by Ariel Sharon, the Likud party leader, which triggered the tragic events that followed in occupied East Jerusalem and the other occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in a high number of deaths and injuries among Palestinian civilians,
Gravely concerned at the widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying Power, in particular mass killings and collective punishments, such as demolition of houses and closure of the Palestinian territories, measures which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity,
Taking into account the principles of international law and international humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1977, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials of 1990, which prescribe that such officials should, inter alia, "minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life" and "ensure that firearms are used only in appropriate circumstances in a manner likely to decrease the risk of unnecessary harm",
Bearing in mind the outcome of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit of 17 October 2000,
1. Strongly condemns the dispropor-tionate and indiscriminate use of force in violation of international humanitarian law by the Israeli occupying Power against innocent and unarmed Palestinian civilians, causing the death of 120 civilians, including many children, in the occupied territories, which constitutes a flagrant and grave violation of the right to life and also constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity;
2. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to put an immediate end to any use of force against unarmed civilians and to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War;
3. Calls upon the international community to take immediate effective measures to secure the cessation of violence by the Israeli occupying Power and to put an end to the ongoing violations of human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories;
4. Affirms that the Israeli military occupation in itself constitutes a grave violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people;
5. Also affirms that the deliberate and systematic killing of civilians and children by the Israeli occupying authorities constitutes a flagrant and grave violation of the right to life and also constitutes a crime against humanity;
territories and to provide the Commission with its conclusions and recommendations, with the aim of preventing the repetition of the recent human rights violations;
(b) To request the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake an urgent visit to the occupied Palestinian territories to take stock of the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying Power, to facilitate the activities of the mechanisms of the Commission in implementation of the present resolution, to keep it informed of developments and to report to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session and, on an interim basis, to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session;
(c) To request the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to carry out immediate missions to the occupied Palestinian territories and to report the findings to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session and, on an interim basis, to the General Assembly at its fifty-fifth session;
(d) To request the High Commissioner to bring the present resolution to the attention of the Government of Israel and all other Governments, the competent United Nations organs, the specialized agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations, to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the text of the resolution and to report on its implementation by the Government of Israel to the Commission at its next session;
8. Requests the Economic and Social Council to meet on an urgent basis in order to act on the proposals contained in the present resolution.
The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People made a statement to the Assembly on 18 October, the text of which is reproduced below (see A/ES-10/PV.13):
Indeed, for more than two weeks now, deadly violence has been raging in all the Palestinian areas. Bloody confrontations became unavoidable after the provocative visit by Mr. Sharon to the sanctuary of Al-Haram Al-Sharif, during which he was accompanied by a group of members of the Knesset belonging to the Likud party and escorted by a large contingent of security agents and Israeli police officers. There was bloodshed, serious injury and a tragic toll: more than 110 killed, most of them Palestinians, and some 3,000 injured. This is the horrifying spectacle that still haunts us, along with the massacre of Palestinian children, some barely 2 years of age. The Israeli Defence Forces reacted to the demonstrations with disproportionate, brutal and indiscriminate force, often making use of metal bullets, live ammunition, tanks, armoured transport vehicles, helicopter gunships, anti-tank missiles and fragmentation bullets.
Another equally disturbing spectacle involved armed Jewish settlers, authorized to move within the towns and villages controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and able to use as they saw fit their firearms against the defenceless population.
To compound the difficulties of the Palestinians, the Israeli Government proceeded to systematically seal off Palestinian territory, immobilizing 3 million Palestinians and preventing them from working.
Finally, Israeli Defence Forces bulldozers dug ditches and trenches in the roads to prevent any movement between Jerusalem and towns controlled by the Palestinians.
These are all illegal measures designed to inflict a collective punishment on a people. Are they not also measures that gravely violate the human rights of the Palestinian people? And finally, are they not measures that deny a people the basic necessities of life?
We should not lose sight of the fact that the events we have been witnessing since 28 September are clearly the result of Israeli acts, measures and policies that contravene the letter and the spirit of the Declaration of Principles and of subsequent implementation agreements. I should like to emphasize that Israel remains rigorously bound by those agreements, which it has signed; by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949; and by other norms of international law.
Concerned about the prolonged deterioration of the situation and the escalation of the violence, our Committee - the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People - welcomed with satisfaction all of the efforts made by the international community to bring an end to the violence and save the peace process. The international community further reacted to the events by bringing this matter to the attention of the Security Council. The Council adopted resolution 1322 (2000), by which it called for the immediate cessation of the violence and stressed the importance of establishing a mechanism with a view to carrying out an objective inquiry into the events. The Council also called for the immediate resumption of negotiations in the framework of the Middle East peace process.
For its part, the Committee that I represent has also reacted to these events, and at its meeting on 10 October it adopted a declaration on the situation in the occupied territory of Palestine in which it reaffirmed that the United Nations must continue to shoulder its permanent responsibility regarding all aspects of the question of Palestine, including Jerusalem, until this issue is resolved in a satisfactory manner, in accordance with United Nations resolutions and with respect for international legitimacy, and the Palestinian people are able to exercise their inalienable rights.
That is why we in the Committee welcome the particularly important role which the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, has just played, and we express our satisfaction with the efforts that he made to bring an end to the violence and massacres. We appreciate the steps he took to convince the parties to come back to the negotiating table. We also commend him warmly for his active and constructive participation in the overall efforts he has made to contain the violence. The Secretary-General has once again shown his clear-sightedness and political courage and has thus been able to give peace a new chance.
The Committee also shared the grave concern of the international community about the effects of these confrontations and the fear that they will get out of control, leading to unforeseeable consequences. The Committee calls on the parties, in particular the Palestinians and the Israelis, to show maximum restraint in their actions on the ground and to foster a return to the negotiating table. We believe that the time has come - it may be the last chance - for the international community as a whole to actively support the parties by encouraging them to engage in dialogue and reconciliation. The differences between Israelis and Palestinians may be deep-rooted and even difficult to overcome, but it is incumbent upon all of us to spare no effort to save the entire peace process, which is going through its final and most critical stage.
Our action should therefore be seen against the backdrop of justice and international legitimacy, as was clearly reaffirmed by the Security Council in resolution 1322 (2000). As a Member of this Organization, Israel is bound to respect and implement the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, as well as those set forth in the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Israel has the right to live in peace and security, but it must link its own requirements to the rights of other peoples in the region also to live in dignity, peace and respect for their rights and convictions.
We join in the congratulations addressed to all of those who have taken part in the peace efforts, in particular the President of the United States of America; President Mubarak of Egypt, who hosted the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh; the President of the European Union; and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. But special mention should be made of Prime Minister Barak and President Yasser Arafat, without whom no conciliation agreement would have been reached. Thanks to their vision and leadership, we venture to hope that the escalation in the violence that we have seen in recent days will be stemmed and that the tension in the streets and in people’s hearts will be relieved.
The Committee wishes to join with the majority of the members of the international community in calling upon the Israeli Government, political parties and security forces to refrain from taking any new steps that might complicate the situation and undermine the peace process. Israel, as the occupying Power, must ensure respect for the Holy Places, guarantee the protection of Palestinians and their property in occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and endeavour, without further delay, to implement fully and in good faith the agreements already concluded with the Palestinian authorities with a view to reaching a just, complete and lasting settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
The Sharm el-Sheikh summit undoubtedly represents a confidence-building measure ; it is a new milestone designed primarily to help to ease a crisis which threatens to destroy all that has been achieved in recent years in the peace process. To let the opportunity offered by the summit slip away would, quite simply, be unreasonable and irresponsible on the part of all of those throughout the world who, with clear-sightedness, courage and patience, have planned and implemented the peace process since the Madrid Conference in 1991.
The Committee welcomes the results of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit and expresses the hope that henceforth true progress will be achieved so that peace and stability might finally reign in this region - a crossroads of history and civilization that has brought the world so many valuable messages of peace and wisdom.
On 20 October 2000, the Secretary-General addressed the resumed tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly. The text of his statement follows (see A/ES-10/PV.14):
To this end, over a period of 10 days, I had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Barak in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and with Chairman Arafat in Gaza. During this period, I also attended the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, jointly chaired by President Mubarak and President Clinton. In addition, I paid a visit to Lebanon to discuss regional issues and the capture of three Israeli soldiers from the Shaba area of the occupied Golan.
Throughout my visit, the situation on the ground in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza was extremely tense. While I was in the region, more than 50 Palestinians were killed, and two Israeli reservists were lynched in Ramallah. Feelings on both sides were at a fever pitch and there was a real danger of the situation spiralling out of control. I found each side deeply mistrustful of the other’s true intentions. Both were talking, privately as well as publicly, the language of war.
This is the backdrop against which my peace efforts were set. The situation had, in my view, reached the brink of the abyss. My primary objective was therefore to get the two leaders to address public appeals to their respective populations for calm, and to ask them to indicate some specific measures that they were prepared to take in order to de-escalate the tension. To this end, I was in frequent telephone contact with international leaders such as President Clinton, President Mubarak, President Chirac, Prime Minister Amato of Italy and the Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Norway and Germany. While in the region, I also met with the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom and the European Union representative, Mr. Javier Solana, as well as the Foreign Minister of Norway.
Unfortunately, it became apparent that the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground, and the consequent hardening of public opinion on both sides, had made it impossible for the two leaders to make statements that could be interpreted as conciliatory. In close consultation with President Clinton and President Mubarak, I devoted all my energies to persuading Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat to attend the summit that was to be held at Sharm el-Sheikh. This involved further intensive shuttling between the two sides.
Neither leader was enthusiastic, and Chairman Arafat in particular expressed reluctance to go to Sharm el-Sheikh at a time when, in his words, his people were under military occupation, economic siege and repeated missile and artillery attacks. I was accordingly glad when, on the morning of 14 October, just as I was preparing to leave for Egypt, Chairman Arafat informed me on the telephone that he was accepting my appeal for him to attend the summit. During the 48 hours in Sharm el-Sheikh prior to the opening of the summit, I met with the President and the Foreign Minister of Egypt and I had many telephone conversations, including with the Presidents of the United States, France, and Tunisia, the Kings of Jordan and Morocco and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. I also spoke to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, so that he could pass on a message to the head of State, as well as with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.
The summit itself was in keeping with the atmosphere and events leading up to it. That is to say, it was clear that there was a lack of confidence between the two sides. Emotions were running high, and at times the proceedings became turbulent - especially in negotiating sessions at the Foreign Minister level. In procedural terms, the formal talks were focused largely on the agenda. But it was clear to all that this was a negotiation about substance. What in specific terms was to come out of the summit? Would it be possible to break the cycle of violence and return to the negotiating table? To put the issue in the starkest terms, would it be peace or war?
The Sharm el-Sheikh summit unfolded at two distinct levels. My senior advisers took part in the negotiating sessions of Foreign Ministers. Meanwhile, apart from the plenary sessions to open and close the summit, heads of delegation met on the margins, in intensive bilaterals. I myself took part in a series of meetings with the co-Chairmen, Presidents Mubarak and Clinton, and their respective foreign policy teams, and Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat, as well as with other leaders of the two parties. I also met with His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan and Mr. Javier Solana of the European Union.
My aim throughout was to support the efforts of the co-Chairmen to promote an outcome of the summit that met the minimum needs of the two sides, in terms of an end to violence and restoration of the status quo ante, a renewed effort to revive the peace process and the establishment of a mechanism to inquire into the tragic events.
At times, the gap between them seemed unbridgeably wide. But throughout, I believed that nevertheless there would be an agreement. For in the end, peace remains the only strategic option for Israel and Palestinians. The difficult questions are, how long will the journey take, and how hard will the road to peace be?
Here I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to the extraordinary efforts of President Clinton. He stepped off an overnight flight and straight into action. Over the next 28 hours, the President worked continuously with the parties, late into the night and early morning. It is very largely due to his own personal efforts that President Clinton was able to announce on 17 October, at the end of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, that Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat had agreed on three basic objectives and steps to realize them.
What was agreed at Sharm el-Sheikh can be summarized as follows. First, both sides agreed to issue public statements unequivocally calling for an end to violence. They also agreed to take immediate, concrete measures to end the current confrontation, eliminate points of friction, ensure an end to violence and incitement, maintain calm and prevent a recurrence of recent events. It was agreed that, to accomplish this, both sides would act immediately to return the situation to that which existed prior to the current crisis, in areas such as restoring law and order, redeployment of forces, eliminating points of friction, enhancing security cooperation and ending the closure of and reopening the Gaza airport. The United States undertook to facilitate security cooperation between the parties.
Secondly, it was agreed that the United States would develop with the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as in consultation with the United Nations Secretary-General, a committee to undertake fact-finding on the events of the past several weeks and to seek ways to prevent their recurrence. The committee’s report will be shared by the United States President with the Secretary-General and the parties prior to publication. A final report will be submitted under the auspices of the United States President for publication.
Thirdly, it was agreed that, if we are to address the underlying roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there must be a pathway back to negotiations and a resumption of efforts to reach a permanent status agreement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and subsequent understandings. President Clinton announced that, towards this end, the leaders had agreed that the United States would consult with the parties within the next two weeks about how to move forward.
In my view, the agreements reached in Sharm el-Sheikh are a vital first step back from the brink and towards a resumption of the peace process. It is essential that they should be faithfully implemented in their entirety by both sides. They may contain elements to which one side attaches more importance than does the other. But both parties need to demonstrate good faith - above all by their actions. It is not going to be easy. Mutual mistrust is deep. There are wounds in the families and communities concerned that may take a generation to heal. But we must move forward, painful though it is, so that the children and youth of today - angry and frustrated as they are - can have a better world to live in.
One of the lessons of the past few days is that there can be no lasting security without lasting peace. That is why we need to look beyond the violence and bitterness, the pain and the hurt, to a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in a just and lasting peace.
This leads me, if I may, to end by addressing a few words to the wider international community, and to you, the Ambassadors of the Member States. It is only natural that the events of the past few weeks should arouse strong feelings. I myself have strong feelings about those events. I believe deeply that every life lost is a human tragedy, and that all human life is of equal value. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities on both sides that have endured such pain and suffering. I want to see the violence ended and the peace process back on track. That is why I went to the region at such short notice and with such uncertain prospects of success.
But I also believe that the General Assembly can make a real difference. We are not yet certain whether or not normalcy will be restored. We can only wait and hope. The next few days are vital. Meanwhile, we should remember that, as I said in Sharm el-Sheikh, words can inflame or soothe, and everyone needs a restoration of calm and quiet so as to create the best possible atmosphere for a resumption of peace talks.
On 20 October 2000, by 92 votes to 6, with 46 abstentions, the General Assembly adopted the following resolution:
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the resolutions of its tenth emergency special session and the necessity of full implementation of those resolutions,
Welcoming the adoption by the Security Council of resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000, and stressing the urgent need for full compliance with the resolution,
Expressing its deep concern over the provocative visit to on 28 September 2000 and the tragic events that followed in Occupied East Jerusalem and other places in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which resulted in a high number of deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinian civilians,
Expressing its deep concern also over the clashes between the Israeli army and the Palestinian police and the casualties on both sides,
Reaffirming that a just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, through an active negotiation process which takes into account the right of security for all States in the region, as well as the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination,
Expressing its support for the Middle East peace process and the efforts to reach a final settlement between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides, and urging the two sides to cooperate in these efforts,
Reaffirming the need for the full respect by all for the Holy Places of Occupied East Jerusalem, and condemning any behaviour to the contrary,
Reaffirming also the need for the full respect by all for the Holy Places in the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as in Israel, and condemning any behaviour to the contrary,
Determined to uphold the purposes and principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law and all other instruments of international law, as well as relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council,
Reiterating the permanent responsibility of the United Nations for the question of Palestine until it is solved in all its aspects,
Conscious of the serious dangers arising from persistent violations and grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,1 / and the responsibility arising therefrom,
Stressing the urgent need for providing protection for the Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
Noting the convening, on 15 July 1999, for the first time, of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, at the United Nations Office at Geneva, and welcoming the statement adopted by the participating high contracting parties,
1. Condemns the violence that took place on 28 September 2000 and the following days at Al-Haram Al-Sharif and other Holy Places in Jerusalem as well as other areas in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, resulting in the deaths of over 100 people, the vast majority of whom were Palestinian civilians, and many other casualties;
2. Condemns also acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force by the Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians;
3. Expresses support for the understandings reached at the summit convened at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and urges all parties concerned to implement these understandings honestly and without delay;
4. Demands the immediate cessation of violence and the use of force, calls upon the parties to act immediately to reverse all measures taken in this regard since 28 September 2000, and acknowledges that necessary steps have been taken by the parties in this direction since the summit of Sharm el-Sheikh;
5. Reiterates that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, are illegal and are an obstacle to peace, and calls for the prevention of illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers;
6. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 1 / which is applicable to all territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
7. Strongly supports the establishment of a mechanism of inquiry into the recent tragic events, with the aim of establishing all the precise facts and preventing the repetition of these events, and in this regard strongly supports also the understanding reached at Sharm el-Sheikh about a committee of fact-finding, and calls for its establishment without delay;
8. Supports the efforts of the Secretary-General, including his efforts for the establishment of the above-mentioned committee, and requests him to report to the Assembly on the progress made in these efforts;
9. Calls upon the members of the Security Council to follow the situation closely, including the implementation of Council resolution 1322 (2000), in fulfilment of the Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security;
10. Invites the depositary of the Fourth Geneva Convention to consult on the development of the humanitarian situation in the field, in accordance with the statement adopted on 15 July 1999 by the above-mentioned Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Convention, with the aim of ensuring respect for the Convention in all circumstances in accordance with common article 1 of the four Conventions;
11. S upports the efforts towards the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis, and calls for the speedy conclusion of the final settlement agreement between the two sides;
12. Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.
1/ United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.
The 104th Inter-Parliamentary Confer-ence,
Recalling its resolution on Jerusalem adopted in Seoul (97th Conference, April 1997) and its resolutions adopted in Amman (103rd Conference, April 2000),
Recalling also UN Security Council resolutions 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 672 (1990), 1073 (1996) and 1322 (2000), and all its other relevant resolutions,
Recalling further the internationally recognized principles of human rights law enshrined in various United Nations Declarations and Conventions and repeatedly endorsed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union,
Asserting the applicability of international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,
Deeply concerned by the tragic events that have occurred in the Palestinian territories in particular since the provocative visit of Mr. Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, and which have led to numerous deaths and injuries mostly among the Palestinians, due to excessive use of force by the Israeli army in the occupied territories,
Reaffirming that a just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must be based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and UN General Assembly resolution 194 (III) (1948), and on an active process of negotiation which takes account of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State,
Expressing its support for the Middle East peace process and the efforts to reach a final settlement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and urging the two sides to cooperate in these efforts,
Taking into account the declaration of 17 October by the parties gathered at Sharm el-Sheikh who have publicly stated their determination to stop the violence and undertake concrete measures to prevent a recurrence of recent events,
Reaffirming the need for full respect by all of the holy places of the city of Jerusalem, and condemning any behaviour to the contrary,
1. Condemns all acts of provocation that threaten the peace process and international efforts to establish a just and comprehensive peace;
2. Deeply deplores the tragic events that have taken place in the Palestinian territories which have led to an alarming upsurge in the Arab-Israeli conflict since the provocative visit of Mr. Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000;
3. Denounces the acts of violence committed in the occupied territories by the Israeli military forces and their excessive use of force which have already resulted in over 120 deaths and more than 4,000 casualties, mostly among the Palestinians and including innocent civilians;
4. Urges Israel to fulfil its commitment to cease all military actions, to lift the blockade of the Palestinian territories and to restore the situation which existed prior to the current crisis;
5. Calls on the Israeli Government and the Palestinian National Authority henceforth to prevent any acts of violence;
6. Calls also on Israel, the Occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
7. Calls further on the parties to secure a return to normality so as to improve the prospects for the Middle East peace process in keeping with the principle of land for peace and UN Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973);
8. Welcomes and supports the intentions announced in the 17 October meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh to establish an international commission of inquiry, with the support of the United Nations, for a speedy and objective inquiry into the tragic events of the past few days with the aim of preventing their recurrence;
9. Calls on the two parties to resume substantive negotiations and to do everything possible to achieve lasting peace;
10. Calls also on all forces for peace to mobilize internationally in order to turn the region into a zone of peace and shared prosperity;
11. Welcomes the encouraging results of the Sharm el-Sheikh talks as an important step towards ending violence and resuming the political dialogue, and calls on both sides sincerely to fulfil their commitments.
At the urgent invitation of His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Extraordinary Arab Summit Conference held in Cairo in 1996, the heads of State of the Arab countries held an extraordinary meeting in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000.
This Summit is being convened in circumstances that are of great importance in the history of our Nation and at a new stage in the lives of its peoples, after grave complications because of which the peace process between the Arabs and Israel has broken down and with Israel having transformed the peace process into a war against the Palestinian people in which it is using military force to blockade and isolate that people and hold it hostage within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Summit hails the intifadah of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories that has given unequivocal expression to the bitterness of frustration following long years of expectation and anticipation focused on the outcome of a political settlement that failed to bear fruit because of Israel’s intransigence and procrastination and its aversion to discharging its obligations. The Arab leaders invoke the mercy of God upon the souls of the Palestinian martyrs, and they regard their pure blood as a precious hoard set by for the liberation of the land, the establishment of the State and the achievement of peace.
The Arab leaders commend the response of the Arab masses, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf, to the intifadah of the valiant Palestinian people, and they acclaim the evident national consensus they have reached in standing together to condemn the Israeli aggression and the savage actions taken by the occupation forces. The stirring of the Arab masses is an expression of latent patriotic sentiments and of strong solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for its sovereignty, its dignity and those things it holds sacred.
The Arab leaders hold Israel responsible for returning the region to a climate of tension and to manifestations of violence as a result of its practices, its assaults and its blockade of the Palestinian people in violation of its obligations as the occupying Power under the terms of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Such conduct is also in flagrant violation of the norms of international law and is destructive of efforts to build peace in the region, and the rulers of Israel have handled the Jerusalem issue with a disdain that satisfies a passion for irresponsible display and deliberate provocation based on a repulsive racism. The Arab leaders call upon Israel to halt forthwith all of its provocative practices and to desist from its policy of repression directed against Arab civilians.
The Arab leaders affirm that the Al-Aqsa intifadah has broken out as a result of the maintenance and perpetuation of the occupation and because of Israel’s encroachments on the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem and on the other Islamic and Christian Holy Places in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Arab leaders bring to mind with reverence, as they recall to the world, the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in defence of their occupied land and the things they held sacred without heed for the war machine deployed by Israel to confront the unarmed, defenceless Palestinian people. They affirm the right of the Palestinian people to exact just compensation from Israel for the damage and the human and material losses it has sustained.
In response to a proposal by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they hereby decide to establish two funds. The Al-Aqsa Fund will be allocated a sum of US$800 million for the funding of projects designed to preserve the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem and prevent its loss and to enable the Palestinian people to disengage from its subordination to the Israeli economy. The Al-Quds Intifadah Fund will have a capital of $200 million to be allocated for disbursement to the families of Palestinian martyrs fallen in the intifadah and for providing the means necessary for the care and education of their children. They express their deep appreciation to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his decision that the Kingdom will contribute one quarter of the total sum to be allocated to the two funds.
The Arab leaders call upon all members of the Arab Nation to donate one day’s wages as a citizens’ contribution to support for the intifadah and in order to assist the Palestinian national struggle at the crucial juncture at which our Arab Nation finds itself.
The Arab leaders call for the formation, within the framework of the United Nations, of an impartial international commission of inquiry to report to the Security Council and the Commission on Human Rights on the causes of and responsibility for the grave deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territories and the atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples and other Arab residents of the occupied territories. They stress in this connection the provisions of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000, the resolution adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its special session on 19 October 2000 and the resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 October 2000. They urge the Security Council to keep developments in the situation in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories under review in the light of the threat that situation poses to international peace and security, and they call for the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly to assume responsibility for providing the necessary protection to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation by giving consideration to the establishment of a force or an international presence for this purpose, given that the United Nations bears permanent responsibility for the land and people of Palestine until such time as the Palestinian people secures the exercise of its inalienable rights in Palestine in accordance with international legitimacy.
The Arab leaders affirm that the Arab States will pursue, in accordance with international law, those responsible for the savage practices in question. They call upon the Security Council to establish an international criminal tribunal to prosecute the Israeli war criminals who perpetrated massacres of Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories, on the same pattern as the tribunals established by the Council to prosecute war criminals in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia. They will continue their pursuit with a view to bringing them to trial in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The Arab leaders express their extreme disapproval and condemnation of Israel’s escalation in the hostile actions it was taking and the provocative attitudes it adopted at a time when the region was readying itself for a just and comprehensive peace, given that since the Madrid Conference the Arabs had decided that the option of a just and comprehensive peace would open the way to a final settlement to a heated conflict that had already lasted for more than half a century.
The Arab leaders condemn Israel’s failure to respond to the peace option and its failure to make a vigorous endeavour for a just and comprehensive peace. They caution Israel against the pursuit of practices and actions that threaten the region’s security and undermine its stability.
The Arab leaders affirm that the Nation has fixed principles that may not be violated, rights that may not be bargained away and goals for which they will never cease to strive in order to secure overriding Arab interests.
The Arab leaders affirm that peace must be based on the concepts of universality and justice as necessary preconditions if it is to be accepted and maintained. They affirm that this Arab position calls for a corresponding commitment on the part of Israel, which must meet it with an unequivocal stance based on compliance with the international rule of law in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), United Nations General Assembly resolution 149 (III), concerning the right of Palestinian refugees to repatriation and compensation, the other relevant United Nations resolutions and the principles governing the peace process, primarily the principle of land for peace.
The Arab leaders affirm that a just and comprehensive peace can only ever be achieved with the return of Jerusalem to full Palestinian sovereignty and the acceptance of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to establish an independent State with its capital at Jerusalem - which is Palestinian territory that has been occupied since 1967, to say nothing of its spiritual significance and its religious status. All the occupied Arab territories must also be returned, and this includes Israel’s full withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, to the line of 4 June 1967, complete withdrawal from southern Lebanon, including the Shab’a farmlands, up to the internationally recognized boundaries, the release of Arab prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, and the removal of Israeli settlements in implementation of Security Council resolution 465 (1980).
In this context, the Arab leaders reaffirm their support for their brothers in the Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon and Palestine. They affirm their commitment to their legitimate rights and to the restoration of all their occupied territories. They also affirm in this connection their rejection of any attempts to impose a peace that is unjust or lacking in balance on the basis of Israeli claims and at the expense of Arab rights and interests.
In the light of the setback to the peace process, the Arab leaders affirm their commitment to oppose with resolve Israel’s attempts to penetrate the Arab world, under any designation, and to suspend the maintenance of any relations with Israel. They hold Israel responsible for the measures and decisions to be taken by the Arab States in connection with their relations with it, including their severance, such as will be required in order to counter the suspension of the peace process, the grave developments to which that has recently given rise and the complications it has caused in the Arab and Islamic arenas, until such time as a comprehensive and just peace is achieved.
While emphasizing that the halt to the peace process on all bilateral tracks has caused the suspension of the multilateral track, the Arab leaders affirm that issues of regional cooperation cannot be addressed without real progress towards a just and comprehensive peace in the region. The halt in the peace process caused by Israel’s policy and by its provocative practices makes talk of a common future in the region untimely. They hereby decide not to resume or participate in any official or informal activity in the multilateral framework and to suspend all measures and activities for regional economic cooperation with Israel in this framework and to link their resumption and their scope to the attainment of tangible progress towards a just and comprehensive peace on all the tracks of the peace progress.
The Arab leaders commend the decisions taken by the Al-Quds Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and in particular the final communiqué adopted at its most recent session held in Agadir, Morocco, under the chairmanship of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, reaffirming support for the stance taken by the State of Palestine based on commitment to sovereignty over East Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif and all the Islamic and Christian Holy Places that are part and parcel of the occupied Palestinian territories, and to Jerusalem as the capital of the independent State of Palestine. The Arab leaders recall Security Council resolution 478 (1980), in which the Council urged the world’s States to refrain from relocating their embassies to Jerusalem, and the resolution of the eleventh Arab Summit Conference, held in Amman in 1980, calling for the severance of all relations with States that relocate their embassies to Jerusalem or recognize the city as a capital of Israel.
The Arab leaders affirm that for lasting peace and security in the region to be achieved, Israel must accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and place all of its nuclear facilities under the international inspection and monitoring regime. They also affirm in this connection the extreme importance of ridding the Middle East region of nuclear weapons and of all weapons of mass destruction as a necessary and indispensable precondition for the establishment of any regional security arrangements in the future.
The Arab leaders express their conviction that ongoing changes in the international arena make it essential to reactivate joint Arab action and to reinforce and renew the League of Arab States and expand its institutions in order to enhance its future pan-Arab role.
In this context, the Arab leaders, meeting at this delicate juncture, decide to endorse the mechanism for the regular periodic convening of the Arab Summit as approved by the Council of the League of Arab States at its recent one hundred and fourteenth session and adopted in its final form by the meeting of Arab foreign ministers held in preparation for the present Summit. In accordance with the rotation by alphabetical order of the chairmanship for the convening of the periodic summits, the Arab Heads of State decide that the summit-level Council of the League of Arab States will meet at its thirteenth ordinary session in March 2001 under the chairmanship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Amman, Jordan.
The Arab leaders express their confidence that the regular periodic convening of the Arab Summit will contribute to the promotion of joint Arab action in all fields, and particularly in the economic field where such action has become more pressing than ever in the light of the international and regional changes that make Arab economic integration an urgent necessity. This is particularly true given the human, natural and strategic resources the Arab countries possess, which would contribute to the achievement of economic stability in the region and in the world and promote rates of growth and the prosperity of peoples.
In concluding their Summit, the Arab leaders commended the spirit of complete solidarity that had prevailed in the conference and the constructive discussions to which all delegations had contributed in a way that reflected the deep sense shared by all - leaders, Governments and peoples - of the gravity of the situation and of the importance of defining a unified Arab position to stand up firmly against Israeli threats in an endeavour to put the peace process back on the right road to a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
The Arab leaders expressed their high appreciation of the decision of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, to bear the costs of the commission to inquire into human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories that had been established by the resolution adopted on 19 October 2000 by the Commission on Human Rights at its fifth special session, so that it would be able to achieve its objectives.
The Arab leaders affirmed their resolve to continue to utilize Arab capacities in the service of the Nation’s causes and to make all of its resources available for the liberation of the occupied Arab territories, for support to the struggle of the Palestinian people to regain its land and establish its independent State on its national soil with Jerusalem as its capital, and for the preservation of Islamic and Christian Holy Places in Palestine. The Arab leaders agreed to continue their consultations in order to address ongoing developments confronting the Arab Nation.
The Arab leaders conveyed their deep thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, as well as to the people of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for their kind hospitality and the warm reception given. They expressed their full appreciation of the way in which the conference had been organized and prepared, and they offered His Excellency President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak their best wishes and the people of Egypt continued progress and prosperity.
The Secretary-General believes that a full and immediate implementation of the understandings reached at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit is the only way to break the current cycle of violence and to stabilize the situation.
He calls on both sides to honour their commitments under this agreement and to exercise maximum restraint.
For his part, the Secretary-General continues to follow developments closely. He remains in close contact with the participants at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit and with other international leaders. His good offices remain at the disposal of the parties.