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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol. XXIX, No.4 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (avril 2006) - Publié par la Division des droits palestiniens Français

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
30 April 2006



April 2006

Volume XXIX, Bulletin No. 4



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

Contents

Page
I.
Support to Quartet Special Envoy extended
1
II.
Secretary-General extremely concerned about violence
1
III.
Secretary-General condemns Tel Aviv suicide bombing
2
IV.
Security Council considers situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
2
V.
Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process briefs Security Council
5
VI.
United Nations Seminar on Assistance to Palestinian People convenes in Cairo
6



The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf, or at:
http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/pub_bltn.htm.



I. SUPPORT TO QUARTET SPECIAL ENVOY EXTENDED

On 6 April, Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent a letter to the President of the Security Council concerning the provision of support to Quartet Special Envoy James Wolfensohn until the end of April 2006 (S/2006/233), reproduced below. In a letter sent from the President of the Security Council to the Secretary-General on 11 April, the members of the Council welcomed the proposed support arrangements (S/2006/234).

I have the honour to refer to my letter of 13 December 2005 (S/2005/797) and the response dated 16 December 2005 (S/2005/798) regarding the activities of the Quartet, including the mandate of its Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement, James Wolfensohn, and the support for those activities by the Organization through the provision of logistical, technical and financial assistance to Mr. Wolfensohn’s office.

From 1 June 2005, Mr. Wolfensohn was charged by the Quartet with coordinating the international community’s efforts in support of the disengagement initiative; promoting coordination and cooperation between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the implementation of Israel’s disengagement initiative from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank; and working with the Palestinian Authority on specific reforms and steps to promote economic recovery and growth, democracy, good governance and transparency, job creation and improved living standards. Mr. Wolfensohn’s mandate as the Quartet’s Special Envoy, which was initially planned to end on 31 December 2005, was extended through 31 March 2006.

The members of the Quartet, comprising the United Nations, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, have agreed that Mr. Wolfensohn and his team should continue to be provided with the support necessary to operate an office in Jerusalem until the end of April 2006. In the context of Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), in which the Council endorsed the Quartet’s road map and encouraged the diplomatic efforts of the Quartet and others, I should be grateful if you could confirm the Council’s continued support for the proposed arrangements. It would then be my intention to maintain the provision of logistical, technical and financial assistance in support of his office for the period of Mr. Wolfensohn’s extended mandate.


II. SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT VIOLENCE

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 9 April 2006 (SG/SM/10409-PAL/2044):

The Secretary-General is extremely concerned about the continuation and intensification of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza, a suicide bombing last week, and major Israeli reprisal operations.

The Secretary-General calls on the Palestinian Authority to take a clear public stand against violence and to take firm measures against the perpetrators of rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Israel to ensure that its responses are proportionate and do not endanger the civilian population.

He asks both sides to act in conformity with international law, and to refrain from taking any steps which further escalate the violence.


III. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS TEL AVIV SUICIDE BOMBING

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 17 April 2006 (SG/SM/10422):

The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. He calls on the Palestinian Authority to take a clear public stand against such unjustifiable acts of terrorism, noting that President Abbas has done so and regretting that the new Government has not.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned that civilians continue to be killed by violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under international law, and to refrain from actions that further escalate the situation and put civilians at grave risk.


IV. SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS THE SITUATION IN THE
MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

On 17 April 2006, the Security Council considered the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, at the request of Bahrain in its capacity as Chairman of the Arab Group for the month of April 2006 (S/2006/227), Yemen in its capacity as chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Group (S/2006/239), and Malaysia in its capacity as Chairman of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (S/2006/240).

The following are excerpts from the statement delivered by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People Paul Badji, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations (S/PV.5411):



Once again, the Council is meeting to consider the very troubling situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. The violence in the West Bank and, particularly, in the Gaza Strip, is escalating at an alarming pace. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have intensified military action, stepping up extrajudicial assassinations and the firing of missiles and artillery rounds at Palestinian targets. The number of Palestinian civilian casualties is mounting, with children among those killed and injured. Despite the deaths of innocent civilians, the IDF continues to shell targets in the Gaza Strip, causing more death and destruction. At the same time, the firing of Qassam rockets from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel shows no signs of abating, provoking violent response by the Israel Defense Forces. All these acts have no justification whatsoever and are violations of international law.

For the same reason, the Committee condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s suicide attack in Tel Aviv that killed at least nine and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. The current escalation of violence is reaching dangerous levels. This situation could sink into an uncontrollable quagmire unless reason and calm prevail.

These tragic developments risk destroying what little hope remains for the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas and the incoming Israeli Government to explore ways of reopening dialogue and returning to peace talks. The Palestinian population, already suffering under miserable living conditions, is not only further degraded and humiliated, but also has to face increasing danger day by day.

We call on Israel immediately to halt military operations and the excessive use of force. We call on both sides to cease without delay all acts of violence, to exercise utmost restraint so as to allow calm to return. The Committee believes that the Security Council should live up to its responsibility and help end the bloodshed and misery in the occupied Palestinian territory. Israel must stop its military incursions into Palestinian land and its targeted killings of Palestinians, and must lift the severe restrictions on the movement and daily life of the Palestinian people.

In this context, we are very concerned about recent decisions by some major donors to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority. The assistance of the international community has been so critical in providing the most basic provisions to millions of Palestinians. Suspension or redirection of basic aid will cause disruption and extra hardship in the lives of many Palestinians at this most critical time. The Committee appeals to the international donor community to ensure that the humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people does not worsen and to do all they can so that much-needed aid continues to reach those who need it the most.

The illegal Israeli policies of expanding and annexing settlements and the ongoing construction of the separation wall continue in violation of international law. These policies deprive the Palestinians of their just aspiration for a contiguous independent State of Palestine. The international community has continued to call on Israel to put an end to its policies that unlawfully seize Palestinian land and create faits accomplis on the ground. The Committee calls on the Security Council and the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to undertake urgent measures to pressure Israel to end this confiscation of land and renounce this policy.

For its part, the Committee will continue to work together with the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people - first and foremost with the President of the Palestinian Authority - who support the principles of non-violence, recognize the State of Israel and respect and adhere to previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The Committee is also in favour of a negotiated settlement of the conflict resulting in the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.

Such a settlement would make it possible to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to end the occupation, which began in 1967, on the basis of the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002) and 1515 (2003), agreements previously reached by the parties, the Arab Peace Initiative and acceptance of Israel as a neighbour in peace and security and in the context of a comprehensive settlement. Only such a comprehensive settlement will allow the Palestinian people to achieve their inalienable rights, which we all ardently desire.


V. SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS BRIEFS
SECURITY COUNCIL

On 24 April 2006, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Alvaro de Soto briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.” The following are excerpts from his conclusions (S/PV.5491):



The first challenge is to stabilize the security environment. Here, the primary responsibility rests squarely with the parties. I take this opportunity to reiterate the Secretary-General’s condemnation of last week’s suicide attack against civilians in Tel Aviv and his call on the Palestinian Authority to take a clear public stand against such acts of terrorism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances. The responsible authorities must take firm measures to prevent such attacks, as well as rocket attacks. The ongoing jockeying concerning the Palestinian security forces introduces an element of uncertainty as to the precise locus of responsibility for law and order within the Palestinian Authority. There is an immediate need for closer coordination among the various security bodies.

The Secretary-General has called on the Government of Israel to ensure that its military actions are proportionate and that they do not endanger the civilian population. Both parties must abide by their obligations under international law and refrain from actions that further escalate the situation and put civilians at risk.

The second challenge is to meet the basic needs of the Palestinian people. The United Nations carries out a wide range of activities throughout the occupied Palestinian territory. In the light of current developments, it is likely that the scale of those activities will increase. United Nations entities will continue to discharge their responsibilities, to the best of their abilities, in keeping with their respective mandates. In so doing, United Nations programmes and agencies will continue to interact with their Palestinian Authority counterparts to ensure that we serve the interests of peace and meet the needs of the Palestinian people as effectively as possible. Political and diplomatic contacts may take place at the discretion of the Secretary-General.

Increased United Nations and non-governmental organization activity cannot, however, fill the void that would be created were the Palestinian Authority no longer able to provide the vital services that it delivers now. Many major donors will not transfer funds to the Palestinian Authority but express their desire to ensure that the basic needs of the Palestinian people are met. However, the Palestinian Authority provides the bulk of the irreplaceable basic services necessary to avert a humanitarian crisis, and it is highly questionable as to whether the Palestinian Authority should be supplanted in those functions. Most Palestinians, for instance, receive their medical attention from Palestinian Authority-salaried nurses and doctors in Palestinian Authority hospitals and medical centres. The United Nations will continue to work with all concerned to try to find ways to ensure that the needs of the Palestinians are met.

The third challenge is to address the new reality that both parties are on quite different trajectories from those they were on when the Road Map was drawn up by the Quartet and endorsed by the Security Council. Much has happened on the ground in the meantime. It is no exaggeration to say that prospects for achieving a two-State solution along the lines envisaged in the road map have receded through a combination of factors. Those include the radical departure of the new Palestinian Government from tenets long accepted by the Palestine Liberation Organization on behalf of the Palestinian people and its failure to meet the principles articulated by the Quartet. On the Israeli side, we continue to witness the creation of facts on the ground, including settlement expansion and a route of the barrier which deviates from the 1967 borders, raising serious concerns about whether it will ever be possible to achieve a viable and contiguous Palestinian State.

We must deal with the new situation with the right mixture of firm adherence to basic principles and creativity to meet a rapidly evolving reality. The Secretary-General has invited Quartet principals to meet in New York on 9 May to discuss those important issues. They will be joined by key regional partners. We will, as always, keep the Security Council informed.


VI. UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON ASSISTANCE TO THE
PALESTINIAN PEOPLE CONVENES IN CAIRO

The United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in Cairo on 26 and 27 April 2006. The theme of the Seminar was “International efforts at alleviating the Palestinian economic and humanitarian crisis.” It was attended by representatives of 55 Governments, 4 intergovernmental organizations, Palestine, 16 United Nations entities, 8 civil society organizations, as well as 31 representatives of regional and local media outlets. Presentations were made by 13 experts, including 4 Palestinians and 2 Israelis, as well as 7 representatives of United Nations agencies, programmes and departments involved in assistance to the Palestinian people. The following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane (SG/SM/10434; GA/PAL/1005):

It gives me pleasure to send my greetings to the participants in this United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, which has been organized under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

This Seminar comes at a critical time. The Palestinian people are undergoing a major political transition in the midst of a stalemated peace process, continuing violence and worsening humanitarian conditions.

Last January, the world witnessed the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, which marked an important milestone in the Palestinian people’s continued pursuit of democracy and self-determination. I respect the decision of the Palestinian people. I also hope that the new Palestinian Authority Cabinet will address their aspirations for peace and statehood, as articulated by President Abbas.

For this reason, I call upon the Palestinian Authority to reaffirm Palestinian commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Road Map. These principles and United Nations resolutions underlie the efforts to achieve a two-State solution. That is why they have been emphasized by the Security Council and the Quartet, and why regional partners are working to ensure that the new Government aligns itself with the Arab Peace Initiative.

Israelis have also elected new leadership. I urge the new Israeli Government to live up to its commitments, including those contained in the Road Map. I call upon Israel to cease settlement activity and other actions that could prejudice final status issues, and encourage it to recognize that a peaceful solution to the conflict cannot be imposed unilaterally or outside the framework of a comprehensive regiona lpeace.

I remain extremely worried about the intensification of violence, including Palestinian rocket attacks and suicide bombings, as well as Israeli air strikes, shelling and ground operations. Civilians on both sides have been killed and injured from this violence, igniting feelings of anger and revenge. I reiterate my call on both sides to abide by their obligations under international law, and refrain from further actions that might escalate the situation and put civilians at risk.

I am also concerned at the prospect of a further deterioration in the living conditions of the Palestinian people. A combination of factors is coming together, which carry the danger of leading to a serious humanitarian crisis. Key donors have discontinued direct support to the Palestinian Authority; Israel continues to withhold tax clearance revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, despite its obligations under the Paris protocol; and the contraction of economic activity is expected to reduce Palestinian domestic tax revenues. The irregular operation of the Karni crossing and the system of internal closures in the West Bank hinder the movement of people and goods, exacerbating poverty and unemployment. They also impose considerable daily hardship and humiliation on the Palestinian population, as does the continued construction of a barrier on Occupied Palestinian Territory, despite the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.

The United Nations has repeatedly expressed its concern over these matters and continues to remind Israel that it must uphold its responsibilities as an occupying Power under international law. I call upon both parties to work towards the implementation of last November’s agreement on access and movement, in particular to ensure a smooth functioning of the commercial crossing at Karni, which is so critical to the economic viability of the Gaza Strip. And I strongly urge the international donor community to find effective ways of continuing and intensifying support of the Palestinian people.

At this crucial time, I wish to add a final word about the work of the United Nations, which carries out a wide range of activities throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In light of current developments, it is likely that the scale of those activities will increase. UN entities will continue to discharge their responsibilities, in keeping with their respective mandates. But all concerned must understand that the Palestinian Authority provides the bulk of the irreplaceable basic services necessary to avert a humanitarian crisis. Increased UN and NGO activity cannot fill the void that would be created were the institutions of the Palestinian Authority to be unable to do so. These institutions, moreover, are the blocks on which we hope to build a Palestinian State. Bearing in mind all these considerations, the United Nations will continue to work with our partners and the parties to try to find ways to ensure that the needs of the Palestinians are met.

At the same time, the international community must find a way to advance the goal of the two-State solution, which is vital to the peace and security of both peoples and the region. Reaching that goal will take the right mixture of firm adherence to basic principles and creativity to meet a rapidly evolving reality. The United Nations will continue to support international efforts aimed at bringing an end to the occupation that began in 1967, and achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement leading to peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.

In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful seminar.


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