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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol. XXVIII, No.1 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (janvier 2005) - Publié par la Division des droits palestiniens Français

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
31 January 2005



January 2005

Volume XXVIII, Bulletin No. 1





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



Contents
Page
I.
    Secretary-General concerned over killing of Palestinian civilians
1
II.
    Secretary-General welcomes Palestinian presidential election
1
III.
    Secretary-General forwards to General Assembly letter regarding register of damage relating to separation wall
1
IV.
    Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs briefs Security Council on situation in Middle East, including Palestinian question
4
V.
    Security Council welcomes Palestinian presidential election
5
VI.
    Secretary-General condemns Palestinian shooting attack
5
VII.
    Experts on cultural heritage of Jerusalem meet in Paris
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
, as well as at:
http://www.un.org/Depts/dpa/qpal/pub_bltn.htm.





I. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONCERNED OVER KILLING OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS

The following statement was issued on 4 January 2005 by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan (SG/SM/9665):

The Secretary-General is gravely concerned over the killing of at least seven Palestinian civilians and the injury of others caused by Israeli Defence Force (IDF) operations in the northern Gaza Strip conducted earlier today. He is particularly disturbed that at least 5 of the victims were under the age of 18. The Israeli military operations followed a marked increase in recent days of Qassam rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.

The Secretary-General renews his call on both parties to follow their obligations under international law and, in particular, to ensure the protection of the civilian population. The Secretary-General underlines the vital importance of exercising maximum restraint and responsibility during this critical period before the 9 January Palestinian presidential elections.


II. SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

In a statement issued on 10 January 2005, the Secretary-General welcomed the Palestinian presidential election conducted on 9 January 2005 (SG/SM/9668):

The Secretary-General welcomes the Palestinian presidential election as a significant step in what is a historic democratic transition in the occupied Palestinian territory. He is especially pleased with reports indicating that the election was conducted in a politically competitive yet peaceful atmosphere.

The Secretary-General congratulates President Mahmoud Abbas as the representative of the Palestinian people. He also congratulates the Palestinian Central Elections Commission for the organization of credible and genuine elections under challenging conditions.

The commitment to democracy of the Palestinian people and their institutions is a strong foundation for President Abbas to build on. The Secretary-General is looking forward to working with the new President of the Palestinian Authority on the implementation of the Road Map and the achievement of an independent and viable Palestinian State.


III. SECRETARY-GENERAL FORWARDS TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY LETTER
REGARDING REGISTER OF DAMAGE RELATING TO SEPARATION WALL

On 11 January 2005, the Secretary-General forwarded a letter to the President of the General Assembly regarding the establishment of a register of damage relating to Israel’s construction of a barrier in the West Bank (A/ES-10/294).

Letter dated 11 January 2005 from the Secretary-General to the President of the General Assembly

You will recall that in its resolution ES-10/15, adopted at the tenth emergency special session, the General Assembly acknowledged the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 9 July 2004 on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1), including in and around East Jerusalem, and requested that I "establish a register of damage caused to all natural or legal persons concerned in connection with paragraphs 152 and 153 of the advisory opinion".

In its advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice had concluded that by the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, Israel had violated various international law obligations incumbent upon it (para. 143) and that since the construction of the wall entailed the requisition and destruction of homes, businesses and agricultural holdings (para. 152), "Israel has the obligation to make reparation for the damage caused to all the natural and legal persons concerned". In paragraph 153 of its Opinion, the Court said:

"Israel is accordingly under an obligation to return the land, orchards, olive groves and other immovable property seized from any natural or legal person for purposes of construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the event that such restitution should prove to be materially impossible, Israel has an obligation to compensate the persons in question for the damage suffered. The Court considers that Israel also has an obligation to compensate, in accordance with the applicable rules of international law, all natural or legal persons having suffered any form of material damage as a result of the wall’s construction."

A register of damage is technically speaking a list or a record in documentary form. However, such a document cannot establish itself spontaneously. There is, therefore, a need for a mechanism that will be responsible for establishing and maintaining such a document. The legal and institutional framework set out below foresees a register and a mechanism for its establishment, a Registry.

I. The purpose and legal nature of the Registry

1. The registration of damage is a technical, fact-finding process of listing or recording the fact and type of the damage caused as a result of the construction of the wall. It thus entails a detailed submission process that would include a statement setting out the alleged damage, eligibility for registration and the causality between the construction of the wall and the damage sustained. It is important to understand that the Registry is not a compensation commission or a claims-resolution facility, nor is it a judicial or quasi-judicial body. The act of registration of damage, as such, does not entail an evaluation or an assessment of the loss or damage.

II. The structure and functions of the Registry

2. The Registry will consist of: (a) a Board, whose members are appointed by the Secretary-General in their personal capacity, and who shall be independent; (b) legal and technical experts in land and agriculture and in such other fields as may be necessary, appointed by the Board; and (c) a small secretariat consisting of administrative and technical support staff.

3. The Board will establish the rules and regulations governing the work of the Registry, and will have the overall responsibility for the establishment and maintenance of the register. It will establish eligibility criteria, categories of damage and the process of registration. On the recommendation of the experts, the Board will have the ultimate authority in determining the inclusion of damage in the register. The Board will report periodically to the Secretary-General.

4. Under the authority of the Board, the experts will consider submissions for inclusion in the register and deal with any other question entrusted to them by the Board. On the basis of the foregoing, they will recommend the inclusion of damage in the register.

5. The secretariat will service the members of the Board and the experts. It will be responsible for the administration of the Registry and the compilation of the database.

III. The legal status of the Registry

6. The Registry will be a subsidiary organ of the United Nations operating under the authority of the Secretary-General. The Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations will thus apply to the Registry, its premises, equipment, database and personnel. The secretariat staff will have the status of officials of the United Nations within the meaning of articles V and VII of the Convention, and the members of the Board and technical experts will have the status of experts on mission within the meaning of article VI of the Convention.

IV. Resource requirements

7. The Registry will require adequate resources in keeping with its mandate and technical requirements. As a subsidiary organ of the United Nations it will be financed through assessed contributions. It is my intention to revert to the General Assembly in due course on the budgetary implications of the establishment of the Registry.

V. The process of registration

8. In devising the process of registration, eligibility criteria and categories of damage, the Board will be guided by the relevant findings of the advisory opinion, general principles of law and, to the extent of their relevancy, principles of due process of law. The register will be publicly available.

1. Eligibility for registration

9. In accordance with the advisory opinion, both natural and legal persons who have sustained any form of material damage as a result of the construction of the wall are eligible for compensation. They are thus eligible to request the inclusion of damage in the register.

10. In accordance with the advisory opinion, the damage must be material damage, and a causal link will have to be established between the construction of the wall and the damage sustained.

2. Categories of damage

11. In paragraphs 133 and 153 of its advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice described the kinds of damage sustained as a result of the construction of the wall. They include: destruction and requisition of properties, seizure or confiscation of land, destruction of orchards, citrus groves, olive groves and wells and the seizure of other immovable property. Moreover, material damage sustained as a result of the construction of the wall is not limited to lands and crops, but also includes impeded access to means of subsistence, urban centres, work place, health services, educational establishments and primary source of water in areas between the green line and the wall itself. The categories of such material damage and their eligibility for registration will be elaborated in greater detail by the members of the Board.

3. Verification

12. A decision when and if it would be appropriate to engage in a process of verifying the fact and extent of the damage will be taken at a subsequent stage.

VI. The life-span of the Registry and the duration of the register

13. (a) The Registry will remain active for the duration of the process of registration. With the completion of the registration process, the Registry will be dissolved;

(b) The register of damage will remain open for registration for the duration of the wall on occupied Palestinian territory.

VII. Cooperation with the Government of Israel

14. The establishment and operation of the Registry in the occupied Palestinian territory will require the cooperation of the Israeli authorities in granting the Registry, its premises, database and other equipment, including its members, the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. It will also require its cooperation in facilitating its operations, including granting the members and experts access to documentary materials, to any governmental or municipal authority, organization or institution, or any other person whose information can assist the Board in the submission process.

I will keep the General Assembly appraised of developments relating to the establishment of the Registry.
(Signed) Kofi Annan

IV. UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
ON SITUATION IN MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING PALESTINIAN QUESTION

On 13 January 2005, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.” The following is an excerpt from his statement (S/PV.5111):

I have listed the positive developments of the last month, as well as the difficulties. How can we best assist the parties to move forward towards peace and to avoid the painful and all-too-frequent setbacks suffered in the past? For that to be done effectively, we need to start by being clear about our own priorities. Also, it is crucial that we all work together, guided by the framework of the Quartet and the road map process, as agreed by the parties and by the Council. Thirdly, we need to impress on Israelis and Palestinians that both of them must act towards fulfilling their road map obligations.

Both parties have important steps to take. Israeli settlement activity - including the natural growth of settlements - has not been frozen, as Israel is obliged to do under the road map. During 2004, according to recent reports, the number of people living in West Bank and Gaza strip settlements rose by 6 per cent. Even the settlements in the Gaza Strip that are slated for evacuation grew by 7 per cent; indeed, three of them recorded growth rates of between 21 and 29 per cent over the previous year. On the Palestinian side, we want to see the establishment of credible and reformed institutions which make a tangible impact in terms of efforts by the Palestinian Authority to put an end to the violence and terror.

In this immediate transitional stage, it is crucial to support Palestinian reform efforts - especially in the areas of security and governance - and to ensure that the Palestinian Authority is financially secure and able to meet the humanitarian needs of the population. In that context, we welcome Prime Minister Blair’s initiative to convene an international meeting, and we believe it will provide a valuable opportunity to discuss important issues on the agenda of the new Palestinian leadership. We consider that initiative to be an important step towards implementing the road map and achieving its full objectives.

It is also urgent to encourage both parties to resume contacts and work together to prepare for an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and part of the West Bank. Coordination between the parties and active support from the international community are needed to achieve a successful disengagement plan that will lead to further steps on the implementation of the road map and the resumption of full peace negotiations.

V. SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

The Security Council met on 13 January 2005 and adopted the following statement concerning the Palestinian presidential election held on 9 January 2005 (S/PRST/2005/2).

Statement by the President of the Security Council

At the 5111th meeting of the Security Council, held on 13 January 2005, in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question", the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:

VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS PALESTINIAN SHOOTING ATTACK

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 14 January 2005 concerning a Palestinian shooting attack at the Al-Muntar/Karni crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel (SG/SM/9676):

The Secretary-General condemns the Palestinian terror attack that caused the death of six Israeli civilians and injury to four others at the Karni crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip yesterday evening. He wishes to express his deepest condolences to the families of those killed and injured.

The Secretary-General hopes that this terrible incident will not be allowed to undermine the recent positive steps made by both parties. He also calls on the new Palestinian leadership to make all possible attempts to bring to justice the organizers and perpetrators of this attack.

The Secretary-General emphasizes again that violence cannot provide a solution to the conflict, and that only through negotiation can peace be achieved.



VII. EXPERTS ON CULTURAL HERITAGE OF JERUSALEM MEET IN PARIS

The first meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Committee of Experts on the Cultural Heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 26 January 2005. The following are excerpts from the opening statement by UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura:

More than any other place in the world, Jerusalem embodies the hope and dream of dialogue between cultures, civilizations and spiritual traditions, a dialogue through which mutual understanding between peoples may flourish. Deep at the heart of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) mission lies the commitment to create the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture.

The stakes are considerable, not only for the cultural heritage of the Old City, but also for advancing the cause of dialogue among peoples and civilizations. It is my sincere hope that UNESCO will be able to reaffirm that the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem is indeed a shared value and that its safeguarding is a cause around which the parties concerned are willing to cooperate, with the full support of the international community.


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