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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXIV, No.1 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP ( janvier 2001) - Publication de 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)
28 February 2001


January/February 2001


Volume XXIV, Bulletin No. 1



Contents

Page
I.UNSCO’s report on “The Impact on the Palestinian Economy of Confrontations,
Mobility Restrictions and Border Closures, 1 October 2000-31 January 2001”
1
II.United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, United Nations Office
at Vienna, 20 and 21 February 2001
2
III.Secretary General’s report on the “Follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration
and Platform for Action” addresses situation of, and assistance to Palestinian women
4
IV.Statement of the Presidency of the European Union on extrajudicial killings
10
V.Resolution of the Commission on Human Settlements on the illegal Israeli human settlements
in the occupied Palestinian territories
10



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.
    UNSCO’S REPORT ON “THE IMPACT ON THE PALESTINIAN
    ECONOMY OF CONFRONTATIONS, MOBILITY RESTRICTIONS
    AND BORDER CLOSURES, 1 OCTOBER 2000-31 JANUARY 2001”

The office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) on 31 January 2001 published a report on “The Impact on the Palestinian Economy of Confrontations, Mobility Restrictions and Border Closures, 1 October 2000-31 January 2001”. The summary of that report is reproduced below (emphasis as in the original):

The Impact on the Palestinian Economy of Confrontations, Mobility Restrictions and Border Closures, 1 October 2000-31 January 2001

Summary

Movement Restrictions

The lack of freedom of movement for people and goods caused by the present crisis has resulted in socio-economic hardships in the Palestinian Territory. During the 123-day period 1 October 2000-31 January 2001, the Israeli-Palestinian border used for labour and trade flows was closed for 93 days or 75.6 per cent of the time. Internal movement restrictions and internal closures - partial or severe - have been in place for 100 per cent of the time in the West Bank and for 89 per cent of time in Gaza. The international border crossings to Jordan (from the West Bank) and to Egypt (from Gaza) have been closed for 29 per cent and 50 per cent of the time, respectively.

Direct Economic Losses

The direct economic losses arising from movement restrictions are estimated at 50 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the four-month period and 75 per cent of wage income earned by Palestinian workers in Israel. The GDP loss is estimated at US$907.3 million while the loss of labour income from employment in Israel is estimated at $243.4 million. The total loss is estimated at $1,150.7 million, equal to 20 per cent of the projected GDP for the year 2000 (assuming no border closures). The loss is about $11 million per working day or $3.5 per person per working day during the reporting period.

In addition, there have been hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to public buildings and infrastructure and to private property and agricultural land, in costs for caring for more than 11,000 injured Palestinians, and in public revenue losses and other effects of the closures.

Unemployment

Loss of employment in Israel plus mobility restrictions and border closures have resulted in an average unemployment rate of 38 per cent (more than 250,000 persons) as compared to 11 per cent (71,000 persons) in the first nine months of 2000. Due to the high dependency ratio in the Palestinian Territory, unemployment now directly affects the incomes of about 900,000 people or 29 per cent of the population.

Per Capita Income

In the absence of border closures, per capita income was projected to be about $2,000 in the Palestinian Territory in the year 2000. As a result of the crisis, border closures and internal movement restrictions, this has been reduced to an estimated $1,680 - a decline of 16 per cent.

Poverty

Since the beginning of the crisis, there has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of people living below the poverty line, estimated by the World Bank as $2.10 per person per day in consumption expenditures (less than NIS 9 per day). The number of poor has increased from about 650,000 persons to 1 million persons. The poverty rate has increased from 21 per cent to 32 per cent.



II.
    UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON ASSISTANCE
    TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
    UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT VIENNA,
    20 AND 21 FEBRUARY 2001
The United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People was held at the United Nations Office at Vienna on 20 and 21 February 2001, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in accordance with its mandate to promote international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people.

The Committee was represented by Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman; Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla (Cuba), Vice-Chairman; Walter Balzan (Malta), Rapporteur; André Erdös (Hungary); and Nasser Al-Kidwa (Palestine).

The Seminar was attended by 73 Governments, Palestine, 4 intergovernmental organizations, 9 United Nations bodies, as well as representatives of 25 non-governmental organizations. Thirteen speakers made presentations in four panels.

Four invited Palestinian speakers and a number of NGO participants from the Occupied Palestinian Territory were unable to travel to Vienna for the Seminar, owing to the general closure imposed by Israel.

At the opening session, a statement was made on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations by his representative, Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Albert Rohan, Secretary-General of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made a statement on behalf of the Foreign Minister, Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Statements were also made by Ibra Deguène Ka, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and Faisal Aweidah, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations (Vienna).

Subsequently, four panel discussions were conducted with the participation of experts, as follows:

I. The crisis of 2000-2001: The impact of Israeli policies on the Palestinian economy

Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.

II. The role of the United Nations system: assessment and efforts to alleviate hardships

Francis Okelo, Deputy United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; Dayendra Sena Wijewardane, General Counsel at UNRWA in Gaza; Franz-Josef Homann-Herimberg, Special Adviser, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Nader Atta, Programme Management Officer at the UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People; Salam Fayyad, Senior Resident Representative of the IMF in the West Bank and Gaza; and Giuseppe Masala, WHO Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

III. Assistance by Arab and Islamic States and intergovernmental organizations to the Palestinian people

Said Kamal, Under-Secretary-General and Head of the Palestine Affairs Department of the League of Arab States; Abdelaziz Aboughosh, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; and Walid Abdewahab, Senior Project Officer at the Islamic Development Bank.

IV. Efforts by international donors and other sectors of the international community to alleviate the economic hardships of the Palestinian people

Roby Nathanson, Chairman of the Israeli Institute for Economic and Social Research in Tel Aviv; Matthias Burchard, Economic Adviser to the Special Representative of the European Union to the Middle East Peace Process; Ziad Asali, Chief Operating Officer of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Gil Feiler, Executive Director of Info-Prod Research (Middle East); Aline Batarseh, Communications Officer with World Vision in Jerusalem; Martin Wilkens, Minister at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations (Vienna), on behalf of the EU; Pierre Galand, Chairman of the European Coordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine; and Bernard Sabella, representative of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

In his concluding remarks, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People emphasized that the change of leadership in Israel at the beginning of February had undercut the momentum for reaching a final and comprehensive agreement. Since September 2000, the Occupied Palestinian Territory had been suffering under repeated closures, tight restrictions on the movement of people and goods, customs and tax withholding and other measures of collective punishment imposed by the Occupying Power. As a result, the Palestinian economy had suffered greatly and had come to the verge of collapse. The Palestinian people had been reduced to fighting for their survival and for the satisfaction of their basic day-to-day needs rather than working for long-term development.

He continued that the consequences of the situation, if it was not brought to a stop, were fraught with danger for peace throughout the region. The Committee once more called upon the donor community to continue with its assistance in order to meet the urgent needs of the Palestinian people. It requested donors urgently to contribute the funds needed to remedy the serious budgetary crisis that the Palestinian Authority was passing through at the moment.

He stressed that Palestinian economic rehabilitation and development were a prerequisite for peace in the Middle East. For peace to return and take root, a comprehensive, just and lasting political settlement must be coupled with a substantial improvement in the living conditions of the Palestinian people. Peace, security and prosperity went hand in hand for Palestinians, Israelis and the Middle East region as a whole.

Subsequently the Chairman submitted the report of the Seminar to the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council for circulation as a document of those organs (see A/56/89-E/2001/89). The report was also issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.


III.
    SECRETARY-GENERAL'S REPORT ON THE "FOLLOW-UP TO
    AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BEIJING DECLARATION
    AND PLATFORM FOR ACTION"; ADDRESSES SITUATION OF,
    AND ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN WOMEN


The report of the Secretary General on the “Follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” (E/CN.6/2001/2) of 9 January 2001 contains a section on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, which is reproduced below:

III. Information supplied in accordance with specific mandates

A.Situation of Palestinian women and assistance provided by
organizations in the United Nations system

72. In its resolution 2000/23 of 28 July 2000, the Economic and Social Council requested a report on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women. The present report, which covers the period from September 1999 to September 2000, is based on information from United Nations bodies that monitor the situation of Palestinians in the occupied territories and refugee camps. Such bodies include the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories 1/ and the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967. The report is also based on information submitted by entities


1. Situation of Palestinian women

73. In his report on the Palestinian economy, the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories stated that, according to estimates from the Palestinian Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Palestinian economy improved in 1998: real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by about 7 per cent; Palestinian labour flows to Israel by 15 per cent; Israeli-Palestinian trade by 9 per cent. Donors’ assistance increased by 12 per cent. In addition, the Palestinian Ministry of Finance and IMF revised their growth forecasts for 1999 upward to 6 per cent. In 1999, employment and labour force participation both increased so that the combined effect on the unemployment rate was a decline to 12.7 per cent from 15.6 per cent in 1998. 2/

74. Women’s employment and participation in the labour force grew faster than for men. This could be explained by the rapid expansion in the agriculture and services sectors, including public services, where women were present in high numbers. 3/ However, women were still found mainly in part-time jobs. In 1999, the proportion of women working less than 35 hours per week increased by 34.76 per cent while the same figure for men fell by 11.66 per cent. This tendency might have resulted from two factors. First, in the expanding agricultural sector women perform unpaid work, which is therefore not accounted for; secondly, married women tend to seek part-time jobs to increase the household income. Unemployment figures in 1999 suggest that the gap between women and men widened. In fact, while the number of unemployed men fell significantly - by 14.45 per cent - the number of unemployed women was nearly unchanged, falling only by 1.80 per cent. 3/

75. In 1999 there was no reduction in the severity of the closure policy applied by Israel to the occupied territories. Personal mobility remained severely restricted as Palestinians could not travel freely between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or enter Jerusalem without permits from the Israeli authorities. Palestinian public agencies, businesses, NGOs and international agencies continued to experience higher transaction costs, time delays, and loss of productivity as a result of restrictions in the movement of personnel and goods at border crossings. 3/

76. The report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/55/373) stated that closures and restrictions at checkpoints continued to remain a cause of concern to Palestinians. For instance, on 9 February 2000, Israeli soldiers raided a Palestinian house and held family members, including women and children, at gunpoint. One woman suffered a heart attack. As the car transporting her to the hospital was delayed at an Israeli checkpoint (ibid., para. 84) she died.

77. The Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, Mr. Giorgio Giacomelli (Italy), in his report to the Commission on Human Rights, stated that the Israeli policy of closures and permits also affected the right to education as it had serious repercussions for students in the Gaza Strip. In fact, more than 1,300 students from Gaza were prevented from studying at universities and Palestinian institutions of higher education in the West Bank because Israel considered them to be a security risk (E/CN.4/2000/25, para. 47). In the same report, the Special Rapporteur noted that the issue of Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli prisons remained a source of great concern. Although there had been releases of Palestinian (political) prisoners, within the framework of the peace agreements, the number remained high, at 1,500. The conditions of detention were below international standards and difficulties of access to prisoners were faced by their lawyers as well as by their families.

78. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reported that, in Ramallah, at various times, the General Security Service had banned parents, wives and siblings of 200 prisoners from visiting them (A/55/373, para. 114). The Special Committee also reported that the prison service had withheld permission for a British physician to examine the condition of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl detained in Ramle (ibid., para. 110).

79. As noted by the Special Rapporteur, harsh prison sentences often had the effect of taking fathers away from children and, upon their release from prison, led to an incidence of violence in the family. As a consequence, in many cases, men lost their protective and breadwinner’s role within the household while women were forced to take additional burdens and acquire roles other than the ones traditionally performed by them (see E/CN.4/2000/25, para. 43) in order to provide for all the economic and social needs of the family. It is important to note two aspects related to women taking on new roles: on the one hand, it might lead to conflicts within the family due to the difficulty in adapting to and accepting change; on the other, it might provide opportunities for women’s empowerment as women gained new decision-making power within the household.

80. The expansion of Israeli settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes and the building of bypass roads in the occupied territories continued to create difficulties for the Palestinians. In particular, the demolition of houses in Jerusalem often forced families to consider moving to the West Bank, where it would have been cheaper to buy or rent another house, but where they would have lost their residency rights. An incident of this kind was reported by the Special Committee (see A/55/373, para. 57).

81. The report of the Special Committee also stated that, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health, the toxic gas pollution of the West Bank’s water sources controlled by Israel caused numerous miscarriages among Palestinian women (ibid., para. 60) living in the West Bank.

82. As the present report covers the period from September 1999 to September 2000, it does not contain information related to the effects of the violent confrontation between Palestinian civilians and Israeli security forces that erupted at the end of September 2000. Clashes spread, provoking numerous deaths, particularly among Palestinian civilians, including youth. Such violence had negative economic and social effects in the occupied territories as well as serious repercussions on the peace process and on the ability of the organizations of the United Nations system to operate effectively in the occupied territories.

2. Assistance to Palestinian women

83. The organizations of the United Nations system continued to provide assistance to Palestinian people, in particular women.

84. During the period under review, ESCWA prepared a study on gender and citizenship and the role of NGOs in the occupied territories, aimed at proposing action-oriented policy recommendations to inculcate a gender-sensitive citizenship in post-conflict countries. ESCWA organized a workshop for producers and users of sex-disaggregated data in the occupied territories and started ongoing projects such as a database on Palestinian refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon; a regional household survey in the occupied territories; and the development of national gender statistics in the Arab countries, including the occupied territories.

85. UNRWA provides essential education, health, relief and social services to some 3.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations, comprising Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Assistance to Palestinian women is a priority, delivered within the context of the Agency’s regular programmes for Palestine refugees.

86. During the period under review, UNRWA began a review of its gender policies with external technical expertise and funding from the Government of Denmark. The review sought to align the Agency’s gender policies and practice more closely with the framework and targets agreed at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women and subsequently reviewed at the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”.

87. In the 1999/2000 scholastic year, 468,651 pupils were enrolled in the Agency’s elementary, preparatory and secondary schools, of whom 234,500, or 50 per cent, were female. Women accounted for 69 per cent of participants in UNRWA’s pre- and in-service teacher training courses, and for 63 per cent of trainees in UNRWA’s technical/semi-professional courses. Of the 673 continuing UNRWA scholarships in 1999/2000, 45.3 per cent were held by women. In addition, 14 Palestinian women in Lebanon would benefit from a scholarship project during 1999/2000 addressed to women only and managed by UNRWA on behalf of the Canadian International Development Research Centre.

88. UNRWA provided maternal and child health care and family planning services and sustained full immunization coverage to women and children against vaccine-preventable diseases. Those services were supported by school health services as well as by health educational programmes on the prevention of tobacco use and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

89. Difficult socio-economic conditions in refugee communities during the reporting period continued to create greater reliance on income earned by women. More than 50 per cent of UNRWA’s special hardship case families, who received direct food and material assistance from the Agency, were headed by women. UNRWA’s women-in-development programme provided a wide range of social, cultural and educational services at the community level. Seventy Women’s Programme Centres served as focal points within the refugee community for UNRWA’s work with women. From the beginning of 2000 until 30 July 2000, a total of 27,634 participants benefited from the various activities of the Centres, such as computer training, photography, English language courses, child care services for working women, group-guaranteed lending, awareness-raising campaigns on health, disability diagnosis and awareness and legal counselling. The Agency is currently reviewing the quality of training at the Centres, with the aim of facilitating the employment of women upon graduation.

90. During 1999/2000, UNRWA’s income generation programme granted loans valued at $3.12 million to 3,716 women, who supported 20,050 dependants. Since 1994, the Solidarity Group Lending Programme has provided loans worth $11.39 million to 15,183 women organized in 2,271 solidarity groups. These women were granted loans at the end of each successful repayment cycle. The programme was self-sufficient, with all operational costs and loan loss provision covered from revenues generated by lending and banking activities. The programme maintained an annual repayment rate of 98.65 per cent.

91. During the period under review, the ILO Arab regional office undertook a series of activities in support of and assistance to Palestinian women:

Gender mainstreaming in the Ministry of Labour (Gaza and Ramallah)

The inter-ministerial coordinating committee for the advancement of women mainstreamed gender concerns in certain ministries. In August 2000, ILO supported a workshop, held in Ramallah, to develop an action plan for the Ministry of Labour.

• Strategy formulation on the promotion and development of women’s entrepreneurship

Several activities were executed in the framework of a 1996-1999 training programme implemented by the International Training Centre of ILO in Turin, Italy, to promote and develop Palestinian women’s entrepreneurship. In particular, four courses to train trainers to develop technical capacities and nine technical workshops to enhance the knowledge and skills of women entrepreneurs were undertaken. In May 2000, a seminar comprising national governmental, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders was organized to design a national strategy for women’s entrepreneurship development.

• ILO multidisciplinary mission to the West Bank and Gaza

From 31 January to 11 February 2000, ILO developed two project proposals for the advancement of women. The first project aimed to strengthen the inter-ministerial committee for the advancement of women and the second to promote and develop female entrepreneurship.

• Capacity-building programme on gender, poverty and employment

In December 1999, a subregional planning seminar for the Arab States was organized in Beirut on an ILO capacity-building programme on gender, poverty and employment that resulted in national action plans. The action plan for the West Bank and Gaza was developed into a draft project proposal early in 2000 and is expected to be developed further into a full-fledged project document.

92. In January 1999, the World Bank formally established a Consultative Council on Gender in the Middle East and North Africa Region in order to formulate solutions to the most pertinent gender concerns in the area. In the period under review, the World Bank undertook various assistance programmes and projects, including:

• Comprehensive development frame-work

A programme to address the increasing need for a holistic integrated approach to development, balancing macroeconomic stability with human, social and structural elements.

• The Second Committee development project

A project designed and implemented with the full participation of women and including targeted interventions such as promoting women’s centres and kindergartens.

• The Palestinian NGO project

A project which financially and technically supported NGOs that targeted the poor and marginalized Palestinian population, 70 per cent of whom were women.

• The education and health rehabilitation project

This project was completed in December 1999. It provided for appropriate and adequate sanitary facilities at school sites, promoted the development of teaching material free of gender bias, and aimed at increasing girls’ access to schools.

The pilot training centre for disadvantaged youth

Funded through the World Bank Development Market Place 2000 Competition, the centre would be created as part of a pilot project that targets poor rural young women and men who currently have no training in skills useful in today’s job market.

93. Based on its programme of cooperation with the Palestinian Authority for the years 1998-2000, UNICEF addresses gender issues through its programmes for Palestinian children and women.

94. UNICEF promotes advocacy for women’s rights by increasing society’s awareness of the scope and meaning of women’s rights, non-discrimination and gender equality, using information from all its projects and education strategies, including better parenting, gender equity in education and life skills. The UNICEF strategy also supports an enabling environment that influences legislation and mobilizes resources for Palestinian women, in order to monitor and promote women’s rights. Different types of media are used in pursuing that strategy, including television, radio, print media and theatre.

95. Within the women’s health project, UNICEF supported the following activities aimed at improving the quality of life of Palestinian women:

• Eight-day training for 75 midwives from primary and secondary health care settings in the governmental sector as well as UNRWA and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society;

• Four-day workshop for 125 maternal health care professionals on the promotion of women’s and children’s health and nutrition and the quality of services;

• Ten-day training for physicians and nurses within the obstetric and neonatal departments in four major hospitals;

• The maternal mortality survey being implemented in the West Bank, which would seek, inter alia, to identify the most common causes of maternal death, to strengthen the surveillance system in the country and to monitor the fate of orphans after the death of their mothers.

96. During the period under review, UNICEF supported a five-day training programme on first aid, health promotion, communication and leadership skills for 300 nursery teachers in 12 districts, undertaken within the better parenting initiative implemented with the Ministry of Social Affairs. UNICEF is currently supporting the following activities:

• A study on early marriage and dropouts in the Bethlehem district being conducted to understand the perceptions, attitudes and practices related to early marriage, and to examine the relationship between early marriage and dropping out of school among females who marry early;

• An awareness-raising campaign on gender and development issues among students, grades 7 through 10, attending eight schools in the Bethlehem district;

• A review of new textbooks to assess whether they are gender-sensitive. The results of the review would be shared with the Ministry of Education;

• Sixteen gender-training workshops targeting 400 education professionals in eight districts (five in the West Bank and three in Gaza). The training focuses on gender awareness and sensitization as well as on some basic skills to enable the education professionals to integrate gender into the teaching process.

97. Gender is mainstreamed in both projects of the advocacy and capacity-building programme: the planning, policy formulation and monitoring project and the children and women in need of special protection project. During the period under review, UNICEF worked on the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey II (still to be completed) aimed at providing sex-disaggregated data on Palestinian children and women. Furthermore, UNICEF provided:

• Technical and financial support to the Palestinian Authority in drafting the Palestinian Child Rights Charter and ensuring that it was gender-sensitive;

• Support to the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs in carrying out a study of orphanages providing long-term residential care with emphasis on the under-served girl child;

• Support to efforts aimed at increasing media coverage of Palestinian children and women, jointly with the Ministry of Information;

• Support to the creation of a network of NGOs working to combat violence against women.

3. Conclusions

98. During the reporting period, the Palestinian Authority, civil society groups and organizations of the United Nations system made considerable efforts to improve the economic and social conditions of Palestinian women. Yet, despite these efforts and in spite of the positive trends of the domestic Palestinian economy in the period under review, women still experienced unequal access to the labour market and income-generating activities and continued to have higher unemployment rates than men. Thus, the situation of women still requires special attention.

99. The status and living conditions of Palestinian women are linked to the achievement of progress in the peace process. Women living in the occupied territories continued to be directly affected by Israeli policies, especially the closure, hindering the efforts undertaken by the Palestinian Authority, civil society groups and organizations of the United Nations aimed at advancing women.

100. Towards the end of the reporting period, violence between Israeli security forces and Palestinian civilians erupted in the occupied territories creating great concern as it jeopardized the peace process and hindered assistance efforts by the organizations of the United Nations system. It is important that United Nations entities continue to be able to operate in the occupied territories and that efforts are made to continue working for the advancement and empowerment of Palestinian women. It is particularly important that Palestinian women continue to be given assistance in areas such as education, health, social services and micro-credit and that efforts are made to increase their full and equal participation in decision-making and peace programmes.

101. The gender perspective should continue to be fully integrated in international assistance programmes, through, inter alia, greater gender analysis and the collection of sex-disaggregated data, which is currently insufficient. Although the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Territories, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process and the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967 all provided valuable information on the situation in the occupied territories, they still lack a thorough gender analysis. Thus, it is important to introduce a gender perspective in all studies and reports undertaken by the United Nations on the situation of Palestinian women.

/...

_______________
1/ In September 1999, the Secretary-General reconfigured the mandate of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories. His title was changed to United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. In addition to his responsibilities relating to the occupied Palestinian territory, the Special Coordinator now also has responsibilities for coordinating United Nations development assistance related to the peace process in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic (A/55/137-E/2000/95, para.2). of the United Nations system providing assistance to Palestinian people, i.e., ESCWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), ILO, the World Bank and UNICEF.

2/ See United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories report, Spring 2000, Executive Summary.

3/ Ibid.



IV.
    STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENCY OF THE
    EUROPEAN UNION ON EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS

The following statement on extrajudicial killings was issued on 13 February 2001 by the Presidency of the European Union on behalf of the European Union (A/55/795).

The European Union deplores the practice of so-called eliminations or extrajudicial killings of Palestinians carried out by Israeli security forces. On 21 January 2001, a démarche reflecting this concern was made to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The existence of such a policy was later confirmed by the Israeli side. On 13 February, a new extrajudicial killing was carried out in Gaza.

The European Union reiterates its strongly held opinion that Israel’s policy in this regard is unacceptable and contrary to the rule of law. The European Union urges Israel to cease this practice and thus respect international law.

The European Union believes that extrajudicial killings are an obstacle to peace and could provoke further violence.

The European Union reiterates its deep concern about the chain of violent events during the last months and holds that it is the responsibility of the Israeli as well as of the Palestinian authorities to do their utmost to prevent actions resulting in new victims.



V.
    RESOLUTION OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN
    SETTLEMENTS ON THE ILLEGAL ISRAELI HUMAN
    SETTLEMENTS IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN
    TERRITORIES

The following is the text of a resolution on the illegal Israeli human settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, adopted on 16 February 2001 by the Commission on Human Settlements (resolution 18/12).

18/12. Illegal Israeli human settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories


The Commission on Human Settlements

Recalling its resolutions 13/6 of 8 May 1991 and 14/9 of 5 May 1993 on housing for the Palestinian people, and its resolution 16/18 of 17 May 1997 on illegal Israeli human settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,

Reaffirming its resolution 17/9 of 14 May 1999 on illegal Israeli human settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories,

Considering that the issue of housing for the Palestinian people and the Israeli illegal settlements in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, falls within the mandate of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat),

Recalling paragraph 25 of the Habitat Agenda, in which it is stated that alien and colonial domination and foreign occupation are destructive to human settlements and should therefore be denounced and discouraged by all States, which should cooperate to achieve the elimination of such practices,

Recalling also paragraph 204 (h) of the Habitat Agenda, which calls for consolidating the solidarity of the international community and its organizations to provide adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development for people living under foreign occupation,

Taking note of General Assembly resolution 55/132 of 8 December 2000 on "Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan",

Concerned by Israel's continued illegal actions in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the building of new settlements, the expansion of existing settlements, the construction of by-pass roads, the confiscation of land and the demolition of Palestinian houses,

Gravely concerned by the deterioration and destruction caused to the Palestinian human settlements as a result of recent Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories,

Regretting that the reports requested in resolutions 16/18 and 17/9 were not ready for presentation at the current session,

Taking note of the explanation presented by the Executive Director on the status of the requested comprehensive report on the housing situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as the plans of the secretariat to ensure its completion.

1. Calls upon the Israeli authorities to implement the following measures to enable the Palestinian people in the occupied territories to ensure their housing needs;

(a) Provide dignified and appropriate physical conditions in their human settlements where needed;

(b) Put an end to the confiscation of Palestinian lands and the establishment of settlements in the occupied territories;

(c) Restore to their original state occupied lands that were altered before and during the recent illegal actions;

(d) Refrain from applying policies that prevent and hamper the issuance of building permits to the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem;

(e) Accept the de jure applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War to the occupied Palestinian territories;

2. Requests with insistence that member States and all multilateral financial institutions halt all forms of assistance and support for illegal Israeli settlement facilities in the occupied Palestinian territories;

3. Calls upon the international donor community and all financial institutions, in coordination with the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), to increase financial assistance to alleviate the housing problems faced by the Palestinian people in the occupied territories;

4. Requests the Executive Director of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) to organize a meeting on the establishment of a human settlements fund for the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories;

5. Also requests the Executive Director to conclude and update a comprehensive report on implementation of the present resolution, in particular regarding the housing situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and the problems posed by the Israeli illegal actions in this respect, and to present it to the Commission at its nineteenth session;

6. Invites the Commission to take appropriate measures at its nineteenth session in accordance with the findings of the comprehensive report.

Adopted by 22 votes to 1,
with 21 abstentions,
at the 8th meeting,
16 February 2001.


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