Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol. XXVII, No.1 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (janvier-avril 2004) - Publié par la Division des droits palestiniens Français
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on action by the United Nations system and
relevant to the question of Palestine
The Commission on Human Rights,
Reaffirming that all States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Charter of the United Nations and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,
Mindful that Israel is a party to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable de jure to Palestinian and all Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and recalling the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, held in Geneva on 5 December 2001,
Recalling its previous resolutions, most recently resolution 2003/7 of 15 April 2003, and taking note of General Assembly resolution 58/98 of 9 December 2003, in which, inter alia, the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories was reaffirmed,
Welcoming the presentation by the Quartet * to the parties of the road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and noting the call for a freeze on settlement activity, and taking note of the proposals for an Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which could represent a significant step towards the implementation of the road map, provided that it took place in the context of the road map; it was a step towards a two-State solution; it did not involve a transfer of settlement activity to the West Bank; there was an organized and negotiated handover of responsibility to the Palestinian Authority; and Israel facilitated the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Gaza,
Gravely concerned at the widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law which continue to result from the occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
Concerned in particular that the route marked out for the so-called security fence under construction by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-State solution physically impossible to implement and would cause further humanitarian and economic hardship to the Palestinians,
Expressing its concern at the failure of the Government of Israel to cooperate fully with the relevant United Nations mechanisms, in particular the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,
Also expressing its concern that continuing Israeli settlement activity undermines the realization of a two-State solution to the conflict, and therefore threatens the long-term security of Palestinians as well as Israelis,
Further expressing its concern regarding the security threats related to the presence of the settlements in the occupied territories, as expressed in the report of the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee (the Mitchell Report),
1. Welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (E/CN.4/2004/6 and Add.1) and calls upon the Government of Israel to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur to allow him fully to discharge his mandate;
2. Expresses its grave concern at:
(a) The continuation, at an escalated level, of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has led to a seemingly endless spiral of hatred and violence and to increased suffering for both Israelis and Palestinians;
(b ) The continuing illegal Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories and related activities, such as the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and constitute a violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, settlements are a major obstacle to peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State in accordance with Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002;
( c ) And strongly condemns all acts of violence, including indiscriminate terrorist attacks killing and injuring civilians, provocation, incitement and destruction and urges the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate concretely its determination in the fight against terrorism and extremist violence;
(d ) The continuing high level of casualties on both sides, particularly civilians, and, while recognizing Israel’s right to self-defence in the face of terrorist attacks against its citizens, urges the Government of Israel to exert maximum effort to avoid civilian casualties and to put a halt to extrajudicial killings, which are contrary to international law;
(e ) The continued closures of and within the Palestinian territories and the restriction of the freedom of movement of the Palestinians, including the extensive curfews imposed on the West Bank cities for long periods of time, which contribute, together with other factors, to the intolerable level of violence that has prevailed in the zone for more than three years, have caused an extremely precarious humanitarian situation for the civilian population and have had a negative impact on the enjoyment of economic and social rights in the Palestinian territories, affecting in particular the most vulnerable groups of the population;
(f ) The continued construction of the so-called security fence in the Palestinian territories, including in and around East Jerusalem;
(g ) The route marked out for the so-called security fence in the occupied West Bank and the envisaged departure of the route from the Armistice Line of 1949 which could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-State solution physically impossible to implement, and the creation of a closed zone between the so-called security fence and the Armistice Line and the consequent humanitarian and economic hardship for the Palestinians, thousands of whom are being cut off from essential services, land and water resources;
3. Urges the Government of Israel:
(a) To comply fully with the previous Commission resolutions on the subject, most recently resolution 2003/7;
(b ) To reverse its settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and, as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities;
(c ) To prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories;
(d ) To implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session on her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (E/CN.4/2001/114);
(e ) To take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories;
4. Demands that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the so-called security fence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is a departure from the Armistice Line of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law;
5. Urges the parties to implement immediately and fully, without modifications, the road map endorsed by the Security Council with the aim of resuming negotiations on a political settlement which is in accordance with the resolutions of the Council and other relevant United Nations resolutions, the principles of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security and play their full part in the region;
6. Decides to continue its consideration of this question at its sixty-first session.
The Commission on Human Rights,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and by the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Recalling Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1402 (2002) of 30 March 2002 and 1403 (2002) of 4 April 2002 that called upon both parties to move immediately to a meaningful ceasefire, for withdrawal of Israeli troops and for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction,
Guided by the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
Taking into consideration the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (Fourth Geneva Convention), the provisions of Additional Protocol I thereto of 1977 and the Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907, and Annexed Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land,
Recalling resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights relating to the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since the 5 June 1967 war,
Reaffirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Palestinian territories occupied since the June 1967 war, including East Jerusalem,
Recalling General Assembly resolutions on Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,
Recalling in particular General Assembly resolution 37/43 of 3 December 1982 reaffirming the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence from foreign domination and foreign occupation and for self-determination, in conformity with international law,
Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted in June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/EONF.157/23),
Welcoming the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Mr. John Dugard (E/CN.4/2004/6 and Add.1), and the addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, MR. Jean Ziegler (E/CN.4/2004/10/Add.2),
Expressing its deep concern at the failure of the Government of Israel to cooperate with the Human Rights Inquiry Commission established pursuant to Commission resolution S-5/1 of 19 October 2000 and its failure to cooperate with other relevant special rapporteurs, in particular Mr. Dugard,
Gravely concerned at the continued deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and at the gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, in particular acts of extrajudicial killing, closures, collective punishments, the persistence in establishing settlements, arbitrary detentions, siege of Palestinian towns and villages, the shelling of Palestinian residential neighbourhoods by warplanes, tanks and Israeli battleships, and incursions into towns, villages and camps to kill innocent men, women and children, as was the case in Jenin, Balata, Khan Younis, Rafah, Ramallah, Gaza, Nablus, Al-Birah, Al-Amari, Jabalia, Bethlehem and Dheisheh and in the Al-Daraj and Al-Zaitoun neighbourhoods in the city of Gaza, and also during recent months in Rafah and in Al-Shajai’ia neighbourhood in Gaza, as well as during the last Israeli massacres in the Al-Nusseirat and Al-Burreij refugee camps in the centre of the Gaza Strip on 7 March 2004,
Expressing its grave concern at the continued Israeli aggression and the resulting deaths and injuries, mostly among Palestinians, the toll of casualties having increased to over 2,800 martyrs and over 25,000 wounded since 28 September 2000,
Taking note of the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories submitted to the General Assembly since 1968, the last of which was A/58/311,
Expressing its grave concern at the continued Israeli refusal to abide by the resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights calling upon Israel to put an end to the violations of human rights and affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem,
Convinced that the basis of negotiations and of achieving a just and lasting peace should be Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and other relevant United Nations resolutions, including the principle of the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by war, the need for every State in the area to be able to live in security and the principle of land for peace,
Recalling all its previous resolutions in this respect, the latest of which is resolution 2003/6 of 15 April 2003,
Recalling also the inadmissibility of the acquisition of others’ land by force, which constitutes a jus cogens in international law,
Gravely concerned at the construction of the Israeli wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, aimed at expropriating further Palestinian lands by force, with all the drastic consequences that this wall will have on the Palestinian community, namely on its social, economic, educational, health and psychological aspects, and which is destroying any possibility of achieving a genuine peace based on the two-State solution, with an independent Palestinian State and an Israeli State,
Affirming that the construction of this wall on the Palestinian territories constitutes a violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and hinders the exercise by the Palestinian people of this right,
Taking note in this respect General Assembly resolution ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003,
Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General (A/ES-10/248), which concluded that Israel is not in compliance with the General Assembly’s demand that “it stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”,
1. Reaffirms the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to resist the Israeli occupation in order to free its land and be able to exercise its right to self-determination, in conformity with the goals and purposes stipulated by the Charter of the United Nations;
2. Strongly condemns once more the human rights violations of the Israeli occupation authorities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, since 1967;
3. Also strongly condemns the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories as being an aggression and an offence against humanity and a flagrant violation of human rights;
4. Further strongly condemns the war launched by the Israeli army, particularly since October 2000, against Palestinian towns and camps, which has resulted so far in the death of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including women and children;
5. Strongly condemns anew the practice of “liquidation” or “extrajudicial executions” carried out by the Israeli army against Palestinians, a practice which not only constitutes a violation of human rights norms, a flagrant violation of article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the rule of law, but which is also damaging for the relationship between the parties and therefore constitutes an obstacle to peace, and urges the Government of Israel to respect international law and immediately to put an end to such practices;
6. Strongly condemns once again the establishment of Israeli settlements and other related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, such as the construction of new settlements and the expansion of the existing ones, land confiscation, biased administration of water resources and the construction of bypass roads, which not only constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, especially article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I thereto, according to which such violations are categorized as war crimes, but are also major obstacles to peace, urges the Government of Israel to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions as well as the resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights relative to the Israeli settlements, and affirms that the dismantling of Israeli settlements constitutes an essential factor for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region;
7. Condemns once again the expropriation of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, Hebron and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the revocation of the identity cards of the residents of East Jerusalem and the policy of imposing fabricated and exorbitant taxes with the aim of forcing Palestinians living in Jerusalem, who cannot afford to pay these high taxes, out of their homes and out of their city, with the aim of Judaizing Jerusalem, and calls upon the Government of Israel to put an end immediately to these practices;
8. Also condemns once again the use of torture against Palestinians during interrogation, as it constitutes a grave violation of the principles of international humanitarian law, of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and also of article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and calls upon the Government of Israel to put an end immediately to such practices and to bring the perpetrators of these violations to justice;
9. Strongly condemns once more the offensives of the Israeli army of occupation against hospitals and sick persons and the use of Palestinian citizens as human shields during Israeli incursions into Palestinian areas;
10. Also strongly condemnsonce more the Israeli army of occupation’s practices of opening fire on ambulances and paramedical personnel and preventing ambulances and vehicles of the International Committee of the Red Cross from reaching the wounded and the dead in order to transport them to hospital, thus leaving the wounded bleeding to death in the streets;
11. Strongly condemns acts of mass killing of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities, including the killing of children, such as recently took place in Nablus, Gaza, Rafah, Al-Nusseirat and Al-Burreij and which persist to this day;
12. Also strongly condemns acts that consist of imposing collective punishments, military siege of Palestinian territories, isolating Palestinian towns and villages from each other by military roadblocks used as a trap to kill Palestinians, demolishing houses and levelling agricultural lands, as these practices contribute, together with other factors, to the acts of violence that have prevailed in the region for over three and a half years, and calls upon the Government of Israel immediately to put an end to these practices and to lift its military siege of Palestinian towns and villages and its military roadblocks, and affirms anew that such collective punishments are prohibited under international law, as they constitute grave violations of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I thereto, and are also war crimes;
13. Expresses its grave concern once again at the restriction of the freedom of movement imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on Yasser Arafat, the democratically elected Palestinian President, in violation of articles 9 and 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
14. Strongly condemns campaigns of massive arrests conducted by the Israeli occupation authorities to detain thousands of Palestinians without trial and without any criminal charges having been brought against them, in violation of article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention in this respect;
15. Affirms anew that the demolitions carried out by the Israeli occupying forces of at least 30,000 Palestinian houses, facilities and property constitute grave violations of articles 33 and 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and that acts of levelling farmlands, uprooting trees and destroying what is left of the Palestinian infrastructure constitute a form of collective punishment to which Palestinians are subjected, grave violations of the provisions of international humanitarian law and war crimes according to international law;
16. Affirms anew that the Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable to the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and considers any change in the geographical, demographic and institutional status of the city of East Jerusalem from its status prior to the June 1967 war to be illegal and void;
17. Calls once again upon Israel, the occupying Power, to desist from all forms of human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories, and to respect the principles of international law, international humanitarian law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its international commitments and its signed agreements with the Palestine Liberation Organization;
18. Also calls once again upon Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Commission on Human Rights, as a basic condition for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East;
19. Strongly condemns the construction of the Israeli wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in the West Bank, as it constitutes a new Israeli pretext for the forcible confiscation of further Palestinian lands, it endangers the social, economic, cultural, educational, health and psychological aspects of the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as well as their familial unity, it prevents Palestinians from having access to their natural resources and it constitutes a major obstacle to achieving a just and lasting peace on the basis of the two-State solution, with an independent Palestinian State and Israeli State, the only solution which guarantees peace and stability in the region, and it also prevents Palestinians from exercising their right to self-determination; and calls on Israel immediately to stop the construction of the said wall and to raze what it has already built of this wall inside the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967;
20. Requests the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 to investigate Israel’s violations of the principles and bases of international law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and, in his capacity as a monitoring mechanism, to follow up on the implementation of these recommendations and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session and to the Commission at its sixty-first session, until the end of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, as established in Commission resolution 1993/2 A of 19 February 1993;
21. Calls upon the relevant United Nations organs urgently to consider the best ways to provide the necessary international protection for the Palestinian people until the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories;
22. Requests the Secretary-General 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 disseminate it on the widest possible scale and to report on its implementation by the Government of Israel to the Commission on Human Rights at its sixty-first session;
23. Also requests the Secretary-General to provide the Commission with all United Nations reports issued between the sessions of the Commission that deal with the conditions in which the populations of the Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories are living under the Israeli occupation;
24. Decides to consider this question at its sixty-first session under the same agenda item, as a matter of high priority.
2. The Meeting was held at a time, when, despite a broad opposition by the world community, the Government of Israel continued to build the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In light of this situation, the Committee was of the view that the far-reaching humanitarian, economic and political implications of the construction of the wall warranted further attention of all actors of the international community.
3. In the course of the Meeting, the participants underlined the complexity of the project, which included not just one prominent element but an elaborate regime combining physical structures, such as concrete walls, barbed wire fences, ditches, other obstacles, as well as patrol roads, hi-tech surveillance equipment as well as administrative and practical measures, including the establishment of closed zones. Speakers have expressed their dismay at the scope of the project, its devastating immediate and longer-term effects on the Palestinian population and the destructive consequences for the political process. They also discussed the Palestinian and Israeli reactions, as well as the response of the international community.
4. The participants in the Meeting welcomed the adoption by the General Assembly of the resolution ES-10/13 and highlighted its demand that Israel stopped and reversed the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949 and in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law. Noting that Israel has not adhered to this demand and continued the construction of the wall, many speakers expressed their appreciation of the important report of the Secretary-General submitted in November 2003 in accordance with the resolution. They further stressed the importance of the General Assembly resolution ES-10/14 requesting an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. The participants expressed confidence that the Court would issue, in due course, an advisory opinion that uphold international law. They called upon the international community, but in particular the occupying Power, to adhere to the upcoming advisory opinion of the Court and to take all the necessary steps to restore international legitimacy.
5. The political consequences of the construction of the wall were at the centre of the discussion. The participants were of the opinion that the construction had multiple negative effects on the political situation. The wall was viewed as a direct and dangerous challenge to the internationally-recognized 1949 Armistice Demarcation Line (Green Line); it violated the letter and the spirit of the Road Map; and it predetermined the outcome of any future permanent status negotiations by creating new facts on the ground. Many speakers saw in it a de facto annexation of the Palestinian land. The participants agreed that, if not stopped and reversed immediately, the construction of the wall would destroy the chances for the establishment of a viable and contiguous Palestinian State, thereby making the two-State solution physically impossible to implement and further endangering prospects for peace and security in the region.
6. The participants expressed deep concern over the dangerous current and potential humanitarian consequences of the construction of the wall, noting that it would bring further dispossession for a significant number of Palestinians. With this project, the occupying Power has added further constraints to the already severely limited freedom of movement in the West Bank, increasing the suffering of thousands of Palestinian families affected by it. Some participants noted with concern that the construction might also lead to a forced displacement of Palestinians in their own land. Combined with the tight regime of closures and curfews, the wall seriously impeded international community’s emergency aid and humanitarian relief work.
7. The participants also noted that by destroying, confiscating and putting off limits Palestinian agricultural lands and water sources in the process of the wall construction, Israel dealt another devastating blow to the Palestinian economy, which was on the verge of collapse after three years of destruction and restrictions imposed by the occupying Power. It was observed that the construction had also caused considerable economic disruption by severing the long-established economic links between and within Palestinian communities, as well as between the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. The wall has greatly limited the Palestinians’ access to healthcare, education, employment and food. The participants expressed their alarm at the fact that the continuation of this project might bring to a halt most of the Palestinian economic activity, further delay the achievement of economic viability by the Palestinians and increase their dependence on donor assistance.
8. The participants further noted that the protracted and complete lack of dialogue between the parties necessitated an active involvement of the international community. They expressed concern over the increasingly unilateralist approach favoured by the Israeli Government and emphasized that such positions should be rejected by the international community. They urged the Quartet to reinstate its role as the main international broker and facilitator of the political process and to reassert its commitment to the strict adherence to international law. They called on the Quartet to work closely with the parties and other international and regional actors to save and implement the Road Map in order to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the conflict based on Security Council resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and 1515. The participants agreed that the setting up of an effective international monitoring and implementation mechanism was essential for any progress on the ground.
9. The participants reaffirmed the permanent responsibility of the United Nations with respect to all the aspects of the question of Palestine, until it is resolved in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and norms of international law, and until the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people were fully realized.
10. The participants also expressed gratitude to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva for hosting the Meeting and for the assistance and support extended to the Committee and the United Nations Secretariat in its preparation.