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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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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
30 April 2004



January – April 2004

Volume XXVII, Bulletin No. 1

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




Contents

Page
I.
    Gulf Cooperation Council adopts Kuwait Declaration and closing statement
1
II.
    Secretary-General condemns Middle East violence
3
III.
    Secretary-General deplores loss of life in Gaza
4
IV.
    Secretary-General condemns Jerusalem bombings
4
V.
    Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur issues addendum on the wall to report
4
VI.
    Secretary General deplores violence in Gaza
6
VII.
    Commission on the Status of Women approves draft resolution for adoption by the Economic and Social Council
6
VIII.
    Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People opens 2004 session
8
IX.
    Secretary-General condemns double suicide bombing in Ashdod
10
X.
    Secretary-General condemns the assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin
10
XI
    UNCTAD issues a study on transit trade and maritime transport
11
XII
    Commission on Human Rights adopts resolution on grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
12
XIII.
    Commission on Human Rights adopts resolutions relating to the question of Palestine
13
XIV.
    United Nations International Meeting convenes on the impact of the wall
21
XV.
    Secretary-General condemns assassination of Abdelaziz Rantissi
24
XVI.
    Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur expresses concern at assassination of Abdelaziz Rantissi
24
XVII.
    Secretary-General alarmed by two-day incursion into northern Gaza
24
XVIII.
    Commission on Human Rights recommends draft decision for adoption by the Economic and Social Council
24



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. GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL ADOPTS KUWAIT DECLARATION AND CLOSING STATEMENT

In a letter to the Secretary-General dated 6 January 2004, the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Kuwait to the United Nations transmitted the text of the Kuwait Declaration that was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council at its twenty-fourth session held in the State of Kuwait, on 21 and 22 December 2003 (A/58/673-S/2004/7). The text of the Declaration and excerpts from the closing statement of the session are reproduced below:

The Kuwait Declaration
Issued by the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council at its twenty-fifth session

The Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, having regard to the lofty purposes, principles and aims of the Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the common ties between the peoples it represents, recognizing the importance and significance of the current phase through which our Gulf Arab region is passing, as well as the rapid political changes it is experiencing and the great challenges they pose, pursuant to the statements, declarations and resolutions issued by the Supreme Council at its previous sessions, the Council, at its twenty-fourth session held in the State of Kuwait on 27 and 28 Shawwal A.H. 1424, corresponding to 21 and 22 December A.D. 2003, reviewed the work done by the Council in various different sectors and conducted an in-depth analysis of all issues and subjects of concern to the States members of the Council and their peoples in the light of developments in the Arab region and in the international arena.

The Supreme Council, expressing its appreciation for the implementation measures taken by the States members in accordance with the Supreme Council’s resolutions aimed at promoting and strengthening relations between the States members in a variety of domains with a view to achieving economic integration among them, hereby affirms the following:

1. The importance of adopting the requisite decisions and practical measures to begin implementing the objectives of the comprehensive development strategy adopted by the Supreme Council at its nineteenth session held at Abu Dhabi. The launching of the process of reform and unification of the educational systems of the State members, in accordance with the terms of the document submitted by His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Abd al-Aziz Al Sa`ud, Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is perhaps the most important of the GCC’s strategic projects and programmes that will strengthen its work and serve the interests and aims of the State and its citizens. There is no doubt that a developed education that stresses technological and scientific progress is a fundamental pillar in providing the Gulf citizen with the practical and technological training needed for participation in comprehensive and sustainable economic and social development in the State members.

2. The Supreme Council, confirming the importance of stable political and security conditions in the Gulf region, regards this as a strategic condition for the realization of sustainable development in all spheres and as serving the interests of States and peoples. It supports all diplomatic and political efforts to achieve security and stability in Iraq, to provide the fraternal Iraqi people with the security, stability and prosperity they long for, and to make Iraq a positive member of the international community whose relations with neighbouring States are based on the principles of international law and the fulfilment of international obligations.

3. The Supreme Council expresses its condemnation, repudiation and rejection of terrorist operations that claim the lives of innocent victims, terrorize peace-loving people and destroy civil installations and institutions. It affirms, once more, that the perpetrators of such acts of terrorism and destruction, which are incompatible with the noble Islamic religion and its lofty principles, are guilty of committing immoral and inhuman acts aimed at destroying society, demolishing its political and social foundations and achieving their illegitimate aspirations and aims.

In this regard, the Supreme Council affirms its support for all measures taken to combat all forms of terrorism, together with drugs and the scourge of money-laundering, and it confirms the determination of the Gulf Cooperation Council and its States members to pursue all means to maintain security, peace and stability in order to safeguard the lives and property of citizens and to defend their accomplishments, in accordance with the principle of the collective security of the States members of the Council.

4. In order to deal equitably with the political and economic powers and blocs that have regional and international influence, the Cooperation Council must keep pace with the rapid events and developments continuously unfolding in the Arab, regional and international arenas and take the appropriate initiatives that will contribute effectively to the strengthening of its role in identifying and shaping the course of events based on a clear and well-defined Gulf position.

5. There is an urgent need to boost the working mechanisms, committees and various bodies of the Cooperation Council, so as to improve its functioning and the speed with which its resolutions and recommendations are implemented.

Success lies with God!

Closing statement of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council at its twenty-fourth session



The Supreme Council viewed with grave concern the serious deterioration in the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the challenges posed to the Middle East peace process by the insistence of the Israeli Government on pursuing a policy of escalation, attacking and destroying Palestinian towns and villages, making their inhabitants homeless, assassinating their cadres and continuing with the construction of its so-called “security fence”, which is actually designed to seize more Palestinian land and to abort the road map and the peace process, erecting an obstacle and posing a challenge to all Arab and international peace efforts. In this context, the Supreme Council appeals to the international community to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli Government to bring a halt to its provocative acts and to its threats against Syria and Lebanon.

In that connection, the Supreme Council took note of the speech made by Ariel Sharon indicating the determination of the Israeli Government to take unilateral action to implement its so-called “separation” or “ disengagement” plan, thereby rejecting any negotiations with the Palestinian side. The Supreme Council reiterated its strong condemnation of such measures which do not help Arab and international efforts to revive the peace process.

In condemning these provocative and savage practices, the Supreme Council reiterates, once more, that the only way to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East region is to put an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied in 1967, including the Syrian Golan and the remaining Lebanese territories, and to allow the Palestinian people to exercise its right to create an independent State on its national soil, with Al Quds al-Sharif as its capital, in accordance with the terms of the Arab peace initiative and the relevant United Nations resolutions upheld by the peace initiative and the road map.

The Supreme Council welcomed the unanimous adoption, on 19 November 2003, of Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), which had been tabled by the Russian Federation and which endorses the implementation of the road map to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the establishment of two States co-existing side by side in security and peace. The resolution emphasizes the importance of achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace for all sides, including Syria and Lebanon.

Renewing the expression of its appreciation for the constructive international efforts and the efforts of the Quartet and of His Excellency President George Bush, the Council again calls on all the parties concerned and on the international community to redouble their efforts to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli Government so that it desists from its aggressive practices against the Palestinian people, halts construction of its so-called “security fence” and cooperates seriously and sincerely with the Palestinian Government led by Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei in order to begin implementing the road map and pushing the peace process forward in the right direction.

The Supreme Council reiterated its call on Israel and the international community to help rid the Middle East region, including the Gulf region, of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. The Council stressed the need for Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to subject all its nuclear facilities to international inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

….


II. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE

On 29 January 2004, the Secretary-General issued a statement in Brussels, Belgium on Middle East violence in which he condemned those reverting to violence and terror in the Middle East. He also called on Israel and the Palestinians to devote all energies to negotiate a true and lasting peace (SG/SM/9133-PAL/1975). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

Once again, violence and terror have claimed innocent lives in the Middle East. Once again, I condemn those who resort to such methods. Once again, I appeal, to Israelis and Palestinians alike to rise above feelings of anger and vengeance, however natural, and to devote all their energies to negotiating a true and lasting peace in which two peoples will live side by side, each in their own State.


III. SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPLORES LOSS OF LIFE IN GAZA

On 12 February 2004, the Secretary-General issued a statement in which he deplored the loss of life in the Gaza Strip during Israeli military incursions (SG/SM/9157). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

The Secretary-General deplores the loss of life during Israeli military incursions in Gaza yesterday, which led to clashes in which at least 15 Palestinians, including civilians, were killed. More than 50 Palestinians have been reported injured so far, among them several critically-wounded children.

The Secretary-General urges Israel to abide by its obligations under international law. This includes ceasing to use disproportionate force in densely populated areas and taking greater care to avoid harm to innocent civilians.


IV. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS JERUSALEM BOMBINGS

On 23 February 2005, the Secretary-General issued a statement condemning the suicide bombing in Jerusalem and calling on the Palestinian Authority to bring the perpetrators to justice (SG/SM/9163). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

The Secretary General condemns the suicide bombing Sunday in Jerusalem. The deliberate targeting of civilians is a heinous crime and cannot be justified by any cause. We urge the Palestinian Authority to take the steps necessary to bring to justice those who plan, facilitate and carry out such crimes. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and victims of this crime.


V. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ISSUES ADDENDUM ON THE WALL TO REPORT

The Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, John Dugard, issued on 27 February 2004 an addendum to his report of 8 September 2003 (E/CN.4/2004/6), entitled “Question of the violation of human rights in the Occupied Arab Territories including Palestine”. The addendum (E/CN.4/2004/6/Add.1) is based on Mr. Dugard’s visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel from 8 to 15 February 2004. The summary of the addendum is reproduced below:

Summary

The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is characterized by serious violations of general international law, of human rights law and of international humanitarian law. It is not helpful to suggest that a solution can be found to the conflict in the region by ignoring norms of international law. A sustainable peace in the region must take place within the framework of international law and relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

Terrorism is a constant feature of the conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and neighbouring Israel. Both Palestinians and Israelis have been responsible for inflicting a reign of terror on innocent civilians. Measures must be taken to prevent terrorism, but not at the expense of fundamental principles of law. The wall presently being constructed by Israel, insofar as it is built on Palestinian territory, cannot be justified as a legitimate or proportionate response to terrorism.

The present report focuses on the wall in the West Bank. This should not result in a failure to pay proper attention to the situation in Gaza where death and destruction remain a feature of daily life. House demolitions continue unabated and the number of homeless persons rises steadily - particularly in the Rafah refugee camp. Moreover, the people of Gaza are subjected to regular military incursions in which scant regard is paid to civilian life.

The wall being built by Israel in the name of security penetrates deep into Palestinian territory and has resulted in the creation of a zone between the Green Line (the de facto border between Israel and Palestine) and the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory which Israel has designated as “closed” to all Palestinians. Palestinians who live, farm, work or go to school within this closed zone require special permits from the Israeli authorities. Both the construction of the wall and the operation of the permit system for the “Closed Zone” between the wall and the Green Line have caused great hardships to Palestinians and violated norms of human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The construction of the wall has resulted in the large-scale destruction of Palestinian property. Olive and citrus trees have been uprooted and agricultural land reduced to a wasteland. The seizure of land for the building of the wall has taken place without due process of law. Notice of seizure of land has been served in an arbitrary manner and there is, in the circumstances, no real remedy available to landowners to contest the seizure of land. The wall has infrequent gates for the purpose of crossing. Consequently, those farmers granted permits to farm their land have difficulty in accessing their land.

The permit system for the closed zone is administered in an arbitrary and humiliating manner. Permits are frequently withheld, even for landowners and residents of the closed zone, or granted for short periods only. The failure to grant permits to farmers to cultivate their lands will result in neglect and the ultimate decay of fertile agricultural land. The permit system has also drastically interfered with education, health care and family life. The system, which subjects Palestinian freedom of movement to the whim of the occupying Power, creates anger, anxiety and humiliation among the population. In the result, it is likely to create insecurity for Israel rather than security.

There is a real prospect that life will become so intolerable for those villagers living in the closed zone that they will abandon their homes and migrate to the West Bank. Farmers whose lands are in the closed zone are also likely to abandon their farms under pressure from an arbitrary permit system.

The main beneficiaries of the wall are settlers: 54 settlements and 142,000 settlers (that is 63 per cent of the West Bank settlement population) will find themselves on the Israeli side of the wall, with access to land separated from its Palestinian owners.

The wall might have been justified as a legitimate security measure to prevent would-be suicide bombers from entering Israel had it followed the course of the Green Line. The manner in which it has been built largely on Palestinian territory cannot, however, be justified on security grounds. The building of the wall, in such a way that it separates farmers from their land, isolates villages from employment, schools and health care, brings settlers within the de facto borders of Israel and confirms the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem, suggests that the main purpose of the wall is the annexation, albeit by de facto means, of additional land for the State of Israel.

The wall violates the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by forcible means, and seriously undermines the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people by reducing the size of a future Palestinian State. Moreover, it violates important norms of international humanitarian law prohibiting the annexation of occupied territory, the establishment of settlements, the confiscation of private land and the forcible transfer of people. Human rights norms are likewise violated, particularly those affirming freedom of movement, the right to family life and the right to education and health care.


VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPLORES VIOLENCE IN GAZA

On 8 March 2005, the Secretary-General issued a statement deploring Israeli raids on Gaza the previous day (SG/SM/9187-PAL/1976 ). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

The Secretary-General strongly deplores the Israeli military raids that took place yesterday in a densely populated area of the Gaza Strip in which at least 14 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded. The dead include several children.

He calls on the Government of Israel to abide by its obligation under international humanitarian law to avoid civilian casualties and to desist from the use of
disproportionate force in densely populated areas.

He also strongly deplores the reckless action by Palestinian extremists on Saturday at Erez checkpoint, where hundreds of Palestinians and United Nations and other international staff regularly cross to and from Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 2 Palestinian security officers. This is the third attack at Erez since the beginning of the year.


VII. COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTION FOR ADOPTION BY THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

The Commission on the Status of Women approved and recommended the draft of a resolution to be adopted by the Economic and Social Council (E/2004/27. The texts of the resolutions reproduced below:

Draft resolution II

Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women*

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, 1

Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, 2 in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action 3 adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, 4

Recalling also its resolution 2003/42 of 22 July 2003 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,

Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 5 as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,

Expressing the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis and towards the speedy achievement of a final settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,

Concerned about the grave deterioration of the situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and about the severe consequences of continuous illegal Israeli settlements activities as well as the harsh economic conditions and other severe consequences of the continuing Israeli attacks and sieges on Palestinian cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, which has resulted in the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families,

Concerned also that the route marked out for the wall 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 hardship to the Palestinians, in particular women and children,

Expressing its condemnation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, many of them women and children, resulting in injury and loss of human life,

1. Calls upon the concerned parties, as well as the international community, to exert all the necessary efforts to ensure the immediate resumption of the peace process on its agreed basis, taking into account the common ground already gained, and calls for measures for tangible improvement of the difficult situation on the ground and the living conditions faced by Palestinian women and their families;

2.Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development planning of their society;

3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 6 the Regulations annexed to The Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907 7 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949, 8 in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;

4. Calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;

5. Calls upon the international community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families and to help in the reconstruction of relevant Palestinian institutions;

6. Requests the Commission on the Status of Women to continue to monitor and take action with regard to the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, 2 in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action 3 and the outcome of the special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”; 4

7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation and to assist Palestinian women by all available means, including those laid out in his report entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women”, 9 and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-ninth session a report including information provided by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.

-------
*For the discussion, see Official Record of Economic and Social Council 2004, Supplement No. 7 (E/2004/27) chap. II, paras. 49-55.


1 E/CN.6/2004/4.
2 Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.85.IV.10), chap. 1, sect. A.
3 Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. 1, resolution 1, annex II.
4 See General Assembly resolutions S-23/2 and S-23/3.
5 See General Assembly resolution 48/104.
6 General Assembly resolution 212 A (III).
7 See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).
8 United Nations, Treaty Series , vol. 75, No. 973.
9 E/CN.6/2004/4.


VIII. COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE OPENS 2004 SESSION

On 12 March 2004, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People opened its 2004 session with statements by the Secretary-General and the Chairman of the Committee. Statements were also made by representatives of Guinea, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Malaysia. The Committee elected Paul Badji (Senegal) as Chairman and re-elected Ravan Farhadif (Afghanistan) and Orlando Requiejo Gual (Cuba) as Vice-Chairmen, and Victor Camilleri (Malta) as Rapporteur.

The Secretary-General’s statement as contained in press release SG/SM/9194-GA/PAL/946 is reproduced below. The Chairman of the Committee introduced the draft programme of work of the Committee for the year 2004. The Committee approved the programme as contained in the document A/AC.183/2004/CRP.1.

Statement by the Secretary-General

In the wake of yesterday’s terrible tragedy in Madrid I would like to reiterate my profound and most heartfelt sympathy to King Juan Carlos I of Spain, to the Government and people of Spain, and to the families and friends of the people who were killed and injured.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in observing a minute of silence in memory of the innocent victims of this tragedy.

The situation between the Palestinians and Israelis remains extremely tense. There has been no discernible progress in peace efforts. The goal of the Palestinians -- an end to the occupation and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine -- is still out of reach. The hope of the Israelis for security is yet to be realized.

Instead, the situation on the ground has once again been shaken by a wave of violence. Israeli incursions into Palestinian cities, arrests, house demolitions, closures and curfews have continued. Targeted assassinations have resumed. Their victims have not only been their intended targets -- tragically, many civilians going about their daily lives in the crowded streets have also been killed.

Over the last few years Palestinian terrorist attacks have claimed many innocent civilian lives in Israel. There is no justification for such crimes. Efforts to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire, which would help prevent such horrific acts, have so far produced no results.

Palestinians are dismayed to see more and more of their land being taken to make way for the expansion of the barrier, the construction of which has generated heated protests, adding to Palestinian anger and desperation.

The death toll since September 2000 continues to climb. It has now reached over 3,000 Palestinians and over 900 Israelis dead. Thousands more have been wounded. Most of those killed have been civilians, many of them children.

The price already paid by both Israelis and Palestinians has been far too high. Let us waste no more time. There is an urgent need for a negotiated settlement to this deadly conflict.

The lack of any tangible progress towards a peaceful settlement has raised the level of hopelessness and despair among ordinary Palestinians and Israelis. Frustrated by the stalemate in the peace process, civil society has begun exploring possible pathways that could stimulate peacemaking and push the process forward. Late last year, the Geneva Initiative and the Ayalon-Nusseibeh statement of principles sent a powerful message that differences could be bridged and that a dialogue was possible.

But only a clear political resolve on the part of the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships will break the impasse and restart the process. Attempts by either side to resolve this drawn-out conflict unilaterally could actually foment more anger and violence. There is no substitute for the two parties sitting down and working out with each other the details of an agreement that both peoples can live with.

The “ Road Map ”, launched in 2002, was accepted by both parties. It enjoys broad support from the international community. Based on Security Council resolutions 242 , 338 and 1397 , it remains the most practical way of achieving the aspirations of both sides. In resolution 1515, the Council further bolstered support for the Road Map. The objective of the resolution is clear – two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Today, I call on both parties to take immediate and specific steps to implement the plan without preconditions. I urge the Palestinian Authority to take resolute action to halt terror attacks by militant groups against Israelis. Meanwhile, I urge the Israeli Government to halt further settlement expansion and the construction of the barrier. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s announcement of a plan to evacuate the Gaza Strip settlements is encouraging. I look forward to seeing a timetable for that. An evacuation of Gaza strip settlements should be seen as part of a broader process, an interim step that could revitalize stalled peace efforts, consistent with the Road Map.

For its part, the international community should assert itself to help the two sides out of the present deadlock. For their part, representatives of the Quartet must try harder to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee met in Rome last December to secure financial assistance for the Palestinian people, who continue to endure a devastating economic and humanitarian crisis. The Special Coordinator and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs continue their work, as do other United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Children's Fund some of them with limited resources, and all under extremely difficult conditions. International help is particularly crucial at this time. The United Nationswill continue its work, but it needs the international community to give generously.

This Committee has an important role to play in efforts to reach our common goals. I thank you for your continued commitment to peace in the Middle East, and I wish you success in carrying out your mandate.


IX. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS DOUBLE SUICIDE BOMBING IN ASHDOD

The following statement was issued on 15 March 2004 by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General in which he strongly condemned the suicide attack that took place the previous day in Ashdod (SG/SM/9198). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns yesterday’s double suicide bombing in the Israeli port of Ashdod, which reportedly killed at least 10 and injured 16. He urges the Palestinian Authority to bring to justice those who plan, facilitate or carry out these horrific acts of terrorism and to devote all its efforts to put an end to these crimes. He sends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.


X. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS THE ASSASSINATION OF SHEIKH AHMAD YASSIN

The following statement was issued on 22 March 2004 by the office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General in which he condemned the assassination by Israel of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin and eight others (SG/SM/9210). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

The Secretary-General strongly condemns Israel’s assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, which resulted in the deaths of eight others. He is concerned that such an action would lead to further bloodshed and death and acts of revenge and retaliation. He reiterates that extrajudicial killings are against international law and calls on the Government of Israel to immediately end this practice. The only way to halt an escalation in the violence is for the parties to work towards a viable negotiating process aimed at a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement.


XI. UNCTAD ISSUES A STUDY ON TRANSIT TRADE AND MARITIME TRANSPORT

On 22 March 2004, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) issued a study entitled “Transit Trade and Maritime Transport Facilitation for the Rehabilitation and Development of the Palestinian Economy” (UNCTAD/GDS/APP/2003/1). The executive summary of the study is reproduced below :

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Even with the long seacoast of the Gaza Strip, the occupied Palestinian territory is effectively landlocked, with complete dependence on neighbouring transport facilities for participation in international trade. In addition, Israeli control of the main borders and transport routes renders Palestinian trade totally dependent on political and security developments. These are the main factors behind the prohibitive transit transport costs that prevent Palestinian enterprises from increasing participation in international trade and undermine the competitiveness of their exports.

In response to the economic crisis that has engulfed the occupied territory since 2000, the Palestinian Authority requested the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development to provide advisory services on two related issues, namely possibilities for lessening dependence on transport routes through Israel and perspectives and mechanisms for establishing an operational framework for transit transport facilitation. The study consolidates and elaborates the main technical findings of the UNCTAD advisory services on these two issues, in the context of an integrated framework for enhanced trade facilitation.
This technical study ascertains the costs of re-routing Palestinian imports and exports, which are currently transiting Israeli ports, via Port Said in Egypt and Aqaba Port in Jordan. It shows that under prevailing conditions, re-routing Palestinian trade through alternative routes will be slightly more costly than currently utilized routes. This is mainly due to high costs associated with Israeli security measures, the absence of adequate physical infrastructure, institutions and regulations and an adverse political and economic situation. However, the study finds that under certain conditions, re-routing could generate savings and other gains to the Palestinian trading community.

This calls, inter alia, for greater Palestinian control over trade transport routes within the context of regional transit transport agreements and adherence to international conventions and standards, which target non-tariff obstacles to the smooth flow of cross-border trade. This also requires developing a cohesive Palestinian action plan for facilitating trade, so as to ensure the Palestinian Authority’s active participation in regional trade facilitation. Efforts should focus on establishing a legal framework in tune with international standards and best practices, creation of a specialized committee for trade facilitation, development of the transport intermediary sector, harmonizing and streamlining trade-related procedures and developing expertise as well as physical and institutional infrastructures.

The rehabilitation and restructuring of an efficient transport infrastructure and the development of an effective transportation system should rank high on the Palestinian Authority agenda, as an integral part of its overall economic and social development strategy. This will allow for increased participation of Palestinian enterprises in international trade and also provide a basis for coordinating regional efforts and ensuring responsiveness to the economic interests of the future Palestinian State.


XII. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON GRAVE
SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

On 24 March 2004, the sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution 2004/1 entitled “Grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” (see Official Record of Economic and social Council, 2004, supplement No. 3 (E/2004/23), chap. II, sect. A). The Commission had adopted the previous day decision Ibid., sect. B calling for a special sitting on an urgent basis to consider the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory resulting from the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on 22 March 2004. The resolution was adopted by a roll-call vote of 31 in favour, two against and 18 abstentions. The text of the resolution is reproduced below:

2004/1. Grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as by the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human 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, and the provisions of the 1977 Additional Protocol I thereto, and the Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907 and Annexed Regulations respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, in particular resolution 2003/6 , of 15 April 2003, in which it strongly condemned the practice of “liquidation” and “extrajudicial executions” carried out by the Israeli army against Palestinians,

1. Strongly condemns the continuing grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the tragic assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin on 22 March 2004, in contravention of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949;

2. Notes with grave concern the implications of such targeted assassinations, liquidation and murder of political leadership by the Israeli occupation forces on the overall situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the possibility of a fresh wave of violence;

3. Calls upon Israel to respect to the fullest the principles of international humanitarian law and to desist from all forms of violation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

XIII. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS
RELATING TO THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

The Commission on Human Rights, at its sixtieth session in Geneva from 15 March to 23 April 2004, considered issues relating to the question of Palestine under items 5 and 8 of the agenda, entitled respectively “The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation” and “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine”.

On 8 April, the Commission considered item 5 and had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in occupied Palestine (E/CN.4/2004/14) prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 2003/3. The Commission adopted resolution 2004/3 entitled “Situation in occupied Palestine. On 15 April, the Commission considered item 8 and it had before it the report by Mr. John Dugard, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied by Israel since 1967 (E/CN.4/2004/6 and Add.1) , and the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Commission resolution 2003/6 (E/CN.4/2004/25). The same day, the Commission adopted resolutions 2004/9 entitled “Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories, ” and 2004/10 entitled “ Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine” (see Official Record of Economic and social Council, 2004, Supplement No. 3 (E/2004/23), chap. II, sect. A) . The full texts of the resolutions are reproduced below:

Situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.

2004/3. Situation in occupied Palestine

The Commission on Human Rights,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the provisions of Articles 1 and 55 thereof, which affirm the right of peoples to self-determination, and reaffirming the need for the scrupulous respect of the principle of refraining in international relations from the threat or use of force, as specified in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Guided also by the provisions of article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which affirm that all peoples have the right to self-determination,

Guided further by the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted in June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23), and in particular Part I, paragraphs 2 and 3, relating to the right of self-determination of all peoples and especially those subject to foreign occupation,

Recalling General Assembly resolutions 181 A and B (II) of 29 November 1947 and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, as well as all other resolutions which confirm and define the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, particularly their right to self-determination,

Recalling also Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and 1402 (2002) of 30 March 2002,

Recalling further its previous resolutions in this regard, the latest of which is resolution 2003/3 of 14 April 2003,

Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the relevant United Nations resolutions and declarations, and the provisions of international covenants and instruments relating to the right to self-determination as an international principle and as a right of all peoples in the world, as it is a jus cogens in international law and a basic condition for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region of the Middle East,

1. Reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to establish their sovereign and independent Palestinian State, and looks forward to the early fulfilment of this right;

2. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit the present resolution to the Government of Israel and all other Governments, to disseminate it on the widest possible scale and to make available to the Commission prior to the convening of its sixty-first session, all information pertaining to the implementation of the present resolution by the Government of Israel;

3. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-first session the item entitled “The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation” and to consider the situation in occupied Palestine under that agenda item, as a matter of high priority.

44th meeting
8 April 2004
[Adopted by a recorded vote of 52
votes to 1].

2004/9. Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories

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.

49th meeting
15 April 2004
[Adopted by a recorded vote of 27 votes to 2, with 24 abstentions].

* The European Union, the Russian Federation, the United Nations and the United States of America.


2004/10. Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine

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.

49th meeting
15 April 2004
[Adopted by a recorded vote of 31 votes to 7, with 15 abstentions.]


XIV. UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL MEETING CONVENES ON THE IMPACT OF THE WALL

The United Nations International Meeting on the Impact of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, was convened by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 58/18 and 58/19 of 3 December 2003. The Meeting was held at the UN Office in Geneva from 15 to 16 April 2004. The final document of the meeting is reproduced below:


Final document

1. The United Nations International Meeting on the Impact of the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, was held on 15 and 16 April 2004, at the United Nations Office at Geneva, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Participants in the Meeting included eminent personalities, internationally renowned experts, including Israelis and Palestinians, representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.

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.


XV. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ASSASSINATION OF ABDELAZIZ RANTISSI

On 17 April 2004, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General issued a statement condemning the assassination of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantissi (SG/SM/9261). The text of the statement is reproduced below:

The Secretary-General condemns Israel's assassination of Hamas leader Abdelaziz Rantissi. He reiterates that extrajudicial killings are violations of international law and calls on the Government of Israel to immediately end this practice. He is apprehensive that such an action would lead to further deterioration of an already distressing and fragile situation.
The only way to halt an escalation in the violence is for Israelis and Palestinians to work towards a viable negotiating process aimed at a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement, based on the Quartet's Road Map.


XVI. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR EXPRESSES CONCERN AT ASSASSINATION OF ABDELAZIZ RANTISSI

On 20 April 200, the Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Asma Jahangir, issued a statement expressing concern at the assassination of Abdelaziz Rantissi (HR/CN/1094). The text of the statement is reproduced below :

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is seriously concerned at the extrajudicial execution of the head of the Hamas militant Islamic movement in Gaza, Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, which also resulted in the deaths of two other civilians and the injury of several passers-by on 17 April 2004.
Only 26 days after Sheik Ahmed Yassin was killed by the Israeli military, the Special Rapporteur reiterates her conviction that aerial bombings or “targeted assassinations” against civilian populations will only lead to escalating violence and calls on the Israeli forces to immediately end this unacceptable practice so as to comply with international human rights standards.

XVII. SECRETARY-GENERAL ALARMED BY TWO-DAY INCURSION INTO NORTHERN GAZA

On 22 April 2004, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General issued the following statement (SG/SM/9266):

The Secretary-General is alarmed by the deadly consequences of the two-day Israeli incursion into the northern Gaza Strip which ended today. Among the Palestinian fatalities were reportedly at least 10 civilians, including five children under 15 years of age. The Secretary-General is aware that the incursion followed rocket and mortar fire against Israeli targets. However, the Secretary-General urges Israel to respect its obligations under international law as an occupying Power regarding the use of disproportionate force in civilian areas.

XVIII. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS RECOMMENDS DRAFT DECISION FOR ADOPTION BY THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL

At the end of its sixtieth session on 23 April 2004, the Commission on Human Rights recommended a draft decision for adoption by the Economic and Social Council E/2004/23 (see Official Record of Economic and Social Council, 2004 Supplement No. 3 (E/2004/23) chap. I). The text of the draft decision entitled “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine” is reproduced below:

Draft decision

Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine


The Economic and Social Council, taking note of Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/10 of 15 April 2004, approves the Commission’s request that 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, of 12 August 1949, 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.


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