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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXX, No.1 - Bulletin du Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien/DDP (janvier 2007) - Publication de la Division des droits palestiniens Français

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
31 January 2007

January 2007

Volume XXX, Bulletin No. 1



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


Contents


Page
I.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs briefs Security Council
1
II.
Secretary-General condemns suicide bombing in Israel
2
III.
Special Rapporteur issues report on human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
2
IV.
Secretary-General releases statement on Gaza ceasefire
4



The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://unispal.un.org.





I. UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS BRIEFS
SECURITY COUNCIL

On 25 January 2007, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.” The following are excerpts from the briefing (S/PV.5624):

The former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, presented his final report on this subject (S/2006/956) to the Council in early December. This briefing will cover events that have occurred since then, in a period of heightened levels of instability and suffering combined with a renewed sense of international urgency to find a political way ahead, as evidenced by the visits of Secretary Condoleezza Rice and High Representative Javier Solana to the region, the proposed meeting of the Quartet on 2 February in Washington, D.C., and a possible early tripartite meeting of President Abbas, Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice. I am also encouraged by reports that Foreign Minister Livni will soon be meeting President Abbas in Davos. The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council have also been engaged in the search for a renewed and credible dialogue towards the resolution of this intractable conflict.

Both President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert have been working hard to try to ease tensions and move towards a resumption of political dialogue. The ceasefire agreed to at the end of November in Gaza remains in place, although, according to Israeli officials, militants have fired more than 104 rockets into southern Israel during the past two months. In the face of those attacks, the Israeli Government has, to its credit, shown considerable restraint. Despite its flaws, the ceasefire has significantly reduced violence, and we encourage the parties to try to build on it.

The ceasefire has not, however, been extended to the West Bank. Indeed, operations to arrest or kill wanted Palestinians continue on a regular basis in West Bank population centres, as evidenced by the Israel Defense Forces raid on Ramallah on 4 January, in which 5 Palestinians were killed and 35 were injured. During the reporting period, 28 Palestinians were killed and over 130 were injured in Israeli military operations, while 10 Israelis were injured by Palestinian militants.



In conclusion, I wish to observe that none of us in this Chamber, outside of it or worldwide can afford another year like the last one that we witnessed in Lebanon and the Middle East. Therefore, we believe strongly that a resumed political process between Israel and the Palestinians is a clear priority. The Secretary-General encourages the two leaders to build on their progress to date by implementing agreements and by starting to address the fundamental issues of the conflict.

Solutions are urgently needed to the political impasses both among the Palestinians and in Lebanon. The Secretary-General encourages leaders in both contexts to overcome their differences and to find a way to move forward that serves the best interests of their respective peoples. Lebanon, as its people know all too well, can ill afford any further deterioration in thesituation. For many Lebanese, ugly spectres of the past have again begun to emerge. All sides have a shared responsibility, in our view, to resolve their political differences through the democratic process and in a peaceful manner, in order to spare their respective populations further anxiety, further insecurity and further turmoil.

Prospects for a wider regional dialogue must also be cautiously monitored and the door should remain open to discussions that may lead to wider regional and comprehensive peace. The Secretary-General has discussed with many interlocutors both the opportunities that now exist to make genuine strides towards peace and the very real obstacles that must be overcome. He considers next week's meeting of the Quartet to be an important opportunity to chart a way forward for re-energizing the peace process and implementing all relevant Security Council resolutions.


II. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBING IN ISRAEL

The following statement was issued by the Office of the Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 29 January 2007 (SG/SM/10862):

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms today's suicide bombing at a bakery in Eilat, Israel, which killed three people and wounded another. Such acts of terrorism are a violation of international humanitarian law and can never be justified. The Secretary-General sends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this attack.

The Secretary-General is also alarmed at announcements that further attacks against Israeli civilians are being planned. He calls for swift action by Palestinian security forces to bring to justice those responsible and prevent further attacks.


III. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ISSUES REPORT ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN
THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY

On 29 January 2007, John Dugard, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, issued a report to be submitted to the fourth session of the Human Rights Council (12 to 30 March 2007). The following is the summary of the report (A/HRC/4/17):

Gaza has again been the focus of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In response to the capture of Corporal Gilad Shalit by Palestinian militants on 25 June 2006, and the continued firing of Qassam rockets into Israel, Israel conducted two major military operations within Gaza - “Operation Summer Rains” and “Operation Autumn Clouds”. In the course of these operations, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) made repeated military incursions into Gaza, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling and air-to-surface missile attacks. Missiles, shells and bulldozers destroyed or damaged homes, schools, hospitals, mosques, public buildings, bridges, water pipelines and electricity networks. Agricultural lands were levelled by bulldozers. Beit Hanoun was the subject of particularly heavy attacks, and on 8 November 19 civilians were killed and 55 wounded in an artillery attack. Economic sanctions have had a major impact on Gaza. About 70 per cent of Gaza's workforce is out of work or without pay and over 80 per cent of the population lives below the official poverty line. The siege of Gaza is a form of collective punishment in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949. The indiscriminate use of military power against civilians and civilian targets has resulted in serious war crimes.

The West Bank has also experienced serious human rights violations resulting from frequent military incursions; the construction of the wall; house demolitions and checkpoints. Over 500 checkpoints and roadblocks obstruct freedom of movement within the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The wall being built in East Jerusalem is an instrument of social engineering designed to achieve the Judaization of Jerusalem by reducing the number of Palestinians in the city.

The construction of settlements continues. Today there are some 460,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. A study by an Israeli non-governmental organization has shown that nearly 40 per cent of the land occupied by settlements in the West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians. It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers.

There are some 9,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. There are serious complaints about the treatment, trial and imprisonment of prisoners.

Since 2000, over 500 persons have been killed in targeted assassinations, including a substantial number of innocent civilians. In December 2006, the Israeli High Court failed to find that such assassinations were unlawful but held that they might only be carried out as a last resort and within the bounds of proportionality.

Israeli law and practice makes it impossible for thousands of Palestinian families to live together. A new practice of refusing visas to foreign residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has aggravated this situation. Discrimination against Palestinians occurs in many fields. Moreover, the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid appears to be violated by many practices, particularly those denying freedom of movement to Palestinians.

There is a humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory resulting from the withholding of funds owed to the Palestinian Authority by the Government of Israel (estimated at about US$ 50 to 60 million per month) and from the economic isolation of the territory by the United States, the European Union (EU) and other States in response to the election of the Hamas Government. The Temporary International Mechanism set up by the EU to provide relief in certain sectors has gone some way towards reducing the crisis, but over 70 per cent of the Palestinian people lives below the official poverty line. Health care and education have suffered as a result of a strike of workers in these sectors against the Palestinian Authority and the international community for the non-payment of salaries. In effect Israel and sections of the international community have imposed collective punishment on the Palestinian people.

Persons responsible for committing war crimes by the firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage should be apprehended or prosecuted. This applies to Palestinians who fire Qassam rockets into Israel; and more so to members of the IDF who have committed such crimes on a much greater scale. While individual criminal accountability is important, the responsibility of the State of Israel for the violation of peremptory norms of international law in its actions against the Palestinian people should not be overlooked.

The international community has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights - colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation. Israel is clearly in military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. At the same time elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the occupying Power and third States? It is suggested that this question might appropriately be put to the International Court of Justice for a further advisory opinion.

The Occupied Palestinian Territory is the only instance of a developing country that is denied the right of self-determination and oppressed by a Western-affiliated State. The apparent failure of Western States to take steps to bring such a situation to an end places the future of the international protection of human rights in jeopardy as developing nations begin to question the commitment of Western States to human rights.


IV. SECRETARY-GENERAL RELEASES STATEMENT ON GAZA CEASEFIRE

The following statement was issued on 30 January 2007 by the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (SG/SM/10864; PAL/2068):

The Secretary-General has noted today’s announcement of an agreed ceasefire in Gaza, and commends Egypt for its continuing efforts to calm a volatile and worrying situation. He calls for all parties to abide by the terms of the ceasefire and to move quickly back to the process of national dialogue in the pursuit of national unity.

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