Question of Palestine home
About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
31 March 1995
Vol. XVIII, Bulletin No. 3
United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine,
held at Rio de Janeiro from 20 to 23 March 1995
Secretary-General submits a report on the condition of Palestinian women under Israeli Occupation;
the Commission on the Status of Women adopts two resolutions
The World Health Organization launches an appeal for the Palestinian health sector
The Department of Public Information sponsors the Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People
in the Field of Media Development
Excerpts from the press communiqué issued by the Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council
at its fifty-fourth session
Non-governmental organizations: activities and information
I. UNITED NATIONS LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN SEMINAR
AND NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
HELD AT RIO DE JANEIRO FROM 20 TO 23 MARCH 1995
The United Nations Latin American and Caribbean Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine was held at the Rio Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 23 March 1995. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 49/62 A and B of 14 December 1994, in which the Assembly renewed the Committee's mandate and authorized the continuation of its programme of seminars and meetings of NGOs.
The Committee was represented by a delegation comprising Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee and head of delegation, who acted as Chairman of the meeting; Mr. Joseph Cassar (Malta), Rapporteur of the Committee, who acted as Rapporteur of the meeting; Mr. Inal Batu (Turkey) and Mr. Anatoli Maximovich Zlenko (Ukraine), who acted as Vice-Chairmen; and Dr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa (Palestine).
The Seminar and NGO Symposium was attended by 17 panelists from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Palestinians, Israelis and representatives of 17 Governments, 3 United Nations organs and intergovernmental organizations and 16 non-governmental organizations. A number of media representatives, faculty and students of universities and institutes also participated in the meeting.
Mr. Adhemar Gabriel Bahadian, Chief of Staff of the Acting Minister for External Relations of Brazil, made a statement at the opening session. A message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations was read out by his representative, Mrs. Laura Reanda, Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights. A statement was made by Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé, Chairman of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Mr. Musa Oudeh, Special Envoy of Palestine, read out a message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The theme of the Seminar and Symposium was "Supporting the peace process - the contribution of Latin America and the Caribbean".
Three panel discussions were conducted as follows:
New developments since the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements
Mr. Nabil Amr, Member of the Central
Council of the PLO, Editor of
Mr. Ran Cohen, Member of the Israeli
Knesset, Chairperson of Meretz Faction
Mr. Hanna Safieh, Professor at Federal
University, Natal, Brazil, Member of the
Palestine National Council
Mr. Uri Avnery, Israeli journalist, writer, peace activist
Statement by Mr. Saeb Erakat, Member of the Palestinian Authority
(read out by Mr. Ibrahim Al Zeben, Chargé d'affaires a.i., Delegation of Palestine to Brazil)
Palestinian self-government - challenges and prospects of nation-building
Mr. Sari Nusseibeh, Member of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction,
Chairperson of the Palestine Consultancy Group
Mr. Luis Mesa Delmonte, Director, Centre of African and Middle East Studies, Cuba
Mr. Ivan Moreira, Member of the Chilean Parliament
New opportunities for action by Latin American and Caribbean countries and organizations
Economic assistance and cooperation: the new environment for Governments and private groups
Mr. Pedro Paulo Pinto Assumpcao, Ambassador, Head of the Middle East Department, Ministry of External Relations of Brazil
Mr. Gustavo Marcelo Marquez, Businessman, Member of the Argentino-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Jaber Omar, Professor of Economics at the University of Pelotas, Brazil Cooperation of NGOs with their Palestinian counterparts
Mr. Hussein Abdelkhalek,
Representative of Palestine in Chile
Mr. Carlos Etchegoyhen, Medical Doctor and Psychoanalyst,
Uruguay, Visiting Scholar at the University of North Dakota
Mr. José Félix Ferreyra, Chairman, NGO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina
The contribution of diaspora Palestinians
Mr. José Elias, President of the Federation of Palestinian Organizations in Chile; President of the University of San Andrés, Chile
Mr. Juan Abugattas, Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Marcos, Peru
Ms. Tilda Rabi, President of the Federation of Palestinian Organizations in Argentina
Culture and the media: new possibilities for cooperation
Mr. Juan José Salinas, Journalist for the news agency TELAM, Argentina
The following topics were discussed by nine experts in two workshops:
Mobilization of and networking by NGOs in Latin America and
Caribbean to promote assistance to the Palestinian people
Moderator: Mr. José Félix Ferreyra, Chairman, NGO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina
Mr. Jaber Omar, Professor of Economics at the University of Pelotas, Brazil
Mr. Carlos Etchegoyhen, Medical Doctor and Psychoanalyst, Uruguay, Visiting Scholar at the University of North Dakota
Mr. Gustavo Marcelo Marquez, Businessman, Member of the Argentino-Arab Chamber of Commerce
Rapporteur: Ms. Tilda Rabi, President of the Federation of Palestinian Organizations in Argentina
NGO activities to mobilize public opinion for a just and
lasting solution of the question of Palestine - review of
actions taken since the first Latin American and Caribbean
Symposium in 1990 and future activities
Moderator: Mr. José Félix Ferreyra, Chairman, NGO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, Argentina
Mr. Juan Abugattas, Professor at the University of San Marcos, Peru
Mr. José Elias A., President of the Federation of Palestinian Organizations in Chile, President of the University of San Andrés, Chile
Mr. Juan José Salinas, Journalist for the news agency TELAM, Argentina
Rapporteur: Mr. Hanna Safieh, Professor at the Federal University of Natal, Brazil, Member of the Palestine National Council
At the closing of the Seminar and Symposium, statements were made by Mr. Mauricio Bridani, Head of the Department for International Organizations, Ministry of External Relations of Brazil; Mr. José Félix Ferreyra, Chairman of the newly appointed Coordinating Committee of the Latin American and Caribbean NGOs on the Question of Palestine; Mr. Musa Oudeh, Special Envoy of Palestine; and Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The Seminar and NGO Symposium adopted conclusions and recommendations, as reproduced below, as well as a motion of thanks to the Government and people of Brazil. The report containing the summaries of the presentations will be issued in due course as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.
Conclusions and recommendations
1. Participants welcomed the positive developments in the Middle East peace process and the agreements reached between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization since September 1993, as well as the consequent developments. They considered that the Declaration of Principles was a historical break-through that had required great courage by the parties concerned and that with perseverance and the strong support of the international community as a whole, a just and lasting peace could be achieved. It was noted that the Latin American and Caribbean countries have a significant contribution to make in this regard.
2. Participants, however, expressed great concern at the repeated delays in the implementation of the agreements reached, which generated insecurity and as such could disrupt the peace process. Participants called on the Government of Israel to cease all settlements building and expansion activities and land confiscation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, to end the closure of the territory, to release all Palestinian prisoners and to move quickly towards the prompt implementation of the second phase of the Declaration of Principles, including the redeployment in the rest of the West Bank and Palestinian elections. The Government of Israel was also called upon to respect fully its obligations as the occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
3. Condemnation was expressed at all acts of violence of whatever form or whatever source, aimed at derailing the peace process, and which had resulted in many casualties among both Palestinians and Israelis. The essential need for both sides to take confidence-building measures, including the full implementation of Security Council resolution 904 (1994) was emphasized.
4. The meeting was apprised of the great challenges posed by the gradual transfer of responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority, aggravated by the present political and economic difficulties. The Authority was making large-scale efforts to build a national economy, reconstruct vital amenities, establish national institutions and achieve overall economic and social development. It was stressed that international support for the Palestinian people and its leadership in all fields - political, economic and social - was of paramount importance for the attainment of peace in the region.
5. Latin American and Caribbean countries, in particular, had much to contribute in view of their tradition of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the presence there of large Palestinian, Arab and Jewish communities with a tradition of living in harmony, and the experience of these countries in the struggle for self-determination and in the problems of nation- and institution-building and economic development.
6. It was stressed that the basic aim of international aid should be to assist in laying the structural groundwork and providing the major productive and social impetus for the Palestinian development plan in the shortest possible time and to promote self-reliant development. It was pointed out that international assistance could be directed towards sectors such as infrastructure and communications; technology transfer; job creation and diversification of production; advisory assistance in institutional, financial and entrepreneurial matters; urban and housing development; water resources management; energy generation; intensive agriculture; and education and health programmes. Emphasis was also placed on the role the international community could play in the Palestinian efforts at democratic and social education at all levels for all ages.
7. Participants appealed to the donor countries and the World Bank to accelerate the delivery of the aid promised as an essential stimulus for development and an ideal means of promoting peace. The efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General and his Special Coordinator for the Occupied Territories, in mobilizing assistance by the relevant United Nations agencies and programmes and strengthening coordination with the donor community were noted with appreciation. Participants welcomed the decision by the Secretary-General to transfer the Headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from Vienna to Gaza.
8. It was emphasized that the source of the flow of international assistance should not be confined to the major economic centres, since many members of the international community, regardless of their relative level of development, are capable of providing various kinds of economic, social and humanitarian assistance. The countries of the Latin American and Caribbean region were called upon to identify potential spheres of cooperation and to make concrete proposals for assistance, in coordination with their Palestinian counterparts and with the support and sponsorship of the relevant international organizations whenever needed. The importance of the involvement of the private sector was also mentioned in this connection.
9. It was stated that diaspora Palestinians living in the different countries of the region could make a great contribution to reconstruction, institution-building and development of the Palestinian territory in view of their professional, economic and financial experience and strength. Diaspora Palestinians and their associations could facilitate the search for various forms of assistance, such as developing mechanisms for granting loans to Palestinian businesses; offering training possibilities in agriculture and industry; technology transfer; and development of joint ventures. It was suggested in this regard, that visiting tours for Palestinian businessmen and Palestinian Authority members should be organized and exchange programmes for students and faculty developed.
10. Cognizant of the vital contribution of Palestinian women in the struggle of the Palestinian people for the attainment of its inalienable rights and of their participation in development and state-building efforts, participants, in view of the upcoming Fourth World Conference on Women, expressed their conviction that Palestinian women would continue to consolidate their past achievements.
11. Participants emphasized the great importance of developing trade between the self-rule areas and the Latin American and Caribbean countries. It was recommended that the Governments of the region give preferential treatment to Palestinian products and that joint Chambers of Commerce should be created.
12. In view of the need to develop cooperation between Palestine and Latin American countries, participants encouraged those Governments in Latin America which had not yet done so, to establish official relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and to extend diplomatic recognition to its offices in their countries, in order to streamline and facilitate the desired cooperation.
13. It was also suggested that the traditionally harmonious relations between the Palestinian and Jewish communities in Latin America could provide the foundation for joint activities aimed at improving mutual understanding and tackling difficult issues in a spirit of cooperation. It was recommended that meetings of representatives of the two communities in Latin America and their NGOs be organized to consider common concerns, including sensitive issues such as the Palestinian right of return. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was requested to consider organizing a meeting of this nature, together with representatives from Palestine and Israel, as part of its programme of regional events.
14. The role of non-governmental organizations as opinion-leaders and as an essential link between the people and the Government of each country was stressed. NGOs in the Latin American and Caribbean region were called upon to define action strategies responsive to Palestinian needs. It was also recommended that NGOs use their mediating influence on Governments in order to ensure the adoption of policies responsive to the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as well as their need for sustainable development. It was recommended that direct links should be forged between the Palestinian Authority and Latin American and Caribbean organizations in all fields of NGO competence, including trade, cultural links, training, health and education. It was also emphasized that NGOs have an important role to play in assisting their Palestinian counterparts in their efforts to build a civil society.
15. It was proposed that non-governmental organizations should disseminate reliable information on the realities of the Palestinian people and the status of the peace process. They should look into the possibility of joining, through the Internet, the proposed establishment of the Latin American segment of a possible Middle East news agency, which should include participation by Palestinian and Israeli journalists.
II. THE SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITS A REPORT ON THE
CONDITION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN UNDER ISRAELI OCCUPATION;
THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN ADOPTS TWO RESOLUTIONS
At its thirty-ninth session, held in New York from 15 March to 7 April 1995, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.6/1995/8), submitted pursuant to Commission resolution 38/4, entitled "Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women". In that resolution, the Commission requested the Secretary-General to submit to it, at its thirty-ninth session, a report on the implementation of the resolution, containing recommendations and a programme of action aimed at improving the condition of Palestinian women under Israeli occupation. The report highlights the issues of concern for Palestinian women within the present political context. It monitors the situation in the fields of violence, governance, health, education and employment. Emphasis is put on the development aspects and the participation of women in political decision-making. Preparing for de facto and
equality has gained importance as has the integration of a gender perspective in all areas of legislation, infrastructure development and human resources and economic development.
At the conclusion of the session, the Commission adopted resolution 39/3, entitled "Integration of women in the Middle East peace process, without a vote, as well as a draft resolution entitled "Palestinian women", which it recommended to the Economic and Social Council for adoption.
The resolutions are reproduced below.
Integration of women in
the Middle East peace process
The Commission on the Status of Women
its resolution 38/1 of 18 March 1994,
General Assembly resolution 49/88 of 16 December 1994 on the Middle East peace process,
the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993,
that the achievement of a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict will constitute a significant contribution to the strengthening of international peace and security and is an indispensable condition for the furthering of women's rights in the region,
the convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East at Madrid on 30 October 1991, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, and the subsequent bilateral negotiations, as well as the meetings of the multilateral working groups, and noting with satisfaction the broad international support for the peace process,
the continuing positive participation of the United Nations as a full extraregional participant in the work of the multilateral working groups,
Bearing in mind
the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D. C., on 13 September 1993
and the subsequent Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, signed by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, at Cairo on 4 May 1994,
and their agreement of 29 August 1994 on the preparatory transfer of powers and responsibilities,
Also bearing in mind
the Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace of 26 October 1994,
the Declaration of Casablanca, adopted at the Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit, held at Casablanca from 30 October to 1 November 1994,
the progress made in the multilateral track of the peace process,
the importance of, and need for, achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
that the achievement of such a peace is vital for the implementation of the human rights of women in the area;
the peace process started at Madrid and supports the subsequent bilateral negotiations;
that an active United Nations role in the Middle East peace process and in assisting in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles can make a positive contribution;
Governments, inter-governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations to include women in the peace process;
Governments, inter-governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations to support the implementation of the Declaration of Principles and to assist the Palestinian people to ensure Palestinian women's political development and participation;
Member States to expedite economic, financial and technical 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,
the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women,
in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children,
its resolution 38/4 of 16 March 1994 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,
the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,
the signing by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993,
as well as the implementation of the agreements reached between the two sides,
about the continuing deterioration of all aspects of the situation of the Palestinian women in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem,
about the severe consequence of the continuous Israeli illegal settlements activities, as well as the measurements which isolate Jerusalem from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on the situation of Palestinian women and their families,
that the Israeli occupation constitutes the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development plan for their society.
that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
the Hague Regulation and the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,
in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;
Israel to facilitate the return of all refugee and displaced Palestinian women and children and those who are political deportees to their homes and properties in the occupied Palestinian territory, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;
Member States, international financial organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and other relevant institutions to intensify their efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to Palestinian women for the creation of projects responding to their needs, especially during the transitional period;
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, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children;
the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation and to assist Palestinian women by all available means, and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fortieth session a report on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution."
Official Records of the Economic and Social Council
, 1995, Supplement No. 6 (E/1995/26), chap. I.
Report of the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14-25 June 1993
(A/CONF.157/24 (Part I)), chap. III.
/ A/48/486-S/26560, annex.
/ A/49/180-S/1994/727, annex.
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. I, sect. A.
/ General Assembly resolution 48/104, annex.
/ General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).
/ United Nations,
, vol. 75, No. 973.
III. THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION LAUNCHES AN APPEAL
FOR THE PALESTINIAN HEALTH SECTOR
The following is the text of a press release issued by the World Health Organization Press Office on 28 February 1995 (WHO/16):
"The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a US$ 13 million appeal 'to provide funds for meeting the urgent health needs of the Palestinian people'.
"In a letter addressed to the European Commission, the World Bank and the 40 countries that participated in the 1 October 1993 donors conference in Washington, D.C., Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, Director-General of WHO, stated that 'the useful investments made in the Palestinian health sector over the past year are at a critical juncture and must be maintained in 1995/1996. This appeal for assistance to the Palestinian people aims at maintaining the momentum in building up the goodwill generated by the events and achievements carried out over the year'.
"The World Health Organization has operated a programme of special technical assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1985. Until 1990, it took the form of fellowships to Palestinian physicians to pursue specialized training overseas, and the establishment of three collaborating centres of primary health care and health manpower development in Ramallah and Gaza.
"Between 1990 and 1993, the years of civil unrest, it assisted Palestinian non-governmental organizations to treat the injured and the traumatized.
"The third phase began on 19 October 1993, a month after the Declaration of Principles was signed in Washington, D.C., with an appeal by WHO for US$ 10 million to be used primarily to assist in the transfer of authority and responsibility for health services from the Israeli Civil Administration to the Palestinian Authority. The appeal, which attracted US$ 5.7 million from Japan, Luxembourg and Spain, also helped to support projects designed to improve primary health care services and environmental health and to conduct epidemiological studies, immunization programmes and health education.
"With these contributions, complemented by its own funds, WHO made substantial progress towards the achievement of the objectives in 1994.
"The present appeal outlines the priority needs and proposed programmes for 1995. They have been discussed with the Palestinian Health Authority and other partners involved in the health sector in the Palestinian self-rule areas. They are designed to strengthen the gains already attained by the previous technical assistance programme and introduce new areas of cooperation.
"The objectives of WHO cooperation are derived from the World Health Assembly resolutions on assistance to the Palestinian people. These are:
"- To improve the health of the Palestinian people;
"- To train Palestinian health care staff;
"- To provide access to primary health care services for all the inhabitants of the Palestinian self-rule areas;
"- To establish sustainable environmental health services;
"- To promote regional and international cooperation in the health sector.
"In his letter, the Director-General urged WHO member States to support this programme of assistance, which is vital to the peace process. As stated in the Constitution of WHO, 'the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security and is dependent upon the fullest cooperation of individuals and States'."
For further information, please contact Mr. Valery Abramov, Office of Information, WHO, Geneva. Telephone (41 22) 791 2543. Fax (41 22) 791 4858.
IV. THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION SPONSORS
THE SEMINAR ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN
PEOPLE IN THE FIELD OF MEDIA DEVELOPMENT
The Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People in the Field of Media Development, held at Madrid from 29 to 31 March 1995, was organized by the United Nations, through its Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural Organization (UNESCO), through its Communication Division, and was hosted by the Institute for Cooperation with the Arab World of the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Madrid Seminar is part of the Department's special information programme on the question of Palestine. The programme was mandated by the General Assembly in its resolution 49/62 C of 14 December 1994, which, among other things, requested the Department to provide, in cooperation with specialized agencies of the United Nations system, particularly UNESCO, assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development.
At the invitation of the Government of Spain, the Seminar was held at the Castellana Inter-Continental Hotel in Madrid, Spain. The participants included representatives of the host country; representatives of the diplomatic corps; Palestinian officials, academics and media representatives; representatives of other Palestinian organizations; representatives of international professional media organizations, training institutions and foundations; non-Palestinian media; representatives of regional organizations; and representatives of organizations of the United Nations system, including the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories.
The Seminar was declared open by Mr. Mustapha Tlili, Chief of the Palestine and Decolonization Section in the Department of Public Information and Coordinator of the Seminar. At the opening session, statements were made by Mr. Don José Luis Dicenta, Secretary of State for International Cooperation of Spain; Mr. M. Tlili; Mr. Salim Al-Za'noun, Acting Chairman of the Palestinian National Council; Mr. Alain Modoux, Director of the Communication Division of UNESCO; and Mr. Nabil Ma'rouf, representative of the PLO in Spain, who read out a message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The participants accepted by acclamation the nomination of officers of the Seminar. Dr. Ziad Abu-Amr was nominated as Rapporteur. Mr. Dominique Vidal was nominated Chairman of Working Group I on technological capability and training and Ms. Ruba Husari as Rapporteur. Mr. Alain Modoux was nominated Chairman of Working Group II on financial resources and Mr. Daoub Kuttab as Rapporteur.
The Seminar was organized into three plenary sessions, two panels and two working groups.
The first plenary session, which focused on the media situation in the Palestinian autonomous area and the occupied territory, considered a background paper entitled "The Palestinian media, their needs and the aid situation".
The first panel discussion concentrated on the role of the media in the large-scale challenges of the new Palestinian experience, focusing on issues such as self-determination, institution-building, democracy, human rights and socio-economic development. The second panel dealt with socio-economic, political and legal conditions and the viability of independent and pluralistic media.
The second plenary session discussed the development of human resources and of an appropriate legal framework for media. The two working groups concentrated on technological capacity and financial resources.
At the end of the three-day Seminar, the participants adopted a final report which included the following conclusions and recommendations made by the two working groups:
Working Group 1: Technological capability and training
"The working group met on Thursday, 30 March 1995, and reached consensus on the following conclusions:
"The group underlined the great needs in the domain of training and advanced training of journalists and other professionals of the Palestinian media. Based on this, the group recommends:
"Establishing, as soon as possible, the journalism training centre proposed and approved by the conference held at Jerusalem on 5 June 1994, which was attended by a number of international professional organizations. The centre would be based in Jerusalem and temporarily hosted by Birzeit University. It will offer basic vocational training in the various fields of journalism;
"Coordinating specialized training elements of the programme with professional institutions: audiovisual training within the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and its contracted partners; and written-skills and management training with newspapers and news agencies. The media trainers would also assist the different media outlets on request;
"Completing the local programmes, with further training in foreign journalism schools and media outlets in such a way that other journalists will benefit from the expertise obtained from these experiences.
"In order to guarantee the implementation of these recommendations, the group urges:
"Palestinian journalists, editors and media managers to constitute a committee representative of the diversity of the media landscape, in order to coordinate with foreign partners;
"International organizations and training institutions to create a new mechanism capable of coordinating their projects;
"Donors to give priority to the projects defined above and agreed upon by Palestinian and international participants;
"All these efforts should in the long run lead to the establishment of the first journalism vocational school in Palestine.
Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
"The group urges that the necessary means be made available to PBC in order
"Complete the creation and installation of radio studios and transmitters;
"Build, as soon as possible, the relevant studios and transmitters for television broadcasting;
"Inaugurate its main headquarters in Ramallah with all necessary equipment before the end of 1995.
"The group, while appreciating their assistance, notes that the sums pledged by the European Union (EU) in this regard are not sufficient to reach the above three objectives. The group therefore calls on EU and other donors to increase the sums designated for the establishment of a Palestinian radio and television public service.
"The group also calls on the Israeli authorities to facilitate the transmission of PBC, most importantly by not objecting to the use of the necessary frequencies, which will be allocated in coordination with the International Telecommunications Union/Radio Communication Bureau.
"The group recommends the establishment of an international fund to assist the written press, which has not significantly benefited from assistance so far. The fund would enable the written press to have access to the necessary technological capabilities, in particular:
"The development of computerized editing, lay-out and management;
"The establishment of printing facilities available to all interested outlets, with a special emphasis on Gaza;
"The creation of a modern marketing and distribution system.
The legal framework
"The group stresses:
"The pressing necessity of the relevant authorities to develop media law and broadcasting regulations;
"The urgent need for all sectors and professional groups of the media to draft a code of ethics arrived at by consensus.
"Therefore, the group calls on UNESCO, in consultation with international professional organizations, to send a delegation of experts to Jerusalem. This delegation would have the task of advising Palestinian media professionals on the laws and codes available in other countries. As a matter of priority, the group recommends that the necessary and relevant documentation be communicated to the interested bodies as soon as possible in preparation for these consultations.
Working Group 2: Financial resources
"The working group held two meetings on Thursday, 30 March 1995. The main issues that emerged from the meeting can be summarized in two sets of points. With regard to donors, participants underlined the following realities in the area of funding policies:
"Most of the funding for Palestinians has been directed to infrastructure projects. Media deve-lopment has received 0.4 percent of the money that has been spent for Palestinians;
"Of the 16 sectoral working groups that have been established recently within the framework of the donor community's Ad Hoc Liaison Committee to better facilitate funding for Palestinians, none is in the area of media development;
"EU and UNESCO have earmarked monies for PBC and will be delivering equipment and other aid in 10 weeks. Other organizations have also pledged financial and technical support;
"The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and EU work directly with the Palestinian Authority with the exception of the EU-sponsored Med Media programme, which is directed to provide cooperation between European and Mediterranean peoples;
"Except for regular coordination meetings between some donors and representatives of PBC, there is no overall effective and regular mechanism among the donors to coordinate funding or even information regarding media development;
"The drawing up and implementation of clear media laws and regulations covering Palestinian broadcasting should be accelerated, as it is a concern of donors, who offered to help in this area if asked by Palestinians;
"UNDP signed an agreement with the Palestinian Authority which includes a project called the Transfer of Knowledge Through Expatriate Nationals (TOKTEN). This allows for these United Nations agencies to support the cost of having professional Palestinians come to Palestine for short periods. This, as well as United Nations volunteers and interns, can be utilized in the media field.
"As for their needs, the Palestinians made the following observations:
"Palestinians called upon the international community to expedite delivery on promises to help the Palestinian media, in particular PBC;
"The need to support Palestinian public media, especially in terms of getting PBC's radio and television facilities running effectively, should be given top priority. However, Palestinian media practitioners expressed concern that most attention is being given to the public sector. Part of the pledged aid to the Palestinian media could be channelled through the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations;
"Differences between the Palestinian public and private sectors in the media field were evident during the meeting;
"Concern was voiced about the need to keep the people in Gaza in mind and that support not be restricted to the audio-visual media but be provided to the print media as well.
"The need for the establishment of a sectoral working group on media development within the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee framework was given top priority in order to focus and coordinate media development. UNESCO could be asked to be the secretariat for this group and any interested countries could be asked to shepherd it.
"The technical need of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation to be able to broadcast a clear television and radio signal to all the Palestinian territories was deemed very important. This can be assured with additional transmitters for PBC.
"The Palestinian private and public sectors need to find the means to unite behind clear and agreed-upon goals and directions. This would help the donors and reduce the 'fractionalization' that has dominated the media field.
"The Palestinian Authority and PBC should accelerate the creation and implementation of laws and regulations that will assure the Palestinian public at large, as well as donors, of its public nature and its democratic values. These laws should be drawn up in consultation with relevant Palestinian media practitioners. International legal and media advice is available if requested.
"A mechanism needs to be found to raise the importance of media development and to foster networking among Palestinian media practitioners, publishers, producers and international supporters.
"Special support should be given to projects that will be helpful to the Palestinian private sector on condition that this help is not limited to one group but, rather, can promote diversity amongst Palestinians. This could be achieved by supporting the establishment of a printing press in Gaza and another one in the West Bank, the services of which would be made available to all newspapers. Efforts should also be made to establish a post-production television facility that can be useful to many Palestinian film makers.
"The Palestinian public and private media sectors are called on to take advantage of the TOKTEN programme, as well as the United Nations volunteer and intern programmes, which cover the cost of expatriate professionals and others coming to Palestine for short periods of time."
V. EXCERPTS FROM THE PRESS COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED BY THE
MINISTERIAL COUNCIL OF THE GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
AT ITS FIFTY-FOURTH SESSION
The following is an excerpt from the Press Communiqué adopted at the fifty-fourth session of the Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, held at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 19 and 20 March 1995 (see A/50/123-S/1995/228, annex):
"The Council studied developments in the Middle East peace process in all its aspects, affirming that a just and lasting peace must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), the principle of land for peace, full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem and the restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The Council noted with satisfaction the breakthroughs achieved in the peace process since its inception at the Madrid Conference in 1991 and, at the same time, expressed its concern at Israel's dilatoriness in implementing the Palestinian-Israeli Agreement and its persistence in altering the demographic and legal status of Jerusalem.
"The Council expresses concern that there has been no progress on the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks and, in this connection, reiterates its support for the just demands of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Lebanese Republic and its great appreciation of their positions and their earnest efforts to ensure the success of the peace process. It commends the ongoing efforts being made by the United States of America to overcome the obstacles in the way of the peace process and activate the Middle East peace process."
VI. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS: ACTIVITIES AND INFORMATION
Middle East International
, a bi-weekly publication, is available from P.O. Box 53365, Temple Heights Station, Washington, D.C., 20009, United States of America. Issue no. 495 of 3 March 1995 includes articles on the peace process, the PLO meeting in Tunis, the settlements, the United States Congress and the location of the United States embassy in Israel and the report of the Commission on Human Rights. Issue no. 497 of 31 March 1995 includes articles on Arafat and Fatah, the PLO meeting in Tunis, United States Vice-President Gore's visit to Jericho, Yitzhak Rabin and "separation" between Israel and the Palestinian "self-rule" areas, public opinion polls on Rabin and Benyamin Netanyahu, and President Clinton's policy on Israel.
Middle East Labor Bulletin
, a publication of the Labor Committee on the Middle East, is available from P.O. Box 421546, San Francisco, California, 94142, United States of America. The Spring 1995 issue includes articles on the arrest of Gaza attorney Sourani, Rabin and the closures of the occupied territories, formation of the new Palestinian Democratic Party, the Israeli left, the settlements, the plight of former political prisoners and aid to Israel.
Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories
, a bimonthly publication of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, is available from 555 13th Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C., 20004-1109, United States of America (Fax 202 637 5910). The March 1995 issue includes articles on Rabin and settlement construction, negotiations, Martin Indyk's testimony before the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee and United States policy on settlements.
The Other Front
, a weekly bulletin on development in Israeli society, is available from P.O. Box 19543, Jerusalem. Issue no. 311 of 28 February 1995 includes articles on the Shabak (Israeli General Security Services), refusal of military service, activities of Israeli non-governmental organizations and demonstrations against settlements.
Palestine/Israel File: Facts, Resources, Analysis
, a publication of Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine/Israel, is available from P.O. Box 3542, Farmingham, Massachusetts, 01701, United States of America. The February 1995 issue includes articles on settlements, the Declaration of Principles and international law and moderate Israelis.
Criminal Jurisdiction under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement
, is a paper written by Riziq Shuqair under the auspices of Al-Haq, the West Bank affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists and is available from P.O. Box 1413, Ramallah, West Bank (Fax 972 2 995194). The paper looks at criminal jurisdiction under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement, one of a number of challenging questions raised by the Agreement owing to its
nature. It also assesses the Agreement's provisions on criminal jurisdiction in terms of international law on this subject. It discusses the Israeli occupier's conduct in the sphere of criminal jurisdiction in the light of the law of belligerent occupation, as well as rules of criminal jurisdiction which apply to Israel itself. The paper concludes that the Israeli military government has retained significant powers in the sphere of criminal jurisdiction in the autonomous areas. Therefore, Israel cannot escape its international responsibility as belligerent occupier. The territory of the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area retains its status as occupied territory.
* * * * *