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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXXV, No. 3 - Bulletin Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien, DDP (mars 2012) - Publication de la DDP Français

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Source: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 March 2012



March 2012

Volume XXXV, Bulletin No. 3

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



Contents
Page
I.
Commission on the Status of Women adopts a resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women
1
II.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization adopts five decisions related to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
4
III.
Secretary-General addresses a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East
7
IV.
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights issues remarks on a Palestinian female prisoner on hunger strike
8
V.
General Assembly appoints Ecuador as a member of the Palestinian Rights Committee
9
VI.
Human Rights Council adopts four resolutions on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
10
VII.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East holds an international conference on Palestine refugee youth
20
VIII.
Ad Hoc Liaison Committee holds a meeting in Brussels
21
IX.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process briefs the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
23
X.
Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization Hanan Ashrawi briefs the Palestinian Rights Committee
27



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. COMMISSION ON STATUS OF WOMEN ADOPTS RESOLUTION
ON SITUATION AND ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN WOMEN

On 6 March 2012, the Commission on the Status of Women of the Economic and Social Council, under agenda item 3 (c) of its fifty-sixth session, adopted a resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women. The text of the resolution is reproduced below with the indication of the vote:

Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women

The Economic and Social Council,

Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General,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 adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women3 and the outcomes 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 2011/18 of 26 July 2011 and other relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolution 57/337 of 3 July 2003, on the prevention of armed conflict, and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000, on women and peace and security,

Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women5 as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,

Recalling the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,6 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights6 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,7 and reaffirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Expressing deep concern about the grave situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, resulting from the severe impact of the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation and all of its manifestations,

Expressing grave concern about the increased difficulties being faced by Palestinian women and girls living under Israeli occupation, including the continuation of home demolitions, evictions of Palestinians, the revocation of residency rights and arbitrary detention and imprisonment, as well as high rates of poverty and unemployment, food insecurity, inadequate water supply, incidents of domestic violence, and declining health, education and living standards, including the rising incidence of trauma and decline in their psychological well-being, and expressing grave concern about the dire humanitarian crisis and insecurity and instability on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip,

Deploring the dire economic and social conditions of Palestinian women and girls in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the systematic violation of their human rights resulting from the severe impact of ongoing illegal Israeli practices, including displacement and the confiscation of land, particularly in connection with the construction and expansion of settlements and the Wall, which continue to constitute a major obstacle to peace on the basis of the two-State solution, and the continued imposition of closures and restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, which have detrimentally affected their right to health care, including access for pregnant women to health services for antenatal care and safe delivery, education, employment, development and freedom of movement,

Gravely concerned, in particular, about the critical socio-economic and humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, including that resulting from the Israeli military operations and the imposition of a blockade consisting of the prolonged closure of border crossings and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, as well as the continued impeding of the reconstruction process by Israel, the occupying Power, which has detrimentally affected every aspect of the lives of the civilian population, especially women and children, in the Gaza Strip,

Stressing the importance of providing assistance, especially emergency assistance, to alleviate the dire socio-economic and humanitarian situation being faced by Palestinian women and their families,

Emphasizing the importance of increasing the role of women in peacebuilding and decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and the peaceful resolution of conflicts as part of efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of all women in the region, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the achievement, maintenance and promotion of peace and security,

1. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains the major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society, and stresses the importance of efforts to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution and to ensure their equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the achievement, maintenance and promotion of peace and security;

2. Calls upon the international community, in this regard, to continue to provide urgently needed assistance, especially emergency 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, with the integration of a gender perspective into all of its international assistance programmes, and commends the implementation of the Palestinian Authority’s plan of August 2009 for constructing the institutions of an independent Palestinian State within a twenty-four-month period and the significant achievements made, as confirmed by international institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations;

3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,8 the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907,9 the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, United Nations, Treaty Series,10 and all other relevant rules, principles and instruments of international law, including the International Covenants on Human Rights, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;

4. Urges the international community to continue to give special attention to the promotion and protection of the human rights of Palestinian women and girls and to intensify its measures to improve the difficult conditions being faced by Palestinian women and their families living under Israeli occupation;

5. 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;

6. Stresses the urgent need for sustained and active international involvement, including by the Quartet, to support both parties in resuming, advancing and accelerating the peace process negotiations for the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement, on the basis of United Nations resolutions, the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict11 and the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session;12

7. 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 Action3 and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”;4

8. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation, to assist Palestinian women by all available means, including those laid out in the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,1 and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-seventh 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.


56th Session
9 March 2012
Adopted by 29 votes to 2
with 10 abstentions

II. UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION ADOPTS FIVE DECISIONS
RELATED TO THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM

During its 189th session held in Paris from 27 February to 9 March 2012, the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted five decisions, namely: “Implementation of Decision relating to the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem”; “Implementation of Decision on the two Palestinian sites of al-Haram al-Ibrâhîmî/Tomb of the Patriarchs in al-Khalîl/Hebron and the Bilâl ibn Rabâh Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem”; “Implementation of Decision concerning educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories”; and “Report by the Director-General on the reconstruction and development of Gaza”. The text of the decisions is reproduced below.

Implementation of 36 C/Resolution 43 and 187 EX/Decision 5 relating to the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Executive Board,

1. Having examined document 189 EX/5,

2. Recalling previous decisions, including 176 EX/Special Plenary Meeting/Decision, decision 34 COM 7A.20 of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), and 187 EX/Decision 5 concerning the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem,

3. Also recalling the relevant provisions on the protection of cultural heritage, including in the four Geneva Conventions (1949), the relevant provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954, the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972, the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls at the request of Jordan on the World Heritage List (1981) and on the List of World Heritage in Danger (1982), and the recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO,

4. Reaffirming the purpose and spirit of the professional encounter at the technical level on 13 January 2008, as well as the follow-up meeting on 24 February 2008,

5. Noting the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Reinforced Monitoring Reports and its Addendum prepared by the World Heritage Centre,

6. Recognizes the concerns raised in this regard about the decision by the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Commission on the town planning scheme for the Mughrabi Ascent, and the subsequent decision by Israel’s National Council for Planning and Construction to adopt “an alternative plan for the Mughrabi Ascent”, approved on 31 October 2010 by the above- mentioned Commission;

7. Requests that, despite the decisions mentioned in paragraph 6, the process for the design of the Mughrabi Ascent be inclusive of all parties concerned, in accordance with obligations and duties of such parties as stipulated in the content of previous World Heritage Committee decisions;

8. Reaffirms in this regard, that no measures, unilateral or otherwise, should be taken which will affect the authenticity and integrity of the site, in accordance with the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of 1972 and the relevant provisions on the protection of cultural heritage of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954;

9. Notes the request made by the World Heritage Committee in previous decisions, and requests, in this regard, the Israeli authorities to continue full cooperation with all concerned parties, in particular with Jordanian and Waqf experts;

10. Acknowledges receipt of the Jordanian design for the restoration and preservation of the Mughrabi Ascent, submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 27 May 2011, and thanks Jordan for its cooperation in accordance with the relevant provisions of UNESCO conventions for the protection of cultural heritage;

11. Affirms, in this regard, that the UNESCO-initiated process for follow-up to the design of the Mughrabi Ascent, which is aimed at proactively facilitating an accepted and monitored solution concerning the Mughrabi Ascent among all parties concerned, be coordinated with all such parties, in accordance with the spirit and content of previous World Heritage Committee decisions;

12. Acknowledges in this regard, the concerns raised regarding Israel’s submission and content of its plan for the Mughrabi Ascent, referred to in paragraph 6, and requests the World Heritage Centre to be proactive and follow closely, in the context of the Reinforced Monitoring Mechanism, the developments associated with this process;

13. Notes with satisfaction the access provided by Israel to the Mughrabi Ascent for Jordanian and Waqf experts on 23 May, 8 August and 28 November 2010, and reiterates its request that Israel continue the cooperation commenced with all parties concerned, in particular with Jordanian and Waqf experts to enable agreement on, and implementation of, a final design for the restoration and preservation of the Mughrabi Ascent among all parties concerned;

14. Also notes in this regard, reports of preliminary discussions between Jordan and Israel concerning the Mughrabi Ascent, which stipulate, inter alia, that no measures, unilateral or otherwise, shall be taken on the site in accordance with paragraph 8 above, and the necessity of an accepted design and implementation thereof among all parties concerned; and welcomes the recognition by the parties concerned of the need for coordination on this issue;

15. Expresses its thanks to the Director-General for the action she is taking to facilitate the dialogue and professional exchanges between all the parties concerned;

16. Reiterates the call of the Director-General to organize a follow-up meeting of experts as soon as possible, once the parties concerned have reached agreement;

17. Invites the Director-General to submit to it a progress report thereon at its 190th session.

Jerusalem and the implementation of 36 C/Resolution 43 and 187 EX/Decision 11 (189 EX/8, 189 EX/28)

After considering this item, the Programme and External Relations Commission (PX) recommended by a vote taken by roll-call that the Executive Board adopt the following decision, with 34 votes in favour, 1 vote against (United States of America) and 15 abstentions; details of the vote are annexed to the summary record of the sixth plenary meeting of the Executive Board (189 EX/SR.6), at which the oral report of the PX Commission was presented.

The Executive Board,

1. Having examined document 189 EX/8;

2. Welcomes the admission of Palestine as member State of UNESCO;

3. Recalls its previous decision 185 EX/Decision 14 concerning Jerusalem and World Heritage Committee decision 34 COM 7A.20 concerning the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls;

4. Regrets the lack of progress in the implementation of 185 EX/Decision 14 and World Heritage Committee decision 34 COM 7A.20;

5. Asks the Director-General to maintain her efforts to implement 185 EX/Decision 14 and World Heritage Committee decision 34 COM 7A.20;

6. Invites the Director-General to submit to it a follow-up report at its 190th session, and decides to include this item in the agenda of its 190th session.

Implementation of 187 EX/Decision 12 on “the two Palestinian sites of al-Haram al-Ibrāhīmī/Tomb of the Patriarchs in al-Khalīl/Hebron and the Bilāl ibn Rabāh Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem” (189 EX/19; 189 EX/28)

After considering this item, the Programme and External Relations Commission (PX) recommended by a vote taken by roll-call that the Executive Board adopt the following decision, with 39 votes in favour, 1 vote against (United States) and 12 abstentions; details of the vote are annexed to the summary record of the sixth plenary meeting of the Executive Board (189 EX/SR.6), at which the oral report of the PX Commission was presented.

The Executive Board,

1. Having examined document 189 EX/9;

2. Welcomes the admission of Palestine as member State of UNESCO;

3. Reaffirms its previous decision 185 EX/Decision 15 concerning “the two Palestinian sites of al-Haram al-Ibrāhīmī/Tomb of the Patriarchs in al-Khalīl/Hebron and the Bilāl ibn Rabāh Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem”;

4. Decides to include this item in the agenda of its 190th session.

Implementation of 36 C/Resolution 81 and 187 EX/Decision 41 concerning educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories (189 EX/19, 189 EX/28)

After considering this item, the Programme and External Relations Commission (PX) recommended, by a vote taken by roll-call, that the Executive Board adopt the following decision, with 39 votes in favour, 1 vote against (United States) and 13 abstentions; details of the vote are annexed to the summary record of the sixth plenary meeting of the Executive Board (189 EX/SR.6), at which the oral report of the PX Commission was presented.

The Executive Board,

1. Having examined document 189 EX/19;

2. Welcomes the admission of Palestine as member State of UNESCO;

3. Recalls its previous decision 185 EX/Decision 36 concerning educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories;

4. Notes the slow progress in the implementation of 185 EX/Decision 36;

5. Thanks the Director-General for the initial progress achieved in the implementation of 185 EX/Decision 36, and invites her to maintain her efforts to fully implement that decision;

6. Invites the Director-General to submit to it a follow-up report at its 190th session, and decides to include this item in the agenda of its 190th session.

Report by the Director-General on the reconstruction and development of Gaza: implementation of 187 EX/Decision 42 (189 EX/20; 189 EX/28)

After considering this item, the Programme and External Relations Commission (PX) recommended, by a vote taken by roll-call, that the Executive Board adopt the following decision, with 39 votes in favour, 1 vote against (United States) and 13 abstentions; details of the vote are annexed to the summary record of the sixth plenary meeting of the Executive Board (189 EX/SR.6), at which the oral report of the PX Commission was presented:

The Executive Board,

1. Having examined document 189 EX/20;

2. Welcomes the admission of Palestine as member State of UNESCO;

3. Recalls its previous decision 185 EX/Decision 37 concerning the reconstruction and development of Gaza;

4. Notes the slow progress in the implementation of the 185 EX/Decision 37;

5. Thanks the Director-General for the initial progress achieved in the implementation of 185 EX/Decision 37, and invites her to maintain her efforts to fully implement that decision;

6. Invites the Director-General to submit to it a follow-up report at its 190th session, and decides to include this item in the agenda of its 190th session.


III. SECRETARY-GENERAL ADDRESSES A SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING
ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

On 12 March 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East. Excerpts of his address are reproduced below (S/PV.6734). ...

Let me also say a few words about the broader picture in the region going forward. I see five crucial points to bear in mind.

...

Fifthly, there must be regional peace. A regional awakening based on the ideals of freedom, dignity and non-violence cannot be complete without a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Yet, the past year has not brought about new momentum. The peace process continues to stagnate. The situation in Gaza is yet again proving its unsustainability. I am gravely concerned about the latest escalation between Gaza and Israel. Once again, civilians are paying a terrible price. Rocket attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilian areas are unacceptable and must stop immediately. I reiterate my call on Israel to exercise maximum restraint.

I have appealed to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to embrace regional changes and to show the courage and vision needed to reach a historic agreement. Together with my Quartet partners, with whom I met this morning, we will remain engaged to assist the parties in forging a way ahead. We must create the conditions for meaningful negotiations that will resolve the core permanent status issues — namely, with regard to territory, security, refugees and Jerusalem — and end the occupation that started in 1967. That is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace that will realize the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security.


IV. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES OCCUPIED SINCE 1967
ISSUES REMARKS ON A PALESTINIAN FEMALE PRISONER ON HUNGER STRIKE

On 14 March 2012, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, called for the urgent release of a Palestinian woman prisoner on a hunger strike, Hana Shalabi. The text of the press release is reproduced below.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk, expressed deep worry regarding Hana Shalabi, a Palestinian woman currently detained by Israel, who has been on hunger strike for nearly a month.

“The situation of Ms. Shalabi is morbid and life-threatening. This is an appeal to the conscience and to humanity and a desperate call to all of us,” Mr. Falk stressed, urging the international community to intervene on her behalf. “Israel ought to end its inhumane treatment of Ms. Shalabi. Release her immediately.”

The human rights expert noted that “Ms. Shalabi’s hunger strike is against Israel’s abusive use of detention without charges and the degrading and physically harsh treatment administered during her arrest, interrogation, and detention process.”

Ms. Shalabi was arrested on 16 February and has been on hunger strike since. “She is being held in solitary confinement. She has been treated inhumanely. In the presence of her family she was blindfolded and treated roughly by several of the 50 Israeli soldiers sent to arrest her, as was her brother who tried to protect her,” the Special Rapporteur said. He expressed further concern that Ms. Shalabi’s 65-year old mother and 67-year old father also committed themselves to a hunger strike on 23 February.

Mr. Falk denounced the silence to Ms. Shalabi’s fate in Israel and the international community, and called on the Israeli authorities not to continue to disregard its responsibilities under international law. “The abusive treatment of Palestinian prisoners by Israel remains a cause of grave concern and the international community must continue to raise its voice for those risking their own lives to end injustice,” Mr. Falk said.

Earlier this year, the independent expert twice appealed for the release of Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who held a 66-day hunger strike protesting his humiliating detention and treatment by Israeli security forces, and his objection to Israel’s use of detention without charges. The Israeli authorities agreed to release him in mid-April.

Last February, during his latest mission* to the region, the Special Rapporteur focused on the Israeli practice of detaining Palestinians without charges. “The Government of Israel calls this ‘administrative detention,’ but it is more honestly termed detention without charges, or arbitrary detention,” he said.

Several experts on prison conditions consulted by the independent expert during his mission raised concerns regarding physical, verbal and psychological abuse; lack of access to proper medical treatment; medical neglect; widespread use of solitary confinement for extended periods; overcrowding and decrepit cells; and the lack of family visits.

At the end of his mission, Mr. Falk noted that Israel currently has approximately 300 Palestinians detained without charges. “I have requested information regarding each of these persons,” he said, “and I intend to follow up on each case and address this matter in my forthcoming report to the Human Rights Council,” due in June 2012. There are also an estimated 4,400 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.


V. GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPOINTS ECUADOR AS MEMBER OF THE PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

On 16 March 2012, at the 100th plenary meeting of its sixty-sixth session, the General Assembly appointed Ecuador as a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Excerpts of the press release are reproduced below (GA/11214):...

In another action today, the Assembly appointed Ecuador a member of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. During its 13 February 2012 meeting, that body had welcomed Ecuador’s decision to seek membership, announced in an annex to a letter dated 14 February 2012 from the Committee’s Chair to the Assembly President (A/66/742).


VI. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS FOUR RESOLUTIONS ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

On 22 March 2012, the Human Rights Council, during its nineteenth session and under agenda item 7, adopted four resolutions on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, entitled “Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”; “Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”; “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan”; and “Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”. The text of the resolutions is reproduced below with an indication of the vote results:

19/15 Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

The Human Rights Council,

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 International Covenants on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and by the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted on 25 June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights,11 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 that 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 the conclusion of the International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004, that the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, along with measures previously taken, severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,

Recalling the resolutions adopted in this regard by the Commission on Human Rights, the last of which was resolution 2005/1 of 7 April 2005,

Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in accordance with the provisions of the Charter, 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 live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State;

2. Also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security;

3. Stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

4. Urges all member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination;

5. Decides to continue the consideration of this question at its twenty-second session.


53rd meeting
22 March 2012

Adopted by a recorded vote of 46 to 1, with no abstentions

19/16 Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recalling also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and affirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling further relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council,

Taking note of the recent reports of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, as well as of other relevant recent reports of the Human Rights Council,

Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law,

Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, and recalling also General Assembly resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Noting in particular the Court’s reply, including that the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime are contrary to international law,

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Reaffirming also the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Reaffirming further the obligation of the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention under articles 146, 147 and 148 with regard to penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties,

Reaffirming that all States have the right and the duty to take actions in conformity with international law and international humanitarian law to counter deadly acts of violence against their civilian population in order to protect the lives of their citizens,

Stressing the need for full compliance with the Israeli-Palestinian agreements reached within the context of the Middle East peace process, including the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings, and the implementation of the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,

Stressing also the need to end the closure of the Gaza Strip and for the full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing, both of 15 November 2005, to allow for the freedom of movement of the Palestinian civilian population within and into and out of the Gaza Strip,

Expressing grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power, including that arising from the excessive use of force and military operations causing death and injury to Palestinian civilians, including children, women and non-violent, peaceful demonstrators; the use of collective punishment; the closure of areas; the confiscation of land; the establishment and expansion of settlements; the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949; the destruction of property and infrastructure; and all other actions by it designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Gravely concerned in particular about the critical humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip, including that resulting from the prolonged closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade and the military operations from December 2008 to January 2009, which caused extensive loss of life and injury, particularly among Palestinian civilians, including children and women, widespread destruction and damage to Palestinian homes, properties, vital infrastructure and public institutions, including hospitals, schools and United Nations facilities and the internal displacement of civilians, as well as about the firing of rockets into Israel,

Expressing deep concern about the short- and long-term detrimental impact of such widespread destruction and the continued impeding of the reconstruction process by Israel, the occupying Power, on the human rights situation and on the socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian civilian population,

Also expressing deep concern about the Israeli policy of closures and the imposition of severe restrictions, checkpoints, several of which have been transformed into structures akin to permanent border crossings, and a permit regime, all of which obstruct the freedom of movement of persons and goods, including medical and humanitarian goods, throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and impair the Territory’s contiguity, and about the consequent violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people and the negative impact on their socioeconomic situation and the efforts aimed at rehabilitating and developing the Palestinian economy, which remains that of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, while taking note of recent developments with regard to the situation of access there,

Further expressing deep concern that thousands of Palestinians, including many children and women and elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, continue to be detained and held in Israeli prisons or detention centres under harsh conditions, including, inter alia, unhygienic conditions, solitary confinement, lack of proper medical care, denial of family visits and denial of due process, that impair their well-being, and expressing deep concern also about the ill-treatment and harassment of any Palestinian prisoners and all reports of torture,

Expressing concern about the possible consequences of the enactment by Israel, the occupying Power, of military orders regarding the detention, imprisonment and deportation of Palestinian civilians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and recalling, in this regard, the prohibition under international humanitarian law of the deportation of civilians from occupied territories,

Convinced of the need for an international presence to monitor the situation, to contribute to ending the violence and protecting the Palestinian civilian population and to help the parties implement the agreements reached, and, in this regard, recalling the positive contribution of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron,

Taking note of the continued efforts and tangible progress made in the security sector by the Palestinian Authority, calling upon the parties to continue cooperation that benefits both Palestinians and Israelis, in particular by promoting security and building confidence, and expressing the hope that such progress will be extended to all major population centres,

Emphasizing the right of all people in the region to the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in the international human rights covenants,

1. Reiterates that all measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in violation of the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, are illegal and have no validity;

2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all practices and actions that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians, the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians and the destruction and confiscation of civilian property, and that it fully respect human rights law and comply with its legal obligations in this regard;

3. Also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and cease immediately all measures and actions taken in violation and in breach of the Convention;

4. Further demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all of its settlement activities, the construction of the wall and any other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, all of which have, inter alia, a grave and detrimental impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people and the prospects for a peaceful settlement;

5. Condemns all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which have caused extensive loss of life and vast numbers of injuries, including among children, massive damage and destruction to homes, properties, vital infrastructure and public institutions, including hospitals, schools and United Nations facilities, and agricultural lands, mosques and private media institutions, and internal displacement of civilians;

6. Also condemns the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas resulting in loss of life and injury;

7. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations under international law under international law, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice and as demanded in General Assembly resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003, and that it immediately cease the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, dismantle forthwith the structure situated therein, repeal or render ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, and make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall, which has had a grave impact on the human rights and the socioeconomic living conditions of the Palestinian people;

8. Reiterates the need for respect for the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and for guarantees of the freedom of movement of persons and goods within the Palestinian territory, including movement into and from East Jerusalem, into and from the Gaza Strip, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and to and from the outside world;

9. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its imposition of prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip, and, in this regard, to fully implement the Agreement on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing in order to allow for the sustained and regular movement of persons and goods and for the acceleration of long overdue reconstruction in the Gaza Strip;

10. Urges member States to continue to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian people to alleviate the financial crisis and the dire socioeconomic and humanitarian situation, particularly in the Gaza Strip;

11. Emphasizes the need to preserve and develop the Palestinian institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services to the Palestinian civilian population and the promotion of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;

12. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


53rd meeting
22 March 2012

Adopted by a recorded vote of 44 to 1, with 2 abstentions

19/17 Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Reaffirming that all States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Charter and elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,

Recalling relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly, reaffirming, inter alia, the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem,

Mindful that Israel is a party to the Fourth 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 the Syrian Golan, and recalling the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, held in Geneva on 5 December 2001,

Considering that the transfer by the occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,

Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and its conclusion that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, were established in breach of international law,

Recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,

Affirming that the Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute very serious violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein, and undermine international efforts, including the Annapolis Peace Conference of 27 November 2007 and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State of 17 December 2007, aimed at invigorating the peace process and establishing a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State by the end of 2008,

Recalling the statement made by the Quartet on 21 September 2010 and its attachment to the implementation by the parties of their obligations under the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and noting specifically its call for a freeze on all settlement activities,

Expressing its grave concern about the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of settlement building and expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including plans to expand and connect Israeli settlements around Occupied East Jerusalem, thus threatening the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State,

Expressing its concern that continuing Israeli settlement activity undermines the realization of a two-State solution,

Expressing grave concern about the continuing construction, contrary to international law, by Israel of the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and expressing its concern in particular about the route of the wall in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949, which could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-State solution impossible to implement and which is causing the Palestinian people further humanitarian hardship,

Deeply concerned that the wall’s route has been traced in such a way as to include the great majority of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

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,

1. Welcomes the conclusions of the Council of the European Union on the Middle East Peace Process of 8 December 2009, in which the Council reiterated that settlements, the separation barrier where built on occupied land, demolition of homes and evictions are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible, and particularly its urgent call upon the Government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, and including natural growth, and to dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001;

2. Welcomes with appreciation the statements made by the majority of the States Members of the United Nations on the illegality of settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and reaffirming the urgent calls by the international community upon the Government of Israel to stop immediately all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem;

3. Condemns the recent Israeli announcements of the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in the West Bank and around occupied East Jerusalem, as they undermine the peace process, constitute a threat to the two-State solution and the creation of a contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State, and are in violation of international law, and calls upon the Government of Israel to reverse immediately its decisions, which would further undermine and jeopardize the ongoing efforts by the international community to reach a final settlement compliant with international legitimacy, including relevant United Nations resolutions;

4. Expresses its grave concern at:

(a) The continuing Israeli settlement and related activities, in violation of international law, including 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 the Syrian Golan, and constitute a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and in particular article 49 of that Convention, and recalls that settlements are a major obstacle to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State;

(b) The increasing number of newly built structures, in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 amounting to several thousands, including a large number of permanent buildings and structures, which undermine the efforts of the international community to advance the Middle East peace process;

(c) The implications for the final status negotiations of Israel’s announcement that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the settlements located in the Jordan Valley;

(d) The expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones on the occupied Palestinian territory rendered inaccessible behind the wall, which create a fait accompli on the ground that could well be permanent, in which case it would be tantamount to de facto annexation;

(e) The Israeli decision to establish and operate a tramway between West Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev, which is in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions;

5. Urges Israel, the occupying Power:

(a) To reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and, as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities, including in East Jerusalem;

(b) To prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem;

6. Calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians and Palestinian properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

7. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice;

8. Urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process in line with the Annapolis Peace Conference and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State, and to implement fully the road map endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) of 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008, 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, the Arab Peace initiative and subsequent agreements, which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security;

9. Decides to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, with a mandate ending on submission of a report to the Council, and calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to obstruct the process of investigation and to cooperate fully with the mission;

10. Requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all administrative, technical and logistical assistance to enable the mission to fulfil its mandate promptly and efficiently;

11. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution at its twentieth session;

12. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


53rd meeting
22 March 2012

Adopted by a recorded vote of 36 to 1, with 10 abstentions

19/18 Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolution S-9/1, adopted on 12 January 2009, and resolution S-12/1, adopted on 16 October 2010, in follow-up to the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,

Recalling also relevant General Assembly resolutions, including resolutions 64/10, adopted on 5 November 2009, and 64/254, adopted on 26 February 2010, in follow-up to the report of the fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,

Recalling further the relevant rules and principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the other international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

Reaffirming the obligation of all parties to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law,

Reiterating the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians, and reaffirming the obligation to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflict,

Stressing the need to ensure accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in order to prevent impunity, ensure justice, deter further violations and promote peace,

Convinced that achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is imperative for the attainment of comprehensive, just and lasting peace and stability in the Middle East,

1. Reiterates its call upon all concerned parties, including United Nations bodies, to ensure their full and immediate implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, in accordance with their respective mandates;

2. Welcomes the efforts made by the Government of Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to reconvene, as soon as possible, a conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1, bearing in mind the statement adopted on 15 July 1999, as well as the reconvening of the conference and the declaration adopted on 5 December 2001, and recommends that the Government of Switzerland continue to pursue its efforts with the aim of resuming the above-mentioned conference as soon as possible;

3. Recommends that the General Assembly consider launching an urgent discussion on the legality of the use of certain munitions, with the assistance of the relevant international organizations and specialized agencies and interested parties and stakeholders, as recommended by the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in its report;

4. Also recommends that the General Assembly remain apprised of the matter until it is satisfied that appropriate action with regard to implementing the recommendations made by the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in its report has been taken at the domestic or international level to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators, and also remain ready to consider whether additional action within its powers is required in the interests of justice;

5. Requests the Secretary-General to present to the Human Rights Council, at its twenty-first session, a comprehensive report on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission, particularly by providing detailed information on non-implementation and the measures required to ensure the most adequate and effective implementation of the recommendations by all parties concerned, including United Nations bodies, in accordance with section B, paragraph 3, of Council resolution S-12/1;

6. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit to the Human Rights Council, at its twentieth session, a progress report on the implementation of the present resolution;

7. Decides to follow up on the implementation of the present resolution at its twentieth session.


53rd meeting
22 March 2012

Adopted by a recorded vote of 29 to 1, with 17 abstentions
VII. UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST
HOLDS AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PALESTINE REFUGEE YOUTH

On 20 March 2012, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) concluded in Brussels a two-day international conference on “Engaging Youth: Palestine Refugees in a Changing Middle East” with UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi unveiling 10 “youth commitments” on behalf of the Agency. The text of the press release issued by UNRWA is reproduced below.

A two-day international conference on “Engaging Youth: Palestine Refugees in a Changing Middle East” convened by UNRWA, concluded today in Brussels with UNRWA Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi, unveiling 10 “youth commitments” on behalf of the United Nations agency.

The meeting was addressed by a number of key world leaders. It was opened by the European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al Malki, who spoke on behalf of President Abbas, the Foreign Ministers of Belgium, Didier Reynders, and Jordan, Nasser Joudeh, and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Nabil al-Araby. Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, delivered a message on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The meeting was also attended by more than 400 other participants and stakeholders, including 24 Palestine refugee youth from Lebanon, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the occupied Palestinian territory, as well as two young Palestinian bloggers.

Following closing remarks by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the UNRWA Commissioner-General announced 10 concrete commitments through which UNRWA will strengthen its support to, and better engage Palestine refugee youth, with a sharper youth focus in the ongoing Agency reforms of its education and health programmes.

These commitments also included enhanced vocational training and micro-finance opportunities, fundraising for scholarships, expanding its successful skills programme for young refugees first piloted in the Syrian Arab Republic, advocacy on rights of special concern to youth.

The Commissioner-General also committed to greater cooperation with international and United Nations youth initiatives, and - responding to strong demands from the group of young refugees and other stakeholders - he promised that UNRWA would work with them in creating mechanisms to consult and communicate with Palestine refugee youth region-wide on the planning and implementation of UNRWA activities in which they have a stake.

Grandi stressed the importance of listening to refugee youth and responding to their concerns.

“These 10 commitments,” he said, “are quite concrete. They are also urgent, and cannot wait. Work begins tomorrow, the first day of spring. Indeed, this will be the year of refugee youth for UNRWA and it will go from spring to spring.”


VIII. AD HOC LIAISON COMMITTEE HOLDS A MEETING IN BRUSSELS

On 21 March 2012, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee held a meeting in Brussels, where reports by the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Quartet Representative, as well as by Israel and Palestine, were considered. The text of the Chair’s summary is reproduced below.

Chair’s summary

Ad Hoc Liaison Committee members and other major donor countries met in Brussels today. The meeting was hosted by the European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton. The Chair, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, commended the participants, in particular the Palestinians and the Israelis, for their spirit of cooperation and their positive contributions to the deliberations.

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to the vision of an independent, democratic and sovereign State of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security, as well as their strong support for negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full compliance with Road Map obligations.

Based on reports and recommendations from the parties, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Quartet Representative to this meeting in Brussels, the donors reconfirmed their assessment of the State readiness of the Palestinian Authority regarding the institutions studied, and focused their further discussions on the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal sustainability and economic viability.

After three consecutive years of progress in the quality and functioning of the institutions, high levels of growth, improved living conditions and security in the West Bank, and revival of hope for the people, the Palestinian Authority experienced a slow-down in 2011. The economy grew at a slower rate, which can be attributed to falling donor support combined with the uncertainty caused by the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal crisis, as well as insufficient easing of Israeli restrictions.

At the beginning of 2012, the Palestinian Authority experienced a severe fiscal crisis, which threatens to become protracted given the recent and projected declines in donor assistance. The Palestinian Authority is making a concerted effort to strengthen its fiscal position, including taking steps to raise domestic revenues and control expenditures. However, these efforts will not be successful unless they are supported by actions of the Government of Israel and the donors.

Donors recognized that the Palestinian Authority simply cannot succeed in reducing the projected recurrent deficit to the currently expected levels of aid through solely its own actions. Therefore, in the short-term, it is imperative that additional donor funding be identified and transferred immediately to reverse the crisis before it becomes totally unmanageable.

Ultimately, sustainable economic growth and an end to the fiscal crisis will require greater realization of the Palestinian private sector’s potential. This can be achieved both by (1) relaxing Israeli restrictions on access to land, water, a range of raw materials, and export markets, and by (2) improvements by the Palestinian Authority in its business environment and ability to attract needed investment. Donors also expressed their concern about access to economic activity in the Area C, which constitutes the major land area for the Palestinians, and emphasised that greater economic potential will be achieved when access is assured.

The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee expressed concern for the situation in the Gaza Strip and reiterated its full commitment to the Security Council resolution 1860, including for the need for security for all civil populations. It welcomed that sustained recovery and high levels of growth in Gaza translate into higher employment and improved living conditions - even if the figures indicate, in part, the low base from which the growth started. A lasting recovery in Gaza will require a further increase in exports and private sector imports of investment inputs, as well as lifting restrictions on the legitimate passage of people.

On this basis the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee:

(a) Calls on donors to ensure the contribution of 1 billion USD in assistance to meet the recurrent financing requirements for the Palestinian Authority in 2012 with due regard to burden sharing, and to commit to continuing provision of adequate and predictable funding for recurrent costs through the transitional period;

(b) Welcomes the Palestinian Authority’s decision to persevere with the structural reforms, widening of the tax base and maintaining fiscal discipline as an orderly path to self-reliance;

(c) Welcomes the ongoing talks to make the clearance revenue mechanism more efficient and transparent, and urges for a swift conclusion and implementation of improvements needed, as well as calls on the GoI to ensure monthly transfers to the Palestinian Authority in a predictable manner;

(d) Calls on GOI to facilitate sustainable growth of the Palestinian economy – one that is underpinned by a vibrant private sector – by taking further steps to improve movement of people and goods, development, and trade and exports in the West Bank and Gaza, including in Area C and East-Jerusalem;

(e) While welcoming the increase in building materials for infrastructure development and housing allowed into Gaza, calls for increased efforts, including implementation of long-term solutions to the water issues and finalization of plans for establishing production capacity for the medium-term water supply;

(f) Calls on the Joint Liaison Committee to intensify its efforts to facilitate tripartite coordination locally with a view to ensuring effective progress on the ground;

(g) Agrees to reconvene in New York in September 2012 in conjunction with the General Assembly, and welcomes the invitation by the European Union to reconvene in Brussels in the spring of 2013.


IX. UNITED NATION SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
PEACE PROCESS BRIEFS THE SECURITY COUNCIL
ON THE SITUATION
IN THE MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

On 27 March 2012, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Excerpts of the briefing are reproduced below (S/PV.6742):

Mr. Serry: The situation between the Palestinians and Israel remains uncertain and difficult. The events of the past month demonstrate a dangerous combination of no political progress, instability and violence on the ground, especially in Gaza, and an increasingly precarious situation for the Palestinian Authority.

The Quartet principals met for consultations on 12 March in New York to assess developments and to reiterate their commitment to the objectives of their 23 September statement (SG/2178). They welcomed the important effort led by Jordan to facilitate the resumption of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians with a view to shaping the path to a negotiated agreement before the end of the year. I met fellow Quartet envoys in Brussels on 21 March to prepare for the upcoming meeting of the Quartet principals, now scheduled for 11 April in Washington, D.C.

The unfortunate reality is that the parties have not yet found sufficient common ground to resume direct negotiations, and the prospects remain slim. The Jordanian track has been valuable, and we continue to encourage exploratory talks under Jordanian auspices to identify ways to move the process forward. We also continue to urge both sides to avoid any provocations that would be detrimental to the prospects for peace.

In parallel, we must continue to make progress on the ground for the Palestinians. The very viability of the Palestinian Authority is at stake, and ensuring its sustainability remains a fundamental priority. The meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for the Coordination of International Assistance to Palestinians on 21 March in Brussels reconfirmed the institutional readiness of the Palestinian Authority to assume the functions required of a future State.

However, the primary concern of all Ad Hoc Liaison Committee members was the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority. We regret that technical agreements to strengthen revenue collection by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which provides approximately 70 per cent of the net Palestinian Authority revenue, and to minimize revenue leakage during transfer have not been finalized. The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee members called on donors to meet the $1 billion-financing requirement of the Palestinian Authority for 2012. I therefore reiterate the call on donors to meet their commitments and front-load contributions. Israel must also play its full role to help alleviate the fiscal situation of the Palestinian Authority.

I must underscore that Palestinian State-building efforts face increased risks. Little progress was achieved in the past several months, while financial and political pressure on the Palestinian Authority increased. The prolonged absence of a credible political horizon is beginning to undermine the viability of the Palestinian State-building effort. In support of the Palestinian Authority, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee identified a range of immediate measures to be taken on the ground. The Committee called on Israel to take further steps to improve the movement of people and goods, trade and exports in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as development in Area C and East Jerusalem.

Area C remains critical to the viability of a future Palestinian State. In the coming months, we must ensure a broadening of community-driven planning in Area C and the provision of basic services, including with regard to education and health. Recent progress in obtaining permits for key infrastructure in Area C is welcome. The United Nations is already engaged on those issues, at both the policy and programming levels. Moreover, due consideration should be given to the transfer of land to the Palestinian Authority in Area C, in particular in areas surrounding major urban centres, so as to facilitate more suitable urban development and relieve the acute pressure on the land and housing market.

Of the more than 100 Palestinians who were injured by the IDF during the reporting period, at least 90 were injured during demonstrations that resulted in clashes with the IDF. That included one Palestinian man critically injured on 5 March at a checkpoint near Ramallah when a tear gas canister hit his head directly. Large demonstrations are expected during the commemoration of the events of 30 March 1976 — referred to as Land Day by Palestinians — which will be held in various countries of the region on 30 March. In Lebanon, where Palestinian factions are also planning to participate in commemorative events, Lebanese authorities have declared that they are taking measures to avoid violence and the occurrence of incidents close to the Blue Line. The United Nations is monitoring the situation. Allow me to stress that the right of peaceful protest must be upheld and that protests must be kept strictly non-violent.

Citing security, the IDF conducted 273 operations into the West Bank. Early this morning, three Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were wounded during an Israeli incursion near Ramallah. On 8 March, a young Palestinian was shot dead, and two were injured, by Israeli security forces during a raid near Hebron, after a Palestinian stabbed and slightly injured an Israeli soldier. On 15 March, a 19-year-old female Israeli soldier was stabbed and moderately injured while riding the Jerusalem light rail near the settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev; one Palestinian suspect was apprehended. On 6 March, two Palestinian children were killed, and three more were injured, when a piece of unexploded military ordnance detonated near the West Bank city of Hebron.

On 29 February, the Israeli Ministry of Communications and security forces confiscated broadcasting equipment from two Palestinian television stations in Area A of Ramallah after an unresolved dispute on the use of radio frequencies. Both channels have broadcast since 1996 and are registered with the International Telecommunication Union. They have partially resumed transmission through support from other Palestinian channels.

The situation of the approximately 4,400 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centres, 300 of whom are under administrative detention, remains an important focus of attention, in particular as some detainees have continued to protest their situation through hunger strikes. A high-profile case is that of Hana Shalabi, a female Palestinian prisoner affiliated with Islamic Jihad who started her hunger strike on 16 February in protest of alleged ill-treatment under administrative detention. Her condition has now reached a life-threatening stage. Meanwhile, on 25 March, an Israeli court rejected her appeal. I call for a reasonable resolution to this case on the basis of our reiterated view that the use of administrative detention must be exceptional. Those detained must be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, or released without delay.

Settlement activity continued during the reporting period. On 25 March, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the illegal settlement outpost Migron, located on private Palestinian land, must be evacuated by the end of July, thus extending its own deadline for evacuation by four months and striking down an agreement reportedly reached between the Government and settlers to delay the evacuation by three years. Incidents of settler violence against Palestinians and their property resulted in 13 Palestinians injured, including one child. Demolition of Palestinian property left 158 people, including 38 children, homeless in East Jerusalem and Area C.

On 22 March, among other decisions, the Human Rights Council decided to dispatch a fact-finding mission to examine the impact of Israeli settlements on Palestinian human rights. Israel is highly critical of the Council’s action.

On a positive note, I am pleased to inform the Council about the substantive progress achieved in the implementation of the mandate entrusted by the General Assembly to the United Nations Register of Damage caused by the Construction of the Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. It has collected more than 26,000 claims for material damage caused by the construction of the barrier, which deviates from the Green Line. It has finished its work in four out of nine affected governorates and has started its work in Salfit. That represents half of the estimated work. In that connection, in the light of the most recent visit to the occupied Palestinian territory by the Executive Director, we continue to urge that sustained donor support be provided to the work of the Register.

In Gaza, the most extensive escalation of violence since Operation Cast Lead took place from 9 to 13 March. The Quartet principals expressed concern and called for calm. The initial Israeli strike against the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, who was allegedly involved in advanced planning for an attack against Israeli targets, resulted in a four-day exchange that resulted in 24 Palestinians being killed, including five civilians, and 71 Palestinians injured, including 55 civilians. A total of 11 Israeli civilians were injured, including one in critical condition. The Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system was effective in intercepting military Grad missiles fired toward urban centres. Relative quiet was restored on 13 March through Egyptian mediation; President Abbas was also active in that regard. The calm remains tenuous and fragile, and we cannot stress enough the paramount importance of all efforts to maintain it.

Overall during the reporting period, a total of 211 rockets, including 80 Grad rockets, and 36 mortar shells were fired from Gaza into Israel, while the IDF conducted one incursion and 42 airstrikes into Gaza, resulting in four Palestinian civilians killed and 54 injured, while 20 Palestinian militants were killed and 15 injured. We have consistently condemned indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. Such attacks are unacceptable and must stop. We also urge Israel to show maximum restraint. All sides must respect their obligations to protect civilians, who often pay the price of violence.

I am pleased to note Israel’s approval of key United Nations projects in Gaza. The most recent approvals include two housing projects, consisting of just under 1,000 units, 10 schools, a road and four water infrastructure-related projects — all to be implemented by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. That brings the total value of approved United Nations works in the Gaza strip to more than $350 million. We will continue to work to address the manifold needs of the population of Gaza.

Our goal remains the lifting of the closure regime within the framework of resolution 1860 (2009). In that regard, the recent transfer of Gaza-produced date bars to the West Bank is a welcome step. An extension of the fishing limit will help to restore livelihood opportunities to some 3,000 families. We continue to call for the unrestricted import through legal crossings of aggregate, iron bar and cement, which will also benefit expanded construction of international community projects. In that effort, calm in Gaza and southern Israel is an indispensable condition to enable the proper environment for development.

Gaza also faces a fuel shortage that is beginning to extend beyond the rationing of electricity for households, which has been a feature over the past several years, to a situation where day-to-day life for Gazans is ever more dire. Hospitals and ambulance services are finding it increasingly difficult to function, and already water and sanitation systems are failing. All sides must take measures to resolve the supply problems through legitimate means in both the short and long term as soon as possible, and the de facto authorities in Gaza should assume their share of the responsibility in this regard.

There have been no major developments related to Palestinian reconciliation. We continue to support reconciliation efforts within the framework of the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the positions of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Turning back to the Middle East peace process, let me conclude by emphasizing the increased risks of a continued political vacuum. As I said to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee last week, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain the achievements of Palestinian State-building without a political horizon, and the absence of progress can easily be filled by negative trends that make each day more uncertain.

It is this uncertain situation that the Quartet will have to address at its meeting on 11 April in Washington, D.C. It is imperative that the Quartet assume its responsibilities in directing collective efforts towards overcoming gaps in trust and substance, so that we do not lose sight of the ultimate and agreed goal of a two-State solution.


X. MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
HANAN ASHRAWI BRIEFS THE PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

On 27 March 2012, Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the Palestinian Legislative Council, briefed the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and developments in the political process. Excerpts of the press release are reproduced below (GA/PAL/1225).

Without serious, concrete intervention by year’s end to stop Israel’s policies and strategies to systematically and deliberately destroy the two-State solution, prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians would be ruined, a top Palestinian peace negotiator today told the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

“The implications of such a situation are drastic, not just for Palestinians, but for the whole region and for the whole world,” said Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Israel’s profitable occupation of the Palestinian homeland had continued unchecked and with full impunity, she said. Last year alone, the number of Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in and around Jerusalem, had doubled, financed by increasing levels of Israeli Government aid. Jerusalem was fast transforming into a captive city, besieged by a separation wall and very stringent military checkpoints intended to economically and physically strangulate the Palestinians. Muslims and Christians were barred from holy sites, while, through daily expulsions and confiscation of residence and work permits, the city was being ethnically cleansed of non-Jews.

“I don’t think we’ve seen such draconian laws anywhere else in the world to complete the expulsion of people who have been living there for centuries,” she said, adding that Israel’s Supreme Court was complicit in the ongoing theft of Palestinian land and resources, and the environmental degradation of the West Bank.

In its report to donors at the 21 March meeting in Brussels of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Palestinian assistance, Israel had been “extremely disingenuous”, she said, pointing to its claims that the Palestinians were not able to support their own State because of their continued reliance on outside help and that the Palestinian Authority was not sufficiently stable to meet the standards of a well-functioning State.

Moreover, she noted, this week, Israel had cut ties with the United Nations Human Rights Council after that body created a special panel to investigate Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and said it would bar the United Nations team from entering the area. “I don’t see why a fact-finding mission to Palestine is seen as something that is hostile,” she added.

The Netanyahu Administration had insisted that the Palestinians explicitly recognize Israel as a Jewish State as a precondition for negotiations, she said. The Administration had also changed the terms of reference for peace talks established in the 1990s, insisting that the status of Jerusalem, the right of return of refugees, settlements and other pertinent issues were no longer on the table, leaving virtually nothing for the Palestinian State, she said.

“I think we have engaged in the greatest variety of negotiations in the history of peacemaking,” she said, pointing to bilateral, regional, multilateral and, most recently, “exploratory” talks. “And all of them led nowhere.”

Israel’s unilateral stance was unacceptable, she said. “Palestinian statehood is not a luxury, it is not something we are demanding outside of international law,” she said. “It’s an essential requirement for peace, stability and prosperity throughout the region.”

The international community should be helping the Palestinians achieve their goal of establishing a pluralistic, inclusive State with a system of good governance and the rule of law, she said. “You have the responsibility here to make sure Palestine is recognized as an equal member, that all violations are being checked and that Israel is being held accountable,” she said.

But instead of backing the Palestinians’ appeal last September for full United Nations membership, the United States and some other nations had criticized the move as “unilateral” and had exerted tremendous effort to prevent its passage in the Security Council. That would not stop the Palestinians, however, from pushing for membership in the Organization and other international bodies.

While in recent speeches the United States President had hailed the right to freedom and human dignity of citizens throughout the Arab world, he had excluded the same right for Palestinians. “All those values that have guided the Arab awakening are the values that the Palestinian people have adopted for some time,” she said. She called on the Obama Administration to be a fair, even-handed peacemaker now. “We cannot wait for the [United States] elections to end. Reality cannot be put on hold. Israeli measures on the ground are destroying the chances for peace as we speak,” she said.

As the Netanyahu Administration had announced this year that it would create irreversible conditions on the ground, Palestinian empowerment was left with no choice but to proceed internally, she said. The Palestinians were not interested in endless talks that would only give Israel legal cover to expand settlements and annex Jerusalem. “We are interested in a peaceful resolution. We will seek to achieve that through peaceful means, including internal empowerment,” she said. Free and fair elections were the only way to achieve national reconciliation between the Fatah and Hamas political parties, she said, pointing to efforts towards that goal.

Following the briefing, Committee Chair Abdou Salam Diallo (Senegal) expressed his support for the aims of the Quartet and his hope that they would make strides by year’s end. It was important to ask the Security Council to speak out firmly against Israeli settlements. Events organized within the Committee over the past two years had made it possible to mobilize support for Palestinian statehood, he said. In that vein, another seminar organized by the Committee would take place in Paris on 29 and 30 May. For his part, he remained deeply concerned about the financial crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which had been wrought by the Israeli Government. He asked donors to honour their commitments to the Territory and to provide supplementary aid where possible. He also announced that during its 16 March session, the General Assembly had accepted Ecuador’s request to become a Committee member. Mr. Diallo said he was convinced Ecuador would play an active role in implementing the Committee’s mandate.

Ms. Ashwari, expressing appreciation for the statements and for the work undertaken in support of the Palestinian cause, said she was not opposed to negotiations as a means to a solution, but that the current process was “without substance or relationship to reality”, and was not productive. That was why Palestinian leadership was also pursuing other avenues to end the suffering and find a just and viable peace. She appreciated Indonesia’s capacity-building support, as well as Ecuador’s willingness to work within the Committee’s context.

“It’s not just a question of being Arab, it’s a question of humanity,” she said, agreeing with the representative of Morocco and thanking him for his delegation’s efforts in “activating” the work of the Committee. “This is our joint struggle,” she said. She also appreciated the work of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, both within and outside of the Committee. “What we need is political will,” she said, agreeing that Israel should be held accountable for its violations.

Taking the floor, Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine, thanked the Committee for its significant help in advancing his people’s cause. It was the only Committee of its kind in the United Nations, he stressed. In addition, he said he was extremely proud to see Ms. Ashrawi as the first woman to hold a leadership position within the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and he thanked her for her comprehensive address.

Before concluding, Mr. Diallo informed the Committee that Ms. Ashrawi’s presentation, which had been broadcast online, would also be available for viewing via the United Nations video archives.

Endnotes
1E/CN.6/2012/6.
2Report 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.
3Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.
4General Assembly resolution S-23/2, annex, and resolution S-23/3, annex.
5See General Assembly resolution 48/104.
6See General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
7United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577, No. 27531.
8General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).
9See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).
10vol. 75, No. 973.
11S/2003/529, annex.
12A/56/1026-S/2002/932, annex II, resolution 14/221.
*Check the Special Rapporteur’s end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11846&LangID=E


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