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Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
30 June 1996
Volume XIX, Bulletin No. 5
United Nations North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine,
held at United Nations Headquarters from 24 to 26 June 1996
Secretary-General reports to the General Assembly on assistance to the Palestinian people
Secretary-General submits ESCWA report on Israeli settlements
Special Committee on Israeli Practices undertakes field mission to Egypt, Jordan and Syria
Declaration of the Presidency of the European Union on the results of the Israeli elections
and on the peace process
Excerpts from press communiqué issued by Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council
at its fifty-ninth session, held in Riyadh on 1 and 2 June 1996
Excerpts from final communiqué of the Arab Summit Conference, held in Cairo from 21 to 23 June 1996
Saudi Arabia contributes $10 million to UNRWA projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
This bulletin, and back issues,
can be found in the Lotus Notes-based
United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) at:
I. UNITED NATIONS NORTH AMERICAN NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE,
HELD AT UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, FROM 24 TO 26 JUNE 1996
The United Nations North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at United Nations Headquarters, from 24 to 26 June 1996, pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 50/84 A and B of 15 December 1995.
The Committee was represented by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka (Senegal), Chairman; Mr. Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parilla (Cuba) and Mr. Ravan A. G. Farhadi (Afghanistan), Vice-Chairmen; and Mr. Joseph Cassar (Malta), Rapporteur.
The Symposium was attended by about 220 participants, including 16 Governments, 59 non-governmental organizations accredited with the Committee, 21 observer non-governmental organizations,, two intergovernmental organizations and six United Nations bodies and agencies. In three plenary sessions, 12 North American, Palestinian and Israeli experts presented papers and made statements.
At the opening of the Symposium, statements were made by Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka, Mr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, and Mr. Larry Ekin, Chairman of the North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (NACC).
The theme of the Symposium was "Towards a just and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine".
Twelve experts made presentations at three plenary sessions, as follows (Mr. Abdulrahman Hamad, Minister of the Palestinian Authority and member of the Palestinian Council, could not be present and his paper prepared for the first plenary session was distributed):
Self-determination, state-building opportunities and obstacles
Mr. Izzat Abdul-Hadi, Director, Bisan Centre for Research and Development, Ramallah, West Bank
Mrs. Samia Khoury, President, Rawdat Al-Zuhur Women’s Organization and representative of the Palestinian Network of NGOs, Jerusalem
Mr. Larry Ekin, Chairman of the North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mr. Ziad Abu Zayyad, member of the Palestinian Council, Jerusalem District, and journalist, editor and publisher of the
Palestine refugees and displaced persons
Mr. Salim Tamari, Professor of Sociology, Director of the Institute of Jerusalem Studies at Birzeit University, delegate to the multilateral peace negotiations on refugees
Mr. Andrew Robinson, Director-General, Middle East Peace Process Coordination Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada
Ms. Rosemary Sayigh, anthropologist, author and independent researcher, Beirut
Mr. Don Peretz, Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University, New York
Mr. William Lee, Chief of UNRWA Liaison Office, New York
Mr. Ziad Abu Zayyad, Member of the Palestinian Council, Jerusalem District, and journalist, editor and publisher of the
Mr. Moshe Maoz, Professor of History of the Middle East, Director of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University
Mr. Ibrahim Matar, Deputy Director of American Near East Refugee Aid, Jerusalem
Mr. Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco.
The following topics were discussed by experts and NGOs in seven workshops:
1. Building civil society;
2. NGO work and developments and the current and continuing political changes;
3. Opportunities for development;
4. Peace process and the diaspora community;
5. Work and cooperation between refugees and NGOs;
6. Jerusalem: the closure and shifting borders;
7. The future of Jerusalem.
At the close of the Symposium, statements were made by Mr. Larry Ekin, Mr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa and Mr. Ibra Deguène Ka.
Following a decision to establish a rotating system for representation on the North American NGO Coordinating Committee, the participating NGOs elected the following six organizations for a two-year term: Arab Women's Council; Palestine Aid Society; Palestinian Women's Association of Ottawa; Pax World Service; Canadian Council of Churches; and Presbyterian Church of the United States of America. The following organizations were reconfirmed for one year: Centre d'études arabes pour le développement; Episcopal Church; Grassroots International; Methodist Federation for Social Action; Palestine Human Rights Campaign of Georgia; and the Young Women's Christian Association.
A report on the Symposium will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.
II. SECRETARY-GENERAL REPORTS TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
On 21 June 1996, the Secretary-General issued the report on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/51/171-E/1996/75) under General Assembly resolution 50/58 H of 20 December 1995.
The report covers the period from June 1995 to May 1996. According to information provided by United Nations organizations to the Office of the Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, agencies and programmes of the Organization received approximately $105 million in donor funding between July 1995 and June 1996 for technical and infrastructural project assistance for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Of the United Nations projects contained in the Palestinian Authority core list, 19 received approximately $59 million in donor funding. These figures do not include funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) regular programmes of education, health, and relief and social services, which would amount to approximately $150 million for the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1996; nor do they reflect the decision of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to double the funding from its own "core resources" for the period 1996-1998 to a minimum of $8 million. By mid-1996, many donors had yet to commit their 1996 pledges to specific projects. It was therefore anticipated that further funding would be received by United Nations organizations during the second half of the year.
III. SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITS ESCWA REPORT ON ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS
In its resolution 1995/49 of 28 July 1995, entitled "Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan", the Economic and Social Council requested the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-first session, through the Council, a report on the implementation of the resolution. The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/129 of 20 December 1995, reiterated that request. On 17 June 1996, the Secretary-General submitted to the Assembly and the Council the report (A/51/135-E/1996/51), covering the period from April 1995 to March 1996, which was prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
The report states that during the period under review, the seizure of Arab lands and their exploitation took on many forms and methods, including for the construction of bypass roads and security fences within and between the occupied territories and Israel. The Government of Israel had committed itself to the construction of bypass roads, providing everything necessary for the security of Jewish settlers during the transition period. In addition to land seizure, the building of settlements and the expansion of those settlements, water utilization in the occupied territories remained one of the problems that adversely affect the lives of Palestinians and their economic and social conditions.
IV. SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ISRAELI PRACTICES UNDERTAKES FIELD MISSION
TO EGYPT, JORDAN AND SYRIA
The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories undertook a field mission from 22 to 30 June 1996 to Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Excerpts from a press release issued on 5 July 1996 (HR/96/32) are reproduced below:
The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories has conducted a field mission to Egypt, Jordan and Syria. After meeting in Geneva on 20 June, the Committee held meetings in Cairo on 22 and 23 June, in Amman from 25 to 27 June, and in Damascus from 28 to 30 June, where it concluded its field mission.
The Special Committee recalled that the international community had great expectation and hope that the signing of the Oslo Accords would usher in a new era of peace, security and hope for the people of the Middle East that would enable them to live together in harmony, dignity and mutual respect. The Committee conceives its main function to be the assessment of the extent and degree to which these expectations and hopes are being realized and to inform the international community of the current position, so that these expectations and hopes are not frustrated.
The Special Committee reiterates its view that all the parties concerned must work together to safeguard the peace effort and develop confidence-building measures in order to maintain the momentum of the peace process. It believes that the progress achieved in the negotiations within the framework of the peace process must be accompanied by full compliance by Israel with all universally accepted standards of human rights.
The Special Committee comprises Herman Leonard de Silva, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, as Chairman; Absa Claude Diallo, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva; and Ambassador Abdul Majid Mohamed of Malaysia.
In Cairo, the Special Committee met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the head of the Human Rights Department, Naila Gabr, as well as with the deputy head of the Department for Palestinian Affairs. The Committee visited the Palestine Red Crescent Hospital where it heard the testimony of several residents of the occupied territories. The Committee also had the opportunity to hear witnesses from the West Bank and Gaza.
In Amman, the Special Committee was received by the Director-General of the Department for Palestinian Affairs of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Tarshihi. The Committee also met with Thiab Ayyoush, Under-Secretary in the Department of Social Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, as well as with Zuhair Sandouqa and other representatives of the Palestinian National Council. The Committee heard the testimony of witnesses from the West Bank and Israel. The Committee visited the King Hussein Bridge where it heard the testimony of Palestinians who had just crossed over from the West Bank.
In Damascus, the Special Committee was received by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nasser Kaddour, and by the Director of the Department of International Organizations, Taher Housami. The Committee visited Quneitra province bordering the occupied Syrian Arab Golan, met with the Governor of Quneitra and also heard the testimony of a number of witnesses.
During the mission, the Special Committee focused its attention on the development of the situation in regard to human rights since the signing of the Oslo II Agreement in September 1995. It is with regret that the Committee records that many witnesses testified that the situation of human rights in the occupied territories has deteriorated markedly since the beginning of the peace process, contrary to expectations.
According to witnesses, by far the most serious aspect of the current human rights situation in the occupied territories is the deterioration in economic and social conditions as a result of the virtually hermetic closure which has been in effect since 25 February 1996. The closure has had particularly adverse consequences in the Gaza Strip and has been eased only partly to date. Witnesses reported that the closure has had disastrous consequences on the economic well-being of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. The consequences were particularly severe for agriculture and the export of agricultural produce. In view of the fact that imports were severely curtailed as well, acute shortages of foodstuffs, medicine and medical supplies, as well as building and other raw materials were reported. Economic activity in Gaza is said to have come to a standstill. The effects of the closure were particularly adverse with regard to Palestinian workers employed in Israel, since they were not allowed to enter the country; this deprived them and family members they support of their livelihood. It has been stated that Palestinians have been replaced by about 90,000 foreign workers.
The closure imposed since 25 February 1996 has severely restricted freedom of movement throughout the occupied territories, as well as between their parts and Israel. For some time, no movement was possible, either, between the 465 towns and villages inhabited by Palestinians in the West Bank because of their isolation. The restrictions imposed on freedom of movement have had particularly adverse consequences for health. In addition to a shortage of medicine and medical supplies, some ten persons, including newborn infants and the elderly, are reported to have died at Israeli security checkpoints as a result of unnecessary delays encountered and because of the lack of access to well-equipped medical facilities in Israel, East Jerusalem or other parts of the West Bank. The inhabitants of the Gaza Strip were the worst affected by the measures limiting freedom of movement.
As a result of the closure, students from Gaza studying at universities or higher education institutions in the West Bank lost an academic year when they were expelled from the West Bank in implementation of a new Israeli policy. It has been reported that the dormitories of Beir Zeit University were raided on 28 March 1996; numerous students were arrested and some of them beaten. Students from the Gaza Strip are said to have been humiliated by having a sign reading “To be shipped to Gaza” pinned to their backs. They were subsequently transferred to Gaza and have not been allowed to resume their studies in the West Bank.
The attention of the Special Committee has been drawn to the situation of Palestinian prisoners detained in prisons and other detention facilities in Israel, contrary to international humanitarian law. Large numbers of arrests have been reported in the wake of the bombings which took place in Israel in February and March 1996, resulting in many deaths and injuries. A number of those arrested are said to have been placed in administrative detention, without charge or trial. It has also been reported that close family members and relatives of persons alleged to have been involved in violent activities against Israel have also been arrested. The Committee was informed that the exceptional dispensation given to General Security Service (GSS) interrogators to exercise physical and psychological pressure on detainees, including violent shaking,
has been continuously extended every three months. In addition, a number of Palestinian educational, cultural and social institutions allegedly affiliated with groups blamed for the recent violence in Israel were closed.
The Special Committee was informed that the Israeli authorities have demolished and sealed a number of houses belonging to the families of the perpetrators of the recent violent acts in Israel. In addition, a strict curfew has been maintained in their wake, in particular on the Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron from which two of the perpetrators allegedly originated. Regarding house demolitions in general, it has been reported that houses built without a licence have continued to be destroyed. However, applications by Palestinians for building licences have been consistently denied.
Given the severe restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of the Palestinian population as a result of the closure, it has been reported that prisoners have not been able to receive family visits or to meet with their lawyers since that time. The Special Committee's attention has been drawn to the large number of Palestinian minors detained in Israeli prison facilities under the same conditions as adults.
Although a certain number of prisoners were released following the signing of the Oslo II Accord and in the context of the elections for the Palestinian Council, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention facilities remains high and is said to have increased after the recent wave of arrests. Contrary to the Oslo Accord, all female Palestinian prisoners have not been released. It has been reported that the conditions of detention have deteriorated. Overcrowding is said to be a problem in view of the fact that all prisoners previously detained in the occupied territories have been transferred to five prisons within Israel. Prisoners have reportedly complained of bad food and lack of medical care. A continuing and increasing source of tension in the occupied territories has been the existence and unabated expansion of Israeli settlements, as well as the building of quarries and bypass roads. It is reported that more than 900 acres of Palestinian-owned land have been confiscated since the signing of the latest peace agreement. The Special Committee was alerted about the precarious situation of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe living in the vicinity of the Maaleh Adumim settlement which faces expulsion to a location described as unfit for human habitation. In this context, violent incidents between the Palestinian population have continued, particularly in the areas of Hebron and Jerusalem.
During its visit to Syria, the Special Committee visited the province of Quneitra where it observed the destruction caused by the Israelis in the city of Quneitra. The Committee heard the testimonies of witnesses originating from the occupied Syrian Arab Golan, some of whom are able to come to Syria while others can communicate with their families in the Golan only by using a megaphone. The witnesses informed the Committee that the expression of nationalist sentiment by the inhabitants of occupied Syrian Arab Golan continued to be severely punished and their freedom of movement curtailed. They also spoke about the continued confiscation of land and water resources and about the still inadequate educational and health facilities for the Arab population.
In conclusion, during its current stay in the Middle East, the Special Committee discerned from the testimony of the numerous witnesses who appeared before it and from official representatives of the concerned Governments, a general sense of disappointment and despondency in the face of the continuing violations of the human rights of the people in the occupied territories. It would appear that even in the areas where there had been a transfer of limited authorities to the Palestinian Authority, because of the impediments placed in the way of their administration by the Israelis, there had been no improvement in the lot of the Palestinian people. In fact, in some spheres there had been a deterioration, which has increased their suffering. Unless there is a serious commitment to implement the peace agreement on both sides and strengthen the important achievements accomplished so far, the situation of human rights in the occupied territories will deteriorate further and give way to increased frustrations and despair of their inhabitants. All the parties concerned must work together to maintain the momentum of the peace process that will result in a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region and that will be conducive to the establishment
of a genuine culture of human rights to be enjoyed by
all its inhabitants.
V. DECLARATION OF THE PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON THE RESULTS
OF THE ISRAELI ELECTIONS AND ON THE PEACE PROCESS
The text of the declaration of the Presidency of the European Union on the results of the Israeli elections (A/51/156-S/1996/408, dated 5 June 1996) s reproduced below:
The European Union congratulates Mr. Netanyahu for his success in the Israeli general elections of 29 May as well as the people of Israel.
The European Union, while underlining its continuing commitment to the cause of peace in the Middle East, is confident that the new Israeli leadership will continue the peace negotiations, fully implementing in the meantime the agreements courageously reached so far.
The European Union is firmly convinced that the continuation of the peace process is the only viable alternative to violence in the region.
In this respect, the European Union intends to continue working with both the Israeli and the Arab sides to put an end to 40 years of conflict in the Middle East and to achieve the just, lasting and comprehensive peace which all the peoples of the region fully deserve.
VI. EXCERPTS FROM PRESS COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED BY THE MINISTERIAL COUNCIL OF THE
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL AT ITS FIFTY-NINTH SESSION,
HELD IN RIYADH ON 1 AND 2 JUNE 1996
The Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, at its fifty-ninth session, held at Riyadh on 1 and 2 June 1996, under the chairmanship of Mr. Yousef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Oman, issued a communiqué (A/51/158-S/1996/409), excerpts from which, on recent developments in the peace process, are given below:
The Council discussed recent developments in the peace process in the Middle East in light of the fixed principles embodied in the positions it has adopted in support of the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace based on the terms of reference of the Madrid Peace Conference, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the principle of land for peace, a peace that will ensure an end to Israeli occupation of all Arab territory and enable the Palestinian people to assert its legitimate rights, including the right to exercise self-determination and establish an independent State on its native soil.
The Council reiterated its firm stand in support of the Syrian position calling for full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan to the 4 June 1967 boundary line.
Reiterating its strong condemnation of Israeli aggression against Lebanon and reaffirming its full support for and solidarity with the Lebanese people, the Council also affirms the need for adherence to the understanding reached on 27 April 1996 as a preliminary step towards the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978). It urges the Security Council to compel Israel to pay the compensation required for the repair of facilities and infrastructure destroyed by Israeli attacks and for the human casualties incurred.
In the light of the outcome of the Israeli elections, the Council stressed the need to require the incoming Israeli Government to remain fully and meticulously committed to the implementation of all the agreements reached as part of the peace process in the Middle East, as a strategic option from which there can be no retreat.
In this context, the Council urges the co-sponsors of the Madrid Peace Conference, and particularly the United States of America, to make the greatest efforts to ensure that the peace process continues, that the Palestinian-Israeli agreements are implemented fully and speedily and that serious progress is made towards bringing the final-phase negotiations on such important and basic issues as Jerusalem, the settlements, the refugees and the final status of the occupied Palestinian territories to a positive outcome. There must also be a speedy resumption of the bilateral negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks so as to ensure the achievement of tangible progress that will promote the establishment of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.
VII. EXCERPTS FROM FINAL COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE ARAB SUMMIT CONFERENCE,
HELD IN CAIRO FROM 21 TO 23 JUNE 1996
Arab Heads of State held a summit conference in Cairo from 21 to 23 June and issued a final communiqué (contained in document A/50/986-S/1996/474), excerpts from which are reproduced below:
Acting in response to the hopes and aspirations of the Arab nation and out of faith in its common destiny and placing their trust in the bonds of Arab brotherhood, the Arab leaders met together, in the light of the current critical stage in the Middle East peace process, to consider new developments in the region, to give new life to joint Arab action and to strengthen and enhance the effectiveness of inter-Arab consultation, coordination and cooperation in an endeavour to invigorate and rally the Arab nation, to develop Arab solidarity as a means of realizing the purposes and principles of joint Arab action and to mobilize the potential of the Arab nation in order to protect its interests, recover its impugned rights and enhance efforts for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
In the light of their responsibility to the Arab nation, the Arab leaders affirm that the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) and the principle of land for peace, requires: the complete withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied Palestinian territories, including Arab Jerusalem; the ability of the Palestinian people to exercise its right to self-determination and establish an independent State with Arab Jerusalem as its capital, given that the question of Palestine is at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict; complete Israeli withdrawal from the Syrian Golan to the boundary of 4 June 1967; and complete and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Western Bekaa to the internationally recognized boundaries. In accordance with these principles, they call for the resumption of negotiations on all tracks without delay.
The commitment of the Arab States to continuing the peace process in order to secure a peace that is just and comprehensive represents a goal and a strategic choice to be achieved under international legitimacy. This requires a reciprocal commitment from Israel, stated in solemn and unequivocal terms, as well as action to carry through the peace process so that rights are restored, the occupied territories are returned and security for all the countries of the region is guaranteed in a balanced and equitable manner in accordance with the principles agreed upon at the Madrid Conference, and that of land for peace in particular, and the assurances given to the parties. The Arab leaders affirm that any violation by Israel of the principles on which the peace process is based and any retreat from or procrastination in fulfilling the commitments, undertakings and agreements secured in that framework may cause a setback to the process that brings with it such dangers and recriminations as will return the region to the maelstrom of tension and may compel all the Arab States to reconsider the steps taken vis-à-vis Israel in the context of the peace process. The Israeli Government alone would bear the entire responsibility for such a situation.
The Arab leaders further reaffirm their commitment to the United Nations resolutions requiring non-recognition and non-acceptance of any situation resulting from Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Arab territories, inasmuch as such activities are unlawful and create no rights and no obligations. They consider that the establishment of settlements and the introduction of settlers violate the Geneva Conventions and the Madrid framework and represent an impediment to the peace process. There should thus be a halt to all Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Syrian Golan and the occupied Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem, and the settlements should be removed. The leaders affirm their rejection of any alteration to the physical characteristics or legal status of Arab Jerusalem, and they stress that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East can only be achieved by resolving the issue of Jerusalem and settling the problem of the Palestine refugees on the basis of their right to return in accordance with international legitimacy and the relevant United Nations resolutions.
In the light of the foregoing, and in order to ensure the success of the peace process on the Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian tracks, the Arab leaders call upon the co-sponsors of the peace process, the members of the European Union, Japan, the members of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and other concerned States and upon the United Nations and other relevant international organizations and institutions to ensure that Israel does not violate the principles of the peace process and that it honours the undertakings it has given with regard to the agreements on interim arrangements and issues for the final status negotiations and to continue to provide the necessary political and economic support to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority. In this connection, the leaders affirmed the need to end the blockade imposed by Israel on the Palestinian people.
The Arab leaders affirm their support for Lebanon in the context of the continuing Israeli attacks on its territory, its people and its sovereignty. They urge the international community to ensure that there is an immediate and unconditional halt to these attacks and an end to occupation and to hold Israel responsible for compensating Lebanon for all the damage inflicted on it.
The Arab leaders affirm that Israel must accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and place all its nuclear installations under the international inspection regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency. They also renew their call for the establishment in the Middle East of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, and primarily nuclear weapons, that will encompass all the States of the region including Israel. They affirm their resolve to take the necessary steps to protect the region from the perils of such weapons and to spare it an arms race that would increase tension and waste the region's resources and capacities.
The Arab leaders emphasize that the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the real guarantee for ensuring the security of all the States of the region.
VIII. SAUDI ARABIA CONTRIBUTES $10 MILLION TO UNRWA PROJECTS
IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP
On 25 June 1996, the following press release (contained in document PAL/1831) was issued on Saudi Arabia’s contribution to UNRWA for schools, health care and shelter rehabilitation:
“Vienna, 21 June (UNRWA). The Government of Saudi Arabia has contributed an additional $10 million to support projects of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) for projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The agreement was formalized at a signing ceremony today in Vienna by the Director-General of the Technical Department of the Saudi Fund for Development, Yousef al-Bassam, and UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen.
“Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. al-Bassam said: ‘Our experience of cooperation with UNRWA has been very positive. We are sure that this new contribution will be used to support the Palestinian people in implementing these development projects.’ Mr. Hansen expressed his appreciation for the generosity of the Saudi Government, stating: ‘We are most grateful for this contribution, which will be put to good use for Palestine refugees.’
“This new funding supplements Saudi Arabia's earlier $20 million contribution to UNRWA in 1994 and its $7.5 million contribution through UNRWA towards the payment of the salaries of the Palestinian Police Force. The $37.5 million total is part of the Saudi Government's programme of assistance for the Palestinian people.
“Saudi Arabia's latest contribution will be used to fund a number of projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip under the second phase of the Agency's Peace Implementation Programme, which was launched in October 1994. They include the setting up of four schools: one in Gaza and three in the West Bank, as well as a mother-and-child health centre in Askar camp in the West Bank. Funding will also go to shelter rehabilitation in the Gaza Strip. Other projects will be identified in the future for funding. Construction on virtually all projects included in the earlier $20 million contribution has been completed, although some delays have been unavoidable in implementing those in the West Bank.
“The Government of Saudi Arabia is the third largest donor to the Peace Implementation Programme. It is also a major donor of UNRWA, contributing $1.2 million to the Agency's regular programmes on an annual basis.
“Note: For further information please contact the UNRWA Public Information Office, Tel: (+43 1) 21131 4530; fax: (+43 1) 23 72 83; or telex: 135310 (unra a).”