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UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


GA/PAL/737
26 November 1996


Committee on Rights of
Palestinian People
225th Meeting (PM)


IMPLEMENTATION OF PALESTINE INFORMATION PROGRAMME STRESSED,
IN TEXT APPROVED BY PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE


Other Approved Resolutions Concern Cooperation With Committee,
Division for Palestinian Rights, Peaceful Settlement of Palestine Question



The General Assembly would note that several defined provisions of the Department of Public Information (DPI) special information programme on the question of Palestine were yet to be implemented and would stress the importance of such implementation, under the terms of one of four draft resolutions approved this afternoon by the Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The Assembly would request DPI, among other things, to organize fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area, including the territories under the administration of Palestine and the occupied territories, and to provide media development assistance to the Palestinian people, including training of broadcasters and journalists.

Following approval of the text, the Permanent Observer for Palestine said that implementation of the DPI special information programme would be extremely difficult because of a new paragraph contained in a Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) draft resolution. That paragraph requests that DPI be provided with an identification of all costs arising from information mandates contained in resolutions other than those recommended by the Committee on Information. The paragraph should be reconsidered and its harmful impact neutralized. The political will of the international community and of the Assembly should not be circumvented by such technicalities, he added.

By the terms of another draft approved this afternoon, focusing on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to provide the Division with the necessary resources for further development of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine.

By the terms of a third draft text, the Assembly would authorize the Committee to mobilize support and assistance for the Palestinian people. It would request the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and other relevant United Nations bodies to cooperate fully with the Committee.

The final draft text approved this afternoon, on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, would have the Assembly note with satisfaction the withdrawal of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, initiation of the Palestinian authority in those areas, and the beginning of the redeployment of the Israeli army in the rest of the West Bank. It would express concern over the difficulties facing the Middle East peace process, and the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinian people as a result of Israeli positions and
measures.


The Committee will meet again on 29 November in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.


Committee Work Programme

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met this afternoon to consider four draft resolutions on the question of Palestine.

The Committee had before it two drafts on its programme of work, a third on the United Nations Department of Public Information, and a fourth text on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.

By the terms of the first draft, on the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the General Assembly would endorse the Committee's recommendations contained in Chapter VII of its report (document A/51/35).

It would have the Assembly authorize the Committee to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and make appropriate adjustments in its approved programme of work. The Committee would also be authorized to mobilize support and assistance for the Palestinian people.

By further terms of the text, the Assembly would request the Committee to keep the question of Palestine under review and to report and make suggestions accordingly to the Assembly or the Security Council. It would also request the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation to non-governmental organizations for heightening international awareness of the issue and promoting support and assistance to the Palestinian people. The Committee would be requested to involve additional non-governmental organizations in its work.

The Assembly would request the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine and other relevant United Nations bodies to cooperate fully with the Committee, by further terms of the text. The Secretary-General would be requested to circulate the Committee's report to all competent bodies of the United Nations, and to urge them to take appropriate, necessary action.

By the terms of a second draft resolution on the Committee's programme of work, focusing on the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat, the Secretary-General would be requested to provide the Division with the necessary resources, including for the further development of the United Nations information system on the question of Palestine, and to ensure that the Committee continues to discharge the tasks detailed in previous Assembly resolutions.

The Secretary-General, by that text, would also be requested to ensure the continued cooperation of the Department of Public Information and other units of the Secretariat in enabling the Division to perform its tasks and to adequately cover the various aspects of the question of Palestine.

The draft would have the Assembly note with appreciation the action by Member States to observe annually on 29 November the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and to continue to give the widest possible publicity to the observance.

According to a third draft resolution, on the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), the Assembly would note that several defined provisions of the DPI special information programme on the question of Palestine are yet to be implemented, and would stress the importance of such implementation. The Assembly would consider that the DPI special programme on the question of Palestine is very useful in raising the consciousness of the international community concerning the complexities of the question and the situation in the Middle East in general, including the peace process.

By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would request DPI, in coordination with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to continue its special information programme on the question of Palestine for the biennium 1996-1997, with particular emphasis on public opinion in Europe and North America.

The Assembly would further request DPI to: disseminate information on all activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine, including reports on the work of the relevant United Nations agencies; continue to issue and update publications on the various aspects of the question of Palestine in all fields; expand its audiovisual material on the question of Palestine; and organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area, including the territories under the jurisdiction of Palestine and the occupied territories.

The Assembly would also request the Department to organize international, regional and national encounters for journalists; and, in cooperation with the relevant bodies and agencies of the United Nations system -- particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) -- to provide assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, including training for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists.

By the terms of a draft on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the Assembly -- aware of the mutual recognition between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, and the signing by both parties of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of September 1993, as well as subsequent implementation agreements, including the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip of September 1995 -- would note with satisfaction the withdrawal of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area in accordance with agreements reached, the initiation of the Palestinian authority in those areas, and the beginning of the redeployment of the Israeli army in the rest of the West Bank.

The draft would have the Assembly note the successful holding of the Palestinian general elections, and the establishment of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the occupied territories. The Assembly would express concern over the serious difficulties facing the Middle East peace process and the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinian people as a result of Israeli positions and measures.

Further terms of the draft would have the Assembly reaffirm the need to achieve a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and express full support for the ongoing peace process and on subsequent implementation agreements. The Assembly would express the hope that the process would lead to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and call upon all parties and the international community to exert all efforts to ensure the success of the process.

The Assembly would stress the need for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination, and the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. It would also stress the need for resolving the problem of refugees in conformity with its resolution of 11 December 1948, and urge Member States to expedite provision of economic and technical assistance to the Palestinian people during the current critical period. It would emphasize the importance of a more active and expanded United Nations role in the current peace process and in the implementation of the 1993 Declaration of Principles.


Opening Remarks by Chairman

IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal), the Committee Chairman, introduced the four draft resolutions on Palestine.

The draft text on the Department of Public Information (DPI), he told the Committee, had been amended to incorporate a new operative paragraph, whereby the Assembly would note that "several defined provisions" of the DPI special information programme on Palestine were yet to be implemented and would stress the importance of such implementation. Another operative paragraph had been amended to have the Department provide -- particularly in cooperation with UNESCO -- assistance in the field of media development to the Palestinian people, including training for broadcasters and journalists.


Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee then approved without a vote the two draft resolutions on the Committee's programme of work, as well as the text on DPI.

Turning to the fourth draft resolution, on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the CHAIRMAN pointed out that three preambular paragraphs had been added or reformulated concerning, respectively, Assembly satisfaction at the successful holding of the first Palestinian general elections, the establishment in the occupied territories of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator, and Assembly concern at the difficulties facing the Middle East peace process and the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinian people.

Three operative paragraphs had been added or reformulated, he went on. The first included a specific reference to the Israeli- Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip of 1995. The second would have the Assembly stress the need for immediate and scrupulous implementation of the agreements reached between the parties. The third would have the Assembly call upon the concerned parties, the co-sponsors of the peace process and the entire international community to ensure the success of the
peace process.


The draft text on the peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine was approved without a vote.


Statements

M. NASSER AL-KIDWA, Permanent Observer for Palestine, said that there were a number of draft resolutions on the Palestinian issue to be voted upon tomorrow in the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization). A draft concerning Palestinian refugees had undergone significant changes since last year. Overall, the focus of the drafts on refugees had moved from the issue of revenues to the issue of refugees' properties as a matter of right. The package of drafts would be adopted by an overwhelming majority, but because of one Member State, could not be adopted by consensus.

He said there was a new text on the occupied settlements of the West Bank and Gaza, aimed at streamlining the work and focusing attention on the extremely important issue of Israeli settlement activities and their detrimental impact on the peace process. The draft would be adopted by an overwhelming majority. Overwhelming approval was also expected on a text on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people. An additional draft resolution on Israeli practices affecting the occupation of the Syrian-Golan region was also under consideration. In light of the deterioration of the situation on the ground, the international community needed to send a new message, and to lend additional support to the work of the Fourth Committee on the Palestinian issue.

He drew the Committee's attention to a draft contained in the report of the Fourth Committee (document A/51/594) on DPI. A new, bizarre operative paragraph had been introduced requesting that DPI be provided with an identification of all costs arising from information mandates contained in resolutions other than those recommended by the Committee on Information.

That paragraph created a new procedure greatly complicating the work of the Department with regard to implementing programmes adopted through other resolutions, he said. It made implementation of the DPI special information programme on the question of Palestine, for example, extremely difficult. He did not understand the reasons behind the paragraph, and hoped the Assembly would disapprove it. Many Member States believed that financial considerations should be left to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), and not be included in routine drafts. The paragraph should be reconsidered and its harmful impact neutralized. It was not fair that the political will of the international community and of the Assembly be circumvented by such technicalities.

Mr. KA, Chairman of the Committee, proposed that the Bureau discuss the issue raised by the Permanent Observer of Palestine, with a view to deciding on how to proceed. He noted that there was still time for further consultations before the draft was submitted to the Assembly.

The Committee will meet again on 29 November to observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.



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