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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
E/CN.4/1994/SR.4
7 February 1994

Original: ENGLISH

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

Fiftieth session

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 4th MEETING

Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Wednesday, 2 February 1994, at 10 a.m.


Chairman:
Mr. van WULFFTEN PALTHE
(Netherlands)



CONTENTS

/...

Question of the violation of human rights in occupied Arab territories, including Palestine

The right of peoples to self­determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation ( continued)

This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Official Records Editing Section, room E.4108, Palais des Nations, Geneva. Any corrections to the records of the public meetings of the Commission at this session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session.



The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.

/...


QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES, INCLUDING PALESTINE (agenda item 4) ( continued) (E/CN.4/1994/9, 12 , 13 and 14; A/48/96, 278 and 557)

THE RIGHT OF PEOPLES TO SELF-DETERMINATION AND ITS APPLICATION TO PEOPLES UNDER COLONIAL OR ALIEN DOMINATION OR FOREIGN OCCUPATION (agenda item 9) ( continued) (E/CN.4/1994/22 and 23; A/48/385)

15. Mr. FELBER (Special Rapporteur), introducing his report on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (E/CN.4/1994/14), said that peace and independence remained the best guarantees of human rights and that any occupation regime whatsoever could not but lead to conflicts and restrictions on individual liberties. That consideration naturally led the Commission to favour the peace process that had begun in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Neighbours were fated to live together and must therefore establish peace among themselves.

16. The positive welcome given the Declaration of Principles of 13 September 1993 should not lead members to neglect the obstacles that would arise on the road to peace until a stable and definitive political situation was obtained in the Middle East.

17. During his brief visit to the region, he had been able to note the existence of a deep desire for peace but also the thickness of the wall of distrust that separated Israelis and Palestinians. In that connection, he stressed that the peace established between the leaders must become peace between the peoples involved.

18. There was no doubt that the inhabitants of Jericho and those of the Gaza Strip would recover their dignity as citizens in a system of self-government but that should not lead the Commission to forget those Palestinians who would not benefit from such a system. They should not have the feeling that they had been abandoned.

19. In the territories that became self-governing, it was clear that the human rights situation would not be restored immediately and that the local organizations would have to work to ensure respect for the values defended by the Commission.

20. His brief stay in Israel and the territories had not enabled him to make a complete analysis of any of the many problems that had been brought to his attention. However, he had been able to measure the degree of fatigue of local officials of Palestinian non-governmental organizations and of the population in general. The main subjects of concern were highlighted in his report.

21. He was fully convinced that a positive development in the human rights situation would facilitate a political solution in the entire Middle East and that Israel, a democratic State, would be able to play a role of rebuilder. He considered his mandate to be that of a person in the service of a cause which was recognized by the two parties to the conflict and that should result in substantial and definitive improvements not least within a peace process.

/...

38. Mr. JIN Yongjian (China) said that the statement by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, would guide the Commission's deliberations under its agenda item 4. The past year had witnessed considerable changes on the international scene: turmoil and the outbreak of fresh armed conflict in certain parts of the world but positive developments in the Middle East with the mutual recognition of the PLO and Israel and the signing of an agreement on Palestinian self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area. His delegation welcomed and supported those initiatives by both the Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, however, was not sufficient to settle the Middle East question, nor had it led to the Palestinian people's full realization of its political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights and its right to self-determination.

39. Noting certain stumbling blocks in the peace process over self-rule in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, he said that both sides should respect the Declaration, exercise restraint and do their utmost to avoid violent conflict, which was still occurring in the region.

40. The Chinese Government and people had always supported the Palestinian people in its brave struggle and had actively sought a solution to the Palestinian question. His delegation was keenly interested in developments in the Middle East and supported both PLO and Israeli efforts to settle their conflicts through peaceful negotiations. China had actively participated in the work of five working groups of the Peace Conference on the Middle East and had hosted the fourth meeting of the multilateral working group on water resources in the Middle East in Beijing in October 1993.

41. It had always taken the position that a political solution should be based on the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, and particularly of the Security Council, and that the occupied Arab territories must be returned. It also believed that the sovereignty and security of all the countries in the Middle East, including Israel, must be respected. China would join in the international effort to advance the Middle East peace process and, to the best of its abilities, would support and assist the Palestinian people in rebuilding its homeland.

42. Mr. SAHLOOL (Sudan) said that his delegation had carefully studied the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories and those of various human rights organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Amnesty International. All those reports contained accounts of flagrant human rights violations, including the shooting of Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers, the imposition of restrictive economic measures, the destruction of houses, the imposition of collective sanctions and arbitrary arrests and other crimes and forms of torture that were contrary to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention) and Protocol I additional thereto, and the principles of international and humanitarian law in general.

43. Israel's practices in the occupied Arab territories clearly reflected its disregard for the resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Commission. That attitude was documented in the Special Committee's reports of 16 April 1993 (A/48/96) and 10 August 1993 (A/48/278). Israel was thus continuing those practices although it had signed a Declaration of Principles under which human rights violations should have ended with the total withdrawal of its forces from the occupied territories. As usual, however, Israel had distorted the terms of the Declaration and was implementing it as it saw fit.

44. The Israeli/PLO negotiations at Tabah and Mr. Arafat's statement to the Commission the previous day exposed Israel's distortion of the peace process. Its tardiness in implementing the Declaration of Principles revealed its political agenda designed to divide the Palestinian leadership and to mislead the international community. The Commission was duty-bound to ensure that Israel ceased all forms of human rights violations and withdrew its forces from all the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, in accordance with United Nations resolutions and the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington. The Western nations, which had welcomed the signature of that Declaration, had been witness to Israel's manipulation of the timetable for withdrawing its troops from the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area.

45. The international community should attempt to persuade Israel to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to the creation of an independent State pursuant to the resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Commission. The occupation of Arab territories by Israel and its arbitrary human rights violations in those territories represented the main obstacle to the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

46. The summit meeting between United States President Clinton and Syrian President Assad constituted a bold step in the peace process. Israel, however, was displaying a new form of intransigence by continuing to establish settlements in the Golan Heights and seeking a referendum on self-determination in territories which were an integral part of Syria. His delegation welcomed Syria's insistence on total Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories. It also supported Lebanon's insistence on Israeli withdrawal from occupied southern Lebanon and on resolution 509 (1982). His delegation urged the international community, through the Commission, to prevail upon Israel to implement all resolutions adopted in that connection and to cease its human rights violations in South Lebanon, including the arbitrary detention of civilians, the destruction of houses and the confiscation of property.

47. The Commission should urge Israel to respect the 1949 Geneva Conventions, particularly the Fourth Convention, to release all Lebanese prisoners from its prisons and detention centres, and to facilitate the humanitarian work of international organizations in that area. It hoped that the Western countries, particularly those that had relations with Israel, would convince it to cooperate; otherwise, they might well be accused of applying a double standard.

48. Mr. VERGNE SABOIA (Brazil) said that his country had always considered the principle of self-determination to be a fundamental prerequisite for international peace and justice and, consequently, it had always supported the struggles of peoples under colonial or other types of foreign domination. In that spirit, Brazil had long advocated a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which called for Israel to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories and to respect the right of all peoples of the region to live within secure and internationally recognized borders.

49. The agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization was an historic achievement which deserved the international community's unqualified endorsement. The conflict in the Middle East had not only given rise to human rights violations but had also been a threat to world peace. Compliance with international human rights standards was crucial so that the foundations for a just and lasting peace could be laid during the transition period. The Commission should continue to play its role in monitoring such compliance.

50. His Government remained gravely concerned at the acts of violence committed by those trying to abort the still-fragile peace process. It urged all parties to respect the principles of democracy and abide by the decision of the majority, who embraced the ideas of peace and good neighbourliness. Reaching agreement on the basic issues of what had been a long and bitter dispute would be a difficult process requiring patience, flexibility, tolerance and determination. The international community must do its best to help in that effort. In that connection, it was clear that the experience of self-rule by the Palestinians in Jericho and the Gaza Strip would provide the peaceful and democratic framework for the further accords that were needed.

51. Recent developments had demonstrated that self-determination was an increasingly complex and sensitive issue, especially when it involved ethnic conflicts and the problems of minority groups. Ill-conceived and exaggerated interpretations of the right to self-determination were, in certain cases, being used to justify or encourage separatist demands and acts of aggression by groups whose sole claim to political independence was membership of an ethnic group. The Secretary-General had warned that, if every minority group were to claim statehood, there would be no limit to fragmentation, and universal peace, security and economic well-being would become increasingly difficult to achieve.

52. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action had rightly emphasized the relationship between the right to self-determination, as set forth in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and the principle of self-determination, as defined in the relevant General Assembly resolutions, namely, that the right to self-determination could not authorize or encourage any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of a sovereign and independent State whose Government represented the whole population, without distinction of any kind.

53. The best guarantee against the dangers of internal conflict and separatism was a truly democratic and representative political process, which ensured the genuine participation of all citizens, including those belonging to minorities. Respect for the rights of minorities, as defined in the relevant international human rights instruments, was also an essential element for building and maintaining cooperation between minorities and majorities.

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56. Mr. KHOURY (Syrian Arab Republic) said that the occupation of the Palestinian territories had continued for a quarter of a century and that the human rights situation in those territories had consistently deteriorated. The twenty-fifth report of the Special Committee (A/48/557) described that deterioration, aggravated by Israel's repressive policies as the occupying Power, and noted that occupation was in itself a serious violation of human rights. The atmosphere of intimidation in the territories was due mainly to Israel's illegal policies of annexation and settlement since 1967.

57. He referred to the conclusions contained in the report (paras. 855 to 936) and, in particular, to paragraph 934 which cited Israeli violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the resolutions of various United Nations organs and specialized agencies. Those conclusions clearly illustrated the very serious situation in the occupied territories, which should be condemned by the international community. The international community must also redouble its efforts to ensure that Israel's repressive practices ceased.

58. The oppressive practices and illegal measures had not stopped. A recent example was the creation of a new settlement on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, an attempt to Judaize that site. The Israeli Supreme Court had also placed the Sacred Mosque of Al-Aqsa under Jewish control, a grave violation of Security Council resolution 252 (1968).

59. The occupation of the Golan Heights in 1967 had led to the displacement of 500,000 persons. The confiscation of land had not ceased; by the end of 1990, 70 per cent of the land and all water sources had been seized. New settlements continued to be built, the latest being the "Mount Golan Colony". On 3 September 1993, the Israeli Minister for Agriculture had inaugurated agricultural installations in the Golan; that proved that Israel was determined to stay. It had been reported that the Israeli budget for 1994 would earmark an additional $7 million to enable 3,000 new settlers to be absorbed in the Golan by 1996.

60. On 19 January 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had proposed the holding of a referendum - among Israelis only - to decide whether to withdraw from the Golan; the Knesset had adopted that proposal. That raised doubts about Israeli's peaceful intentions; such a referendum would be contrary to international law and the United Nations Charter.

61. The people of the Golan continued to resist the occupation and to express their attachment to their country and their rights, as seen only recently in their mourning for the death of President Assad's son.

62. Peace could not be built upon occupied territories or violated rights. Syria, which would never give up an inch of its territory, was still pursuing the peace process, as evidenced by the recent meeting between President Assad and President Clinton.

63. It was to be hoped that the Commission would condemn Israel's continuing illegal practices and violations of human rights.

64. Ms. PARK (Canada) said her Government welcomed the historic Declaration of Principles signed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel, and paid tribute to the courage of its authors. Jordan had also concluded a common agenda with Israel. Despite the remaining uncertainties and obstacles, the parties were all but irrevocably committed to the peace process.

65. While commending Israel on its efforts to achieve peace, her delegation was disappointed in the human rights situation in the occupied territories. It was unfortunate that the breakthrough in the peace process had yet to be paralleled by progress in human rights.

66. To help end human rights violations in the occupied territories, her Government had pursued its practice of bringing the most blatant abuses directly to the attention of the Israeli authorities. Her delegation welcomed the spirit of cooperation shown by the Israeli military and civilian authorities who, in some instances, had agreed to investigate and remedy disturbing situations. Her Government had also encouraged Palestinian authorities to extend the dialogue with the Government of Israel so as to include human rights.

67. Her delegation was pleased to note that the tone of the draft resolutions adopted on the subject by organs and organizations of the United Nations family had improved, although they did not always accurately reflect the reality or the spirit of the peace talks. It called upon the Commission to encourage the parties to drop their anachronistic, recriminatory rhetoric and adopt a new perspective that reflected the important progress made in the talks. The participation of Mr. Peres and Mr. Arafat in the current session should inspire the Commission's proceedings.

68. To date, the human rights record in Gaza and the West Bank had not met expectations. Her Government concurred with the critical observations of many human rights organizations, but also acknowledged that their work had been made possible in a large measure by Israel's democratic traditions that allowed them to investigate violations and situations relatively freely. Sad to say, the historic Washington accord had not yet led to an improvement in the daily lot of the Palestinians. That issue must be addressed urgently, before the disappointment of some and the hostility of others did lasting damage to the peace process.

69. The violence was not the work of one party alone. Israeli authorities were blamed for extrajudicial executions, "collective punishment", arbitrary detention and mistreatment of prisoners; the security forces had employed excessive force and too often had used live ammunition to deal with disturbances. Palestinian homes had been demolished and freedom of movement curtailed. But her delegation also deplored the terrorism, communal violence, extremist murders and executions of presumed "collaborators". In a word, the violence was escalating on both sides.

70. The repatriation of the Palestinians expelled in December 1992 was a positive development. Her delegation counted on Israel to end the practice of expulsions, which contravened the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It also welcomed the release of some detained Palestinians, even though the fate of hundreds of other detainees remained uncertain.

71. Her Government sympathized with the Israeli authorities, who would continue to face the challenge of maintaining peace and security in Gaza and the West Bank until the Palestinian authorities were invested with such responsibility. Loss of life among Israelis and security forces continued to take its toll, and Israeli security forces had the additional responsibility of resolutely upholding the law when settlers defied it.

72. Her delegation was convinced that, through the application of the Declaration of Principles and the subsequent withdrawal of Israeli forces from Arab population centres, human rights problems would be addressed and the conditions of people in the occupied territories would improve. However, until Palestinian authorities took up their new responsibilities, the international community must rely on the Fourth Geneva Convention and the obligations it placed on the occupying Power, and her delegation again called for a significant improvement in the human rights record in the occupied territories, in conformity with that instrument.

73. In the meantime, Canada would continue to support concrete confidence-building measures. With that in mind, it was cooperating with Palestinian authorities, especially in the areas of institution-building and democratic development. Her delegation commended Palestinian institutions and leaders, notably Al-Haqq (which was currently working on a Palestinian human rights commission) the Gaza Centre for Human Rights, the Palestine Human Rights Information Centre and all those who had dedicated themselves to building a new society based on due process.

74. Once peace had been established between Palestinians and Israelis and economic and democratic development in the territories had taken shape, peace should spread throughout the region. Peace and development, be it economic, social or democratic - and that included the promotion of human rights - were essential to real progress. The peace process provided an opportunity to create new relations between Israelis and Arabs, on the basis of a mutual respect for human rights. It was to be hoped that those relations would serve as a model throughout the region.

75. Her delegation thanked the Special Rapporteur for the report on his recent visit to the area and looked forward to resolutions that would reflect the new realities that were emerging.

76. Mr. MEGALOKONOMOS (Observer for Greece), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the Israeli-Palestinian agreement of 13 September 1993 constituted an historic step towards the establishment of peace in the region. The Union paid tribute to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders for their courage and vision and also welcomed the recent Jordanian-Israeli agreement on a common agenda.

77. It was the fervent hope of the European Union that, as the peace process developed, recourse to violence would cease and the human rights situation would improve significantly. Israelis and Palestinians alike would have an important role to play in promoting the observance of human rights in the changing context. The Union offered its continuing political support and was prepared to participate in further international arrangements in connection with the implementation of the agreement.

78. The European Union and its member States were the largest contributor of financial support for the peace process. The Union had provided a total of more than 70 million ECUs in aid to the occupied territories in 1993, and it would make available 500 million ECUs in assistance to the Palestinian people for the period 1994-1998, in addition to the assistance granted to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) and on a bilateral basis.

79. The European Union remained committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the full implementation of those resolutions being an integral part of the terms of reference of the peace process initiated at Madrid in 1991. It also reiterated the importance of Security Council resolution 425 (1978).

80. The European Union wished to recall the significance of the situation in Jerusalem, a holy city for three religions. It was of paramount importance to ensure the freedom of everyone to live there and to have access to the places of worship.

81. The European Union reaffirmed the importance that it attached to the full application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem. It noted with satisfaction that the Special Rapporteur on the occupied territories had been able to visit the area and had had meetings with key parties in the region.

82. The European Union intended to take another initiative on an issue of major concern, the Israeli settlements.

83. Mr. DIENG (International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)) said that members of his organization had visited the occupied Arab territories for the first time on a two-week mission in December 1993 to study the situation of the civilian courts there. The group had been based in Jerusalem, but had also gone to visit the courts in the Palestinian towns of Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jericho and Gaza.

84. For several months, Jerusalem had been closed to Palestinians, who were required to obtain permits to enter the city. The members of the mission had observed long queues of blue-and-green-plated Palestinian cars awaiting military checks, whereas the yellow-plated Israeli and settlers' cars had received preferential treatment.

85. The Palestinian towns and villages were very tense. Whereas Israeli settlers carried guns, the Palestinian civilian population was unarmed. In Gaza, soldiers had pointed their guns at the mission's car, ordering it to make a detour. Every night, a curfew was imposed in Gaza.

86. The ICJ had been concerned about the situation in the occupied territories for many years. The signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles in September 1993 did not seem to have affected the situation on the ground.

87. They had been in Jericho on 13 December, the date set for the withdrawal of Israeli troops. Since troops had not been withdrawn, the population had been sceptical about the practical impact of the Declaration of Principles.

88. They had seen visible evidence of the failure of the Israeli Government to comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In defiance of that instrument, Israeli settlements had mushroomed in the occupied territories, constituting a violation of international law and posing a real threat to peace.

89. The ICJ had found the civilian legal system in the occupied territories to be completely disrupted. Israeli military authorities had issued more than 1,390 military orders in the West Bank and over 1,110 in Gaza, most of them being illegal under international law. The existence and implementation of those orders had, more than any other factor, contributed to the distortion of the legal system in the occupied territories.

90. During their stay, the members of the mission had met Palestinian and Israeli lawyers, judges and human rights activists, who had painted a disturbing picture of the status of the judiciary and legal profession in the West Bank and Gaza. It had become clear that the effectiveness of the civilian courts there had been severely undermined by such practices as the transfer of jurisdiction from civilian to military courts; the conferring of concurrent jurisdiction on the military courts, with priority where the military authorities deemed fit; the appointing and supervising of judges by the Israeli military officer in charge of the judiciary in the West Bank; the removal of pending files from civilian courts and their closure; and the pardoning of certain prisoners after sentencing, probably in return for their cooperation.

91. It was also difficult for the courts to execute their decisions because of the absence of a police force since the beginning of the intifada and because of the lack of staff and facilities for judges. Access to justice was also restricted by the disproportionate increase in court fees and the impediments placed by the military upon physical access to the courts. For instance, during the ICJ visit to Bethlehem, it had found that the military controlled the gate to the courthouse, apparently because some Israeli officials worked within the compound. That, however, restricted access to justice.

92. The absence of a Court of Cassation since the beginning of the occupation and of a free and independent Palestinian bar association added to the system's shortcomings. Towards the end of the mission, the ICJ had met Israeli officials to convey to them its concerns.

93. The population of the West Bank and Gaza hoped that the incoming Palestinian authority would respect human rights. Sharing that sentiment, the ICJ had called upon the Palestinian authorities to incorporate international human rights standards into the new Palestinian legal system.

94. The members of the mission had also been concerned that the consultation with the legal profession in the occupied territories about the development of the future Palestinian legal system had been inadequate. A draft constitution had been written elsewhere, without a proper discussion with the lawyers and judges of the occupied territories. In its recommendations, the ICJ had called upon the Palestinian authorities to set up without delay a committee of Palestinian judges and lawyers from the West Bank and Gaza to study the various laws, and urged the widest possible consultation of all sectors of society, without discrimination, at every stage when drafting Palestinian legal instruments.

95. Palestinian human rights organizations had been concerned about being allowed to function without interference from the authorities. The ICJ had thus called upon both the Israeli and the Palestinian authorities to respect the independent functioning of those critical institutions.

96. The findings of the ICJ mission demonstrated that the situation in the occupied territories demanded continued close monitoring and reporting.

97. Mr. LAGHMARI (Observer for Morocco) said that the Commission was holding its fiftieth session at a significant point in history. It would be taking into consideration the recommendations of the World Conference on Human Rights as well as recent political developments, all of which would certainly have a decisive impact on human rights throughout the world.

98. He welcomed the first steps towards a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The signing of the Washington agreement in September 1993, the fruit of several years of efforts by the various parties, and the succeeding declarations made at Fez and Casablanca were positive signs.

99. Nevertheless, over the decades, the Israeli occupation authorities had committed illegal acts, including the violation of human rights, a fact which had complicated the situation. Those acts had been confirmed in various reports submitted by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories. Moreover, Israel had failed to take any steps to cease its human rights violations in the occupied territories, in spite of the many United Nations resolutions urging it to respect international humanitarian law and its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.

100. For more than 20 years, Israel had refused to allow the Special Committee to carry out its investigations in the occupied territories. The Committee had, nevertheless, been able to gather information and testimony, in part from the bodies and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, verifying that human rights violations had been taking place in the occupied territories. In its most recent report (A/48/557), the Committee had concluded that the situation of Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories was still a source of great concern.

101. In response to the worsening of the human rights situation in the occupied Arab territories, the Commission on Human Rights had adopted resolution 1993/2, by which it had appointed a special rapporteur to investigate Israel's violations of the principles and bases of international law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.

102. In that connection, he noted with satisfaction that Israel had, for the first time, authorized a visit to the occupied territories, which was a step towards redressing the human rights situation and establishing peace in the region.

103. His Government had hoped that, following the signing of the Declaration of Principles in Washington in September 1993, a new political situation would emerge, based on respect for the obligations set forth in the relevant United Nations resolutions. Israel had not, however, honoured the date agreed upon for its withdrawal from the Jericho area and the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, only a few days after the Declaration had been signed, the Israeli Supreme Court had made a ruling placing an area including the Al-Aqsa Mosque under Jewish control, an act contrary to the Declaration of Principles and to the Security Council resolutions under which any measure modifying the status of Jerusalem or its holy sites was null and void.

104. The positive steps Israel had taken, including measures to permit the return of deported Palestinians, had to be weighed against the persistence of its repressive practices, including killings, confiscation of property and the refusal to grant the Arab population its fundamental rights.

105. The Commission must continue to monitor the situation in the occupied Arab territories until the causes of all human rights violations had been eliminated and a comprehensive and just peace achieved, thus at long last satisfying the expectations of all those in the region who aspired to peace, well-being and respect for human rights.

The meeting rose at 12.15 p.m.

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