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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
30 November 1994


October/November 1994


Volume XVII, Bulletin No. 9



Contents

Page
I.
    Recommendations of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to the General Assembly
1
II.
    International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 29 November 1994
3
III.
    Debate on the question of Palestine opens in the General Assembly
4
IV.
    Secretary-General and General Assembly President congratulates Prime Minister Rabin and Foreign Minister Peres of Israel, Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Arafat on Award of Nobel Peace Prize
8
V.
    Secretary-General condemns bomb attack at Tel Aviv
9
VI.
    Secretary-General reports on peace efforts
9
VII.
    Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reports on situation
10
VIII.
    Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East reports to the General Assembly
12
IX.
    United Nations Development Programme publishes report on Palestinian women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
17
X.
    Excerpts from the Declaration of Casablanca adopted at the Middle East and North Africa Economic Summit held at Casablanca, Morocco, from 30 October to 1 November 1994
18
XI.
    International Committee of the Red Cross condemns indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Israel
19
XII.
    Non-governmental organizations: activities and information
19




I. RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF
THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY


The Committee met on 4 November 1994, at which time it adopted its report to the forty-ninth session of the General Assembly. The report contained the following recommendations:

"Over a year has elapsed since the mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel and the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, which created a dramatic turning point in the search for peace in the Middle East. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has welcomed these developments and expressed its commitment to support the Palestinian people and its leadership during the difficult transition process. The Committee congratulates the parties on the well-deserved recognition, through the Nobel Peace Prize, of their courageous efforts in the name of peace. The Committee is aware that the road to peace is still long and fraught with obstacles but is encouraged by the stated commitment of the parties to pursue negotiations despite repeated acts of violence aimed at derailing the peace process.

"The Committee reaffirms that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine until a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement is reached. The Committee reiterates that the involvement of the United Nations in the peace process both as the guardian of international legitimacy and in the mobilization and provision of international assistance, is essential for the successful outcome of the peace efforts. As the organ of the General Assembly established to deal with the question of Palestine, the Committee believes that its own role continues to be useful and necessary during the transitional period and until a satisfactory final settlement is achieved.

"The Committee reaffirms that such a settlement must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, and the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, in particular the right to self-determination. The Committee also insists that, during the interim period, Israel must recognize and respect its obligations as the occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. While remaining firm on this position of principle, the Committee has continued to make adjustments in its approach and programme of work in order to make a concrete contribution to promoting the implementation of the agreements reached and to mobilize international assistance to the Palestinian people. The Committee invites the General Assembly once again to recognize the importance of its role and to reconfirm its mandate with overwhelming support.

"The Committee wishes to express its great appreciation to those States which have supported its work and facilitated the organization of events held under the Committee's auspices by providing venues and participating in the debates. The Committee believes that, in the light of the new situation and the responsive position of the Committee reflected in its programme of work, the time has come for all States to recognize the valuable contribution that it can make as a forum for dialogue, analysis, exchange of expertise, the mobilization of public opinion and action in support of the peace efforts and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as well as their socio-economic development. The Committee considers that a broadening of its membership to include countries that support its objectives but have not hitherto participated in its work, would greatly enhance the contribution of the General Assembly to promote peace at this important stage.

"The Committee considers that its seminars on economic and social issues confronting Palestinians in the occupied territories have been particularly useful in bringing together experts in the relevant fields, including Palestinians and Israelis, as well as donor countries, United Nations departments, agencies and organizations, non-governmental organizations active in the field and others. In this regard, the Committee has noted the suggestion made by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1994/29 of 27 July 1994 regarding the convening of a seminar on Palestinian administrative, managerial and financial needs and challenges in the light of the new developments. Also, in the light of the new situation created on the ground by the signing of the Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles and Interim Self-Government Arrangements and the subsequent implementation agreements, and noting the recognized need for continued United Nations involvement in the question of Palestine, the Committee is of the view that consideration should be given to the holding of an event in the territory under the Palestinian Authority to address aspects of the transition period.

"The Committee also stresses the value of its role as a catalyst in bringing together and developing a network of non-governmental organizations interested in the question of Palestine and in promoting solidarity activities, as well as concrete assistance. The Committee intends to continue to promote the positive contribution of the non-governmental organization constituency to meet the humanitarian and development needs of the Palestinian people during the transitional period, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. Noting with appreciation the increasing interest and participation of Governments, particularly donor countries, and United Nations organizations and agencies in non-governmental organization events organized under its auspices, the Committee intends to continue its programme of meetings in the various regions in the coming year. The Committee will continue to seek to structure these meetings for maximum usefulness and to cooperate with coordinating committees for non-governmental organizations with a view to developing effective follow-up mechanisms. In order to encourage a wider and more active participation by non-governmental organizations in the activities and meetings under its auspices, in particular those whose work encompasses humanitarian ends and programmes, including development, benefiting the Palestinian people, the Committee established a revised set of criteria for such participation.

"The Committee emphasizes the essential contribution of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat as a centre for research, monitoring, the preparation of studies and the collection and dissemination of information on all issues related to the question of Palestine. The Committee requests the Division to continue its programme of publications, in consultation with the Committee, and to pay particular attention to preparing studies or updating existing ones, on the various issues which are subject to final status negotiations. The Committee notes that the United Nations computer-based information system on the question of Palestine (UNISPAL) being established in the Division will store information on the relevant activities of the United Nations system and the non-governmental organizations network, as well as other documentation both historical and current, including documents related to the peace process. The Committee further notes the positive interest and response generated by the establishment of UNISPAL and calls for the provision of the necessary resources by the Secretary-General and for cooperation by all concerned with the Division for Palestinian Rights in order to make the system fully operational and to maximize its usefulness to all users.

"The Committee continues to consider that the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information is very useful in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the complexities of the question and the situation in the Middle East in general. The Committee believes that the Programme is contributing effectively to an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process. The Programme should continue along this path until a just solution to the question of Palestine is achieved in accordance with international legality. The Programme should follow and reflect realities related to the new experiences of the Palestinian people, provide assistance in the field of Palestinian media development and continue to disseminate information about the just cause of the Palestinian people, in addition to continuing its support of dialogue in the effort to build peace. During its forty-eighth session, the General Assembly adopted resolution 48/158 C by an overwhelming majority. It is the Committee's hope that this year, in the light of the new situation, the Assembly will be able to adopt the resolution on the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine by consensus.

"The Committee will continue to strive to achieve maximum effectiveness in the implementation of its mandate and to adjust its work programme in the light of developments, in order to continue to contribute, to the extent possible, to the realization of the common United Nations objective of achieving a just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine." (See A/49/35, paras. 84-92.)



II. INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE,
29 NOVEMBER 1994


On 29 November 1994, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was observed at United Nations Headquarters in New York and at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, as well as in several other cities in accordance with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977. All States Members of the United Nations, specialized agencies and observers were invited to attend the solemn meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

At that meeting, statement were made by: Kéba Birane Cissé (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee; Amara Essy (Côte d'Ivoire), President of the General Assembly; Chinmaya Gharekhan (India), representative of the Secretary-General; and Madeleine Albright (United States of America), President of the Security Council for the month of November.

The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations read out a message from Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Also, Stanley Kalpagé (Sri Lanka) made a statement as Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

In addition, Nugroho Wisnumurti, the representative of Indonesia, read out a message from President Suharto in his capacity as Chairman of the Heads of State and Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. A further message was delivered by Jamsheed K.A. Marker (Pakistan) on behalf of Sandar Asif Ali, Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Chairman of the Twenty-first Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr, the Observer of the League of Arab States, read out a message from its Secretary-General, Ahmed Ismat Abdul Meguid. A further statement was made by Mr. Larry Ekin, the representative of the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine.

Concluding statements were made by the Chairman of the Committee and Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The text of all statements and messages in connection with the Day of Solidarity will be included in a special bulletin to be published by the Division for Palestinian Rights.

An art exhibit entitled "Images from Palestine", featuring four prominent Palestinian artists - Vera Tamari, Suleiman Mansur, Tayseer Barakat and Nabil Anani, was on display in the Public Lobby of the United Nations Secretariat Building from 29 November to 5 December 1994. The exhibit was sponsored by the Committee in cooperation with the Palestine Observer Mission to the United Nations. At the opening on 29 November, the Chairman of the Committee made a statement, followed by statements by Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi and Mr. Tayseer Barakat.



III. DEBATE ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
OPENS IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY


On 29 November 1994, the debate on the question of Palestine began in the General Assembly. In accordance with past practice, the item was taken up directly in the plenary meetings was introduced by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The Rapporteur of the Committee introduced the annual report. The full text of both statements is presented below:

Statement by the Chairman

"It is a pleasure for me, in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and on my own behalf, to congratulate you, Sir, on your election as President of the forty-ninth session of the General Assembly. We are confident that, with your experience, and thorough knowledge of the complex issues at hand and your diplomatic skills, you will successfully guide the deliberations on the agenda item.

"Today the world is being transformed right before our eyes. The developments that are taking place everywhere prove this and open up prospects that are new and full of hope but that, unfortunately, are at the same time fragile and not easy to deal with. This change is particularly evident in the Middle East, where for a long time a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been sought. Today, fortunately, the hope of seeing courage and political wisdom triumph is coming to the fore. Despite the tragic events of the last few weeks, which have once again demonstrated the fragility of the peace process, it is now more important than ever that these hopes not be dashed.

"Last year we paid tribute to the wisdom and political realism of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat, the Prime Minster of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and the Foreign Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, on the historic signing of the Declaration of Principles. This year I want to congratulate them on the well-deserved recognition of their remarkable accomplishments with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

"The progress towards peace is undeniable. The three-year-old peace process, which began at Madrid in October 1991, is advancing. Our Committee welcomes the progress made by the parties in various areas, as well as by the determination with which they have set out on the road to peace despite repeated setbacks.

"The Committee welcomed the signing on 4 May last of the Israeli-PLO Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, which led to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from those areas, the deployment of the first Palestinian police force, the return after many years of exile of Chairman Arafat and other Palestinian leaders to the Gaza Strip and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

"Further, the Committee noted the signing of the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities and the beginnings of Palestinian self-government in a number of areas in the West Bank. The Committee supported these developments, which hold promise for a comprehensive, just and peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine and the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights.

"The signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan was also bound to have a positive effect throughout the region. It is a clear sign that the process of peace in the Middle East is accelerating. We hope that this progress will encourage other parties in the region to move ahead in their respective areas of negotiations. We are also aware that the road the parties have set out upon is thorny and fraught with difficulties.

"With a view to consolidating peace, guaranteeing economic development and improving living conditions, the Committee has expressed the hope that the donor community will honour its commitments and take the necessary measures as a matter of urgency. The Committee has undertaken activities to promote this effort. The Committee has also noted with interest the adoption of the Casablanca Declaration by the participants in the recent Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit. Such meetings help improve the economic climate and as a result the political climate, in the entire region.

"For almost 20 years the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has been concerned with all aspects of the question of Palestine, and it has consistently held the view that a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement must be based on respect for Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973); on Israel's withdrawal from all Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and from other occupied Arab territories; on respect for the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized boundaries; and on the recognition and exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, particularly its right to self-determination. Those are key principles without which there can be no lasting solution, not only to the question of Palestine, but, above all, to a whole range of regional problems. Today the question of Palestine remains the core issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and still awaits a final resolution. A great deal remains to be done. Hence, great patience will be required of the parties in order to bring about, with the support of the international community, a truly just solution to the problem.

"In accordance with its mandate, the Committee has cooperated in international efforts to promote the implementation of the Declaration of Principles, and has tried to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people during the transition period. On behalf of the Committee, I thank those States which have supported its work and have facilitated the organization of events by providing venues and participating in the debates.

"In 1994 the Committee held a very productive symposium for North American non-governmental organizations in Toronto, Canada; an interesting seminar in Paris on Palestinian trade and investment needs; and a symposium of European non-governmental organizations and a meeting of international non-governmental organizations in Geneva. A seminar and non-governmental organization symposium for the Latin American and Caribbean region is scheduled to be held next March in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"These events are held with the participation of prominent Palestinian and Israeli personalities, experts from various regions, representatives of donor countries and other governmental and intergovernmental entities, organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations involved in activity on behalf of the Palestinian people. They have proved, if proof were needed, that the Committee can play a valuable role as a forum for dialogue, exchange of information, mobilization of public opinion and action in support of peace efforts, the exercise of Palestinian rights and Palestinian socio-economic development.

"It was the combined efforts of the United Nations, including the Committee, as well as other parties, that made the Madrid peace process a reality. And it was the General Assembly's committed support and endorsement that allowed the parties to move forward despite numerous obstacles and some setbacks.

"The negotiations are proceeding, but we should not ignore the serious problems still awaiting resolution in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip, which still jeopardize the peace process. Developments during the transitional period, when the Palestinians are assuming their powers and responsibilities, are a measure of what is yet to be accomplished by the parties and by the international community. On several occasions we have voiced our concern at deadly acts of violence aimed at derailing the peace process. Other matters, too, cause great concern: the continued establishment of settlements in the occupied territory, as well as in and around Jerusalem; the repeated closures of the territory; the destruction of housing and other acts of collective punishment; and the continued imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians under harsh conditions. The Committee believes that the Fourth Geneva Convention must be applied to all the Palestinian territories, and that these activities by Israel, which are in contravention of its obligations under the Convention, should be stopped. This would constitute an important confidence-building measure which would help create an atmosphere more conducive to peace.

"Last year the General assembly, in resolution 48/158 A, reaffirmed that the United Nations had a permanent responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine until the question was resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy. This year, during the general debate, many delegations reaffirmed this point of view before the General Assembly, stating that the United Nations must continue to play a role in the peace process, remain seized of the matter and closely monitor the developments on the ground. Delegations also expressed their belief that the United Nations should take on a new role involving the channelling of economic and other forms of assistance to the Palestinians.

"In this respect, the Committee welcomed the steps taken by the Secretary-General in support of the peace process particularly through the appointment of the Special Coordinator to act as a focal point for all United Nations economic, social and other assistance to the Palestinians. The disastrous economic situation in the Gaza Strip, with its concomitant tensions and instability, points up the urgent need for international assistance to generate employment, ameliorate living conditions and provide the indispensable foundation for long-term economic development, without which peace there can be only a precarious peace.

"Our Committee believes that as the peace process develops it must be accompanied by a considerable effort on the part of the international community to address the various critical problems involved in the transition to Palestinian autonomy, including unresolved political questions, the rights of the Palestinian people, and the socio-economic situation. The Committee, in the period ahead, will continue to make adjustments in its programme of work to reflect the realities in the region and constantly to make a useful contribution to the international endeavours aimed at bringing about a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement of the question of Palestine in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. We shall also continue to monitor closely the developments on the ground, promote the full implementation of the agreements reached by the parties and urge the mobilization of the necessary international assistance for the Palestinian people.

"Given the new situation created by the signing of the Declaration of Principles and other milestone agreements, and taking into account the evolution of the Committee's approach and its programme of work, the Committee invites all those Member States that support its objectives and activities but have not thus far participated in its work to join it in this important and much-needed effort. This will help to enhance the role played by the United Nations in general and the Assembly in particular in the promotion of peace and stability in the region during this crucial and sensitive transitional period."

Statement by the Rapporteur

"It is an honour for me, in my capacity as Rapporteur, to present to the General Assembly the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People covering its work during the past year (A/49/35).

"In 1994 the Committee, under the able guidance of its Chairman, Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé, carried out its mandate in conformity with the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly. The report covers the significant developments concerning the question of Palestine and the activities of the Committee in the year since the last report, taking into account the new situation created by the peace process, which the Committee has welcomed and endeavoured to promote.

"The introduction to the report is contained in chapter I and outlines the constructive position taken by the Committee with regard to the new situation, as well as the Committee's main concerns.

"Chapters II and III are procedural and summarize the respective mandates of the Committee, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information, and give information on the Committee's organization of work.

"Chapter IV reviews the significant developments with regard to the peace process, as well as in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Committee has welcomed the signing by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of a series of important bilateral agreements in implementation of the Declaration of Principles of 13 September 1993, in particular the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area of May 1994 and the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities of August 1994 concerning the West Bank. The Committee noted with satisfaction the changes that have taken place on the ground, such as the withdrawal of Israeli military forces, the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the transfer to it of various powers and responsibilities, the establishment of a Palestinian police force and the release by Israel of 5,000 Palestinian prisoners.

"The Committee was pleased to note that Chairman Yasser Arafat had returned to the Gaza Strip to assume the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and that other leaders had also been allowed to return. The Committee has also noted that despite many obstacles and delays, negotiations have started between Israel and the PLO on the issue of Palestinian elections and on the extension of the self-government arrangements to the rest of the West Bank, and hopes that this process will continue speedily. The Committee also hopes that all aspects of the agreements already reached will be implemented. The Committee has also taken note of the treaty of peace between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on 26 October 1994, and has expressed the hope that it would lead to rapid progress in the negotiations with the other parties to the conflict.

"However, despite these positive developments, the Committee was alarmed by the repeated violent incidents aimed at derailing the peace process, including the massacre of Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in February 1994 and subsequent incidents which have highlighted the fragility of the peace process and the awesome difficulties it confronts. The Committee has expressed concern at the continuation of Israeli policies such as expansion of settlements, repeated closures of the occupied territories and the consequent isolation of East Jerusalem, the imposition of collective punishments, and other practices which aggravate tensions and jeopardize the peace process. The Committee has called for full respect of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Israel as the occupying Power, as well as full implementation of Security Council resolution 904 (1994).

"The Committee has been greatly concerned by the disastrous economic situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the Gaza Strip, after 27 years of occupation, and has endeavoured to promote international assistance for development, which is universally recognized as essential for the achievement of peace. In this regard, the Committee has welcomed with appreciation the appointment of a Special Coordinator by the Secretary-General in the occupied territory, to act as focal point for all United Nations economic, social and other assistance to Palestinians.

"Chapter V of the report provides a detailed overview of the various activities of the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 48/158 A and B. The Committee closely monitored the situation on the ground and supported international action following the Hebron massacre through a letter addressed by the Chairman to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, as well as appropriate action within the Council. The Committee, through its Chairman, was also represented at meetings of various intergovernmental organizations and presented its objectives and activities. Further, the Committee followed closely, and some of its members participated as necessary in, meetings of United Nations bodies and agencies, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and intergovernmental organizations, at which various statements, resolutions and communiqués relevant to this issue were adopted.

"As the Chairman has already reported, the Committee sponsored a seminar in Paris on Palestinian trade and investment needs; non-governmental organizations symposiums in Toronto and Geneva for the North American and European regions, respectively; as well as an international meeting of non-governmental organizations. The Committee was encouraged by the active participation in these activities of prominent political personalities, parliamentarians, policymakers and other experts, including Israelis and Palestinians. The Committee believes that these meetings make a positive contribution to peace efforts by providing a forum for a balanced and constructive discussion of the most important issues, including those related to the current situation and the new challenges confronting Palestinians during the transitional period. Wishing to involve additional non-governmental organizations in its work, particularly those active in the field of development and humanitarian relief, the Committee also established a set of revised criteria for participation by non-governmental organizations in its activities.

"Finally, the report describes very briefly the many activities of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat in the field of research, monitoring and publications and action taken for the establishment of a computer-based information system on the question of Palestine. It also describes the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

"Chapter VI of the report covers the work of the Department of Public Information in accordance with General Assembly resolution 48/158 C, including the publications and audiovisual activities of that Department, as well as the journalists' encounters and the news missions to the area.

"Chapter VII, the last chapter, contains the recommendations of the Committee. The Committee believes that these recommendations, which take fully into account the new situation and are intended to make a positive contribution to it, are practical and constructive and hopes that they will be adopted by this Assembly by an overwhelming majority as in the past.

"..."

(For the text of the recommendations,
see section I above.)




IV. SECRETARY-GENERAL AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT CONGRATULATE
PRIME MINISTER RABIN AND FOREIGN MINISTER PERES OF ISRAEL,
PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION CHAIRMAN ARAFAT
ON AWARD OF NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on 14 October 1994 (See SG/SM/5437):

"The Secretary-General was delighted to learn that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres of Israel, and Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"He extends his warmest congratulations to the three leaders, and commends them on the courage, dedication and imagination they have shown thus far in pursuing a process which, beginning with the signing of the Declaration of Principles on 13 September 1993, has already achieved important results. He renews his commitment to support in every possible way their efforts in building a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

The following statement was issued on 14 October 1994 by the Spokesman for the President of the General Assembly (see GA/8756):

"The President of the General Assembly is profoundly delighted to hear the news of the Nobel Peace Prize given to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. He hopes that last year's historic agreement between Israel and the Palestinian leadership would hold its course and lead to the final resolution of the Middle East conflict which has preoccupied the General Assembly for so long.

"He is hopeful that the recognition bestowed upon these three leaders -- who have been recipients of the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize -- will inspire others in the region to work effectively towards resolving the last remaining obstacles to the road to peace."



V. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS BOMB ATTACK AT TEL AVIV


The following statement was made by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on 19 October 1994 (see SG/SM/5447):



VI. SECRETARY-GENERAL REPORTS ON PEACE EFFORTS


In its resolution 48/158 D of 20 December 1993 on the question of Palestine, relating to peace efforts, the General Assembly reaffirmed a number of principles for the achievement of comprehensive peace in the Middle East region and requested the Secretary-General "to continue his efforts with the parties concerned, and in consultation with the Security Council, for the promotion of peace in the region and to submit progress reports on developments in this matter".

In a brief report submitted on 3 November 1994 (A/49/636-S/1994/1240), the Secretary-General reported on his correspondence with the Security Council and the parties concerned, and made the following observations:

"Since the signing by the Government of Israel and the PLO of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (A/48/486-S/26560, annex), the peace process has achieved important results on the road to a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area (A/49/180-S/1994/727), signed at Cairo on 4 May 1994, and the subsequent launching of early empowerment, represent important steps forward in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles. The signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan on 26 October 1994 is a historic achievement that will hopefully generate further momentum in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and encourage progress in the Israeli-Lebanese and Israeli-Syrian tracks of the peace process.

"The United Nations warmly welcomes these developments. During the past year, I have continued to follow the bilateral negotiations between the parties concerned and have maintained closed contacts with them as well as the co-sponsors of the peace process. It is my fervent hope that the discussions between Israel and the PLO will steadily progress through the transitional period, achieving agreement on the interim arrangements and permanent status issues outlined in the Declaration of Principles. Such steps will be important in establishing a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

"Over the past year, the United Nations has significantly enlarged its programmes of economic, social and other assistance to the occupied territories in order to support the implementation of the Declaration of Principles, and to promote peace in the region as a whole. It has also continued to participate actively in the multilateral negotiations on Middle East regional issues. With a view to ensuring effective coordination and intensification of the United Nations assistance, I appointed in June 1994 Ambassador Terje Rod Larsen of Norway as Special Coordinator in the occupied territories. His efforts have focused primarily on Gaza.

"As I have stated on numerous occasions, the United Nations is prepared to undertake any role that would be helpful to the parties in advancing the peace process. The Organization has been involved in the Middle East - through its resolutions, through its peace-keeping operations, through its programmes of economic and social assistance and through the good offices of the Secretary-General - for nearly five decades. It has acquired great experience in the area. For my part, I remain at the disposal of the parties concerned, and will assist them upon request. I will also make every effort to ensure that the United Nations system contributes its utmost in the fields of economic and social development, which will be essential in building peace throughout the region."



VII. SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES
AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN
PEOPLE AND OTHER ARABS OF THE OCCUPIED
TERRITORIES REPORTS ON SITUATION


The twenty-sixth report of the Special Committee (A/49/511) was issued on 18 October 1994 and was transmitted to the General Assembly by the Secretary-General. It followed two periodic reports (A/49/67 and A/49/172) which were transmitted to the Assembly on 4 February and 7 June 1994, respectively. In accordance with established practice, the reports were allocated to the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) of the Assembly, together with a number of related reports.

The reports under the item were summarized as follows in a press release issued at United Nations Headquarters (see GA/SPD/54):

"The annual report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories sets out to give a composite picture of the realities as they affect the human rights of the civilian population there. The 310-page report, which was issued in three parts and covers the period from 27 August 1993 to 26 August 1994, provides information gathered from Israeli and Arab press reports, information received from Governments, organizations and individuals, and oral testimony of persons having first-hand experience of the situation in the occupied territories. It also includes a series of specific recommendations for improving the human rights situation in the occupied territories.

"The Special Committee surveys the general situation in the territories and incidents resulting from the occupation, and lists Palestinians killed by troops or Israeli civilians, those `killed as a result of the occupation', as well as other incidents. It also reviews the administration of justice, including the right to a fair trial, and contains information on the treatment of detainees, annexation and settlement, and on the occupied Syrian Arab Golan.

"On the treatment of civilians, the report surveys alleged incidents of harassment, physical ill-treatment, expulsions, and reported incidents of collective punishment, including houses or rooms demolished or sealed, the imposition of curfews and the sealing-off or closing-off of areas. It reviews the economic and social situation in the territories, settlers' activities affecting the civilian population, and measures affecting the fundamental freedoms of movement, education, religion and expression.

"In its report (A/49/67, A/49/172 and A/49/511), the Special Committee appeals to Israel to consider taking a number of specific actions `in conformity with the spirit animating the peace process'. Among these are recommendations that it establish clear rules of engagement for its security forces that fully respect human rights standards, and apply open-fire regulations strictly in conformity with the principles of necessity and proportionality; exercise utmost restraint in responding to outbreaks of violence and fully investigate all incidents of shooting; and put an immediate end to the activities of undercover unit and, in particular, to extrajudicial and summary executions perpetrated by such units.

"Israel is asked to exercise strict control over any abuses perpetrated by settlers, in particular with regard to their use of arms, and review the policy of arming settlers; prevent acts of violence by settlers and intervene if they are taking place; carry out full and impartial investigations of acts of violence perpetrated by settlers and bring to justice those who are responsible. Israel is also asked to review its policy regarding settlements, halt their expansion; put an end to the ongoing policy of land confiscation; and stop exerting pressure by Arabs in East Jerusalem to sell their houses to members of the Jewish community.

"The Special Committee recommends that Israel enforce the law equitably and that it ensure for the Arab population of the occupied territories all legal safeguards provided for in universally recognized human rights standards. It recommends the prompt, thorough and impartial administration of justice, with penalties for both Israelis and Arabs commensurate with the gravity of offences committed.

"Israel is asked to put an immediate end to interrogation practices amounting to torture and ill-treatment. It calls for the rapid and thorough investigation of those identified as responsible for such practices by independent judicial bodies, as well as their prosecution. It is further asked to review and publish in full the guidelines concerning interrogation procedures so that they are transparent and in keeping with international human rights standards to which Israel has acceded.

"The situation of all Palestinian and other Arab prisoners, especially political detainees or persons having committed non-violent crimes, should be reviewed by Israel and their release expedited, the Special Committee recommends. Israel is asked to refrain from detaining residents of the occupied territories within Israel and to improve conditions of detention in conformity with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

"The Special Committee further recommends that Israel allow persons who were deported or expelled from the occupied territories to return and, where applicable, have their properties restored. It is asked to put an end to all measures of collective punishment that affect adversely the economic and social situation of the population of the territories and hinder their enjoyment of a number of fundamental rights and freedoms --including freedom of movement, education, religion and expression. It is also asked to refrain from the imposition of curfews and closures and the destruction of property, such as the demolition of houses and the uprooting of trees, as well as discriminatory measures concerning the use of water resources.

"Among its other recommendations, the Special Committee calls for the full application, by Israel, of the relevant provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the treatment of civilians in time of war, as well as full compliance with all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Human Rights, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

"The Special Committee recommends that Israeli authorities cooperate fully with representatives of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and respect fully that Agency's privileges and immunities. It also recommends the full cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in order to protect detained persons, in particular by ensuring full access by ICRC representatives to such persons. It is further recommended that Member States support fully the activities of UNRWA and the ICRC in the occupied territories and that the Israeli authorities cooperate fully with the recently appointed United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories.

"Member States are asked to undertake renewed efforts to convince Israel of the need for increased human rights protection through international monitoring of human rights, which should include enabling the Special Committee to perform its function more effectively by allowing it to have access to the occupied territories. Israel is also asked to cooperate fully with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights regarding implementation of human rights advisory assistance programmes in the areas falling under the Interim Self-Government Arrangements."



VIII. COMMISSIONER-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY
FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST REPORTS TO
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY


The Commissioner-General of UNRWA submitted his annual report to the General Assembly (A/49/13). A number of other reports relevant to the same item were submitted by the Secretary-General. The item was allocated to the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) of the General Assembly. The reports were summarized as follows in a press released issued at Headquarters (GA/SPD/42):

"The Commissioner-General states that the historic developments occurring during the year under review had a profound impact on the Agency's work and responsibilities. `With the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, and the anticipated extension of self-rule to the rest of the West Bank, UNRWA entered a new era in its relationship with the Palestinian people.' In addition to maintaining the services it has provided for over 40 years, the Agency would soon begin a process of preparing for eventual hand-over of its installations, services and programmes to the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"In the period under review, the vision of peace was expressed by the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on 13 September 1993, and the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area signed at Cairo on 4 May 1994, the report states. Following a June 1994 decision of the Secretary-General, UNRWA began plans to move its headquarters to the Gaza Strip by the end of 1995, at an estimated cost of the some $22 million. That is in addition to costs involved in relocating certain Vienna-based operational units to Amman.

"The report states that a task force on development of the Gaza Strip and Jericho, of which UNRWA was a member, proposed that while the Agency should preserve and enhance its ongoing programmes and services, new investments should also be made in basic physical and social infrastructure, to improve public services and create jobs. The UNRWA has identified projects valued at some $138 million for immediate implementation.

"A letter of 15 September 1994 from UNRWA's Advisory Commission included in the report, cites a cash shortfall in the Agency's regular and emergency budget for 1994 of some $43 million, at a time when additional demands were being placed on the Agency. It also points out that the Agency ended 1993 with a deficit of $10 million, despite austerity measures of some $17 million.

"The Commission expresses appreciation for the Agency's programmes of assistance for more than 3 million Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, the remainder of the West Bank, and in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It welcomes the developments that have contributed towards transforming the region, including the Paris and Cairo accords signed by the two parties; the early empowerment agreement signed on 29 August 1994; the partial withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area; the arrival of Chairman Arafat; and the setting up of the Palestinian Authority and related administrative structures.

"On 6 October 1993, the Agency launched its Peace Implementation Programme (PIP) to benefit refugees and other needy Palestinians, the report states. Public sector investment by the international community through PIP would contribute to stabilizing socio-economic conditions, especially in the Gaza Strip, where the situation was particularly volatile and critical.

"By 30 June 1994, $46 million in project proposals for the West Bank and $76 million for the Gaza Strip had been developed under PIP, the report states. That enabled the Agency to construct and upgrade schools and health centres; implement projects to improve sewerage systems, solid waste collection and water quality; undertaken extensive shelter rehabilitation for poor refugees; build new women's centres; and expand the revolving loan fund and small business training programmes for the Palestinian private sector.

"On 18 October 1993, UNRWA, the European Commission and the Palestine Council of Health held a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Gaza General Hospital, whose completion was expected by the end of 1995, the report states. On 12 May 1994, the Agency and the PLO's Department of General Education signed a memorandum of understanding to further cooperation and coordination in improving the educational process and upgrading the skills of some 12,000 public-sector teachers.

"The report states that in late May 1994, concurrent with implementation of provisions of the Cairo Agreement, the Government of Israel proposed the establishment of a tripartite committee with representatives of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, to arrive at new arrangements relating to UNRWA operations in the Gaza Strip an Jericho area. With attention focused on developments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Agency has stressed the centrality to the peace process of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. By the end of June, contributions for PIP projects in those countries had totalled $10 million.

"Also in May, the Secretary-General appointed a Special Coordinator in the occupied territories, the report states. The Coordinator's functions include facilitating United Nations efforts in the West Bank and Gaza, representing the United Nations in various bodies and, when possible, leading its delegation to the multilateral working groups of the Middle East peace process, and, as requested, supporting the implementation of the Declaration of Principles.

"Among other developments cited in the report is an August 1993 agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on an arrangements allowing the return to the West Bank and Gaza of more than 400 Palestinians who had been deported to Lebanon in 1992.

"Addressing the ongoing conflicts in the occupied territories, the report states that between the signing of the Declaration of Principles and implementation of the Cairo Agreement, more than 160 Palestinians and 40 Israelis lost their lives. With implementation of that Agreement, clashes virtually ceased in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, although clashes continued in the rest of the West Bank throughout the reporting period.

"On 25 February 1994, the Palestinian people experienced one of the worst episodes in their recent history when a lone Israeli settler opened fire with a machine-gun in the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron, West Bank, killing 29 worshippers and injuring many others. In the hours following the massacre, nine Palestinians were shot and killed in the West Bank and three in the Gaza Strip by Israeli security forces during protests and clashes. By mid-March, 15 more Palestinians from the West Bank and 11 from the Gaza Strip had also been killed in circumstances related to clashes with Israeli security forces.

"The Commissioner-General reports on the Agency's `excellent' relationships with Jordan, which contains about 40 per cent of the total number of refugees registered with UNRWA and the largest Palestine refugee population everywhere. The services provided by the Government to Palestine refugees there were of critical importance. UNRWA's financial constraints had prevented it from expanding programmes to keep pace with population growth. In the areas of education and health, austerity measures had led to a hiring freeze, increasingly crowded classrooms and heavier patient loads for Agency doctors.

"The Agency continued its efforts to meet changes called for by Jordan's education reform policy of 1987, which required that teachers in basic education possess a four-year university-level degree. In September 1993, UNRWA opened its first Educational Sciences Faculty in Amman, where a four-year teaching certificate programme for training new teachers replaced the Agency's two-year programme. The UNRWA received $2.86 million under PIP for projects in Jordan.

"In Lebanon, the ongoing normalization of national life continued to enhance the security and safety of Palestine refugees, the report states. However, violence continued to erupt sporadically in Israeli-controlled south Lebanon and in the Beqa'a region. The Government continued its policy of addressing and the problem of persons displaced by the years of conflict, including facilitating the return to the lawful owners of property occupied by displaced persons. The UNRWA received $3.66 million under PIP for projects in Lebanon.

"In the Syrian Arab Republic, historically close contacts with the Government contributed to the smooth functioning of UNRWA programmes, the planning of new forms of assistance and the relative social and economic stability in refugees' lives, the report states. The UNRWA received $3.1 million under PIP for projects in Syria. The Agency itself advanced funds to enable essential improvements to be made at the Damascus Training Centre, which had not been upgraded since its establishment in 1961.

"By 30 June 1994, more than 3 million Palestine refugees were registered with UNRWA, entitling them to receive a range of education, health, and relief and social services. There were 398,805 children enrolled at UNRWA's 641 primary and preparatory schools and more than 4,500 in its vocational training centres. Refugees had guaranteed access to primary health-care through the Agency's 120 health centres and mother-and-child health-care clinics, 71 dental clinics, as well as 32 specialist clinics for pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, cardiology and ophthalmology. In addition to clinics for treatment of ear, nose and throat and chest diseases, there were 210 special-care clinics treating diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

"The report of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA (document A/49/570) states that UNRWA failed to receive sufficient funding to deliver all parts of its planned programmes in 1993 and expected to be unable to do so again in 1994. The Group is particularly concerned about the negative cumulative effect of austerity measures taken by the Agency, and carried over from year to year, to reduce its chronic budget deficits.

"The report cites the Commissioner-General as saying the Agency would need contributions of some $21 million to avoid running down its operational capital reserves, as well as $22 million to maintain its present standard of services in 1994. Thus, there was a total requirement of $43 million to fund its regular 1994 budget and its budget covering emergency measures in Lebanon and the occupied territories.

"The Group notes that efforts of the Commissioner-General and his staff to raise funds for PIP has succeeded in attracting financial support for UNRWA programmes and projects from some donors greatly surpassing their previous contributions. The Group expresses concern that, despite the Agency's success in raising funds for new and special projects under PIP, there might be insufficient funds forthcoming to finance staffing and recurring costs of some vital programmes being established under PIP.

"The Working Group supports the Commissioner-General's strict policy of giving priority to operational programmes, the report states. It strongly urges all Government to consider increasing their donations to UNRWA and to consider additional contributions in support of ongoing emergency-related and special programmes in Lebanon, as well as present and future phases of PIP, without decreasing or diverting funds from the contributions to the Agency's regular programmes. It also urges them to consider making special additional contributions for construction projects, again without affecting their contributions to the regular programmes.

"The Secretary-General's report on offers by Member States of grants and scholarships for higher education, including vocational training, for Palestine refugees (document A/49/439), states that Japan and Switzerland offered scholarships to Palestine refugee students through UNRWA's university scholarship programme. During the 1993-1994 academic year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded 28 scholarships to Palestinian students under the regional project `Scholarship fund for higher education for students of Arab occupied territories', 17 scholarships for its regular programme and budget, three scholarships under its Participation Programme, and two scholarships under the inter-university cooperation programme, PEACE, funded by UNESCO and the European Union.

"The Secretary-General's report on Palestine refugees in the occupied territory (document A/49/440), states that Israeli authorities continued to demolish and seal refugee shelters in the Gaza Strip and West Bank on punitive grounds. The situation of 87 families categorized as living in hardship conditions remained the same. During the reporting period, no new plots of land in housing projects in the Gaza Strip were allocated by Israeli authorities for refugees living in camps. However, developments were under way for the movement of approximately 70 additional families to Tel-es-Sultan in the near future.

"According to information available to the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Israeli authorities have up to the present allocated approximately 3,914 plots of land in Gaza strip for housing projects. A total of 2,605 plots have been built on by 3,714 refugee families comprising 22,946 persons. Buildings on 236 plots are under construction, 936 plots are vacant and 137 have been built on by non-refugee families. In addition, 3,034 refugee families, consisting of 18,823 persons, have moved into 2,666 completed housing units consisting of 5,893 rooms.

"The Secretary-General's report on the return of populations displaced since 1967 (document A/49/441) sates that the Agency is not involved in any arrangements for the return of refugees nor is it involved in any arrangements for the return of displaced persons who are not registered as refugees. It would not necessarily be aware of the return of any registered refugees who did not request the provision of services. However, the number of displaced registered refugees known by the Agency to have returned to the occupied territories since June 1967 is about 13,200 -- and even those records may be incomplete.

"The Secretary-General's report on the protection of Palestine refugees (document A/49/442) states that the Commissioner-General of UNRWA has continued his efforts, with the Secretary-General, in support of the safety, security and legal and human rights of the Palestine refugees in the occupied territory. Its refugee affairs and legal officers continue to play an important role in helping defuse tensions in situations of potential and actual violence. It also provided help for refugees in coping with day-to-day problems of their life under occupation.

"The Commissioner-General has protested to Israeli authorities against incidents of excessive use of force, collective punishments and other such measures, the report states. However, with the redeployment of the Israeli security forces away from large areas of the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, there had been a consequent decline in violent incidents involving the Israeli security forces and Palestinians there. The `passive protection function' which had been provided by the refugee affairs, officers there was discontinued.

"The Secretary-General's report on the protection of Palestinian students and educational institutions and safeguarding of UNRWA facilities in the occupied territories (document A/49/443) states that, during the reporting period, there were 63 cases of unauthorized Israeli entry into West Bank facilities, and 113 cases at Gaza Strip facilities. There were also 63 cases of injury, though fatalities, among students and trainees at UNRWA educational institutions in the West Bank. The corresponding figures for the Gaza Strip were 1,375 injuries and no fatalities.

"The three UNRWA training centres in the West Bank began the 1993/94 academic year in October 1993 and ended in July 1994, the report states. An average of 24 per cent of academic time was lost owing to general strikes, curfews and closures of the occupied territory. Following the 25 February massacre at Al-Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, the occupied territories were sealed off from Israel and East Jerusalem. The Agency required and obtained permits from the Israeli authorities for students from Gaza attending UNRWA training centres there. However, of 333 such students, 51 did not receive permits to study in the West Bank. A special schedule was arranged for Gaza students at the West Bank training centres to enable them to complete their course requirements.

"In the West Bank, a total of 9 per cent of school time was lost between September 1993 and June 1994, owing primarily to military closures, general strikes and curfews, the report states. In the Gaza Strip, the corresponding amount of school time lost was 10 per cent. The Agency provided students in the West Bank and Gaza with distance education and self-learning materials, but such measures could provide only partial compensation for lost classroom time.

"The Secretary-General's report on revenues derived form Palestine refugee properties (document A/49/488) is issued in response to resolution 48/40 G, in which the Assembly requested that he provide information on his efforts for the protection and administration of Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel, and the establishment of a fund for the receipt of income derived therefrom, on behalf of the rightful owners.

"The report describes his communications to Israel and all other Member States, as well as the quotation form Israel's note verbale of 27 July. It also cites a note verbale of 15 September 1994 from Norway which indicated that Norway was not in possession of any pertinent information relative to the item.

"The Secretary-General's report on University of Jerusalem `Al-Quds' for Palestine refugees (document A/49/505) concerns the Assembly's request that he continue taking all necessary measures to establish such a university. In it, he states that such a task would require the completion of a functional feasibility study requested in earlier Assembly resolutions. He had, therefore, sought the assistance of the Rector of the United Nations University, who made available a highly qualified expert to assist in preparation of the study. The expert was to visit the area and meet with competent Israeli officials.

"In a note verbale of 10 August 1994, the Secretary-General requested that the Government of Israel facilitate the visit of the expert, at a mutually convenient date, the report continues. In a response dated 23 August, the Permanent Representative of Israel stated that Israel had voted consistently against the resolution entitled `University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees' and that its position remained unchanged.

"`It is clear that the sponsors of this resolution seek to exploit the field of higher education for political purposes totally extraneous to genuine academic pursuit', the Permanent Representative states. Accordingly, the proposed visit `would serve no useful purpose'.

"A note verbale dated 27 July 1994 form the Permanent Representative of Israel is quoted in the above-mentioned reports of the Secretary-General. In it, he states that the Assembly's 1993 series of resolutions on UNRWA `ignores the new political reality following the agreement between Israel and the PLO, as well as the bilateral and multilateral negotiations'. Major progress has been achieved in the framework of the peace process. Israel believes that UNRWA can play an important role in promoting the social and economic advancement foreseen in the agreements between Israel and the PLO, and accordingly looks forward to continuing the cooperation and good working relationship with UNRWA.

"The Permanent Representative also states that the Assembly's resolutions on UNRWA should focus directly on issues relating to its humanitarian tasks. They should refrain from adopting resolutions relating to political issues irrelevant to its work and detached form the new reality. The Assembly's resolutions on UNRWA should be consolidated into one resolution, an approach which would also be compatible with the need to rationalize the Assembly's work, he says.

"The report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, contained in a note by the Secretary-General (document A/49/509), states that the Commission has nothing new to report since submission of its report of 7 October 1993 (document A/48/474, annex). That report states that the Commission had been unable to find means of achieving progress in implementing a 1948 Assembly resolution which called for Palestine refugees to be given the choice between peaceful repatriation and compensation. The circumstances that had limited its possibilities of action had remained essentially unchanged."



IX. UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME PUBLISHES REPORT
ON PALESTINIAN WOMEN IN THE WEST BANK
AND THE GAZA STRIP


The following is a press release issued by the Department of Public Information on 4 November 1994 (see DEV/2042):

"Despite dramatic changes in the role of Palestinian women, their participation in decision-making in law, health, education, labour organizations and financial institutions continues to be marginal, says a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). `Unless women have a voice in decision-making bodies, their rights and emerging needs will most likely be overlooked,' the report cautions.

"The 169-page document, `At the Crossroads: Challenges and Choices for Palestinian Women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip', addresses the needs of Palestinian women and identifies concrete steps that could ensure their full participation in nation-building and sustainable social and economic development. The report was compiled by a fact-finding mission fielded by UNDP earlier this year as the organization sharply expanded its 14-year old Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. The report was funded by the Government of Norway. It will be launched in Amman, Jordan, during the Arab Regional Preparatory Conference for the Fourth World Conference on Women on 5 November 1994.

"Women in a traditional Palestinian society had limited or no access to formal resources, services or political power, according to the report. They were restricted to the private world of their homes and to household-related activities, while men earned income outside the home and made important decisions. With the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, a significant part of the Palestinian population was dispersed as refugees, displaced persons, migrant workers and political exiles. Today, an estimated three million Palestinians live abroad, while only two million live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Women became wage earners, fighters, refugee camp workers and heads of household. Currently, women head almost 40 per cent of the households in the West Bank.

"The report identifies three priority areas for action:

"Governance -- women have had no representation in the local municipal administration and village councils -- the only form of self-government in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. `Attempts should be made to raise the consciousness of municipal authority representatives and village councils to introduce the mechanisms for responding to women's needs,' says the report. `The first and foremost policy action regarding the establishment of the Palestinian civil service should be a proclamation that it will be an equal opportunity civil service,' it states.

"Human Resources Development -- human resource development for women both in vocational and training facilities, tends to focus on skills in traditional areas, including sewing, typing and hairdressing. `As economic opportunities expand, it is essential that women have access to diversified training,' says the report.

"Economic Participation -- the economic contribution of Palestinian women is often overlooked because of low economic participation rates and small or no remuneration in the agricultural and service sectors, where women are mostly employed. During reconstruction, `it is essential that systems being put in place take into account women's economic role and ensure that women are included in the economic rejuvenation.' Credit facilities, which play a role in this process, should be accessible to women.

"The report calls for partnership between men and women if Palestinians are to succeed in their quest for independence and prosperity. `History is full of examples demonstrating that, while women actively participate in pre-independence political struggles in various parts of the world, they are often excluded from public life once independence is attained', says the report. It concludes that Palestinian people and their leaders can either seize the opportunity to build a society based on equal and full partnership or risk losing the vital contributions of one half of the population.

"At the Crossroads: Challenges and Choices for Palestinian Women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is published in English by UNDP. It is available free from UNDP, Gender-in-Development, Room: DC1-2032, One United Nations Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017, Tel. (212) 906-5091."



X. EXCERPTS FROM THE DECLARATION OF CASABLANCA ADOPTED AT THE MIDDLE EAST
AND NORTH AFRICA ECONOMIC SUMMIT HELD AT CASABLANCA, MOROCCO,
FROM 30 OCTOBER TO 1 NOVEMBER 1994


At the Middle East/North Africa Summit held at Casablanca, Morocco, from 30 October to 1 November 1994, which was attended by heads of State, including United States' President Clinton and Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin, the representatives of 61 countries and 1,114 business leaders from all regions of the world, a Declaration was adopted. Below are excerpts from the text (see A/49/645):

"The Summit commended the historic political transformation of the region as a consequence of significant steps towards just, lasting and comprehensive peace, based on United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), a process that began with the 1979 treaty between Egypt and Israel and was expanded dramatically by the Madrid peace conference three years ago. That process has borne fruit, and the recent signing of the treaty of peace between Israel and Jordan has given a new dimension to the process. The decisions of Morocco and Tunisia to establish, respectively, liaison offices and liaison channels with Israel constitutes another new positive development. These accomplishments and the next stages of accelerated movement towards a comprehensive peace in the region, including the Syrian Arab Republic and Lebanon, need to be powerfully reinforced by solid economic growth and palpable improvement of the life and security of the people of this region. The Summit expressed a strong hope that they will be soon able to join the regional economic effort.

"In this connection, the participants noted that the urgent need for economic development on the West Bank and Gaza Strip requires special attention from the international community, both public and private, in order to support the Israeli-Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Declaration of Principles and subsequent implementing agreements to enable the Palestinian people to participate on equal bases in regional development and cooperation. They stressed the equal importance of moving ahead on Jordanian-Israeli projects as well as on cooperative projects between Israel and Jordan in order to advance the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty.

"The participants recognized the economic potential of the Middle East and North Africa and explored how best to accelerate the development of the region and overcome, as soon as possible, obstacles, including boycotts and all barriers to trade and investment. All agreed that there is a need to promote increased investment inside and outside the region. They noted that such investment requires free movement of goods, capital and labour across the borders in accordance with market forces, technical cooperation based on mutual interest, openness to the international economy and appropriate institutions to promote economic interaction. They also noted that the free flow of ideas and increased dialogue, especially among the business communities in the region, will strengthen economic activity. In this context, the participants noted favourably the decision of the Gulf Cooperation Council regarding the lifting of the secondary and tertiary aspects of the boycott of Israel.

"Based on the agreements between Israel and the PLO, it is important that the borders of the Palestinian territories be kept open for labour, tourism and trade to allow the Palestinian authority, in partnership with its neighbours, the opportunity to build a viable economy in peace."



XI. INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS CONDEMNS
INDISCRIMINATE ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS IN ISRAEL


The following is a press release issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 19 October 1994 (see press release No. 1789):



XII. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS: ACTIVITIES AND INFORMATION


1. The Other Front, a weekly bulletin on developments in Israeli society, is available from P.O. Box 19543, Jerusalem. Issue No. 291 of 4 October 1994 includes articles on the Golan Heights and Israeli politics, non-governmental organization actions in support of Mordechai Vanunu, and Jerusalem. Issue No. 292 of 11 October includes articles on Israel and Palestinian elections and Israeli NGO activities. Issue No. 294 of 26 October 1994 includes articles on the Tel Aviv bombing and peace groups. Issue No. 295 of 1 November 1994 includes articles by Ariel Sharon and Meron Benvenisti on recent developments and the Israel/Jordan treaty.

2. Israel and Palestine Political Report: address - IJPU, Boite Postale 44, 75462 Paris CEDEX 10, France. (Fax 331 48 00 9645). Issue No. 189 of September/October 1994 includes articles on the Nobel Peace prize, the Israeli-Jordanian alliance, and Noam Chomsky on democracy. Issue No. 188 of June/July 1994 includes articles of information and analysis on the Gaza-Jericho agreement and subsequent developments.

3. Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories, a bimonthly publication of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, is available from 555 13th Street, NW,
Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004-1109 (Fax 202 637 5910). The September issue includes articles on the Israeli Government's and settlers' policies, and on the Gaza settlers since the beginning of Palestinian self-rule. The November issue includes an excerpt from the hearing of the Europe and Middle East Subcommittee of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as articles on United States policy and the continued expansion of settlements.

4. SAMED: Palestinian Prison Voices, is available from P.O. Box 19543, Jerusalem (Fax 972 295 6468). The September/October issue includes articles on Yasser Arafat's letter to Palestinian political prisoners, Jericho prisoners, Jericho and Gaza under Palestinian autonomy, plans to unseal prisoners' homes, and prison visits.

5. April 17 Bulletin, a quarterly publication which focuses on Palestinian political prisoners,is available from the Alternative Information Centre, P.O. Box 31417, Jerusalem (Fax 972 2 253151). The issue of 8 August - 1 November 1994 includes a summary of events concerning Palestinian political prisoners from September 1993 to August 1994. It includes information on sick and elderly prisoners, prisoner release, women political prisoners, solidarity activities, ongoing arrests, prisoner statistics, torture in Israeli prisons, administrative detention, and conditions inside prisons.

6. Residency Rights in the Territories Administered by the Palestinian National Authority of 1 November 1994 was prepared by the Alternative Information Centre, P.O. Box 31417, Jerusalem (Fax 972 2 253 151). The report includes information on the new framework created by the Israeli-PLO Agreements, the Palestinian Liaison Committee for Civil Affairs (PLCCA) procedures regarding residency rights, and additional problems for human rights work.

7. The News From Within, a newsletter of the Alternative Information Centre, P.O. Box 31417, Jerusalem (Fax 972 2 253151). Issue No. 11 of November 1994 includes articles on Palestinian elections; views by women on the World Bank report on Palestinian development; analyses of developments since the Declaration of Principles; and an article on discrimination against Israeli Arabs by the criminal law enforcement systems.

8. The Other Israel, a newsletter of the Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, is available from P.O. Box 2542, Holon, Israel 58125. Issue No. 64 of November-December 1994 includes an overview of the ongoing peace process, including other political developments and violent incidents. It also contains summary reports of Arab and Jewish non-governmental organization activities, including the peace process, Orient House, the situation in East Jerusalem, women, and Israeli Defence Force deserters.

9. Struggle, A Newsletter on Israeli Democracy, is available from Derech Mezzada St. 258/7, Beer-Sheva, 84755, Israel. Issue No. 10 of October 1994 includes an article by the editors entitled "A Vision for Peace between Israel and its Neighbours" and a commentary on the peace process and United States foreign policy by Noam Chomsky.

10. Middle East International, a biweekly publication, is available from P.O. Box 53365, Temple Heights Station, Washington, D.C. 20009, United States. Issue No. 485 of 7 October 1994 includes articles on the Cairo talks, the Palestinian elections, United States foreign policy and the United Nations role. Issue No. 487 of 4 November 1994 includes articles on United States President Clinton's Middle East tour, Jordan-Israel treaty, economic summit at Casablanca, and Israeli settlements. Issue No. 488 of 18 November 1994 includes articles on Israel's "deterrent capacity", the Hebron mosque reopening, Casablanca economic summit, Israeli and Palestinian fundamentalists, and Jordanian-Palestinian relations.

11. Article 74, is a publication by the Alternative Information Centre, Project for Palestinian Residency and Family Reunification, P.O. Box 31417, Jerusalem (Fax 972 2 253 151). Issue No. 10 of September 1994 focuses on commentaries on the Declaration of Principles one year later, from the point of view of the Palestinian refugees, and residency issues.

12. Liaison News, newsletter of the NGO-EC Liaison Committee, is available from Liaison Committee of Development Non-governmental Organizations to the European Community, Square Ambiorix 10, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium (Fax: 32 2 732 1934). The September issue contains a brief report on a meeting between the NGO Development Finance Working Group and Mr. Gavin Evans, European Community administrator for financial assistance to the occupied territories. European Community funding policies and the financial difficulties experienced by NGOs active on the ground during the transition period were discussed.

13. Al-Haq, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, has published the following studies and which are available from P.O. Box 1413, Ramallah, West Bank (Fax 972 2 995194):

(a) "The Applicability of Human Rights Law to Occupied Territories: The Case of the Occupied Palestinian Territories" (1994);

(b) "Legal Consequences of the Demolition of Houses by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip" (1994);

(c) "The human rights of persons with disabilities".

Al Haq also issued press releases on the bombing in Tel Aviv, the clashes in Gaza, a house demolition in Qalqilya, and the removal of Sha'wan Jabirin's administrative detention order.



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