Question of Palestine home
23 August 1989
Item 77 of the provisional agenda*
UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY
FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST
University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees
Report of the Secretary-General
1. The present report is submitted in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 43/57 J of 6 December 1988, the operative part of which reads as follows:
The General Assembly
". . .
the need for strengthening the educational system in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 5 June 1967, including Jerusalem, and specifically the need for the establishment of the proposed university;
the Secretary-General to continue to take the necessary measures for establishing the University of Jerusalem 'Al-Quds', in accordance with General Assembly resolution 35/13 B of 3 November 1980, giving due consideration to the recommendations consistent with the provisions of that resolution;
Calls once more upon
Israel, the occupying Power, to co-operate in the implementation of the present resolution and to remove the hindrances that it has put in the way of establishing the University of Jerusalem 'Al-Quds';
the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its forty-fourth session on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution."
2. It will be recalled that the General Assembly first considered the establishment of the proposed university at its thirty-fifth session. At that session it adopted, on 3 November 1980, resolution 35/13 B in which it requested the Secretary-General, in co-ordination with the Council of the United Nations University, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), "to study ways and means of establishing at Jerusalem a university of arts and sciences to cater to the needs of Palestine refugees in the area, under the aegis of the United Nations" (resolution 35/13 B, para. 5).
3. Since then, the General Assembly has adopted eight further resolutions on the subject (36/146 G of 16 December 1981, 37/120 C of 16 December 1982, 38/83 K of 15 December 1983, 39/99 K of 14 December 1984, 40/165 K of 16 December 1985, 41/69 K of 3 December 1986, 42/69 K of 2 December 1987 and 43/57 J of 6 December 1988) and the Secretary-General has submitted seven reports (A/37/599, A/38/386, A/39/528, A/40/543, A/41/457, A/42/309 and A/43/408 ) on the steps he has taken in pursuance of those resolutions, including his efforts to prepare the functional feasibility study on establishing the proposed university that was first requested by the Assembly in its resolution 36/146 G. The position of the Government of Israel in regard to the establishment of the university is also set out in those reports.
4. As the Secretary-General has previously indicated,
he believes that in order to comply with the request addressed to him by the General Assembly, it will be necessary to complete the functional feasibility study initiated in pursuance of previous Assembly resolution. To that end, after Assembly resolution 44/57 J was adopted, the Secretary-General again sought the assistance of the Rector of the United Nations University, who at his request made available a highly qualified expert to assist in the preparation of the study. The expert was to visit the area and meet with the competent Israel officials, bearing in mind that Israel exercises effective authority in the area concerned.
5. In a note verbale addressed to the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations on 15 May 1989, the Secretary-General, with reference to the request addressed to him by the General Assembly, requested that the Government of Israel facilitate the visit of the expert, which would take place at a mutually convenient date. Recalling the position taken by the Government of Israel concerning the proposed university, as well as the clarifications already given by the Secretariat to the questions raised by the Israeli authorities
the Secretary-General expressed the opinion that such questions could best be discussed on the occasion of the visit of the United Nations expert.
6. On 6 July 1989, the Acting Permanent Representative of Israel sent the following reply to the Secretary-General:
"The position of the Government of Israel on this subject was clarified in a statement by the Representative of Israel to the Special Political Committee on 15 December 1983 (A/38/PV.98), in a letter of the Permanent Representative of Israel dated 22 May 1984 to then Under-Secretary-General Mr. Brian Urquhart
/ and in successive notes verbale of the Permanent Representative of Israel to the Secretary-General, the last of which was dated 24 April 1988.
"The Government of Israel has voted consistently against this resolution for reasons outlined in the aforementioned statement and documents, and its position remains unchanged. It is clear that the sponsors of resolution 42/57 J seek to exploit the field of higher education in order to politicize issues totally extraneous to genuine academic pursuits. Accordingly, the Government of Israel is unable to assist in taking this matter further."
7. In view of the position taken by the Government of Israel, it has not been possible to complete the functional feasibility study on the proposed university at Jerusalem as planned.
1/ See A/41/457, para. 4.
/ See A/36/593, annex I.
/ See A/39/528, para. 11.
See A/40/543, para. 10, A/41/457, para. 6, A/42/309, para. 6 and A/43/408, para. 6.