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Source:
31 December 1996
YEARBOOK
OF THE
UNITED NATIONS
1996


Volume 50

Department of Public Information
United Nations, New York


...

Middle East


In 1996, the United Nations continued to support efforts to keep the peace process on track and remained involved in the Middle East in a number of ways—through its peacekeeping operations and the good offices of the Secretary-General, as well as through significantly expanded programmes of economic, social and other forms of assistance. Promising developments, such as the withdrawal of Israeli troops from some West Bank cities, paved the way for the first general Palestinian elections in January. There were some setbacks, as well, including those linked to the delayed redeployment of Israeli troops from the city of Hebron, plans to expand Israeli settlements, seizure of Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinian homes.

The General Assembly in December stressed that the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict would constitute a significant contribution to strengthening international peace and security. It stressed the need to achieve rapid progress on all tracks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations within the peace process. The Assembly reaffirmed the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, which it again acknowledged as the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Negotiations on a permanent status for the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel were formally launched in May, raising hopes that tangible results would soon follow. Among the outstanding "final status" issues to be resolved was the status of Jerusalem, which again drew international attention in the wake of protests against Israel's decision to open an old tunnel under the Al-Aqsa Mosque, connecting sacred and archaeologically important sites in the Holy City. Bloody confrontations ensued, during which the Israeli army and Palestinian police faced each other for the first time, and fighting erupted in other cities of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in a large number of casualties on both sides. After the Security Council called for immediate cessation and reversal of acts that had aggravated the situation, with negative implications for the peace process, Israel and the Palestinian side decided in October to resume negotiations aimed at resolving outstanding issues and implementing the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements.

The Secretary-General attended a "Summit of Peacemakers" in March, co-chaired by the Presidents of Egypt and the United States and convoked to confront the acts of violence that threatened the Middle East peace process.

To redress the difficult economic situation of the Palestinians, the UN system responded with increased assistance, coordinated by the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories. At a Ministerial Conference on Economic Assistance to the Palestinian People, held in January, donors pledged more than $800 million for investment projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

UN initiatives were largely geared towards cremating employment opportunities for Palestinians, developing infrastructure, expanding and encouraging the private sector, and assisting the young Palestinian Authority in building its institutions and in providing education and health services.

In 1996, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (Committee on Palestinian Rights) continued to mobilize international support for the Palestinians. The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reported to the General Assembly on the situations in the Golan Heights, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Despite serious financial problems, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) continued to provide a wide-ranging programme of education, health and relief services to more than 3.3 million Palestinian refugees living both in and outside camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as in Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The situation in southern Lebanon remained both tense and volatile, with hostilities between Israel and armed elements opposing Israeli occupation intensifying in early 1996. The Security Council and the General Assembly called for an immediate cessation of those hostilities. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) pursued its efforts to limit the conflict and protect inhabitants from its consequences. The
Mandates of UNIFIL and of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights were extended, and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization UNTSO, headquartered in Jerusalem, continued to assist both peacekeeping operations in their tasks.

On 16 December; by decision 51/433, the General Assembly deferred consideration of the agenda item entitled "Armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and international peace and security" and included it in the provisional agenda of its fifty-second (1997) session. The item had been inscribed yearly on the Assembly's agenda since 1981, following the bombing by Israel of a nuclear research centre near Baghdad (YUN 1981, p. 275).
Peace process


Overall situation

In a November report [A/51/678-V 1996/953], the Secretary-General observed that the Middle East peace process had been challenged during the year by a series of tragic incidents, by the urgency of translating signed agreements into peace and security for all, and by the need to find solutions to outstanding issues acceptable to the parties.

In accordance with the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (YUN 1995 p. 626), Israeli troops were withdrawn from the major West Bank cities, with the exception of Hebron, paving the way for the holding of the first Palestinian general elections in January 1996. Negotiations on a permanent status were formally launched in May subsequent terrorist acts had had a negative effect on the peace talks, while the prolonged closure of the occupied territories imposed by Israel to prevent further terrorist activities had severely affected the Palestinian economy and resulted in an increased level of unemployment, the Secretary-General stated.

The absence of progress in the peace process in the second half of 1996 had caused frustration and disappointment, he continued, leading to events that threatened to unravel the negotiating process and fomented a crisis of confidence between its parties—the Israelis and the Palestinians. Following Security Council action, the Prime Minister of Israel and the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) took the reassuring decision in October to resume negotiations.

From the outset, the Secretary-General said, it had been expected that the road to peace would not be easy. However, the only alternative to the negotiation process was a return to instability, endemic violence, regional tensions and uncertain economic prospects. All participants, therefore, had a duty to listen to reason and to show determination and flexibility to carry out negotiations in earnest, in accordance with the principles agreed at the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991 [YUN 1991, p. 221] and other agreements already reached, until a permanent settlement was achieved on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242(1967) [YUN 1967, p. 257) and 338(1973) [YUN 1973, p. 213]. It was also clear that for the Middle East peace process to produce truly comprehensive and lasting results, progress had to be made on the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese tracks of negotiation.

For its part, the United Nations would continue to support the peace process and to respond in an integrated way to the economic, social and other needs of the populations of the West Bank and Gaza. The coordinated approach to delivery of assistance to the Palestinians, implemented by the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (see below), had proved effective, particularly in times of crisis. However, economic and social conditions in the West Bank and Gaza remained dire, and it was to be hoped that ways could be found to improve them in the near future, including by eventually lifting the order for closure of the territory.

In response to the Secretary-General's request for their views, Security Council members voiced grave concern about the developments, and stressed the necessity for the parties to pursue negotiations and to fulfil their obligations under the agreements achieved. They also expressed their determination to provide the needed backing to the Middle East peace process, fully supporting those agreements as well as their timely implementation.

Having sought also the positions of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the PLO, the Secretary-General reported that he had received two replies.

The PLO stated there had been a further deterioration in both the situation on the ground and the status of the peace process since the new Israeli Government of Prime Minister Netanyahu had taken office in May. The PLO charged that the Government had adopted guidelines contradictory to the 1993 Declaration of Principles [YUN 1993, p. 521] and the September 1995 Interim Agreement [YUN 1995, p. 626] the so-called Oslo agreements—and had persisted in violating those accords, through the continued siege of the Palestinian territory and intentional delays in redeployment from Hebron, as well as its ongoing attempts to create new facts with regard to occupied East Jerusalem. Israel, the PLO charged, also had resumed its colonial settlement activities in the occupied territory, which could reverse the peace process as a whole. The Palestinian side believed that the international community, represented by the General Assembly, should uphold the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and international humanitarian law, and the validity of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

In its reply, Egypt fully supported principles set out by the Assembly in a 1995 resolution [YUN 1995, p. 646, GA res. 50/84] and said it was working tirelessly towards a final settlement. Israel, however, had adopted policies which clearly contradicted those principles, by delaying agreed troop withdrawal and redeployment; attempting to establish new facts that would change the situation on the ground in occupied East Jerusalem; resuming settlement activities in the occupied territories; and delaying negotiations on issues of a final settlement, Egypt declared.

Palestinian elections

The 1995 Interim Agreement had set the stage for free elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on 20 January 1996, during which Palestinians elected 88 members arid a President for a legislative council entrusted with drawing up a constitution for the work of the Palestinian Authority, as well as establishing the necessary legislation. The elections were held under fair conditions, according to international observers, with the participation of around 1 million voters. The Palestinian Council was inaugurated on 7 March, and, on 9 May, President Yasser Arafat announced the appointment of a 21-member Executive Authority of the Council.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION


After consultations of the Security Council held on 22 January, the President of the Council issued the following statement [S/PRST/1996/3] on behalf of the members of the Council:

The members of the Security Council warmly welcome the successful holding of the Palestinian elections on 20 January 1996, which constitutes a major step forward in the Middle East peace process. The members of the Council congratulate the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people on this achievement, which reflects credit on all concerned. The members of the Council note with satisfaction the conclusion of the international observers that the elections were an accurate reflection of the wishes of the Palestinian electorate.

The members of the Security Council consider that the holding of the elections marks a significant step towards the fulfilment of the Declaration of Principles, signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington on 13 September 1993. The members of the Council reiterate their full support for the Middle East peace process.

Terrorist acts

On 25 February, one day after Israel had lifted its closure order for the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the military wing of the fundamentalist organization Hamas claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in downtown Jerusalem and in the Israeli town of Ashkelon. Israel on 26 February reported [A/51/70-S/1996/135] that the explosion in Jerusalem killed 24 Israelis and injured another 51. During the Ashkelon attack, one Israeli was killed and 36 were wounded. Those crimes, Israel stated, were intended not only to kill Israelis, but to derail the peace process.

On 3 March, a member of Hamas detonated a bomb on a commuter bus in downtown Jerusalem, killing 18 Israelis and injuring an additional 7. On 4 March, a suicide bomber struck outside a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, leaving 12 Israelis killed and 35 injured. According to Israel [A/51/74-S/1996/193], the terrorists were trying to continue to prevent the dawn of a new day of hope for the Middle East.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION

After consultations of the Security Council on 4 March, the President of the Council issued the following statement [S/PRST/1996/10] on behalf of the Council:

The members of the Security Council condemn the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem on 3 March and in Tel Aviv on 4 March. They extend their sympathy and deepest condolences to the Government and people of Israel and to the families of the victims. They wish a speedy recovery of the wounded.

These vile acts had the clear purpose of trying to undermine Middle East peace efforts through such terror. The members of the Security Council reiterate their support for the peace process and call 011 the parties to consolidate it and to increase their cooperation in curbing violence and combating such terrorism.

Summit of Peacemakers

By a statement of 5 March, the Secretary-General called on the international community to unite in action against what he termed despicable acts of violence. On 13 March, he attended the Summit of Peacemakers in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, convoked to confront the acts of violence that threatened the Middle East peace process. The summit was attended by nine heads of Stale and nine heads of Government, among them Co-Chairmen Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and United States President William J. Clinton, as well as one Crown Prince, 11 deputy prime ministers, and special envoys and ministers for foreign affairs.

In their statement [A/51/91 -S/1996/2381, transmitted to the General Assembly and the Security Council on 1 April, the Co-Chairmen said the meeting, which had taken place at a Time when the peace process was confronting serious threats, had three fundamental objectives: to enhance the peace process, to promote security and to combat terror. Accordingly, summit participants expressed their full support for the Middle East peace process and their determination that it continue in order to accomplish a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region. They affirmed their determination to promote security and stability and to prevent the enemies of peace from achieving their ultimate objective of destroying the real opportunity for peace in the Middle East. They also reemphasized their strong condemnation of all acts of terror in all its abhorrent forms, whatever its motivation and whoever its perpetrator, including recent terrorist attacks in Israel, reaffirming their intention to stand staunchly against all such acts and urging all Governments to join them in that condemnation and opposition.

The participants decided to support the Israeli-Palestinian agreements and the continuation of the negotiating process, and to reinforce it politically and economically; to enhance the security situation for both sides, with special attention to the pressing economic needs of the Palestinians; to support the continuation of the negotiating process in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement; to work together to promote security and stability in the region by developing effective and practical means of cooperation and further assistance; to promote coordination of efforts to stop acts of terror on bilateral, regional and international levels, ensuring that instigators of such acts were brought to justice, supporting efforts by all parties to prevent their territories from being used for terrorist purposes and preventing terrorist organizations from engaging in recruitment, supplying arms or fund-raising; to exert maximum efforts to identify and determine the sources of financing for those groups and to cooperate in cutting them off, and by providing training, equipment and other forms of support to those taking steps against groups using violence and terror to undermine peace, security or stability; and to form a working group, open to all summit participants, to prepare recommendations on how best to implement the decisions confined in the statement, and to report to the participants within 30 days.

(For further details on UN action against terrorism, see PART FOUR, Chapter III.)

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION


On 4 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/29.

The Middle East peace process


The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 50/21 of 4 December 1995,
Stressing that the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict will constitute a significant contribution to strengthening international peace and security,

Recalling the convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East at Madrid on 30 October 1991 on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242(1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338(1973) of 22 October 1973 and the subsequent bilateral negotiations as well as the meetings of the multilateral working groups, and noting with satisfaction the broad international support for the peace process,

Noting the continuing positive participation of the United Nations as a full extraregional participant in the work of the multilateral working groups,

Bearing in mind the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993 and the subsequent Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area signed by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization at Cairo on 4 May 1994, their 29 August 1994 Agreement on the Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities, the Protocol of Further Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization at Cairo on 27 August 1995 and the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., on 28 September 1995,
Also bearing in mind the Agreement between Israel and Jordan on the Common Agenda, signed in Washington, D.C., on 14 September 1993, the Washington Declaration signed by Jordan and Israel on 25 July 1994 and the Treaty of Peace between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan of 26 October 1994,
Welcoming the Declaration of the Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit held at Casablanca from 30 October to 1 November 1994, the Declaration of the Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit held at Amman from 29 to 31 October 1995 and the Middle East/North Africa Economic Conference held at Cairo from 12 to 14 November 1996,

Welcoming also the declared commitment of tree parties concerned to overcome remaining difficulties and proceed with negotiations,
1. Welcomes the peace process started at Madrid, and supports the subsequent bilateral negotiations;
2. Stresses the importance of, and need for, achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
3. Expresses its full support for all the achievements of the peace process thus far, which constitute important steps in achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
4. Urges all parties to fulfil their obligations and to implement the agreements already reached;
5. Calls for the immediate acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis;
6. Stresses the need to achieve rapid progress on all (sacks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations within the peace process.

7. Welcomes the results of the Conference to Support Middle East Peace, convened in Washington, D.C., on 1 October 1993, including the establishment of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, and the subsequent work of the World Bank Consultative Group, welcomes also the appointment by the Secretary-General of the "United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories", and urges Member States to expedite economic, financial and technical assistance to the Palestinian people during the interim period;

8. Calls upon all Member States to extend economic, financial and technical assistance to parties in the region and to render support for the peace process;

9. Considers that an active United Nations role in the Middle East peace process and in assisting in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles can make a positive contribution;

10. Encourages regional development and cooperation in areas where work has begun within the frame-work of the Madrid Conference.

General Assembly resolution 51/29 4 December 1996

Meeting 72 159-3-2 (recorded vote)
37-nation draft (A/51/L.40 & Add.1); agenda item 33. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 70-72.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia. Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica. Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama. Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia. Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo. Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Iran, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic.
Abstaining: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Sudan.

The Assembly, in resolution 51/26, emphasized the importance of the United Nations playing a more active and expanded role in the current peace process and in implementation of the Declaration of Principles.
In explanation of vote on resolution 51/29, Israel welcomed the adoption of the "positive resolution" which, it said, expressed the support of the international community for the ongoing peace process. It called once again on its neighbours to renew negotiations without preconditions and on those States of the region that had not participated in the multilateral talks to do so without further hesitation. It had hoped that the resolution would explicitly condemn terrorism in all its forms; it also believed that the process of democratization could assist the progress towards peace.

The representative of Palestine said the voting reiterated the international community's commitment to the conclusion of a just settlement of the Palestinian question and to the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The text was anchored in the principle of the continuing United Nations responsibility for the question of Palestine until a settlement was reached. The international community had sent a clear and correct message and he hoped that all parties would understand its content and work accordingly.

Speaking on behalf of the Arab States which had voted in favour, Egypt noted that the text did not include reference to Security Council resolution 425(1978) [YUN 1978, p. 3121, the central pillar of the negotiations between Israel and Lebanon. Further, it believed that the difficult circumstances and dangerous daily developments on the ground were caused by Israel in order to coopt and derail the peace process, a fact which should have been reflected. Also, the text lacked any reference to the dangerous and destructive impact of Israel's decision to resume building settlements in the occupied territories, which could completely undermine the whole peace process; thus the votes for the text should not be interpreted as acceptance of the status quo.

In the view of the United States, the resolution clearly endorsed the parties' efforts to keep moving forward in their mutual quest for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, and was an acknowledgement that their commitments deserved the Assembly s generous, unbiased and unreserved support and encouragement. The text highlighted the positive role the United Nations had to play in the peace process and contributed significantly to continuing the momentum developed in the five years since the Madrid Conference.

Among States voting against the text, Lebanon said the resolution's sponsors had admitted that no progress had been made in the Middle East peace process, yet ignored that that process was threatened as a result of Israeli intransigence. They also did not take into consideration the need to implement resolution 425(1978) in order to end the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and the violence there. Lebanon repeated its objection to synchronizing the bilateral and multilateral negotiations, as, in its view, the latter would not bear fruit as long as Israel remained in the occupied territories.

The Syrian Arab Republic, which also voted against the text, stated that it could not welcome a peace process which was not based on the principles of international legality and of land for peace. The text should have referred to resolution 425(1978) and reflected the status quo of the peace process and the obstacles raised by Israel. An urgent message should have been sent to Israel that its current positions were causing the freeze in that process. The adoption of a routine text did not reflect recent developments and was not going to break the current deadlock; it was extremely important that Israel be urged to resume negotiations on the Lebanese and Syrian tracks since a just and lasting peace could not be achieved without them.

Iran, which also voted against the resolution, expressed support for the people of Lebanon who were fighting the occupation by Israel, thus exerting legitimate rights. By no means could they be labelled terrorists, it said.


Jerusalem

Questions centring on Jerusalem were considered a "final-status" negotiation issue [YUN 1995, pp. 631-632] in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and the status of the Holy City continued to be a focal point of United Nations concern in 1996. The opening by Israel in September of an old entrance to the Hasmonean tunnel connecting sacred and archaeologically significant sites under the western wall of the AI-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem and the shooting of Palestinians demonstrating against that action led to wide-spread protest and calls for Security Council action. The Council, on 28 September, called for the immediate cessation and reversal of all acts that had aggravated the situation and that had negative implications for the Middle East peace process, for the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians to be ensured, and for the immediate resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process and the timely implementation of the agreements reached.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION

At a meeting on 27 September, requested by Saudi Arabia in its capacity as Chairman of the Arab Group [S/1996/790], the Security Council considered action taken by Israel to open a tunnel entrance under the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the shooting of Palestinian demonstrators. Saudi Arabia said the Arab Group strongly condemned the assault and Israel's action, and affirmed the Arab character of Jerusalem and its special significance for the Arab and Islamic worlds. Saudi Arabia requested that the Council take the necessary measures regarding the situation, including the closing of the tunnel.

The convening of the Council was supported by Egypt in a letter of 26 September [S/1996/792] The Council also had before it several other letters, from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, from Israel, and from the Chairman of the Committee on Palestinian Rights, pertaining to the situation in the occupied territories and in Jerusalem [A/51/396-S/1996/772, A/51/400-S/1996/779, A/51/407-S/1996/786, A/51/411.S/1996/791, A/51/416-S/1996/793, A/51/418-S/1996/795].

Thirty-two States—Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen—were invited under Council provisional rule 37 to participate in the debate. Also invited was the head of the observer delegation of Palestine and the head of the Political Department of the PLO, in accordance with the Council's provisional rules of procedure and previous practice.

Opening the debate, the Observer from Palestine stated that Palestinians in the occupied territories had been brutally assaulted by the Israeli army and police, which were using armoured vehicles and helicopters, resulting in the deaths of over 86 persons and the injury of more than a thousand; it would seem that those measures had been planned in advance to undermine the achievements of the political process on the Palestinian track and to send a warning concerning the other peace tracks. Following the declaration of its political programme, the new Israeli Government had taken many provocative actions, the Observer declared, including resumption and expansion of settlement activities, while restricting housing development in Arab neighbour-hoods; the closing of Palestinian educational and cultural institutions; and isolation of Jerusalem from other Palestinian territories, emphasizing the preservation of a united Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel under total Israeli sovereignty.

The economic siege against the Palestinians in the occupied territories had intensified existing psychological pressure and aggravated living conditions, with unemployment reaching 56 per cent. In addition, 4,500 Palestinian prisoners continued to languish in Israeli jails, and Israel refused to allow the return of displaced Palestinians. The Israeli Government's slogan, "Peace for the sake of peace", meant emptying the negotiations of their political content, denying international legality and deliberately ignoring the land-for-peace formula and the political provisions contained in the United States initiative. The Prime Minister had called for negotiations without preconditions, without any principles or guidelines to govern them; that in itself was enough to create a vicious circle of events and meant nothing other than an attempt to kill time. The painful events that took place in the occupied territories sprang from the accumulation of simmering tensions, and Israel alone bore full responsibility for them; as soon as Israel announced the opening of the tunnel, the spark of conflagration was touched off.

Concluding, the Observer emphasized the Palestinian side's commitment to the underpinnings of the peace process, which called for Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem. He reiterated the desire for the establishment of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that would ensure legitimate Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination, the establishment of an independent Palestinian State and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland. Negotiations should be started on the final-status issues, including the central points of Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements, the return of refugees and the question of voters.

Israel refuted what it called distortions of fact regarding the events of the last days which, it said, had cast a dark cloud over the entire peace process; no matter what claims might be held against Israel, they in no way justified the incitement to violence and the use of live weapons, especially by those who had been empowered by the agreements to ensure law and order. The atmosphere of escalation, threats and calls for armed struggle would not move Israel from the fundamental principles guiding its policy: the pursuit of peace while ensuring national and personal security for its citizens; its desire for peace was enshrined in the declared policy guidelines of the Government, which was committed to the agreements signed by its predecessor.

From the inception of the new Government, Israel had been subjected to calls for the normalization process to be halted and threats of a return to the intifadah if it did not commit itself in advance to the outcome of the negotiations with the Palestinians; it had been threatened that if the demands of the other side were not met in their entirety, it would face armed struggle.

While the opening of the western wall tunnel was officially the reason for convening the Council, it was merely a pretence and yet another attempt to dictate to and pressurize Israel as a means of achieving political goals, and to predetermine the outcome of the negotiations. The 2,500-year-old tunnel, which in ancient times had been used as a water system for Jerusalem, remained a symbol for the city's unique and eternal character. It held no political or religious significance whatsoever, and attributing a religious nature to the issue was manipulative and baseless, designed purely to arouse emotions. Israel's sole intention in opening the exit of the tunnel was to provide greater comfort and safety to the many visitors—Jews, Christians and Muslims—and the many tourists and pilgrims. The supreme Muslim religious authority in Jerusalem, the Waqf, had been informed in advance of the intention to open the tunnel and great pains were taken to ensure that the opening neither damaged any archaeological or religious sites nor endangered any structures in the Old City, Islamic or otherwise. The tunnel did not run beneath the Temple Mount, nor did it affect the Al-Aqsa Mosque or its foundations, as had been claimed.

Israel said the President of the Palestinian Authority had to exert the authority vested in him to exercise his restraining influence and issue unequivocal instructions to his forces and to the residents of the autonomous areas to refrain from violence lest there be any further deterioration. Israel remained committed to pursuing peace through honouring agreements, which was an integral element of peace and of the efforts required to achieve it. During the ongoing contacts of the new Government with Yasser Arafat, the President of the Palestinian Authority, and Ins colleagues, a clear structure for resuming negotiations in order to discuss and resolve the issues in dispute had been agreed upon.

After the meeting was suspended and resumed twice, the Council, on 28 September, adopted resolution 1073(1996).

The Security Council,


Having considered the letter dated 26 September 1990 from the representative of Saudi Arabia on behalf of the States members of the League of Arab States, contained in document S/1996/790, that referred to the action by the Government of Israel to open an entrance to a tunnel in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and it consequent results,

Expressing its deep concern about the tragic events in Jerusalem and the areas of Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and the Gaza Strip, which resulted in a high number of deaths and injuries among the Palestinian civilians, and concerned also about the clashes between Israeli army and the Palestinian police and the casualties on both sides,
Recalling its resolutions on Jerusalem and other relevant Security Council resolutions,
Having discussed the situation at its formal meeting on 27 September 1996, with the participation of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of a number of countries,
Concerned about the difficulties facing the Middle East peace process and the deterioration of the situation, including, inter alia, its impact on the living conditions of the Palestinian people, and urging the parties to fulfil their obligations, including the agreements already reached,
Concerned about developments at the Holy Places of Jerusalem, 1. Calls for the immediate cessation and reversal of all acts which have resulted in the aggravation of the situation, and which have negative implications for the Middle East peace process;
2. Calls for the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians to be ensured;
3. Calls for the immediate resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis and the timely implementation of the agreements reached;
4. Decides to follow closely the situation and to remain seized of the matter.

Security Council resolution 1073(1996) 28 September 1996

Meeting 3698 14-0-1

Draft prepared in consultations among Council members (S/1996/803). Vote in Council as follows:


In favour. Botswana. Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau. Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Poland. Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom.
Against: None.
Abstaining: United States.


Transfer of diplomatic missions

Report of Secretary-General. In October 1996, the Secretary-General reported [A/51/543] that one Member State had replied to his request for information on steps taken or envisaged to implement General Assembly resolution 50/22 A, dealing with the transfer by some States of their diplomatic mission to Jerusalem and calling on them to abide by the relevant UN resolutions [YUN 1995, p. 632). In its response, Japan said it had supported the Assembly resolution but it had taken no specific measures to implement its provisions.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 4 December 1996, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/27.


Jerusalem
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 36/120 E of 10 December 1981, 37/123 C of 16 December 1982, 38/180 C of 19 December 1983, 39/146 C of 14 December 1984, W168 C of 16 December 1985, 41/162 C of 4 December 1986, 42/209 D of 11 December 1987, 43/54 C of 6 December 1988,44/40 C of 4 December 1989,45/83 C of 13 December 1990, 46/82 B of 16 December 1991, 47/63 B of 11 December 1992,48/59 A of 14 December 1993, 49/87 A of 16 December 1994 and 50/22 A of 4 December 1995, in which it determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purported to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in particular the so-called "Basic Law" on Jerusalem and the proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, were null and void and must be rescinded forthwith,
Recalling also Security Council resolution 478(1980) of 20 August 1980, in which the Council, inter alia, decided not to recognize the "Basic Law" and called upon those States which had established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General,
1. Determines that the decision of Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem is illegal and therefore null and void and has no validity whatsoever;
2. Deplores the transfer by some States of the diplomatic missions to Jerusalem in violation of Security Council resolution 478(1980) and their refusal to comply with the provisions of that resolution;
3. Calls once more upon those States to abide by the provisions of the relevant United Nations resolutions, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/27 4 December 1996 Meeting 72 148-1-13 (recorded vote)
18-nation draft (A/51/L.38 & Add.1); agenda item 33. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 70-72.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador Egypt. Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary. Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lativia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands. South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago. Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel.
Abstaining: Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Samoa, Swaziland, United States.

Introducing the text on behalf of the sponsors, Egypt stated that the resolution was particularly important because of the real crisis in the peace process. Those who desired peace needed the Assembly's full support.
Speaking after the vote, Israel said it believed that the issue of Jerusalem should be addressed within the framework of negotiations between the parties themselves; the Assembly was not the correct forum for its discussion.

The United States explained that it abstained, as in the past, because Jerusalem should remain undivided and its future decided through permanent status negotiations, as agreed by the parties in the September 1993 Declaration of Principles; the Assembly should not inject itself into that most complex and emotional issue.

Occupied territories

Special Committee on Israeli Practices

The situation in the territories occupied by Israel as a result of armed conflicts in the Middle East continued to be of concern to the United Nations in 1996. The three-member Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, established in 1968 [YUN 1968, p. 555], reported for the twenty-eighth time to the General Assembly on events in those territories it considered to be occupied, namely, the Golan Heights of the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

In addition to that annual report [A/51/99/ Add.2], two periodic reports were prepared in 1996 by the Special Committee at the request of the Assembly [YUN 1995, p. 635], one in February, the other in June [A/51/99 & Add.l]. The three reports, which covered developments between 18 August 1995 and 20 September 1996, contained information obtained from the Arab and Israeli press; testimony given at hearings held in Amman, Jordan, Cairo, Egypt, and Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, between 20 and 30 June; Israeli government policy statements; and other communications and reports. In carrying out its mandate, the Committee said, it had benefited from the cooperation of Egypt, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Palestinian representatives. As in the past, Israel had not responded to requests for cooperation with the Committee. As an addendum to the report, the Secretary-General transmitted in November a map showing Israeli settlements in the occupied territories [A/51/99/Add.S].

The Chairman of the Committee, in his letter of transmittal to the Secretary-General, stated that the Committee in its annual report attempted to present a composite picture of the realities in the occupied territories as they affected the human rights of the civilian population. The signing of the Oslo agreements had given rise to great expectation within the international community that a new era of peace, security and hope would be ushered in for the people of the Middle East, enabling them to live in harmony, dignity and mutual respect. That was the spirit in which the Special Committee approached its mandate.

The Committee reported that the human rights situation in the occupied territories had deteriorated remarkably since the beginning of the peace process, contrary to expectations. By far the most serious aspect of the current situation was the significant deterioration in the economic and social conditions stemming from the virtually hermetic closure of the territories in February 1996, in the wake of four suicide bomb attacks in Israel. Particularly adverse consequences were felt in the Gaza Strip, where economic activity was said to have come to a practical standstill. The closure deprived many Palestinians of their livelihood, and had severely restricted freedom of movement throughout the territories.

The closure also affected students from Gaza studying in the West Bank, and had a negative effect on both Muslim and Christian worshippers in the territories who were unable to gain access to certain holy sites.

Conditions of detention were reported to have deteriorated further. It was alleged that numerous villages and mosques had been raided and family members and relatives of persons charged with having been involved in violent activities against Israel, as well as persons affiliated with certain political parties, had been arrested.

Israeli authorities demolished nine houses and sealed a number of others belonging to the families of persons involved in the recent violent acts. Houses built without a licence continued to be demolished throughout the territories; however, applications for building licences were consistently denied to Palestinians. The unabated expansion of Israeli settlements was a most serious source of tension, according to the Committee. Of particular concern was the policy of the new Israeli Government to lift the freeze on the building of new settlements, as well as to the expand existing ones. Large areas of Arab-owned land continued to be confiscated, both for the expansion of settlements and for quarries and the building of bypass roads.

During its visit to the Syrian Arab Republic, the Special Committee observed the destruction caused by Israelis in the town of Quneitra. Witnesses informed the Committee that the expression of nationalist sentiments by inhabitants continued to be severely punished and their freedom; of movement curtailed. They also spoke about the continued confiscation of land and water resources and the inadequate educational and health facilities, as well as the economic difficulties facing the Arab population.

In conclusion, the Special Committee observed that there was a general sense of disappointment and despondency in the face of continuing rights violations. Even in areas where there had been a transfer of limited authority to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Council, the situation appeared to have deteriorated because of impediments by Israel. Unless there was serious effort to maintain the momentum of the peace process, the Committee stated, and a commitment by both sides to implement the peace agreements, the important achievements accomplished so far would be lost and the situation would deteriorate even further. All parties had to work together and progress in the peace process had to be accompanied by full compliance with universally accepted human rights standards and all relevant UN resolutions.

The Special Committee recommended measures to safeguard the basic human rights of the Palestinians and other Arabs in the territories, including: full application of the relevant provisions of the fourth Geneva Convention (see also below); full compliance with all UN resolutions pertinent to the question of the territories; full Israeli cooperation with UNRWA and full respect for its privileges and immunities; full Israeli cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to protect detainees; full support by Member States of UNRWA and ICRC activities, to enable both organizations to maintain and improve assistance to the refugee population and detainees; full Israeli cooperation with the UN Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories; renewed efforts by Member States to convince Israel of the need for increased human rights protection through international human rights monitoring, including enabling the Special Committee to perform its functions more effectively by allowing it access to the territories; and full Israeli cooperation with the UN Centre for Human Rights concerning implementation of human rights advisory assistance programmes in the areas falling under the interim self-government arrangements.

The Committee appealed to Israel to act in conformity with the spirit animating the peace process by giving effect to certain concrete measures:
halting the establishment of new settlements and the expansion of existing ones; ending land confiscation and the building of bypass roads; refraining from destroying property, demolishing houses and uprooting trees, as well as discriminatory measures in the use of water resources; stopping closures and curfews as measures of collective punishment; reviewing the situation of all Palestinian and other Arab prisoners, especially political detainees or persons having committed nonviolent crimes, and expediting their release; improving conditions of detention; exercising utmost restraint in responding to outbreaks of violence and fully investigating all shooting incidents; preventing acts of violence by settlers; and allowing those deported or expelled to return and, where applicable, have their properties restituted.

The Special Committee felt that implementation of those recommendations and others would contribute immensely to strengthening the peace process, enabling all the people of the territories and in the region to live in harmony, dignity, peace and security.

SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERATION

The Security Council met on 15 April, in response to a request (s/1996/257) by the United Arab Emirates, as Chairman of the Arab Group of Member States, to consider the situation in the occupied territories. The President, with the consent of the Council, invited Algeria, Colombia, Cuba, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure. The President also invited the Observer of Palestine, at his request [s/1996/274], to participate in the discussion in accordance with Council rules of procedure and previous practice. He also extended, with the Council's consent and under rule 39 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure, invitations to the Acting Chairman of the Committee on Palestinian Rights and to the Permanent Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to the United Nations, as requested by Guinea [S/1996/2771].

The President drew attention to a letter of 2 April from Palestine to the Secretary-General [A/50/915-S/1996/235], containing a memorandum on what was called the Israeli siege and strangulation of the Palestinian territory, people and economy. In an earlier letter of 29 March, Yasser Arafat appealed to the Secretary-General to help put an end to Israel's blockade and closure measures, which, he said, constituted a flagrant violation and gross breach of the agreements concluded. The Secretary-General transmitted the letter to the Presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council on 1 April [A/50/916-S/1996/233].

In debate, the Observer of Palestine stated that the suffering of the Palestinians had become unbearable in recent weeks due to Israeli policies and measures which violated the spirit of peace and threatened prospects for continuation of the peace process. Some of those policies—which were in place before the recent bombings—had absolutely no relation to Israeli security considerations, as was claimed. Maintaining security should involve the security of all parties and under no circumstances should one party impose unilateral measures by force; further, Israel could not separate itself from Palestinian territory and at the same time isolate that territory and its people from the rest of the world as if they were hostages. If Israel chose separation, regardless of its reasons and despite its obligations and commitments, it should bear the consequences of that decision and accept complete political separation at the same time.

Israel explained that during eight terrifying days in February and March, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists from the West Bank and Gaza had perpetrated four separate suicide bombings within Israel. As a direct result of those murderous acts, Israel had imposed a closure of the country to residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which was not a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian population but a measure enacted solely to ensure security for the people of Israel and a must to save the peace; easing the closure preceded the terrorist actions which took place in the urban centres of Israel, and the connection between the two was very obvious. Israel was aware of the toll the closure had taken on the residents of the West Bank and Gaza and was sensitive to the plight of the Palestinian population. In recent days, the closure had been gradually eased; currently, 7,000 workers from Gaza were permitted entry into Israel each day and, since 8 April, Palestinians 45 years of age and older had been able to cross into Israel to earn their living. In addition, development projects initiated in Gaza by Israel and other international donors continued to employ over 25,000 local labourers. Lately, restrictions on the passage of goods had also been greatly eased.

Israel was encouraged, however, by the efforts undertaken lately by the Palestinian Authority to curb terrorist groups—which were supported by several foreign Governments that had time and again shown their opposition to peace through word and deed—within areas under its jurisdiction. The international community had to unite in its efforts to isolate terrorist regimes. Israel pledged to continue to work towards enhancing the peace process despite the terrorist attacks as well as towards implementing the agreement with the Palestinians.

The terrorist attacks in Israel were widely condemned by those who spoke before the Council and general concern was expressed about the measures imposed by Israel in return—citing its need for security and protection of its citizens—in particular the closure of the territories. Those measures were considered by many to be a form of collective punishment for the acts of a few individuals. The majority of speakers agreed that the peace process had to continue, for the benefit of all parties. Many speakers appealed to Israel to relax the measures it had taken, in view of the economic hardship they imposed on the Palestinians, as well as the obstacle they created to the peace process.
Meeting number. SC 3652.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION
Following consideration of the Special Committee's annual and periodic reports and four reports of the Secretary-General on specific aspects of the situation in the occupied territories (sec below), the General Assembly on 13 December adopted resolution 51/134.


Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem


The General Assembly,

Recalling its relevant resolutions and the resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights,
Bearing in mind the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, the most recent of which are resolutions" 904(1994) of 18 March 1994 and 1073(1996) of 28 September 1996,
Having considered 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 the reports of the Secretary-General,
Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law,
Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Reaffirming also the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab) territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Welcoming the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington on 13 September 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in Washington on 28 September 1995,

Noting the withdrawal of the Israeli army, which took place in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area in accordance with the agreements reached between the parties, and the initiation of the Palestinian Authority in those areas,
Noting also the redeployment of the Israeli army from six cities in the West Bank,
Concerned about the continuing violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power, especially the use of collective punishment, closure of areas, annexation and establishment of settlements and the continuing actions by it designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem,
Expressing its deep concern in particular over the closure by the Israeli authorities of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, which prevents the freedom of movement of persons and goods and is the cause of great economic and social hardship, in violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and the agreements reached between the two sides,
Convinced of the positive impact of a temporary international or foreign presence in the occupied Palestinian territory for the safety and protection of the Palestinian people,
Expressing its appreciation to the countries that participated in the Temporary International Presence in Hebron for their positive contribution,
Convinced of the need for the full implementation of Security Council resolutions 904(1994) and 1073(1996),
1. Determines that all measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, in violation of the relevant provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, are illegal and have no validity and that such measures should cease immediately;
2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all practices and actions which violate the human rights of the Palestinian people;
3. Calls for an immediate end of the closure and the assurance of the freedom of movement of persons and goods within the Palestinian territory and with the outside world in conformity with international law and 1 he agreements reached;
4. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to accelerate the release of all remaining Palestinians arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, in line with agreements reached;
a. Calls for complete respect by Israel, the occupying Power, of all fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian people, pending the extension of the self-Government arrangements to the rest of the occupied Territory;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.
General Assembly resolution 51/134 13 December 1996
Meeting 83 149-2-8 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/592) by recorded vote (125-2-7), 27
November (meeting 22); 13-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.22); agenda item
85. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 21,22; plenary 83.
Recorded vote In Assembly as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria. Azerbaijan. Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussatom, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde. Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Franca, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao Paople's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon. Libyan Arab Jamahlriya, Liechenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova. Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav, Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Argentina, Guatemala, Kenya, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Swaziland, Uruguay.

Work of Special Committee

On 17 October, the Secretary-General reported [A/51/514] that all necessary facilities had been provided to the Special Committee on Israeli Practices, as requested in General Assembly resolution 50/29 A (YUN 1995, p. 635]. Arrangements had been made for it to meet in February, June and September 1996, and a field mission was carried out in Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic in June. The Department of Public Information continued to provide press coverage of Special Committee meetings and to feature and distribute information materials, documents and press releases on its activities (see below).

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, following consideration of the report of the Secretary-General and the Special Committee's annual and periodic reports (see above), the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/131.


Work of the Special Committee Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories

The General Assembly,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Guided also by the principles of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, as well as international standards of human rights, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights,
Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolution 2443(XXIII) of 19 December 1968, and relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights,
Recalling also relevant resolutions of the Security Council,
Aware of the lasting impact of the uprising (intifadah) of the Palestinian people,
Convinced that occupation itself represents a primary violation of human rights,
Having considered 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 the relevant reports of the Secretary-General,
Noting the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington on 13 September 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in Washington on 28 September 1995,
Expressing the hope that, with the progress of the peace process, the Israeli occupation will be brought to an end and therefore violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people will cease,
1. Commends the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it by the General Assembly and for its impartiality;
2. Demands that Israel cooperate with the Special Committee in implementing its mandate;
3. Deplores those policies and practices of Israel which violate the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories, as reflected in the reports of the Special Committee covering the reporting period;
4. Expresses concern over the recent deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, as a result of Israeli practices and measures and the impasse facing the Middle East peace process;
5. Requests the Special Committee, pending complete termination of the Israeli occupation, to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, especially Israeli lack of compliance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and to consult, as appropriate, with the International Committee of the Red Cross according to its regulations in order to ensure that the welfare and human rights of the peoples of the occupied territories are safeguarded and to report to the Secretary-General as soon as possible and whenever the need arises thereafter;
6. Also requests the Special Committee to submit regularly to the Secretary-General periodic reports on the current situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem;
7. Further requests the Special Committee to continue to investigate the treatment of prisoners in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
8. Requests the Secretary-General:
(a) To provide all necessary facilities to the Special Committee, including those required for its visits to the occupied territories, so that it may investigate the Israeli policies and practices referred to in the present resolution;
(b) To continue to make available such additional staff as may be necessary to assist the Special Committee in the performance of its tasks;
(c) To circulate regularly to Member States the periodic reports mentioned in paragraph 6 above;
(d) To ensure the widest circulation of the reports of the Special Committee and of information regarding its activities and findings, by all means available, through the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat and, where necessary, to reprint those reports of the Special Committee that are no longer available;
(e) To report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the tasks entrusted to him in the present resolution;
9. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-second session the item entitled "Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories".

General Assembly resolution 51/131 13 December 1996

Meeting 83 79-2-76 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee IA/S 1/592) by recorded vote (69-2-591,27
November meeting 221; 13-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.19); agenda item
85. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 21, 22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola. Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China. Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea. Guinea-Bissau, Guyana. India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Albania, Andorra, Argentina. Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Paraguay, Peru. Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan.

Explaining its vote on all five resolutions adopted under the agenda item, the United States urged the Fourth (Special Political and Decolonization) Committee members to refrain from making their standard request to the Special Committee to continue its work and submit reports in the following year. The time had come to recognize that the Special Committee's existence did not contribute to the joint efforts being made by Israel and Palestine to settle their differences.
Ireland, speaking on behalf of the EU, said that although the Union was concerned at many actions of the Israeli Government, it believed that the mandate and functions of the Special Committee failed to take account of the contemporary realities. The EU hoped that Israeli troops would be withdrawn from all the occupied territories, after which there would be no further need to maintain the Special Committee.

Fourth Geneva Convention

The Special Committee on Israeli Practices, in its annual report [A/51/99/Add.l], reiterated that the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (fourth Geneva Convention) remained the main international instrument in humanitarian law that applied to the occupied territories, the applicability of which had repeatedly been reaffirmed of the Security Council, the General Assembly and other UN organs.

On 17 October, the Secretary-General informed [A/51/516] the Assembly that Israel had not replied to his May request for information on steps taken or envisaged to implement Assembly resolution 50/29 B [YUN 1995, p. 636] demanding that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the fourth Geneva Convention and comply scrupulously with its provisions,

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/132.


Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative

to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time

of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied

Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem,

and the other occupied Arab territories



The General Assembly,
Recalling its relevant resolutions,
Bearing in mind the relevant resolutions of the Security Council,
Having considered 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 the relevant reports of the Secretary-General,
Considering that the promotion of respect for the obligations arising from the Charter of the United Nations and other instruments and rules of international law is among the basic purposes and principles of the United Nations,
Stressing that Israel, the occupying Power, should comply strictly with its obligations under international law,
1. Reaffirms that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, is applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
2. Demands that Israel accept the de jure applicability of the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and that it comply scrupulously with the provisions of the Convention;
3. Calls upon all States parties to the Convention, in accordance with article 1 common to the four Geneva Conventions, to exert all efforts in order to ensure respect for its provisions by Israel, the occupying Power, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since

4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/132 13 December 1996

Meeting 83 156-2-3 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee IA/51/592) by recorded vote (129-2-4), 27
November (meeting 22); 13-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.20); agenda item
85.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 21, 22; plenary 83. Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In favour Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria. Andorra. Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium. Belize. Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria. Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador. Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France. Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Granada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras. Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica. Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia. Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius. Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania/Russian Federation, Saint Kilts and Nevis, Saint Lucia. Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic. Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda. Ukraine, United Arab Emirates. United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau.

Palestinian prisoners

The Special Committee on Israeli Practices, which continued to monitor the situation of Palestinian prisoners, reported [A/51/99/Add.2] that although some 2,000 had been released in October 1995 and January 1996 following the signing of the Interim Agreement, the number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention facilities remained high and had even increased after the recent wave of arrests. Conditions of detention were reported to have deteriorated further. Overcrowding, bad food and a persistent lack of medical care were cited among the prisoners'
complaints. After the suicide bombings in February and March, large numbers of arrests were reported throughout the territories, and many of the persons arrested were said to have been placed in administrative detention.

As a result of restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement, Palestinian detainees in Israel had not been able to receive family visits and meet with their lawyers. In addition, the Special Committee was informed that large numbers of Palestinian minors had been detained in Israeli prisons under the same conditions as adults. A large number of prisoners reportedly had no access to lawyers and their families were not informed about their trials.

The Special Committee reiterated that measures to safeguard the basic human rights of the Palestinians and other Arabs in the territories included full cooperation of the Israeli authorities with ICRC in order to protect detained persons, in particular ensuring full access of ICRC representatives to such persons.

In a 17 October report [A/51/517], the Secretary-General stated that he had not received any response from Israel to his May request for information on steps taken or envisaged to implement relevant provisions of General Assembly resolution 50/29 C [YUN 1995, p. 643] calling on Israel to accelerate the release of all remaining Palestinians arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, in line with agreements reached, and to facilitate the return of the remaining deportees to the occupied territories.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

In resolution 51/134 on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, the General Assembly called on Israel, the occupying Power, to accelerate the release of all remaining Palestinians arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, in line with agreements reached.

Palestinian women

In March 1996, the Secretary-General reported [E/CN.6/1996/8] to the Commission on the Status of Women on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, in accordance with a 1995 Economic and Social Council request [YUN 1995, p. 637]. As a result of the political developments since the signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles and in line with the results of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing [YUN 1995, p. 1168], which established a link between the advancement of women and the peaceful settlement of conflicts, the focus of the report had shifted from that of previous reports on the subject: instead of monitoring the general living conditions of Palestinian women under Israeli occupation, it emphasized aspects of their development and human rights within a new political framework.

According to the report, the peace process had had a significant impact on the lives of Palestinian women and the activities of women's organizations. Women's organizations and human rights groups formed coalitions in the areas of human rights and legal services. They had drafted a bill of women's rights following the release of the Palestinian Draft Basic Law. A Gender Mainstreaming Department was established within the Ministry of Planning.

Women's organizations, in preparation for the Palestinian elections, led protests demanding a quota for women on the Palestinian Council, arguing that they faced difficulties in competing with men in the elections because of historical inequalities in a male dominated society. Of the more than 1 million registered Palestinian voters in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 49 per cent were women, but there were only 28 women (4 per cent) among the 676 candidates for the 88-seat legislative council. Five women were elected to the Palestinian Council.

During the period under review, a number of projects for Palestinian women were carried out by the UN system and bilateral donors in close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). UNRWA financed new projects under the Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund, including a community-run kindergarten in the West Bank and a training workshop in Gaza on maintenance and repair of sewing and knitting machines. It also operated a solidarity group lending programme in the Gaza Strip to make credit available (on average $400) to individual women working in microenterprises and as street vendors in the informal sector of the economy. Under its Peace Implementation Programme, UNRWA established nine women's programme centres, and construction began for a college of nursing and allied health science. Of the university scholarships UNRWA awarded to 863 Palestine refugee students, 371 went to women.

Assistance was provided to women's units in various ministries in order to build and strengthen their efforts for mainstreaming gender at the policy level. A Palestinian Coalition for Women's Health, supported by the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aimed to improve health services for Palestinian women by addressing their needs through a life-cycle approach. To improve women's limited access to education, classrooms in villages and rural areas were constructed or renovated, primarily for girls. A school dropout study, sponsored by UNDP and to be carried out by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, was to target female youth. Women's enrolment in agricultural schools was encouraged through a project offering both preservice and in service training and targeting women as 50 per cent of the beneficiaries.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) launched a permanent Women in Development (WID) Facilitation Initiative to coordinate the multiplicity of donors, NGOs and initiators of WID projects. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) gave priority to programmes reaching out to children in underprivileged communities, with special focus on the girl child. Gender issues were integrated into programming and training to upgrade the skills of health-care and education professionals. A national programme of action was formulated to ensure political and social mobilization and long-term planning for children, girls in particular. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) implemented two expanded maternal and child health and family-planning projects in Gaza and the West Bank.

Concluding, the report suggested that the Commission on the Status of Women might wish that appropriate assistance be given in order to: increase women's participation in conflict resolution and decision-making; ensure respect by the parties, in implementing their agreements, for the human rights of Palestinian women; ensure women's equal access to and full participation in power structures; integrate a gender perspective in legislation, public policies, programmes and projects; ensure equality and non-discrimination under the law and in practice;
prepare for ratification of and accession to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (GA res. 34/180), without reservations; create a national machinery and other governmental bodies for the advancement of women at the highest possible level of government; reduce the female illiteracy rate to at least half of its 1990 level; improve women's access to vocational training, science and technology, and continuing education; promote women's economic rights and independence; facilitate women's equal access to resources, employment, markets and trade; increase women's access to appropriate, affordable and high-quality health care and information and related services; and generate and disseminate gender-disaggregated data and information for planning and evaluation.

Action by Commission on the Status of Women. In March 1996, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted a resolution on the integration of women in the Middle East peace process [E/1996/26 (res. 40/2)1, urging Governments, intergovernmental bodies and NGOs to include women in the peace process, and urging Member States to ensure that all assistance to parties in the region took into account the role of women as full participants and beneficiaries. The Commission considered that an active UN role in the peace process and in assisting in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles could make a positive contribution with regard to the status of women.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ACTION

On 22 July, the Economic and Social Council adopted resolution 1996/5.


Palestinian women

The Economic and Social Council,
Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,
Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, and the Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women,
Recalling also its resolution 1995/30 of 25 July 1995 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,
Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women as it concerns the protection for civilian populations,
Welcoming the signing by the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements in Washington on 13 September 1993, as well as all subsequent agreements reached between the two parties,
Concerned about the continuing difficult situation of Palestinian women in the occupied Palestinian territory including Jerusalem, and about the severe consequences of continuous Israeli illegal settlements activities, as well as the harsh economic conditions and other consequences for the situation of Palestinian women and their families, resulting from the frequent closure and isolation of the occupied territory,
1. Recognizes the gradual, positive changes that are taking place as a result of the implementation of the agreements between the two parties;
2. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation continues to constitute a major obstacle to the advancement and self-reliance of Palestinian women and their integration in the development planning of their society;
3 Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Hague Conventions and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;
4. Calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugee and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties in the occupied Palestinian territory, in compliance with relevant United Nations resolutions,
5 Urges Member States, financial organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and other relevant institutions to intensify their efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to Palestinian women for the creation of projects responding to their needs, especially during the transitional period;
6. Requests the Commission on the Status of Women to continue to monitor and take action on the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation and to assist Palestinian women by all available means and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-first session a report on progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.

Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/5 22 July 1996

Meeting 43 46-1-1 (recorded vote)

Draft by Commission on Status of Women (E/1996/26); agenda item 5 (e).

Recorded vote in Council as follows:
In favour: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland. France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
Against: United States. Abstaining: Russian Federation.

Israeli settlements

Special Committee report. The existence and expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of bypass roads linking them and with Israel was, according to the Special Committee on Israeli Practices, one of the most serious sources of tension in the occupied territories. The Council of Jewish Settlements, as quoted in the Committee's October report [A/51/99/Add.2], estimated that almost 150,000 Jews lived in the territories, a 46 per cent increase between June 1992 and May 1996. Israel's previous Labour Government, while declaring a freeze on the building of new settlements, had allowed the expansion of existing ones by private companies, sometimes tripling the size of the settlements. The confiscation of large areas of Arab-owned land had not subsided; Palestinian sources estimated the amount of land confiscated since the signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles up to August 1995 at 166.4 square kilometres, not counting 17.8 square kilometres of unofficial confiscation by settlers. Of a total of 194 settlements, 60 were estimated to have been extended in that manner during the same period. The current trend appeared to be the expropriation of numerous small plots of land in Palestinian neighbourhoods, especially around Jerusalem. It was reported that settlers from the Efrat settlement had taken advantage of the territories' closure to seize land and prepare for the construction of new housing.

In the Committee's view, the single most alarming step taken so far by the new Likud Government and the biggest threat to the peace process was the Cabinet's decision on 2 August to end the four-year freeze imposed by the previous Government regarding the construction of new settlements. The Israeli Prime Minister was reported to have described the move as one aimed at correcting the discrimination against Jewish settlements.

The situation of Palestinian landowners was difficult in view of the fact that land registration in the territories reportedly had stopped in 1967, the Committee said.

Israel's plan to build a highway between the Lydda and Kalandia airports in Jerusalem involved the confiscation of thousands of acres of land belonging to 12 West Bank villages and 750 acres of land adjacent to Kalandia in Bir Nabala, Beit Hanina and Rafat, the Committee reported. Besides confiscation of prime agricultural land, large numbers of olive, almond and fig trees and vineyards continued to be uprooted for the construction of such roads. Some 120,000 Palestinians were said to have been excluded from the Jerusalem City limits since 1967, and it was estimated that currently approximately 72 per cent of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were Jews. While building licences were well beyond the financial means of Palestinian families, Palestinian-owned houses built without a licence were systematically demolished. Numerous inhabitants of Jerusalem were forced to leave the city's municipal boundaries, either in search of jobs or better living conditions.

Tension was aggravated by the behaviour of settlers, particularly in Hebron, where they had been consistently violent and Palestinians were physically attacked as well as their property damaged. The coexistence of settlers with the Palestinian population was difficult owing to the location of their settlement in the town centre. The Special Committee believed that the low voter turnout in Hebron during the Palestinian elections in January was indicative of the helplessness the population felt. Reasons invoked by Israel for not withdrawing the Israel Defence Forces from Hebron hinged on certain security concerns regarding the settlers. In order to delay the army’s withdrawal, settlers attacked Palestinians an( vandalized their property.

In the Gaza Strip, there were 18 Israeli settlements, and settlers were said to occupy about 30 per cent of the area, with 1.2 million Palestinian living in the remaining part.

A map showing Israeli settlements established in the territories since June 1967 was transmitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly in November 1996, as an addendum to the Committee's report [A/5l/99/Add.3.1].

Report of Secretary-General. In an October 1996 report (A/51/517], the Secretary General in-formed the General Assembly that no reply had been received from Israel to his May request for information on steps it had taken or envisaged to implement Assembly resolution 50/29 C [YUN 1995, p. 643], reaffirming that Israeli settlements in the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, were illegal and an obstacle to achieving comprehensive peace.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/133.


Israeli settlements in the occupied

Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem,

and the occupied Syrian Golan



The General Assembly,
Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

Recalling its relevant resolutions, as well as relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242(l967) of 22 November 1967, 446(1979) of 22 March 1979.465(1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497(1981) of 17 December 1981,
Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in; Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and to the occupied Syrian Golan,
Welcoming the Middle East peace process started at Madrid and the agreements reached between the parties, in particular the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 13 September 1993 and the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 28 September 1995,
Expressing grave concern over the decision of the Govermnent of Israel to resume settlement activities in violation of international humanitarian law, relevant I United Nations resolutions and the agreements reached between the parties,
Gravely concerned in particular about the dangerous situation resulting from actions taken by the illegal armed Israeli settlers in the occupied territory, as illustrated by the massacre of Palestinian worshippers by an illegal Israeli settler in Al-Khalil on 25 February 1994,
Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General,
1. Reaffirms that Israeli settlements in the Palestine an territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development;
2. Calls upon Israel to accept the de jure applicability, of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem and to the occupied Syrian Golan and to abide scrupulously by the provisions of the Convention, in particular article 49;
3. Demands complete cessation of all illegal Israeli settlement activities;
4. Stresses the need for full implementation of Security Council resolution 904(1994) of 18 March 1994, in which, among other things, the Council called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to continue to take and implement measures, including, inter alia, confiscation of arms, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and called for measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territory.

General Assembly resolution 51/133 13

December 1996 Meeting 83 152-2-6 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/S 1/592) by recorded vote (126-3-6), 27
November (meeting 22); 13-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L21/Rev.1), orally
amended by Norway; agenda item 85. Meeting numbers.
GA 51st session: 4th Committee 21.22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows;


In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia. Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland. India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Swaziland, Uruguay.

Israel said the resolution ran counter to the principles of which the peace process was based, such as the principle of direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, and might have an adverse effect on those negotiations. The question of settlements related exclusively to the permanent status issue between Israel and the Palestinians and should be resolved in the framework of direct negotiations.

Economic and social repercussions

A report (A/51/135-E/1996/51] prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and submitted by the Secretary-General in June, in accordance with requests of the Economic and Social Council [ESC res. 1995/49] and the General Assembly [GA res. 50/129], dealt with the economic and social repercussions of Israeli settlements on the Palestinians in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab population of the Syrian Golan.


Covering the period from April 1995 to March 1996, the report stated that the September 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which detailed the mechanisms and limitations of the extension of Palestinian self-rule to significant portions of the West Bank, provided for the division of the West Bank into three areas, each with varying degrees of Israeli and Palestinian responsibility. Area A consisted of the seven major Palestinian towns—Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Kalkiliya, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarm—in which Palestinians would have complete authority for civilian security. In area B, which comprised all other Palestinian population centres, except some refugee camps, Israel was to retain "overriding security responsibility". In area C, which included all settlements, military bases and areas, as well as State lands, Israel would have sole security authority.

The Interim Agreement provided for the redeployment of the Israeli army, allowing the Palestinian National Authority to assume its civil and security responsibilities under the schedule provided for in the Agreement. Indeed, the Israeli army began its withdrawal from Jenin on 13 November 1995, followed by Tulkarm on 10 December, Nablus and other villages in the Tulkarm area on 11 December, Kalkiliya on 17 December, Bethlehem on 21 December and finally Ramallah on 28 December. Withdrawal from Hebron, however, was postponed to the end of March 1996. By the end of March, withdrawal from Hebron had been postponed indefinitely, following a unilateral decision by Israel in the light of the prevailing security conditions in Israel and the occupied territories.

It appeared from official Israeli statements, the report stated, that in the context of a final settlement, Israel intended to gather Jewish settlers in settlement compounds with centres in the large settlements of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Kalkiliya and Nablus. Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley would remain under Israeli control.

The progress in the peace process, in particular the implementation of the Interim Agreement and the redeployment of the Israeli army and its evacuation of agreed areas, had led to a slight but growing change in the attitude of Jewish settlers concerning the future of the settlements and their own future in the occupied territories, the report continued. A certain percentage of them expressed willingness to leave their settlements if offered reasonable compensation. Israeli parliament sources claimed that 600 Jewish settler families had voluntarily abandoned their dwellings in settlements of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the signing of the Agreement. A large number of other families, it was said, wished to leave the settlements but had not received the necessary support from Israeli authorities.

Sources from the Centre for Land Research in East Jerusalem estimated the total area of expropriated Palestinian land in 1995 at 18,180 dunums (one dunum equaling 1,000 square metres), of which 3,500 dunums were seized as State land, 8,900 for settlement purposes, 1,100 for military purposes and 4,680 for public projects. Palestinian sources indicated that, between the signing of the Declaration of Principles in September 1993 and the end of 1995, Israel had confiscated 230,000 dunums.

A Palestinian study revealed that what remained of the Jerusalem area occupied since 1967 for potential use by Arab inhabitants no longer exceeded 4 per cent, as Israel had confiscated 33 per cent of the city's area directly for settlement purposes. Another 40 per cent had come under Israeli control as a result of new maps having been drawn, wherein the size of Arab neighbour-hoods and villages was reduced and only a limited space within them was designated for building, thus bringing the total area of Jerusalem under Israeli control to 73 per cent, with an additional 6 per cent already designated for the construction of roads. The remaining 21 per cent was in Arab hands, of which 10 per cent was inhabited and 7 per cent unplanned, rendering it vulnerable to expropriation or sale because of high taxes imposed.

As for strengthening Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, Israeli press sources indicated that 11,000 housing units were being constructed at the beginning of 1996 and thousands more were planned.

According to the Peace Now movement, 1,400 housing units had been started since the beginning of 1995 in the Jewish settlements over the Green Line, most of them in the Greater Jerusalem area, said to be the largest number of building starts in the territories in three years. Altogether, 6,000 units were under construction to provide housing for 25,000 people.

As for settlements close to the Green Line, Israeli press sources reported the Minister of Housing as stating that his Ministry had prepared the blueprints for a new neighbour-hood for religious Jews within the Green Line called Mattiyahu, near the settlement of Kiryat Sefer west of the city of Ramallah, and for the Hashmonaim neighbour-hood, also within the Green Line, so that the three sites would become one settlement with 12,000 housing units.

Efforts to strengthen settlements in the occupied Golan Heights continued. There was a reported mass influx of newcomers to Katzrin, which experienced a population boom in 1995. Golan regional council officials revealed in August 1995 that 120 families had been absorbed, into existing settlements in the preceding two months alone. Water utilization in the territories remained a problem adversely affecting the lives of Palestinians and their economic and social conditions. After Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached an initial agreement in July 1995 on the water issue, water rights and methods of utilization in the West Bank were to be determined in the Final stage negotiations, and a tripartite Israel-Palestine-United States committee was to be formed to discuss issues such as utilization and distribution, supervision of its utilization, and development of new sources of water. The agreement on water issues was one of the most difficult, subjects the two parties had to discuss, threatening the negotiation of the transitional stage.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ACTION

On 26 July, the Economic and Social Council adopted resolution 1996/40.


Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem,

occupied since 1967, and on the Arab

population of the occupied Syrian Golan


The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 50/129 of 20 December 1995,
Recalling also its resolution 1995/49 of 28 July 1995, Reaffirming the principle of the permanent sovereignty of people under foreign occupation over their national resources,
Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and recalling Security Council resolutions 242(1967) of 22 November 1967 and 497(1981) of 17 December 1981,
Recalling Security Council resolution 465(1980) of 1 March 1980 and other resolutions in which the Security Council affirmed the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Recalling also Security Council resolution 904(1994) of 18 March 1994, in which, inter alia, the Council called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to continue to take and implement measures, including, among others, confiscation of arms, with the aim of preventing illegal acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and called for measures to be taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territory,
Aware of the negative and grave economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan,
Welcoming the ongoing Middle East peace process started at Madrid, in particular the signing in Washington, on 13 September 1993 by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, and the signing in Washington, on 28 September 1995 of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
1. Takes note of the report prepared by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia;
2. Reaffirms that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 are illegal and an obstacle to economic and social development;
3. Recognizes the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan;
4. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the population of the Syrian Golan to their natural and all other economic resources, and regards any infringement thereof as being illegal;
5. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session, through the Economic and Social Council, a report on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.

Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/40
26 July 1996 Meeting 51 44-1-5 (recorded vote)
9-nation draft (E/1996/L.23); agenda item 8.
Sponsors: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania. Qatar, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Meeting numbers. ESC 34, 35, 37, 51.
Recorded vote in Council as follows:
In favour: Argentina, Australia. Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan Jordan, Lebanon, Luxembourg. Malaysia, Netherlands, Nicaragua Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
Against: United States.
abstaining: Belarus, Central African Republic. Cote d’Ivoire, Romania, Russian Federation.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 16 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/190.


Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people
in the occupied Palestinian territory,
including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population
in the occupied Syrian Golan over
their natural resources
The General Assembly,
Recalling Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/40 of 26 July 1996,
Reaffirming the principle of the permanent sovereignty of people under foreign occupation over their natural resources,
Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and recalling Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242(1967) of 22 November. 1967, 465(1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497(1981) of 17 December 1981,
Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Expressing concern at the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of the natural resources of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Aware of the additional, detrimental economic and social impact of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian and other Arab natural resources, especially the confiscation of land and the forced diversion of water resources,
Welcoming the ongoing Middle East peace process which was started at Madrid on 30 October 1991 and which is based on Security Council resolutions 242(1967), 338(1973) of 22 October 1973 and 425(1978) of 19 March 1978 and the principle of land for peace, in particular the two implementation agreements embodied in the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area of 4 May 1994 and the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 28 September 1995,
1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General;
2. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land and water;
3. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, to cause loss and depletion of or to endanger the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan;
4. Recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of, or danger to, their natural resources, and expresses the hope that this issue will be dealt with in the framework of the final status negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides;
5. Requests the Secretary-General to report to it, at its fifty-second session, on the implementation of the present resolution, and decides to include in the agenda of its fifty-second session an item entitled "Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources".

General Assembly resolution 51/190 16 December 1996

Meeting 86 133-3-21 (recorded vote)
Approved by Second Committee (A/51/601) by recorded vote (123-20-17),
2 December (meeting 37); 12-nation draft (A/C.2/51/L.30/Rev.2); agenda item 12.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 2nd Committee 27, 28, 35-37; plenary 86.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Derussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiria Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali Main Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel. United States, Vanuatu.*
Abstaining: Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Estonia, Fiji, Gambia, Georgia, Grenada, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Paraguay, Ukraine, Uruguay.

Later advised the Secretariat it had intended to vote in favour.

The text was the result of informal consultations in the Assembly's Second (Economic and Financial) Committee on two draft resolutions, one submitted by Afghanistan, Cuba and the Syrian Arab Republic, on behalf of the Group of Arab States [A/C.2/51/L.29], the other tabled by Bangladesh, Egypt, Malaysia, Mauritania, the Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen [A/C.2/51/L.30].
In explanation of vote, Israel called the text superfluous, because the issue of rights over natural resources had been covered in the Interim Agreement and should be settled within the framework of the permanent status negotiations. The real objective of the draft, it believed, was to predetermine the outcome of those negotiations, contradictory to the spirit and letter of the Interim Agreement and of the Madrid Conference.

The United States firmly opposed the text on the grounds that it risked compromising the parties' efforts in the direct negotiations under way and prejudged their outcome.


Issues related to Palestine

General aspects

During 1996, the General Assembly continued to grapple with the question of Palestine. Following consideration of the annual report of die Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (Committee on Palestinian Rights) (A/51/35), the Assembly in December adopted four resolutions, reaffirming, among other things, the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question—the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict—in all its aspects, stressing the need for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians, primarily the right to self-determination, for Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 and for resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees. In commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, celebrated annually in accordance with Assembly resolution 32/40 B [YUN 1977, p. 304], the Committee held a solemn meeting on 29 November to which all Member States, specialized agencies and observers were invited and on the occasion of which the Secretary-General and the Presidents of the General Assembly and the security council spoke.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION


Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine

The General Assembly,

Recalling its relevant resolutions,
Recalling also the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338(1973) of 22 October 1973,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General submitted pursuant to the request made in its resolution 50/84 D of 15 December 1995,
Convinced that achieving a final and peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is imperative for the attainment of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East,
Aware that the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples is among the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Affirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,
Affirming also the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the territory occupied since 1967 and of Israeli actions aimed at changing the status of Jerusalem,
Affirming once again the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,
Aware of the mutual recognition between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, and the signing by the two parties of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in Washington, D.C., on 28 September 1995,

Noting with satisfaction the withdrawal of the Israeli army, which took place in Gaza Strip and the Jericho area in accordance with the agreements reached by the parties, and the initiation of the Palestinian Authority in those areas, as well as the beginning of the redeployment of the Israeli army in the rest of the West Bank,

Noting also with satisfaction the successful holding of the first Palestinian general elections,

Aware that the United Nations has participated as a full, extraregional participant in the work of the multilateral working groups of the Middle East peace process,

Noting the establishment of the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories and its positive contribution,

Welcoming the convening of the conference to Support Middle East Peace in Washington, D.C., on 1 October 1993, and all follow-up meetings,

Concerned over the serious difficulties facing the Middle East peace process and the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions of the Palestinian peoples as a result of the Israeli positions and measures,

1. Reaffirms the necessity of achieving a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in all its aspects;

2. Expresses its full support for the ongoing peace process which began in Madrid and the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 1995, and expresses the hope that the process will lead to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
3. Stresses the necessity for the immediate and scrupulous implementation of the agreements reached between the parties and the commencement of the negotiations on the final settlement;
4. Calls upon the concerned parties, the co-sponsors of the peace process and the entire international community to exert all the necessary efforts to ensure the success of the peace process;

5. Stresses the need for:
(a) The realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right of self-determination;
(b) The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967;

6. Also stress the need for resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with its resolution 194(III) of 11 December 1948;

7. Urges Member States to expedite the provision of economic and technical assistance to the Palestinian people during this critical period;
8. Emphasizes the importance for the United Nations

to play a more active and expanded role in the current peace process and in the implementation of the Declaration of Principles;
9. Requests 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.

General Assembly resolution 51/26 4 December 1996
Meeting 72 152-2-4 (recorded vote) 22-nation draft (A/51/L.36 & Add.1);
agenda item 35.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 68,69,72.
Recorded vote In Assembly as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile. China, Colombia, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark. Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland. France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany. Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger. Nigeria, Norway. Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands. South Africa, Spain. Sri Lanka. Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland. Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Costa Rica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia.

The Permanent Observer of Palestine stressed that the Assembly should uphold its position related to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and related to the elements of the final settlement (final status issues), where Israel had already created illegal, de facto situations, until negotiations on those issues took place and a final settlement was effectively achieved. The principle of the return of land for peace and the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242(1967) and 338(1973) had to be respected. The parties had to comply with the agreements reached and to implement them in good faith and without delay.


In Israel's view, the resolution was fraught with internal contradictions: on the one hand, it claimed to support the peace process begun in Madrid, while on the other, it sought to undermine the fundamental principle of direct negotiations without preconditions, on which the Madrid process was based. Israel believed that Member States that claimed to support the peace process had a responsibility to oppose the text, as it struck at the essential principles of that process.

The United States said the unbalanced resolution complicated the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, inappropriately injecting the General Assembly into issues that were under direct negotiation between the parties. What the parties needed from the Assembly was support and encouragement, not second-guessing and side-taking.

Committee on Palestinian Rights

As mandated by General Assembly resolution 50/84 A (YUN 1995, p. 6491, the Committee on Palestinian Rights, established in 1975 [GA res. 3376(XXX)], kept under review the situation relating to the Palestine question, reported on it am made suggestions to the Assembly or the Security Council. The Committee continued to exert a efforts to promote the effective implementation of the 1993 Declaration of Principles and 1995 Interim Agreement, as well as to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinians.

The Committee continued to monitor the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the developments in the peace process on an ongoing basis through the media, reports of UN organs and agencies, an information provided by NGOs, individual experts and others who participated in meeting held under its auspices.

The Committee continued to follow the activities related to the Palestine question of UN bodies, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and intergovernmental organizations an through its Chairman or Acting Chairman, participated in Security Council meetings on the situation in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem (see above), and in relevant meeting of intergovernmental bodies.

During the year, the Committee sponsored combined meeting of consultations with representatives of NGO coordinating committees (New York, 1-2 February); a seminar on assistance to the Palestinian people, with the theme "Building the Palestinian economy" (Cairo, Egypt, 21-22 May); a symposium for NGOs in North America on the Palestine question (New York, 24-26 June and a combined symposium for European N0G and international NGO meeting (Geneva, 2 September). Noting that it had not organized an event in the Asian region for several years, the Committee decided in principle to convene combined seminar and NGO symposium in Asia in early 1997, subject to consultations with prospective host countries.

The Committee decided to pursue new activities to expand its contacts with the Palestinian Authority and other institutions in the area under the Authority's jurisdiction. Specifically, envisaged inviting Authority officials and other Palestinian personalities to Special Committee meetings to apprise its members and other delegation of important developments on the ground and the evolving needs of the Palestinians to be met through international action. The Committee also would consider ways of developing cooperation with and assistance to Palestinian NGOs.

In its 1996 report [A/51/35], the Committee welcomed the redeployment of Israel's military forces from six major West Bank towns and over 450 villages, and that administrative and civilian powers and responsibilities, as well as in the area, if security, had been transferred to the Palestinian Authority. The Committee noted with satisfaction the continued strengthening of the institutional capacity of the Authority and welcomed the successful holding of the first Palestinian elections, in January, to the legislative council and the Presidency of the Palestinian Authority, and it congratulated President Yasser Arafat on that historic event. The Committee was also pleased to note that, for the first time, the Palestine National Council had been able to meet in Gaza, from 22 to 25 April, and had decided to abrogate articles of the Palestine National Charter that were contrary to agreements reached between Israel and the PLO. The Committee also noted the start of the permanent status negotiations between Israel and the PLO in early May, in accordance with the timetable contained in the 1993 Declaration of Principles. Negotiations were adjourned after a number of procedural decisions had been taken.

The Committee noted with grave concern the exacerbation of the situation on the ground as a result of Israeli security measures in the wake of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians in February and March. Of particular concern were the guidelines adopted by the new Israeli Government and statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerning the peace process, including the implementation of Security Council solutions 242(1967) and 338(1973) and the principle of land for peace, as well as issues related to a final settlement, in particular Jerusalem, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, the return of refugees and Palestinian sovereignty, which appeared to depart from agreed principles and to link implementation to extraneous issues. The delay in redeployment of Israeli troops from Hebron had encouraged provocations by settlers and greatly aggravated tension in the town. The continued lack of safe passage between the West Bank the Gaza Strip infringed on the status and integrity of the Palestinian territory as a single territorial unit, stipulated in the agreements, hampered the Palestinian Authority in exercise its responsibilities and further exacerbated the serious economic situation, the Committee related. It was also concerned at Israel’s interference in activities of the Palestinian Council members, representing the Jerusalem district. It noted with concern that further redeployment of Israeli troops, due to commence six months after the Council's inauguration, had not begun on 7 September in accordance with the agreed time-table. The Committee also noted that although a number of prisoners had been released, some 3,100 Palestinians still remained in Israeli prisons, and that their relatives and ICRC had experienced serious difficulties in visiting them.

The imposition on 25 February of the closure of areas under Palestinian jurisdiction in effect fragmented the territory into many small enclaves isolated from each other and from the outside world, the Committee noted. The Committee further noted with the greatest concern that staff of NGOs and UNRWA had experienced restrictions in their freedom of movement and that their humanitarian work had been disrupted at a time of great crisis.

The Committee praised the Secretary-General and his Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, and the UN system as a whole, for their work to promote an easing of the closure and the creation of local employment, as well as for the continuing programme of assistance for the development of the Palestinian territory. The Committee called on the international community, in particular donor countries, to continue to spare no effort in the pursuit of economic and social development and improvement of the living conditions of Palestinians as the indispensable underpinning for peace.

The Committee was gravely concerned at the negative implications of the prolonged closure for the future of Jerusalem, to be negotiated as part of a final settlement. It noted that the closure had practically cut off Palestinian access to East Jerusalem, thus depriving Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank of their most important religious, cultural and social centre, while isolating Palestinians in Jerusalem from their natural hinterland and stifling East Jerusalem's economy.

The Committee welcomed the relocation of UNRWA headquarters from Vienna to Gaza City (see below). It took note of the signing, on 5 July, of the headquarters agreement between UNRWA and the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, the Committee expressed concern at the Agency's financial constraints and hoped that outstanding pledges and voluntary funds would be forthcoming so that it could continue to provide its vital services.

The Committee further expressed serious concern at policy statements and decisions by the Israeli Government portending renewed land confiscation and settlement construction in the occupied territory.

It was gravely concerned at the escalation of violence in September, when Israel opened an entrance to a tunnel in the vicinity of Haram al-Sharif in East Jerusalem (see above). It welcomed efforts to resolve the situation and resume the peace process. The Committee noted the Middle East Summit, held at the invitation of the President of the United States and with the participation of King Hussein of Jordan, the Israeli Prime Minister and the President of the Palestinian Authority (Washington, D.C., 1-2 October), and the parties' determination to renew and intensify negotiations on how to carry out the provisions of the peace agreements already concluded. In that regard, the Committee reiterated its strong support for the peace process and its determination to spare no effort in promoting the rights of the Palestinians, including the right to self-determination and statehood.

The United Nations had a permanent responsibility with respect to the Palestine question until a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement was reached, the Committee reaffirmed, and the involvement of the United Nations in the peace process, both as guardian of international legitimacy and in mobilizing and providing international assistance, was essential for the successful outcome of the peace efforts.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 4 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/23.


Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable

Rights of the Palestinian People


The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 181(11) of 29 November 1947, 194(111) of 11 December 1948, 3236(XXIX) of 22 November 1974, 3375(XXX) and 3376(XXX) of 10 November 1975,31/20 of 24 November 1976,32/40 A of 2 December 1977, 33/28 A and B of 7 December 1978, 34/65 A of 29 November 1979 and 34/65 C of 12 December 1979, ES-7/2 of 29 July 1980, 35/169 A and C of 15 December 1980, 36/120 A and C of 10 December 1981. ES-7/4 of 28 April 1982,37/86 A of 10 December 1982. 38/58 A of 13 December 1983, 39/49 A of 11 December 1984, 40/96 A of 12 December 1985, 41/43 A of 2 December 1986, 42/66 A of 2 December 1987, 43/175 A of 15 December 1988, 44/41 A of 6 December 1989, 45/67 A of 6 December 1990, 46/74 A of 11 December 1991,47/64 A of 11 December 1992, 48/158 A of 20 December 1993,49/62 A of 14 December 1994 and 50/84 A of 15 December 1995,
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,
Welcoming the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, including its Annexes and Agreed Minutes, by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, in particular the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area, signed at Cairo on 4 May 1994, and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, signed in Washington, D.C., on 28 September 1995,
Reaffirming that the United Nations has a permanent responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine until the question is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy,
1. Expresses its appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it by the General Assembly;
2. Considers that the Committee can continue to make a valuable and positive contribution to international efforts to promote the effective implementation of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements and to mobilize international support for and assistance to the Palestinian people during the transitional period;
3. Endorses the recommendations of the Committee contained in chapter VII of its report;
4. Requests the Committee to continue to keep under review the situation relating to the question of Palestine and to report and make suggestions to the General Assembly or the Security Council, as appropriate;
5. Authorizes the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, to make such adjustments in its approved programme of work as it may consider appropriate and necessary in the light of developments, to give special emphasis to the need to mobilize support and assistance for the Palestinian people and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session and thereafter;
6. Requests the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation to non-governmental organizations in their contribution towards heightening international awareness of the facts relating to the question of Palestine and promoting support and assistance to meet the needs of the Palestinian people and to take the necessary Steps to involve additional non-governmental organizations in its work;
7. Requests the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, established under General Assembly resolution 194(111), and other United Nations bodies associated with the question of Palestine to continue to cooperate fully with the Committee and to make available to it, at its request, the relevant information and documentation which they have at their disposal;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to circulate the report of the Committee to all the competent bodies of the United Nations, and urges them to take the necessary action, as appropriate;
9. Also requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks.

General Assembly resolution 51/23 4 December 1996 Meeting 72 104-2-46 (recorded vote)
22-nation draft (A/51/L.33 & Add.1); agenda item 35.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 68,69,72.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In favour: Algeria, Angola Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia. Cameroon, Cape Verde. Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus. Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal. Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Salomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan. Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal. Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom.

Israel said it had opposed the existence of bodies such as the Committee and the Division for Palestinian Rights since their inception; they had obstructed dialogue and understanding through a one-sided and distorted portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict and stood in contradiction to the very principles on which the peace process was based. In addition, they expended valuable resources that should be devoted to more constructive activities, such as supporting social and economic development that would benefit Palestinians.
In the view of the United States, the $7 million that currently funded the activities of obscure UN committees and departments which purported to be dedicated to the welfare of Palestinians could make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people. The funds should go instead to the activities of other UN organizations, such as the Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, UNRWA and UNDP, which would carry out programmes directly benefiting the Palestinians.

Division for Palestinian Rights
With the guidance of the Committee on Palestinian Rights, the Division for Palestinian Rights of the UN Secretariat continued to function as a centre for research, monitoring, preparation of studies, and collection and dissemination of information on all issues related to the Palestine question. The Committee emphasized the essential contribution of the Division in that regard and requested it to continue its programme of publications, in consultation with the Committee. The Committee considered that the studies, bulletins, information notes, reports and other material published by the Division should focus on priority issues to be addressed by the Committee in 1996 in order to enhance their usefulness at that important stage.

The Committee noted with appreciation that the Division, in accordance with its mandate, continued to respond to requests for information and to prepare and disseminate the following publications: monthly bulletins covering action by the Committee and other UN organs, organizations and agencies, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, on the Palestine question, containing the texts of relevant resolutions, statements arid decisions; the periodic bulletin "Developments related to the Middle East peace process"; a monthly chronological summary of events relating to the Palestine question; reports of seminars and NGO meetings organized under Committee auspices; a special bulletin on the commemoration, in 1995, of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People; and a compilation of relevant resolutions, decisions and statements adopted in 1995 by the General Assembly and the Security Council relating to the Palestine question.

The Committee noted with appreciation that, in response to its request, the Division had completed the first draft of a study on Jerusalem, and requested that it pay particular attention to finalizing the proposed study on Israeli settlements during the coming year.

The Committee noted with appreciation the further progress made by the Division, in cooperation with relevant technical services of the Secretariat, in developing the UN information system on the question of Palestine, and in making it available to users, including through the establishment of a home page on the Internet. It called for intensified efforts to include all relevant documentation in the system, if necessary through redeployment of funds from lower-priority areas.

Noting further the successful introduction in the Division of a pilot project for the training of staff of the Palestinian Authority in the workings of the UN system, the Committee requested the Division to continue that exercise in the future.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 4 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/24.

Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat
The General Assembly,
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,
Taking note in particular of the relevant information contained in chapter V.B of that report,
Recalling its resolutions 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, 33/28 C of 7 December 1978, 34/65 D of 12 December 1979, 35/169 D of 15 December 1980, 36/120 B of 10 December 1981, 37/86 B of 10 December 1982,38/58 B of 13 December 1983, 39/49 B of 11 December 1984, 40/96 B of 12 December 1985,41/43 B of 2 December 1986, 42/66 B of 2 December 1987, 43/175 B of 15 December 1988, 44/41 B of 6 December 1989, 45/67 B of 6 December 1990, 46/74 B of 11 December 1991, 47/64 B of 11 December 1992, 48/158 B of 20 December 1993,49/62 B of 14 December 1994 and 50/84 B of 15 December 1995,
1. Notes with appreciation the action taken by the Secretary-General in compliance with its resolution 50/84 B;
2. Considers that the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat continues to make a useful and constructive contribution through the organization of seminars and meetings of non-governmental organizations, as well as through its research and monitoring activities the preparation of studies and publications and the collection and dissemination of information in printed and electronic form on all issues pertaining to the question of Palestine;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Division with the necessary resources, including for the further development of the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, and to ensure that it continues to discharge the tasks detailed in paragraph 1 of resolution 32/40 B, paragraph 2 (b) of resolution 34/65 D, paragraph 3 of resolution 36/120B, paragraph 3 of resolution 38/58 B, paragraph 3 of resolution 40/96 B, paragraph 2 of resolution 42/66 B, paragraph 2 of resolution 44/41 B, paragraph 2 of resolution 46/74 B, paragraph 2 of resolution 48/158 B, paragraph 3 of resolution 49/62 B and paragraph 3 of resolution 50/84 B, in consultation with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and under its guidance;
4. Also requests the Secretary-General to ensure the continued cooperation of the Department of Public Information and other units of the Secretariat in enabling the Division to perform its tasks and in covering adequately the various aspects of the question of Palestine;
5. Invites all Governments and organizations to lend their cooperation to the Committee and the Division in the performance of their tasks;
6. Notes with appreciation the action taken by Member States to observe annually on 29 November the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, requests them to continue to give the widest possible publicity to the observance and requests the Committee to continue to organize, as part of the observance of the Day of Solidarity, an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.

General Assembly resolution 51/24 4 December 1996

Meeting 72 107-2-46 (recorded vote)
22-nation draft (A/51/L.34 & Add.I): agenda item 35. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 68. 69,72.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon. Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo. Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, tin. land, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands Micronesia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom.

Special information programme


As requested by General Assembly resolution 50/84 C [YUN 1995, p. 652], the Department of Public Information (DPI) continued in 1996, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee on Palestinian Rights, its special information programme on the Palestine question, with particular emphasis on public opinion in Europe and North America. In doing so, DPI was to focus on six particular areas of activity, as identified in the 1995 Assembly resolution.

Dissemination of information on all activities of the UN system relating to the Palestine question was provided by DPI. The Department's NGO Section continued to disseminate information materials through the NGO Resources Centre. The global network of UN information centres (UNICs) and services actively promoted the central issue relating to the Palestine question, organizing media activities and special events and regularly disseminating relevant information materials made available from Headquarters.

DPI continued to issue press releases and publications on various aspects of the Palestine question.
The Department's Radio and Central News Service provided a wide range of coverage on the Palestine question and related issues in daily news bulletins, weekly news magazines and feature programmes in official and non-official languages for worldwide dissemination. DPI organized a number of international, regional and national encounters for journalists. It also organized in 1996 a training programme for 10 Palestinian journalists at UN Headquarters (15 September 8 November).
Concluding, the Committee noted the efforts undertaken by DPI over the past year and expressed appreciation of the results, but noted that some important aspects of the special information programme had yet to be implemented. The Assembly's requests needed to be borne in mind, said the Committee, in an assessment of performance. A more regular and structured process of cooperation and coordination of DPI with the Committee, as called for by the resolution, should assist in identifying and overcoming difficulties that might be encountered in the organization of specific events and should thus ensure full implementation of the resolution.
The Committee favoured utilization of modern electronic media to facilitate the production of new publications.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 4 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/25.


Special information programme on the question

of Palestine of the Department of Public

Information of the Secretariat



The General Assembly,
Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,
Taking note in particular of the information contained in chapter VI of that report,
Recalling its resolution 50/84 C of 15 December 1995,
Convinced that the worldwide dissemination of accurate and comprehensive information and the role of non-governmental organizations and institutions remain of vital importance in heightening awareness of and support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,
Aware of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, and of the subsequent implementation agreements, in particular the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in Washington on 28 September 1995, and their positive implications,
1. Notes that several defined provisions of the special information programme on the question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat are yet to be implemented, and stresses the importance of implementation of all provisions of the programme;
2. Considers that the special information programme is very useful in raising the awareness of the international community concerning the complexities of the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East in general, including the achievements of the peace process, and that the programme is contributing effectively to an atmosphere conducive to dialogue and supportive of the peace process;
3. Requsts the Department, in full cooperation and coordination with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to continue, with the necessary flexibility as may be required by developments affecting the question of Palestine, its special information programme for the biennium 1996-1997, with particular emphasis on public opinion in Europe and North America and, in particular:
(a) To disseminate information on all the activities of the United Nations system relating to the question of Palestine, including reports on the work carried out by the relevant United Nations organizations;
405
(b) To continue to issue and update publications on the various aspects of the question of Palestine in all fields, including materials concerning the recent developments in that regard and, in particular, the achievements of the peace process;
(c) To expand its audiovisual material on the question of Palestine, including the production of such material;

(d) To organize and promote fact-finding news missions for journalists to the area, including the territories under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and the occupied territories;
(e) To organize international, regional and national
encounters for journalists;
(f) To provide, in cooperation with the relevant bodies and agencies of the United Nations system particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, assistance to the Palestinian people in the field of media development, including training for Palestinian broadcasters and journalists.

General Assembly resolution 51/25

4 December 1996 Meeting 72 157-2-3 (recorded vote)
22-nation draft (A/51/L.35 & Add.1); agenda item 35. Matting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 68,69,72.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, 61 Salvador Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti,Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamaharia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands. New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,Philippines, Poland. Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldiva, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia,Slovenia, Solomon islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Fiji, Marshall Islands, Micronesia.

Israel believed that the resolution entailed a needless expenditure of valuable resources that could be put to better use. Similarly, the United States felt that such funds could better serve economic development projects in the West Bank and Gaza.


Assistance to Palestinians

UN involvement

On 21 June, the Secretary-General reported [A/51/171-E/1996/75] on assistance to the Palestinians, specifying needs, ongoing programmes and proposals for additional assistance. Following the second interagency meeting convened by Terje Rod-Larsen (Norway), the UN Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, in June 1995 [YUN 1995, p. 653], sectoral strategies covering education, health, employment generation, infrastructure and housing, institution building and the private sector were finalized; they articulated a coordinated, integrated and targeted approach to the main developmental priorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as identified by the Palestinian Authority. Each of the six strategies included proposals from UN agencies and programmes for specific technical and project assistance for implementation starting in late 1995 and 1996. The total package of proposals comprised projects costing approximately $550 million.

The UN-proposed programme of assistance for 1996 was formally presented to the donor community by the Special Coordinator at the ministerial-level meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, the main donor led ed body overseeing the assistance efforts, convened in September 1995 on the occasion of the signing of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. At that meeting, the Committee had stressed the imperative to respond quickly to the major political achievement represented by (he Interim Agreement by intensifying efforts in the economic arena. It was decided to hold a ministerial conference of donor countries as soon as possible, preceded by a World Bank led Consultative Group meeting in Paris on 18 and 19 October 1995.

In close coordination with the Palestinian Authority and in consultation with Israel, and following discussions with key donors, the United Nations and the World Bank jointly prepared a policy document for consideration by donors. For its part, the Palestinian Authority established a "core list" of technical and infrastructural assistance projects, drawing from proposed UN, World Bank and bilateral activities. The core list required approximately $550 million in donor funds, of which 27 projects valued at about $100 million were for implementation by UN agencies and programmes.

The Ministerial Conference on Economic Assistance to the Palestinian People was held in Paris on 9 January 1996. Conference participants emphasized, among other things, the importance of improving the economic and social conditions of the Palestinians through a comprehensive effort to create jobs, improve physical and social infrastructure, and establish a basis for sustainable economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The donors considered the Palestinian Authority's core list of development activities for 1996, as well as other activities proposed by it, the World Bank and the United Nations. At the Conference and over the weeks following it around $805 million was pledged by donors for investment projects, and an additional $72.5 million towards the Palestinian Authority's recurrent budget deficit projected at $75 million for 1996.

According to information provided to the Office of the Special Coordinator, UN agencies and programmes received approximately $105 million in donor funding between July 1995 and June 1996 for technical and infrastructural project assistance to benefit the Palestinian Authority and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Of the UN projects on the "core list", 19 received approximately $59 million in donor funding. Those figures did not include funding for UNRWA regular programmes amounting to approximately $ 150 million for the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1996 (see below); nor did they reflect the decision of UN DP to double the funding from its own "core resources" for the period 1996-1998, to a minimum of $8 million. By mid-1996, many donors had yet to commit their 1996 pledges to specific projects.

Following a series of suicide terrorist attacks and Israeli countermeasures, including the closure of the occupied territories, a decline of economic activity took place in the territories and employment of Palestinians in Israel dropped, resulting in a sharp reduction in the revenues of the Palestinian Authority. By mid-April 1996, with the closure still in place, the 1996 recurrent budget deficit was estimated to have increased by some $100 million above the $75 million projected in late 1995.

In response, the Special Coordinator proposed the framework for a plan aimed at easing the closure and at establishing a donor-funded emergency employment-creation programme. The United States announced on 28 March that the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Norway (as representative of the donor community) had agreed to the framework. Subsequently, steady increases were recorded in the movement of goods into and out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Overall trade volume, however, remained below the preclosure level and the Palestinians employed in Israel numbered approximately 10,000 at the end of May, compared to an estimated 70,000 before the closure.

UNDP joined the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) in implementing projects in mid-March that were expected to provide up to 5,000 employment opportunities during 1996.

From 15 to 17 April, the Special Coordinator convened the third interagency meeting in Gaza. Its main purpose was to establish priorities for UN assistance programmes in 1997. Those priorities, accompanied by project proposals for addressing unmet needs, were to be presented to donors at the World Bank-led Consultative Group meeting (Paris, 20 November).

Education

Education was the largest service sector run by the Palestinian Authority, catering to the needs of more than 35 per cent of the population. The total cost of the educational system (excluding higher education) was estimated at $180 million annually. Following the transfer of responsibility for education to the Palestinian Authority in 1994, new challenges had arisen from the continued rapid increase in the school population and the need to accommodate the children of returnees.
To improve access to schooling, as well as the quality of teaching and learning, and to increase the relevance of education to society's needs, the Ministry of Education prepared a National Plan of Action, defining priorities for urgent attention and financial and technical assistance. The overall challenge for the United Nations was, according to the Secretary-General, to shape a coherent programme, leading to the improvement and growth of the educational system. Above all, the UN programme should be integrated within the framework of the five-year master plan for education currently being prepared by the Ministry of Education.
Since 1950, UNRWA had been the single largest provider of education in the Gaza Strip and a major provider in the West Bank. The overall objective of its education programme (see below) was to provide general education; inservice teachers' education; vocational, technical and higher education; and university, scholarships for Palestinian refugees.

UNDP focused on improving infrastructural facilities through the construction and renovation of schools and classrooms and on increasing access for girls to educational opportunities. In February 1996, UNDP launched a project aimed at defining the extent of the school dropout phenomenon and its geographical and gender distribution, with the aim of making policy recommendations to the Ministry of Education and of introducing remedial programmes, especially for female dropouts. UNDP also provided support for inservice training and curriculum development in agricultural training schools.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), under its Culture of Peace Programme launched in 1994 to give greater emphasis to countries and territories in conflict, carried out two missions to review the Palestinian education sector. It proposed establishing, through the Palestinian European Academic Cooperation in Education programme network, UNESCO Chairs in archaeology, foreign language teaching and marine sciences.

UNICEF’s education programme was implemented through three main projects focusing on formal and non-formal education; early child-hood development/psychosocial health; primary education; and youth and community development. Under the last category, 110 community-based camps for children and youth were organized in 1995, and 700 youth leaders were trained in planning educational, recreational, art and environmental activities for children.

Other assistance came from the International Labour Organization (ILO), fielding technical missions to examine the needs of the vocational training sector, with particular reference to workers' education programmes and training activities for Ministry of Labour officials; and the World Food Programme (WFP), supporting vocational training by providing meals for women and youth trainees and supporting trainees at rehabilitation centres for the mentally and physically disabled.

Employment

A high rate of unemployment (projected at an average 31 per cent in 1996 and in the Gaza Strip surpassing 50 per cent), and underemployment in the occupied territories, constituted an immediate social and economic challenge to the development efforts of the Palestinian Authority. There were an estimated 20,000 new job-seekers each year in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. With one of the world's highest labour force growth rates (nearly 4 per cent) and with nearly half the population under 15 years of age, the Palestinian economy was unable to absorb many of the unemployed and was unlikely to accommodate the expected increase in job-seekers in the years ahead. In addition, many of those denied access to the Israeli labour market could not find work at home and the dependent nature of the Palestinian economy limited employment creation and growth. The industrial sector was relatively small, while major sources of employment were in agriculture and construction. Given continuing economic unpredictability and the lack of an adequate basic infrastructure, large-scale domestic and foreign investment had not been forth-coming.

With the extension in late 1995 of Palestinian self-rule to major towns and surrounding areas in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations, the World Bank and donors agreed that emergency employment-generation programmes, largely confined to the Gaza Strip, should be extended to the West Bank. UN agencies should assist the Palestinian Authority in formulating a clearly defined employment strategy, the Secretary-General suggested in his report. Unemployment should be addressed as a structural problem requiring long-term solutions. The strategy should include employment services, training, development of small and medium sized enterprises, establishment of a social safety-net mechanism, social security, and local and regional cooperation in labour migration.

In coordination with the Palestinian Authority and donors, the sectoral working group on employment generation had identified a series of priority projects for the West Bank, according to the report. On-the-job training would continue to be provided for project management, the planning of high labour-content infrastructure activities and the introduction of transparent and accountable methods of project implementation.

In the long run, the report stated, sustainable employment would be generated mainly by the private sector. Recently, Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached a general agreement on the need for a programme of border industrial zones to attract foreign investment and create employment opportunities.

ILO technical missions, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, devised strategies to address the unemployment issue and introduce labour-intensive work programmes. ILO was also undertaking ongoing employment-related activities, such as reintegration of ex-detainees. The report said that ILO could also provide training to Palestinian Authority staff, small and medium sized contractors, consultants and workers, an approach which could be combined with related programmes in employment policy, employment services, labour administration and vocational training.

Following three fact-finding missions, UNESCO proposed setting up a programme, employing both specialists and unskilled workers, to safe-guard historical sites and monuments in Bethlehem, Gaza, Hebron and Jericho.

Health

The Palestinian Authority had assumed over-all responsibility for health in the Gaza Strip and Jericho in May 1994 and the remainder of the West Bank in December of that year. With the creation of a Ministry of Health, health matters were being addressed with reference to the needs of the local population. The Secretary-General reported that the Palestinian Authority had made commendable progress in implementing its Interim Action Plan, based on the National Health Plan, which was developed in consultation with Palestinian health professionals. During the first year, the Palestinian Authority set up the organizational structure of the Ministry of Health, established sectoral priorities and policies, and addressed the sector's requirements in the area of human resources and basic needs. The report noted a geographical disparity in terms of health facilities and personnel, with a tendency to favour urban centres, in particular Jerusalem. Of the 24 hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, serving a population of almost 2.5 million, 6 were operated by the Ministry of Health and the remainder by NGOs and UNRWA.

According to the report, the fragmentation of health services had been a limiting factor in the-development of an integrated and efficient health system. The development and implementation of clearer health policies and a major re-orientation of the system were essential for the future, as was a more comprehensive approach to women's health. Discrepancies between the formal training and work experience of health staff and the functions they were required to perform. as well as the training, work experience and medical background of health managers, presented further obstacles to the implementation of appropriately oriented health policies. The report also identified a need for a comprehensive and cohesive revision of health legislation, reflecting recent trends and developments, as well as the policy choices made by the Palestinian Authority.

Following the signing of the 1993 Declaration of Principles, UN agencies, in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority and the donor community, identified and planned priority interventions for the rehabilitation of the health infrastructure, aimed primarily at building renovating and expanding a number of health facilities. UN organizations played a primary role in implementing such projects.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provided the Ministry of Health with direct financial assistance and fielded several assessment missions, permitting the Ministry to establish a number of units to develop strategic plans for intersectoral coordination and national health planning. WHO also assisted in the development of a zoonotic disease policy, and rehabilitated and equipped health facilities in the Gaza Strip. It also financed the establishment of a Continuing Education Centre and a Public Health Training Centre in Gaza.

Furthermore, UN agencies supported such areas as immunization, insurance, the control of acute respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases, and maternal and reproductive health.

Other UN-assisted projects included: child health/family planning projects (UNFPA); promotion of breast-feeding (UNICEF); upgrading medical infrastructure at the primary care level (UNRWA); and food aid in the Gaza Strip to house-holds classified as hardship cases, the majority of which were headed by women with large numbers of dependants (WFP).

Infrastructure

UNRWA's Peace Implementation Programme (PIP) primarily targeted infrastructure projects in the education, health and social sectors, with the aim of improving refugees' living conditions and contributing to employment generation. Under the second phase of the programme (PIP II), the Agency received $ 17.3 million for projects to improve environmental conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and was seeking over $ 110 million in donor funding for additional projects.

The primary elements of a UN strategy for infrastructure development, in support of the Palestinian Authority's efforts, were the continued rehabilitation of basic education, health and agriculture, as well as the adoption of labour-intensive techniques in the design and implementation of projects. There was an urgent need for both the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and investment in new strategic facilities, with potential for regional linkages.

In view of the enormous needs of infrastructural development, the report cited rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of existing physical infrastructure facilities as the first priority. Simultaneously, sustainable capacity had to be developed to manage, operate and maintain those facilities, through adequate management systems and structures, on-the-job training and transfer of skills and knowledge. All capital investments should be combined with appropriate technical assistance packages, and support for future development planning should be coordinated with Palestinian institutions, in particular the Ministry of Planning and International Co-operation.

Infrastructural requirements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were similar in terms of the type of projects needed, but development priorities should be tailored to their varying needs. A regulated programme of land use was seen as a pre-requisite for all other forms of infrastructural development, and such development should in-corporate strict guidelines for protection of the environment and of human resources. Dwindling water resources, the growth of the agricultural sector and a rising population necessitated, the report said, the creation of efficient water preservation and distribution systems, and assistance was required in the field of water policy, legislation and management strategies. Closely related to the question of water resources was the issue of waste-water disposal and reuse, as inadequate sewage systems and the absence of proper treatment and disposal schemes threatened both the water supply quality and public health.

The revival of the agricultural sector, according to the report, featured prominently in Palestinian development planning. To encourage private investment, improvement of the legal, regulatory and institutional framework was necessary. Basic agricultural infrastructure—schools, laboratories, and quarantine and research stations—also required upgrading.

In order for Palestinian industry to develop and become competitive, a proper transportation system and modern electric and telecommunications networks were necessary. Power generation plants, energy planning and information systems, energy efficiency programmes and renewable energy technologies were needed.

Institution-building

The report noted that institution-building was one of the four primary components of the Palestinian Authority's preliminary statement on a Palestinian development strategy, presented at the Ministerial Conference on Economic Assistance to the Palestinian People, held in Paris in January 1996. That component aimed to achieve a new system of governance and build local capabilities and a competent civil service necessary to implement the economic development strategy. The Authority's priorities included strengthening the technical, financial and managerial capabilities of municipal governments building 9 legal basis for public administration; strengthening the key central institutions relating to commerce and economic management; ensuring that institution-building components were included in development projects; ensuring extensive consultations between the central Government, local authorities, the private sector and NGOs in the implementation of an economic development strategy; creating capacity within Palestinian institutions for research and policy analysis and implementation; and ensuring open participation in the decision-making process by involving the public in policy formulation and the design of the development strategy. The UN strategy for institution-building would be geared towards responding to those priorities.

An important focus for the UN system would be physical infrastructure, the report said; another would be support for sustainable human and social development through technical assistance to those Palestinian institutions closely concerned with the delivery of public and social services. Assistance could also be provided to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation capacities of the Palestinian Authority ministries; to develop and implement sectoral gender sensitive strategies and action plans; to establish data systems and information bases and strengthen institutional capacities in data analysis, dissemination and utilization; and to establish mechanisms for partnership between Palestinian Authority institutions and NGOs. Another key element of the UN strategy for institution-building would be continuing to focus on public-sector management and public administration development. The report recognized the development of cohesive and equitable legal and judicial frameworks as another critical element in ensuring the proper development of public sector institutions.

A central objective of UN support for institutional development was to facilitate the progressive inclusion of the West Bank and Gaza Strip into regional and subregional spheres. The UN system would encourage regional networking, utilizing the established field office network of UN organizations throughout the Arab States, as well as the exchange of technical expertise within the region.
The UN Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories continued to coordinate bilateral and multilateral training programmes for the Palestinian police force. In the first half of 1996, more than 550 policemen received training in advanced driving, basic forensic science, drug law enforcement, human rights, maintenance of public order, management development and training, management training for traffic police and women police.

Private-sector development

The Palestinian Authority identified the private sector as the principal engine for growth, development and employment generation. Its strategy for private-sector development had three broad thrusts: creation of an enabling environment and basic infrastructure for industry, agriculture and tourism; promotion of medium-term lending, particularly for small businesses and for farming activities; and promotion of private-sector participation in infrastructure development.

The strategy emphasized the establishment of industrial estates, an investment promotion programme, facilities for political risk insurance, an export development programme, and clarification and modernization of the legal and regulatory framework. For small-scale and microenterprises, which accounted for over 90 per cent of industrial employment, the strategy called for the development of municipal industrial complexes, incubator and business support services and the promotion of leasing, venture capital and small credit schemes.

In the agricultural sector, the Authority's strategy aimed to support private-sector farming through improved legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks, to enhance the efficiency of traditional and domestic market-oriented agriculture, to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of intensive and export oriented agriculture, and to improve access to regional and international markets.

The Authority's strategy also called for promotion of the area as a tourism destination and integration into global marketing systems; the development of tourism and related industries; and improvement of training and human resources development. Constraints to the development of the private sector included a volatile security environment; lack of clear legal, regulatory and administrative frameworks; and, most importantly, the frequent closure of the territories, severely affecting access to supplies, capital and the labour market in Israel and preventing the transfer of Palestinian produce, products and services.

The United Nations would provide specialized advisory services, technical assistance and training to private, public and semi-public entities Special attention would be given to the environ mental soundness of the proposed development models; the creation of local capacities in the public and private sectors which could sustain development efforts and momentum; the utilization of local Palestinian capacities; and the incorporation of women and marginalized groups in mainstream economic development. The United Nations could also help formulate policies and strategies for human resources development and provide technical, managerial and entrepreneurial training, and would continue to implement a plan of action to develop a conducive environment for entrepreneurship and self-employment.

On 23 July, the Economic and Social Council by decision 1996/252, took note of the Secretary-General's report.

UNDP action. By a decision of 29 March [E/1996/33 (dec. 96/19)], the UNDP Executive Board took note of the January report [DP/1996/151 of tin Administrator on the Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People (PAPP) during 1995. The Board requested him to envisage increasing UNDP core resources allocated to the Programme under the future arrangements for 1997-1998 and encouraged the international donor community to continue its high level of contributions to PAPP and to take full advantage of its well-tested implementation and delivery capacities.

As reported by the Administrator [DP/1997/16/ Add.3], expenditures under PAPP amounted to $52 million in 1996, compared to $37 million in 1995. The Programme paid increased attention to the expansion of its advocacy role in promoting sustainable human development themes, such as poverty elimination, sustainable livelihoods, gender in development and environmental management. In 1996, PAPP also launched major activities to enhance governance at the local, municipal and central levels of the Palestinian Authority.

UNDP/PAPP continued to support the UN Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, serving as secretariat to 6 of the 12 sectoral working groups established in January 1995 to pro-mote and coordinate activities of donors in various sectors, according to the priorities of the Palestinian Authority. They also facilitated coordination at the technical level.

Seminar on Assistance to Palestinian People.

In accordance with its mandate to promote international support for and assistance to the Palestinians during the transitional period, the Committee on Palestinian Rights organized a Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, with the theme "Building the Palestinian Economy—Challenges and Prospects" (Cairo, Egypt, 21-23 May). The Seminar, attended by donor and other Governments, intergovernmental organizations, agencies and entities of the UN-system, officials of the Palestinian Authority and NGOs, provided a framework for an exchange of views on various aspects of the current challenges facing the Palestinians in their efforts to rehabilitate and develop the economy and on the role of international assistance in that regard.

The Seminar addressed the following general themes: (a) building the Palestinian economy challenges and prospects; (b) international assistance to the Palestinian people: experience and perspective; (c) trade sector; (d) the role of the financial institutions; and (e) the housing sector. An overview of the Seminar, including a summary of presentations made, was provided in a report of the Committee, transmitted to the Secretary-General in June [A/51/166-E/1996/67].

The Committee hoped that the Seminar had made a constructive contribution to international efforts aimed at promoting the economic and social development of the Palestinian society during the transitional phase. It also believed that ensuring the viability and advancement of the Palestinian economy was a key to a just and lasting peace in the region.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/150.

Assistance to the Palestinian people


The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 50/58 H of 20 December 1995,
Recalling also previous resolutions oh the question,
Welcoming the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 1993 between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, as well as the signing of the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 1995,
Gravely concerned about the difficult economic and employment conditions facing the Palestinian people throughout the occupied territory,
Conscious of the urgent need for improvement in the economic and social infrastructure of the occupied territory and the living conditions of the Palestinian people,
Aware that development is difficult under occupation and best promoted in circumstances of peace and stability,
Noting, in the light of the recent developments in the peace process, the great economic and social challenges facing the Palestinian people and their leadership,
Conscious of the urgent necessity for international assistance to the Palestinian people, taking into account the Palestinian priorities,
Noting the convening of the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, "Building the Palestinian Economy—Challenges and Prospects", held at Cairo from 21 to 23 May 1996,
Stressing the need for the full engagement of the United Nations in the process of building Palestinian institutions and in providing broad assistance to the Palestinian people, including assistance in the fields of elections, police training and public administration,
Noting the appointment by the Secretary-General in June 1994 of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories,
Welcoming the results of the Conference to Support Middle East Peace, convened in Washington, D.C., on 1 October 1993, and the establishment of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and the work being done by the World Bank as its secretariat, as well as the establishment of the consultative group and the convening in Paris, on 9 January 1996, of the Ministerial Conference on Economic Assistance to the Palestinian People,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General,
1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General;
2. Expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his rapid response and efforts regarding assistance to the Palestinian people;
3. Also expresses its appreciation to the Member States, United Nations bodies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that have provided and continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people;
4. Strews the importance of the work done by the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories and of the steps taken under the auspices of the Secretary-General to ensure the achievement of a coordinated mechanism for United Nations activities throughout the occupied territories;
5. Urges Member States, international financial institutions of the United Nations system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and regional and interregional organizations to extend, as rapidly and as generously as possible, economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people in order to assist in the development of the West Bank and Gaza, and to do so in close cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Organization and through official Palestinian institutions;
6. Calls upon relevant organizations and agencies of the United Nations system to intensify their assistance in response to the urgent needs of the Palestinian people in accordance with the Palestinian priorities set forth by the Palestinian Authority, with emphasis on national execution and capacity-building;
7. Urges Member States to open their markets to exports from the West Bank and Gaza and on the most favourable terms, consistent with appropriate trading rules;
8. Calls upon the international donor community to expedite the delivery of pledged assistance to the Palestinian people to meet their urgent needs;
9. Suggests the convening in 1997 of a United Nations-sponsored seminar on the Palestinian economy;
10. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session, through the Economic and Social Council, on the implementation of the present resolution, containing:
(a) An assessment of the assistance actually received by the Palestinian people;
(b) An assessment of the needs still unmet and specific proposals for responding effectively to them;
11. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-second session, under the item entitled "Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance", the sub-item entitled "Assistance to the Palestinian people".

General Assembly resolution 51/150 13 December 1996

Meeting 84 Adopted without vote
18-nation draft (A/51/L.41) agenda item 21 (d)
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: plenary 63,84.

Israel explained that its participation in the consensus on the resolution should not be construed as implying any position regarding the current status of the territories referred to as "the occupied territories". Also, its support did not carry any implication with regard to its position on the territories' permanent status which, in accordance with the 1993 Declaration of Principles, was to be negotiated between Israel and the PLO. Israel felt that the United Nations should increase its efforts and funding to assist the Palestinians, thus facilitating the successful implementation of the Declaration of Principles.


It welcomed the concerted efforts of Member States, international financial institutions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to aid in the development of the West Bank and Gaza, and it believed that economic and social progress could be advanced only through cooperation. Further, economic development and improved living conditions there would encourage peace and stability in the region.


The UN and Palestine refugees

In a year in which the Middle East peace process experienced important steps forward as well as some serious setbacks, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) continued to provide humanitarian services under difficult conditions and worsening financial constraints. As of 30 June 1996, more than 3.3 million refugees were registered with the Agency, an increase of 4.4 percent over the 3.17 million the previous year. They lived both in and outside camps in the West Bank (532,000) and the Gaza Strip (717,000), territories which were mostly under the administration of the Palestinian Authority, and in the host countries of Jordan (more than 1.35 million), Lebanon (352,000) and the Syrian Arab Republic (347,000). Of the refugee population, 38 per cent were age 15 or under, 53 per cent were between 16 and 59 years of age, and 9 per cent were age 60 or older.

UNRWA operations continued to aim to support the peace process while improving socio-economic conditions within the refugee community. Coordination and harmonization of services with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza was furthered. The transfer of UNRWA's core headquarters operations from Vienna to Gaza City was completed in July, with some units relocated to Amman, Jordan, where UNRWA programme departments and some support offices were already situated. Peter Hansen became Commissioner-General of UNRWA in January, succeeding liter Turkmen.

In the introduction to his annual report [A/51/131 covering the work of the Agency, the Commissioner-General stated that the period under review (1 July 1995-30 June 1996) had been a time of significant transition for UNRWA, with developments in a number of areas that would have ramifications for its operations in the short and longer term. The peace process had advanced with the redeployment of Israeli forces in the West Bank and the holding of Palestinian elections, only to face a setback following an escalation of violence in early 1996 and the imposition by the Israeli authorities of prolonged closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. That and other security-related restrictions had interfered with Agency operations. UNRWA’s financial position had also grown increasingly serious, with a fourth consecutive, now structural, deficit foreseen for 1996 and financing of its regular programmes coming under increasing strain. Finding a means to allow the Agency to continue to meet the essential needs of the refugees within acceptable terms was therefore an urgent necessity.

When it became clear that the Agency could not survive 1996 without additional funding an extraordinary meeting of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, major donors, host Governments and the Palestinian Authority was called in September, which produced pledges of $15 million including $11.25 million for the 1996 regular budget. Those funds were to be used to build up working capital reserves, which had been depleted, while programme priorities were reevaluated.

Work of UNRWA

In his annual report, the Commissioner-General noted that the cumulative effect of deficits and austerity measures was to erode the Agency's ability to maintain its core functions in a manner consistent with its mandate and traditional role. In the absence of additional funding, the Agency was faced with a choice of either drifting towards insolvency, while allowing the level and quality of services to continue their inexorable decline, or making the difficult decision to withdraw entirely from certain core programmes.

In order to promote refugee self-reliance and ensure longer-term viability of services, UNRWA continued to emphasize community participation in its social development activities. Where appropriate and feasible, refugees were asked to make some form of contribution towards service delivery, for example, by contributing voluntarily towards the upkeep of schools or making co-payments for hospitalization. Local committees managed more than 60 per cent of the women's programme centres, as well as all community centres for rehabilitation of the disabled and youth activity centres, with the Agency providing financial and technical support and actively promoting self-management and financial sustainability.

Under its regular programmes of assistance, UNRWA provided essential education, health and relief and social services through a network of 637 schools, 8 training centres and 123 out-patient health facilities. Environmental health services included sewage and refuse disposal, wastewater management and provision of clean drinking water to more than 1 million refugees living in 59 camps. A special hardship programme provided over 179,000 of the neediest refugees with food rations, medical subsidies, shelter rehabilitation and other benefits. A range of social services was provided to more than 25,000 refugees through 120 women's programme, community rehabilitation and youth activity centres sponsored by UNRWA. An income-generation programme had by mid-1996 provided loans valued at $11 million to 2,545 refugee-run enterprises, achieving repayment rates of more than 95 per cent.

Peace Implementation Programme

UNRWA’s commitment to supporting the peace process was most clearly demonstrated through its Peace Implementation Programme (PIP), which continued to grow rapidly because of generous donor support. By November 1996, $211 million had been pledged or contributed to PIP by donors, of which $ 177 million was for projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and $34 million for projects in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. PIP projects reinforced and supported regular Agency programmes, with priority given to education and health projects.

PIP funding enabled UNRWA to embark on wide-ranging infrastructure development, including the construction and upgrading of schools, training, health and community centres and auxiliary facilities, as well as the European Gaza Hospital and College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, two special initiatives under-taken by UNRWA as a major contribution to the Palestinian health sector in Gaza. PIP also supported the rehabilitation of refugee shelters, provision of sewerage and drainage systems in camps, expansion of income-generation and job-creation initiatives, health services and after-school recreation programmes. Activities financed under Pip constituted a decisive contribution to the physical infrastructure and human resources available to the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine refugee community in the short term and for the future.

Foremost priority was given to projects in the education sector, where special contributions helped UNRWA to expand services at a rate commensurate with natural growth in the student population and to cater to the needs of returnee children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. By mid-1996, the Agency had received funding to construct 43 schools and 78 additional classrooms in those fields. In Jordan, Lebanon and Syria donors focused on vocational training, contributing $2.4 million for projects to upgrade and expand UNRWA vocational and technical training centres. Projects to improve environmental health conditions for the refugee community continued to attract strong donor support, accounting for $29.6 million of total PIP pledges and contributions as at mid-1996. During the reporting period, contributions received mainly through PIP in the amount of $2.6 million for hospitalization expenses and medical supplies in Lebanon allowed the Agency to meet the growing need there for primary and secondary health care. The European Gaza Hospital project had received $41.2 million in pledges and contributions by mid-1996. In the relief and social services sector, shelter rehabilitation represented the largest project category, having received $31.8 million under PIP since October 1993.

To address socio-economic hardship resulting from the extended closure of the Gaza Strip, UNRWA launched an emergency job-creation programme in March with a PIP contribution. That provided temporary gainful employment to more than 2,700 individuals, who were paid $ 12 a day, over a period of five months, to help with refugee camp cleanup, insect eradication, shelter rehabilitation and various community services. A longer-term approach was the organization development initiative launched by UNRWA to develop the managerial skills of its Palestinian area staff in the West Bank and Gaza.

UNRWA continued to cooperate with and assist the Palestinian Authority in accordance with its mandate. At an informal meeting of donors and host Governments in Amman in May, UNRWA presented its strategy for harmonizing services and programmes in its five fields of operation. Host Governments and the Palestinian Authority were assured that harmonization would focus on complementarity, compatibility and cost-effectiveness in the interest of greater efficiency and was not related to the issue of the Agency's eventual dissolution after the fulfilment of its mandate in the future. One landmark in the harmonization process was the agreement reached between UNRWA, the Palestinian Authority and the EU as the major donor involved that the European Gaza Hospital would eventually become an integral part of the Palestinian Authority's health system. However, it was noted that some $22.5 million remained to be provided to fund the completion of construction and equipping of the hospital as well as its running costs.

Major service areas

Education

UNRWA continued to cooperate with and assist the Palestinian Authority in the education sector, taking a number of practical steps to harmonize further its education services with those provided by the Authority. During the 1995/96 school year, UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip used the Palestinian Authority's study plans for the basic education cycle, as well as the textbooks prescribed by the Authority. UNRWA staff participated in the Palestinian Authority's curriculum development committee, and the Agency was given a leading role in the revision of the Authority's vocational training study plan. UNRWA education staff provided assistance for in-service training courses organized by the Authority, and cooperated in career placement and guidance initiatives. The Agency also coordinated with the Palestinian Authority in accommodating children of returning refugee families in its schools, particularly in the Gaza Strip. All those efforts enhanced the compatibility and interdependence of the parallel education systems in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Education remained UNRWA's single largest area of activity, employing 14,863 persons, or 70 per cent of all Agency staff. The education programme's operating budget of $ 159.1 million for 1996 accounted for 47 per cent of the total budget. In the five fields of operation, UNRWA's 637 schools accommodated 421,854 pupils mainly in the elementary and preparatory cycles, an increase of 12,993 pupils over the previous reporting period, of whom 11,088 were in the Gaza Strip. While the bulk of the increase could be attributed to natural population growth, the movement of Palestinian families within the region and the consequent transfer of their children to UNRWA schools from non-Agency schools in their previous place of residence were significant factors in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Lebanon.

Agency schools followed host government curricula in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and used the Jordanian and Egyptian curricula adopted by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, respectively. The Agency's basic education programme consisted of an elementary cycle of six years and a preparatory cycle of three or four years, depending on local norms; a three-year secondary cycle was offered at the single UNRWA secondary school, in Lebanon. The eighth biennial education work plan emphasized curriculum enrichment and in-service teacher training as priorities for 1996-1997.

Eight Agency vocational and technical training centres in the five fields serviced 4,624 refugees. Two-year vocational courses at the post-preparatory level were offered in the mechanical, electrical, building and metalworking trades, in addition to courses for women in clothing production and hairdressing and beauty care. Twenty-five two-year technical/semi-professional courses were offered at the post-secondary level, offering training in a variety of technical, paramedical and commercial skills.

Pre-service and in-service teacher training leading to a first-level university degree was provided through the Educational Sciences Faculty. The four-year pre-service programme, which granted university degrees in several teaching specializations, was offered at the Amman and Ramallah training centres to 690 secondary-school graduates, of whom 454 were women. The three-year in-service programme at the Amman Training Centre, which aimed to upgrade the qualifications of UNRWA teachers holding two-year teacher training diplomas to the first university degree level, had an enrolment of 564 Agency teachers, 182 of whom were women. In addition, 651 teachers, head teachers, school supervisors and vocational and technical training instructors benefited from the Agency's regular in service teacher training programme.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the academic performance of pupils remained a matter of concern as a result of disruptions to the Agency's education programme. Although education facilities were for the most part able to function normally throughout the year, restrictions on movement imposed by the Israeli authorities continued to affect education services. Closures often prevented UNRWA teachers and other education staff residing in the West Bank from reaching their place of work.

The Agency's education infrastructure continued to be affected by steadily increasing enrolment and limited possibilities for expansion. Chronic shortage of school buildings made it frequently necessary to accommodate two administratively separate schools in one building, working in morning and afternoon shifts. That practice shortened the school day, led to overuse of facilities and effectively deprived pupils of the benefit of extracurricular activities. The average classroom occupancy rate Agency-wide reached 42.7 in 1995/96. During the period under review, 41 school buildings were constructed to replace unsatisfactory rented premises, prefabricated structures and dilapidated premises that were beyond repair. The Agency awarded scholarships to 943 Palestine refugee pupils, including 437 women, for studies at 48 universities in 12 countries in the region. Over 70 per cent of scholarship recipients were studying engineering, pharmacology or medicine, with other fields of study including dentistry, science, the arts and education.

Health

UNRWA’s comprehensive primary health-care programmes included outpatient medical care, disease prevention and control, maternal and child health and family-planning services, delivered through the Agency network of 99 health centres and 22 health points—smaller facilities offering a wide range of health-care services on a part-time basis to refugees living outside camps—as well as at the 43-bed Qalqilia hospital in the West Bank. UNRWA health facilities handled some 6.6 million patient visits during the period under review. The health programme had an operating budget of $60 million in 1996, representing 18 per cent of the total Agency budget. The 3,476 staff employed in the health programme in all five fields of operation, the majority of whom were locally recruited Palestinians, represented 16 per cent of all Agency staff.

Harmonization of UNRWA health policies and services with those of the Palestinian Authority and rehabilitation and construction of essential health infrastructure in the Palestinian self-rule areas were top Agency priorities in 1996. UNRWA remained committed to contributing to the process of building a unified health-care system in the Palestinian self-rule areas within available means, and retained its focus on maintaining and expanding primary health-care facilities and completing major health development projects, including the European Gaza Hospital and the Gaza College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. The Agency also continued to play a leading role in the planning and coordination of viable and sustainable projects in the environmental health sector, including for sewerage, drainage and solid-waste management.

An agreement in principle was reached with the Palestinian Authority to avoid overlapping and duplication of health-care facilities and services, including mapping of primary health-care facilities to determine how resources could best be shared and the transfer of certain facilities newly constructed by UNRWA. Biddo health centre in the West Bank was the first installation to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority Auja health point in the West Bank was slated for transfer, and agreement in principle was reached with respect to health facilities in the northern Gaza Strip. Those facilities, located outside camps, would be accessible to both refugees and non-refugees. Within the framework of a special donor-funded project, the Agency provided school health services to Palestinian Authority schools, organizing three school health teams to carry out medical examinations and immunization of children.

UNRWA also continued to provide essential health services to Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and maintained close contact with host government health ministries. In early 1996, the Agency took part in national immunization campaigns for eradication of poliomyelitis throughout its area of operations in the context of a WHO regional strategy; a total of 200,564 refugee children under the age of five were immunized. Jordan and Syria provided UNRWA's annual requirements for hepatitis B vaccine as part of ongoing arrangements. UNICEF donated regular vaccines and cold-chain equipment in certain fields of operation.

Special care for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension was fully integrated within health centre activities, as was specialist care covering paediatrics, obstetrics, gynaecology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and treatment for chest diseases and ear, nose and throat illnesses. Seventy health centres accommodated dental clinics offering comprehensive oral health services, with eight mobile teams providing community oral health care. In addition, 120 health centres included mother and child health clinics providing mainly preventive care, and 86 centres contained clinical laboratories. Thirteen physiotherapy clinics in Jordan, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip offered rehabilitation services to refugees in those fields.

With women of reproductive age and children below the age of five comprising two thirds of the registered Palestine refugee population, UNRWA placed special emphasis on maternal and child health and family-planning services as an integral part of its regular health programme.

Over 1 million refugees in 59 camps in the five fields of operation benefited from environmental health services provided by the Agency, which included sewage disposal, management of storm water run-off, provision of safe drinking water, collection and disposal of refuse and control of insect and rodent infestation.
Health education and promotion activities focused on promoting healthy lifestyles among the refugee population, especially young people. With the support of WHO, a school health curriculum on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases was implemented. An education package was prepared with the objective of preventing the onset of tobacco use among schoolchildren.

Relief and social services

UNRWA activities within the relief and social services sector were carried out in coordination and cooperation with local authorities and NGOs, with joint initiatives in specific areas such as training of community workers and volunteers. The relief and social services programme had an operating budget of $36.6 million in 1996, accounting for 11 per cent of the total Agency bud get, with 749 staff.

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Agency sought to deepen its working relationship with the Palestinian Authority departments for social affairs, youth and sports, and housing, through information-sharing, input into the Authority's policy formulation, programme planning and project development, and support for community-managed programmes.

The Agency continued to develop a unified registration system, a project begun in 1993 to improve access to and the security of data on refugees and to facilitate programme planning and management. The system comprised a data-base of all registered individuals and families, family files containing key documentation from the pre-1948 period to the present, and a socio-economic profile of individuals and families enrolled in the special hardship programme. The information was to be electronically integrated when the project was completed. A pilot project was developed for scanning hard-copy family files. With the endorsement of the Palestinian Authority, a research organization developed a proposal to conduct a feasibility study on the preservation and organization of UNRWA archives and refugee registration data and documents.

Through its special hardship programme, the Agency provided material and financial aid to refugee families without a male adult medically fit to earn an income and without other identifiable means of financial support sufficient to cover food, shelter and other basic needs. As a result of stricter application of eligibility criteria, the number of special hardship cases declined Agency-wide in both absolute and relative terms during the period under review, from 181,437 at 30 June -1995, representing 5.7 per cent of the registered refugee population, to 179,178 at 30 June 1996, representing 5.4 per cent. Deteriorating socio-economic conditions, including unemployment, contributed indirectly to demand for assistance by inducing nuclear families, which might have been able to rely on the support of income-earners in the extended family, to seek special hardship assistance instead. The percentage of refugees enrolled in the programme continued to be highest in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and lowest in Jordan.

Assistance provided under the special hardship programme included food rations distributed every two months, increased subsidies for hospital care, cash assistance on an ad hoc basis to families facing extreme difficulty, eligibility for Agency shelter rehabilitation and poverty alleviation initiatives, and preferential access to UNRWA training centres.

UNRWA continued to the extent permitted by available resources to address the urgent housing needs of the poorer segment of the refugee population, which were most acute in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The Agency repaired or reconstructed 2,556 shelters belonging to special hardship families and other impoverished refugees during the reporting period, of which 2,307 were in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Many shelters were rehabilitated under a self-help programme. The Agency assisted with a survey of housing and related infrastructure in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to be shared with the Palestinian Authority upon completion in late 1996.

Community-based programmes

Further progress was achieved under UNRWA's five-year plan (1995-2000) to promote community management and financial sustainability in community-based services for women, youth and persons with disabilities. The focus was on institution-building and the acquisition of independent revenue sources for the 125 Agency-sponsored community centres which served as the main conduit for those services. By mid-1996, 42 of the 68 women's programme centres, as well as all 30 community rehabilitation centres and 27 youth activity centres, were managed by local committees, with UNRWA continuing to provide financial and technical support. Income generating projects had been established at most centres and were being planned at others, in order to generate revenue to defray operating costs, provide income to participants, and demonstrate that disadvantaged groups could be successfully integrated into viable socio-economic enterprises. UNRWA staff and community representatives were trained in the skills necessary for self-management of the centres, including the structure and functioning of governing boards and managing committees, development of organizational constitutions and by-laws, programme and administrative planning and management, and budget preparation and accounting. The Agency also worked to promote linkages between the centres and local NGOs. The Palestinian Women's Initiative Fund supported the establishment of a food production unit in Jordan and literacy classes in Lebanon, with production units financed by the Fund in previous years continuing to operate and expand.

Income-generation


UNRWA reported that its income-generation programme continued to grow in size and scope, expanding its capital base and loan portfolio and undertaking new credit-providing and training initiatives, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Established in 1991 in response to deteriorating socio-economic conditions and rising unemployment among Palestine refugees, the programme aimed at creating employment, generating income and supporting sustainable business enterprises within the refugee community. The programme targeted small-scale and micro-enterprises in the formal and informal sectors of the economy producing goods for sale locally and abroad. Such enterprises normally had limited access to credit, owing to the inability of most small entrepreneurs to meet the collateral requirements of formal banking institutions. By using other guarantee mechanisms, the income-generation programme sought to make finance capital available at reasonable interest rates for the expansion of existing enterprises and the establishment of new ones, actively encouraging the participation of women.

By mid-1996, the field-based programmes had issued loans valued at $11 million to a total of 2,545 enterprises and accumulated a combined capital base of $11 million, creating or saving an estimated 4,000 jobs. The income-generation programme was distinct from the income-generation activities carried out under the Agency's poverty-alleviation programme, which sought to assist refugee families below the poverty line to rise above it and become self-reliant, as well as to help Agency-sponsored community centres to become financially sustainable.

The leading field-based income-generation programme was in the Gaza Strip, where four separate sub-programmes were operating. The largest was the small-scale enterprise programme, which offered loans for capital investment to new and expanding enterprises and working capital to established enterprises. Special attention was devoted to the informal sector of the economy, where an increasing number of men and women were compelled to work as a result of diminishing employment opportunities in Israel and locally. In February 1996, the Agency broadened its credit activities in the Gaza Strip with the establishment of a micro-enterprise credit programme, which aimed to provide working capital loans to formal and informal enterprises.

As part of the income-generation programme, the Agency also operated revolving loan funds for small-scale enterprises in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank. Steps were taken to restructure and revitalize the West Bank programme during the reporting period. It was decided to discontinue the bank guarantee programme for business development as outstanding loans were recovered, and to establish in its place "a small-scale enterprise portfolio similar to that in Gaza.

Other matters

Refugees in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Jointly with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Agency undertook three missions during the reporting period to assess the situation of Palestinians required to leave the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya who were encamped at the Salloum checkpoint on the Libyan-Egyptian border, most of whom had arrived there in September and October 1995 following the termination of their work contracts and right of residence in Libya. In addition to delivering medical supplies and equipment for use in the Salloum camp, UNRWA provided emergency assistance, including blankets, supplementary food items and medical care to 36 Palestinians stranded at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, and followed up on several individual requests for family reunification. The Agency remained concerned at the living conditions and health status of some 150 persons still at Salloum at the close of the reporting period, and continued to monitor the situation together with UNHCR.

Relocation of UNRWA headquarters


UNRWA entered a new phase in its history in 1996 with the return of its headquarters to the area of operations, after 18 years in Vienna, in accordance with a decision of the Secretary-General, endorsed by the General Assembly in 1994 [YUN 1994, p. 660] and 1995 [YUN 1995, p. 665]. The relocation was envisaged as a way of demonstrating the commitment of the United Nations to the peace process, to underline its confidence in the Palestinian Authority and to contribute to the economic development of the Gaza Strip. The move was expected to result in savings for UNRWA and facilitate interaction with its principal interlocutors and among its constituent units. Preparations for the final relocation began in earnest in February 1996, and in July, the Office of the Commissioner-General and other key departments were moved from Vienna to a new head-quarters in Gaza City. Other offices were moved to Agency headquarters in Amman, where the three main programme departments and a number of support units were situated. A total of 81 head-quarters staff were transferred to Gaza, and 6 to Amman. It was decided to reconstitute UNRWA's Advisory Commission in Amman.

General Assembly resolutions related to Palestine refugees


On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted seven resolutions relating to Palestine refugees assistance to Palestine refugees (51/124); financing of UNRWA (51/125); displaced persons (51/126); scholarships for higher education and vocational training (51/127); operations of UNRWA (51/128); Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues (51/129); and the proposed University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees (51/130).

In a 3 May note verbale, reproduced in two reports of the Secretary-General, on persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 hostilities [A/51/369] and on revenues from Palestine refugee properties [A/51/371], Israel recalled that its position on the resolutions on Palestine refugees had been set forth in successive annual replies, the latest of which was included in a 1995 report by the Secretary-General [A/50/451].

Israel stated that while the number of resolutions regarding UNRWA had been reduced in past years, their content remained occupied with political issues irrelevant to the Agency's work and detached from the new reality of the peace process. While Israel believed that UNRWA could play an important role in promoting the social and economic advancement foreseen in the agreements between Israel and the PLO, and accordingly looked forward to continuing cooperation with the Agency, it considered it essential that the Assembly consolidate the UNRWA resolutions into one directly related to the Agency's humanitarian tasks.

Advisory Commission on UNRWA. By a letter of 22 September to the Commissioner-General, included in his report, the Advisory Commission of UNRWA confirmed its support for the Middle East peace process, but voiced concern over the slow pace of developments in that process and the failure to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, as well as over the lack of progress in finding a just solution to the Palestine refugee issue. While expressing great appreciation for the Agency's programmes as well as for the host Governments' services to Palestine refugees, it voiced dismay at the negative impact on its operations of measures imposed by Israel, particularly the worsening of the socio-economic conditions of Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The Commission viewed with extreme gravity the structural deficit facing the Agency and stated that if immediate and comprehensive solutions were not found to its financial problems, the negative implications would be critical and dangerous. Any actual or perceived weakening in the support traditionally given by the international community to the Palestine refugees, especially through UNRWA, would have very negative consequences. The Commission urged the Agency to further its efforts to develop appropriate strategies for fundraising and noted with interest the management review and organizational changes introduced by the Commissioner-General.

General aspects

On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/124.


Assistance to Palestine refugees

The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 50/28 A of 6 December 1995 and all its previous resolutions on the question, including resolution 194(111) of 11 December 1948,
Taking note of the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996,
Welcoming the signature in Washington on 13 September 1993 by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the people of Palestine, of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements and the subsequent implementation agreements, and also the signature of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in Washington on 28 September 1995,
Encouraging the Multilateral Working Group on Refugees of the Middle East peace process to continue its important work,
Welcoming the completion of the transfer of the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to its area of operations,
1. Notes with regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees, as provided for in paragraph 11 of its resolution 194(111), has not yet been effected and that, therefore, the situation of the refugees continues to be a matter of concern;
2. Expresses its thanks to the Commissioner-General and to all the staff of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, recognizing that the Agency is doing all it can within the limits of available resources, and also expresses its thanks to the specialized agencies and to private organizations for their valuable work in assisting refugees;
3. Notes with regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine has been unable to find a means of achieving progress in the implementation of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194(111), and requests the Commission to exert continued efforts towards the implementation of that paragraph and to report to the Assembly as appropriate, but no later than 1 September 1997;
4. Notes the significant success of the Peace Implementation Programme of the Agency since the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, and stresses the importance that contributions to this Programme are not at the expense of the General Fund;
5. Welcomes strengthened cooperation between the Agency and the World Bank and other specialized agencies, and calls upon the Agency to make a decisive contribution towards giving a fresh impetus to the ecocomic and social stability of the occupied territories;
6. Urges all Member States to extend and expedite aid and assistance with a view to the economic and social development of the Palestinian people and the occupied territories;
7. Reiterates its concern regarding the continuing seriousness of the financial position of the Agency, as outlined in the report of the Commissioner-General;
8. Commends the efforts of the Commissioner-General to move towards budgetary transparency and internal efficiency, and hopes that such moves will Continue;
9. Notes with profound concern that the structural deficit problem confronting the Agency portends an almost certain decline in the living conditions of the Palestine refugees and that it, therefore, has possible consequences for the peace process;
10. Calls upon all Governments, as a matter of urgency, to make the most generous efforts possible to meet the anticipated needs of the Agency, including the costs of moving the headquarters to Gaza, urges non-contributing Governments to contribute regularly, and encourages contributing Governments to consider increasing their regular contributions.

General Assembly resolution 51/124 13 December 1996

Meeting 83 159-1-2 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) by recorded vote (139-1-2), 27 November (meeting 22); 16 nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.12); agenda item
84. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan. Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China. Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji. Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana. Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar. Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius. Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and News, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey. Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel.
Abstaining: Micronesia, United States.

The Assembly, also on 13 December, adopted resolution 51/128.
Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East

The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 194(111) of 11 December 1948, 212(111) of 19 November 1948, 302(IV) of 8 December 1949 and all subsequent related resolutions,
Recalling also the relevant Security Council resolutions,
Having considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996,
Taking note of the letter dated 22 September 1996 from the Chairman of the Advisory Commission of the
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East addressed to the Commissioner-General, contained in the report of the Commissioner-General,
Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General submitted in pursuance of its resolutions 48/40 E, 48/40 H and 48/40 J of 10 December 1993 and 49/35 C of 9 December 1994,
Recalling Articles 100, 104 and 105 of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations,
Affirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 to the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem,
Aware of the fact that Palestine refugees have, for over four decades, lost their homes, lands and means of livelihood,
Also aware of the continuing needs of Palestine refugees throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and in the other fields of operation, namely, in Lebanon, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic,
Further aware of the valuable work done by the refugee affairs officers of the Agency in providing protection to the Palestinian people, in particular Palestine refugees,
Deeply concerned about the critical financial situation of the Agency and its effect on the continuity of provision of necessary Agency services to the Palestine refugees, including the emergency-related programmes,
Aware of the work of the new Peace Implementation Programme of the Agency,
Welcoming the signing in Washington on 13 September 1993 of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the subsequent implementation agreements, including the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in Washington on 28 September 1995,
Taking note of the agreement reached on 24 June 1994, embodied in an exchange of letters between the Agency and the Palestine Liberation Organization,
Aware of the establishment of a working relationship between the Advisory Commission of the Agency and the Palestine Liberation Organization in accordance with General Assembly decision 48/417 of 10 December 1993,
1. Expresses its appreciation to the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, as well as to all the staff of the Agency, for their tireless efforts and valuable work;
2. Also expresses its appreciation to the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and requests it to continue its efforts and to keep the General Assembly informed of its activities, including the full implementation of decision 48/417;
3. Welcomes the completion of the transfer of the headquarters of the Agency to Gaza and the signing of the Headquarters Agreement between the Agency and the Palestinian Authority;
4. Acknowledges the support of the host Government and the Palestine Liberation Organization for the Agency in the discharge of its duties;
5. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to accept the dejure applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and to abide scrupulously by its provisions;
6. Also calls upon Israel to abide by Articles 100. 104 and 105 of the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations with regard to the safety of the personnel of the Agency and the protection of its institutions and the safeguarding of the security of the facilities of the Agency in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem;
7. Calls once again upon the Government of Israel to compensate the Agency for damages to its property and facilities resulting from actions by the Israeli side;
8. Requests the Commissioner-General to proceed with the issuance of identification cards for Palestine refugees and their descendants in the occupied Palestinian territory;
9. Notes that the new context created by the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements by the Government of the-State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and subsequent implementation agreements has had major consequences for the activities of the Agency, which is henceforth called upon, in close cooperation with the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, the specialized agencies and the World Bank, to continue to contribute towards the development of economic and social stability in the occupied territory;
10. Notes also that the functioning of the Agency remains essential in all fields of operation;
11. Notes further the significant success of the Peace Implementation Programme of the Agency;
12. Urges all States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to continue and to increase their contributions to the Agency so as to ease current financial constraints and to support the Agency in maintaining the provision of the most basic and effective assistance to the Palestine refugees.

General Assembly resolution 51/128 13 December 1996

Meeting 83 159-2-2 (recorded vote)

Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) by recorded vote (137-2-3). 27
November (meeting 22); 13-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.16); agenda item
84. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra. Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan. Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan. Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal. Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinama, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Marshall Islands, Micronesia.

Displaced persons

The Secretary-General reported [A/51/369] in September 1996 on compliance with General Assembly resolution 50/28 C [YUN 1995, p. 666], calling for the accelerated return of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. He said that since UNRWA was not involved in arrangements for either refugees or displaced persons not registered with it, Agency information was based on requests by returning registered refugees for the transfer of their entitlements to their areas of return. The Agency would not necessarily be aware of the return of any registered refugees who did not request the provision of services. Displaced refugees known by UNRWA to have returned to the West Bank and Gaza Strip since June 1967 numbered about 15,280. Its records indicated that, between 1 July 1995 and 30 June 1996, 784 refugees had returned to the West Bank and 329 to the Gaza Strip. Some of the refugees might not have been displaced in 1967, but might be family members of a displaced registered refugee whom they either had accompanied on return or had joined later.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, the General Assemble adopted resolution 51/126.

Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities


The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 2252(ES-V) of 4 July 1967, 23141 B (XXII) of 19 December 1967 and all subsequent related resolutions,
Recalling also Security Council resolutions 237(1967) of 14 June 1967 and 259(1968) of 27 September 1968,
Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General submitted in pursuance of its resolution 50/28 C of 6 December 1995,
Taking note also of the report of the Commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works
Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996,
Concerned about the continuing human suffering resulting from the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities,
Taking note of the relevant provisions of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed in Washington on 13 September 1993 by the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, with regard to the
modalities for the admission of persons displaced in 1967, and concerned that the process agreed upon has not yet been effected,
1. Reaffirms the rights of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967;
2. Expresses the hope for an accelerated return of displaced persons through the mechanism agreed upon by the parties in articles XII of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements;
3. Endorses, in the meanwhile, the efforts of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, on an emergency basis, and as a temporary measure, to persons in the area who are currently displaced and in serious need of continued assistance as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities;
4. Strongly appeals to all Governments and to organizations and individuals to contribute generously to the Agency and to the other intergovernmental and non-governmantal organizations concerned for the above purposes;
5. Requests the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General, to report to the General Assembly before its fifty-second session on the progress made with regard to the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/126
13 December 1996 Meeting 83 157-2-1 (record vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) by recorded vote (137-2-2), 27 November (meeting 22); 12-nation draft (A/C.4/50/L.14); agenda item 84.

Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinama, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Micronesia.

Education, training and scholarships

In September, the Secretary-General reported [A/51/370] on responses to the General Assembly’s 1995 appeal [GA res. 50/28 D] to augment special allocations for scholarships and grants to Palestine refugees, for which UNRWA acted as recipient and trustee.


In the 1995/96 academic year, Japan offered 10 vocational fellowships for study in that country to Palestine refugees in UNRWA's employ. Under grants of $400,000 made annually between 1992 and 1994, and $500,000 in 1995, some 300 Palestinian students were participating in the UNRWA university scholarships programme during 1995/96. Contributions from Switzerland in 1995 totalling $256,000 enabled 221 Palestinians .to pursue university studies. UNSECO had offered five new scholarship awards to Palestinian students since October 1995, and the United World Colleges provided four scholarships in 1996.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION


On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/127.


Offers by Member States of grants and scholarships

for higher education, including vocational

training, for Palestine refugees



The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 212(111) of 19 November 1948 on assistance to Palestine refugees,
Recalling also its resolutions 35/13 B of 3 November 1980, 36/146 H of 16 December 1981, 37/120 D of 16 December 1982, 38/83 D of 15 December 1983, 39/99 D of 14 December 1984,40/165 D of 16 December 1985, 41/69 D of 3 December 1986, 42/69 D of 2 December 1987,43/57 D of 6 December 1988,44/47 D of 8 December 1989, 45/73 D of 11 December 1990, 46/46 D of 9 December 1991,47/69 D of 14 December 1992, 48/40 D of 10 December 1993, 49/35 D of 9 December 1994 and 50/28 D of 6 December 1995,
Cognizant of the fact that the Palestine refugees have, for the last four decades, lost their homes, lands and means of livelihood,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General,
Having also considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996,
1. Urges all States to respond to the appeal in its resolution 32/90 F of 13 December 1977 and reiterated in subsequent relevant resolutions in a manner commensurate with the needs of Palestine refugees for higher education, including vocational training;
2. Strongly appeals to all States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations to augment the special allocations for grants and scholarships to Palestine refugees, in addition to their contributions to the regular budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East;
3. Expresses its appreciation to all Governments, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations that responded favourably to its resolutions 41/69 D, 42/69 D, 43/57 D, 44/47 D, 45/73 D, 46/46 D, 47/69 D, 48/40 D, 49/35 D and 50/28 D;
4. Invites the relevant specialized agencies and other organizations of the United Nations system to continue, within their respective spheres of competence, to extend assistance for higher education to Palestine refugee students;
5. Appeals to all States, specialized agencies and the United Nations University to contribute generously to the Palestinian universities in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including, in due course the proposed University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds" for Palestine refugees;
6. Appeals to all States, specialized agencies and other international bodies to contribute towards the establishment of vocational training centres for Palestine refugees;
7. Requests the Agency to act as the recipient and trustee for the special allocations for grants and scholarships and to award them to qualified Palestine refugee candidates;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/127 13 December 1996

Meeting 83 163-0-1 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) by recorded vote (142-0-1), 27 November (meeting 22); 15-nation draft (A/C.4/50/L.15); agenda item 84.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In fevour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan. Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic. Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea. Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala. Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras. Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan. Kenya, Kuwait. Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: None.
Abstaining: Israel.

Proposed University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds"

In keeping with General Assembly resolution 50/28 G [YUN 1995, p.668), the Secretary-General reported [A/51/4761 in October 1996 on the proposal to establish a university for Palestine refugees at Jerusalem. First considered by the Assembly in 1980 [YUN 1980, p. 444), it had been the subject of annual reports by the Secretary-General.
To assist in the preparation of a feasibility study and at the Secretary-General's request, the Rector of the United Nations University asked expert Mihaly Simai to visit the area and meet with the competent Israeli officials. By a note verbale of 6 September, the Secretary-General requested Israel to facilitate the expert's visit.
The Secretary-General reported it had not been possible to complete the study as planned.
Israel replied on 12 September that its position remained unchanged. The sponsors of the resolution on the proposed university sought to exploit higher education for political purposes extraneous to genuine academic pursuits. Accordingly, Israel was of the opinion that the proposed visit would serve no useful purpose.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/130.


University of Jerusalem "Al-Quds"

for Palestine refugees

The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 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 D and K of 16 December 1985, 41/69 K of 3 December 1986, 42/69 K of 2 December 1987, 43/57 J of 6 December 1988, 44/47 J of 8 December 1989, 45/73 J of 11 December 1990, 46/46 J of 9 December 1991, 47/69 J of 14 December 1992,48/40 I of 10 December 1993, 49/35 G of 9 December 1994 and 50/28 G of 6 December 1995,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General,
Having also considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996,
1. Emphasizes 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;
2. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to take all 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;
3. Calls once more upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cooperate 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";
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/130 13 December 1996

Meeting 83 159-3-1 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) by recorded vote (137-2-2), 27 November (meeting 22); 14-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.18); agenda item 84.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows;
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi. Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape
Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt. El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica. Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan ArabJamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta. Marshall Islands, Mauritania. Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, Palau, United States.
Abstaining: Micronesia.

Property rights

In response to General Assembly resolution 50/28 F (YUN 1995, p. 669), the Secretary-General in September reported [A/51/3711 on steps taken to protect and administer Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel and to establish a fund for income derived therefrom, on behalf of the rightful owners. He indicated that he had transmitted the resolution to Israel and all other Member States, requesting information on any steps taken or envisaged with regard to its implementation. Israel had set out its position in a note of 3 May, referring to all resolutions adopted under the agenda item (see above).

The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, in its fiftieth report (A/51/439) covering the period from 1 September 1995 to 31 August 1996, stated that it had nothing new to report since the submission of its report last year [YUN 1995, p. 669).

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION


On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/129.

Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 194(111) of 11 December 1948, 36/146 C of 16 December 1981 and all its subsequent resolutions on the question,
Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General in pursuance of resolution 50/28 F of 6 December 1995,
Taking note also of the report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine for the period from 1 September 1995 to 31 August 1996,
Recalling that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles of international law uphold the principle that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her property,
Recalling in particularly resolution 394(V) of 14 December 1950, in which it directed the Conciliation Commission, in consultation with the parties concerned, to prescribe measures for the protection of the rights, property and interests of the Palestine Arab refugees,
Taking note of the completion of the programme of identification and evaluation of Arab property, as announced by the Conciliation Commission in its twenty-second progress report, and of the fact that the Land Office had a schedule of Arab owners and file of documents defining the location, area and other particulars of Arab property,
Recalling that in the framework of the Middle East peace process the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel agreed, in the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements of 13 September 1993, to commence negotiations on permanent status issues, including the important issue of the refugees, and calling for the commencement of those negotiations,
1. Reaffirms that the Palestine Arab refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived therefrom, in conformity with the principles of justice and equity;
2. Requests the Secretary-General to take all appropriate steps, in consultation with the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, for the protection of Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel and to preserve and modernize the existing records;
3. Calls once more upon Israel to render all facilities and assistance to the Secretary-General in the implementation of the present resolution;
4. Calls upon all the parties concerned to provide the Secretary-General with any pertinent information in their possession concerning Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel that would assist him in the implementation of the present resolution;
5. Urges the Palestinian and Israeli sides, as agreed between them, to deal with the important issue of Palestine refugees' properties and their revenues in the framework of the final status negotiations of the Middle East peace process;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/129

13 December 1996 Meeting 83 152-2-6 (recorded vote)
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) by recorded vote (128-2-8). 27
November (meeting 22); 12-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.17); agenda item
84. Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour; Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius. Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands. South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Fiji, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Turkey, Uzbekistan.

UNRWA financing

UNRWA operations were financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions, which accounted for 95 per cent of income towards the regular budget. Most contributions were received in cash, although 8 per cent was received in kind, mainly as donations of food commodities for distribution to needy refugees. Five per cent was received from other UN bodies to cover staffing costs, including funding of 92 international posts by the United Nations during the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996, and assistance from UNESCO and WHO in the staffing of the education and health programmes.

The Agency's financial situation continued to worsen, with an $8.4 million deficit recorded in 1995 and a fourth consecutive budget deficit expected in 1996. Those deficits reflected the inability of some donors to increase their contributions to match the pace of UNRWA's annual budget growth of 5 per cent, the minimum increase possible to maintain services in the face of natural population growth and inflation. Also, unexpected needs in the area of operations required UNRWA to utilize funds in excess of budgeted ceilings. Contributing to the latter tendency were the increasing demands placed on the Agency within the context of the rapidly changing political environment in the region. Moreover, with the agreement of its donors, the Agency began to include in its 1996-1997 budget a provision of $12.7 million a year towards the $127 million in entitlements payable to staff upon UNRWA’s eventual dissolution. In 1996, delays and shortfalls in funding for the relocation of UNRWA headquarters and the European Gaza Hospital project also put pressure on UNRWA finances by requiring advances from the General Fund.

The deficit reduced the Agency's working capital by more than half, from $22.6 million at the beginning of the biennium to $8.2 million at its close. Towards the end of the period, the, Agency was faced with an increasingly precarious cash position, with available reserves barely sufficient to meet routine payments and a possibility that the Agency would run out of cash in the months ahead.

Faced with a deficit that had become structural, UNRWA exerted strenuous efforts toward bringing income and expenditure into line. The bulk of austerity measures imposed in previous years, totalling some $14.2 million, were carried over, and $12 million in salary increases for area staff was deferred. In February 1996, UNRWA effected a 6.4 per cent reduction in costs on the 92 Agency posts funded by the United Nations in 1996-1997, producing $1.3 million in savings over the biennium. In May 1996, a net budget deficit of$16 million was projected for 1996, exclusive of the $12.7 million provision for termination indemnities and the $ 14.2 million required to reverse the austerity measures first introduced in 1993. By mid-1996, the Agency faced an estimated deficit of $45.2 million, comprising a core deficit of $9.3 million, a cost of $23.2 million to reverse austerity measures and the $12.7 million for termination indemnities. In response, the Agency introduced a further $9 million in austerity measures as of June 1996, including a freeze in recruitment of certain posts and cuts in the budget allocations for vehicles, computers, equipment and supplies, construction, maintenance, hospitalization, medical supplies and temporary labour. In the absence of additional funding to redress the imbalance between income and expenditure, the Agency said it was faced with the choice of either drifting towards insolvency while allowing the level and quality of services to decline, or withdraw entirely from certain core programmes or other areas.

The Commissioner-General said that maintaining the status quo regarding services could technically lead the Agency into bankruptcy. The General Assembly in resolution 50/28 A had noted [YUN 1995, p. 665] with profound concern that the structural deficit problem confronting UNRWA portended an almost certain decline in the living conditions of the Palestine refugees and therefore had possible consequences for the peace process. He felt it was critical for the Agency, donors and host Governments to reexamine priorities and explore options and alternatives to resolve the situation. An extraordinary meeting was held in Amman on 23 September 1996 to address those issues. At the meeting, attended by representatives of 27 major donors, the host Governments (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic) and the PLO/Palestinian Authority, pledges were made in the amount of some $15 million, of which $11.25 million was for UNRWA's General Fund budget for 1996. Other donors promised additional support, subject to parliamentary approval. The Commissioner-General reported that those additional funds would enable the Agency to meet its minimum obligations for the year.

Special report on financial crisis. To under-score the seriousness of UNRWA's financial situation, the Secretary-General in October forwarded to the General Assembly a special report from the UNRWA Commissioner-General [A/51/495], with an appeal for adequate funding to bridge the budget deficit projected for 1997 and to deal with the structural deficit.

The Commissioner-General outlined the causes and effects of the deficit and the measures taken to deal with it. He noted that a lack of sufficient funds had prevented the Agency from expanding services at a rate commensurate with the growth in the refugee population, while successive rounds of belt-tightening were progressively downgrading the level of services and giving rise to longer-term costs. He advised that austerity measures had not produced savings; at best, they effected short-term deficit reductions while leaving behind costly long-term problems.

When Middle East peace negotiations were in full swing, the Commissioner-General noted, the international community had recognized the importance of demonstrating the concrete benefits of peace and had generously responded to PIP. Now that the peace process had reached a more delicate stage, it was all the more important that the refugees were able to sustain their hopes for a successful outcome. There were no more austerity measures UNRWA could implement, as further steps would have to lead to actual cuts and shutclowns in services; new initiatives, such as harmonization of services, would have to be slowed. Responsibility for the provision of adequate resources rested firmly and squarely with the inter-national community.

The Commissioner-General outlined three Options faced by the Agency in the final quarter of 1996: financing of the deficit by the international community so that services might continue uninterrupted and possibly restore some programmes cut for austerity reasons; agreement the international community to cuts and reductions in Agency programmes; or continuation of the Agency s work until available funds were used up, at which point UNRWA would declare insolvency and fold.


On the basis of the encouraging results of the Amman extraordinary meeting, which would enable UNRWA to avoid shutting down essential programmes and allow it to enter 1997 with enough money to cover a few weeks of operations, it was hoped that the international community would make the necessary funds available for 1997 which, together with internal reform processes, would eliminate the structural deficit, establish a more rational balance between income and needs, and enable services to be delivered to the refugees at acceptable levels.

Working Group on financing. The Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA held two meetings in 1996, on 13 September and 14 October. In its report to the General Assembly [A/51/509], the Group noted that by the end of the 1994-1995 biennium, UNRWA's recorded financial balance for the year showed expenditures of $546.6 million on the Agency's regular programmes, against income from contributions of $532.2 million, leaving an adjusted deficit of $14.4 million. Those shortfalls reduced the Agency's working capital from $22.6 million at the beginning of the biennium to $8.2 million at its close. In addition, some $28.4 million had been spent on EMLOT (extraordinary measures for Lebanon and the occupied territory) activities in 1994-1995, against receipts of $20.8 million, leaving a deficit of $7.6 million, which had to be funded out of working capital. The Agency also operated a number of "extrabudgetary" accounts. PIP had produced a total of $192.6 million in pledges and contributions from its inception in October 1993 to June 1996; it superseded the Expanded Programme of Assistance (established in 1988 to improve living conditions in camps and upgrade UNRWA infrastructure) which would be phased out as projects were completed. Other special project accounts existed for the European Gaza Hospital and relocation of UNRWA headquarters. As at June 1996, the Agency had received pledges and contributions of $41.2 million towards the hospital project and $9.6 million towards the headquarters move.

In view of the seriousness of the financial crisis facing the Agency by the latter half of the year, the Working Group, in informal consultations on 18 September, agreed on a statement which the Chairman forwarded to the Commissioner-General in time for the extraordinary meeting of major donor and host Governments in Amman. In the statement, the Group stressed the following: the deficits facing UNRWA in recent years had become structural, rather than temporary, in nature and therefore must be addressed in terms of their impact on the services which the Agency was mandated to provide; the situation facing UNRWA in the last quarter of 1996 was untenable because its cash reserves had been depleted, and replenishment could only be effected by immediate payment of pledges already received; future deficits could no longer be absorbed because the Agency's working capital would have been exhausted by the end of 1996; UNRWA would start the 1997 budget year having reduced its budget volume through accumulated austerity measures and other reductions, depleted its financial reserves and lowered overhead costs to their practical limits, with the projected cumulative gap between expenditure and income inevitably leading to ruptures in services; as the Commissioner-General could not incur commitments beyond the level of the financial resources made available through contributions and confirmed pledges, the Agency's ability to continue delivering its services in the remainder of the 1996-1997 budget biennium and beyond was absolutely limited to the level of funding provided, and expenditures therefore had to be kept within the limits of funds actually made available. The Working Group strongly urged those present at the Amman meeting to take serious and concrete steps to provide the financial resources needed by UNRWA to carry out essential programmes and avoid creating an even more serious crisis with potentially dangerous and far-reaching implications for the Palestine refugees and the entire Middle East region.

In general, the Working Group was extremely concerned about the financial crisis facing the Agency at the end of 1996, particularly the depletion of its working capital and the emergence of a structural deficit which could lead to major qualitative or quantitative reductions in programmes. Due to the extraordinary efforts of the Commissioner-General to mobilize the donor community, sufficient financial support was forthcoming to get the Agency through the end of the year. However, unless firm guarantees were secured of continued adequate funding to maintain Agency programmes at their traditional level and allow the restoration of activities curtailed or suspended through austerity cuts over the past three years, the crisis was expected to continue. The Working Group felt that the General Assembly had to be more actively engaged in seeing to it that UNRWA was given the resources it needed to fulfil its mandate.

The Group commended the Commissioner-General and his staff for their tireless fund-raising efforts, particularly for organizing the Amman meeting. The Group joined the Commissioner-General in expressing the hope that the example set by those donors would be followed by others. It shared his concern that the core of UNRWA services to Palestine refugees were increasingly threatened due to the chronic budget-deficit problem and that the Agency had been unable to raise the funds needed to restore cuts and other austerity measures. As the Commissioner-General had pointed out, while every effort was being made to streamline and rationalize UNRWA operations to avoid reductions in services, cost-saving measures could only be taken so far. If funding shortfalls continued, the Agency would have no choice but to effect substantive reductions in programme activities. In the coming years, UNRWA would have to identify and attract the resources required to serve a refugee population whose needs were growing by 5 per cent a year through a combination of natural growth, inflation and new registrations. If the current chronic structural deficits continued, the level and quality of UNRWA services would more rapidly decline, the ramifications of which were highly political and potentially destabilizing. In the light of the Agency's unique role in the region, any deterioration or reduction in services would be immediately interpreted as reflecting a decreased commitment by the international community to the resolution of the Palestine refugee problem.

The Group urged Governments to continue contributing generously and to consider additional contributions to finance deficit amounts so that services could continue uninterrupted and, if possible, services cut for austerity reasons could be restored, and to ensure support of emergency-related and special programmes, as well as PIP, the European Gaza Hospital project and the relocation of headquarters, without diverting contributions to the Agency's regular programmes.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 13 December, the General Assembly adopted resolution 51/125.


Working Group on the Financing of the

United Nations Relief and Works Agency

for Palestine Refugees in* the Near East


The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolutions 2656(XXV) of 7 December 1970, 2728(XXV) of 15 December 1970, 2791 (XX VI) of 6 December 1971, 50/28 B of 6 December 1995 and the previous resolutions on this question,
Recalling also its decision 36/462 of 16 March 1982, by which it took note of the special report of the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,
Having considered the report of the Working Group,
Taking into account the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for the period from 1 July 1995 to 30 June 1996,
Deeply concerned about the critical financial situation of the Agency, which has affected and affects the continuation of the provision of the necessary Agency services to the Palestine refugees, including the emergency-related programmes,
Emphasizing the continuing need for extraordinary efforts in order to maintain, at least at the current minimum level, the activities of the Agency, as well as to enable the Agency to carry out essential construction,
1. Commends the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its efforts to assist in ensuring the financial security of the Agency;
2. Takes note with approval of the report of the Working Group;
3. Requests the Working Group to continue its efforts in cooperation with the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General, for the financing of the Agency for a further period of one year;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the necessary services and assistance to the Working Group for the conduct of its work.

General Assembly resolution 51/125
13 December by Fourth Committee (A/51/591) without vote, 27 November (meeting 22); 16-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.13); agenda 84.
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 19-22; plenary 83.

Peacekeeping operations

UN peacekeeping operations were born in the Middle East with the establishment in 1948 of the Organization's first and oldest operation—the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), originally set up to monitor the cease-fire called for by the Security Council in May 1948 in newly partitioned Palestine. Its unarmed military observers have fulfilled changing mandates — from supervising the original four armistice agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbours Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic — to observing and monitoring other cease-fires, as well as performing a number of additional tasks.

In 1996, UNTSO personnel worked with the two remaining UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East—its Observer Group Golan (OGG) with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights, and the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL.) with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). UNTSO observers in 1996 also maintained a presence in Egypt, with headquarters in Ismailia. The UNTSO liaison office in Gaza was closed in April 1996.

Lebanon

Tension in southern Lebanon intensified in February and March 1996, with escalating attacks by Islamic fundamentalists against Israeli targets, culminating in April in more than two weeks of heavy Israeli bombardment. The Security Council considered the situation and adopted a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all parties. The General Assembly, in resolution 50/22 C of 25 April, issued a similar call and expressed its support of the diplomatic efforts to that end. Those efforts, pursued by France and the United States, resulted in a partial cease-fire, which went into effect on 27 April, and, in the form of an understanding, was simultaneously announced in Beirut and Jerusalem.

According to the published text of the understanding, summarized in a July report of the Secretary-General on UNIFIL operations [S/1996/575], armed groups in Lebanon would not carry out attacks by any kind of weapon into Israel, and Israel and those cooperating with it would not fire any kind of weapon at civilians or civilian targets in Lebanon. The two parties would ensure that under no circumstances would civilians be the target of attack and that civilian populated areas and industrial and electrical installations would not be used as launching grounds for attacks. The text stated that, without violating the understanding, nothing therein should preclude any party from exercising the right of self-defence. The understanding provided for the establishment of a monitoring group consisting of the United States, France, Israel, Lebanon and Syria, and of a consultative group, to consist of France, the European Union (EU), the Russian Federation and other interested parties, for the purpose of assisting in the reconstruction of Lebanon. On 16 July, France and the United States informed UN Secretariat officials that the chair of the monitoring group would be based in Cyprus, while its military experts would meet in Naqoura. The two countries requested that UNIFIL provide facilities for the latter meeting.

In several communications throughout the year, addressed to the Secretary-General, Lebanon provided detailed accounts of Israeli attacks.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION


By letters of 13 April [S/1996/280,281], Lebanon requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider the grave situation in Lebanon resulting from the large-scale Israeli bombardment of many towns and villages, including a southern suburb of Beirut. The bombardment, Lebanon said, was continuing unabated for the third consecutive day, killing and wounding an alarming number of civilians, displacing thousands and severely damaging property.

In accordance with those requests, the Council convened on 15 April to consider the situation in the Middle East, in particular that in Lebanon.

Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, Cuba, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, at their request, were invited to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.

Leading off the debate, Lebanon stated that for five days it had been subjected to continued Israeli aggression by land, sea and air Israeli military forces, whose activities were escalating at an alarming rate, were bombarding an area extending from the south to the north of Lebanon, causing the displacement of hundreds of thousands of persons. The new cycle of large-scale violence, not to be viewed apart from the overall situation in the south and the western Bekaa, was the result of Israeli occupation, in flagrant violation of Council resolution 425(1978) [YUN 1978. p. 312]; furthermore, that new cycle had been triggered by Israel on purpose, to serve the electoral ambitions of its Government. The number of casualties was still constantly increasing and the destruction of property was devastating.
As a pattern, any resistance to Israeli aggression was immediately labelled an act of terrorism, Lebanon said. Its constant position on that point was: while it firmly condemned all forms of terrorism, it also firmly supported the legitimate of people to resist foreign occupation.
There was foreign occupation in south Lebanon and the Lebanese were within their legitimate rights in defending themselves against occupation, human rights abuses and displacement. Israeli occupation of Lebanon was terrorism. Israel had carved out the so-called security zone in south Lebanon and the western Bekaa, thus perpetuating its occupation.

If the purpose of Israel's military action was to force Lebanon into submission, it was a futile hope; Lebanon would have no peace with Israel as long as the latter did not withdraw from south Lebanon, in implementation of resolution 425(19781, and from the Golan Heights, in implementation of resolutions 242(1967) [YUN 1967, p. 257] and 338 (1973) [YUN 1973, p. 213]. Concluding, Lebanon asked the Council to order Israel to stop immediately its aggression and withdraw all its reinforcements; to condemn Israeli aggression against Lebanon and its civilians, economy, infrastructure and archaeological sites, in particular those internationally protected; to force Israel to implement resolution 425(1978); to provide, in cooperation with the Secretary-General, a massive programme of assistance to Lebanon and its people to help them overcome the suffering and casualties resulting from Israel's aggression; and to remain seized of the matter as long as Israel did not abide by the Council's order to halt its aggression.

Israel declared that, while Lebanon had begun counting from 10 April, eight Israelis had been killed and 29 more wounded by Hezbollah (Hizbullah) Islamic fundamentalists since 1 -February. In the past week, 36 more Israeli civilians had been injured in several waves of Katyusha rocket attacks fired by the Hezbollah into northern Israel. Since then, more than 100 such attacks had been launched against more than 20 towns and villages in northern Israel. Tens of thousands were living in shelters or had left the northern part of the country. Israeli actions had been deceitfully described from several sides as if there were no murderous Hezbollah provocations against it or its citizens; the truth was that, after a long period of restraint and exhaustion of all political and diplomatic means, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were hitting back at Hezbollah strongholds with air, sea and artillery strikes.

Israel said its primary obligation was to protect the security of all of its citizens, and it would not allow its civilian centres to be held hostage by the Hezbollah, whose activities the Lebanese Government did not have the ability—or the will—to control. Therefore, Israel had to defend the security of its north by all measures necessary. It had no territorial claim on Lebanon, and no intention of entering into battles with either the Syrian or the Lebanese army, but it had the right and obligation to defend its people.

Operations were being conducted solely against Hezbollah terrorist targets, but Hezbollah positions were situated throughout Lebanon, usually in the midst of civilian population centres. Unfortunately, innocent civilians on both sides of the border were suffering as a result of the confrontation; the escalation, however, was initiated by the murderous acts of Hezbollah, without any intervention by the so-called sovereign Government of Lebanon. Israel hoped that the unnecessary suffering would soon be over permanently, based on the understanding that all parties were committed to maintaining peace and security for all people in the area.

The Council resumed consideration of the item on 18 April, after hostilities continued, causing further casualties and destruction of property, including a tragic incident that morning at the headquarters of the Fijian battalion of UNIFIL in Qana, during which more than 100 Lebanese civilians who had sought refuge in the area were said to have been killed and more than 100 wounded, among them several UN personnel. In addition to those previously invited, the Council extended invitations to Bahrain, Canada, the Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Mauritania, Norway, Oman, Qatar, the Sudan and Yemen, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant Charter provisions and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.

The President drew attention to a draft resolution [S/1996/292] submitted by Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahinya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. By that resolution, the Council would have called on Israel immediately to cease its military action and withdraw its forces from all Lebanese territory, called for strict respect for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence; called for implementation of all relevant Council resolutions, in particular resolution 425(1978); strongly condemned the Israeli aggression against Lebanon, which had brought about high tolls of civilian casualties, led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians and a massive destruction of Lebanon s infrastructure, as well as of internationally protected archaeological and cultural sites; called for participation in the reconstruction of Lebanon and for help in meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilian population; and called for redress to Lebanon for the destruction suffered from the Israeli aggression.
When put to the vote, the draft resolution was not adopted because it did not obtain the required majority. The vote was 4 in favour (China, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia) to none against, with 11 abstentions (Botswana, Chile, France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States).
At the same meeting of 18 April, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1052(1996).

The Security Council,
Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions regarding the situation In Lebanon, including resolution 425(1978) of 19 March 1978 which established the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL),
Taking note of the letters dated 13 April 1996 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the President of the Security Council,
Bearing in mind the debate which took place at its 3653rd meeting on 15 April 1996 on the situation in the Middle East,
Gravely concerned at the consequences which the on-going fighting could have for the peace and security of the region and for the furthering of the peace process in the Middle East, and affirming its full support for that process,
Gravely concerned also at all attacks on civilian targets, including residential areas, and at the loss of life and suffering among civilians,
Stressing the need for all concerned to respectfully the rules of international humanitarian law with regard to the protection of civilians,
Gravity concerned further at actions which seriously threaten the safety of UNIFIL and impede the implementation of its mandate, and deploring in particular the incident on 18 April 1996 in which shelling resulted in heavy loss of life among civilians at a UNIFIL site,
1. Calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all parties;
2. Supports the ongoing diplomatic efforts to this end;
3. Reaffirms its commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries and to the security of all States in the region, and calls upon all concerned fully to respect those principles;
4. Calls upon all concerned to respect the safety and security of civilians;
5. Calls upon all concerned to respect the safety, security and freedom of movement of UNIFIL and to allow it to fulfil its mandate without any obstacle or interference;
6. Calls upon Member States to offer humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the population and to assist the Government of Lebanon in the reconstruction of the country and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the United Nations and its agencies play their part in meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilian population;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed of developments on a continuing basis;
8. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Security Council resolution 1052(1996)

18 April 1996 Meeting 3654 Adopted unanimously 8-nation draft (S/1996/304).
Sponsors: France, Germany, Honduras, Italy, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States. Meeting numbers. SC 3653,3654.

Lebanon expressed regret that the Council had not met immediately on 14 April and did not act swiftly on its request to end Israeli aggression. It deplored that the Arab draft which embodied two very basic principles: solidarity of the Arab world in respect of Lebanon and its constant position in favour of finding a solution to the endemic cycle of violence, which was due in particular to Israel's non-implementation of resolution 425(1978) had not been adopted.
Israel said the tragedy had been caused by Hezbollah launching rockets at Israel a short distance from the UN position where innocent civilians had taken shelter. Israel accepted the initiative of the United States President to reach a ceasefire, to be implemented as soon as the other party agreed to implement it as well.
Report of Military Adviser. By a letter of 7 May [S/1996/337], the Secretary-General transmitted to the members of the Security Council a 1 May report by his Military Adviser, Major-General Franklin van Kappen, on his mission to Lebanon and Israel in the wake of the tragic events at Qana on 18 April. As noted by the Secretary-General, the mission sought to establish, to the extent possible, the facts surrounding those events. General van Kappen had had extensive discussions with UNIFIL commanders, Lebanese and Israeli authorities and eyewitnesses. As indicated in the report, the Secretary-General said, while the possibility could not be ruled out completely, the pattern of impacts in the Qana area made it unlikely that the shelling of the UN compound was the result of technical and/or procedural errors. For its part, IDF maintained that the incident was due to a sequence of operational mistakes and technical failures, compounded by chance.
Welcoming the ceasefire agreement announced on 26 April, the Secretary-General expressed his earnest hope that the restoration of calm in the area would enhance the prospects for negotiations leading to a comprehensive peace settlement which would preclude further tragic events. In the meantime, he had instructed the UNIFIL Commander to enhance cooperation with the Lebanese Government and the Lebanese Armed Forces in maintaining peace and stability in the UNIFIL area. He had also given instructions for arrangements to be worked out with the Israeli authorities to see to it that the UN positions in Lebanon were not fired on in the future. It remained of the greatest importance, he stressed, that the parties to the conflict ensured that innocent civilians did not become victims of the hostilities.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

By a letter of 19 April [A/50/940), Colombia, as Chairman of the Coordinating Bureau of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, transmitted to the President of the General Assembly a Bureau request that the fiftieth session of the Assembly resume consideration of the agenda item "The situation in the Middle East", to consider the Israeli military attacks against Lebanon and their consequences. A similar request was made on the same date by Guinea, as Chairman of the Islamic Group at the United Nations (A/50/941]. Subsequently, on 23 April, the Assembly reopened consideration of the item.
In debate, Lebanon said it had come to the Assembly in the hope that all stood firmly and decisively together against aggression and transgression, and against the heinous crimes that had gone unpunished. Lebanon was for a comprehensive and just peace; Israel would not make it renege on that committment. Lebanon called for Israel to be condemned and punished for the crimes committed against the Lebanese, their institutions and sovereignty, and against humanity.

Israel stated that it had been forced into fighting with those who sought its destruction, as well as the derailment of the chances for peace. Since 1 February, Hezbollah Islamic fundamentalists had stepped up their attacks, breaching unilaterally the agreements brokered in 1993. It was deplorable that the Lebanese Government disarmed all the militias that had operated within its territory, but never Hezbollah which was supported by a very forceful Power. The Syrian Government, which controlled a large part of Lebanon, had been told time and again to use its influence to stop the terrorists. As the Lebanese Government had neither the ability nor the will to control Hezbollah activities, Israel had to do it alone. The continued suffering of the people of Lebanon was entirely the responsibility of terrorist organizations—first and foremost the Hezbollah, Israel maintained.
Following three days of discussions and negotiations on a draft resolution presented by representatives of the Arab Group, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and others, the Assembly on 25 April adopted resolution 50/22 C.


The Israeli military attacks against Lebanon

and their consequences


The General Assembly,
Having heard the statement of the President of the Lebanese Republic before the plenary on 23 April 1996,
Taking note of the letters from the Alternate Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations in his capacity as Chairman of the Coordinating Bureau of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and from the Permanent Representative of Guinea to the United Nations in her capacity as Chairperson of the Islamic Group and on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference,
Reaffirming the relevant Security Council resolutions on the situation in Lebanon, in particular resolution 425(1978) of 19 March 1978,
Reaffirming also Security Council resolutions 242
(1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338(1973) of 22 October 1973, and in particular the principles of withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and the right of all States in the region to live in peace and security within internationally recognized boundaries,
Bearing in mind the debate that took place at its 113th to 117th meetings, on 23, 24 and 25 April 1996, on the situation in the Middle East,
Gravely concerned at the consequences that the ongoing fighting could have for the peace and security of the region and for the furtherance of the peace process in the Middle East, and affirming its full support for that process and for the need to achieve real progress, especially on the Lebanese and Syrian track,
Gravely concerned also at all attacks on civilian targets, including residential areas, and at the loss of life and suffering among civilians,
Stressing the need for all concerned to respect fully the rules of international humanitarian law with regard to the protection of civilians, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,
Gravely concerned further at actions that serious threaten the safety of the United Nations Interim Force

in Lebanon and impede the implementation of its mandate, in particular the incident that occurred on 18
April 1996 in which shelling resulted in heavy loss of life among civilians at a site of the Interim, Force,

Taking into consideration the statement of the International Committee of the Red Cross of 9 April 1996, in which it firmly condemned the shelling civilians who had taken refuge in an Interim Force base in the village of Qana,
Expressing concern at the bombardment of the archaeological and cultural sites and monuments in the city of Tyre, which are internationally protected in accordance with international law and the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, and which are considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to be the heritage of all mankind,
1. Calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities;
2. Supports the ongoing diplomatic efforts to this

3. Condemns the Israeli military attacks against the civilian population in Lebanon, especially against the United Nations base at Qana, which violate the rules of international humanitarian law pertaining to the protection of civilians, and expresses its grave concern and sorrow over the loss of lives and serious injuries to innocent men, women and children;
4. Calls upon Israel immediately to cease its military action against the territorial integrity of Lebanon and to withdraw forthwith its forces from all Lebanese territory, in conformity with Security Council resolution 425(1978);
5. Calls for strict respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries,
6. Calls upon all concerned to respect the safety and security of civilians in conformity with the rules of international humanitarian law;
7. Considers that Lebanon is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered and that Israel is responsible for such compensation;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to dispatch a special technical mission to the area to study and Prepare, within one month's time, in cooperation with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, a report on the human and material losses and damage resulting from the recent and ongoing hostilities;
9. Calls upon Member States to offer humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the population and to assist the Government of Lebanon in the reconstruction of the country, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the United Nations and its agencies play their part in meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilian population;
10. Also requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.
General Assembly resolution 50/22 C 25 April 1996
Meeting 117 64-2-65 (recorded vote)
25-nation draft (A/50/L.70/Rev.1); agenda Item 44. Meeting numbers. GA 50th session: plenary 113,117.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahariya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal. Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea. Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
abstaining; Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

After the vote, Lebanon said that Israeli bombardments against the Lebanese civilian population were still ongoing, for the fourteenth day, in violation of all norms and principles of international law. Lebanon would have liked to see those few countries that voted against the resolution instead play a positive role in forcing Israel to stop its madness. The Assembly had clearly denounced Israel as the aggressor; now it was up to Israel to abide by the will of the international community and cease its attacks.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ACTION

By decision 1996/274 of 23 July, the Economic and Social Council took note of a 23 April resolution [E/1996/23 (res. 1996/68)] of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in southern Lebanon and the western Bekaa (see PART TWO, Chapter III). The Commission requested the Secretary-General to bring the resolution to the attention of Israel and to invite it to provide information concerning the extent of its implementation thereof. By a note of 16 October, [A/51/507], the Secretary-General reported to the General Assembly that no reply from Israel had been received as of that date.

UNIFIL

The Security Council in 1996 twice extended the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in January and July, each time for a six-month period.

Established by the Council in 1978 [YUN 1978, p. 312, SC res. 425(1978)], following Israel's invasion of Lebanon, [ibid., p. 296], UNIFIL originally was entrusted with confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security, and assisting the Lebanese Government in ensuring the return of its effective authority in the area. After a second Israeli invasion in June 1982 [YUN 1982, p. 428], the Council, in resolution 511(1982) [Ibid., p. 450], authorized the Force to carry out, in addition to its original mandate, the interim tasks of providing protection and humanitarian assistance to the local population, while maintaining its positions in its area of deployment. During 1996, UNIFIL continued to do its best to carry out its mandated tasks in a situation of mounting tension, but the Secretary-General reported that its efforts were severely hindered by sustained Israeli bombardment and harassment by both sides.

The Force continued to maintain close contact and cooperate with the Lebanese authorities on matters of mutual concern. Those authorities provided valuable assistance in connection with the rotation of troops and logistic activities in Beirut. The Lebanese army was particularly helpful in defusing confrontations with armed elements and provided accommodation for some UNIFIL contingents while on leave in Lebanon. The Force continued to cooperate with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces on matters pertaining to the maintenance of law and order. During the Lebanese parliamentary elections in September 1996, UNIFIL cooperated closely with the Lebanese army and the Internal Security Forces to ensure security in its area of operation.

Composition

In January 1996, UNIFIL military personnel numbered 4,649, provided by nine countries:
Fiji, Finland, France, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, Nepal, Norway and Poland. Civilian support was provided by a staff of 561, of whom 134 had been recruited internationally and 427 locally. By July, at the beginning of the second 1996 mandate period, troop strength had decreased slightly, to 4,483. Civilian staff remained at 561, with 123 recruited internationally and 438 locally. From early December on, an Estonian company was deployed in the eastern Norwegian sector as an integrated part of that battalion. Major-General Stanislaw F. Wozniak of Poland continued as Force Commander,
UNIFIL was assisted in the performance of its tasks by 57 unarmed military observers of UNTSO, organized as the Observer Group Lebanon (OGL) under UNIFIL operational control. They manned five observation posts along the Lebanese side of the Israeli-Lebanon armistice demarcation line. They also operated five mobile teams in the Israeli-controlled area (ICA).
Activities Report of Secretary-General (January). In a report [S/1996/45) on developments from 20 July 1995 to 22 January 1996 in the UIFIL area of operation, the Secretary-General stated that hostilities continued in south Lebanon between the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and its local Lebanese auxiliary, the de facto forces (DFF), on the one hand, and armed elements who had proclaimed their resistance against the Israeli occupation on the other. UNIFIL continued its efforts to limit the conflict and protect the inhabitants from the fighting. Through its network of checkpoints and observation posts and an active programme of patrolling, the Force did its best to prevent its area from being used for hostile activities. It also deployed as necessary to provide a measure of protection to the villages and to farmers working in the fields.
Within ICA, Israel maintained a civil administration and security service. Movement between ICA and the rest of Lebanon was strictly controlled; crossing points were closed frequently, in one case for two months, causing difficulties for the inhabitants. ICA remained economically dependent on Israel, and an estimated 3,000 of its inhabitants held jobs in Israel; access to such jobs was controlled by OFF and the security services. There were again reports of forced recruitment into DFF. During the reporting period, the Lebanese authorities stepped up work to maintain the infrastructure in ICA, especially the improvement of roads.
During the period under review, UNIFIL observed 118 operations by armed elements against IDE/OFF, as compared to 129 in the previous period. There were also numerous reports of attacks against IDF/DFF positions north of the Litani river, bringing the total number of operations to over 350. Most attacks were carried out by a group known as the Islamic Resistance, the military wing of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah organization. The Shiite movement Amal increased its attacks against IDF/DFF. Palestinian factions were responsible for a small number of attacks. In their operations, the armed elements employed small arms, roadside bombs, rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and antitank missiles. Armed elements fired a total of about 1,000 mortar rounds, rockets and antitank missiles.
IDF/DFF continued their own attacks and retaliatory firing against armed elements, employing artillery, mortars, tanks and aircraft. UNIFIL recorded more than 20,000 artillery, mortar and tank rounds fired by IUF/DFF, as compared to 16,500 in the previous period. IDE increased its patrolling, including long-range ambush patrols outside ICA. The use of assault helicopters for both reconnaissance and combat support increased. As before, Israeli naval vessels patrolled Lebanese territorial waters in the south and imposed restrictions on the local fishermen. The targeting of civilians decreased during the reporting period. UNIFIL confirmed one civilian fatality from IDF fire during a retaliatory attack following the firing by armed elements into Israel on 29 December.

UNIFIL continued to extend humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in the form of medical care, essential supplies and engineering work and repairs to buildings damaged as a result of hostilities. Force personnel escorted farmers so they could work their fields that were within range of IDF/DFF positions and assisted in putting out fires set off by IDF/DFF firing. UNIFIL battalion medical centres and mobile teams continued to provide care to 2,500 civilian patients per month. The Force helped distribute educational equipment provided by UNICEF and assisted UNDP in its south Lebanon emergency rehabilitation programme (see PART THREE, Chapter III).
As in the past, UNIFIL detonated mines, road-side bombs and unexploded remnants of war and dismantled ordnance of various types in its area of deployment. A total of 100 such controlled explosions were carried out.

The Secretary-General concluded that, although there had been no progress towards implementation of UNIFIL's mandate, the Force's contribution to stability in the area and the protection it was able to afford the inhabitants remained important. He therefore recommended that the Security Council accept Lebanon's request, as expressed in a letter of 18 July [S/1996/566], and extend UNIFIL's mandate for another six months, until 31 July 1996. The Secretary-General recalled that UNIFIL was not an end in itself but should be viewed in the context of the broader objective of achieving a durable peace. At the time of reporting, renewed negotiations were under way between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic within the framework of the Middle East peace process. Those negotiations, he said, deserved every encouragement and support, and it was to be hoped that they would quickly lead to tangible results; it was equally to be hoped that progress would be made soon towards resolving the situation in the Israel-Lebanon theatre as well.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION (January)

Following consideration of the Secretary-General's report, the Security Council, on 29 January, adopted resolution 1039(1996).
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolutions 425(1978) and 426(1978) of 19 March 1978, 501(1982) of 25 February 1982, 508(1982) of 5 June 1982,509(1982) of 6 June 1982 and 520(1982) of 17 September 1982, as well as all its resolutions on the situation in Lebanon,
Having studied the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon of 22 January 1996 and taking note of the observations expressed therein,
Taking note of the letter dated 17 January 1996 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General,
Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon,
1. Decides to extend the present mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon for a further period of six months, that is until 31 July 1996;
2. Reiterates its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries;
3. Re-emphasize the terms of reference and general guidelines of the Force as stated in the report of the Secretary-General of 19 March 1978, approved by resolution 426(1978), and calls upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force for the full implementation of its mandate;
4. Reiterates that the Force should fully implement its mandate as defined in resolutions 425(1978), 426(1978) and all other relevant resolutions;
5. Condemns all acts of violence committed in particular against the Force, and urges the parties to put an end to them;
6. Welcomes the streamlining of the Force described in paragraph 16 of the report of the Secretary-General of 22 January 1996, to be completed by May 1996, and stresses the need to continue efforts to achieve further savings by rationalizing the administrative and support services of the Force, provided they do not affect its operational capacity;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned with the implementation of the present resolution and to report to the Security Council thereon.

Security Council resolution 1039(1996)
29 January 1996 Meeting 3622 Adopted unanimously
Draft prepared in consultations among Council members (S/1996/58).

In a Presidential statement of 29 January [S/PRST/1996/5], complementing the resolution on the mandate extension for UNIFIL, the Council reaffirmed its commitment to Lebanon's full sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity within its internationally recognized boundaries. In that context, any State should refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations, the statement said. In extending UNIFIL’s mandate, the Council again stressed the urgent need for implementing resolution 425(1978) in all its aspects. It reiterated its full support for the 1989 Taif Agreement and for the continued efforts of the Lebanese Government to consolidate peace, national unity and security in the country, while successfully carrying out the reconstruction process. The Council commended the Government for its successful effort to extend its authority in the south of the country in full coordination with UNIFIL.
The Council again expressed concern over the continuing violence in southern Lebanon, regretted the loss of civilian life and urged all parties to exercise restraint. Finally, it expressed appreciation for the continuing efforts of the Secretary-General and his staff in that regard, and commended UNIFIL's troops and troop-contributing countries for their sacrifices and commitment to the cause of international peace and security under difficult circumstances.
Report of Secretary-General July). In a report [S/1996/575] to the Security Council on developments during the period from 22 January to 20 July 1996, the Secretary-General noted that the reporting period was marked by an escalation of hostilities between IDF and DFF, on the one hand, and armed elements who had proclaimed their determination to resist the Israeli occupation, on the other. After a relatively calm period in January, hostilities intensified in February and March and culminated in April in more than two weeks of heavy Israeli bombardments. The Council considered the situation and, on 18 April, adopted resolution 1052(1996) calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all parties; on 10 May, the General Assembly also debated the matter and adopted resolution 50/22 C (see above).
The ability of the Islamic Resistance to penetrate deep inside ICA and inflict casualties on 11)1 triggered a public debate in Israel, the Secretary-General said, the thrust of which was that IDR must respond forcefully and should no longer be bound by constraints imposed on it. Those constraints were connected with an agreement reportedly arranged by the United States in 1993: the United Nations had not been informed of that agreement, although it had been publicly mentioned by Israel and Hezbollah officials. Based on such public statements, it would appear, the Secretary-General stated, that the Islamic Resistance agreed to refrain from targeting villages and towns in northern Israel, while IDF agreed to refrain from doing the same in Lebanon; there had been no mention of limitations concerning attacks on military targets. Indications in Israel that the agreed restrictions were no longer acceptable and that a large-scale operation against the Islamic Resistance was being contemplated heightened tension in the area. On 15 March, the UNIFIL Commander conveyed his concern to the Israeli authorities. IDF/DFF also initiated attacks and carried out retaliatory firing against armed elements. Israeli aircraft continued to overfly Lebanese territory, including Beirut, and the Israeli navy patrolled Lebanese territorial waters and imposed restrictions on local fishermen around Tyre.

As before, the Force continued its efforts to limit the conflict and protect the inhabitants from the fighting. Through its network of checkpoints and observation posts and an active programme of patrolling, the Force did its best to prevent its area of deployment from being used for hostile activities and to defuse situations that could lead to escalation. It also deployed as necessary to provide a measure of protection to the villages and to farmers working in the fields. As previously, Lebanese villagers sought refuge in UNIFIL positions when there was shelling.

During a two-week period in April, UNIFIL counted in its area more than 600 Israeli air raids, involving both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, which used over 1,500 bombs or rockets. Throughout the Israeli bombardment, the Islamic Resistance fired some 1,100 rockets from the UNIFIL area; many fell short, but an estimated 600 landed in northern Israel where some of them impacted in villages and towns, causing injuries to civilians as well as damage.

In UNIFIL's area of deployment, more than 120 civilians were killed by Israeli fire and an estimated 500 wounded. Most of the casualties occurred on 18 April as a result of the shelling of the UN compound at Qana, during which over 100 Lebanese were killed and many more wounded. The incident was the subject of the investigation by the Secretary-General's Military Adviser, whose report was conveyed to the Security Council on 7 May (see above). In the whole of the UNIFIL area, at least 450 houses were damaged or destroyed, many roads were made impassable by bombs, and the supply of water and electricity was disrupted.

UNIFIL continued to do its best to protect the civilian population from the violence and to provide humanitarian assistance. Because of the mounting tension, the Force had already reinforced its positions close to the line of confrontation, and increased patrolling. UNIFIL trucks and armoured personnel carriers, engaged in delivering humanitarian aid, were often delayed or stopped altogether as a result of the bombardments. After a partial ceasefire went into effect on 27 April, there was a brief lull in activities. In view of the seriousness of the events in southern Lebanon, the Secretary-General had asked the Under-Secretary-General for Peace-Keeping Operations, Kofi Annan, to travel to the region to consult with Governments prior to the expiry of the UNIFIL mandate. He visited the region from 26 June to 4 July and met with senior officials in Israel, Lebanon and Syria. He also met with the UNIFIL Commander and his staff and visited the Fijian battalion headquarters at Qana and other locations in the UNIFIL area.

During the period under review, UNIFIL continued to extend humanitarian assistance in the form of harvest escorts, medical care, engineering works and the distribution of educational material and equipment provided by UNICEF. Medical teams treated more than 2,000 patients each month at UNIFIL medical aid posts and mobile clinics. Some humanitarian projects were funded by troop-contributing Governments.

In connection with the Israeli bombardment in April, Lebanon requested the United Nations to issue an international appeal to meet the urgent humanitarian needs resulting from the hostilities. The Department of Humanitarian Affairs launched a "flash appeal" on 20 April to mobilize $8.6 million to address the needs of the 20,000 most affected families. The overall response was positive: some $15 million was committed by donors (see PART THREE, Chapter III).

During the period under review, two Ghanaian soldiers died from natural causes and five Fijian and two Nepalese soldiers were wounded as a result of firing. Since the Force's establishment, the Secretary-General reported, 207 of its members had died 76 as a result of firing or bomb explosions, 84 in accidents and 47 from other causes. A total of 324 had been wounded by firing or by mine or bomb explosions.

Concluding, the Secretary-General observed that the previous six months had been marked by a serious escalation of hostilities in April, of which the population of southern Lebanon was the primary victim and during which UNIFIL also came under fire. The Secretary-General regretted that the United Nations once again had cause to call on the parties to respect the noncombatant status of civilians and UN peacekeepers. The co-operation necessary for UNIFIL to implement its mandate, as reiterated by the Security Council in January, had not been forthcoming and there had been no active political pressure on the parties to implement resolution 425(1978).

In recent years, the best hope for implementation of that mandate had been through the negotiating process within the framework established in Madrid in October 1991; that process, however, appeared to have made no progress towards the attainment of the Council's objectives concerning southern Lebanon, which left UNIFIL in the same difficult and dangerous situation in which it had been since the Israeli forces withdrew to their current lines in 1985. In the circumstances, the Force had done its best to limit violence and protect the civilian population, which had become its de facto mandate. In carrying out that mandate, UNIFIL had impeded both sides from pursuing their military aims, but only to the extent that the parties had permitted it to do so, out of a presumed desire to avoid escalation. As a peacekeeping force, UNIFIL was powerless when either party was bent on confrontation.

In that connection, the Secretary-General noted that the understanding announced on 26 April had the potential of contributing to the protection of civilians and restraining the parties; it was therefore to be hoped that the understanding would soon be put into full effect. He had instructed the Force to assist the monitoring group currently being set up in accordance with the understanding; doing so, he believed, was consistent with the Security Council's objectives and would meet with its approval.

The Secretary-General recommended that the Council accept Lebanon's request, voiced in a communication of 18 July (S/1996/566], that UNIFIL be extended at its current strength for another six months, until 31 January 1997. In making that recommendation, the Secretary-General stated, he had especially in mind the Force's role in shielding the civilian population from the worst effects of the violence; its work during the April escalation had underscored the importance of that function.

Drawing attention to the serious shortfall in the Force's funding, with unpaid assessments amounting to $201.9 million, the Secretary-General again appealed to all Member States to pay their assessments promptly and in full and to clear all remaining arrears. He also expressed gratitude to the troop-contributing Governments, especially those of developing countries, for their understanding and patience in those difficult circumstances.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION (July)
On 30 July, the Security Council adopted resolution 1068(1996).

The Security Council, Recalling its resolutions 425(1978) and 426(1978) of
19 March 1978, 501(1982) of 25 February 1982, 508(1982) of 5 June 1982, 509(1982) of 6 June 1982 and 520(1982) of 17 September 1982, as well as all its resolutions on the situation in Lebanon,
Having studied the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon of 20 July 1996 and taking note of the observations expressed and the commitments mentioned therein,
Taking note of the letter dated 18 July 1996 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General,
Responding to the request of the Government of Lebanon,
1. Decides to extend the present mandate of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon for a further period of six months, that is until 31 January 1997;
2. Reiterates its strong support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries;
3. Re-emphasizes the terms of reference and general guidelines of the Force as stated in the report of the Secretary-General of 19 March 1978, approved by resolution 426(1978), and calls upon all parties concerned to cooperate fully with the Force for the full implementation of its mandate;
4. Reiterates that the Force should fully implement its mandate as defined in resolutions 425(1978), 426(1978) and all other relevant resolutions;
5. Condemns all acts of violence committed in particular against the Force, and urges the parties to put an end to them;
6. Welcomes the completion of the streamlining of the Force described in paragraph 33 of the report, and encourages further efficiency and savings provided they do not affect the operational capacity of the Force;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue consultations with the Government of Lebanon and other parties directly concerned with the implementation of the present resolution and to report to the Security Council thereon.

Security Council resolution 1068(1996)
30 July 1996 Meeting 3685 Adopted unanimously
Draft prepared in consultations among Council members (S/1996/599).

On the same date, as a complement to the resolution, the Council President made a statement [S/PRST/1996/33] similar to that of 29 January (see above).

Financing
Reports of Secretary-General and ACABQ (February/March). In a February 1996 report [A/50/543/Add.l], the Secretary-General presented the proposed UNIFIL budget for the 12-month period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997 in the amount of $122,757,000 gross ($119,700,000 net), which reflected a 7.4 per cent decrease in gross terms compared with the prorated resources approved for the preceding 12-month period ending 30 June 1996. The proposed budget provided for maintaining the Force at a level of 4,513 military personnel (3,518 infantry and 995 logistics), supported by 336 civilians, of whom 143 were internationally and 193 locally recruited.

As to the status of contributions, the Secretary-General reported that amounts totalling $2,544.8 million had been assessed on Member States for the period from the Force's inception in 1978 to 31 January 1996. Contributions received as at 31 December 1995 for the same period amounted to $2,331.4 million. As a result of the withholding of or delays in payment of assessed contributions by certain Member States, the Secretary-General stated, UNIFIL had been unable to meet its obligations on a current basis or in full, particularly those due to the troop-contributing countries. Full reimbursement to them had been made up to the period ending 31 January 1995. For the period from 1 February to 31 July 1995, reimbursements to Governments had been made only at the initial rate of $750 per person per month as part of the standard rates approved by the Assembly for troop cost reimbursement. For the period from 1 August to 31 December 1995, no reimbursement had been made to troop contributors. It was estimated that an amount of $36.8 million was due for troop costs for the period ending 31 December 1995.
The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), in its March report on the financing of UNDOF/UNIFIL (A/50/694/Add.l), concurred with the Secretary-General's proposed appropriations.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION (June)

On 7 June, the General Assembly adopted resolution 50/89 B.

The General Assembly,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the financing of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions,
Bearing in mind Security Council resolution 425(1978) of 19 March 1978, by which the Council established the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, and the subsequent resolutions by which the Council extended the mandate of the Force, the latest of which was resolution 1039(1996) of 29 January 1996,
Recalling its resolution S-8/2 of 21 April 1978 on the financing of the Force and its subsequent resolutions and decisions thereon, the latest of which was resolution 50/89 A of 19 December 1995,
Reaffirming that the costs of the Force are expenses of the Organization to be borne by Member States in accordance with Article 17, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations,
Recalling also its previous decisions regarding the fact that, in order to meet the expenditures caused by the Force, a different procedure is required from that applied to meet expenditures of the regular budget of the United Nations,
Taking into account the fact that the economically more developed countries are in a position to make relatively larger contributions and that the economically less developed countries have a relatively limited capacity to contribute towards such an operation,
Bearing in mind the special responsibilities of the States permanent members of the Security Council, as indicated in General Assembly resolution 1874(S-IV) of 27 June 1963, in the financing of such operations,
Mindful of the fact that it is essential to provide the Force with the necessary financial resources to enable it to fulfil its responsibilities under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council,
Recalling further its resolution 34/9 E of 17 December 1979 and the subsequent resolutions in which it decided that the provisions of regulations 5.2 (b). 5.2 (d), 4.3 and 4.4 of the financial regulations of the United Nations should be suspended, the latest of which was resolution 49/226,
Concerned that the Secretary-General continues to face difficulties in meeting the obligations of the Force on a current basis, including reimbursement to current and former troop-contributing States,
Concerned also that the surplus balances in the Special Account for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon have been used up for meeting expenses of the Force in order to compensate for the lack of income resulting from nonpayment and late payment by Member States of their contributions and have consequently been exhausted,
1. Takes note of the status of contributions to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon as at 21 May 1996, including the contributions unpaid in the amount of 204.4 million United States dollars, representing 8 per cent of the total assessed contributions from the inception of the Force to the period ending 30 April 1996, notes that some 17.2 per cent of the Member States have paid their assessed contributions in full, and urges all other Member States concerned, in particular those in arrears, to ensure the payment of their outstanding assessed contributions;
2. Expresses concern about the financial situation with regard to peacekeeping activities, in particular as regards the reimbursement of troop contributors, which bear burdens owing to overdue payments by Member States of their assessments;
3. Expresses its appreciation to those Member States which have paid their assessed contributions in full;
4. Urges all other Member States to make every possible effort to ensure payment of their assessed contributions to the Force in full and on time;
5. Endorses the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary action to ensure that the Force is administered with a maximum of efficiency and economy; '
7. Also requests the Secretary-General to include in his next report "on the financing of the Force a full:
evaluation of damages resulting from the incident that occurred at the headquarters of the Force at Qana on 18 April 1996 and the costs thereof;
8. Decides to appropriate to the Special Account for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon the amount of 53,874,000 dollars gross (52,448,000 dollars net) authorized by the General Assembly in paragraph 7 of its resolution 50/89 A for the period from 1 February to 30 June 1996;
9. Decides also, as an ad hoc arrangement, taking into account the amount of 32,324,400 dollars gross (31,468,800 dollars net) already apportioned in accordance with General Assembly resolution 50/89 A, to apportion an additional amount of 21,549,600 dollars gross (20,979,200 dollars net) for the period from 1 May to 30 June 1996 among Member States in accordance with the composition of groups set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of General Assembly resolution 43/232 of 1 March 1989, as adjusted by the Assembly in its resolutions 44/192 B of 21 December 1989, 45/269 of 27 August 1991,46/198 A of 20 December 1991,47/218 A of 23 December 1992,49/249 A of 20 July 1995,49/249 B of 14 September 1995 and 50/224 of 11 April 1996 and its decisions 48/472 A of 23 December 1993 and 50/451 B of 23 December 1995, and taking into account the scale of assessments for the years 1996 and 1997, as set out in its resolution 49/19 B of 23 December 1994 and decision 50/471 A of 23 December 1995;
10. Decides further that, in accordance with the provisions of its resolution 973(X) of 15 December 1955, there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, as provided for in paragraph 9 above, their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of the estimated staff assessment income of 567,200 dollars approved for the period from 1 May to 30 June 1996;
11. Decides that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, as provided for in paragraph 9 above, their respective share in the estimated income of 3,200 dollars, other than staff assessment income for the period from 1 May to 30 June 1996;
12. Decides also to appropriate to the Special Account for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon an amount of 125,722,800 dollars gross (122,665,800 dollars net) for the maintenance of the Force for the period from l July 1996 to 30 June 1997, inclusive of the amount of 2,965,800 dollars for the support account for peacekeeping operations, to be assessed on Member States at a monthly rate of 10,476,900 dollars gross (10,222,150 dollars net) in accordance with the scheme set out in the present resolution, subject to the decision of the Security Council to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 31 July 1996;
13. Decides further that, in accordance with the provisions of its resolution 973(X), there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, as provided for in paragraph 12 above, their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of the estimated staff assessment income of 3,037,000 dollars approved for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997;
14. Decides that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, as provided for in paragraph 12 above, their respective share in the estimated income of 20,000 dollars, other than staff assessment income, for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997;
15. Invites voluntary contributions to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in cash and in the form of services and supplies acceptable to the Secretary-General, to be administered, as appropriate, in accordance with the procedure established by the General Assembly in its resolutions 43/230 of 21 December 1988, 44/192 A of 21 December 1989 and 45/258 of 3 May 1991;
16. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-first session, under the item entitled "Financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East", the sub-item entitled "United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon".

General Assembly resolution 50/89 B 7 June 1996

Meeting 120 104-2-2 (recorded vote)

Approved by Fifth Committee (A/50/824/Add.D by recorded vote
(85-3-1), 3 June (meeting 64, resumed); draft by Lebanon
(A/C.5/50/L.67); agenda item 122 (b).
Meeting numbers. GA 50th session: 5th Committee 56, 64; plenary 120.
Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark. Djibouti. Ecuador Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany. Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy Japan, Jordan. Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal. Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
Abstaining: Iran, Syrian Arab Republic.

In the Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committee, paragraph 7 was adopted by a recorded vote of 82 to 2, with 2 abstentions. The United States, which requested the vote on the paragraph, as well as, because of its inclusion, a recorded vote on the text as a whole, explained that it firmly supported UNIFIL, but was concerned at the proposals to amend the customary formulation of the resolution on UNIFIL financing, which it saw as a regrettable attempt to politicize the Committee's work. The Qana tragedy had been the subject of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions; the fact that an attempt was made within the Committee to attribute responsibility for that tragedy in a partial manner would only obstruct the efforts made to advance the peace process.


Israel stated that it had voted against the paragraph, as well as the resolution as a whole, because it introduced unnecessary political considerations into the Committee's discussion. Those really responsible for the Qana tragedy were the Hezbollah terrorists, who had shelled northern Israel repeatedly from positions close to UNIFIL headquarters.

Lebanon was profoundly grateful to those who had voted for paragraph 7. The text had no political connotations, it said; only the negative position adopted by two Member States, in an attempt to cover up Israel's responsibility for the massacre, was political.

Reports of Secretary-General and ACABQ (October/November). The Secretary-General submitted in October a financial performance report [A/51/535] on UNIFIL covering the period from 1 February 1995 to 31 January 1996, for which resources amounting to $ 134,814,000 gross ($130,450,000 net) were provided. The corresponding expenditures amounted to $124,257,400 gross ($121,666,600 net), resulting in an unencumbered balance of $10,556,600 gross ($8,783,400 net). The action to be taken by the General Assembly was a decision to credit Member States their respective share in the unencumbered balance. ACABQ, in a November report [A/51/684], concurred with that recommendation.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION December)

The General Assembly, on 16 December (decision 51/439), decided that for Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to UNIFIL, their respective share in the unencumbered balance should be set off against their future apportionment; for those Members that had not fulfilled their financial obligations, their share should be set off against their outstanding contributions.

Iran and Syria both stated that they would not have supported the decision, had it been put to a vote, on the grounds that UNIFIL costs should be borne exclusively by Israel, whose aggressive behavior, they maintained, had led to the deployment of the Force in the first place.

The Syrian Arab Republic

The General Assembly in 1996 continued to call for Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights, an area in the southern part of the Syrian Arab Republic near its borders with both Israel and Lebanon. Israel occupied the Golan Heights following the 1967 war, effectively annexing that area when it extended its laws, jurisdiction and administration to the territory towards the end of 1981 [YUN 1981, p. 309]. The annexation was confirmed by the Israeli Knesset on 11 November 1991.
Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population in the Golan Heights and other occupied territories were monitored by the Special Committee on Israeli Practices and were the subject of resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights (see PART TWO, Chapter III) and the General Assembly.
By a note of 30 July (s/1996/603 & Corr.l], the President of the Security Council stated that the Council had decided that, as of 15 September, matters which it had not considered in the preceding five years would be automatically deleted from the list of matters of which it was seized;
among them were items 5 and 23, relating, respectively, to the Palestine question and the situation in the Middle East, as well as item 40, "Letter dated 4 February 1986 from the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council". A matter would, however, be provisionally retained for a one-year period if a Member notified its objection to its deletion before 15 September; if at the end of one year, the "latter had still not been considered by the Council, it would be automatically deleted. (See also PART FIVE, Chapter IV.)
By a letter of 26 August [S/1996/695], Syria voiced strong objection to the deletion of the three items. Item 40, it said, referred to irrefutable evidence of Israel's practice of State terrorism and its defiance of the will of the international community. Items 5 and 23 were of the utmost importance, particularly when the new Israeli Government was acting in defiance of UN resolutions, the principle of land for peace and the international community's will; the issue as a whole fell within the Council's purview in the context of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
The Committee on Palestinian Rights, in a letter of 16 August (S/1996/667), also objected to deleting those items, which it felt were of utmost concern to the majority of Member States and should remain on the list of matters of which the Council was seized.
By a note of 29 August [S/1996/704], the Council President stated that the Council had decided that no item would be deleted from the list of matters of which the Council was seized without the prior consent of the Member States concerned.

The Golan Heights

Committee report. In its annual report (A/51/99/Add.2], the Special Committee on Israeli Practices stated that during its mission to the Syrian Arab Golan, it had visited again the town of Quneitra, where it observed the destruction caused by the Israelis. The Committee was informed by witnesses who testified before it that the expression of nationalist sentiment by inhabitants of the area continued to be severely punished. The confiscation of land and water resources persisted, while health and educational facilities for the Arab population remained inadequate. Although a greater number of students from the Golan had been allowed to study in Syria, the freedom of movement in general remained curtailed.
The affirmation of Syrian national identity, job opportunities for Arabs in the occupied Golan, lack of health guarantees or indemnities in case of illness, a ban on the sale of agricultural produce, and the price and quantity of water available to Arab inhabitants and harsh conditions for Arab prisoners in Israeli detention centres posed continuing problems, the Committee said.
The Special Committee recalled the position taken by the General Assembly and the Security Council that the Israeli annexation of the occupied Golan was illegal and null and void. It hoped that the negotiations concerning the Golan within the Middle East peace process would be resumed in the near future.
Reports of Secretary-General. In an October report on the situation in the Middle East [A/51/543], the Secretary-General informed the General Assembly that, as of 16 October, one reply—from Japan—had been received to his August request to Israel and other Member States for information on steps they had taken or envisioned taking concerning implementation of the relevant provisions of Assembly resolution 50/22 B [YUN 1995, p. 679], demanding once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan.
On 17 October, the Secretary-General reported [A/51/518] that no reply had been received from Israel to his May request for information on any steps it had taken or envisaged concerning implementation of another 1995 resolution [50/29 D], by which the Assembly had called on Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the Golan, and from its repressive measures against the population. No reply had been received from States parties to the fourth Geneva Convention, whose attention he had drawn to the Assembly's call in the same resolution not to recognize Israel's measures and actions regarding the Golan, which the Assembly had declared null and void.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION

On 4 December, the General Assembly, under the agenda item on the Middle East situation, adopted resolution 51/28.


The Syrian Golan

The General Assembly,
Having considered the item entitled "The situation in the Middle East",
Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General,
Recalling Security Council resolution 497(1981) of 17 December 1981,
Reaffirming the fundamental principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Reaffirming once more the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Syrian Golan,
Deeply concerned that Israel has not withdrawn from the Syrian Golan, which has been under occupation since 1967, contrary to the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions,
Noting with satisfaction the convening at Madrid on 30 October 1991 of the Peace Conference on the Middle East on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242(1967) of 22 November 1967, 338(1973) of 22 October 1973 and 425(1978) of 19 March 1978 and the principle of land for peace,
Expressing deep concern about the stumbling of the peace process on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks, and hoping that talks for ensuring a just and comprehensive peace in the region will soon be resumed from the point that has been reached,
1. Declares that Israel has failed so far to comply with Security Council resolution 497(1981);
2. Declares also that the Knesset decision of 11 November 1981 annexing the occupied Syrian Golan constitutes a grave violation of resolution 497(1981) and therefore is null and void and has no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to rescind it;
3. Reaffirms its determination that all relevant provisions of the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention of 1907, and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and calls upon the parties thereto to respect and ensure respect for their obligations under those instruments in all circumstances;
4. Determines once more that the continued occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitute a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region;
5. Calls for the resumption of the talks on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks and for the respect for the commitments and guarantees reached during the previous talks;
6. Demands once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly resolution 51/28 4 December 1996

Meeting 72 84-2-71 (recorded vote)
20-nation draft (A/51/L.39), orally revised; agenda item 33.
Meeting numbers. GA 61st session: plenary 70-72.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh. Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam. Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kuwait. Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago. Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel, United States.
abstaining; Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize. Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya. Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand. Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

In introducing the draft on behalf of the sponsors, Egypt said it reaffirmed the fundamental principle of the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force, as well as the applicability of the fourth Geneva Convention to the Syrian Golan. The text's authors hoped they would continue to obtain support from the international community based on the principles underlying the peace process begun in Madrid.
Explaining its negative vote, the United States said the resolution served only to complicate the achievement of a mutually acceptable outcome. As Israel and Syria had committed themselves to a negotiating process to resolve their differences and achieve a lasting peace agreement, the Assembly could only make that goal more elusive by injecting itself into issues which the parties had agreed would be decided in face-to-face negotiations; the United States believed that the resolution was not conducive to creating an atmosphere of trust and reconciliation that would help that process succeed.
In Israel's view, the Assembly was not the correct forum for discussing the Golan Heights issue, which should be addressed within the frame-work of direct negotiations between the parties;
any resolution such as the one adopted served only to prejudge the outcome of the negotiations. On 13 December, the Assembly adopted resolution 51/135 under the agenda item "Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories".

The occupied Syrian Golan
The General Assembly,
Having considered the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practice's Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories,
Deeply concerned that the Syrian Golan occupied since 1967 has been under continued Israeli military occupation,
Recalling Security Council resolution 497(1981) of 17 December 1981,
Recalling also its previous relevant resolutions, the last of which was resolution 50/29 D of 6 December 1995,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 17 October 1996,
Recalling its previous relevant resolutions in which, inter alia, it called upon Israel to put an end to its occupation of the Arab territories,
Reaffirming once more the illegality of the decision of 14 December 1981 taken by Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan, which has resulted in the effective annexation of that territory,
Reaffirming that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible under the Charter of the United Nations,
Reaffirming also the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the occupied Syrian Golan,
Bearing in mind Security Council resolution 37(1967) of 14 June 1967,
Welcoming the convening at Madrid of the Peace Conference on the Middle East on the basis of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973 aimed at the realization of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, and stressing the need for rapid progress in all bilateral negotiations,

1. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions on the occupied Syrian Golan, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council inter alia, decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;

2. Also calls upon Israel to desist from changing physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and in particular to desist from the establishment of settlements;

3. Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the occupying Power, that purport to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan are null and void, constitute a flagrant violation of international law and of the Geneva convention relative tot he Protection of Civilian persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and have no legal effect;
4. Calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from its repressive measures against the population of the occupied Syrian Golan;
5 Deplores the violations by Israel of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,
6 Calls once again upon Member States not to recognize any of the legislative or administrative measures
and actions referred to above;
7. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-second session on the implementation of the present resolution.
General Assembly resolution 51/135
13 December 1996 Meeting 83 153-1-9
Approved by Fourth Committee (A/51/592) by recorded vote (127-1-6),27 November (meeting 22); 15-nation draft (A/C.4/51/L.23/Rev.1), agenda item 85
Meeting numbers. GA 51st session: 4th Committee 21-22; plenary 83.

Recorded vote in Assembly as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Chana, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, united Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Israel.
Abstaining: Guatemala, Kenya, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Swaziland, United States, Uruguay.

UNDOF

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) established by the Security Council in 1974 [YUN 1974, p. 205, SC res. 350(1974)1, as called for under the Agreement on Disengagement of Forces between Israel and the Syrian Arab Republic concluded that year [Ibid., p. 198], was charged with supervising the observance of the ceasefire between the two countries in the Golan Heights area and ensuring the separation of their forces. Assisting UNDOF, as required, were observers from UNTSO.
The Force's mandate was renewed twice in 1996, in May and November, each time for a six-month period.

Composition

In November 1996, UNDOF personnel comprised 1,052 troops from Austria, Canada, Japan and Poland, as well as four UN military observers detailed from UNTSO. In addition, UNDOF was assisted by 73 UNTSO military observers of the Observer Group Golan. Major-General Johannes C. Rosters of the Netherlands continued as Force Commander.

Activities

UNDOF in 1996 continued to supervise the area of separation between Israeli and Syrian troops in the Golan Heights, to ensure that no military forces of either party were deployed there, by means of permanently manned positions and observation posts and patrols operating at irregular intervals on predetermined routes by day and by night. In addition, temporary outposts were established and additional patrols conducted from time to time as necessary. UNDOF also continued its fortnightly inspections of armament and force levels in the areas of limitation. Liaison officers from the party concerned accompanied the inspection teams. As in the past, both sides denied inspection teams access to some of their positions and imposed some restrictions on UNDOF's freedom of movement.

The Force Commander and his staff maintained close contact with the military liaison staff of Israel and Syria. Both sides cooperated with UNDOF in the execution of its tasks.
UNDOF also assisted ICRC with mail facilities and the passage of persons through the area of separation. Within the means available, medical treatment was provided to the local population on request.
Reports of Secretary-General (May and November). Before the expiration of the UNDOF mandate on 31 May, and again on 30 November, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council on UNDOF activities that took place between 18 November 1995 and 17 May 1996 [S/1996/368], and between 18 May and 18 November 1996 [s/1996/959 & Corr.l]. Both reports noted that UNDOF continued to perform its functions effectively, with the cooperation of the parties. In general, the ceasefire in the Israel-Syria sector was maintained without any serious incidents, and the area of operation of UNDOF remained calm. In September and October, the Secretary-General noted, there was a period of tension between the two sides amid speculation about the possibility of armed conflict. Tension had since subsided, however, following assurances by both parties through the intermediary of other Governments. During that period, the level of forces and armaments in the areas of limitation on both sides remained well below the ceiling established by the 1974 disengagement agreement.

In concluding observations, the Secretary-General stated that despite the quiet in the Israel-Syria sector, the situation in the Middle East continued to be potentially dangerous and was likely to remain so, unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem could be reached. He hoped for determined efforts by all concerned to tackle the problem in all its aspects, with a view to arriving at a just and durable peace settlement, as called for by the Security Council in resolution 338(1973) [YUN 1973, p. 213]. Stating that he considered the Force's continued presence in the area to be essential, the Secretary-General, with the agreement of both Syria and Israel, each time recommended that the UNDOF mandate be extended for a further six months, until 30 November 1996 in the first instance and 31 May 1997 in the second.

In making his recommendation, the Secretary-General drew attention to the serious shortfall in the funding of the Force, with unpaid assessments amounting to $60.7 million in May and $64.1 million in November, which represented money owed to troop-contributing Member States. The enduring scarcity of resources, he said, had compelled him to seek ways to lower UNDOF expenditures; therefore, since 1992 the Force had implemented two streamlining exercises which reduced its size and budget by more than 20 per cent, leaving it a very lean and cost-effective operation. Doing so had been possible in large part because of the very good cooperation both Israel and Syria had extended to the Force he would continue to keep UNDOF under close scrutiny with a view to using every opportunity for further economies, the Secretary-General added.

SECURITY COUNCIL ACTION (May and November)

Meeting on 30 May, the Security Council, without debate, adopted resolution 1057(1996).

The Security Council,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 23 May 1996,
Decides:
(a) To call upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338(1973) of 22 October 1973;
(b) To renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for another period of six months, that is, until 30 November 1996;
(c) To request the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on the development in the situation and the measures taken to implement Security Council resolution 338(1973).

Security Council resolution 1057(1996)
30 May 1996 Meeting 3669 Adopted unanimously
Draft prepared in consultations among Council members (S/1996/393).

On 27 November, the Council, also without debate, adopted resolution 1081(1996).

The Security Council,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force of 18 November 1996,
Decides:
(a) To call upon the parties concerned to implement immediately its resolution 338(1973) of 22 October 1973;
(b) To renew the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for another period of six months, that is, until 31 May 1997;
(c) To request the Secretary-General to submit, at the end of this period, a report on the development in the situation and the measures taken to implement Security Council resolution 338(1973).
Security Council resolution 1081(1996)
27 November 1996 Meeting 3715 Adopted unanimously
Draft prepared in consultations among Council members (S/1996/975).

After the adoption of each resolution, the President made the following statement [s/prst/1996/27, S/PRST/1996/45] on behalf of the Council:
As is known, the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force states, in paragraph 14 [13 in the November report]: "Despite the present quiet in the Israel-Syria sector, the situation in the Middle East continues to be potentially dangerous and is likely to remain so,
unless and until a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem can be reached." That statement of the Secretary-General reflects the view of the Security Council.

Financing

Reports of Secretary-General and ACABQ (February/March). In a February 1996 report [A/50/386/Add.l], the Secretary-General presented the proposed budget of UNDOF for the 12-moiith period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997, in the amount of $31,494,000 gross ($30,582,000 net), reflecting an overall 2.3 per cent decrease in gross terms when compared with the prorated resources approved for the preceding 12-month period of $32,140,000 gross ($31,192,000 net). The decrease was mainly due to the anticipated transfer of vehicles and equipment from liquidated missions to UNDOF and to an exclusion of the provision for the support account for peacekeeping operations during the budget period.

The proposed budget provided for maintaining the Force at a level of 1,036 troops (821 infantry and 215 logistics personnel), supported by a civilian establishment of 120 (36 international and 84 local).

The actions to be taken by the General Assembly included the appropriation of the proposed budget amount, to be assessed at the monthly rate of $2,624,500 gross ($2,548,500 net), subject to the extension(s) of the Force by the Security Council. Other action required was the appropriation of $16,074,000 gross ($15,618,000 net) for the period from 1 December 1995 to 31 May 1996, authorized and assessed on Member States in accordance with a Assembly resolution 50/20 A on UNDOF financing [YUN 1995, p. 682], and appropriation of $2,679,000 gross ($2,603,000 net) for the period from 1 to 30 June 1996.
ACABQ, in a March report [A/50/694/Add.l], concurred with the Secretary-General's proposal.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION (June)
The General Assembly, on 7 June, adopted resolution 50/20 B.
The General Assembly,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the financing of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions,

Bearing in mind Security Council resolution 350(1974) of 31 May 1974, by which the Council established the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, and the subsequent resolutions by which the Council extended the mandate of the Force, the latest of which was resolution 1024(1995) of 28 November 1995,
Recalling its resolution 3211 B (XXIX) of 29 November 1974 on the financing of the United Nations Emergency Force and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and its subsequent resolutions thereon, the latest of which was resolution 50/20 A of 1 December 1995,
Reaffirming that the costs of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force are expenses of the Organization to be borne by Member States in accordance with Article 17, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations,
Recalling also its previous decisions regarding the fact that, in order to meet the expenditures caused by the Force, a different procedure is required from that applied to meet expenditures of the regular budget of the United Nations,
Taking into account the fact that the economically more developed countries are in a position to make relatively larger contributions and that the economically less developed countries have a relatively limited capacity to contribute towards such an operation,
Bearing in mind the special responsibilities of the States permanent members of the Security Council, as indicated in General Assembly resolution 1874(S-IV) of 27 June 1963, in the financing of such operations,
Mindful of the fact that it is essential to provide the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force with the necessary financial resources to enable it to fulfil its responsibilities under the relevant resolutions of the Security Council,
Concerned that the Secretary-General continues to face difficulties in meeting the obligations of the Force on a current basis, including reimbursement to current and former troop-contributing States,
Concerned also that the surplus balances in the Suspense Account for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force have been used to meet expenses of the Force in order to compensate for the lack of income resulting from nonpayment and late payment by Member States of their contributions,
1. Takes note of the status of contributions to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force as at 21 May 1996, including the contributions unpaid in the amount of 60,700,000 United States dollars, representing 5 per cent of the total assessed contributions from the inception of the Force to the period ending 31 May 1996, notes that some 29 per cent of the Member States have paid their assessed contributions in full, and urges all other Member States concerned, in particular those in arrears, to ensure the payment of their outstanding assessed contributions;
2. Expresses concern about the financial situation with regard to peacekeeping activities, in particular as regards the reimbursement of troop contributors, which bear burdens owing to overdue payments by Member States of their assessments;
3. Expresses its appreciation to those Member States which have paid their assessed contributions in full;
4. Urges all other Member States to make every possible effort to ensure the payment of their assessed contributions to the Force in full and on time;
5. Endorses the observations and recommendations contained in the report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, subject to the provisions of the present resolution;
6. Requests the Secretary-General to take all necessary action to ensure that the Force is administered with a maximum of efficiency and economy;
7. Decides to appropriate to the Special Account for the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force the amount of 16,074,000 dollars gross (15,610,284 dollars net), authorized and apportioned by the General Assembly in paragraph 7 of its resolution 50/20 A for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 December 1995 to 31 May 1996;
8. Decides also to appropriate the amount of 2,679,000 dollars gross (2,601,714 dollars net), authorized by the General Assembly in paragraph 7 of its resolution 50/20 A for the period from 1 to 30 June 1996, the said amount to be apportioned among Member States in accordance with paragraphs 8 to 10 of the same resolution, subject to the decision of the Security Council to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 31 May 1996;
9. Decides further to appropriate the amount of 32,254,900 dollars gross (31,342,900 dollars net) for the maintenance of the Force for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997, inclusive of the amount of 760,900 dollars for the support account for peacekeeping operations, to be assessed on Member States at the monthly rate of 2,687,908 dollars gross (2,611,908 dollars net) for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997, in accordance with the composition of groups set out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of General Assembly resolution 43/232 of 1 March 1989, as adjusted by the Assembly in its resolutions 44/192 B of 21 December 1989. 45/269 of 27 August 1991, 46/198 A of 20 December 1991, 47/218 A of 23 December 1992, 49/249 A of 20 July 1995, 49/249 B of 14 September 1995 and 50/224 of 11 April 1996, and its decisions 48/472 A of 23 December 1993 and 50/451 B of 23 December 1995, and taking into account the scale of assessments for the years 1996 and 1997, as set out in its resolution 49/19 B of 23 December 1994 and its decision 50/471 A of 23 December 1995, subject to the decision of the Security Council to extend the mandate of the Force beyond 31 May 1996;
10. Decides that, in accordance with the provisions of its resolution 973(X) of 15 December 1955, there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, as provided for in paragraph 9 above, their respective share in the Tax Equalization Fund of the estimated staff assessment income of 897,000 dollars approved for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997;
11. Decides also that there shall be set off against the apportionment among Member States, as provided for in paragraph 9 above, their respective share in the estimated other income of 15,000 dollars for the period from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997;
12. Invites voluntary contributions to the Force in cash and in the form of services and supplies acceptable to the Secretary-General, to be administered, as appropriate, in accordance with the procedure established by the General Assembly in its resolutions 43/230 of 21 December 1988, 44/192 A of 21 December 1989 and 45/258 of 3 May 1991;
13. Decides to keep the sub-item entitled "United Nations Disengagement Observer Force", under the agenda item entitled "Financing of the United Nations
peacekeeping forces in the Middle East", under review during its fiftieth session.

General Assembly resolution 50/20 B 7 June 1996

Meeting 120 Adopted without vote
Approved by Fifth Committee (A/50/792/Add.D without vote, 31 May
(meeting 64); draft by Chairman (A/C.5/50/L.54), based on Informal
consultations; agenda item 122 M. Meeting numbers. GA 50th session: Fifth Committee 56,64; plenary 120.

Reports of Secretary-General and ACABQ (September/November). In September, the Secretary-General submitted a financial performance report [A/51/405] of UNDOF for the period from 1 December 1994 to 30 November 1995, for which expenditures amounted to $30,928,300 gross ($30,158,900 net), resulting in an unencumbered balance of $1,202,700 gross ($973,100 net). The action to be taken by the General Assembly was a decision to credit Member States their respective share in that balance for the aforesaid period. ACABQ, in a November report [A/51/684], concurred with the proposal.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTION (December)

The General Assembly, on 16 December, decided (decision 51/438) that for Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to UNDOF, there should be set off against their future apportionment their respective share in the unencumbered balance as specified by the Secretary-General. It also decided that for those Members that had not fulfilled their financial obligations to the Force, their share of that balance should be set off against their outstanding contributions.

Procurement practices

Between February and May 1996, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) conducted investigations into allegations that two senior staff members were interfering with the decision-making process of the local committee on contracts in favour of one of the local fresh ration suppliers over other bidders. The constant introduction of new requirements on the lowest acceptable bidder caused the committee to reach a stalemate and delay the award of the contract to the lowest bidder, allowing the favoured contractor to secure several shortterm extensions at a cost to the United Nations of $60,000. The stalemate reached such a level that the UNDOF Commander set up an enlarged ad hoc local committee on contracts, which reviewed the bidding process and concluded that the contract should be awarded to the lowest acceptable bidder. Another investigation into the management practices by a senior staff member of the UNDOF Service Institute, the so-called P.X., also revealed a number of anomalies.

OlOS also instituted charges against a senior staff member who had attempted to intimidate staff who had reported such abuses.

Five recommendations were made to the effect that charges should be brought against the two senior staff members for breaching procurement rules and the provisions of the OIOS mandate. Another seven recommendations were made on the development of an enhanced quality control mechanism in the performance of the fresh rations contract; the use of UN vehicles in the transport of P.X. goods; and that the situation with "special orders" in the P.X. cease.

A summary of these investigations was provided in the Secretary-General's second annual report covering the activities of OIOS [A/51/432].

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