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Bulletin mensuel de la DDP - Vol.XXXVI, No. 3 - Bulletin Comité pour l’exercice des droits inaliénables du peuple palestinien, DDP (mars 2013) - Publication de la DDP Français

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Source: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 March 2013




March 2013

Volume XXXVI, Bulletin No. 3

Bulletin
on action by the United Nations system and
intergovernmental organizations
relevant to the question of Palestine





The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://unispal.un.org



I. WHO ISSUES REPORT ON HEALTH ACCESS IN THE OPT

Based on the research carried out by the WHO oPt “Right to Health Advocacy” project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, on 5 March 2013, the World Health Organization issued a Special Report titled “Right to health: Barriers to health access in the occupied Palestinian territory, 2011 and 2012”. Data and information for this study were provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs offices in the West Bank and Gaza, East Jerusalem hospitals, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, and human rights organizations in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel, as well as the Palestinian patients and families who attempted to obtain a health access permit. The executive summary of the report is reproduced below:

Executive summary

Access to health care is a crucial component of the right to health. Restricting health access violates basic human rights guaranteed by international humanitarian and human rights law. This study examines available information regarding the size and extent of movement restrictions imposed by Israel on Palestinian patients who require access to specialized health referral facilities within the oPt, or to Jordan, Egypt or Israel. These patients are referred either by the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) for specialized treatment that is unavailable in MoH hospitals, or are private patients under other insurance plans, or are self-funded.

The WHO oPt office has monitored referral and access data of patients from Gaza since 2006. This study adds to previous work by examining access for both West Bank and Gaza referral patients and provides a more comprehensive understanding of the particularities of access for Palestinians of both regions of the oPt. The report looks at permit application procedures and the outcome of requests to examine frequency and reasons for denial of permits. It uses interviews with patients and health professionals in the oPt to better understand the range of problems with access.

Palestinian patients depend on access to East Jerusalem’s six non-profit Palestinian hospitals for specialized health services. Patients are referred for critical medical interventions, made more necessary as a result of the blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007, and restrictions on movement of people and goods from Gaza and West Bank, including restrictions on physicians’ access to continuing training. Drug and disposable shortages due to the financial crisis of the Palestinian Authority have also had an impact on patient referrals. The most frequent reason for referring patients was for oncology treatments (17% of 2012 referrals).

The MoH financed more than 56,000 patient referrals in 2012; 37.1% were to hospitals inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 45.3% to hospitals in East Jerusalem, and the remaining to Israel (9.1%), Egypt (5.9%), and Jordan (2.6%).

In 2011, 36.9% of referrals were inside West Bank and Gaza, 40% were to East Jerusalem and 23% to hospitals outside of the oPt. During the two years, applications for permits of 1,783 patients from Gaza and 77,815 patients, patient-companions and patient-visitors from the West Bank (one in five) were denied or delayed.

Obtaining a permit is complicated and difficult, and the uncertainty and last-minute nature of the Israeli response makes the process more stressful for patients and their families. Children can be denied access if their accompanying relative is not approved by the authorities. Gaza patients can be called for security interviews before or during the crossing. In 2012, 206 patients, most of whom were aged 18-40, were called by Israeli security services for an interview as part of the application procedure; in 2011, 197 patients were called.

Restrictions also affected ambulance transfers and the functioning of the East Jerusalem hospitals: in 2011, only 5% of Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from the West Bank were permitted to enter Jerusalem with their patients, while 95% had to shuttle patients from a Palestinian-plated ambulance to an Israeli-plated one at the checkpoint. This improved slightly in 2012 when 9% of ambulances were permitted direct access into Jerusalem, but almost exclusively from the southern West Bank. As for employees, 1,053 physicians and health workers with West Bank or Gaza IDs who work in East Jerusalem hospitals received short-term permits with conditions limiting how and where they may enter Jerusalem; 21 hospital employees were denied permits to travel to work.

Delays and denials of access violate patients’ right to access and may lead to deterioration in their health status. While recognising Israel’s security concerns, we hope that the presentation of this information on barriers to health access in the occupied Palestinian territory will be useful in advocacy efforts with duty bearers to ensure that the fundamental right of Palestinians to access health care is protected.


II. UNICEF REPORTS ON CHILDREN IN ISRAELI MILITARY DETENTION

On 6 March 2013, the United Nations Children Fund published a report titled “Children in Israeli Military Detention: Observations and Recommendations”. The text of the Executive Summary of the report is reproduced below:

Executive summary

All children in contact with judicial systems should be treated with dignity and respect at all times. For several years, national lawyers, human rights organizations, United Nations experts and treaty bodies have been publishing reports of ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the Israeli military detention system.

Following an increasing number of allegations of ill-treatment of children in military detention, UNICEF has conducted a review of practices related to children who come into contact with the military detention system, from apprehension, to court proceedings and outcome.

The review further considers whether the military detention system is in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Following an overview of policies and norms related to the prohibition of ill-treatment in international law, the paper presents the structure and operation of the Israeli military detention system, including the legal framework, establishment of a juvenile military court, age of criminal responsibility and penalties under military law. The paper also reviews the legal safeguards in place against ill-treatment under military law and discusses their conformity with the norms, guarantees and safeguards found in international law. Subsequently, the treatment of children in the military detention system is presented, following the passage of children through the system.

This paper is a result of this review and analysis of practices. It concludes that the ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.

It is understood that in no other country are children systematically tried by juvenile military courts that, by definition, fall short of providing the necessary guarantees to ensure respect for their rights. All children prosecuted for offences they allegedly committed should be treated in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, which provide them with special protection. Most of these protections are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The paper concludes with 38 specific recommendations grouped under 14 broad headings designed to improve the protection of children in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international laws, norms and standards.


III. SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUES REPORT ON THE
STATUS OF PALESTINE IN THE UNITED NATIONS

On 8 March 2013, at the Sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly, and pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 67/19 in which the Assembly accorded to Palestine non-member observer State status in the United Nations, and in consultations with the Permanent Mission of Israel and the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submitted to the General Assembly a report on the Status of Palestine in the United Nations. The Observations the Secretary-General published in the report are reproduced below (A/67/738):

Observations

24. The adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 67/19 on 29 November 2012 by a majority of 138 votes in favour, following a period of prolonged stalemate in the political process, symbolized the growing international impatience with the long-standing occupation and clearly endorsed Palestinian aspirations to live in freedom and dignity in an independent State of their own, side by side with Israel in peace and security. The end to the occupation and to the conflict and the achievement of the two-State solution on the ground is long overdue. This can only be achieved, however, through negotiations to solve all final status issues.

25. The year 2013 will be decisive in the peace process. As I outlined in my address to the General Assembly on 22 January 2013, I identified five priorities in this regard: first, we must renew collective international engagement; second, we must resume meaningful negotiations; third, we must preserve stability in Gaza; fourth, we must make progress on Palestinian reconciliation under the leadership of President Abbas within the framework of the commitments of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the positions of the Quartet; and fifth, we must prevent the financial collapse of the Palestinian Authority. Concerted action is essential if we are to salvage the realization on the ground of the two-State solution.

26. The situation on the ground remains a cause for serious concern. Continued settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law and runs contrary to Israel’s obligations under the road map. It also undermines the viability of the two-State solution and the prospects for peace. Israel should heed the repeated calls of the international community and stop such activity.

27. Both sides have a common interest and responsibility in preventing an escalation of tensions. Recent spates of violence over the death of a Palestinian detainee and prisoners on prolonged hunger strikes are potentially eroding the calm necessary for the resumption of peace talks. I have expressed my deep concern and urged that a solution be reached without delay in order to end the prisoners’ plight and preserve calm. International human rights obligations towards all Palestinian detainees and prisoners under Israeli custody must be fully respected.

28. Solidifying the ceasefire agreement in Gaza that was brokered by Egypt remains a pressing priority. The 26 February rocket attack from Gaza into Israel was unacceptable. I will continue to condemn any indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza.

29. The parties need our collective support to create an environment conducive to a resumption of talks, as on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is too much pain and anguish, disillusionment and dismay, for the parties to be able to overcome their genuine fears and dispel tensions on their own. It is incumbent upon the international community to foster synergy among the various ideas and initiatives being discussed to permit decisive progress towards a return to negotiations. The Arab Peace Initiative remains an important basis for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieving regional peace. It should be encouraged and nurtured.

30. However, no international effort alone is sufficient for progress absent the requisite will from the parties themselves. Israeli and Palestinian leaders have stated that they are convinced the two-State solution is the only path towards a durable peace. They should realize that without serious engagement, the consequences for inaction could be dire for everyone. The parties must not only remain open to new initiatives to overcome the current impasse, but must now demonstrate their seriousness and refrain from actions and negative steps that undermine the situation on the ground and complicate a return to meaningful negotiations in the critical period ahead.

31. As Secretary-General, I will continue to do my utmost to achieve a negotiated two-State solution, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1860 (2009), that will resolve the core issues — territory, security, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, water — and constitute the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and all claims related to it. I call on the parties and all stakeholders to act with determination, responsibility and vision. None of the steps to that end are easy, but we cannot afford another year without courageous action for the purpose of achieving the two-State solution reaffirmed by resolution 67/19.


IV. SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITS REPORT ON ASSISTANCE TO PALESTINIAN WOMEN

During the Fifty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women, and in follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the Twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, on 18 March 2013 the Secretary-General submitted, in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 2012/25, a report on the situation of Palestinian women between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012. The conclusions and recommendations of the report are reproduced below:

Conclusions and recommendations

48. The continued lack of progress in the peace process, growing tensions and an escalation in violence and related displacement during the reporting period are of great concern. Restrictive residency, planning and zoning, and movement policies, together with continued settlement expansion, and the closure of the Gaza Strip have created a challenging humanitarian situation impacting negatively on the lives of many Palestinian women and their families. While there has been progress on some development indicators, the volatility of the context renders progress fragile and prone to regression. High levels of unemployment, poverty and insecurity persist and many Palestinian women and girls still face significant obstacles in accessing basic services such as education, health, water and sanitation. Insecurity and poverty can exacerbate gender-based discrimination and abuse, and this has been experienced by Palestinian women in the form of elevated levels of violence in the public and private spheres, as well as discrimination in the workplace.

49. Operating in a volatile and complex environment, United Nations organizations continued to respond to such challenges and carried out extensive activities to address the needs of women and girls. There were notable achievements in policy and institutional development during 2011 and 2012. Initial steps to implement the Cross-Sectoral National Gender Strategy for 2011-2013 and the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women (2011-2019) have been encouraging. The effective implementation of these strategies, however, requires sustained political commitment, technical support and financial resources. Over the reporting period, the Palestinian Authority continued to take steps to address violence against women, including through strengthening police family protection units, taking more institutional ownership of shelters, and announcing the formation of a committee to study personal status laws to protect women. It is critical to build on, support and expand such initiatives.

50. The United Nations Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the Joint Programme on Culture and Development provided the opportunity for United Nations organizations and national and local partners to work in partnership and enhance national ownership mechanisms. It is highly recommended that the United Nations system build on the achievements of these Programmes and work towards the continued implementation of joint programmes in partnership with national and local partners.

51. Improving the situation of Palestinian women remains inextricably linked to efforts to achieve lasting peace and women’s ability to participate in decision-making processes related to peace and security. Efforts to involve both Palestinian and Israeli women in a revitalized peace process need to be enhanced and supported in accordance with the spirit of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). Mechanisms for enhancing accountability and monitoring progress in the implementation of that resolution and related commitments on women and peace and security should be established.

52. In view of recent political changes in the region and Arab women’s growing participation in political life and decision-making processes, it is important to continue to promote and support the right of Palestinian women to effective political participation and leadership. Special attention should be given to on-the-job coaching for women newly elected to office. Support for women at the various stages of electoral processes should be provided and strategic partnerships with significant stakeholders — political parties, the media, State institutions and the civil society — should be further developed.

53. It is critical to continue to collect and analyse sex- and age-disaggregated data on a range of issues impacting the lives of Palestinians and to ensure that this information is incorporated systematically in reports and briefings by the United Nations system to relevant intergovernmental bodies.


V. AD HOC LIAISON COMMITTEE MEETS IN BRUSSELS

On 19 March 2013, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee members, other major donor countries and parties met in Brussels, hosted by the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and chaired by the Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide. The meeting considered the report of the State of Palestine to AHLC – “Palestine: A State Under Occupation”; the report from the Office of the Quartet Representative – “Back to the Future: Integrating the Political and Economic Tracks”; the report by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; a World Bank report – “Fiscal Challenges and Long Term Economic Costs”; and IMF report – “Recent Experience and Prospects of the Economy of the West Bank and Gaza”:

The text of the Chair’s summary, which was issued at the conclusion of the meeting, is reproduced below:

Chair’s summary

In this meeting, the AHLC emphasized the urgency of resuming the political process to realize the vision of an independent, democratic and sovereign state of Palestine living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Two years ago here in Brussels, based on the reports from the UN, the World Bank, and the IMF, the donors gave their positive assessment of the state readiness of the Palestinian Authority regarding the institutions studied. Since then, the donors have been preoccupied with ensuring the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal sustainability and economic viability.

The last two years have been marked by a fading political horizon for ending the conflict through a negotiated two-state solution and by increasing fiscal difficulties for the Palestinian Authority. The economy grew at a slower rate than the three preceding years, which can be attributed to the remaining Israeli restrictions and donor support falling well below programmed levels, combined with the uncertainty caused by the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal crisis. In spite of the efforts of the Authority to strengthen its fiscal position during 2012, the economy and public finances have deteriorated further as the economy is hobbled by persisting restrictions and increasing political uncertainty. Irregularities in transfers of Palestinian clearance revenues also contributed to the acute fiscal crisis and donor contributions were insufficient to cover fiscal deficits.

Based on the alarming reports to this meeting, the donors conclude that the economic base for the public finances of the Palestinian Authority is on an unsustainable path. Concerted action by the PA, Israel and the international community is urgently needed to stabilize the fiscal position of the PA and rekindle private sector-led economic growth.

Continued financial support by the donor community and ongoing fiscal discipline and reform efforts by the PA are essential to manage the financing shortfalls of today. They will prove inadequate, however, unless Palestinian clearance revenues are transferred to the Palestinian Authority in a timely, transparent and predictable manner. Donors maintained that the external support to cover the budget deficit cannot be expected to continue at the current levels indefinitely. Bolder efforts are needed to create the basis for a viable economy and to allow the private sector and trade to prosper. Today’s precarious situation calls for increased attention in the coming months to enable a comprehensive discussion of these issues at the next AHLC.

Donors expressed concern for the conditions in the Gaza Strip as well as for East-Jerusalem and Area C in the West Bank.

On Gaza again, and reiterating their full commitment to the UN Security Council resolution 1860, donors expressed concern for the sustainability of the ceasefire and emphasized the need for security for all civilians. They called for further efforts to lift restrictions on access of goods and the legitimate passage of people to and from Gaza.

On this basis the AHLC:

- calls on donors to continue the provision of adequate and predictable assistance to meet the recurrent financing requirements for the PA in 2013, estimated at 1.2 billion USD, with due regard to burden sharing, and to assist in broadening the economic base for Palestinian economic development;

- welcomes the PA’s decision to persevere with the structural reforms, widening of the tax base and containing fiscal spending;

- calls for further collaborative efforts to broaden and enhancing the collection of tax and other Palestinian domestic incomes within all the Palestinian territory, including implementing the understanding to improve the clearance revenue mechanism;

- calls on GOI to take bolder steps to facilitate sustainable growth of the Palestinian economy – one that is underpinned by a vibrant private sector – by further removing obstacles to movement of people and goods, to development, and to trade and exports, including in Area C and East-Jerusalem;

- while welcoming the increase in building materials allowed into Gaza, calls for reopening the borders for all legitimate passage of goods and people and for further extension of the fishing limits in accordance with previous agreements; and

- agrees to reconvene in New York in September 2013 in conjunction with the UN General Assembly.


VI. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS FIVE RESOLUTIONS ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS
SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

During its Twenty-second regular session which concluded on 22 March 2013, the Human Rights Council considered and adopted five resolutions on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories. The texts of the adopted resolutions entitled: Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict; Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan; Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and Follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem are reproduced below (A/HRC/RES/22/25 – 29):

22/25. Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolution S-9/1, adopted on 12 January 2009, and resolution S-12/1, adopted on 16 October 2010, in follow-up of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, A/HRC/12/48.

Recalling further the relevant rules and principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

1. Renews its recommendation that the General Assembly remain apprised of the matter until it is satisfied that appropriate action with regard to implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict is taken at the domestic or international level in order to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators, and to remain also ready to consider whether additional action within its powers is required in the interests of justice;

2. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


49th meeting
22 March 2013

Adopted by 43 in favour,
1 against and 3 abstentions


22/26. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan

The Human Rights Council,

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

Reaffirming that all States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Charter and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,

Recalling relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly reaffirming, inter alia, the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem,

Mindful that Israel is a party to the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable de jure to Palestinian and all Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and recalling the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, held in Geneva on 5 December 2001,

Considering that the transfer by the occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,

Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and its conclusion that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, were established in breach of international law,

Recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,

Affirming that the Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute very serious violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein, and undermine international efforts, including the Annapolis Peace Conference of 27 November 2007 and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State of 17 December 2007, aimed at invigorating the peace process and establishing a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State by the end of 2008,

Recalling the statement made by the Quartet on 21 September 2010 and its attachment to the implementation by the parties of their obligations under the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and noting specifically its call for a freeze on all settlement activities,

Expressing its grave concern about the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of settlement building and expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including plans to expand and connect Israeli settlements around Occupied East Jerusalem, thus threatening the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State,

Expressing its concern that continuing Israeli settlement activity undermines the realization of a two-State solution,

Expressing grave concern about the continuing construction, contrary to international law, by Israel of the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and expressing its concern in particular about the route of the wall in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949, which could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-State solution impossible to implement and which is causing the Palestinian people further humanitarian hardship,

Deeply concerned that the wall’s route has been traced in such a way as to include the great majority of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Expressing its concern at the failure of the Government of Israel to cooperate fully with the relevant United Nations mechanisms, in particular the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967,

1. Welcomes the conclusions of the Council of the European Union on the Middle East peace process of 8 December 2009, in which the European Union Council of Ministers reiterated that settlements, the separation barrier where built on occupied land, and the demolition of homes and evictions are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-State solution impossible, and particularly its urgent call upon the Government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities, in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, and including natural growth, and to dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001;

2. Welcomes with appreciation the statements made by the majority of the States Members of the United Nations on the illegality of settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and reaffirming the urgent calls by the international community upon the Government of Israel to stop immediately all settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem;

3. Condemns the recent Israeli announcements of the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in the West Bank and around occupied East Jerusalem, as they undermine the peace process, constitute a threat to the two-State solution and the creation of a contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State, and are in violation of international law, and calls upon the Government of Israel to reverse immediately its decisions, which would further undermine and jeopardize the ongoing efforts by the international community to reach a final settlement compliant with international legitimacy, including relevant United Nations resolutions;

4. Expresses its grave concern at:

(a) The continuing Israeli settlement and related activities, in violation of international law, including the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and constitute a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and in particular article 49 of that Convention, and recalls that settlements are a major obstacle to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State;

(b) The increasing number of newly built structures, in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 amounting to several thousands, including a large number of permanent buildings and structures, which undermine the efforts of the international community to advance the Middle East peace process;

(c) The implications for the final status negotiations of Israel’s announcement that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the settlements located in the Jordan Valley;

(d) The expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones on the occupied Palestinian territory rendered inaccessible behind the wall, which create a fait accompli on the ground that could well be permanent, in which case it would be tantamount to de facto annexation;

(e) The operation by Israel of a tramway between West Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev, which is in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions;

5. Urges Israel, the occupying Power:

(a) To reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and, as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities, including in East Jerusalem;

(b) To prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem;

(c) To immediately reverse its decision to unfreeze the planning process on the E-1 plan which, if implemented, would seriously undermine the prospects of a negotiated resolution of the conflict by jeopardizing the prospects of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and of Jerusalem as the future capital of two States, and could also entail the forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population;

6. Calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians and Palestinian properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

7. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice;

8. Urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process in line with the Annapolis Peace Conference and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State, and to implement fully the road map endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 452 (1979) of 20 July 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008, and other relevant United Nations resolutions, the principles of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, the Oslo Accords, the Arab Peace initiative and subsequent agreements, which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security;

9. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution at its twenty-fifth session;

10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


50th meeting
22 March 2013

Adopted by 44 in favour,
1 against and 2 abstentions


22/27. Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the provisions of Articles 1 and 55 thereof, which affirm the right of peoples to self-determination, and reaffirming the need for the scrupulous respect of the principle of refraining in international relations from the threat or use of force, as specified in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,

Guided also by the provisions of article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which affirm that all peoples have the right to self-determination,

Guided further by the International Covenants on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and by the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted on 25 June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights1 and in particular Part I, paragraphs 2 and 3, thereof relating to the right of self-determination of all peoples and especially those subject to foreign occupation,

Recalling General Assembly resolutions 181 A and B (II) of 29 November 1947 and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, as well as all other resolutions that confirm and define the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, particularly their right to self-determination,

Recalling also Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and 1402 (2002) of 30 March 2002,

Recalling further the conclusion of the International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004, that the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, along with measures previously taken, severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,

Recalling the resolutions adopted in this regard by the Commission on Human Rights, the last of which was resolution 2005/1 of 7 April 2005,

Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in accordance with the provisions of the Charter, relevant United Nations resolutions and declarations, and the provisions of international covenants and instruments relating to the right to self-determination as an international principle and as a right of all peoples in the world, as it is a jus cogens in international law and a basic condition for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region of the Middle East,

1. Reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity, and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State;

2. Also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security;

3. Stresses the need for respect for and the preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

4. Urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination;

5. Decides to continue the consideration of this question at its twenty-fifth session.


50th meeting
22 March 2013

Adopted by 46 in favour,
1 against and no abstentions


22/28. Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recalling also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and affirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling further relevant resolutions of the Human Rights Council,

Taking note of the recent reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, as well as of other relevant recent reports of the Human Rights Council,

Aware of the responsibility of the international community to promote human rights and ensure respect for international law,

Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, and recalling also General Assembly resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Noting in particular the Court’s reply, including that the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime are contrary to 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 East Jerusalem,

Reaffirming further the obligation of the States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention under articles 146, 147 and 148 with regard to penal sanctions, grave breaches and responsibilities of the High Contracting Parties,

Reaffirming that all States have the right and the duty to take actions in conformity with international human rights law and international humanitarian law to counter deadly acts of violence against their civilian population in order to protect the lives of their citizens,

Stressing the need for full compliance with the Israeli-Palestinian agreements reached within the context of the Middle East peace process, including the Sharm el-Sheikh understandings, and the implementation of the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,

Stressing also the need to end the closure of the Gaza Strip and for the full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing, both of 15 November 2005, to allow for the freedom of movement of the Palestinian civilian population within and into and out of the Gaza Strip, taking into account Israeli concerns,

Expressing grave concern about the continuing systematic violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, the occupying Power, including that arising from the excessive use of force and military operations causing death and injury to Palestinian civilians, including children, women and non-violent, peaceful demonstrators; the use of collective punishment; the closure of areas; the confiscation of land; the establishment and expansion of settlements; the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949; the destruction of property and infrastructure; and all other actions by it designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Gravely concerned in particular about the critical humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip, including that resulting from the prolonged closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade and the military operations between December 2008 and January 2009, which caused extensive loss of life and injury, particularly among Palestinian civilians, including children and women, widespread destruction and damage to Palestinian homes, properties, vital infrastructure and public institutions, including hospitals, schools and United Nations facilities and the internal displacement of civilians, as well as about the firing of rockets into Israel,

Expressing deep concern about the short- and long-term detrimental impact of such widespread destruction and the continued impeding of the reconstruction process by Israel, the occupying Power, on the human rights situation and on the socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian civilian population,

Expressing deep concern also at the Israeli policy of closures and the imposition of severe restrictions and checkpoints, several of which have been transformed into structures akin to permanent border crossings, and a permit regime, all of which obstruct the freedom of movement of persons and goods, including medical and humanitarian goods, throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and impair the Territory’s contiguity, and at the consequent violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people and the negative impact on their socioeconomic situation and the efforts aimed at rehabilitating and developing the Palestinian economy, which remains that of a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, while taking note of recent developments with regard to the situation of access there,

Expressing deep concern further that thousands of Palestinians, including many children and women and elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, continue to be detained and held in Israeli prisons or detention centres under harsh conditions, including, inter alia, unhygienic conditions, solitary confinement, lack of proper medical care, denial of family visits and denial of due process, that impair their well-being, and expressing deep concern also about the ill-treatment and harassment of any Palestinian prisoners and all reports of torture,

Expressing concern about the possible consequences of the enactment by Israel, the occupying Power, of military orders regarding the detention, imprisonment and deportation of Palestinian civilians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and recalling in this regard the prohibition under international humanitarian law of the deportation of civilians from occupied territories,

Convinced of the need for an international presence to monitor the situation, to contribute to ending the violence and protecting the Palestinian civilian population and to help the parties implement the agreements reached and, in this regard recalling the positive contribution of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron,

Taking note of the continued efforts and tangible progress made in the security sector by the Palestinian Government, calling upon the parties to continue cooperation that benefits both Palestinians and Israelis, in particular by promoting security and building confidence, and expressing the hope that such progress will be extended to all major population centres,

Emphasizing the right of all people in the region to the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in the international human rights covenants,

1. Reiterates that all measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East 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;

2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all practices and actions that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians, the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians and the destruction and confiscation of civilian property, and that it fully respect human rights law and comply with its legal obligations in this regard;

3. Expresses deep concern over the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails and detention centres, demands that Israel, the occupying Power, fully respect and abide by its international law obligations towards all Palestinian prisoners and detainees in its custody, and further expresses its concern about the continued extensive use of administrative detention, calls for a full implementation of the agreement reached in May 2012, for a prompt and independent investigation into all cases of death custody, and also calls upon Israel to release any Palestinian prisoner whose detention is not in accordance with international law;

4. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and cease immediately all measures and actions taken in violation and in breach of the Convention;

5. Also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all of its settlement activities, the construction of the wall and any other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, all of which have, inter alia, a grave and detrimental impact on the human rights of the Palestinian people and the prospects for a peaceful settlement;

6. Condemns all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which have caused extensive loss of life and vast numbers of injuries, including among children, massive damage and destruction to homes, properties, vital infrastructure and public institutions, including hospitals, schools and United Nations facilities, and agricultural lands, mosques and private media institutions, and internal displacement of civilians;

7. Also condemns the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas resulting in loss of life and injury;

8. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations under international law, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice and as demanded in General Assembly resolutions ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003, and that it immediately cease the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, dismantle forthwith the structure situated therein, repeal or render ineffective all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, and make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall, which has had a grave impact on the human rights and the socioeconomic living conditions of the Palestinian people;

9. Reiterates the need for respect for the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and for guarantees of the freedom of movement of persons and goods within the Palestinian territory, including movement into and from East Jerusalem, into and from the Gaza Strip, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and to and from the outside world;

10. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its imposition of prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip, and, in this regard, to fully implement the Agreement on Movement and Access and the Agreed Principles for the Rafah Crossing in order to allow for the sustained and regular movement of persons and goods and for the acceleration of long overdue reconstruction in the Gaza Strip;

11. Urges Member States to continue to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian people to alleviate the financial crisis and the dire socioeconomic and humanitarian situation, particularly in the Gaza Strip;

12. Emphasizes the need to preserve and develop the Palestinian institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services to the Palestinian civilian population and the promotion of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;

13. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fourth session;

14. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


50th meeting
22 March 2013

Adopted by 46 in favour,
1 against and no abstentions


22/29. Follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling relevant Human Rights Council resolutions, including resolution 19/17 of 22 March 2012, in which the Council decided to establish an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Recalling also relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly reaffirming, inter alia, the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem,

Recalling further the relevant rules and principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable de jure to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to which Israel is a party,

Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the other international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

Reaffirming that all States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Charter of the United Nations and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,

Considering that the transfer by the occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,

Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and its conclusion that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, were established in breach of international law,

Affirming that the Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law and constitute very serious violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein, and undermine international efforts aimed at invigorating the peace process and realizing the two-State solution,

1. Welcomes the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian People throughout the occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem,2 and requests that all parties concerned, including United Nations bodies, implement and ensure the implementation of the recommendations contained therein in accordance with their respective mandates;

2. Calls upon the relevant United Nations bodies to take all necessary measures and actions within their mandates to ensure full respect for and compliance with Human Rights Council resolution 17/4 on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other relevant international laws and standards, and to ensure the implementation of the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, which provides a global standard for upholding human rights in relation to business activities that are connected with Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;

3. Requests the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, including in consultation with relevant special procedures mandate holders, to fulfil its mandate accordingly;

4. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report detailing the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian People throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem, to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-fifth session;

5. Decides to remain seized of the matter.


50th meeting
22 March 2013

Adopted by 45 in favour,
1 against and no abstentions

VII. SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES RESTORATION
OF RELATIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL AND TURKEY

On 22 March 2013, the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the restoration of relations between Israel and Turkey. The following is the text of the statement (SG/SM/14900):

The Secretary-General welcomes that the Governments of Israel and Turkey have agreed to restore normal relations between them, and appreciates the role of United States President [Barack] Obama in reaching this positive outcome. Assisting Israel and Turkey in restoring their good relations had been a core objective of the Secretary-General’s efforts in the aftermath of the May 2010 flotilla incident.. Today’s announcement is an important and hopeful signal for the stability of the region.


VIII. SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

On 25 March 2013, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The following are excerpts from the briefing (S/PV.6940):

Mr. Serry: As the peoples of the Middle East face a period of extraordinary challenges and turmoil, establishing the groundwork necessary for a credible Israeli-Palestinian peace process remains a core priority for the United Nations. President Obama’s visit to the region last week marked an important opportunity to reinvigorate efforts towards a two-State solution. President Obama met with leaders on both sides. He also visited His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan, who has been central to recent dialogue initiatives. In a direct follow-up to the visit, the United States Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry met with President Abbas in Amman and returned to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The United Nations welcomes the continued commitment of the United States to the peace process, and we appreciate President Obama’s strong reaffirmation of a two-State solution as necessary, just and possible in his speech of 21 March, in which he called for an independent and viable Palestine while emphasizing Israelis’ right to insist on safeguarding their security. The United States President also recalled that he had previously proposed principles on the issues of territory and security that he believes can be the basis for talks, and called on Arab States to take steps towards normalized relations with Israel. On 22 March, regarding an important related development and a hopeful signal for the stability of the region, the Secretary-General welcomed the news that the Governments of Israel and Turkey had agreed to restore normal relations between each other and expressed his appreciation for President Obama’s role in reaching that positive outcome.

On 18 March, a new Israeli Government was confirmed by the Knesset. In his congratulatory letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Secretary-General stated that he counted on the Prime Minister’s commitment to the two-State solution, and he expressed the view that it will be critical this year to achieve substantial results that would strengthen Israel’s security, as well as its regional and international standing, and fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians to a sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian State.

Efforts currently under way offer the chance for a new beginning and a renewed push for serious political progress. Therein lies opportunity, but we worry that it will not last if the volatile situation on the ground is not urgently addressed at the same time. Both parties should undertake constructive steps and work to reverse negative trends. In that context, we note that there were no new settlement announcements during the reporting period, and that three structures in settlement outposts were demolished on 18 March. The period also registered fewer incursions by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, including in Area A, as well as a decrease in demolitions of Palestinian structures.

The United Nations position is clear and firm on all the aforementioned issues. It is now our hope that those initial signals that the negative measures on the ground are being reversed will take hold and create a conducive environment for a meaningful political process to take shape.

Overall, it must be said that the levels of violence remained high. Several clashes took place during protests, including in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, which caused the death of one Palestinian. The use of rubber-coated bullets by Israeli security forces continues to result in a high number of Palestinian injuries, including those of a 23-year-old man who recently died from wounds suffered when hit on his head by a rubber-coated bullet on 22 February. A third Palestinian died on 15 March after an Israel security forces gas canister had earlier entered his taxi in East Jerusalem. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also injured.

Tensions also extended to Jerusalem, with multiple clashes taking place at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound, including on 3 and 6 March, and again on 8 March when dozens of Israeli police officers entered the compound and fired stun grenades at Palestinians throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. The Secretary-General stresses the importance for protests to remain strictly non-violent and for the right to peaceful protest to be fully respected.

Settler violence against Palestinians continued, injuring six. On 12 March, a Palestinian man died of his injuries after he had been run over by a settler vehicle near Salfit on 9 March. Settler attacks on Palestinian orchards resulted in damage to over 590 trees, while stone throwing at Palestinian vehicles in the West Bank resulted in material damage. Israeli security forces arrested a total of nine settlers suspected of assaulting Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israeli security sources have also reported an increase in stone throwing, including against settlers that injured a total of 10 during the reporting period. Palestinian attacks on settlers included a suspected shooting on 18 March that resulted in injuries to one settler. A suspect in that shooting was arrested by Palestinian security forces on 20 March. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown at Israeli vehicles in the West Bank reportedly resulted in a road accident on 14 March that injured six settlers, including a three-year-old, critically. Similar attacks on 6, 11 and 15 March resulted in slight injuries to six Israelis.

We remain concerned about the situation of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody, which we understand was the subject of discussion during this week’s high-level meetings. One long-term hunger striker agreed to stop his strike in exchange for being released and deported to Gaza by Israeli authorities on 17 March. Five other prisoners remain on hunger strike, one of whom is reportedly in grave, life-threatening condition. Activities in their support continued in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including a demonstration in front of United Nations offices in Ramallah on 16 March, during which a letter was delivered by the families of prisoners and transmitted to the Secretary-General. The United Nations reiterates that those held in administrative detention without charge should be charged and face trial with judicial guarantees, in accordance with international standards, or be promptly released. We also recall the importance of full adherence by all sides to the 14 May 2012 agreement.

Palestinian security forces have continued working to maintain law and order in the West Bank, in coordination with Israeli security forces and supported by training and equipment from international partners.

With regard to other developments during the reporting period, as the Council is aware, the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly his report on the status of Palestine (A/67/738), which reviewed progress made in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012.

In Gaza, the reporting period saw a serious setback in the implementation of the ceasefire brokered on 21 November. On 21 March, rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel for the second time since the ceasefire. In reaction, Israel rescinded the extension of the fishing limit, bringing it back to three nautical miles, and restricted travel by Palestinians into and out of Gaza. It also closed the Kerem Shalom crossing, bringing the movement of goods to and from Gaza to a halt for the second time after the closure from 27 February to 3 March, following the previous rocket fired.

The United Nations condemned the firing, in line with our consistent position that rocket fire into civilian areas is completely unacceptable. We also urged Israel’s continued restraint. It must be very clear to the parties to the understanding reached on 21 November that full adherence to its terms is required by all if work is to continue to solidify the calm, prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza, advance the lifting of the closure and have a chance to fully implement resolution 1860 (2009). The United Nations will continue to support Egypt’s important efforts to restore and solidify the calm.

Israeli forces conducted five incursions into Gaza, and a total of six Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli fire, mostly while attempting to approach the border fence.

There was no progress on Palestinian reconciliation efforts during the reporting period and no meetings between the sides. The Palestinian Central Elections Commission has announced that the updated voter register, including electors from Gaza, will be available on 10 April in spite of Israeli authorities not having authorized the transfer of registration forms from Gaza to Ramallah.


IX. SECRETARY-GENERAL ISSUES MESSAGE TO LEAGUE OF ARAB STATES SUMMIT
ON MIDDLE EAST SITUATION HELD IN DOHA

On 26 March 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a message to the League of Arab States Summit in Doha. The text of the message is reproduced below (SG/SM/14909):

I am pleased to convey my greetings to all participants in the twenty-fourth Regular Session of the League of Arab States Summit. I thank Qatar for hosting this important event.

During last year’s Summit in Baghdad, I appealed to world leaders to “listen to the people”. The people of Syria stood up in peaceful and popular protests two years ago to appeal for their universal rights and freedoms. This call was answered with brutal force by the Syrian authorities. Today the world is watching the consequences with horror.

Indiscriminate air, missile, artillery and bomb attacks against civilian areas continue. Radical elements are taking hold. Those responsible for serious abuses must face justice. The spillover effects of the conflict are evident in Syria’s neighbouring countries.

We must inject urgency towards reaching a political solution while there is still time to prevent Syria’s destruction. The goal is difficult, but clear: an end to violence; a clean break with the past; and a transition to a new Syria in which the rights of all communities are protected and the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians for freedom, dignity and justice are met. In the face of sceptics and those who favour other solutions, United Nations-League of Arab States Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi continues efforts to help the Syrian people resolve the conflict through peaceful and political means.

I urge the members of the Arab League to consider the consequences of the prolonged conflict in Syria and the deeply disastrous effect this is having on the lives of the Syrian people, the cohesiveness of the country and the stability of the wider region. In the name of peace, I urge you to reflect long on the actions taken today and their consequences.

Syria is facing a humanitarian crisis, with over 3 million people displaced from their homes. The United Nations is doing its utmost to deliver aid to the Syrians in need. We will continue to do so. It is crucial that the pledges made during the Kuwait Conference on 30 January are honoured.

In Yemen the path of peaceful dialogue has been chosen. The National Dialogue Conference is the most inclusive and participatory process in the history of the country. I hope that all Yemenis will seize this opportunity to build trust, ensure justice, promote human rights and contribute to the country’s security, development and prosperity. The United Nations remains fully engaged with all sides to keep Yemen’s transition on track.

We are entering a critical period with regard to the Palestinian question. If we are to salvage the two-State solution and realize Palestinian aspirations to live in freedom and dignity in an independent State of their own, side-by-side with Israel in peace and security, all of us must act decisively and with concerted purpose. Last November, the United Nations General Assembly voted to accord Palestine the status of non-Member observer State. That was a strong reaffirmation of this goal. The Arab Peace Initiative remains an important framework for any future peace.

I must note that the viability of the two-State solution is increasingly at stake in a context of accelerated illegal Israeli settlement construction and deep financial crisis on the Palestinian side. The immediate priority is to de-escalate tensions and stabilize the situation of the Palestinian Authority. Your generous political and financial support, including to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is critical.

In Somalia, the recent progress we are witnessing is truly remarkable. Security Council resolution 2093 (2013) is a recognition of the political progress made following the end of the transition last August. It is a call to action on the defined peacebuilding and State-building goals. The League of Arab States has a unique role to play.

Sudan and South Sudan have also made steady, though slow, progress towards the resolution of their post-secession issues. It is necessary for the two parties to implement the series of agreements they have signed recently.

Regarding Darfur, the United Nations remains committed to supporting the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur. I acknowledge the vital role played by Qatar in supporting the achievement of a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement for Darfur and the requisite financing for its implementation.

The Arab League is undertaking significant reforms to meet the many new challenges. I wish you all the best in this important effort. A more effective and efficient Arab League will continue to be a reliable partner of the United Nations. The United Nations Secretariat has answered the League of Arab States call for strengthening our partnership and cooperation mechanisms. We stand ready to work closely with the League and its members on all fronts in the years to come.

I wish this important meeting all success.


X. UNRWA COMMISSIONER-GENERAL PAYS SUPPORTING VISIT
TO REFUGEES OF WEST BANK AREA C

On 28 March 2013, the Office of the UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi issued a press release on the Commissioner’s visit with Palestine refugees, predominantly Bedouin communities, around Jerusalem and Jericho. Excerpts of the press release are reproduced below:

The communities visited by the Commissioner-General are all located in Area C, which comprises 60 per cent of the West Bank and is under full Israeli military and administrative control. Demolitions, evictions and property confiscation have displaced members of the Bedouin traditionally pastoralist population since 1967, while subjecting others to the threat of displacement.

Accompanied by UNRWA’s Director of Operations in the West Bank, Felipe Sanchez, Filippo Grandi’s first stop was Wadi Abu Hindi, a Bedouin community of 400 people.

The Commissioner-General also visited the Palestine refugee communities of Ein ad Dyuk al Fauqa Bedouin and Nuwei’ma al Fauqa Bedouin, one of the proposed locations for the potential transfer plan. These communities originally come from Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea before being displaced first in 1948, and subsequently in the 1970s. “Since then, our situation has deteriorated,” said Abu Ismail, the head of the community. “The land offered for grazing is not enough for us to maintain our livelihoods”, he stated.

Commenting on his tour, Filippo Grandi said that “the question of Palestine refugees remains one of the unresolved issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and my visit proved again that it is not an abstract, political problem, but a situation with very concrete consequences on real people’s lives. Day in, day out, insecurity and uncertainty pervade the communities I saw during this visit. Like so many other Palestine refugees being constantly caught in conflict and faced with new hardship, the Bedouin in this area are doing all they can to protect their community and avoid further injustice being perpetrated. UNRWA is committed to continuously providing support to these communities in need”.

Endnotes
1A/CONF.157/23
2A/HRC/22/63


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