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        General Assembly
21 October 1977

Original: English


1. Since the preparation of the Secretary-General's report (A/32/264), the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been informed that the UNRWA Field Office Director in the Strip has been advised in writing by the Israeli occupying authorities that the refugee families still on the hardship list (ibid., para. 8) will be offered housing free of charge in a new housing project set up by the Israeli authorities in Khan Yunis and that the various rations previously offered to those families (ibid., para. 7 are cancelled.

2. Following further discussion between the Field Office Director and the Israeli occupying authorities concerning those refugees formerly on the hardship list who had accepted the earlier offer of the Israeli authorities and purchased subsidized housing, the Director has informed the Israeli authorities in writing of his understanding that each case will be considered on its own merits if applications are now made by such refugees for free housing in the project in Khan Yunis. The Director is now attempting to determine precisely which refugee families are covered by the present offer of the Israeli authorities and has raised the matter of the applicability of the offer to other refugee families, but the information already available indicates a positive development in this matter.

3. With regard to the cancellation of the options referred to in paragraph 1 above, the Commissioner-General raised this matter with the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations and was informed by the Mission on 18 October 1977 that:

"... the special housing schemes for refugees in the Gaza Strip inaugurated by the Israeli authorities remain open to all refugees, including those families in need of rehousing mentioned in paragraph 7 of the Secretary-General's report (A/32/264) of 6 October 1977. All that has been cancelled are the three options involving special financial facilities, mentioned in that paragraph, which were specific to the families concerned and are no longer relevant since they are now being offered alternative dwellings, free of charge. However, as indicated above, if any of these families should wish to purchase a house or a building plot in any existing housing scheme, they can do so on the same terms as all other refugees, terms which in themselves are very favourable and subsidized by the Israeli authorities."

4. With reference to the term "the Government's standard design" used in paragraph 14 (a) of the Secretary-General's report, the Mission also submitted the following information to the Commissioner-General on 18 October:

"This description does not reflect the reality of the situation because there are, in fact, seven such 'standard designs'—and not just one—for spacious, comfortable homes with all modern facilities. These designs, necessary for urban planning and zoning considerations, are put at the disposal of the refugees free of charge, and they are entitled to choose between them in accordance with their needs and financial possibilities. Moreover, the occupants are free to divide the internal part of their homes, and to decorate the external part as they wish. These details are important because they give expression to the freedom enjoyed by the home owners, which we consider significant."


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