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Rencontre Internationale des Nations Unies en faveur du processus de paix israelo-palestinien, Debat public en faveur du peuple palestinien (Istanbul, 25-27 mai 2010) - Compte-rendu - Publication DPR Français
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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
25 May 2010


Ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State

Istanbul, Turkey
25-26 May 2010


Jerusalem – The key to Israeli-Palestinian peace

Istanbul, Turkey
27 May 2010


Opening session (International Meeting)
Plenary sessions (International Meeting)
1 - 7
8 - 28
29 - 73
Plenary I
Plenary II
Plenary III
29 - 44
45 - 60
61 - 73
Closing session (International Meeting)
Opening remarks (Public Forum)
Panel discussions (Public Forum)
Closing remarks (Public forum)
74 - 80
81 - 85
86 - 95
Concluding remarks by the organizers (International Meeting)
List of participants (International Meeting)

I. Introduction

1. The United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process was held at the Sheraton Hotel Istanbul Ataköy, in Istanbul, Turkey, on 25 and 26 May 2010. It was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolutions 64/16 and 64/17. The theme of the Meeting was “Ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State”.

2. The United Nations Public Forum in Support of the Palestinian People was held on 27 May 2010 at the Istanbul Kültür University, in cooperation with the University’s Global Political Trends Center. The theme was “Jerusalem – The key to Israeli-Palestinian peace”.

3. The Committee was represented at both events by a delegation comprising Zahir Tanin (Afghanistan), Head of the Committee Delegation and Vice-Chairman of the Committee; Pedro Núñez Mosquera (Cuba), Vice-Chairman of the Committee; Saviour F. Borg (Malta), Rapporteur of the Committee; María Rubiales de Chamorro (Nicaragua); and Riyad Mansour (Palestine).

4. The Meeting consisted of an opening session, three plenary sessions and a closing session. The themes of the plenary sessions were: “The state of the political process and prospects for peace”; “The Palestinian Authority programme of ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State”; and “Breaking the deadlock: Creating a political climate conducive to the advancement of the peace process”.

5. Presentations at the Meeting were made by 14 experts, including Palestinian and Israeli. Representatives of 35 Governments, Palestine, the Holy See, 3 intergovernmental organizations, 3 United Nations bodies, 17 civil society organizations and 21 media outlets, as well as special guests and members of the public, were in attendance.

6. Concluding remarks by the Organizers were presented at the closing session of the Meeting (see annex I to the present report).

7. The Public Forum consisted of opening remarks, three interactive panel discussions and closing remarks. The themes of the panel discussions were: “The situation in Jerusalem”; “Approaches to promoting a just and lasting solution to the question of Jerusalem”; and “The role of non-State actors (civil society) in promoting peace in Jerusalem”. The Public Forum featured presentations by six experts.

II. Opening session (International Meeting)

8. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, welcomed participants to Istanbul and hailed the work of the Committee, which he called a key United Nations body that worked tirelessly. He said his region was passing through yet another critical period, adding that the confluence of regional and global dynamics required maximum vigilance and concerted actions by countries in the region and in the wider international community to avert new crises and to de-escalate tensions. The complex question of Palestine had four main dimensions, humanitarian, national, regional and global, which must be approached in a comprehensive manner. All peoples had inalienable rights and there should be no difference between nations and cultures in that regard. The most important of those rights were security and freedom throughout history most wars had been fought to secure those two rights. As for the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, security and freedom were under threat and the entire international community should be concerned.

9. He stated that children in Gaza and Ramallah did not have the same rights, hopes and prospects for the future as children living in other lands. For its part, Turkey, in line with its history, would continue to press for the human rights of those being oppressed, wherever they were and wherever they came from. Palestinians must have the same rights as everyone else and Palestinian children must have the same opportunities to build solid futures as other children. In that regard, it was vital to help bolster Palestinian institutions. At the same time, Palestinians themselves must come together and work towards strengthened institutions and governance structures. All support must be afforded to such institutions so that the two-State solution created a real and viable Palestinian State, not a “secondary State”. As work towards that end proceeded, it would be necessary to set a timetable for full realization of the process so that it did not become a repetitive cycle of meetings and unrealized agreements.

10. He said his region was very complex and home to many religions, cultures and peoples. Yet, at the core of many of the problems was the Palestinian question, which caused much psychological frustration. The region needed peace, stability and prosperity, but in order to have that, a peaceful and stable Palestine was necessary. In addition, for many people, whether they were Muslim, Jewish or Christian, Jerusalem had a symbolic meaning; for some, it was the most important city on Earth. Yet, as things stood today, Jerusalem could become a symbol of protracted conflict instead of peace.

11. A statement was delivered on behalf of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, by his representative at the Meeting, Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. According to the statement, the Secretary-General was pleased that after a period of prolonged delays and setbacks, the proximity talks were finally under way. He commended the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, on that step and urged them to engage on the core issues in earnest, with a view to moving to direct negotiations as soon as possible. He also appreciated the role being played by the United States of America and pledged his full support to that effort.

12. He said that, as the talks proceeded, it would be necessary to cooperate with the parties in order to ensure that further steps were taken to build mutual trust and more positive conditions on the ground. In addition, the parties must avoid provocations or breaches of the Quartet-backed Road Map or of international law, which would only create new crises of confidence. For its part, Israel needed to exercise particular restraint in East Jerusalem, where demolitions, evictions and settlement expansion should be halted. Jerusalem remained a permanent status issue, vital to both parties, and a way should be found for the city to emerge from negotiations as the capital of both Israel and Palestine, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all. The Palestinian Authority must, for its part, continue its positive efforts in fulfilling its obligations under the Road Map to build institutions and promote security in the context of its widely supported State-building programme. In Gaza, all actors should support measures to promote calm, end the closure, prevent illicit weapons smuggling and achieve Palestinian unity within the framework of the legitimate Palestinian Authority and the commitments of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

13. He was particularly concerned that the current closure created unacceptable suffering, hurt the forces of moderation and empowered extremists, and he called for the closure policy to end. The modest progress that had been achieved with the Israeli Government in facilitating a number of priority United Nations projects and widening the list of commercial goods allowed into Gaza was welcome, but much more needed to be done, and he would continue to press hard for that objective. On another note, Israeli-Palestinian peace would be boosted by a favourable regional environment, including a comprehensive approach to peace, including support from all regional parties for talks between the two sides, a resumed political track between Israel and Syria, and full realization of the Arab Peace Initiative. For its part, the United Nations remained committed to the end of the 1967 occupation, the creation of an independent Palestinian State and a just, lasting and comprehensive regional peace, in accordance with Security Council resolutions, previous agreements and international law.

14. Zahir Tanin, Head of the Committee Delegation and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, delivered an opening statement on behalf of the Committee. He said that holding the Meeting in Istanbul was very important, given Turkey’s foreign policy dynamism and its leadership role in the region. Turkey had contributed to the quest for a peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict for many decades; for example, it was one of the founding members of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, established in the wake of the 1948 war. With the twentieth anniversary of the Madrid peace conference coming up next year, all stakeholders needed to take a hard look at what had gone right and, more importantly, what had gone wrong in the two decades since that landmark meeting had ushered in the peace process. The sovereign State of Palestine, free from occupation, was still just a vision, and the sense of frustration was palpable among Palestinians and throughout the region, both with the “open-ended Israeli occupation” and with the on-again-off-again nature of the peace process. Indeed, Palestinians’ patience with the peace process, and with the two-State solution in general, was wearing thin.

15. He said that, by many significant measures, the Palestinian people were worse off today than they were 20 years ago. One of the obvious casualties was the Palestinians’ freedom of movement: two thirds of Gazans under 30 had never set foot outside the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the unacceptable blockade of Gaza meant that the local population had been forced to build houses out of mud to replace those that had been destroyed during “Operation Cast Lead”. The situation in the West Bank was not much better, with the separation wall and settler-only roads criss-crossing land that was also dotted with Israeli checkpoints. The end result was geographical discontinuity, which was discouraging investment and choking off meaningful economic activity, leaving the Palestinians almost entirely dependent on foreign aid. The United States-mediated proximity talks offered a bit of hope, but the initial signs were far from encouraging, as on the ground massive settlement projects were awaiting the end of the 10-month settlement freeze. Meanwhile, the demolition of Palestinian homes continued unabated, top Israeli officials were signalling an intention to continue to depopulate East Jerusalem of its indigenous Palestinians, and new Israeli military orders were threatening thousands of West Bank Palestinians with deportation.

16. He noted that the Committee had championed the comprehensive blueprint for a Palestinian State to be established within two years, which had been unveiled by the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, in August 2009. The plan aimed to end the occupation by creating positive facts on the ground, and such a bold initiative demanded an equally bold response by the international community. At the time of the plan’s expected conclusion in August 2011, it would be time for countries supporting the Palestinian right to self-determination “to stand up and be counted” and recognize Palestine as a responsible member of the international community. Turkey had been one of the first countries to recognize Palestine, and other countries represented at the Meeting needed to do the same. At the end of the two-year process, the Security Council should adopt a resolution determining the borders of the Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 lines. By backing the plan, the Council would create the necessary political framework for ending the occupation and implementing the two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

17. Nemer Hammad, Special Political Adviser to the President of the Palestinian Authority, speaking as the representative of Palestine, noted that the start of the current proximity talks meant that there should be a new situation on the ground and that all provocative acts on both sides should stop. The proximity talks would provide the opportunity, within the agreed four-month time frame, to pave the way for direct talks, which would in turn lead to a comprehensive settlement and creation of a Palestinian State within two years. Nevertheless, from the Palestinians’ viewpoint, nothing had changed. They continued to hear daily provocative statements from the Israeli Government, especially regarding occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli officials had begun to use religion and a fabricated reality to continue their policy of “ethnic cleansing”. Palestinian homes were being demolished, high taxes were being levied and a racist military policy had been put in place that allowed people, whether Palestinian or not, to be evicted at the whim of any Israeli military officer. As for the West Bank, illegal settlement activity was continuing there. Peace activists who demonstrated in response were routinely subjected to vicious repression. Israel continued its blockade against Gaza and responded by force to all humanitarian initiatives.

18. He said that the commitment of President Abbas and the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to attaining peace with Israel through negotiations were genuine and unwavering. All efforts to that end were based on the principle of land for peace, on ending the occupation and on building a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel. Stressing that the Palestinian State would be a peaceful one, he added that the Palestinian Authority would accept any international presence on its territory but not one Israeli soldier. Returning to the proximity talks, he said the initial focus would be on borders and security. Other issues, including Jerusalem, would be taken up in turn.

19. Israel had always said that Palestinians spoke many languages and had many positions, but in this case all Palestinians were speaking with one voice. Indeed, on this matter, it was Israel that seemed to have many positions. Sometimes its officials expressed a desire for a
two-State solution; at others times, they intimated that the only solution was the expulsion of all Palestinian people from their own lands. Negotiations needed to begin in earnest and on an equal footing, and the international community needed to help the process continue quickly but fairly and without provocations. If religion were allowed to interfere, it would undoubtedly lead to dire global consequences.

20. Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, then took the floor again, after a short press conference, to deliver the keynote address, entitled “The path to a Palestinian State”. He said he realized that path had been long, winding, painful and, at least thus far, elusive. While polls continued to show that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians continued to support the two-State solution, they knew that time was not on the side of peace, and that the longer the wound of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained unhealed, the harder it would be to find a permanent cure. Moreover, as the only envoy of the Quartet based permanently in Jerusalem, he was acutely aware that Israelis and Palestinians actually had increasing doubts that the two-State solution was achievable. Many Palestinians doubted that Israel had the will or capability to roll back the settlement enterprise, end the occupation that began in 1967 and share Jerusalem. Many Israelis, for their part, doubted that the Palestinians had the will or capability to confer the kind of recognition that Israel sought, to ensure a continuing commitment to peace and security and to put a permanent end to the conflict.

21. While many had come to doubt the feasibility of a two-State solution and the challenges had become enormous, there was no alternative, at least for the foreseeable future. For Palestinians, it was the only political way forward to genuine self-determination and freedom and the only framework to bring about the unity of the West Bank and Gaza, a resolution of the refugee issue and an end to the daily restrictions of occupation. For Israel, the two-State solution would allow it to keep its democratic character and its identity as a homeland for the Jewish people while gaining security and legitimacy in the region. To overcome a situation that was neither acceptable nor sustainable in the long run and to build the only future that could work, he proposed the pursuit and promotion of five vital aims: real negotiations; responsible actions on the ground; relentless Palestinian State-building; effective crisis prevention and intervention in Gaza; and a comprehensive regional approach. On negotiations, he was pleased that after many setbacks and delays, proximity talks between the two sides were now under way. In that regard, both the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, had shown a lot of courage, braving much criticism from their respective constituencies.

22. On the need for responsible actions on the ground, it was clear that gaps in confidence remained and that, at this fragile stage, it was important for both parties to adhere to previous agreements and obligations, especially the Road Map, in order to promote an environment conducive to successful negotiations. In the West Bank, Palestinians should continue and intensify their security efforts, and Israelis must freeze settlement construction. Meanwhile, he was extremely concerned by the recent rise in violence from extremist settlers. While he had been encouraged by Israel’s condemnation of such acts, sustained steps were required. Palestinians and Israelis both needed to act against extremists on their own side who sought violence.

23. On the need for the relentless pursuit of Palestinian statehood, the world had in recent years witnessed a near transformation of the situation within Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank, where, despite the occupation, the Palestinian Authority had delivered security and services, built new confidence in its finances and commitment to reform and helped the economy to grow. Those achievements, due largely to the commendable efforts of the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Prime, Salam Fayyad, had built new confidence among Palestinians and their international partners and in Israel that there was a genuine and able Palestinian partner for peace. The goal was to be institutionally ready for statehood by the second half of 2011, and in that aim, the Prime Minister had the full support of the United Nations. As for Gaza, a fundamental easing of closures and an end to the blockade were needed. The only people who thrived now in Gaza were the smugglers and militants who controlled the illegal tunnel trade under the border with Egypt. Those being disempowered were those that promoted moderation and legitimate commercial activity. And whatever the concerns Israel had about Hamas, it was not acceptable to impose a closure on an entire population for years on end.

24. One piece of good news was that, in March, the Israeli Government had agreed with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to facilitate the implementation of a number of priority reconstruction projects in Gaza. Trucks had recently been allowed into Gaza to complete a small water treatment project and to work on 151 housing units for completion by September. In addition, wood, glass and aluminium were being allowed into the market. However, that was nowhere near enough, and the United Nations, with the Palestinian Authority, was seeking larger and more strategic interventions to address needs in Gaza. Major water and sanitation interventions could not wait, as the main aquifer under Gaza was collapsing and expected to be unusable within two years. Furthermore, 100 schools needed to be built over the medium term and 15 right away, vital health sector needs had to be addressed, and a significant increase was needed in the range and quantity of commercial traffic into and through Gaza.

25. Fatah and Hamas needed to complete an agreement on Palestinian unity based on the principles of the PLO, as proposed by Egypt. A united Palestinian Authority must be in a position to support a negotiated two-State solution. Continued division only played into the hands of those opposed to the creation of the Palestinian State. Hamas needed to take steps on its own if it wanted to become part of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As for creating a conducive regional environment, everyone needed to play their part in ensuring that regional dynamics helped the Palestinians unite on sensible terms and build State institutions, and helped Israelis and Palestinians negotiate on all core issues. The search for Arab-Israeli peace must be inclusive and comprehensive, and the Syrian and Lebanese tracks, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative, must be integrated into the overall effort. He said that, after many setbacks and delays, we were now entering into what may be the last opportunity to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on a two-State solution. He added that, while the path to a Palestinian State would be fraught with challenges, it was still achievable. He said that nobody could afford to waste time in the 24 months ahead and that it was too late for yet another incremental approach to peace. The consequence of failure was only likely to increase the risk of the region sliding backwards into conflict.

26. A representative of both the Non-Aligned Movement and Egypt then took the floor to reiterate the Movement’s call on Israel to end its unjust blockade of Gaza and to abide by international humanitarian law. He also highlighted the Movement’s call on the international community to press for an end to the mounting Israeli provocations in the West Bank, including in and around East Jerusalem. As for Gaza, which was an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he reiterated the Movement’s call on Israel to open crossing points and allow access. Finally, he highlighted key issues that the Movement believed were preconditions for negotiations, such as an end to settlement activity, support for Palestinian institutions and full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative. Speaking in his national capacity, he highlighted the ongoing efforts by Egypt to achieve peace and remedying the unjust situation in Gaza through its hard work to ensure that suffering Gazans received the food and other humanitarian goods they needed.

27. A representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) said the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was becoming increasingly difficult due to Israel’s continuing grave violations of international law. Citing the “inhumane” blockade on Gaza and Israel’s systematic adoption of political, demographic and economic measures aimed at altering the identity of East Jerusalem, he also noted the overwhelming international support for Palestinians to establish an independent, contiguous and viable State with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the 1967 borders and with a just solution for refugees. The OIC, which had endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative and had always supported resolving the Middle East conflict through negotiations, believed that the ongoing Israeli violations made it difficult to conduct successful talks. The international community therefore had a duty to compel Israel to stop its violations and in particular to desist from building or expanding settlements. Noting that the Palestinian leadership had extended its hand for peace by agreeing to start proximity talks, he said international support should be extended to Palestinian State-building efforts. The OIC stood behind such efforts.

28. A representative of the League of Arab States said that, despite wide condemnation, Israel was continuing its “racist” actions. The Arab League had rejected what Israel called “a provisional Palestinian State” and had continued to press for full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative, the freezing of settlement activity and the resumption of negotiations from the point at which they had been called off. The League had also been exerting significant pressure to get the current proximity talks off the ground and had stressed that even though Israel did not appear sincere, those negotiations should proceed for four months under the mediation of the United States. Israel’s disdain for the international community and for international humanitarian law had gone too far, and civil society organizations and other groups must mobilize to end human rights violations against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel was also “feverishly” working to change the demographic and historic character of Jerusalem. As a consequence, the global community and the United Nations must press Israel to carry out its obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions and international law.

III. Plenary sessions (International Meeting)

Plenary I
The state of the political process and prospects for peace

29. The speakers in Plenary I addressed the following sub-themes: “Negotiating Israeli-Palestinian peace: Lessons learned from previous negotiations and other conflict situations”; “Resetting the political dialogue: Third-party mediation and other initiatives”; and “The question of Jerusalem – A key to Israeli-Palestinian peace”.

30. Nemer Hammad, Special Political Adviser to the President of the Palestinian Authority, speaking in his capacity as an invited expert, reiterated that the United States-mediated proximity talks were supposed to lead to a sense of trust and conviction among the Palestinian people, Arab States and the wider international community. Nevertheless, Israel’s policies continued as before. As for the Palestinian people, the real question was when a viable State would be achieved. For decades, Israel’s position had been favoured and the country had been protected by a powerful, veto-wielding member of the Security Council. Although that had begun to change after the Madrid conference, Israel continued to create facts on the ground and take a “do whatever we say” stance.
31. The Palestinian people were well aware that the original United Nations resolution that had created Israel had called for two States. However, it was the Palestinian people who were today dispossessed, living under occupation and forced to recognize Israel as a State. With all this in mind, the Palestinians had accepted the arrangements set out for the current proximity talks, including key discussions on borders and security matters. Any changes should not bifurcate Palestinian lands, which must be viable and contiguous. He added that, although the United States had said that neither side should carry out any provocative acts, Israel was deporting Palestinians at will.

32. He said the international community must exercise its role as mediator and arbitrator and monitor any agreement reached. For their part, Palestinian officials would continue to stand by their decision to follow through with the four-month talks. While he did not hold out much hope that Israel would do likewise, he did hope that the international community would press Israel to stand by its obligations. He added that he was very concerned by the rise of religious extremism in Israel, and he hoped that more moderate and liberal voices would carry the day in that country, as they had in the United States and Europe.

33. Richard W. Murphy, Adjunct Scholar, Middle East Institute, said the passage of time had complicated the efforts of those trying to advance a peaceful settlement, with Palestinians and Israelis alike having lost faith in the process. For Israelis, the Palestinian call for the right of return had always been heard as a coded signal for the destruction of Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinians saw tightening controls over who had the right to live in Jerusalem and the West Bank as proof of a plan to block their aspirations for a sovereign State and, ultimately, to achieve their mass expulsion. In a word, today’s atmosphere for would-be negotiators was “poisonous”. He noted that, according to the narrative of Israel, its withdrawal from Gaza had been rewarded by rockets. Meanwhile, Palestinians felt that the withdrawal had only brought increased Israeli controls over Gaza and that the closure was an effort to divide and conquer the Palestinians. Palestinians saw Israel’s unilateral withdrawal as a deceitful move designed to cultivate good will abroad, but which actually left Gazans worse off than before. Gazans argued that Israel’s closure of Gaza’s borders was an act of war that justified a Palestinian response.

34. The recently announced proximity talks were “scarcely a dramatic achievement”, since there had been 16 years of direct talks before their collapse in the wake of Operation Cast Lead. In addition, neither party felt sufficiently pressured, by either exhaustion or a sense of urgency, to reach a settlement. Israelis were economically prosperous, well armed and relished the protection of the West Bank wall. For them, the status quo, if not ideal, was relatively comfortable.

35. There were several general principles which Palestinians, Israelis and external mediators should keep in mind. First, the Palestinian and Israeli people must ultimately want to reach an agreement. Peace could not be imposed. In addition, precise agreements were better than framework accords involving broad and vague principles. Also, there must be agreement on implementation and monitoring mechanisms and on holding the parties accountable for violating undertakings. Passive resistance might be a good course for the Palestinians to follow. In that regard, it was worth noting the protest by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which described the call from Ramallah for a boycott of goods produced in the settlements as “incitement and an effort to de-legitimize the State itself”. This reaction had bemused foreign observers and suggested that even a minor Palestinian boycott action such as this, along with other forms of passive resistance, might have a positive influence on Israeli policy.

36. Michele Dunne, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and editor of the Arab Reform Bulletin, said that, barring a major disruptive event such as a violent attack causing major civilian casualties or an internal political crisis, the current proximity talks might continue for the next four months, with an actual agenda possibly becoming clearer at some point, but with probably no major breakthrough in that time. That would take us into September, by which time the 10-month Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlement building and the Arab League’s pledged support for the talks would expire. September also coincided with the start of the United Nations General Assembly, making that that month an important moment to reassess how far the United States had advanced with its efforts.

37. If, by that point, there had not been enough progress to merit moving to direct talks, it was not yet clear what United States President Barack Obama would do. Some had called for him to unveil a plan or statement of some kind that would present how the United States envisioned a potential final status solution. However, it seemed unlikely that he would do that on the run-up to Congressional elections, which would take place in early November. An Obama Middle East peace plan would undoubtedly provoke some discomfort among strong supporters of Israel in the Democratic Party, putting them in a difficult position. Many Democrats already faced strong challenges in this year’s elections, and Obama would not want to make things more difficult for them.

38. She was concerned about the lack of strategic thinking behind the United States approach and thought it time for the United States to start quietly considering and exploring whether it could deal more constructively with a future Palestinian reconciliation, or perhaps just a power-sharing arrangement, that would allow the West Bank and Gaza to come closer together and for Palestinian electoral politics to resume. In order to make progress in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, leaders on both sides would need to have a strong interest in reaching a negotiated solution, with enough support within their own systems to allow them to negotiate. Instead, there was an Israeli Government that enjoyed enough support but was not particularly interested in negotiating, and a Palestinian Authority that was interested in negotiating but did not have a strong enough mandate due to the rift with Gaza. That was not an indication that the United States and other actors should abandon negotiating efforts, but that they should do whatever they could to help the parties make progress.

39. Jad Isaac, Director General, Applied Research Institute, Jerusalem, agreed with others that Jerusalem was the key to the peace process. Using a slide show, he traced the history of that city from the 1940s to the adoption of resolution 181 (II) of 1947, the so-called “partition resolution” and up to today. Jerusalem had been a relatively mixed city until 1947. In 1968, Israel had frozen land registration and pressed ahead with settlement construction. He noted that through the years, Israel had put forward all sorts of ideas, including leasing land back to Palestinians.
40. He was hearing from the Israeli Government that nothing would stop their expansion. Indeed, Israel was pushing further into Palestinian territory to cut off access to Jerusalem. He asked who would want to live next to a settler, adding that the separation wall made matters worse, as it sliced through the area and closed some Palestinians off in ghettos. According to Israel’s “Jerusalem 2020” plan, only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem would be set aside for Palestinian expansion.

41. He said that there was already a housing shortage in the area, so with so little land set aside for Palestinians, some 9,000 people would not have anywhere to live. Essentially, Israel was pursuing a policy of “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine, too”. There would be no solution if only one religion had a monopoly over Jerusalem. Furthermore, the international community must stand against any attempt to “de-Palestinian-ize” Jerusalem and pre-empt Palestinian resolve to have East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. It was time for the United Nations to take control of the peace process.

42. Danny Seidemann, Legal Counsel, Ir Amim, said that Jerusalem was currently the centre of a great drama, the contours of which now starkly showed there to be a race going on between facts and cognition. Prime Minister Netanyahu had chosen Jerusalem as the point and place where he would take a stand to derail a political process. The Israeli leadership was settling in to tussle over the issue, even to the point of angering the President of the United States. Yet, there was no alternative to the two-State solution, which could still be attained in Jerusalem. It would be a painful division, because the current generation of Palestinians and Israelis could not live together and nor did they want to. The Palestinians and Israelis were headed for a bitter divorce, in which Israelis would love to drive Palestinians into the desert and Palestinians would love to drive Israelis into the sea. Peace was the default option.

43. Facts on the ground, including continued settlement activity, the morphing of a manageable political conflict into a completely intractable religious one and the fact that Jerusalem was being turned into the arena of choice for spoilers could all have dire consequences to the effort to preserve the two-State solution. There was real concern in Washington about what would happen when the proximity talks ended in September and the moratorium on settlement construction expired. But that concern seemed to miss the fact that it was highly unlikely that the proximity talks could even survive until then. If the situation in Jerusalem was not alleviated immediately, another significant event, one that threatened to scuttle those talks, could be perhaps only weeks away. On an optimistic note, he said that President Obama had a musical ear for this conflict and the ability to address it as well as or better than any of his advisers.

44. He foresaw the necessary political division of Jerusalem, under which not one Palestinian would see an Israeli military officer when they went home at night and where “Al-Quds” would be the capital. As for Israel, such a political division would give that country what it needed most: recognition. Israel did not need demographic superiority in Jerusalem; it needed recognition. If that sounded familiar, it was because that was what the Arab Peace Initiative had always offered: withdrawal, a divided Jerusalem and the management of holy sites in a way that was acceptable to all. He said that in the Arab Peace Initiative, Arabs and the wider international community had a significant tool. As a weapon against Israel, it would be stillborn, but as an instrument to bring Israel to the negotiating table, it was powerful.

Plenary II
The Palestinian Authority programme of ending the occupation
and establishing the Palestinian State

45. The speakers in Plenary II addressed the following sub-themes: “The current situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”; “Advancing the Palestinian State-building agenda – from the status quo to statehood”; and “Creating socio-economic underpinnings for advancing Palestinian State-building”.

Bassam Al-Salhi, General Secretary of the Palestinian People’s Party and Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that one of the main obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace was the structure of negotiations, which had historically been rife with imbalances and preconditions. They were based on the fact that the Israelis were generally allowed to set the ground rules. In that regard, any talks, direct or indirect, would be doomed to failure as long as there were representatives of the occupying Power running them. Additionally, negotiations generally did not discuss settlements or other negative Israeli measures that led to qualitative changes on the ground. Such measures included the continued construction of the separation wall, which was turning parts of the West Bank into “bantustans”.

47. Despite all of that, it was necessary to pursue negotiations that built on the reality on the ground. Currently, there was a distortion of the facts and the international community continued to act as if the realities did not exist. In addition, Israel must be made to abide by international law, United Nations resolutions and the respective Geneva Conventions. Those were among the ways to change negotiations from failure to a serious matter. Another option was to adopt a binding resolution on any final settlement agreement.

48. It was also important to exploit the power of the United Nations as an international organization; it should not be divorced from playing a role in this process. In addition, perhaps it was time to re-examine the structure of the Palestinian Authority, which had been created as an entity to work towards ending the occupation, not one to be continued indefinitely. Further, the new United States Administration should make a real attempt to change its position on the Middle East from that of the Bush years. If some of those measures were not taken to shape more equitable and realistic negotiation structures, Israel would eventually carry out a plan to create a new Palestinian State with temporary borders. Israel might also undertake a unilateral solution by creating completely separate entities in the West Bank and Gaza and then turning over their administration to regional or international players.

49. Baroness Jennifer Tonge, Member of the British House of Lords, started by highlighting positive economic developments in the West Bank. Some 28 of the 36 companies there had reported profits in 2010, for example, and there had been an increase in the number of trucks leaving with exports. In addition, private sector credit from banks had risen and unemployment was down slightly. The people in the West Bank were not starving and they had good hospitals and schools, even if, on accession, it took days to access them and they were often short of supplies, power and water. But at the same time, the Palestinian people were frustrated and humiliated every day because of checkpoints, settler-only roads, arbitrary arrests, destruction of their crops due to sewage runoff from settlements and chronic shortages of water, which was controlled by the Israelis.

50. She expressed particular concern about the treatment of children, citing a recent report by Defence for Children International, which revealed that 335 Palestinian children were being detained in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2010, including 32 children between the ages of 12 and 15. The report also highlighted a raft of abuses committed against Palestinian children detained in the Israeli military court system, including forced confessions, sexual assaults and other physical and verbal abuse. She added that during a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory in January by 60 members of the European Parliament, she had been struck by the huge number of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and the high prevalence of malnutrition and waterborne diseases. Regarding Gaza, the only good thing that could be said about that “open prison” was that once inside, there was no harassment from Israeli soldiers or settlers.

51. With a generation of Palestinian children growing up to be weak, undernourished, under-educated adults with no prospects and their hearts filled with hatred and bitterness, Israel would never be secure while the Palestinians had memory. The Israeli lobby was powerful in the United Kingdom and the United States, but surely there would be less propaganda for extremists and more security if the international community gave the Palestinians more political support. Recalling efforts to bring down apartheid in South Africa and declaring that the United Nations had been “emasculated”, she said it was time for the people to act, including through divestment and boycott campaigns against Israel.

52. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, noted that, from the time United States President Barack Obama took office, the Palestinians had said they would not go back to direct negotiations if settlement activity continued and blockades remained in place. In that regard, it remained to be seen whether the conditions to move forward could be created. Despite the obstacles, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, had devised a creative plan to end the occupation and proceed to the establishment of a Palestinian State within two years. That plan was a form of resistance to the occupation that related to the life of the Palestinian people, because it set out national goals and priorities in all spheres, including providing social services and building more schools and hospitals. In that regard, the Palestinian people were resisting occupation in so many different ways, including by making their neighbourhoods clean and securing their cities.

53. Prime Minister Fayyad’s plan had carried out some 1,000 projects with more to come next year. Of course, Israeli authorities were going to fight him tooth and nail, but the plan would succeed. The plan made it clear that the effort to end the occupation was not the domain of the big Powers, including the Quartet and the United States. The Palestinian people were not merely standing around waiting on “the big guys” to do things for them. In short, the Palestinian people had the key role in bringing about a settlement.

54. He noted that the Prime Minister’s plan contained diplomatic dimensions. That was critical because more than 100 nations in Western Europe, Latin America, Asia and other regions recognized the State of Palestine. Palestinians had strong representation in such countries and it was time for those Governments to reaffirm their recognition. This would help pave the way at the appropriate time and with the agreement of all concerned parties to the adoption of a Security Council resolution recognizing the State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders. Ending occupation and creating a sovereign Palestine was the business of everyone; it was a collective responsibility and the Palestinians were inviting everyone to be a part of the process. Such a collective approach would create a reality and consensus with which Israel would need to comply. If it did not, the international community would collectively have to resort to other measures, including resorting to the Security Council.

55. Güven Sak, Director of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, shared his personal experience and views about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Prime Minister Fayyad’s new plan for institution-building. He said that over the past seven years he had seen progress on the ground and witnessed the boycott against settlement products take hold and move from mere reaction to policy. Prime Minister Fayyad’s plan was a reason for optimism because it aimed for progress in areas such as infrastructure and social services. It would also raise the level of investor confidence in Turkey and elsewhere.

56. His organization was supporting projects in areas such as capacity-building, investment, and other concrete projects such as the Jenin Industrial Estate, a private sector development initiative dealing with land development, skills development infrastructure and regulatory services. It aimed to create a well-connected “island” in the West Bank with no security threats and unimpeded access from nearby cities such as Haifa and regional airports.

57. His organization was actively pursuing Turkish companies and others that saw investing in the Palestinian territory as a corporate social responsibility to participate in the project. Such projects were good for everybody as they created jobs for Palestinians, addressed some security concerns and increased investor awareness. They also fostered institutional dialogue across all sectors. The two–State solution presupposed the capacity to actually build such a State on the Palestinian side, so efforts to bolster the capacity of institutions should start now. After all, there was a will to carry out the process on the Palestinian side.

Thomas Neu, Field Director, Carter Center Field Office, Ramallah, said that statistics could often be misleading in the Palestinian context. For example, while the living standards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory might not seem terribly low in relative terms since it was ranked 110th out of 182 countries, the picture became more muddled when geographical considerations, spatial constraints and trends over time were considered. For example, huge differences in living standards existed between Ramallah and Gaza. Some figures were straightforward though not at all encouraging. For example, the average poverty rate in households throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 2007 was about 35 per cent (24 per cent in the West Bank and 56 per cent in Gaza). Further, chronic malnutrition was on the rise, affecting some 10 per cent of children under five (8 per cent in the West Bank and 13 per cent in Gaza). In addition, the fragmentation of the West Bank had severe economic complications, especially since East Jerusalem, once an integral part of that area’s economy, was nearly completely isolated from it by the separation wall.

59. As for the Gaza Strip, which was one of the most densely populated areas in the world and no longer under Israeli or Palestinian Authority control, everyone was already familiar with the grim statistics regarding electricity, sewage and housing. Less well known however were the serious socio-economic trends that had a less immediate impact but would take decades to reverse. For example, there was a steady decline in the quality of schools and the range of educational opportunities. There was also a severe lack of employment options, especially for young people. There was even said to be a change in marriage behaviour, as young people with no job prospects got married early, had children and supported them through external aid. Gazans were not starving thanks to foreign donors, but they were being forced into unending and unwanted dependence on those donors.

60. He went on to note the impact of the divisions between Palestinian factions, which had exacerbated discord in the region and constituted a grave threat to peace. It was clear that ending the occupation and achieving inter-Palestinian reconciliation were necessary preconditions for statehood, which in turn was the only way to guarantee the restoration of human rights, personal security, economic recovery and sustainable development. “The ongoing realities of occupation, fragmentation and political polarization have created a situation in which the Palestinian people face internal as well as external threats,” he said, underscoring that the Carter Center was complementing the work of donor organizations by promoting a Peace Programme that focused on human rights and conflict resolution.

Plenary III
Breaking the deadlock: Creating a political climate
conducive to the advancement of the peace process

61. The speakers in Plenary III addressed the following sub-themes: “Building an international consensus for establishing a Palestinian State on the basis of the pre-1967 borders”; “The role of the United Nations”; and “The role of non-State actors”.
62. Chinmaya Gharekhan, former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India for West Asia and the Middle East and former United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, spoke of the historical ties between Indian leaders and the Palestinians. For example, in 1932, a Jewish delegation had asked Mahatma Gandhi for his support for a Jewish State in Palestine. Gandhi had responded that, just as England was for the English and France was for the French, Palestine was for the Palestinians. In addition, in 1947, Albert Einstein had written to the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, requesting his support for the United Nations resolution on the partition of Palestine. But Nehru had refused. In that context,
Mr. Gharekhan stressed that if the United Nations had had the good sense years ago not to break up Palestine then the present Meeting would not have needed to be held.

63. He questioned the role of the diplomatic Quartet in crafting a final settlement, believing that was not their mandate and that the issue required input from regional actors and organizations. At the same time, the international community should weigh in on the parameters of any agreement and press for such an agreement to be implemented. Also, there must be a just resolution of the refugee issues. As for the status of Jerusalem, various formulas existed on how to deal with that issue. But no matter how contentions Jerusalem was – and any decision would be somewhat painful for both sides – it was not beyond human ingenuity to come up with a sound solution.
64. Peace processes like Oslo had come and gone, the Road Map had literally led nowhere, and the Annapolis promise remained unfulfilled. He added that he would take a “wait and see” position on the newly launched proximity talks. One thing that was making a difference was the recently initiated boycott of settlement good, a form of activism that had taken hold and was proving effective, and that should open everyone’s eyes to the importance of non-violent resistance. Over the years, non-violence had become negatively associated with unfair compromise or weakness. But in fact it was more difficult than violence. Non-violence took a lot of determination, restraint and willpower. In that regard, he urged the participants to consider the importance of such initiatives, especially their economic impact.

Nabil Fahmy, Founding Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo, said that despite his scepticism about the recently launched proximity talks, Palestinians and Israelis had for the time being agreed to indirect negotiations. One must hope for their success even though this would require more than wishful thinking by the international community. At the very least, stakeholders must take steps to assert and reaffirm the foundation for negotiations. That would facilitate the process and reaffirm that the basis for peace was a Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 borders.

66. He said the Quartet, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and others must reiterate the importance of security arrangements between Palestinians and Israelis that safeguarded both parties from attacks by the other side. Further, the City of Jerusalem must be the capital of two States, on which both sides must agree. As for the international community, the parties should report back after four months either to the United Nations Security Council or General Assembly on the status of the proximity talks. At that time, the appropriate United Nations body should reaffirm the 1967 borders.

67. He said that if the parties decided to press ahead with negotiations, perhaps the General Assembly, as the most representative body of the United Nations, should endorse any plan to carry the talks forward. If it looked as though direct negotiations were about to begin, the General Assembly might also consider changing the political status of Palestinian representation at the United Nations to bring it more in line with that of other States. It would also be vital for the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League and civil society, to better promote the Arab Peace Initiative.

68. Mensur Akgün, Director of the Global Political Trends Centre at Istanbul Kültür University, said that global civil society was actively working with parties on the ground in the Middle East to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people. He suggested to all the civil society actors in the room that they look for more creative ways to influence Governments – especially the United States, which had been mentioned countless times during the Meeting – to mediate discussions among the parties.

69. Civil society organizations could challenge embargoes, raise public awareness and facilitate mediation and confidence-building, among other things. However, they could not replace State action. Indeed, they could only assist and motivate States and intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations in carrying out political or humanitarian initiatives. While he did not want to isolate any country for its inaction, he said the United States, which continued to use its Security Council veto to block international consensus on Palestinian sovereignty, bore a particular responsibility.

70. As such, he argued that to a large degree, civil society was implicitly responsible for the inaction, reluctance and one-sidedness of the United States. Civil society had tried to mediate, facilitate and provide humanitarian assistance but had failed to demonstrate to the American public the human suffering of the people in Gaza and the West Bank. Civil society had converted those people into statistics. Further, the main stakeholder, the Arab world, had failed to transform its economic power into “soft power” to effect change. Ultimately, civil society needed a new channel to be involved in the political process.

Nils Butenschøn, Director of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo, drew attention to the role, constraints and challenges of the major Palestinian “non-State actors”: the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Since Israel had received its designation as a State in 1948, its negotiation position was a much more powerful one, and the asymmetry in Israeli-Palestinian relations had not changed in 17 years since the Oslo Accords. Moreover, the conflict was nowhere near a peaceful resolution, the occupation had not ended and the Palestinian national movement had failed as a unified force. The Palestinian position in East Jerusalem was under immense pressure, and the Gaza Strip was under siege and totally cut off from the West Bank.

72. He said that the Palestinian “non-State actors” faced the same fundamental dilemma that all such parties faced when dealing with State authorities: there was no winning strategy. If such actors entered into political negotiations, they had little or no leverage with which to negotiate with recognized Governments. Still, the lesson of history seemed to be that only when the Palestinians were relatively unified and pressed for their rights by legally and morally acceptable means were they able to mobilize the kind of strength that matched Israel’s economic, political and military power.

73. Although it maybe seemed elusive, the moral power of the Palestinian cause was significant, although it was perhaps difficult to locate or define it. That left an enormous responsibility at the doorstep of the custodians of this “precious resource”, namely the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. If they were able to combine their efforts as their people wanted them to do and mobilize the enormous energies of the Palestinians in a responsible way, the aim of Palestinian statehood could still be reached.

IV. Closing session (International Meeting)

74. Saviour Borg, Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, read out the concluding remarks by the Organizers of the Meeting. (See annex I.)

Sedat Önal, Deputy Director General of Middle Eastern and African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, said that the Meeting had contributed to raising public awareness about the unsustainable situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the overall effort to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and lower tension throughout the Middle East.

76. For its part, Turkey believed that, as the region entered another critical period, it would be necessary for local and international stakeholders to pursue holistic, multi-dimensional and comprehensive responses. A firm commitment to a policy of constructive engagement, as opposed to one of isolationism, was also required. The initiation of the proximity talks had been a positive step, but at the same time the confidence of both parties to proceed with further talks must be restored. To that end, the ongoing resolve of the international community was essential, so that in the end a sovereign, viable Palestinian State could be achieved.

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said that Turkey was a very important regional force with an extensive relationship with Palestinians, Israelis and the Arab world. It also had a strong relationship with the wider international community, including the United States. The Committee had chosen to host the Meeting in Turkey as it was hoped that its pragmatism could help influence the situation. It was also important to note that Turkey was a member of the Security Council at this historical moment when the situation in Jerusalem was becoming untenable and when the United States-mediated proximity talks were getting under way. In that body, Turkey had proven its dedication to seeking responsible solutions on a range of international issues.

78. He said there was a likelihood that the Palestinian delegation would be going before the Security Council in the coming months, to encourage it to take action regarding the situation in Jerusalem and the expansion of Israeli settlements. Palestinian delegations might also be going before the Council to seek a resolution recognizing the sovereign State of Palestine. Turkey could help on a number of issues that Palestinians considered vital such as pressing for humanitarian assistance in Gaza, promoting Palestinian reconciliation and helping to build regional solidarity.

79. Finally, he said that as the four-month time frame for the proximity talks wound down, national, regional and international solidarity would be crucial to ensure that those negotiations were carried out seriously and that Israel stood by any agreement that was reached. Palestinians were tired of “business as usual”, and he hoped that, in the coming months, the international resolve to see the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State would be mobilized.

80. Zahir Tanin, Head of the Committee Delegation and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, noted that some of the issues discussed over the course of the Meeting had been extremely sensitive, politically and emotionally. But none of them could be neglected or excluded from the permanent status negotiations if a lasting peace was to be achieved. He added that the international community had legal and moral responsibilities to restore justice. Reiterating that the root cause of the conflict was the occupation by Israel of the Palestinian Territory, he lamented that Palestinians had suffered for far too long. Years of occupation had also affected the lives of Israelis. This unacceptable situation must be urgently redressed to allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security. He also announced that the next meeting organized by the Committee would be the United Nations African Meeting on the Question of Palestine, which would be held in Rabat, Morocco, on 1 and 2 July 2010.

V. Opening remarks (Public Forum)

81. Mensur Akgün, Director, Global Political Trends Centre, Istanbul Kültür University, welcomed participants and expressed gratitude to the United Nations and the Secretariat of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for their cooperation. He noted that the Centre had been established about a year and a half ago and carried out studies on conflict prevention and resolution, including on such topics as Turkey-Armenia relations and Cyprus.

82. Zahir Tanin, Head of the Committee Delegation and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said that Jerusalem, which was the theme of today’s Public Forum, aroused global passions in a way that few other locales could. And yet those passions, instead of creating a bastion of cross-cultural understanding and harmony, were changing one of the world’s great cities from a symbol of spiritualism and co-existence into one of injustice and suppression. The international community had never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem following its occupation in June 1967.

83. East Jerusalem was home to a wealth of religious, archaeological and cultural sites. But control of many of these sites was falling into the hands of extreme settler groups. As a result, the Christian, Muslim and Palestinian aspects of the city were being swept under the rug. Further, because of Israeli restrictions, Palestinian Muslims and Christians were losing access to the historical mosques and churches to which they are emotionally attached. He added that any agreement that did not include East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State would not lead to sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace. Also, Government-sanctioned settlement constructions, transfers of settlers, house demolitions, evictions of Palestinian residents and other actions aimed at altering or purporting to alter the legal status and physical and demographic character of the city constituted violations of international law and needed to be ceased and rescinded.

84. The present Public Forum was part of the Committee’s programme of cooperation with civil society. In that context, he commended civil society organizations for their efforts to uphold international legitimacy with regard to the question of Palestine through advocacy and the mobilization of public opinion and for their initiatives aimed at alleviating the plight of the Palestinian people.

85. Burhanettin Duran, Associate Professor, Istanbul Şehir University, said he believed that Jerusalem was not only critical to solving the Israeli-Palestinian issue but also perhaps the key to solving all the major problems in the Middle East. Turkey understood this and had long tried to pursue broad comprehensive policies, which contained elements such as security for all, political dialogue, economic independence, cultural harmony and mutual respect. Since the Jerusalem issue had many dimensions that went beyond its immediate region, it could not just be seen as a problem between Arabs and Israelis. Rather, Jerusalem, a central feature in the world’s major monotheistic religions, held the key to a just and lasting peace in the entire world. He said that civil society organizations must press Israel to live up to its obligations in this matter, to end the evictions and home demolitions.

VI. Panel discussions (Public Forum)

86. The moderators of the Public Forum were Phyllis Bennis, Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, D.C. and Sylvia Tiryaki, Deputy Director of the Global Political Trends Centre, Istanbul Kültür University.

87. The initial presentations focused on the theme: “The situation in Jerusalem”. The sub-themes were: “Addressing home demolitions, forced evictions and settlements”; “Residency rights and ID revocations”; and “Security concerns, including rising rates of crime”.

88. Daphna Golan-Agnon, Researcher at the Minerva Centre for Human Rights, Hebrew University, highlighted the strictly divided nature of Jerusalem, noting that Palestinian children attended schools largely in rented apartments and that rainwater was not distributed equally. As a child, her son had been confused by the stark differences in East and West Jerusalem. For example, he had wondered why there were no sidewalks in East Jerusalem. She said Jerusalem was an example of what should happen in the wider Israeli-Palestinian context; specifically, people there were beginning to say that enough was enough. Demonstrations were taking place now on a regular basis. Her own 20-year-old son had been arrested during a demonstration against Israeli police in Jerusalem just two weeks ago. The police had broken his hand but not his spirit. She stressed that things were becoming so untenable that “naming and shaming” Israel was no longer enough. It was time for everyone to start developing a vision of a shared Jerusalem. Everyone should start examining the past to devise a shared future.

89. Mousa Qous, Researcher at the Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights, said Israel’s policy in Jerusalem since it had begun its occupation of the city had been to have as many Jews and as few Palestinians inside the city as possible. Israel had carried out an annexation of the people and land; and Palestinian citizens were issued permanent residency cards but under strict conditions. By 1995, Israel had instituted the so-called “centre of life” policy, under which Palestinians traveling to and from the city needed to prove that Jerusalem was the centre of their lives by bringing their bills and work notices among other items. On a personal note, he said that he and his wife, a Palestinian from the West Bank, had been married for 12 years but that she had only received her Jerusalem residency papers one year ago. The first 11 years of their union had been framed by the struggle to obtain her residency rights. Israeli police was approaching apartheid-like levels of oppression and repression and it was past time for the international community to press for action.
90. The next round of presentations focused on the theme: “Approaches to promoting a just and lasting solution to the question of Jerusalem”. The sub-themes were: “The question of Jerusalem in international law”; “East Jerusalem as the social, economic and cultural centre of a future Palestinian State”; and “The need to open Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem”.

91. Phyllis Bennis stressed that Palestinian rights were no different from the rights of anybody else in the world. That was why the work of civil society actors should be rights-based. Civil society’s job was also to ensure that Governments were not supporting policies that abrogated the rights of Palestinians and others. Civil society could also be part of creating coalitions of the unwilling, she said, recalling how in 2003 the wider Security Council had stood against its more powerful members to keep the United Nations out of the war in Iraq. She said that civil society must also defend international law. Without the will of average citizens to realize its vital tenets, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was only a piece of paper. Governments were generally not going to do the right thing until their citizens demanded it, she said, suggesting responses based on boycott, divestment and sanctions strategies. On the positive side, in the United States, whose Government bore a huge responsibility in fomenting the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the wider Middle East, the political discourse on those issues was beginning to change among average Americans. While changing the discourse was not enough, it was certainly a start. A strategy of advocacy, rights promotion and education was what was going to change laws and protect the rights of people in Jerusalem.

92. Nazmi Jubeh, Co-Director of Riwaq: Centre for Architectural Conservation, said that Israel’s policy in Jerusalem was based on three major elements: demography, land and the “Israelization” of the city’s physical characteristics. The “apartheid separation wall” had ripped apart communities and families and fragmented East Jerusalem’s social structure and the political ability of the people to combat the occupation. It was sad and deeply troubling that most of the people living in East Jerusalem now were poverty-stricken, as before 1993, Jerusalem had been the social, cultural and educational centre of Palestinian life. Since then, there had been a systematic shuttering and destruction of all the institutions dealing with those themes. Noting that civil society had continued to operate, he nevertheless stressed that the question of Jerusalem could not be solved until the institutions in the city, especially its cultural centres, were rebuilt and made operational again. Also, there should be an Arab-based mechanism or organization inside Jerusalem to start rebuilding the capacity of cultural institutions.

93. The final round of presentations dealt with the theme: “The role of non-State actors (civil society) in promoting peace in Jerusalem”. The sub-themes were: “The spiritual significance of Jerusalem: Interfaith dialogue”; and “People-to-people diplomacy”.

94. Ramzi Zananiri, Executive Director of the Near East Council of Churches, said religious theorists and other experts all agreed that Jerusalem was the Holy City in a Holy Land for all humanity and, according to the Bible, “The promise of the land is the prelude to universal salvation”. Currently, rather than sparking unity among all faiths under God, Jerusalem was instead turning into the ember that might spark a third intifada. The Israeli occupation, characterized by oppressive policies such as a heavy military presence in churches and on holy sites, must end in order to find a solution to the overall Middle East issue. Despite the situation, however, churches and religious organizations from all faiths were pressing ahead with their efforts to end the occupation. Intercultural and interreligious dialogues were under way, attempting to breach the walls and barriers built by the occupation. At the same time, such dialogue could be held hostage to political strife. Religious groups would nevertheless press on because they were filled with hope and the power of God.

95. Fadwa Khader, Director-General, Sunflower Association for Human and Environment Protection, said that she had felt the pain of being a mother in Jerusalem. Her teenage sons, who happened to be Christians, had been detained for months after they had been picked up with a group of other youngsters who had gathered to protect the Al-Aqsa mosque in 2000. She said that 60 years of aggression and more than 40 years of occupation were enough. But daily harassment continued in Jerusalem, where the people did not have access to their own water supplies, were forced to work on the black market and were unable to build livelihoods where they lived. The Palestinians living in Jerusalem were forced to pay 12 different types of taxes, without seeing any services in return. Civil society was “the Government” of the people inside Jerusalem. Such organizations were working alongside the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to ensure the Palestinian people could live in dignity.

VII. Closing remarks (Public Forum)

96. Zahir Tanin, Head of the Committee Delegation and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said the Palestinian people had suffered too much and for too long. All actors in every capacity, including Governments, the United Nations and civil society, must each play their part in bringing justice back to the Palestinian people. The Committee would take the messages it had received at the Public Forum back to New York and share them back with the members of the Committee there and, through them, the wider membership of the United Nations. Also, it was important to stay connected and work together towards the common goal: the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, their right to self-determination, the right of return of the Palestine refugees, and an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Annex I

Concluding remarks by the Organizers (International Meeting)

1. The United Nations International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process was convened in Istanbul on 25 and 26 May 2010 by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Participating in the Meeting were internationally renowned Israeli and Palestinian experts, representatives of United Nations Members States and Observers, parliamentarians, representatives of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations, representatives of civil society, academic institutions and the media.

2. The objective of the Meeting was to provide a forum for exchanging views on the current state of the peace process, and for discussing proposals, ideas and options on how to advance the Palestinian State-building agenda. The Meeting discussed, among other things, lessons learned from previous negotiations and other conflict situations; the role of third-party mediation; Jerusalem as a key to Israeli-Palestinian peace; the Palestinian Authority’s programme of ending the occupation and establishing the Palestinian State; and the building of an international consensus for establishing a Palestinian State on the basis of the pre-1967 borders.

3. The Organizers and participants appreciated the opening remarks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, H. E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, and associated themselves with his call for the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. They welcomed the message by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his pledge to work with the parties towards building mutual trust and creating more positive conditions on the ground. The Organizers shared the assessment in the keynote presentation by United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, that there was no alternative to the two-State solution. For Palestinians, it was the only political way forward to genuine national self-determination and freedom, and the only framework in which to bring about the unity of the West Bank and Gaza, a resolution of the refugee issue and an end to the daily restrictions of occupation. This solution also allowed Israel to keep its democratic character and identity while gaining security and legitimacy in the region.

4. In the course of the Meeting, the participants reviewed the international efforts aimed at resuming Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Organizers took note that participants cautiously welcomed the resumption of negotiations between the parties through the “proximity” talks mediated by the United States. It also stressed the urgency of achieving tangible progress in improving the situation on the ground in order to create a climate favourable to negotiating all permanent status issues with a view to ending the occupation and establishing two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders. They were of the view that the parties must adhere to their commitments and obligations in line with international law and the Road Map and refrain from any provocative acts that might undermine the present opportunity. It was emphasized that the continued involvement of the international community was crucial for moving Israeli-Palestinian negotiations forward on all core issues. The Arab Peace Initiative remained an important element for advancing peace in the region and should be seized upon.
5. The Organizers took note with satisfaction of the exchange of views on lessons learned from previous efforts to arrive at a solution. It was emphasized that peace could not be imposed and that the parties must have the political will to reach agreement. Mediation would not succeed if it gave priority to the needs of one side over the other. Ensuring Israeli security and achieving the national rights of the Palestinian people were equally compelling needs. While the immediate focus should be on the Israeli-Palestinian process, it was imperative that the regional dimension of the conflict be addressed at the appropriate stage. It was important to set forth principles to guide negotiations based on international law, United Nations resolutions and signed agreements. However, broad and vague framework agreements would not work. Agreements needed to be precise and should include mechanisms for implementation and monitoring.

6. The Organizers shared the serious concern expressed by participants about Israeli actions on the ground that had prevented an earlier start of the talks and that were putting their continuation in jeopardy. They were alarmed by Israel’s ongoing policy in East Jerusalem, which aimed at altering the legal status of the city and its physical, demographic and cultural character. They condemned the illegal expansion and consolidation of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the illegal and provocative measures against Palestinian residents, including house demolitions, evictions, land confiscation and revocation of residency rights. The Organizers stressed that these acts constituted a clear violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

7. It was acknowledged that Jerusalem was sacred for Christians, Jews and Muslims worldwide and represented the common heritage of all humanity, and that Israeli actions with regard to the city’s holy places therefore were totally unacceptable. The Organizers emphasized that a negotiated agreement on the status of Jerusalem should take into account the political and religious concerns of all its inhabitants. Such an agreement should include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, and permanent, free and unhindered access to the holy places by the Palestinian people and peoples of all religions and nationalities. The Organizers also reiterated that any agreement that did not include East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State would not lead to sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace.

8. The Organizers shared the serious concern voiced by numerous participants about Israel’s settlement activities in the rest of the West Bank in violation of international humanitarian law, as well as Israel’s Road Map obligations. The Organizers recalled that the Security Council had determined in resolution 465 (1980) that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, constituted a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. They noted the declared 10-month suspension of new settlement construction in the West Bank and called upon the Israeli Government to extend it indefinitely and also to extend it to Occupied East Jerusalem in order to allow for serious negotiations on the permanent status issues to continue.

9. Alarm was expressed over the new Israeli military order that had come into effect in April 2010, whereby any Palestinian residing in the West Bank could be labelled as an “infiltrator” and deported on orders of the Israeli military command. Several Palestinians had already been deported from the West Bank on the basis of these orders. The Organizers stressed that this constituted a grave breach of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They noted that Israel was a High Contracting Party to the Convention and that it had legal obligations as the occupying Power in the West Bank.

10. Speakers deplored the lack of any tangible improvement of the humanitarian, economic and social situation in the Gaza Strip. Due to the wilful blockage by Israel of materials for reconstruction efforts, three quarters of the damage inflicted on buildings and infrastructure during the Israeli military offensive on Gaza remained unrepaired. Water and sanitation infrastructure was in a state of collapse. As Gaza’s economy continued to be paralysed due to the blockade and severed commercial links, illegitimate economic activity such as smuggling, prevailed. Speakers called for the immediate lifting of the blockade against the Gaza Strip.

11. The Organizers reaffirmed that Israel, the occupying power, had to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention, which obliges Israel, as a High Contracting Party, to protect the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation and to act within the ambit of international law. The applicability of the Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, had been repeatedly confirmed by the Conference of the High Contracting Parties and the United Nations General Assembly, Security Council and International Court of Justice. The Organizers deplored the collective punishment against people in the Gaza Strip and called for the opening of all crossings in accordance with the Agreement on Movement and Access of 15 November 2005.

12. The Organizers stressed the importance of the two-year State-building plan put forward by the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, in August 2009 entitled “Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State”, aimed at developing institutions and strengthening the foundation for the future State of Palestine. The Meeting was informed about a recent diplomatic initiative launched by the Palestinian Authority with a view to achieving international support for Palestinian statehood at the end of the scheduled implementation of the Fayyad Plan in August 2011. It was noted that nearly 100 countries had already recognized Palestine as a State, with the majority extending their recognition following the November 1988 Declaration of Statehood by the Palestinian National Council. The Organizers expressed full support for the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic initiative and considered that the entire international community should be ready to recognize the State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders, including through a Security Council resolution, once statehood has been declared by the Palestinian Authority at the appropriate time.

13. The Organizers reiterated that there was no alternative to the two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security based on international law and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1850 (2008) and 1860 (2009) and all other relevant United Nations resolutions. Participants underlined that a crucial and indispensable condition for achieving a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They also urged the Palestinian leadership, the leaders of all factions and all Palestinians to strive and work for national reconciliation as an essential condition for achieving a lasting solution of the question of Palestine and the establishment of a viable, contiguous, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State.

14. The Organizers would like to commend the work of civil society organizations aimed at supporting Israelis and Palestinians in their quest for a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the conflict. They acknowledged and expressed appreciation for the dedicated and courageous work of Turkish organizations in support of the Palestinian people by implementing specific projects in the West Bank or aiming to break the Gaza blockade to bring humanitarian aid to those in desperate need. 15. Many speakers commended the Committee for organizing international events, such as this one in Istanbul, which contributed to raising international awareness of the various aspects of the question of Palestine and contributed to mobilizing Governments and public opinion worldwide in support of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

16. The Organizers, on behalf of the participants, expressed their appreciation for the important role played by Turkey, a founding Member of the Committee, in the search for a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and in championing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. They noted that the contribution of Turkey and other players in the region and beyond was crucial to achieving a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians and for bringing stability to the Middle East. They also expressed their deep appreciation to the Government of Turkey and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hosting the Meeting, for the assistance and support extended to the Committee and the United Nations Secretariat in its preparation and for the generous hospitality extended to them.

Annex II

List of participants (International Meeting)


Mr. Mensur Akgün
Director, Global Political Trends Center
Istanbul Kültür University

Mr. Bassam Al-Salhi
General Secretary, Palestinian People’s Party
Member, Palestinian Legislative Council
Jerusalem Mr. Nils Butenschøn
Director, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
Professor, University of Oslo

Ms. Michele Dunne
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Editor, Arab Reform Bulletin
Washington, D.C.

H.E. Mr. Nabil Fahmy
Founding Dean, School of Global Affairs
Ambassador and Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, The American University in Cairo

Mr. Chinmaya Gharekhan
Former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India for West Asia and the Middle East Peace Process
Former United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
New Delhi

H.E. Mr. Nemer Hammad
Special Political Adviser to the President of the Palestinian Authority

Mr. Jad Isaac
Director General, Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour
Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations
New York

Mr. Richard Murphy
Adjunct Scholar
The Middle East Institute
New York Mr. Thomas Neu
Field Director
Carter Center Field Office
Ramallah Mr. Güven Sak
Director, The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey

Mr. Daniel Seidemann
Legal Counsel
Ir Amim

Baroness Jennifer Tonge
Member of the House of Lords


Ms. Phyllis Bennis
Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies
Co-Chair, International Coordinating Network on Palestine

Ms. Daphna Golan-Agnon
Researcher, The Minerva Center for Human Rights
The Hebrew University
Jerusalem Mr. Nazmi Jubeh
Co-Director, Riwaq: Centre for Architectural Conservation

Ms. Fadwa Khader
Director-General, Sunflower Association for Human and Environment Protection

Dr. Sylvia Tiryaki
Deputy Director, Global Political Trends
Istanbul Kültür University

Mr. Mousa Qous
Reseacher, Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights

Mr. Ramzi Zananiri
Executive Director, Near East Council of Churches


H.E. Mr. Zahir Tanin
Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Head of the Committee delegation
Vice-Chairman of the Committee

H.E. Mr. Pedro Nuñez Mosquera
Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations
Vice-Chairman of the Committee

H.E. Mr. Saviour F. Borg
Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations
Rapporteur of the Committee

H.E. Mrs. María Rubiales de Chamorro
Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Ertǔgrul Apakan
Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. Riyad Mansour
Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations


Mr. Robert Serry
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and
United Nations Secretary-General’s Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation
Organization and the Palestinian Authority


H.E. Mr. Mouloud Hamai, Ambassador to Turkey
Mr. Rachid Nedah, Consul General in Istanbul
Mr. Abbes Belfatme, Deputy Consul General in Istanbul

Mr. Paul Jenewin, Consul General
Mr. Gerhard Göte, Consul
Consulate General in Istanbul

H.E. Dr. Ebrahim Yousuf El-Abdulla
Ambassador to Turkey

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ms. Nidzara Ercan, Consul
Consulate General in Istanbul

Mr. Hua You, First Secretary
Embassy in Ankara

Mr. Andreas Kettis, Counsellor (Middle East Expert)
Permanent Mission to the European Union

Czech Republic
Mrs. Lucie Boudová, Consular employee
Ms. Ivana Kučerová, Trainee
Consulate General in Istanbul

Mr. Thomas Guibert, First Secretary
Embassy in Ankara

Mr. Nikolaos Sigalas, First Secretary
General Consulate in Istanbul

H.E. Dr. Andras Gyenge
Consul General in Istanbul

Mr. Vanlalhuma
Consul General in Istanbul

H.E. Mr. Ahmed Kamal Hasan Al-Kamaly
Consul General in Istanbul
Miss Songul Zainal, Second Secretary
Miss Nada Mijwal, Third Secretary
Consulate General in Istanbul

Mr. Daisuke Okada, Second Secretary
Embassy in Ankara

H.E. Sheikh Fahad Salim Al-Sabah, Consul General
Mr. Khaled Al-Mutaira, Vice Consul
Mr. Tareq Hafez, Translator
General Consulate in Istanbul

Mr. Walid Haydar, Consul in Istanbul

Mr. Badli Hisham Adam, Minister-Counsellor
Embassy in Turkey

Mr. Simon Pullicino, Consul General/Counsellor
Consulate General in Istanbul

H.E. Mr. Jaime García Amaral, Ambassador/Head of Delegation
Embassy in Ankara

Mr. Mohammed Yebari
Member of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

Mr. Matthijs E.C. Van der Plas, Deputy Head of Mission
Embassy in Ankara
Mr. Onnon D. Kervers, Consul General in Istanbul

New Zealand
Mr. Tom Kennedy, Second Secretary
Embassy in Ankara

H.H. Qais Salim Ali Al-Said
Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Turkey
Mr. Hüseyin Gülakan, Public Relations Director
Mr. Hasan Ali Bayraktar, Assistant
Embassy in Ankara

H.E. Mr. Pedro O. Chan, Ambassador to Turkey
Mr. Ralph Vincent C. Abarquez, Foreign Service Officer
Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila

Mr. Muhammed Al-Maadid, Consul General
Mr. Khalid Al-Taie, translator
Consultate General in Istanbul

Ms. Stefana Greavu, Consul General
Mr. Sorin Grama, Consul
Consulate General in Istanbul

Russian Federation
Mr. Alexey Erkhov
Consul General in Istanbul

Saudi Arabia
Mr. Abdulwahab M. Sheikh, Consul General
Mr. Abdulmonem Al-Maghrabi, Vice Consul General
Mr. Socrat Fawzi, Consulate employee
Royal Consulate General in Istanbul

Mr. Vasilije Petrović, Consul
Consulate General in Istanbul

H.E. Mr. Adil Bashir Hassan Bashir
Consul General – Ambassador
Consulate General in Istanbul

H.E. Mr. Gley El Hadj
Ambassador to Turkey

H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, Consul General in Jerusalem
Mr. Cihad Erginay, Special Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Ali Sarikaya, Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr. Ali Riza Güney, Deputy Head of Middle East Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Vehbi Dinçerler, Special Coordinator for Palestinian Socio-Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Betül Merve Görücü, Civil Servant, Middle East Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Yasemin Öztürk, Administrative Attaché
Mr. Burak Özügergin, Spokesman

United Arab Emirates
H.E. Dr. Tariq Al Heidan, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs; Head of Delegation
H.E. Mr. Mohammed Al Sowidie, Ambassador to Turkey
Mr. Hamad Al Shamsi, Second Secretary
Mr. Salem Al Saedi, Diplomat

United Kingdom
Mr. Crispian Wilson, Second Secretary Political
Embassy in Ankara

United States of America
Mr. Michael Ahn, Political Officer
Embassy in Ankara

Mr. Mahdi Saleh Nasser Al-Odami, Counsellor
Consulate General in Istanbul


Holy See
H.E. Archbishop Antonio Lucibello
Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey


H.E. Mr. Nemer Hammad, Special Political Adviser to the President of the Palestinian Authority; Head of Delegation
H.E. Mr. Mufeed Shami, Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Head of the Multilateral Relations Sector of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
H.E. Mr. Nabil Marouf, Ambassador to Turkey
Mr. Abdulkarim Al Khatib, Consul General in Istanbul
Mr. Abdullah Abu Shawish, Head of the UN Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mrs. Caryl Lynn Mansour


League of Arab States
Ms. Suhair Bseiso, Director, Department of Arab Occupied Land
Mr. Salah Aldeen Alshumeiri, Attaché, Department of Arab Occupied Land

Movement of Non-Aligned Countries
H.E. Mr. Hisham El-Zimaity, Deputy Foreign Minister of Egypt,
representing H.E. Mr. Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt and current Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement

Organization of the Islamic Conference
H.E. Mr. Samir Bakr Diab
Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine


United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Mr. Karim Atassi, Deputy Permanent Representative in Turkey
Ms. Brenda Goddard, Legal Officer

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Mr. Shahid Najam, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey;
UNDP Resident Representative in Turkey

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO)
Mr. Robert Serry, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
Mr. Enrico Formica, Special Assistant


American Bord Heyeti
Ms. Elizabeth W. Frank, General Secretary
Ms. Clare Brandebur, Associate
Mr. Mohammed Bakari, Associate

BADIL, Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Ms. Adil Hassan Rania Almadi, UN Geneva Representative

Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM)
Mr. Zafer Comez, Middle East Assistant

CETIM – Europe Third World Center (Geneva)
Ms. Mireille Fanon-Mendès

Euro-Med Movement
Mr. Joe Mifsud, Coordinator

Global Political TrendsCenter (Gpot)
Ms. Lenka Petkova

Institute for Arab Culture
Ms. Soraya Smaili, Director

Internal Displacement Monitoring Agency
Mr. Karim Khalil, Country Analyst (Iraq, Lebanon, OPT, Syria, Turkey, Yemen)

Istanbul Kültür University/TASAM
H.E. Mr. Murat Bilhan, Chairman of Foreign Policy
Platform of Istanbul Kültür University and Vice-President of TASAM

Kinder USA
Dr. Laila Al-Marayati, Chairwoman
Ms. Dalell D. Mohmed, Executive Director

Marmara University
Ms. Aysegul Sever, Associate Professor
International Relations

Middle East Peace Foundation
Mr. Thomas Owen Mustric, Chairman & Founder

The Hollings Center
Ms. Sanem Güner, Program Coordinator

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
Ms. Anna Levin, Coordinator for Israel and Palestine

Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
Ms. Sabiha Senyücel Gündoğar, Programme Officer

Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Committee
Mr. Zeyid Aslan, Chairman
Mr. Murat Yildirim, General Secretary
Mr. Hydar Kemal Kurt, Accountant

World Federation of Trade Unions
Mr. Mohammed A. M. Iqnaibi, Specialist for Palestine issues

Yeryüzü Doktorlari (Doctors Worldwide) (Turkey Branch)
Mr. Mehmet Güllüoglu
Projects Coordinator


24 TV
Ms. Elif Özgen, reporter
Mr. Sakir Sarsilmaz, cameraman
Mr. Ekreni Fidan

Aksam Daily Newspaper
Ms. Senay Yildiz, Deputy News Manager
Mr. Uygar Taylan, photojournalist

Mr. Fekri Shaban, Bureau Chief
Mr. Nedal Siyam, producer
Mr. Suaip Ilbaz, correspondent
Mr. Omar Khashram, correspondent
Mr. Necati Gömez, cameraman
Mr. Hayri Ozubur, cameraman
Mr. Sağtay Yavaz, cameraman
Mr. Engin Onuk

Al-Sharqiya News Channel
Mr. Mohammad Abdi

Anadolu Ajansi
Mr. Muray Ozger, correspondent
Mr. Sinan Gul
Mr. Murat Paksoy

ANKA News Agency
Ms. Hamide Hangul, correspondent

Cihan News Agency
Mr. Gurkan Tuzlu, correspondent

Mr. A. Pinar Çitak Kaygun - correspondent

Habertürk News Agency
Ms. Hatice Sözbilir Akkaya, correspondent
Mr. Sedat Suna, photojournalist
Mr. Serkan Akkoç, photojournalist
Ms. Gulveda Ozgur, political correspondent, New York

Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review
Ms. Sevim Songün, reporter

La Vanguardia
Mr. Ricardo Ginés, Muhabir/correspondent

Press TV
Ms. Jody Sabral, Bureau Chief/correspondent
Mr. Nurettin Imral, cameraman

Mr. Ayberk Can Erturan, correspondent
Mr. Alihan Sonmez, cameraman

Radikal Daily
Ms. Ceyda Karan, Foreign News Editor

Referans Gazetesi
Ms. N. Asli Tekinay, Chief Editor/Foreign News
Mr. Tamer Çetin, foreign news correspondent

Reuters News Agency
Mr. Daren Butler, correspondent
Ms. Ayla Jean Yackley, correspondent
Mr. Mehmet Emin Caliskan
Mr. Murad Sezer, chief photographer
Mr. Osman Orsal, photographer

Samanyolu Haber
Mr. Adnan Topkapi, foreign news correspondent

TRT (Turkish Radio and Television)
Mr. Alaeddin Eyicil, director
Mr. Huseyin Donmez, producer
Ms. Gonul Özer, news correspondent
Mr. Mehmet Akifersoy, correspondent
Mr. Mustafa Oguz, cameraman
Mr. Ahmet Nafizkavi - cameraman
Mr. Seyfi Sinan, cameraman (live coverage)
Mr. Gokhan Eren, cameraman (live coverage) Turkiye Newspaper
Mr. Hayrettin Turan, foreign editor

Xinhua News Agency-China (Istanbul Bureau)
Mr. Ming Chen, Bureau Chief
Mr. Özgür Aşçioğlu, producer-cameraman

Zaman newspaper
Mr. Celil Sağir, foreign news editor
Mr. Mustafa Edib Yilmaz, correspondent

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