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16 April 2002
NGOs’ Urgent Appeal
The United Nations International Meeting in Support of Middle East Peace
Nicosia, 16 and 17 April 2002
As NGOs, who represent civil society in all its diversity, we believe in a world where the right to live in peace, equity, tolerance and justice is the right of all people. This is our dream for Palestine.
The current situation in the Middle East is explosive and dangerous. The Palestinians have the inalienable right to live in their own sovereign state. All relevant United Nations resolutions must be implemented including General Assembly resolution 194 recognizing the right of return. Ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories, which is responsible for the violence in the region, is the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East.
1. We demand the immediate lifting of the siege on the Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, so that he is able to execute his duties as the legitimate and elected leader of the Palestinian people.
2. We call for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the lifting of all closures and checkpoints.
3. A UN peacekeeping and monitoring force must be sent immediately to the Occupied Palestinian Territory so as to protect the civilian population from further assaults.
4. All humanitarian aid workers and NGOs should be given immediate access to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We call on all countries to offer financial support for emergency relief efforts. Humanitarian help should be directed both to the urgent and immediate needs of the people and to the rebuilding of infrastructure.
5. Independent teams of lawyers must have access to all detainees and political prisoners.
6. An independent, third party investigative commission should be formed immediately to investigate the destruction of the West Bank and Gaza Strip infrastructure, the killing of civilians and other crimes committed by Israeli military forces. Israeli authorities should allow unconditional access to the parties so the voices of victims can be heard and documented.
7. The United States Administration must immediately cease its continuing direct and indirect support of the policy of occupation, aggression, terror and war pursued by the Israeli Government, and cease its current policy of undermining the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to freedom and independence.
8. The European Union must stop procrastinating and implement sanctions against the policy of terror and war of the Israeli Government, and bring effective, concrete, humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.
9. The United Nations, especially the Security Council, must take immediate measures to compel the Israeli Government to accept and implement all relevant United Nations resolutions.
10. Mr. Sharon and the members of his cabinet responsible for the war crimes committed against the Palestinian people must be put on trial in an international tribunal.
11. Unless and until the Israeli Government complies with the above points, the international community must isolate Israel politically, diplomatically, culturally and economically as a way to force a resolution of the crisis.