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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
31 August 1996


August 1996


Volume XIX, Bulletin No. 7



Contents


Page
I.
    Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
    addresses letter to the President of the Security Council
1
II.
    Excerpt from the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization
1
III.
    Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopts
    two resolutions relating to the Palestine question
2
IV.
    Non-governmental organizations: activities and information
6





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I. CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE
INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
ADDRESSES LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT
OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL


On 16 August 1996, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people addressed a letter to the President of the Security Council in connection with the note by the President on the simplification of the list of matters of which the Council is seized (S/1996/603 and Corr.1). The letter is contained in document S/1996/667:

In my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I have the honour to refer to the note by the President of the Security Council on the simplification of the list of matters of which the Council is seized (S/1996/603 and Corr.1).

I should like to convey the Committee's objection to the decision to delete from the list items related to the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the Palestine question and the Middle East problem, which are of utmost concern not only to the Committee but also to the majority of member States. The Committee believes that pending a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East, the core of which is the question of Palestine, in accordance with international legitimacy, these items should remain on the list of matters of which the Council is seized, as they continue to engage its responsibility with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security.

I should also like to express the Committee's hope that decisions of such fundamental importance will be taken in thorough consultation with all the parties concerned.

I should be grateful if you would have the text of the present letter circulated as a document of the Security Council.


II. EXCERPT FROM THE REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
ON THE WORK OF THE ORGANIZATION


The report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-first session (A/51/1), contains the following paragraphs relating to the question of Palestine:

854. The period covered by this report was marked by a series of developments underlining the existing difficulties but also demonstrating the parties' determination to proceed on the road to peace. The concentrated efforts of the United Nations have been aimed at supporting the peace process, politically and economically, in order to reinforce what has been achieved in the course of negotiations and to help build the foundations for a lasting peace in the Middle East.

855. Following the signing of the Interim Agreement by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on 28 September 1995, the redeployment of Israeli military forces began in November and was completed, in some cases ahead of schedule, in a number of major cities in the West Bank and in many towns and villages. Authority was transferred to the Palestinians in varying degrees in additional areas, such as local government and commercial activities, and the arrival of Palestinian police was carried out smoothly. A particularly outstanding achievement was the holding of the first Palestinian elections on 20 January 1996. I warmly welcomed this decisive development, which constituted an important step towards the achievement of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and provided a solid basis towards their self-determination.

856. The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been accompanied by tragic events, however, first and foremost the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv on 4 November 1995. I represented the United Nations at his funeral. The world was further dismayed by four suicide bombings in Israel in February and March, which caused 60 deaths and hundreds of injuries. I condemned this upsurge of terrorism in the strongest terms and called on the world community to unite in action against such despicable acts of violence. Following these events, I attended the Summit of Peacemakers in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at the invitation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and United States President Bill Clinton. Fully supporting the Summit’s decisions, I expressed the readiness of the United Nations to assist in implementing them in the legal and practical fields.

857. At the same time, the prolonged closure of the West Bank and Gaza, which was intended by Israel to prevent further terrorist attacks, became the focus of international attention because of its drastic effect on the Palestinian economy. In a letter dated 28 March, I urged Prime Minister Shimon Peres to consider lifting the closure, at least gradually, in order to allow the normal provision of services by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to Palestinian refugees. The subject was taken up by the Security Council at a formal meeting on 15 April 1996.

858. The United Nations system of programmes and agencies, under the general guidance of the Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, Terje Rod Larsen, has continued to provide assistance to the Palestinian people. A coordination mechanism has been established on the ground to ensure effective disbursement of donor funds. A measure of progress has been achieved in job creation, institution-building, infrastructure development and police training. However, some momentum was lost because of Israel's closure of the West Bank and Gaza, and it took more effort to sustain these improvements.

859. In late March, the Special Coordinator, in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, the Government of Israel and key donors, developed an emergency humanitarian plan in an effort to ease the social and economic dislocation of the Palestinians. Immediately put into effect, the plan has attempted to alleviate closure-related hardships and losses by creating job opportunities, project development and the mobilization of necessary resources.


III. SUB-COMMISSION ON PREVENTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND
PROTECTION OF MINORITIES ADOPTS TWO RESOLUTIONS
RELATING TO THE PALESTINE QUESTION


The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities convened its forty-eighth session from 5 to 30 August at Geneva. Two resolutions pertaining to the question of Palestine were adopted. Moreover, the Sub-Commission requested the relevant Special Rapporteur to submit to its forty-ninth session a final report on human rights dimensions of population transfers, including the implantation of settlers, following his progress report of 30 June 1994 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/18). The text of the adopted resolutions is contained in the Sub-Commission’s draft report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/L.11) as follows:


1996/1. Situation in the Middle East


The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,

Recalling the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East at Madrid on 30 October 1991, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, and the subsequent bilateral negotiations, as well as the meetings of the multilateral working groups,

Recalling also its resolutions 1995/2 of 3 August 1995 and 1994/13 of 25 August 1994 in which it reaffirmed that the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East was essential for the furtherance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the area, welcomed the peace process begun at Madrid and supported the subsequent bilateral negotiations, endorsed the achievements of the peace process to date and urged all parties to implement the agreements which had been reached, and emphasized the importance of making progress in Arab-Israeli negotiations,

Having in mind Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/7 of 11 April 1996, stressing the importance of and need for the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, emphasizing that the achievement of such a peace is vital to the full implementation of human rights in the area, welcoming progress thus far, including the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and the elections for the Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority, supporting the declaration adopted at the Summit of Peacemakers held at Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 13 March 1996, which had as its objectives enhancing the peace process, promoting security and combating terrorism, condemning acts of terrorism, from whatever source, in the Middle East which seek to undermine the peace process, expressing full support for the achievements of the peace process thus far, and encouraging the continuation of negotiations,

Noting with satisfaction the broad international support for the peace process and its contribution to the implementation and furtherance of human rights in the area,

Recognizing the significance of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, the subsequent agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization at Cairo on 4 May 1994, and the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., on 28 September 1995,

Recognizing also the significance of the Jordan-Israel Treaty of Peace of 26 October 1994,

1. Reaffirms that the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East is essential for the implementation and furtherance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the area;

2. Supporting warmly the peace process begun at Madrid and the subsequent bilateral negotiations through which it has been continued;

3. Endorses the achievements of the peace process to date, which constitute important initial and continuing steps in achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and urges all parties to implement the agreements which have been reached, expressing the hope that successful steps will be taken soon;

4. Calls upon all parties to the peace process to continue their efforts with undiminished energy, deliberateness and speed;

5. Encourages the permanent status negotiations begun pursuant to the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements;

6. Emphasizes the importance of making progress, as a matter of urgency, on the other tracks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations within the peace process;

7. Expresses its full support for the active role which the United Nations is playing in the peace process, and in particular for its assistance in implementing the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.


Adopted on 19 August 1996
without a vote.


1996/6. Situation in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel

The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in particular the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples,

Mindful of the principles and humanitarian provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 for the protection of war victims, of the principles and provisions of international law, and of the obligations arising from the Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Lands, annexed to the Hague Convention IV of 1907,

Recalling that, in accordance with article 1 of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, all States parties to the Conventions have undertaken to respect and ensure respect for the Conventions in all circumstances,

Recalling also all the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights which affirm the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Recalling further the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 605 (1987) of 22 December 1987, 607 (1988) of 5 January 1988, 608 (1988) of 14 January 1988, 636 (1989) of 6 July 1989, 681 (1990) of 20 December 1990, 726 (1992) of 6 January 1992 and 799 (1992) of 18 December 1992,

Taking note of the reports of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories submitted to the General Assembly,

Deeply alarmed at the non-respect by Israel of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and the failure to apply it to the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory and to civilian persons in other occupied Arab territories,

Welcoming once more the ongoing Middle East peace process started at Madrid, in particular the signing in Cairo on 4 May 1994 of the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, and regretting the hindrance of the peace process due to the Israeli attitude,

1. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem, itself constitutes a gross violation of human rights;

2. Also reaffirms that the continued imposition of collective punishment in the form of the closure of Palestinian territories since February 1996 and the isolation of occupied areas, after the signing of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington D.C., on 13 September 1993, constitute grave violations of the principles of international humanitarian law and of the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

3. Reaffirms that the installation of Israeli civilians in the Palestinian and other Arab occupied territories is illegal and constitutes a gross violation of article 49 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949;

4. Affirms that the persistence of Israel in maintaining and expanding its settlements and establishing new ones is contrary to the peace process;

5. Calls upon the States parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to ensure respect by Israel for the Convention and to secure protection for the Palestinian people under occupation, until the end of this occupation, in accordance with article 1 of the Convention;

6. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, to self-determination without foreign interference and to establish their independent sovereign State on their national soil, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and with resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Commission on Human Rights;

7. Reaffirms Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/40 of 26 July 1996 on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan;

8. Calls upon Israel:

(a) To comply with its international obligations, respect the rules of international law and apply the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories;

(b) To desist from establishing Israeli settlements in the Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories, and calls for them to be dismantled and confirms that all measures taken by Israel with the purpose of annexing or of altering the demographic, cultural, religious or other character of those territories, including Jerusalem, are illegal, null and void;

(c) To comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and of the Security Council, particularly resolution 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981, in which the Council inter alia decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;

(d) To desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from its repressive measures against them and from all other practices mentioned in the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, and emphasizes that the displaced persons of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their properties, and calls once again upon Member States not to recognize any of the legislative or administrative measures and actions referred to in the present resolution;

9. Affirms that the realization of a comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East requires the complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and to establish their independent State, the complete withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Syrian Golan and the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from southern Lebanon and West Bekaa, in conformity with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978) and in accordance with the principle of land for peace;

10. Reiterates its call upon the Palestinian Authority:

(a) To comply strictly with all current international norms in the field of human rights;

(b) To provide greater access to its prisons and interrogators through international organizations;

(c) To continue its cooperation with the advisory services offered by the Centre for Human Rights with a view to fostering human rights institutions;

11. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Sub-Commission, at its forty-ninth session, with an updated list of reports, studies, statistics and other documents relating to the question of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, with the texts of the most recent relevant United Nations decisions and resolutions and the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, and with all other information relevant to the implementation of the present resolution.

Adopted on 20 August 1996
by secret ballot by 15 votes to 4,
with 5 abstentions.




IV. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS: ACTIVITIES AND INFORMATION

1. Al Haq, in a press release issued on 22 July 1996, had an article on increased settler violence against the Palestinians in the District of Nablus (Fax: 972 2 995 4903).

2. Report on Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, in its volume 6, number 4, of July 1996, had articles on Israeli settlement plans, the United States policy statements and the new Israeli Government’s guidelines and Mr. Netanyahu’s view on the question (Fax: 202 835 3651).

3. News from Within, in its volume XII, No. 7 of July 1996, had articles on the Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli Government, the future of Jerusalem, and the Palestinian economy (Fax: 972 2 253 151).

4. The Democracy and Workers Rights Center in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in its 16 July 1996 release, had an article on the excessive violence against Palestinians by Israeli border police following the change of power in Israel (Fax: 972 2 995 2985).

5. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, in its closure update No. 13, had a detailed report on the closure imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip (Fax: 07 824 776/825 893).


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