Question of Palestine home
United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
7 October 1993
United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization
Hundred and forty-second Session
142 EX/11 Add.
PARIS, 7 October 1993
Item 5.3.1 of the provisional agenda
APPLICATION OF 26 C/RESOLUTION 16
CONCERNING EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
In this document the Director-General reports on developments which have taken place since the preparation of 142 EX/11.
1. Document 142 EX/11 and information provided in paragraphs 2 to 5 below were prepared before the major historical events of September 1993, beginning with the mutual recognition and the signing of a declaration of principles between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Fully aware of the magnitude and implications of these events, the Director-General is giving them special mention in his oral report to the Executive Board at its present session (142 EX/INF.3). The Director-General established an intersectoral working group to begin designing UNESCO’s contribution within the Organization’s fields of competence to the consolidation of the peace process, that now will concentrate on the development of Gaza and Jericho. The Executive Board, in its deliberations on agenda items dealing with the situation of educational and cultural institutions in the occupied Arab territories in conformity with the relevant resolutions and decisions of UNESCO’s governing bodies, will certainly wish to reflect at this stage on the future role of UNESCO in relation to the new historical context. Meanwhile, and pending any directives the Board may wish to formulate in this regard, the additional information provided below has been prepared in line with previous reports on the matter.
2. Recent activities to assist in the development of the Palestinian University (Al-Quds) included the conducting of a workshop on distance education held from 28 to 30 June in Amman, Jordan, and the undertaking of an evaluation and field study of distance education.
3. In a response dated 29 July 1993 to the Director-Generals letter of 15 July seeking the co-operation of the Israeli Government in giving effect to Executive Board 141 EX/Decision 5.2.1 as well as to previous decisions and resolutions of the Executive Board and the General Conference, the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO informed the Director-General that ‘all educational institutions in the administered territories, including the universities, are functioning normally, without any interference whatsoever by the governmental authorities. If the normal course of activity of these institutions and universities has been, in the course of the last year, disrupted, it was as a direct consequence of terrorist activities and of calls for strikes imposed upon the students by terrorist organizations’. The Permanent Delegate added that ‘therefore, we consider of no use the proposed visit of the territories by your personal representative. Moreover, in light of the current intensive negotiations for the establishing of an Interim Self-Government Authority (Autonomy) in the territories, having education as one of its components, such a visit could even be counter-productive’. The Permanent Delegate further stated that ‘it is our intimate conviction that the time has come for the Executive Board to refrain from automatically adopting past resolutions which reflect a bygone era’.
4. In a reply dated 6 August 1993 to a note verbale of 24 June 1993 to the Director-General from the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the Syrian Arab Republic to UNESCO, regarding implementation of 141 EX/Decision 5.2.1, the Acting Assistant Director-General for External Relations informed the Permanent Delegate that the Director-General had communicated the Executive Board decision to the Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO, seeking the co-operation of the Israeli Government in giving effect to this decision, and that the Secretariat was making every effort to identify funds for scholarships for students from the Golan Heights. Subsequently, an amount of $20,000 has been released for this purpose.
5. On 9 September 1993, the dates of 27 November to 1 December 1993 were confirmed for a workshop on ‘Developing a Secondary Education Curriculum for the Palestinian People’, to be held under the auspices of the Palestinian Council of Higher Education, with the financial and technical assistance of UNESCO through the Participation Programme.