Question of Palestine home
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
28 August 1992
NINTH UNITED NATIONS
INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING
ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Palais des Nations, Geneva
26-28 August 1992
Declaration adopted by the Ninth United Nations
International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine
Statement of H.E. Mr. Antoine Blanca, Director General of the
United Nations Office at Geneva and Under-Secretary-General for
Human Rights, Representative of the Secretary-General
Statement of H.E. Mr. Oliver R. Tambo, Chairman of the African National
Congress, delivered at the Ninth United Nations International
NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine
Statement of H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee
of the Palestine Liberation Organization
List of participants and observers
1. The Ninth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 26 to 28 August 1992. The meeting was convened in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 46/75 of 11 December 1991.
2. The meeting was attended by 173 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 59 of which attended as observers. It was also attended by several observers from Governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations specialized agencies, bodies and programmes, and Palestine (see annex VI below).
3. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was represented by a delegation composed of H.E. Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé, Chairman of the Committee, H.E. Mr. Victor Camilleri, Rapporteur of the Committee, H.E. Mr. Victor H. Batiouk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations and H.E. Dr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine. H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ennaceur, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, also joined the Committee delegation.
4. The programme of the meeting was elaborated by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in consultation with the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP). Its main theme was "Protection and Statehood".
5. Three panels were held. On Panel 1, entitled "Protection", presentations were made by the following experts: Mr. Albert Aghazarian (Palestinian), Mr. Mohammed Faéq (Egypt) and Mr. Meir Pail (Israel).
6. On Panel 2, entitled "Statehood", presentations were made by Mr. Radwan Abu Ayyash (Palestinian), Mr. Samih Al-Qassem (Israel), Mr. Michael Lanigan (Ireland), Mr. Abdul Kaiyum Nashter (India), and Mr. Abie Nathan (Israel).
7. On Panel 3, entitled "The NGO Process (ICCP)", the main speaker was Ms. Jeanne Butterfield (United States of America), former Chairman of the North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (NACC) and Don Betz (United States of America), Chairman of the ICCP.
8. Twelve workshops were also held on the following topics:
I. Land, water and settlements;
II. Protection needs of children;
III. Human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories with particular reference to deportations;
IV. Family Reunification Campaign;
V. Protection needs of women;
VI. Arts and culture;
VII. Supporting education;
VIII. Demilitarization and regional security;
IX. Mobilizing United Nations support;
X. Housing rights;
XI. Water planning;
9. The meeting adopted a final declaration as well as proposals emanating from the workshops. (See annexes I and II below).
A. Opening statements
STATEMENT OF THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
10. A statement was made by
Mr. Antoine Blanca
, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. (See annex III below).
STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE
OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé
stated that the annual meeting was taking place at an extremely sensitive time in the history of the Palestinian struggle and of the international efforts to bring the Arab-Israeli conflict and its core, the question of Palestine, closer to a peaceful resolution.
12. In adopting resolution 46/75 on 11 December 1991, the General Assembly of the United Nations, once again by an overwhelming majority, had reaffirmed a set of principles for the achievement of comprehensive peace, namely:
(a) The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and from the other occupied Arab territories;
(b) Guaranteeing arrangements for security of all States in the region, including those named in General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, within secure and internationally recognized boundaries;
(c) Resolving the problem of the Palestinian refugees in conformity with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, and subsequent relevant resolutions;
(d) Dismantling the Israeli settlements in the territories occupied since 1967;
(e) Guaranteeing freedom of access to holy places, religious buildings and sites.
13. The historic declaration of independence and the Palestinian peace initiative launched by Chairman Arafat at the General Assembly at Geneva in 1988 had laid the foundation for the current peace process. The Committee called on the current Government in Israel to respond positively to the Palestinian position and to recognize the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, whose realization was essential for the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.
14. There was no doubt that Israel's determination to maintain the occupation had resulted in a consistent pattern of gross violations of the human rights of Palestinians in contravention of Israel's international obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, all of which Israel ratified in 1991.
15. The Committee had intensified its efforts to reach and mobilize the international community through the organization of regional seminars and NGO symposia and meetings, briefings for journalists, and the publication of studies, information notes, bulletins and other documentation.
16. In an effort to make its activities even more efficient, the Committee had decided to devote them as far as possible to specific priority themes, and in that regard, the Economic and Social Council, at its recent session in New York, had adopted a resolution inviting the Committee to devote one of its seminars to the question of assistance to the Palestinian people.
STATEMENT BY MR. DONALD BETZ, CHAIRMAN OF THE INTERNATIONAL
COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Mr. Don Betz
, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine, recalled that Land Day had been commemorated last 30 March, but there was little of the original land of Palestine left to save and those last remnants were directly threatened by expanding settlements, land confiscations, and numerous prejudicial edicts that controlled water, housing, education, churches, mosques, movement and lives. The clear and present danger remained that "new facts" created by Israel would render any deliberation by any body meaningless.
18. The twin themes of this meeting were "Protection and Statehood". The call for protection of the Palestinian people was a primal cry to save what was left of the land, to save the children, to save the people, and to save the future. The call for protection was a penetrating demand on the global conscience to aid the Palestinians so they may survive, as a people, as a nation, and an essential prerequisite to preserve and expand their essential human and national rights.
19. The United Nations and the NGOs must continue to revitalize their efforts and their partnership to meet the challenge of occupation and to facilitate the path to a two-State solution. But, it was also the United Nations which should re-examine its redefined responsibilities, its mandate and move to extend real protection to Palestinians under occupation.
20. The speaker pledged hard work to help the Palestinians. The criteria by which this work must be judged included answers to these questions: "Did our efforts save a single life?" "Was a Palestinian child safer today than he/she was yesterday because of what we dare to do?"
21. The opening session heard addresses by H.E. Mr. Oliver R. Tambo, National Chairman of the African National Congress, and H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (See below, annexes IV and V, respectively).
B. Panel discussion
Mr. Albert Aghazarian
(Palestinian), Director of Public Relations and Professor of History at Bir Zeit University, recalled that juridically the representatives of Palestine had not participated in the Madrid Conference. It was rather a Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that had participated.
23. Turning to the current situation in the occupied territory, he said that the harassment by the Israelis had continued using open and disguised methods. The access to the occupied territories was a big problem for thousands of Palestinians concentrated in Jordan. Sixty thousand people were impatiently waiting for their turn to cross the bridge that was leading to the occupied territories. Many of them were living in temporary shelters pending their return to their relatives in the occupied territories.
24. The speaker stated that he was opposed to Palestinians from the occupied territories not disobeying Israeli authorities for fear that such conduct would give rise to reprisals. He called upon the NGO community to mobilize and act rather than to sit back and wait. He stressed the importance of having international protection and applying United Nations resolutions as long as the peace process continued.
Mr. Mohammed Fa'eq
(Egypt), Secretary-General, Arab Organization for Human Rights, noted the continuation of repressive measures, including discriminatory legislation. These practices had been constantly aggravated ever since 1967. The illegal restrictions and collective punishments of Palestinians were continuing, including denial of the right to education, demolishing of houses, administrative detention.
26. The military forces were usurping natural resources, including water, and were killing Palestinians. Recently, the occupation forces had been given greater freedom of action. His organization had compiled a list of victims of arrest and torture.
27. The deportation of Palestinians was one of the most flagrant types of violations of human rights and was connected with the policy of resettlement. Such actions were in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
28. Applications for family reunions were refused. Family reunions were considered by the Israelis to be a privilege and not a right. Children were being deported daily because of their parentage. Pressure should be exercised on the occupation authorities to desist from such practices.
Mr. Meir Pail
(Israel), Director of B'Tselem, Israeli Human Rights Center, predicted that Palestinian autonomy might be established next year in April or June. He voiced his agreement with Yasser Arafat's proposal for a two-State solution. An independent Palestinian State might emerge within the next four or five years.
30. The constitutional and juridical functioning of the State could be supervised by United Nations bodies. European Governments and other organizations should also be ready to promote the organization of the Palestinian State by training police officers and other individuals who would serve on State institutions.
31. The Palestinian authorities should also be helped in their establishment of the State. Financial resources should be found to be invested in the infrastructure and to be used for promoting the Palestinian economy.
32. The creation of a legal and educational system for Palestine should be envisaged. International support had to be adjusted to the needs of the new Palestinian State as it developed. The panelist expressed his objection to the Jewish settlement policy in the occupied territories. A Palestinian State, starting with autonomy, would constitute the beginning of a new era.
Mr. Radwan Abu-Ayyash
(Palestinian), Palestine Social Consolidation Forum, Jerusalem, drew attention to the attempts undertaken by Israel to divide Palestine geographically and politically. The division of Palestine into the West Bank and Gaza Strip was a part of Israel's policy to disunite the Palestinians.
34. Prior to 1967, the number of settlements had been limited, but now the building of settlements had been intensified. The new Israeli Government did not attempt to change the settlement situation. It maintained the status quo of settlements established by the previous Government.
35. Palestinians had demonstrated their determination to promote their political and national identity. Through the
, the Palestinians had reaffirmed their rejection of the Israeli imposition and had made tireless efforts to make progress in achieving a united Palestinian State.
36. The lack of progress in the current peace talks would not discourage the Palestinians from carrying on their struggle.
Mr. Samih Al-Qassem
(Israel), editor-in-chief of
, a Nazareth newspaper, outlined his views on the cultural relations between the Israelis and the Arabs, as well as on the cultural heritage and contributions of the Palestinian people.
38. Islamic Arab culture had great diversity. In the cultural field, fruitful cooperation should be established between Israelis and Arabs. At the same time, it was important to preserve the identity of Arab culture.
39. The Palestinian people had reached a very high level of culture and had made important contributions throughout history, up to the present day. They should be placed on an equal footing so that they could share their culture with the rest of the world.
Mr. Michael Lanigan
(Ireland), Senator from Ireland, said Palestinian people have suffered for too long because of the continuing absence of involvement of the international community in their plight.
had changed the attitudes of many Palestinians towards the methods of their political leader, the Palestine Liberation Organization.
42. The speaker felt that one of the most successful initiatives that had taken place over the past few years had been the holding of conferences which highlighted the non-compliance of the Israeli Government with international law. International obligations, particularly those pertaining to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, must be adhered to.
43. The conferences which had taken place concerning those violations had been extremely important in advancing the just Palestinian cause among national and international jurists and lawyers in general. Those conferences should continue, and the NGOs should be more active in organizing those meetings. United Nations bodies should take part in the seminars since the United Nations had taken similar action in the case of Iraq when Iraq had contravened international law on border issues.
44. Since Palestine was the cradle of three of the great religions of the world, it was now extremely important to make a major attempt at getting together the leaders of those faiths to do an in-depth study of the problems which had been created by the Israelis since their annexation of Jerusalem. The influence of religious leaders should not be underestimated. A great effort should be made to use them in the fight for justice and peace in the Middle East.
Mr. Abdul Kaiyum Nashter
(India), Joint Secretary of the Indo-Arab Society of Bombay, said that ever since the Society was founded in 1954, it had attempted to promote the Palestinian cause through exhibitions and seminars organized in various parts of India.
46. In order to fulfil the Palestinian aspirations, the speaker felt that further Israeli settlements in the occupied territories should be stopped and efforts be continued to arrive at a negotiated settlement which would give full autonomy to the Palestinians. It was essential that the Palestinians, especially the PLO, be given an opportunity to have direct talks with the Israelis and other partners in the peace process in order to achieve a lasting solution.
47. It was encouraging that the new Labour-led Government of Yitzhak Rabin had shown the will to arrive at a political solution on Palestine. The NGO efforts should aim at encouraging all moderate approaches and shun earlier doubts or mistrust. In this era of economic and political cooperation, positive attempts should be made to end the 44-year-long saga of pain and misery in Palestine.
Mr. Abie Nathan
(Israeli), a peace activist, told the participants that as a peace activist he had attempted to bring together for negotiations PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and the leaders of Israel, but his efforts had been in vain. Mr. Arafat's peace initiative had been interpreted by Israeli authorities as sheer propaganda. Although Mr. Arafat had recognized the existence of the State of Israel, the Israeli side had missed several opportunities to hold peace talks.
49. He said "extremists" in Israel were against the establishment of a Palestinian State, but at the same time, there were many Israelis who, more than ever, supported the establishment of a Palestinian State that would coexist with Israel.
50. The desire to live in peace was the big concern of the majority of Israelis. Stones or bullets would not solve the problem. The solution could only be found by the people in the area, and Israel could not have better people as neighbours than the Palestinians.
The NGO Process ICCP
Ms. Jeanne Butterfield
, (United States of America), former Chairman of the North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (NACC), noted that NGO activities undertaken on behalf of the Palestinians had greatly developed over the past decade. However, a number of weaknesses were to be noted, both among the organizations concerned and the Palestinians, among them that Palestinian factions should realize that their differences were a hindrance to cooperation.
52. The NGOs and the Palestinians had failed to take an overall perspective. There had been no common strategy in the case of Palestine. In addition, there was the danger of complacency and the lack of a sense of urgency, as well as a lack of understanding of whom the NGOs represented.
53. She suggested that NGOs continue their role in educating the public on the question of Palestine. That work should be accompanied by efforts to stimulate public action. Since human rights violations continued to increase in the occupied territories, various actions should immediately be taken, such as a call for an end to special repressive units and military edicts.
54. There was a need for a better use of the slight resources available to NGOs, particularly in North America and Europe, and for lobbying national Governments and members of Parliament on behalf of the Palestinians and their right to form a free and independent State.
Mr. Donald Betz
(United States of America), Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee on the Question of Palestine, reminded the participants of their continuing responsibilities as NGOs active on the question of Palestine. He reviewed in detail the dramatic evolution of the NGO movement on the issue and highlighted the levels of cooperation that had developed between the NGO network and the United Nations.
56. The NGOs and the United Nations had developed a symbiotic relationship and both had made substantive contributions to public awareness of the issues since the International Conference on the Question of Palestine (1983). The challenges to both the NGOs and the United Nations had changed over the span of their joint work and, to remain relevant and effective, both must re-examine their work continually and critically.
57. He noted the impact of technology on the growth of the NGO network and cited the outstanding work that had been done in North America such as the refined "fax tree" system.
58. He also praised the reorganization efforts of the European Coordinating Committee, as well as its focus on Brussels and the issues of a changing Europe. He noted that organizations efforts in Latin America, Asia and Africa were at various stages of development and identified the obstacles those regions faced in organizing an effective regional network.
59. He concluded by emphasizing that the NGO network, linked through the ICCP and its office at Geneva, was only as effective as the commitment of the individual organizations that comprised it, and stressed that financial support remained the principal barrier thwarting NGO efforts.
DECLARATION ADOPTED BY THE
NINTH UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING
ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
1. We, the non-governmental organizations gathered at the Ninth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine, are aware that we have convened at a moment of great challenge and great opportunity.
2. We unconditionally affirm the rights of self-determination, statehood and return of the Palestinian people as guaranteed by the United Nations Charter and all relevant United Nations resolutions, especially General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III).
3. We are motivated by the genuine desire to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of international legitimacy as provided by all relevant United Nations resolutions. We call upon the Israeli people to recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to return, and to a sovereign and independent State, so that mutual recognition for the rights of both peoples can be achieved. We demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Palestinian and Arab territories, including East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon.
4. We reaffirm that general principles of international law offer a sound and appropriate basis for any long-term, comprehensive solution to the conflict in the region. The Israeli Government is obligated to the Palestinians and the whole international community to negotiate on the basis of all United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 237 (1967) and 338 (1973), the specific terms of reference contained in the letters of invitation to the Peace Conference, which embody the principle of land for peace.
5. While we are meeting at Geneva, peace negotiations are being resumed in Washington. We note with dismay that although 10 months have passed since this peace process was initiated in Madrid, no concrete progress has been made in securing the protection of the Palestinian people and their legitimate national rights. We reiterate that we believe that an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations at which all parties to the conflict, including Israel and the PLO on an equal footing, are represented is the best guarantee for the implementation of a just peace. The PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the guarantor of Palestinian unity. We call for the official participation of the PLO in the entire peace process.
6. We consider it most urgent that the United Nations provide immediate and sustained protection for the Palestinians under occupation. We call for the establishment of a United Nations force to protect the Palestinians. We shall urge our Governments to promote such a decision in the United Nations. It is the prime duty of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention which, under article 1 of the Convention, are required to ensure adherence to its precepts. Further, NGOs concerned with protection for the Palestinians should establish permanent monitoring and witness groups in the occupied territories in order to enhance public awareness and to pressure Governments to urge Israel to end the occupation.
7. We call upon Israel, as an important "confidence-building measure", to recognize immediately the
applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to all the territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem. The protections and guarantees of the Convention must be recognized and implemented without delay.
8. We denounce the Israeli government settlement policy in the West Bank and Gaza and the increased settlement activities in East Jerusalem. These settlements are illegal and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and United Nations Security Council resolution 465 (1980) and other relevant Security Council resolutions and should be dismantled. We strongly protest against the United States Administration's decision to grant Israel $10 billion in loan guarantees without any pledge from the Israeli Government that it will cease building settlements which are illegal in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. We do not accept the distinction between political and strategic settlements offered by this Israeli Government as it appears to be a tactic to avoid returning all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, and remains an obstacle to peace. We call upon all Governments not to donate or pledge any financial or other support to Israel until it officially pledges to cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
9. We demand an end to the Israeli policy of arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, and expulsion, and urge the return of all deportees, including those whose permits expired while they were outside their homeland. We further call for an immediate halt to all summary deportation and transfer of Palestinians without residence rights; for the immediate provision for Palestinian re-entry into occupied Palestinian territories; and for the immediate granting of residence status to all members of Palestinian families.
10. We also call upon Israel to recognize the rights of Palestinians in Israel to full equality, rights for which they have been fighting since 1948. We denounce the ongoing discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel. We condemn the Israeli confiscation of their lands which has recently accelerated. Their national and human rights must be considered in any further comprehensive solution of the Palestinian problem.
11. We strongly condemn the continuing Israeli policy of systematic "iron-fist" repression against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories. We point out that in spite of Israel's release of 800 administrative detainees, at least 14,000 Palestinians remain imprisoned. We note that in spite of the cancellation of deportation orders against 11 Palestinians have been changed to an additional six months' administrative detention under new administrative detention orders. We call on Israeli authorities to stop the killing and injuring of civilians, collective punishment, the sealing and demolition of houses, detention, torture and imprisonment without trial, expropriation of land and water resources, the closing of educational institutions, curfews, and restrictions on the free movement of Palestinians must end immediately.
12. We call upon Israel immediately to stop using the British Emergency Defence Regulations of 1945, under which major human rights violations, such as expulsions, administrative detention, house demolitions and sealings, extended curfews and other collective punishments are perpetrated.
13. We call upon Israel to rescind all standing military orders that have codified human rights abuses and legalized them, particularly military orders that sanction administrative detention, restrictions of fundamental freedoms and rights such as free speech, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of movement and travel, academic freedom, excessive taxation and other severe restrictions on the free development of the economy and the society of the occupied Palestinian territories.
14. We express our full support for the ongoing
, the struggle of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories for self-determination, freedom and independence, which has already played a vital role in underlining the urgency of the need to reach a just and peaceful solution in the region.
15. We demand that all operations as well as all standing orders and regulations relating to the undercover army units called "Samson" and "Cherry", among others, be cancelled and that the so-called "special units" be disbanded immediately in order to put a stop to summary executions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
16. We believe that massive Jewish immigration to Israel continues to pose a great threat to Palestinians' survival on their land and is an obstacle to the resolution of the Palestinian problem due to the ensuing demographic changes. We point out that this immigration is being supported, funded and encouraged even as 90 per cent of the 370,000 Palestinians deported from Kuwait (as well as other Palestinians from the Gulf) continue to be denied re-entry to their homeland; while thousands of Palestinian families continue to be forcibly separated and their members administratively deported; while thousands of Palestinian children continue to be born, even inside the occupied territories, with no legal status or right to residence; and while the Palestinian right to return is still denied. We call upon new immigrants to Israel and all Israelis to refuse to settle in the occupied Palestinian territories, and thus contribute to the efforts for a just settlement of the question of Palestine. We call upon all States to facilitate immigration of Jews who wish to move to countries other than Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
17. We expect each and every State party to the Geneva Conventions and every Member of the United Nations to do all in their power, pursuing all legal means at their disposal, including sanctions, to bring Israeli practices and law in the occupied Palestinian territories into compliance with international law and standards as a matter of legal contractual obligations by Israel as a State party to the Geneva Conventions and other applicable conventions and instruments of international law. Each NGO accepts its responsibilities to exert pressure on their own Government on this matter.
18. We demand the extension of the protection of life and human rights to the Palestinians in neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon. The creation and expansion of Palestinian NGOs in Lebanon, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic should be integrated with the work of the international NGO movement.
19. We support comprehensive measures to control and eliminate weapons of mass destruction worldwide, but especially in the Middle East. The international community should strongly urge Israel to sign and ratify the nuclear non-proliferation Treaty. In this context NGOs are urged to support the campaign for Mordechai Vanunu's immediate release from the brutal and inhumane confinement he is suffering for alerting the world to the Israeli nuclear threat.
20. We conducted some of our deliberations in workshops, each devoted to a relevant issue. These reports are appended and include suggested strategies of actions for the NGO network to coordinate and pursue over the next year.
21. We warmly thank the Committee for convening this international meeting and we greatly appreciate the presence of the Committee delegation. We extend a warm welcome to His Excellency Ambassador Kéba Birane Cissé as the new Chairman of the Committee. We also pay a tribute to the excellent work of Her Excellency Mrs. Absa Claude Diallo, his predecessor, and wish her full success in her new appointment. We thank the Division for Palestinian Rights and all others of the United Nations Secretariat including the interpreters who so valuably assisted us. We express our appreciation to the distinguished experts who spoke here and added to our deliberations. We request that, in keeping with recent practice, that the 1993 international NGO meeting be convened in Vienna.
22. We wish to express a special note of thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of the State of Palestine, and Mr. Oliver Tambo, leader of the African National Congress of South Africa, for their important and insightful comments. We all consider their participation in our meeting to be a distinct honour.
23. We request the Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey this Declaration and attached workshop reports to the General Assembly at its forty-seventh session as part of the Committee's report.
Land, water and settlements
Themes of presentations by panelists
: settlement expansion and related road infrastructure and development planning: Palestinian towns and villages are hindered from growing, Jewish settlements' growth is fostered: that is, "judaization" of occupied territories ("Seven Stars" plan, national master plan, following several other global plans since 1967).
Another important question: Israeli control on water resources in the occupied territories (more than 80 per cent of all occupied territories' water resources is taken by Israeli settlements, thus leading to destruction of Palestinian agricultural sector and jeopardizing all sides of life and environment).
The role of international NGOs must go beyond assistance to developing resources: they must push their Governments to press the Israelis to accept international legitimacy, and respect the right of a person to live in his homeland peacefully. Settlements are not security for Israel.
In the discussion
: (Note concerning European involvement in settlements and "judaization" programmes: European community is involved in parts of road No. 60: Rabin says it will continue. Italian companies, European consultants, are involved in settlements or judaization programmes, NGOs must act to create a European attitude to stop support to Israeli plans.
Main action proposal
International campaign about settlements:
- To publicize the fact that they are going on ("strategic" settlements, 11,000 housing units in occupied territories, but also settlements within the "Green Line". Raise consciousness worldwide to stop Israeli projects.
- To exert pressure aiming at a total freeze of settlements, under the menace of financial and economic sanctions:
(a) Interruption of public financial grants and guarantees to loans (all types of financial grants and guarantees, in order to avoid the risk of transfer within the budget from one bookkeeping entry to another), and interruption of economic aid.
(b) Interruption of private economic and financial relations.
Such a campaign requires:
- monitoring of settlement expansion,
- monitoring of public financial grants and loan guarantees and economic aid and of private economic and financial relations; monitoring of effects of this public aid and private relations on settlement expansion.
Monitoring can be done by Palestinian NGOs; international NGOs are needed for the international campaign based on this monitoring. Once they have the names of companies of their countries working in the West Bank, for instance, European NGOs can start acting.
Information of international NGOs about the work of monitoring done by Palestinian NGOs, as a basis for the campaign.
1. A list of different institutions (in the occupied territories) and inside the Green Line) who do monitoring (persons or associations) is to be collected by Mr. Abdallah, who will give it to Kathy Bergen, who will in turn circulate it to international NGOs of adjoined list of participants. After that, NGOs can get in touch directly with these institutions.
2. Anything Mr. Abdallah wants to communicate, he faxes to Kathy Bergen.
3. There is no "duplication" with the task force already organized by the ICCP during last year over land, settlements and water, since this communication system through Mr. Abdallah is clearly action oriented, not "general information" oriented (for instance: name of a European company implied in settlements activities, to serve pressure action).
Address: Mr. Abdallah Abdallah
Arab Studies Society PALGRIC
P.O. Box 20479
Other action proposals
- Pressure the Israeli Government through the European Community to lift its control over alleged State-owned land which is in fact Palestinian-owned land not registered with State authorities, for the purpose of housing;
- Olive tree project: reclaiming lands in the occupied territories that are potential for confiscation and planting that land with olive trees to protect it from confiscation;
- Two proposals concerning raising world awareness:
(a) Translation of the book, "The Seven Stars Plan";
(b) The review of Maxim Ghilan might publish regularly and with minimal delay all arriving new information about settlement "progress" and water problem, aided by the proposed communication system through Mr. Abdallah and PALGRIC.
Protection needs of children
Dr. Ahmed Bakr
, Professor of Education at Bir Zeit University, described the situation of the children from the occupied territories subject to stress, violence and military oppression. What is particular about these children is that their parents and grandparents suffered from similar pressures at the time of the British Mandate, in 1949 and in 1967, which leads to accumulated traumatic effects.
Because of the dispersion of the Palestinian people, on of the main challenges for a future Palestinian State will be to give each individual her/his place and create structures allowing a follow-up of the people who have suffered from a prolonged trauma.
In the short term, structures allowing a follow-up of the mental health situation should be created and ways should be thought of on how to receive the Palestinians from abroad and a clarification of moral values has to be done for the children, they who live in a surrounding where there is such a difference between what is said and what is done.
Mrs. Yoshiko Tanaka
, Member of the Campaign for Children of Palestine, raised the issue on how to create an efficient network among the NGOs dealing with the children's situation. The priorities are then to create pressure for a respect of law (the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Convention on the Rights of Children) and the annulment of military orders, to fight against poverty and the bad sanitary situation, to improve the schooling and to ensure a mental health programme. The respect of human rights remains essential and the changes within the Israeli Government will be measured only through an improvement of the respect of human rights. We should now lead a campaign through the media on the rights of the children, have the NGOs put pressure on their Governments so they call for respect of these rights, encourage and promote the United Nations specialized agencies, create a network of NGOs working on this topic, coordinate them and promote the Children Task Force so it can work in a more satisfactory way.
Mrs. Najat Aridi
, Secretary of Palestinian National Committee for Children, described the situation of children outside Palestine, and particularly in refugee camps, talking in detail about the camps in Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and Egypt. The great majority of the 1.35 million children living outside Palestine live in refugee camps in a very difficult economic, sanitary and scholastic situation. The Gulf War aggravated this situation even more since thousands of Palestinians working in Kuwait came to live in the camps and funds from these workers and from other Gulf countries were cut. UNRWA often cannot bring the help it is supposed to. Volunteer committees which try to improve the situation are often not well coordinated. In Lebanon, the war and the current bombings lead to a dispersion of the refugees which makes it practically impossible for the children to attend school. Pressure has to be put on Israel so it stops its politics of aggression and on the Governments so that UNRWA receives the means it needs.
The debates which followed highlighted the importance of the coordination and cooperation within the occupied territories on one hand and on the international level on the other hand. In 1991, in Vienna, the Children Task Force was created and though it did not work in a satisfactory way, it must be developed and might be the basis of this cooperation. A precise plan of action should be defined in order to have other NGOs and United Nations agencies collaborate with it. UNICEF, UNESCO, UNRWA and Defence for Children International should be associated with the process.
The cooperation within the occupied territories should begin at the level of the towns and villages, then grow to the level of the region and finally extend to a larger scale, including the Palestinians from abroad. A global view and global structures are necessary for all these children in the region, and around the world will be one day the citizens of the Palestinian State we are calling for. The cooperation and coordination should be based on a multi-sectoral way of thinking (including women's committees, health and educational structures, etc.).
The child cannot be considered outside his environment and programmes promoting the strengthening of family structures should find support.
It should be emphasized that professionals in the place have to be part of the programmes.
Children's rights have to be energetically defended and the action plan for the respect of the Declaration of Children's Rights supported. Children's rights violations should be monitored and wide information concerning the programmes given by the international NGOs in order not only to raise funds, which is essential, but also to ensure the security of the programmes for schools and children's houses which are subject to attack.
Human rights: (especially deportations)
Mr. Mohammed Fa'eq
, Panelist (Arab Organization for Human Rights), stated that there were two central issues concerning the human rights situation in the occupied territories. First, he referred to the decision by the Israeli authorities to expel 11 Palestinians, who still remain in administrative detention. He encouraged the NGOs to mount a campaign for their release. Secondly, he discussed the right of return to their previous homes, said that it was their right to return to their previous homes, irrespective of the fact that these homes were located inside the Green Line or not. He indicated that this right should not be subject to any United Nations resolutions, since it is guaranteed in the major international human rights conventions.
Mr. Ossama Odeh
(Federation of Defence of Freedom Committees) discussed the situation regarding the 11 Palestinians who were issued deportation orders. He stated that he is one of their lawyers, and that he was recently informed that Mr. Rabin had withdrawn these orders, and that he had placed them in administrative detention instead. He added that the new order amounted to a human rights violation since they had not been charged with committing any offence. He is particularly concerned by this new development since, although their administrative detention order is only for a period of six months, this period can be extended indefinitely.
Mrs. Siham Mohammed
, wife of one of the 11 Palestinian detainees, Hassan Abdallah, stated that her husband has had a history of harassment and detention with the Israeli authorities. Mr. Abdullah is a writer and a member of the Union of Writers in the occupied territories; he is also a journalist and is a member of various professional organizations for journalists. It is believed that his deportation order was issued on the charge of belonging to an organization that endangers the security of the State of Israel. She believes that these charges were issued due to his journalistic activities, and they therefore represent a violation of the freedom of speech. She also stressed the fact that any deportation order not only affects the person against whom the order was issued, but also the person's entire family. Finally, she stated that the deportation and detention orders had no legal basis since they were being carried out with a political motive in mind.
The participants raised some very important points which outlined their opinions in terms of the general human rights situation in the occupied territories.
The discussion and recommendations can be summarized as follows:
- The need for the Israeli authorities to repeal the laws governing the occupied territories, which were enacted by the British Mandate in 1945;
- To pressure and inform government legislators of human rights since they were the creators of the laws themselves, and were often ignorant of the major international human rights conventions;
- The need to achieve a free press and to guarantee the freedom of opinion in both Israel and the occupied territories since that would create an environment where officials would have to take into account an outcry in public opinion if the violations were known;
- The need to pressure the Israelis to change their present views with respect to law and order, since law in Israel is only a matter of convenience rather than a binding legal and moral imperative;
- The need for NGOs to inform not only their public, but also their government officials of the violations against international law which are being committed and passed by the Israel Knesset;
- The need for many of the NGOs to adopt a more professional attitude in terms of their knowledge of the major international conventions in general, and their basic knowledge of law and its application in particular;
- The need for NGOs to increase their focus on Palestinians living inside the Green Line. It was pointed out that there were more than 750,000 Palestinians inside Israel, and that over a third of them were not allowed to return to live in their original homes; and that over 93 per cent of their land inside Israel had been confiscated. Those Palestinians are in a particularly distressing situation today due to the massive Jewish influx from the previous Soviet Union;
- The need for NGOs to develop new and innovative ways to tackle the human rights issue. The 'old' ways have become a matter of routine which is decreasing public interest in the violation of Palestinian rights. It was recommended that a sound way to inject fresh impetus into the Palestinian human rights movement would be to set up workshops, if possible to be sponsored by the ICCP, at the upcoming World Human Rights Conference which is taking place in Vienna in June of 1993;
- The need to accelerate and to incorporate an active programme to defend the workers' rights was also raised. The representative of the Italian Trade Unions stated that her organization was embarking on a campaign to encourage the development and protection of Palestinian trade unions;
She encouraged other organizations to do likewise since the labour force in Palestine was being subjected to numerous human rights violations;
- Finally, the participants stressed the need to develop a system where information can reach them at a more rapid pace. They stated that the lack of information and the length of time that it takes to reach them took away from its effectiveness.
The family reunification campaign
Yunis Ahmed Al-Jarou
opened the workshop by noting that the denial of Palestinian family reunification by the Israeli authorities is part of a larger and historic Israeli/Zionist political programme to depopulate Palestine of Arabs. Large purges of Palestinians occurred during and just after the major wars of 1948 and 1967. Recently released Israeli documents detail some of these plans.
In times other than war, many other measures have been used to discourage Palestinians' return to their country, or outright prevent it. These include rules on how long one must stay out, rules on when one must return to maintain residency, and threats and intimidations that occur during these periods in order to strike fear of return in the individual and his/her family.
Some 95 per cent of family reunification applications are never considered seriously by the Israeli authorities. For most Palestinians, the process is only one of loss of money and time. In Gaza, collaborators and military officers collude to extort large sums of money from Palestinians who want reunification permits. Some Palestinians have paid US$10-20,000 for their permits. Separated families and the struggle they face are part and parcel of the Palestinian tragedy.
summarized the current status of family reunification in the West Bank and Gaza and presented many of the technical complications by which Palestinians find themselves surrounded. She stressed that family reunification basically does not exist.
She reported that while some 31,000 Palestinians were permitted to return to the West Bank and Gaza after losing residency in Kuwait, perhaps half of these families have at least one member who is not legally permitted to stay. These persons risk being deported as "illegal aliens", even though they may have been born in Palestine.
This is just one group caught up in the depopulation scheme created by 40 years of rules and regulations. Other groups include the non-resident spouses of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians and their children, who are not allowed to be registered on their father's identity card.
Stateless Palestinians remaining in Kuwait are now being fined 10 Kuwaiti dinars per person per day (1 KD = 4 US$). Their relatives in Gaza, even though they themselves may live in dire circumstances, are desperate to bring these family members home.
Thus far, there is no way to do this. Even if they received family reunification permits, there is no country where these stateless Palestinians can travel. This problem also applies to persons with visit permits. West Bank Palestinians, who normally can travel through Jordan, find visit permits difficult to obtain. Gazans find visit permits easier to obtain, but potential visitors have no way to get to Gaza.
These are just some of the varied and complex positions Palestinians find themselves in. They all add up to the same result: instability, insecurity, uncertainty, split families and a Palestine depopulated of Arabs.
The pending High Court case, which will deal with some family reunification issues, and the temporary restraining orders preventing deportations until this case is heard, are detailed in Beth Goldring's paper. See especially page 3 and the conclusion. She stresses that a general amnesty is only a partial and temporary solution. Palestinians must be able to control their own residency rights, and this matter requires a political change in the status of Palestinians. Family reunification is a political issue, as it is part of the larger de-arabization of Palestine programme.
1. Make the issue of family reunification part of the United Nations 1994 Year of the Family.
2. In the United States, publicize what Israel is doing to Palestinian families and tie it into the "family values" political campaign in the United States.
3. Adopt cases of Palestinians deported for lack of residency or denied reunion with spouse or parents because of lack of residency rights. Make publicity around these cases.
4. Put all pressure possible on new Israeli Government on this issue, make them prove they are, as they say, different from Likud.
5. The United Nations Security Council should be approached with a resolution on this issue.
Protection needs of children
Ms. Badia Khalaf
outlined the work of the Association of Women's Committees for Social Work in the Occupied Territories. The services provided -- education, health-related and social -- provide a basic infrastructure for some aspects of a Palestinian government.
Ms. Ayyesha Abu Moghasaid
spoke about some of the things that Palestinian women in the occupied territories suffer daily because of Israeli activities. Women prisoners are vulnerable to inhumane treatment, including insults, having their clothes removed in front of other people, sexual assault. Such conditions violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. There is also poor health care and poor and/or insufficient food.
Actions are often taken against the wives, mothers and sisters of men who are being searched by Israelis. When Palestinian homes are searched, women and children are often victims of insults, beatings, tear gas and even shootings. Women also often must spend many hours in interrogation centres.
Politically active women also suffer, for example, they are not allowed to leave the occupied territories. They are strip-searched when they visit relatives in prison.
Protection of women can only be achieved when women live in an independent State with an independent Government to protect their rights. The United Nations should support an independent Palestinian State and the rights of Palestinians. Until then, an international committee should be established to protect the rights of women, and another to defend imprisoned women and study the situation of women in prison.
Ms. Maha Nassar
spoke about the Palestinian women's movement in connection with the Palestinian national liberation movement. Palestinian women are facing a crucial stage right now, as they are involved in many movements that are coming together. The women's movement has widened since the
began. The main concerns of the Palestinian women's movement are: (1) how to raise women's consciousness and (2) how to make the framework of the women's movement more flexible to be able to bring in more active women. Other important questions being addressed are: how do we see ourselves in a Palestinian State? Should we wait until the State is formed and then demand our rights? Where are we between feminist demands and other political demands? Where do these cross? How do the PLO and political parties perceive women? How will women become legally equal to men, and what will the laws be in the new Palestinian State?
The women's movement must have a very strong grass-roots base, and also must be linked with international struggles to be able to share our experiences and information. Women cannot wait for an independent State to grant them their rights. They should fight for their causes together.
Ms. Jehad Abu Znaid
stressed the need for women to be involved in development and to receive leadership training. Women are agents of change.
When the floor was opened, several more prepared presentations were made. One woman spoke of Palestinian women in the diaspora, especially in the camps of the Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon and Jordan. Women are under enormous pressures, as they are responsible for caring for entire families. In the camps, there are high rates of illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, lack of sanitary conditions and health care facilities and discrimination. The realization of the right to self-determination would solve all these problems.
Another woman spoke about the special problems that Palestinian women who have been in Israel since 1948 face, elaborating on the three examples of high unemployment, discrimination and their responsibility to their sisters in the occupied territories. There has recently been established a women's movement against violence. Social violence is a reflection of political violence.
A paper by Zahira Kamal on "Palestinian women's needs for protection" will be available.
Possible NGO strategies that were mentioned throughout the workshop include:
- Establishment of an international committee to protect the rights of women;
- Establishment of an international committee to defend imprisoned women and to follow up on the suffering of women in prison;
- A campaign to release all women political prisoners and sending of a fact-finding team to the occupied territories;
- Focus on return to land;
- Need to unify the Palestinian grass-roots women's movement;
- Literacy campaigns for women and children;
- Attention to fundamentalist movements which exploit women;
- Research on women and children;
- Guarantee equal footing of women with men in the liberation struggle;
- Formation of an international committee to protect the rights of Palestinian working women, and training of women;
- Addressing women's concerns at all United Nations events on Palestine;
- An international directory of all women's groups in the occupied territories, and another of all groups internationally;
- Future NGO meetings must include women in all panels;
- Utilization of ICCP newsletter to communicate;
- At future NGO meetings, the women's workshop should be at a different time from other workshops so women can participate in all workshops, and everyone can come to hear women's concerns.
Art and culture
Summary of the introduction by Samih al-Qassem
There is no border between politics and culture. The Palestinians have no time to distinguish between the two. For them, it is a luxury to have only one profession; they have to be everything. Ghassan Kanafani wrote 25 years ago about the special task of young Palestinian artists to confront Israeli cultural imperialism. Only the young artists then thought he was mixing up his priorities. Until the Israelis started doing things like expropriating Palestinian culture, e.g. calling humus a national Israeli dish. They claimed to be 'taking back their own culture', which they had to give up 2,000 years before.
We want no cultural isolation, Samih al-Qassem said. The Arab-Islamic culture is not a religious definition. It is the culture of this part of the world, very deeply rooted, and everybody living in the Middle East, be they Arab or Jew, Moslem or Christian, should be able to draw from it and build on it. Samih al-Qassem believes in cultural pluriformity. According to this belief, peace in the Middle East will bring forth a new culture with elements from the Arab-Islamic culture, from the Jewish tradition and from the new immigrants. A living culture will adapt to circumstances and modernize in a continuing process.
Remarks from the workshops
Samih al-Qassem is too optimistic. Palestinian children, for instance, have so few chances for education, let alone art education, and so few possibilities to succeed in their lives, that it has to be feared a big part of their cultural heritage will be lost. There is also censorship, imprisonment, torture and harsh living conditions in general, which hamper Palestinian artists from developing. And last but not least, history is falsified to deprive the Palestinians of their cultural identities.
Samih al-Qassem proves his optimism by maintaining that the Palestinian culture is very much alive, in spite of, or maybe even thanks to the oppression, and in good shape. Cultural survival does not depend on winning or losing a war. The Israelis simply cannot take it away.
What NGOs can do
- Organizing Palestinian cultural weeks (or events) in their own countries, with exhibitions, theater, music, poetry-reading etc. They can think of doing this together with Israelis for yet another dimension to their efforts.
- In connection with the first item: use local artists, since that is cheaper and so many Palestinians are living in the 'diaspora' anyway. There is a difference, for these artists develop in a different environment, but that also can make it more interesting.
- Use Palestinian culture as a bridge to people who are afraid of politics. Like the exhibition on Palestinian costumes in the London Museum of Mankind and in combination with that, a number of monthly workshops on food, dance, embroidery and so on.
- Inviting artists from the occupied territories and within the Green Line. With regard to expenses, this would best be a collective endeavour. Use the ICCP-network to coordinate efforts.
- Staging a big, international cultural event in Jerusalem, with participation of artists from several disciplines and countries.
- Facilitating the exchange of experiences by Palestinian and foreign artists through workshops.
- Anti-censorship activities.
- Scholarships for Palestinian artists to give them a chance to develop their art and get further technical training.
- Facilitate (collective) reflection on Palestinian culture through workshops and conferences like the one on 'Discourse and Palestine' that was held in Amsterdam last April.
Summary of presentation
Education in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is under the control of the Israeli occupation forces. An Israeli is the Director of Education. He hires the teachers, and decides what can be taught in the schools. School textbooks are censored. Any content that speaks of Palestinian identity is banned. Teachers who are committed to innovative methods of education are imprisoned or deported or relieved of their duties in the educational system.
Since 1948, three separate school systems of education have emerged: the UNRWA schools, the private schools, and the government schools.
The existing educational system has been influenced by a variety of colonial systems of the past.
Since 1967, education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been affected by the Israeli military occupation. The most severe interruption was in 1987, when the Israeli military authorities closed all the schools in the West Bank for long periods of time. Curfews, sieges of towns and villages, raids on homes, daily harassments by the military authorities, raids on schools, have become part of every student's life. All of these factors have made education as well as the development of a new and relevant curriculum very difficult.
The poor school facilities, limited classrooms, lack of library and laboratory facilities, and lack of physical educational facilities are factors in keeping the educational system from developing.
The goal of the Israeli military authorities is to reduce the Palestinian population to a mass of illiterates who will become the source of cheap labour markets for Israel.
The Early Childhood Resource Centre was established in 1985 to speak to some of the needs of the educational system in the area of early childhood education. The centre seeks to upgrade and develop early childhood education, with an emphasis on human resource development and curriculum development relevant to the Palestinian child and his/her identity.
A discussion followed after the presentation of the situation of education in the West Bank and Gaza.
Recommendations for international NGO support:
1. The needs and priorities must be set by the local Palestinian NGOs that are involved in the educational process.
2. There must be an exchange of ideas between NGOs outside and NGOs in Palestine, as a new framework for education is being carved out.
3. Any support that is given to Palestinian NGOs for developing the educational system, must fall within the Palestinian plan of education.
4. Twinning of Palestinian educational institutions with educational institutions of other countries is an important way of showing solidarity with the students and educators of Palestine, learning more about the educational process in Palestine and allowing the students and educators of Palestine to learn from the experiences of their international friends.
Demilitarization and regional security
Our meeting is taking place at a time of increasing militarization and instability in the Middle East. In the aftermath of the Gulf War, more arms from the United States and other countries are being delivered to the region. Israeli military superiority is virtually unchallenged. The military presence of the United States and its allies has grown, and there is an even greater threat of military action and foreign intervention by the major Western Powers than before.
To decrease the potential for armed conflict, demilitarization is essential. If it is to occur, it must be based on a just, comprehensive, and durable peace and acknowledgement of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. Present policies and structures must be changed and new mechanisms to supervise disarmament measures and demilitarization procedures must be established.
Given the political will, the establishment of a regional security structure along the lines of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe could lay the groundwork for confidence-building measures and set the stage for regional economic cooperation. The obstacles to establishing this kind of regional arrangement are well known. They include unequal power relations in the region, inequitable distribution of wealth within and between countries, lack of democracy, conflict over the use of water resources, United States support for and guarantee of Israeli military superiority, and Israel's role in United States foreign policy based on the aim of the United States of controlling the region's oilfields. If these problems are not resolved, the likelihood is that the possibilities for confrontation will grow rather than diminish and that the area will be volatile for some time to come.
The following recommendations for action were put forward. It was noted that conditions and interests vary from country to country and that some of the recommendations would not necessarily be appropriate in all countries.
1. Pressure should be put on Governments to stop military aid and arms sales to the region. Efforts to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons and other means of mass destruction should continue and intensify. Such a zone might begin with nuclear weapons and continue with chemical, biological and conventional weapons. The huge profits from arms sales and the necessity of conversion from military to peacetime production should be highlighted. Israel's refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty, its military collaboration with South Africa, and its role in the Star Wars programme should be exposed. The links between disarmament, demilitarization, security, human rights, and the environmental concerns should be stressed.
2. A broad educational outreach campaign should be undertaken in all countries to bring new people into the struggle for Palestinian rights. Information should be prepared for specific groups based on their areas of interest. Such an educational campaign could be combined with lobbying and media work geared to changing public attitudes and government policies.
3. NGOs are welcome to participate in the coming Second International NGO Conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East at which security will be considered not only in military terms, but also in its economic, ecological, human rights and humanitarian dimensions.
4. NGOs express deep concern about the misuse of the United Nations to sanction and attack Middle East countries. Participants called for opposition to sanctions that have been imposed on Iraq and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The "no-fly zone" in southern Iraq was also condemned.
5. The question of sanctions against Israel was discussed. There were different opinions regarding the proposal to pressure Governments to impose cultural, scientific and/or economic sanctions unless an immediate freeze on settlements is declared and carried out. This requires further discussion by the NGOs.
6. It was recommended that a letter be sent from the meeting to the Non-Aligned Movement meeting in Jakarta calling for continuation and intensification of the Movement's solidarity with the PLO.
Mobilizing United Nations support
The working group on mobilizing United Nations support was addressed by Edith Ballantyne (Canada). Ms. Ballantyne devoted her speech to main ideas and made suggestions as to how NGOs can get United Nations and government support. She focused on two areas, namely:
1. Conference on Middle East under auspices of United Nations on conditions set out by the resolutions;
2. Possibility of immediate protection to Palestinians.
It is necessary to understand the United Nations system and to be creative in order to mobilize the United Nations. Responsibilities have to be undertaken by NGOs to regain United Nations for the majority of Member States to work efficiently and for the institution to operate in full respect of the Charter. This in the face of different standards of application to conflicts such as the reaction towards Iraq and lack of action on the Palestine conflict. Ms. Ballantyne suggested that the United Nations should provide umbrella to every party involved in the Palestinian conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization. NGOs should also press for the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention which Israel has not been observing and that energy and effort be devoted to see what can be moved forward in terms of protection. UNRWA's mandate could be extended to be a physically protective agency in the occupied territories. NGOs should be involved in legal conferences about non-compliance of resolutions and also organize a constant presence in the occupied territories to monitor the situation. Ms. Ballantyne finished by saying that they should never undertake what United Nations agencies can do if pressed and activated. Public pressure on Governments and the United Nations was essential to ensure good policy decisions.
A discussion followed during which various considerations were put forward. It was noted that NGOs should press for the continuation of bilateral talks rather than convening another international conference. NGOs must work to mobilize the United Nations by first mobilizing Governments, which implies adequate public information campaigns. The role of the General Assembly, which is the forum where most support could be summoned, should be emphasized. A consensus was reached on the following:
1. Cognizant of the fact that achieving peace in the Middle East would constitute a significant contribution to international peace and security and that the issue of Palestine is a grave obstacle to peace in the region, the NGOs present appeal to the General Assembly of the United Nations to actively sponsor the peace talks between Israel, the Palestinians, the Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, until a final settlement is achieved, and for the general security of the United Nations to report every month to the General Assembly on the progress of the talks and for the General Assembly of the United Nations to be permanently seized of the issue until a final settlement is achieved.
2. Very much concerned with the human rights situation in Palestine, the NGOs present request the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations and other relevant agencies such as WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, FAO, etc., to actively interest themselves in the protection of human rights and to report every month to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
3. NGOs concerned with the issue of Palestine are encouraged to work towards initiating contacts and strengthening ongoing relations between national and international professional associations, unions and societies with their Palestinian counterparts in the occupied territories. These contacts provide an important source of technical and other support for Palestinian organizations, and a source of vital information for public education and lobbying of Governments in the various country contexts. National and international associations can provide an important form of protection to their Palestinian partners in cases of violations of those partners' rights to operate freely and provide their professional services to their communities.
4. NGOs to make more effective use of all United Nations documentation on Palestine.
5. NGOs to strongly insist on reiterating concern for lack of implementation of United Nations resolutions.
6. ICCP to provide mechanism to launch public information campaigns, to facilitate contact between related NGOs, to computerize its information dissemination, to produce simplified fact sheets making complex issues more communicative.
7. NGOs to be encouraged to register with consultative status to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and for all ECOSOC-registered NGOs to take up Palestinian issue in a way that has more impact.
Working groups and task forces
A workshop which began with a disappointing attendance ended up as a very informative and productive occasion for the participants. Moderated by Larry Ekin, the workshop heard introductory talks by Ibrahim Sha'aban (Professor of Law at Al-Najah University and President of the Palestinian Housing Council) and Subhi Qahawish (Engineering and Urban Planner, Al-Najah University and member of the Housing Rights Committee of the Palestine Human Rights Information Centre).
In his talk, Ibrahim Sha'aban stressed the urgency of the housing problem. It has been complicated by house demolitions, planning restrictions and settlement construction, which exacerbate problems due to the high Palestinian population growth rate, lack of savings and high land prices. However, the essential factor in the severity of the housing problem is the Israeli occupation. Researchers differ on the number of new housing units needed to resolve the problem: estimates range between 120,000 and 180,000.
The Palestinian Housing Council was formed after the European Community decided to donate 29 million ECUs for housing in the wake of the Gulf War, although the idea went back a few years before that. The Council hopes to raise further funds for construction. It plans to use its funds to construct housing, rather than give as grants. Families moving into its housing units will then buy them through monthly payments over 20-25 years. Fifty per cent of the funds are to be allocated to the Gaza Strip in recognition of the particularly serious situation there.
Allocation of housing must be based upon need, assessed according to a points system, so that the poorest and most desperate are served first.
Subhi Qahawish said that the Housing Rights Committee came out of a PHRIC workshop in December 1991. It saw that there was an urgent need to educate people concerned with the housing issue. There was a need for a body involving lawyers to give advice free or paid for by others to people with housing problems caused by the authorities - for example, when land was seized.
An important issue is that of the masterplans which Israel is drawing up for Palestinian towns and villages in order to restrict Palestinians to the smallest areas of land possible. The plans are not framed with the social needs of the Palestinians in mind, so they are not true masterplans, which should provide for developing public facilities for the population and otherwise meeting their needs. Israel will shortly present masterplans to 240 villages, which will then have 60 days in which to object.
In the discussion which followed, the situation confronting the Palestinians within the Green Line was highlighted, and in particular, the issue of the unrecognized villages. In this connection, a number of workshop participants referred to the international campaign to support the village of Ramiyeh, threatened with demolition by the Israeli authorities. Information about Ramiyeh had been disseminated quickly, and had been very concrete, making campaign work much simpler. As a result, the treat of destruction has so far been staved off.
Palestinians in Israel face a form of internal transfer, some participants indicated. This can take place through the threats against unrecognized villages, but has also occurred through the restriction of the Bedouin of the south to small areas, and through the Israeli authorities refusing to allow Palestinians living in mixed cities to renovate their houses so that they become increasingly uninhabitable, and the residents feel compelled to move.
The workshop felt that the following points need to be asserted:
1. Every Palestinian has an absolute right to live on his land, along with his family, in adequate housing.
2. Every Palestinian has the right to improve his house and its facilities to reach an adequate standard of living for himself and his family.
3. There must be a halt to expropriation and confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli authorities upon any pretext whatsoever.
4. NGOs, particularly those in Israel, should press for Israel's acceptance of the rescinding of the 1945 Defence (Emergency) Regulations, which have been used to allow house demolitions as a punitive measure.
5. NGOs internationally should seek to persuade their Governments, through the terms attached to trade and aid agreements, and other means, to bring pressure to bear upon the Israeli Government to raise all restrictions which adversely affect the economic affairs of the Palestinians under its rule. This would allow the establishment of a housing bank for the occupied territories and enhance the prospects of the Palestinian construction industry.
6. The historic places of Jerusalem, Hebron, Nablus and other cities must be protected and no obstacles must be placed in the way of their renovation.
7. Israeli construction plans for East Jerusalem should be scrapped, as the annexation of that area to Israel was illegal, and the plans have never taken account of the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinians of the city.
Key points for NGO campaigning work included:
1. Within the Green Line, there must be a stop to population transfers. The unrecognized villages should be recognized, confiscation of Palestinian land must cease, and Palestinians must be allowed to maintain and repair their homes freely.
2. Similarly in the occupied territories, expropriation and confiscation of Palestinian land must cease, and restrictions upon the development of housing for the Palestinian population must be lifted. Palestinian planning institutions and construction enterprises must be allowed to operate freely.
3. To these ends, the international NGO network is asked to draw upon the information materials produced by Palestinian organizations within the areas concerned in order to publish their own educative and informational literature for use in their respective countries. They should document measures affecting Palestinian housing, and make their documentation available to human rights organizations and the media.
4. NGOs within the occupied territories, Israel and international should cooperate in publicizing the extent of Palestinian housing needs, the gravity of the present situation, and the obstacles standing in the way of a solution to this problem. They should also highlight the need for international support in overcoming a housing problem which has been worsening over decades.
5. NGOs should highlight Israel's responsibilities as a signatory of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, according to which it must seek to provide adequate and improving housing for all citizens, and its obligations according to the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which specifically prohibits discrimination in housing. They should also seek to draw public attention to the ways in which many of the measures implemented by Israel in the occupied territories which affect Palestinian housing constitute breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
6. NGOs should make a special effort to engage the interest and support of charitable and development bodies concerned with housing, as well as of professional bodies and unions with a direct interest in housing construction.
7. The representatives of the NGOs assembled in the workshop resolved to seek to expand the network of NGOs working on the question of Palestine which are ready to cooperate in furthering the ends set forth in their report.
Summary of introduction by Mr. Abdul Haq
From the beginning, zionism worked for control of the water resources of its projected homeland in Palestine. Controlling the water was also of the utmost importance to attract Jewish immigrants. In 1937, the Jewish Agency established the Mekorot Water Company, which until today, is responsible for the division of water supplies.
Water was a very important incentive for several occupations: the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 and the south of Lebanon with its important Litani River in 1982. At the moment, more than 50 per cent of Israeli water consumption consists of water from Arab sources outside the Green Line.
Two thirds of the water use in Israel goes to meet the needs of the Israeli agriculture, a heavily subsidized sector of the Israeli economy. Economically, it would be much better if Israel would change to less water-consuming activities, recognizing the fact that the country is located in a semi-arid region. Psychologically speaking, however, agriculture fulfills the old Zionist dream of connecting the Jews with the land of Palestine.
This introduction is part of a 40-page report, "Water in Palestine" by the Palestinian Hydrologists Group, which can be ordered at the
Land and Water Establishment, P.O. Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. 812364
. This organization can also supply information on the legal aspects of the water policy.
Summary of further remarks and discussion
The water situation in the occupied territories since the 1967 war is regulated by scores of military orders. Palestinians can do nothing without a permit, not even their own research. Israeli hydrological surveys are military top-secrets. But no planning is possible without accurate data, so the Palestinians can in no way plan according to their own needs. Israel wants to save the water from its own coastal plain. They do not care about the Gaza Strip. As a result, the water there is terribly polluted and salinated. The Palestinians in Gaza are forbidden to do anything about this situation, which among other things, affects their health. There is an Israeli plan to change the whole of the Gaza Strip to an industrial area, but this plan does not say what they want to do with the 800,000 Palestinians living there. It will also be the death of the last citrus-growing, for which the Gaza Strip has been famous for ages. There is a restriction on irrigation for the Palestinians everywhere in the occupied territories anyway (not for the settlers). The Israeli overuse and misuse of water leads, among other things, to desertification. The cutting of trees - for housing or industrial projects - leads to erosion and from there it is a hard way back.
Dr. Yousef Abu-Safieh, P.O. Box 345, Gaza, tel.: 051.85921(765)/860560
produced data on the water situation in the Gaza Strip, which can be ordered at the above address.
Dr. Karen Assaf
is willing to assist NGOs searching for data on the whole water situation. She can be reached at ASIR (Arab Scientific Institute for Research and Transfer of Technology), P.O. Box 3681, El-Bireh, West Bank, tel. + fax: 02-95-5380.
What NGOs can do
It is hard to come up with suggestions about what NGOs can do about a large and complex problem like water planning. However, a few suggestions were made:
1. NGOs should demand of their own Governments to put pressure on the Israeli Government to allow Palestinians access to basic information, to allow them to do their own research and initiate their own projects to improve the water situation according to the needs of the Palestinian population of the occupied territories.
2. NGOs should ask their Governments to reconsider subsidies for Israeli agriculture because the current Israeli agricultural policy, including the water policy, puts a heavy mortgage on the land and on the future of its people.
3. NGOs can raise public awareness of the problematic water situation by publicizing and analysing facts from different viewpoints, e.g. health, right to self-determination, right to information, etc.
4. And last, but not least, NGOs can help financially to improve the quality of the water, e.g. by donating laboratories, equipment and personnel.
Summary of first presentation
- K. Tufakji, PALGRIC
Outline of settlement policy in the 1970s which, under the "rubric of security", aimed at surrounding the eastern, Arab-Palestinian sectors of the city, occupied in 1967. This involved the building of initially five settlements to the north, north-east, south-east and south of East Jerusalem, plus the development of pre-existing sites -- such as Hebrew University Mount Scopus Campus -- onto Palestinian land. Combined with the development of settlements outside the annexed municipal area of Jerusalem, and road construction linking all of these "Dams of Settlements", the effect has been to encircle and restrict Palestinian housing in East Jerusalem.
In the 1980s, the Master Plan for Jerusalem had as its long-term goal, the creation of a single metropolitan unit, with road construction now nearing completion linking the Ramallah area settlements to the Gush Etzion in the south.
Summary of second presentation
- Albert Aghazarian, Birzeit University
Being Palestinian -- or "Palestinianhood" -- is a diversity, a mosaic; there is not a single ethnic religious unit that is Palestinian. This reality -- especially in Jerusalem -- has been under most serious attack since the early days of the post-1967 occupation. Despite solemn promises from the then Israeli Prime Minister, in the presence of Mayor Teddy Kolleck, to respect the status quo of a multi-religious, multi-ethnic Old City, the Israeli domination of the Old City has witnessed the progressive destruction of the multiplicity that is the Old City. The panelist outlined several historic turning points in the history of the Old City and presented a clear picture of a population now under siege in the Old City.
The panelist also outlined the status of Jerusalem under stated international opinion and law, and noted that the unification of Jerusalem is illegal. The basic Palestinian demands in the Old City, the panelist noted, are some form of control over municipal decisions that so drastically affect their lives and equality in the city, plus some negotiated solution to the larger political issues of national rights and obligations to the City.
Summary of discussion
The discussion elicited further historical discussion from both panelists and helped bring out more information on West and East Jerusalem as well as the Old City, The discussion very quickly turned to concrete matters of action that might help alleviate the situation in the Old City and halt the process of dispossession of Palestinians living there. The role of fundamentalist Christians was also noted as a significant support to right-wing Israeli settlers in the Old City. It was emphasized that too much emphasis on tourism and pilgrimage is not a good thing as it tends to be unreliable in times of real crisis (e.g. Gulf War) and turns the Old City into a kind of religious Disney Land.
It was pointed out that the "de-gentrification" of the Old City was necessary to halt the steady departure of Palestinians from the Old City, which left empty houses to fall into disrepair or as targets for settlers. Significant Palestinian and international NGO investment is needed to reverse this process. Discussion focused around how, given the problems mentioned above, Palestinian and international NGOs might address the issue of Jerusalem. The idea of an international campaign was mentioned, as was the necessity of Palestinians making Jerusalem a development priority. There was much discussion around what kinds of "Jerusalem Committees" exist at the local levels and who might serve as a local partner to any international action that might be taken. The right of access to Jerusalem for Palestinians from the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was also stressed as a crucial point.
The basic idea is to run several programmes at once under the umbrella of an international campaign entitled, "Save Jerusalem". One-day seminars by NGOs in their home constituencies would be supported by information gathered from Palestinian organizations. NGOs should be encouraged to develop public/development education programmes on the Old City and the realities the Palestinians there face (real slums and a terrible standard of living, harassment etc.). Palestinian investment in the Old City would be encouraged.
There was consensus that local Palestinian NGOs, perhaps through the local ICCP, should contact ICCP Geneva once they have established with which partner the ICCP members can work. Once this has occurred, ICCP Geneva should contact the NGOs listed as present at this workshop in order to pursue the idea of a working group that might take up the idea of the above-mentioned international campaign.
STATEMENT BY MR. ANTOINE BLANCA, DIRECTOR GENERAL
OF THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA AND
UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS,
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
I am very pleased to welcome you, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the Ninth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine. I am particularly pleased to welcome among us Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and Mr. Oliver Tambo, National Chairman of the African National Congress of South Africa. In different ways, they have made an historic contribution to the long quest of the Palestinian people for exercising their national rights in their own homeland. We are honoured by their presence here.
The convening of this meeting by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in accordance with the resolutions of the General Assembly, signifies the concern with which the United Nations views the continuation of this long-standing problem. At the same time, it is an expression of the renewed hopes that the achievement of a just and lasting settlement, in accordance with United Nations resolutions and the principles of international law, may be finally possible.
The presence here of eminent personalities from Europe and other parts of the world, together with Palestinians and Israelis, and of representatives from Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies, demonstrates once again the commitment of the international community as a whole to resolving the question of Palestine in a just and comprehensive manner, thereby contributing to the establishment of a lasting peace in the entire region. Support for such a solution by all the participants in this meeting can make a significant contribution to the peace efforts under way.
It is a particular pleasure for me to greet you, representatives of non-governmental organizations from all over the world active on the question of Palestine, as you gather here for your annual conference. Your organizations form an important channel of communication between the United Nations and the Governments and peoples of the world. Your strong dedication to the ideals of the Charter has been invaluable, and you have continuously promoted greater public interest and involvement in United Nations aims and programmes with regard to this important issue. Your diversity and variety, as well as your number, strengthen your capacity to support the work of the United Nations and give a unique perspective to this meeting. The founders of the world Organization envisioned that non-governmental organizations would be partners with the United Nations in the common task of realizing the goals of the Charter. That partnership has flourished in a number of areas, particularly with regard to human rights and humanitarian issues, and we continue to count on your cooperation in the pursuit of our common objectives.
The Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed deep concern at the continuing escalation of violence in the Middle East and the resulting loss of life by innocent civilians. He has warned of the dangers inherent in the prolongation of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which has remained the central and longest-running source of frustration and suffering for both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The United Nations has always attached the utmost importance to the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the conflict in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and taking fully into account the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination.
The current Arab-Israeli negotiations have proven that a dialogue is possible and a framework for such negotiations was provided by the Security Council in its relevant resolutions. The Secretary-General has expressed the readiness of the United Nations to assist the participants in achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.
The General Assembly has welcomed the convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, as a significant step towards the establishment of peace. Now that a new Government is in place in Israel following the recent elections there, it is the Secretary-General's earnest hope that the peace process will be reinvigorated and will result in agreements that will satisfy the needs and aspirations of all the parties concerned, and allow the Palestinian people to realize its legitimate political rights, primarily the right to self-determination. This is indeed an unprecedented and historic opportunity that should not be missed and it is to be hoped that the parties concerned will be able to overcome the obstacles in advancing towards the common objective of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
While this process takes place, however, it is of utmost importance to ensure the protection of the Palestinians in the occupied territories. The Palestinian uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the
, has made it clear that the Palestinian people will continue to reject the Israeli occupation and that Palestinians will continue to struggle for the exercise of their national and political rights. Since December 1987, confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians have caused much blood-shed. Hundreds have been killed and thousands have been wounded, including many children. Several Palestinians have been expelled, houses demolished, and other collective punishments imposed despite many resolutions of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Commission on Human Rights and other United Nations bodies.
The international community is unanimous that Israel respect its obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949. Furthermore, the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have an obligation to ensure that its provisions are respected in the occupied territories. This is an urgent task which must be attended to regardless of whether or not there is progress in the present phase of the peace process, and which remains of great concern to the Secretary-General, who was given a mandate in this regard under Security Council resolution 681 (1990).
At the same time, the United Nations will continue to do all it can to assist the Palestinian people. Since 1950, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has provided shelter, food, and especially medical and educational services to Palestine refugees. Its role has acquired particular importance in the occupied territories since the beginning of the
and measures to enhance this role have been outlined in reports submitted by the Secretary-General to the Security Council. Efforts have also been undertaken to expand the existing programmes of various United Nations agencies to provide needed economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people in order to improve their living conditions and promote the development of the territories. The role of NGOs with active programmes in the occupied territories, in particular, is of great importance in this regard.
Before concluding, I would like, on behalf of the Secretary-General, to recognize the tireless efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to see that the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people are now better understood and supported. The Secretary-General extends his full support to the Committee in all its endeavours to promote international efforts so as to enable the Palestinian people to gain its legitimate rights.
I wish all the participants success in their deliberations in this important International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine.
STATEMENT BY MR. OLIVER R. TAMBO,
CHAIRMAN OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
On behalf of the African National Congress, its leadership and membership and, in particular, our President, Comrade Nelson Mandela, in the name of the struggling people of South Africa, I embrace you all with the warmest fraternal greetings.
Our President, Nelson Mandela, deeply regrets that, because of the pressure of duties arising out of the difficult and delicate situation in South Africa, he has not been able to be with you today. He has requested me to offer his sincerest apologies to you personally, Your Excellency, Brother Yasser Arafat, to the organizers of this august gathering and to all the participants. He has also requested me to assure you all of his best wishes of success for your deliberations and, especially, for the final victory of the just and historic struggle of the Palestinian people under the able leadership of the PLO.
The African National Congress feels most honoured to have been invited to address the international community from so distinguished a platform on the important question of Palestine - a question with which the people of South Africa fully identify. Please accept our deepest gratitude.
On a very personal note, I must say how pleased I am to be reunited with my very dear friend and brother, His Excellency, Yasser Arafat. I am all the more happy to see how well you have survived and overcome the physical and other mishaps with which you have been recently beset. My congratulations on your courageous recovery.
We meet at a time of earth-shaking changes. The world balance of forces is shifting; world forces are undergoing realignment and in the process, at least three axes of international power are emerging. The cold war is on the decline, raising hopes of a corresponding decline in the arms race. it is to be hoped that this will, in turn, reinforce the chances of world peace and international cooperation. It is becoming possible to release a greater portion of the world's resources for use against poverty, disease and ignorance. The construction of a world order firmly rooted in freedom, democracy, justice, peace and the pursuit of progress and happiness for all mankind is also becoming a viable prospect.
Without underestimating the power of reactionary forces, this is the context of positive possibility within which we see our struggle as well as the struggle of the Palestinian people led by the PLO, for their right to self-determination. An important feature of the current situation is the emergence of an international consensus in favour of the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts. It is a possibility which we the oppressed, exploited, uprooted and dispossessed of the world must turn into an opportunity to accelerate our struggles to overturn the fate which the colonial experience imposed on us.
In doing so, we must not seek to step into the shoes of our plunderers or to exchange places with these destructive forces. We must seek, instead, to build a world in which no people will ever feel the need to struggle as we have been called upon to struggle. This must be a world in which the affirmation of our collective humanity is based on the recognition of our individual humanity. It must be a world in which every individual, regardless of race, colour, creed or gender, has the right to life, to belong, to the free pursuit of happiness and self-fulfilment and to security of life and limb.
The architects of the order which is hopefully passing must resist the temptation to revive it. The powers which are emerging must likewise resist the temptation to imitate their predecessors. They must rise above selfish and narrow interests and realize that anything that is injurious to any section of humanity is harmful to all humanity and that any order that is not freely and collectively worked out and voluntarily accepted by all cannot be just and lasting. They must join hands and make a decisive break with the cycle of rising and falling empires of greed. They must join us in creating the free empire of all humanity in which the highest interest will be to promote the fullest development of all human beings -individually and collectively.
In our country, the process of negotiations which we initiated to end apartheid and create a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa has run into a major obstacle: the government of the National Party. While it professes commitment to negotiations, it continues to make war against the very people with whom it is supposed to be negotiating. It does this through the violent destabilization of Black communities - directly or through surrogate mercenaries. Its objective is to weaken us in the hope of imposing a self-serving solution from a position of strength. It continues to refuse to accept majority rule and persists in seeking to impose its "Power Sharing" scheme - a formula to enable the minority National Party to continue clinging to power regardless of its electoral strength.
This has left us with no choice but to break away from the negotiations. Meanwhile, we have launched a rolling campaign of mass action with the overall objective of imparting the necessary sense of urgency to the search for a peaceful settlement; compelling the regime to take meaningful action to end the violence; highlighting the illegitimacy of the regime and preparing the people for democracy. When the regime visibly demonstrates its seriousness thus signalling the ripeness of the conditions for negotiations, we shall be only too glad to resume negotiations. This shall happen when the regime shall have met our 14 points to our satisfaction and consistent with both the United Nations Consensus Declaration and the Hararé Declaration of the Organization of African Unity.
The current perspectives of our struggle make us particularly sensitive to the challenges and opportunities of the struggle of the fraternal people of Palestine. It is to these we wish to turn.
Consistent with our support for the struggle of the people of Palestine for self-determination, we welcomed and supported the proclamation of the State of Palestine and have always recognized the PLO as the sole and authentic leader of the Palestinian people. We have likewise supported the heroic
in the occupied territories.
We strongly believe that total respect for, and the unconditional upholding of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination must be an essential condition for a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict, including Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territories and the security of all States in the region, including the State of Israel.
We fully support the process of negotiations which is under way and whose next round takes place in Washington, D.C. and wish it every success. In this regard, we call upon the Government of Israel to approach the negotiations with all due seriousness. We must emphasize that the building of settlements in the occupied territories can only undermine the necessary confidence building and that it should be stopped forthwith.
We take this occasion to stress the responsibility of the international community to assist the people of Palestine in their struggle for a State of their own. In this context, we must avoid falling into the trap of holding the question of Palestine captive to cold war bickering. On this crucial issue, we must be guided by fundamental values and principles and above all, by the best interests of the Palestinian people and of all the other people in the region.
I also take this opportunity to reaffirm the principled solidarity of the African National Congress and the people of South Africa with the struggle of the Palestinian people led by the PLO. I wish also to congratulate our beloved brother, His Excellency, Yasser Arafat, for his exemplary leadership of the Palestinian people and likewise to congratulate the Palestinian people themselves for waging so heroic a struggle.
In conclusion, I also wish to reaffirm our solidarity with all people struggling for freedom, democracy, peace and progress throughout the world.
The struggle advances to victory.
STATEMENT OF H.E. MR. YASSER ARAFAT, CHAIRMAN OF THE
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
On the occasion of the convening of the Ninth United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine, I would like to convey to you all, participants, friends and guests, in the name of our Palestine Liberation Organization, my heartfelt greetings and sincerest wishes.
I take this opportunity to express to you, and through you to your esteemed Committee, our deep gratitude for the ongoing activities and endeavours that you are undertaking to enable our Palestinian people to regain and exercise their inalienable national rights in accordance with international law and resolutions.
I wish to thank Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for the endeavours that the United Nations is making in sponsoring the work of this Committee and in supporting and furthering its important activities in order to help our people to exercise their right to self-determination, freely and without external interference, under appropriate international auspices.
I also wish to express my deep appreciation to the non-governmental organizations for the major and significant role that they are currently playing in order to make international public opinion and its forces aware of our people's just cause and legitimate national liberation struggle, and for mobilizing support for, and solidarity with, our people to strengthen their steadfastness and the national resistance in which our people are engaged with a view to regaining their freedom and independence and establishing their national sovereignty in their liberated land.
Your esteemed conference is being held during a critical period in which our Palestinian people are facing great challenges and living in difficult and trying circumstances under Israeli occupation.
Inside our occupied Palestinian territory, our people are still facing and resisting the organized and systematic Israeli policy of oppression, repression and terrorism, as well as daily acts of murder in all its forms, continuous Israeli aggression and crimes against Moslem and Christian holy places, confiscation of land and water resources, deportations and expulsions, and continued illegal and intensive settlement.
All this is taking place within the framework of a carefully planned Israeli scheme designed to subjugate our people, usurp their basic right to a life of freedom and dignity, destroy their economic infrastructures, and compel them to make more concessions in regard to their legitimate national rights.
In spite of this continuous arbitrary, repressive and aggressive Israeli policy, our Palestinian people are more than ever determined to pursue their just national struggle and their glorious
, under the leadership of the PLO, their sole legitimate representative, and with the support and solidarity of all their friends and all freedom-, justice-, and peace-loving forces throughout the world, to end the Israeli occupation of their land and holy places and to establish a just and lasting peace in our region which will enable our people to regain and exercise their inalienable national rights, including their right to return, their right to self-determination and their right to establish their independent State with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.
Our Palestinian people reaffirmed their sincere desire for a just peace in the region even before the start of the current peace process and this desire was embodied in many resolutions and in the Palestinian Peace Initiative which was announced and adopted by our Palestine National Council in 1988. Our people, under the leadership of the PLO, their sole legitimate representative, have responded to all the peace initiatives, and all the international efforts that have been made to establish a just peace in the region, in a highly conscientious and responsible manner and with adequate flexibility. In fact, our people's cooperation in the initiation and promotion of the peace process was highly instrumental in ensuring the convening of the Peace Conference at Madrid last October.
As you are aware, the participation of our people in the bilateral and multilateral phases of the peace process was approved after in-depth and extensive discussions in our legislative, executive and leadership institutions and especially in our Palestine National Council where our decision, taken in the democratic manner to which we are committed and of which we are proud, enjoyed the support of the overwhelming majority.
The Government of Israel, on the other hand, is still rejecting the just and real peace advocated and supported by the international community and the United Nations and is continuing to obstruct and impede the peace process through its evasiveness and by resorting to deception, procrastination and rhetoric.
At the same time, the Government of Israel is continuing its predecessor's "iron-fist" policy of oppression, repression and terrorism against our people, as well as constant acts of aggression and violations against our Islamic and Christian holy places, and is establishing more settlements in our occupied territory which, as Rabin has declared, will equal in number the 11,000 housing units that were approved by the Shamir Government. That Government still insists on challenging international law, as well as the Charter and principles of the United Nations and its successive resolutions in this regard, thereby clearly revealing the Israeli Government's real intention of continuing to deny the national rights of our people as stipulated in numerous resolutions which have been adopted by the United Nations and its specialized agencies with the unanimous support of the international community.
In addition, Israel is denying the fundamental principles on which the current peace process is based, as announced by President Bush in his initiative of March 1991, which include land for peace, implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), realization of the political rights of the Palestinian people and security for all in the region. Israel is also disregarding our right to self-determination and to hold legislative political elections under international auspices, rather than the administrative elections that it is proposing to hold under the guns of its tanks.
As you know, the results of the recent Israeli elections were an important step because they were an expression of the rejection of the policy of war, procrastination, expansion and the building of settlements. They led to a vote in favour of peace.
Unfortunately, however, we have seen how Mr. Rabin's statements, since he took office, contradict his actions. While addressing the world with honey-coated words, he is actually continuing to pursue the "iron-fist" policy of the former Shamir Government.
The United States Administration, for purely domestic reasons, is adopting a totally biased position in favour of Israel. Following the recent meeting between President Bush and Rabin, the Administration decided to release the loan guarantees to Israel, to grant it other financial assistance, and to confirm the United States commitment to Israel's qualitative military superiority over our Arab nation and in the region as a whole.
This gesture to Israel was made without any prior official or public commitment by Israel to President Bush's initiative, to the cessation of settlement in the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, to the holding of free legislative elections under international auspices, or to establishing the Palestine Interim Self-Government Authority (PISGA), in accordance with the letters of invitation and the letters of guarantee of the co-sponsors of the Conference. Our people, being the source of authority over their land and resources, reject the crumbs that the United States Administration is promising to give to Rabin, and insists on the implementation of international law and resolutions.
While expressing our Palestinian people's concern over the United States decision and commitment towards Israel, we regard them as a flagrant bias in favour of the Israeli position. They are jeopardizing the peace process and moreover, are inconsistent with the responsibilities of the United States of America which, as a co-sponsor of the peace process, is supposed to be impartial and fair in dealing with the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a time when billions of dollars are being granted to Israel, everyone knows how our people are facing the worst economic conditions, starvation, siege and the destruction of their economic infrastructure by Israel. In fact, the United States decision and commitment towards Israel are encouraging Israel to continue its occupation of our Arab and Palestinian territories as well as its aggression against our people and against southern Lebanon and the Palestinian refugee camps there. All this is threatening to torpedo the entire current peace process. The whole world should realize that no peace or stability can be achieved over the corpses of the Palestinian people or by circumventing their legitimate national and political rights, as specified in international law and in President Bush's own initiative.
You come from countries that have signed the Fourth Geneva Convention. Accordingly, with hope and confidence, we appeal to you, as friends and supporters of equity, justice and peace, to exert every possible effort to ensure that this convention is applied to our occupied Palestinian territory, because the Convention requires the Contracting Parties to respect and ensure the implementation of its provisions. These provisions are applicable to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, particularly in regard to the inadmissibility of any demographic or geographic changes in this occupied territory, or of any aggression against the Islamic and Christian holy places. In accordance with these provisions, Israel should cease its arbitrary practices, its acts of aggression and its violations of Palestinian human rights, including the mass concentration camps and the torture which has caused the death of many of our citizens during interrogation. Those practices also include mass and individual deportations of our people from their homeland, the expropriation of land, the pillage of water resources, the destruction of thousands of hectares of fruit-bearing trees, the demolition of houses whose occupants are thereby left homeless, the closure of educational institutions and cultural centres, and the destruction of the Palestinian national economy by forcing our people to pay 38 kinds of special taxes in addition to the other taxes levied on them. All these practices are totally incompatible with the Fourth Geneva Convention and the most fundamental rules of international law.
We appeal to you to exert every possible effort to provide international protection for our people living under the yoke of occupation, in keeping with the commitments of your countries, so that there will be no double standards of international legality, one favourable to Israel and the other prejudicial to our own people and nation.
In view of the deteriorating and dangerous economic situation and the siege and starvation which our people are experiencing, especially in the Gaza Strip, all our friends are called upon to increase their support for our economic, social, health, educational, cultural and other national institutions inside our occupied territory in order to help our people to withstand these dire catastrophes that have been imposed on them and to develop the national economy and the infrastructure of these national institutions for which we have the greatest need.
On this occasion, I would like to tell all our friends in the NGOs in Israel, the advocates of peace and the forces which support our rights and our people, that peace requires greater courage than war. In Israel, they have a duty to promote the process of genuine and just peace, rather than the imposition of a capitulationist peace or of a diktat, oppression and injustice. We, for our part, are ready, with all our potential, for this just peace. However, we will reject unjust settlements or settlements that are imposed on us.
As for our Palestinian people, there is no suffering or pain greater than theirs. Their land has dwindled through the confiscation of more than 56 per cent of its area for the establishment of settlements to accommodate Jews who have recently been induced to immigrate. Blood has been spilled, freedoms have been violated and holy places have been desecrated. In spite of all this, our people are determined to recover their rights and to affirm their role as a participant in human progress towards prosperity and justice. We are a sovereign and free people whose hopes and trust in the value of life, justice and peace have not yet been destroyed by oppression. Here are our hands, extended to you to establish this just peace. Will we find, in return, an extended hand so that together we can build this just and comprehensive peace? We have reached a point in time where honey-coated words and insincere promises are no longer of any avail. The time has come for our enemies to manifest the courage needed to establish a just and comprehensive peace for our children and future generations.
I would like to affirm here our support for, and solidarity with, all the struggling peoples exposed to aggression, war, destruction, siege, ongoing violations of human rights and the circumvention of relevant international resolutions.
We are grieved by what is happening to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and declare our total sympathy with them. We appeal to all the parties to seek guidance in reason, logic, international law and United Nations resolutions, with a view to ensuring that the historic friendly and fraternal relations that existed, until recently, among these countries and their peoples will finally prevail.
We declare our support for the people and children of Iraq and call for the lifting of the embargo that has been imposed on them. We also declare our support for the people of Libya and call for the lifting of the embargo that has been imposed on it.
We reaffirm here our support for, and solidarity with, the people of South Africa, their freedom-fighting forces, ANC and PAC, and our valiant brother Nelson Mandela, who is leading a desperate battle to consolidate the achievements made by the South African people in a spirit far removed from confessional or tribal chauvinism in spite of all attempts to evade and tone down the agreements and negotiations that take place. We affirm our support for, and solidarity with, them all.
Finally, I once again salute you all and reiterate our gratitude and appreciation for your sincere support for, and solidarity with, our people's struggle.
I hope that the work and deliberations of your esteemed conference will be crowned with success in our mutual interests and for the benefit of the international peace and security and the causes of right, justice, freedom and democracy throughout the world.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS
ABNAA AL-BALAD ASSOCIATION-ROOTS
ABNAA AL-BALAD MOVEMENT
ADVOCATES FOR FOLLOWING UP CASES OF PALESTINIAN PRISONERS
AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLE'S SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION (AAPSO)
AL-AMAL AL-RAED - Center for Statistics and Research for the Development of the
Economic Structure in the Arab Sector in Israel
AL BIR SOCIETY FOR MATRYR'S SONS - JERICHO
AL HADAF CULTURAL FOUNDATION
AL HAQ/The Palestinian Organization for Human Rights
AL NAHDA MOVEMENT
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTRE (AIC)
AMERICAN ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE
ARAB INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION
ARAB JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION
ARAB LAWYERS UNION (ALU)
ARAB MEDIA CENTER
ARAB MEDICAL ASSOCIATION - GAZA
ARAB ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ARAB STUDIES SOCIETY
ARAB THOUGHT FORUM
ARAB WRITERS UNION IN ISRAEL
ARCI CULTURA E SVILUPPO (ARCS)
ASSOCIATION FOR THE SUPPORT AND DEFENCE OF BEDOUIN RIGHTS IN ISRAEL
ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DES JURISTES DEMOCRATES (AIJD)
ASSOCIATION MEDICALE FRANCO-PALESTINIENNE
ASSOCIATION OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN'S COMMITTEES FOR SOCIAL WORK IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
ASSOCIATION POUR L'UNION ENTRE LES PEUPLES JUIF ET PALESTINIEN (AUPJP)
BEIT HANINA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
BRITISH REFUGEE COUNCIL
CAMPAIGN FOR THE CHILDREN OF PALESTINE
CENTRE D'ETUDES ARABES POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT (CEAD)
CENTRE FOR RESEARCH IN RURAL AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
(Publisher of India's Quarterly, "Man and Development")
CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE CROCEVIA
CHILD CARE AND MOTHER GUIDANCE SOCIETY
CHRISTIAN PEACE CONFERENCE
CIMADE (Service Oecuménique d'Entraide)
CIRCLE OF ARAB ACADEMICS IN ISRAEL
COMITE CATHOLIQUE CONTRE LA FAIM ET POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT (CCFD)
COMITE PALESTINE & ISRAEL VIVRONT
COMMISSION OF THE CHURCHES ON INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS OF THE
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
CONFEDERAÇAO PALESTINA DA AMERICA LATINA E DO CARIBE - COPLAC
CONFEDERATION DEMOCRATIQUE DU TRAVAIL - MAROC
CONFEDERATION GENERALE ITALIENNE DU TRAVAIL (FILCEA CGIL)
CONFEDERATION MONDIALE DU TRAVAIL WORLD CONFEDERATION OF LABOUR
COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ARAB-BRITISH UNDERSTANDING (CAABU)
CYPRUS SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE WITH ARAB PEOPLE (EPAL)
DANISH PALESTINIAN FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION
DAR AL-ISLAM ALKHAIERAH
DEMOCRATIC ARAB ORGANIZATION
DEMOCRATIC FRONT FOR PEACE AND EQUALITY - HADASH
DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION MOVEMENT IN ISRAEL
DRUZE INTITIATIVE COMMITTEE
DUTCH PALESTINE COMMITTEE
EGYPTIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
FEDERATION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN'S ACTION COMMITTEE
FEDERATION OF TEACHERS UNIONS (FISE)
FEDERATION SYNDICALE MONDIALE
FINNISH ARAB FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
FINNISH PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
FRIENDS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE (Freundinen des palästinensischen Volkes e.v.)
FRIENDS OF THE PALESTINIAN UNIVERSITIES
GAZA COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMME
GENERAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN TEACHERS
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN (GUPW-UK Branch)
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN
GREEK COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC SOLIDARITY
GRUPO DI RICERCA SUL MEDIO-ORIENTE CONTEMPORANEO (G.R.M.O.C.)
HANITZOTZ/A-SHARARA PUBLISHING HOUSE
HEALTH SERVICES COUNCIL
IN DEFENSE OF CHILDREN UNDER OCCUPATION - CARE AND LEARNING
INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP FOR RECONCILIATION (IFOR)
INTERNATIONAL JEWISH PEACE UNION
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE RIGHTS AND LIBERATION OF PEOPLE
INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR UNITY AMONG RACES AND PEOPLES
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (EAFORD)
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF JOURNALISTS
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS
INTERNATIONAL YOUTH AND STUDENT MOVEMENT FOR THE UNITED NATIONS (ISMUN)
ISRAEL PALESTINE CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND INFORMATION
ITALIAN METALWORKERS FEDERATION - FIM-CISL
JENIN CHARITABLE SOCIETY
JERUSALEM PRESS SERVICE
LABOUR COMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
LABOUR MIDDLE EAST COUNCIL
LIGUE INTERNATIONALE POUR LES DROITS ET LA LIBERATION DES PEUPLES
LOUISVILLE COMMITTEE FOR ISRAELI PALESTINIAN STATES
MALAYSIA PALESTINE SOLIDARITY AND FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION
MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINE-CANADA (MAP-Canada)
MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINIANS (MAP)
MEDICAL AID FOR THE THIRD WORLD
MIDDLE EAST INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES FOR CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
MOUVEMENT CHRETIEN POUR LA PAIX
(THE) MOVEMENT FOR AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLE'S COOPERATION AND SOLIDARITY
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ARAB AMERICANS
NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE PROTECTION OF ARAB LAND IN ISRAEL
NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT (NFID)
NATIONAL INSTITUTION OF SOCIAL CARE AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING
NORWEGIAN MEDICAL SOCIETY FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
NORWEGIAN PALESTINIAN COMMITTEE (THE)
NORWEGIAN PEOPLE'S AID
ORGANISATION CANADIENNE SOLIDARITE ET DEVELOPPEMENT (O.C.S.D.)
ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN TRADE UNION UNITY (OATU)
PALESTINE DEMOCRATIC ASSOCATION
PALESTINE GROUPS OF NORWAY
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION CENTER (PALGRIC)
PALESTINE MEDICAL RELIEF COMMITTEES
PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION OF SWEDEN
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
PALESTINIAN AGRICULTURE RELIEF COMMITTEES (PARC)
PALESTINIAN FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S ACTION COMMITTEES
PALESTINIAN HYDROLOGY GROUP
PALESTINIAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON CHILDHOOD
PALESTINIAN WRITERS' UNION
PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION (P.A.E.A.C.)
PATIENTS FRIENDS BENEVOLENT SOCIETY FOR GAZA STRIP
PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL
PRISONERS FRIENDS ASSOCIATION IN ISRAEL
PROGRESSIVE LABOUR FRONT
PROGRESSIVE LIST FOR PEACE
PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT FOR PEACE
RED CRESCENT SOCIETY
RUSSIAN SOCIETY OF AFRO-ASIAN PEOPLE'S SOLIDARITY AND COOPERATION
SALAAM RAGAZZI DELL'OLIVO
SIERRA LEONE NATIONAL COUNCIL AGAINST ZIONISM AND RACISM
SPANISH NGO COMMITTEE ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
TERRE DES HOMMES (TDHF)
THE TRUST OF PROGRAMMES FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY
UMNO YOUTH - MALAYSIA
UNION GENERALE TUNISIENNE DU TRAVAIL
UNION NATIONALE DE LA FEMME TUNISIENNE
UNION OF AGRICULTURAL WORK COMMITTEES
UNION OF ARAB JURISTS
UNION OF DEMOCRATIC TEACHERS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
UNION OF HEALTH CARE COMMITTEES IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
UNION OF HEALTH WORK COMMITTEES (previously Popular Committees for Health Services)
UNION OF PALESTINIAN AMERICAN WOMEN
UNION OF PALESTINIAN MEDICAL RELIEF COMMITTEES
UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN
UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN'S ASSOCIATIONS IN NORTH AMERICA
UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN'S COMMITTEES IN THE OCCUPIED LAND
UNION OF TEACHERS AND EMPLOYEES IN BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY
UNITED HOLY LAND FUND
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION FOR INTERNATIONAL SERVICE (UNAIS)
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF SWEDEN
WAR RESISTERS INTERNATIONAL
WOMEN INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION
WOMEN ORGANIZATION FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS
WOMEN'S COMMITTEES FOR SOCIAL WORK IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION (WIDF)
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM
WORLD CONFERENCE ON RELIGION AND PEACE (WCRP)
WORLD FEDERALIST MOVEMENT (previously World Association of World Federalists)
WORLD FEDERATION OF UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATIONS
WORLD MUSLIM CONGRESS
WORLD PEACE COUNCIL
WORLD UNIVERSITY SERVICE
WORLD YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (WORLD YWCA)
YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF PALESTINE
ACRE ARAB WOMEN ORGANIZATION
AD HOC COMMITTEE FOR THE ARAB COMMUNITY HOSPITAL IN JERUSALEM/AUSTRIA
AL JUTHOUR FOR DEVELOPMENT
ALMINBAR ORGANIZATION FOR CULTURE, ART AND SCIENCE
AL-QUDS TELEVISION PRODUCTIONS (ATP)
ARAB ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN GOLAN HEIGHTS
ARAB ASSOCIATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ARAB HEALTH CENTER
ARAB LABOUR ORGANIZATION
ARAB SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH AND TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY (ASIR)
ARAB STUDENT ASSOCIATION OF AKKA
ASIAN COMMITTEE OF SOLIDARITY WITH ARABS
ASSOCIATION OF FORTY
BETHLEHEM ARAB SOCIETY FOR REHABILITATION
BISAN CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
CENTER OF INDIAN TRADE UNIONS
CIRCLE OF ARAB ACADEMICS IN ISRAEL
COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
EARLY CHILDHOOD RESOURCE CENTER (ECRC)
EL-KAMELL ASSOCIATION OF BARTA'A DEVELOPMENT
FEDERACION LATINOAMERICANA DE DETENIDOS Y DESAPARECIDOS (FEDEFAM)
FRIENDS OF DETAINEE AND PRISONER ASSOCIATION
FUND FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGICAL EDUCATION IN THE ARAB
SECTOR IN ISRAEL (FIATT)
GAZA CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GENERAL FEDERATION OF LABOUR UNIONS
GENERAL FEDERATION OF PALESTINIAN WORKERS
HEALTH ASSOCIATION FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES (THE)
"HOUSE OF CHILD" INSTITUTION
HOUSING RIGHT COMMITTEE
INDO-SYRIAN FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION
INITIATING COMMITTEE FOR DEFENDING THE RIGHTS OF UPROOTED ARABS IN ISRAEL
INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR PHILIPPINE STUDIES (INPS)
INTERNATIONAL SERVICE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
JAFFA RESEARCH CENTER
LAND AND WATER ESTABLISHMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES AND STUDIES
MAJD AL KURUM LOCAL COUNCIL
MEDITERRANEAN PEACE COMMITTEE
NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR ARAB COUNCIL OF MAYORS
NATIONAL UNION OF ALGERIAN WOMEN
NORWEGIAN AID COMMITTEE (NORWAC)
PALESTINE SOCIAL CONSOLIDATION FORUM
PALESTINIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
PALESTINIAN CENTER FOR TRAINING AND LABOUR STUDIES
PANORAMA CENTER FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION
PLANNING AND RESEARCH CENTER (PRC)
PROGRESSIVE ARAB WOMAN COMMITTEE
PUBLIC ASSOCIATION FOR CULTURE AND ART (PACAI)
SERVICE INTERNATIONAL POUR LES DROITS DE L'HOMME
SUPPORT GROUP ISRAELI PEACE GROUPS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS (SIVMO)
TAL EL FOKHAR ASSOCIATION
TIRA LOCAL COUNCIL
UCSI: USIP - COOPERAZIONE SPORTIVE INTERNAZIONALE
VEREIN ZUR FOERDERUNG SOZIALER PROJEKTE IM NAHEN OSTEN
(Association for the Promotion of Social Projects in the Middle East)
VOLUNTARY WORK COMMITTEE (VWC) (ALAMAL ALTATOE)
WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS
Regional Coordinating Committees for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
African Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Nouri Abdul Razzak
Alhaj Usman Nurudin Sahid Jah
Asian Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz
European Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Jean Michel Dumont
International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Farouk M. Abu Eissa
Sahar Hassan Schlonsky
Hanna Yousef Emile Safieh
Radwan Abu Ayyash
Maja Vander Velden
Jean Marie Gaubert
Latin American and Caribbean Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Hana Yousef Emil Safieh
North American Coordinating for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Palestine Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Rev. Father Ibrahim Ayyad
Radwan Abu Ayyash (Palestinian), Palestine Social Consolidation Forum
Albert Aghazarian (Palestinian), Director of Public Relations and
Professor of History at Bir Zeit University
Samih Al Qassem (Israel), Editor-in-Chief of
, a Nazareth newspaper
Jeanne Butterfield (United States of America), former Chairman of the North
American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Don Betz (United States of America), Chairman of the International Coordinating
Committee on the Question of Palestine
Mohammed Fa'eq (Egypt), Secretary-General, Arab Organization for Human Rights
Michael Lanigan (Ireland), Senator from Ireland
Abdul Kayium Nashter (India), Joint Secretary of the Indo-Arab Society of Bombay
Abie Nathan (Israel), Peace activist
Meir Pail (Israel), Director of B'Tselem, Israeli Human Rights Center
Workshop moderators and resource persons
Najat Abu Bakr
Ayyesha Abu Moghasaid
Jehad Abu Znaid
Yunis Ahmed Al-Jarou
Samih Al Qassem
Delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mr. Victor Camilleri, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations in New York and Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations in New York and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ennaceur, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Office at Geneva
H.E. Mr. Victor H. Batiouk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations in New York
H.E. Dr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations in New York
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Syrian Arab Republic
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Lebanon
United Nations specialized agencies and bodies
International Labour Organisation
Mrs. C. Comtet
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
Mrs. Tesfai Birikti
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Mr. Hans Peter Kotthaus
World Health Organization
Mr. Joseph Hazbun
World Intellectual Property Organization
Mr. Kamil Idris
Mr. Khamis Suedi
Non-member States maintaining permanent observer status at Headquarters
Mgr. Pierre Christophe
Mr. Alain François Guidetti
Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the International Organizations at Geneva
League of Arab States
H.E. Mr. Nehad Askalani
Mr. Ahmed Harguem
Deputy Permanent Observer
Mr. Mohamed Dayri
Mr. Ala H. Al Moman
Permanent Delegation of the League of Arab States
Organization of African Unity
Mr. Amr. A. Moukhtar
Permanent Observer of the Organization of African Unity
to the United Nations Office at Geneva
Mr. Salem A. Jalloud
Mr. Augustin Mujyambere
Mr. Mohamed M. Abuzeid
Member of the General Council
Organization of the Islamic Conference
H.E. Mr. Abulaziz Aboughosh, Ambassador
Director of Al-Quds and Palestine Department at the OIC General Secretariat
Other organizations having received a standing invitation
to participate in the session and the work of the General
Assembly as observers and maintaining permanent offices at Headquarters
H.E. Mr. Nabil Ramlawi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva;
Mr. Zuhdi Terzi
Msgr. Hilarion Capucci
Mr. Nabil Abu Radaneh
Mr. Nizar Abu Ghazalah
Mr. A-R Alawi
Mr. Mustafa Dibbs
Mr. Mahmoud Fanoun
Dr. Eugene Makhlouf
National liberation movements
African National Congress of South Africa
H.E. Mr. Oliver Tomba, National Chairman of the African National Congress of South Africa
Mr. Edward Mabitsela
Personal Assistant to the Chairman
Mr. Neo Moikangoa, Head of Research
Department of International Affairs
Mr. Tony Msimang
Aide to the Chairman
Mr. Thembani Mlindi
Aide to the Chairman
* *** *
Complete document in PDF format