Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people
Inalienable rights of the Palestinian people
Defined by the UN General Assembly as the right to self-determination without external interference; the right to national independence and sovereignty; and the right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced and uprooted -- General Assembly resolution
Permanent (final) status issues
Declaration of Principles
on Interim Self-Government Arrangements signed by Israel and the PLO in 1993 (DOP) deferred certain issues to subsequent permanent status negotiations.
Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic
, Jerushalayim in Hebrew) is the site of the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Passion of Crucifixion; and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first kibla and third holiest sanctuary of Islam. The City has been the object of conflicting claims by Jews and Palestinian Arabs, both peoples consider it the embodiment of their national essence and right to self-determination. The UN adopted in 1947 the Partition Plan for Palestine (
Resolution 181 (II)
of 1947) which retained the unity of Jerusalem by providing for an international regime under UN control. That formula, however, did not materialize. With the all-out war between the two communities in 1948, which was joined by the neighboring Arab States, Jerusalem was placed at the heart of the conflict. The
Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement of 1949
division of the City into the eastern sector, including the Old City, controlled by Jordan, and the western sector, or the new City controlled by the new State of Israel. The 1967 war, which resulted in the occupation by Israel of East Jerusalem, reopened the debate over the two competing claims. Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, considers that "Jerusalem, whole and united, is the capital of Israel", and wants the City to "remain forever under Israel's sovereignty". It invested vast resources into changing the physical and demographic characteristics of the City. The Israeli claim has not been recognized by the international community which rejects the acquisition of territory by war and considers any changes on the ground illegal and invalid. On the other hand, the Palestinians have claimed East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent State of Palestine to be established in the territories occupied since 1967. The status of the Holy Places has a special significance in that debate and proposals have been made for their internationalization. With the developments in the peace process since 1991, there is great concern that the evolving
situation on the ground should not prejudge the outcome of negotiations on the status of the City.
Study - The Status of Jerusalem
In 1947, the United Nations proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947). One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and in the 1948 war it expanded to occupy 77 per cent of the territory of Palestine. 750,000 Palestinians, over half the indigenous population, fled or were expelled. In the 1967 war, Israel occupied the remaining territory of Palestine, until then under Jordanian and Egyptian control. The war brought a second exodus of Palestinians, estimated at more than half a million. (Study: The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem: 1917-1988) General Assembly
of 11 December 1948 states that: "
...The refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible."
Decades later, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
continues to provide education, health care, relief and development assistance and social services to some
registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Living standards in refugee communities remain poor, and are characterised in some fields by high unemployment, falling household income, overburdened infrastructure, and restrictions on employment and mobility. See also: Reports of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA,
The Right of Return of the Palestinian People
- a study.
The building of settlements
in the Occupied Palestinian Territory began soon after the 1967 War. That policy has accelerated since the beginning of 1990. The Israeli Government encourages settlers to make their homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The establishment of Israeli settlements has been the subject of various resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly. For example, in its
resolution 446 (1979)
the Security Council determined that the Israeli policy and practice of establishing settlements had no legal validity and constituted a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. That position was reaffirmed in Security Council
resolution 465 (1980)
which determined that Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, constitute a flagrant violation of the
Fourth Geneva Convention
. and in
(2016). The Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly in February 1999 recommended in an overwhelmingly adopted
the convening of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and to ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1. Under the
Quartet's Road Map
, Israel was supposed to immediately dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth). See also:
Settlements Fact Sheet, Map
In the region, characterized by an arid and semi-arid climate, scarce water is increasingly considered crucial. The Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially the elevated areas of the West Bank, is endowed with an abundance of renewable water resources compared to the rest of the Middle East. However, severe restrictions on the drilling for water, planting and irrigation placed on the Palestinians have maintained at a low level the amount of water made available to the Palestinian population. Most of the water percolates underground to Israel and Israeli settlers are provided with preferential access to water resources. As a consequence a shortage of water undermines the living conditions of the Palestinian people. A comprehensive and fair allocation of the water resources of the Jordan River basin, West Bank aquifers and the Gaza aquifer remains to be negotiated by the relevant parties. See also:
1995 Interim Agreement, Annex III Article 40
Study: Water Resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory
The Security Council in
of 1967 formulated the principles of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which should include an Israeli withdrawal from
it had occupied in the conflict, and termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force. The General Assembly, for its part, has
its commitment, in accordance with international law, to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders. Its also stressed the need for the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.