Volume XXI, Bulletin No. 5
General Assembly adopts resolution on participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations
Security Council President issues statement on Jerusalem
Economic and Social Council adopts two resolutions on the question of Palestine
Special Committee on Israeli Practices undertakes mission to Middle East
ILO Director-General issues report on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories
World Bank commits $20 million to Palestinian Authority in fiscal year 1998
Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity adopts decisions on the question of Palestine
and the situation in the Middle East at its meeting held at Ouagadougou from 4 to 7 June 1998
Al-Quds Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference adopts final communiqué
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I. GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON PARTICIPATION
OF PALESTINE IN THE WORK OF THE UNITED NATIONS
At its 89th plenary meeting, held on 7 July 1998, the General Assembly adopted the resolution entitled “Participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations” by a vote of 124 in favour to 4 against, with 10 abstentions. See A/52/PV.89 for the verbatim record of the meeting. The text of the resolution is reproduced below:
52/250: Participation of Palestine in the work of the United Nations
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, in which it, inter alia, recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State, with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum,
Recalling also its resolution 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, in which it granted observer status to the Palestine Liberation Organization,
Recalling further its resolution 43/160 A of 9 December 1988, adopted under the item entitled "Observer status of national liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity and/or the League of Arab States", in which it decided that the Palestine Liberation Organization was entitled to have its communications issued and circulated as official documents of the United Nations,
Recalling its resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988, in which it acknowledged the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 and decided, inter alia, that the designation "Palestine" should be used in place of the designation "Palestine Liberation Organization" in the United Nations system,
Recalling its resolutions 49/12 A of 9 November 1994 and 49/12 B of 24 May 1995, through which, inter alia, arrangements for the Special Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, in addition to applying to all Member and observer States, were also applied to Palestine, in its capacity as observer, including in the organizing process of the list of speakers for the Commemorative Meeting,
Recalling further that Palestine enjoys full membership in the Group of Asian States and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia,
Aware that Palestine is a full member of the League of Arab States, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Group of 77 and China,
Aware also that general democratic Palestinian elections were held on 20 January 1996 and that the Palestinian Authority was established on part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,
Desirous of contributing to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, thus achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East,
1. Decides to confer upon Palestine, in its capacity as observer, and as contained in the annex to the present resolution, additional rights and privileges of participation in the sessions and work of the General Assembly and the international conferences convened under the auspices of the Assembly or other organs of the United Nations, as well as in United Nations conferences;
2. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Assembly, within the current session, on the implementation of the modalities annexed to the present resolution.
The additional rights and privileges of participation of Palestine shall be effected through the following modalities, without prejudice to the existing rights and privileges:
1. The right to participation in the general debate of the General Assembly.
2. Without prejudice to the priority of Member States, Palestine shall have the right of inscription on the list of speakers under agenda items other than Palestinian and Middle East issues at any meeting of the plenary after the last Member State inscribed on the list of that meeting.
3. The right of reply.
4. The right to raise points of order related to the proceedings on Palestinian and Middle East issues, provided that the right to raise such a point of order shall not include the right to challenge the decision of the presiding officer.
5. The right to co-sponsor draft resolutions and decisions on Palestinian and Middle East issues. Such draft resolutions and decisions shall only be put to a vote upon request from a Member State.
6. The right to make interventions, with a precursory explanation or the recall of relevant General Assembly resolutions being made only once by the President of the General Assembly at the start of each session of the Assembly.
7. Seating for Palestine shall be arranged immediately after non-Member States and before the other observers, and with the allocation of six seats in the General Assembly Hall.
8. Palestine shall not have the right to vote or to put forward candidates.
Subsequently, the Secretary-General issued the note requested by the Assembly in paragraph 2 above (A/52/1002).
II. SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT ISSUES STATEMENT ON JERUSALEM
At the 3904th meeting of the Security Council, held on 13 July 1998, in connection with the Council's consideration of the item entitled "The situation in the occupied Arab territories" at meetings held on 30 June 1998, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council (see S/PRST/1998/21):
The Security Council has considered the letters dated 18 and 22 June 1998 (S/1998/535 and S/1998/557), as well as the letters dated 8, 9 and 15 June 1998 (S/1998/481, S/1998/487 and S/1998/511), from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, and the letter dated 23 June 1998 (S/1998/558) from the Permanent Representative of the Sudan to the United Nations on behalf of the States members of the League of Arab States relating to the issue of Jerusalem.
The Security Council recognizes the importance and sensitivity of the issue of Jerusalem to all parties and expresses its support for the decision of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Government of Israel, in accordance with the Declaration of Principles of 13 September 1993, that the permanent status negotiations shall cover the issue of Jerusalem. The Council therefore calls upon the parties to avoid actions which might prejudice the outcome of these negotiations.
In the context of its previous relevant resolutions, the Security Council considers the decision by the Government of Israel on 21 June 1998 to take steps to broaden the jurisdiction and planning boundaries of Jerusalem a serious and damaging development. The Council therefore calls upon the Government of Israel not to proceed with that decision and also not to take any other steps which would prejudice the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. Further, the Council also calls upon Israel to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949.
The Security Council supports the efforts of the United States aimed at breaking the stalemate in the peace process, calls upon the parties to respond positively to these efforts, notes that the Palestinian side has already given agreement in principle to the United States proposals and expresses the hope that the permanent status negotiations can resume and progress can be made towards the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.
The Security Council will keep Israeli actions under review.
III. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS TWO RESOLUTIONS
ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
At its substantive meeting of 1998, held at New York Headquarters from 6 to 31 July 1998, the Economic and Social Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli settlements on the Palestinian people in the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, occupied since 1967, and on the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Arab Golan (A/53/163-E.1998/79), and on assistance to the Palestinian people (A/53/153-E/1998/75), as well as the report of the United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, held at Cairo on 27and 28 April 1998 (A/53/152-E/1998-71). On 28 July, the Council adopted resolution 1998/10 on Palestinian women recommended earlier by the Commission on the Status of Women (see the March 1998 issue of this Bulletin for the text of the resolution). On 29 July, it adopted the resolution on the settlements, the text of which is reproduced below:
1998/32. Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan
The Economic and Social Council,
Recalling General Assembly resolution 52/207 of 18 December 1997,
Recalling also its resolution 1997/67 of 25 July 1997,
Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and recalling relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,
Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, 1/ to the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,
Stressing the importance of the revival of the Middle East peace process on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973 and 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978, and the principle of land for peace as well as the full and timely implementation of the agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,
Reaffirming the principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources,
Convinced that the Israeli occupation impedes efforts to achieve sustainable development and a sound economic environment in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan,
Gravely concerned about the deterioration of economic and living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and of the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan, and the exploitation by Israel, the occupying Power, of their natural resources,
Aware of the important work being done by the United Nations and the specialized agencies in support of the economic and social development of the Palestinian people,
Conscious of the urgent need for the development of the economic and social infrastructure of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and for the improvement of the living conditions of the Palestinian people as a key element of a lasting peace and stability,
1. Stresses the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all of the occupied Palestinian territory and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods in the territory, including the removal of restrictions on going into and from East Jerusalem, and the freedom of movement to and from the outside world;
2. Also stresses the vital importance of the operation and construction of the Gaza airport, the seaport in Gaza and safe passage to the economic and social development of the Palestinian people;
3. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its measures against the Palestinian people, in particular the closure of the occupied Palestinian territory, the enforced isolation of Palestinian towns, the destruction of homes and the isolation of Jerusalem;
4. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan to all their natural and economic resources, and calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, endanger or cause loss or depletion of these resources;
5. Also reaffirms that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, are illegal and an obstacle to economic and social development;
6. Stresses the importance of the work of the organizations and agencies of the United Nations, and of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories under the auspices of the Secretary-General;
7. Urges Member States to encourage private foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, in infrastructure, job-creation projects and social development, in order to alleviate the hardship of the Palestinian people and improve living conditions;
8. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session, through the Economic and Social Council, a report on the implementation of the present resolution and to continue to include, in the report of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, an update on the living conditions of the Palestinian people, in collaboration with relevant United Nations agencies;
9. Decides to include the item entitled Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan in the agenda of its substantive session of 1999.
45th plenary meeting
29 July 1998
1/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.
IV. SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ISRAELI PRACTICES UNDERTAKES FIELD MISSION TO MIDDLE EAST
The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories undertook a field mission from 22 to 31 July 1998 to Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic. The text of the press release issued on 5 August 1998 (HR/98/57) is reproduced below:
The three-member Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories completed on 31 July 1998 a nine-day field mission to three countries in the region and has reported an impression that matters have not improved and in fact have worsened in several critical areas.
The field mission included interviews with witnesses to human-rights situations in occupied Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem and the Syrian Arab Golan. In reaching its conclusions, the Special Committee also cited communications it had received.
During a trip that began on 21 July to Egypt, Jordan, and the Syrian Arab Republic, the Committee received testimony on Israeli settlement policy, confiscation of land, closures, treatment of prisoners and detainees, revocation of residency permits in Jerusalem, the situation of children, water supply for domestic and agricultural use, health conditions in the occupied territories, movement of goods and the general economic situation in the area. The panel interviewed witnesses from the occupied regions. The particular policies and the implementation of intricate measures and regulations by the Israeli authorities appeared to the Committee to have immeasurably affected the lives and well-being of Palestinians and Syrian Arabs. The effects were such as to call the purpose of the Israeli actions into question, the Committee said. The group focused on developments pertaining to human rights since the adoption by the General Assembly of its 29th report in December 1997.
In Egypt from 24 to 25 July, the Special Committee met in Cairo with two Foreign Ministry officials, Naila Gabr, Head of the Human Rights Department, and Fayez Noseir, Head of the Department for Palestinian Affairs. While in Egypt, the Special Committee also met with a representative of the League of Arab States, Dr. Hitti. The panel heard testimony from witnesses from the West Bank and Gaza.
In Jordan from 26 to 28 July, the Special Committee met in Amman with Ibrahim Badran, Director-General of the Department of Palestinian Affairs, and with Rajab Sugairy, Director of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Committee heard testimony of witnesses from the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. The Committee made a visit to the King Hussein Bridge where it heard testimony from several Palestinians who had just crossed into Jordan.
In the Syrian Arab Republic from 29 to 31 July, the Special Committee was received in Damascus by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nasser Kaddour, and by Klovis Khoury, Director of International Organizations. The Committee visited Quneitra Province bordering the occupied Syrian Arab Golan and met with the Governor of Quneitra. The Committee heard witnesses who provided information on the current situation in the Syrian Arab Golan. The Special Committee also witnessed an exchange through megaphones of greetings between long-separated relatives near the village of Majdal Shams.
The Special Committee members are: John de Saram, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York, as Chairman; Absa Claude Diallo, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva; and Ambassador-at-large Abdul Majid Mohamed of Malaysia.
Under varying membership, the panel has existed since 1968 when it was established by the General Assembly. Its mandate was most recently renewed on 10 December 1997 in a resolution (52/64) referring to the principles of international humanitarian law, in particular to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and to international standards of human rights, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights.
The report of the Special Committee's most recent field mission will be submitted to the General Assembly at its fifty-third session this year. Before departing on the trip, the group held preliminary meetings in Geneva on 21 July.
V. ILO DIRECTOR-GENERAL ISSUES REPORT ON THE SITUATION
OF WORKERS IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
The Director-General of the International Labour Organization submitted his annual report to the 86th session of the International Labour Conference on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories based on data and information gathered by missions to the Syrian Arab Republic (21 March to 1 April 1998), Jordan (27 April to 1 May 1998) and to Israel and the occupied Arab territories (11 to 13 May 1998). The report includes information on recent developments in the situation of workers, the economy and the labour market, population and the labour force, employment within the occupied territories, employment in Israel and in settlements, unemployment, underemployment and poverty in the occupied territories, conditions of work, freedom of association and industrial relations and technical cooperation (see CONFREP 5188-02.E98/v.2 for the full report).
VI. WORLD BANK COMMITS $20 MILLION TO PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY FOR FISCAL YEAR 1998
On 15 July 1998, the World Bank announced that it had approved a total of $20 million to support two development projects in West Bank and Gaza (WBG) during fiscal year 1998 (July 1997-June 1998). An additional $80 million was mobilized from other donors to co-finance these two operations. This compares to World Bank lending commitments of $83 million in FY97 (see press release No. 99/1891/MENA).
VII. COUNCIL OF MINISTERS OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY
ADOPTS DECISIONS ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE AND
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST AT ITS MEETING
HELD AT OUAGADOUGOU FROM 4 TO 7 JUNE 1998
At its sixty-eighth ordinary session, held at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 4 to 7 June 1998, the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity adopted decisions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East. The full texts are reproduced below (see A/53/179):
CM/Dec. 413 (LXVIII). Report of the Secretary-General on the Question of Palestine (Doc. M/2068 (LXVIII))
1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary General;
2. Reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the PLO to exercise their inalienable national rights, their right to return to their homeland, restoration of their properties, self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on their national soil with East Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with international law;
3. Expresses its deep concern and condemnation of Israel's violation of the principles of peace and peaceful coexistence and its disregard for the principles on which the peace process is based; expresses its deep concern also over the continued Israeli Government policy aimed at undermining the peace process and throwing the security of the region into chaos and violence;
4. Emphasizes the need to implement the three stages of the redeployment process in accordance with the agreement signed and the timetable set so as to ensure the extension of Palestinian authority to all the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip which constitute one geographical unit, put an end to all the unilateral steps, especially the policy of settlement, and to consider all the issues pertaining to the final negotiations upon Israel’s completion of the requirements of the transitional stage;
5. Expresses its serious concern over the stall of the peace process, especially after the failure of the London meetings and the postponement of the Washington Summit which was scheduled to take place on 11 May 1998 because of the Israeli Government's intransigence and lack of seriousness in achieving a just and comprehensive peace that will guarantee security and stability for all the peoples of the region and to enable the Palestinian people to regain their occupied land, their national and historical inalienable rights;
6. Takes note with appreciation of the initiative recently proposed by Presidents Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Jacques Chirac of France on the convening of an international conference on the Middle East in view of the current crisis of the peace-process;
7. Calls upon Israel to immediately stop the practice of confiscating Palestinian lands, especially those in East Jerusalem and its environs, and the expansion of settlements in violation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 465 (1980) and 478 (1980), which threatens to lead to the collapse of the peace process; reaffirms that part of Jerusalem occupied in 1967 is part and parcel of the Palestinian territories and is, therefore, subjected to the same provision of the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council;
8. Emphasizes the need to implement General Assembly resolution ES-10/3, adopted by its special emergency session held on 15 June 1997, on the status of Jerusalem and the illegal measures being taken in other occupied Palestinian territories, and also emphasizes the urgent need, as soon as possible, in conformity with United Nations General Assembly resolution ES-10/4, adopted by its special emergency session held on 13 November 1997 on the convening of a conference as soon as possible, to implement the Geneva Convention in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem;
9. Calls upon Israel to immediately put an end to the on-going construction work on the Abu Ghunaym Mountain, and urges the co-sponsors of the peace process, the parties concerned and the international community to end all forms of assistance and support to Israel in its illegal activities in the occupied lands;
10. Emphasizes the need to preserve the territorial integrity of all the occupied Palestinian lands, ensure freedom of movement of persons and goods in the region, including the removal of restrictions on entry to and exit from Jerusalem as well as freedom of movement in other occupied Palestinian lands;
11. Reaffirms the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and regain their property in accordance with the fundamental principles of human rights and the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly General Assembly resolution 194 (II) Security Council resolution 237 (1967), which consider the right to return as one of the basic principles for a comprehensive and just peace in the region;
12. Reaffirms, in view of the critical and serious nature of the situation, the freezing of all relations with Israel at their present level;
13. Calls for the initiation of all possible measures to ensure Israel's adherence to the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the Principle of Land for Peace and its full implementation of all agreements and commitments entered into by the parties concerned during the peace talks;
14. Emphasizes the urgent need for Israel, the occupying Power, to respect all international humanitarian laws as provided by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 in the occupied Palestinian lands since 1967, including Jerusalem;
15. Emphasizes also the need to respect the agreements entered into and other international laws which are necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security. It also calls for strict implementation of the peace agreements which were concluded, and urges the sponsors of the peace process, the parties concerned and the international community at large to revamp the peace process and guarantee its success;
16. Expresses satisfaction with the appeal made by the Palestinian National Authority to cerebrate Bethlehem 2000 in commemoration of the Birth of Christ, and calls upon Member States to accord the celebrations the necessary importance to ensure their success leading to peace and hope in the Middle East.
CM/Dec.414 (LXVIII). Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation
in the Middle East (Doc. CM/2069 (LXVIII))
1. Takes note of the Report of the Secretary-General;
2. Recalls all the previous resolutions adopted by the Assembly of the Organization of African Unity Heads of State and Government and the OAU Council of Ministers; reaffirms that the Question of Palestine is the core of the struggle in the Middle East and that there can be no just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East unless Israel withdraws from all occupied Palestinian and Arab lands, including East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan Heights and Southern Lebanon and unless the Palestinian people are allowed to exercise their inalienable national rights in accordance with the relevant resolutions, especially resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 465 (1980), 478 (1980) and 425 (1978) based on the Principle of Land for Peace;
3. Calls for the initiation of all possible measures to ensure Israel's adherence to the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the Principle of Land for Peace and its full implementation of all the agreements and commitments entered into by the parties on all tracks during the peace talks;
4. Reiterates its principled support for the Palestinian cause and decries the intransigence of the Israeli Government in the peace negotiations, and calls upon Israel to immediately desist from all actions that jeopardize the peace process;
5. Urges the United Nations General Assembly and the international community to ensure complete Israeli compliance with United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency resolutions on the use of nuclear installations only for peaceful purposes and persuade that country to allow international inspection of its nuclear installations and draw the attention of the Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency to the actual and potential threat posed by radiation leakage from the Daimona reactors in the absence of any international inspection;
6. Reaffirms its support for the proposal of H.E. President Hosni Mubarak to declare the Middle East a region free of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction;
7. Urges all the countries in the region which have not yet acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to do so by putting their nuclear installations under the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency and to refrain from manufacturing, producing, testing and possessing nuclear weapons.
VIII. AL-QUDS COMMITTEE OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE
ISLAMIC CONFERENCE ADOPTS FINAL COMMUNIQUE
At its seventeenth session, held at Casablanca on 29 and 30 July 1998, the Al-Quds Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference adopted its final communiqué and recommendation. The full text is reproduced below (A/53/212-S/1998/716):
In response to a generous invitation from His Majesty King Hassan II, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco and Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, the Committee held its seventeenth (17th) session in the city of Casablanca, Kingdom of Morocco, on 4 and 5 Rabiul Akhar 1419H, 29 and 30 July 1998, to consider the critical juncture the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif was going through – the Islamic Ummah's prime cause – as a
result of the Israeli occupation authorities' persistence in implementing their scheme designed to judaize the Holy City by having recourse to various ways and means and carrying out unilateral acts to alter the normal demographic and geographic status of the City and place the international community before a new fait accompli, prior to the negotiations on the definitive solution for the City and to influence their outcome.
Took part in the Committee's deliberations His Excellency President Yasser Arafat, President of the State of Palestine, Their Highnesses and Excellencies the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, delegations from the Committee Member States, and His Excellency Dr. Azzeddine Laraki, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
His Majesty King Hassan II, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, opened the Committee's proceedings by highlighting the dangerous juncture which the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif has been going through. His Majesty called on the members of the Committee to adopt a new approach as required by the Arab-Islamic events which warrant the adoption of specific decisions. His Majesty further stated that a series of measures had been finalized with respect to Bayt Al-Mal of Al-Quds, the executive body of which has now been set up and which now has its headquarters and bank accounts. It will start discharging its mission immediately.
In His address, His Excellency President Yasser Arafat, President of the State of Palestine, thanked His Majesty King Hassan II for having called the Al-Quds Committee to convene at this critical juncture, wherein Al-Quds Al-Sharif is facing a clear threat of judaization, confronted by demographic and geographic changes, and being isolated from its Arab environment. He called for concerted efforts to save the Holy City from the Israeli occupation.
The heads of delegations then took the floor, emphasizing the serious consequences of the Israeli Government's illegal decisions and measures applied to Al-Quds Al-Sharif, particularly its latest decision pertaining to the expansion of the boundaries of Al-Quds Municipality.
In the light of the deliberations of its members, the Committee reaffirmed its total solidarity with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in its just struggle to end the Israeli occupation and re-establish the Palestinian people's inalienable national rights, including their right to return, to self-determination and to statehood on their national soil with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as their capital. The Committee also expressed its support to the Middle East peace process and to the implementation of the agreements signed in that framework between the parties concerned along with all the commitments and pledges made on the basis of the principles of the Madrid Conference, in accordance with the United Nations resolutions, especially Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 425 (1978), as well as the "land for peace" formula which calls for Israel's immediate, total and unconditional withdrawal from all the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the Syrian Golan back to the 4 June 1967 line and occupied Lebanese territories in accordance with Security Council resolution 425 (1978). It further stressed the need for Israel to honour the commitments it made during the negotiations and resume talks on the Syrian track from where they had ended.
Al-Quds Al-Sharif is part and parcel of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 – and that all that applied to the rest of the occupied territories applied to it as per the relevant United Nations decisions until the restoration of Palestinian sovereignty on Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of the State of Palestine.
All legislative, administrative and settlement-related steps and measures which are designed to alter the legal status of the Holy City are null and void and inconsistent with the decisions of international legitimacy and with international conventions and covenants and contrary to the agreements signed by the Palestinian and Israeli parties.
The Committee made the following recommendations:
1. The Committee called upon the Security Council to ensure the implementation of its resolutions on the protection of the status of Al-Quds, lay down mechanisms for the implementation of its resolution 1073 (1996) and take the necessary steps to be taken to ensure the follow-up by the Security Council concerning the implementation of the content of the presidential statement issued by the Security Council on 13 July 1998, including adoption of appropriate decisions and measures in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, in view of the fact that the steps taken by Israel in Al-Quds constitute a violation of the basic principle for peace in the Middle East as well as a threat to international peace and security and an act of aggression.
2. The Committee requested the international community, especially the sponsors of the peace process, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and Non-Aligned countries to take a firm stand in confronting the Israeli siege of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and halt all the measures, practices and unilateral decisions aimed at judaizing the city, besieging it and isolating it from its Palestinian environment, and to endeavour for the lifting of the siege.
3. The Committee urged all countries to comply with Security Council resolution 478 (1980) calling upon them to refrain from moving their diplomatic missions to the City of Al-Quds and to avoid dealing with the Israeli occupation authorities in any manner that may be construed in any way, as a tacit admission of the fait accompli imposed by Israel which considered the City of Al-Quds as its capital. In this context, the Committee rejected the recommendation of the United States House of Representatives concerning the recognition of Al-Quds as the unified capital of Israel and the transfer of the American Embassy to Al-Quds.
4. The Committee urged those Islamic countries which have taken steps to normalize relations with Israel in the context of the peace process to reconsider such relations with Israel and, inter alia, to close their missions and offices until
Israel complied with United Nations resolutions and carried out the agreements, pledges and commitments reached by the parties to the peace process.
5. The Committee invited the Vatican to refuse to extend recognition to Al-Quds as Israel's capital. It further called upon the Eastern and other churches and Christian religious orders to contribute to efforts aimed at resisting the judaization of the City of Al-Quds so as to respect all celestial religious shrines and to preserve peaceful coexistence amongst themselves.
6. The Committee called upon the Security Council to revive the International Supervision and Control Committee entrusted with preventing settlement activities in Al-Quds and the other occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, in accordance with resolution 446 (1979).
7. The Committee welcomed the invitation extended by the Swiss Government to hold, before the end of the current year, a meeting of the High Signatory Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war in order to take the necessary measures to ensure the observance of the Agreement in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif.
8. The Committee urged all States that extend economic and financial assistance to Israel, especially the United States of America, EU countries and international donor institutions and funds to halt their assistance, which is used by Israel to carry out its colonial settlement schemes and designs in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories as well as the Syrian Golan.
9. The Committee expressed its appreciation for the stand which was adopted by the European Union in refraining from importing any products originating from Al-Quds and Israeli settlements and called upon the other countries to adopt the same attitude in compliance with the resolutions of international law.
10. The Committee called upon all the countries to recognize the State of Palestine upon its proclamation on the land of Palestine pursuant to international law; it highly valued the support of the international community in raising the status of representation of Palestine in the United Nations and considered it a step in this direction.
11. The Committee urged the Islamic States to extend further support to the Palestinian national institutions and the Palestinian people with a view to enabling it to protect the Islamic and Christian sanctities, preserve the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and its civilizational, historical and religious heritage, and to support its steadfastness and its resistance to the Israeli occupation and settlement schemes.
12. The Committee called upon the member States, the Islamic financial institutions, banks and funds, as well as companies and individuals to extend generous assistance in support of Bayt Al-Mal of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. It also urged them to conduct public donation campaigns for the benefit of Al-Quds Al-Sharif in order to allow the institutions and departments of Al-Quds to continue playing their role in supporting the steadfastness of the inhabitants of the Holy City in the face of occupation.
13. The Committee urged the OIC member States to speed up the implementation of the Islamic Conference resolutions inviting the member States to extend their voluntary contributions with the aim of covering the capital of Al-Quds fund and its waqf, each amounting to US$1 million .
14. The Committee welcomed the nomination by His Majesty King Hassan II, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, of Mr. Wajih Hassan Al Qassim as Director of Bayt Al-Mal of Al-Quds Al-Sharif.
15. The Committee endorsed the Trusteeship Committee of Bayt Al-Mal of Al-Quds Al-Sharif provided for under article 6 of the statute with the following membership:
1. State of Palestine (Permanent Member);
2. Kingdom of Morocco (Permanent Member);
3. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (for a period of three years);
4. Islamic Republic of Iran (for a period of three years);
5. Republic of Senegal (for a period of three years).
16. The Committee called upon Bayt Al-Mal of Al-Quds to take steps to start discharging its duties as specified in its status, including collection of donations and the possibility of issuing bonds in accordance with the provisions of Islamic Law. Such a Fund shall contribute to financing steadfastness operations in Al-Quds Al-Sharif.
The Committee expressed its deep appreciation and gratitude to its Chairman, His Majesty King Hassan II, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco, for the continuous efforts He has been and is still exerting at all Arab, Islamic and international levels to promote and uphold the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif and also for the gracious invitation extended by His Majesty for this important session to convene in the city of Casablanca.
The Committee also expressed its deep gratitude and appreciation to His Majesty's Government and the brotherly people of Morocco for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to the participating delegations.