Volume XXXII, Bulletin No. 3
on action by the United Nations system and
relevant to the question of Palestine
Gaza reconstruction conference receives donor pledges of $4.48 billion
United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People convened in Cairo
Commission on the Status of Women approved resolution on Palestinian women
Nine human rights mandate-holders' report on the situation in the aftermath of Gaza conflict
Secretary-General condemns killing of top PLO official in Lebanon
Human Rights Council adopts four resolutions on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
I. GAZA RECONSTRUCTION CONFERENCE RECEIVES DONOR PLEDGES OF $ 4.48 BILLION
The International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza was convened in Sharm el-Sheikh on 2 March 2009, chaired by Egypt and co-chaired by Norway, to respond to the early recovery and reconstruction needs of the Gaza Strip. The Conclusions by the Chair of the conference are reproduced below (A/ES-10/450).
At the initiative of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza was convened in Sharm el-Sheikh on 2 March 2009, chaired by Egypt and co-chaired by Norway, in order to respond to the early recovery and reconstruction needs of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of Israel’s military offensive.
Participants expressed their concern that an understanding on a prolonged period of calm in Gaza could not be reached till present. They expressed their support for the ongoing efforts by Egypt to consolidate the current fragile ceasefire and to establish the necessary prolonged calm. Participants underscored the importance of achieving Palestinian national reconciliation consistent with Arab League resolutions and voiced their support for the efforts exerted by Egypt to this end. They considered the achievement of both calm and the reconciliation as necessary requisites for any successful reconstruction effort undertaken by the donor community.
While participants stressed that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied in 1967 on which the future Palestinian State shall be established, they reiterated that the establishment of a viable Palestinian State will require, inter alia, the sustained support of the international community and called for increased financial and economic assistance for the Palestinian Authority.
Many participants emphasized the importance of access for the success of recovery and reconstruction efforts. In this context, they called for the immediate, unconditional and sustained reopening of Israel’s crossing with the Gaza Strip to allow for the movement of people and goods into Gaza in a manner that enables the Palestinians to effectively regain normalcy in their daily lives and rebuild what has been destroyed. Participants stressed the crucial need to break the cycle of construction and destruction in Gaza, and demanded that Israel fully respect its obligations under international law and international humanitarian law and desist from targeting or damaging the civilian and economic infrastructure of Gaza or taking any action that negatively impacts the collective livelihood of the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Participants welcomed the concerted response of the international community to the immediate humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population in Gaza that arose as a result of the military hostilities, and urged donors to continue to provide funding for these urgent priority needs, including through the United Nations consolidated appeals process. They underlined the need for this assistance to be delivered in line with the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence.
Participants welcomed the Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan for Gaza, which represents the coordinated response of the Palestinian National Authority and its local and international partners to the destruction sustained by the Palestinians in Gaza.
They recognized that the Plan will be explicitly linked to the priorities outlined in the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan, which was launched at the December 2007 Paris donors’ conference. They stressed that it will form the basis for mobilizing the resources and efforts of the international community and donors in response to the needs presented by the Palestinian National Authority for 2009 and 2010.
To this end, participants pledged an approximate total of $4,481 billion covering the next two years. They committed themselves to start disbursing these pledges as quickly as possible in order to rapidly impact the daily lives of the Palestinians.
Participants expressed their intention to channel their assistance for the Plan through the Single Treasury Account as well as through existing international and regional mechanisms and funds, namely, the European Commission’s PEGASE, the World Bank Palestinian Reform and Development Plan Trust Fund, the Islamic Development Fund and the United Nations consolidated appeals process. They welcomed the European Union readiness to put the PEGASE mechanism, which provides targeted support for specific recurrent costs of the Palestinian Authority, for private-sector recovery and development of public investment, at the disposal of the international donor community.
Participants emphasized the importance of the overall coordination of the reconstruction process in order to maximize the use of pledged and existing resources and avoid the employment of assistance or duplication of efforts that do not conform to the priorities outlined by the Palestinian National Authority. In that context, they noted the important role played by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and highlighted the task of its upcoming meeting, which will afford major donors the opportunity to further coordinate and align their policies with Palestinian needs.
Participants expressed their hope for and encouraged Palestinians and Israelis to achieve an early resumption of serious peace talks between them with the aim of ending the occupation of the Palestinian Territory and implementing the two-State solution.
They agreed on the need to follow up on the commitments announced during the Conference.
II. UNITED NATIONS SEMINAR ON ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE CONVENED IN CAIRO
The United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, in Cairo on 10 and 11 March 2009. The theme of the Seminar was “International response to the humanitarian and economic needs of the Gaza Strip”. The following is the statement of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as delivered by Karen AbuZayd, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East on 10 March 2009 (SG/SM/12130-GA/PAL/1113):
It is my pleasure to send greetings to the participants in this United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Recent developments have complicated the political, humanitarian and socio-economic aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Thousands of Gazans were killed and injured, dispossessed and displaced in the recent hostilities, and are now living with pain and hardship. Israelis also suffered casualties and face the future with fear and despair.
When I visited Gaza in January, I expressed my solidarity with the Palestinian people in their suffering, and paid tribute to the courageous, hardworking United Nations staff on the ground. What I witnessed reinforced my conviction that there must be an end to the occupation that began in 1967 and an end to the conflict. We must not allow the events of the past two months to wipe out the progress that had been made towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
At this difficult moment, I call for a proper and durable ceasefire as soon as possible to allow for a return of calm in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel. The situation at the crossings is intolerable, and it is crucial that Israel take meaningful steps to ease the closure, without which Palestinian economic recovery cannot take place. A ceasefire should pave the way for the reopening of all Gaza crossings based on the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) embodies these basic parameters.
Reconstruction and development in Gaza will also require Palestinian reconciliation. I look forward to the commencement of the work of the committees here in Cairo today. I strongly urge Palestinians to find unity and common ground. I commend the untiring efforts of the Egyptian Government acting as a facilitator among the Palestinians, as well as between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza. The support of leaders in the region will be vital to bolstering any future agreements. I am hopeful that the incoming Israeli Government will honour earlier commitments, engage in political negotiations and conclude a peace accord with the Palestinians.
In the West Bank, Prime Minister [Salam] Fayyad’s efforts to improve security arrangements – an obligation under the road map – have borne fruit. Relative calm prevailed even during the Gaza crisis. But Israeli raids continue; checkpoints and curfews are still present; and settlement activity has accelerated, with a 69 per cent increase in new structures in 2008 over the previous year. Plans for settlement expansion at the expense of Palestinian land are in place. This goes against Israel’s road map obligations, which were reaffirmed by both parties before the Quartet at Sharm el-Sheikh last November. Action to meet these commitments is long overdue.
Last week in Sharm el-Sheikh, I participated in the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza. Even after the fighting, some 90 per cent of Gazans remain dependent on humanitarian aid for food and medicine. This situation is untenable. I welcome the generosity of international donors at a time when humanitarian needs are expected to worsen in light of the global food and financial crises. It is critical that contributions in support of the Palestinian Authority’s Gaza Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan reach those in need as soon as possible.
Only a permanent negotiated political settlement, which ends the occupation, can provide a sustainable solution to the economic and humanitarian problems of the Palestinian people and lasting security for Israel. The United Nations will continue to do its part towards realizing the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Please accept my best wishes for the success of your deliberations.
At its fifty third session, held from 2 to 13 March 2009, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, (see E/CN.6/2008/6). On 13 March 2009, the Commission approved a draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, introduced by the Sudan, on behalf of the Status Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China, as contained in the document E/CN.6/2009/L.2/Rev.1, by a recorded vote of 30 in favour to 3 against (Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States), with 8 abstentions, which was recommended to the Economic and Social Council for adoption. The text of the draft resolution is reproduced below.
The Economic and Social Council,
Having considered with appreciation the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,1
Recalling the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women,2 in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women;3 and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”,4
Recalling also its resolution 2008/11 of 23 July 2008 and other relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolution 57/337 of 3 July 2003, on the prevention of armed conflict, and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000, on women and peace and security,
Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution,
Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women5 as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,
Recalling the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,6 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights6 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,7 and reaffirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Expressing grave concern over the increased difficulties being faced by Palestinian women and girls living under Israeli occupation, including the sharp increase in poverty, soaring unemployment, increased food insecurity, incidents of domestic violence, and declining health, education and living standards, including the rising incidence of trauma and decline in their psychological well-being, and expressing grave concern about the deepening humanitarian crisis and rising insecurity and instability on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in the Gaza Strip,
Deploring the deteriorating economic and social conditions of Palestinian women and girls in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the systematic violation of their human rights resulting from the severe impact of ongoing illegal Israeli practices, including the continued imposition of closures and restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, which have detrimentally affected their right to health care, including access by pregnant women to health services for antenatal care and safe delivery, education, employment, development and freedom of movement,
Deploring also the intensified Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip, which have caused heavy casualties among civilians, including many children and women, and widespread damage to homes, United Nations schools and facilities, hospitals and public infrastructure, gravely impacting the provision of vital health and social services to Palestinian women and their families, and emphasizing that the civilian population must be protected,
Stressing the importance of providing assistance, especially emergency assistance, to alleviate the dire socio-economic and humanitarian situation being faced by Palestinian women and their families,
Emphasizing the importance of increasing the role of women in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and the peaceful resolution of conflicts as part of efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of all women in the region,
Affirming the importance of exploring means to address the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women in the resolutions of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly under the relevant agenda items,
1. Urges the international community to continue to give special attention to the promotion and protection of the human rights of Palestinian women and girls and to intensify its measures to improve the difficult conditions being faced by Palestinian women and their families living under Israeli occupation;
2. Reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women with regard to their advancement, self-reliance and integration in the development of their society, and stresses the importance of efforts to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution and to ensure their equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security;
3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,8 the Regulations annexed to The Hague Convention IV of 18 October 1907,9 the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,10 and all other relevant rules, principles and instruments of international law, including the international human rights Covenants, in order to protect the rights of Palestinian women and their families;
4. Calls upon Israel to facilitate the return of all refugees and displaced Palestinian women and children to their homes and properties, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;
5. Calls upon the international community to continue to provide urgently needed assistance, especially emergency assistance, and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian women and their families and to help in the reconstruction of relevant Palestinian institutions, with the integration of a gender perspective into all of its international assistance programmes;
6. Requests the Commission on the Status of Women to continue to monitor and take action with regard to the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women,2 in particular paragraph 260 concerning Palestinian women and children, the Beijing Platform for Action3 and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”;4
7. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to review the situation, to assist Palestinian women by all available means, including those laid out in the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women,1 and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-fourth session a report, including information provided by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, on the progress made in the implementation of the present resolution.
2/ Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.85.IV.10), chap. I, sect. A.
3/ Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.
4/ General Assembly resolution S-23/2, annex, and resolution S-23/3, annex.
5/ See General Assembly resolution 48/104.
6/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
7/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577, No. 27531.
8/ General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).
9/ See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).
10/ United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.
On 10 March 2009, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, arbitrary or summary executions, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, and the independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, submitted a combined report to the Human Rights Council entitled “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” The report was submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-9/1 of 12 January 2009 on grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip. The recommendations of the above-mentioned special mandate-holders, as contained in document A/HRC/10/22, are reproduced below.
100. The protection of civilians requires immediate action by all parties and the international community.
101. All parties to the conflict should cease should cease all actions violating international human rights and humanitarian
law. In particular the occupying Power should:
(a) End the blockade on Gaza negatively affecting civilians;
(b) Allow unimpeded and safe passage and access to Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including food aid;
(c) Allow the unrestricted imports of medical supplies, foodstuffs and agricultural inputs, fuel and construction materials;
(d) Grant prompt permission for patients with medical referrals for treatment outside Gaza, especially for expectant and nursing mothers;
(e) Ensure the free and unimpeded movement of civilians between Gaza and other parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
102. All parties should establish accountability mechanisms providing for law-based, independent, impartial, transparent and accessible investigations of alleged breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law in accordance with their respective obligations. Such investigations must hold perpetrators to account and provide redress to victims 8where violations are found to have occurred. Investigations should address inter alia the following issues:
(a) Violations of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution: There are a significant number of incidents where the circumstances and the large number of civilians killed in a single attack raise prima facie concerns that the attacks were carried out without respect for these principles;
(b) Targeting of Palestinian civilian police and members of the Hamas political wing: Israel is accused of having intentionally targeted civilians and civilian objects considered connected to Hamas, but not taking a direct part in hostilities;
(c) Use of human shields and placing civilians at risk: there are credible reports of both Israel and Hamas co-locating military targets near civilians and civilian objects. There are specific reports that Hamas fired rockets and conducted other military offensives from residential areas, and that Israeli soldiers took sniper positions from within Palestinian homes, endangering the lives of residents;
(d) Extrajudicial executions by Hamas of Palestinian civilians;
(e) Unlawful use of incendiary weapons (white phosphorous artillery shells): the use of white phosphorous during a military offensive may be permissible where it is intended to provide a cover for troop movements. But there are reports that Israel used this weapon in densely populated civilian areas, with severe consequences for residents. Unlawful use of artillery shells (155 mm): There is reliable evidence that these artillery shells – which can reach a casualty radius of up to 300 meters – were also used in densely populated civilian areas. Unlawful use of flechettes (4 cm darts): Israel is reported to have used 120 mm shells packed with flechettes in populated residential areas;
(f) Attacks on medical personnel and ambulances as well as hospitals and denial of medical treatment and access to treatment offered by the ICRC and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society;
(g) Attacks on schools;
(h) Destruction of vital civilian infrastructure;
(i) Interference with the provision of humanitarian aid.
103. In addition, all parties must implement their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, including where necessary by taking take any measures needed in order to:
(a) Ensure the protection of medical workers and facilities and facilitating rehabilitation for seriously wounded patients, as well as psychosocial health support and treatment especially for children and youth;
(b) Enable the immediate resumption of regular educational activities, ensuring schools as zones of peace and that schools are protected from military attacks
and from seizure or use as centers for recruitment; *
(c) Promote education as a means to reduce psychosocial stress and build the conditions for lasting peace;
(d) Facilitate the prompt repair of greenhouses, farms and centers of food production;
(e) Enable the repair of water and pumping stations;
(f) Enable the import of reconstruction materials needed to build or repair vital infrastructure and housing, and facilitating the full reintegration in dignity and security of the recently displaced (without prejudice to the right of return of Palestinian refugees);
(g) Ensure access to liquidity and financial and other resources needed so that people may resume normal livelihoods;
(h) Take carefully into account the needs of particular groups, including children, women, persons with disabilities, refugees and those displaced by the recent violence.
104. United Nations entities should continue to assess the needs of the Palestinian people with a view to contributing to the wide-scale reconstruction efforts of the international community in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including by continuing its damage assessment by compiling satellite imagery and other detailed data on destruction in Gaza.
105. The international community should actively promote the implementation of the decisions, resolutions and recommendations of the Security Council, the International Court of Justice and the United Nations human rights mechanisms, including treaty bodies and special procedures. In this respect the mandate holders recall the obligation of States to cooperate to bring to an end through lawful means any serious breach of an obligation arising from a peremptory norm of general international law. They also recall the obligation of all States to ensure respect for the provisions of international humanitarian law.
*See also the “Minimum standards for education in emergencies, chronic crises and early reconstruction, published by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies.
V. SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS KILLING OF TOP PLO OFFICIAL IN LEBANON
The following statement was issued on 23 March 2009 by the Spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (Press release SG/SM/12147).
The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack today that killed Mr. Kamal Medhat, the deputy head of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, and several of his bodyguards. He conveys his condolences to the families of the victims. He hopes that the perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice promptly. Such actions must not be allowed to endanger the climate of calm that currently prevails in Lebanon.
VI. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS FOUR RESOLUTIONS ON THE
On 26 March 2009, at the 43rd meeting of its tenth regular session, the Human Rights Council adopted five resolutions under agenda item “Human rights situation in Palestine and other Arab territories.” The texts of four of these resolutions which relate to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are reproduced below, together with an indication of the vote, as contained in document A/HRC/10/29.
Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan
The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Reaffirming that all States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, as stated in the Charter of the United Nations and as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and other applicable instruments,
Recalling relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, the Security Council and the General Assembly, reaffirming, inter alia, the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories,
Mindful that Israel is a party to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable de jure to Palestinian and all Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan, and recalling the declaration adopted by the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, held in Geneva on 5 December 2001,
Considering that the transfer by the occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies constitutes a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant provisions of customary law, including those codified in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,
Recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and its conclusion that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, have been established in breach of international law,
Recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004,
Affirming that the Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory constitute very serious violations of the international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein and undermine international efforts, including the Annapolis Peace Conference of 27 November 2007 and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State of 17 December 2007, aimed at invigorating the peace process and establishing a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State by the end of 2008,
Recalling its attachment to the implementation by both parties of their obligations under the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (S/2003/529, annex), and noting specifically its call for a freeze on all settlement activity,
Expressing its grave concern about the continuation by Israel, the occupying Power, of settlements building and expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including plans to expand and connect Israeli settlements around occupied East Jerusalem, thus threatening the creation of a contiguous Palestinian State,
Expressing its concern that continuing Israeli settlement activity undermines the realization of a two-State solution,
Expressing grave concern at the continuing construction, contrary to international law, by Israel of the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and expressing its concern in particular about the route of the wall in departure from the Armistice Line of 1949, which could prejudge future negotiations and make the two-State solution physically impossible to implement and which is causing the Palestinian people further humanitarian hardship,
Deeply concerned that the route of the wall has been traced in such a way as to include the great majority of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Expressing its concern at the failure of the Government of Israel to cooperate fully with the relevant United Nations mechanisms, in particular the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,
1. Welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (A/HRC/10/20), and calls upon the Government of Israel to cooperate with all relevant Special Rapporteurs in accordance with Council resolution S-9/1 to allow them fully to discharge their mandates;
2. Deplores the recent Israeli announcements of the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem, as they undermine the peace process and the creation of a contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State, and are in violation of international law and Israeli pledges at the Annapolis Peace Conference;
3. Expresses its grave concern at:
(a) The continuing Israeli settlement and related activities, in violation of international law, including the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan, and constitute a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and in particular article 49 of that Convention; and recalls that settlements are a major obstacle to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State;
(b) The Israeli planned settlement construction in the vicinity of the Adam settlements in the occupied West Bank, which constitutes a new settlement block;
(c) The increasing number of newly built structures amounting in 2008 to 1,257, including 748 permanent buildings and 509 mobile structures, which obstructs the efforts of the international community to advance the Middle East peace process;
(d) The implications for the final status negotiations of the announcement by Israel that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including settlements located in the Jordan Valley;
(e) The expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones on the Occupied Palestinian Territory rendered inaccessible behind the wall, which create a fait accompli on the ground that could well be permanent and would be tantamount to de facto annexation;
(f) The continued closures of and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the restriction of the freedom of movement of people and goods, including the repeated closures of the crossing points of the Occupied Gaza Strip, which have created an extremely precarious humanitarian situation for the civilian population as well as impaired the economic and social rights of the Palestinian people;
(g) The continued construction, contrary to international law, of the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem;
(h) The latest Israeli plan to demolish more than 88 houses in Al-Bustan neighbourhood at Silwan which will be resulting in displacing more than 1,500 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem;
4. Urges Israel, the occupying Power:
(a) To reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan and, as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities;
(b) To prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories;
5. Urges the full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent reopening of the Rafah and Karni crossings, which are crucial to the passage of foodstuffs and essential supplies, as well as the access of United Nations agencies to and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
6. Calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers, and other measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians and Palestinian properties in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
7. Calls upon Israel to implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-seventh session on her visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel, Egypt and Jordan (E/CN.4/2001/114);
8. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice;
9. Urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process in line with the Annapolis Peace Conference and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State and to implement fully the road map endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and other relevant United Nations resolutions, the principles of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, held in Madrid on 30 October 1991, the Oslo accords and subsequent agreements, which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security;
10. Decides to continue the consideration of this question at its thirteen session of March 2010.
26 March 2009
Adopted by a recorded vote of 46 to 1,
with no abstentions.
Human rights violations emanating from the Israeli military attacks and operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the principles and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights,
Guided also by the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by the use of force, as enshrined in the Charter,
Affirming the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Affirming also the applicability of international human rights law, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Expressing serious concern at the lack of implementation by the occupying power, Israel, of previously adopted resolutions and recommendations of the Council relating to the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
Condemning all forms of violence against civilians and deploring the loss of human lives in the context of the current situation,
Recognizing that the Israeli military attacks and operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have caused severe violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people therein and undermine international efforts towards achieving a just and lasting peace in the region based on the two States solution,
Recognizing also that the Israeli siege imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip, including the closure of border crossings, leads to disastrous humanitarian, economic, and environmental consequences.
1. Demands that the occupying Power, Israel, end its occupation of the Palestinian land occupied since 1967, and to respect its commitments within the peace process towards the establishment of the independent sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security with all its neighbours;
2. Strongly condemns the Israeli military attacks and operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly the recent ones in the occupied Gaza Strip, which have resulted in the killing and injury of thousands of Palestinians civilians, including a large number of women and children and also condemns the firing of crude rockets on Israeli civilians;
3. Demands that the occupying Power, Israel, stop the targeting of civilians and the systematic destruction of the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people, in addition to the destruction of public and private properties, and the targeting of United Nations Facilities, as laid down in the Fourth Geneva Convention;
4. Also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease immediately all current excavations beneath and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and refrain from any act that may endanger the structure, or change the nature of the holy sites both Islamic and Christian, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in and around Jerusalem;
5. Calls for immediate protection of all civilians including an international protection for the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law both applicable in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
6. Also calls for the immediate cessation of all Israeli military attacks and operations throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the firing of crude rockets by Palestinian combatants against southern Israel;
7. Demands that the occupying Power, Israel, immediately stop its illegal decision to demolish a large number of Palestinian houses in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Bustan in the Slwan area, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which will be resulting in the displacement of more than 1,500 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem;
8. Demands that the occupying Power, Israel, release Palestinian prisoners and detainees;
9. Calls upon the occupying Power, Israel, to lift checkpoints and to open all crossing points and borders in accordance with international agreements;
10. Urges all parties concerned to respect the rules of international human rights and humanitarian law and to refrain from violence against civilian populations;
11. Decides to continue the consideration of this question at its thirteenth session of March 2010.
26 March 2009
Adopted by a recorded vote of 35 to 4,
with 8 abstentions.
Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination
The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the provisions of Articles 1 and 55 thereof, which affirm the right of peoples to self-determination, and reaffirming the need for the scrupulous respect of the principle of refraining in international relations from the threat or use of force, as specified in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970,
Guided also by the provisions of article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which affirm that all peoples have the right to self-determination,
Guided further by the International Covenants on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the provisions of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted on 25 June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23), and in particular part I, paragraphs 2 and 3, relating to the right of self-determination of all peoples and especially those subject to foreign occupation,
Recalling General Assembly resolutions 181 A and B (II) of 29 November 1947 and 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, as well as all other resolutions, which confirm and define the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, particularly their right to self-determination,
Recalling also Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and 1402 (2002) of 30 March 2002,
Recalling further the conclusion of the International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004, that the construction of the wall by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, along with measures previously taken, severely impedes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,
Recalling the resolutions adopted in this regard by the Commission on Human Rights, the latest of which was resolution 2005/1 of 7 April 2005,
Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, the relevant United Nations resolutions and declarations, and the provisions of international covenants and instruments relating to the right to self-determination as an international principle and as a right of all peoples in the world, as it is a jus cogens in international law and a basic condition for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region of the Middle East,
1. Reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State;
2. Also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, Palestine and Israel;
3. Stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
4. Urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination;
5. Decides to continue the consideration of this question at its thirteenth session in March 2010.
26 March 2009
Adopted without a vote.
Follow-up to Council resolution S-9/1 on the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip
The Human Rights Council,
Recalling its resolution S-9/1 of 12 January 2009,
Recalling also its decision to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the latest aggression, and that it called upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission,
Expressing with regret that resolution S-9/1 has not been fully implemented to date,
1. Requests the President of the Council to continue his tireless efforts to appoint the independent international fact-finding mission;
2. Calls upon the occupying Power, Israel, to abide by its obligations under international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
3. Demands that the occupying Power, Israel, fully cooperate with all relevant special procedures mandate-holders in the discharge of their mandates;
4. Also demands that the occupying Power, Israel, facilitate and provide unhindered access to the members of the independent international fact-finding mission;
5. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
26 March 2009
Adopted by a recorded vote of 33 to 1,
with 13 abstentions.
Document Type: Bulletin, French text, Monthly Bulletin, Publication, Spanish text
Document Sources: Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR), Human Rights Council, Secretary-General
Subject: Assistance, Extrajudicial killings, Gaza Strip, Human rights and international humanitarian law, Incursions, Palestine question, Self-determination, Settlements, Women
Publication Date: 31/03/2009