DPR Monthly Bulletin – Vol. XXIX, No. 3 – CEIRPP, DPR bulletin (March 2006) – DPR publication

March 2006

Volume XXIX, Bulletin No. 3
on action by the United Nations system and
intergovernmental organizations
relevant to the question of Palestine




Gulf Cooperation Council issues statement at its ninety-eighth session



Commission on the Status of Women recommends resolution on Palestinian women



Special Representative of the Secretary-General reports on mission to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory



Secretary-General expresses deep concern at violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory



Secretary-General sends message to Arab Summit



Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs briefs the Security Council



Quartet issues statement on the new Palestinian Government


The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System

on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:


The following are excerpts from the press statement issued at the ninety-eighth session of the Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council, held in Riyadh on 1 March 2006.  The statement was transmitted to the Secretary-General by the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations on 15  March 2006, as contained in document A/60/722-S/2006/169:

The Ministerial Council reviewed developments in the Palestinian situation and recent developments in the Middle East peace process and emphasized the following:


•    It congratulated His Excellency, President Mahmoud Abbas, on his success in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, whose results constituted a choice by the people that must be respected, and called on the international community to respect the desire of the Palestinian people to determine its future and exercise its choices.

•    It expected the international community to adjust to these developments and pressure Israel to travel the path of a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

It called on all Palestinian forces to close ranks and harmonize their positions to face the upcoming stage, which would lead to the realization of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital. This should be accomplished through negotiations to implement the road map and the adherence of both sides to signed pledges, agreements and internationally recognized resolutions, in order to overcome obstacles on both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides to mutual acceptance and resumption of negotiations.

It demanded that the Israeli Government cease its continued aggression against the Palestinian people and its use of the techniques of economic siege.


It called on the international community to continue to supply financial assistance to the Palestinians and not to punish the Palestinian people for exercising their democratic choice.


It reaffirmed its support for efforts to bring together different points of view within the Palestinian political spectrum to prevent political differences from overwhelming the interests of the Palestinian people and its conviction that stability in the region required the support of the international community for Palestinian national institutions and the respect of all parties for all internationally recognized resolutions.

It welcomed the European Union’s decision to resume its assistance in the amount of €120 million to help meet the basic needs of the Palestinian people.

It demanded that the international community, and in particular the United States administration, the European Union and the Quartet, should not pass hasty pre-emptive judgement on the new Palestinian Government; rather, they should support it.


At its fiftieth  session, held from 27 February  to 10 March 2006, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of and assistance to, Palestinian women, submitted pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 2005/43 of 26 July 2005 (see E/CN.6/2006/4 of 7 December 2005).

On 10 March 2006, the Commission on the Status of Women considered the draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, sponsored by South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as contained in the document E/CN.6/2006/L.4.  The orally revised text of the draft resolution was adopted, by a recorded vote of 41 in favour to 2 against (Canada, United States), with 1 abstention (Nicaragua), and was recommended to the Economic and Social Council for adoption.  The amended text of the draft resolution, as contained in E/2006/27-E/CN.6/2006/15, is reproduced below.

Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women


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 3 adopted  at the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcome 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 2005/43 of 26 July 2005 and other relevant United Nations resolutions,

Recalling further the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women5 as it concerns the protection of civilian populations,

Recalling the importance of the implementation of 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,

Expressing the urgent need for the full resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process on its agreed basis and towards the speedy achievement of a final settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,

Concerned about the grave situation of Palestinian women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, resulting from the severe impact of ongoing illegal Israeli settlement activities and the unlawful construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as well as the severe consequences arising from Israeli military operations on and sieges of civilian areas, which have impacted detrimentally their social and economic conditions and deepened the humanitarian crisis faced by them and their families,

Welcoming the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights6 on  the issue of Palestinian pregnant women giving birth at Israeli checkpoints owing to denial of access by Israel to hospitals, with a view to ending this Israeli practice,

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,7 and recalling also General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004,

Recalling also the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,8 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights8 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,9 and affirming that these human rights instruments must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,


Expressing its condemnation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians, many of them women and children, resulting in injury and loss of human life,


1. Calls upon the concerned parties, as well as the international community, to exert all the necessary efforts to ensure the full resumption of the peace process on its agreed basis, taking into account the common ground already gained, and calls for measures for tangible improvement of the difficult situation on the ground and the living conditions faced by Palestinian women and their families;

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 planning of their society;

3. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,10 the Regulations annexed to The Hague Convention IV of 18 October 190711 and the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949,12 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. Also calls upon the international community to continue to provide urgently needed 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;

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 outcome of the 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 1 and to submit to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-first 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.


1   E/CN.6/2006/4.

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 See General Assembly resolutions S-23/2 and S-23/3.

5  See General Assembly resolution 48/104.

6  A/60/324.

7  See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1.

8 General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

9  United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577, No. 27531.

10 General Assembly resolution 217 A (III).

11 See Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1915).

12 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973. 


The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani, visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory from 5 to 11 October 2005. The summary of the report of that mission, issued on 10 March 2006 as document E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.3, is reproduced below.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders conducted a country visit to Israel at the invitation of the Government.  She also visited the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  She remained in the region from 5 to 11 October and met with senior officials of the Government of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority.  She also met a wide range of human rights defenders and representatives of international and intergovernmental organizations. The objective of the visit was to assess the situation of human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The report of the Special Representative describes the context in which human rights defenders operate in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  She presents her assessment of the situation of defenders in the light of the issues with which they are engaged and the legal framework for the promotion and protection of human rights.

She observes that human rights defenders in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory carry out their activities against a backdrop of occupation, conflict, military operations in Palestinian civilian centres, including refugee camps, and of terrorism.  Security-driven laws and practices have created an environment in which activities for the defence of human rights have not escaped suspicion and repression.  This has heightened the level of harm and risk that defenders confront in carrying out their activities.

The dominant concern for human rights defenders, even in Israel, is the violation of the human rights of the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation.  The solidarity and cooperation between human rights defenders in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, despite the tensions surrounding them, is inspiring.

The Special Representative notes that the Government of Israel, generally, respects the rights of Israeli human rights defenders and she has not observed any systematic policy of restraining their activities within Israel.  The same human rights organizations and defenders, however, face difficulties in promoting and protecting the rights of minorities, including the Arab and Palestinian communities in Israel.  The Government shows even less tolerance for their activities for the protection of the rights of the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory or criticism of the practices of occupation.

Regarding the situation of human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Special Representative finds that the practice and policies of the occupation result in conditions which place human rights defenders operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territory at grave risk and present serious obstructions in every aspect of their work.  She is concerned that, in the wake of the “disengagement”, human rights defenders in Gaza are becoming more vulnerable because of their isolation, imposed by restrictions that continue to obstruct their movement and communication with their networks in the rest of the Palestinian territory as well as the outside world.  Human rights monitors and field workers, peace activists, lawyers, journalists, health professionals and those providing humanitarian assistance and care have all been affected by the situation of occupation and militarization.

Restrictions on the freedom of movement resulting from the Wall and other barriers, checkpoints, closures, requirement of permits and bans imposed on defenders to travel; use of excessive force on peaceful action to protest; use of security and anti-terrorism laws to place defenders under administrative detention; unsubstantiated allegations to undermine their credibility and other forms of harassment, intimidation and humiliation of defenders has rendered their situation absolutely incompatible with international norms and standards of human rights or the principles set forth in the Declaration.  International human rights organizations and intergovernmental and United Nations agencies working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are also threatened and their work is obstructed.

The Special Representative observes that the difficulties of human rights defenders are compounded because of the failure of the Palestinian Authority to respect human rights and the rule of law in the areas under its control.  Conditions of lawlessness and impunity for human rights violations have affected the security of human rights defenders, especially those who expose violations committed by security personnel.  She has identified torture, repression of the freedom of expression and assembly, and a failure to address the threats against women human rights defenders as some of her more serious concerns.

The Special Representative believes that the exceptional conditions resulting from conflict and occupation demand a more active human rights community to address the serious violations faced by the civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  Instead, the human rights community is being weakened by the risks that they are placed under and by the impunity for violation of their right to life, liberty and physical security.  Any prospects for peace and security in the region are being diminished by the constraints placed on freedoms in general and particularly the freedom to defend human rights.

She has recommended to the Government of Israel that it must end the occupation of the Palestinian Territory and until then it must accept and fulfil its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and comply with the resolutions of the United Nations.  In the context of defenders, Israel’s defiance of international norms has caused serious harm, including killings, to human rights defenders and affects, inter alia, their freedom of expression, their access to places of violations, their ability to seek justice for victims and to provide humanitarian assistance.

Affirming that resistance to the occupation is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people, she further recommends that the Government of Israel must ensure that all peaceful activities for the defence of human rights violated or threatened by the occupation are allowed to be conducted free of fear and risk.  She has also urged the Government to abandon the use of administrative detention against human rights defenders.

To the Palestinian Authority the Special Representative has recommended that it must ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, and that fundamental freedoms of the Palestinian population are fully restored and protected in the areas of their authority and control.  She recommends immediate measures to end impunity for human rights violations and investigation of all complaints against officials and private entities threatening human rights defenders, including those defending women’s rights.

The Special Representative reminds both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority that the “duty to protect” does not override the principle enunciated in the Declaration that the “absence of peace and security does not excuse non-compliance with international human rights norms and international humanitarian law”.

She calls upon the United Nations to take note of the situation of human rights defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to adopt measures for their protection.  She has suggested that international monitoring and reporting mechanisms of the United Nations and those documenting violations with the objective of compensating the victims be given a wider mandate to protect human rights defenders.  In consultation with the human rights community and experts, the United Nations must devise concrete action to enforce compliance with international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as expounded in the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.


The following statement was issued on 14 March 2006 by the Spokesman for United Nations  Secretary-General Kofi Annan (SG/SM/10374):

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned at today’s violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in which several people, including Palestinian police officers, have been killed, and a number of international personnel have been kidnapped.  He calls for an immediate end to the violence, respect for civilian lives, and urgent steps to restore calm.  The Secretary-General also calls for the immediate release of those who have been kidnapped and full respect of the safety of international personnel on the ground.


The following are excerpts from the  message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Summit of the League of Arab States in Khartoum, as delivered on 28 March 2006 by Ibrahim Gambari, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs (SG/SM/10390).

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is also at a critical stage.  I respect the decision of the Palestinian people in January’s parliamentary elections, whose conduct was a credit to Palestinian democracy.  I hope that the new Government in the Occupied Palestinian Territory will address the Palestinian people’s aspirations for peace and statehood, which have been powerfully articulated by President Abbas.  The affirmation by the new Palestinian Cabinet of the Arab Peace Initiative would be a first and welcome step towards the reaffirmation of Palestinian commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Road Map.  Just as the Quartet and the Security Council have recently reiterated the importance of these principles, we must remind Israel, in light of the continued creation of facts on the ground, that peace cannot be imposed unilaterally, or achieved durably outside the regional framework of the Middle East peace process.  If a two-State solution is to remain the goal, as it must, both sides must be committed to the principles governing such a solution and the way to achieve it.

For its part, the United Nations will continue to work for an end to the occupation that began in 1967 and a settlement of the conflict in accordance with Security Council resolutions.  Until that goal is achieved, the Organization will discharge the mandates entrusted to it by the Member States to assist the Palestinian people.  We will also press for the easing of the severe closures in Gaza and the West Bank, which the United Nations carefully documents, and which cause severe hardships and humiliations.  And we will remind all our partners that the Palestinian people should not be punished for the way they exercise their democratic rights, and that their precious institutions remain the foundation for building a Palestinian State that can live side by side in peace with a secure Israel and all its neighbours.


On 30 March 2006, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tuliameni Kalomoh briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”.  The following are excerpts of the briefing (S/PV.5404).

Two days ago, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved, by 71 votes to 36, the new Palestinian Government, led by Mr. Ismail Haniyeh and comprising Hamas members and independents.  The vote followed two months of discussions on the possibility of forming a national unity Government, which did not bear fruit. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the new Government on 29 March on his return from the Arab League summit in Khartoum, which reaffirmed the commitment of the Arab States to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The summit also reaffirmed support for the road map.


President Abbas had earlier written to Mr. Haniyeh to express his concern at the draft Government programme prepared by Hamas and to ask him to align the programme with that of the Palestinian presidency.  The programme subsequently outlined by Prime Minister Haniyeh in his speech before the PLC expresses its respect for the constitutional relationship with President Abbas and its honouring of the relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on the basis of respect for their respective constitutional mandates. It does not, however, acknowledge the status of the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people or the basic tenets of its 1988 declaration of independence, as requested by Fatah and other parties in discussions on a national unity Government.

The following priorities are identified in the programme: all matters related to the occupation, the provision of security, improvement of the economic situation, internal reform and fighting corruption, reinforcing the status of the Palestinian cause in the Arab and Islamic worlds and developing international relations to serve Palestinian interests.


It will be recalled that the Quartet and the Security Council have called on the new Government to commit to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map.


The Palestinian Authority continues to be unable to meet its financial obligations. Although the Authority’s salary payments were made in February, the Authority was unable to pay $15 million to $20 million in unemployment and other social benefits. Depending on the honouring of pledges made at the Arab League summit, a financing gap of approximately $60 million exists for March salaries.


In that context, it remains to be seen whether Israel will adhere to its stated policy holding that the entire Palestinian Authority, including the presidency, has become a terrorist entity. That policy has already led Israel to freeze the transfer to the Palestinian Authority of Palestinian customs and VAT revenues amounting to approximately $50 million per month, notwithstanding the provision of the Paris Protocol on the subject.


Allow me now to report on security developments. Members of the Council have already been briefed on the events in the Jericho prison on 14 March and the reaction in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as on the efforts of the Secretary-General, among others, to ensure that the situation did not escalate and that calm was restored. President Abbas has demanded the immediate return of many of the prisoners. Israel, on the other hand, has indicated that it intends to hold and try them for their alleged crimes.


Israel was on high security alert during most of the reporting period, and both Israelis and Palestinians suffered from violence. An Israeli civilian was killed and another injured in separate shooting incidents in the northern West Bank on 1 March. A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in an operation in the Ein Bitilma refugee camp on 3 March, where another teenager was injured. On 6 March a targeted action by Israel against two alleged Palestinian militants in Gaza killed three Palestinian children, including two brothers, and injured eight other passersby. Rockets continued to be launched by Palestinians from Gaza into Israel throughout the month, including, for the first time, a Katyusha rocket on 28 March, and Israel continued to fire artillery at rocket launching sites and bombarded the access routes leading to them. On March 25, a Palestinian teenager was killed in one such bombardment. Israel reported that its security measures prevented a number of terrorist attacks during the month.


Let me now address the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Citing security concerns, Israel has closed the Karni crossing into Gaza for 46 days since the beginning of the year. As a consequence, stocks of basic food commodities, including wheat flour, have been severely depleted. The crisis peaked between 17 and 21 March, when bakeries were forced to close and food rationing was introduced. Since then, Karni has reopened to allow over 1,300 truckloads of food to enter Gaza, and stocks of basic commodities are stabilizing.

The closure of Karni also seriously affected the export of produce from Gaza, including from greenhouse installations, previously operated by Israeli settlers,  that had been preserved with international support.  Some $5.2 million in potential exports were destroyed after perishing before they could be exported. On 26 March the export of goods was permitted for the first time in two weeks. The continuous operation of the Karni commercial crossing, as envisaged in last November’s Agreement on Movement and Access, remains vital to Gaza’s economic viability and social welfare.


First, while the programme of the new Palestinian Government shows signs of evolution from Hamas’ deeply disturbing record and covenant, the Government should, as President Abbas has urged, reassess its positions on the Quartet’s principles and President Abbas’ platform of peace, if the aspirations of the Palestinian people for peace and statehood are to enjoy the strong international support they deserve.

Secondly, as we await the formation of a new Israeli Government, we must recall that if the prospect of a viable Palestinian State in the framework of a two-State solution is seen to dwindle because of unilateral Israeli action, it will become even more difficult to persuade Palestinians that there is anything to be gained from moving towards a compromise. The interest in negotiations recently expressed by both acting Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas should be seriously explored.

Thirdly, despite the gulf between the parties, they and the international community share a common interest and duty to prevent a security or humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In this context, and while mindful of Israeli security concerns, we would observe that the extended closure of Gaza has caused real hardships.


The following statement was issued by the Quartet principals (Secretary-General Kofi Annan; European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana; Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) on 30 March 2006 (SG/2110-PAL/2043).

The Quartet recalled its statement of 30 January and its call for the new Palestinian Government to commit to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the “Road Map.”

The Quartet welcomed President Abbas’ call for the new Palestinian Government to commit to a platform of peace and, having carefully assessed the programme of the new Government approved on 28 March, noted with grave concern that the new Government has not committed to the principles spelled out on 30 January.

The Quartet recalled its view that future assistance to any new Government would be reviewed by donors against that Government’s commitment to the principles outlined above.  The Quartet concurred that there inevitably will be an effect on direct assistance to that Government and its ministries.

The Quartet encouraged continued humanitarian assistance to meet the basic needs of the Palestinian people.  The Quartet noted in that context the importance of improved movement and access.

The Quartet reiterated its commitment to the principles outlined in the Road Map and previous statements, and reaffirmed its commitment to a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict leading to two democratic States living side by side in peace and security.



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