Volume XVII, Bulletin No. 7
United Nations International NGO Meeting and European Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine held at Geneva from 29 August to 1 September 1994
Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination examines situation of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory
Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopts resolution on the situation in the Middle East
Organization of African Unity adopts resolutions on the Palestinian Question and on the Middle East
Non-governmental organizations: activities and information
I. UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING AND EUROPEAN REGIONAL
NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE HELD AT GENEVA
FROM 29 AUGUST TO 1 SEPTEMBER 1994
The United Nations International NGO Meeting and European NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine was held as a combined event at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 29 August to 1 September 1994, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in accordance with its mandate under General Assembly resolutions 48/158/A and B of 20 December 1993. In those resolutions, the Assembly requested the Committee to continue to extend its cooperation to non-governmental organizations (NGOs); and mandated the organization of regional symposiums and an annual international meeting for NGOs on the question of Palestine.
The Committee was represented by a delegation comprising H.E. Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee and Head of Delegation; H.E. Mr. Ravan Farhadi (Afghanistan), Vice-Chairman of the Committee; H.E. Mr. Joseph Cassar, Rapporteur of the Committee (Malta); and Dr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa (Palestine).
The Meeting was attended by 27 panelists and workshop leaders, representatives of 100 NGOs, 30 Governments, 8 United Nations agencies and bodies, 4 intergovernmental and other organizations, 5 NGO coordinating committees and a delegation from Palestine.
Mr. Ibrahima Fall, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, read out a message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the opening session. H.E. Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé, Chairman of the Committee, made a statement, and a message from H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was read out by his senior adviser on international organizations, Mr. Zehdi L. Terzi. Statements were also made by Mr. Stephen Day, Chairman of the European Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine, and Mr. Don Betz, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine.
H.E. Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé (Senegal) chaired the opening and closing sessions of the Meeting. The remainder of the meeting was conducted under the overall co-chairmanship of Messrs. Don Betz and Stephen Day.
The programme for the Meeting began with a plenary session on the theme "Building on the Declaration of Principles towards the independent Palestinian State".
The Meeting was organized in the form of three workshops and six panels. In addition, there were audiovisual presentations. The three workshops and six panel discussions, moderated by experts, were conducted as follows:
Dr. Ruchama Marton, Chairman, Association of Israeli-Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights
Dr. Umaiyeh Khammash, Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
Mrs. Zahira Kamal, Palestine Federation of Women's Action Committees
Mr. Khader Musleh, National Foundation for Investment and Development and Professor of Psychology, Bethlehem University
B. Panel I: "Implementation of the Declaration of Principles"
Mr. Zehdi L. Terzi, Senior Adviser on International Organizations to H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
Mr. Stephen Day, Chairman of the European Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mr. Romesh Chandra, Honorary President, World Peace Council
Panel II: "Elements of the final settlement"
Mr. Ibrahim Shaaban, Director, Palestine Housing Council
Mr. Muhammad Hallaj, Executive Director, Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine
Mr. Khader Shkirat, Director, Land and Water Establishment, West Bank
(a) "The Palestinian people's reality today"
(i) In the occupied Palestinian territory
Mrs. Maha Shawa, economist, Head of the International Cooperation Division, Health Department, Palestinian Authority
(ii) In the neighbouring countries
Mr. Marai Abdelrahman, Secretary-General, Palestine Committee for NGOs
(iii) In the Diaspora
Mr. Victor Kashkoush, Director-General, Welfare Association
(b) (i) Israeli society and the peaceful settlement with the Palestinian people
Mr. Peretz Kidron, free-lance journalist and writer
(ii) Role of the Israeli peace forces in support of the Palestinian people
Mr. Dan Leon, Managing Editor, Palestine-Israel Journal
(iii) Arab societies in the Middle East and the Declaration of Principles
Mr. Nouri Abdul Razzak, Secretary-General, Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization (AAPSO)
(a) "Social and economic development of Palestine"
Mr. Samir Houlaileh, Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR)
Mr. Ahmed Saad, economist, writer, researcher and Manager of the Emil Tuma Institute (Haifa)
(b) "The role of NGOs in the social and economic development of Palestine"
Mr. Stephen Day, Executive Director, Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU)
Mrs. Maria Gazi, Greek Committee for International Democratic Solidarity
Dr. Anis Al-Qaq, Health Services Council, West Bank
Mr. Bruce Stanley, Representative, Association for International Development Agencies
Panel V: "The role of NGOs in supporting the work of the United Nations"
Dr. Anis Al-Qaq, Health Services Council, West Bank
Mr. Larry Ekin, Chairman, North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mrs. Elaine Hesse Steel, Director, World Young Women's Christian Association (Geneva)
Mrs. Maria Gazi, Greek Committee for International Democratic Solidarity
Mr. Don Betz, Chairman, International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP)
Panel VI: "Campaigning for Palestinian national and human rights"
How to campaign:
Mrs. Janice Abu Shakrah, Director, Palestine Human Rights Information Center, Jerusalem
Mr. Larry Ekin, Chairman, North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mr. Ilan Halevi, Special Advisor to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
At the closing session of the Meeting, statements were made by H.E. Mr. Kéba Birane Cissé, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Mr. Stephen Day, Chairman of the European Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine; Mr. Don Betz, Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine; and the Reverend Ibrahim Ayad, President of the Palestine Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine.
The Meeting adopted a communiqué, which is reproduced below. The final report of the Meeting will be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights.
"We, the non-governmental organizations gathered at the United Nations International NGO Meeting and European NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine – 29 August to 1 September 1994 – are aware that we have convened at a crucial moment in the history of the Palestinian people.
"The Declaration of Principles was a turning point opening a new chapter in Middle East relations and an avenue to a just and lasting peace. We have witnessed the Madrid Conference, the mutual recognition of the two parties, the Declaration of Principles, the Cairo Agreement of 4 May and the subsequent transfers of limited areas of power and responsibility.
"NGOs' unequivocal support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions remains at the centre of the NGO commitment. Further, we consider that the United Nations continues to have a role in reaching a negotiated settlement on the question of Palestine and is the most appropriate body that can guarantee a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.
"The information presented at this meeting and the discussion that followed confirmed that this peace process is in its initial stages. The implementation of the initial stages of Palestinian Interim Self-government is an important achievement but must not be permitted to obscure the reality that, during the transitional period, Israel, as the occupying Power, remains obligated to observe the Geneva Conventions until such time as the Palestinian people achieves full sovereignty.
"Although resolution of the questions related to Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and the right of return have been deferred to the permanent-status negotiations, their importance demands a clear and constant affirmation from the NGO movement. Of immediate and major concern to us is the continued Israeli imprisonment of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees. We call for their unconditional release in compliance with the Cairo Agreement of 4 May 1994.
"We request that countries hosting Palestinian refugees preserve their civil, social and political rights until they are allowed to return to their homes.
"We express our appreciation for the series of regional meetings held in the occupied Palestinian territories in preparation of our meeting, organized by the Geneva Conference Working Group and attended by local and international NGOs in Palestine. These meetings are an indication of the seriousness and importance that NGOs accord to their collective work in cooperation with the United Nations. We welcome the reports from these meetings and anticipate that these efforts will continue. We attach their recommendations* and refer them to the United Nations Committee and the NGO network for their support and implementation.
"Under occupation, local and international NGOs have played crucial roles in the development of the Palestinian economy and society. We anticipate that NGOs will continue to play these roles and that support should be provided based upon their competence and quality of service. We will seek ways to increase the involvement of NGOs, including those involved in economic and social development and in humanitarian service. We look forward to and encourage the cooperation between NGOs and the Palestine National Authority.
"We warmly thank the Committee for convening this international meeting and the work done by the Division and the conference staff in facilitating our sessions. We genuinely appreciate the messages of support from Chairman Yasser Arafat and Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, as presented by their representatives. We further appreciate the statements supporting the NGO movement and activities made by Ambassador Kéba Cissé and Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwa. We reaffirm our interest in continuing and expanding NGO cooperation with the United Nations Committee on the Exercise on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights. We request the Committee's and the Division's assistance in accessing other United Nations bodies and agencies and in identifying United Nations programmes and resources that can help the NGOs fulfil their objectives.
"We request the Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey this Communiqué to the General Assembly at its forty-ninth Session as part of the Committee's report."
*The text of the recommendations is reproduced in section V below.
II. COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
EXAMINES SITUATION OF PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS
IN THE OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
At its forty-fifth session held at Geneva from 1 to 19 August 1994, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination examined issues relating to the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory and information received from Israel.
On 18 August 1994, the Committee adopted the following (CERD/C/45/Misc.14/Rev. 1):
"CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
"1. At its 1023rd meeting (forty-fourth session), held on 7 March 1994, the Committee expressed its shock at the appalling massacre committed against Palestinian worshippers in the Abraham Mosque at Hebron on 25 February 1994. In accordance with article 9, paragraph 1 (b) of the Convention and with reference, in particular, to article 5 (b) of the Convention, the Committee requested the Government of Israel to submit an urgent report, no later than 30 June 1994, on measures taken to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory and to bring to an end the illegal action of Israeli settlers and to disarm them. At its 1056th and 1057th meetings, held on 10 and 11 August 1994, the Committee considered the information submitted by the State party and adopted* these concluding observations.
"2. The Committee reaffirms its position of principle that, since Israel is a State party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, it is competent to examine the manner in which Israel is fulfilling the obligations under the Convention with respect to everyone falling under Israel's jurisdiction, which includes all persons living in the territories occupied by Israel.
"3. The Committee also affirms its competence to request in appropriate cases, in particular in matters of urgent concern and in the context of its preventive approach, special information in accordance with article 9, paragraph 1 (b) of the Convention.
"4. While the Committee acknowledges the information it has received from Israel through the Secretary-General, the Committee regrets that Israel has not submitted the urgent report the Committee requested in its decision 1 (44) of 7 March 1994.
"5. The Committee reaffirms that all persons, without distinction as to race, ethnic or national origin, are entitled to the right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual, group or institution. Consequently, Israel is obliged to fully protect the life and security of the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories.
"6. The Committee regards the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories not only as illegal under international law but also as obstacles to peace and to the enjoyment of human rights by the whole population in the region, without distinction as to national or ethnic origin, in accordance with the Convention.
"7. The Committee welcomes that Israel, after the massacre at Hebron, has outlawed as terrorist organizations the extremist Jewish groups "Kach" and "Kahane Chai" and that Israel will take similar action against other terrorist groups and movements.
"8. The Committee requests that just and adequate reparation be granted to the families of the fallen and injured victims of the Hebron massacre and of other similar violent actions.
"9. The Committee fully endorses the peace process currently under way between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and considers respect for the principles and obligations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination an essential ingredient of the peace process.
"10. In the light of paragraph 4 above, the Committee requests the Government of Israel to expedite its seventh and eighth periodic reports, due on 2 February 1992 and 1994 respectively, and to include in them a response to these observations."
*At its 1067th meeting, held on 18 August 1994.
III. SUBCOMMISSION ON PREVENTION OF DISCRIMINATION AND
PROTECTION OF MINORITIES ADOPTS RESOLUTION
ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which is the main subsidiary body of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, held its forty-sixth session at Geneva from 1 to 26 August 1994. During that session, the Subcommission adopted the following resolution on the situation in the Middle East:
"1994/13. Situation in the Middle East
"The Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,
"Noting General Assembly resolution 48/58 of 14 December 1993, Commission on Human Rights resolution 1994/4 of 18 February 1994 and Economic and Social Council resolution 1994/44 of 29 July 1994,
"Recalling the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East at Madrid on 30 October 1991, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, and the subsequent bilateral negotiations, as well as the meetings of the multilateral working groups,
"Noting with satisfaction the broad international support for the peace process and its contribution to the implementation and furtherance of human rights in the area,
"Welcoming the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, and the subsequent agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, signed by the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, at Cairo on 4 May 1994,
"1. Reaffirms that the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East is essential for the implementation and furtherance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the area;
"2. Welcomes the peace process begun at Madrid and warmly supports the subsequent bilateral negotiations through which it has been continued;
"3. Endorses the achievements of the peace process to date, which constitute important initial steps in achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and urges all parties to implement the agreements which have been reached;
"4. Emphasizes the importance of making progress, as a matter of urgency, on the other tracks of the Arab-Israeli negotiations within the peace process;
"5. Supports the request by the Economic and Social Council that all States Members of the United Nations render support for the peace process and extend economic, financial and technical assistance to parties in the region, taking into account, in particular, the needs of the Palestinian people during the interim period;
"6. Expresses its full support for the active role which the United Nations is playing in the peace process, and in particular for its assistance in implementing the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government signed by the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which constitutes a positive contribution to the protection of human rights in the Middle East."
IV. ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY ADOPTS RESOLUTIONS ON
THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION AND ON THE MIDDLE EAST
At its sixtieth ordinary session held at Tunis from 6 to 11 June 1994, the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), adopted the following resolutions:
CM/Res. 1523 (LX)
"Resolution on the Palestinian Question
"The Council of Ministers of the Organization of the African Unity, meeting in its Sixtieth Ordinary Session, in Tunis, Tunisia, from 6 to 11 June, 1994,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity on the Question as contained in document CM/1835 (LX),
"Recalling the relevant resolutions adopted by previous sessions of the Council of Ministers and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the question of Palestine,
"Reaffirming the legitimacy of the struggle being waged by the Palestinian people under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, their sole legitimate representative, to recover their occupied territories and exercise their inalienable national rights, including the right to return to their homeland, to self-determination and to an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital,
"Reaffirming that the attainment of a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the conflict in the Middle East and the Palestinian question which are the root causes of the problem, would greatly contribute to the consolidation of international peace and security,
"Welcoming the Declaration of Principles on the arrangements pertaining to Israeli withdrawal and formation of a National Palestinian Authority, as well as the Interim Palestinian Autonomous Government, which was signed in both Washington and Cairo by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and is now at the initial stage of its implementation,
"1. Reaffirms that the Palestinian Question is at the core of the Middle East conflict and that a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East calls for:
"(a) withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and recognition of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to return, to self-determination and to establish their independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;
"(b) cessation of all acts of violence against the Palestinian people and the release of all prisoners and detainees, in accordance with the agreement between Israel and the PLO and the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949;
"(c) the necessity to consider Jerusalem as an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory and to consider its annexation by Israel as illegal, null and void;
"(d) the cessation of the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem;
"2. Reaffirms the need to solve the problem of Palestinian refugees based on the principles of human rights and in accordance with the provisions of the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly General Assembly resolution 194 and Security Council resolution 237;
"3. Expresses its appreciation of the efforts exerted by the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel and all the other parties in the bilateral and multilateral talks and encourage them to persevere in their efforts to reach a just and peaceful solution to the Palestinian question;
"4. Expresses its support and endorsement of the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington, on 13 September 1993, by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization and the agreement signed by them in Cairo, on 4 May 1994, regarding Israeli withdrawal and arrangements for the National Palestinian Authority and the establishment of an interim autonomous government, as a first step towards the implementation of the principle of Land for Peace, which should be speedily followed by similar measures through Palestinian and other Arab channels;
"5. Encourages Israel and the PLO to continue the peace process and calls on Israel to take prompt measures to implement the agreements it concluded with the Palestine Liberation Organization within the time-frame included in the Declaration of Principles signed in Washington and the Agreement signed in Cairo on 4 May 1994;
"6. Welcomes the formation of the National Palestinian Authority and the interim Palestinian government and calls upon all States and international organizations to help the Palestinian people set up their infrastructure and develop their own economy;
"7. Requests the OAU Secretary-General to monitor developments regarding the question of Palestine and report thereon to the next session of the OAU Council of Ministers."
"Resolution on the Middle East
"The Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity, meeting in its Sixtieth Ordinary Session, in Tunis, Tunisia, from 6 to 11 June, 1994,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity on the situation in the Middle East (CM/1834 (LX)),
"Guided by the principles and objectives of the Charters of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity and by the common determination of the African and Arab peoples to pool their resources in order to safeguard their sovereignty and recover their legitimate basic rights,
"Bearing in mind all the successive resolutions on the situation in the Middle East adopted by the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government and the Council of Ministers,
"Recalling that the Palestinian question is at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East,
"1. Extends its full support to the Palestinian people and the Arab countries in their endeavour to put an end to the Israeli occupation and to the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
"2. Reaffirms that the issues of Jerusalem and Palestine are at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be established unless Israel withdraws from all the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, including Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan and South Lebanon, and the Palestinian people can exercise their inalienable national rights;
"3. Notes with satisfaction the ongoing positive developments in the Middle East and expresses its full support to the efforts made to bring about a comprehensive and just solution to the question of Palestine and to the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with international resolutions, in particular Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and 425 on the basis of the principle "land for peace", the exercise by the Palestinian people of their national and political rights, the solution of the problem of Palestinian refugees in compliance with United Nations resolutions, in particular General Assembly Resolution 194 and Security Council Resolution 237;
"4. Calls upon all States, international organizations and investment institutions to provide the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction with economic and financial assistance, so that it may exploit and develop the resources of the Palestinian territories and rehabilitate Palestinian national institutions, as well as the infrastructure of the Palestinian national economy damaged by Israeli occupation;
"5. Calls upon the United Nations and its specialized institutions to exert further efforts in the field of economic development in the occupied Palestinian territories;
"6. Urges the implementation of international resolutions on the violations by Israel of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and of international instruments, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, with a view to avoiding double standards in the implementation of international resolutions;
"7. Strongly urges the United Nations and the international community to ensure full compliance of Israel with the resolutions of the United Nations and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding the application of its nuclear installation for peaceful purposes, with a view to avoiding double standards in the implementation of international resolutions on the danger of nuclear proliferation;
"8. Endorses once again the proposal made by His Excellency Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Republic of Egypt, to proclaim the Middle East a region free from weapons of mass destruction;
"9. Invites the OAU Secretary-General to monitor the situation in the Middle East and report thereon to the following session of the Council of Ministers."
V. NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS: ACTIVITIES AND INFORMATION
A. Activities of the Geneva Conference Working Group
The Geneva Conference Working Group held four meetings in the occupied Palestinian territory (Gaza, Nablus, Hebron and Jerusalem) from 10 May 1994 to 19 June 1994 (see June/July Bulletin, Vol. XVII, Bulletin No. 6). On 17 June 1994, a seminar entitled "The role of the NGOs in the transition to Palestinian statehood" was held at the National Palace Hotel in East Jerusalem. The following issues and recommendations were discussed and presented at the plenary meeting of that seminar for amendments. These recommendations were presented, in a paper, to the United Nations International NGO Meeting and European Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, which was held at Geneva from 29 August to 1 September 1994 (see section I above).
"1. The participants in the different workshops agreed on the importance of the independence of local NGOs and the continuance of their work during the current period and in the future, with an emphasis on the role of the NGOs in the different aspects of the Palestinian experience. Palestinian NGOs have a long and valuable history – through the various services they provide and foci they have -which should be utilized and drawn upon now.
"2. Local NGOs should enter into a working/coordinating relationship with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) based on a national program which should be agreed upon by all NGOs in a democratic non-factional fashion.
"3. The establishment and creation of NGOs is a legitimate right of the people and is a basis for civil society. Community participation in order to reach and decide the national policies and implement developmental projects should also be guaranteed.
"4. The participants agreed that the struggle against the Israeli occupation should continue and should be on the agenda of non-governmental organizations until the achievement of an Independent Palestinian State with Occupied Jerusalem as its capital.
"5. NGOs should empower socially underprivileged groups – including women, children, the disabled, the poor, rural residents/those without services – protect the rights of these groups and expand their activities with these groups.
"6. One of the roles of the NGOs is to formulate lobbying bodies to monitor the work of the PNA.
"7. Another role of NGOs is a complementary one: to fill the gaps and provide services where the PNA is unable to act or to provide services.
"8. Participants highlighted the role of NGOs in educating and raising the consciousness of the grass-roots and communities in such issues as democracy, social justice, development, as well as national political issues.
"9. NGOs should determine their developmental priorities, and their activities should be directed towards these priorities, so that the loss of resources and efforts can be eliminated. These priorities should not be dependent on the mood or priorities of foreigners (foreign agencies) or funding agencies. Also, participants raised the importance of creating a clear vision and mechanism for cooperation between INGOs and LNGOs based on equal footing/partnership.
"10. Local NGOs seek relationships of funding and support free from discrimination based on political, ideological and religious grounds.
"11. While some people felt that the duplication of efforts (if based on professional standards) could play a stimulating role in terms of creation and motivation of organizations, other participants considered duplication of efforts as a loss of resources and efforts.
"12. There was a lot of discussion about the importance of creating legislation that regulates the relations and work of NGOs. This legislation should be developed on the condition that these rules should come as a result of ongoing discussion amongst NGOs, should reflect the Palestinian experience, and therefore be undertaken in a democratic spirit.
"13. NGOs should adopt or reinforce the democratic process within their internal structures and should support the individual freedom of each person to express their views and to participate in the context of these organizations with full rights.
"14. The need for a more systematic mechanism for community accountability and transparency of NGOs as a condition for commitment towards the community which they serve was highlighted.
"15. Participants agreed that coordination is a weak point between local NGOs which has resulted in weakening their projects and efforts. Several points were suggested:
(a) The exchange of information between sectors and within sectors;
(b) To formulate active coordinating committees based on sectoral, professional and geographic levels;
(c) Different views were expressed – one which called for a General Union of NGOs, and the other, which viewed this form of coordination as centralized, without a local context, and as one which contradicts the major principles and philosophies of NGOs. Persons holding the second viewpoint suggested having horizontal networks which could cooperate through specific projects and in specific areas.
"16. The participants encouraged local NGOs to follow the principle of self-reliance in their approach and to look for internal resources, particularly concerning finances, and to develop/encourage other procedures, such as voluntarism.
"17. Participants recommended that special attention be given to youth organizations and organizations dealing with children.
"18. The importance of preparing a comprehensive developmental plan where priorities are stated in a careful manner was stressed. Organizations should align their strategies in compliance with these priorities and demands. These plans should be discussed and agreed upon by local NGOs on the basis of wide organizational participation.
"19. The importance of human resources was highlighted concerning every sector; the level of people's abilities and skills should be upgraded and supported on managerial and professional levels. Such activity will ultimately improve the level of NGOs' efficacy.
"20. In different workshops, participants confirmed the importance of adopting human rights, women's rights, and civil rights issues in their entirety and in all their activities; participants reconfirmed the importance of protecting children's rights in welfare and in supporting/fulfilling children's needs.
"21. NGOs consider the occupying authority to be responsible for the harm that has been caused to the Palestinian people and their property.
"22. Participants urge NGOs to give special attention to the social problems effecting the population – especially drug use and addiction.
"1. The participants emphasized the risk of postponing the issues of Occupied Jerusalem and Israeli settlements and recommended that these issues continue to be at the top of the Palestinian priority list – this is even more important since Occupied Jerusalem is considered the capital of the independent Palestinian State. Participants suggested two points:
"(a) Sending a telegram to the Palestinian leadership, or the future PNA, stressing that the postponement of the issue of Occupied Jerusalem is a historical mistake and emphasizing the importance of placing this issue at the top of the national priority agenda;
"(b) Requesting that the Palestinian leadership reveal all the documents related to Occupied Jerusalem and to make public the correspondence concerning the future of Occupied Jerusalem.
"2. It is recommended that all NGOs (local and international) use the term "Occupied Jerusalem" instead of "Jerusalem".
"3. Foreign organizations working in the OPTs should be asked to present a statement concerning their position and view on Occupied Jerusalem.
"4. A centre to follow up on legal and technical issues should be established to carry out the following:
"(a) To acquire building and renovation permits for structures in Occupied Jerusalem;
"(b) To protect Palestinian areas that are threatened or are at risk of being "Judaized";
"(c) To protect the real estate of the absentees;
"(d) To reveal all the forged transactions relating to real estate and to follow up on this issue legally;
"(e) To demand the return of all real estate and structures confiscated by the Israeli authorities;
"(f) To investigate the feasibility of making legal cases in front of international bodies against Israeli measures taken against Occupied Jerusalem (based on United Nations resolutions which state the illegitimacy of Israeli "legal" structures in Jerusalem).
"5. Participants called for the cooperation of LNGOs and INGOs in establishing a lobby to focus on issues related to Occupied Jerusalem, which would include the following activities:
"(a) To highlight the issue of Occupied Jerusalem at the official Palestinian and International levels, as well as with international and Israeli peace and justice activists;
"(b) Intensifying the information and consciousness-raising campaigns among people in the Palestinian diaspora, the Arab community particularly, and amongst friends in foreign countries in order to recruit material resources and moral forces in support of the Arab character of Occupied Jerusalem.
"6. Participants call upon Palestinian institutions to focus more attention – programmatically and physically – on Occupied Jerusalem; of special note is the needed presence of NGOs in the Old City.
"7. Participants urge donors to direct more resources for supporting Palestinian activities in Occupied Jerusalem – especially those that aim at improving the living conditions – including those in the economic, social, and housing sectors.
"8. Participants recognize the important role that religious institutions -Islamic and Christian – can play in supporting the Palestinian presence in Occupied Jerusalem through contributions to the improvement of living conditions.
"9. Participants call for the renovation of religious and historic sites and the preservation of the historic character of the city and the development of a special fund for these purposes.
"10. Participants support the educational institutions in Occupied Jerusalem and ask these institutions to organize special cultural activities in order to foster the commitment in future generations towards preserving the Arab nature of Occupied Jerusalem.
"11. Participants stress the necessity of local NGOs' improving the quality and quantity of their services in Occupied Jerusalem.
"12. Participants request the transfer of the venue of the annual United Nations conference for NGOs on the Question of Palestine to Occupied Jerusalem to support the position of Occupied Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State.
"13. Work should be initiated on creating a centre for research, documentation and information about Occupied Jerusalem which would undertake the following:
"(a) Collection of information, documents and maps about Occupied Jerusalem;
"(b) Provide NGOs with information and statistics;
"(c) Conduct a survey on the conditions of various human and developmental sectors in the city (especially in the health, demographic, social, economic and educational sectors);
"(d) Publicly expose the illegal activities of the Israelis and their authorities in the city.
"14. Participants call for increased activities in opposition to the closure of the Holy City – with emphasis on an international-level demonstration against the closure."
B. Information received from NGOs
1. Middle East International, a biweekly publication, is available from P.O. Box 53365, Temple Heights Station, Washington, D.C. 20009, United States. Issue No. 481 of 5 August 1994 includes articles on the Israeli-Jordanian Washington Declaration, on Jerusalem, on Syria and Israel and on the Middle East water crises. Issue No. 482 of 26 August 1994 includes articles on Arafat's position on Hamas, on revising the Palestinian National Charter, on Israel and Iraq, on Jordan and Israel, on Syria and Israel and on the departure from Hebron of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
2. The Other Front, a weekly bulletin on developments in Israeli society, is available from P.O. Box 19543, Jerusalem. Issue No. 284 of 2 August includes articles on law and justice for Arabs and for Jews, on the Likud Party and on the agreement with Jordan. Issue No. 286 of 17 August includes articles on Israeli Arabs' struggle against budgetary discrimination and on the action committee on the release from prison of Arab citizens of Israel. Issue No. 287 of 25 August includes articles on Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz (a leading figure opposing Israeli occupation, who recently passed away), on refugees and on Yitzhak Rabin.
3. News from Within, a newsletter of the Alternative Information Centre, is available from P.O. Box 31417, Jerusalem, (Fax 972 2 253151). The August 1994 issue includes articles on Palestinian women workers in the Gaza Strip, on the Israel-Jordan Agreement and Palestinian national rights, on the incident at the Erez checkpoint and on a human rights lawyer's dilemma.
4. Une Terre Deux Peuples, a publication of the Association pour l'union entre les peuples juif et palestinien, is available from C.P. 43, 1247 Anières, Geneva, Switzerland. The June-July issue includes articles on the realities of autonomy, on Yasser Arafat, on Gaza as a `bantustan', on the Oslo plan, on the Judaization of Galilee, on the historic debate over the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, on prisoners of conscience and on women political prisoners.
5. April 17 Bulletin, a quarterly publication which focuses on Palestinian political prisoners, is available from the Alternative Information Centre, P.O. Box 31417, Jerusalem (Fax 972 2 253151). The issue 7 August 1994 issue contains a summary of events concerning Palestinian political prisoners for the period from September 1993 to August 1994. It includes information on prisoner releases since the Oslo Agreement, on ongoing arrests, on current statistics, on the Cairo Agreement, on women prisoners, on minors, on administrative detention and on activism in behalf of prisoners.
6. QMERS: Reflections from the Middle East, a publication of the Middle East Program of the American Friends Service Committee, is available from the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, United States. The authors, Paul Lalor and Floresca Karanasou, residents of Amman, Jordan, travel extensively throughout the Middle East. This publication contains the authors' first-hand impressions, as well as observed reactions of residents of Gaza and Jericho to the political process, during their visits to the area in October 1993 and again in April-June 1994.
7. Forward, a Palestinian monthly magazine, is available from P.O. Box 5092, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Issue No. 102 of July 1994 includes articles on Arafat and Jerusalem, on the Palestinian national movement, on the Palestinian presence in Lebanon, on Jordanian-Israeli understanding, on Israeli opposition after the Agreement, on Jordanian relations with Israel, on the last days of Ottoman rule and on Palestinian culture.
8. Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories, a bimonthly publication of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, is available from 555 13th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004-1109 (Fax (202) 637-5910). The July issue includes articles on the debate on the Israeli-PLO Accord leaving settlements intact and on the concerns of Palestinians and Israelis about autonomy.
9. The Gaza Center for Rights and Law, an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, issued a report entitled "Report on Human Rights in the Gaza Strip and the Working of the Cairo Agreement", dated June-July 1994. It covers killings and injuries by the Israeli Defence Forces, the Erez checkpoint and Palestinian workers, the permit system, Israeli control over access to the occupied territories, prisons, military courts, Israeli military manoeuvres, joint security in the Gaza Strip, Israeli incursions into the autonomous Palestinian areas, Israeli arrests, Israeli settlers and the coastal areas of the Gaza Strip.
10. Torture and Ill-Treatment: Israel's Interrogation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories, a book published by and available from Human Rights Watch/Middle East, 485 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017-6104 (Fax (212) 972-0905). The book charges that Israel's two main interrogation agencies in the occupied territories follow a systematic pattern of ill-treatment and torture when trying to extract confessions or information about third parties from Palestinian security suspects. It is based partly on detailed interviews with 36 Palestinians interrogated since June 1992, including 10 interrogated since the September 1993 signing of the Declaration of Principles.
11. Israel and Palestine Political Report is available from IJPU, Boîte Postale 44, 75462 Paris Cedex 10, France (Fax 331 42 46 51 77). Issue no. 188 of June/July 1994 contains an editorial on Jews, Israelis and refugees, articles on Arafat, on the Cairo Agreement, on the Palestinian Authority and on Rabin, and a West Bank and Gaza update.
12. Press releases of the Palestine Human Rights Information Center (PHRIC) of the Arab Studies Society are available from: PHRIC International, 4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20008. (Fax (202) 686-5140). The following press release has been issued for the month of August:
Document Type: Bulletin, Monthly Bulletin, Publication
Document Source: Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
Subject: Human rights and international humanitarian law, Palestine question, Peace process, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 31/08/1994