July 2016

Volume XXXIX, Bulletin No. 7

Bulletin

on action by the United Nations system and

intergovernmental organizations

relevant to the question of Palestine

Contents

I.

UN Secretary-General concerned about Israeli-Palestinian violence and underscores Quartet’s finding on need to reverse negative trends

II.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov issues report of the Middle East Quartet

III.

UN Secretary-General criticizes Israeli decisions regarding new construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem

IV.

UN Secretary-General briefs Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

V.

Director-General of UNESCO issues statement on the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls

VI.

UN Special Coordinator expresses concern about an arson attack in the occupied West Bank

VII.

UNCTAD issues report on the economic costs of the Israeli occupation

VIII.

UN Special Coordinator condemns decision to expand Gilo settlement

IX.

ECOSOC adopts resolution on economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation

X.

UN Special Coordinator condemns demolitions in Qalandia and occupied East Jerusalem

XI,

UN Special Coordinator expresses concern by near daily advancement of illegal settlements


The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
Disclaimer:
The texts cited in this Monthly Bulletin have been reproduced in their original form. The Division for Palestinian Rights is consequently not responsible for the views, positions or discrepancies contained in these texts.


I. S ECRETARY-GENERAL EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE
 AND UNDERSCORES QUARTET'S FINDING ON NEED TO REVERSE NEGATIVE TRENDS

On 1 July 2016, the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following press release (SG/SM/17901):

The Secretary-General is pleased that, in collaboration with his counterparts from the Russian Federation, the United States and the European Union, the Quartet has today released its report highlighting the major threats to the two-state solution and providing recommendations on how to preserve and advance this goal.

He underscores the report’s finding that there is a strong need for affirmative steps to reverse negative trends on the ground. These trends risk entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict which is incompatible with realising the national aspirations of both peoples.

The Secretary-General reiterates the Quartet’s pledge to actively support an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). He also reiterates that a negotiated two-state outcome that meets Israeli security needs and creates a sovereign Palestinian state, ends the occupation that began in 1967, and resolves all permanent status issues is the only way to achieve an enduring peace.

He strongly encourages the parties to engage with the Quartet on implementing the report recommendations so as to rebuild hope among Palestinians and Israelis in a political solution and to create the conditions to return to meaningful negotiations.

The Secretary-General is also concerned by what appears to be a spike in violence over the past two days. He condemns all acts of terror and violence.

II. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS,
NIKOLAY MLADOV, ISSUES REPORT OF THE MIDDLE EAST QUARTET

On 1 July 2016, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, issued the report of the Middle East Quartet. The following is the report’s summary (S/2016/595):

The Quartet reiterated that a negotiated two-State outcome is the only way to achieve an enduring peace that meets Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967 and resolves all permanent status issues.

The Quartet recalls its previous statement and relevant Security Council resolutions and pledges its active support for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). In this regard, the Quartet reiterates its commitment to continue working in coordination with key stakeholders, including regional countries and the Security Council, to restore hope for a political solution.

While the majority of people on both sides and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas express their support for the goal of two States living side by side in peace and security, the Quartet remains seriously concerned that continuing on the current course will make this prospect increasingly remote. In particular, each of the following trends is severely undermining hopes for peace:

Continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians and incitement to violence are greatly exacerbating mistrust and are fundamentally incompatible with a peaceful resolution;

The continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use and denial of Palestinian development is steadily eroding the viability of the two-State solution;

The illicit arms build-up and militant activity, the continuing absence of Palestinian unity and the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza feed instability and ultimately impede efforts to achieve a negotiated solution.

The Quartet stresses the urgent need for affirmative steps to reverse each of those trends in order to prevent the entrenchment of a one-State reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.

The Quartet reiterates that unilateral actions by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.

The Quartet stresses that, while a permanent status agreement that ends the conflict can only be achieved through direct bilateral negotiations, important progress can be made now towards advancing the two-State solution on the ground.

The Quartet calls upon each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-State solution.

To that end, the Quartet emphasizes the importance of both parties complying with their basic commitments under existing agreements in order to promote this two-State reality and lay the groundwork for successful negotiations.

III. UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CRITICIZES ISRAEL DECISIONS REGARDING NEW CONSTRUCTION IN THE WEST BANK AND EAST JERUSALEM

On 5 July 2016, the Spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued the following statement on Israel’s settlement activities (SG/SM/17907):

The Secretary-General strongly criticizes the decision by Israeli authorities to advance plans to build some 560 housing units in the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, as well as the advancement of plans to build 240 housing units in a number of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. This raises legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions, which are compounded by continuing statements of some Israeli ministers calling for the annexation of the West Bank.

He reiterates that settlements are illegal under international law and urges the Government of Israel to halt and reverse such decisions in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement.

The Secretary-General is deeply disappointed that this announcement comes only four days after the Middle East Quartet called on Israel to cease its policy of settlement construction and expansion.

IV. UN  SECRETARY-GENERAL BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON THE SITUATION
 IN THE MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION

On 12 July 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The following are excerpts from the briefing (S/PV.7736):

Late last month, I returned from my eleventh visit to Israel and Palestine as the Secretary-General. As it happened, it was also as Israel’s occupation entered into its fiftieth year. I carried a clear and consistent message to leaders on both sides, namely, that time was running out. That fact is also at the heart of the report of the Middle East Quartet. I know that the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, has fully briefed the Security Council. Some on both sides have criticized the report’s contents and sought to dismiss its conclusions and recommendations. The report’s overriding message, however, is irrefutable: as negative trends grow more frequent, the prospects for a two-State solution grow more distant. The report’s 10 recommendations provide a practical approach to end the political stalemate, resume the transition to greater Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and chart a course towards negotiations to resolve all final status issues. I urge both sides to immediately begin discussions with the Quartet on implementing those recommendations as we all continue to work in coordination with key stakeholders, including regional countries and the Security Council, to restore hope in a political solution. The Quartet Envoys are now taking steps in that direction.

The parties will have to make the necessary compromises for peace. At the same time, the region and the wider international community must exercise their influence to encourage both sides. French efforts to pursue peace complement those efforts. I welcome their coordination with the Quartet. I also welcome Egyptian efforts, including the recent visit by the Egyptian Foreign Minister to Palestine and Israel.

The failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to advance peace has created a vacuum. Extremist voices have filled that space. Recent incidents reinforce the mounting risks. Those responsible for recent terror attacks must be held accountable. However, closures, such as those in Hebron, as well as punitive demolitions and blanket revocations of permits, penalize thousands of innocent Palestinians and amount to collective punishment.

I am also deeply troubled by shrinking space for civil society in the region and around the world. I am concerned by Israel’s passage of the so-called “NGO Transparency Law”, which contributes to a climate in which the activities of human rights organizations are increasingly delegitimized. All the while, Israel’s settlement enterprise marches on. Days after the Quartet called on Israel to cease settlement construction and expansion, Israel announced plans to advance building approximately 560 housing units in the West Bank and 240 more in occupied East Jerusalem. That is in flagrant disregard of international law. Those actions constitute an undeniable contradiction of Israel’s official support for a negotiated two-State solution. I urge Israel to immediately cease and reverse those plans.

We must ask: How can the systematic expansion of settlements — the taking of land for exclusive Israeli use — and the denial of Palestinian development be a response to violence? Such policies will not bring the two-State solution closer to reality. Such policies will not make Israelis safer or more secure. As many former Israeli military and intelligence officers have clearly stated, those policies will do precisely the opposite. Indeed, every brick added to the edifice of occupation is another taken from Israel’s foundation as a majority Jewish and democratic State. At the same time, those Palestinians who celebrate and encourage attacks against innocents must know that they are not serving the interests of their people or of peace. Such acts must be universally condemned and more must be done to counter the incitement that fuels and justifies terror.

During my visit I also made my fourth trip to Gaza. Militant activity continues, undermining the fragile ceasefire and threatening to provoke another devastating escalation. Despite significant progress, tens of thousands of people are still displaced following the 2014 conflict. Families are forced to live without electricity for 12 to 18 hours per day. Unemployment remains staggering. Funds to rebuild Gaza remain elusive. I once again urge donors to fulfil their pledges made in Cairo. But long-term stability and sustainability for Gaza depends on the lifting of the crippling closures and a re-establishment of a single, legitimate Palestinian governing authority based on Palestine Liberation Organization principles.

Turning very briefly to the Golan, I would add that the situation remains volatile and continues to undermine the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria, thereby jeopardizing the ceasefire between the two countries.

As we focus on Israeli-Palestinian peace, we must take a hard look at where the conflict stands. How much longer can the parties and the international conirnunity accept political paralysis, and at what grave price? I encourage the Security Council to support the efforts of the Quartet to work with the parties, the region and interested stakeholders in advancing peace. The children of Israel and Palestine deserve nothing less.

I will never forget my moving meeting with student leaders at a school in Gaza of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East on my final day in the region. One 15-year-old boy concluded by saying,

“Harsh restrictions drain away the ambitions of any young person. And this is how we see our future — to be killed by the conflict, to be killed by the closure or to be killed by despair.”

Surely, we can do better for all the children of Palestine and Israel. Surely, they deserve a horizon of hope.

It is time for the parties to take action to build that future. The international community, including through the recommendations outlined in the Quartet’s report, remains resolute in its commitment to support the goal of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis. That is why I encourage the Security Council to support the efforts of the Quartet — of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations — to work with the parties, the region and interested stakeholders in advancing peace.

V. DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM AND ITS WALLS

On 15 July 2016, on the occasion of the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO in Istanbul, the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued the following statement:

“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities have a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city. To deny or conceal any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription in 1981 as a World Heritage site.

35 years after the inscription of the site, the role and commitment of the World Heritage Committee is precisely to uphold the spirit of this historic decision. At the time, discussions and expert assessments made during the examination of the site concluded that the outstanding universal value of the City lies notably in this coherent synthesis, which must be protected in its integrity.

This requirement is stronger than ever, when the city of Jerusalem is witnessing violence, fueling divisions and harming the multi-faith character of the Old City. I am concerned about the way physical violence is being associated with symbolic violence, as well as the will to erase history and instrumentalize culture.

When these divisions carry over onto UNESCO, an Organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, it prevents us from carrying out our mission. As Director-General of UNESCO, it is my responsibility to forcefully recall the significance of the universal value of the Old City of Jerusalem and the need to transmit it to future generations. Thirty-five years after the inscription of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List, this determination has never been stronger,” declared the Director-General.”

VI. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR CONCERNED ABOUT AN ARSON ATTACK IN OCCUPIED WEST BANK

On 20 July 2016, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov issued the following statement about an arson attack on a home in Duma in the occupied West Bank:

I am concerned by reports of yet another arson attack on the home of the Dawabsha family last night in Duma in the occupied West Bank. If confirmed, this despicable act would be the third incident in this particular village in the last year.

Since the 31 July 2015 terrorist arson attack in which Jewish extremists torched the Dawabsha home, killing three family members and leaving four year-old Ahmed orphaned, indictments have been made, but the perpetrators of this terrible crime have yet to face justice. I call upon the authorities to move swiftly in bringing the perpetrators of this terrible crime, as well as this latest incident, to justice.

I also urge Israel, as the occupying power, to ensure that vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are protected in line with its obligations under international law.

VII. UNCTAD ISSUES REPORT ON THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION

On 21 July 2016, the Secretariat of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) issued a report on the economic costs of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people. The following are the report’s conclusions and recommendations (A/71/174):

52. The present report does not report on the qualitative or quantitative aspects of the economic costs of the occupation for the Palestinian people, rather it underscores to Member States the critical importance of this assignment and the need to equip the international community with an objective understanding and specific measurements of the effects of the occupation on the Palestinian people. An accurate assessment of these costs may also ensure accountability on the part of the occupying authority towards fulfilling its obligations under international law.

53. Furthermore, the examination of the economic costs of the occupation, as well as other obstacles to trade and development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is essential for signifying the magnitude of the losses and the difficulties the Palestinian people have endured and continue to endure under the occupation, identifying policies for placing the Palestinian economy on the path of sustainable development and facilitating future negotiations for a just settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and for a lasting peace in the Middle East.

54. To make an accurate assessment of the damages inflicted by the occupation, a calculation must first be made of the resources and policies required for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and placing the economy on a sustainable development track that safeguards the interests and capacities of the present generation while at the same time expanding the potential of future generations. This would serve as the basis for peace in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which would be solidified by a thriving, free economy able to meet the present and future needs of its people and protect the fragile environment from further degradation exacerbated by poverty.

55. It should be stressed that the economic costs of the occupation, and any estimation of them, are not and should not be perceived as, nor used for, advocating monetary compensation as a substitute for ending the occupation. Furthermore, not all of the losses, damages and destruction inflicted by the occupation can be evaluated or measured in monetary terms.

56. All previous studies on the economic costs of the occupation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory were performed on ad hoc basis, and not within a single comprehensive framework that could add up the different types of losses and the direct and indirect costs in all economic sectors. They have just scratched the surface of the much larger economic costs of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people. Without the occupation, the Palestinian economy could easily produce twice the GDP it currently generates, while the chronic trade and budget deficits, as well as poverty and unemployment, could recede and the economic dependence on Israel could end.

57. There is therefore an urgent need to establish within the United Nations system a systematic, rigorous, evidence-based, comprehensive and sustainable framework:

(a) To take an inventory of, and regularly record and update, the actions taken by the occupying authority, in particular those which continue to inflict damage and economic costs for the Palestinian people and their lives and livelihoods;

(b) To estimate and update the recurrent and new economic costs of such actions in a systematic and evidence-based way and on regular basis;

(c) To report annually to the General Assembly on those costs;

(d) To identify the resources and policies required for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

58. The need for such a framework was recognized by the General Assembly, and, in paragraph 9 of its resolution 69/20, the Assembly requested UNCTAD to report to it on the economic costs of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people. The request is a testament to UNCTAD’s proven expertise on the Palestinian economy and its constraints and development prospects, as well as to UNCTAD’s technical and professional capacity to lead and coordinate the work of other United Nations entities in implementing this important task.

59. UNCTAD is technically well positioned within the United Nations system to assume the responsibilities of the evaluation of the economic costs of the occupation for the Palestinian people. The task cannot be implemented with the resources currently available, however. Additional resources are required for UNCTAD to fulfil the request of the General Assembly. Allocating those additional resources should be done through the appropriate United Nations mechanisms with support from the donor community to secure additional extrabudgetary resources.

60. Member States are invited to consider requesting UNCTAD to take an inventory of, and regularly record, update and estimate the economic costs of the Israeli occupation for the Palestinian people and to report thereon to the General Assembly on an annual basis.

VIII. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR CONDEMNS DECISION TO EXPAND GILO SETTLEMENT

On 25 July 2016, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov issued the following statement:

I strongly condemn the recent decision by Israeli authorities to advance plans to build some 770 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, built on the lands of occupied Palestinian towns and villages between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem.

I am also concerned about repeated efforts by a number of families to rebuild the Israeli outpost of Mitzpeh Avichai near Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

Such moves raise legitimate questions about Israel’s long-term intentions. They come against the backdrop of statements by some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state or calls for the full annexation of the West Bank.

This decision to expand Gilo comes only three weeks after the United States, the Russian Federation, the EU and the UN, as part of the Middle East Quartet, jointly called on Israel to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion.

I reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law and urge the Government of Israel to cease and reverse such decisions.

Continuing on the current trajectory entrenches a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.

IX. ECOSOC ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION

On 25 July 2016, the Economic and Social Council adopted the following resolution on “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan”. (E/RES/2016/14):

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolutions 70/1 of 25 September 2015, 70/89 of 9 December 2015 and 70/225 of 22 December 2015,

Recalling also its resolution 2015/17 of 20 July 2015,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations affirming the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, and recalling relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980 and 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981,

Recalling the resolutions of the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly, including resolutions ES-10/13 of 21 October 2003, ES-10/14 of 8 December 2003, ES-10/15 of 20 July 2004 and ES-10/17 of 15 December 2006,

Taking note of the report by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, as transmitted by the Secretary-General,1 

Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,2 to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967,

Recalling the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,3 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,3 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,4 and affirming that these human rights instruments are applicable and must be respected in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan,

Taking note, in this regard, of Palestine’s accession to several human rights treaties and the core humanitarian law conventions as well as other international treaties,

Taking note also of General Assembly resolution 67/19 of 29 November 2012,

Stressing the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement on all tracks on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 425 (1978) of 19 March 1978, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002, 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, 1544 (2004) of 19 May 2004 and 1850 (2008) of 16 December 2008, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative5 and the Quartet road map,6 as well as compliance with the agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,

Reaffirming the principle of the permanent sovereignty of peoples under foreign occupation over their natural resources, and expressing concern in that regard about the exploitation of natural resources by Israel, the occupying Power, and Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly as a result of settlement activities, which are illegal under international law and which, deplorably, continued during the reporting period,

Convinced that the Israeli occupation has gravely impeded the efforts to achieve sustainable development and a sound economic environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and expressing grave concern about the consequent deterioration of economic and living conditions,

Expressing alarm, in this regard, about the extremely high levels of unemployment in the Gaza Strip in particular, which according to World Bank estimates is 43 per cent, with youth unemployment reaching 60 per cent, exacerbated by the prolonged Israeli closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade, and the continuing negative repercussions of the military operations in the Gaza Strip on economic and social infrastructure and living conditions,

Commending, despite the many constraints, including the obstacles imposed by the ongoing Israeli occupation, the efforts of the Palestinian Government to improve the economic and social situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the areas of governance, the rule of law and human rights, livelihoods and productive sectors, education and culture, health, social protection, infrastructure and water,

Stressing the importance of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, which was launched on 15 August 2013, and which aims, inter alia, at enhancing development support and assistance to the Palestinian people and strengthening institutional capacity in line with Palestinian national priorities,

Gravely concerned about the accelerated construction of settlements and implementation of other related measures by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions, and stressing that such illegal measures are main sources of other Israeli violations and discriminatory policies,

Encouraging all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard to all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly Israeli settlements,

Taking note of the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,7

Expressing deep concern about the rising incidence of violence, harassment, provocation, vandalism and incitement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in particular by illegal armed Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, including children, and their properties, including homes, historic and religious sites and agricultural lands, and calling for accountability for the illegal actions perpetrated in this regard,

Gravely concerned by the serious repercussions on the economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people caused by Israel’s construction of the wall and its associated regime inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and the resulting violation of their economic and social rights, including the rights to work, to health, to education, to property, to an adequate standard of living and to freedom of access and movement,

Recalling, in that regard, 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,8  and General Assembly resolution ES-10/15, and stressing the need to comply with the obligations mentioned therein,

Deploring all loss of innocent civilian life and injury to scores of civilians, and calling upon all parties to fully respect international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, including for the protection of civilian life, as well as for the promotion of human security, the de-escalation of the situation, the exercise of restraint, including from provocative actions and rhetoric, and the establishment of a stable environment conducive to the pursuit of peace,

Expressing grave concern at the extensive destruction by Israel, the occupying Power, of properties, including the increased demolition of homes, economic institutions, historical landmarks, agricultural lands and orchards, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in particular in connection with its construction of settlements and the wall and confiscation of land, contrary to international law, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem,

Expressing grave concern also over the continuing forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinian civilians, including the Bedouin community, due to the continuing and intensifying policy of home demolitions, evictions and revocation of residency rights in and around occupied East Jerusalem, as well as measures to further isolate the city from its natural Palestinian environs, which have seriously exacerbated the already critical socioeconomic situation being faced by the Palestinian population,

Expressing grave concern further about ongoing Israeli military operations and policies of closures and severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, the imposition of crossing closures, checkpoints and a permit regime throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the consequent negative impact on the socioeconomic situation of the Palestinian people, in particular the Palestine refugee population, which remains that of a humanitarian crisis,

Expressing grave concern, in particular, over the continuing crisis in the Gaza Strip as a result of the prolonged Israeli closures and severe economic and movement restrictions that in effect amount to a blockade, stressing that the situation is unsustainable, and calling in that regard for the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) of 8 January 2009 with a view to ensuring the full opening of the border crossings for the sustained and regular movement of persons and goods, including humanitarian aid, commercial flows and construction materials, and emphasizing the need for security for all civilian populations,

Deploring the conflict in and around the Gaza Strip in July and August 2014 and the civilian casualties caused, including the killing and injury of thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, women and the elderly, as well as the widespread destruction of or damage to thousands of homes and vital civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, water, sanitation and electricity networks, economic, industrial and agricultural properties, public institutions, religious sites and United Nations schools and facilities, as well as the internal displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and any violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, in this regard,

Gravely concerned about the consequent prolonged and extensive negative impact of the military operations of July and August 2014, as well as the military operations between December 2008 and January 2009 and of November 2012, on economic conditions, the provision of social services and the social, humanitarian and physical living conditions of the Palestinian civilian population, including the Palestine refugee population,

Recalling, in that regard, the relevant United Nations reports, including those of the Economic and Social Council, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the Human Rights Council,

Expressing deep concern about the short- and long-term detrimental impact of such widespread destruction and the hampering of the reconstruction process, by Israel, the occupying Power, on the socioeconomic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian crisis continues to deepen, and calling in that regard for the immediate acceleration of the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip with the assistance of the donor countries, including the disbursement of funds pledged at the Cairo International Conference on Palestine: Reconstructing Gaza, held on 12 October 2014,

Gravely concerned about various reports of the United Nations and specialized agencies regarding the substantial aid dependency caused by prolonged border closures, inordinate rates of unemployment, widespread poverty and severe humanitarian hardships, including food insecurity and rising health-related problems, including high levels of malnutrition, among the Palestinian people, especially children, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Expressing grave concern at the deaths and injuries caused to civilians, including children, women and peaceful demonstrators, and emphasizing that the Palestinian civilian population must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law,

Emphasizing the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians, and calling for the cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, and all firing of rockets,

Expressing deep concern that thousands of Palestinians, including many children and women, continue to be held in Israeli prisons or detention centres under harsh conditions, including unhygienic conditions, solitary confinement, excessive use of administrative detention, including of children, lack of proper medical care and widespread medical neglect, including for ill prisoners, with the risk of fatal consequences, and denial of family visits and of due process, that impair their well-being, and expressing deep concern also about any ill-treatment and harassment of Palestinian prisoners and detainees and all reports of torture, while taking note of the May 2012 agreement reached on conditions of detention in Israeli prisons and calling for its full and immediate implementation,

Conscious of the urgent need for the reconstruction and development of the economic and social infrastructure of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as the urgent need to address the humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people, including by ensuring the unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance and the sustained and regular flow of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip,

Recognizing the efforts by the Palestinian Government, with international support, to rebuild, reform and strengthen its damaged institutions and promote good governance, emphasizing the need to preserve the Palestinian national institutions and infrastructure and commending in this regard the ongoing efforts to develop the institutions of an independent Palestinian State, including through the implementation of the Palestinian National Development Plan on governance, economy, social development and infrastructure (2014–2016), and the significant achievements made, as confirmed by the positive assessments made by international institutions regarding readiness for statehood, including by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for the Coordination of the International Assistance to Palestinians, while also expressing concern about the negative impact of the current instability and financial crisis being faced by the Palestinian Government,

Commending, in that regard, the important work being done by the United Nations, the specialized agencies and the donor community in support of the economic and social development of the Palestinian people in line with their national development and State-building plan, as well as the vital assistance being provided in the humanitarian field,

Affirming the need to support the Palestinian Government of national consensus in its assumption of full government responsibilities in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in all fields, as well as through its presence at Gaza’s crossing points, and Palestinian national reconciliation, and emphasizing the need for the respect and preservation of the territorial integrity and unity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,

Calling upon both parties to fulfil their obligations under the road map in cooperation with the Quartet,

Aware that development and fostering healthy economic and social conditions are difficult under occupation and best promoted in circumstances of peace and stability,

1. Calls for the full opening of the border crossings of the Gaza Strip, in line with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), to ensure humanitarian access as well as the sustained and regular flow of persons and goods and the lifting of all movement restrictions imposed on the Palestinian people, including those restrictions arising from ongoing Israeli military operations and the multilayered closure system, and for other urgent measures to be taken to alleviate the serious humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which is dire in the Gaza Strip, and calls for compliance by Israel, the occupying Power, with all of its legal obligations under international humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions in that regard;

2. Stresses the need to preserve the territorial contiguity, unity and integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to guarantee the freedom of movement of persons and goods throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as to and from the outside world;

3. Also stresses the need to preserve and develop Palestinian national institutions and infrastructure for the provision of vital public services to the Palestinian civilian population and to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, including economic and social rights;

4. Demands that Israel comply with the Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization signed in Paris on 29 April 1994;9 

5. Calls upon Israel to restore and replace civilian properties, vital infrastructure, agricultural lands and governmental institutions that have been damaged or destroyed as a result of its military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;

6. Reiterates the call for the full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent and uninterrupted reopening of all crossings into the Gaza Strip, which is crucial to ensuring the passage of foodstuffs and essential supplies, including construction materials and adequate fuel supplies, as well as to ensuring the unhindered access of the United Nations and related agencies and regular commercial flows necessary for economic recovery to and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and emphasizes the need for security for all civilian populations;

7. Calls upon all parties to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and to refrain from violence against the civilian population, in accordance with the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949;2

8. Reaffirms the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan to all their natural and economic resources, and calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, not to exploit, endanger or cause loss or depletion of those resources;

9. Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its destruction of homes and properties, economic institutions and agricultural lands and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to prevent Israeli settlers from perpetrating such illegal activities;

10. Also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to end immediately its exploitation of natural resources, including water and mining resources, and to cease the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their natural resources, namely, the water, land and energy resources, and present a serious environmental hazard and health threat to the civilian populations, and also calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to remove all obstacles that obstruct the implementation of critical environmental projects, including the sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip, notably the provision of the electric power needed for the work of the northern Gaza emergency sewage treatment plant, and stresses in this regard the urgency of the reconstruction and development of water infrastructure, including the desalination facility project for the Gaza Strip;

11. Calls for the assistance necessary for the safe removal of all unexploded ordnance in the Gaza Strip, which endangers Palestinian lives and has a negative impact on the environment as well as reconstruction and development efforts, welcomes the efforts exerted by the Mine Action Service of the United Nations to date, and urges support for the efforts of the Service in this regard;

12. Reaffirms that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and related infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to economic and social development and to the achievement of peace, and calls for the full cessation of all settlement and settlement-related activity, including full cessation of all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, legal status and character of the occupied territories, including in particular in and around occupied East Jerusalem, in compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions and international law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War;

13. Calls for accountability for the illegal actions perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and recalls in this regard Security Council resolution 904 (1994) of 18 March 1994 and stresses the need for its implementation;

14. Also calls for urgent attention to the plight and the rights, in accordance with international law, of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons, and calls for efforts between the two sides for the further release of prisoners and detainees;

15. Reaffirms that Israel’s ongoing construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, is contrary to international law and is isolating East Jerusalem, fragmenting the West Bank and seriously debilitating the economic and social development of the Palestinian people, and in that regard calls for full compliance with the legal obligations mentioned in the 9 July 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice8 and in General Assembly resolution ES-10/15 and subsequent relevant resolutions;

16. Calls upon Israel to comply with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and to facilitate visits of the Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan whose family members reside in their mother homeland, the Syrian Arab Republic, via the Qunaytirah entrance;

17. Emphasizes the importance of the work of United Nations organizations and agencies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority;

18. Expresses appreciation to the Member States, United Nations bodies and intergovernmental, regional and non-governmental organizations that have provided and continue to provide economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, which has helped to ameliorate their critical economic and social conditions, and urges the continued provision of assistance commensurate with increased socioeconomic and humanitarian needs, in cooperation with official Palestinian institutions and consistent with the Palestinian National Development Plan;

19. Reiterates the importance of and need for increased and renewed international efforts on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 425 (1978), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1544 (2004) and 1850 (2008), and the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative5 and the Quartet road map,6 as well as compliance with the agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, in order to pave the way for the realization of the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders, and the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement;

20. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-first session, through the Economic and Social Council, a report on the implementation of the present resolution and to continue to include in the report of the United Nations Special Coordinator an update on the living conditions of the Palestinian people, in collaboration with relevant United Nations agencies;

21. Decides to include the item entitled “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan” in the agenda of its 2017 session.

44th plenary meeting
25 July 2016

__________

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

3 See General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

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

5 A/56/1026-S/2002/932, annex II, resolution 14/221.

7 A/HRC/22/63.

8 See A/ES-10/273 and Corr.1.

9 See A/49/180-S/1994/727, annex, entitled “Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area”, annex IV.

X. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR CONDEMNS DEMOLITIONS IN QALANDIA AND OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM

On 27 July 2016, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov issued the following statement:

“Two days ago, I issued a statement strongly condemning the advancement of plans for settlement units in Gilo and efforts to re-establish an outpost near Hebron. Since then, demolitions have taken place in Qalandiya and occupied East Jerusalem that reflect Israel’s systematic policy of denying Palestinian development in the occupied West Bank. This challenge was highlighted by the recently published Middle East Quartet Report which concluded that “the continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use, and denial of Palestinian development, including the recent high rate of demolitions, is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution”.

For months the UN has been warning that there has been a significant increase in the number of Palestinian structures demolished across the West Bank. This was particularly visible in the first four months of 2016, with some 500 demolitions of Palestinian structures by the Israeli authorities and nearly 800 Palestinians displaced, more than in all of 2015. In East Jerusalem, 64 Palestinian structures were demolished from January to June of 2016. Vulnerable Bedouin and farming communities are most heavily impacted by these demolitions.

The United States, the Russian Federation, the EU and the UN, as part of the Middle East Quartet, jointly called on Israel “to cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development”. I reiterate this call as such actions are dangerously imperiling the two-state solution.”

XI. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR CONCERNED BY NEAR DAILY ADVANCEMENT OF ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS

On 29 July 2016, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov issued the following statement:

“As I leave Cairo after constructive meetings with the Egyptian Foreign Minister and the new Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, I remain increasingly concerned by the near daily advancement of the illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This week alone has seen Israel move forward on plans for 770 settlement units in Gilo, demolitions of 19 Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem, efforts to re-establish an outpost that had previously been dismantled in 2012, and the issuance or reissuance of 323 tenders which would bring new construction to sensitive East Jerusalem areas.

These moves have been unequivocally condemned by the UN, the US, the UK and the EU and others in the international community.

Israel’s systematic policy of expanding settlements, designating land for exclusive Israeli use and preventing Palestinian social and economic development is destroying prospects for a viable Palestinian state.”

__________