Doc. 9499

25 June 2002

Situation in the Middle East


Political Affairs Committee

Rapporteur: M. Mikhail Margelov, Russia, European Democratic Group

I.       Draft resolution

1. The Assembly is extremely concerned at the new aggravation in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It urges the two parties to stop immediately all violence and hostilities, and resume the peace process.

2. The Assembly supports the proposal to organise an international conference under the aegis of the Quartet, namely the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, aiming at re-starting the peace process embarked upon at the Madrid Conference with participation of all the parties involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Syria and Lebanon. The Assembly believes however that a more clear and unbiased US position on the Middle East would certainly improve the prospects for this international effort.

3. The Assembly calls on to the European Union to establish a more effective control on the use of the financial means given to the Palestinian Authority.

4. Human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians, including the very right to live, are being systematically violated. Life conditions on both sides, those of Israelis living in constant fear of bomb attacks, and those of Palestinian civilians deprived of basic freedoms and suffering frequent casualties as a result of Israeli military activity, are equally unbearable.

5. The Assembly is deeply troubled by the worsening of the economic situation both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories due to the ongoing conflict.

6. The Assembly stresses the need for serious reforms of the Palestinian Authority in order to guarantee a democratic, viable and peaceful Palestinian state. It is prepared to deploy active political efforts to help implementing such reforms in legislative, legal and administrative fields.

7. The Assembly strongly condemns the terrorist activities of radical Palestinian groups, which are among the major obstacles to resuming the peace process. The Palestinian Authority must take the most resolute steps to curtail the extremist activities of these groups, and the smuggling of weapons and war materials.

8. The Assembly denounces the ongoing process of land seizure by Israel of the occupied Palestinian territories, and reminds that it is absolutely illegal under international law, including the UN resolutions which lie at the foundation of the very existence of the State of Israel. The establishment of new and the expansion of existing settlements is not consistent with the aim of building mutual confidence necessary for a lasting solution to the conflict, and must therefore be stopped.

9. The Assembly regrets the Israeli government’s refusal to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution 1405 which required that the international commission set up by the UN Secretary-General should be allowed access to the Jenin refugee camp.

10. The Assembly is deeply worried by the decision of the Israeli government to retake control of the Palestinian towns, and impose severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods.

11. The Assembly notes, regrettable as it is, the Israeli government’s decision to start building a fence installation on the West Bank.

12. The Assembly strongly condemns the turning of the Holy Places into battlefields by both sides. It stresses the imperative of respecting the inviolability of and free access to the Holy Places, as requested by the UN General Assembly Resolution 181/II.

13. The Assembly calls on the Government of Israel:

a. to immediately stop building new, and expanding existing settlements in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and in and around East Jerusalem, as well as road infrastructures which disrupt the continuity of the territories attributed by the UN decisions to a future Palestinian state;

b. to refrain from the practice of deploying troops in zone “A” of the Territories and carrying out large-scale mopping-up operations in Palestinian residential areas, causing casualties among the civilian population and destruction of the civil infrastructure;

c. to stop the systematic destruction by Israeli forces of the Palestinian security apparatus;

d. to pull back the Israeli army units to the positions they occupied prior to September 2000;

e. to review its refusal to maintain dialogue with President Arafat;

f. to investigate and publish a full report on the events which took place in Jenin in April 2002.

14. The Assembly calls on the Palestinian Authority, and in particular President Arafat:

a. to condemn without reservation and to do his utmost to put an end to any terrorist activity, in particular suicide bombers’ attacks, directed against civilian population;

b. to do its utmost to prevent the carrying out of terrorist attacks, by stepping up measures against those responsible including those over whom it has influence (e.g. Tanzim of FATAH, Brigades of Al-Aqsa Martyrs) as well as those claiming responsibility (HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP);

c. to co-operate fully with the Israeli authorities in this regard;

d. to condemn and to put an end to any form of incitement to violence, including to denounce the practice of financial compensation from abroad to terrorists’ families;

e. to continue reforms aiming at building democratic, efficient and accountable Palestinian institutions, and to seek co-operation and assistance from the Council of Europe as regards:

i. an assessment of the new draft Palestinian constitution by the Venice Commission;

      ii. the drafting and assessment of new Palestinian laws including women’s rights;

f. to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty and eventually to abolish it.

15. It reiterates its readiness to contribute to re-establishing contacts and rebuilding a climate of confidence between the parties involved, in particular in fields where its expertise and experience are recognised, namely promotion of democratic institutions, protection of human rights, recognition of the rights of minorities, and reforms in the field of education. To this effect, it offers parliamentarians from the Knesset and the Palestinian Legislative Council a forum for a structured dialogue based on an agenda to which both sides would be invited to propose items for discussion, including confidence-building measures.

16. The Assembly considers that the balance of the Assembly’s relations with the Israelis and Palestinians should be redressed and in this connection declares its readiness to examine the possibility of granting Observer Status to the Palestinian Legislative Council once the above-mentioned reforms have been carried out and once they meet all the requirements of the PACE observer status, including the denial of any kind of terror.

II.       Explanatory memorandum by the Rapporteur


1.       The Middle East is in the grip of an ongoing crisis, linked to the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, tension in the Israel-Lebanon-Syria triangle and the state of the Arab-Israeli settlement process as a whole.

2.       A Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation (the intifada) has been ongoing in the Palestinian territories since the end of September 2000. Over 2,500 people (mostly Palestinians) have perished in the course of armed conflicts. Radical Palestinian groupings are pursuing tactics of terrorism and other kinds of violent action. Israel responds by force with tough reprisals, including frequent raids on Palestinian towns (especially Ramallah, Tulkarm and Jenin) using heavy armour and artillery, which resulted in a complete blockade of Yasser Arafat's residence from December 2001 to April 2002, and repeating these operations whenever a further terrorist attack takes place.

3.       The Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, lays the blame for the terror wholly on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Yasser Arafat in person. In March and April the Israeli army carried out the large-scale operation "Defensive Wall" on the West Bank, causing numerous Palestinian casualties. In order to prevent incursions by Palestinian terrorists Israel is creating "buffer zones" in areas bordering Palestinian territories. In addition to the fencing installations already present in the Gaza strip, Israel began building the first section of a fence on the West Bank on 16 June, that will separate Kalkiliya,

Tulkarm and Jenin from Israeli territory.

4.       Yasser Arafat has periodically appealed to the Palestinian people, calling for a halt to violent acts against Israeli citizens including suicide bomb attacks, but there has been no major let-up in the situation.

5.       On periodic visits to the USA (on six occasions), Ariel Sharon stressed that it was pointless to continue cooperating with Yasser Arafat and claimed that the Palestinian administration was a "terrorist structure". The Israeli premier is insistent that progress towards a settlement is bound up with reform of the PNA. Mr Sharon refuses to cooperate with Mr Arafat and is counting on him standing down or, at least, being removed from an active political role, including where reforms are concerned.

6.       Mr Arafat has approved a Fundamental law, legislation on the independence of the judiciary and of the banking system and a decree on the setting up of an electoral commission to prepare local elections. A 21-member Cabinet of ministers was formed on 9 June. At its first sitting on 13 June it discussed dates for holding presidential elections and also parliamentary and local elections (planned for late 2002 - early 2003).

7.       Special representatives of the "Four international mediators" team, set up in summer 2001 and comprising Russia, the USA, the EU and the UN, regularly visit the Middle East. The third meeting of the Four international mediators was held in Washington on 13 June.

8.       As follow-up to the Political Affairs Committee report on the situation in the Middle East at the Parliamentary Assembly's April 2002 session and Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1281 of 25 April 2002, an Assembly Bureau fact-finding mission was set up and visited Israel and the territories controlled by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from 7 to 12 June.1

9.       This field mission took place against the backdrop of the spiralling Israeli-Palestinian confrontation and active international efforts to alleviate tension between Israel and the PNA. It was shared between the Palestinian and Israeli areas. In the interests of political correctness, the members of the mission were first based in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the course of the 1967 war, and then in the western half of the city.

10.       Meetings were held with: the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and the Head of the PNA, Yasser Arafat; the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Ahmed Qurei ("Abu Ala"); the Mayor of Bethlehem, Hanna Nasser; a member of the Executive Committee and Head of the Higher ministerial commission for church affairs, Emil Jarjoui; Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rabbi Michael Melchior; members of the Israeli delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly headed by Mr Haim Ramon; the Speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg; a former member of the Parliamentary Assembly delegation, member of the Knesset ("Likud" party), Minister for regional cooperation, Roni Milo; the Arab members of the Knesset; and the coordinator of the Israeli government's activities in the Palestinian territories, General Amos Gilad.

Israeli settlements and settlement activity

11.       The Israeli settlements that constitute an issue for Arab-Israeli settlement are the settlements created by Israel after the war of 1967 on the West Bank of the Jordan, in the Gaza Strip and on the Golan Heights, ie territories outside the so-called "green line" boundaries (the borders on 4 June 1967).

12.       In principle the Palestinians raise the question of evacuating all the settlements, considering them illegal. Nevertheless, Yasser Arafat was prepared to make certain compromises on this point as part of a mutually accepted compromise on the territorial aspect of the settlement.

13.       The Israeli view is that the basic settlement blocks, particularly those contiguous to East Jerusalem, must remain under Israeli rule. At the same time, it admits the possibility of the settlements lying outside those basic blocks passing under Palestinian control. Their inhabitants will be entitled to vote on whether to remain under Palestinian rule with proper guarantees for their security or to return to Israel while receiving appropriate material compensation.

14.       Palestinian and Israeli statistics for the number of settlements and settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories differ: according to the PNA, Israel has 193 settlements (Israeli figure – 145): 131 settlements on the West Bank (Israeli figure: 122), with a population of some 200,000, 42 settlements in East Jerusalem with a population of 184,000, 18 in the Gaza Strip with a population of 6,500 (Israeli figure – 16 settlements with a population of 6,000), 2 in Hebron with a population of 450. There are some 20,000 people living in over 40 settlements on the Golan Heights.

15.       With reference to the statistics of the Knesset and the Israeli Central statistics office, the Palestinians point out that the population of Israeli settlements (not including the residential complexes around East Jerusalem) reached 198,000 in 2000, with a growth rate of 7% (the population growth rate in Israel itself for the same period is estimated at 1.76%). According to Israeli data there were 208,017 Israelis living in Israeli settlements on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip by mid-2001. According to American data, by May 2002, some 200,000 Israelis were living on the West Bank, 175,000 in East Jerusalem and 3,000 in the Gaza Strip. In the same period there were 2 million Palestinians living on the West Bank and 1 million living in the Gaza Strip.

16.       In 2000 the Israeli Ministry of Housing embarked upon the building of 2,804 housing units (following 1,367 housing units in 1999), which constituted 12.5% of housing construction in Israel. According to the "Peace Now" organisation, after Ariel Sharon came to power, building permits were issued for another 34 housing complexes on the West Bank, 10 of which, says the group, are at an advanced stage of construction. The largest of these settlements – West Elazar (south-east Bethlehem in the Efrata settlement district) – consists of 22 residential buildings. Three smaller complexes are located to the south-east of the Palestinian town of Yatta (West Bank), and the others close to the settlements of Ma'on (in the Yatta district), Bat Ayn (south-west Bethlehem), Beit Al (north-east Ramallah) and also Rehalim and Einav.

17.       Israeli plans to step up construction in the Har Homa settlement (Abu Ghnaim mountain) implanted within the southern town boundaries of Jerusalem are causing particular concern among Palestinians. According to their information, in June 2001 the Israeli authorities issued a call for tenders for the building of 2,900 housing units there and at the same time intend to develop local infrastructure. The Palestinians say that some 60 million US dollars have been allocated for that purpose. At the end of November 2001, Ariel Sharon approved a scheme to build another 12 housing units in the Jewish enclave of Hebron.

18.       The largest settlements are: Ma’ale Adumim (pop. 26,480), Beitar Illit and Kfar Sfarim (14,000 pop. each), Ariel (16,700), Efrat (6,600), Kiryat Arba (6,200), Oranit (4,750) and Immanuel (4,500). According to the statistics of the Israeli information centre on human rights in the occupied territories, settlements take up nearly 42% of the West Bank territory.

19.       Over 200 million shekels of state funding are allocated each year for the needs of settlement councils. In 2001 the government decided to make over 270 million shekels to settlers in connection with the worsening of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition, the Ministry of Defence expends a further 160 million or so shekels on providing protection for settlers. Government support continues despite the fact that virtually none of the settlement enterprises are economically profitable.

20.       In May 2002 the Israeli Ministry of Housing issued a call for tenders to build 957 new housing units on the West Bank: 339 of them will be built in Gavat Hazait Bet, 244 in Beitar Illit, 224 in Ma’ale Adumim, 76 in Geva Binyamin and 74 in Har Adar. The grounds cited for this are the natural growth of the Israeli population.

21.       At this very time local authorities are taking the decision to resettle one thousand Israeli families to existing and only just completed settlements.

22.       At the beginning of June 2002, work began on the construction in south-east Jerusalem of a new Jewish quarter neighbouring the Arab quarter of Jabal Mukabber, for which the building plans were approved at municipal level several years ago. Under those plans it is proposed to seize an additional 1,000 dunum (4,000 acres) of land.

23.       UN Security Council resolutions recognise that the Geneva Convention is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967 and state that the policy and practice of Israel in establishing settlements have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Resolution 465 of 2 March 1980 (adopted by consensus) calls on the Israeli government to "dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967". Resolution 497 of 17 December 1981 recognises that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.

24.       In the "traditional" resolutions of the UN General Assembly it is stated that Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and on the occupied Golan Heights are illegal and constitute an obstacle to peace, and calls are made to cease settlement activity on occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

25.       In accordance with the Palestinian-Israeli declaration of principle, the fate of the settlements is to be decided in the course of negotiations on the permanent status of the Palestinian territories.

26.       Ariel Sharon's government corroborates this view. Furthermore, the Israelis are saying that they will not build any new settlements but limit themselves to extending them in line with natural growth, albeit within the boundaries existing at present.

The Palestinian refugee problem

27. The refugee problem is one of the most serious problems of the Middle East peace process.

28. As a result of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49, 726,000 Palestinian Arabs became refugees (UN statistics; the Israeli figure is 590,000). The 1967 war created a further 300,000 or so refugees who fled the territories occupied by Israel for Jordan, Syria, Egypt and other countries. Following extremely high natural growth (an annual average of 3.5%) the number of Palestinian refugees, displaced persons and their descendants over five decades has increased sixfold and more. The results of an independent survey of the Palestinian refugee problem carried out by American political scientists and published in February 1997, the number of Palestinians who have left their homeland and their descendants totals 6,375,800.

29.       According to the official statistics of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), some 3.6 million Palestinians are currently registered as refugees. 1,061,351 of them are living in refugee camps located on the territory of Jordan (24%), Lebanon (18%), Syria (8%), the West Bank (13%) and the Gaza Strip (37%). By 2005 the Palestinian population in the countries of the Middle East is likely to total 8,265,000. For political and economic reasons, the Arab countries where the overwhelming majority of refugees have settled have not shown any desire to absorb them (apart from Jordan). As a result, the Palestinians are having difficulty in assimilating to their Arab host countries and they preserve their national consciousness, many of them holding out hope of returning to their homeland one day.

30.       What the Palestinian side is asking for in negotiations with Israel is that Palestinian refugees and displaced persons be entitled to return to the territories from which they were driven, including areas on the territory of Israel, or, if they prefer, be granted appropriate financial compensation. While expressing willing to take in refugees, the government of the Palestinian National Authority points to the limited capacity for absorption of the future Palestinian State – by PNA estimates around 15% of the total number of refugees – which is conditioned by geographical and economic factors.

31.       For its part, Israel considers that there can be no question whatsoever of Palestinian refugees returning to the territory of Israel within the "green line" boundaries, ie within the borders of 4 June 1967.

32.       The most the Israelis are prepared to consider, regardless of which government is in power at the time, is negotiation of material claims vis-ŕ-vis Israel from Palestinian refugees of the 1948-49 period (in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 194, paragraph 11 of 2 December 1948, which Israel officially recognises) and of their entitlement, and that of persons displaced in 1967, to "repatriation" within the boundaries of the "Palestinian state formation", if and when one is created.

33.       The Israelis maintain that the problem of compensation for the property left behind by Palestinian refugees in Israel must be resolved in relation to the property left behind by Jews in Arab countries. In the view of the Israelis, negotiations on a final settlement could consider nothing more than refugees’ right of return to the territory of the "Palestinian state formation".

Israel’s construction of fencing installations on the West Bank

34.       The first attempts to build fencing installations along the boundaries of Israeli territory and settlements immediately adjacent to the so-called "green line" date from 1995, under the Rabin government. In the minds of the Israelis installations of this kind, stretching as far as 60 km and including the use of ditches, are supposed to create a ring of security and completely isolate Israeli territories from adjacent Palestinian settlements, running alongside the Israeli municipalities of Gilboa, Yoav, Lachish, Mateh Yehuda, Emek Hefer, Lev Hasharon, South Sharon, Menashe, Alona, Megiddo and Katzir. The project is 80% funded by the Israeli Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Agriculture, with the remaining 20% financed from local budgets. The Israelis put the total cost of implementing the project at around 125 million dollars.

35.       On 21 February 2002 Ariel Sharon decided to create "buffer zones" around PNA territories to ensure the safety of the Israelis. They are 5 km wide along the "green line" and up to 20 km in the Jordan Valley.

36.       As the situation worsened and large-scale Israeli military operations took place on the West Bank in March and April, the municipality of Jerusalem set about building a blockade between the Gilo settlement in a southern suburb of the city) and the district close to the tunnel leading to the Gush Etzion settlement. This construction is intended to prevent Palestinians entering the settlement and is funded from the municipal budget.

37.       At the sitting of the Israeli security cabinet on 15 April 2002 it was decided to immediately construct similar installations in the Umm al-Fahm district (Israeli territory) and Tulkarm and East Jerusalem (West Bank). A special committee comprising Ariel Sharon, the Defence Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer and the Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, is to determine the exact locations of the fence installations.

38.       This line of demarcation has been criticised by a number of representatives of the political establishment, who point out, in particular, that the creation of security zones is a temporary measure, it is not suited to local circumstances and it cannot be considered as an appropriate step towards preparing a future settlement. The concerns of certain Israeli politicians are exacerbated by the fact that the proposed ring of "buffer zones" will contain over 100 Palestinian settlements and villages with a total population reaching 400,000, which, in their view, undermines the very idea of creating zones of control in this way to reinforce security.

39.       On 16 June 2002 Israel began work on an initial 115 km section of fencing installations on the West Bank, built along the lines of those already in operation on the Gaza Strip. In the environs of Jerusalem several sections of security fence, stretching for some 15 km, are also going up in areas where Jewish and Arab districts border on one another.

40.       The installations built at a cost of 220 million dollars and stretching for a total of some 360 km include a concrete wall over 3 metres high, ditches, embankments, wires, check points and observation towers, equipped with electronic monitoring devices. The first section of the wall runs from the Salim check point in the north to Kafr Kasem in the south, separating Jenin, Kalkiliya and Tulkarm from the territory of Israel.

41.       The blockade will basically run along the "green line", confiscating sizeable portions of Palestinian land. Israel insists that the project is being carried out for defence purposes.

42.       Russia and the USA have criticised unilateral acts of this type, which do not follow the logic of the international community's efforts to restore dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians with a view to determining the permanent status of the Palestinian territories.

43.       Russia also regards the building of this fencing system as not so much a means of physically protecting the territory of Israel as the raising of new political and psychological barriers between two peoples and an attempt to preset the parameters of future negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians on the territorial issue.

Reform of the PNA

44.       In May 2002 Yasser Arafat set about reforming the PNA. He signed a number of legislative acts: a Fundamental law, legislation on the independence of the judiciary and of the banking system and a decree on the setting up of an electoral commission to prepare local elections. On 9 June Mr Arafat appointed the members of the Cabinet of Ministers, reducing the number of ministers from 34 to 21. At its first sitting on 13 June the Cabinet discussed dates for holding presidential elections and also parliamentary and local elections.

East Jerusalem

45.       The problem of East Jerusalem became the main stumbling block for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis on permanent status in Camp David (July-August 2001).

46.       Israel, which seized East Jerusalem in June 1967, proclaimed the entire city its "eternal and indivisible capital" (the Knesset took a decision on these lines in 1980). The Israeli authorities categorically refuse the application of Resolution 242 to East Jerusalem. At the Camp David summit Ehud Barak somewhat softened the official line of the Israelis for the first time: by way of compromise it was proposed to stretch the boundaries of the city, with the suburbs of East Jerusalem and a number of surrounding Arab settlements (Abu Dis, Azaria, Ar-Ram etc) being placed under Palestinian administration. These would form a new territorial unit known as Al-kuds (Jerusalem in Arabic); in the Old Town, which would remain under Israeli administration, there would be provision for autonomous Palestinian rule in the Muslim and Christian districts, including the Al-aksa mosque complex. As far as Temple Mount is concerned, the Israelis do not exclude the alternative of placing it under the "rule" of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and handing over Muslim holy places while conserving the Wailing wall for Israel.

47.       The Palestinians categorically rejected the Israeli plan. They continue to insist that their sovereignty be established over the whole of East Jerusalem, including the Old Town and Temple Mount, conceding no more than the Jewish quarter and the Wailing wall. By way of a "contingency alternative" the Palestinian authorities are prepared to consider the idea of the whole of Jerusalem being turned into a "single capital for both States".

48.       UN General Assembly Resolution 181/II on the future government of Palestine provided for the isolation of the whole of Jerusalem as a separate administrative entity under a special international regime (corpus separatum). It would be run under the tutelage of the UN Council.

49.       Resolutions 252 (1968) and 478 (1980) adopted by the UN Security Council declared all attempts by the Israeli government to alter the status of Jerusalem invalid and condemned Israel's proclamation of the city as its capital. UN Security Council Resolution 242 makes no direct mention of East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian territories

50.       It must be borne in mind that UN General Assembly Resolution 181/II on the future government of Palestine (November 1947) split its territory into two: 55% for the creation of a Jewish State (Israel) and some 44% for an Arab State (Palestine). As a result of the 1948-49 war, known by Israel as the "war of independence" and by the Palestinians as "al-Nakba", meaning the Palestinian holocaust or cataclysm, Israel seized part of the Palestinian territories earmarked for the Arab State.

51.       In the course of the 1967 war Israel occupied the whole of the West Bank of the river Jordan, including East Jerusalem (together with the Old Town), the Gaza Strip, the Sinai desert and the Golan Heights.

52.       Under UN Security Council Resolution 242 Israel was supposed to withdraw from the Arab territories it had occupied during the war of June 1967.

53.       The Israeli side maintains that when discussing the territorial issue with the Palestinians this document must be regarded "in a different context" from that of similar negotiations with the Arab States involved in the conflict. The then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, said that, unlike Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, with which Israel had had recognised international borders prior to the wars resulting in territorial occupation, the territory known as the West Bank did not have and had never had borders which could serve as a point of reference in negotiations.

54.       The Palestinian side insists on compliance with Resolution 242 in its entirety, ie the withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian lands seized during the June 1967 war, including East Jerusalem (it is true that allowance is made for rectifying the previous borders under certain conditions). The Palestinians emphasise that, in adopting that resolution, they have already made a major concession to Israel, by relinquishing a substantial part of the territories set aside for the Arab State of Palestine in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 181/II on the future government of Palestine.

55.       UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 (November 1974) on the question of Palestine recognises the right of the Arab people of Palestine to "self-determination without external interference" and to "national independence and sovereignty".

56.       Under the Provisional agreement between Israel and the PLO, the handing back to the Palestinians of the territory seized by Israel in the 1967 war was already under consideration, with the Israeli side giving to understand that it could return 92-95% of the 1967 territories. The Palestinian position was based on the necessity of Israel handing back 100% of the Palestinian lands, as had been the case with Egypt, to which Israel gave back all the Sinai desert territory it had occupied in 1967.

57.       The Palestinian and Israeli negotiators divided the territory of Palestine with its 1967 borders into zones "A" (complete PNA control), "B" (partial PNA control) and "C" (Israeli control). With the start of the intifada, the borders of these zones were virtually reduced to nothing.


Fact-finding mission to Israel and the Territories under control of the Palestinian Authority
7 – 12 June 2002


Friday 7 June 2002


Arrival of participants

7.30 pm

Meeting of the ad hoc Committee

- Election of the Chair

8.00 pm

Working dinner with participation of representatives of international community:

    - Mr Denis PIETTON, Consul General, France

    - Mr Jean BRETECHE, European Commission Representative

    - Mr Manuel SALAZAR, Consul General, Spain

    - Mr Serguei PESKOV, Representative to Palestinian Authority, Russia

    - Mr Peter HANSEN, General Commissioner, UNRWA

    - Mr Walter STOCKER, Red Cross International

    - Mr Marc FRANCO, Deputy Director General, EU Financial Dept.

    - Mr Wieslaw KUCEL, Representative of Poland

    - Mr Andrew GILMOUR, Director of UNSCO Political Dept.

    - Mr Christian JOURET, Political Advisor to Mr Moratinos, EU Special Envoy

Saturday 8 June 2002


Programme in the Territories (West Bank)

9.30 am

Departure from Hotel to Ramallah

11.00 am

Meeting with President Yasser ARAFAT

12.30 pm

Tour of the city of Ramallah and visit of Preventive Security Headquarters

2.30 pm

Meeting in East Jerusalem with Mr Ahmed QURIE (Abu Ala), Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council

3.30 pm

Departure to Bethlehem

4.30 pm

Meetings at the Bethlehem Refugee camp with:

    - Mr Salah TAMARI, Minister of State, Chair of PLC Land and Settlements Committee;

    - Mr Daoud BICHARA, member of PLC

5.30 pm

Meeting in the Municipality with Mr Hanna NASSER, Mayor of Bethlehem

6.30 pm

Visit of the Church of Nativity

7.00 pm

Departure to Jerusalem

8.00 pm

Working dinner with:

    - Mr Jawad BOULOS, Lawyer of Mr Barghouti;

    - Mr Khader SKEIRAT, Head of the LAW Organisation;

    - Mr Emile JARJOUI, member of PLC, member of PLO Executive committee, Head of Ministerial committee for religious affairs;

    - Mr Abdel Rehman ABU ERFEH, Head of “Arab Thought Forum”;

    - Mr Khaled QURIE, Director of Makassed Hospital

Sunday 9 June 2002


Programme in the Territories (continued)

8.00 am

Departure to Jenin

11.00 am

Meeting in Jenin with:

    - Mr Jamal AL-SHATI, Chairman of PLC Refugees committee;

    - Mr Fakhri TURUKMA, member of PLC


Visit of the refugee camp and the hospital

2.00 pm

Departure to Nablus

3.30 pm

Meeting in Nablus with:

    - Mrs Dalal SALAMEH, member of PLC;

    - Mr Husam KHADER, member of PLC

5.00 pm

Visit of the Balata refugee camp and the historical center of Nablus

5.30 pm

Departure to Jerusalem

7.30 pm

Transfer to West Jerusalem

Monday 10 June 2002


Programme in Israel

8.15 am

Departure from Hotel

9.00 am

Visit to an Absorption Center in Mevasseret Zion

10.30 am

Departure to Neve Shalom

11.00 am

Visit of Neve Shalom Wahat Al Salam, a Jewish-Arab village

12.30 noon

Departure to Abu Gosh

1.00 pm

Meeting with Ambassador Ali YAHYA, People to People programme coordinator

3.15 pm

Planting of trees in the “President Forest” near Jerusalem

4.15 pm

Introductory tour of Jerusalem with Mr Dan ASHBEL, Director, Division for European multilateral institutions, MFA

Tuesday 11 June 2002


Programme in Israel

8.00 am

Breakfast with Rabbi Michael MELCHIOR, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, with participation of Mr Dan HAEZRAHI, Political advisor to Deputy Minister, and Mr Dan ASHBEL, Director, Division for European multilateral institutions, MFA

9.00 am

Departure from Hotel

9.30 am

Visit to the Supreme Court and meeting with Justice J. DORNER

10.45 am

Meeting with Mr Miguel MORATINOS, EU Special Envoy to Middle East


Visit of the Hospital

1.30 pm

Working lunch with the Israeli Observer Delegation to PACE:

Mr Haim RAMON (One Israel), Mr Amnon RUBINSTEIN (Meretz), Mr Avraham (Baiga) SHOCHAT (One Israel), Mr Joseph LAPID (Shinui), Mr Michael EITAN (Likud), Mr Yuri SHTERN (National Union), Mr Eliezer SANDBERG (Shinui)

3.15 pm

Meeting with Mr Avraham BURG, Speaker of the Knesset

4.15 pm

Meeting with Mr Roni MILO, Member of the Knesset, Minister of Regional Co-operation (Likud)

5.00 pm

Round Table with Arab Members of the Knesset: Mr Tawfik KHATIB (Arab National Party), Mr Hashem MAHAMEED (United Arab List) and Mr Nawaf MAZALHA (One Israel)

5.40 pm

Attending the Knesset plenary session

6.20 pm

Meeting with Brigade General Amos GILAAD, IDF Co-ordinator for civil and humanitarian operations in the Territories

Wednesday 12 June 2002


Departure from Tel-Aviv


List of members / Liste des membres

Lord KILCLOONEY, UK, EPP/CD, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on the Middle East of the Political Affairs Committee / Royaume-Uni, PPE/DC, Président de la Sous-commission sur le Proche-Orient de la Commission des questions politiques

Mr Mikhail MARGELOV, Russia, EDG, Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee / Russie, GDE, Rapporteur de la Commission des questions politiques

Mr Tadeusz IWINSKI, Poland, SOC, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography / Pologne, SOC, Président de la Commission des migrations, des réfugiés et de la démographie

Mme Josette DURRIEU, France, Vice-Chairperson of the Group / Vice-Présidente du Groupe

Mr Gustavo de ARISTEGUI, Spain / Espagne

Mr Matyas EÖRSI, Hungary, Chairman of the Group / Hongrie, Président du Groupe

Mr David ATKINSON, United Kingdom, Chairman of the Group / Royaume-Uni, Président du Groupe

Mr Jaakko LAAKSO, Finland, Chairman of the Group / Finlande, Président du Groupe


Mr Pavel CHEVTCHENKO, Co-Secretary, Political Affairs Committee / Co-Secrétaire, Commission des questions politiques

Mrs Agnieszka NACHILO, Co-Secretary, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography / Co-Secrétaire, Commission des migrations, des réfugiés et de la démographie

Reporting committee : Political Affairs Committee

Reference to committee : Reference No. 2748 of 24 June 2002 (Request for an urgent procedure debate)

Draft resolution adopted by the committee on 25 June 2002, with 3 votes against and 2 abstentions

Members of the committee : Jakic (Chairman), Baumel (Vice-Chairman), Feric-Vac (Vice-Chairperson), Spindelegger (Vice-chairman), Aguiar, Aliyev (alternate : Seyidov), Andican, Arzilli, Atkinson, Azzolini, Bakoyianni (alternate : Liapis), Behrendt, Berceanu, Bergqvist, Bianco (alternate : Danieli), Björck, Blaauw (alternate : van der Linden), Blankenborg (alternate : Kvakkestad), Bühler (alternate : Lörcher), Cekuolis, Clerfayt, Daly (alternate : Enright), Diaz de Mera, Dreyfus-Schmidt, Durrieu,  Eörsi, Frey, Glesener, Gligoroski, Gönül, Gross (alternate : Fehr), Henry, Hornhues, Hovhannisyan, Hrebenciuc, Iwinski (alternate :Jaskiernia), Judd (alternate : Chapman), Karpov, Kautto, Klich, Koçi, Kostenko, Lloyd, Loutfi, Margelov, Martinez-Casan, Medeiros Ferreira, Mignon (alternate : Goulet), Mutman, Naudi Mora, Neguta, Nemcova, Németh, Oliynyk, Paegle, Pangalos, Pourgourides (alternate : Christodoulides), Prentice (alternate : Kilclooney), Prisacaru, de Puig, Ragnarsdottir, Ranieri (alternate : de Zulueta), Rogozin, Schloten, Severinsen (alternate : Arnold), Stepová, Tabajdi, Timmermans (alternate : Zwerver), Toshev, Turjacanin, Vakilov, Vella, Voog, Weiss, Wielowieyski, Wohlwend, Wurm, Yarygina, Zacchera, Ziuganov (alternate : Slutsky), Zhvania

N.B. The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in italics

Secretaries of the committee : Mr Perin, Mr Chevtchenko, Ms Entzminger

1        See previously adopted relevant texts, in particular Resolution 1013 (1993), Recommendation 1221 (1993), Resolution 1103 (1996), Resolution 1156 (1998), Resolution 1183 (1999), Resolution 1245 (2001), and Resolution 1281 (2002), in which the Assembly confirms its conviction that there is no military solution to the Middle East problem. A comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict can only be achieved through negotiations on the basis of UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the “land for peace” formula, as well as the UN Security Council Resolution 1397 calling for a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side within secure and recognised borders.