- U.N. Secretariat Continues to Implement GA Resolution on the Upgrade of Palestine:
In implementation of General Assembly resolution 52/250 on the participation of Palestine
in the work of the United Nations, the U.N. secretariat made some changes regarding
Palestine in the November 1998 issue of the book of Permanent Missions to the United
Nations( "the Blue Book"). The location of the category under which Palestine is
listed was moved and placed immediately after non-member states and before the
inter-governmental organizations. The title of Palestines category was also changed
to "Entities Having Received a Standing Invitation to Participate as Observers in the
Sessions and the Work of the General Assembly and Maintaining Permanent Observer Missions
at Headquarters" instead of "Organizations Having . . ." Earlier, the word
"Office" was used instead of "Mission." Another such
change, at the request of the Mission, was the use of the title "Ambassador"
in conjunction with "Permanent Observer of Palestine". It is worth
mentioning, in this regard, that during the work of the 53rd session of the
General Assembly, Palestine, for the first time in the history of the U.N., co-sponsored
21 resolutions and one decision.
- Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP)
Makes Some Changes in its Program of Work: CEIRPP submitted the four annual
resolutions to the 53rd General Assembly under the agenda item Question of
Palestine. The resolutions, adopted overwhelmingly, dealt with the political aspects
of the question of Palestine and with the practical aspects related to the program of work
of the Committee and of the Division for Palestinian Rights, and of the Palestinian
Program at the Department of Public Information. Some changes of a practical nature were
made to improve the Committees program of work and to achieve maximum
cost-effectiveness. As such, two important changes were made regarding cooperation with
and the participation of NGOs. The first change directed efforts at organizing thematic
international conferences and meetings that would be open to the participation of
governments, NGOs and other components of civil society, to substitute for the perviously
separate symposia and seminars. The second change channeled some of the Committees
resources at assisting and cooperating with Palestinian NGOs on the ground, as well as at
supporting some NGO activity in various continents.
- Swiss Report on the Experts Meeting: The Swiss Chairman of the Experts Meeting on
the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was held in Geneva from 27-29 October 1998, issued his
report on the meeting on 11 December 1998. The report contained an introduction, as well
as the Chairmans summary which "reflects the views of the Chairman only."
The report does not contain any substantial additions to the final remarks made by the
Chairman at the end of the meeting. The report comes as a reaffirmation of the view that,
while the experts meeting was useful, it did not move us any closer to the implementation
of the resolutions of the 10th Emergency Special Session (ESS) on the convening
of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on the
enforcement of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.
The Swiss note, to which the report was annexed, speaks of carrying out new consultations
to examine the results and to consider the advisability and modalities of possible
subsequent actions bearing in mind the message conveyed by the 10th ESS. Many
sides, however, maintained that consultations had already taken place and that relevant
General Assembly resolutions have been pending for quite a long time and that they should
be speedily implemented. Furthermore, the Palestinian side, in particular, raised several
other important points with the Swiss side related to Palestinian interests and
participation in that context.