- Thirty Years of Occupation at the United Nations: To mark the thirtieth year of the
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, and other Arab
territories, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People (CEIRPP) held a special meeting at the United Nations on 9 June 1997. The meeting,
which was chaired by Ambassador Ibra Deguene Ka of Senegal, was attended by most U.N.
member states. The Secretary-General of the U.N., Mr. Kofi Annan, the President of the
Security Council (Russian Federation) and the Vice-President of the General Assembly
(Philippines) also attended and addressed the meeting. President Yasser Arafat sent a
message on the occasion, in which he stated that "Today's meeting reminds us all of
the origin of the problem, which is the existence of the Israeli occupation and its
continuity. It also affirms that bringing this occupation to an end and reversing its
consequences, in accordance with international law and legitimacy, are the most important
conditions for the establishment of peace."
Various other messages were sent on the occasion and were delivered at
the meeting, including those from the President of Colombia, on behalf of the Non-Aligned
Movement; the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference; the President of Zimbabwe, on behalf of the Organization of African Unity; and
by the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. As the meeting coincided with the
annual U.N. North American Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Symposium on the Question
of Palestine, many NGO representatives were also in attendance.
- African Summit: The 33rd Summit of the Organization of African Unity
(OAU) was held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 2 to 4 June 1997, and was attended by President
Arafat, who met bilaterally with a number of African heads of state and government at the
Summit. Palestine maintains observer status in the OAU, and the question of Palestine and
the situation in the Middle East are permanent items on the agenda of the OAU's Council of
Ministers. The final report of the Summit reaffirmed consistent African support for the
Palestinian people and a just solution to the question of Palestine, and further called
for "the initiation of all possible measures to ensure Israel's adherence to the
terms of reference of the Madrid Conference and the principle of land for peace and its
full implementation of all the agreements and commitments entered into by the parties
concerned during the peace talks."
- The U.S. Congress and Jerusalem: Defying international law and intervening in
sensitive and complex issues at this difficult stage in the negotiations of the peace
process and, in some cases, siding against their own citizens, several U.S. Congress
members have made recent attempts to establish new facts with regard to the status of
Jerusalem. One example of such dangerous undertakings is a recent resolution (non-binding)
introduced in Congress "celebrating the 30th anniversary of the
reunification of Jerusalem" and reaffirming Congress' commitment that Jerusalem
remain an undivided city. Another such attempt has been the introduction of a bill (H.R.
1298) in the House of Representatives which would require the State Department to list
"Jerusalem, Israel" as the place of birth of American citizens born in
Jerusalem, rather than the listing "Jerusalem", which has been customarily used.
Both the resolution and the bill ignore the fact that the government of the United States
does not recognize the illegal, de facto Israeli annexation of Occupied East
Jerusalem and, moreover, that the entire international community has never recognized
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and maintains that East Jerusalem remains an integral
part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
- Report of the Secretary-General: Several concerned parties continue to follow-up the
issue of the report of the Secretary-General, which was requested by the 10th Emergency
Special Session of the General Assembly in resolution ES-10/2 on the illegal Israeli
actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In
this regard, the Secretary-General sent a note to member states requesting their
submission of any information relevant to the implementation of that resolution by 12 June
1997. Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Political Affairs at the U.N., Sir
Kieran Prendergast, is scheduled to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel as
part of the preparation for the report as well. The Palestinian side has stressed the
importance of following-up the resolution and has emphasized the need for a resumed
Emergency Special Session if Israel maintains its intransigent position and continues its
illegal settlement activities, particularly in Jabal Abu Ghneim.