PAPPs projects focus on development activities of greatest need for the Palestinian people, including building water supply networks and sewage collection systems, renovating roads, constructing schools, infrastructure building, agriculture and rural development and social development. Moreover, the programmes work correlates to the official Palestinian Development Plan, responding directly to the development priorities identified by ministries of the Palestinian National Authority as well as civil institutions. Another important element of this assistance programme is PAPPs use of local resources and labor in its projects as a means of addressing the problems of high unemployment and declining incomes among the Palestinian people.
Along with receptions held in Jerusalem and Gaza in April to commemorate UNDP/PAPPs twenty years of partnership with the Palestinian people, this anniversary was celebrated at U.N. headquarters in New York in June. A commemorative photo/video exhibit was displayed in the Visitors Lobby of the U.N. and a reception, which followed the opening ceremony for the exhibit, was held under the invitation of the Executive Director of UNDP, Mr. James Gustave Speth, and Ambassador Nasser Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N.
Recent actions included a "closure order" by the Israeli government on 10 May 1999 against three offices of the Orient House in East Jerusalem. The implementation of this order was delayed, however, as a result of a petition by an Israeli group to the Israeli High Court. This was followed by the resumption of settlement activities at Jabal Abu Ghneim, to the south of East Jerusalem, on 16 May 1999 and at Ras al-Amud, an Arab neighborhood within the original boundaries of the municipality of East Jerusalem, on 18 May 1999. Taking advantage of intentional delays and the stalemate in the peace process, the Israeli government decided to proceed with the construction of the two settlements in total contempt of international law and the unequivocal position of the international community in this regard.
A similar subsequent action taken by the Israeli government is the recent decision to enlarge an illegal settlement called "Maale Adumim" by approximately 3,250 acres. This expansion involves the actual annexation of land, the construction of additional housing units and the illegal transfer of more Israelis to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Such illegal policies and practices are being carried out in violation of the Hague Regulations of 1907, the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Additional Protocol I of 1977, relevant U.N. Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and the agreements reached between the two sides in the peace process. The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the U.N. sent three consecutive letters regarding these violations to both the Secretary-General of the U.N. and the President of the Security Council on 11 May 1999, 20 May 1999 and 3 June 1999. [The texts of those letters can be found on our web site under the section: Palestine Mission-Work and Documents.] As such, the above-mentioned illegal actions and policies have been formally brought before the Security Council for its attention and consideration towards the adoption of necessary measures to address this serious situation.