• Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949: Movement has started towards the convening of a Conference on measures to enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure its respect, in accordance with common article 1, as recommended in paragraph 10 of General Assembly resolution ES-10/3.

On 31 July 1997, the Secretary-General sent a note to the Swiss government, as the depository of the Four Geneva Conventions, transmitting the text of resolution ES-10/3 and seeking the necessary information that would enable him to present a report to the General Assembly by the 15th of October, 1997.

The Swiss Government, on its part, sent letters to all the High Contracting Parties, requesting their views on following up operative paragraph 10 of resolution ES-10/3, especially with respect to the holding of a conference, as recommended, and regarding the results which could be considered, and asking that their views be sent by 20 September 1997.

In spite of the short time, the High Contracting Parties have already started to respond to the Swiss letters. Two major political groups, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Arab Group, have responded, expressing their support for the convening of a conference before the end of the year 1997.

  • PLO Settles Lawsuit: The Palestine Liberation Organization was sued in the courts of the United States and the State of New York in 1985 and 1986 by the owners of the Achille Lauro, the ship’s charterer, various maritime insurance companies, U.S. travel agencies and eight passengers, including the estate of Leon Klinghoffer, for damages claimed to have been suffered as a result of the seizure of the ship Achille Lauro in the eastern Mediterranean in October 1985.

The PLO resisted the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts over events on an Italian ship in the Mediterranean by service of legal process through, at that time, the Permanent Observer of the PLO to the United Nations. Those efforts and other defenses led to the dismissal of all claims against the PLO without any settlement, except for those of the Klinghoffer family and the major travel agency.

In August 1997, these claims were amicably settled and dismissed by agreement of the parties. While the PLO was not responsible for the seizure of the Achille Lauro, or the tragic death of Leon Klinghoffer, and denied all liability, it believes that reconciliation is the more important consideration. The PLO recognizes the suffering of the Klinghoffer family and it is pleased to have achieved this amicable agreement, which is clearly in the best interests of peace, the Palestinian people and all concerned.