Press Release (15 July 1999)

The Palestinian side welcomes the results of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was convened today at United Nations Headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland. The Palestinian side notes the importance of the developments that took place today, namely the convening of a Conference of the High Contracting Parties, on time, as recommended by the resolutions of the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, despite the unprecedented campaign against its convening.

The Conference adopted and issued an important statement, containing a reaffirmation of “the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem” and the reiteration of “the need for full respect for the provisions of the said Convention in that Territory.” The statement, including the decision to adjourn “on the understanding that it will convene again in the light of consultations on the development of the humanitarian situation in the field”, also provides a mechanism for the High Contracting Parties to continue this process in the future.

While it was not possible to achieve optimum results in the Conference, due to the immense campaign of pressure against the convening of the Conference and widespread misinformation, the Conference was significant because not only did the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention convene a Conference to consider a specific situation for the first time in the history of the Convention, they also determined to convene again.

It is our strong hope that Israel, the occupying Power and a High Contracting Party to the Convention, will heed the message sent by the High Contracting Parties. Nevertheless, we intend to pursue serious follow up to ensure the full respect of the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. Accordingly, we believe that the events of today will contribute significantly to the well-being of Palestinian protected persons and to ensuring respect for the Convention in all circumstances.