REPORT

REPORTS OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE AND THE ARABO-ISRAEli CONFliCT

THE CITY OF AL-QUDS AL-SHARIF

THE AL-QUDS FUND AND ITS WAQF

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE AND THE ARABO-ISRAEli CONFliCT

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

1 - The period that followed the 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) has witnessed a grave regression of the Middle East peace process which led to a halt of negotiations on all tracks. Not only have the negotiations come to a standstill on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks but also on the Palestinian track.

2 - The Israeli government is unceasingly pursuing a dodging policy in negotiating with the Palestinian side, trying to empty such talks from their contents by holding sterile meetings and coming up with so-called security pretexts and others aimed at impeding the peace process. likewise, the Israeli government used the Israeli elections as a pretext to avoid implementing the agreements reached with the Palestinian side. It did its utmost to place hurdles and roadblocks through the decision adopted by the Knesset in July, 1998, to let any eventual withdrawal from the territories annexed by Israeli be subservient to a plebiscite, which decision was ratified as a law on January 1st, 1999, stipulating that there would be no withdrawal from the occupied Golan and Al-Quds, unless agreed by an absolute majority in the Knesset before being submitted to a referendum.

3 - Still, the Israeli government is using all kinds of pretexts to waste time and circumvent what is due from it at the transitional phase, such as the redeployment in the occupied Palestinian territories, which should have been completed in mid-1998, the freeing of all Palestinian prisoners of war and detainees from the jails of the Israeli occupation authorities, the opening of the safe path and the port and the start of negotiations on the definitive status.

4 - Israel kept carrying out its policy of expansionist colonial settlements. The successive Israeli governments resorted to various methods to grab Palestinian land, including:

(a) The seizing of land properties by considering them guarded military areas;

(b) The seizing of land properties, through the commander of the Military Area, to set up therein colonial settlements and build ringroads;

(c) The seizing of land properties by way of cheating and fraud;

(d) The confiscation of land properties under the pretext of their being government properties that have to be seized in favor of the settlers.

Total Israeli colonial expansions during 1998 are roughly estimated as follows:

One: Maps and designs for the settlements

Fifteen (15) with detailed maps were deposited to expand existing Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land. Those projects were to cover a total area of about 8,231 donums. (1 donum = 1,000 square meters.)

Also, execution of eight (8) expansionist projects in 8 settlements was tackled to cover an 8,475 donum (8,475,000 square meter) area was started.

Two: New colonies

Ten (10) new colonial settlements were built, including five (5) in the Nablus area, three (3) in Ramallah, one (1) in Janin and one (1) in Bail Lahm (Bethlehem).

Three: It was announced that implementation of eight (8) various projects had been tackled

a) Industrial zones: covering a 3,485,000 squ. m. area;

b) Gas stations on a 133,000 sq. m. area;

c) Various [public] service projects on a 2,458,000 sq. m. area.

Four: Ringroads

In implementation of the policy of imposing the fait accompli, disconnecting from each other Palestinian lands and linking together the settlement axis points, the Israeli occupation authorities kept building longitudinal and transversal ringroads. It is to be noted that during the year under reference, the pace of project execution had been accelerated along with the number of such roads. In fact, approval was granted for building 28 ringroads and setting up various structures covering an approximately 18,036,000 squ. m. area.

Five: Orders for seizing land by force (manu militare)

Once it was announced that the Wye River memorandum had been signed, the Israeli occupation authorities issued a series of military instructions to seize, manu militare, some 83,000 squ. m. of Palestinian land properties and to construct roads whose total length and width would cover a 483,000 squ. m. area.

At the same time, on the heels of the announcement, the settlers embarked on a new campaign targeting the hills overlooking the settlements. In fact, they managed to grab many of such sites for their mobile homes.

5 - Simultaneously, the occupation authorities’ demolition campaign of Palestinian homes is at full swing under phoney pretexts. In this process, nearly 394 houses have been brought down. Another 300 buildings are prone to demolition, which would mean that about 30,000 Palestinians would be made homeless and huge areas of Palestinian land would be absorbed and annexed to Jewish settlement colonies. It is no longer a secret that the land and property of Palestinian refugees under Israeli control are likely to be turned from agricultural into construction sites and sold, in plots, to accommodate new Jewish immigrants. Similarly, the land property deeds of Arabs in Israel are being renamed “values of property of the absentees,” to be handed over to Jewish parties.

6 - The Israeli occupation authorities are persisting in their constant human rights violations in the occupied territories and placing obstacles for Palestinian citizens trying to obtain water, building licenses or to renovate their property. They are also placing restrictions on the export of Palestinian agricultural products, besides blocking circulation on bridges or through crossing points and impeding the improvement of Palestinian economy by hampering both foreign trade and local commerce, as part of a design to maintain the Palestinian economy pegged to the Israeli and placing hurdles before whatever development plans are worked out by the Palestinian National to build a self-sustaining economy and establish normal relations with Arab countries and the rest of the world. Israel’s policy has focused on shrinking the Palestinian people’s control over their own lands and natural resources, for the Zionist entity to preserve its authority over the major part of West Bank territories and the Gaza Strip. As a matter of fact, Israel does control some 80 to 85% of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which led to a drop in Palestinian per capita income coupled with higher unemployment. That’s in addition to countless other roadblocks designed to stymie Palestinian national activity which, in turn, would shy away investors and financiers and block Arab and foreign capitals. Such hurdles include the continuous sealing and closures, the delaying tactics in regard to the building of the Gaza harbor, the opening of the safe passageway, the trade movement through border passages as well as the blocking (or delay) of custom and labor tax revenue. Indeed, all those factors are casting their dark shadow over the Palestinian people’s economic and social condition, especially in the West Bank and Gaza.

7 - More, attacks by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian dwellers of Palestinian cities and villages are on the rise, particularly in Al-Khalil, with full backing of the settlers on the part of the Israeli government which went as far as encouraging them to further persecute, ill and injure the Palestinians through the law promulgated in June, 1998, authorizing the formation of militias in the settlements. Meantime, Palestinians living in camps are subjected to a campaign of persecution, racial segregation and attacks of ethnic cleansing as recently witnessed at the Sha’fat camp no far from Al-Quds.

8 - The predicament of the Palestinian people lately increased as a result of the deficit faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) operating in the Near East, both in the Palestinian territories and the refugee camps hosted by Arab countries. Such deficit reached US$75 million in so far as last year’s proposed budget was concerned. Furthermore, it is increasing exponentially, year after year, which compelled the agency to trim US$45 million as part of austerity measures that affect the education, health, social aid, public and other services.

9 - On other tracks of the peace process, it could be generally said that negotiations are still stalled as a result of Israeli obstinacy. In point of fact, on the Syrian-Israeli track, the current Israeli government is reneging on the terms of reference agreed at the Madrid Conference as well as those contained in the messages of confirmation, on the part of the sponsor of the peace process, resting on Security Council resolutions and the principle of land for peace. Israel also reneged on the pledges and commitments arrived at with Syria in the framework of the negotiations held with the latter. It insists that negotiations should now restart from scratch, whereas Syria is affirming its commitment to the peace process and readiness to resume the talks from where they had stopped with the previous Israeli government. Another point that had been reached was total withdrawal from the Syrian Golan to the June 4, 1967 line. Besides, what Israel means by restarting the negotiations without preconditions in non else but an attempt to rule out the terms of reference arrived at in Madrid, including the principle of land for peace and all the rest of what had been agreed upon at the talks.

10 - Regarding the Lebanese-Israeli track, negotiations are still halted as well. Israel is always and deliberately exacerbating tension by carrying on its repeated attacks on Lebanon and civilians inhabitants there, and annexing more Lebanese land to the occupied strip. An example of such acts is when it annexed the village of Arnun in Southern Lebanon and isolated it from the Lebanese territory, thus breaching the relevant Security Council resolutions and the “Nissan (April) Understanding” between the two sides. Meanwhile, Israel is resorting to a misleading Information campaign to portray itself as the party looking forward to reactivating the peace process and pulling out of the territories it occupies in Lebanon to reduce the international pressure bearing on it. But at the same time, it is coming up with conditions whereby it refuses to abide by the provisions of Security Council resolution 425 stipulating immediate and unconditional withdrawal to the internationally recognized Lebanese boundaries.

11 - The international community is, at last, fully convinced that the Arab side is the one sticking to the peace strategy and that the Palestinian party has fulfilled all its international commitments and pledges, whereas the Israeli side is alone to blame 100% for the current stalemate in the peace process. Therefore, the Palestinian diplomatic and political drive enjoys the all-out support of the international community as evidenced by the international recognition of the inalienable Palestinian rights and the grant of economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority and people as well as the understanding, on the part of the international community, of the Palestinian right to set up an independent State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as capital.

12 - Such international support was clear in the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly at the fourth resumption of its 10th extraordinary, emergency session, February 18, 1999, as it affirmed that all forms of Israeli settlement activities in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the rest of the Palestinian territories were contrary to what was international recognized as legitimate, UN resolutions and international agreements, especially the 4th Geneva Convention. The Assembly decided to hold a meeting of the high signatories of the Geneva Convention, in mid-July, 1999, to consider the ways and means to ensure the application of the 4th Geneva Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif.

13 - At their various meetings and encounters, the Islamic countries have launched numerous initiatives to face such grave development. The Eight Islamic Summit Conference, held in Tehran, December 9-11, 1997, and the 25th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) , held in Doha, March 15-17, 1998, and the Annual Coordination Meeting of Islamic Countries’ Foreign Ministers, held at UN headquarters in New York, October 1, 1998, adopted a set of resolutions and decisions stressing that no comprehensive and just peace could be achieved without Israel’s full evacuation of all the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the Syrian Golan and the Lebanese territories. The resolutions urged those Islamic countries having thought to take steps for establishing relations with Israel in the context of the peace process to reconsider their move under Israel complied with the relevant UN resolutions and carried out the deals, pledges and commitments reached by the parties concerned in the peace process.

14 - In implementation of the resolutions adopted by the Islamic conference and the recommendations of Al-Quds Committee, the Secretary-General has spared no effort to promote the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and Palestine. He made several contacts and embarked on a series of meetings in the Islamic world and elsewhere during which he underlined that the cause of Al-Quds and Palestine was the Islamic Ummah’s prime cause and that any just and global settlement ought to provide for the return of Al-Quds to the Palestinian fold as the capital of a Palestinian State. He also called for backing and assisting the Palestinian people in all fields and exposing the Israeli assaults and violations of the rights of the Palestinian people. He emphasized the necessity to make all possible efforts to support the peace process and prompt Israel to abide by the agreements it signed.

15 - During a meeting with H.E. President Yasser Arafat, the Secretary-General reiterated that the OIC stood by the side of Palestinian rights based on the principles of what is internationally recognized as legitimate and the unswerving commitment to work for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State whose capital would be Al-Quds Al-Sharif. He also conferred with the leaders of a number of Islamic countries with whom he reviewed the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as well as the dangers lurking for peace in the area and the ways and means to promote the peace process.

16 - The Secretary-General met his counterpart of the League of Arab States Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid and reviewed with him the development of the question of Palestine and Al-Quds and the necessity to press ahead for this just cause to triumph. The two sides agreed on the necessity to continue their joint action and coordination in all fields to foster the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and Palestine and arrange common seminars and other manifestations aimed at drawing the attention of the entire world to the situation obtaining in Al-Quds Al-Sharif as a result of the Israeli judaization schemes.

17 - likewise, the Secretary-General paid a visit to UNESCO headquarters in Paris where he had talks with director General Federico Mayor on the problems facing the Palestinian peace in the field of culture and education and what was befalling Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the Palestinian territories. The consultations culminated in the signing, February 19, 1998, in Paris, of a framework agreement for cooperation between the two organizations in regard to the preservation of the cultural heritage of Al-Quds and assistance to the Palestinian people in the fields of education, culture, communication and science.

18 - The OIC Secretariat-General, in cooperation with the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the League of Arab States, organized in Brussels, Belgium, February 24-25, 1998, an international conference on supporting the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It was attended by H.E. President Yasser Arafat, H.E. the Foreign Minister of Belgium, H.E. the Foreign Minister of Ukraine and President of the UN General Assembly, and over a hundred delegates from states, international and regional organizations as well as a host of prominent world figures. The Conference underpinned the necessity for the international community to keep on backing the Mideast peace process and enable the Palestinian people exercise their inalienable national rights so that a just and overall peace may prevail.

19 - In Geneva, the Secretary-General had a meeting with the Chairman of the UN Human Rights Commission Mrs. Mary Robinson. He took up with her the grave violations of human rights at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities against Palestinian nationals in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and all over the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories.

20 - The OIC Secretariat, at the behest of the Chair of Al-Quds Committee, had contacts with the Member States participating in the 6th Conference of the Organization of Historic States, held in Krakova, Poland, May 25-28, 1998, to counter the invitation addressed to Israel to represent the City of Al-Quds at the conference in question, whereas the Palestinian side was not invited. As a result of that move, Israel failed to take part in the conference as representative of the City of Al-Quds. Conversely, the Arab and other Islamic sides participated in the conference to consolidate the position of Islamic cities.

21 - The Secretary-General also attended a session of the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco, in Rabat, November 26-28, 1998. There, he delivered a speech and presented a general study on Al-Quds and its history in which he highlighted the fact that the issue of Al-Quds was one of the most sensitive and arousing passion. Thus, he emphasized, it had to return to Palestinian sovereignty. He said the Ummah could not wait for the day when the Holy City would be saved from Israeli occupation and the sufferings it endured to return to what it had always been, throughout the Islamic reign: a melting pot of divine messages, religions and cultures.

22 - In compliance with the resolutions of Islamic conferences and the recommendations of Al-Quds Committee, the OIC Secretariat-General took part with the Member States in the experts’ meeting, held in Geneva, October 27-29, 1998, with the participation of the high signatories of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949, to discuss the ways and means to enforce the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territories, in implementation of the relevant UN General Assembly decisions.

23 - The Secretary-General has continued his endeavors with international and regional organizations to align their efforts for the glory of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif. He took part in the international conference on the “Bait Lahm 2000 project,” organized in Rome, February 18-19, 1999, by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people. The Conference was attended by H.E. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the Italian Foreign Minister, the UN Assistant Secretary General, the Foreign Minister of Senegal, a representative of the Vatican, the director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and several other prominent personalities from all over the world.

24 - Also, the Secretary-General conferred with His Eminence the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of the Vatican. Together, they considered the ways and means to preserve the religious and cultural aspect as well as the demographic composition of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the Israeli designs to judaize the Holy City. The two sides evolved a common drive, in the framework of what is internationally recognized as legal, to protect the Holy City and preserve its religious, cultural and civilizational heritage.

25 - The Secretary-General participated as well in the 7th International Conference on the Future of the Arab City of Al-Quds, held in Casablanca, Kingdom of Morocco, February 23-25, 1999, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Hassan the II, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco and Chairman of Al-Quds Committee. The conference was organized by the Arab-European Study center with the participation of the OIC, the Arab League and the European Commission (EU). It was attended by a host of prominent international personalities, international organizations and non government ones (NGOs).

26 - The OIC Secretariat is arranging, with the participation of the UN Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable People of the Palestinian Rights and the Arab League, to hold an international conference in Montreal, Canada, before the coming General Assembly.

27 - Furthermore, the OIC Secretary-General has issued various statements reaffirming the Organization’s firm stance in relation to the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and Palestine. He expressed his deep anxiety vis-a-vis the negotiations which have ground to a halt and the impasse facing the peace process.

28 - The Secretary-General submits the present report to the 26th ICFM for appropriate decision.

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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

THE CITY OF AL-QUDS AL-SHARIF

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

Ever since invading the holy city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, in 1967, the successive Israeli governments have harnessed all the tools and methods at its disposal to “reconfigure” the City and alter its Arabo- Islamic nature, features and essence, to turn it into a Jewish city reflecting all the demographic and cultural dimensions needed for this purpose. In implementation of such policy, the Israeli authorities have set up various short and long term programs and mechanisms to serve its expansionist designs. After announcing that it was annexing the Holy City and expanding its municipal boundaries, the occupation authorities embarked on a series of practical measures to promote the judaization and settlement process, in utter disregard and challenge to any non Jewish will, including the UN resolutions and whatever is internationally recognized as legal. After three decades of sheer fabrication of distorted so-called facts in Al-Quds and imposing them by force, the Israeli occupation authorities have sealed the entire City, isolating it with barriers and military barracks to prevent the vital communication between it and the rest of Palestinian cities, villages and camps, which paralyzed life and totally destroyed the City’s infrastructure.

2 - On June 21, 1998, the Israeli government announced the implementation of the Greater Jerusalem Scheme designed to link the nearby settlements with Al-Quds, the expansion of the City’s municipal boundaries as well as the planned construction of 140,000 new lodgings in the framework of the Israeli policy to tighten its grip on the City and isolate Al-Quds’ Arab inhabitants, disconnect them from their folks in other Palestinian cities and from the rest of the occupied territories. That policy is also aimed at doubling the City’s population by the year 2000, among other unilateral acts undertaken by Israel to alter the demographic features of the Holy City before the talks on the definitive status, as the Oslo Agreement stipulates that the fate of the City must be decided during these talks.

3 - Besides, the occupation authorities have proceeded with more excavations under the foundations of the Holy City’s archaeological, historical and cultural landmarks. ; They also persisted in opening the tunnel under Al-Aqsa Mosque despite the issue of Security Council resolution no. 1073 (1996) urging Israel to close that tunnel. As a result of that deed, the entire structure of Al-Aqsa Mosque is threatened to crack and to come down. Furthermore, the occupation authorities have changed the street names at parks and other public areas to obliterate the Holy City’s Arab character. At the same time, calls by Jewish extremists to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque have increased and Jewish conferences have been held for that purpose. They were attended by Israeli officials.

4 - Within the framework of the same Israeli drive to further control the Holy City, the Israeli Government has decided to build 58 housing units for settlers at the Jabal Al-Zaytoun area. It also announced that it intended to set up yet another settlement in the Ras Al-‘Amoud area. Meanwhile, it kept expanding the settlement zone at the Jabal Abu Ghunaym area. More, it demolished the structure belonging to “Burj Al-Laqlaq” foundation inside the fence of the old municipality, preliminary to replacing it with one more settlement. Similarly, the occupation authorities have launched a military campaign against Sha’fat Camp near Al-Quds to destroy it and make its inhabitants homeless, as this would enable them to better besiege the Holy City. They also plan to build an impressive network of longitudinal and transversal roads to serve the settlements and make it possible to merge the City’s east and west sides and turn the Arab quarters into poor and isolated ghettoes, as a first step towards partitioning them into small, easily controllable housing units. Moreover, the Israeli occupation authorities have embarked on a ferocious campaign to seize Arab houses inside the fences of the old municipalities, persecute the Palestinian institutions and establishments in Al-Quds. In a nutshell, they are attempting to empty the City from its Arab inhabitants.

The occupation authorities have been working to expand their colonial expansionist settlement schemes in the Holy City, confiscating Arab land, demolishing their homes and altering the demographic, geographic, religious and historic character of the Holy City to judaize it, addition to their policies consisting in frequently closing, sealing, imposing sieges, confiscating identity cards of the inhabitants of Baitul Maqdes and exhausting them with exorbitant fines. They are also placing roadblocks before those Arab inhabitants when applying for construction permits which now cost the equivalent of about USA$20,000. To obtain it would take a very long time.

5 - So far, the Security Council has adopted 16 resolutions on the City of Al-Quds, affirming that all measures, arrangements, decisions and administrative laws whatsoever adopted by Israel with a view to alter the legal status and demographic composition and character of the City were null and void besides their being illegal. The Security Council also stressed that the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 applied to all the territories invaded by Israel in 1967, including the City of Al-Quds. Then came, on July 13, 1998, the statement of the President of the Security Council which considered the decision taken by Israel to expand the City of Al-Quds as a very grave development. It urged Israel not to take any measures that may affect the current status and to take action so as to stop forthwith all the measures and practices applied by the Israeli occupation authorities in the Holy City to alter its geographic and demographic status. In turn, it reflected the stance of the international community which rejects the Israeli policies towards the City of Al-Quds.

At the close of its 10th extraordinary in New York, February 09, 1999, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution affirming that the Israeli settlement activities in the occupied city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and the rest of the Palestinian territories were illegal and had to be stopped immediately. The resolution also recommended that the high signatories of the 4th Geneva Convention meet in mid-July next at the United Nations Geneva headquarters.

6 - At their various meetings and encounters, the Islamic countries have launched several drives to face those dangerous developments. In their resolutions and decisions, Islamic conferences at summit and foreign ministerial levels, as well as Al-Quds Committee, asserted that comprehensive and just peace could not be achieved without full Israeli withdrawal from all the Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the occupied Syrian Golan and the occupied Lebanese territories. They urged Islamic countries that had planned to take steps towards establishing relations with Israel in the context of the peace process to reconsider such a move until Israel complied with the UN resolutions and honored the agreements, pledges and commitments reached by the parties concerned in the peace process.

7 - The Eight Islamic Summit Conference, held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, December 9-11, 1997, the 25th ICFM, convened in Doha, State of Qatar, March 15-17, 1998, and the Annual Coordination Meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers that took place at UN headquarters in New York, October 01, 1998, discussed the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif. They expressed their solidarity with the Palestine liberation Organization (PLO) and hailed the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and their struggle in defense of their inalienable national rights, including their right to return, determine their own future and set up their own independent and sovereign state on their national soil with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. They insisted that Al-Quds Al-Sharif was part and parcel of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and called for action to stop all the measures and practices carried out by the Israeli occupation authorities in the City to alter its status. They underlined their all-out support to the Middle East peace process and stressed that they held firm to the terms of reference of the peace process on whose basis the Madrid Conference had been held, in accordance with the UN decisions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425 and the land for peace formula. They exhorted those Islamic countries which had set out to take steps for normalizing relations with Israel in the context of the peace process to reconsider such relations until Israel completely evacuated all the occupied Arab territories and guaranteed the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. They urged the international community to bring pressure to bear on Israel with a view to halting the settlement policy. They requested the Security Council to revive the International supervision and Monitoring Committee to prevent settlement in Al-Quds as well as the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories.

8 - Al-Quds Committee met at its 17th session in Casablanca, Kingdom of Morocco, Rabi’ul II 6-7, 1419H (July 29-30, 1998) under the chairmanship of His Majesty King Hassan II, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Committee’s Chairman. The Committee reaffirmed its perfect solidarity with the PLO in its just struggle to wipe out the Israeli occupation and enable the Palestinian people enjoy their inalienable national rights. It reiterated its support to the Midleast peace process and the implementation of the agreements signed in the latter’s framework by the parties concerned. The Committee appealed to the Security Council to ensure the implementation of its decisions regarding the status of Al-Quds. It also asked the Council to revive the international supervisory committee to prevent settlement in Al-Quds and the rest of the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, in accordance with resolution 446, as part of the necessary measures to be taken to secure the implementation of the accord in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif. The Committee urged all countries of the world to recognize the State of Palestine as soon as it is proclaimed on the Palestinian soil, in accordance with the resolutions internationally recognized as legal. It highly appreciated the international community’s support to raising the representation of Palestine at the United Nations. It called upon Bait Mal Al-Maqdes to take the necessary measures for it to carry out the tasks entrusted with which it is entrusted by virtue of its Statutes.

9 - In implementation of the resolutions passed by Islamic conferences and the recommendations of Al-Quds Committee, the Secretary-General has made his utmost efforts to promote the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif and Palestine. He had several contacts and meetings on the Islamic and international arenas to stress that the issue of Al-Quds and Palestine remained the Islamic Nation’s prime cause and that any just and comprehensive resolution had to include the return of Al-Quds to Palestinian sovereignty as the capital of the State of Palestine. He also called for drumming up support in all fields for the Palestinian people while exposing the Israeli aggressions and violations of the rights of the Palestinian people. He laid stress on the necessity to make every possible effort to foster the peace process and compel Israel to abide by the agreement it has signed.

10 - The Secretary-General took part in the session of the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat, November 26-28, 1998, wherein he delivered a speech and made a general presentation of Al-Quds and its history in which he affirmed that the issue of Al-Quds was one of the most sensitive and passion-fueling. Al-Quds, he insisted, had to return to Palestinian sovereignty. He also said that the Ummah was looking forward to the day when the Holy City would be salvaged from the Israeli occupation and relieved of the ordeal it was enduring to return to what it had been throughout the Islamic era: a melting pot of divine Messages, religions and civilizations.

11 - likewise, the Secretary-General participated in the proceedings of the international conference on the “Bait Lahm 2000: project, held in Rome, Italy, February 18-19, 1999. That conference had been called by the Palestine liberation Organization (PLO) and sponsored by the UN Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights and the Italian Government. The conference was attended by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the Italian Foreign Minister, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, the head of the Year 2000 Celebration Committee, the Representative of the Vatican, the director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the mayor of Rome and an areopagus of prominent international personalities.

12 - The Secretary-General paid a visited to the Vatican where he discussed with its Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs the ways and means to preserve the cultural, religious and historic aspect of the Holy City as well as its heritage. He also took up the issue of joint coordination in facing the judaization of Al-Quds Al-Sharif in the framework of the international legal decisions. The Secretary-General commended the Vatican’s attitude towards the cause of Al-Quds as recently expressed by the Vatican Foreign Minister who said in a speech that Al-Quds was illegally occupied.

13 - The OIC Secretariat General participated in the 7th International Conference on “The Future of the Arab City of Al-Quds,” organized by the Arab-European Studies center in Rabat, February 22-23, 1999, under the aegis of King Hassan II of Morocco who is also Chairman of Al-Quds Committee. The conference was attended by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat as well as international personalities and members of the intelligentsia. In a message addressed to the international community, the conference dwelt on the necessity for Al-Quds Al-Sharif to be restored to its legitimate owners and for the international legal decisions to be implemented, particularly those pertaining to Al-Quds Al-Sharif. likewise, the conference said, the necessary assistance should be provided to foster the steadfastness of the Muslim inhabitants of Al-Quds in the face of the Israeli designs aimed at obliterating the Arab and Islamic features of the Holy City of Al-Quds.

14 - In implementation of the OIC resolutions, the Secretary-General embarked on several drives on the Islamic and international levels. He conferred with his UN counterpart H.E. Kofi Annan to whom he expounded the grave violations being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people. He urged the international community to shoulder its responsibilities in compelling Israel to carry out the UN resolutions relating to Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif.

15 - The Secretary-General also met Dr. Esmat Abdel Meguid, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States with whom he reviewed the developments of the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds. The two men agreed on the necessity to pursue their common efforts and draw the attention of the world to the ordeal which Al-Quds Al-Sharif was going through as a result of the Israeli judaization schemes.

16 - The Secretary-General issued various statements reaffirming the OIC’s unswerving attitude toward the cause of Al-Quds Al-Sharif. He expressed his deep anxiety as to the gravity of the situation obtaining in Al-Quds Al-Sharif. He also condemned the decision by the US House of Representatives to recognize “Jerusalem” as the unified eternal capital of Israel which, he said, constituted a serious provocation to Muslim feelings and a blatant violation of the decisions of the international community, same as it was contradictory to the role of the United States as sponsor of the peace process. He called upon the US Administration not to abide by that decision.

17 - Al-Quds Al-Sharif — the Muslims’ prime cause — is also the most serious contemporary problem. Therefore, the Islamic countries are invited today to combine their efforts in backing the stands of the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority in their talks aimed at restoring Al-Quds Al-Sharif to its legitimate owners as the capital of the Palestinian State.

18 - The Secretary-General submits the present report to the 26th ICFM for appropriate decision.

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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

ON

AL-QUDS FUND AND ITS WAQF

TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO

28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999

1 - The positive and important role which Al-Quds Fund has and continued to play, ever since its inception in 1976, in backing the Palestinian people, upholding their steadfastness and helping them preserve the Arab and Islamic character of the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, as well as the Fund’s general contribution in expounding to world public opinion the dimensions of the Israeli expansionist settlement design that the City of Al-Quds is facing, and the Fund’s call for finding a just resolution to the issue of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, guaranteeing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and fulfilling the aspirations and hopes of Muslims — that role has had a great effect in countering the Israeli assault. The continuation of such a positive role on the part of Al-Quds Fund requires that the Member States take action to keep on supporting the Fund and developing its resources so that it may discharge the important missions entrusted to it, particularly under the current critical circumstances which the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif is going through.

2 - The Secretary-General would like to place on record his thanks and appreciation to the countries that have lent material support to the Fund, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz — May God preserve him — and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and urges Member States to pursue their assistance and development of the resources of the Fund and its Waqf so as to enable them perform the tasks entrusted to them.

3 - The Secretary-General submits the present report to the 26th ICFM for appropriate action.

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