The third year of the second Palestinian uprising (al-Aqsa intifada) in the 1967 occupied territories began with yet another deadly Israeli military assault on a densely crowded civilian neighborhood. One year ago, Israeli military forces marked the first anniversary of the uprising by staging a deadly assault on major Palestinian towns and refugee camps in the West Bank. This year the military target was the Khan Younis area of the Gaza Strip, including the Khan Younis refugee camp. Thirteen Palestinians were killed in the attack including 4 children. Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects is considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
As highlighted in numerous previous reports, Palestinian refugees constitute a particularly vulnerable sector of Palestinian society in the occupied territories. It is estimated that upwards of 60 percent (an estimated 650 persons) of those Palestinians killed in the second year of the al-Aqsa intifada were refugees. Refugees also continued to suffer higher levels of unemployment with more refugee households than non-refugee households falling below the poverty line. Refugees also experienced higher levels of damage to housing and property, particularly during Israel’s March 2002 assault on West Bank refugee camps and the April military assault on Jenin refugee camp. By the end of August 2002 in the Gaza Strip alone, Israeli military forces had destroyed 542 shelters, the majority of which accommodated 625 refugee families, according to UNRWA figures.
Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada the Palestinian people, in general, and Palestinian refugees, in particular, have continuously issued public calls to the international community for international protection. As UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen noted in April 2002, “You cannot go to a camp or to another exposed Palestinian habitat without hearing anguished cries of why don’t we get protection and observers, let the world see what is going on here. The Palestinians are very keen to have in this instance as much transparency, openness, observation as possible of the situation.” (UN DPI, 5 April 2002)
On the eve of the second anniversary of the uprising the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP), the UN body established under UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and mandated to provide international protection for Palestinian refugees released its 56th Annual Report, attached below. The report covers the period from 1 September 2001 to 31 August 2002. For interested readers, the report is also available in French and Spanish. Comments about the substance of the report should be directed to the United Nations and the three state members of the Commission, the United States, France and Turkey.
FULL TEXT of the Fifty-sixth REPORT of the
United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine (UNCCP)
“In paragraph 2 of its resolution 56/52 of 10 December 2001, the General Assembly requested the Commission to report to the Assembly as appropriate, but no later than 1 September 2002. The Commission notes its report of 31 August 2002 (A/56/290) and observes that it has nothing new to report since its submission.”
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