Final communiqué of the Extraordinary Arab Summit Conference on the Intifadeh
October 22, 2000
Following the breakdown of peace negotiations and violence initiated by Palestinians in September 2000, the Arab League met in a special session on October 22, 2000, at the request of PNA Chairman Yasser Arafat and hosted in Egypt by Egyptian President Mubarak. They produced the communique below, which was also sent as a letter to the United Nations.
The communique repeatedly lends full support to the Intifada in the most explicit terms:
The Summit hails the Intifadah of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories
The Arab leaders commend the response of the Arab masses, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf, to the Intifadah of the valiant Palestinian people,
This meeting and the communique it produced are all the more remarkable because they came only a few days after Hosni Mubarak had hosted the Sharm El Sheikh conference, at which both Chairman Arafat and Israeli PM Barak had vowed to put an end to the violence. At that meeting it had been agreed to establish a fact finding commission under the auspices of the United States. This eventually produced The Mitchell Report. However, the Palestinians had demanded an international fact-finding mission under the UN. That demand was repeated in the summit communique:
The Arab leaders call for the formation, within the framework of the United Nations, of an impartial international commission of inquiry to report to the Security Council and the Commission on Human Rights on the causes of and responsibility for the grave deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territories and the atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples and other Arab residents of the occupied territories.
As Israel had withdrawn from Lebanon, the reference to Lebanon is obscure. However, it apparently reflects the Lebanese claim that Sheba farms, a territory occupied in the 6-day war and previously part of Syria, is really part of Lebanon.
According to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency article of October 13, 2000, Arafat was stiffened in his demands for an international commission of inquiry by French President Jacques Chirac, in a meeting held in Paris in early October to broker a cease fire:
Yet in a courtesy call to Chirac just moments before the two sides were to call for a cease-fire, Arafat reportedly was lectured by Chirac on how he should hold out for more and force the issue of an international inquiry into what caused the violence. Israel has refused such an inquiry, saying it gives Arafat an excuse not to continue peace talks and an international body would be biased against Israel.
After returning to Israel on Oct. 5, Barak's chief of staff, Danny Yatom, singled out Chirac's alleged interference as
what "turned this thing on its head."
The conference gave official Arab backing to two key Palestinian demands that were to render an agreement with Israel impossible in the subsequent negotiations held in Washington and Taba, namely, right of repatriation (return) of the Palestinian refugees to Israel, and Palestinian dominion over all of Jerusalem:
The Arab leaders affirm that peace must be based on the concepts of universality and justice as necessary preconditions
if it is to be accepted and maintained. They affirm that this Arab position calls for a corresponding commitment on the
part of Israel, which must meet it with an unequivocal stance based on compliance with the international rule of law in
accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), United Nations General Assembly resolution 149
(III), concerning the right of Palestinian refugees to repatriation and compensation, the other relevant United Nations
resolutions and the principles governing the peace process, primarily the principle of land for peace.
The Arab leaders affirm that a just and comprehensive peace can only ever be achieved with the return of Jerusalem to full Palestinian sovereignty and the acceptance of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to establish an independent State with its capital at Jerusalem — which is Palestinian territory that has been occupied since 1967 to say nothing of its spiritual significance and its religious status.
The reference to "General Assembly resolution 149 (III)" quoted in many places is probably a typographical error and should refer to UN General Assembly Resolution 194. That resolution states:
11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.
That resolution was adopted in December of 1948. It did not grant an unlimited right of return or repatriation.
Inasmuch as Jerusalem was never in history under the dominion of any Palestinian Arab government, the phrase " the return of Jerusalem to full Palestinian sovereignty" is unclear. According to UN resolutions it was to have been internationalized ( see - General Assembly Resolution 181 UN General Assembly Resolution 303 )
Despite their apparent contrast with the pacific atmosphere of the Sharm El Sheikh conference held only two weeks before, these summit resolutions were in reality no worse than those adopted at previous conferences, except for the explicit support for the Intifadeh and resistance. However, coming so soon after the Sharm El Sheikh conference, which had called for a cessation of violence. they certainly sounded a discordant note. They also provided legitimacy for the unbending stance of Palestinians in negotiations. The Palestinians did not accept the Bridging Proposals of President Clinton or the subsequent further offer of Israeli negotiators at Taba,
The support of the Arab countries did not appear to go past lip-service to the Palestinian cause however. Promises of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority noted in the communique largely failed to materialize, though individual countries continued to funnel large amounts of cash to support the Hamas and Islamic Jihad extremist groups. Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia urged the Palestinian leadership in the strongest terms to accept the terms of the Clinton Bridging Proposals made at the end of 2000.
The summit agreed to endorse the plan for regular annual Arab summit meetings, with the next one to be held in March of 2001.
Notice - Copyright
This introduction is Copyright 2005 by MidEastWeb http://www.mideastweb.org and the author. Please tell your friends about MidEastWeb and link to this page. Please do not copy this page to your Web site. You may print this page out for classroom use provided that this notice is appended, and you may cite this material in the usual way. Other uses by permission only. The source material below is in the public domain.
23 October 2000
Agenda items 40 and 41
The situation in the Middle East
Question of Palestine
I have the honour to enclose herewith, for your kind attention, the final communiqué of the Extraordinary Arab Summit held in Cairo, on 21 and 22 October 2000. It would be highly appreciated if the enclosed document could be circulated as an official document of the General Assembly under items 40 and 41, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Ahmed Aboulgheit
Annex to the letter dated 23 October 2000 from the
Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations
addressed to the Secretary-General
Final communiqué of the Extraordinary Arab Summit Conference
held in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000
At the urgent invitation of His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, acting in his capacity as Chairman of the Extraordinary Arab Summit Conference held in Cairo in 1996, the heads of State of the Arab countries held an extraordinary meeting in Cairo on 21 and 22 October 2000.
This Summit is being convened in circumstances that are of great importance in the history of our Nation and at a new stage in the lives of its peoples, after grave complications because of which the peace process between the Arabs and Israel has broken down and with Israel having transformed the peace process into a war against the Palestinian people in which it is using military force to blockade and isolate that people and hold it hostage within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Summit hails the Intifadah of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories that has given unequivocal expression to the bitterness of frustration following long years of expectation and anticipation focused on the outcome of a political settlement that failed to bear fruit because of Israel's intransigence and procrastination and its aversion to discharging its obligations. The Arab leaders invoke the mercy of God upon the souls of the Palestinian martyrs, and they regard their pure blood as a precious hoard set by for the liberation of the land, the establishment of the State and the achievement of peace.
The Arab leaders commend the response of the Arab masses, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf, to the Intifadah of the valiant Palestinian people, and they acclaim the evident national consensus they have reached in standing together to condemn the Israeli aggression and the savage actions taken by the occupation forces. The stirring of the Arab masses is an expression of latent patriotic sentiments and of strong solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for its sovereignty, its dignity and those things it holds sacred.
The Arab leaders hold Israel responsible for returning the region to a climate of tension and to manifestations of violence as a result of its practices, its assaults and its blockade of the Palestinian people in violation of its obligations as the occupying Power under the terms of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Such conduct is also in flagrant violation of the norms of international law and is destructive of efforts to build peace in the region, and the rulers of Israel have handled the Jerusalem issue with a disdain that satisfies a passion for irresponsible display and deliberate provocation based on a repulsive racism. The Arab leaders call upon Israel to halt forthwith all of its provocative practices and to desist from its policy of repression directed against Arab civilians.
The Arab leaders affirm that the Al-Aqsa Intifadah has broken out as a result of the maintenance and perpetuation of the occupation and because of Israel's encroachments on the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem and on the other Islamic and Christian Holy Places in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Arab leaders bring to mind with reverence, as they recall to the world, the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in defence of their occupied land and the things they held sacred without heed for the war machine deployed by Israel to confront the unarmed, defenceless Palestinian people. They affirm the right of the Palestinian people to exact just compensation from Israel for the damage and the human and material losses it has sustained.
In response to a proposal by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they hereby decide to establish two funds. The Al-Aqsa Fund will be allocated a sum of 800 million dollars for the funding of projects designed to preserve the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem and prevent its loss and to enable the Palestinian people to disengage from its subordination to the Israeli economy. The Al-Quds Intifadah Fund will have a capital of 200 million dollars to be allocated for disbursement to the families of Palestinian martyrs fallen in the Intifadah and for providing the means necessary for the care and education of their children. They express their deep appreciation to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for his decision that the Kingdom will contribute one quarter of the total sum to be allocated to the two funds.
The Arab leaders call upon all members of the Arab Nation to donate one day's wages as a citizens' contribution to support for the Intifadah and in order to assist the Palestinian national struggle at the crucial juncture at which our Arab Nation finds itself.
The Arab leaders call for the formation, within the framework of the United Nations, of an impartial international commission of inquiry to report to the Security Council and the Commission on Human Rights on the causes of and responsibility for the grave deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territories and the atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples and other Arab residents of the occupied territories. They stress in this connection the provisions of Security Council resolution 1322 (2000) of 7 October 2000, the resolution adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its special session on 19 October 2000 and the resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 October 2000. They urge the Security Council to keep developments in the situation in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories under review in the light of the threat that situation poses to international peace and security, and they call for the Security Council and the United Nations General Assembly to assume responsibility for providing the necessary protection to the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation by giving consideration to the establishment of a force or an international presence for this purpose, given that the United Nations bears permanent responsibility for the land and people of Palestine until such time as the Palestinian people secures the exercise of its inalienable rights in Palestine in accordance with international legitimacy.
The Arab leaders affirm that the Arab States will pursue, in accordance with international law, those responsible for the savage practices in question. They call upon the Security Council to establish an international criminal tribunal to prosecute the Israeli war criminals who perpetrated massacres of Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories, on the same pattern as the tribunals established by the Council to prosecute war criminals in Rwanda and in the former Yugoslavia. They will continue their pursuit with a view to bringing them to trial in accordance with the provisions of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The Arab leaders express their extreme disapproval and condemnation of Israel's escalation in the hostile actions it was taking and the provocative attitudes it adopted at a time when the region was readying itself for a just and comprehensive peace, given that since the Madrid Conference the Arabs had decided that the option of a just and comprehensive peace would open the way to a final settlement to a heated conflict that had already lasted for more than half a century.
The Arab leaders condemn Israel's failure to respond to the peace option and its failure to make a vigorous endeavour for a just and comprehensive peace. They caution Israel against the pursuit of practices and actions that threaten the region's security and undermine its stability.
The Arab leaders affirm that the Nation has fixed principles that may not be violated, rights that may not be bargained away and goals for which they will never cease to strive in order to secure overriding Arab interests.
The Arab leaders affirm that peace must be based on the concepts of universality and justice as necessary preconditions if it is to be accepted and maintained. They affirm that this Arab position calls for a corresponding commitment on the part of Israel, which must meet it with an unequivocal stance based on compliance with the international rule of law in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), United Nations General Assembly resolution 149 (III), [this is most likely General Assembly Resolution 194. - MEW] concerning the right of Palestinian refugees to repatriation and compensation, the other relevant United Nations resolutions and the principles governing the peace process, primarily the principle of land for peace.
The Arab leaders affirm that a just and comprehensive peace can only ever be achieved with the return of Jerusalem to full Palestinian sovereignty and the acceptance of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to establish an independent State with its capital at Jerusalem — which is Palestinian territory that has been occupied since 1967 to say nothing of its spiritual significance and its religious status. All the occupied Arab territories must also be returned, and this includes Israel's full withdrawal from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, to the line of 4 June 1967, complete withdrawal from southern Lebanon, including the Shab`a farmlands, up to the internationally recognized boundaries, the release of Arab prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, and the removal of Israeli settlements in implementation of Security Council resolution 465 (1980).
In this context, the Arab leaders reaffirm their support for their brothers in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. They affirm their commitment to their legitimate rights and to the restoration of all their occupied territories. They also affirm in this connection their rejection of any attempts to impose a peace that is unjust or lacking in balance on the basis of Israeli claims and at the expense of Arab rights and interests.
In the light of the setback to the peace process, the Arab leaders affirm their commitment to oppose with resolve Israel's attempts to penetrate the Arab world, under any designation, and to suspend the maintenance of any relations with Israel. They hold Israel responsible for the measures and decisions to be taken by the Arab States in connection with their relations with it, including their severance, such as will be required in order to counter the suspension of the peace process, the grave developments to which that has recently given rise and the complications it has caused in the Arab and Islamic arenas, until such time as a comprehensive and just peace is achieved.
While emphasizing that the halt to the peace process on all bilateral tracks has caused the suspension of the multilateral track, the Arab leaders affirm that issues of regional cooperation cannot be addressed without real progress towards a just and comprehensive peace in the region. The halt in the peace process caused by Israel's policy and by its provocative practices makes talk of a common future in the region untimely. They hereby decide not to resume or participate in any official or informal activity in the multilateral framework and to suspend all measures and activities for regional economic cooperation with Israel in this framework and to link their resumption and their scope to the attainment of tangible progress towards a just and comprehensive peace on all the tracks of the peace progress.
The Arab leaders commend the decisions taken by the Al-Quds Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and in particular the final communiqué adopted at its most recent session held in Agadir, Morocco, under the chairmanship of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, reaffirming support for the stance taken by the State of Palestine based on commitment to sovereignty over East Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif and all the Islamic and Christian Holy Places that are part and parcel of the occupied Palestinian territories, and to Jerusalem as the capital of the independent State of Palestine. The Arab leaders recall Security Council resolution 478 (1980), in which the Council urges the world's States to refrain from relocating their embassies to Jerusalem, and the resolution of the eleventh Arab Summit Conference, held in Amman in 1980, calling for the severance of all relations with States that relocate their embassies to Jerusalem or recognize the city as a capital of Israel.
The Arab leaders affirm that for lasting peace and security in the region to be achieved, Israel must accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and place all of its nuclear facilities under the international inspection and monitoring regime. They also affirm in this connection the extreme importance of ridding the Middle East region of nuclear weapons and of all weapons of mass destruction as a necessary and indispensable precondition for the establishment of any regional security arrangements in the future.
The Arab leaders express their conviction that ongoing changes in the international arena make it essential to reactivate joint Arab action and to reinforce and renew the League of Arab States and expand its institutions in order to enhance its future pan-Arab role.
In this context, the Arab leaders, meeting at this delicate juncture, decide to endorse the mechanism for the regular periodic convening of the Arab Summit as approved by the Council of the League of Arab States at its recent one hundred and fourteenth session and adopted in its final form by the meeting of Arab foreign ministers held in preparation for the present Summit. In accordance with the rotation by alphabetical order of the chairmanship for the convening of the periodic summits, the Arab Heads of State decide that the summit-level Council of the League of Arab States will meet at its thirteenth ordinary session in March 2001 under the chairmanship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Amman, Jordan.
The Arab leaders express their confidence that the regular periodic convening of the Arab Summit will contribute to the promotion of joint Arab action in all fields, and particularly in the economic field where such action has become more pressing than ever in the light of the international and regional changes that make Arab economic integration an urgent necessity. This is particularly true given the human, natural and strategic resources the Arab countries possess, which would contribute to the achievement of economic stability in the region and in the world and promote rates of growth and the prosperity of peoples.
In concluding their Summit, the Arab leaders commended the spirit of complete solidarity that had prevailed in the conference and the constructive discussions to which all delegations had contributed in a way that reflected the deep sense shared by all — leaders, governments and peoples — of the gravity of the situation and of the importance of defining a unified Arab position to stand up firmly against Israeli threats in an endeavour to put the peace process back on the right road to a just and comprehensive peace in the region.
The Arab leaders expressed their high appreciation of the decision of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, to bear the costs of the commission to inquire into human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories that had been established by the resolution adopted on 19 October 2000 by the Commission on Human Rights at its fifth special session, so that it would be able to achieve its objectives.
The Arab leaders affirmed their resolve to continue to utilize Arab capacities in the service of the Nation's causes and to make all of its resources available for the liberation of the occupied Arab territories, for support to the struggle of the Palestinian people to regain its land and establish its independent State on its national soil with Jerusalem as its capital, and for the preservation of Islamic and Christian Holy Places in Palestine. The Arab leaders agreed to continue their consultations in order to address ongoing developments confronting the Arab Nation.
The Arab leaders conveyed their deep thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, as well as to the people of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for their kind hospitality and the warm reception given. They expressed their full appreciation of the way in which the conference had been organized and prepared, and they offered His Excellency President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak their best wishes and the people of Egypt continued progress and prosperity.
Israel-Palestine TimelineHistory of Israel and Palestine
Zionism - Definition and History -
Main Middle East Historical Documents
MidEastWeb - Middle East Conflict News, History, Maps, Resources, Dialogue, Peace Education
Middle East Gateway