Advancing the peace process – Challenges facing the parties
Malta, 3 and 4 June 2008
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will convene the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra, Malta, on 3 and 4 June 2008, under the theme “Advancing the peace process – Challenges facing the parties.” The Meeting will be held in accordance with the United Nations General Assembly mandate to mobilize international support for the Middle East peace process.
The objective of the Meeting is to foster greater support by the international community for the creation of a climate conducive to the advancement of the permanent status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Participants in the Meeting will discuss the impact of the settlement construction on the current political process and the need for the parties to meet Road Map commitments. They will also examine the effects of the construction of the wall in the Occupied West Bank, and the importance of finding a solution to the question of Jerusalem.
Invited to participate in the Meeting are experts on the question of Palestine, including Israeli and Palestinian, representatives of United Nations Members and Observers, United Nations system entities, parliamentarians, members of the academic community, representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the media.
The Opening session will take place on Tuesday, 3 June 2008, at 10:30 a.m. in the “Oracle Conference Centre” of the Dolmen Hotel. The Meeting will be opened by Tonio Borg, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malta. Riad Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, will speak as the representative of Palestine. The opening session will also be addressed by Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and a representative of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. This will be followed by a segment in which representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations system entities will be invited to make statements.
The following three plenary sessions will address a variety of issues and have discussion periods. All sessions of the Meeting will be held in the Oracle Conference Centre on the first floor of the hotel and open to the media. The meeting hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The official languages of the Meeting will be English and French.
Plenary I, entitled “Meeting Road Map commitments,” will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, 3 June 2008. The sub-themes of the session are “The impact of settlements on the Palestinian population - the scope of the problem,” “The issue of settlements in the Road Map, and “The consequences of settlement construction for the territorial integrity and contiguity of a future Palestinian State.” The panelists in this session include: Guido de Marco K.U.O.M., B.A., L.L.D., President Emeritus of Malta; Jan De Jong, Geographer and Planning Consultant, Amsterdam; Hagit Ofran, Director of the Settlement Watch Project, Peace Now, Jerusalem; Alon Ben-Meir, Professor of International Relations and Middle East Studies, New York University; Geoffrey Aronson, Director of Research and Publications, Foundation for Middle East Peace, Washington, D.C., and Fouad Hallak, Advisor, Negotiations Support Unit, PLO, Ramallah.
Plenary II, entitled “The wall in the Occupied West Bank,” will start at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 4 June. This session will focus on “Physical aspects of the construction,” “Effects of the construction on Palestinian communities,” and “The wall and international law.” Addressing this session are: Ray Dolphin, Consultant on access issues for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jerusalem; Jad Isaac, Director-General, Applied Research Institute, Jerusalem; Clare Short, Member of the British Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood Party, London; Nasrat Dakwar, Lawyer, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Jerusalem; Pieter Bekker, Partner, International Dispute Resolution Group, McDermott Will & Emery LLP, New York; and Anis Kassim, Member, Palestinian Defence Team to the International Court of Justice, Amman.
Plenary III, entitled “Jerusalem - Looking forward to a capital of two States,” will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 4 June. The sub-themes are “The status of Jerusalem in international law,” “Jerusalem between 1947 and today,” and “Jerusalem as a permanent status issue.” The panelists in this session include: Khalil Toufakji, Director of the Maps Department, Arab Studies Society, Jerusalem; Danny Seidemann, Legal Counsel, Ir Amim, Jerusalem; Hanna Siniora, Publisher of The Jerusalem Times, Jerusalem; Joharah Baker, Writer with Miftah - The Palestinian Initiative for Global Dialogue and Democracy, Jerusalem; and Huda Imam, General Director, Centre for Jerusalem Studies, Al Quds University, Jerusalem.
The Closing session of the Meeting will take place from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 4 June.
A press conference with the Chairman of the Committee, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations and a senior Maltese official will be held on 4 June at 1:00 p.m. in the meeting room. Interested journalists will also have the opportunity to arrange individual interviews with the members of the delegation of the Committee and participating speakers.
The report of the Meeting will be issued, in due course, as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat.