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dc.description.abstractThe conflict in the Middle East abated somewhat during the first months of 2005, as actions by Israeli and Palestinians leaders generated new hopes for peace. The summit meeting held at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 8 February, produced a series of commitments, including a halt to violence and military activities, aimed at rebuilding trust and breaking the cycle of bloodshed. Although formal negotiations were not resumed, the two parties agreed to coordinate the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank. Israel's disengagement from those areas, which took place between 15 August and 12 September, marked a watershed in that it constituted the first removal of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. However, the disengagement failed to revive the peace process due to a resurgence of violence during the last months of 2005. A November Agreement on Movement and Access between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which called, among other things, for the continuous operation of the border crossings between Gaza and Israel, was not fully implemented by the end of the year. Israel's ongoing construction of the separation wall in the occupied territories and restrictions on movement in the form of checkpoints, curfews and the permit system greatly contributed to the continuing humanitarian and socio-economic crisis in the Palestinian areas. The Palestinian presidential election, the first to be held since 1996, took place, on 9 January, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Voters elected the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mahmoud Abbas, as the new President of the PA to replace Yasser Arafat, who died on 11 November 2004. Four rounds of municipal elections were also held throughout the year. President Abbas repeatedly called for an end to violence and promoted Palestinian reforms, especially in the security sector. He faced major fiscal and budgetary problems, which threatened to paralyze the PA's administration. In addition, a number of unintegrated Palestinian militia groups, clans and individual force commanders continued to wield undue influence. The political wing of the Islamic organization, Hamas, took part in the municipal elections, though it boycotted the presidential one. Legislative elections were scheduled to take place in January 2006. In Israel, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carried out the disengagement plan, originally announced in February 2004, despite strong domestic opposition. The international community commended the Israeli Government for the smooth and professional execution of the disengagement operation. Throughout 2005, Israel expressed concern over the inability by the PA to control Palestinian terrorist organizations and dismantle their infrastructure. The Quartet, a coordinating mechanism for international peace efforts, comprising the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, continued to promote the road map initiative as the best solution to the conflict. The road map, which was endorsed by the Security Council in 2003, aimed to achieve progress through parallel and reciprocal steps by Israel and the PA in the political, security, economic, humanitarian and institution-building areas, under an international monitoring system. In April, the Quartet principals named James D.Wolfensohn as their Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement, whose mandate focused on the non-security aspects of the Israeli withdrawal, including trade, and the revival of the Palestinian economy. In March, the United Kingdom hosted a meeting on supporting the PA, which was attended by representatives of the Quartet, including the Secretary-General. The participants agreed to support the Palestinian leadership in its efforts to strengthen the PA's institutions. During a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in March, the Secretary-General urged the two sides to seek further progress through direct dialogue and negotiations. In May, he appointed Alvaro de Soto as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the PA. In February, a bomb attack killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 20 others in Beirut. The Secretary-General designated a Special Envoy for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1559(2004), which called, among other measures, for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country and the disbanding and disarmament of militias. In addition, the experts to Lebanon at the end of April to verify whether Syrian military assets, except in one disputed border area, had been withdrawn fully from Lebanon. He sent the team back in June to clarify allegations that Syrian intelligence operatives continued to operate in the country. The assassination of Mr. Hariri, occurring only months before planned parliamentary elections, raised fears that Lebanon would return to its violent past. In condemning the attack, the Security Council requested that the Secretary-General report on the causes, circumstances and consequences of the attack. A UN mission of inquiry, which was dispatched by the Secretary-General, concluded that an international commission should independently investigate the crime. The Council established the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC). In resolution 1636(2005), it took note, with concern, of the Commission's conclusion that there was converging evidence pointing to the involvement of both Lebanese and Syrian officials in Mr. Hariri's assassination, and insisted that Syria should not interfere in Lebanese domestic affairs. The mandates of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights were extended twice during the year, and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization continued to assist both peacekeeping operations in their tasks. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East continued to provide education and health and social services to over four million Palestinian refugees living both in and outside camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as in Jordan. During the year, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories reported to the Assembly on the situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People continued to mobilize international support for the Palestinians. Peace processen
dc.relation.ispartofYearbook of the United Nations, 2005 v. 59
dc.titleYearbook of the United Nations, 2005. Part 1, Political and security questions. Chapter 6, Middle Easten
dc.typeArticles / Chaptersen
undr.cluster.topicPeace and Securityen
undr.contributor.corporateUN. Department of Public Informationen
undr.subject.corporateUN. General Assemblyen
undr.subject.corporateUN. Security Councilen
undr.subject.thesaurusINTERNATIONAL SECURITYen
undr.subject.thesaurusPEACEKEEPING OPERATIONSen
undr.subject.thesaurusPREVENTIVE DIPLOMACYen
undr.subject.thesaurusPALESTINE QUESTIONen
undr.coverage.spatialMIDDLE EASTen
undr.coverage.spatialSYRIAN ARAB REPUBLICen
undr.relation.ispartofseriesYearbook of the United Nationsen
undr.series.numberingVol. 59en

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  • Yearbook of the United Nations
    Principal reference work of the UN ; provides a detailed overview of the Organization's activities during the course of a year.

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