Question of Palestine home
10 February 1989
PROVISIONAL VERBATIM RECORD OF THE TWO THOUSAND
EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIFTH MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York
on Friday, 10 February 1989, at 11 a.m.
Mr. LI Luye
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Sir Crispin TICKELL
United States of America
This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the
Official Records of the Security Council
Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
The meeting was called to order at 11.45 a.m
ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
The agenda was adopted.
THE SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES
LETTER DATED 8 FEBRUARY 1989 FROM THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TUNISIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL (S/20454)
LETTER DATED 9 FEBRUARY 1989 FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL (S/20455)
: I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Yemen in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council's agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Badawi (Egypt), Mr. Bein (Israel), Mr. Salah (Jordan), Mr. Abulhasan (Kuwait), Mr. Al-Masri (Syrian Arab Republic), Mr. Ghezal (Tunisia) and Mr. Salaam (Yemen) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
: I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter dated 9 February 1989 from the Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations, which has been issued as document
and which reads as follows:
“I have the honour to request that, in accordance with its previous practice, the Security Council invite the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations to participate in the debate on the item entitled ‘The situation in the occupied territories’." (S/20456)
The request is not made pursuant to rule 37 or rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, but if it is approved the Council would invite the Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to participate, not under rule 37 or rule 39, but with the same rights of participation of rule 37.
Does any member of the Security Council wish to speak on this request?
(United States of America): The United States will vote against the proposal before the Security Council on two grounds. First, we believe that the Council does not have before it a valid request to speak. Second, the United States maintains that the observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
should be granted permission to speak only if the request complies with rule 39 of the rules of procedure. In our view, it is unwarranted and unwise for the Council to break with its own practice and rules.
Members of the Council, let us ask ourselves this question: Does a decision to break with our rules and procedures enlarge or diminish the Council’s ability to play a constructive role in the Middle Fast peace process? My delegation firmly believes it diminishes this Council’s ability to play such a role. As all members of the Council are aware, it is long-established practice that observers do not have the right to speak in the Security Council on their own request. Rather, a request must be made on the observer’s behalf by a Member State. My Government sees no justification for any departure from this practice.
It is clear that General Assembly resolutions are not binding on the Security Council. In any event, there is nothing in resolutions recently adopted by the Assembly that would warrant a change in Security Council practice. General Assembly resolution 43/177, which purported to change the designation of the PLO
Mission, did so
“without prejudice to the observer status and functions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation within the United Nations system, in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and practice”. (General Assembly resolution 43/177, para. 3)
That resolution does not constitute recognition of any State of Palestine, and the United States and the majority of the Members of the United Nations do not recognize such a State.
The United States has consistently taken the position that under the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council the only legal basis on which the Council may grant a hearing to persons speaking on behalf of
non-governmental entities is rule 39.
For four decades the United States has supported a generous interpretation of rule 39 and would not object had this matter been appropriately raised under that rule. We are, however, opposed to special
departures from orderly procedure.
The United States consequently opposes extending to the PLO the same rights to participate in the proceedings of the Security Council as if that organization represented a Member State of the United Nations. We believe in listening to all points of view, but not if that requires violating the rules. In particular the United States does not agree with the recent practice of the Security Council which appears selectively to try to enhance the prestige of those who wish to speak in the Council through a departure from the rules of procedure. We consider this special practice to be without legal foundation and to constitute an abuse of the rules.
For all of these reasons the United States requests that the terms of the proposed invitation be put to the vote. Of course, the United States will vote against the proposal.
: If no other member of the Council wishes to speak at this stage, I shall take it that the Council is ready to vote on the request by Palestine.
It is so decided.
A vote was taken by show of hands
r: Algeria, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Finland, Malaysia, Nepal, Senegal, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Yugoslavia
: United States of America
: Canada, France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
: The result of the voting is as follows: 11 votes in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions. The request has been approved.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Al-Kidwa (Palestine) took a place at the Council table
: I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter dated 10 February 1989 from the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which reads as follows:
“In my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I have the honour to request that the delegation of the Committee be invited to participate in the
forthcoming debate on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, under rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council".
On previous occasions, the Security Council has extended invitations to representatives of other United Nations bodies in connection with the consideration of matters on its agenda. In accordance with past practice in this matter, I propose that the Council extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to the delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
I should like to inform the Council that I have received a letter dated 9 February 1989 from the Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations, which reads as follows:
“I have the honour to request that the Security Council extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to His Excellency Mr. Clovis Maksoud, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, during the Council’s discussion of the item presently on its agenda”.
That letter will be circulated as a document of the Security Council under the symbol
If I hear no objection, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation to His Excellency Mr. Clovis Maksoud under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.
The Security Council is meeting today in response to the request contained in a letter dated 8 February 1989 from the Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council, document
, and supported in a letter dated 9 February 1989 from the Chairman of the
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People addressed to the President of the Security Council, document
I should like to draw the attention of members of the Council also to document
, which contains the text of a letter dated 7 February 1989 from the Chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General.
The first speaker is the representative of Palestine, on whom I now call.
(Palestine) (interpretation from Arabic): At the outset allow me to express to you., Sir, our congratulations on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. We are pleased to see you occupying this important post because of our personal ties with you and our special relationship with your country.
I wish to express our thanks also to the Ambassador of Malaysia for the excellent way in which he presided over the Security Council last month. We appreciate the efforts he made during his presidency.
The Security Council is today considering the situation in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. While welcoming that, we believe that in dealing with the situation the Council should take into consideration three basic facts.
First, the situation in our occupied Palestinian territory is indeed very grave, as a result of the continued implementation by Israel, the occupying Power, of its oppressive policies and measures during the past 14 months against our people; and the escalation of those policies and practices as well as the constant introduction and imposition of new measures.
Secondly, the consideration of this grave situation by the Council is rather tardy, coming as it does more than one year after the adoption of Council resolution
, of 14 January 1988 - the last resolution concerning the situation, since another resolution that the Council attempted to adopt was vetoed by the United States on 1 February 1988. Furthermore, this meeting is being held more than 10 months after the last formal meeting to discuss the situation, which was convened in March 1988 and was attended by the Arab Ministerial Committee.
We shall not go into the reasons for the delay. For those reasons might be a source of embarrassment in the light of the United Nations Charter and the obligations of the Security Council, as well as the belief held by all the peoples of the world, including the Palestinian people, that the Council has the will and the ability to put an end to aggression, occupation and oppression, for the sake of preserving international peace and security.
The third fact is that Israel, the occupying Power, has completely ignored or disregarded the resolutions that the Security Council was able to adopt concerning the occupied Palestinian territory - namely, resolution
, in addition to the statement made by the President of the Security Council on 26 August 1988. Israel persists in its violations of those resolutions and of international law and treaties. It may be useful to recall here that since 1967 the Council has adopted 21 resolutions concerning the situation in the Gaza
Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, in addition to numerous other resolutions on the other occupied Arab territories and the repeated Israeli aggressions against several Arab States. It has adopted 21 resolutions concerning Jerusalem and the invalidity of changes made in its status; the illegitimacy of Israeli settlements; the applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention; the illegality of Israel's deportation of Palestinian civilians; violations of Palestinian human rights and the right of return of those displaced in 1967; and numerous other matters. Israel has not complied with any of those resolutions; rather, it has acted completely in contradiction of their provisions.
Those three facts - namely, the extreme gravity of the situation, the inaction of the Council for a not inconsiderable period of time, and Israeli non-compliance with the resolutions of the Council - make it imperative for the Council to deal with the situation decisively in order to put an end to the bloodshed and the persecution of our people by Israel. Only such action by the Council can ensure the opening up of new horizons and all the prospects for the realization of the more comprehensive goal - the attainment of peace in the Middle East.
Allow me to give the Council some details of what is happening in our occupied land. Throughout the 22 years of occupation, our people has been subjected to various forms of national, political and economic oppression and persecution, culminating in the violation of the human rights of our people - indeed, the very
denial of its existence as a people, with the same rights as all other peoples have.
On 9 December 1987 the glorious
of our people started, as an expression of its rejection of oppression and as a demand for freedom and justice. With the beginning of the
, Israeli oppression of our people - which had been going on from the start of the occupation - acquired more savage and brutal forms, with the aim of putting an end to the
, subjugating our people and demoralizing it in order to ensure the continuance of the occupation, the control of the land and the denial of the rights of our people. In this context, thousands of Israeli troops were deployed, along with armed settler vigilantes, to implement Israeli policies. The outcome so far is: 490 martyrs - and I must correct that figure to 494, because there are now four new martyrs, killed the day before yesterday; about 50,000 wounded; 30,000 arrested , including 4,500 administrative
detainees incarcerated in prisons and detention centres - the main one being the infamous Ansar III, or Ketziot, detention centre; 49 deportations, 600 miscarriages recorded by hospitals; scores of cases of broken bones; and numerous other criminal acts such as the burning and burying alive of Palestinians.
All this entails the use of several kinds of weapons, lethal ammunition including so-called plastic bullets and a variety of suffocating and other, unknown, gases. To those practices should be added the demolition, boarding-up and destruction of houses and their contents: 560 homes have been destroyed under various pretexts; large areas have been sealed off; curfews have been imposed for long periods, resulting in horrifying health and nutritional conditions; electric power has been cut off; roads and communications have been blocked; schools and
educational institutions, cultural institutions and youth, women’s and trade-union associations have been closed down. In addition, numerous other oppressive measures have been taken.
Although these savage practices have not succeeded in suppressing the
, they nevertheless reflect a regressive official Israeli mentality ruled by illegitimate promises, dreams and myths, in which violence predominates, along with an inability to understand the nature of the
Israel has characterized the
, even in the Security Council itself, as an action limited to certain elements or groups agitated from abroad. Events have categorically proved that the
, as a comprehensive action by all groups, sectors and agglomerates of the population of Palestinian society in the occupied territory, is a total rejection by our people of the occupation and a rebellion against various forms of oppression.
From its very beginning the
has had the objective of putting an end to this situation in the direction of national independence. As for the relationship between Palestinians inside and outside the occupied territories, it is time for all to understand once and for all that we are a single indivisible people. The relationship between the Palestinians of the diaspora and the Palestinians under occupation cannot be one in which one side agitates or even directs the other into action. It is a mutual and integrated relationship within the same body, which not only has one path and one destiny but also has the same groups, formations and social, political and professional organizations, which comprise the political entity embodied by the Palestine Liberation Organization. Hence the two-way influence. Furthermore I should of course point to the general conviction among our people everywhere that the Palestine Liberation Organization represents the political entity of the Palestinian people, as well as its Statehood. Our people believe that dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization is the only way to address Palestinian rights politically, including the national dimension.
Israel has also described the
as an exercise in violence and as a violation of law and order. But we say we are talking about a long and ugly Occupation. The ancient and modern history of East and West, indeed international law and the United Nation's Charter - all teach that resistance to occupation by any means, including violence against the occupier, is legitimate and even a requisite for the achievement of freedom. Yet events have undeniably proved also that the
is a form of mass resistance, popular resistance, initiated by a conscious decision to organize the people, and limited to demonstrations, strikes and boycotts. It expresses itself in the use of available means of unarmed resistance, mostly God-given means, namely stones - which are holy in the hands of our children and which by no means constitute instruments of violence that should be confronted with troops, bullets and newer forms of oppression. The
is a form of self-sacrifice, an offering and a price for national independence. It is a new form of popular resistance against occupation that will undoubtedly enter
history, as did the passive resistance of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mr. President, notwithstanding the atrocities Israel has already committed against our people, it now imposes additional forms of oppression. Have you ever heard of the demolition - even during the Dark Ages - of a family’s home because a child threw a stone at occupation troops? Have you heard of the so-called plastic
bullet that settles inside the head, causing total brain damage or brain death, mostly among children? Have you ever heard of troops, even when not in so-called danger, being given licence to fire at unarmed civilians? Now, towards the end of the twentieth century, you do hear about all those Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territory, and you see this new chapter of the tragedy and suffering of our people.
In the face of this tragedy, we then see the absurdities of the Israeli occupation in the form of proposals for an outdated autonomy which is now aimed conditionally for the most part at ending the
, either sooner or later. Such political absurdities demonstrate once again that their originators have never understood that there is a people that wants to live and attain independence; it shows they have never abandoned their dream of continuing the occupation and of control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, that they do not attach any value to
international legitimacy and resolutions.
The Palestinian side, on the other hand, provides a serious and historic opportunity to achieve peace in the Middle East. The Palestine Liberation Organization, influenced by and related to the
of our people, has taken a number of historic decisions that have given the Middle East a quantum leap towards peace. The Palestine National Council, as the legislative body of the Palestinian people, at its nineteenth special session, on 15 November 1988, in Algiers, adopted a declaration of independence of the State of Palestine. That decision was based on the natural and historic right of the Palestinian people and is in line with General Assembly resolution
, which provided for the creation of two States in Palestine, one Jewish, the other Arab. That decision was also consistent with international legitimacy. The Palestine National Council further adopted a political statement reflecting a new position which essentially provides for the acceptance of Security Council resolutions
and affirms the call for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices on the basis of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the national and political rights of the Palestinian people, to be attended by the permanent members of the Security Council and the parties to the conflict, including of course the Palestine Liberation Organization, on an equal footing. Other resolutions were adopted with a view to enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its sovereignty in its own State.
We have therefore provided the accurate and possible equation. General Assembly resolution 181 (II) provides the legal basis for the resolution of the conflict while Security Council resolution 242 (1967) provides the political basis for such a settlement.
The achievements of the Palestine National Council and its resolutions were widely welcomed throughout the world. Ninety-four States have to date recognized the new Palestinian State - and I do believe that 94 States is a majority of the membership of the United Nations. Several other States have viewed the position of
the Palestine National Council as opening the way for closer bilateral relations, including the possibility of recognizing the Palestinian State at a later time and as opening an important opportunity to achieve peace in the Middle East. On 13 December 1988 Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, which assumes the tasks and responsibilities of the Provisional Government until it is formed, announced before the United Nations General Assembly in Geneva a Palestinian peace initiative based on the peace position adopted by the Palestine National Council. At a press conference held on the following day in Geneva, the Chairman of the Executive Committee further clarified our political position in a comprehensive manner. On the same day, the United States Administration announced the opening of a dialogue with the Palestine
Liberation Organization, thus ending 13 years of boycott. We had always stated that ending the boycott would be useful and a requisite for the peace process. We view this development as significant and positive. We shall work, on our part, to develop this dialogue and expand it towards the full normalization of all relations. Notwithstanding the existence of difficulties, we shall act to harmonize the political position. Our people continues to hope that the United States will support its national rights - foremost among which is the right to
self-determination and national independence - as well as facilitate the convening of the international peace conference on the Middle East.
The Palestinian leadership recently repeated its call to Israel and its leaders to respond to the appeal for peace. Unfortunately, on the official level we could only find intransigence, rejection, greater extremism in the political position, and further oppression against our people in the occupied territory. It is time for Israel to realize that the Palestinian people and its national rights, including the right to exercise its sovereignty in its own State, are facts which cannot be circumvented, and no alternatives for those facts can be found. The Middle East conflict cannot be resolved by seeking to negotiate with Arab alternatives or through the illusory possibility of finding Palestinian alternatives that would enable Israel to avoid addressing the political dimension of the conflict and limit itself to some matters of daily life within the context of the occupation.
The Palestinian side has, and not for the first time, opened the way towards the achievement of peace. It did so by presenting the historic compromise solution to which the world has responded. I refer here to General Assembly resolution 176/43, in favour of which the overwhelming majority of States voted. It called on the Security Council to discuss means needed to convene the international peace conference on the Middle East, including the formation of a preparatory committee. While the favourable vote of the non-aligned States, the Islamic States, and the socialist States on that resolution was only natural in view of the consistent political position of those States, which we greatly appreciate, we consider the vote in its favour by Western and other States as an extremely positive development.
We believe that the situation is now ripe for the Security Council to begin to make the required progress in this direction, particularly in view of the positive attitude of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and his constant readiness to contribute to the work required. Until then what is urgently required is to provide the necessary protection for our people in the occupied Palestinian territory by the United Nations.
Our people needs a serious international position that would save the lives of its children. Israel also needs the world to make it understand that what it is doing is seriously rejected. We hope that the Security Council will succeed this time in its effort so that the door will be wide open to the chance for peace.
: I thank the representative of Palestine for his kind words addressed to me and to my country.
The next speaker is the representative of Tunisia, who wishes to make a statement in his capacity as Chairman of the Group of Arab States. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
(Tunisia) (interpretation from Arabic): On behalf of my delegation and on behalf of the Group of Arab States, of which I have the honour of being Chairman for this month, I should like, Sir, first to congratulate you on your assumption of the high office of President of the Council for the month of February. We are certain that you will preside successfully over the business of the Council, thanks to your well-known qualities and abilities as well as the esteem which your country, Nepal, enjoys. I should also like to thank your
predecessor, Ambassador Ismail Razali, Permanent Representative of Malaysia, for the skilful manner in which he conducted the business of the Council last month.
The Security Council is meeting today at the request of the Arab Group, which has called for
an immediate meeting of the Security Council in order to consider the dangerous situation, which is becoming worse every day, in the occupied Palestinian territory as a result of the increasing repression practised by the forces against unarmed Palestinian civilians. The Alternate Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations has addressed a letter to the published in document S/20451 dated 7 February 1989.
The Council met in December 1987, as well as early last year, to consider the alarming situation prevailing in the occupied Palestinian territories as a result of the unbridled campaign of repression, which continues to rage at the hands of the occupying forces and which is directed against the Palestinian civilians,
particularly since the beginning of the glorious uprising against foreign occupation and domination. The campaign of repression conducted by the occupying forces has claimed the lives of hundreds of victims; the numbers of injured and detainees rank in the thousands. Hundreds of Palestinian homes have been destroyed; mosques and churches have been profaned; and a large number of Palestinians have been driven from their land.
The world’s media have given us a graphic picture of Israel’s behaviour and unrestrained repression. International observers have given us an objective and impartial account of the ceaseless violations of human rights being perpetrated daily by the Israeli occupying forces in the occupied Arab territories.
In the face of the deteriorating situation, the Security Council adopted resolutions 605 (1987), 607 (1988) and 608 (1988), in which it condemned such practices and called upon Israel to comply with the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. The Council also called for a just and comprehensive settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Secretary-General and his assistants have made sustained and commendable efforts with regard to the situation, and the Secretary-General’s report of
21 January 1988, contained in document
, was adopted pursuant to Security Council resolution 605 (1987). In that report, he recommended the adoption of appropriate measures to protect Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
What was Israel's response to the Security Council's initiative and the Secretary-General's recommendations? Twelve months of contempt for the Council's resolutions and disdain for the Secretary-General's, the Council's and the General Assembly's appeals were to follow, 12 months of arrogance, defiance and aggression. Israel has continued to flout and challenge the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and to develop increasingly fierce methods of repression and arbitrary conduct, using live ammunition and toxic gases as well as a panoply of arbitrary legal, economic and social measures, in a
desperate and futile attempt to stifle the voice of the Palestinian people calling for its rights. It has thus been acting contrary to humanitarian values and international law.
The number of dead and injured has continued to rise, and the vast majority of the victims have been children and young people. The prisons and detention camps are overflowing. The demolition of homes continues. In the last few days, we have learned of a disturbing increase in arbitrary conduct and repression by Israeli occupation forces, as well as of further savage behaviour in the occupied territories against innocent and unarmed civilians, women, children and young people alike. The Israeli Prime Minister has referred to these people as if they were mere insects, promising to wipe them out to the last one.
The succinct statement made by the
representative of the Palestine Observer Mission a few minutes ago makes the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories clear. His statement was completely free from exaggeration or dramatic over-representation of the events. Indeed, the entire world knows that his account
falls far short of the true scale of the distressing events facing the inhabitants of the occupied Palestinian territories. It is a state of affairs that has been condemned even by Israel's traditional allies. The whole world is familiar with the number of dead and wounded, those who have been thrown into prison without trial, as well as the number of houses destroyed, the conditions of detention and torture. Everyone is aware of the scale of the repression, as extensively reported in the media. How long will the international community and the Security Council remain silent in the face of such a situation? Everyone knows that Israel's logic leads it to condemn the way in which those reprehensible acts are reported but not the acts themselves. In accordance with that logic, Israel refuses to heed the appeals that it put an end to such acts against the Palestinian people, for it intends to continue to suppress that people contrary to international law.
Israel is constantly searching for pretexts with which to justify its repression of the Palestinians and their legitimate rights. One such "justification" is the stones being thrown by Palestinian children and the tyres burning in the streets. Such pretexts do not convince us.
The heroic uprising of the Palestinians is not an injustice or aggression against Israel. It springs from a people which has lost patience, a people driven to despair by two decades of humiliation and oppression, a people which is at last raising its head, rejecting occupation, foreign domination and the colonial yoke, and that rejection is now irreversible. It springs from a people which is using the simplest yet most effective of weapons - the stone, picked up from its own national, soil - a people which has shown that it is capable of moderation, a people which has refrained from using a deadly weapon of modern times: the weapon of intimidation used against it by the occupier, which it could itself have used.
For their part, the Israeli occupying forces have not hesitated to use their murderous war machine, army and settlers against that people. The Palestinian People is paying a heavy price in terms of blood and suffering, but the might of the occupying Power is on the wane. Neither force, no repression, nor arbitrary conduct can bring about peace, justice or the settlement of the conflict.
These young people throwing stones are acting in self-defence, defending their dignity and legitimate rights. They have thereby made clear their rejection of violence and their determination to work by peaceful means towards the restoration of their legitimate rights. While determined to recover its inalienable rights to free its territory and establish an independent State on Palestinian soil, the Palestinian people is encouraged in so doing by the peace initiatives for a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian problem and the
The historic resolution adopted by the Palestine National Council during its session last November in Algiers and the statement made by the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, Mr. Yasser Arafat, before the General Assembly when it considered the question of Palestine in Geneva show that Palestinian leadership is
basing itself on the international legitimacy as embodied in General Assembly and, Security Council resolutions. It is thus clear that the Palestinian leadership has opted for the path of peace and has set out resolutely in that direction.
The Secretary-General in his report of 28 November 1988 on the situation in the Middle East, in giving an account of the work of the Algiers session of the Palestine National Council, states:
“The recent session of the Palestine National Council in Algiers has generated a new momentum in the diplomatic process and I believe it offers fresh opportunities for progress towards peace which should be seized.” (
, para. 37).
However, although the Palestinian leadership has constantly demonstrated that it has chosen peace and peace efforts, and the world seems to be committed to a definitive resolution of the conflict in the Middle East and voices are raised everywhere calling upon Israel to respond favourably to the initiatives of the Palestinian leadership, Israel nevertheless remains
intransigent, is bent on casting doubt on Palestinian intentions and impedes the peace efforts recently under way in the Middle East. That is proof that Israel is still refusing to accept peace initiatives and solutions and showing its determination to continue with its occupation and policy of expansion, as can be seen in the escalation of its repressive practices.
The Security Council must consider this state of affairs, which represents a grave danger to international peace and security. We hope that it will live up to its responsibilities by adopting all appropriate measures consistent with the dangerous situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a view to ending the repressive measures being taken by the Israeli occupation forces so as to protect the Palestinians in the occupied territories and to hasten the convening of the international peace conference on the Middle East. In so doing the Security
Council will contribute to alleviating the burden of one of the greatest tragedies in mankind’s history - the conflict that has lasted the longest in the annals of the United Nations - thereby doing what it has already done in the case of other regional conflicts that are beginning to show signs of being resolved.
: I thank the representative of Tunisia and Chairman of the Group of Arab States for his kind words addressed to me and to my country.
I invite the delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to be seated at the Council table.
At the invitation of the President, the delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable of the Palestinian People took a place at the Council table
: The next speaker is the representative of Senegal and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, on whom I now call.
(Senegal) (interpretation from French): Speaking as both the representative of Senegal and the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I first wish to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Council for February 1989 and once again to assure you of my whole-hearted cooperation at all times.
My delegation also wishes to express its gratitude to your predecessor, Mr. Ismail Razali, Permanent Representative of Malaysia, and congratulate him on his successful presidency of the Council in January, a particularly eventful month.
Since 9 December 1987, the date of the beginning of the
, there have been at least 494 fatalities and thousands injured, mostly children and young people.
This grim tally, which is only provisional, demands an urgent and appropriate response from the international community, and it is up to us to take immediate action to ensure that Israel abides by its obligations as an occupying Power, in accordance with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949.
Such an action would demonstrate the Security Council’s keen awareness of its responsibilities towards the martyred people of Palestine at a time when, in the international arena, we are witnessing a decline in the use of force, something that is doing wonders for the resumption of contact, dialogue and understanding.
It cannot be denied that what is occurring in occupied Palestinian territory goes against the current of history. Those events clearly bear the hallmark of an anachronistic policy of hegemony and domination raised to the level of a system of government, contrary to the principles of international law and to the provisions of the United Nations Charter.
Once again, we categorically reject that policy and express our concern at the daily deterioration in the situation, which is so inimical to Palestinian civil society.
Bloody confrontations, losses of human life, the intolerable practices of deportation, collective punishment and humiliation, arbitrary arrests and detentions, all have increased because blind passion and a thirst for vengeance are continuing to prevail over reason and tolerance.
That resurgence of oppression and violence reminds us of the vital need to reach a negotiated, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem.
My delegation and the Committee invite the Council to reflect and to enter into an in-depth debate on the best means of translating into concrete reality the message of peace, trust and hope Chairman Yasser Arafat addressed to the international community in December 1988 at Geneva following the historic decisions taken by the Palestine National Council the previous month at Algiers.
In that message Chairman Arafat brought to the world the Palestinian people's response to both their oppressors and their detractors. By unreservedly accepting a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and on the basis of respect for the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their right to self-determination, Chairman Arafat, with realism and courage, succeeded in launching a new drive for peace in the Middle East.
Notwithstanding that clearly expressed wish for peace, one warmly supported by justice-loving and freedom-loving States and peoples, the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories continues to command the attention of the Security Council. In the view of my delegation and of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People our deliberations must result in an appropriate response by the Security Council to the repeated and systematic violations of human rights in occupied Palestinian territory.
The method, nature and forms of such.violations of human rights have often been described and denounced. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People addressed 15 letters to the President of the Security Council on this subject in 1988 alone, and the relevant report of the United States State Department that has just been published can, should the need still exist, further enlighten us on this subject.
The international community, through the Security Council, must take initiatives to reach a comprehensive solution of the Middle East question take into account the legitimate interests of all the parties concerned.
There can be no question that the United Nations is in duty bound to new ensure the realization of the legitimate aspirations and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It is also incumbent upon the Security Council to implement the decisions and recommendations of the General Assembly on the Palestinian question that have been adopted year after year by an ever-increasing majority, particularly those calling for an international peace conference on the Middle East.
Those objective recommendations are based on internationally recognised basic principles relating to the Palestinian problem, which lies at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The vast majority of the international community considers that the convening of such a conference is now a vital necessity. That opinion has been expressed not only within the United Nations, but also in the decisions and statements of many other non-governmental organisations, including the Organisation of African Unity, the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the European Economic
The delegation of Senegal and the Committee are convinced that the international peace conference on the Middle East, enjoying as it does such broad support, offers all concerned and interested parties enormous opportunities to participate in negotiations designed to lead to a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Middle East crisis.
We appeal to all members of the Security Council to make a positive contribution to establishing a policy of dialogue among all the parties. All of us have the duty to work individually and collectively for the achievement, through sincere and constructive negotiations, of an Israeli-Arab peace under United Nations guarantees.
It is obvious that the problem cannot be resolved without an international political settlement that will take into account all the aspects of the question and meet the concerns of all the parties.
On behalf of the delegation of Senegal and on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I wish once again to stress that neither the use of brute force nor diplomatic delays and excuses can conceal the truth that Palestinian reality is "alive and vigorous and that it cannot be denied, obscured or wished away."
: I thank the representative of Senegal and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for the kind words she addressed to me.
The next speaker is the representative of Jordan. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
(Jordan) (interpretation from Arabic): I am delighted to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. We have every confidence in your ability to guide the work of the Council in the best possible manner, by virtue of your competence, experience, wisdom and integrity.
Allow me to express my gratitude and appreciation to Mr. Ismail Razali, Permanent Representative of Malaysia, for his effective performance, consummate skill and outstanding competence in leading the deliberations of the Security Council during the period of his presidency, last month.
The Security Council has been convened once again, today, to discuss the situation in the occupied Arab territories. Since the last time the Council convened to consider that situation, 10 months ago, there have been developments in the situation in the occupied Arab territories in particular, as well as in the question of Palestine in general, making it necessary for the Security Council to meet today to continue its consideration of this item, which has been on its agenda for many years. We hope the Security Council will be able to take a firm and
effective decision commensurate with the seriousness of the situation in the occupied Arab territories and the latest developments in the question of Palestine as a whole.
The situation in the occupied Arab territories continues to deteriorate daily, particularly because of the increasing scale of Israeli measures and practices which violate the human rights of the Palestinian people under occupation.
Those repressive measures and the inhuman practices that have characterized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people since the very onset of the occupation have become ever more deliberate and aggressive since the beginning of the popular uprising in the West Sank and Gaza. From the moment the glorious uprising began to blaze, Israel hastened to strengthen its iron fist and intensify its vicious onslaught in the hope of crushing the uprising and extinguishing its flames. But every time Israel raises the level of its obduracy and aggression, the solidity and resiliency of the uprising increase. The uprising is not to be crushed; nor are its flames to be extinguished.
The Palestinian uprising has made matters clear. It has demonstrated the Palestinian identity in an incontrovertible manner. The
is an expression of the irrepressible will of the Arab Palestinian people. It has thus led to important, historic events which one after the other have proved the justice of that people’s cause and its sincere desire for peace. That desire was confirmed by the Palestine National Council during its recent session, held at Algiers from 12 to 15 November 1988. That session served as a basis for the Palestinian peace
initiative announced by the Palestinian leader, Mr. Yasser Arafat, before the General Assembly at Geneva on 13 December 1988.
The Palestinian uprising does not mean disturbances, riots or demonstrations. Rather, it is one of the most splendid forms of heroic national struggle to resist occupation, attain freedom and bring about independence. History will keep a place of honour in its eternal memory for the
will remain one of the greatest and most magnificent human achievements in the modern history of struggle.
During the first months of the uprising the world came to know the acts of repression, tyranny and terrorism carried out by Israel on Palestinian territory against the Palestinians who were rising up against occupation and rejecting the
which Israel was attempting to impose upon them by force. Strong reactions came from all over the world; all were united in sympathy for the Palestinian people and in support for its struggle, and in condemnation of Israel and in disapproval of its aggressive actions. After the world saw and heard, through the various information media, what was - and, indeed, is - happening in the Palestinian territories, it could no longer remain silent or turn a blind eye.
Israel imposed a news blackout in the occupied Palestinian territories in the hope of making it impossible for the world to follow the events there at first hand. Israel was evidently unaccustomed to hearing cries of disapproval or voices of censure, especially from its friends, for whom it had managed in various ways to
embellish its behaviour and disguise the facts. However, the uprising, which has exposed Israel and laid bare its true character, is still underway and will continue to bear witness to the nature of the policy pursued by Israel, whatever means of obfuscation Israel may adopt.
Although I do not feel there is any need for me to list all the various types of measures and practices adopted by Israel against the Palestinian people, I cannot but mention some of them, particularly following Israel's recent decision to intensify those practices and strengthen those measures - as if Israel were not yet aware that however long it persists in that direction it will not be able to put an end to the uprising. The
represents the strong spirit of the Palestinian people; it represents its heart overflowing with patriotism; it expresses its
resolute determination to attain its freedom and exercise its national rights, like any other people on Earth.
Israel has practised every kind of violence and terrorism against the Palestinian people, thereby violating all international covenants and resolutions, particularly the fourth Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Israeli soldiers have used live ammunition against Palestinians bearing no weapons other than their faith and the stones lying on their land. They have used other kinds of ammunition as well, such as rubber, steel and plastic bullets. Although plastic
bullets are described as non-lethal, they kill if fired at close range, and that is what Israeli soldiers do. More than 40 Palestinians have been killed by that type of bullet since it was first used, last August.
The Israeli occupation forces have also used various forms of gas, causing deaths and miscarriages. The Israeli forces have savagely beaten Palestinians, breaking their limbs and heads, even if they have not succeeded in breaking their spirit. Widespread campaigns of arrest have continued. There have been successive operations to expel Palestinian citizens from their land and separate them from their families. The demolition of homes and the uprooting of trees have continued and even increased. Both total and partial curfews have been repeatedly imposed to the extent that it seems as if there has been one continuous curfew.
The sanctity of Holy Places has also been violated; religious scholars have been attacked and arrested on grounds of provocation; hospitals have been raided; doctors and nurses have been detained; even the wounded have been abducted from hospitals; and educational institutions have repeatedly been closed. And there is much more.
The list of Israeli practices against the Palestinian people is a long one. In giving this summary I have had the intention of showing the truth about what is happening in Palestinian territory and calling attention to the suffering being endured by the Palestinians, particularly since the Council - as I have already mentioned - has not convened to consider the situation for 10 months now. The Council can imagine the human and material losses and the psychological tribulations undergone by the Palestinian people in its cities, villages and camps, and the pain it has suffered throughout the period which has elapsed. Although the statistics on these losses show minor divergences, most are certainly still lower than the real figures. There is a near consensus among the various sources of information available to us that the number of martyrs killed during the first year of the uprising was in excess of 490; the number of wounded was close to 50,000, according to the records of the various hospitals and clinics, in addition to a large number of wounded who were not taken to medical centres; the number of Palestinian citizens arrested was in excess of 27,000; cases of expulsion involved over 32 individuals; and miscarriages in the Gaza Strip alone amounted to over 200. In addition, more than 580 homes were demolished and 100,000 trees - mostly olive trees - were uprooted. Besides all this, the confiscation of land and the
establishment of new settlements continued, as did the expansion of a number of existing settlements.
It is time for Israel to realize that its current course of maintaining the
military occupation goes against the movement of history, that its determination to hold fast to this course represents a greater danger to it than does any other factor and that its fear of real peace with the Palestinian people is a fear based on its own actions and on its own suspicions of everything that is different from itself.
The Palestinian people awaits an immediate and sincere effort on the part of the Security Council to redress the grave historical wrong which was inflicted upon it and to ensure justice, security and freedom for it, in order that it may enjoy a normal and stable life in its homeland, like any other people. That, of course, cannot be brought about except by a just, durable and comprehensive peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of the Palestinian people. Everyone is aware that the problem does not lie simply in
Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, although they do constitute an important indeed fundamental, element. The problem is a political problem, requiring a radical political solution. However, it is essential to take the measures that are necessary to ensure the protection of the Palestinian people, in a prompt and effective manner, pending progress towards the achievement of a comprehensive peace settlement, which must begin at once. In this context, we should like to refer to the valuable report (
) which was submitted by the Secretary-General, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, to the Security Council last January and which contains important recommendations for the purpose of ensuring the desired protection of the Palestinian people.
It is now up to the Council. We hope that it will be able to take an appropriate decision to put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people by ensuring its protection as a necessary first step, and then by working to bring about the desired peaceful settlement. Israel must make a sincere and realistic contribution to the promotion of such a settlement by withdrawing from the West Bank, including Arab Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip and by recognizing the national rights of the Palestinian people, first and foremost among which is its right to self-determination. Israel must do so because the Palestinian people has made its required contribution. It remains now for Israel to extend the hand of peace and to accept the Palestinian peace invitation, which was witnessed by the world last December and which is supported by a resolute Arab position of peace.
: I thank the representative of Jordan for the kind words he addressed to me and my country.
The next speaker is the representative of Egypt. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.
(Egypt) (interpretation from Arabic): It is a great pleasure for me to see you, Sir, presiding over the Security Council. Your wisdom and impartiality are the best earnest of the success of the work of the Council, which now has this important issue before it.
I wish also to express thanks to the outgoing President, the Ambassador of Malaysia, whose political skills were appreciated by all the members of the Council during his term of office.
I take this opportunity also of congratulating the new members of the Council and wishing them all success in carrying out their responsibilities. I am sure they will carry out their tasks in the serious manner so characteristic of them.
A year has passed since the Security Council last considered the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. A great deal of water has flowed over the dam between that time and our meeting today. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed since the last series of meetings on this problem, early in 1988. Indeed, the situation has become even more alarming for all persons of good conscience. I have not come here today to rehearse all the arbitrary measures and people in the occupied territories are violations of human rights to which our being subjected.
The situation is clear and needs no elaboration. What is necessary now is the rapid adoption of a decisive stand on this matter.
I have come here in the hope that the Security Council will prove able to rise to its responsibilities and unanimously express the international will that a halt be put to this state of affairs. There is no doubt that the situation is dangerous in many ways and disgraces all who shyly avert their gaze and remain silent. We were disappointed when, at its last meetings on the subject, the Security Council was unable to do the very least required by international public opinion and adopt a presidential statement calling for an end to the situation. We hope the current consultations will be more successful.
The Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories is the result of that people’s refusal to remain under an occupation that has lasted for more than 20 years and to tolerate the illegal presence on Palestinian land. It is the height of political myopia to think that the popular will can be held in check by the oppression engaged in by some or the lack of enthusiasm of others to adopt a resolution or take a decision. A settlement must necessarily take into account the roots of the problem, namely the continuation of the occupation and the use of force
to perpetuate it.
Egypt believes that a comprehensive political settlement guaranteeing the right of the peoples of the region to self-determination and the security of all the States of the region is the only way to achieve stability. To hasten the achievement of that end, Israel must act in conformity with written and customary law relating to the treatment of civilians in time of war and most importantly the Fourth Geneva Convention, of 1949. We say again that that Convention is applicable in the occupied territories. Egypt believes that the occupying forces’ non-observance of the Convention violates obligations entered into, under it.
The Middle East conflict is now seen within the framework of the overall détente that exists as a result of the increasingly favourable international climate, which has also influenced other regional conflicts. What is more, Israel's actions in the occupied territories influence the way in which international public opinion assesses Israel's desire to enter into the peace process. The Palestinians demonstrated their sincere desire for a settlement
within the framework of international legality when their representatives accepted Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), acceptance clearly stated in the decisions adopted by the Palestine National Council in Algiers in November and in the statements adopted in Stockholm and Geneva.
The important development of the Palestinian position and the many initiatives undertaken by the Palestine Liberation Organization have led to an American-Palestinian dialogue that demands a favourable response from the Israeli Government and recognition by it of the need to speak with the representatives and
leaders of the Palestinian people.
The long years of occupation and use of force have not succeeded in ensuring the security of the occupier, nor have they discouraged the owners of the land from demanding enjoyment of their legitimate right to self-determination. The security and stability of all necessitates Israel's recognition of the legitimate rights of
the Palestinian people, particularly their right to self-determination, as well as the opening of negotiations with all parties concerned in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and definitive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The world has been witnessing wide détente as well as an important evolution in Palestinian and Arab positions; in America, power has been passed on to a new Government; and a new Israeli Government has been formed. All those events have opened new perspectives for peace in the Middle Fast. The constructive Palestinian
position requires a favourable response from the Israeli Government - one that puts an end to the current practices in the occupied territories and thus demonstrates Israel's sincere desire to establish peaceful relations with its
neighbours and in particular to establish more humane relations with its closest neighbours, the Palestinians, who are temporarily living under occupation. That would represent a clear and unmistakable message of peace that could finally lead to stability in the region, which is the goal we all seek. The present Israeli position with regard to the problem can only lead to a radicalization of the situation and to an increase in violence, to the detriment of
dialogue and moderation. It is now clear that important sectors of the Israeli population, including members of the armed forces, reject such actions, which have already been rejected by peoples and Governments of the civilized world and by the majority of regional and international organizations.
Last year the world celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet in the same year hundreds and thousands of dead and wounded could be counted on the West Bank and in Gaza. The human rights of tens of thousands of Palestinians were violated by an unlimited and
illegal occupation maintained only through the fiercest repression. The seriousness of the situation goes beyond the number of victims; it arises also from the fate of the millions who live in the region and dream of a better future for themselves and for coming generations, for peoples of all religions and philosophies. We have a responsibility to strive to work to achieve peace; an end to the present violations would be a first step in that direction.
We are now witnessing important events in the Middle East, events which require us to adopt a serious position in order to ensure a lasting and durable peace through a negotiated settlement of the conflict. That goal can be achieved if we pursue a dynamic and energetic course. First Israel, the occupying Power in the West Bank and Gaza, must recognize the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupied territories. Then all the parties concerned must, through preparatory consultations with the participation of all, agree to hold direct talks within the framework of the International Peace Conference and on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the Palestinian people's right to self-determination.
That is the path that can lead to a just peace. As for Egypt, it firmly hopes that the Security Council will at its present deliberations adopt the resolution the situation demands.
: I thank the representative of Egypt for his kind words addressed to me.
The next speaker is the
representative of Israel. I invite, him to take a place at the Council table and to make a statement.
(Israel): First and foremost, I should like to congratulate you, Sir, on the assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of February. I have no doubt that your skilled guidance and wide diplomatic experience will be of great benefit to our deliberations. I should, in addition, like to congratulate your predecessor and, indeed, all the new members of the Security Council.
Israel since its rebirth, almost 41 years ago, has sought political, accommodation, coexistence and peace with all its neighbours. We have repeatedly called for dialogue and direct negotiations as the most effective means to solve the many intricate problems of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It of course goes without saying, that stability and peace can be achieved only through compromise and the attainment of a balance between the various aspirations of the peoples in the area.
During this period, Israel has had to contend with wide-ranging threats to its security and survival, including full-scale wars and relentless acts of terror and violence. This situation, however, has not caused Israel to abandon its search for peace, in the same way that the wars and violence have not, and will not, cause Israel to abandon or compromise its vital security interests.
Since 1948, the Arab-Israeli conflict has manifested itself in different ways, the latest of which being the so-called uprising in the territories administered by Israel since 1967. Just as Israel has sought a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict for the last four decades, Israel seeks to end the violence in these territories through a political solution. Israel did not need the "uprising" to realize that only a political solution can transform the present situation into one in which the foundations of trust, accommodation and compromise can begin to take root.
Israel, however, believes that in order to reach a political solution one must attempt to introduce a gradual and pragmatic approach of confidence-building measures in which violence can withdraw in favour of dialogue and understanding. Interim solutions are possible and can be reached in a relatively short period of
time, but cannot be attained under the threat of firebombs and violence.
While Israel is committed to promoting political solutions, it remains obliged to maintain order and public safety and to restore tranquillity.
An uninvolved observer listening to some of the speeches in this debate would think that Israel was simply facing harmless demonstrations. In fact, it is confronting large-scale rioting and widespread violence. Gangs of youths who hurl heavy rocks and iron bars at Israelis with the clear intent to kill are not demonstrators. Ambushing cars and school buses and attacking their passengers with patrol barbs - burning alive women with babies, innocent families taking a vacation, pupils on their way to school - is not a demonstration. Attacks with
knives are not demonstrations. Murdering Israeli civilians who go shopping is not a demonstration. We have heard here a great deal about Palestinian casualties, which indeed Israel regrets, but hardly anything about Israeli casualties. In fact, hundreds of Israelis have been injured, sometimes fatally. Only two days ago, an Israeli, Mr. Albert Jusary, was burned alive in his car. A debate which ignores the human rights of Israelis to go about their business in peace, and the duty of the Government of Israel to enable them to do so, cannot expect to be taken seriously.
Israel has called on the residents of the territories to exercise restraint, refrain from violence and pursue a political solution. There are some prominent Palestinian personalities in the territories, like the Mayor of Bethlehem, that had the courage to state that the Palestinians would be willing to accept an honourable
truce that would be a calming period in which to ease the tension so that people could begin to think and behave normally. So said the Mayor. Arafat replied publicly to this message with frank brutality: ‘Whoever thinks of stopping the
before it achieves its goals, I will give him 10 bullets in his chest”. So said Arafat.
It is this irrational pursuit of terror and violence that prevents the beginnings of a political solution in the territories. This destructive approach has also allowed for the continuation of terrorist infiltrations on Israel’s
northern border by factions in the PLO that attended the Algiers PNC and supposedly gave their consent to the renunciation of terror. We have heard that such infiltrations are not terror - well, let me say that they are not acts of peace and moderation. This approach is also the reason why the PLO would not agree to any call for mutual restraint being included in the recent draft of a potential presidential statement of the Security Council.
If the PLO is so interested in a political solution, why does it so openly attempt to prevent and deter the residents of the territories from continuing a political dialogue with Israel?
The reason is clear. If the residents not only continue their dialogue with Israel but also reach understandings and arrangements that constitute the beginning of a political solution, this will threaten the so-called leadership of the PLO in Tunis and its very raison d'être as the uprising itself in the territories has
done since December 1987. The PLO in Tunis does not renounce terrorism and violence: it renounces, as it always has, genuine peace solutions.
It is not Israel which incites its soldiers or its citizens to confront Palestinians in the territories, nor is it Israel that places children in the forefront of violent demonstrations which lead to fatalities and injuries on both
I should like to reiterate here once again that Israel is attempting to restore tranquillity in the areas with maximum restraint possible and in full compliance with laws which have applied to these territories for almost half a century, long before Israel took control of them. Israel impresses on its soldiers the need to abide by Jewish moral and ethical codes - which have served as a beacon to the world - despite the intense and relentless provocation which they face. These moral restraints, however , are exploited by some to continue the violence.
This approach is illusory. Violence in the territories, or elsewhere, will not force Israel to compromise its vital security interests, nor will it force Israel to abandon its efforts to achieve a political settlement. Violence will only lead to deadlock and more suffering.
Israel has two primary objectives: to restore tranquillity to the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and to try to reach peace agreements with all our neighbours. In the framework of these peace agreements, we seek to negotiate, agree upon and resolve the ultimate status of the territories and of the Palestinian Arabs residing there, taking into account their legitimate rights.
As a rule, one holds negotiations and dialogue between adversaries, between those who agree on the principle of direct negotiations and peace but do not agree on the details and have different aspirations about the final outcome.
Israel remains steadfast in its desire for direct negotiations with its neighbouring States and the Palestinian Arabs residing in the administered territories, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The PLO and some Arab countries repeatedly have said no to direct negotiations; they have said no to the Camp David accords; no to elections of representatives in the territories; no to an interim phase of self-rule or autonomy; no to negotiations which would begin during that interim phase with the objective of achieving a permanent solution.
Instead, they have offered an international conference that would be convened in order to implement a pre-determined outcome, which would not provide for direct negotiations but, rather, act as a substitute for them.
If an international conference is such a good idea, why is it that of the welcome developments of the last year in other areas of the world none of the conflicts were resolved by that means? Neither the Iran-Iraq conflict nor the Namibia problem nor the Afghan problem is being resolved in an international conference, but only through direct negotiations between the States concerned, sometimes with the help of the United Nations and other third parties.
Indeed, Israel does not object in principle to any such third-party assistance. Prime Minister Shamir has stated recently that we are willing for direct negotiations to take place under the auspices of the United States and the Soviet Union and/or the Secretary-General of the United Nations, provided that such auspices constitute the framework of the negotiations and do not directly intervene in their substance. It is characteristic of the double standards that are applied to Israel that Israel’s wish to resolve its differences with the Arab world through
the traditional method of direct negotiations should be dismissed as intransigence, while the Arab refusal to permit any settlement except one imposed by an international conference should be regarded as an enlightened and
Regarding the PLO, it is evident that the true situation is quite different from what it appears to be. The PLO has not renounced terrorism, but continues to employ terrorism both against Israel and in its attempts to exercise control over any Arab who opposes its directives. It has not abandoned its plan for the destruction of Israel by stages, and the Palestinian State which it says it wishes to establish in the administered territories is intended to be no more than a first step towards its ultimate goal of replacing the whole of Israel by the so-called
State of Palestine.
Thus, on 6 December 1988, Abu Iyad, Arafat’s deputy, said - to give just one example among many:
“We swore that we would liberate even pre-67 Palestine. We shall liberate Palestine stage by stage... The borders of our State as we declared it represent only part of our national aspirations. We will work to expand them in order to realize our aspirations for all the land of Palestine..."
I must point out that the nature of some of the language against Israel that we have heard in this debate - and I am sure we will hear some more next week - is certainly not indicative of a desire for conciliation and peace-making, and completely gives the lie to any pretence that a fundamental change has taken place on the other side.
Nevertheless, our offer remains open, and if negotiations start in the manner I have described, with Arab States and representatives of the Palestinian Arabs living in the territories, I have no doubt that a satisfactory solution can and will be found, which will recognize both Israel's security needs and the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.
: I thank the representative of Israel for his kind words addressed to me.
In view of the lateness of the hour, I intend to adjourn the meeting now. The next meeting of the Security Council to continue the consideration of the item on the agenda will take place on Monday, 13 February 1989, at 10.30 a.m.
The meeting rose at 1.45 p.m