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1. Mr. MAINA (Kenya): Mr. President, allow me to open my remarks by reaffirming my delegation's confidence in you and in the way you have so far guided the work of this session. I do so now because my delegation has observed a disquieting development, starting from the beginning of this session. My delegation heard with dismay from very unexpected quarters derisive terms used in connexion with the work of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We have heard, among others, terms such as "mechanical majorities", ''built-in majorities" and ''tyranny of the majority", all of which culminated in an unusual challenge of a ruling of the Chair last week. This was then followed by the most unseemly accusation of bias on your part.
2. All these developments, unless checked, will lead to a very unhealthy situation in the future. My delegation views these developments with concern, as we consider that they are not so much aimed at anything peculiar to this twenty-ninth session but rather at the very foundation on which the United Nations is built.
3. These attacks are all designed to discredit this Organization and to prepare the way for a more serious onslaught. The reasons for this attack are of course not difficult to understand. This Organization has established its independence, an independent approach to problems and a capacity to follow the truth without the handicaps of prior commitments characteristic of the post-war years.
4. These matters ought to be given attention now before great damage is done to the only Organization capable of giving mankind as a whole any hope of a peaceful future.
5. The question of the Middle East has become perennial on the agenda of the United Nations ever since this august body took a decision under resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 to create in Palestine an Arab State and a Jewish State in the former British Mandated Territory. The tragic events that followed the decision of the General Assembly to partition Palestine are well known, and I shall not take the time of the Assembly to recount in detail its historical aspects. Other speakers before me have dealt adequately with this matter.
6. Prior to this session of the General Assembly, the Organization had tended to concentrate more on the humanitarian question of the refugees, which resulted from the conflict that ensued after the partitioning of Palestine. However important this aspect is, it could not be expected to end the problem. The unsatisfactory nature of the solutions decided on by the General Assembly is proved by the fact that within 25 years that unhappy region has been devastated by four wars. On each of these occasions, the peace and security of the whole world has been threatened. Some of us remember vividly the cloud of tension that hung over the world in 1956, 1967 and 1973. It was therefore fitting that the General Assembly decided to depart from its previous practice of looking only at the refugee question, and instead look at the problem in its entirety. My delegation was therefore happy to endorse the inclusion in the agenda of item 108, entitled "Question of Palestine". My delegation was also happy to endorse the discussion of this crucial matter, which relates to the general peace, in the plenary Assembly, because we believe that the General Assembly, having taken the original decision to partition Palestine, is the appropriate organ to discuss in detail and resolve the problems arising out of its own decision.
7. There is nothing unusual in giving freedom-fighters a hearing. I witnessed this in my country when freedom-fighters were collected from the forests to discuss the possibility of ending the fighting. They were collected from agreed places in the forests, taken to towns to meet high Government officials under military protection and, when no agreement was reached, they were returned to the forests to continue with the fighting.
8. In the view of my delegation, therefore, the importance of the events of this session does not lie with the recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] or Mr. Arafat -- important as that recognition is -- but rather in the decision of the General Assembly to give a hearing to the people most concerned in this whole question of Palestine. In any case, who are we to say who should speak for them? That question cannot be decided in New York; it can be decided only in the Middle East, and that is precisely what happened.
9. At the centre of all the problems afflicting the unhappy region is the fate of a people, the Arab Palestinians. When I addressed the General Assembly during the general debate, I stated:
12. In approaching the question of Palestine my delegation has the following principles as its guidelines: first, that all States in the region have a right to existence in conditions of peace and security; secondly, that the acquisition of territory by force of arms is inadmissible; and, thirdly, that the Palestinian people, the displaced Palestinian people, are an essential part of any solution aimed at producing a just and durable peace.
13. In our approach to the first principle we take cognizance of all the decisions that have been taken by this august body. We first recognize that a mandated territory called Palestine existed after the First World War. That State of Palestine was distinct and separate from the other territories that were created around it, namely, Lebanon, Syria and Transjordan. We do not, therefore, agree with the simplistic explanation of the representative of Israel in his statement of 13 November, when he stated:
15. I wish to reiterate that my delegation firmly believes that a durable peace will come to that region only if that first basic principle is firmly adhered to by all Member States. The right of all the States and peoples in this region to live in peace and within recognizable boundaries has been emphasized by this Organization through various resolutions. My delegation does not interpret that principle as threatening the disappearance of any State. It neither threatens the obliteration of Israel nor the denial of the existence of an Arab State as envisaged by earlier decisions of the General Assembly pertaining to the partition of Palestine .
16. The second principle -- namely, that the acquisition of land by force of arms is inadmissible -- is now a well-established principle of the United Nations With regard to Palestine, that principle was referred to as early as 1948, when the Security Council adopted resolution 56 (1948) and decided that no party was permitted to violate the truce on the ground that it was undertaking reprisals or retaliations against the other party and, furthermore, that no party was entitled to gain military or political advantage through violation of the truce. My delegation therefore firmly opposes, indeed condemns, the acquisition of territory by Israel in violation of that principle and its continued resistance to withdrawal from those areas.
17. Earlier, I stated that in resolving the Middle East crisis the rights of the displaced people of Palestine should under no circumstances be abused, overlooked, sacrificed or minimized [see para. 9 above]. Since the outbreak of hostilities in 1948, the rights of the Palestinian people have been minimized. They have been considered only in the context of refugees. While taking cognizance of the fact that, when the hostilities broke out, there were bound to be some displaced people, it is completely inadmissible to ignore both the existence of those people and their rights after the cessation of active hostilities. As early as 11 December 1948, the General Assembly adopted resolution 194 (III), in which, in paragraph 11, it resolved that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date. Those not wishing to return to their homes were entitled to compensation. That resolve of the General Assembly has not been respected by the Government of Israel, which continues to ignore the existence of the displaced Palestinian Arabs. Repeatedly, the General Assembly has called on Israel to implement paragraph 11 of the resolution, to no avail. On 15 December 1965 the General Assembly adopted resolution 2052 (XX), in which it once again expressed its deep regret that Israel had not implemented the previous resolutions. Several other resolutions of the Security Council calling upon Israel to honour its obligations have been ignored.
18. My delegation does not accept the interpretation of who the Palestinians are as given by the representative of Israel when he addressed the Assembly on this subject on 13 November [2283rd meeting]. We recognize the ethnic affinities between the Palestinians and the citizens of Transjordan but it would be completely wrong, in our view, to call Jordanians "Palestinians", in the context of peoples living in two different countries with distinct boundaries. It cannot be refuted that prior to independence there were citizens of Transjordan on the eastern bank and British subjects of Palestine, both Arab and Jewish, on the western bank.
19. The continued minimizing of the importance of the existence of the Palestinian people, as we know, generated frustration in them, which eventually, as in the case of all peoples in the same circumstances, has led to violence. The Palestinians, for more than a decade, have been patient, waiting to see what this Organization would do to right the wrongs done to them. The invitation to their representative, through the PLO, to address the General Assembly was, in the opinion of my delegation, a first step towards rectifying the action of ignoring them and minimizing their rights.
20. Following the adoption of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), a process of negotiation was established. The process was further widened after the hostilities that broke out in 1973 and the adoption of resolution 338 (1973) by the Security Council.
21. The General Assembly. in resolution 3089 D (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, reaffirmed that "the people of Palestine is entitled to equal rights and self-determination, in accordance with the Charter". Furthermore, it declared that the Palestinian peoples are indispensable for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. My delegation believes that for a durable peace the Palestinians must be involved in the discussion that directly affects their future. We counsel moderation and accommodation, which are the basis of any negotiations. We call upon Israel to recognize that lasting peace will elude it as long as the displaced Palestinians are not listened to or are not given an opportunity to discuss the question of how each State and each people in the region can live with one another within recognized boundaries.
22. Mr. MONDJO (Congo) (interpretation from French): At this advanced stage in this long debate, the first ever devoted to the question of Palestine by the Organization, I do not feel that I should come to this rostrum, after the many speakers I have had the privilege of listening to with the utmost attention, to reconstruct the historical genesis of the tragedy that for a quarter of a century has afflicted the martyred Palestinian people. The valuable information and the irrefutable testimony that we have been provided with here give us, by the light they shed on the tragic history of this people, a full awareness of the problem, starkly reconstructing the Palestinian tragedy, its scope and form, which offends the understanding, makes the mind reel and provokes an indescribable revulsion, shocking us to the very core of our being.
23. I shall none the less confine myself to a few ideas which my delegation has drawn from the various statements that we have all heard throughout this debate. Everybody is now well aware of the resolute support constantly accorded by the Government of the Congo to the just struggle of the Palestinian people for the restoration of its national rights. The Central Committee of the Congolese Worker's Party, under the leadership of the President, Marien Ngouabi, has always supported the struggle for liberation waged, often in terrible conditions, by the friendly Palestinian people whose homeland has been cynically usurped.
24. On behalf of the delegation and the Government and the people of the Congo, I should like to extend our warmest greetings to the Palestinian delegation in pledging once again to them our full and unconditional solidarity.
25. The spirit of the times provides in all areas palpable proof of a thriving imagination, of a boldness and a fruitfulness rarely seen before. We are pleased to note today the irreversible changes that fundamentally transform international relations in democratizing them, and provide us with a new world view and the assurance that all peoples in the world are aware of the problems that only yesterday were the preserve of a wealthy oligarchy. The world developing under our very eyes no longer appears through this grille that had created serious differences between peoples; the world being shaped today will be totally different from yesterday's world, which could so well accept hypocritical compromise and defeatism -- in brief, all the elements that allowed the exploitation of peoples, genocide, and the innumerable crimes against human rights. The world we are building today in concert must be free from the obsolete remnants of colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, racism and zionism.
26. Today we are witnessing the emergence of a phenomenon totally different from the situation prevailing in the world of the past. The third world, against which the ugliest adjectives were used -- savage peoples, barbaric nations, dependent States and so forth -- is now developing and it is no use denying this. Proletarian nations, now a dynamic part of what one author has called ''the expansion of world space", are no longer satisfied with a neutrality which is likely to be swayed. Now, it is up to us, the young States that have been too long subjected to the so-called wisdom of the great Powers, wherever these phenomena manifest themselves, to prevent excessive power, which leads to unjust wars, oppression and exploitation of peoples. The career of those who, guardians of an order that has disintegrated, believe they still must persuade by coercion is thus irremediably doomed. That is why we greet as a landmark in the present decade this debate on the question of Palestine, which offers all the Members of the United Nations, without any exception, the opportunity to acquire detailed knowledge of the causes of what has come to be called "the Middle East crisis" and which should, as we whole-heartedly hope, strengthen our solidarity with all peoples who, without counting the cost, make heavy sacrifices for their right to freedom, self-determination and independence. This is a resolution we must shape in concert, for it must not be directed against any particular people.
27. On behalf of the delegation of the Congo, I should like to hail the objective spirit and the courtesy which, thanks to you, Mr. President, have pervaded this historic debate. We who have known you for many years are already aware that your personality is distinguished by high merits and qualifications. We could not let this debate end without reiterating to you our satisfaction, for, thanks to your composure, it has been possible for the consideration of this important agenda item to take place in an atmosphere of calm and dignity. I realize that words alone are insufficient to express the gratitude of my delegation. I should have liked to be able to express these sentiments more eloquently.
28. True, there are no roses without thorns: there are still those who are slow to perceive current trends, who have not grasped the profound meaning and universal scope of the event in which we are involved so intensely, so oblivious are they to the need for a transformation by now inevitable. Doubtless, emotion must have blotted out all sane judgement and clouded their minds, for this debate cannot be interpreted as a case against the Jew as an individual. Judaism, like any other religion, is entitled to be respected and protected. Indeed, the Constitution of my country, at the present stage of our national democratic revolution, guarantees freedom of belief and religion to those Congolese -- and they are legion -- for whom such a practice is not incompatible with their political commitments. We are therefore in a position to denounce the pernicious propaganda mounted outside this hall, in New York public opinion and in the biased press, so ready to resort to low blows at the bidding of their masters, the political merchants. This brain-washing campaign is daily taking on the form of psychological piracy erasing every demarcation line between truth and falsehood. The object is clear: the promulgation of those utterly false ideas and their presentation to willing minds is intended to give the Organization a distorted and hideous image, while adorning Israel with the trappings of a martyr.
29. We denounce that campaign because it disrupts the course of our debate and sets American public opinion against the United Nations. However, this lurking danger is obvious to all, because, while it may often paralyse the intelligence, brain-washing must inevitably backfire; thus, through the artifice of propaganda designed to annihilate the reasoning faculty, the intellectual author of that brain-washing is himself affected and ends up by acquiescing in the absurd. We are politically and morally in duty bound to coordinate our efforts to achieve a better understanding in our search for a just solution to this problem which pointlessly pits Arabs and Jews against each another.
30. The Palestinian people has always had a long tradition of hospitality. Many speakers have already stressed that the Jewish presence in Palestine up to the nineteenth century was essentially a token presence. It is only from the nineteenth century on that Jewish immigration began to increase; but up to that point the relations between Arabs and Jews were not so bad. Historical documents reveal that at harvest-time, Jews and Arabs "mingled fraternally in the vineyards". But very soon that co-operation turned into a dangerous confrontation because of the hypocrisy of the Jewish settlers, who bought up the oases belonging to the Arabs, with the covert intention of expelling the Arabs from them, in addition to which, "they refused to provide services traditionally connected with those lands". After the harvest, the Bedouins, who were in the habit of grazing their flocks, found all access to the pastures barred. Through the deliberate desire of the Jews, the situation became stormy.
31. That was the beginning of the attainment of zionism's objective -- that is, to build a homogeneous nation by a systematic plot, based on religious belief, to expel the Palestinian people from its land.
32. What an ironic stroke of fate that the victims of Nazi raids and pogroms should be resorting to the "therapeutics of purification" against the Arab people of Palestine. Israel, to this day, despite the appeals to reason launched by the international community, obstinately pursues its criminal objectives and carefully orchestrates its obsession.
33. Unable to eliminate the Palestinian people, Israel is now attempting to gain support for the opinion that the Palestinians are a gang of terrorists and murderers. Without speaking of the State terrorism practised every day by Israel, which has caused so much bloodshed among innocent people, we wish to say that the Palestinian people does not have any monopoly of violence. True, it is easy to speak of the many acts of the national liberation movements in response to other forms of violence, which have been skilfully camouflaged by all sorts of ruses -- for example, the colonial or neo-colonial violence that stifles the life of an entire people. So what should we say about this "legal" terrorism in the service of unlawful causes? The revolutionary violence of liberation movements such as the PLO is the catalyst of the oppressed it calls to revolt; it is, as Georges Sorel said, "the only creative force in history". The justice of this struggle is emphasized by a famous writer, who said:
35. There is another aspect of this tragedy that leads my delegation to ask here whether there really exists a Jewish people or a Jewish religious community that has increased thanks to the proselytizing of and conversion to Judaism of many pagans throughout the world. In this tragedy besetting the Middle East, it is zionism, the living muscle of imperialism, with its implacable ideology, which is responsible for the misfortunes afflicting Arabs and Jews in Palestine. We are referring today to Palestine, but let us recall that Theodor Herzl, traumatized by the Dreyfus affair and by the wave of anti-Semitic sentiment sweeping over Europe at the time, had envisaged in his quest, failing the implantation of his "Jewish State" in Palestine, the possibility of Mozambique or the then Belgian Congo, or Cyprus, or Uganda.
36. This is not to minimize for an instant the problems that the Jewish Diaspora has brought in its train throughout the centuries. It would not be at all responsible to come to this rostrum to demand the genocide of any people. Nevertheless, redress of the injustices committed against the Jews cannot be at the expense of the Palestinian people. That is why we demand full justice for the Palestinian people, the fulfilment of its legitimate aspirations for self-determination, and the return of that heroic people to its usurped homeland.
37. We have listened to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mr. Yasser Arafat, who, in a striking and memorable statement, left before us the image of a very responsible person aware of his national, continental and international duties. The General Assembly cannot hesitate for one moment as to the course to be taken to assist the Palestinian people to emerge from its long nightmare, to decolonize Palestine, to turn this country, so full of history and beautiful tradition, into a democratic and fraternal State, purified of the factors that so far have consistently fanned the embers of the tactical and organic racism that is the very basis of zionism.
38. It is in this Palestine that reconciliation, freedom, equality of rights, tolerance and dignity will be guaranteed to all, Arabs and Jews. That is the meaning we attach to the important message addressed to us by Mr. Yasser Arafat, affectionately called by his people "the father of the resurrection".
39. Mrs. Jeanne Martin CISSE (Guinea) (interpretation from French): The historic decision of 14 October 1974 by the General Assembly to invite the PLO to participate in this debate in its capacity as the sole representative of the Palestinian people enshrined a reality recognized by the international community, and clearly reflected not only the urgency and the importance of the Palestinian question, but, above all, the determination of the Organization to find an appropriate solution to this painful problem.
40. Moreover, the Organization should not continue to silence the voice of this people in the discussion of the question to which its fate is closely tied. No one could claim to express or interpret better the aspirations of the Palestinian people than the people itself. For too long it has had to make itself heard through other voices, which have defended its cause and thus helped to keep the world aware of the situation. It is with real pleasure that my delegation welcomes the delegation of the PLO.
41. It will be recalled that more than a quarter of a century ago, the United Nations, which at that time had only a few dozen Members, agreed to serve as an instrument in recommending the partition of Palestine, in flagrant violation of one of the paramount principles of the Charter: the right of peoples to self-determination.
42. Since the United Nations committed this wrong against the Palestinian people, it has shirked its responsibilities, thus demonstrating its incapacity, if not its impotence, to solve the problem that thereby arose, by merely dealing with the effects of its own action instead of dealing with the root of the evil: the creation of the State of Israel at the cost of the disappearance of Palestine. Today, as we know, half of the Palestinian population is living in exile, and the other half is experiencing the tragedy of Zionist military occupation as a consequence of this international plot. Why at that time was it decided so cynically to strike at the Arab people of Palestine? No one can know the fundamental reason for this plot better than the big Powers, which imposed this sinister design upon the United Nations. Certain historical and geopolitical facts throw some light on the matter.
43. The unique geographic situation of Palestine has given it a special place in history. Palestine, while being the heart of the Arab nation, is also a crossroads between Africa, Asia and Europe. That is why, at the beginning of the century, it was regarded as a gateway of strategic importance in the plans of the world imperialistic Powers.
44. The origins of the Palestinian problem date from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, during which the idea of Jewish colonization of Palestine was slowly emerging within religious Jewish minorities in eastern Europe. This was accompanied by the idea of a "return to the land". which. as we know, is a messianic notion and represents the central myth of the State of Israel. In 1898, the Zionist Congress of Basle elected an Executive Committee which met every two years to organize agricultural settlement in Palestine.
45. lust before the First World War, Palestine had 44 private agricultural settlements, with 12,000 people on 44,000 hectares. In 1917, the Zionist movement, thanks to Weizmann, obtained from Great Britain a charter guaranteeing unrestricted settlement of Palestine, at that time under Ottoman domination. That was the Balfour Declaration.
46. Zionist ideology was still supported by only a very small minority of the Jews of the Diaspora. Even after the Balfour Declaration, the immigration rate was low, and only accelerated after 1933, the date of the rise of nazism. Jewish immigration progressively increased, and in 1931 the Jewish population amounted to 175,000 out of the 1,036,000 inhabitants of Palestine. But, as a result of Hitler's persecutions in Germany and the increasingly discriminatory measures taken by the various fascist regimes in central and eastern Europe, the largest wave of immigrants in the period of the Mandate brought in more than 200,000 Jews. In 1936, the tension in Palestine became acute, and the Arabs were struggling against both the British forces and the Zionists, who were protected by the Haganah.
47. The Second World War broke out later and, as a consequence of the Nazi genocide, there was an influx of clandestine immigrants; in the period 1939-1948 the number of immigrants arriving in Palestine reached 153,000. From 1944 onward, armed organizations such as the Irgun and the Stern Gang took up the struggle against British colonial occupation in order to establish the Zionist State. In 1947, Great Britain announced that it would withdraw from Palestine on 15 May 1948 and hand over to the United Nations the responsibility for deciding what the future of Palestine should be. On 29 November 1947, without consulting the Palestinian population and acting under imperialist and Zionist pressure, the United Nations adopted a plan for the partition of Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State, with international status for Jerusalem [resolution 181 (II)]. 48. That, briefly, is in our opinion how, by means of immigration and the tacit complicity of the former colonial mandatory Power in Palestine, the Zionist movement succeeded in 1947 in creating a situation similar to that existing today in Southern Rhodesia, in which a foreign minority exercises domination over an indigenous majority following an illegal unilateral declaration of independence.
49. Thus to try to justify the existence of Israel by religious, racist or cultural arguments is to falsify the facts of the matter 50. The Palestinian people has the same rights and international obligations as other peoples. The United Nations Charter recognizes the principle of self-determination for all peoples and makes no exception for the Palestinian people. The international community must understand that the situation in Palestine is not the result of a natural catastrophe but rather of a studied policy of aggression. Therefore, if we want to solve this problem correctly we must define the terms and state the equation fairly and accurately.
51. As we have said here and elsewhere, Israel has been and is but an instrument of imperialism, and our former weakness in the face of zionism was to try to rely on one imperialist Power or another which we wrongly considered to be closer to us than to Israel. But if an object can be separated from its shadow one can separate an imperialist power from Israel. For the Republic of Guinea there has never been any confusion about its evaluation of the role of Israel. In the Middle East, as in Africa and in the rest of the world, Israel plays the role of an agent of imperialism, and it plays it for all the imperialist countries without any exception.
52. We are not struggling against Israel for ethnic reasons or reasons of colour; we are struggling implacably against the imperialist spirit, which created Israel, which imposed it in defiance of the historic, social and humane reasons embodied in the Arab community of Palestine, so odiously deprived of its natural right to live freely and happily on its own land.
53. It will be recalled that several countries, including my own, maintained relations with Israel before the war of June 1967. Our country was one of the first to break off diplomatic relations with Israel. Guinea could not countenance the Israeli aggression, which made clear the real expansionist intentions of the Zionists. That is why Guinea has taken its stand on the side of the victim so that justice, right and freedom may triumph.
54. A man has rights by the mere fact of his existence. The same is true of peoples. President Ahmed Sekou Toure, the Head of State of Guinea, has defined the position of Guinea on the question of Palestine in the following terms:
56. That is why the effective participation of the PLO at all stages of the negotiations is essential to any definitive settlement of the Middle East crisis.
57. Our delegation wishes to reaffirm once more that any conference on peace in the Middle East based on respect for the national rights of all the peoples of that region must demand that Israel accept the two following principles: the complete evacuation of the occupied Arab territories and the return of the Palestinians to their homes. If those conditions are not met by Israel the problem will remain, with all its dangers for world peace and security.
58. Finally, Guinea, for its part, affirms that the people of Guinea will always be on the side of the people of Palestine until it recovers all its national rights by whatever means are appropriate. We could never approve any victory of the right of might over the might of right.
59. Mr. GROZEV (Bulgaria) (interpretation from Russian): The Bulgarian delegation would like to join the other delegations which, from this lofty rostrum, have extended a warm welcome to the legitimate representatives of the long-suffering, heroic Palestinian people now among us. The fact that this session of the General Assembly is giving special consideration to the question of Palestine, with the participation of the delegation of the Palestinian people, is certainly a historic victory for that people, for all progressive peoples in the world and for the United Nations itself. It is a victory for the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
60. It is a victory that has been made possible by the general recognition by the Palestinian people itself of the just struggle being waged by the PLO. All the Arab countries once again categorically affirmed, at the Arab summit conference at Rabat in October,1 that the PLO is the only legitimate representative of all the Palestinians.
61. The rights of the Palestinian people and the legitimacy of its struggle have been recognized at a number of conferences held by the non-aligned States, the Organization of African Unity [OAU], the World Congress of Peace Forces, the World Federation of Democratic Youth and other representative international organizations and forums, as well as by the Governments of many States in various parts of the world.
62. All that has been made possible thanks also to recent positive developments in the international sphere and in the membership of our Organization. In accordance with the will of 105 Member States of the United Nations, the Palestinian delegation is now present in this Hall. However unpleasant that fact may be for some delegations and circles, it must be taken into account. A number of other factors that have been confirmed during the present debate on the question of Palestine, now reaching its conclusion, must also be taken into account. In my opinion, the most important of those factors are the following.
63. Using irrefutable arguments, the representatives of many States have again expressed their support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and its just struggle for self-determination and an independent national existence. On the basis of a great amount of historical data, they have reiterated that the Palestinian people is an ancient people with a rich culture. It lived for centuries on land from which most of its sons and daughters have now been expelled.
64. Despite the fact that the Palestinian people has been subjected for a long time to oppression and exploitation by foreign occupiers, it has been able to maintain its national identity; it has been able to maintain and develop its culture and traditions. That is why the present usurpers will not be able to break the proud national spirit of that people.
65. This debate has also reaffirmed the growing unity of the Arab countries; that unity is the main condition for finding a just and lasting solution to the Middle East crisis, including the question of Palestine.
66. Striking proof has been given also of the solidarity of the developing countries on all continents in the search for the most correct solution to the political problem now under discussion. It has again been demonstrated that the Socialist countries are sincere and steadfast allies of the developing countries, or, as our distinguished President, Mr. Bouteflika, said in a statement at the sixth special session of the Assembly, have "natural alliances" with the developing countries.2 That has always been so and it will continue to be so.
67. It has become crystal clear who are the enemies and who are the friends of the Palestinian people. It has become clear too that there are some who merely pay lip service to such friendship. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that the most reactionary imperialistic circles, the most fanatical Zionists, the most extreme leftist rhetoricians have joined together to slander those who are giving the Palestinian people the most effective and genuine assistance in its struggle. The saying that "birds of a feather flock together" is borne out here. And let no one be angry with the mirror when it reflects the true image.
68. The present debate has also revealed the growing international isolation of Israel. That is not because there is a feeling of enmity towards the people of that country, but only because the Tel Aviv ruling circles continue to carry out a reactionary and expansionist policy. It should be added that the international prestige of and international confidence in the foreign patrons and inspirers of that policy have hardly increased.
69. In our opinion, the most important fact is that the representatives of an overwhelming number of countries, clearly realizing the complexity and importance of the question under discussion, are firmly calling for peaceful political means, rather than military means, to solve that question. There is a general demand for a just and lasting solution of the Palestine problem, within the framework of a comprehensive just and peaceful solution of the Middle East crisis.
70. For almost 30 years the Middle East has been a region of the world full of tension and uncertainty, in which there have been constant crises that have repeatedly become armed conflicts posing a danger to the entire world. Dramatic developments in the Middle East have periodically required the attention of the international community, including the Security Council and the General Assembly. An entire generation has, with justifiable concern and anxiety, been asking: Is it really impossible to find a just and, hence, a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict, a solution that would pave the way for all the countries and peoples of the region to mutual understanding and co-operation, to peaceful development?
71. It is therefore quite understandable that the decision to place the question of Palestine on the agenda of this session of the General Assembly and to discuss it with the participation of the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people received such wide support and kindled in world public opinion renewed hope that a solution to the present situation could be found. These decisions have enabled us to focus upon the key problem in the Middle East crisis: the restoration of the legitimate national rights of an entire people, including its inalienable right to self-determination and an independent national existence.
72. We have had the opportunity to hear from this lofty rostrum the true voice of that people, the voice of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO and the Commander-in-Chief of the Palestine revolution forces, Yasser Arafat.
73. The singular importance of the Palestine question, which we are now discussing, logically stems from the fundamental importance of affirming one of the basic principles upon which our Organization is founded -- that is, the right of all peoples to self-determination. That important principle of the United Nations Charter is inexorably linked with the principles of international peaceful coexistence and is inextricably one of the generally accepted standards of contemporary international law, which recognizes for the Arab people of Palestine, no less than for any other people, the right to independent existence.
74. The right to self-determination of the Palestinian people has long been recognized by the Organization. Exercise of that right has, however, been undermined as a result of the aggressive expansionist plans of zionism, which has become a tool in carrying out the plots and pursuing the interests of imperialism in that region.
75. The 25 years of the crimes of zionism -- the aggression, the occupation of Arab territories, the expulsion of one and a half million Palestinians from their national homeland, the illegal occupation of their land and the systematic colonization, the massive violations of human rights, the unceasing terrorist war against the national liberation movement of the Palestinian people -- reveal the tragic and dangerous situation in the Middle East. This all shows that an end should finally be put to those crimes and a just and radical settlement of the Middle East crisis should be found. That can happen only if Israel withdraws from all the Arab territories it occupied in 1967 and if the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine are restored. That is the crux and the historical significance of the inclusion of the question of Palestine in the agenda and the discussion of it at this session of the General Assembly.
76. World public opinion, including the United Nations, long ago refused to see the Palestinian problem as a simple question of refugees and the violation of human rights. It always has been, and still is, an acute current political question because it affects the vital interests of a whole people defending at the cost of many lives its inalienable and sacred rights. The sooner the ruling circles of Israel, their foreign patrons and their prompters realize this, the sooner a peaceful political settlement of the conflict will be feasible.
77. On 14 October last, the General Assembly adopted a resolution [resolution 3210 (XXIX)] that logically proceeded from its previous decisions, and again confirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. It was the best reply that could be given to the slanderous campaign of zionism against the national liberation movement and those fighting for the Palestinian people.
78. For many years, even to this day, the powerful propaganda machine has been used by imperialism and world zionism to distort facts and reality and to mask the real reasons for the lack of success of efforts to find a solution to the constant crisis in the Middle East, including settlement of the Palestine question. That propaganda is generously financed and skilfully managed. It attempts to justify the policy of enmity and expansion pursued against the neighbouring Arab countries. The special danger of that course, implemented and resolutely defended by the ruling circles of Israel, flows from the fact that it is inspired by a philosophy very close if not identical to the most reactionary doctrines of racial and religious intolerance. The apologists for this policy have not yet seen, or simply do not want to see, that it is rejected by the peoples and by the overwhelming majority of States for the simple reason that it finds support and justification in the most reactionary and obsolete theories concerning "the chosen people".
79. Before and during the Second World War, millions of innocent people, including several million Jews, became victims of that theory, which was put into practice ruthlessly. That is why we can no longer agree to its dissemination. But a few days ago we had to listen to a regular lecture from this rostrum on that theory and policy from its permanent representative and constant advocate in the United Nations. Moreover, he did not hesitate to slander not only the Palestinian people and other Arab nations but also the vast majority of Member States of the United Nations in an unprecedented manner. He is probably counting on the representatives of more than 100 States forgetting the records set by Israel in the field of aggression, and the state terrorism in which it still engages, the violations of human rights and the flouting of the principles of the United Nations Charter and the more than 160 resolutions on the Palestine question.
80. In his use of pseudo-arguments to defend an unjust and indefensible course, he showed how far moral degradation can go. Cynicism, gross language and slander have always been a sign of lack of sounder arguments and reluctance to see the truth. Such statements do nothing to promote the proper atmosphere for achieving a just settlement of this important problem. They give rise to concern because in practice they are nothing but new confirmation of the nearsighted policies of the Israeli ruling circles, which stubbornly continue to deny the Palestinian people the very right -- the inalienable right to self-determination -- they so loudly advocate for their own people.
81. The attempts to identify the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people with isolated and senseless outbreaks of frenzied despair can in no way sully that sacred struggle. By the same token, those attempts are further proof of the danger to world peace of the political course being followed by Israeli ruling circles, which refuse to recognize the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people or to restore its legitimate national rights. It is an elementary truth that if a people wishes its rights to be respected it should respect the rights of others. If it wants to be truly free, it must not oppress other countries and peoples. Can a just settlement of the Palestinian question be achieved in the interests of all the peoples of the Middle East and world peace if the Israeli rulers continue to follow the directives of world Zionism? What are those rulers counting on, and do they realize where continuation of their militaristic and expansionist policy can lead? Can a single State constantly live in isolation and in a state of perpetual war with its neighbours? Is their policy in keeping with the interests of their own people, and particularly the interests of the common man, who bears most of the burden of constant wars? Can that Power live indefinitely on the generous hand-outs of international zionism and its overseas patrons? Finally, do they realize what the cost of this patronage is to their own people, who are suffering from constantly rising prices as the result of inflation and the recession which has now been officially admitted?
82. Does all this not contain a danger to peace on earth, especially in view of the continuous sabre-rattling and provocation by the Israeli militarists?
83. All these questions are fully legitimate, and answers are expected not only by the peoples directly concerned but by all mankind. The policy of aggression and expansion pursued by the rulers of Israel will not bring either security or peace to Israel. These rulers will bear a heavy responsibility to their own people if they do not review their policies in time, or if they persist in their refusal to face facts. It is time for the Israeli leaders and those who subsidize them to heed the voice of the international community, and to realize that the numerous decisions of the United Nations are not the decisions of some mechanical majority but the expression of the views and the will of the overwhelming majority of Member States. It is precisely these decisions which point to the only just course that can and should lead to an equitable solution to the problem of Palestine and the problem of the Middle East as a whole.
84. The time has come for hatred and intransigence in that region to give way to tolerance and a new realistic approach if there is a sincere desire for peace and the peaceful solution of controversial questions by political means rather than war. That means not acting on emotions or preferences, but acting sensibly, taking account of facts as they actually exist, instead of as this or that party would like them to be. It is not possible to solve problems, or negotiate, on the basis of one's likes or dislikes, and deal only with those we like and recognize.
85. History provides many examples of reactionary regimes and forces which have not recognized new systems, revolutionary movements and Governments Such was the case of the Soviet authority after the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, against which all the international reactionary forces took up arms. Unable to defeat it by armed intervention, the capitalist Powers, one by one, had to recognize the new Soviet Government and establish comprehensive relations with it on a basis of mutual advantage.
86. Such was the case of the Socialist countries, including Bulgaria, that emerged after the Second World War. For a long time the imperialists would not recognize us, and wished to block our entry into the United Nations and other international organizations. Another example is that of the reactionary Saigon Government, which did not recognize, and did not wish to negotiate with, the representatives of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Viet Nam, but in the end was obliged to sign the Paris agreements with it.
87. The same applies to the PLO. On the one hand, it is recognized as the only legitimate representative of the people of Palestine, on the other, it is not recognized by the Israeli ruling circles, which do not like it and do not wish to negotiate with it. It is high time to come down to earth, to see things as they really are, and to try to find a genuine and just solution to all the problems in the interests of all the people of that region.
88. The Government of Bulgaria, consistently pursuing a socialist policy of principle, supporting movements of national liberation, endorses the just cause of the Arab peoples, including the legitimate struggle of the Arab people of Palestine, to exercise their national rights in accordance with the Charter and the resolutions of the United Nations.
89. The position of Bulgaria on this question has been clear and unequivocal from the very beginning. It is reflected in the declaration of April 1974 of States parties to the Warsaw Treaty,3 and in the joint communiqué issued during the visit to Bulgaria of the Presidents of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Syrian Arab Republic. This position was reaffirmed in the joint communiqué issued during the visit to Bulgaria in August of the delegation of the PLO.
90. Accordingly, we welcome the very important decisions of the Conference of Arab Heads of State or Government at Rabat on the Palestine question.' We believe that those decisions made a substantial contribution to the solution of the Palestine problem within the framework of international efforts to achieve a complete political settlement of the crisis in the Middle Fast
91. Bulgaria therefore became a sponsor of the request for the inclusion of the question of Palestine on the agenda of this session [A/9742 and Add.1-4], as well as the resolution inviting the PLO to participate in the debate on this item [resolution 3210 (XXIX)]. We fully share the widely supported view that it is more essential now than ever before to reconvene the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East as soon as possible. That Conference should consider all the aspects of the conflict, and arrive at just solutions acceptable to all the sides taking part in the Conference. That will be possible, however, only if the legitimate representatives of the people of Palestine, the PLO, participate in the Conference on an equal footing. The decisions that will be adopted at this session of the General Assembly on the Palestine question must certainly reflect the broad international support for the just cause of the Palestinians. They should reaffirm the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including its right to the status of an independent State.
92. The Bulgarian delegation will support any draft resolution that will actively promote a peaceful and just solution of both the Palestinian problem and the problem of the Middle East as a whole and will lead to peace and understanding in that region and throughout the world.
93. Mr. BELLIZZI (Malta): The question which is now before the Assembly is one which has never before been subjected to the searching light of an exhaustive debate in its own right. It has of course been touched upon and referred to in the course of countless debates on the situation in the Middle East, as it was inevitable that it should, for the question of Palestine is obviously at the very heart of the problems which have convulsed the Middle East since the birth of the United Nations.
94. The search for a solution in the Middle East has for too long omitted a vital element in the equation on which a successful formula must be based. Today we have an opportunity to redress that omission and to view matters in their proper perspective. We, in this Assembly, have already taken two important steps towards this end during this session. The first was to inscribe the item entitled "Question of Palestine" on our agenda; the second was the decision, of historic and far-reaching importance, to invite the representatives of the Palestinian people to participate in this debate. Malta was one of the sponsors of resolution 3210 (XXIX), which extended that invitation, and I avail myself of this opportunity today to express to the accredited representatives of the PLO the gratification of my delegation at their presence in this Hall.
95. The question of Palestine is one of the most emotionally charged issues with which this Assembly has to grapple. The passion and the bitterness are natural and understandable, but they must not be allowed to cloud our judgement. The question before us is not one which can be allowed to sink indefinitely into a morass of verbal denunciations, anodyne declarations, ignored warnings, resolutions that remain unapplied and mandatory calls that continue to be defied. The credibility of the United Nations as a valid instrument for peace must be vindicated. More than that, the fundamental right of an entire people -- the Palestinian people -- to recognition of its national identity and to its national fulfilment is at stake.
96. There is today overwhelming recognition from all parts of the world of the urgent necessity to redress the wrongs suffered by the Palestinian people. It is also clearly perceived that these wrongs lie at the root of the Middle East conflict, which, if left unresolved, will inevitably plunge that region once again into a new war. Such an outbreak would be both more violent and more protracted than previous wars because of the deadlier armaments now possessed by both sides, and the likelihood of involvement by the major Powers would be all the greater. In addition, the economic consequences for the entire world would be catastrophic. If only for these selfish reasons, the community of nations must join in a common effort to render a long overdue measure of justice to the Palestinian people, and in so doing, contribute to the removal of the underlying causes of the present tensions.
97. No people can be expected to acquiesce in its own suppression, and as recent history has amply shown, the Palestinian people possesses the determination, the will and tenacity of purpose, the patience and capacity for sacrifice, to struggle as long as may be necessary for the attainment of their rights. Those qualities call for admiration, and if through continued frustration they may sometimes break out in incidents of violence, the world ought not to be surprised.
98. The Palestinian people's struggle for its legitimate rights is no different from the struggles which other peoples have waged before it for the attainment of the same ends. When all peaceful channels are blocked, violence becomes the inevitable outlet for the urge towards the fulfilment of national aspirations.
99. Other speakers before me have sketched, in much more eloquent terms than I could command, the historical background leading to the present unhappy situation of the Palestinian people. I do not propose to repeat that historical account. But from the present situation, one glaring fact emerges above all others. That fact is that, contrary to every accepted norm of peace-making, the people of Palestine, which is both the chief victim and the protagonist of the drama which has befallen its land, has been deprived of any constructive role in every attempt to search for a peaceful solution. It has instead been relegated to the status of a group of refugees, and its predicament considered solely in that light. Even now, the refusal of Israel to recognize, much less negotiate with, the PLO, can be viewed only as a further attempt to deny to the people of Palestine its own representation and to prevent it from participating peacefully in the unfolding of its own destiny. But the time clearly calls for a change in such sterile attitudes. The PLO is the unquestioned spokesman for the people of Palestine. It has acquired widespread international recognition as such and it enjoys the overwhelming support of its people. If the present critical phase in the Middle East dispute is not to turn into yet another in the series of missed opportunities with which the history of that dispute is profusely marked, it is essential that the PLO be accorded universal and formal recognition for what it is -- the authentic representative of the Palestinian people. It is important that the PLO should be engaged in dialogue, and that it should be given every opportunity to develop its responsibilities. A rebuff at this time would be another slap in the face to the Palestinian people. It would lead inevitably to the rejection of moderation and to the strengthening of extremist attitudes. In this connexion a special responsibility rests upon Israel. It is Israel which is principally responsible for the Palestinians' plight, and it is for Israel and the Palestinians to achieve mutual accommodation. Intransigence and reliance on the force of arms will not provide the answer. On the contrary, they will merely fuel, as they have done in the past, fresh escalations in the spiral of war. Now is assuredly the time to turn irrevocably to the ways of peace.
100. The rapid evolution of international relations triggered by the war of October 1973 the effects of which are barely beginning to be realized, makes it clear that time will not favour further intransigence. My delegation is convinced that the key to any equitable settlement must be sought in the active engagement of the people of Palestine, through the PLO, in a genuine dialogue. The PLO has received the endorsement, first, of this Organization, which has recognized it as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Secondly, it has received formal recognition from all Arab States as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Above all, as is amply shown by its growing strength and successful surmounting of every conceivable obstacle, it enjoys the support and confidence of the Palestinian people itself.
101. The resolution on Palestine, which was adopted unanimously by the Arab Heads of State or Government at their Conference at Rabat on 28 October,1 affirms the right of the Palestinian people to return to their country, and their right to self-determination; and it affirms the right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent national entity under the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, on all liberated land.
102. That proclamation provides an opportunity today for the United Nations to take another step towards the attainment of a just and lasting settlement. The opportunity is there but it could easily be missed if the rights and needs of all the peoples in the area are not fully considered. The rights of the Palestinians which have been ignored for over 26 years, must be given equal consideration with the rights of others. But because they have been ignored for so long, the inalienable rights of the Palestinians must be brought into the foreground of our deliberations.
103. There are over three and a half million Palestinians, of whom nearly half a million are in Israel and over one million in Israeli-occupied Arab land. The rest are scattered over a score of different countries mainly as a result of their dispersion after 1947. But, in spite of this dispersion, the Palestinian people have managed to maintain and promote a remarkable sense of national identity and cohesion. With over 65,000 graduates, they represent a community with a high educational level. They have the assured potential for responsible statehood which is the natural goal of a civilized and mature people. The years of dispersion have not led to the assimilation and dissolution of the Palestinians as a distinct national entity but, on the contrary, have merely inspired them to develop an even higher level of national consciousness. This growth of national consciousness has found its greatest expression in the struggle to establish themselves on their own native land. The national consciousness of the Palestinians is also responsible for the unchallenged position of leadership of the PLO as the acknowledged representative of the Palestinian people. The authentic support the PLO enjoys is amply shown by the support extended to it by organized associations which the Palestinians have formed. These include not only resistance organizations but trade unions and professional organizations in many different walks of life. Palestinian trade unions are freely elected and unquestionably democratic. They are represented on the National Council of the PLO, and they have explicitly proclaimed the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. The Palestine resistance groups, which are the organized forces of the Palestinian people, have participated in the PLO since its formation. They, too, have proclaimed the PLO as the only representative of the Palestinian people, when they approved the political and organizational programme of the Palestinian revolution adopted at the ninth session of the Palestine National council in July 1971.
104. Further evidence of the popular support for the PLO is shown by the fact that the greater part of its budget comes directly from Palestinian sources, and especially from the liberation tariff, which is a contribution paid voluntarily by every working Palestinian as a percentage of income. Support for the PLO also received concrete expression at the Palestine People's Congress held at Cairo in April 1972, which was attended by members of the Palestine National Council as well as representatives of Palestinian communities from 24 different countries. That Congress reaffirmed the PLO as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. More recently, a PLO political programme was adopted at the twelfth session of the Palestine National Council held at Cairo last June. The programme called for the establishment by the PLO of an independent national State in all liberated parts of Palestine. It was approved unanimously by the Palestine National Council and was supported by all Palestinian political and popular organizations.
105. If any further proof were needed of the authenticity of the credentials of the PLO to represent its people, it has been amply furnished by the spontaneous and unprecedented popular demonstrations which recently erupted in Israeli-occupied Palestine, in support of the PLO.
106. The General Assembly has done well in extending recognition to the PLO. This was the necessary prelude to doing justice to the cause of the Palestinian people. As documented in the excellent paper submitted by the Tunisian delegation in document A/9810, the Assembly has, on at least six different occasions during the past four years, repeatedly reaffirmed that respect for the rights of the Palestinian people is an indispensable element in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. At this session, the Assembly is now called upon to take more positive steps for enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their rights, thereby contributing to the attainment of a just and lasting peace, and we are in a better position to do so after having heard the representative voice of Mr. Yasser Arafat. Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO.
107. Within an overall solution which should effectively satisfy the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, there must necessarily be room to accommodate the legitimate rights of all peoples and States in the area. In line with the consistent policy of my Government, we continue to affirm the right of all peoples to self-determination and to independence, and the right of all States to live in peace and security within recognized boundaries. We also adhere to the principles of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force of arms.
108. In the light of the hopes my delegation entertains for the outcome of the present debate, and as genuine believers in the cause of peace, my Government wishes to add its voice to those which are urging Israel not to miss this opportunity to negotiate, and to grasp the olive branch which the leader of the PLO, Mr. Yasser Arafat, so eloquently proffered in his inspiring statement to this Assembly on 13 November [2282nd meeting].
109. Mr. ALARCÓN (Cuba) (interpretation from Spanish): Mr. President, I should like to begin by reiterating to you the full confidence of my delegation in the wise, impartial and democratic way in which you are guiding the proceedings in the General Assembly. If some self-seeking circles are attacking our Organization and slandering it, we should feel proud and encouraged. These are, indeed, the desperate reactions of those who yearn for an era already extinct in which the imperialists and the racists imposed their will within the United Nations.
110. The consideration of the question of Palestine is, strictly speaking, the beginning of a new phase in the history of the United Nations. The decision adopted on 14 October last by this Assembly to extend an invitation to the PLO marked a radical turning point in our dealing with this matter, and the first step on the road towards the necessary and inevitable rectification. The tragedy of the Arab people of Palestine, its fate and its agony are indissolubly linked to this Organization and to its ability to implement faithfully the purposes and principles of the Charter.
111. The substantial changes that have occurred in the international balance of power and in the United Nations itself have enabled us now to hold this debate on Palestine in conditions more favourable for guaranteeing the legitimate national rights of its people. Today we are able to begin the search for solutions to ensure for the Palestinian people the restoration of its usurped rights. This means, to a great extent, a moral reparation rendered to a people that was the victim of a brutal historical injustice in which the United Nations was used as a tool in an era when imperialist, colonialist and racist interests predominated in the Organization.
112. The Palestinian people has had to wage its national liberation struggle in particularly difficult conditions: against it arose not only traditional colonialism but its modern Zionist version, which, with the support of powerful international financial capital interests, has done everything conceivable to impose its system of racist oppression.
113. The people of Palestine was denied its right to independence and self-determination when, at the end of the Second World War, the colonial system began to crumble throughout the world. The British withdrawal from the Arab land of Palestine did not lead to liberty and sovereignty for its people, but instead to the imposition of an artificial State, which was alien to the native population and denied its most elementary rights. The Palestinian Arab people, the only legitimate sovereign people of that country, was refused its inalienable national rights and was subjected to the most brutal and inhuman campaign to expel it from its land, despoil it of its property, and wrest from it its homeland. The Zionist variation of colonialism took on the traits of an unparalleled aggression verging on genocide.
114. The Arab people of Palestine was denied the right to independence and self-determination and an attempt was made to annihilate and dissolve it as a national entity, to wipe it off the map and erase if from history. Few peoples in the history of mankind have had to face such harsh and unjust trials as those the Palestinian people had to live through, particularly during the last 27 years.
115. The Zionist propagandists and their imperialist supporters have also tried to isolate the Palestine national liberation movement from its natural allies, the peoples of the third world struggling against imperialism and colonialism. For more than two decades they have attempted to conceal the true nature of the Palestinian problem, to reduce that people to the status of refugees, and its national aspirations to mere humanitarian demands.
116. No one can any longer attempt to hide the precise meaning of the item before us. The Arab people of Palestine is the victim of colonialism and racism in one of its most repugnant and contemptible forms. Its struggle for the full exercise of its national rights, including the right to independence, self-determination and sovereignty in its usurped land, is a just and legitimate struggle deserving of the total support of the international community. In its struggle for freedom, the Palestinian people can count on the solidarity of the socialist and non-aligned countries and all revolutionary and progressive forces in the world. Its campaign for freedom is an integral part of the freedom movement of all peoples of the third world.
117. Today's world is no longer that of 1947, nor will it ever be again. The United Nations is no longer an easy tool in the hands of the imperialists and colonialists, nor will it ever be again. The rebellion of peoples that yesterday were subject to foreign domination, a rebellion that has radically changed the face of this planet and opened promising prospects for the establishment of a world ruled by equality and justice, has already spread with irresistible force to all corners of the world, including Palestine.
118. The General Assembly has a duty during this session to adopt appropriate measures to ensure for the people of Palestine the full exercise of its national rights. To do so, it must unambiguously affirm that people's right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty in its country, and must declare itself in favour of the return of displaced or expelled persons to their homes, recognize the PLO as the only genuine and legitimate representative of its people, and call upon all States and international organizations to grant it the assistance needed for the victorious culmination of its struggle for freedom.
119. Those, we believe, are the essential elements that should define the position of the General Assembly at this stage. A resolution containing those elements would fully correspond with the decisions adopted by the Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, particularly at their fourth Conference, held at Algiers in September 1973. We therefore trust that such a resolution will receive the approval of the vast majority of Member States and the full support of all the non-aligned countries.
120. The important statement made to this Assembly by Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, unmasked the intrigues and slanders propagated by imperialism and the Zionists. Not even all the resources of imperialist-Zionist propaganda can hide the fact that the PLO, through its highest representative, presented a coherent programme capable of solving the Palestine problem democratically and justly, in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter. My delegation is honoured to express its full support for the proposals contained in the historic speech delivered by Yasser Arafat to the General Assembly.
121. The development and consolidation of the Palestine resistance is one of the most outstanding features of the liberation movement over the past years. Experience has demonstrated the failure of all attempts to destroy or ignore it. Its forcefulness and solidity the justice of its position, ensure the PLO final victory, whatever difficulties and obstacles it may have to confront in its revolutionary effort. History will have to take into account the Palestinian resistance and its organized vanguard. The Palestine people, hounded, persecuted and subjected to all types of hardship, has been able to maintain its will for independence, its determination to resist and struggle, its unswerving resolve to regain what belongs to it. It is doing so with the same spirit that inspired the popular uprisings of 1921, 1929 and 1933; with the same spirit with which the Palestine workers launched a general strike covering the entire country in 1936 with the same spirit with which, in 1939, it organized a popular insurrection, which was put down with bloodshed and fire by the British colonial forces.
122. The demonstrations by the population on the West Bank in Jordan at this very time have demonstrated its support for the PLO and are a clear warning to this Assembly. The criminal repression by the Israel authorities requires most resolute and urgent action by the international community.
123. Israel could not persist in its arrogant defiance of universal opinion if it did not count on the unlimited support given it by North American imperialism. The Zionist policy of usurpation, racism and expansion is a key factor in the global strategy of Yankee imperialism. It is an integral component of the plans for hegemony and exploitation of United States monopolies. Therefore, solidarity with the Arab people of Palestine has become an unavoidable duty for all progressive peoples and Governements, and should accordingly be developed with a clear anti-imperialistic approach.
124. The liberation of Palestine directly concerns all peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. A just solution for the Palestine problem is an essential factor in consolidating the independence of the third world.
125. In the communiqué issued after the visit to Cuba of Yasser Arafat and the PLO delegation, we asserted the following:
"Cuba reaffirmed its recognition of the PLO as the only legitimate representative of the Arab people of Palestine and expressed its conviction that, without full respect for the national rights of the Arab people of Palestine, it would be impossible to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.''
127. The Palestine fighters are part of a powerful army in which all those struggling for the emancipation of oppressed peoples are combatants. There, in their far-away trenches, they will always have the supporting solidarity of those who, on this side of the ocean. with the same courage, with the same determination, with the same unswerving will to resist and vanquish, are facing the common enemy.
128. Mr. WALDRON-RAMSEY (Barbados): The delegation of Barbados proceeds from the assumption that the purpose of holding this debate is to assist the principal parties to the dispute, Israel and the Palestinians, in their effort to find an honourable, just and lasting settlement to their dispute, which has lasted well over 4,000 years.
129. Surely the purpose of this debate cannot be to win paper victories, in the nature of resolutions, which will not be acceptable either to the Palestinians or to the Israelis. We should in this debate try to eschew the facile rhetoric of tired and worn-out slogans of condemnation and praise which has characterized this debate for several years. I think the Palestinians themselves are rightly tired of the paper victories we have won for them in this house over the years. They want us to assist them in finding a way to have their right to self-determination find concrete expression in an actuality that they can see, feel and touch.
130. I suspect that it is but little comfort to a Palestinian refugee living in a grim refugee camp to tell him that the General Assembly adopted a resolution saying that he has the right to self-determination. Any such resolution does not bring bread to a hungry mouth, nor shelter and cheer to a cold and wind-swept tent. Equally, our one-sided resolutions adopted against Israel, without any desire to be even-handed, realistic or just, have run their empty course. They have reached that stage in their usefulness which economists characterize as the point of diminishing marginal utility.
Mr. Upadhyay (Nepal), Vice-President, took the Chair.
131. In the considered view of the delegation of Barbados, the General Assembly is certainly not the place for the settlement of the Palestinian question. It is not a forum suitable for the settlement of disputes. For one thing, it is too big, too open, too parliamentary and perhaps too pregnant with the combative views of contending parties, each seeking to excel the other in verbosity and the winning of debating points. Because, in my humble submission, the question of Palestine is too serious a matter for that kind of treatment. For, whatever is said about Mr. Arafat's speech, whether one likes it or dislikes it, it must be said that Mr. Arafat is a serious-minded man, and he wants the question of Palestine to be treated in a serious manner.
132. This is not to say that the General Assembly should not discuss the question of Palestine at all. No. Once the question is inflicted upon us then we have a responsibility to ventilate our several views on this or any other issue. But I make bold to assert that nowhere in the history of recorded international relations, indeed nowhere in the history of human conflict, was a peace treaty elaborated and signed as a result of a vote taken by the parties involved or their allies. The proper role of this Assembly is to create an atmosphere that would be congenial for the parties to the Palestinian issue to sit down together and work out for themselves an agreement and a treaty of peace that would be just and fair to both sides.
133. We must exhort the Palestinians and the Israelis to seek a peaceful and just solution to their problems. In this Assembly we must hear them both on the question of Palestine. Israel and the Palestinians are the principal parties to this dispute. That is why my delegation welcomed the proposal to hear the Palestinians themselves on this issue once it came before the General Assembly. Only the Palestinians can speak for the Palestinians. The Palestinians are the only legitimate source of authority on matters touching and concerning the Palestinians. Quite frankly, my delegation as at present constituted had grown somewhat impatient with, if not tired of, hearing the self-appointed surrogates and proxies coming to this rostrum in an unending routine purporting to speak for the Palestinians or espousing their cause. If I may use the language of the vernacular, one should not really try to be more Catholic than the Pope.
134. Equally, if the Palestinian people consider the PLO and Mr. Arafat to be their chief spokesman then it is not open to any of us in this Assembly to question that decision. But we are discussing the question of Palestine and, following that same line of reasoning, my delegation considers that Israel and the PLO, being the principal parties to the dispute, should be the principal speakers in this debate, ad nauseam. They both should be allowed to speak freely and as many times as they want to in this debate. I want to hear the authentic views of the Palestinians and the Israelis. The canons of natural justice dictate that they must be heard ad libitum in this debate. That is why my delegation voted against the proposal to restrict the Palestinians or Israel to one intervention only in this debate. This debate is not a normal general debate of the General Assembly. This is an historic debate on the question of Palestine, in which Israel and the Palestinians will be confronting each other for the first time. And this is the first time the Palestinians will be speaking for themselves and not through so-called brothers who have forced them into losing wars with Israel and abandoned them to live pitiless lives in refugee camps; and, except in a few cases, have discriminated against the Palestinians as they lived in the so-called brotherly Arab States.
135. The Palestinian people are an ancient people with a distinct personality and a separate existence. They are entitled to live as a separate political entity in that area where they have had a historical attachment. Their right of self-determination must enable them to determine for themselves the personality of their national identity. This Assembly must encourage them, together with Israel, to work out the modalities for separate national personalities that need not be mutually exclusive. For the Palestinians cannot be abolished any more than Israel can be abolished. The Israelis must exist in the manifestation of a State, and the Palestinians must exist in the manifestation of a State. They must devise a modus vivendi, a way of living together as good neighbours. They must practise tolerance and abide by the imperatives of coexistence.
136. Any settlement of the Palestine question which contemplates the destruction of Israel as a State would be unjust and immoral and devoid of the practical wisdom of contemporary realities. That is why my delegation is happy to identify itself with the representative of Nigeria when, speaking for a State that is both Muslim and Christian, to the extent that these elements are relevant, he asserted that "the reality of . . . Israel as a sovereign State should be acknowledged". [2291st meeting, para. 38]. In seeking to do justice to the Palestinians -- which we must -- we should not, in that very act, do injustice to Israel. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have a natural historic right, separately or conjointly, to this part of what used to be called the Holy Land.
137. This strand of argument leads me naturally to confront a very specious and tendentious line of argumentation which has tended to permeate the speeches of a number of my colleagues who have advanced clearly biased and partisan positions in this debate. I refer to the argument that Israel has no legitimate right to the area in question; that Israel is populated by Zionists; and that Zionists are by definition bad and wicked people who should not inhabit the ancestral home of their forefathers.
138. If for nothing else but objective scholarship, we should be faithful to the facts of history. We should not try to rewrite history in order to meet our capricious, fanciful and selective arguments. Fact is fact. It is a fact that the area known as the Holy Land assumed its name through its association with the Jewish people known as the Israelites.
139. At the dawn of the history of the Jewish people over 4,000 years ago, the ancestors of these people conceived the idea of a single God, in whose image we have all been created -- black, white, brown, yellow -- making us therefore equal in brotherhood. It is for that reason that the Holy Land became the cradle of modern civilization, where brotherhood and equality are its main corner-stones. Other tribes populated that area and mingled historically with the Jewish people -- often in peace, but sometimes in war. From one of these -- the Philistines -- which lived on the shores of the Mediterranean, the Romans called the whole area "Palestine". Both Israelites and Palestinians were descendants of the same ancestral forefather, Abraham, from Ur of the Chaldees. You will recall that Abraham begat two sons, who later became progenitors of the Jews and the Arabs. Abraham begat Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac in his turn founded the tribe of the Jews, and Ishmael in his turn founded the tribe of the Arabs.
140. Therefore, Jews and Arabs are first cousins of the same blood. It is safe to assume that they are equally capable of the same virtues and the same vices. Israelis and Palestinians are first cousins. That is a fact. They must be considered equally great or equally unworthy. I make no personal judgement on that point whatsoever.
141. The sons of Isaac and Jacob and the sons of Ishmael lived together and fought against each other in that area -- the Holy Land -- for thousands of years. The Bible is a valid book of record of the chronicles and the saga of these peoples, the Israelites and the Philistines. You must forgive me if I rely heavily upon the Bible for moral guidance and the unimpeachable history of the times and circumstances of these two great peoples -- the children of Israel and the Palestinians. As a Christian I rely upon this great book, for I know no other. I cannot pretend to any scholarship in the Talmud or the Koran. They are two great books; but. alas. I know them not.
142. If the Jews, or Israelis -- the two terms are interchangeable or coterminous, in my delegation's view -- and the Palestinians, sprung from the same forefather, Abraham, lived and fought in the same area for years, how can it be argued now, in 1974, that the Israelis do not belong to that self-same area and that they cannot establish legitimacy to the area? I reject that argument as historically unsound, to say the least. If the Israelis fought with the Palestinians in Palestine over 4,000 years ago, in an age when there were no rockets and jet planes, surely the Israelis must have been in the same area, on the same battleground -- unless, of course, there was a war against phantoms and myths and shadows. From the Bible I gain the impression that the Philistines chose a champion called Goliath to fight their battle; and the Israelites chose their champion, a little boy called David, to fight their battle. It will be recalled that this system of fighting battles by means of champions came to be used quite frequently in the Middle Ages. We know how that battle between Goliath and David ended.
143. It seems to me, too, that the Egyptians were nearly always taking the Jews southwards into captivity. And a Joseph, with a coat of many colours, was to rise to become a powerful Viceroy in the House of Pharaoh. It seems to me, too, that a Moses was to be born in bulrushes on the banks of the Nile; and later he was to lead his people, the Jews, back home to Canaan, a land which flowed with milk and honey. But Moses was to have his travails. He would have to part the Red Sea in twain and lead his people through, back to Judea, or Palestine. If my Bible history is correct, then Moses was the first Zionist -- not Herzl, but Moses. For Moses was the first Jewish leader to lead the Jews back to the land of their birth -- away from captivity, away from torture, away from slavery.
144. But what of zionism? I asserted earlier that some of my friends would try to stigmatize it as a bad and wicked doctrine. What is it? What is zionism, really? Zionism has today become the name for a political nationalism which motivates and keeps alive the spiritual aspirations of the Jewish people. In that sense, it is not dissimilar to American nationalism as exemplified in 1776, nor French nationalism as exemplified in 1789; nor African nationalism or Pan-Africanism -- which, incidentally, was first conceived and talked about, not by Africans living in Africa, but by Africans living in the Diaspora: men like Dubois Marcus Garvey, Sylvester and others, at the beginning of this century and especially at the 1945 conference in Manchester, in the United Kingdom. Zionism in this political sense does not differ from Arab nationalism as propounded by great Arab statesmen like the late Gamal Abdel Nasser. Every State must have a nationalism, a spiritual ideology, which propels it forward to greater and higher achievement. If France is great today, it is because of the nationalism of its great heroes of the first Bastille Day, in 1789. If the United States of America is great today, it must thank the nationalism of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and the others in 1776. We must be intellectually honest in these matters. If nationalism is good for other political arrangements, it must be good for Israel as well. Israel is a State. The Palestinians are entitled to have a State of their own as well. And they must dwell side by side with Israel as good neighbours.
145. I equally reject as unproved the proposition that zionism is a colonialist phenomenon seeking to extend its tentacles like the Roman Imperium of classical times. As I understand it from my studies of this matter -- and I had to make this point in the Commission on Human Rights, in 1965, in defence of certain other religionists on the question of slavery in Africa -- "Zion" is the Hebrew name for Israel, but it is also a holy word for Christians like myself who consider the Bible the most precious cultural and religious inheritance of their own. Allow me to interject a personal note here. My first church, in the days of my childhood, was called literally "The Church of Mount Zion". We were therefore referred to in my village as Zionists. They actually called us Zionists. That was to distinguish us from Catholics, Anglicans, Seventh-day Adventists and the hordes of other co-religionists. My Church belonged to the downtrodden and the disinherited people. But we prayed faithfully to Mount Zion and to Jerusalem. And we sang songs, one of which carried the stanza, "Mount Zion, my happy home, when shall I come to thee, when shall my labours have an end, thy joys when shall I see?" Our kind of Zionists therefore looked to Mount Zion for spiritual elevation and fulfilment. The Catholics and the Anglicans were regarded by us as the followers of the imperialist Church. So that to hear today, now, in this debate, that Zionists, whether they be religious Zionists or political Zionists, are imperialists is both confusing and unintelligible.
146. The delegation of Barbados as presently constituted has very deep personal sympathy and respect for Palestinians, dating from a period soon after 1948 when contact was first made with them at institutions of higher learning. I have been able to cultivate a very healthy respect for their intelligence, their sensitivity, their sense of justice and their longing for peace in the homelands of the Palestinians I had the good fortune of meeting more than 21 years ago. I did not then form the opinion that they were violent men at all. They felt aggrieved. but they were not possessed of a desire for vengeance. I was able to form the lasting impression that, just as in classical times Athens was the school -- or brains -- of Hellas, the Palestinians were the brains of the Arab world. I am still of that conviction .
147. That is why I was personally anxious to have the Palestinians speak again and again in this debate on the question of Palestine. With due respect, I have heard a surfeit of speeches from the Arab and Islamic States on this question. I want to hear the Palestinians.
148. In this debate, personal considerations are not important and are perhaps quite irrelevant. But, if you will allow me, I feel bound to tell you that my Palestinian friends at London University more than 21 years ago felt somewhat betrayed and spurned by both the Israelis and their Arab brothers. They felt like second-class citizens in occupied Palestine as well as in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and the rest of the Arab world. The refugee camp was cold and dreary and bereft of hope, but at least, as my Palestinian friends felt then, they were together and could dream of a return together.
149. I have prevailed upon your indulgence to interject these personal elements, and so I have described the kind of Palestinians I have known and have come to respect and find a ready sympathy for. But those are my personal views. They may be very singular views, but they are mine. Others will no doubt have quite different views and evaluations of the Palestinians, but I have ventured to recall these personal considerations because they have tended over the last 21 years or so to occasion in me a certain personal involvement with the whole Middle East question. For there are some issues of principle one feels so strongly about that one is prepared to fight for them and suffer inconvenience for them. Such was the case when, in the autumn of 1956, in London, some of us defied a metropolitan police order and demonstrated in Trafalgar Square against the Anthony Eden Government for its military attack, with the French Government, against the Nasser Government of Egypt in the Middle East war of 1956. Many of us were arrested and spent that Sunday night in gaol, at Bow Street Magistrate's Court. I remember that well, and I recall questioning my Palestinian friend, Mr. Elui Kedouri, in the discomfort of a cold and damp gaol one dreary Sunday night in London. I questioned him about the wisdom of our action when in those circumstances we had time to reflect. I received from him my first and perhaps only lesson from the Koran. He said to me, "Treat all men as brothers, even if they come from the Sudan." That was my Palestinian friend's reply. The impact of that lesson has never left me.
150. It is that moral conviction that has characterized the motives of my delegation, buttressed, as it is, by the moral philosophy of the Kantian categorical imperative that all men, be they Israelis or Palestinians or any other men, must be treated always as ends in themselves but never as a means to an end. Measured against that moral absolute, I have always envisaged the Palestinian question as the most difficult and most intractable of all the elements of the entire Middle East issue. It is the most difficult because it is the most human. Here we are dealing in human lives -- Palestinian lives and Israeli lives. This General Assembly cannot create lives or destroy lives by writing a resolution.
151. That is why we need to be very careful in the type of resolutions we draft at the end of this debate. It would be cruel, it seems to me, to raise false hopes or to abandon a chance to be helpful and constructive in an effort to restore some measure of justice to this human tragedy.
152. There has been much talk in this debate about so-called attempts to settle the Jews in Guyana, Uganda, the United States, Timbuktu and elsewhere. Even if this were the case, what does it really show? In the view of my delegation, it simply shows the proper moral commitment to assist a people who were uprooted from their homeland in the Middle East several thousand years ago by the Roman imperialists and buffeted from one corner of the earth to another to find some respite from their wandering. After all, such was the case with us, the African slaves. Our colonial slave-masters were not quite sure what to do with us when they brought us from Africa. We were trans-shipped to Guyana, trans-shipped to Haiti, trans-shipped to the United States, trans-shipped to Barbados, trans-shipped to Jamaica, trans-shipped to Papua New Guinea and to the four corners of the earth.
153. Therefore, the delegation of Barbados accepts as valid the principle of the renunciation of the acquisition of territory by force. But wars do occur. And battles and wars are won and lost. States lose men and they lose territory in wars. The Soviet Union quite rightly reminds us every so often of the 37 million Soviet citizens who lost their lives in the last world war. But territory was lost too in the war of 1939-1945. Europe has changed. Certain countries which existed up to 1945 no longer exist in Europe as separate entities. Historians are agreed that one of the beneficial results of the famous Napoleonic wars in Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century was Napoleon's reduction of the Germanic principalities from 1,800 to 300. This made it much easier for Bismarck to bring about the unification of Germany in the middle of the same century. Similarly, members will recall that Count Cavour and Garibaldi of Italy were able to bring about the unification of Italy only as the result of wars which changed the geopolitical configuration of the Italian States in the nineteenth century. A peace treaty attempts, therefore, to readjust the actualities which occur at the end of a war. We pay a price for wars. We should all renounce wars as a way of settling disputes. That is the answer to the question.
154. It is the considered view of my delegation that any resolution we adopt at the end of this debate must embody certain inescapable principles. We must be guided by the principles enunciated in Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of November 1967, for it touches and concerns the Middle East and, ipso facto, the question of Palestine. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians must be recognized as having distinct personalities. Israel must be recognized as a State; and the Palestinians' right to a national homeland of their own must be recognized. Both Israel and the Palestinians must be able to live in peace as good neighbours within recognized and secure boundaries. There must be a renunciation of all states of belligerency. All States in the areas must practise tolerance and agree to live together as good neighbours. There cannot be any acceptable formulation which explicitly or implicitly rejects the fact of the existence of the State of Israel or indicates its liquidation. The Palestinians and the Israelis must be encouraged to compose their differences and agree between them upon a formula for peaceful coexistence.
155. I should like to remind members that I am only the humble but loyal messenger of my Government and to assert further from this rostrum that the delegation of Barbados has no instructions to support any resolution on this human problem that is not just, evenhanded and a serious attempt to find a peaceful solution to this very tragic and human problem. Justice and fairness must be our yardstick in this house. The delegation of Barbados does not approach this problem with a view to getting resounding applause and the acclaim of our colleagues at the end of this intervention. We have joined this debate to state the case for justice on this issue as we perceive it. Palestinians are human beings and must be seen as such. Israelis are human beings and must be seen as such. This Assembly must assist them both in finding a just settlement for a very human problem.
156. My delegation -- the delegation of Barbados -- will be disinclined to support any proposal which attempts to exclude the principles I have been at pains to ventilate here. This Assembly would be engaging in idle futility if it were to think that we can impose a solution from this rostrum or from the voting machines upon the Palestinians and the Israelis. The Israelis and the Palestinians have got to find a solution for them selves. It is the sincere prayer of the delegation of Barbados, however, that these two great peoples, the descendants of Abraham, will some day find that great measure of peaceful co-habitation which has eluded them for 4,000 years.
157. Mr. RYDBECK (Sweden): The Swedish Government finds it natural and appropriate that the question of Palestine has been included in the agenda of this session of the General Assembly. Thus it has become possible to have a broad debate on the situation in the Middle East and on the possibilities of achieving a peaceful solution of the conflict that has led to so much suffering and so many deep tragedies for the peoples who have their homes there.
158. The General Assembly has a special responsibility in this question. It was the General Assembly that in 1947 took the decisions which led to the creation of the State of Israel. The General Assembly now faces the task of defining the guidelines for the efforts to bring about a just and realistic solution.
159. The Swedish Government would like to give its views on how the General Assembly could best fulfil this important task. Our attitude today is determined by the same political principles that have formed the basis for our policies in the past. In the area bearing the historical name of "Palestine'', two peoples have their homes. The people of Israel have lived since 1948 in a State which, soon after its creation, was recognized by the leading Powers in the world and by a large number of other States. The State of Israel, like all other States in the Middle East, has the right to live in peace within recognized borders. The existence of Israel is one of the basic realities in the Middle East. It cannot be set aside, except by a violent turn of events which would have disastrous consequences far beyond the area.
160. The Arab people of Palestine has a political identity and a justified claim to the right of national self-determination. It is also entitled to struggle for its rights by all the means that are in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. Because of historical circumstances it has taken a long time for the rights of the Palestinian Arabs to gain recognition.
161. Thus, in that area there are two peoples. Both have their legitimate national interests. Both of them put forward justified claims to have them recognized and satisfied. No one can underestimate the difficulties. Everyone knows also that those difficulties arise essentially because the national interests, as they are perceived by the peoples concerned, are partially in conflict with one another. Many individuals among the one people as well as among the other, look upon the same piece of land as part of their national home. It is a tragic conflict which has led to a number of brutal confrontations and acts of violence also in many parts of the world far from the Middle East. This is a vicious circle which must be broken. Terrorist acts against innocent people must be forcefully condemned no matter where and by whom they are committed. We support the principle embodied in Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force. Only through negotiations will it be possible to arrive at an agreement constituting a just balance between the national interests of these two peoples.
162. The problems that have to be solved are extremely complex. They concern first and foremost the delineation of territories where the two peoples will form their future in peace. It is not possible for anyone from outside to take a stand on how the boundaries between them shall be drawn. But it is clear that the points of departure must be, on the one hand, the situation prevailing before the war of 1967, and on the other hand the principles laid down by the Security Council in resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
163. The borders that will be finally determined in accordance herewith should offer the peoples security as well as protection of their sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence. That means that the borders must not be determined exclusively on the basis of military and strategic interests. The security of the peoples in the area must be sought in the mutual recognition of the right to sovereignty, integrity and independence within the borders to be determined. Only in that way will the inviolability of the borders be guaranteed. Only in that way will a peaceful solution endure.
164. In addition to the two resolutions of the Security Council that I have just mentioned, due account must be taken of resolution 194 (III) adopted by the General Assembly in 1948. In that resolution is recognized the right of the Arab refugees to: "return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours" as soon as that becomes possible. Those who do not wish to return are given the right to receive compensation for their losses. Like the great majority of United Nations Members, Sweden has always supported that resolution. We have, however, declared that since its original adoption the circumstances have undergone great changes. We believe, therefore, that a compromise solution must be sought, in which repatriation, resettlement and compensation constitute different elements and where regard must be given to the possibility of the creation of an Arab Palestinian State. Those Palestinian Arabs who left their homes as a result of the war in 1967 have, however, in accordance with Security Council resolution 237 (1967), the right to return home. That resolution must be speedily implemented.
165. In addition to the territorial and other questions which I have just mentioned, the problem arises of how the Palestinian Arabs wish to see themselves represented in the international negotiations aimed at a peaceful settlement. To Sweden, as a democratic State, it is evident that that decision must be left to the Palestinian Arabs themselves. No one can demand that in the present situation they should give a clear answer to that question. Sweden is of the view that the PLO is the most authoritative spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs. In reaching that conclusion we have, inter alia, attached great importance to the viewpoint held by the Arab States. We therefore supported the proposal that that organization should appear before the General Assembly. We consider it correct that the leader of the PLO has been given the right to speak in this forum.
166. For many years, the great Powers have fought for influence in the Middle East, often in sharp competition with each other. They have supplied the weapons with which the many wars have been fought. They have a clear responsibility to see to it that a peaceful solution is finally achieved. They also possess the necessary means whereby such a development can be actively furthered. It must be our expectation that, in co-operation with each other, they will do whatever is in their power to facilitate a solution which takes into full consideration the legitimate interests of the parties, and which is in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. To express such an expectation does not imply any recognition of a right for the great Powers to interfere in the affairs of small States. It is only a recognition of the realities created by history and by the policy of balance and détente which now form an essential prerequisite for world peace.
167. In the last resort, the responsibility rests upon our own Organization, the history of which, to such a large extent, is intertwined with the problem of Palestine. To the Swedish Government it is self-evident that the solution that can be achieved should be anchored in decisions by the United Nations. The guarantees for the durability of the solution and for the maintenance of peace which are clearly required must also be given within the framework of decisions by the United Nations.
168. Our aim is a just and durable peace in the Middle East. That area which is the birthplace of great cultures has, during the entire existence of this world Organization, been a scene of wars and a source of great tension. Let me therefore conclude by expressing our firm hope that it will prove possible soon for the peoples of this area to realize, in co-operation, the great potentials of its rich human and material resources for the benefit of all of them
169. Mr. AL-SHAIKHLY (Iraq) (interpretation from Arabic): Despite the considerable changes that have taken place in the Middle East, one element has remained unchanged: notwithstanding half a century of lies and mystifications, notwithstanding a quarter of a century of mass expulsions of the indigenous inhabitants and the attempts to create faits accomplis, the Palestinian people have remained, a single and unshakeable truth. Of course, it has been deprived of its homeland. This is a people whose name has been effaced from the map and the greater part of whose population has been displaced and dispersed to various countries, the remnant suffering oppression and occupation. Nevertheless, the people has clung to its identity and its position is unchanged.
170. Zionism's hopes were that the people would be absorbed by other Arab countries; but that has not succeeded. That is why a major aggression was launched in 1967 to exterminate the Palestinian people and to erase Palestine definitively, to create a new fait accompli. But this has never been successful. On the contrary, the scourge of war has only strengthened the faith of the Palestinian people wishing to resume its rightful place in the concert of nations. This reality of history was confirmed by the historic resolution that the General Assembly adopted in the course of its present session. I refer to the inclusion of the question of Palestine as a separate agenda item followed by the invitation to the PLO [resolution 32/0 (XXIX)] to take part in our debate as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
171. It is reassuring that the Palestinian struggle is now united, bringing together all of the various groups within the framework of the PLO, which is now the single, lawful representative of the Palestinian people, and which has taken its place in this decisive stage of the struggle carried on by this noble people that remains dedicated to all its national rights and is determined to make whatever sacrifices may be necessary.
172. In our opinion, the General Assembly resolution makes two essential points.
173. First, the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people has, thanks to the sacrifices and the resistance offered by the people, enabled it to elevate its just cause, to belie the misleading statements that have been made about it for the past quarter of a century, and to restate its just demands. Each day this people gives us new examples of its heroic sacrifices in Jerusalem and in the occupied territories. We must make no concession in the defence of this people's human rights and its right to self-determination.
174. Secondly, the important changes that have marked the structure of our international Organization and the inclusion of major sectors of peoples that have recently acceded to independence have enabled the United Nations to live up to its responsibilities to the Palestinian people in its just cause.
175. Despite these two realities, however, we are aware that the consideration of the Palestinian problem by the General Assembly will not be a success unless it reaches its goal, and until justice has been done. The main responsibility of the international community is to put an end to the aggression against the people of Palestine and to restore justice.
176. I will not try to review the history of the Palestinian problem since its inception- other speakers have reviewed the historical background; many brothers and comrades have spoken before me. I should, however, like to highlight the following facts.
177. First, the problem of Palestine is the key problem, the central issue in the Middle East crisis. It is the explosive hotbed posing a threat to peace in the region. This affects world peace -- and dangerously so. Although this problem was not engendered by the Zionist aggression in 1967, that was one of the essential causes. It is not a refugee problem, as Security Council resolution 242 (1967) indicates; rather it is the problem of a people whose homeland has been despoiled and whose identity has been crushed. No solution that fails to take account of these realities can ever be a real solution and produce peace and security in the Middle East.
178. Secondly, the Zionist aggression directed against the Palestinian people and the masses of the Arab nations fighting for liberation from the Zionist aggression is no traditional aggression; this is a new and unprecedented danger for mankind. The world is familiar with various forms of violence, oppression, colonialism and exploitation. But zionism and Zionist aggression uproots men, drives them from their lands and from their homes, cuts them off from their heritage, casts them out of their homeland, seeks to exterminate them. denies their rights and their very existence.
179. The Palestinian people was a direct victim of this aggression. but the Arab nation as a whole was its target. The Zionist invasion, before the eyes of the whole world, conquered Palestine and a considerable portion of the territory of the neighbouring Arab countries. The Zionists tried hard to acquire even more territory and to extend their plunder. But the people of Palestine, supported by Arab and other freedom-loving and peace-loving nations, has come a long way in order to end this aggression and to achieve its national and human objective, which was to create a democratic nation in the land of Palestine.
180. Meanwhile, the people of Palestine has refused to accept this fait accompli. If it had, it would not only have given up its lawful rights, it would also have accepted the continuation of domination and oppression in today's world, things which the civilized world rejects; just as it rejects all forms of racial discrimination in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, just as it rejects colonialism in Namibia and all forms of underdevelopment world wide.
181. Thirdly, the Zionists consider that the rights of the Palestinian people to return to its homeland and to self-determination are a threat to all Jews all over the world. Zionism would like to sow the seeds of confusion so that world opinion will be unable to distinguish between Judaism as a religion and zionism as a political plan. But the Zionist entity embodying these Zionist political plans must exist, which means that the Palestinian people must be deprived of its lawful rights in its own land.
182. The invitation to create one democratic State for the population of Palestine is not directed against the Jewish presence; moreover, the Jewish presence is not necessarily guaranteed by the continuing existence of a racist Zionist State or the continuing existence of the Palestinians in their places of exile.
183. Fourthly, the Zionist entity was not born in normal conditions. It was rather the fruit of aggression. It is for that reason that the Zionist entity cannot survive except by having recourse to aggression. For that reason it counts on its alliance with the forces of colonialism and with American imperialism in particular. But the Zionist entity is suffering deepening international isolation, while it is naturally tending to strengthen its bonds with Powers that practise racial discrimination and with American imperialism which provides it with financial and military support without limit. It must be asked why this arrogant racist and isolated entity continues to be a part of the international Organization while it is defying the Charter and the very principles which enabled the Zionist entity to become a Member of the United Nations.
184. Fifthly, the Palestinian people has the right to resort to all means in order to affirm its existence and to assert its rights. This is a legitimate struggle, which should be backed by all countries and peoples. We are happy to note that such assistance is forthcoming in larger and larger measure and that all Powers that love peace and justice are now supporting the Palestinian cause .
185. The Iraqi delegation hopes that, at this session, the General Assembly will produce appropriate resolutions. which can right the wrong that has been done, make good the injustice suffered by the Palestinian people and reaffirm its national rights.
186. Mr. AMERASINGHE (Sri Lanka): The question of Palestine was first inscribed on the agenda of the General Assembly at the instance of the United Kingdom delegation. That was more than 27 years ago, when there was a clamant demand by Arab and Jew alike for the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine. It was the burning issue of the time. On 14 October 1974, the General Assembly, by a vote of 105 to 4, with 20 abstentions, decided to invite the PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people, to participate in the deliberations of the General Assembly on the question of Palestine in plenary meetings.
187. Those who have short memories and who describe the decision of the General Assembly taken on 14 October 1974 [resolution 3210 (XXIX)] as an outrage and who brand the supporters of that resolution as having opted for terrorism and barbarity have conveniently forgotten that the first special session of the General Assembly, which was summoned similarly and simultaneously at the request of the United Kingdom for the purpose of constituting and instructing a Special Committee to prepare for the consideration of the question by the Assembly at its second regular session, adopted two resolutions: one which required the First Committee to grant a hearing to the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the question before the Committee [resolution 104 (S-1)], and the second to grant a hearing to the Arab Higher Committee on the same subject [resolution 105 (S-1)]. On that occasion the General Assembly showed a decent respect for the democratic principle of consulting all parties to a dispute before reaching any decision.
188. Had they examined the credentials of the two parties, they would have found that then the boot was on the other foot. It was the Jewish Agency for Palestine that was the spokesman for Jewish terrorist gangs, which proved themselves to be the most ruthless, cunning and versatile practitioners of the art of terrorism, and whose organization and record have yet to be equalled in efficiency and indiscriminate savagery.
189. The representative of Israel offered a gratuitous insult to 86 of the 105 countries that voted in favour of the invitation to the PLO to be heard in the General Assembly debate on this question and by implication offered a bouquet to those who opposed this democratic principle or abstained on it. No spokesman for the Palestinians sought to abuse the privilege of the rostrum by insulting those who voted against the General Assembly resolution or abstained on it. It is a pity that the silver tongue of the representative of Israel was shown to be tarnished by invective and drenched in venom. The Chairman of the PLO and his "henchmen" were described as murderers, butchers, assassins and cut-throats. It would not be a matter of surprise if the representative of Israel revealed yet untapped reserves of his special resource, the language of incoherent abuse. The terms he chose to describe Yasser Arafat and his men could far more appropriately be applied to the members of the Zionist gangs whose terrorist activities intimidated the General Assembly into acceptance of their demands.
190. The United Kingdom delegation would be the star witness in any investigation of the events that led to the termination of the British Mandate in Palestine. It would also be the star witness in rebuttal of most of the statements made by the representative of Israel in regard to the existence of a Palestinian people and its claim to a separate Arab State of Palestine quite distinct from the kingdom of Transjordan. The General Assembly in 1947 had a comfortable majority in favour of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union [resolution 181 (II)], which gave birth to the State of Israel. Today this Assembly is expected to obtain the permission of the independent Jewish State, created by the General Assembly itself, before it can hear the representative of the group that has been so shamefully betrayed, abandoned and almost disowned by the General Assembly, namely, the Arab people of Palestine. Those who once commanded a built-in majority in this Assembly, which they exploited without the least compunction or scruple, now squeal when they find themselves in a minority, and yet, I must say, it was to their credit that in 1947 they did not discriminate between the two principal parties to the dispute but gave them a fair hearing although one of them came with the blood of his supporters on his hands.
191. The General Assembly's decision could more appropriately be described as at least a faint sign of remorse, a slight act of redemption and a token of amends for the odious injustice done to the Palestinian Arabs. But it was more than that; it was a decision to create the conditions for a fair and full examination of the Palestine question in the only forum that has absolute competence to make such an examination, namely, the General Assembly.
192. We believed that the decision would enable us to discuss this question in a sober manner. We expected restraint not recrimination, dialogue not diatribe, peace not polemics. We did not want a comparative catalogue of acts of terrorism and violence initiated more than 27 years ago by the very party whose spokesman made the pretentious and spurious claim to have a lily-white record, the very party which in 1947 made a show of dissociating itself from the atrocities committed by its partisans but garnered the harvest of those crimes. They gained a State but they lost their soul.
193. In the course of the debate there has been an excursion far back into history. History, however, does not support the claims and arguments of those who quote it. May I be permitted to recall the report published in April 1946 by the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry4 regarding the problems of European Jewry and Palestine. It is the real starting point of the United Nations involvement in the problem. Among those who gave evidence before that Committee was professor Albert Einstein, who advocated a United Nations trusteeship for Palestine and, while recommending the settlement of the majority of displaced Jews there, saw no necessity for a Jewish State. The President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews advocated a Jewish State in Palestine under the British flag. The Vice-President of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain advocated a Jewish State. There were, however, prominent British Jews who believed that Jewry was a religious and not a politico-national group, that the Jews had no exclusive rights of admission to Palestine and that the problems of emigration and resettlement should be the task of the United Nations. Leopold Amery considered partition to be the only solution, with separate Jewish and Arab States and with Jerusalem under international protection. Dr. Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization, wanted a Jewish State in Palestine as the only means by which the Jewish people could hope to survive and live a normal life. He described Europe as "a land reeking with the blood of slaughtered Jews", a land where 6 million had been exterminated and an area where Jews could no longer live. He argued that Jews and Arabs had lived in amity in the country, meaning Palestine, for centuries and that whereas the Arabs had made virtually no contribution to the Allied victory, the Jews had thrown their whole weight into the struggle on the Allied side. That same argument has been advanced by the representative of Israel. Mr. Ben Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency, wanted a Jewish State with equality of rights for all its citizens, both Jewish and Arab, while the Histadrut wanted a Jewish State with unrestricted immigration. The Rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Judah Magnes, urged a Union of Jews and Arabs in "a bi-national Palestine based on the parity of the two peoples", and pleaded for the admission of 100,000 Jews "as an historical act of great mercy", stressing that this would not affect the preponderant Arab majority in the country. He made a strong plea for mutual toleration and not domination by either people, believing that Jews and Arabs together could "make their Holy Land a thriving, peaceful Switzerland of the Middle East". When Yasser Arafat makes this his dream, it is interpreted as a sinister design to liquidate Israel.
194. It would be pertinent to remind the representative of Israel of the terrorist outrages in Palestine committed by the illegal Jewish Irgun Tzeva'i Leumi and the Stern group organizations in the six months preceding the publication of the report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry. To his credit, Mr. Ben Gurion, on behalf of the Jewish Agency, completely dissociated that Agency from these outrages, but forfeited that credit when he maintained that the Jewish Agency's efforts in preventing such attacks would be rendered nugatory by the policy pursued in Palestine by His Majesty's Government on whom "primary responsibility rested for the tragic situation which had led, in recent weeks, to bloodshed and innocent victims".
195. If any fair-minded person were to transpose those thoughts into the events of the last few years, he could state with equal justification that primary responsibility for the tragic situation existing today rests on the Government of Israel.
196. When the PLO is criticized for what its critics describe as terrorism, we must not forget that every form of violence is a result of some form of provocation. When we condemn acts of violence, we must condemn in equally strong terms the acts of provocation. In this instance, it is the Israeli occupation of Arab territories for more than seven years as a result of war, the denial of the right of self-determination for the Palestinians during a period of 26 years, the persistent and impenitent violation of the human rights of the population of the occupied territories ever since June 1967, that have provoked and goaded the Palestinians into acts of violence. Remove the provocation, and the violence will cease. That is the task before us.
197. The Plan of Partition dividing the British Mandated Territory of Palestine into two States, a Jewish State and an Arab State of Palestine, made it clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that this Palestine-Arab State was to be an entirely independent Arab nation in the Middle East, distinct and separate from the other existing Arab States of that region, namely Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and the Yemen.
198. It is a wild and tendentious distortion of that Plan of Partition, which no sensible person, other than one driven to the limits of hysteria by the frailty of his arguments could accept, to even imply that this Palestine-Arab State was to be an extension of the territory of Transjordan and to argue from it, or irrespective of it, that Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine.
199. Instead of being grateful to the United Nations for having given the Jews for the third time in history a State of their own, and reciprocating the spirit of compassion which inspired the United Nations to create this third Jewish State, 2,500 years after the destruction of the first Jewish State by the Babylonian Empire, the representative of this third Jewish State mounts this rostrum to defy the will of the United Nations by his Government's unilateral pronouncement to rescind and tear up the United Nations resolution.
200. Who is it that has turned his back on the Charter of the United Nations? Who is it that has repudiated the very resolution that gave him a right to come here and be heard? It is the representative of the country that has shown the most flagrant contempt for the numerous United Nations resolutions, including the General Assembly resolutions adopted at the fifth emergency special session calling upon Israel to rescind all measures taken by it to alter the status of Jerusalem -- resolutions adopted by 99 votes to none, with 20 abstentions in one case [resolution 2253 (ES-V)], and 18 abstentions in the other [resolution 2254 (ES-V)]. These were not automatic majorities succumbing to Arab pressure and propaganda. Israel's only answer, however, is: "Jerusalem never". With complete impunity it cocks a snook at the United Nations and this Organization grovels before it in a state of paralysis.
201. It should not have been necessary for me to go on this expedition into the past, but specious arguments must not be left unanswered. This discussion must be directed towards a search for a solution. We must not look back, lest we be overwhelmed either by sorrow or indignation. We must look forward with a clear vision of what is just and have the courage to dispense justice equally to all parties involved in the Palestine question. The principal parties are the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine. The United Nations saw to it that justice was done to the Jews, whether as an act of mercy or as an act of atonement for the atrocities committed against European Jewry by Hitler's murderous minions, by the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine. Even if it could be said that the Jewish State of Palestine did not obstruct the implementation of the Plan of Partition as a whole, the statement of the representative of Israel in the course of this debate leaves no room for doubt that they were not prepared to accept it. What they would have done had the Arab State of Palestine been created is a matter of idle speculation.
202. We do not need to dwell on the errors of the past. We have a clear duty, and that is to adopt every possible means for ensuring to the Palestinians their right of self-determination. My delegation does not support any proposal for a restitutio in integrum, in other words, for a return to the situation existing immediately before the termination of the British Mandate. The principle of the Plan of Partition must, in our view, be revived and given life, substance and reality in conformity with the provisions of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967.
203. In my statement in the general debate, on 9 October 1974 [2263rd meeting, paras. 64-71], I made it clear that we wanted the full implementation of that Security Council resolution. We asked for the recognition and acceptance, without equivocation, by one and all, of the essential elements in the proposed settlement. We considered the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war to be the core of that settlement and maintained that, in accordance with this principle, Israel must withdraw its armed forces from the territory occupied by it as a result of war. But Security Council resolution 242 (1967) did not ask only for the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories. There were other elements, all of which formed a single and indivisible compact, namely, acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area, including Israel, and of the right of every State in the Middle East, including the State of Israel, to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, free from threats or acts of force, the necessity for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area, and the right of self-determination for the people of Palestine, which would enable it to secure for itself a separate Arab Palestinian State as provided for and endorsed by the United Nations in the Plan of Partition of 1947.
204. As I stated in the general debate, the United Nations cannot and must not, even by implication, acquiesce in the proposition or offer any support to the idea that Israel does not exist or should not be allowed to exist or that its social and political structure should be so radically altered as to extinguish the separate identity which it seeks. But, equally, the United Nations cannot submit to the dictates of the State of Israel, as communicated to this Assembly by the representative of Israel, that his Government would not tolerate the creation of a separate State of Palestine. There is no other interpretation that can be placed on the words he used:
206. We sincerely hope that any resolution brought before this Assembly will be conciliatory and constructive, that it will be consistent with all those resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council which have received overwhelming endorsement, that it will contain the essential elements of a just settlement as set out by me earlier, and that it will stand in shining contrast to the intemperate, offensive and uncompromising attitude of the Government of Israel. Let Israel's friends save it from itself; and equally, we would appeal to the friends of the Palestinian Arabs to help them adopt an attitude of restraint, moderation and statesmanship. It is not necessary for the Palestinians to follow a perverse example.
207. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, stated from the rostrum [2282nd meeting, para. 72] that he dreamt of one democratic State of Palestine where Christian, Jew and Muslim could live in justice, equality and fraternity. We are all entitled to our dreams, because it is in the deeepest darkness of the night that we have our brightest dreams as well as our most terrifying nightmares. We do not see in that statement a declaration of intent to exterminate the State of Israel. It is for those of us who are convinced that that dream cannot be translated into reality in the foreseeable future to work towards the attainment of what is practicable and possible what is just and equitable: the creation of an Arab Palestinian State, alongside the Jewish State of Israel, both living in peace and brotherhood, and thus to redeem our Organization and ourselves.
208. A special appeal must be addressed to the Palestinians whose rights we are here to restore, whose just claims we are here to uphold and whose destiny we are here to shape. I would ask them not to be carried away or misled by the excessive enthusiasm of such friends of theirs as encourage them, undoubtedly with good intentions, to treat the solution of this question in isolation from the resolutions on the subject adopted by massive majorities of the General Assembly and unanimously by the Security Council. It is no service to their cause to tell them that any resolution acceptable to them would be automatically acceptable to the members of any group. There is no such thing as a group foreign policy, or, in such matters, is a group psychology the best counsel. It would be a greater service to their cause to tell them that a resolution must not only ensure for the Palestinians the exercise of the right of self-determination but must also contain no threat to the survival of Israel. The attitude of friends of the Palestinians who disagree with these two essential features of a resolution and of a settlement reminds me of some lines that have been attributed to Canning, in the British Parliament:
211. The problem is complex indeed because of the bitterness which engenders mistrust between the parties, complex, too, because of the implications, of the interference, sometimes covert, sometimes overt, but always of foreign origin, alien to the aspirations and the interests of the Palestine community. The problem is simple too. It is simple in substance; it is simple when you strip it of the mystifications in which alien interests have enwrapped it and deliberately and skilfully bound it.
212. What is the essence of the Palestine problem? On 4 October 1973, from this rostrum, the guide of the Zaire revolution, President Mobutu Sese Seko, announced to all the world that Zaire was breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel, and that this would be until such time as Egypt and the other Arab countries involved recovered their territories now under occupation.5
213. It is in this word "recovery" that the fundamental pre-condition for any just solution is to be found. The problem of Palestine exists and persists because a people has been uprooted, driven from the ancient land of its forefathers by a stubbornly annexationist policy, which is scarcely concealed, under cover of an alleged quest for sure and recognized frontiers. The Palestinian people wants its homeland from which it was driven by force. It aspires to return there in order freely to carry on an existence in accordance with its legitimate interests as a nation. A settlement of this problem, which fails to take account of these lawful aspirations and of these inalienable rights, the rights of a people, of a nation, to its native land, would have no chance whatsoever of restoring a just and lasting peace to the region; for it is clear that it is impossible legitimately, or even reasonably, to ask a people to give up the land of its fathers
214. Our Organization must recognize that the Palestinian people enjoy three fundamental rights: the right to the restitution of their lands now under occupation, the right to return, the right to the free exercise of self-determination.
215. The United Nations can no longer allow the Palestinians to entrust a settlement of their problems to the force of arms. Neither can we meaningfully talk of Palestine without Palestinians. We cannot talk of Palestine without the very people whose territory was partitioned. Some have gone so far as to describe the Palestinians as terrorists. But the Palestinians exist. They are an integral part of the Middle East. They constitute a nation, a people to be reckoned with in the Middle East. It is in no sense a capitulation to recognize this. It is in no sense a defeat to meet them at the negotiating table. It seems to us that there is more greatness and more nobility in meeting an adversary at a table to talk than in meeting him on the battlefield in order to kill and be killed. I am not offering advice, it is wiser to receive counsel than to give it, but I am expressing hopes, because, beyond the problem itself, it is the spirit that matters, the spirit of moderation and calm, in both camps, which is the key to any peaceful settlement. no matter what technical sophistication may be brought to bear. Any settlement procedure without this necessary spirit will be a machine without an engine; there can be no movement.
216. Four wars have already brought tragedy to the Middle East, yet the problem remains because there is a refusal to go to the heart of the crisis. The Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO brought us a message of reconciliation and peace. He spoke out for moderation, fraternity and peaceful coexistence among all the inhabitants of Palestine, including Jews. I believe that this is the first breath of the spirit that must inform any settlement of this problem. The two principal parties must agree to make the necessary effort in order to get rid of the martyr complex, which gives rise to such bitterness, and the power complex, which gives rise to the instinct to dominate and enslave. They must envisage respect for the rights of all the parties concerned, with a keen awareness of the deep and genuine interests, the permanent and just interests. that are at stake.
217. No policy has ever been furthered by animosity, nor has enmity ever built a lasting bridge between nations. Our strongest wish is to see a return to a just peace founded on concord and tolerance in the Middle East, a crossroads of east and west, of north and south -- the cradle of the three great religions. We hope that, as we work in the direction of the positive forces in the evolution of the race, the day will soon dawn when Yasser Arafat will return to this same hall no longer with a gun in one hand and an olive branch in the other, but rather with both hands firmly clasping the olive branch. Now that this question has been brought back within these walls where it first saw the light of day 27 years ago, we pray that the Palestinians will return to the land where their forefathers were born, lived and died for thousands of years past.
218. Mr. GÓMEZ ROBLEDO (Mexico) (interpretation from Spanish): Despite the fact that Mexico is obviously not immediately or vitally affected by the drama in the Middle East, it is, on the other hand, immensely and deeply affected as a peace-loving nation in close solidarity with all the peoples of the world, that is to say, with the human race.
219. The thought handed down to us from classic antiquity, that nothing in human nature can be alien to us, has never rung so true or so vividly as today. How can we regard as something alien the blood that has flowed so copiously in these regions in the course of a war without quarter, which has been continued or rekindled over a period of more than 25 years, in which the pauses of whatever length, have actually been more or less precarious armistices? How can we fail to be moved by the untold suffering of so many thousands of men, women and children who have been snatched from their homes, and who even today lead what can hardly be called a life because of the extreme misery and deprivation to which they are subjected?
220. The tragedy of the Palestinian people has been further aggravated by the persistent violation of human rights in the territories occupied in the 1967 war.
221. If the representative of Mexico has come to this rostrum today it is certainly not because we feel we can propose novel or magical solutions to the arduous problem at present being considered by the General Assembly. Furthermore, that would be senselessly and unjustifiably pretentious in view of the distance separating us from the theatre of conflict and of the modest position of my country in the world scale of power. But we feel that there is something that all States, large, medium-sized or small, can and must do in this debate, and that is contribute to the best of their ability to calming the conflict, and this can be achieved simply by pointing out the way of reason and justice, which is so clearly embodied in the numerous resolutions adopted by the principal organs of the United Nations over the years. In dealing with these questions it has become almost a commonplace to urge the observance of these resolutions, but the only ones responsible for this semantic impoverishment are those for whom such resolutions have been more or less a dead letter. All we can do is call once again -- as though crying in the wilderness -- for their prompt and faithful implementation; and if there is anything typically Mexican in such an appeal it is perhaps in the vital emphasis that, for our part, we place on such an attitude, which stems from the basic harmony between the pronouncements of the United Nations and the fundamental principles which from time immemorial have inspired the foreign policy of Mexico. Circumstances may change, and the scope of their application, but our attitude, inspired by those principles, remains unalterably one and the same.
222. The chairman of my delegation, referring to Security Council resolution 242 (1967), stated the following on 8 October last during the general debate of this session of the Assembly -- and this accords with what I have just said:
224. Concurrently with the principle of the repudiation of force in international relations, and as a necessary corollary to it, there is another principle, that of the peaceful settlement of disputes. Mexico has always adhered strictly to that principle too. Thus, as was aptly stated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and reiterated by the Chairman of my delegation, during his statement in the general debate, to which I have already referred, Mexico views with satisfaction Security Council resolution 338 (1973), in which it was decided that, concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations should start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.
225. The final principle, which cannot be undermined for any reason whatsoever since it is perhaps the one that applies most directly to the case of Palestine, is that of the self-determination of peoples, enshrined in Article 1, paragraph 2, of the United Nations Charter and in innumerable declarations and resolutions that have followed, as necessary corollaries. Although the problem of Palestine has up to now been included in the agenda of the General Assembly as the problem of the refugees of that region, the fact is that we are now officially and irrevocably faced with the recognition of the national identity of the Palestinian people, inasmuch as the General Assembly agreed to invite the PLO, in its capacity as the authentic representative of the Palestinian people, to participate in its deliberations on the question. Hence, there can be no doubt that we are dealing with a clear case of self-determination, a right to be exercised by a well-known and well-identified people in order to establish, if it so desires, a sovereign State. The Minister for Foreign Affairs made a specific statement along those lines, and during the general debate here the Chairman of my delegation said:
226. In that connexion, it should be recalled that, under General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV), peoples struggling by all the means available to them to exercise their right to self-determination "are entitled to seek and to receive support in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter" [resolution 2625 (XXV), annex]. The exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self-determination will, in brief, be the final step in the implementation of the historic resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, in which the Assembly approved the plan to partition Palestine between a Jewish State and an Arab State, both of them to be independent and sovereign.
227. In the context of that same resolution, therefore, and as an indispensable prerequisite to the establishment and strengthening of peace, one of the parties will have to recognize the existence and legal status of the Palestinian people, with all the rights that would accrue to any other people; the other party, in turn, will have to recognize the existence of the State of Israel as an irreversible fact, irrevocably approved by the United Nations. Otherwise -- to put things in the simplest way -- there can be no peace. For, above and beyond ancestral rivalries and the grievances that each of the parties may have regarding the other, it must be borne in mind that they both belong to the same region, which implies inexorably that peaceful coexistence and mutual respect are the immutable guidelines for a peace worthy of the name. It is not merely a question of a cease-fire, genuine peace has to be based on law and order.
228. In the appropriate forum, negotiations between the parties concerned -- whatever form they may take -- must begin as soon as possible for the purpose, which should be pursued sincerely by everyone, of establishing a peaceful, just and stable order.
229. On the basis of the foregoing considerations, my delegation will view favourably any draft resolution that embodies the principles and guidelines to which I have just referred. What I have said in this statement will determine the attitude we shall finally adopt to any draft resolution that is submitted.
230. As was said yesterday by the representative of France in his statement to this Assembly:
"... The time comes when facts should be placed in an over-all context, and each party, each country concerned, must make contact with the realities that compose that over-all context." [2292nd meeting, paras. 83 and 86.]
232. Mr. TEMPLETON (New Zealand): I have taken the floor to speak on this item with some diffidence. New Zealand is not a principal party to the
Middle East question, nor do I have any magic formula to offer as a solution to the incredibly complex and delicate tangle of problems which make up that question, not the least of which involves the rights of the Arab people of Palestine. But although New Zealand is a small country, geographically placed at a great distance, we are bound to recognize that world peace is threatened by the situation in the Middle East, perhaps more acutely than anywhere else today, that the actions of Middle East countries can affect the economic stability of the whole world, and that a progressive solution of the problem of Palestine and other Middle East problems must be an essential element in the further development of great-Power détente.
233. A situation which endangers international peace and security affects every Member of the United Nations. For that reason my Government has instructed me to tell the Assembly where New Zealand stands on the question of Palestine, and I shall do so as concisely and dispassionately as I can.
234. Seven years ago almost to the day, the Security Council adopted its resolution 242 (1967), which emphasized that it was inadmissible to acquire territory by war and that it was essential to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area could live in security. My Government supports the just implementation of that resolution in all its parts. It follows that we believe that territory occupied by Israel in 1967 must be returned. In the same way, we support the internationalization of Jerusalem and do not recognize its annexation by Israel.
235. The question then arises of the disposition of territory occupied by Israel. We recognize that any settlement must take account of the rights and aspirations of the Arab people of Palestine. Not only must the refugees be repatriated or compensated; the rights of the Palestinians must, in our view, include the right of self-determination. If, therefore, the Arab people of Palestine wish to establish an Arab State of Palestine, that is their decision, and whether they wish to do so as a separate State or as part of a larger Arab State is also their decision.
236. Twenty-seven years ago, New Zealand voted for the resolution calling for the partition of Palestine. We did not regard partition as the ideal solution and had serious and well-justified doubts as to the adequacy of the means provided for the implementation of partition, but no better alternative solution offered itself. Some decision had to be taken. There has been much criticism of the partition resolution, but no solution acceptable to all the parties could be discovered then and none has been proposed since.
237. We see no reason to apologize for our vote. It is worth recalling that if the 1947 resolution had been accepted with all its defects, an Arab State would have existed in Palestine for more than a quarter of a century. On the other side, it is worth recalling that the establishment of an independent Arab Palestinian State was accepted then by Israel and it seems only fair that it should continue to be regarded as part of the bargain.
238. It follows, if we recognize the right of the Arab Palestinians to establish their own nation on their own territory, that we recognize also and support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign independent State. That, after all, is the basic right of any nation, reinforced in the case of a United Nations Member by the provisions of the Charter. Furthermore, as resolution 242 (1967) affirms, every State has the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. Clearly that affirmation applies to Israel. My Government is unalterably opposed to terrorism and violence and, more widely, to the use of force as a means to solve any of the problems of the Middle East. We support the further provisions of resolution 242 (1967) which affirm the need to guarantee the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones, and to guarantee also freedom of navigation for all States through international waterways in the area.
239. I do not intend to comment in detail on the remarkable speech made by the leader of the PLO to this Assembly [2282nd meeting]. New Zealand considered it right that the views of the Palestinians should be presented to the Assembly, and Mr. Arafats speech set out those views very fully. It is a matter of regret to my delegation that he did not more clearly acknowledge the reality of the State of Israel and its right to exist within secure boundaries, although we took due note of the single reference to that State in his speech. Mr. Arafat spoke movingly of the olive branch which he asked us not to let fall from his hand. I hope he will understand that the United Nations is not his adversary and has nothing but goodwill for the Arab people of Palestine. When their representative comes bearing an olive branch, that can only be welcomed. But it is to the people of Israel that it must be extended, and it is Israel that must take it up. Whatever the outcome of the debate here, it is the parties directly concerned, and only they, who can settle the question of Palestine.
240. I am aware that there may be elements in my Government's position which one side will find it difficult to accept, and other elements which could give the other side equal difficulty. I ask both sides to believe that we have spoken in an objective spirit in support of the principles of the Charter and in accordance with the dictates of our conscience.
241. Mr. ROSSIDES (Cyprus): My delegation welcomes the inclusion of the question of Palestine as a separate item in the agenda of this session of the General Assembly. As the problem of Palestine lies at the core of the whole Middle East problem, its separate examination will, we hope, prove constructive and helpful.
242. The problem of Palestine has been close to our hearts as that of a brother nation and people, and we have all along supported its just solution within the principles of the Charter and the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Aside from its general concern for international security and peace, Cyprus has always had a particular interest in the peace of this region of which it forms a part. Our relevant endeavours over the years have approached the problem in complete objectivity and have been guided by the fundamental principles of the Charter and deep concern for the respect on which the independence and territorial integrity of small countries mainly depends.
243. On two occasions, at the fifteenth and sixteenth sessions of the General Assembly, my delegation made concrete and what we considered to be constructive proposals, in a balanced and objective approach to the problem, towards initiating steps for the solution of the refugee problem in particular. We feel that if those suggestions had been accepted we would have a different situation today.
244. The Middle East problem, with which the United Nations has been fruitlessly engaged for decades, is but a complication and aggravation of the original refugee problem that resulted from the ouster of the Palestinians from their homeland.
245. It came as an outgrowth of the partition resolution taken by this Assembly in its early years and at a time when the consequences and repercussions of partition, and the constant threats to international peace involved, had not as yet been realized, as later on and during the past 20 years world experience in all continents has amply shown. For transitory phases of division psychologically are given the permanent character of accentuated armed conflict through geographical separation, and Palestine has not been the exception, particularly when, in a deteriorating situation, a city like Jerusalem was at the time cut in two with the result that animosities that could only be temporary and fluid in nature were given geographical content within one and the same country, were dismembered and tended to become fixed enmities.
246. It has thus become increasingly necessary and obvious for the United Nations to see the problem of the Middle East in the light of its true and causal dimensions. Therefore, the invitation to the PLO as representing the Palestinian people, whose historical identity as such is beyond dispute, to participate in these deliberations has been a constructive and helpful move towards better understanding of the situation. That is why we fully supported and sponsored that invitation. This would lead to a more reasonable and just approach to the problem in the interests of all concerned and of the world community at large.
247. It is not unnatural that in such circumstances claims and demands by both sides might at first go to extreme lengths. It is hoped, however, that as a net result a reasonable and just line cutting across the problem can more effectively be reached on the basis of universal principles and immutable realities, none of which can be ignored. In using the word "realities", we mean it to include, not less than man-made realities, the eternal realities stemming from the moral flow of the universe and the laws of balance, harmony and co-operation as reflected in the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
248. The implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), long delayed and overdue, will have to be realized. It is an objective resolution basically dealing with all the aspects of the problem, and it was accepted by all sides. The continued lack of any step towards initiating the implementation of that resolution can only lead to a further deterioration in the situation. The total inadmissibility of territorial occupation by conquest, as emphasized in that resolution, is practically the unanimous position of all the Members of the United Nations that have spoken in this debate. Similarly common is the demand for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the 1967 conflict, and, equally, so is the respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and its right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force, as called for in that resolution.
249. The Palestinian problem, which, aside from its humanitarian aspect, is essentially a political problem involving self-determination, will have to be settled as a first priority. Interconnected with it is the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territories occupied in 1967 and, in a parallel way, the security of Israel within its recognized boundaries as stipulated in resolution 242 (1967) will also have to be provided for.
250. World security is now too perilously interdependent to withstand the impact of conflicts that once might have affected only one locality or one region. Today they are global in their effects. International security now depends on the moderation and solution of problems on a non-military basis at the earliest possible time. Yet, we are at the moment dealing with a problem that has festered unsolved and unresolved for a quarter of a century and has seen a whole generation grow up drinking deeply of bitterness and frustration.
251. At the same time, the military aspects of the question have become more destructive and more costly, involving more and more the commitments of major military Powers. The danger of nuclear war, particularly in the new forms of semi-nuclear and semi-conventional weapons, is great. Such a situation, particularly in reference to the continued grievance of the unrestored rights of the Palestinian people, cannot ever remain unresolved without becoming the most threatening focus of unrest involving the dangers even of a cataclysmic war. Why? Because of the failure to deal forthrightly with questions of justice.
252. We venture to hope, therefore, that this major discussion may be the starting point for moves towards a just solution of the problem, even though the positions of the parties at this point in time may seem far apart. There is no doubt that the PLO should be and will be accepted within the context of whatever negotiations are opened as the next step of the Middle East problem. There is also no doubt that the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people must be met within the context of today's realities.
253. We appreciate the positiveness of certain parts of the statement of the leader of the PLO, Mr. Yasser Arafat, which denote a spirit of tolerance and understanding so necessary for any progress towards the solution of the problem at the present juncture.
254. If one group of people in the area has i right to an internationally guaranteed homeland, then, most certainly and pre-eminently, so do those who have been displaced. They must also have the right to return to their own homes. The people of Cyprus have had the bitter experience recently of the most blatant usurpation by force of their homes and land and therefore have a taste of the whole situation involved and the urgency of the need for redress.
255. The problem of the Palestinian people in seeking the restoration of their rights is the problem of every nation and every people. Acts based on separateness, on notions of division and of superiority, on outworn ideas of short-term gain at the expense of others are detrimental to the world as a whole. These concepts might have flourished in the past without consequences, but they cannot today in a nuclear age and in an age of space travel. Increased scientific knowledge calls for an increased sense of responsibility and a new approach -- a global approach -- to the problems of the world, for there is the crux of the whole matter involving the very survival of humanity.
256. Let us hope most fervently and let us work for those necessary changes in attitudes and approach, which will allow and facilitate the emergence of justice realized, of peace achieved and of equity established once and for all in this troubled world.
257. The people of Cyprus share with the people of Palestine their anguish and their plight and also the hope that their trial may soon be over.
258. Mr. SIKIVOU (Fiji): May I at the outset, on behalf of my delegation, join representatives who have spoken before me, in expressing our sincere condolences to the Government and people of Saudi Arabia on the untimely death of their Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Omar Sakkaf.
259. Likewise, my delegation also wishes to extend to the Government and people of Ireland our most profound and sincere grief on the passing away of the President. Mr. Childers.
260. My delegation is addressing the General Assembly this evening because we feel duty-bound to explain Fiji's position on the important question of Palestine. We voted in favour of, but did not explain our vote on, the inscription of the item we are debating, nor did we explain why we supported the move to invite the PLO to address the General Assembly plenary itself rather than one of its committees. My delegation also supported the decision that all delegations, including Israel, should speak only once during the debate on this item [2285th meeting, para. 64].
261. I should like to explain very briefly why we voted as we did on each of the three questions. First, on the inscription of the item: a glance at this session's agenda will convince one that there is no more important item on the Middle East than the question of Palestine. My delegation will not go into the historical background of the issue except to say that we believe that the uprooting of Palestinians from their ancestral land and their homes, in the process of the creation of the State of Israel, involved the commission of many wrong and criminal acts. It is not our purpose in this statement to apportion blame and responsibility for the unsettling and dispossession of the Palestinians. We do, however, wish to say that it is right and proper that the United Nations should be actively involved in the Palestine question, until the victims' grievances have been satisfactorily redressed. After all, the question of Palestine came into being because of the United Nations decision in 1947 to establish the State of Israel. It is a United Nations baby. It is unrealistic and unreasonable to pretend that such a pressing question does not exist or that it can be relegated to a secondary position and be forgotten with the passage of time. It is that kind of attitude which encourages violent acts by both the Palestinians and Israelis, from which both the perpetrators and the victims could and should be spared.
262. I should like to recall that my delegation was one of those that requested the Chairman of the Special Political Committee about two years ago to have the Committee hear representatives of the PLO.8 We also supported the resolution that the PLO be heard in plenary Assembly [resolution 3210 (XXIX)], because it is the undoubted and acknowledged representative body of the Palestinians. Any doubt people might have had in this regard was dispelled by the recent Rabat summit decision that the PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinians.1 Since the settlement of Palestinian grievances remains the key issue to the settlement of the Middle East question, and since the PLO is the sole representative of the Palestinians, those among us who genuinely want lasting peace brought to the war-weary people of the region should hear the PLO. My delegation maintains that the legitimately aggrieved of the world's communities, whoever they might be, should be heard in appropriate forums of the United Nations if they seek to be heard. We therefore considered it better that the PLO should come and talk to and with us, rather than to express itself in defiance and frustration in other ways, when its legitimate aspirations are ignored or denied.
263. My delegation was also among those that considered that all delegations including Israel should be treated alike and given the opportunity to address the Assembly once only on the question of Palestine, on the understanding that any delegation might exercise its right of reply in the normal way at the end of each day's debate. Our decision was influenced not by any evil intention against Israel -- as some have interpreted that decision of the General Assembly to mean -- but by the sincere desire, which many of us share, that we should complete our agenda on time. Our decision was also influenced, Mr. President, by your own recent exhortation that all should get on with the agenda business in committee and plenary as our work was somewhat behind schedule. We deeply regret that, after the trouble we went to, Israel has not exercised its right of reply as it is entitled to do at the end of each day of debate on this item.
265. Concurrently with this position, my delegation also believes that no workable peaceful or lasting solution could be found which does not take into account the reality and permanency of the State of Israel. There is a State of Israel. It is in the land of Palestine. It is a Member State of this Organization, and should therefore continue to be a principal party to any peace negotiation on the Middle East question, including the question of Palestine.
266. Convinced as we are that no lasting solution can be found to the Palestine question which does not recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including their rights to self-determination and political independence within Palestine, or which ignores the existence of the State of Israel or seeks to destroy it -- it is a matter of deep regret to us that the two principal parties to the question are so mutually exclusive in their respective positions. We regret all that may have been said or done here and elsewhere to harden their positions and render the prospects of compromise and accommodation slim and distant. Our Government and people believe that a satisfactory solution to the question of Palestine could only be reached if the two principal parties themselves are prepared to talk and genuinely seek, in a spirit of co-operation and accommodation, answers to their many problems. We do not believe that either likes the present course of violence and destruction which they impose on each other. Like some delegations which have spoken before us, my delegation considers that Security Council resolution 242 (1967) is still the best agreed basis for the settlement of the Middle East question and should therefore be fully implemented. We appreciate however that resolution 242 (1967) does not specifically cover the Palestine question as we are dealing with it now. We would therefore be happy to support any draft resolution that seeks to provide for the existence of both Israel and a new State of Palestine within secure, recognized and guaranteed boundaries, in Palestine. We regret that we will not be able to support any draft resolution that would provide for one only of the two parties at the expense of the other.
267. Mr. SHAHI (Pakistan): Mr. President, since this is the first opportunity I have had to address the General Assembly during this session, you will permit me to offer you my warmest personal felicitations on your unanimous election to this high office. Your courageous and principled conduct of the Assembly's proceedings have earned for you the enduring respect and admiration of the overwhelming majority of Member States, in particular of the representatives of the third world. I am confident that the momentous results of this Assembly will be a lasting tribute to your historic Presidency of the General Assembly.
268. I am deeply privileged to address the General Assembly in this momentous debate on behalf of my Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who is also the current Chairman of the Islamic Summit Conference. The issue under consideration is one of paramount importance to peace and security in the Middle East and indeed to world peace.
269. The position of Pakistan on the Palestine question has been consistent and steadfast for half a century. As far back as the 1930s, the people of Pakistan, through their accredited leaders, called on the Mandatory Power to enable the people of Palestine to exercise the right of self-determination. In 1940, they warned against the danger of using force in the Holy Land "to overawe the Arabs . . . into submission".
270. Two months after Pakistan's independence, in October 1947, the founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, warned that the proposed partition of Palestine would entail the gravest danger and unprecedented conflict.
271. Ever since, Pakistan has held faithfully to its position of principle. Several representatives, during the current debate, have referred to views expressed by the representative of my country on the Plan of Partition. Now, as then, Pakistan maintains that that Plan was a perversion of the principle of self-determination. It was beyond the competence of the General Assembly to divide an indivisible entity, that is, the Holy Land. It was unjust to the Arabs of Palestine and incapable of peaceful implementation. It was in fact an invitation to war. The United Nations, or at least those of its Members which supported the unjust division of Palestine, bear a heavy responsibility to restitute the national rights of the Palestinian people .
272. The Assembly's decision to accord a respectful hearing to the Chairman of the PLO is but a belated acknowledgement of the right of the Palestinian people to a national existence in its homeland.
273. The current debate has revived the hope that at last, after more than a quarter of a century, the situation in the Middle East will be resolved in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. The events of last year have brought about a basic transformation in the Middle East. The Arab nation is now united and determined to bring all its resources to bear in the service of the Palestinian cause. This is a development of the first importance. It is to the credit of the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Kissinger, that he should have perceived the shifting of the strategic balance in the Middle East and set in motion the trend towards a peaceful settlement. But the glimmer of hope we see today could turn into a mirage if the settlement of the problem is not based on the principles of equity and justice.
274. If peace has been elusive in the Middle East, it is because Israel has come to develop a vested interest in conflict and confrontation. Ever since 1948, Israel has alleged the existence of a threat to its very survival from its Arab neighbours. Yet, in each successive conflict -- in 1948, in 1956 and in 1967 -- it was Israel that made territorial gains.
275. During the last two decades, the international community's concern with the constant threat of conflagration between Israel and its neighbouring Arab States has naturally diverted its attention away from the plight of the Palestinian people. That was not accidental. It has been clearly part of a grand design through wars and tensions to render the solution of the Middle East problem more and more complex and to thus relegate the fundamental issue -- the fate of the people of Palestine -- to the background. As a result, the whole of the territory of Palestine and other Arab areas are under Israeli occupation and every Palestinian either dispossessed and exiled or forced to live as a second-class citizen under its rule. The Palestinians have suffered, and continue to suffer, as few others have done in our times. Their fate for 27 years has been to waste away in refugee camps, to eke out a miserable existence on international charity and to dream of the day that would end their exile and dispersion. Destitution, hunger, torture and sudden death are their constant companions. How can one fail to understand their bitterness and resentment at their fate and their determination to compel world attention to their terrible plight?
276. Yet, in his address to this Assembly last week, the Chairman of the PLO proclaimed his people's "faith in the future, unencumbered either by past tragedies or present limitations" [2282nd meeting, para. 22]. He spoke of Palestine's wounds, but without hate or rancour. Instead, Yasser Arafat asked this Assembly to share his dream of peace in the Holy Land, a peace in which the people of the three monotheistic faiths could live in harmony and as equals.
277. It is now generally recognized that there are three essential elements for a durable peace in the Middle East: first, the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from occupied Arab territories; secondly, the restoration of the Holy City of Jerusalem to Arab sovereignty; and, thirdly, the restitution of the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and national independence in Palestine. All these elements are recognized and embodied in numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and Security Council.
278. The Second Islamic Conference of Kings and Heads of State and Government, held at Lahore earlier this year, declared:
279. The Sixth Arab Summit Conference at Algiers, the Second Islamic Summit Conference at Lahore, the Conference of Heads of State and Government of OAU at Mogadiscio and, finally, this Assembly itself have all recognized the PLO as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people". In this debate, we heard the representative of Jordan say:
281. The decisions taken at the recent Arab Summit Conference at Rabat' have clarified the issue of representation. Those decisions have brought Israel face to face with the Palestinian problem, as was remarked by a great Western newspaper, and the Palestinian problem is the key to the whole conflict between Israel and the Arabs. As the Chairman of the PLO stated in this Assembly, the Rabat Summit Conference "reiterated the right of the PLO, in its capacity as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, to establish an independent national State on all liberated Palestinian territory" [2282nd meeting, para. 63]. Therefore realism demands the recognition of this reality if peace is to return to the Middle East.
282. To refuse to acknowledge the new realities in the Middle East is to reject peace. The consequences of rejection cannot but be of the gravest possible nature, not only for Israel and the Arabs but for the whole world. The nations of the world have already paid a heavy price for the previous conflicts. The higher costs of goods entailed by the closure of the Suez Canal, the sharp increase in oil prices in the wake of the October war, the consequent monetary instability and the threat of world-wide depression are only some of the repercussions of the Middle East conflict on the rest of the world. Another war in the Middle East cannot but hurl the world into political, economic and financial ruin. If we recall the alert on which the forces of the super-Powers were placed during the last war, can one rule out altogether the possibility of a nuclear confrontation between the super-Powers? The peoples of the world simply cannot afford to pay this price for the intransigence, ambition and territorial aggrandizement of Israel.
283. This Assembly must now take energetic steps to ensure that the requirements of justice and peace are fulfilled in the Middle East. It must impress upon Israel the need to accept the new realities in the region. The five permanent members of the Security Council and particularly those with the greatest power and influence in the area, have a special responsibility in this regard. We regret to state that they have not so far been equal to this responsibility in regard to the implementation of resolution 242 (1967) of the Security Council. The seven years which have passed since that resolution was adopted have only worsened the situation and made the prospects of a nuclear confrontation and financial and economic ruin for the whole world even more grave. The Arab Heads of State, meeting at Rabat, adopted a constructive approach to a fair and durable settlement in the Middle East, by clarifying the issue of representation of the Palestinian people. They have stipulated the principles for an equitable solution but have not foreclosed any possible procedure to arrive at such a solution. We believe there is ample scope for constructive diplomacy to determine the most acceptable path towards peace. What we need is to take these steps with vision and courage, transcending intransigence and prejudice and refusing to be intimidated into sacrificing justice and principles for the sake of a patchwork peace.
284. The PRESIDENT (interpretation from French): The General Assembly will take a decision tomorrow on two draft resolutions that have been submitted [A/L.741 and A/L.742]. I call now on the representative of the Congo, who will introduce draft resolution A/L.741.
285. Mr. MONDJO (Congo) (interpretation from French): I should like first, on behalf of the sponsors of draft resolution A/L 741, which is now before the Assembly, to apologize to all delegations. We are aware of the delay in presenting this document to the General Assembly for its consideration. But I entreat Members to believe that this delay bears witness to the efforts of the sponsors, inspired by the determination to associate all Members of our Organization with the historic act, in which we are now engaged, of paying the way to the restoration of the national right of the Palestinian people, and hence to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
286. I should now like briefly to explain the purport of this draft resolution. In general terms, I should like to say that the text of this draft resolution is simple in its wording, as it reaffirms the principles that the majority of the Members of our Organization have no difficulty in supporting.
287. I do not believe that I need to cover all the provisions of this text. However, I should like to stress that operative paragraph 1 sets forth principles which flow from the Charter. There is a clear statement of support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people: its right to self-determination without external interference, and its right to national independence and sovereignty -- rights that are recognized as belonging, without any shadow of doubt, to all peoples of the world.
288. Operative paragraph 2 stresses the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property. Throughout this lengthy debate, the majority of Members have recognized that there can be no settlement of the Middle East conflict without respect for these rights, and almost all Members have recognized the key role that the Palestinian people must play in creating conditions for peace in that sorely tried region. That is the purport of operative paragraphs 3 and 4.
289. Operative paragraph 5 reaffirms that in realizing these rights the Palestinian people is free to use whatever means it deems fit to achieve those ends, in accordance, of course, with the Charter.
290. Operative paragraph 6 calls on all States and international organizations to extend the necessary support to the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people.
291. Finally, in order to give practical expression to the role to be played by the PLO as the lawful representative of the Palestinian people, the role that it must play in the quest for a just and lasting solution to this tragedy, operative paragraph 7 requests the Secretary-General to establish contacts with the PLO, which is the spokesman for the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
292. Once again demonstrating that we do not wish to close the door to any constructive initiative, operative paragraph 8 also requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its thirtieth session on the implementation of this resolution.
293. I should like, on behalf of the sponsors, to appeal to all Members to assist together in the peaceful settlement of this tragedy which, for the past 25 years, has loomed over the Palestinian people.
294. In conclusion, I should like to inform the General Assembly that the list of sponsors of this draft resolution consists of the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Congo, Cuba, Democratic Yemen, Egypt, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Republic. Madagascar. Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Yugoslavia and Zaire. The sponsors, of course, would be delighted to have other Members join them.