About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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10. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that the paragraph should also indicate that recent publicized events were not in conformity with the Committee's recommendations.
11. Mr. ABDEL MEGUID (Observer for Egypt) said that if the Committee was going to judge the results of the latest Middle East peace negotiations, it must first consider those results very carefully. The Committee's mandate was to implement United Nations resolutions on the Palestinian question, and it must restrict itself to that mandate and not interfere in areas for which it had no responsibility.
12. It was, moreover, impossible for the Committee to include a judgement of the recent peace negotiations in its recommendations, when it had not been officially seized of the published results of the negotiations. Consequently, although his delegation supported the text of paragraph 15 proposed by the Rapporteur, it could not accept the amendment proposed by the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
13. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) pointed out that there were great disparities between the Committee's original recommendations, as endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 31/20, and the "Framework for Peace" agreed to at the Camp David negotiations. For instance, the Committee had recommended that the Security Council should call for the immediate implementation of its resolution 237 (1967) concerning the right of Palestinians to return to their homes, and had not made that right subject to any other conditions. On the other hand, paragraph A 3 of the Camp David "Framework for Peace" totally disregarded both Security Council resolution 237 (1967) and the inalienable right of all Palestinians to return to their homes. Indeed, it gave foreign Powers the right to decide which Palestinians should return to their homelands and which should be regarded as disruptive elements and therefore ineligible to return. It recognized the right of return only of the persons displaced from their homes since 1967 and did not in any way guarantee the right of all Palestinians to return to their homes. Of course, paragraph A 1 of the "Framework for Peace" acknowledged that the
Palestine Liberation Organization should be allowed to participate in negotiations on the Palestinian problem, but that provision was totally undermined by the restrictions imposed in subsequent paragraphs and by the powers given to States to apply those restrictions.
14. The Committee's recommendations had also upheld the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, yet the "Framework for Peace" made no reference to that inalienable right, which belonged to all peoples. It therefore totally contradicted the Committee's recommendations, which had been adopted in accordance with the mandate given to the Committee by the General Assembly to draw up a programme to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights.
15. When he had suggested that the Committee's recommendations should include an opinion on the results of the Camp David negotiations, he had done so because he felt that the "Framework for Peace" had reduced the Committee's excellent work to nothing. The Palestine National Council believed that the Committee's work should be given universal support, yet the Camp David framework agreement made no reference to either the Committee, the Palestine Liberation Organization or the rights of the Palestinian people.
16. Mr. ABDEL MEGUID (Observer for Egypt) pointed out that the Camp David document had not been submitted officially to the Committee and he asked on what authority it had been circulated. That issue must be resolved before the Committee could even begin to discuss the document. He naturally supported the Committee's position of principle on the Palestinian question, but did not believe that the Committee had a mandate to discuss the recent negotiations so superficially. It must study the entire implications of the Camp David meeting and not just certain published documents. That was a very serious issue which could not be treated lightly.
17. He hoped that members of the Committee would appreciate the fact that the Committee was supposed to be discussing its report, which his delegation endorsed, and not an issue which was the affair of certain Heads of State, including his own.
18. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had every right to discuss the Camp David document without being officially seized of it. All the Camp David participants, barring Egypt, had completely ignored the Committee's existence and were hardly likely to inform it officially of the results of the summit meeting. The document "Framework for Peace" was an official document which had been sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and could therefore be circulated to subsidiary organs. The point was that the Committee had a mandate to secure the implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and therefore could and must discuss any development which it believed to be prejudicial to those rights, whether it was officially seized of such a development or not.
19. He now wished to know the views of members of the Committee concerning the amendment to paragraph 15 proposed by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Committee had a responsibility to comment on that amendment.
20. Mr. BACHROUCH (Tunisia) said that his delegation had taken note with great interest of the Camp David agreement but he had not yet received instructions on that very complex matter from his Government. He wished to reaffirm his delegation's position with regard to the question of Palestine, namely, that no solution of the Middle East problem could or might be reached without the participation of the Palestinian people, and that their sole representative was the Palestine Liberation Organization.
21. Mr. MUJEZINOVI (Yugoslavia) said that the "Framework for Peace" was a very comprehensive document with far-reaching implications for the situation in the Middle East and for the destiny of the Palestinian people. His delegation had, however, not yet received instructions from its Government. The crux of the problem of the Middle East was the unresolved question of Palestine. The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people had been defined time and again in United Nations resolutions and they were also set forth in the recommendations of the Committee. There could be no resolution of the Palestinian problem and the Middle East problem without the participation of the Palestinian people, and its sole legal representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization. Paragraph 67 of the Declaration of the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Countries adopted at Belgrade, which had been unanimously supported by all Arab countries at the Conference and subsequently endorsed by all the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the non-aligned countries, stressed the right of the Palestine Liberation Organization to reject all forms of settlement, projects and solutions
aimed at the liquidation of the Palestine question which denied the national rights of the Palestinian people. His delegation was therefore prepared to consider any text proposed by the Rapporteur.
22. Mr. KOUYATE (Guinea) said that his delegation saw no objection to the report submitted by the Rapporteur and the amendment to that report proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Since the Palestinian people was the best judge of matters concerning it and the Palestine Liberation Organization was its sole recognized representative, the amendment proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization could be added to the paragraph proposed by the Rapporteur.
23. Mr. RASON (Madagascar) said that his delegation had no objection to the amendment proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
24. Mr. ALMEIDA (Cuba) said that the members of the Committee had an obligation to keep themselves informed of events anywhere in the world that affected the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Since the Committee was now confronted with a most important matter that directly affected those rights, his delegation considered that the amendment proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization should be accepted.
25. Mr. HAMDAN (Observer for the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that he endorsed the points just made by the Chairman concerning the Committee's right to take a position on any document that affected the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and he therefore wished to support the proposal of the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
26. Mr. ABDEL MEGUID (Observer for Egypt) said that as the members of the Committee were expressing opinions about the substance of the text of the "Framework for Peace", the Committee was exceeding its mandate. The amendment to paragraph 15 of the Committee's report proposed by the Palestine Liberation Organization constituted a judgement, and delegations had no authority to say whether or not that amendment should be included in the Committee's report while they were awaiting instructions from their Governments.
27. Mr. KUBBA (Observer for Iraq) said that his delegation supported the amendment proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
28. Mr. VO ANH TUAN (Observer for Viet Nam) said that his delegation also felt that the Palestine Liberation Organization, the only authentic representative of the Palestinian people, was in the best position to know the problems of its people and to defend its interests. His delegation was therefore prepared to accept the amendment submitted by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
29. Mr. DUBEY (India) said that his delegation was in complete agreement with all United Nations resolutions and declarations by the non-aligned countries on the question of Palestine, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the problems of the Middle East. His delegation was awaiting instructions from its Government, and since the amendment to paragraph 15 proposed by the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization was a commentary on the results of the talks held at Camp David it was not in a position to accept it. It would likewise have to seek instructions with regard to the paragraph proposed by the Rapporteur.
30. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that in suggesting the wording for the paragraph he had anticipated that it would be difficult for the Committee to go any further. The positions of individual delegations were well known, as was that of his own delegation, which subscribed to the declaration adopted at Belgrade and therefore needed no reaffirmation. The Committee was trying to enhance its contribution to the cause of the Palestinian people. The paragraph he had suggested in no way detracted from the Committee's previous recommendations. The Committee could not go beyond that reaffirmation since delegations did not know the details of the discussions that had taken place recently, and their Governments had not yet adopted official positions. He therefore felt that, at that stage, the paragraph he had suggested would meet with the endorsement of the Committee as a whole. The Committee would have an opportunity to discuss recent events later. Its best choice at that stage was to reaffirm the recommendations that had the backing of the United Nations, which meant that it would be reserving judgement until there had been time to study the new situation.
31. Mrs. ÜNAYDIN (Turkey) said that her delegation was awaiting instructions from its Government. However, she wished to reiterate her Government's position with regard to the Palestinian question, namely, that a just and equitable solution to the Middle East question could not be found unless the inalienable, legitimate and national rights of the Palestinian people were realized, in keeping with United Nations resolutions on the subject.
32. The CHAIRMAN said that he had had contacts with many persons in the past 24 hours, and several delegations had approached him with regard to the possibility of introducing resolutions, draft declarations and draft communiqués. He had tried to make a synopsis of all the elements at his disposal. The working paper, which had been distributed to members, contained the points that had formed the basis of the Committee's report and recommendations; most of those points had been reflected in members' statements. The delegations that were awaiting instructions from their Governments also supported those principles of the Committee and the United Nations. The working paper had been prepared so that members of the Committee could make their reactions to it known. He wished to ask the Rapporteur to examine paragraph 15 of the Committee's report and to try to reformulate it with the members of the drafting group on the basis of the statements that had been made at the meeting and on the basis of the working paper, if members of the Committee had no objections to that paper. If difficulties arose in the drafting group, the matter could be referred back to the Committee. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt that procedure.
33. It was so decided.
34. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) wished to call attention to the fact that he belonged to the drafting group as a member of the Task Force, and was therefore not merely an observer.
35. The CHAIRMAN said that since the working paper had been referred to the drafting group, he would, as a member of the drafting group, request the Secretariat to make that document available to the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
36. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, speaking as Chairman of the Task Force, reported that, accompanied by the representative of Romania and a member of the Secretariat, he had represented the Committee at the Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, held at Geneva from 14 to 25 August. He had described to the Conference the Committee's activities and the areas in which the Palestinian people suffered racial discrimination. The representatives of the Committee who had stayed on after his departure had held a press conference at which they had referred to the Palestinian cause and highlighted the activities of the Committee. The Conference had shown sympathy and understanding for the Palestinian cause and interest in the Committee's work, and had included a paragraph dealing with the Palestinian question in its Declaration.
37. He had recently received a personal letter from the Mayor of a city in the occupied territories expressing appreciation to the Committee for its interest and concern, and describing some of the policies of the military Government. According to the letter, one of the daily problems confronting the inhabitants of the occupied territories was the confiscation of Arab lands, which was having an adverse impact on the health, welfare and development of the inhabitants. Referring to the Government's practice of random arrest and detention without charge, the letter stated that detainees were often subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment and psychological pressure, that heavy fines had been imposed on young people suspected of participating in demonstrations and that tear gas had been used by the authorities, sometimes with disastrous results. The letter added that the authorities were prolonging the separation of families by rejecting applications for reunification, and concluded with an appeal to the international community to come to the assistance of the inhabitants of the occupied territories.
38. It was time for the Committee to call the attention of world leaders to the first observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which would take place on 29 November 1978.
39. The CHAIRMAN inquired whether it would be possible to file the Mayor's letter with the records of the Committee, subject to concealment of the author's identity. As to the International Day of Solidarity, there seemed to be agreement among members of the Committee that a letter should be sent to Heads of State drawing their attention to the fact that the Day was being observed for the first time in 1978 and requesting their solidarity in providing assistance or in sending delegations to attend the ceremonies which would be held in cities throughout the world. He wished to know whether the Secretary-General had already been requested to write such a letter.
40. Mr. YOGASUUNDRAM (Secretary of the Committee) said that he had been under the impression that the Chairman would send a letter to Heads of State.
41. The CHAIRMAN agreed to send such a letter.
42. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Palestine Liberation Organization had instructed its representatives in countries throughout the world to co-ordinate with the Governments of those countries and with United Nations representatives in those countries with a view to celebrating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. A programme for the celebration to be held at United Nations Headquarters had already been circulated and some delegations had requested information and literature to help them to observe the Day in their own countries. He therefore believed that the Committee should send a letter to Heads of State, and also to international dignitaries known for their advocacy of human rights, asking them to express support for the International Day of Solidarity.
43. With regard to the letter from a Mayor in the occupied territories, read out by the Rapporteur, he wished to point out that the Committee had already received a number of letters from Palestinian authorities and individuals in the occupied territories which had been circulated as official documents. He did not, therefore, share the Rapporteur's misgivings about disclosing the name of the Mayor concerned or the town which he represented. Indeed, he urged that the letter be circulated as a Committee document along with other letters on the human rights of the Palestinian people.
44. He also urged the Committee to consider the possibility of calling for a meeting of the Security Council as soon as possible to take action on the Committee's recommendations. The Security Council was already seized of the Palestinian question and with the Committee's recommendations on that subject, as endorsed by the General Assembly, and there was a risk that, unless the Council took action on the recommendations very soon, those recommendations would be completely forgotten.
45. The CHAIRMAN said that the Rapporteur had been fully entitled not to reveal the name of the Mayor who had written the letter which he had read out. However, the matter could be considered further should the Rapporteur decide that the letter could be circulated, as it stood, as a United Nations document.
46. As for calling for a meeting of the Security Council, he said that there had so far been no opportunity to persuade the Security Council to adopt the recommendations. The Committee would, however, pursue its contacts with delegations in connexion with the matter. The report was already before the Council, so it was simply a question of reminding the Security Council that a
decision needed to be taken concerning it.
47. He suggested that the Secretary should address a letter to the President of the Security Council pointing out that the Committee's report was before the Council and that the Committee was still awaiting the Security Council decision requested by the General Assembly.
48. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, recalled that, at the previous meeting, the Task Force had requested that the Committee should send representatives to attend the Geneva celebration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
49. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the drafting group should be asked to find volunteers to attend the Geneva celebration.
50. It was so decided.
The meeting rose at 1 p.m.