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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
3 December 1985




Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Monday, 2 December 1985, at 10.30 a.m.

President: ...........................Mr. HEPBURN (Vice-President) .................. (Bahamas)
later: ............................Mr. AGIUS (Vice-President) .................(Malta)


- Question of Palestine: [33]

(a) Report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
(b) Report of the Secretary-General
(c) Draft resolutions

This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the General Assembly.

Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

In the absence of the President, Mr. Hepburn (Bahamas), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 11 a.m.






(c) DRAFT RESOLUTIONS (A/40/L.23 to A/40/L.25)

THE PRESIDENT: I should like to propose that the list of speakers in the debate on this item be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, at 12 noon.

May I take it that the General Assembly agrees to that proposal?

It was so decided.

THE PRESIDENT: I therefore request those representatives wishing to participate in the debate to inscribe their name on the list of speakers as soon as possible.

I now call on Mr. Massamba Sarré of Senegal, in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

Mr. SARRE (Senegal) , Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (interpretation from French): Last Year, in its resolution 39/49 D, the General Assembly reaffirmed its endorsement of the call for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in conformity with the guiding principles recommended by the International Conference held in Geneva in 1983. The Assembly urged all Governments to make additional constructive efforts and to strengthen their political will in order to convene the Conference without delay and for the achievement of its peaceful objectives.

During the past year, the concept of such a Conference has gained growing acceptance, both at the level of Governments and at the level of world public opinion. Indeed, the Conference, which would be held under the auspices of the United Nations, would provide a legal and political framework accepted by the vast majority of the international community for the carrying out of negotiations in a spirit of respect for internationally recognized principles and on a footing of equality of all the Parties concerned. Hence, it would make it possible to go beyond the narrow strategic interests and the purely domestic concerns of the various States and to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. And, better still, the agreements that would be reached by such a Conference would be universally recognized as legitimate and could be guaranteed and applied equitably and in a way accepted by all. the parties.

Based on those considerations and on the mandate given it in General Assembly resolution 39/49 A and 8, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People decided, in its programme of work for 1985, to continue as a matter of priority to exert all efforts to promote the early convening of the Conference. To that end, we set our course in two directions. The first was to send delegations to selected capitals to discuss the best ways of promoting this aim. The second was to intensify efforts to alert public opinion, through the organization of seminars, symposia of non-governmental organizations and meetings with journalists. Finally, the Committee decided that the emphasis in its activities could constantly be placed on the need to promote the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.

In accordance with that programme of work, the Committee sent delegations to a certain number of Governments members of the Security Council. The details of those missions are set forth in the Committee's report, and I shall not go into them here. Nevertheless, I would emphasize that the Governments concerned had a very positive response to the Committee's recommendations and understood the need, indeed the urgency, of taking agreed, specific measures to make a better contribution to the efforts of the United Nations to ensure a just and lasting settlement to the Palestinian question.

Encouraged by that response to its initiatives, the Committee has expressed its intention to complete its contacts with other States members of the Security Council next year.

We also noted with satisfaction the positive replies of the majority of Security Council members and other parties concerned to the contacts made by the United Nations Secretary-General, to whom we should like to pay tribute for his tireless efforts in the cause of the Palestinian people.

We were also greatly encouraged by the growing understanding and acceptance of the concept of the conference which resulted from the seminars, symposiums and meetings which were held in 1985 and by the efforts made in that respect by many non-governmental organizations in various countries.

As will be seen from the report submitted to this Assembly, three regional seminars were organized this year in China, Guyana, and in the city of New York. These seminars were attended by parliamentarians, university professors and experts, which made possible an examination in depth of the question of an international conference on peace in the Middle East, and the consensus reached was that a conference constitutes a valid basis for first, the establishment of just and lasting peace in the region; secondly , achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; thirdly, the guarantee of the right to existence and security of all the States in the region; fourthly, the elimination of the constant threat to international peace and security.

Those attending the seminars urged States that have not yet accepted the idea of a conference to reconsider their attitude to the peace process under way within the United Nations system.

The Committee also intensified its co-operation with non-governmental organizations by organizing three regional symposiums, in India, in Senegal and in New York, and an international meeting held in Geneva. These symposiums were attended by a large number of non-governmental organizations from the various regions, including - and I stress this - some from Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. They made considerable efforts to establish means of co-ordination both at the international and regional level, and in the instances of the Geneva and New York meetings these efforts were successful.

These non-governmental organization meetings also enabled important declarations to be adopted, in which those organizations supported not only the idea of a peace conference on the Middle East, but they also undertook to step up their action towards their Governments and public opinion in regard to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as defined by the General Assembly.

Convinced of the fundamental role to be played by these non-governmental organizations in alerting and mobilizing public opinion, the Committee decided to annex these important declarations to its report, in so far as they make it possible for the public at large to acquire a better understanding of the question of Palestine. It also intends further to extend its programme of action and co-operation with non-governmental organizations in the year to come. It should be emphasized that at a critical stage in international efforts to enhance the chances of a negotiated settlement under United Nations auspices, the contribution of parliamentary experts and other organizations might conduce to a happy outcome to the question of Palestine and the Middle East.

1 have merely given a general overview here of some of the most impressive activities undertaken by the Committee this year, to which should be added other activities such as those undertaken by the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Department of Public Information and the representatives of the Committee at various international meetings. I shall not go into those in detail, because they are clearly set out in the report.

Today, the international community has come to recognize that the question of Palestine lies at the heart of the conflict of the Middle East, and that there can be no lasting solution to that conflict without recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. These rights have been reaffirmed on many occasions by the General Assembly and include - if there were any need to be reminded of them - the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination without external interference; their right to independence and national sovereignty, including the right to establish their own State in Palestine and the right to return to their homes and their belongings, or to obtain compensation if they do not wish to return. In a spirit of objective realism, the Committee also recognized the right to existence of all States in the region.

At the request of the General Assembly, the Committee laid down a programme which would give effect to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and that programme has been approved at each General Assembly session by a great majority of Members. As is known, the opposition of a permanent member of the Security Council prevented the Council from following up those recommendations. I have had an opportunity to repeat on many occasions - and I can never repeat it sufficiently - that the recommendations of the Committee are based solidly on fundamental principles recognized internationally and in the United Nations Charter. Any proposal purporting to resolve the question of Palestine without taking into account the essential elements of these recommendations would be doomed to failure.

In its report the Committee therefore reaffirmed once again the validity of its recommendations and those of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine which was held in Geneva in 1983.

The Committee believes that it is now up to the Security Council to give effect to those recommendations and that is why, throughout the year, we have continued to make strong appeals to the Security Council to take positive measures to give effect to these recommendations, with view to enhancing the possibility of establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The Committee would like to emphasize that the question of Palestine has reached a critical stage, making it imperative that collective efforts be increased so as finally to bring about a just solution to the intolerable fate of the Palestinian people.

The present situation in the occupied territories shows how necessary that is, and it is reflected in the Committee's report to the General Assembly. Indeed the Committee noted with growing concern that the situation continued to worsen because of the policy of establishing and expanding settlements in the occupied territories, the violation of human rights , such as the right to freedom of movement, freedom of speech or freedom of association, with all their concomitant consequences on economic and social development in these territories.

The Committee would like to express its deep concern at the Israeli practices and policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. It would like to draw the attention of the General Assembly and the Security Council to these facts, given that they are clearly contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention and have serious consequences on peace and security in the region. In the light of these acts of violence, which are intensifying in the region, we would like to emphasize that as long as the Palestinian people are unable to exercise their inalienable rights the conflict and tension will only become worse.

It is both the duty and the responsibility of the United Nations to restore peace, security and stability in the Middle East while there is still time. The objective criteria have been laid down, as have the means. At the present stage, I think there is only one element - and it is a formidable one - which is missing, and that is political will. If we are able to overcome our emotion and put ourselves outside our immediate interests, we shall find that political will easily. Therefore, let us harness our efforts and imagination to reach a just and lasting settlement of this crisis, which it should be noted is a threat to international peace and security.

THE PRESIDENT: I call upon Mr. George Agius of Malta, the Rapporteur of the Special Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, who will present the report of that Committee.

Mr. AGIUS (Malta), Rapporteur of the Special Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People: It is an honour for me to present the 1985 report of the Committee an the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people (A/40/35), on behalf of that Committee, which during the last 12 months has once again striven hard to achieve something which has eluded all of us for so many years - the exercise of the legitimate and inalienable right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property and to achieve self-determination, national independence and sovereignty.

It is said that time heals wounds, but we know that in the past 40 years many opportunities have been lost; the wounds are still sore and do not seem to heal. The report before us clearly shows that the Committee has dutifully discharged its role in bringing to the attention of the international community the plight of the Palestinian people in their struggle for an independent homeland.

The tragic events covered in paragraphs 16 to 32 of the report are an affront to the efforts of the United Nations, which should be met with a redoubling of our efforts, by putting strong and convincing arguments to those that have so far supported the efforts of the Committee and by stepping up our efforts to persuade those countries that still. need to be convinced to join in the United Nations approach in favour of a just solution to the question of Palestine.

The measures affecting the rights of the Palestinian people, including those Palestinians in the refugee camps in southern Lebanon, reflected in paragraphs 33 to 57 have been the subject of lengthy discussion by the Committee and have subsequently been brought to the attention of the Member States on no less than 13 occasions. Certain issues, in particular the illegal settlements in the occupied territories and the displacement of a great number of families in order that their land might be converted a military training zone, are two negative measures taken by the Israeli authorities which have aggravated threats to peace and security in the region.

This year the Security Council has on three occasions been seized of the Palestinian question and has twice been called upon to take action on the grave situation afflicting the civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territories. The consensus reached by the Council in the adoption of resolution 564 (1985) last May was marred and proved to be short-lived when, three months later, a permanent member of the Security Council vetoed a draft resolution submitted by the non-aligned members of the Council - action which was as regrettable as it was unfortunate.

Paragraphs 67 to 85 of the report demonstrate the efforts being made by the Palestine Committee to promote the convening of the proposed international conference on peace in the Middle East - an event which the majority of Member States believe could turn the tide of instability in the region and pave the way for a lasting solution. They believe that it is the only door left open for bringing about reconciliation among opposing parties.

The contacts carried out with members of the Security Council should instil a sense of pride and achievement in the members of the Committee, and indeed in the United Nations as a whole. In all the capitals visited strong support and encouragement were given to the Committee to press on with its search for a solution through an international pence conference. Indeed the role of the Committee and the proposed international peace conference were seen as indispensable to progress. Other approaches were considered unrealistic and the efforts of the Secretary-General were welcomed wherever the Committee went.

The energetic efforts of the Committee did not stop there. By actively participating in 15 international conferences and meetings the Committee has during the past year carried the voice of the Palestinians to the four corners of the globe. The Committee grasped each opportunity to tell the world that there are people who, despite 40 years of United Nations involvement, are still without their homeland.

The Committee also notes with extreme encouragement the declarations made in support of the holding of an international conference on peace in the Middle East. From the Mediterranean context to the Non-Aligned Movement, from the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the Organization of African Unity, from the European Council to the Commission en Human Rights, from Bandung to Nairobi, from the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA) to the Arab States, there is no dissenting opinion as to the urgency of seeking an early solution to the question of Palestine through the holding of an international peace conference. Everywhere there is a common denominator, there is a conviction that an international conference on peace in the Middle East offers the only realistic and practical way towards a solution of the problem of Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian State.

During the past year no less than 17 gatherings have addressed this question. Paragraphs 87 to 134 are a recorded reaffirmation of the special attention which the United Nations, the non-aligned countries and non-governmental organizations are giving to this important subject. With so many declarations and statements of unanimous support by the majority of Member States of the United Nations, it passes our understanding how a solution to the Palestine question cannot be attained.

The call for direct negotiations among the parties themselves, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has been resounding. There is also broad agreement that the Palestine question is the key to the Arab-Israeli crisis and that Palestinian leaders should be involved in a negotiated solution.

Once again the role of non-governmental organizations on the question of Palestine has been outstanding. Ten years ago the Committee recognized the paramount importance of non-governmental organizations in enhancing objective public awareness of the Palestinian cause and in encouraging public opinion in favour of a speedy, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine. That recognition has been vindicated. Their involvement has brought about a better understanding of the problem of Palestine and the influence it is having in the Middle East.

In 1985, New Delhi, New York, Dakar and Geneva have been the venues of important symposiums at which non-governmental organizations have made a unique and valid contribution in reaffirming the rights of the Palestinian people. Suffice it to state that the members of the Committee who attended those symposiums were impressed by the quality of participation by non-governmental organizations.

The Asian Symposium, in New Delhi, the North American Symposium, in New York, and the First African Regional NGO Symposium, in Dakar, have drawn valuable conclusions for the future and expanded co-operation in and co-ordination of activities. Furthermore, the declarations adopted by the symposiums reflect the basis on which non-governmental organizations intend to play their important role in promoting a just solution of the question of Palestine. There is no doubt whatsoever that these gatherings constitute a pool of experience and information pertaining to the question.

All this is an added asset to the endeavours of the Committee to bring about an early and comprehensive solution to the problem of Palestine. Non-governmental organizations need all the support from the Committee that it can give. I am sure that this will be amply forthcoming in the years to come.

Other very important contributions to the work of the Committee were the seminars held in Asia, Latin America and North America. The reports of those seminars clearly indicate the intensive and in-depth approach of participants to the Palestine question. The Committee itself is encouraged to note significant changes in public opinion in many important countries which hitherto had not been as forthcoming as others as regards the voting record in the United Nations. The Georgetown, New York and Beijing experiences have confirmed those changes. A feature of the seminars was the emphasis given to the diplomatic effort as opposed to the armed struggle.

This year two studies have been published by the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights. These studies, together with the 20 or so objective and factual studies published by the Committee, continue to keep the problem of Palestine fresh in the minds of the international community. This is a case where the pen is mightier than the sword; it is truly an activity which we cannot ignore.

We are all aware of the power of the media in moulding public opinion. The Committee has recognized that the press, radio and television media are crucial in analysing and assessing the complexity of the problem of Palestine and the challenges which it poses. The Committee therefore strongly commends the Department of Information for its activities during 1985 in disseminating information on the question of Palestine through articles in the UN Chronicle and the Development Forum, press releases and special publications.

The holding of journalists encounters in the North Caribbean and Asian regions and national encounters in African and European countries have also given an impetus to governmental action in solving this 40-year-old problem.

The forward-looking recommendations of the Committee, in paragraphs 163 to 172, are a mixture of past and new recommendations, but in essence they are a reaffirmation of the Committee’s recommendations on the question of Palestine as defined in the Geneva International Conference, recommendations which constitute a truly representative international consensus. It should he emphasized that the recommendations were drawn up by consensus as a result of an impartial study solidly based on previous decisions of the United Nations and on the principles of the Charter. They have international backing, which no other approach can claim. It is an approach which, as I have already described, is supported in meetings, conferences, seminars, symposiums, colloqiums, solidarity events, journalistic encounters and other gatherings organized throughout the world in support of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, a number of elements and proposals from all the other approaches advanced are contained in the Committee’s recommendations. In the final analysis, no other approach is as detailed, comprehensive and widely supported as the recommendations of the Committee.

The Committee strongly believes in what it is doing; its duty is to bring unity and to strengthen our efforts for the future. In its recommendations the Committee

That statement is based on from the evolving situation and the state of international awareness of the question of Palestine.

We have to build on what has been achieved so far. Many of us discern some progress. To mention only a few of the more important elements, there has been progress through the publishing of 20 or so studies which are a response to and a rectification of the distorted in information surrounding the Palestinian people; progress in the voting record at the United Nations - 90 positive votes in 1976 to about 130 in 1984, or about a 50 per cent increase, while the negative votes and abstentions have decreased from 30 in 1976 to only three in 1984, or a 1,000 per cent decrease; and progress in agreement on what are generally described to as the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, and concerning the role of the PLO. The Committee intends to follow up these positive trends and ensure that they prevail over scepticism, despair and misconceptions.

In the past 12 months the Committee has given priority to the urgent need to convene the proposed international conference on peace in the Middle East. In the year ahead the Committee intends to step up its activities in this regard through the Security Council and through the completion of the process of sending delegations to the capitals of Council members. The role of the Secretary-General is not to be downgraded. Rather, it is for us to strengthen the Secretary-General’s hand in dealing with the Palestine question.

In concluding my statement , I should like to stress that there is much solid common ground for us to build on. We detect a change of attitudes. During the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations we heard important statements on this important problem. The experience gained from the many gatherings held in the past year should be to our benefit. It may be the time to get down to the specifics of a solution, rather than engage in rhetorical, confrontational and aggressive talk.

Whilst it can be said that not all developments in the past have been positive, we cannot forget the progress achieved, slow though it may be,
particularly in the significant changes in public opinion in many important countries.

We know where we still have to make progress. We need continued help in those remaining efforts. The Committee welcomes what has been done. Although faced with adverse circumstances, the Committee has continued to contribute actively to the final solution of the problem of Palestine.

We all recognize that what the United Nations is proposing is based on justice, reality and peace - peace for the region, dignity and honour for the Palestinian people and a peaceful lasting solution to one of the most complex, most long-standing and most dangerous problems with which the world is faced. The world literally cannot afford a failure on this question, and the procedure envisaged by the United Nations is the only viable course of action to solve the question once and for all.

The PRESIDENT: The next speaker is Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the Observer delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. I call on him in accordance with resolution 3237 (XXIX), of 22 November 1974.

Mr. KADDOUMI (Palestine Liberation Organization (PLC)) (interpretation from Arabic): As I am speaking for the first time at this session, I am happy to congratulate the President on his election to preside over the General Assembly at its fortieth session. I salute his friendly country, Spain, which has always supported the just struggle of our Palestinian people. It is a country linked to the Arab nation by ancient ties and close friendship, f am confident that his wisdom and wide experience will be the principal element in the success of this session.

I cannot fail to express our thanks and appreciation to the President’s distinguished predecessor, Mr. Paul Lusaka, for the valuable efforts he made in presiding over the previous session.

I am also pleased to pay a tribute to the Secretary-General, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, for his untiring efforts to promote the possibilities of peace, reduce tension and strengthen and promote the role of the international Organization in maintaining international peace and security.

The General Assembly is once again discussing the question of Palestine. This debate coincides with an outstanding occasion , which is the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations. As I have said on numerous occasions to the General Assembly, perhaps there is no other international issue which has so closely coincided with the birth and march of the United Nations itself, because the question of Palestine has always been an item on the agenda of the General Assembly, from 1947 right up to the present session. Indeed, this is no cause for satisfaction, since it means essentially that ever since 1947 our Palestinian people have been, and continue to be, dispersed, oppressed and deprived of the most basic human and political rights.

However, on the other hand, we see that this insistence on maintaining the question of Palestine before the General Assembly for nearly 40 years represents a clear recognition by the international community that a final and just solution to this issue has not yet been achieved. Furthermore, the fact that this issue has not been resolved in a way that guarantees the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people is a source of dispute and tension in the Middle East, and in the world as a whole. And this is a dire threat to international peace and security.

During the past 40 years of the life of the United Nations, the General Assembly, the Security Council, the commissions and committees of the United Nations, and its specialized agencies, have adopted hundreds of resolutions which crystallize the position of the international community on this issue. They have crystallized the basis for any just and durable solution to this issue. These resolutions have all stressed that the Palestinian people, like other peoples of the world, has the right to freedom, independence and sovereignty on its soil, on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, as well as all the values and ideals which inspire the United Nations, and for which it was indeed created 40 years ago. Despite all these resolutions, sad to say, no serious progress has been achieved in terms of the desired peace, or in terms of enabling the Palestinian people to enjoy its inalienable rights, because of the intransigence of Israel, supported by the United States of America.

Indeed, on the contrary, our people have been subjected to another flagrant act of aggression aimed at uprooting it from its lands, aimed at exterminating it and wiping its independence and national identity off the map. Our people have been subjected to a series of wars and massacres, in Deir Yassin, Kafr Qassem, Sabra and Shatila, and, finally, in Tunisia, at the hands of the Zionist forces of invasion and occupation.

In a premeditated, open and scandalous way, Israel, for nearly 40 years - the years representing both its own life and that of the international community, which unfortunately accepted Israel as a member - has violated every letter of every resolution adopted by the United Nations. While the principal aim of the United Nations is to achieve international peace and security, and to prevent wars, which is the very philosophy of the Charter, Israel, ever since its creation, has worked to destroy this aim by denying the rights of the Palestinian people, by continually practising acts of aggression and terrorism against the Palestinian people and our Arab nation, and by flagrantly violating the principles, the Charter, and the resolutions of the United Nations.

This reopens an extremely important issue, particularly important while we are celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the creation of this international Organization. That issue is: how far is the United Nations capable of ensuring respect for its Charter, of ensuring implementation of its resolutions, in order to give it the necessary credibility to live up to the hopes which humanity vested in it as an instrument to prevent aggression and to maintain international peace and security?

Many have spoken of this dangerous phenomenon, a phenomenon reflected in this clear dichotomy between the adoption of resolutions and their implementation.

There is no doubt that, as we all know, the United States of America bears a large share of the responsibility for this paralysis of our international Organization. This is in large part due to the policy of hegemony and obstruction pursued by the United States of America, particularly when using the right of veto to cover Israel’s aggressive acts, its unlawful practices, and similar acts. Thus far the United States of America to date has used its right of veto more than 50 times, and 30 of those vetoes were directed against Arab causes and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. This American stand, and the consequent obstruction of the role of the Security Council, shows how little it respects the United Nations and its Charter, how lightly it views its role as a permanent member of the Security Council, which makes it responsible for maintaining international peace and security. We issue a warning here that the credibility of the United Nations is in danger unless the United Nations makes its resolutions mandatory , unless it ensures that these resolutions will be moved from the level of condemnation and appeals to the level of specific action.

The first step would be to implement the mandatory sanctions against Israel provided for in Chapter VII of the Charter , as a non-peace-loving State. No other issue has so confronted the United Nations with its responsibilities; no other issue has been such a challenge to the declared aims of the United Nations, as the Palestinian question. Furthermore, no other issue has been the subject of more resolutions by this international Organization. Furthermore, no other issue has been the subject of more resolutions of condemnation than this issue pertaining to Israel. Despite all. this, we believe that the political and moral force of the resolutions of the United Nations represents, on the part of the international community, a challenge to and a rejection of the policy of force, aggression and occupation pursued by Israel. For this reason, we can say that the question of Palestine is the question of the United Nations itself, because it is a question of right, of justice, a question which in its dimensions represents the aspirations of humanity as a whole to put an end to policies of force and aggression, to establish a better world in which all peoples enjoy freedom and independence, a world which will be rid of colonialism, exploitation and racism, and all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, religion or colour, a world which would be a reflection of the Charter, the Charter signed 40 years ago.

It has become customary for many years now for us to speak before the Assembly at this time during the discussion of the question of Palestine, when we always invoke confirmed facts, logic, the principles of international law, the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations. We always base ourselves on our deep desire to lift the burden of suffering from our people and to achieve peace in the region. We have said and continue to say that we are attempting to achieve a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine, based on United Nations resolutions, in such a way as to ensure that the Palestinian people can enjoy its just and inalienable rights as recognized by this Assembly.

It would seem, in view of the progress made so far towards a comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East, that we were screaming in a vacuum, because the policy of force continues to reign supreme in international relations, because the United States of America still wishes to shape the world according to its own perceptions, so as to serve its interests - and its interests alone - without heeding the United Nations and the aspirations of people to freedom and independence.

Despite all this, we have not lost hope. Every year we speak before this Assembly and present our just cause time after time, describing the struggle of our people and its bitter sacrifices to achieve international legitimacy. And in this we enjoy the overwhelming support of the peoples and States of the world, reflecting the conscience of all free and just people.

We have not lost hope in the United Nations and its resolutions because they represent a living picture of mankind’s aspirations to create a world and international relations on a just and equitable basis and not on the basis of the narrow interests of the lobbies, leaders and individuals of the United States of America which is ruled by large monopolies, huge mass media and Zionist circles.

A few weeks ago the Assembly lived the hijacking of the Italian ship Achille Lauro. Before that we witnessed the criminal Israeli air raid against
Tunisia and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Later on we witnessed events which resembled an old American B movie, a cowboy movie, where the hero goes it alone and goes very far, imposing his law according to his own wishes. The United States, its Government and its President were very happy with that great victory, and many personalities appeared on television in the United States exchanging congratulations and words of appreciation, and it became very obvious - nobody ever doubted this - how the United States was able to mobilise its fleet, aircraft, intelligence services, marines and satellites against a defenceless Egyptian civilian aircraft.

However, what has taken place in the past few weeks - leaving aside all feelings of jingoism, and while expressing bitterness and sadness - requires us to make a serious analysis of events and to put them in their proper perspective without falling victim to the misleading reports of the mass media. What really took place? Against whom did the United States and Israel achieve a victory? We can say confidently that the United States and Israel won a crushing victory against all efforts for peace in the Middle East. Israel and the United States won a real victory for more violence and extremism in the region. What the United States did was to declare war against the struggling Palestinian people, to declare war against the Arab States without any discrimination between friend or foe, as long as that served the interests of Israel.

This operation revealed the contradictions inherent in the United States position and logic in respect of so-called terrorism. First, it rushes to defend what the world agreed was Israeli terrorism against Tunisia and the Palestine Liberation Organization, what the United States calls a right, a so-called legitimate right to self-defence. Then the United States of America itself practises terrorism. It responds, as it says, to terrorism by terrorism. The United States argument, the argument of the super-Power to justify the fact that it went outside international law, is that it is fighting another act outside the law. This justification convinces no one, and if all the states of the world were to pursue this path the international community, as we know it today, would change completely . On the other hand, terrorism is an old phenomenon known to all human societies, a phenomenon from which many developed States suffer today. This is not a phenomenon unique to particular individuals or regions.

For a long period of time the United Nations debated the issue of terrorism and there was great disagreement on the definition of terrorism. The United States of America and its allies believed that the struggle of peoples for liberation is terrorism - a terrorism which must be fought. The United States of America does not hesitate to call terrorists those fighting against Fascist and dictatorial régimes. When it suits it, the United States of America considers American intelligence agents in Nicaragua as freedom fighters. At the same time, it believes that the struggle of the peoples of Palestine, Namibia and South Africa is terrorism, which must be eliminated, which must be stood up to by all means, including terrorism. In a clear-cut attempt to distort the struggle of peoples, United States and imperialist mass media have begun to describe the Palestinian standing up to Israeli occupation of his homeland as a terrorist.

They have also described Vietnamese freedom fighters and Algerian revolutionaries as terrorists. Even more dangerous is that this concept was widened to accuse the Palestine Liberation Organization of being a terrorist organisation and then further widened to include the whole Palestinian people. The United States of America has condemned and denounced the killing of Leon Klinghoffer, an American citizen. Indeed that was its right.. We too did so. The United States raised an unprecedented clamour over that issue, as if the earth had been shaken. But it did not show the same concern when another American Citizen of Palestinian origin was killed - the martyr Iskandar Aouda, who was assassinated on American soil. He was the Chairman of the Arab-American Committee against Racial Discrimination. To date we have not heard of the arrest of the perpetrators of that assassination, despite the fact that everyone knows who they are.

For 40 years Israel has practised all types and forms of aggression and terrorism against our Palestinian people; it has perpetrated massacres, detained and expelled citizens, confiscated their lands, thrown thousands of them into prison, and organized armed bands which attack citizens on the West Bank and have attempted to assassinate elected mayors. Israel has used internationally prohibited weapons in its wars. The whole world caught it red-handed - red with the blood of our people in Sabra and Shatila, but that did not make the United States of America angry; it did not even condemn those acts of terrorism. But the whole world, including the United Nations in many resolutions, has condemned that organized Israeli terrorism against our Palestinian people.

Such acts were supported and encouraged by the United States of America. Indeed, Israeli weapons are American, Israeli money is American. Israel’s cover in the United Nations and other international forums is American. All that is taking place before the eyes and within earshot of the international community, but the United States wishes us to believe that it is fighting terrorism. Do all those facts leave any room for a logical dialogue with the United States? From our position, we say no, a thousand times no.

It is indeed most regrettable that a super-Power, which claims to be responsible for peace, should sink so low in contradictions, irresponsibility and double standards as to make out the Palestinian to be the terrorist in the-eyes of Americans, regardless whether he is the killer or the victim, while Americans or Zionists are always either heroes or victims, even if they are caught red handed before the whole world.

The peoples of the world reject that American “logic”; they believe it is the Palestinians’ right to struggle and use violence against colonialism, racism and foreign occupation of their homelands. The United Nations has recognized the right of peoples to resist colonialism by all means.

Perhaps the United States believes that Israel’s occupation of our country, Palestine, is an act of charity which must be encouraged, and not an abhorrent foreign presence which must be opposed and fought.

Throughout history the peoples of the world have taken up arms against the occupiers, beginning with the American people itself and the French people. It is a right now being exercised by the peoples of Palestine, Namibia and South Africa.

What is really taking place under the guise of fighting terrorism is that a war has been declared by the United States of America against the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

For many years, with full United States support, Israel has attempted in vain to wipe out the Palestine Liberation Organization. It believed that it would achieve that end through its aggression against Lebanon in 1982. However, heroic Palestinian and Lebanese resistance dissipated those illusions. Israel left southern Lebanon licking its wounds. As for our occupied homeland, the Israeli forces of occupation encounter increasing resistance every day, even with stones, knives and sticks. All of which proves that the Israeli policy of aggression and expansionism and the occupation of our homeland is the real source of danger and of all operations of aggression, violence and terrorism in the region.

Without an end to that abhorrent occupation, without an end to the policy of expansionism against our people and the Arab nation, and without enabling the Palestinian people to enjoy its inalienable rights, including its right to return to its homeland, to self-determination and to the establishment of its independent State, things will get worse; the cycle of violence and counter-violence will become more frequent and might eventually threaten international peace and security in general.

If the United States truly desires to fight terrorism in the Middle East region, it must fight that terrorism at its roots. It must seek to find the real reason for that terrorism, namely, the continuing Israeli occupation of our homeland and the deprivation of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights.

We have addressed numerous appeals to the United States from this rostrum, based on our recognition of the United States role in the Middle East peace process, to adopt a more balanced attitude towards the struggle in the region and to end its blind bias and unlimited support of Israel because that will not lead to the desired peace.

We have said more than once that it is America's right to refuse to talk to the Palestine Liberation Organization if it so wishes. That is a regrettable position; it is one that ignores and circumvents the facts. That will not lead to the desired peace. However, it is not the right of the United States, in the light of all the values cherished by mankind, to refuse to recognize the Palestinian people and its right to self-determination, as in the case of all the other peoples of the world and in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

It is truly regrettable that a super-Power such as the United States of America should use all its might and potentialities against a small people - the Palestinian people, which has endured more suffering than any other people and is continuing to struggle so as to be able to live a life of freedom and independence in its homeland, without been attacked by anyone.

Despite the official, organized terrorism which our Palestinian people is facing daily in the occupied territories and outside them - as is the case, for instance, in Tunisia and Lebanon, as I said previously - at the hands of Israel and its agents and despite the political media war which is being faced by our people and our organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization has always condemned terrorism. In the case of the events concerning the Italian ship, for example,our organization condemned those acts from the beginning and made the utmost efforts to put an end to them and save the passengers.

As everybody knows, the Palestine Liberation Organization works in the light of day. It has its civilian institutions and offices nearly everywhere in the world. It is an organization that attempts to create relations of friendship and co-operation with all peoples. We do not have a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); we do not have a Mossad - a Mossad which has terrorized our peoples and many other peoples in the world. It is no coincidence that the great majority of the States in the world recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization; it is no coincidence that they all have relations of many kinds with our organization, based on their realization of the importance of the role undertaken by the PLO in the region and internationally and on their belief that it is the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

In order to put an end to American and Israeli efforts to describe the PLO as a terrorist organization, the organization has reaffirmed its position - which has been recognized by the Palestine National Council since 1974 - on 7 November 1985 through Yasser Arafat and through what has become known as the Cairo Declaration. That Declaration says the following:

Eighteen years have gone by and our Palestinian people in the occupied territories continue to languish under Israeli occupation; they continue to suffer from various forms of oppression and repression in the political, economic, social, educational. and health spheres. Israel hopes by imposing a fait accompli and entrenching its occupation to force our people to emigrate, thinking thus to achieve its aims.

In order to achieve its aims, take control of the land vacated by our people and attract more settlers from here, there and everywhere to take their place, Israel has continued to pursue its policy of expansionism and settlement. More settlements have been established and existing settlements have been expanded, so that by the end of last year the number of such settlements had reached 232, not counting six new settlements which Shimon Peres, the Israeli Prime Minister, agreed on 10 January 1985 should be established in the Palestinian territories on the West Bank. These are part of the 27 new settlements which will be established in the region in the next few years. Recently there has been a new settlement phenomenon in the form of Israeli attempts to settle inside Arab towns and villages, as happened in the case of the towns of Al-Khalil and Nablus. Furthermore, there has been more confiscation of land and more attempts to disperse the people from their lands.

Put perhaps more dangerous than all that is the establishment by the Zionist settlers of their own political, military and economic establishment, so that they are a State within the State, a State controlled by the more fascist and extremist factions in Israel. This threatens the fate and life of our people, which are daily the object of bloody campaigns at the hands of those settlers, who do not hide their attempt to annex the land and force the people to emigrate. Even more dangerous is the fact that these groups are fully supported by the Israeli Government. This is also true of all the settlement programmes, which has been the cornerstones of successive Israeli Governments.

The falseness of the claims to desire peace made in various places at various times is highlighted by this. We have always said that the Israeli Government is bent on continuing its acts of aggression and expansionism and the outright annexation of the occupied territories in order to pave the way for official annexation, as happened in the cases of Jerusalem and the Golan. Because of this aggressive Israeli policy the occupied Arab territories are facing deteriorating economic conditions, with increasing pressure on the inhabitants.

Furthermore, in addition to its dangerous political effects, the attempts to confiscate land has had a destructive effect on the economic situation because this has led to a diminution of the amount of arable land and has forced out many Palestinian farmers. Our people under occupation have also suffered the destructive effects of the excessively high inflation and the continuing devaluation of the Israeli currency. Many of them have been forced to become manual labourers and to work in degrading conditions without social security of any kind.

Everyone knows that Israel’s real aim in pursuing this policy is completely to destroy the economy of the occupied territories and to integrate them into the Israeli economy so as to make sure that these lands remain dependent on Israel for ever and to force the inhabitants to emigrate far from their lands and their people. Perhaps this would open the eyes of those who have been blinded by Israeli claims of a flourishing economy.

Because of this explosive situation and the continuing Israeli occupation, the acts of national resistance in the occupied territories have increased - as is quite natural and to be expected - despite the difficulties and the sacrifices that this entails. Confronted by the uprising of the people in our homeland, Israel has increased its oppressive activities. It has detained more citizens, closed schools and universities, thrown thousands of persons into prison, thus violating the most fundamental of human rights; it has flouted United Nations resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The United Nations has repeatedly condemned these Israeli practices in the occupied territories. Indeed, the General Assembly has before it the
recommendation of the Special Political Committee that such condemnation be expressed again.

Things are becoming unbearable; we cannot sit by quietly while these things are happening. We call for pre-emptive, strong measures against Israel immediately, without any further delay. Once again we ask: Are these Israeli practices in the occupied territories not pure terrorism? Do not the Palestinian people have the right, indeed the duty, to respond to these practices by all available means? If there are some who believe that this heroic resistance of the people is terrorism, so be it. As for us, we shall continue our resistance to Israeli occupation, however long it may take and whatever sacrifices may be needed.

A few weeks ago, in a statement delivered to the General Assembly, the Israeli Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, tried to look like a man of peace. He used rather ambiguous terms, but there was a great deal of premeditated clamour about his speech. The purpose was to hide the fact. that these were merely old views being put in a new way. It was just an attempt to make some cosmetic changes in Israel’s ugly face on the international scene. That position was no surprise to us. Indeed, it only proved what we have always said. Because of our knowledge and our suffering, because of the very high price we have paid in blood and tears, we have always said that real peace based on justice is not yet an Israeli choice. The dream of settlement, the dreams of expansion, the policy of intransigence and occupation, the Zionist principles based on racism, the unlimited United States support for Israel: all this makes Israel believe that it does not really need peace; all this makes Israel believe that it can impose on the Palestinian people and on the Arabs - all the Arabs - the type of peace it wants. But that, in fact, will not be peace; it will be total surrender, a surrender that would give Israel hegemony over the area; it would give Israel both land and peace.

In the latest manouevre - designed, above all, to exclude the Palestine Liberation Organization and to fragment the Arab ranks - Peres spoke directly; he stated the conditions of surrender required from the Palestinians and the Arabs, as constituted by the three "Nos" that have constantly been the basis of the policies of all the Governments of Israel from 1967 to the present. They are the following: no to withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories; no to recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; no to the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Since that is the real Israeli position, what would be the basis of the direct talks referred to by Peres?

It seems that we must again stress some facts that have been accepted by the whole world, facts that only Israel and the United States continue to disregard and reject.

It has been internationally recognized that the question of Palestine is the core of the struggle in the Middle East and that there can be no peace without a comprehensive and just solution to that question, in all its aspects. But it is clear from the policies and practices of Israel, that it does not wish the question of Palestine to be solved. It wishes to tackle only the question of borders between it and the neighbouring Arab States. But that will not achieve peace in the region at all; it has certainly not done so in the past.

The Arab States and most of the other states in the world as well as the United Nations have recognized that the Palestine Liberation Organization is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and therefore must participate, on an equal footing with other parties, in all international efforts and meetings designed to achieve a solution to the problem of the Middle East.

Experience has also shown that partial and unilateral solutions, solutions that do not ensure the participation of the Palestinian people, represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization, will remain just that: partial and unilateral solutions, which will not lead to peace.

The world has come to realise that the Palestine Liberation Organization is not just a group of individuals; it is a political framework and a representative body, a body representing the Palestinian people and its national aspirations. The Palestine Liberation Organization did not come into being because of the 1967 aggression; it came into being well before that. Ever since the time of the British Mandate over Palestine, it had represented the constant will and aspirations of the Palestinian people to liberation and independence.

Furthermore, this widespread international recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization is a recognition of the independent national identity of the Palestinian people. In other words, it is a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to establish its own independent State on its homeland. Experience has shown that any attempt to find an alternative to the Palestine Liberation Organization, inside or outside the occupied territories, is but an illusion. Experience has also shown that any settlement reached without the Palestinian people is doomed to failure. The conditions that the United States is trying to impose in advance on the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization - conditions such as the prior recognition of the right of Israel to exist - are in fact biased, tyrannical and illogical conditions that cannot in any way serve the efforts to ensure peace.*

*Mr. Agius (Malta), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.

Through its representative in this Assembly in 1978 the United States of America itself declared that Security Council resolution 242 (1967) did not tackle the political dimension of the Palestinian problem Therefore, how are we expected to deal with a resolution which does not tackle the basic dimension of our cause, that is our right to self-determination? Nobody is discussing the validity of the principles in that resolution. However, we have said, and we continue to save that this resolution does not suffice and it is not a sound basis for a comprehensive solution.

We do not accept in any way whatsoever that we should be treated as a group of refugees. We have declared that we accept and recognize all international resolutions on the question of Palestine; we cannot at all agree to deal with one of those resolutions only.

Again, talking of Israel’s right to existence is a myth; its aim is the suffocation of the right to existence of the Palestinian people and therefore of their self-determination. It is clear that it is the Palestinian people, whose lands are occupied by Israel, who are dispersed throughout the world, a people which is pursued by acts of aggression and by massacre, is the people that is threatened. It is not Israel that is threatened. It is also clear that Israel threatens not only the security and presence of the Palestinian people alone, it threatens the peace and security of all the Arab States, not only the neighbouring States but also States thousands of kilometres away from Israel.

Experience and events have shown that Israel, which is allied strategically with the United States of America, and is in possession of the most modern American arsenals and the most modern means of mass destruction and war, is the true source of terrorism, aggression and wars in our region.

The Palestinian people continues its struggle to liberate its land, to enjoy its right to self-determination and to establish an independent State as a sine qua non to achieving a just and lasting peace in the region, a peace under which all peoples may live together free from acts of terrorism and oppression. Despite the political and military events we have witnessed in the region, particularly in the last few years, beginning with the Israeli aggression against the Palestine Liberation Organization in Beirut and Lebanon in 1982 and ending with the Israeli raid against Tunisia to strike at the offices of our organization last month, the Palestinian people continues to hold out its hand for peace. We continue to seek to pave the way in the region and internationally for a just, peaceful and fasting settlement. To achieve that, the Palestine Liberation Organization has welcomed every effort and constructive international initiatives to achieve peace in the Middle East region.

Beginning with the joint communiqué between France and the Soviet Union issued in October 1977, which called for a resumption of the peace conference meetings in Geneva, and for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to be taken into consideration, our Palestine National Council in 1982 also welcomed the Soviet initiative announced by President Brezhnev. At a later stage in 1982, we played a large part in drafting the Arab peace plan approved by the Fez summit conference in Morocco and reaffirmed at the Casablanca summit conference this year, an initiative that was widely accepted and welcomed internationally, one which has been approved by the Palestine National Council during its two previous sessions - the sixteenth and seventeenth, in Algeria and Oman.

In 1983, the United Nations convened an international conference which issued the so-called Geneva Declaration on Palestine and the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights, later approved by the General Assembly and accepted by the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Last February, the Organization established a framework of action for peace with its brother country, Jordan, a framework which expresses the special relationship between the Jordanian and Palestinian peoples. Based on that, we have undertaken joint efforts to promote the peace process and to test the credibility of the United States of America. What happened? Experience, and the bitter events which followed, showed that the United States has no credibility and that its aggressive political positions are hostage to Israel. We continue to declare our commitment to an international peace conference for the Middle East, as approved by the United Nations itself, a conference which would be attended by the United States of America, the Soviet Union and the other permanent members of the Security Council, as well as the other parties concerned in the region, including the Palestine Liberation Organisation, under the aegis of the United Nations and based on all its resolutions on the question of Palestine. That would be a sound basis for a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the struggle in the Middle East region.

I have put before Members the present situation on the question of Palestine and in the Middle East, including new variables since the previous session, based on this: we do not believe that there is any reason for optimism as to the possibility of achieving any new serious progress towards peace in the region as long as the United States and Israel insist on their positions and their policies. The time has come for everyone to realize that attempts to circumvent the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and to deny those rights, including its right to return, to self-determination and to creating its independent State, as well as attempts to ignore the Palestine Liberation Organization, an organization which has been accepted by the Palestinian people in full awareness and confidence as its sole representative, will not lead us to the peace desired.

Our people will continue its struggle for its inalienable rights and for a just peace in the Middle East region. Our people looks to this international Organization with hope and confidence. We appeal to the General Assembly and to the Security Council to take the necessary measures to defend our people under occupation, to put an end to the continued arbitrary Israeli practices and their violation of human rights in the occupied territories.

Furthermore, there is a strong need to adopt the necessary sanctions to force Israel to abide by United Nations resolutions.

We do not believe that: resolutions expressing condemnation are sufficient. We hope that the Secretary-General will continue his much appreciated efforts to arrange the holding of an international conference in accordance with General Assembly resolutions and we should like to re-emphasise the importance of those resolutions.

I cannot fail to express our thanks and appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under its Chairman, Ambassador Sarré, for the great efforts made to ensure the implementation of the mandate given to the Committee by the General Assembly.

It also gives me pleasure, on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organisation to express thanks and appreciation to friendly States in the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Socialist: Group - with the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in the forefront - and to those States in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Western Europe, which have supported the struggle of our people for self-determination, freedom and the establishment of its own independent State.

Mr. SALAH (Jordan) (interpretation from Arabic) : I do not think it is necessary for me to enumerate once again before the General Assembly, the details of the problem of Palestine. The development of the question is known to all. For the same reason there is no need for me to speak of the sufferings of and the inhuman and illegal practices imposed on the Palestinian people and its Arab brothers because of the continued Israeli occupation of Arab territories. I shall confine myself to stating that this conflict is reflected in an item which has been on the General Assembly’s agenda longer than any other. It is a most serious item for it concerns a conflict which represents the greatest threat to international stability. But it is, also, the most just cause in modern history.

I have no doubt that if a just and equitable solution to this question is not found, the dangers inherent in it will go beyond everything we might imagine. What the Middle East has suffered in the past would be little, compared to the difficulties that would arise then. Aware as I am of the adverse effects of the need to achieve a just and worthy political solution, I feel I should not speak about the past and about the wrongs committed, against the Palestinian people, of the denial and violation of their legitimate rights. Nor do I wish to analyse the past in detail or enumerate Israeli practices against the Palestinian people on the West: Bank and in the occupied Gaza Strip since this item was discussed here last year.

However it must be emphasized that the policy of the Judaization of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and the nailed fist policy pursued against the Arab population of the occupied territories continue. We are still not convinced that Israel has given up those policies. Nevertheless I shall attempt to look ahead, to the future, in the hope that we may save the Palestinian people from the neglect and injustice it has suffered. There is no need for me to remind the Assembly that, in saving the Palestinian people, we should be saving ourselves from the charges of shirking the moral responsibility we assumed for its fate. We would thereby avoid political errors which could cause a great deal harm both within and outside the region.

But: it would be pointless to look towards the future if we failed to draw lessons from the past, which show that a solution to the Palestinian problem cannot be found unless it is based on justice. I hasten to add that what I mean by justice is not a subjective concept according to which truth is nothing other than what the eye sees. In other words, justice implies that a political solution to the Palestinian problem must not reflect the predominance of might over right.

On the one hand, we have Israeli’s brutal might - regardless of its origins or whether it was created internally or externally, and on the other there are the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people regardless of the forces that support it.

To those who think that justice and legitimate rights are not sufficient for those who want to enjoy those rights, we say that the might of the aggressor is not enough to prevent the Palestinians from continuing their struggle and realizing their rights. Since the creation of Israel in 1948, and after the wars in 1967, 1973 and 1982, Israel has been behaving as though it could solve the problems inherent in the denial of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people by resorting to force. However, the Palestinian people and their Arab brothers have remained committed to their just cause in Palestine, namely, their struggle for the right of refugees to return to Palestine, and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, rights of which they were deprived by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights since 1967.

Moreover, the United Nations has remained committed to its position of principle that the basic principles governing international relations should be maintained: namely, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, the need to maintain good-neighbourly relations, the non-use of force in international relations, and the settlement of conflicts exclusively by peaceful means. Those principles are embodied in Security Council resolution 242 of 22 November 1967 which, in Jordan’s view, offers the best basic for a political settlement of the conflict in the Middle East.

However, those two approaches - that of Israel on the one hand and that of the Arabs and the international Organization on the other - have taken parallel paths so far. Force, with the temptations to which it: gives rise, is pushing Israel to adopt: a more rigid position, while right, justice and legality strengthen the Arabs’ belief in the inevitability of the triumph of right. Meanwhile, however, the tragedy of the Palestinian people continues and the violence and tension persist in our region because of the logic of force and the logic of right, two logics that it has not been possible to reconcile.

Israel justifies its policy by describing the question of Palestine as a demographic problem and by denying the territorial dimension represented by the occupied territories. But to deny the very nature of the problem of Palestine in no way changes the crux of the matter. The question of the occupied Arab territories including Jerusalem, is still with us. The problem of the Palestinians under occupation is still with us, as is the problem of the refugees. The wars unleashed by Israel to solve one problem have resulted in many others as dangerous as the ones before. We therefore note today that the question of Palestine has become a very complicated matter, taking the form of a conflict between the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people and the regional and international ambitions of many parties. Palestine has become an area of combat and rivalry. The Palestinian people are not the only victims, although they have suffered much more than others. Certain Arab countries are bearing the burden of maintaining 1.5 million Palestinian refugees. Some countries have been unable to escape the ramifications and effects of the Palestinian cause.

Israel themselves are suffering as a result of the situation. Continuing the occupation of the Arab territories and administering more than 2.5 million Arabs are a heavy political and moral burden. Some people in Israel are aware that the problem of Israel's security cannot be solved by force.

One cannot deny the existence of the Palestinian people by talking about Palestinian terrorism. If there is resistance, that means that there is a Palestinian problem. Everyone is aware today that violence or resistance are not due to the absence of just any solution, as some would claim; it is due to the absence of a lasting, comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian problem.

Israel’s position with regard to the question of Palestine has resulted in the present tension in the area. Israel's attitude is based on hypotheses that cannot be accepted as achieving a just and lasting solution. One of its hypotheses is as follows: Israel’s struggle with the Palestinians and the Arabs is a matter of life or death which must end in total victory or total defeat; the Palestinian problem is a demographic problem, with no regional or political aspects; it can therefore be dealt with by resorting to military force.

That policy has created legitimate dissent by the Palestinian people. Israel’s repeated resort to the use of force has strengthened Arab dissent and given rise to the appearance among the Arabs of people who also think the struggle with Israel is a life or death struggle which must end in total victory or total defeat. Therefore, there is a vicious circle of violence and terrorism exploited by Israel to convince the whole world of the justice of its position, based on the denial of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. In fact, Israel has given that people only one choice - submission and obedience or extremism and dissent.

There is no need for me to say that: either of those options plays into Israel's hands. If the Palestinian people submit, the problem of Palestine is ended and the Arab problem begins. If they resort to extremism or dissent, Israel will exploit the situation to justify its stubbornness in denying their rights and their very existence, and to make other attacks an the Arab people.

However, the Palestinian people under the occupation have sought throughout the years to find a better solution than that offered by Israel. The Palestinians and other Arabs will never accept submission. They do not wish to remain confined to the straitjacket of extremism and dissent. Therefore, it has become necessary for some competent authority to take the initiative and break the vicious circle. We have therefore called on the United Nations and the parties concerned to try to get the Arab-Israel conflict out of the present deadlock, but most of those commendable efforts have failed to break the vicious circle, the most serious effects of which have been the maintenance of the situation of neither war nor peace in the area and the intensification of violence and legitimate resistance, on the one hand and on the other terror and aggression and the consecration of Israel's occupation of the Palestine territories, of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The situation has created instability and tension whose effects are unforeseeable.

We in Jordan are experiencing what all our brothers in the occupied areas are suffering. We see them and hear them, and we know how the Judaization of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is proceeding. It is a process that some call galloping annexation. The result will be either the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their territories or their becoming second-class citizens, as is the case of the indigenous people in South Africa.

It is clear that time is on no one’s side for several reasons. The continuation of the struggle and the intensification of violence and destruction have created very deep wounds. Out brothers have become aware of the suffering of the Palestinian peoples under occupation. We in Jordan are closer than others are to the Palestinian people and those in the occupied Arab territories. We are more involved than others. That is why we share with the Palestinian people its difficult trials and tribulations under occupation.

In response to the appeals made, and in accordance with our national commitments and the voice of our conscience, we are seeking with the PLO to crystallize a political position likely to provide the Palestinian people with an alternative to submission and the vicious circle of violence, terrorism and extremism, an alternative based on the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, within the framework of a comprehensive solution based on international legitimacy. That is the "land for peace" initiative.

The purpose of the joint Jordan/Palestinian initiative, in the form of the Agreement of 11 February 1985, signed in Amman by the Jordanian Government and the PLO, was to offer a practical and objective option for rescuing the Palestinian issue from the vicious circle of extremism and violence in which it was trapped and which was governing the future of the Palestinian people. That initiative is based on ethical and political principles characterized by an attachment to international legitimacy and objectivity, as well as its applicability.

We wish to fill in the gap separating force and its temptations on the part of Israel from the idealistic commitment to legitimacy of the Arabs - that gap which represents the state of the struggle in which the Palestinian people live, torn between the fait accompli and the hope that they will be liberated. We have called, and still call on the United Nations to translate its views into tangible action in order to put an end to this abnormal situation in which the Palestinians are living. We have blamed the international Organization and we continue to do so; we blame it for not having been able to translate its words into deeds. Let us be logical, let us be consistent. It is not enough to accuse or blame people for what has happened to the Palestinian people. We have done our best to contribute to creating conditions propitious for peace.

These are the ethical and political premises for the joint action of Jordanians and Palestinians, which I mentioned. It is true that the Agreement of 11 February 1485, between Jordan and the PLO, spells out the privileged relations between the Jordanian people and the Palestinian people. It is true that it reflects the national ties they have in common, that is, the ties between Palestine and Jordan. But above all that Agreement is a step, with international dimensions, taken by the Jordanian Government and the leadership of the PLO, to save the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and to deliver the Palestinian people from the claws of occupation, and from the state of dispersion and extremism imposed upon it.

We would also like to put an end to the extremism and instability from which the Middle East region is suffering, a situation which if it goes on, will break out into other regions, and might eventually light the fuse of a third world conflagration.

A point of departure with the PLO was an objective vision of the priorities within the occupied Arab territories, in both regional and in international terms.

The Palestinian people will no longer endure this occupation. The Judaization of the Arab territories is increasing in intensity. A climate of rigidity has prevailed in this question because of the no war-no peace situation in the region, which has led to the extremism, violence and tension from which the whole region has suffered and is still suffering. Similarly, the Palestinian question was almost forgotten under the pressure of other regional conflicts, both in the Middle East and in other areas of the world. The various other parties to conflicts in the region were not in a situation that left them any room for optimism. From the international standpoint the whole situation was characterized by both a regional and an international polarization.

In this complicated situation, we are working together wit the PLO to lay the groundwork for a joint initiative to save these people and their lands from the claws of occupation through a joint plan of action.

When we announced the Agreement of 11 February 1985, neither we nor the Organization imagined that it could lead to a solution of all the problems overnight. We were aware of the difficulties in the way of this initiative and of the size of the obstacles in our path, which meant that we would have to be confident and persistent and have sufficient faith to overcome all those difficulties.

The Agreement was a form of political action to deal with problems that were a stumbling block in the way of progress towards peace. It is a landmark along the road of joint Jordan-Palestinian action, and is a foundation stone, which we are all striving to safeguard, on which we can build something better. This is a striking point in the Joint Agreement between the Palestinians and the Jordanians. We must continue to build on this groundwork. This is not an alternative, but something which will supplement all bilateral or comprehensive agreements on co-operation with our brothers and our friends equally, with the goal of peace and stability in the area.

As is well known, this Agreement did not come out of the blue. No, there had been an Arab peace initiative, known as the Fez initiative of 1982, as well as other international initiatives, notably the initiative of President Reagan in 1982, and the initiative of the Soviet Union in 1984. Thus our point of departure was the existing situations at the various levels and we have built on the basis already laid by Arab and international peace efforts. We sought, and we continue to seek, on all levels, to reach a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem desiring the peace negotiations to be conducted at an international conference in which all the parties concerned in the Palestinian problem, without exception, would participate.

We began by crystallizing the Jordan/Palestinian consensus, and we are moving towards an Arab consensus, in order to arrive finally at an international consensus on the contents of the settlement, and also the form in which it will be achieved. We asked for the framework of the peaceful settlement to be an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations convened by the Secretary-General, and the basis of the proposed settlement, would, as indicated by King Hussein in his statement in the General Assembly on 27 September last, be the implementation of Security Council 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967. King Hussein said in his statement that there were thee other resolutions of the United Nations which should be taken into account in any efforts to achieve a peaceful settlement: namely, General Assembly resolutions 181 (II) of 1947, 194 (III) of 1948, and Security Council resolution 338 (1973).

These resolutions spell out three principles which must be taken into account in the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967). These principles are as follows: Total withdrawal by Israel from all occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem; the right to return of Palestinian refugees; the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the right of every State in the area to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized boundaries.

In conclusion, I should like to ask the General Assembly once again to continue its efforts to support and preserve international legitimacy. There could be no better opportunity than the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations to consider the question of Palestine. As far as that question is concerned, international legitimacy is crystallized in the above-mentioned principles, which require the United Nations to support the efforts being made, with a view to applying those principles, with the consequent establishment of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

The meeting rose at 1.20 p.m.

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