About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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On more than one occasion Cuba has had the opportunity to express its views concerning the Palestine question and the Middle East conflict. It is therefore not necessary for~us to make a statement of a general nature now. Rather, I should like to make some comments on the terms of reference of this Committee, the recommendations that we have to prepare and our future work.
It is clear that the General Assembly has given us precise guidelines for the orientation of our work. It has recognized that the Palestinian people has inalienable national rights, that is to say, the right to self-determination, the right to the full exercise of its sovereignty and, consequently, the right to decide on its own fate free from coercion or threats, in its own land. How can we translate this principle into practical terms? How can we organize a programme of action containing specific recommendations that take into account the actual conditions now prevailing in Palestine? That is precisely the task entrusted to us by the General Assembly.
I am convinced that the Working Group that we have set up will present us with appropriate proposals. It enjoys competent leadership and will have the valuable suggestions of various members of our Committee.
The programme which we shall have to recommend will, as we already know, meet with objections and obstacles which are obvious. The Palestine problem has weighed heavily on us throughout the life of our Organization and almost from its very foundation. The forces which 30 years ago usurped the national rights of the Palestinian people are powerful and form part of the complex of interests which constitute the central nucleus of imperialism, colonialism and racism today.
This is why the struggle for Palestine has a strategic character of unique importance. The imperialist enemy will try at all costs to perpetuate the injustice committed against the Palestinian people. The peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America aware, for their part, of the historical meaning of their struggle, see in the cause of the Palestinian people an essential element of their own liberation.
The recent visit of Mr. Vorster to Israel and the public expressions of solidarity exchanged by the regimes of Zionism and apartheid are a useful reminder for those who may still have doubts as to the racist and aggressive nature of both States. Mr. Vorster's affirmation that relations between Israel and South Africa are now at their best merits special attention.
This is why the United Nations must make use of all the means available in the Charter so as to be able to create the conditions which will allow the implementation of the programme that we shall draw up to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its national rights. In this respect the responsibility of the Security Council and its permanent members is obvious. It is incumbent upon the Council to decide on effective measures to oblige Israel and those that support it to allow the implementation of the programme of action and the recommendations which our Committee will present.
We should like now to draw the attention of the Committee to an aspect which seems to us to be extremely important. The struggle of the Palestinian people has been and still is difficult, complex and ill-starred because, among other things, of the powerful and well-financed campaign organized against it on a world scale by imperialism. The objective of this campaign has been to alienate certain public opinion sectors in the capitalist countries thereby depriving the Palestinian people of their support, to destroy the historical significance of its struggle for national liberation and to try to isolate the Palestine Liberation Organization internationally.
Taking this important factor into account, we believe that any programme designed to promote the exercise of the national rights of the Palestinian people must be complete, wide-ranging and dynamic and must rise above the parliamentary routine of the Organization. It should serve to mobilize broad sectors of international public opinion so as to ensure universal recognition of the PLO, the broadest possible diffusion of the aims of its struggle and the clarification of the true nature of the question of Palestine. For this it is necessary that the United Nations undertake effective action with cultural and trade-union organizations, with the social communications media and with personalities and institutions, especially in those countries that support the Zionist policy of Israel, with a view to strengthening international solidarity with the Palestinian people. The experience of the Special Committee Against Apartheid and the Committee of 24 could be useful in this regard. Besides requiring that Israel implement the resolutions of the General Assembly, the United Nations should transform itself into a centre for the mobilization of international public opinion and contribute to the kind of action by the masses throughout the world that will allow us to support the Palestinian fighters with truly broad, vital and effective solidarity.
In short, we believe that the Committee should prepare an articulate series of concrete proposals to allow the Palestinian people to exercise its national rights. It should recommend to the Security Council the adoption of effective measures to guarantee the implementation of our proposals and to the General Assembly the implementation of a coherent and effective plan to mobilize international public opinion.
The year 1977 will mark 30 years of brutal injustice against the Palestinian ft people. We should transform that year into one long march of militant solidarity.
The next session of the General Assembly could be the point of departure for a truly universal effort to restore peace and justice in Palestine.