About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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The delegation of the Ukrainian SSR would like to state its views on the tasks facing this Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian.
At its thirtieth session the General Assembly established this Committee and entrusted to it important and responsible tasks with regard to the elaboration of a programme of implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It is quite natural that the implementation of these important tasks is of great significance to the fate of the peoples of the Middle East and to the fate of general peace and international security.
The Ukrainian delegation has frequently stressed that a solution to the Palestinian problem is the key element to the elimination of the extremely explosive hotbed of tension in the Middle East which constantly threatens peace and security in that region and throughout the world. Without a solution to the Palestinian problem, and without the practical implementation of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people, it is impossible to achieve a true and lasting peace in the Middle East.
The consistent position of the USSR on the Middle East problem is well known: essentially, it is that in order to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East in the interests of all States in that region, and of all those that inhabit it, it is essential that the Israeli troops withdraw from all the Arab territories which Israel occupied in 1967.
It is also essential to ensure the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine, including their inalienable right to establish their own State, and to guarantee the security of all countries in the Middle East and their right to an independent existence and development.
At the recent Twenty-fifth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, General Secretary Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, in the report of the Central Committee of the Party, devoted special attention to this problem. He reaffirmed the position of principle of the Soviet Union on the Middle East and stated the following:
"There is no war in the Middle East at present, but neither is there peace, let alone tranquillity. And who would venture to guarantee that hostilities will not break out anew? This danger will persist as long as Israeli armies remain in the occupied territories. It will persist as long as the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians driven from their land are deprived of their legitimate rights and live in appalling conditions, and as long as the Arab people of Palestine are denied the possibility of creating their own national State.
"For Middle East peace to be lasting, the security of all States of the region, and their right to independent existence and development, must also be guaranteed."
We have always considered, and we still consider, absolutely inadmissible a situation in which the Arab people of Palestine, as a result of Israeli aggression, should be reduced to the status of refugees and deprived of the ability to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination and statehood, which have been recognized by the United Nations and world public opinion. The Israeli aggressors and their patrons are sabotaging the decisions of the General Assembly and Security Council on the Middle East question, and are pursuing a policy aimed at eliminating the Palestinian people as a national entity.
As in the past, our delegation fully supports the unconditional right of all Palestinians to return immediately to their homes, land and property. We also a fully agree with the view that implementation of that right alone is no substitute for the implementation of the other rights, since, in our view, the Palestinian problem seems primarily a political problem, and an integral part of the whole Middle East settlement. Only in the context of such a settlement will it be possible to ensure all the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine.
The need for a comprehensive solution to the Middle East problem on the basis of the complete liberation of the Arab lands which were occupied as a result of the aggression in 1967; of ensuring the right of the Arab people of Palestine to self-determination and to establish their national State, and of guaranteeing the fights of all countries in the Middle East to independent existence and development, is supported by the overwhelming majority of Member States of the United Nations, as they understand that it is impossible to count on a settlement of the Middle East conflict without a solution of the Palestinian problem on the basis of the interests of the Palestinians themselves.
Proceeding from our position of principle, we oppose the delay or postponement on various pretexts of a real solution to the Middle East problem.
In this connexion, I should like to refer to the statement by Comrade Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev at the Twenty-fifth Congress of the Community Party the Soviet Union, in which he said:
"Is it not clear how serious a responsibility is assumed by those who, in pursuit of egoistic aims are making a Middle East settlement the object of political manoeuvring and are using separate, partial agreements to delay genuine solutions or even entirely to call them in question?
"As far as the Soviet Union is concerned" — he continued — "its position is constructive and based on principle. As Co-Chairman of the Geneva Conference, the USSR is prepared to cooperate in all efforts to reach an effective settlement of the conflict. We are prepared to participate in international guarantees of the security and inviolability of the frontiers of all Middle East countries, either within United Nations framework, or on some other basis.
"Since we are on this subject, it is our opinion that Britain and France, too, could participate in such guarantees, along with the USSR and the United States. This could only benefit everyone concerned.11 The delegation of the Ukrainian SSR is grateful to you for having drawn the Committee's attention to that statement by Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev on the Middle East, and we voice the hope that this position of principle of the Soviet Union on a Middle East settlement will be taken into account and reflected in the Committee's recommendations.
The decisions of the United Nations and its principal organs, the General Assembly and Security Council, have confirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people these decisions have marked real, positive changes in the world to the point of broad recognition of the significance of the Palestinian problem and its role and importance in a Middle East settlement, giving it a qualitatively new character in the international field.
The decisions adopted at the thirtieth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Security Council debate on the Middle East problem including the Palestinian question., in January this year, and the Council debate in March this year on the serious situation which arose as a result of events in the occupied Arab territories have all further strengthened and promoted the favourable development of these positive changes, enhanced the authority of the Palestine T Liberation Organization and increased the isolation of Israel. These positive ,v moves are obvious proof of the broad international recognition of the justice legitimacy of the cause of the Palestinian people, and a recognition of the fact that the Palestinian people is one of the principal parties in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Naturally, such progress helps to further the productive work of this Committee and at the same time also necessitates its making an effective contribution to the solution of this most acute and important problem, which is the tragedy of the 3 million Arab people of Palestine.
At the same time, as we see it, the Committee should not lose sight, in its work of those obstacles which stand in the path to a solution of the problem, and the causes of this tragedy. The main reasons for it, as has frequently been stressed by our delegation, are the stubborn and hard-headed refusal of the Israeli leaders and their protectors to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people -- rights which have been recognized by the decisions of the United Nations -- and their refusal to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as the true representative of the Palestinian people, or to carry on constructive talks on a Middle East settlement, including the Palestinian problem, within the context of the Geneva Peace Conference 3 with the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization on an equal footing.
The reasons also include the continuing expansionist and aggressive Israel, its occupation of the Arab territories and its refusal to withdraw its troops from those territories.
The Ukrainian delegation considers that one way of resolving the Palestinian problem is by a further intensification of the efforts by the United Nations and by the people of the world in the struggle to ensure full implementation of the relevant decisions of the United Nations, and to force Israel to implement those decisions, to respect the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, to refrain from its policy of aggression and expansion and of denial and infringement of the rights of the Palestinian people, and to set out at last on a path of realism.
The growing solidarity of the peoples of the world with the Arab peoples who are victims of aggression, and in particular with the Arab people of Palestine, is facilitating the intensification of these efforts.
During the work of this Committee, many useful proposals have been put forward. In this connexion, our delegation would like to stress the following point: the question of the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes should be reflected in these proposals, in our opinion, as an integral and inalienable part of the general political problem of Palestine.
We all remember quite well that Israel has constantly tried to divert the debate on the Palestinian problem in the United Nations into a consideration merely of the problem of the Palestinian refugees 3 and during debate on that problem has evaded a indecision on the substance of the question. As is known, it is Israel that is the in culprit in the tragic situation of the Palestinian refugees. It is Israel that has completely disregarded, and continues to disregard, all the many decisions, even on this aspect of the Palestinian problem, and has systematically sidestepped the implementation of those decisions.
And so in the draft recommendations we think we should very clearly reflect the fact that the implementation of the right of the Palestinians to return, like the implementation of all the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, is organically linked with a general political settlement of the Middle East question, and is an integral part of a solution to this problem.
The action taken by the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations in specially inviting the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in their work bears witness to the importance of the PLO and the need for its participation in the consideration of all aspects of a Middle East settlement. A further increase in this international recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization is extremely important for the acceleration of implementation of the inalienable national rights of the Arab people of Palestine. That is why it is important to ensure that a situation is created in which the interests of the Palestinians represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization would be fully taken account of in all international efforts and at conferences held within the United Nations framework to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
A reliable guarantee of this would be participation by the representatives of the PLO in any debate on the Middle East question in which the United Nations is in any way involved. In the view of the Ukrainian delegation, such a requirement should be included in the draft recommendations of the Committee.
On the whole, we consider the draft recommendations as they stand today perfectly acceptable, and we do not have any objection to approving them as they are. We are in favour of affirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by military action. We support the unconditional right of all Palestinians to return to their homes, land and property immediately. We believe that the Security Council should take measures 3 in accordance with the Charters to promote the implementation of the inalienable right of the Palestinians who wish to return even before the complete withdrawal by Israel the occupied regions.
Our delegation supports the idea of a two-phase programme of implementation of the rights of the Palestinians. We shall always support, as we have supported in the past, the view that, like any other people, the Palestinians should enjoy their inalienable right to national independence and sovereignty in their own country. Our delegation also supports the idea that the Security Council should draw up a time-table for the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from the territories they have occupied, and so forth.
However, this does not mean that our delegation does not have any comments on the draft. We have doubts, for example, about the advisability of turning to the International Court of Justice to ask it for advisory opinions on a number of legal questions relating to various legislative actions by Israel since 1948. This is because we hardly think it possible to rely on the objectivity of the advisory opinions of that body.
We also have other doubts. However, they are not the dominant feature of our approach to the draft recommendations, and on the whole we consider those draft recommendations acceptable.
* Distributed in accordance with a decision of the Committee. English text Bed on the interpretation from the Russian.