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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
        Security Council

17 September 1981


Thirty-sixth session.
Item 31 of the provisional agenda*
Thirty-sixth year

Letter dated 17 September 1981 from the Chairman of the Committee
on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian
People addressed to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to transmit herewith the report of the delegation of the Committee which went to Lebanon from 24 to 26 August 1981, at the invitation of Mr. Yassir Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

I should be grateful if you would arrange for this report to be circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under item 31 of the provisional agenda, and of the Security Council.

(Signed) Massamba SARRE
Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People


* A/36/150.



l6 September 198l

VISIT TO LEBANON (24 to 26 August 1981)

1. In response to the invitation of His Excellency, Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, a delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People visited Lebanon from 24 to 26 August 1981 to see at first hand the extent of the damage done by the Israeli attacks in the month of July 1981.

2. The delegation was composed of H.E. Mr. Massamba Sarre, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; H.E. Mr. Niaz Naik, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Coskun Kirca, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, and H.E. Mr. Vladimir A. Kravets, Permanent Representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to the United Nations. Mr. Yogaraj Yogasundram, Chief of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights accompanied the delegation.

3. During its stay in Lebanon, the delegation was received by H.E. Mr. Salim el-Wazzan, Prime Minister of Lebanon; H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and H.E. Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

4. The delegation also paid a courtesy call on Mr. Iqbal Akhund, Co-ordinator of United Nations Assistance for Reconstruction and Development of Lebanon.

5. The delegation visited South Lebanon and saw the damage caused in Saida (Sidon), Nabbatiyeh and Sour (Tyre). The delegation also visited Camp Rashidiyeh and a Palestinian military camp in its vicinity. On its return to Beirut the delegation visited the Fakhani sector where a complete apartment block had been demolished during the Israeli raid.

6. On its visit to South Lebanon the delegation was shown the extensive damage done by aerial bombing and off-shore bombardment to the Zahrani oil refinery, on the outskirts of Saida. A bridge on the main Beirut-Tyre highway located alongside the refinery had been demolished in the attack but had been rebuilt at the time of the visit, permitting traffic to proceed. The refinery had been partially destroyed, the main damage being done by bombardment from naval off-shore vessels. It was reported that there had been heavy loss of life and considerable damage to vehicular traffic as a result of the attack.

7. In Nabbatiyeh the delegation met the area military commander of the Palestine Liberation Organization and was escorted to some areas which had been damaged by the Israeli attack. This area was reported to be under constant bombardment since 1978. The delegation was shown an orphanage which had been partially destroyed in 1978 and attacked again last month. A visit was paid also to a refugee camp which had been abandoned due to constant attacks by the Israeli forces over the last few years.

8. The main bridge over the Litani River on the main Beirut-Tyre road had been destroyed and reconstruction was in progress necessitating a detour. It was pointed out that the destruction of this bridge only inconvenienced the civilian population as military movements were in no way hampered by its destruction. Two minor bridges further up this river continued to handle vehicular traffic, though these are also subject to repeated attacks and have constantly to be rebuilt.

9. In Sour (Tyre), the delegation was accompanied by the area Military Commander to various locations damaged in the recent attacks. It was noted that not even antiquities dating back to early Roman times had been spared in this attack.

10. A visit to Camp Rashidiyeh, situated in Sour offered the delegation an opportunity to see the living conditions of the Palestinian refugees in the Camp and the extent of the damage done by the Israeli attacks. The delegation was informed that this Camp was subject to constant attacks by the Israeli air force. The delegation visited the site of a school that had been razed to the ground in the course of these continuous attacks. Damage done in the recent attacks was extensive, some 400 houses being completely or partially destroyed.

11. The delegation noted the high morale of the inhabitants of the Camp and the speed and determination with which the damage was being repaired. This was indeed a point noted in all areas visited.

12. The bombing and rocket attacks on the Fakhani sector in the heart of Beirut had resulted in the complete destruction of several hi-rise apartment buildings with considerable loss of life. The extent of property damage in this sector alone was estimated at several million Lebanese Lira.

13. All damage caused by the attack in July, was as far as could be seen, entirely confined to civilian targets and appeared to be aimed at terrorizing the civilian population and destroying its morale.

l4. Suggestions were made, in the course of the visit, that the Israeli attack in July had as its chief aim the creation of antipathy amongst the Lebanese against the Palestinians through the disruption of the economy of Southern Lebanon and through the terrorization of civilians both in the south of Lebanon and in Beirut. If this was indeed the aim, little heed appears to have been paid to the high cost in civilian casualties that was bound to result in the means used to achieve such an objective. In the absence of any other obvious reason for the attacks and judging particularly from the choice of targets, the delegation is inclined to agree with the suggestions referred to above.

15. Reference has been made already to the speed with which the damage done by these raids was being repaired. The delegation wishes to stress that it was deeply impressed by the high morale of the civilian population it encountered during all its visits and the resilience displayed by it in repeatedly repairing, in some cases overnight, the damage done by continuous Israeli attacks.

16. In its meeting with H.E. Chairman Arafat and Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, and as well as with other Palestinian leaders, the delegation was constantly reminded that the Palestinian people were determined to attain their legitimate rights in Palestine.

17. Chairman Arafat, in his meeting with the delegation, analyzed Israeli aims as follows: the savage attacks were intended to divide the people against the Palestinians, to eliminate the Palestinian leadership and to ruin the economy of Lebanon, particularly the south of Lebanon, by cutting communications. He expressed his conviction that the aggression would be repeated and that, in fact, Israel was in the process of massing troops for a fresh attack. He felt that Israel was able to pursue this aggressive policy because of the military, economic and political assistance it received from some states, particularly the United States of America.

18. Both Chairman Arafat and Mr. Kaddoumi expressed confidence in the Palestinians' ability to withstand any attack that Israel could mount and also that the strong resistance which the Palestinians had been able to put up against the last Israeli attack had resulted, for the first time, in a major setback for Israel who could no longer claim that "there is no Palestine Liberation Organization".

19. However, while the Palestine Liberation Organization was prepared to use all means at its disposal, including armed force, in order to obtain the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, it had the fullest confidence in the United Nations and wished to achieve its objectives within its framework. This had been proved by its cooperation with United Nations bodies and in the maintenance of the cease-fire. Both Chairman Arafat and Mr. Kaddoumi expressed appreciation for the work of the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and stressed the need for the Committee's assistance in finding a peaceful solution within the United Nations' framework.

20. The delegation recommends that the Committee should take steps to have the report of the delegation circulated as a document of the United Nations General Assembly and of the Security Council as well as to include it as an annex to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.

21. The delegation wishes to place on record its appreciation to the Government of Lebanon for having agreed to the visit of the delegation to Lebanon and particularly to His Excellency, Mr. Salim el-Wazzan, Prime Minister of Lebanon, for receiving the delegation. The delegation wishes also to express its gratitude and appreciation to the Palestine Liberation Organization for the generous hospitality it extended to the delegation and for the excellent arrangements made during the delegation's visit.

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