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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/31/PV.88
3 December 1976

CONTENTS


Agenda item 29:

The situation in the Middle East (continued)

President: Mr. Hamilton Shirley AMERASINGHE (Sri Lanka).



AGENDA ITEM 29

The situation in the Middle East (continued)

1. The PRESIDENT: Yesterday, the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] asked to speak in order to reply to certain statements that had been made.

There was no time left yesterday so, I call on him to speak today.

2. Mr. TERZI (Palestine Liberation Organization) (interpretation from Arabic): My delegation, in its exercise of its right of reply, would like to clarify certain points raised in a statement which was made from this rostrum yesterday [87th meeting]. One of the speakers referred to the statement of General Rabin at the meeting of the Socialist International particularly that part in which the General dealt with the Helsinki Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and expressed the hope that a similar conference could be held in the Middle East area. The world had welcomed the Helsinki Conference and considered it a good step towards easing world tension, and the Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries held in Colombo has also called for the implementation of the relevant resolutions adopted by that Conference.

3. The countries that participated in the Helsinki Conference are sovereign countries. They may have some points of difference which can be solved through consultation, negotiation and conciliation. These are countries who have expressed their desire for peace and co-operation and mutual cordial relationships and the respect of the sovereignty of each State. But General Rabin is calling for the convocation of a conference at a time when his forces are t occupying Arab lands as a result of an armed aggression and are perpetuating this occupation in spite of the numerous resolutions adopted by the various organs of the United Nations condemning this occupation. He is therefore calling for a conference between the occupation forces and the victims of the occupation. General Rabin is calling for the convocation of a conference at a time when he is rejecting the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions concerning the policy he is pursuing and Practising against Palestinian nationals. He is calling for a peace conference while he is preventing the Palestinians from exercising the right to return to their homeland and houses after they were dispersed. He is also calling for a conference of peace and co-operation while he insists on rejecting the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He is calling for a peace and co-operation conference at a time when he is adopting a racist philosophy, practising a policy of racial discrimination against the Palestinian people and applying against these people the kinds of systems which were promulgated by the British Mandate Government and which were described by some of the Jews of Palestine as even more unjust than the Nazi systems. He is calling for the convocation of a conference and announces in advance his refusal to recog­nize the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to choose their representative, namely, the PLO; he is calling for the convocation of a peace and co-operation conference while he insists on denying the right of the Palestinian people to participate in a peace conference on the Middle East.

4. The basic principles pursued by the countries participating in the Helsinki Conference are fully in keeping with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are not a denial of these principles. The countries participating in the Helsinki Conference believe in the rights of peoples to self-determination. These are some of the principles of the Helsinki Conference, and they differ widely from the principles espoused by General Rabin and those whom he represents and from the principles pursued by the Zionist movement. The mere implication of any similarity between those principles is a distortion of truth and history, and this is not surprising because the concepts and ideas of General Rabin are originally based on the falsification of truth and history. There has been enough of this, and it is high time to put an end to such falsification, misrepresentations and attempts to undermine the intelligence of the international community.

5. The PRESIDENT: We shall now continue our debate on item 29. Before calling on the first speaker for this morning, I should like to remind the Assembly of the proposal I mentioned yesterday concerning the inscription of speakers on the list of speakers, especially the idea that any speaker could claim the right to have the last word on the subject [87th meeting, paras. 196-202]. I hope that my remarks have been taken seriously. The other point I mentioned was related to the number of times any representative may intervene in a debate. This is covered by rules 35 and 72 of the rules of procedure. I would wish to give various geographical and regional groups time to discuss this matter among themselves rather than force the issue here. It would be much better for delegations to exercise self-restraint than for me to press for a decision. That might take longer than the debate itself.

6. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Jordan): It took me quite a time to decide what to say and how long to spend saying it, for it is unavoidably tautological to speak about the question of the Middle East, tantalizing as it must necessarily be to friend and adversary alike. I must, however, beg the patience and understanding of the vast majority of Member States, who have, over the years, accorded our just and unquestionable cause their profound, sincere and unflinching support. I also promise to be as brief as possible, because one cannot and should not be repeating the banal and the elemental principles upon which the entire United Nations structure rests: the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, the right to safeguard the territorial inviolability and integrity of Member States, and the inalienable right of every people to freedom, self-determination and self-identification. Nor would I impose upon this distinguished Assembly a recitation of the numerous resolutions which it has solemnly passed on these matters, including the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine to the restoration of their homeland and to their national self-determination.

7. The last of these resolutions was adopted a mere 10 days ago [resolution 31/20]. But a synoptic recollection of a few highlights on the background of the item on our agenda is perhaps not out of order, and should refresh our memories lest we forget.

8. The early morning hours of 5 June 1967 must go down as one of the most perfidious days in the annals of history. On that day, the Israeli air force triggered the war while earnest and intensified efforts were under way to defuse the rapid unfolding of the over-all crises, with one sequence of events leading to another, with the whole world watching breathlessly. It was a Middle Eastern Pearl Harbour par excellence.

9. Egypt, Jordan and Syria, fearful-and rightly so, as subsequent Israeli policy over the past decade has proved—that the situation was escalating into what seemed a calculated and carefully designed plan to conquer and annex targeted portions of their territory, patched up whatever differences there existed among them, and concluded a hurried common defence agreement, in which they solemnly pledged that an attack on any of them would be an attack on all. This was only natural among sister States facing a common danger. As one highly informed Israeli newspaper after the war put it bluntly and gleefully: "We set a trap for them and they fell right into it".

10. I shall not go much further into the background of the sordid so-called six-day war—actually its outcome was sealed in one hour. Heroes and villains, Goliaths and Davids, fictions and legends make good novels and even better movies, but history—and how many people in the world read history anyway? -is far less exciting, even though it is more truthful.

11. Leaving behind both history and legend, the net result of the 1967 war was the occupation of the territories of three sovereign and independent States Members of the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

12. Thereafter, the Security Council adopted its resolution 242 (1967), in which it reiterated among other things, the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of a territory by war, and demanded the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territories occupied in consequence of that war, the establishment of a just and lasting peace, and an agreement on secure and recognized boundaries. The Palestinian people had not as yet been visible to the naked eye, and since they still existed as a human species and had not vanished from the face of the earth, a passing reference was made to them as refugees, a status to which they were to be eternally damned.

13. The fate of resolution 242 (1967) is pathetic indeed as I shall explain. An illustrious and conscientious diplomat, Ambassador Jarring, who took his assignment as seriously and as honestly as he himself was, engaged in a shuttle diplomacy for a number of years until his own inexhaustible patience ran out. His assignment was a dialogue of the deaf, and when, in despair, he addressed specific questions to both the Arab States concerned and to Israel, the Arab States dutifully replied to them in specific terms. Egypt and Jordan sent identical answers because they prepared them together. The Israelis, not anxious to be pinned down to specifics, or even to have part of their energies diverted from devouring occupied Arab lands, undisturbed, reacted angrily, and accused Ambassador Jarring of exceeding his authority. I remember once asking Ambassador Jarring in the early 1970s what was the latest in the situation. His eyes glared and he said: "I was going to ask you the same question! " He had definitely come to the conclusion that his was an exercise in futility and he reported accordingly to the Security Council.

14. When a distinguished American leader of public renown and responsibility was sent to the Middle East to study the situation on the spot and report his findings to his Government, he returned suspiciously infected with a revolutionary idea which he had courageously proclaimed in public, namely, that the United States policy towards the Middle East should be "even-handed". The statement unfortunately remained as unfulfilled as Security Council resolution 242 (1967).

15. But this was not the whole story, for it was followed by the involvement of another distinguished American statesman who was officially and most directly concerned with shaping policy towards the Middle East. The statesman in question is no other than the then Secretary of State of the United States, Mr. William Rogers, who officially proposed a plan-"The Rogers Plan"-which provided for withdrawal from all the Arab occupied lands in exchange for peace. The Arab States directly involved accepted the Plan. Israel in its own devious ways rejected it. The initiative came to an abrupt halt and we are today still debating the question of the Middle East.

16. Since even pathetic situations need not be devoid of humour, at least to make them more palatable to the listener, I would with your permission, tell a little tale told by no less a humourist than the famous Juhha in Arabic who is known in Western parlance as Hujha.

17. Once upon a time, a friend of his told him that he had some urgent business to do outside the house, and he asked Hujha if he would kindly stand guard at the door to protect the house. Hujha obliged until he got tired of waiting. But not wanting to break his promise to his friend, Hujha pulled out the door which he had consented to protect and carried it on his back and went straight to the market place. In consternation, the owner of the house saw Hujha in the market place and said to Hujha: "You have promised to guard the house pending my return and now I see that you nave reneged on your promise"; to which Hujha replied: "No, my friend, I have not; you had requested me to guard the door of the house and here it is safely on my back". The house, of course, in the meantime, had been ransacked clean, by greedy passing intruders.

18. And so it is with the question of the Middle East. While the chorus of praise and rationality continues to be heaped and echoed in the Security Council and in some foreign offices of the world and while everybody is standing guard over the sanctity and wisdom of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and subsequently Council resolution 338 (1973), there is someone right within the doorless house who is busy eating, devouring and ransacking the house and its inhabitants right to the very bone. What in fact has remained of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) Israel, while insisting that resolution 242 (1967) should be the basis for a fair settlement, is abrogating it in fact and is rendering it devoid of any substantive meaning, because it has consistently refused to honour the fourth Geneva Convention 1/ in safeguarding the integrity of the occupied lands and the basic human rights of its people.

19. In June 1973, the Security Council, at the request of Egypt, convened to discuss the stagnant Middle East situation.2/ I was at the side of my delegation during those meetings. I had come from Rome, and I must confess I was surprised that a Council meeting had been convened during that midsummer.

20. The debate took its course, with the then Foreign Minister of Egypt, Mr. El-Zayyat, urging the Council to shoulder its responsibilities, and the former Israeli Ambassador, Mr. Tekoah, responding cavalierly and often aggressively, as he was prone to do. The Council failed to take any positive action, and the last words of Mr. El-Zayyat still ring in my ears. He said: "I will be returning to Egypt. What shall I tell my people? Shall I go back empty-handed? " Three months later the war to liberate the occupied territories broke out on 6 October 1973, with its ferocious battles, the accompanying oil embargo, and an escalation in super-Power confrontation, which brought the world to the edge of war.

21. With super-Power involvement at such a high level of intensity, the 1973 war came to an inconclusive halt, but the Security Council resolution 338 (1973), establishing a new commitment regarding Israeli withdrawal from all (occupied Arab lands, and a Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and with the co-sponsorship of the United States and the Soviet Union, to work out an over-all Middle East settlement which would i be just, fair and lasting. The United Nations Peace Conference met a couple of times and was then laid to rest. A few disengagement agreements were made to avoid direct confrontations between the combatants and the situation reverted to its former familiar state of "stagflation". I borrowed this economic concept to highlight the fact that, whereas the situation outwardly is seemingly stagnant, inwardly-that is, in the occupied Arab lands-there is a spiralling inflation of Israeli acquisition and annexation of Arab lands which goes on unabated and unchecked. I need not go further on this because only the other day the Security Council, the General Assembly and all the appro­priate Committees of the United Nations condemned it in the strongest terms.

22. Where do we stand today and where will we stand tomorrow? What matters most? There are three avenues which might be pursued in the search for an equitable and just peace in the Middle East, and I shall mention them in order of priority.

23. The first avenue is the convening, at the earliest possible date, of the United Nations Peace Conference, which should be attended by the various parties concerned. I said in my statement during the debate on the "Question of Palestine" [69th meeting] that the various Arab parties directly concerned, as well as the PLO, were genuinely committed to real peace, provided it was just, fair and lasting. I said it could open a new chapter in the history of the area. What I said is on record and I need not rehash it although, of course, I abide by what I said in that statement.

24. Secondly, if the United Nations Conference should, for reasons beyond our control, fail to achieve its cherished objectives, then our second recourse should be to the Security Council, with an insistence and a persistence which are not deterred by initial rebuffs. And if we should be vetoed out of the Council Chamber to the point where it becomes hopeless and unedifying, then we should turn to the third recourse.

25. The third recourse is to request the General Assembly—whose overwhelming majority represents the over-whelming majority of mankind and whose abiding faith in justice and in the Charter is far above and beyond all possibility of being maligned by the mechanical majority cliches to which we have become accustomed-to convene in special session to consider what practical steps it may and can take, under a kind of "uniting-for-peace formula" which accords the General Assembly residual responsibility for discharging the functions set forth in Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Charter.

26. Never again should we put the question of the Middle East as an item among the long catalogue of 150 other items, on which resolutions are passed or not passed only to go unheeded. A whole decade should convince us of that. Never again should we subject ourselves or the General Assembly to the humiliation of ineffectiveness and impotence. Representing, as it does, the whole of mankind-several billion people from every corner of the globe—the Assembly's word should normally be its deed, and it is for this reason, if for no other, that, if the Assembly should be requested to discuss the Middle East again, it should only do so armed with the immense powers with which the Charter has endowed it and which it does in fact possess.

27. In the meantime, let us all hope that the first avenue-namely, a speedy and business-like convening of the United Nations Peace Conference—will spare the Middle East and the whole world the perils so starkly inherent and latent in the powder-keg of an unresolved conflict in the Middle East. I have said on earlier occasions that we are currently poised at a perilous cross-roads: let our decision be for a just, equitable and real peace. I shudder to think of the alternative.

28. I had intended to stop at this point in my statement, but for the fact that in his statement before the General Assembly yesterday [87th meeting], Ambassador Herzog referred to a paragraph—or was it a sentence? —selectively taken out of context, in my statement to the General Assembly in the course of the debate on the question of Palestine. I had referred, in a carefully balanced and integrated approach, to the imperative urgency of starting without unnecessary delay the process of peace-making under appropriate United Nations auspices. And I mentioned specifically an initiative by the Secretary-General in this pursuit, whether individually or in conjunction with the Security Council, and argued, for a good reason that I explained in that statement, that all parties concerned, including the PLO, should partake within this framework with a view to ensuring its success.

29. I made that statement and I am never afraid of saying what I believe in. I said that we should unshackle ourselves from the agonies, conflicts and prejudices of the past few decades and open a new chapter in the history of the Middle East and of the world at large. I hope that I had presented the substantive, genuine and equitable option for real peace as a basis for serious discussions for the attainment of this cherished goal. I thought that my integrated statement on this tremendously crucial issue deserved a substantive answer. Ambassador Herzog is right in stating that his offer to descend from this rostrum and shake hands as a gesture of goodwill evoked no response from me.

30. I have rarely been deliberately discourteous in my life and I hate nothing more than hatred itself. But does Ambassador Herzog seriously believe that the fate of nations, the very survival of an entire people, who are now in the wilderness of nowhere, can be papered over, whisked away, by handshakes and pleasant smiles? Does the Ambassador of Israel really think that I am all that naive and all that insensitive to the appalling ordeal of my people? Does the Ambassador not realize or appreciate that every word that I utter, whether here in the Assembly or anywhere else, is inspired and haunted by the unhappy faces of the Palestinian refugees whom I have had the privilege to know and serve at close range for years? Does the Ambassador of Israel not realize that every inch of land, every bit of territory, sequestrated from my people in the occupied territories is as painful to me as tearing away my flesh? We have very precious little left to survive on; in fact, right now we have lost all. But did not the Ambassador understand that, living in the relative privilege of diplomatic life in great New York compared with the indignities, suffering, helplessness, let alone hopelessness, of my people under a decade of occupation, I feel a deep sense of guilt that perhaps I am not conveying sufficiently the immensity of their ordeal. I do not want to detail extensively the terrible injustices and sufferings which have been the fate of my people. I was merely explaining why Ambassador Herzog's gesture evoked no response from me. I had intended to traverse new territory, new horizons, new avenues, but unfortunately I must assume that I was grossly, perhaps deliberately, misunderstood. Our hallowed soil, the land of milk and honey, as the Israeli tribes described it when they encountered it and its people, can produce the best fruit and vegetables in the world. But it cannot produce naive persons or weaklings. If our genera­tion fails to achieve peace with justice, our children or grandchildren can and will do that. We do not have to be terribly selfish to see it in our own lifetime. Let not our initiatives, our gesture for genuine peace, be misunderstood as a sign of weakness.

31. I have stated specifically that the Israelis have two avenues open before them—real peace or a struggle of generations. The choice is theirs. But we keep all our options open because we have nothing else left to lose except our misery and our chains.

32. Mr. HOLLAI (Hungary): The problem of finding a just, comprehensive and reliable settlement in the Middle East has not yet been resolved, and, what is more distressing, the work on its main and fundamental aspects has not even really started. Consequently, the source of tensions and possibly new explosions in that part of the world has not been removed and is still at work. The unresolved conflict remains a cause for serious alarm and anxiety concerning world peace and security, poisoning the international atmosphere and hampering the development of international detente. There is no war, no peace, and no tranquillity in the Middle East.

33. It is needless to describe the consequences another war in the Middle East could have for that region and the international situation as a whole. They would certainly be disastrous. It is therefore vitally important to reach a just settlement without delay.

34. My Government^ is of the opinion that the conflict must be resolved on the basis of a political settlement restoring the just and stable peace of the region. A lasting and peaceful settlement, however, cannot be achieved without solving the key problems, like the complete withdrawal of the Israeli troops from the Arab territories occupied by Israel in consequence of its military aggression of 1967, the ensuring for the Arab people of Palestine of its legitimate and inalienable rights, and the guaranteeing of security for all States involved in the Middle East conflict.

35. The tragic events in Lebanon give fresh proof of the urgent need for a comprehensive settlement. They show once again that the situation in that part of the world might deteriorate to an even greater extent and that the danger of a military outburst is becoming ever more acute.

36. The illusions about the step-by-step policy leading to a final settlement and bringing calm to the Middle East have been dispelled. While the separate deals did indeed return specific sections of the occupied Arab territories, they did not in fact embrace the key problems to be solved under an over-all settlement. What they actually produced was a semblance of progress, instead of a real solution to a real situation. Instead of easing the situation, that manoeuvre made it even more delicate and more complicated. In effect, it created additional obstacles to the achievement of a settlement. The real intentions screened by those moves have little to do with a comprehensive settlement; rather, they are linked with the oil deposits, the strategic positions, and the social phenomena and processes of the countries in the Middle East. And by setting the Arab States against one another and forcing them to act in disunity, such attempts serve to weaken the Arab forces and to prevent their social progress.

37. The history of the conflict between the Arab countries and the State of Israel proves that neither peace nor security can be achieved in the Middle East without a basic solution of all the outstanding issues of the region.

Mr. Florin (German Democratic Republic),Vice-President, took the Chair.

38. One of the main issues is the seizure and control of Arab territories by the military forces of Israel. During the four wars it waged against Arab countries, Israel lost none of the territory allotted under the partition plan. On the contrary, it invaded, occupied and annexed Arab lands. During the first Arab-Israeli war, Israel increased its own territory by 50 per cent. Its conquests in the war of 1967 extended Israeli-controlled territory by more than 200 per cent and brought a population half as much as Israel's under its domination. The Israelis seemed to be settling down there to stay. Israeli leaders often make demonstrative statements about refusing to withdraw their troops inside the lines of demarcation that existed between Israel and the Arab countries prior to the war of 1967. And these are no mere words. Israel has taken effective measures to change the physical character, the demographic structure and the status of occupied Arab territories. The violations of human rights and the design to break the resistance of the population to these policy measures are added components forming an integral part of the course taken by Israel. Such statements and acts do not help the search for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, but virtually challenge the basic principle embodied, inter alia, in the United Nations Charter and Security Council resolution 242(1967) of 22 November 1967 concerning the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by means of war. They are another indication and proof of the fact that Israel is carried away by an expansionist policy. Annexing the lands of other people can only lead to a perpetuation of enmity and hatred. Such a policy imperils the very foundation of understanding that could result in a normal pattern of relations between Israel and the Arab countries.

39. We believe it is impossible to bring about genuine peace in the Middle East unless the Israeli troops are withdrawn from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967 continuing occupation and the possibility of a new military explosion in consequence thereof represent a permanent threat to the entire international situation and constitute by themselves a continuous violation of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Recognition of the boundary existing prior to the war of 1967 as the final border between Israel and &e Arab States is the only reasonable basis on which a [Middle East settlement can be reached.

40. Another fundamental factor of the Middle East conflict is the question of Palestine. It is now becoming increasingly clear that at the heart of the Middle East crisis lies the Palestinian problem. It is a generally accepted fact that a just and lasting peace in the region cannot be established without achieving, inter alia, a satisfactory solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with the principles laid down in the resolutions of the United Nations, in other words, on the basis of the attainment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable national rights, including the right of return, the right to self-determination without external interference, and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine. Unless a solution to these problems is found, the Middle East situation will remain a source of permanent danger to world peace. We deplore the fact that the implementation of the nearly 200 resolutions adopted since 1947 by the General Assembly and the Security Council concerning the various aspects of the Palestinian question has been prevented by certain States which until now have been reluctant to give substantive support to the efforts at a Middle East settlement and, within that framework, to the cause of Palestinian people. We are none the less pleased to note that the latest General Assembly resolution, adopted only last week [resolution 31/20], has given a new impetus to the process of settlement by endorsing the recommendations contained in the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people [A/31/35] as the basis for the solution of the question of Palestine. This meaningful document should be a source of encouragement for every country committed to a just solution of the problem. I wish to express our satisfaction that the Palestinian question is finally beginning to occupy its proper place in the forums of the United Nations concerned with finding a political settlement for this complex issue of international life.

41. My Government holds that each and every country and people in the Middle East has a right to be the full-fledged master of its own destiny and to live in conditions of independence, freedom, peace and security. All these beneficial conditions could result from a genuine political settlement of the conflict. There exists already an appropriate international forum to consider simultaneously all or several of the key issues involved in the Middle East conflict. That forum has remained idle for quite a long time now. In our view, there is no justification for failing to make use of the unique possibilities offered by that prestigious and practical mechanism for conducting a dialogue between the opposing sides in the conflict. This is why we fully agree with the proposal of the Soviet Union to renew the work of the Geneva Conference [A/31/57-S/72208]. Events so far have clearly shown that there is no other reliable way to achieve an agreement on all the questions involved in the dispute. Those who underestimate or deliberately frustrate the work of that high forum do a disservice to peace. The task now is to resume, without much further and unjustified delay, the negotiations at the Geneva Peace Conference, with the participation of all the parties directly involved, including the PLO. We are fully aware of the complexity of the task and of the difficulty facing the participants in the search for a comprehensive settlement.

42. My Government is deeply convinced that such a settlement can be achieved only by solving the following, organically interlocking problems securing the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all the Arab territories occupied by Israel in consequence of its aggression in 1967; the implementation of the inalienable rights and the satisfaction of the legitimate national demands of the Arab people of Palestine to create a State of its own; ensuring the rights of all States in the Middle East to live in peace within the recognized borders, secure and guaranteed.

43. Let me state in conclusion that Hungary now as in the past is guided by an endeavour to promote the peaceful settlement of the Middle East question as a whole, including the problem of Palestine. We do our best to help remove all the consequences of the Israeli aggression, for they threaten the peace of the Middle East and, indeed, of the world at large. We continue to support the just struggle of the Arab peoples against imperialism and aggression and to give them every assistance, assistance which will be maintained in the future. We believe that the Geneva Conference is the most suitable forum for creating a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the Middle East.

44. Mr. AL-TAJIR (United Arab Emirates) (interpretation from Arabic): The General Assembly is starting its debate on the item on the Middle East, which is one of the most important topics and confronts the world with two alternatives-either peace or war. The General Assembly discussed this topic last year and adopted resolution 3414 (XXX), which reaffirmed clear principles and requested the Secretary-General to inform all concerned, including the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, and to follow up the implementation of the resolution and report thereon to the Security Council and to the General Assembly at its thirty-first session. However, we note that no substantial progress has been made towards implementing this resolution; this is due to the intransigence of Israel, its procrastination and its failure to implement the resolutions of the United Nations.

45. The United Arab Emirates, an Arab country situated in the Middle East, is gravely concerned over the extremely serious situation in the Middle East—a situation which threatens to explode at any minute due to Israel's continued occupation of Arab lands, its refusal to implement United Nations resolutions and its persistence in denying the inalienable national rights of the Arab Palestinian people.

46. Israel's attempts to consolidate its occupation of Arab lands and to establish settlements there cannot serve the cause of a just and lasting peace and are contrary to the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions as well as to the principles of international law, which prohibit the occupation or acquisition by force of lands, and which considers any military occupation of land, even of a temporary nature, or any annexation of any part of land by force, to be an act of aggression. Israel's Judaizing of the occupied Arab lands and its changing of the demographic and cultural structure of these lands are other acts of aggression which run counter to the Charter and to resolutions of the United Nations and, as such, should continue to be condemned. The supply of arms and aid to Israel is nothing but an attempt to consolidate its occupation of Arab lands. That is why we call on all countries to stop the supply of arms and aid to Israel, thereby obliging it to implement the resolutions of the United Nations concerning the Middle East, which are aimed at establishing a just and lasting peace in this area.

47. Convinced as we are that the existing situation in the Middle East still constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security and that it is necessary to adopt urgent measures to ensure the full implementation by Israel of all the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council on the two questions of Palestine and the Middle East, we think that the Security Council, in the exercise of its responsibilities under the Charter, should in the near future adopt all necessary measures to ensure the speedy implementation, in accordance with an appropriate time-table, of all relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, which are aimed at establishing a just and lasting peace in the area, within the framework of a comprehensive settlement arrived at with the participation of all parties concerned, including the PLO and within the framework of the United Nations. This settlement should ensure a full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands and the complete recognition of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and their enjoyment of these rights.

48. My delegation thinks that the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East should be based on full respect for the objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions concerning Palestine and the Middle East. Therefore, a resumption of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, which is considered by the countries responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security as the ideal means of establishing a just and lasting peace in the area, should be based on elements that are conducive to its success—namely, the participation of all parties concerned, including the PLO, on an equal footing and on the basis of General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX).

49. We welcome the efforts made by the Secretary-General in order to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and we think that this Assembly should ask the Secretary-General to pursue his efforts. We should also like to emphasize the fact that Arab countries have expressed a serious desire to arrive at a just peace and that Israel has to respect the resolutions of the United Nations. Otherwise the Arab countries will be obliged to liberate the occupied lands by all the means available to them.

50. Mr. AL-OBAIDLY (Qatar) (interpretation from Arabic): The question of re-examining the situation in the Middle East, which is the subject of great attention in international circles today, should be based on fundamental facts and should deal with the substance and origins of the problem. The heart of the problem is that the Palestinian people had their lands usurped and were rendered homeless. It is the Zionist enemy who established his illegal entity on the wreckage of the Palestinian people more than a quarter of a century ago that is the true cause of this crisis. Israel has followed a colonialist policy based on the annexation of Arab land, the alteration of its geographical features and the establishment of new Jewish settlements there. The enemy also brought in new immigrants in order to create a fait accompli with which to confront the world and to ensure the ultimate annexation of these lands to the Zionist State, which recognizes no boundaries.

51. This is to say nothing about the extortion and repression of the population and the torture, imprisonment and mass arrest to which the population of the occupied lands were subjected; many of these peoples were deported and were forced to leave their houses, their towns and their villages. The international Organization bears primary responsibility for failing to curb this colonialist policy, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The responsibility of the United Nations dates back to the original mistake it committed when it decided to partition Palestine in 1947; but, unfortunately, this decision was the result of pressure exercised on the majority of States Members of the United Nations by the World Zionist Organization and the justifications given by the imperialist forces in the first half of the twentieth century, and also as a result of ignorance of the sinister reality about Zionism and the aggressive intentions of Israel.

52. The situation in the Middle East should not make us forget the historical and political facts on which the Zionist entity was based, an entity which boasts about destruction and suffering brought to a land which, before the Zionists, never knew anything but peace, security, tolerance and coexistence between all races, sects and religions. The documents of the United Nations, as well as the books and studies published by statesmen and intellectuals who lived through and witnessed the inception of world Zionism, all expose the expansionist designs of Israel. History and the reality we live today all bear witness to the fact that even now, after more than 29 years have passed since its establishment, Israel is not satisfied with the land that it was unjustly given but has renewed its aggression and occupied all that remained of Palestine, Sinai and the Golan Heights.

53. After the premeditated aggression launched by Israel in 1948 and after the barbaric acts of terrorism carried out by the Irgun, Haganah and Stern Gang against Arab Palestinians, innocent men, women and children, with killing, burning and the destruction of more than 385 Palestinian villages, including Deir Yasin, Qibya, As Samu' and numerous other villages, Israel also plotted the Suez

campaign against Egypt in 1956, which did no succeed thanks to the solidarity between the fighting forces and world public opinion. Afterwards, it plotted with the forces of imperialism the aggression of June 1967, as a result of which, as I have already mentioned, it has occupied the Whole of Palestine, Sinai and the Golan Heights. The resolute opposition of the Arab people during the war of October 1973 was clear evidence of the fact that the Arab Citizens would never accept the occupation of a single inch of their holy land by the Israeli Zionists.

54. Peace in the Middle East cannot be established at the cost of the occupation of Arab lands or of the national inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. So the two issues of Palestine and the Middle East continue to be the main concern of the international community and the international Organization and its various organs and bodies which are seeking a just and comprehensive solution to this problem in the area. With respect to these two issues, which cannot be separated from one another, numerous resolutions have been adopted by the United Nations and its various organs, as well as by the conferences of non-aligned countries, dealing with all the political, human, economic, legal and military consequences of the aggressive acts of Israel and its expansionist designs in the area. In this connexion, I would like to mention in particular the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, the latest of which was resolution 31/20 adopted last week on the Palestine issue, as well as the resolutions adopted by the Special Political Committee yesterday [A/SPC/31/L.9-12], which denounce the colonialist and expansionist policy pursued by Israel in the occupied Arab lands. I would also like to mention the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly last year, which are considered, as regards the Palestine cause and the Palestinian people, a great turning-point in the history of the United Nations. There is resolution 3375 (XXX), in which the General Assembly requests the Security Council to consider and adopt the necessary resolutions and measures in order to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable national rights, including the right to return to their homeland and their properties, and calls for the invitation of the PLO to participate in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East which are held under the auspices of the United Nations, on an equal footing with the other parties concerned. I would also like to mention resolution 3414 (XXX), in which the General Assembly again reaffirmed that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible, condemned Israel's continued occupation of Arab territories and requested all States to desist from supplying Israel with any military or economic aid. The General Assembly has asked the Secretary-General to inform all the parties concerned, including the two Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, of the content of this resolution and the need to follow up its implementation.

55. I would also like to refer to Security Council resolution 381 (1975), which provides for continuation of the debates on the Middle East including the Palestinian question, taking into account all relevant United Nations resolutions, and I would like to ask here: What has been implemented with regard to these resolutions and where is the Geneva Peace Conference? The reply given by one of the two countries serving as Co-Chairmen of the Conference, as indicated in the report of the Secretary-General to the thirty-first session of the General Assembly in chapter I of document A/31/1, was positive in that it underlined the need for the resumption of the work of the Conference and the participation of all the parties directly concerned, including the PLO and the two Co-Chairmen of the Conference. As regards the other State, it has proposed the convocation of a preparatory conference comprising only the parties which have so far participated in the negotiations, and this clearly means that it rejects the participation of the PLO, which is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in the Conference.

56. In order to avoid a comprehensive settlement and the resumption of the Geneva Peace Conference, and side by side with Israeli procrastination and using the pretext of awaiting the results of American elections and of the events in Lebanon which have taken the lives of thousands of innocent children, women and old men, attempts were made outside the United Nations, the so-called step-by-step negotiations, which have reached an impasse because of the obstinacy of Israel. These negotiations have yielded only partial results, and there is nothing to indicate that they will lead to anything but stagnation. The Arabs have shown the world through their patience and their bitter experience the manoeuvres resorted to by Israel and its allies and the fact that they are not serious in their efforts for peace.

57. Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, comes out with a new idea about holding a peace conference in the Middle East along the lines of the Helsinki Conference. I think this proposal on his part is clear evidence that he is determined to pursue his policy of procrastinating and diverting the United Nations and the Palestinian people from the basic issue and from the Peace Conference in Geneva. This fact renders the situation extremely grave and serious because the situation in the Middle East is really explosive and the parties who are the victims are determined to change the situation and to regain their rights.

58. There is nothing so far to indicate that peace will be established in the area as long as sophisticated weapons-which are estimated at thousands of millions of dollars reach Israel. Constantly, under the pretext of maintaining security in the area, Israel—which so far has not indicated its borders in any formal statement and which believes in the admissibility of the acquisition of land by force-is trying to establish settlements on every inch of the occupied Arab lands. The material and moral support given to Israel in the form of arms and money is actually intended to defend its practices and its illegal settlement policies, which are in conflict with the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. And all of this is simply to enable Israel to fulfil its cherished dream. But the will of the Arab people, the solidarity of friendly and peace-loving countries, the support of justice and the realistic experience which led to the military, political and economic defeat of the aggressive forces in Indo-China should convince Israel that it will be impossible to continue to exploit other peoples, and should also make it realize that its dream will not last forever. Israel is confronted with a changing situation and it is going to face this situation of expansion and shrinkage in the light of the balance of power in the Middle East and in the world.

59. This state of instability is part of the nature and reality of Israel and it stems from its illegal existence. Does it derive its origins from the Torah or from these solutions of the United Nations, or from the support of the great Powers? The fact that Israel lacks legitimacy renders it an alien State amid the Arab world and it explains the aggressive elements in its policy. This policy leads us to a clear conclusion, namely, that the behaviour of Israeli occupation is fully in keeping with the behaviour of the Nazi occupation, because both occupations have come about as a result of an armed aggression which has violated all the stipulations of international conventions.

60. Any just and lasting solution to the Middle East problem should be based on the immediate, full and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the Arab land, and the exercise by the Palestinian people of all their national rights, including the right to return to their homeland and the right to self-determination and political independence.

61. Convinced as it is of the legitimacy and justice of the Palestinian and the Middle East cause, the State of Qatar, both its people and its Government, will spare no effort to support its brother Arabs for the liberation of their usurped land and to enable the Palestinian people to regain their rights to their homeland and property. It would also like to reaffirm its support for all steps taken by the General Assembly to provide a speedy solution to the problem and to establish the foundations of peace and security in the area in a manner which is compatible with the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of international conventions.

62. The PRESIDENT (interpretation from French): The representative of Egypt has asked to exercise his right of reply.

63. Mr. ABDEL MEGUID (Egypt): The Israeli Ambassador ventured yesterday to blame, deny and even ridicule the General Assembly's work and deliberations. His motives are known, since his Government and his leaders have always tried to silence all voices calling for peace and for putting an end to the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories and Israel's denials of the Palestinian people's rights. He further complained that the Assembly spends 50 per cent of its time on this problem. In fact, in our opinion, Israel should pay 50 per cent of the Assembly's budget because, by its occupation and its barbaric measures against the Palestinian people, the Assembly is in duty bound to debate the serious problems which affect the fate and lives of many peoples.

64. The Israeli representative naturally showed his annoyance about the agreement between India and Bangladesh and the role which Egypt played in this context. We are proud of the modest role of Egypt with these two brotherly countries, and in no way could the Israeli representative draw hypocritically any analogy with the situation in the Middle East. None of these countries is occupying the territory of the other; none of them denies the basic rights of the other. The highest point of hypocrisy in the statement of the Israeli representative concerned the quest of his Government for peace. He cited at length a speech of Mr. Rabin at a meeting of the Socialist International in Geneva about Israel's desire for peace and so forth. But he forgets to point that a few days before his speech-exactly on 17 November 1976, during a visit to the occupied Territory of Sinai to inspect the new settlements, like the so-called Yamit that Israel is establishing deep inside the Egyptian territory; the same Mr. Rabin declared: "We mean and aim for defensible borders and the Yamit must be included in the State of Israel to make such borders possible". He even alleged that there is no contradiction between the establishment of settlements on Egyptian soil and the quest for peace. Thus, Mr. Rabin, is giving his, or Israel's version of peace. Keeping some Arab territories is, in their opinion, by no means contradictory to peace. Expansion and annexation are, therefore, the key to Israel's version of peace. This declaration by Mr. Rabin in the occupied Sinai is the explanatory memorandum to his statement in the Socialist International.

65. Misleading international public opinion is the name of the Israeli game. Here in this Assembly we are preoccupied with the process of peace and the establishment of a just and lasting one in the Middle East. We are confident that the Israeli leaders will eventually come to reason and realize that misleading statements and distortion will lead them nowhere. The Assembly is certainly able to differentiate between misleading and trustworthy positions.


The meeting rose at 12.20 p.m.


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