Question of Palestine home
24 November 1969
SPECIAL POLITICAL COMMITTEE
VERBATIM RECORD OF THE SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIRST MEETING
Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Monday, 24 November 1969, at 10.30 a.m.
: Mr. KULAGA (Poland)
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in
the Near East
: The Official Record of this meeting, i.e., the summary record,
will appear in mimeographed form under the symbol A/SPC/SR.671.
Delegations may submit corrections to the summary record for
incorporation in the final version which will appear in a printed
AGENDA ITEM 36
UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES IN THE NEAR EAST (A/7577, A/7614, A/7665; A/SPC/133 and 134; A/SPC/L.175) (
(a) REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER-GENERAL;
(b) REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL.
: In accordance with the decision taken a week ago, on 17 November, to accede to the request of fourteen representatives that a hearing be granted to the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, without such authorization implying recognition of the organization in question, I call on the first speaker on my list, Mr. Saadat Hasan, the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
(Palestine Liberation Organization): Today, more than ever, the question of Palestine is emerging in its proper perspective. It is not a question of refugees to be fed or sheltered. It is a question of a people struggling for the attainment of its human and political rights, and the liberation of its homeland.
For the past twenty-one years the United Nations has adopted one resolution after another which have only gathered dust on the shelves of the United Nations. That is why our people have resolved to opt for the only alternative left to us -- to live and fight as we do.
Let me state emphatically at the outset that the Palestine Liberation Organization, which represents the Arab people in their struggle, in participating in this debate does not seek the adoption of new stillborn resolutions or the reaffirmation of previous ones. Neither should our participation be construed as a recognition of the competence of the United Nations at this stage of its existence to play an effective role in questions of peace and freedom, of justice and equity. The failure of the United Nations to become truly the hope of mankind was established when it succumbed to politically motivated pressures and recommended the partitioning of our country on 29 November 1947. It was then that the United Nations became a tool and an accomplice of the big-Power vested interests and forfeited its prestige on the altar of appeasement and political expediency.
We are participating in this debate to bring to your attention, and through you to the peoples of the world, the position of the Palestinian people -- the primary party to this question. It is to reaffirm that our people will, through their sacrifice and struggle, rectify the mistakes of the United Nations and remedy the blunders of those who have succeeded in making this Organization a partner to serve their colonial interests in our area and to perpetuate their imperialist intrigues and designs against our people. In doing so, we shall be implementing the Charter in its purest and most unadulterated form and giving it the noblest interpretation. In doing so we shall be exercising our right to self-defence, a right that has too often been denied and violated. This position of ours should be no means be interpreted as a lack of appreciation for the work, dedication and devotion of Mr. Lawrence Michelmore and his staff.
Our people, peaceful and friendly, industrious, tolerant and hospitable, have been victimized by an aggressive, arrogant, well-financed and supported, racialist and chauvinistic movement that culminated in the setting up of a settler State in our midst. The success of this movement was at the expense of displacing, uprooting and dispersing more than half of our people and subjecting the rest to the most barbaric military occupation. Every single inch of our homeland has been occupied. A genocide against our people has been attempted. At the same time, the Israel-Zionist machinery has been actively engaged in deceiving world public opinion that the Arabs are thinking, or talking, of destroying Jews. The absurdity reaches its height when top Israel leaders assert that the Palestinian Arabs do not exist. What a tragedy. Israel, more than anyone else, knows very well that the Palestinian Arabs are very much alive. Hence, its repeated complaints and threats because of the activities of the Palestinian freedom fighters.
The Palestinian Arab people have been facing a grave and obstinate challenge ever since the waves of Zionist settlers invaded our shores at the dawn of this century. We sacrificed thousands of our men and women to prevent the realization of the Zionist-colonial dream. Regrettably, however, as in the case of other parts of Africa and Asia, the indigenous population was not on a par with the European invaders. Gradually the invaders' dream was fulfilled and their myth was transformed into reality. At the same time, they have been trying to transform our reality into a complete myth, but they will not succeed. We have lost the battle but not the war. Those who thought that blitzkriegs determined the future of Palestine once and for all realize now the absurdity of their thoughts. True, our land has been usurped, but we shall regain it. Our people have been dispersed, but they shall return. The return of the land to its people and the people to the land will be achieved through struggle and sacrifice, through sweat and toil, through faith and determination to change, to improve and to reach up for the noblest goals.
At a time when colonialism is withdrawing under the impact of national movements and revolutions, we face the most vicious and barbaric form of them all. We are confronting a military, human and economic base for colonialism and imperialism. We are not confronting a normal régime in its homeland, but a racist settler State that disrupts the normal behaviour of peoples and States.
Ever since its establishment, Israel has served in the role of the policeman in our area. Whenever there was the slightest nationalist progressive rumbling, Israel was ready to be unleashed. Moreover, Israel has been a willing accomplice to carry on the work of United States penetration, neo-colonialism and counter-revolution, not only in the Middle East, but in other parts of the world as well. With United States and West German backing
Israel intends, through programmes of so-called assistance, not only to strengthen its own long-range political and economic designs, but primarily to further the imperialistic objectives of tying post-independence countries to the West, and thus undermining revolutionary movements which threaten western hegemony. There is no doubt, according to scholarly reports based on United States Government experts -- though these reports are seldom seen on the best-seller lists -- that the United States has helped shape the style and substance of these programmes, that the United States and West Germany have helped finance them through the semi-overt technique of "third country", and that these programmes have been concentrated in sensitive and strategically important areas.
The true nature of Israel, its role and policies, its objectives and designs are slowly being unfolded. More and more, the world is becoming aware of its true colours as the façade hiding its colonial reality is stripped off and put aside. This is partly due to the partisan and direct role which Israel has been playing in serving imperialism and neo-colonial reaction. But the primary factor in unfolding the true nature of Israel is the revolution of the Arab people of Palestine.
The Palestine revolution of today is an extension of the heroic resistance of our people to the Zionist invasion of our country. It is a phase, and not an isolated epic. Its roots are firmly based in the repeated endeavours of our people to thwart that invasion and to prevent the culmination of its goals. Our revolution of today is the result of twenty-one years of indifference and apathy on the part of the world conscience and political expediency and ineptitude on the part of the United Nations. The plight of the Palestinian people, its social and economic conditions, the deprivation of its human rights -- individual and national -- and the denial of its political aspirations are factors that make it imperative for us to struggle in order to change these conditions. No other alternative is left open except armed struggle. Bearing arms is the noblest expression that a citizen can make to defend his country and his rights. We are not ashamed of it. All strata of our people are willing and ready. The only thing they have to lose is their shattered tents, which certain countries, under the disguise of humanitarianism, or as part of international obligations, have given the refugees while at the same time they have extended to our enemy the Phantoms and Skyhawks to kill the refugee and to destroy his hopes and aspirations. Handouts and charity are not the alternatives to freedom and dignity. Our hope is to earn our livelihood with our own toil and hard labour on our lands, and to regain our usurped right as a normal people in its own ancestral homeland. We have no more time to waste. The last twenty-one years have taught us that the shortest road -- if not the only road -- to freedom is to fight for it. In our struggle we will not be waging a war to prevent the maturation of national consciousness and independence of other countries thousands of miles away from our homeland, as some Powers have been doing in Viet-Nam. Those very same Powers who are trying to deny our people this basic right to self-determination and self-defence were active supporters, and rightly so, when Europeans were fighting the nazi and fascist occupation. The enemy we are facing is akin to those evils, and its occupation is no less barbaric.
No situation commands so much justification for waging a revolution as in our case. Our people know that the path we have chosen is the only way to terminate the most odious phenomenon called Zionism, and to put and end to the most aggressive and racialist State called Israel. Our goal is defensive. Unable to prevent the invader from coming in, we have to make his presence untenable.
Our people fight, not because outsiders tell them to do so; they join not because we have a lubricated administrative machinery that attracts them or forces them into it. They fight because of the most powerful idea: love of country and hatred of the foreign invader and occupier. Individual conviction and freedom of choice are what make men and women, young and old, take part in the most punishing kind of combat. They bear extraordinary
physical and mental burdens, which they gladly accept. The most sophisticated methods of indoctrination remain ineffective in the absence of real causes and justifications, real problems and fears, real drives and hopes. Patriotism, self-interest, popular discontent and socio-economic conditions make the Palestinians ready and willing to join with the revolution. Our movement is of patriots defending their dignity, homeland and right to survive as a people.
"War revitalizes society" is an old expression. Our situation today illustrates this phenomenon adequately. The passivity of the refugee, his dependence on others, and his timidity vanish as he is caught up in our struggle. For revolution is a political process in itself. It revitalizes the masses. It creates new emotions and commitments. It revolutionizes the entire community. All aspects of the Palestinian national life are caught up in it, and each affects the other. It is a chain reaction.
The Palestinian freedom fighter has emerged as a hero of the masses. This is because he is completely identified with his compatriots -- the refugee in his camp, the farmer in his village, the labourer in his plant, or the intellectual wherever he may be. Our masses are politically-minded; hence their backing and support. Their goodwill and interests are uppermost in our thinking, and they know it. Israel has been using every possible technique to drive a wedge between our people and the freedom fighters, but in vain. Madison Avenue techniques and campaigns of deceit and distortion have been employed, but our people, with whom we are completely integrated, are fully aware of the truth. Even the Israelis themselves have been witnessing the credibility gap between the communiqués of the Tel-Aviv military spokesmen and the obituaries in Davar and Haaretz. What a clear indication of the hysteria that dominates the Israelis in their perpetual frustration in combating our movement.
Indiscriminate ruthlessness, collective punishment, police and troop brutality, springing a trap on an entire village to search for one suspected freedom fighter, those and all other barbaric and criminal endeavours to wean the population from their revolution have failed, and will continue to fail. Our people know that this is the price of freedom. They did not anticipate any better treatment from a régime that is not acquainted with human values, and does not recognize any moral concepts. Is it not ironic that the ones who have been protesting that they were the victims of nazism are today imitating its methods of torture and mass punishment, and bringing them up to date. Since its creation, Israel has been engaged in a process of de-Arabization to facilitate the establishment of a purely Jewish State, based on the concept of the purity of the race. What a similarity between the European Prussia and the Prussia planted in our midst.
Israel, through its repeated acts of aggression against the Palestinian people, has been consistently trying to create new
situations which, in turn, will become a new target for Israel's expansionism. This expansionist philosophy is not a figment of our imagination, but a reality that has been affirmed by Israel's repeated aggressions in the past. It is still anything but content with what it occupies now.
The Palestine revolution is not an isolated experience in the modern history of man. There have been similar revolutions in other parts of the world. Ours is an integral part of these global movements of liberation. We are all engaged in a struggle against the same forces of evil, of suppression and oppression, against foreign domination and occupation, against exploitation and against the forces of colonialism and imperialism. These global movements interact with each other. They benefit from the experiences of others and contribute to the revolutionary heritage of man in his struggle for the creation of a just and orderly society.
The Palestinian revolution is humanitarian in its goals. It seeks the establishment of a just and democratic society that guarantees to all its citizens, irrespective of their faith, the same rights and responsibilities and the same duties. It seeks the establishment of a society free from racism and bigotry, free from repugnant concepts of supremacy and racial purity, free from economic exploitation and social ills. It seeks the establishment of a State and not a beachhead for perpetual waves of invasion by followers of one faith or another. It seeks the establishment of a democratic secular State -- a pluralistic State -- for all its people.
While the Palestinian revolution is seeking the creation of such a State and such a society, the Zionist Israel administrative machine, their economic organization and military establishment, are, on the other hand, committed to the creation and maintenance of an exclusionist society where only Jews are accepted. Consistent with this racialist philosophy, they have been insisting on a purely Jewish State. From Weizman to Ben Gurion, from Eshkol to Dayan, this racist philosophy has been the basis for the Zionist empire. Even in their emphasis on the Jewishness of the State, only European Jews are treated as first class citizens. Oriental Jews are given the status of second-class citizens and allotted menial jobs. They are called in Hebrew
, which means blacks.
It is this contrast in attitude and thinking, in policies and goals, that needs to be emphasized and stressed. Such a contrast is what convinced our people that they have no choice but to live and fight as they do. We shall not submit to what can only be viewed as politicide. That is why we seek the support and assistance of all peoples and Governments that believe in the dignity of man and the right of all peoples to determine their fate and destiny in accordance with the universal principle of self-determination and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Based on this principle, we also believe in the right of every Israeli, if he chooses, to return to his place of birth and national origin, and that the cumbersome financial and red-tape restrictions and limitations imposed upon his inalienable right to repatriation should be lifted and eliminated. We believe that it is the responsibility of all countries concerned to facilitate his return. Those Israelis who
choose to stay will be equal partners and citizens in a free Palestine. Jews today are living as citizens in Germany, including 40,000 Israelis. Why should it be impossible for the Jew to live as a citizen in a Palestinian State?
Desirous of achieving a permanent, just and lasting peace in our area, the Palestinian people appeal to the United Nations to assert its Charter and to live up to its principles.
That can be done only if the United Nations can dig into the roots of tension and turmoil and eliminate them. If a sober analysis and evaluation were to be done in harmony with the basic principles of the Charter and the rights of the people of Palestine, we are confident that the United Nations would reach the same conclusion, namely, that Israel, the racist settler State in our area, is the cause of insecurity and tension. Instead of the continuous process of patching up what is worn or rejected, instead of continuing to adopt outdated and useless resolutions, we call upon the United Nations to make an honest effort and an unbiased appraisal of the problem for the purpose of undoing the injustice done to the Palestinian people, who have been suffering these last twenty-one years. Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which some out of frustration may consider a suitable basis for the solution of the problem, is nothing more than a scratch on an old record and has been categorically rejected by the primary party concerned -- the Arab people of Palestine.
The Palestinian revolution, which sprang from the realities of the Palestinian people and from their daily confrontation with such a régime, depends upon its people and their sacrifice, on its martyrs and on its heroes. Therefore, it alone is entitled to speak on their behalf. We have no guardians or protectors, Arab or non-Arab, big or small Powers. No single Power or consort of Powers can enter into any agreement or package deal on our behalf, nor can they determine the destiny of Palestine without the consent of its indigenous population.
The Palestinian people, who have resorted to armed struggle in defence of their basic rights, their existence and nationhood, will not give up until the humanitarian goals of its revolution have been attained. I may hasten to predict that, if the present situation continues to drag on, the time will come when every Arab, wherever he may be, will end up as a freedom fighter and a soldier for these goals.
Only through the establishment of the Palestinian State in all the territorial lands of Palestine for all the people of Palestine can there be a just and lasting peace. Only when all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people have been restored can peace and tranquility come to our area.