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        General Assembly
3 January 1989


Forty-third session



Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,

on Wednesday, 14 December 1988, at 3 p.m.

President:Mr. Cabral (Vice-President)
later:Mr. DLAMINI (Vice-President)
later:Mr. ESSY (Vice-President)
(Côte d'Ivoire)
later:Mr. CAtUTO (President)

Mr. WALTERS (United States of America): The search for peace in the Middle East has been a constant feature of United States policy. American efforts have helped bring about the disengagement of forces, agreements between Israel and Egypt, and between Israel and Syria. American efforts helped bring about the Camp David Accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. The United States remains an active, committed partner in the search for a comprehensive settlement achieved through negotiations.

In helping willing parties negotiate their differences, the United States has always kept in mind a simple, but abiding reality - namely, that no outside party can want peace more than the parties themselves want and need peace. As such, the United States has always opposed efforts to impose solutions from outside, concentrating instead on eliciting movement from the parties on the critical issues involved in the negotiations. It is for these reasons that the United States will, vote against the draft resolutions submitted during this debate.

In seeking to advance the prospects for negotiations leading to a comprehensive settlement, this year the United States advanced a set of proposals that represent the core requirements of a successful process of accommodation.

The objective is a comprehensive settlement of tee Arab-Israeli conflict through negotiations. There is no substitute for direct negotiations between the' parties concerned. The parties to negotiations must accept to negotiate with each other. An international conference may be useful, in so far as it helps launch and support direct negotiations; but a conference must not pre-empt or substitute for the direct negotiations.

The United Nations Security Council established the basis of the negotiating process in its resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). Each party may have other positions and preferences that it wishes to bring to the negotiations, consistent with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), but none can limit or avoid accepting Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) as the basil for negotiations.

Negotiations must proceed in an atmosphere free of terrorism, violence and intimidation.

These are valuable and enduring principles that need to be at the core of efforts to resolve the dispute. Additionally, there should be a period of transition between the status quo and a final settlement. The transitional period will help build confidence among the parties that negotiations work. It will give the parties time to adjust to a new situation, and it will allow the parties to deal with each other differently, gradually, in the light of an agreement freely negotiated.

Movement towards peace starts with movement by the parties. Each side needs to adopt constructive policies aimed at realistic and pragmatic progress towards peace.

For Israel, the choice is clear, albeit difficult. In order to achieve the security it deserves and requires, Israel must face up to the need for withdrawal from occupied territories and to the need to accommodate legitimate Palestinian political rights. The extent, shape and form of these issues need to be hammered out through negotiations) but they must be addressed squarely.*


* The President returned to the Chair.

For Palestinians, the choice is equally clear, and equally difficult. In order to achieve the legitimate political rights they deserve and require, Palestinian demands will have to accommodate the reality of Israel's existence and security needs, and they will have to commit themselves to negotiations with Israel.

For the other Arabs, the choices are equally important. Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have a conflict with Israel to resolve through negotiations. Their conflict will not be solved otherwise. Other Arab States can help by sending signals of acceptance and reconciliation to Israel. They must talk to Israel. The absence of dialogue means continued stalemate.

For outside parties, support and encouragement are the necessary elements. The role for outside parties in peace making is not a right; it must be earned. It is time for the Soviet Union to restore full diplomatic relations with Israel. It is time for the People's Republic of China to recognize Israel. The parties need support to bring them together, and the international community can provide that support.

These fundamental elements of a successful peace process can be encouraged through accommodations and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. This is not an easy task to accomplish. It is very difficult for the parties to overcome prejudices and blind spots about each other) it is sometimes equally difficult for the international community to lay aside political preferences and expediencies and to accept a realistic course towards a comprehensive settlement. But the international community must speak with a realistic, pragmatic voice.

We must tell tile parties that their dispute is resolvable. We must tell then that we are tired of this conflict and tired of their unwillingness to make fair compromises. We must tell them the time has come too agree that a negotiated settlement is required.

So let us channel the energy that has gone into this debate in a positive and realistic direction. Unbalanced resolutions are not the answer. One-sided statements are not the answer.

The answer is commitment to comprehensive peace. The answer is negotiations based an Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The answer is renunciation of violence and terrorism. My Government stands ready as always to assist in moving ahead in the search for peace.


The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Spanish): In accordance with General Assembly resolution 3369 (XXX), of 10 October 1975, I now call on the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Mr. PIRZADA (Organization of the Islamic Conference): It is a special privilege to address the General Assembly, which is meeting in Geneva to consider the question of Palestine at a time when a unique opportunity for peace in the Middle East has been afforded by the recent decisions of the Palestinian leadership. If this opportunity is seized, the momentous developments of the past few weeks could well mark a turning-point in the efforts to resolve this problem, which continues to pose a serious threat to the peace and security not only of the region, but of the whole world.

After the adoption of the important Declaration by the Palestine National Council in Algiers recently, the international community was eagerly awaiting ' chairman Yasser Arafat's address to the General Assembly. We were disappointed and saddened at the refusal of a visa to Mr. Arafat by the United States. This decision was in contravention of United States obligations under the Agreement it signed as the country hosting the United Nations Headquarters, we cannot but deplore the failure of the host country to honour its legal obligations and its flagrant disregard of the wishes of the international community, expressed in resolution 43/48 of 30 November 1988. The General Assembly was thus obliged to take the extraordinary step of considering the question of Palestine in Geneva.

We are grateful to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Government of Switzerland, who responded in a remarkable manner to the call of the international community by organizing these special meetings at the United Nations Office in Geneva. We appreciate the arrangements made for the success of the General Assembly's deliberations on this important question.

The United Nations has a special responsibility towards the people of Palestine. The eviction of the Palestinians from their homes and from their soil, their immense sufferings and travails, all originated from the decisions taken by the General Assembly some 40 years ago. It is also pertinent to recall that General Assembly resolution 181 (II), of 29 November 1947, which is one of the earliest on this issue, envisaged the establishment of a Palestinian State.

Yet for decades the international community ignored the identity of the Palestinian people, treating their national tragedy as a question of refugees. Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, its incessant persecution of the Palestinian people, and its gross and flagrant denial of their inalienable rights did not evoke an international response commensurate with the gravity of the crimes perpetrated by the Zionist entity against the Palestinian people.

Twenty years after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip a new generation of Palestinians, who had seen nothing but the overweening pride of | Israeli occupying forces and Zionist colonial settlers, had come of age. No amount of terror and intimidation could suppress the flame of liberty and freedom which their youthful spirits yearned for. Thus on 8 December 1987 Palestinian youth cast the first stone against the armed might of the Israeli occupying forces. It heralded the glorious intifadah, which has at last jolted the conscience of the international community. The visual images of Palestinian youth defending their dignity and honour barehanded against the bullets and armoured vehicles of the occupying forces have been flashed around the world on television screens and have evoked deep sentiments of sympathy from all people who value freedom, liberty and humanity. The intifadah symbolizes the assertion of the Palestinian national identity.

We salute the undaunted spirit of these brave people for freedom and liberty. We admire their courage and determination and pay tribute to their heroic spirit of sacrifice.

The Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988, in Algiers, took the historic decision to proclaim the independence of a Palestinian State. The Declaration and resolutions adopted by it constitute a landmark in the search for a peaceful solution to the Middle East problem, and, indeed, are an eloquent tribute to the sagacity, political acumen and statesmanship of the Palestinian leadership.

We listened with close attention to the illuminating statement made by Chairman Yasser Arafat on the important political and diplomatic initiatives taken by the PLO to reach a just and equitable settlement of the Palestine question. On behalf of the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, I congratulate Chairman Yasser Arafat on his eloquent address, and again assure him of the steadfast support of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for the just struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination and the establishment of a Palestinian State.

The decisions taken by the Palestinian leadership in Algiers have dispelled any doubts about the PLO's objectives; served to crystallize the political situation; and translated into declared policy the PLO's desire to establish peace on a just and equitable basis, and, most important, to fashion for the Palestinian people a glorious destiny based on the full restitution of their inalienable national rights.

The PLO's approach, as is evident from the Algiers communiqué, is realistic and pragmatic. The categorical affirmation of the PLO's acceptance of all United Nations resolutions pertaining to the Palestine issue, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), together with a firm and unequivocal demand for the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent State of their own in their -homeland, meets fully the demands of those who were prevaricating and not taking an honourable position on the Palestine issue.

The PLO has also reaffirmed in categorical terms its ardent desire to reach a comprehensive political settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core issue of which is the Palestine question. The Palestinian leadership has called for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices, with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and all parties directly concerned, including the PLO, the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, on an equal footing. The conference should guarantee to the Palestinian people their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, as well as Israel's withdrawal from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Al-Quds al-Sharif.

The PLO has clarified its position on all important aspects of the Middle East problem, which should evoke a positive response from all concerned. It has in no uncertain terms pronounced itself for peace - a just and durable peace for all the States and peoples in the region. It is now for the other parties concerned to reciprocate in good faith the PLO's noble gesture.

The international community has hailed the Declaration of Independence, and a large number of States have already recognized the Palestinian State. It is encouraging to note that more and more States are now convinced of the legitimacy of the PLO's struggle for peace and justice.

The official reaction of the European Economic Community countries to the Algiers Declaration has been encouraging. The overwhelming solidarity and support for the PLO exhibited by public opinion in those countries is also a matter of satisfaction. Even Israeli public opinion is becoming acutely aware of the hazards of pursuing a bigoted, unprincipled and immoral policy of the ruling Zionist clique.

The cause of the Palestinian people and the liberation of Al-Quds al-Sharif are the foremost objectives of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The Islamic Ummah is steadfastly committed to the realization of these goals. The Seventeenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, held in Amman this year, hailed with pride the heroic uprising of the Palestinian Arab people against the heinous Israeli occupation forces in defence of their homeland and their i inalienable national rights. It reaffirmed the unflinching stand of the Islamic States to support the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle until the total withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied Palestinian territories.

The Conference also reaffirmed its rejection of any partial and individual solutions which would disregard the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people or ignore the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Conference condemned Israel's expansionist policy and the continued occupation of Arab lands, and denounced its coercive measures in violation of human rights.

We call upon the parties directly concerned to seize the opportunity offered by the PLO to promote a just and durable peace in the Middle East. We invoke the blessings of Almighty Allah to crown the steadfast resolve of the Palestinian people, expressed in their recent Declaration, with the early establishment of an independent Palestinian State.

I appeal to the international community to extend its fullest support to the Palestinian people in their just struggle for peace and freedom. The full weight of the international community must be brought to bear on the Zionist regime to end its intransigence and illegal conduct.

Special responsibility devolves on those States which are in a position to influence Israel to restore peace in the region. The ardent commitment of those States to the protection and promotion of human rights for all peoples must be applied in full vigour to upholding and ensuring those rights for the Palestinian people.

I wish to take this opportunity to reaffirm the steadfast support of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon. Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon must be vacated. We are confident that the people of Lebanon will succeed in their efforts to promote national unity and build a harmonious society in which the rights of all citizens are equally safeguarded.

The positive trends which have transformed the East-West political climate during the past few months have augured well for the resolution of regional conflicts in various parts of the world and for the relaxation of international tensions. We hope that these trends will also have a salutary effect on the efforts to evolve a comprehensive, just and negotiated settlement of the Middle East problem.

These special meetings of the General Assembly on Palestine, held in Geneva, constitute another milestone in our collective efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and durable peace in the Middle East. The relentless struggle of the Palestinian people and their yearning for freedom and liberty have manifested themselves clearly in the Declaration of Independence establishing a Palestinian State and in their strategy for peace. The international community must whole-heartedly endorse them and act effectively before it is too late.

The meeting rose at 11.10 p.m.


This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the General Assembly.

Corrections .should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief, Official Records B3iting Section, Department of Conference Services, Room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.

88-64619/A 1123V (E)

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