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Source: Department of Public Information
31 December 1977
YEARBOOK
OF THE
UNITED
NATIONS
1977



Office of Public Information
United Nations, New York






The search for a peaceful settlement


The situation in the Middle East: Peace Conference on the Middle East


Communications and reports
(January-March 1977)

On 7 January 1977, the Secretary-General brought to the attention of the Security Council the texts of two resolutions which had been adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1976. By one of these resolutions (31/61), 1/ the Assembly requested the Security Council to take effective measures, within an appropriate timetable, for the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the Council and the Assembly on the Middle East and Palestine. By the second resolution (31/62), 2/ the Assembly asked the Security Council to meet to consider the situation in the area in the light of a report which the Secretary-General was asked to submit to the Council not later than 1 March 1977 in connexion with the convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East.

In response to the Assembly's request, the Secretary-General on 28 February submitted a report to the Security Council on the consultations he had held with the parties concerned regarding the possibility of an early convening of the Geneva Peace Conference.

He said that in the latter part of December 1976 and in January 1977 he had held initial consultations with the representatives of the parties and of the two Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East (the USSR and the United States). Between 31 January and 12 February he had visited Egypt, the Syrian Arab Republic, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, and had met with the leaders of those countries. He had also met in Damascus with Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The main object of his mission, he said, was to get clarification of the views of the parties concerned as to the best course to follow in resuming the negotiating process, and to consult with them as to the best means of overcoming the various obstacles in the way of that objective. His consultations had also provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on the wider aspects of the Middle East problem itself. He said that all the parties had expressed a desire for an early resumption of the negotiating process through the convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East. The problem was to find agreement on the conditions under which the Conference could be convened.

The Secretary-General went on to state that the most immediate difficulty was the question of participation. The position of the Arab States was that PLO should be invited to participate in any future meetings of the Peace Conference on the Middle East. The position of the Israeli Government was that the Conference should be reconvened on the original basis, with the participation the same as at the meeting of the Geneva Conference which took place in December 1973. The Arab Governments maintained that PLO was the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians. Israel, on the other hand, was not prepared to recognize PLO as the representative of the Palestinians but was prepared to negotiate with Jordan concerning the Palestinian question. Israel would not object to the inclusion of Palestinian representatives in the delegation of Jordan. The position of PLO was that it had to be invited to participate in the Peace Conference from the outset on an equal footing with all the other parties as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

In discussing possible ways of overcoming the difficulty, the Secretary-General said he had found that the difference between the parties was too fundamental to be bridged by procedural devices, such as the possibility of a unified Arab delegation.

Commenting further on the attitude of the parties towards the Peace Conference, he said that Israel regarded it as a continuous process, within whose framework negotiations could take place in different forms and, if necessary, in different places, according to the aspect of the problem involved. Israel preferred a comprehensive solution of the Middle East problem; if, however, in the current circumstances, that could not be achieved, it was prepared to work out limited arrangements within the framework of the Geneva Peace Conference.

For its part, the Secretary-General said, the Arab side emphasized that its interest was to work out a comprehensive settlement, within the Geneva framework and under United Nations auspices, involving, in the first place, the solution of the Palestinian question and the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories.

He went on to say that, obviously, the attitude of PLO towards Israel as reflected in the Palestine National Charter (formerly called the Covenant), the attitude of Israel towards PLO, and the nature and context of the Palestinian entity in a future settlement were among the key issues where adjustments of attitude would have an important bearing on the prospects of success of the Peace Conference. Without such basic changes in attitude, the Secretary-General said, it would be difficult to make progress in resolving the substantive aspects of the Middle East problem.

There was no doubt, he continued, that all concerned were earnestly desirous of moving towards a negotiated settlement. In order to achieve that, however, a determined effort was needed to overcome the lack of confidence and the mutual distrust and fears of all the parties as to the consequences of making compromises and concessions. In the existing situation, he said, lack of communication and understanding presented a major obstacle in the way of efforts to establish a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The main elements of the Middle East problem remained intractable and extremely difficult to deal with, the Secretary-General observed, but he believed that there was an interesting consciousness in the area that an opportunity existed to resume negotiations in a meaningful way and that, if that opportunity were not seized, there were grave dangers that the situation would deteriorate once again, with incalculable consequences not only for the Middle East but for the international community as a whole.

By a letter dated 23 March to the President of the Security Council, the representative of Egypt requested that a meeting of the Council be held to discuss the situation in the Middle East, in the light of the Secretary-General's report.


Consideration by Security
Council (25-29 March 1977)

The Security Council held three meetings - on 25, 28 and 29 March 1977 - to consider the Secretary-General's report. The representatives of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen were invited, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote.

The President informed the Council that the representative of Egypt had requested the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the discussions in accordance with previous Council decisions in that respect. He understood that the proposal had not been put forward under rule 37 3/ or rule 39 4/ of the Council's provisional rules of procedure, but that, if approved, the invitation would confer on PLO the same rights as were conferred when a Member State was invited to participate under rule 37.

Speaking in his capacity as the representative of the United States, the Council President said his Government could not agree to the proposal and considered that the terms on which past invitations had been extended to PLO were inappropriate. He asked that the proposed invitation be put to a vote. It was adopted by a vote of 10 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 4 abstentions (Canada, France, Federal Republic of Germany, United Kingdom).

In presenting his report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General reiterated his observation that, in order to overcome the remaining problems facing a resumption of the Geneva Peace Conference, certain changes of attitude on all sides were desirable. He remained hopeful that the diplomatic efforts currently under way might contribute to such changes and he noted that recent statements by the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Peace Conference at the highest level contained elements that might further the negotiating process. He once again emphasized the necessity of taking advantage of the prevailing favourable climate for taking definitive steps towards a settlement.

The representative of Egypt also stressed that the time was propitious for initiating real progress in the right direction towards a genuine peace and stability in the area and not mere movement. The role of both Co-Chairmen, the United States and the USSR, should lead towards that goal, he said, and he expressed the hope that the current opportunity would not be missed as others before it had been.

The presence of the representative of PLO in the Council, he said, was another manifestation of the preoccupation of the Council with the important and overriding fact that the participation of the representatives of the Palestinian people was essential in any debate concerning the situation in the Middle East; the Council had been wisely consistent in that policy during the past 15 months in inviting the PLO representatives to participate.

The representative of Egypt went on to recall that, in its historic resolution 31/62 of 9 December 1976, the General Assembly had affirmed its determination to strive for peace in the Middle East by calling for the early convening of the Peace Conference under the auspices of the United Nations and the co-chairmanship of the USSR and the United States. That resolution was historic because 122 Member countries had supported it. Israel, he noted, chose to oppose it in order to demonstrate two things: first, its usual defiance of the United Nations and the will of the vast majority of the Members, and, second, its defiance of the peace process in the Middle East itself. Israel had intensified its repressive policies in the occupied territories, leading to the conclusion that it had no desire to reach a peaceful settlement, that it was interested only in expansion and the annexation of Arab land.

Faced with that situation, the Security Council should, in the view of Egypt, act to promote the process toward the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the area, as envisaged in Assembly resolution 31/62. That peace should he said, include primarily the Palestinian people. The Council should also show clearly to Israel that it could no longer condone Israel's disregard for its resolutions and decisions. Finally, the Council should call for the prompt convening of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East with the participation of all the parties. Should the Council fail in that endeavour, a great threat would confront the whole world and not only the Middle East.

The representative of Jordan said that, while the quest for peace was stalemated within the framework of the Security Council and the United Nations as a whole, Israel had been busy devouring the occupied Arab territories and inflicting upon them a territorial, cultural and national genocide. In a year or two, he said, quite apart from the awesome suffering of the people under occupation, there would be very little left to talk about.

Pending the achievement of a just and viable peace in the area, he continued, the Government of Jordan urged the Security Council not to abandon the occupied territories and their people as free-for-all grazing ground. It proposed that the Council set up a three-man monitoring team from among those of its members acceptable to Israel, to be installed at Government House in Jerusalem to oversee the strict observance in the occupied territories of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949. The team would report monthly to the Security Council on any and all violations of the integrity and inviolability of the territories and people.

The representative of Israel said his Government rejected out of hand the proposal by Jordan for a monitoring team as another excuse to bypass the main problem, namely, sitting down face to face and negotiating for peace. Israel, he said, also rejected out of hand General Assembly resolution 31/62 and would not be a party to any moves arising out of that resolution, whose purpose was to change the ground rules of the Geneva Peace Conference and substitute a dictated settlement for direct negotiations between the parties. In Israel's view, the only resolution on which moves towards peace could be based was Security Council resolution 338 (1973), 5/ which was adopted unanimously and was then accepted by both sides to the conflict.

The Israeli representative went on to say that Israel was prepared for a reconvening of the Geneva Peace Conference at any time without any pre-conditions whatsoever, especially with regard to the question of participation. In that connexion, he said that Israel, while recognizing the importance of the Palestinian Arab issue and while willing to accept the participation of Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank in the Jordanian delegation, could not countenance sitting at a table with representatives of PLO, an organization which had only recently reaffirmed that its purpose was the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel, he declared, was not prepared to negotiate with those who called for its destruction, it had no intention of committing national suicide.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic said that Israel, while claiming readiness to attend the Geneva Conference immediately, at the same time imposed several impossible conditions which it hoped, and indeed knew, the Arabs would not and could not accept. The truth was, he said. that Israel was not interested in peace and did not even want the Geneva Conference to reconvene. It did not want peace because peace meant that it would have to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories. It was playing for time to consolidate its grip on Arab land, establish more settlements and present the world with more faits accomplis.

The representative of PLO, who also doubted Israel's desire for peace, noted that Israel was using the question of participation as an excuse. But, he said, PLO, as the representative of the Palestinian people, was entitled to participate in any forum dealing with the future of the Palestinians. That was not only the position of the Arab States but the will of the international community and the General Assembly. He added that PLO continued to reject Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 6/ which completely ignored the national rights of the Palestinian people; PLO considered that a settlement of the Palestinian problem could be achieved only with the recognition of those rights, as defined by the Assembly in its resolution 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974. 7/ The Palestine National Council at a recent meeting had, he said, among other things declared that any settlement or agreement affecting the rights of the Palestinian people and reached in its absence was null and void.

A number of speakers during the Council's discussion shared that view, among them the representative of the USSR, who said it was obvious that no decision of the Geneva Peace Conference affecting the destiny of the Palestinians could be adopted without them - let alone against them. His Government therefore supported, as it had always done, equal participation in the Conference by the Palestinian people as represented by PLO. He went on to say that a resumption of the Geneva Conference at an early date was required in moving towards a just and genuine peace because that was the international machinery created for that purpose. Being one of the Co-Chairmen, the USSR would, he said, continue its efforts to convene the Conference and help it carry out its work in a constructive manner.

The representative of Pakistan said that the refusal of Israel to sit with PLO representatives in the peace negotiations was unreasonable, and justified the mistrust and suspicion felt by the Arabs about the eventual outcome of the peace negotiations. Israel's attitude towards the Palestinian people had to change if a lasting peace in the Middle East was to be achieved.

The representative of India regretted that some parties were disposed to link the question of PLO participation with the future of a Palestinian entity, thus unrealistically using an ideal objective as a pre-condition for commencement of negotiations. The Council should try to maintain the momentum towards negotiations by adopting a consensus statement containing certain basic elements, such as recognition of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people. If a consensus was not possible, India was of the opinion that the Council should adjourn until a more auspicious time.

The representative of Canada stated that any viable peace settlement had to have as its fundamental basis Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in all its elements, including the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the possibility for all the States in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized borders. Clearly, he said, such a peace settlement, to be viable, would also have to take due account of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians. The surest route to the restoration of peace to the area was negotiations between the parties concerned as called for by resolution 338 (1973). The Council should refrain from prejudging difficult issues which could be resolved only by negotiations and instead concentrate on proclaiming the necessity or all parties concerned to meet at the Geneva Conference table.

The spokesman for France was gratified to note that all parties recognized that momentum towards negotiations should continue without interruption. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany supported an early resumption of the Geneva Conference, and urged that the Secretary-General continue his mission of good offices with all parties concerned to enable them to bridge the remaining gaps. His Government remained ready, individually and as part of the European Community, to contribute actively to the achievement of that goal.

The representative of the United Kingdom said the Council should not try to provide its own solution to the problems set out in the Secretary-General's report but should express its conviction that the negotiations should be resumed as soon as possible and should press upon the parties the need for moderation and for a willingness to compromise in overcoming the remaining obstacles.

In the view of the representative of Yemen, the Council should act in accordance with the United Nations Charter and force Israel to withdraw from all the occupied Arab territories and to recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the rights to self-determination, sovereignty and independence. It was imperative, he said, that the Geneva Conference be resumed, with PLO participation.

The spokesman for the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya said the Palestine question was the core of the Middle East problem and could only be resolved when the Palestinians returned to their homeland and exercised their right to self-determination. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) could in no way be the basis for a solution, he said, as they had been bypassed by events and developments in the attitude of the United Nations and international public opinion. Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1974 and 1975 reflected the proper approach to the question, he said.

The representative of the United States said his Government was continuing the intensive bilateral consultations initiated by the visit of the United States Secretary of State to the Middle East in February 1977. President Jimmy Carter was preparing a series of meetings with leaders of the Middle East nations. The United States, he said, hoped to identify common ground among the parties and to find ways of bridging the wide gaps that existed. If there was to be a return to the Geneva Conference, flexibility had to be shown by all parties on the key issues involved.

At the conclusion of the three meetings, the President of the Council stated that, after consultations with the members of the Council, it had been agreed to adjourn the discussion.


Communications and reports
(October-November 1977)

On 3 and 18 October 1977, the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly and the Security Council respectively a report on the situation in the Middle East as called for by the Assembly in resolution 31/61 of 9 December 1976. 8/

The Secretary-General said that immediately after his visit to the Middle East in February 1977, he had sent representatives to Moscow and Washington for the purpose of briefing the two Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East on his consultations with the parties concerned and his findings. Since then, he said, efforts to resume the negotiating process had continued at various levels in New York and elsewhere. He and his immediate advisers on the Middle East had been in close contact with the two Co-Chairmen.

He went on to report on a number of developments that had taken place in the Middle East and which had a bearing on the search for a peaceful settlement in the area. In July, the Government of Israel had legalized three existing settlements in the West Bank of Jordan. In the following month, it decided to apply Israeli laws in the fields of health, labour and other services to the Arab population of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Later in August, it authorized the establishment of three new settlements in the West Bank. The Arab States and PLO had strongly protested those decisions, which they considered to be deliberate acts to consolidate Israeli occupation and pave the way for annexation.

The Secretary-General also drew attention to the situation in southern Lebanon, where fighting between de facto forces had flared up recently with renewed intensity. A deterioration of the situation could have considerable implications in the wider context of the Middle East problem, he said.

He noted that, in his report to the thirty-second (1977) session of the General Assembly on the work of the Organization, he had expressed the view that, in the current critical stage in the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, it was of vital importance that all the Governments and parties concerned should refrain from any moves likely to heighten tension or to affect current efforts to rescue the negotiating process, which was entering a new, intensified phase. As he had said in his report on the work of the Organization, it was more than ever urgent and vital that the parties preserve the spirit of moderation and realism and channel that spirit into the arduous and lengthy process of negotiation. It that were not to happen, he greatly feared that a major international crisis would have to be faced in the not too distant future.

In an addendum to his report, the Secretary-General informed the Assembly On 26 October that he had received a letter from the representative of Israel calling attention to what was termed a factual error in the report regarding Israel's decision to apply certain Israeli laws to the occupied territories. The intention of the Israeli Government, the letter said, was rather to equalize the services given to residents of the occupied territories with those given to residents of Israel. The former law continued to be administered, the letter stated.

In a letter dated 11 November 1977 to the Secretary-General, the representative of Israel drew attention to a statement broadcast that day over television by the Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, to the people of Egypt, in which, among other things, he appealed for an end to wars, bloodshed and threats between the two peoples and invited them to start, instead, on the road of friendship and co-operation. He recalled that two days earlier President Anwar Sadat of Egypt had stated that he was ready to come to Jerusalem and address the Knesset, and said that the President would be welcome in Israel and that he, for his part, would be ready to go to Cairo.


Consideration by the General Assembly

The General Assembly considered the agenda item entitled "The situation in the Middle East" at meetings held between 22 and 25 November 1977.

During the Assembly's discussion, a majority of Members expressed the hope that the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East could be reconvened at an early date. A statement issued on 1 October 1977 by the two Co-Chairmen, the USSR and the United States, was viewed as a positive development as it not only stressed that the settlement of the conflict should involve all parties concerned and all questions but also laid down the main principles which should govern an eventual solution. It was pointed out that the co-operation of the Co- Chairmen was essential, and their responsibility great, in unblocking the way to a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East.

According to the representative of the USSR, the resumption of the work of the Geneva Conference - with a view to attaining a comprehensive political settlement - was becoming an increasingly pressing matter. He noted that, in the joint USSR/United States statement of 1 October, it was stressed that the two Governments believed that the only right and effective means of achieving a fundamental solution to all aspects of the Middle East problem in its entirety were negotiations within the framework of the Geneva Peace Conference specially convened for that purpose, with the participation in its work of all the parties involved in the conflict. The Co-Chairmen had affirmed their intention to facilitate in every way, through joint efforts and in their contacts with the parties concerned, the speedy resumption of the Conference.

The spokesman for the United States observed that since the Assembly had last discussed this issue the Middle East had been an arena of intense diplomatic activity aimed at a single and simple goal - the resumption of direct negotiations between the parties in order to achieve a comprehensive peace. While the setting of the goal - a Geneva Conference by the end of 1977 - was easy, achievement of that goal had proved elusive, he said. All the parties were agreed that the key substantive questions to be addressed were: the nature of peace; Israeli withdrawal, agreement on final borders, and arrangements to make those borders secure; and the Palestinian question, for which representatives of the Palestinian people as well as of the Government concerned had to be included in the negotiating process. Procedural problems remained to be resolved, but he stressed that procedural arrangements did not in themselves determine the outcome of negotiations - only the negotiations themselves produced agreements.

The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the nine member countries of the European Community, noted that since the beginning of the year a whole range of efforts had been made. Together with the action taken by the Secretary-General, a number of countries had undertaken similar efforts on a bilateral basis. The new United States Administration, in particular, had taken a series of initiatives with a view to finding grounds for mutual understanding between the parties. All those initiatives had then culminated in intensive diplomatic activity at the beginning of the current Assembly session. The members of the European Community welcome all those peace efforts he said, as well as the co-operation between the two Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference which became evident at the time of their statement of 1 October.

The representative of India, for his part, maintained that there should be a further intensification of efforts by the international community to promote the early convening of the Geneva Conference.

The Polish representative said that the world could not afford to start another decade of frightful suspense and concern over the Middle East conflict. He and many other speakers said that a peaceful solution was possible, if it were comprehensive in scope and based on three inseparable elements: first, withdrawal by Israel from all territories occupied since 1967; second, implementation of the inalienable rights of the Arab people of Palestine, which included the right to self-determination and independent statehood; third, safeguarding of the right to independent existence and security of all States in the region, including the State of Israel, and granting of effective international guarantees of their frontiers. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and other decisions of the Council and the General Assembly provided an adequate basis for precisely such a settlement in the best interests of all the parties concerned, including Israel. The best way to bring such a settlement to fruition would be the prompt resumption of the Geneva Conference.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic gave a detailed historical account of Israel's aggressive policies towards the Palestinian people and the neighbouring Arab States. He said that the time had come for the United Nations to put an end to the situation of stagnation and obstruction in the Middle East, which had been created by Israel in order to perpetuate its aggression and occupation and to prevent the Palestinian people from exercising their national and human rights. The existence of any people or any State, he said, could not be imposed at the expense of other peoples or other States. Similarly, the security of a State could not be based on regional or geographical expansionism. As to the conditions for an over-all settlement of the Middle East problem, he said that the termination of Israel's occupation of Arab lands was the first condition, and Israel had therefore to withdraw from all the territories occupied since 1967. The second fundamental condition was to allow the Arab people of Palestine to exercise their inalienable national rights and to set up an independent State on their land. Similar views were expressed by Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar and Yemen, among others.

The representative of PLO said that the settlement of the Middle East conflict could be achieved only when the relevant resolutions and the principles of the United Nations Charter were respected and implemented. A just peace could reign, he said, only when the question of Palestine was resolved, justice restored, and the Palestinian people regained their rights.

A number of speakers commended President Anwar Sadat of Egypt for his recent initiative in going to Jerusalem and addressing the Israeli Knesset. The representative of Nepal called the visit courageous and said that what was needed in the Middle East was the building of bridges that would lead to a lasting peace for all concerned. The Belgian representative, speaking for the European Community, quoted from a statement made in Brussels on 22 November by the nine Ministers for Foreign Affairs, that they shared the hopes raised by the courageous initiative of President Sadat and his historic meeting with the Israeli leaders. They hoped that the unprecedented dialogue begun in Jerusalem would open the way to comprehensive negotiations leading to a just and lasting over-all settlement taking account of the rights and concerns of all the interested parties. The representative of the United States called the visit a remarkable event in the political life of the Middle East.

The Canadian representative observed that a new atmosphere appeared to have emerged, and the psychological barrier which had existed for so long seemed to have been broken by the leaders of Egypt and Israel. Canada, he said, hoped that the dialogue would be expanded to include Israel's other neighbours and representatives of the Palestinian people. The Canadian Government believed that the Member States of the United Nations had a moral and political responsibility to encourage the continuation and broadening of the dialogue which had taken place the previous week in Jerusalem so that comprehensive negotiations leading to a final peace settlement could get under way as soon as possible in a constructive atmosphere.

A number of speakers, among them Colombia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway and Portugal, expressed similar views.

Others, however, including the representatives of a number of Arab States, took the view that no Arab leader had the right to act independently or, as Iraq's representative put it, transcend his limits and affect the national rights and dignity of all Arabs, particularly the Palestinians. The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic said the visit of the Arab President to the leaders of the Zionist racist entity was a tragedy for every free Arab. Among its seriously damaging effects on the Arab cause, he said, were that it split Arab ranks, saved Israel from its isolation, imparted legitimacy to the Zionist entity, and facilitated Israeli manoeuvres aimed at replacing a comprehensive settlement with unilateral agreements and partial settlements that would allow Israel to return gradually to the step-by-step policy and gain time to consecrate the status quo. Finally, he said, it weakened any means of pressure on Israel by granting Israel what it wanted in the way of recognition, acceptance and normal relations beforehand, without its having to fulfil any of the basic prerequisites of such normal relations, such as withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories and full recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people.

The representative of Israel said that a momentous and historic event had taken place a few days before: old suspicions and barriers had been broken down as rhetoric gave way to dialogue, and the limits of what seemed possible were suddenly expanded to new horizons. The visit to Israel by the President of Egypt left no doubt that the common people of both countries profoundly desired peace. It was perhaps too much to hope, he went on, that the General Assembly would take note of the events in Jerusalem and encourage all the parties to the conflict to get together, open a dialogue and negotiate an end to the war. If the Assembly once again chose condemnations over negotiations, it would merely testify to its own irrelevance. In Jerusalem the previous weekend, he said, the process of peace-making was dramatically advanced. If the Assembly was not prepared to encourage that process, it should at least refrain from interfering.

Israel, he said, was firmly committed to the process of negotiation on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) in order to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. In those negotiations, at Geneva or elsewhere, everything had to be negotiable.

On 25 November, the General Assembly adopted resolution 32/20, by 102 votes to 4, with 29 abstentions. The text was sponsored by 33 Members.

By the preambular part of this resolution, the Assembly among other things expressed its concern that the Arab territories occupied since 1967 had continued, for more than 10 years, to be under illegal Israeli occupation and that the Palestinians, after three decades, were still deprived of the exercise of their inalienable national rights. It reaffirmed that the acquisition of territory by force was inadmissible and that all territories thus occupied had to be returned. The establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region, based on full respect for the United Nations Charter and Assembly resolutions, was an urgent necessity.

The Assembly took note of the joint statement on the Middle East issued on 1 October 1977 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR and the Secretary of State of the United States in their capacities as Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East.

Also by the preamble to this resolution, the Assembly reaffirmed that peace was indivisible and that a just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem had to be based on a comprehensive solution, under the auspices of the United Nations, taking into account all aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular the attainment by the Palestinian people of all their inalienable national rights and Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories. It expressed its conviction that the early convening of the Peace Conference with the participation of all parties concerned, including PLO, in accordance with relevant Assembly resolutions was essential for the realization of a just and lasting settlement.

By the operative provisions of this text, the Assembly:

(1) condemned Israel's continued occupation of Arab territories, in violation of the Charter, the principles of international law and repeated resolutions of the United Nations;

(2) reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, in which all countries and peoples in the region could live in peace and security within recognized and secure boundaries, could not be achieved without Israel's withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967 and the attainment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights;

(3) called anew for the early convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and the co-chairmanship of the USSR and the United States, with the participation on an equal footing of all parties concerned, including PLO;

(4) urged the parties to the conflict and all other interested parties to work towards the achievement of a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the problems and worked out with the participation of all parties concerned within the framework of the United Nations;

(5) requested the Security Council, in the exercise of its responsibilities under the Charter, to take all necessary measures to ensure the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions and to facilitate the achievement of such a comprehensive settlement aiming at the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region;

(6) requested the Secretary-General to follow up the implementation of this resolution and to inform all concerned, including the Co-Chairmen; and

(7) also requested him to report to the Security Council periodically on the development of the situation and to submit to the Assembly in 1978 a comprehensive report covering, in all their aspects, the developments in the Middle East.

(For text of resolution 32/20, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)


Communications (November-December 1977)

By a note verbale dated 28 November 1977, the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya transmitted to the Secretary-General two communiqués.

The first of these contained a declaration issued on 18 November by the Libyan General People's Congress, following President Sadat's announcement of his intention to visit the occupied territories and "to hold discussions with the terrorist Begin" and with "the Israeli Knesset gangsters." The General People's Congress declared among other things that President Sadat's intended visit constituted a crime against the whole Arab nation. The Egyptian President was representing only himself; the Egyptian and the Arab people could not be held responsible and would not be bound by whatever he undertook, since no Arab ruler had the right to act individually on the Arab national cause. If President Sadat went ahead with the projected visit, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya would withdraw its recognition of the Egyptian Government, demand the expulsion of Egypt from the League of Arab States and the immediate relocation of its headquarters from Cairo, and, finally, would enforce an Arab boycott against Egypt.

The second communiqué contained a statement issued on 23 November by the Libyan Secretariat for Foreign Affairs to the effect that, inasmuch as the disgraceful and treacherous visit of the Egyptian President had taken place, the Libyan Government had taken steps to: withdraw its recognition of the Egyptian Government on the grounds that that Government no longer had confidence and respect as a legitimate Arab Government; apply the Arab boycott against the Zionist enemy to Egypt as well, close Libyan air space and airports to Egyptian planes, and close its territorial waters to vessels carrying the Egyptian flag; and request of sister Arab Governments the expulsion of the Egyptian Government from the League of Arab States and the immediate relocation of the headquarters of the Arab League from the Egyptian capital.

By a letter dated 5 December 1977, the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya transmitted the text of a declaration made at the conclusion of a Summit Conference held at Tripoli between 2 and 5 December 1977. In the 10-point declaration, which was signed by the heads of State of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Algeria, the Syrian Arab Republic and Democratic Yemen and by the Chairman of PLO, the Conference among other things condemned President Sadat's visit as constituting high treason against the Egyptian people and their armed forces. It decided to work for the elimination of the results of the visit and to freeze political and diplomatic relations with Egypt and implement the Arab boycott of the Zionist enemy against Egyptian individuals, companies and institutions dealing with the Zionist enemy.

Commenting on the declaration, the representative of Egypt, in a letter dated 8 December, said that while the participants at the Tripoli meeting were paying lip service to the Palestinian cause, their acts past and current had in fact belied that position. What Egypt was seeking, he said, was the achievement of a comprehensive and just settlement of the Middle East problem in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations and its relevant resolutions and, in particular, a solution that would realize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

By a letter dated 6 December, the representative of Israel transmitted extracts from an interview conducted on 4 December with the President of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya on the American Broadcasting Company television network programme, "issues and Answers."

Documentary references

Communications and reports
(January-March 1977)
S/12271, S/12272. Letters of 7 January from Secretary-General to President of Security Council (transmitting texts of General Assembly resolutions 31/61 and 31/62, both of 9 December 1976). S/12290 and Corr.1. Report of Secretary-General submitted under General Assembly resolution 31/62 concerning Peace Conference on Middle East.
S/12306. Letter of 23 March from Egypt.

Consideration by Security
Council (25-29 March 1977)

Security Council, meetings 1993, 1995, 1997.

S/12290 and Corr.1. Report of Secretary-General.
S/12306. Letter of 23 March from Egypt (request to convene Council).
S/INF/33. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1977. Decisions, p. 11.

Communications and reports
(October-November 1977)
A/32/261. Letter of 5 October from Libyan Arab Jamihiriya (transmitting final communiqué of extraordinary meeting of Foreign Ministers of Islamic Conference, New York, 3 October 1977).
A/32/311 (S/12428), A/32/313. Notes verbales of 20 and 26 October from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting telegram by religious leaders of Jordan and notes of 17 and 21 September 1977).
A/32/240 (S/12417) and Add.1. Reports of Secretary-General.
A/32/340. Letter of 11 November from Israel.

Consideration by the General Assembly

General Assembly - 32nd session
Plenary meetings 77-82.

A/32/2. Report of Security Council, 16 June 1976-15 June 1977, Chapter 1 A.
A/32/61. Letter of 15 March from Egypt (transmitting documents of First Conference of Heads of State and Government of OAU and League of Arab States, Cairo, 7-9 March 1977).
A/32/133. Letter of 6 July from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting final communiqué of 8th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Tripoli, 16-22 May 1977).
A/32/151. Letter of 18 July from Portugal (transmitting communiqué issued on 18 July 1977).
A/32/202 (S/12392). Letter of 31 August from Israel (transmitting statement issued after meeting of Palestinian Central Council, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 and 26 August 1977; and 15-point programme adopted at 13th session of Palestine National Council, Cairo, Egypt, 12-20 March 1977).
A/32/235. Letter of 23 September from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting resolutions of 8th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Tripoli, 16-22 May 1977).
A/32/240 (S/12417) and Add.1. Reports of Secretary-General.
A/32/255 (S/12410. Letter of 30 September from Sri Lanka (transmitting declaration adopted by Ministers for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries at extraordinary meeting, New York, 30 September 1977).
A/32/337 (S/12444). Letter of 11 November from Israel.
A/32/L.38 and Add.1,2. Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia, Zambia: draft resolution.

Resolution 32/20, as recommended by 33 powers, A/32/L.38 and Add.1,2 adopted by Assembly on 25 November 1977, meeting 82 by roll-call vote of 102 to 4, with 29 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Canada, El Salvador, Israel, United States.

The General Assembly,

Having discussed the item entitled "The situation in the Middle East,"

Recalling its previous resolutions on the subject, in particular resolutions 3414 (XXX) of 5 December 1975 and 31/81 of 9 December 1976,

Taking into account the decisions of the Fifth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held at Colombo from 16 to 19 August 1976, concerning the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine,

Deeply concerned that the Arab territories occupied since 1967 have continued, for more than ten years, to be under illegal Israeli occupation and that the Palestinian people, after three decades, are still deprived of the exercise of their inalienable national rights,

Reaffirming that the acquisition of territory by force is admissible and that all territories thus occupied must be resumed,

Reaffirming also the urgent necessity of the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region, based on full respect for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations as well as for its resolutions concerning the problem of the Middle East including the question of Palestine,

Taking note with satisfaction of the joint statement on the Middle East issued on 1 October 1977 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Secretary of State of the United States of America in their capacities as Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East,

Reaffirming that peace is indivisible and that a just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem must be based on a comprehensive solution, under the auspices of the United Nations, which takes into account all aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular the attainment by the Palestinian people of all their inalienable national rights and the Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories,

Convinced that the early convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East with the participation of all parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, in accordance with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, is essential for the realization of a just and lasting settlement in the region,

1. Condemns Israel's continued occupation of Arab territories, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of international law and repeated resolutions of the United Nations;

2. Reaffirms that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, in which all countries and peoples in the region can live in peace and security within recognized and secure boundaries, cannot be achieved without Israel's withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967 and the attainment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights;

3. Calls anew for the early convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and the co-chairmanship of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, with the participation on an equal tooting of all parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization;

4. Urges the parties to the conflict and all other interested parties to work towards the achievement of a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the problems and worked out with the participation of all parties concerned within the framework of the United Nations;

5. Requests the Security Council, in the exercise of its responsibilities under the Charter, to take all necessary measures in order to ensure the implementation of relevant resolutions of the United Nations and to facilitate the achievement of such a comprehensive settlement aiming at the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to follow up the implementation of the present resolution and to inform all concerned, including the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East;

7. Also requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council periodically on the development of the situation and to submit to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session a comprehensive report covering, in all their aspects, the developments in the Middle East.

S/12486. Letter of 8 December from Secretary-General to President of Security Council (transmitting text of General Assembly resolution 32/20 of 25 November 1977).

COMMUNICATIONS (NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1977)
A/32/388. Note verbale of 28 November from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting declaration and statement issued on 18 and 23 November 1977, respectively).
A/321411, Letter of 5 December from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting Tripoli Declaration made at conclusion of Summit Conference, Tripoli, 2-5 December 1977).
A/32/419 (S/12478) Letter of 8 December from Egypt.
A/32/420. Letter of 6 December from Israel.
A/32/495. Letter of 20 December from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.



The question of Palestine

The question of Palestine was again taken up in 1977 by both the Security Council and the General Assembly. Both bodies had before them the second report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. This body was established by the Assembly on 10 November 1975 9/ and asked to consider and recommend to the Assembly a programme of implementation designed to enable the Palestinian people to exercise the rights recognized by the Assembly in its resolution of 22 November 1974, 10/ by which the Assembly reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including (a) the right to self-determination without external interference, and (b) the right to national independence and sovereignty. The Assembly also reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they were displaced and uprooted, and called for their return.

The Committee's report was submitted to the Security Council in May 1976 and, later in the year, to the General Assembly. Its recommendations 11/ included a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories by 1 June 1977 and a two-stage plan for return of the Palestinians to their homes, with the establishment of an independent Palestinian entity.

The Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on the matter because of the negative vote of one of its permanent members. 12/ Four members had abstained. The Assembly, by a resolution adopted on 24 November 1976, 13/ took note of the report and endorsed the recommendations contained in it as a basis for the solution of the question of Palestine. Also by that resolution, the Assembly urged the Security Council to consider once again, as soon as possible, the Committee's recommendations so that the necessary measures could be taken to implement them and achieve early progress towards a solution of the problem of Palestine and the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.


Communications and 1977 report of the
Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

In a letter dated 28 March 1977, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People informed the President of the Security Council that, at an informal meeting held that day by the Committee, the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had informed it that the Palestine National Council, meeting in Cairo in March 1977, had decided: (1) to consider the recommendations contained in the Committee's 1976 report as a positive and progressive step towards the achievement of the aspirations and rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right of self-determination, independence and national sovereignty; and (2) to declare that any settlement or agreement affecting the rights of the Palestinian people concluded in its absence would be null and void.

In a letter dated 8 June to the President of the Security Council, the Chairman of the Committee drew attention to the provision of Assembly resolution 31/20 by which it urged the Council to consider the Committee's recommendations again as soon as possible, in order to take the necessary measures to ensure their implementation. He noted that the Committee had pointed out several ways in which the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, could exercise an influential role in promoting and facilitating a peaceful settlement, and said that the Committee had been encouraged by recent statements by leaders of States playing an important role in the efforts to achieve progress towards peace in the Middle East. It was the Committee's strong belief, he said, that delay in action by the Council would be prejudicial to progress currently being made, and that the requirements of the current situation demanded that at its next meeting on the question of Palestine the Council should endeavour urgently to promote a positive approach leading towards the solution of this problem. He added that the Committee remained anxious to support any constructive efforts aimed at overcoming the current stalemate.

By a letter dated 28 July, the Chairman of the Committee informed the President of the Security Council that on 26 July the Prime Minister of Israel had decided officially to approve the establishment of three Israeli settlements at Camp Kadum, Ofra and Maale Adumin, situated on the West Bank of Jordan, which Israel had been illegally occupying since June 1967. The Chairman said that the decision was completely incompatible with the Committee's recommendations. The decision also constituted a violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and of a number of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

The letter went on to say that the official approval of the establishment of Israeli settlements could not have any legal validity and, in fact, aggravated tensions in the region, artificially erected an additional obstacle to the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and undermined efforts to promote a just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem.

(For further details about the question of Israeli measures in occupied Arab territories, see p. 312.)

By a letter dated 13 September to the President of the Security Council, the Chairman of the Committee again drew attention to Assembly resolution 31/20 and asked the President to hold the necessary consultations with a view to convening a meeting of the Security Council at a suitable date. In the Committee's opinion, the meeting should in any case be held before the Assembly considered the question of Palestine, so that it could submit its conclusions concerning the discussion in the Council to the General Assembly. He attached to the letter a copy of the Committee's report containing the recommendations that the Council was asked to consider once again.

In its 1977 report, which it submitted on 19 September, the Committee reviewed its activities during the year including its efforts to establish a dialogue with the members of the Security Council which had been unable to support the report and recommendations of the Committee when the matter came before the Council in 1976. The Committee accordingly authorized its Chairman to address letters to the representatives of Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, and also to the representative of Israel.

Since no replies were received to these letters, which were sent on 18 April, the Chairman met with the representatives of the five of those countries which were members of the Security Council. Summarizing the outcome of his contacts, he stated that the representatives had evidently appreciated the fact that the Committee's report would figure largely in the deliberations of the Security Council when it considered the question of Palestine, but had felt that in view of the current efforts being made it would be better if Council consideration were deferred to a more appropriate moment.

In conclusion, the Committee stated that having taken into account the various observations made on its report and recommendations and in the light of current events in the region it unanimously decided to reaffirm the validity of its recommendations. It agreed that the date suggested - 1 June 1977 - for the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from territories occupied in 1967, although now passed, should be retained for its symbolic significance and as a timely reminder of the urgency of a peaceful solution under the auspices of the United Nations, and particularly on the basis of resolutions unanimously adopted but not as yet implemented. The Committee said it was also agreed that an intensification of efforts was necessary to implement those recommendations with minimum delay, and that the various sectors of the United Nations system should act in concert to promote their implementation by peaceful means.

In the course of the discussion in the Committee, the report said, suggestions were made as to ways and means by which the objectives of the Committee could be further advanced. It was felt, however, that a decision on these suggestions should be deferred until such time as the Security Council had considered the question of Palestine.

Annexed to the report was the text of the Committee's recommendations endorsed by the General Assembly in 1976 and the texts of the letters addressed by the Chairman in April to the representatives of Canada, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Consideration by Security
Council (27 October 1977)

At a meeting on 27 October 1977, the Security Council considered the question of the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights. With the consent of the Council, the President invited the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to address the Council. He also informed the Council that the representative of Senegal had requested the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the discussion in accordance with previous decisions of the Council in that respect. He understood that the proposal had not been put forward under rule 37 14/ or rule 39 15/ of the Council's provisional rules of procedure, but that, if approved by the Council, the invitation would confer on PLO the same rights as were conferred when a Member State was invited to participate under rule 37.

The representative of the United States said his Government could not agree to the proposal and considered that the terms on which past invitations had been extended to PLO were inappropriate. He asked that the proposed invitation be put to a vote. It was adopted by 10 votes in favour to 1 against (United States), with 4 abstentions (Canada, France, Federal Republic of Germany, United Kingdom).

In accordance with the Council's decision, the PLO representative was invited to participate in the Council's discussion. The representatives of Egypt and the Syrian Arab Republic were also invited, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People reminded the Council that the Committee's recommendations, endorsed by the General Assembly in 1976, were based on two fundamental elements: on the one hand, the right of return of the Palestinians, in accordance with the Assembly's resolution of 11 November 1948 (194 (III)) 16/ and the Security Council's resolution of 14 June 1967 (237 (1967)); 17/ on the other hand, the right of independence and national sovereignty as defined in Assembly resolutions 181 (II), 18/ on the partition of former Palestine under British Mandate, and 273(111), 19/ on the admission of the State of Israel to membership in the United Nations. The sacred principle of the inadmissibility of the occupation of territory by force had also been taken into account in drawing up the recommendations, he observed. At the General Assembly's 1976 session, a vast majority of Members had agreed that the question of Palestine was to be considered as the central element in the Middle East conflict and that consequently a just and lasting peace in the region could be achieved only if the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people were taken into account. Most speakers, he recalled, had also stressed that a satisfactory and equitable solution to the Palestine question could not be achieved outside the framework of an over-all settlement of the Middle East problem.

He recalled that in 1976, although the recommendations had had the support of the majority of Members, they could not be adopted owing to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Security Council. Since then, he said, he had undertaken direct contacts with Council members and the Committee had addressed various communications to the Council expressing its views on the basic principles underlying its work and stressing the need for action by the Council. This group of initiatives was to facilitate the Council's work towards the adoption of a positive approach likely to lead to the exercise by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, he said, adding that the Committee was firmly convinced that the Council had to take such action. What was required was sincere political will based on the implementation of the decisions that had been adopted and the feelings that had been expressed by all the parties.

The Chairman went on to say that Israel's right to exist was no longer challenged by anyone, but Israel in turn had to recognize the legitimate rights of its neighbours. It had no right to continue to pose constant threats to the very survival of the planet.

He then appealed to the members of the Council - in particular those who did not vote for the General Assembly's recommendations on Palestine - not to put off once again the adoption of a positive approach to the question of the rights of the Palestinian people. It was no longer enough to recognize in private the reality of those rights; they had to be vested with the full weight of the Security Council's moral authority. In approving the recommendations of the General Assembly as a basis for a solution to the Palestine question, the Security Council would considerably increase the chances of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East, he declared.

During the discussion, the Council heard statements by 10 of its members, who made the following points, among others.

The representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya observed that the Palestinian people had for over a quarter of a century struggled in the cause of the restoration of their inalienable national rights in their own country, Palestine. They had been deprived of the exercise of those rights as a result of acts of oppression and terrorism perpetrated by Zionist racist gangs in collaboration with imperialist, colonialist forces. They had been expelled from their homes and lands and compelled to live in refugee camps and tents, while their homeland had been usurped and plundered by alien racist elements. But, he said, they would never cease to struggle for their rights and they were gaining increasing international support. He found it both frightening and dangerous that a super-power, the United States, was using its huge influence and might to serve the illegal and irresponsible dictates and goals of the fascist Zionist entity in occupied Palestine.

The representative of Pakistan praised the Committee for approaching its task in an objective and constructive spirit, bearing in mind the need to consolidate positive trends towards a peace settlement in the Middle East. He felt that the Council had to take cognizance of the fact that the problem of the Palestinians could not be dealt with as a problem of refugees; it concerned the destiny of an entire nation. It must be made clear that the aim of negotiations for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East had to include the achievement of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to their own State. He hoped the Council would endorse the Committee's recommendations.

The Romanian representative noted that previous efforts to get the Council to assume its responsibilities in this matter had not brought results, but the current time might be a turning point. It was generally recognized, he said, that peace was not possible in the Middle East unless there was a settlement of the Palestine problem taking account of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to be represented on an equal footing in any peace negotiations. The authority which should represent them was the Palestine Liberation Organization, recognized by the United Nations and by the vast majority of the States of the world as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. He also said that in the view of the Romanian Government the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region could be founded only on Israeli withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied after the 1967 war, on a settlement of the problem of the Palestinian people in keeping with their legitimate aspirations, including the creation of a free and independent Palestinian State, and on the guarantee of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all States in the region.

The representative of the USSR shared that view, stating that the experience of recent years and the events taking place in the Middle East showed that there could be no peace in the region until the consequences of Israeli aggression had been eliminated and until the Arab people of Palestine were secure in the exercise of their lawful national rights. The USSR, he said, would continue to lend all possible support to the Palestinian people in their just struggle for their inalienable rights.

According to the Chinese representative, the Palestinian question was an important, integral part of the whole Middle East question. The rivalry between the two super-powers over this region was the crucial reason why the question of Palestine and the Middle East had remained unsettled over a long period. While each of them tried to outdo the other in clamouring for an over-all settlement, he said, in essence neither of them wanted a genuine settlement. Instead, both worked hard to maintain the state of "no war, no peace" so as to facilitate their control over the Middle East, motivated by the needs of their respective global strategies. He said that China supported the just struggle of the Palestinian and other Arab people against Zionism and hegemonism and for the recovery of their lost territories and the restoration of their national rights.

The spokesman for Benin said that if, since 1976 when the Committee's first report was submitted, the Council had been unable to take a decision, it was because of the diversionary tactics adopted by the enemies of peace in the Middle East. However, he added, the manoeuvres of the imperialists and their puppets to prevent the Council from recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people were doomed to failure. The determination of PLO in its legitimate struggle against the oppressors was an invincible weapon; sooner or later the Palestinian people would triumph. Benin, he said, entirely approved the recommendations of the Committee on Palestinian rights, which were made with a view to achieving a just and lasting settlement. He went on to observe that, in order to satisfy certain private arrangements, the Council - subjected as usual to inadmissible pressures - was holding its meeting just for appearances and that no positive result was to be expected. Benin, as a member of the Council, sincerely regretted being involved in this "tragicomedy."

The representative of Mauritius said his country fully supported the report of the Committee. The world could ill afford at this critical time to ignore the rights of the Palestinians. He noted that efforts were under way to secure a comprehensive settlement on a lasting and just basis, with the participation of all parties concerned, and said that Mauritius would contribute towards securing such a settlement in any way it could.

The representative of India said he did not share the impression of the representative of Benin that the Council was participating in some sort of tragicomedy. He expressed India's support for the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine, which remained inalienable and were protected by international law, although the question of their exercise had yet to be resolved. He hoped that the current diplomatic initiatives to reconvene the Peace Conference on the Middle East would succeed and that the legitimate rights and interests of all parties, including those of the Palestinian people, would be adequately ensured. Any other course of action would not result in a peace settlement that was just and enduring.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the President of the Council announced that, after consultations with Council members, it had been agreed that debate on the item would be adjourned and that the next meeting would be fixed after consultations among members.


Consideration by the General Assembly

The General Assembly considered the question of Palestine at meetings held between 28 November and 2 December 1977. It had before it, in addition to the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the following communications having a bearing on the question:

- a letter dated 10 August from the Chairman of the Committee transmitting the text of a resolution adopted by the Council of Ministers and approved by the Summit Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), held at Libreville, Gabon, in July 1977. By this resolution, among other things the Ministers: reaffirmed their total support for the Arab frontline States and the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle to recover, by all means, their occupied territories and usurped rights; declared their support of PLO as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; endorsed the recommendations of the Committee on Palestinian rights and requested the General Assembly to take all measures for their implementation; and requested the Security Council to reconsider its position concerning those recommendations and to take measures to implement them;

- a letter dated 30 September from the representative of Sri Lanka transmitting the text of a declaration adopted that day at an extraordinary meeting in New York of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries on the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine in the light of recent developments. By this declaration, the Ministers among other things said they considered it of prime importance that the Committee on Palestinian rights should continue to pursue its task. They invited all delegations to give their active support to the adoption of the Committee's report; and

- a letter dated 5 October from the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya transmitting the text of the final communiqué of an extraordinary meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of the Islamic Conference held in New York on 3 October 1977, emphasizing among other things that it was of prime importance that the Committee should continue to pursue its task. All Islamic countries were invited to lend their active support towards the achievement of the adoption of the Committee's report.

Introducing the Committee's report in the General Assembly, the Chairman said that certain members of the Security Council felt it was not timely to take a decision on the question of the Committee's report and recommendations. He believed, however, that the peace efforts currently under way should not be a pretext for indefinitely immobilizing the Security Council. On the contrary, the recent progress in recognizing the rights of the Palestinians should serve as an incentive and encourage positive action by the Council on this matter. The Committee expected that the Council would resume its debate as soon as circumstances permitted. The Assembly for its part, he said, should grasp the opportunity and appeal again to the Security Council to approve the Committee's recommendations without delay.

The Committee's Rapporteur said that the recommendations of the Committee remained unchanged and their validity was undiminished, as the first steps in the envisaged timetable had not yet been taken. The pace of progress was slow, he said, but an important phase had been reached, the United Nations should either keep moving forward or suffer the consequences of its irresolution. As for the parties most directly involved, the generous first step should come from the temporary trespasser and not from the oppressed victims, he said.

A summary of some of the points during the Assembly's discussion follows.

The PLO representative said that the schism resulting from the visit on 19 November by the President of Egypt to occupied Jerusalem had split the Arab world. The situation was fraught with dangers of new explosions, as extremism took over from moderation. He stressed that PLO would fight any attempt to whittle down or sweep away the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to return to its land and to establish its own independent Palestinian State enjoying full independence with no strings attached. No one could impose on it a solution it rejected.

The representative of Jordan said there could never be peace in the Middle East until Palestinian Arab rights were recognized and restored. The Palestinians would not fade away from the face of the earth, no matter what happened. He noted that Jordan had within its borders at least 1 million Palestinian refugees and displaced persons; it pledged its unswerving support in every struggle and endeavour to restore their inalienable rights. He repeated that it was for the Palestinians to determine their future and shape their destiny, freely and without hindrance from any side. He urged support for the Committee's report, which he described as a position paper, a policy programme of implementation which grappled with most of the conceivable variables that might be raised and tried pragmatically to find appropriate solutions.

The Egyptian representative said that Egypt firmly believed that any solution to the Middle East problem should be made within the framework of the United Nations. Egypt had therefore called for a preparatory meeting to be held in Cairo, in which all the parties to the conflict, including PLO, the United Nations and the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East, would take part. This preparatory meeting, he said, would make careful and proper preparation for the Peace Conference, thus avoiding many futile controversies. Egypt hoped that all parties would respond.

He went on to note that President Sadat in his historic address in Jerusalem on 20 November 1977 had emphasized that the Palestinian question lay at the heart of the problem. There would be no basis for true peace unless it was founded on justice, not on the occupation of other people's land. No one could seek for himself what he denied to others.

According to the spokesman for Israel, the report of the Committee on Palestinian rights, with its blatant disregard of Israel's own sovereign rights, bore no relation to the new era that had dawned in the Middle East - an era of direct dialogue based on mutual respect, in which the substantive issues separating Israel from its neighbours would be resolved not by sterile speeches but by face-to-face negotiations. Despite the obstacles which the Assembly continued to place in the path of peace, he said, Israel remained ready to enter into immediate negotiations with all its neighbours with a view to achieving a just and lasting peace. It had always maintained that a direct and open dialogue was the only way to attain that goal, and it urged that the constructive dialogue begun between Egypt and Israel be extended to all parties involved in the conflict. In the negotiations, everything had to be negotiable, without pre-conditions. In that context, he added, Israel was committed to a just solution of the Palestine Arab issue, to be sought within the framework of a comprehensive solution of the conflict as a whole.

The representative of the United States said that the General Assembly could not dictate to Israel and its Arab neighbours either the form of negotiations or the elements of a settlement, which was, unfortunately, precisely what the Committee on Palestinian rights was created to do. The United States, he said, did not believe that the work of the Committee was a practical contribution to the search for peace in the Middle East. The United States had opposed the creation of the Committee and had opposed its one-sided and unrealistic recommendations for a settlement.

According to the representative of Belgium, who spoke on behalf of the nine member countries of the European Community, the Palestinian problem was one of the questions at the centre of the Middle East conflict, a solution of which would be possible only if the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to give effective expression to its national identity were translated into reality - which would, she said, take into account the necessity for a homeland for the Palestinian people. The nine Governments, while stressing that those legitimate rights had to be recognized by Israel, also insisted on the necessity for the Arab side, including the Palestinian people, to recognize Israel's right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders.

She went on to say that the nine countries continued to have reservations about the mandate of the Committee on Palestinian rights, which isolated one of the aspects of the settlement of the conflict, and they felt that the recommendations suffered, on the whole, from a fundamental lack of balance. In connexion with the recent attempts to promote the resumption of the negotiations in the framework of the Geneva Peace Conference, she recalled a statement of 29 June 1977 by the heads of Government of the nine countries, reaffirming that the representatives of the Palestinian people should participate in those negotiations on lines agreed between all interested parties.

The representative of Czechoslovakia said it had become clear that the just cause of the Palestinian people was receiving broad support throughout the world, not only from the socialist and the Arab countries but even from the majority of other countries - in particular of the developing countries, which, he said, had clearly expressed their support for the Arab people of Palestine and fully supported their just demands. His Government was convinced that a successful conclusion of the just struggles of the Arab States demanded, as a prerequisite, unity on their part and joint action. No one should be deceived by proposals to conduct separate negotiations whose purpose was to create favourable conditions for one side, with no account at all being taken of the fundamental rights and interests of the Arab people of Palestine and the interests of the Arab States as a whole. Czechoslovakia, he said, supported the proposal to resume the Geneva Peace Conference with the participation of all the interested parties, including PLO, on an equal footing. The Conference should serve as an effective tool for the solution of all problems of the Middle East, until the time when the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine could be ensured and the security of all the States in the Middle East guaranteed.

The spokesman for Yugoslavia noted that the Committee was the first United Nations body to have elaborated and defined the concept and essence of Palestinian rights in a comprehensive manner, which would prove important in the search for a solution of the Middle East and Palestine questions. He went on to state that Israel's denial of the right of Palestinians to their State was unacceptable, because - according to United Nations resolutions - the legal basis for the establishment of both the Israeli and the Palestinian States was the same. The right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty had its political basis in the fact that the international community as a whole, except Israel, had recognized the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. It was impossible, he said, to conceive legitimate rights without the right to self-determination. Israel's arguments for denying the rights of Palestinians were the need for secure borders and the alleged danger threatening Israel owing to the close vicinity of the Palestinian state. These arguments were unfounded, he said, and were motivated by Israel's policy of annexation. The best guarantee for Israel's security was respect for the security and territorial integrity of its neighbours. The continuation of the occupation could only create new disturbances and lead to new conflicts in the region. Security could be attained, he said, only through the creation of conditions liable to promote mutual trust, which could be achieved primarily through ending the occupation and accepting the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

According to the spokesman for Sri Lanka, there could be no settlement of the Middle East problem that did not recognize the Palestinian people's right to a State and a right to return to it. He said it was preposterous that Israel should demand recognition of itself as a State from a people who were themselves denied a right to a State. The most powerful State in the Middle East - in the military sense of the term - contended, he observed, that the existence of a Palestinian Arab State would endanger its security, and by that statement it vetoed the creation or even the possibility of the creation of that other State. He wondered whether any nation in the world enjoyed that type of security, that absolute guarantee. For Israel to demand such a guarantee of security was to raise serious doubts about the sincerity of its purposes.

He went on to say that the claim of PLO to represent and speak for the Palestinians was irrefutable, and he noted that the mayors of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Beit Sahour, Nablus, Halhoul, Hebron, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Doura, Qalqilya and Gaza, the elected representatives of the Palestinian Arabs under occupation, had recognized PLO as the leader of their struggle for the attainment of their legitimate rights. The Palestinian Arabs had a place at the negotiating table and they alone, he said, had the right to make their choice of representatives.

Sweden's representative said that President Sadat's visit to Israel was an historic event which could have an important influence on developments in the Middle East; his Government hoped that it would increase the possibility of an early convening of the Geneva Conference. He said the interests and rights of the Palestinian Arabs had not been sufficiently taken into consideration in the previous attempts at attaining a settlement of the Middle East question. Those rights included the right to form a State that would live in peace side by side with Israel. The Palestinians should also be assured participation in negotiations. The role of PLO, as the most representative spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs, had to be considered as fundamental in that context. The situation required the utmost wisdom and careful action on all sides, and he urged the parties to try to create a really viable peace process and avoid unnecessary discord.

On 2 December 1977, the General Assembly adopted two resolutions on the question of Palestine. The first - resolution 32/40 A, adopted by a recorded vote of 100 to 12, with 29 abstentions - was sponsored by 31 powers.

By the preamble, the Assembly among other things expressed concern that no just solution to the problem of Palestine had been achieved and that this problem therefore continued to aggravate the Middle East conflict, of which it was the core, and to endanger international peace and security. It reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could not be established without the achievement, inter alia, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. The Assembly took note of decisions adopted on the question of Palestine by the Council of Ministers of OAU in July 1977, by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries in September; and by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of the Islamic Conference, in October.

By the operative provisions of the text, the Assembly expressed its appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, took note of its report and endorsed recommendations contained therein.

It noted with satisfaction that, during the consideration of the report of the Committee by the Security Council in October 1977, all Council members which participated in the discussion reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could not be established without the achievement, in particular, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It urged the Council to take as soon as possible a decision on the recommendations endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 31/20 as a basis for the solution of that problem.

The Assembly decided, by this resolution, to circulate the report to all competent United Nations bodies and urged them to take necessary action in accordance with the Committee's programme of implementation; it asked the Secretary-General to transmit the Committee's reports to all conferences on the Middle East held under the auspices of the United Nations including the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East.

The Committee was authorized to continue to exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations, to send delegations or representatives to international conferences, where appropriate, and to report thereon to the Assembly in 1978. The Secretary-General was asked to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks.

The Assembly decided to include the item "Question of Palestine" in the provisional agenda of its regular 1978 session.

(For text of resolution 32/40 A, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

The second resolution - 32/40 B - was sponsored by 25 Members and adopted by a recorded vote of 95 to 20, with 26 abstentions.

After recognizing the need for the greatest possible dissemination of information on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and on the efforts of the United Nations to promote the attainment of those rights, the Assembly:

(1) requested the Secretary-General to establish within the United Nations Secretariat a Special Unit on Palestinian Rights which would (a) prepare, under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, studies and publications relating to those rights, to relevant United Nations resolutions, and to the activities of the Committee and other United Nations organs to promote the attainment of those rights, (b) promote maximum publicity for such studies and publications through all appropriate means, and (c) organize in consultation with the Committee, commencing in 1978, the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People;

(2) further requested the Secretary-General to ensure the full co-operation of the Office of Public Information and other Secretariat units in enabling the Special Unit to perform its tasks, and

(3) invited all Governments and organizations to co-operate with the Committee and the Special Unit in the implementation of the resolution.

(For text of resolution 32/40 B, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

Speaking in explanation of vote, the Israeli representative said that anti-Israeli activities were already costing the United Nations huge sums and the new proposals would add to the amount being spent to churn out hatred and vilification of his country. There was no precedent for the Special Unit proposed, he said, and its establishment at the behest of PLO seriously prejudiced the impartiality of the Secretariat itself. That body, which had a role to play both in relation to the peace-keeping forces of the Middle East and in reconvening the Geneva Peace Conference, would, he warned, lose its standing as an honest broker and forfeit any positive role it might have played in bringing the parties together. He said that history would recall that when the Middle East stood for the first time in 30 years on the verge of serious and direct negotiations, the Assembly chose to ignore those opportunities and to reaffirm a series of hostile recommendations which blatantly disregarded the sovereign rights of a Member State.

The representative of Malta, Rapporteur of the Committee on Palestinian rights, said he wanted to remind the Assembly, in view of the remarks of the representative of Israel, that the Committee had made clear in its report that its work came within the framework of the United Nations and was complementary to the efforts for a just and lasting peace. Its work was not directed against any particular State.

Documentary references

Communications and 1977 report of the
Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
S/12308, S/12345, S/12377. Letters of 28 March, 8 June and 28 July from Chairman of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People to President of Security Council. A/32/35. Report of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People.
A/32/202 (S/12392). Letter of 31 August from Israel (transmitting statement issued after meeting of Palestinian Central Council, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, 25 and 26 August 1977; and 15-point programme adopted at 13th session of Palestine National Council, Cairo, Egypt, 12-20 March 1977). A/32/217. Letter of 13 September from Chairman of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People.
S/12399. Letter of 13 September from Chairman of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People.

Consideration by Security
Council (27 October 1977)

Security Council, meeting 2041.

S/12399. Letter of 13 September from Chairman of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People to President of Security Council (request to convene Council).
S/INF/33. Resolutions and decisions at Security Council, 1977.
Decisions, pp. 13-14.

Consideration by the General Assembly

General Assembly - 32nd session
Fifth Committee, meeting 54.
Plenary meetings 84-91.

A/32/2. Report of Security Council, 16 June 1976-15 June 1977, Chapter 1 B.
A/32/35. Report of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People.
A/32/61. Letter of 16 March from Egypt (transmitting documents of First Conference of Heads of State and Government of OAU and League of Arab States, Cairo, 7-9 March 1977).
A/32/132 (S/12356). Letter of 30 June from Sudan (transmitting article and editorial published in The Sunday Times (London) of 19 June 1977).
A/32/133. Letter of 6 July from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting final communiqué of 8th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Tripoli, 16-22 May 1977).
A/32/151. Letter of 18 July from Portugal (transmitting communiqué issued on 18 July 1977).
A/32/155. Letter of 29 July from Oman.
A/32/160. Letter of 10 August from Chairman of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People (transmitting resolution adopted by Council of Ministers end approved by Conference of Heads of State and Government of OAU, Libreville, Gabon, 2-5 July 1977).
A/32/173 (also issued as S/12386, except annex). Latter of 19 August from Iraq (annexing letter of 15 August 1977 from Secretary-General of League of Arab States).
A/32/176 (S/12384). Note verbale of 17 August from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting official declaration of 16 August 1977).
A/32/192 (S/12388). Letter of 26 August from Cyprus.
A/32/210 (S/12396). Letter of 6 September from Jordan (transmitting memorandum issued on 22 August 1977).
A/32/235. Letter of 23 September from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting resolutions of 8th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Tripoli, 16-22 May 1977).
A/32/255 (S/12410). Letter of 30 September from Sri Lanka (transmitting declaration adopted by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries at extraordinary meeting New York, 30 September 1977).
A/32/261. Letter of 5 October from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting final communiqué of extraordinary meeting of Foreign Ministers of Islamic Conference, New York, 3 October 1977).
A/32/280. Letter of 18 October from Belgium.
A/32/301. Letter of 25 October from Canada.
A/32/310. Letter of 25 October from Tunisia (transmitting resolutions and decisions of 29th regular session of Council of Ministers of OAU, Libreville, Gabon, 23 June-3 July 1977, and of 14th regular session of Assembly of Heads of State and Government of OAU, Libreville, 2-5 July 1977).
A/32/311 (S/12428). Note verbale of 20 October from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting telegram by religious leaders of Jordan)
A/32/313. Note verbale of 26 October from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting notes of 17 and 21 September 1977 to Secretary-General).
A/32/388. Note verbale of 28 November from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting declaration and statement issued on 18 and 23 November 1977, respectively).
A/32/411. Letter of 5 December from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting Tripoli Declaration made at conclusion of Summit Conference, Tripoli, 2-5 December 1977).
A/32/419 (S/12478). Letter of 8 December from Egypt.
A/32/492. Letter of 12 December from Viet Nam to President of General Assembly.

A/32/L.39 and Add.1. Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia: draft resolution.
A/C.5/32/64 and Corr.1. Administrative And financial implications of 31-power draft resolution, A/32/L.39 and Add.1. Statement by Secretary-General.
A/32/403. Administrative and financial implications of, inter alia, 31-power draft resolution, A/32/L.39 and Add.1. Report of Fifth Committee.

Resolution 32/40 A, as proposed by 31 powers, A/32/L.39 and Add.1, adopted by Assembly on 2 December 1977, meeting 91, by recorded vote of 100 to 12, with 29 abstentions as follows:

* Subsequently Malawi advised the Secretariat that it had intended to abstain.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, 3376 (XXX) of 10 November 1975 and 31/20 of 24 November 1976,

Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,

Having heard the statement of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,

Deeply concerned that no just solution to the problem of Palestine has been achieved and that this problem therefore continues to aggravate the Middle East conflict, of which it is the core, and to endanger international peace and security,

Reaffirming that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be established without the achievement, inter alia, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment of the inalienable fights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the fight to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations,

Taking note of the resolution on the question of Palestine adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity at its twenty-ninth ordinary session, held at Libreville from 23 June to 3 July 1977,

Taking note of the Declaration on the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine adopted by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries at their extraordinary meeting in New York on 30 September 1977,

Taking note also of the final communiqué of the extraordinary meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the States members of the Islamic Conference, held in New York on 3 October 1977,

1. Expresses its appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it by the General Assembly;

2. Takes note of the report of the Committee and endorses the recommendations contained in paragraphs 43 and 44 of that report;
3. Notes with satisfaction that, during the consideration of the report of the Committee by the Security Council at its 2041st meeting, on 27 October 1977, all members of the Council who participated in the discussion reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could not be established without the achievement, in particular, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment of the inalienable fights of the Palestinian people;

4. Urges the Security Council to take as soon as possible a decision on the recommendations endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 31/20 as a basis for the solution of the problem of Palestine;

5. Decides to circulate the report to all the competent bodies of the United Nations and urges them to take necessary action, as appropriate, in accordance with the Committee's programme of implementation;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit the reports of the Committee to all conferences on the Middle East held under the auspices of the United Nations, including the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East;

7. Authorizes the Committee to continue to exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations, to send delegations or representatives to international conferences where such representation would be considered by it to be appropriate, and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session;

8. Further requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks, including summary records of its meetings;

9. Decides to include the item entitled "Question of Palestine" in the provisional agenda of its thirty-third session.

A/32/L.40 and Add.1. Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia: draft resolution. A/C.5/32/65 and Corr.1. Administrative and financial implications of 25-power draft resolution, A/32/L.40 and Add.1. Statement by Secretary-General.
A/32/403. Administrative and financial implications of, inter alia, 25-power draft resolution, A/32/L.40 and Add.1. Report of Fifth Committee.

Resolution 32/40 B, as proposed by 25 powers, A/32/L.40 and Add.1, adopted by Assembly on 2 December 1977, meeting 91 by recorded vote of 95 to 20, with 26 abstentions, as follows:

*Subsequently Malawi advised the Secretariat that it had intended to abstain.

The General Assembly,

Having considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,

Noting, in particular, the observations contained in paragraphs 38 to 42 of that report,

Recognizing the need for the greatest possible dissemination of information on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and on the efforts of the United Nations to promote the attainment of those rights,

1. Requests the Secretary-General to establish within the Secretariat of the United Nations a Special Unit on Palestinian Rights which would:

(a) Prepare, under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, studies and publications relating to:

(i) The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people;

(ii) Relevant resolutions of the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations;

(iii) The activities of the Committee and other United Nations organs, in order to promote the attainment of those rights;

(b) Promote maximum publicity for such studies and publications through all appropriate means;

(c) Organize in consultation with the Committee, commencing in 1978, the annual observance of 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People;

2. Further request the Secretary-General to ensure the full co-operation of the Office of Public Information and other units of the Secretariat in enabling the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights to perform its tasks;

3. Invites all Governments and organizations to lend their co-operation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights in the implementation of the present resolution.



The situation in the occupied territories

Treatment of civilian population
in the Israeli-occupied territories

Decisions of the Commission on Human
Rights and the Economic and Social Council

At its thirty-third session in February/March 1977, the Commission on Human Rights considered the 1976 report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories and adopted two resolutions on the question of the violation of human rights in the territories occupied as a result of hostilities in the Middle East.

By the first, the Commission shared the Security Council's expressed anxiety over the serious situation in the occupied territories as a result of continued Israeli occupation. It expressed its alarm at the continuation by Israel of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in those territories, in particular measures aimed at annexation, as well as torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

By the operative part of the resolution, the Commission called on Israel to take immediate steps for the return of the Palestinians and other displaced inhabitants of the occupied Arab territories to their homes. It deplored Israel's continued violations of the basic norms of international law and of international conventions, in particular its breaches of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (the fourth Geneva Convention), and Israel's persistent defiance of United Nations resolutions. It condemned a number of Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories, which it enumerated in the resolution, and also condemned the massive deliberate destruction of the Syrian city of Quneitra perpetrated during Israeli occupation and prior to the withdrawal of Israeli forces in 1974. It reaffirmed that all measures taken by Israel to change the character or demographic composition and status of the occupied territories or any part thereof - including Jerusalem - were null and void. The Commission also declared null and void all measures taken by Israel with a view to changing the structure, status and established religious practices in the sanctuary of Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) and called on Israel to rescind all such measures taken.

The Commission called on Israel to release all Arabs imprisoned as a result of their struggle for self-determination and national liberation, and to accord them the treatment of prisoners of war. It asked the Secretary-General to collect all relevant information concerning detainees, such as their number, identity, place and the duration of their detention, and to make this information available to it at its 1978 session.

The Commission called on Israel to comply with its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 20/ and to abide by its obligations under the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. The Commission reiterated its call upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any changes carried out by Israel in the occupied territories and to avoid any actions which might be used by Israel in pursuit of proscribed policies and practices.

The Commission requested the Secretary-General to bring this resolution to the attention of all Governments, competent United Nations organs, specialized agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations, to give it the widest possible publicity, and to report to the Commission at its 1978 session, when, it was decided, the matter would be given high priority under the new title "Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine." The Secretary-General was requested to bring to the attention of the Commission all United Nations reports appearing between sessions of the Commission that dealt with the situation of the civilians of the occupied territories.

By the preambular part of the second resolution, the Commission recalled the General Assembly's resolution of 16 December 1976 21/ by which it reaffirmed that the fourth Geneva Convention was applicable to all occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem. By the operative part of the text, the Commission deplored the failure of Israel to acknowledge the applicability of that Convention to all Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and urgently called upon Israel to acknowledge and to comply with the provisions of the Convention in those territories. The Commission urged all States parties to the Convention to exert all efforts to ensure respect for and compliance with its provisions in the occupied territories. The Secretary-General was requested to bring this resolution to the attention of all Governments, competent United Nations organs, specialized agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations.

The Commission also decided to send a telegram to the Government of Israel expressing its deep concern at reports of the deaths of Arab detainees in Israeli prisons attributable to the conditions of their imprisonment, and called upon Israel to take urgent measures to ensure improvement in prison conditions and refrain from ill-treatment of detainees.

At its session in April/May 1977, the Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution (2085 (LXII)) on the question of the violation by Israel of human rights in the occupied Arab territories. By this resolution, it took note of the action of the Human Rights Commission on the question, commended it for its vigilance and for action taken in connexion with the protection of human rights in the occupied territories, and requested it to pursue its efforts in this regard and continue to take appropriate measures. For details, see p. 694.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination also took decisions on the question of human rights in the occupied territories. For details, see p. 695.


Report of the Special Committee in 1977

The ninth report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, established by the General Assembly in 1969, was transmitted to the Assembly on 17 October 1977. Among its principal observations was that Israel, as occupying power, had persisted in its violation of the fourth Geneva Convention throughout 1977 and that the day-to-day situation in the territories continued to be tense, marked by incidents which often led to injury and loss of life of innocent civilians. Such incidents, the report said, were directly attributable to the military occupation.

The report noted that the Government of Israel had continued to deny the Special Committee access to the occupied territories. As a result, it had been unable to conduct its investigations on the spot; however, as in the past, it had been able to follow developments on a day-to-day basis by examining: information gathered from various sources, such as the Israeli and Arab press; evidence furnished by Governments; oral testimony; information contained in United Nations documents; and information communicated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and contained in ICRC publications.

The Special Committee reported that, on the basis of information received since the preceding report, the Government of Israel had continued to implement a policy of annexation and settlement of the occupied territories. The situation of civilians had given cause for concern in several areas, and the report included accounts of strikes, demonstrations, arrests, imposition of curfews and ill-treatment of youths. Accounts of ill-treatment of civilian detainees during and immediately after arrest, as well as during interrogation, trial and imprisonment, were cited in the report, and the pattern of arrests that emerged over the period under review showed a constantly swelling prison population; prison overcrowding was underlined as a major cause for concern. The Special Committee also concluded, on the basis of information received, that a strong prima facie case had been established that detainees were subjected to treatment which could not be described as other than torture.

The Special Committee again referred to the destruction of structures in the town of Quneitra by Israel, and transmitted to the General Assembly a report prepared by an expert engaged to assess damages not covered in a previous survey, in particular damages to furniture and streets resulting from the destruction of the town in 1974.

A significant development during 1977, according to the Special Committee, was the emergence of a policy followed by the occupying power based on the assumption that the territories in question were not occupied territories. This belief, the report noted, was at the root of the thesis held by Israel that the fourth Geneva Convention did not apply to the occupied territories. However, the Special Committee said, it was universally recognized that the Convention did apply to the territories occupied as a result of the 1967 hostilities, as had been attested to by the many General Assembly resolutions on the subject, as well as the traditional stand taken by ICRC. The Special Committee noted the continued preparation of detailed plans to settle the occupied territories, as formulated by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, according to which a number of Israeli settlements, linked by a network of highways, were to be established in all parts of the occupied territories over the next 20 years. In the same context, the Special Committee noted a significant increase in reports of expropriation and purchase of land, including reports of Government budgetary appropriations for that purpose. It observed that such purchases were invalid; military conquest and occupation were not recognized as bestowing valid title to property.

The Special Committee noted that with the establishment of eight new settlements, bringing the number to 84, there were reported to be nearly 10,000 Israeli citizens settled in the occupied territories, not including those in East Jerusalem. The twin policies under which the territories and persons were governed were resulting in changes in the physical character and in the demographic composition of those territories, and the Special Committee saw no sign whatsoever that that pattern would change in the foreseeable future.

The Special Committee observed, in conclusion, that its findings reflected the continuing deterioration of the situation in the occupied territories, noticeable in the policy of annexation and settlement, the day-to-day life of the civilians, and the treatment of detainees. The number of settlements continued to grow, as did the number of Israeli civilians living in the occupied territories and the number of major roads linking the extreme areas of those territories. The situation of the civilians living there continued to deteriorate as the frequency of incidents which affected day-to-day life continued to increase. In some areas civilians were directly subjected to interference by the occupying power, such as those who were expelled from certain areas in occupied Jerusalem; in other areas interference was indirect. The most serious deterioration recorded by the Special Committee during 1977 had been that of civilians in detention. The numerous reports confirming that ill-treatment of detainees occurred frequently during interrogation, the unsatisfactory manner in which trials were conducted and the situation of detainees in overcrowded prisons were matters of distress.

The Special Committee once more appealed to the international community, through the General Assembly, to assume its responsibility to end the occupation, thereby safeguarding the most fundamental of the human rights of the population of the occupied territories. Pending the early termination of the occupation, the Special Committee recommended that a suitable mechanism be established to safeguard the human rights of the civilian population which had been so long exposed to military occupation.

In that connexion, the Special Committee reiterated the proposal it had made in previous years for the adoption of an arrangement 22/ based on the protecting-power formula envisaged under the fourth Geneva Convention in an effort to ensure protection of civilian persons in the occupied territories. In addition, and in view of the serious deterioration in the situation of detainees, the Special Committee urged the Assembly to ensure that a mechanism was set up, similar to that proposed by ICRC, establishing commissions of inquiry.

Communications

During the year several communications were received relating to the condition of the civilian population in the occupied territories.

By a letter dated 23 May 1977, the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya transmitted a letter of 19 May from the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in which he charged that on 3 May Israeli military occupation forces in the West Bank had opened fire on Palestinian demonstrators, killing a 55-year-old woman and a 15 year-old boy; the boy had been denied a religious burial by the Israeli forces. Israeli authorities had declared extensive territory in the areas of Jenin and Qabatya to be closed, and farmers had been prevented from tilling their lands. There had been widespread reaction in the Palestinian towns of Nablus, Ramallah and Jenin, a general strike had been declared protesting the practices of the occupying force and approximately 70 Palestinians had been detained, the letter said.

By a letter dated 30 June, the representative of the Sudan, in his capacity as current Chairman of the Arab group of Member States, forwarded the text of an article entitled "Israel tortures Arab prisoners" and a related editorial that had appeared in The Sunday Times (London) of 19 June 1977.

By a note verbale dated 19 September, the representative of Egypt drew attention to a report published by the Swiss League for Human Rights about the common and systematic use of torture and of expropriation, confiscation and destruction of Arab property by Israel against the population of the occupied territories. The report was prepared by a four-man group headed by the League's President, the letter added.

On 20 October, the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic transmitted the text of a telegram addressed to the Secretary-General by Moslem and Christian leaders in Jordan urging that he intervene for the liberation of Archbishop Hilarion Capucci, who had been detained in Israeli prisons for three years and who was seriously ill.

On 7 November, the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, as current Chairman of the Arab group of Member States, transmitted the text of the testimony of journalists Paul Eddy and Peter Gillman of The Sunday Times (London), at hearings held at the United Nations Office in Geneva on 6 and 7 September 1977 under the auspices of the Special Committee, asking that it be distributed as a document of the General Assembly.

On 15 November, the representative of Israel transmitted excerpts from a briefing given on 29 July by the Attorney General of Israel to members of the press corps in Jerusalem, concerning the allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners in Israel as published in The Sunday Times of London on 19 June 1977. He also enclosed an article entitled "More insight on torture," by David Krivine, which was published in the Jerusalem Post on 28 October 1977. Both of these items, the letter said, showed the falsity of the trumped-up charges levelled against Israel without any grounding in fact or without any effort to substantiate the allegations by reference to the competent Israeli authorities.


Consideration by the General Assembly

The report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories was considered at the General Assembly's regular 1977 session by the Special Political Committee, which also had before it a report by the Secretary-General in which he described the measures he had taken to comply with an Assembly request 23/ that he provide the necessary facilities and staff to the Special Committee and ensure the widest circulation of its report and of information regarding its activities and findings.

The Special Political Committee considered the question at meetings between 14 and 29 November. It approved three draft resolutions on 29 November which were adopted by the General Assembly on 13 December.

By the preambular part of the first of these (resolution 32/91 A), the Assembly among other things recalled that Israel and those Arab States whose territories had been occupied by Israel since June 1967 were parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and that States parties to that Convention undertook not only to respect but also to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances.

By the operative part of the text, the Assembly: (1) reaffirmed that the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem; (2) strongly deplored Israel's failure to acknowledge the applicability of the Convention to those territories; (3) called again on Israel to acknowledge and comply with the provisions of the Convention in all the territories it had occupied, including Jerusalem; and (4) once more urged all States parties to the Convention to exert all efforts to ensure respect for and compliance with its provisions.

The Assembly adopted the resolution by a recorded vote of 132 to 1, with 1 abstention; the Special Political Committee had approved the text by a roll-call vote of 114 to 1. The text was sponsored by Bangladesh, Chad, India, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Viet Nam and Yugoslavia.

(For text of resolution 32/91 A and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By a second resolution (32/91 B) the Assembly, having considered the expert's report on damage at Quneitra, expressed its appreciation of the report; condemned the massive deliberate destruction of Quneitra perpetrated by Israeli forces, reaffirmed that the Syrian Arab Republic was entitled to full compensation under international law and in equity for the damage, took note of the statements made by the Syrian representative reserving all the rights to full compensation for all damages, including those not covered by the expert's report, requested the Special Committee to complete the survey on damage in Quneitra, and requested the Secretary-General to provide the Special Committee with all facilities required to complete this task.

This resolution was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 96 to 1, with 37 abstentions; the Special Political Committee had approved the text by a roll-call vote of 83 to 1, with 33 abstentions. The text was sponsored by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Byelorussian SSR, the Comoros, Cuba, the German Democratic Republic, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mali, Pakistan, Senegal, Uganda, the Ukrainian SSR and Viet Nam.

(For text of resolution 32/91 B and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)
By the terms of the third resolution (32/91 C), the General Assembly commended the efforts of the Special Committee in performing its tasks, deplored the continued refusal of Israel to allow the Special Committee access to the occupied territories, and again called on it to allow such access.

The Assembly also by this resolution deplored Israel's continued and persistent violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and other applicable international instruments.

It condemned the following Israeli policies and practices and demanded that Israel desist from them immediately: (a) the annexation of parts of the occupied territories; (b) the establishment of Israeli settlements therein and the transfer of an alien population thereto; (c) the evacuation, deportation, expulsion, displacement and transfer of Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories, and the denial of their right to return; (d) the confiscation and expropriation of Arab property in the occupied territories and all other transactions for the acquisition of land involving the Israeli authorities, institutions or nationals on the one hand, and the inhabitants or institutions of the occupied territories on the other; (e) the destruction and demolition of Arab houses; (f) mass arrests, administrative detention and ill-treatment of the Arab population; (g) the ill-treatment and torture of persons under detention; (h) the pillaging of archaeological and cultural property; (i) the interference with religious freedoms and practices, as well as with family rights and customs; and (j) the illegal exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories.

The Assembly reaffirmed that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the occupied territories, or any part thereof, including Jerusalem, were null and void, and that Israel's policy of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constituted a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and relevant United Nations resolutions.

The Assembly reiterated its call upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any changes carried out by Israel in the occupied territories and to avoid actions, including those in the field of aid, which might be used by Israel in pursuit of its policies of annexation and colonization.

The Special Committee was asked to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Arab territories, to consult with ICRC, as appropriate, to ensure the safeguarding of the welfare and human rights of the population of the territories, and to report to the Secretary-General as soon as possible and whenever the need arose. The Special Committee was also requested to continue to investigate the treatment of civilians in detention in the occupied territories and to submit a special report to the Secretary- General.

The Secretary-General was asked by the Assembly: to render all necessary facilities to the Special Committee, including those required for its visits to the occupied territories; to continue to make available additional staff as might be necessary to assist the Special Committee; to ensure the widest circulation of the reports of the Special Committee, and of information regarding its activities and findings, through the Office of Public Information; to reprint, where necessary, those reports of the Special Committee which were no longer available; and to report to the Assembly in 1978, when the item would again be included in the Assembly's agenda.

The Assembly adopted this resolution by a recorded vote of 98 to 2, with 32 abstentions; the Special Political Committee had approved the text by a roll-call vote of 84 to 2, with 30 abstentions. The text was sponsored by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Uganda and Viet Nam.

(For text of resolution 32/91 C and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)
During the discussion, the Rapporteur of the Special Committee, introducing the Committee's report, said the Committee had not been able to obtain direct proof of violence stemming from the occupation because Israel had opposed its repeated requests in that connexion; nevertheless, it had reached its conclusions on the basis of information derived from the Israeli press and from all the other sources of information generally accepted as being sympathetic to the Government. He said the Special Committee had relied also on the evidence of individuals who had visited the site of the alleged occurrences. The Committee paid tribute to the journalists of The Sunday Times of London, who, in the face of many difficulties, had carried out a major investigation into the situation of civilian prisoners. The humanitarian aspect of that work could provide a useful basis for decisions to be adopted by the General Assembly with a view to improving the situation of the prisoners, he added.

He went on to observe that resistance would cease only when the occupation was ended, and Israel would not enjoy security until the Palestinians returned to their native land. Resistance and demonstrations were continuing and he cited the report of ICRC for the previous year that, as a reaction to the legitimate liberation struggle, Israel had detained 3,000 civilians for so-called security reasons and 400 for ordinary offences.

Another matter for concern, he said, was the torture and inhuman treatment of detainees during questioning. The Committee had ascertained that Israel had taken no effective measures to improve the situation. The exclusive powers of the interrogating official, and the lack of any humanitarian or legal defence against the inevitable abuses, lent credibility to the accusations which had been made.

The Rapporteur said the Special Committee believed that the international community should have the possibility of verifying the facts on the spot, since it remained convinced that Israeli practices affecting human rights in the territories were part of a scheme to establish in Palestine and in the occupied territories a Jewish State where there would be no room for any alien element, whether religious or ethnic.

The representative of Israel said that the Special Committee and the General Assembly had let themselves be carried away over the past nine years by a campaign of calumny and vilification of Israel, in the service of the warmongering policy of the Arab States. That evil campaign had reached new heights, he said, and the Israeli Government wished to denounce the nefarious and deliberate use of the United Nations for ends contrary to its Charter and detrimental to international peace. If the Special Committee's report were to be believed, the Arabs living in the territories administered by Israel were being permanently held hostage, their property was being expropriated and pillaged, they were being arrested and imprisoned for no valid reason, they were being judged by unjust courts and were being subjected to abominable tortures while in detention. That disgusting picture, he said, was the product of a sick imagination, one that Arab propaganda wanted to paint of Israel. To that end, it was using the Special Committee and the well-known automatic majority, and the United Nations was becoming an instrument to propagate perfidious anti-Semitism.

He charged that the Special Committee had reported on incidents in the territories in a selective, distorted way. Israel was doing its utmost to promote day-to-day coexistence between Arabs and Jews. All obstacles notwithstanding, life in common was coming about. Naturally there were strikes and demonstrations from time to time, but they were not frequent. The Arab residents desired stability and did not want to be involved in tragic events like those in Lebanon, he added.

As for the allegedly crowded conditions of the prisons, he said that by the end of 1976 plans were in the works to accommodate 1,000 prisoners by the end of 1977. In reply to the accusations of mistreatment of prisoners, he expressed strong reservations about the reliability or objectivity of the sources of the Special Committee's information.

The representative of Israel suggested that the Special Political Committee concentrate its efforts on adopting a single recommendation inviting Israel and the Arab States to initiate peace talks as soon as possible within the framework of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) 24/ and 338 (1973). 25/ Such a recommendation, he maintained, would demonstrate a realistic attitude which would save the honour of the United Nations and constitute responsible international action worthy of the Charter of the United Nations.

The spokesman for the Syrian Arab Republic said that the Special Committee deserved the highest praise for its courage and honesty in investigating the available evidence and in submitting a valuable report on the question, despite the fact that it had been prevented for the past nine years from entering the occupied territories. It was the only body through whose report the United Nations could view the occupied territories and the suffering inflicted on the Arab and Palestinian people as a result of the racist colonialist invasion. If conditions in the occupied territories were as the Israeli representative claimed, he wanted to know why Israel refused to co-operate with the Special Committee or to grant it permission to enter the territories, or submit information which would enable the Special Political Committee to present the true picture to the international community. These views were shared by a number of speakers. The observer for PLO added that if the Zionist authorities had nothing to hide, it would surely be to their advantage to let the Committee see the miracle they claimed to have wrought.

The Nigerian representative also expressed appreciation for the work of the Special Committee, whose report, he said, gave a truthful account of the various acts of Israeli authorities in the occupied Arab territories. It was not surprising that the Israeli practices had provoked an unending chain of spontaneous demonstrations by the Palestinians. The Israeli response had been one of increased repression, which in turn had provoked further demonstrations. It had brought about a vicious circle which could not be broken until the original causes of discontent were removed and until the Palestinians could freely exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination, freedom and independence in their own homeland.

He went on to observe that Israel's 1950 Law of Return allowed any Jew of any nationality to emigrate to Israel and acquire Israeli citizenship immediately. On the other hand, the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs who had been born in Palestine and had later been expelled from the area had been deprived of their rights of citizenship. According to Israeli law, there were a number of conditions that had to be met before a non-Jew could become eligible for citizenship, and those requirements effectively prevented the refugees from acquiring Israeli nationality. It was high time, he declared, that Israel's backers abandoned their hypocritical attitude and condemned the continued violation of the basic rights of the Palestinians and the non-Jewish population in the occupied territories.

According to the representative of Bangladesh, the most important aspect of the Israeli occupation was the violation of the human rights of the population of the occupied territories and the denial of the right to return of hundreds of thousands of civilians who had fled their homes during and after the 1967 hostilities. Expropriations and purchases of land in those territories were invalid because military conquest and occupation bestowed no valid title to property. The constantly increasing prison population and strong evidence that detainees were subjected to torture highlighted the need for urgent action by the international community. Lengthy statements of universal condemnation of those Israeli practices were of no value if they did not result in substantive action. Member States had to assume their responsibility to end the Israeli occupation as soon as possible and in the meantime see that a suitable mechanism was established to safeguard the human rights of the civilian population. Israel had to acknowledge that the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which it was a signatory, was applicable to the territories it had occupied since the 1967 war and had to comply with its provisions and with the principles of international law. A number of speakers expressed similar views.

The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the nine member countries of the European Community, said that, with regard to the humanitarian and demographic aspects of the problem, the nine Governments had stated on many occasions that in their view the fourth Geneva Convention was entirely applicable to the occupied territories. They regretted that Israel did not accept the principle of the applicability of that Convention, which conferred responsibilities on the occupying power and authorized certain measures with regard to the inhabitants, but prohibited any unilateral modification of the demographic and physical nature of occupied territories. For the same reasons, they remained opposed to any unilateral modification of the status of Jerusalem and the Holy Places. She recalled that the Community had also had reservations with regard to the Special Committee; because of the way in which it had been conceived and the difficulties it encountered in its task it was not able to pass an exhaustive judgement on the situation. The nine Governments had nevertheless carefully studied the passages of the report concerning the conditions of detention and the treatment of prisoners and found certain elements which gave rise to concern.

The Bulgarian representative said that, despite the Israeli Government's continuing refusal to allow representatives of the Special Committee to visit the occupied territories, the report clearly showed that oppression of the civilian population and violation of its basic human rights were escalating at the same rate as Israel's action to perpetuate the occupation. The report showed, he said, the determination of the Arab population to fight for its rights. The rising tension in the occupied territories exposed the absurdity of Israeli attempts to assimilate the occupied Arab lands, to disregard the rights of the Palestinian people and to avoid a final settlement of the Middle East conflict. The unlawful Israeli practices in those territories had been condemned by democratic public opinion and many international organizations.

The spokesman for the Ukrainian SSR said that, in order to reach an equitable settlement of the conflict, Israel had to end its illegal occupation of the territories and withdraw its armed forces, the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and an independent State had to be recognized, and the independence and security of all States of the region had to be ensured and, if necessary, backed by international guarantees. The international community had to intensify its efforts to overcome the problems. To that end, the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East should be convened as soon as possible, with the participation of all the parties concerned, including PLO.

According to the spokesman for Albania, the Israeli invaders would not have been able to prolong their occupation of the Arab lands had it not been for the support of the United States imperialists and United States military and financial aid. The Zionist circles of Israel were also receiving assistance from the Soviet social-imperialists who, in all their demagogy, pretended to be the friends and protectors of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples and, with their hegemonistic and expansionist policy in the Middle East, were further encouraging the Israeli aggressors in the implementation of their anti-Arab policy. Through their intrigues against the Arab peoples, and by allowing an ever greater number of Jews to emigrate from the USSR to Israel, the Soviet social-imperialists were helping the Israeli authorities to reinforce their war machine. The Zionists were thus using to their own advantage the rivalry between the two super-powers - the United States and the Soviet Union - which, through the so-called peaceful negotiations which they wished to impose at the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East, were working to force the Arab peoples to accept the Israeli occupation and their own hegemonistic rule in the region.

Following the voting, the Canadian representative said that Canada, as a signatory to the fourth Geneva Convention, took its application very seriously; it had stated on many occasions that it believed that the Convention did apply to the territories occupied by Israel. However, Canada considered that allegations that Israel was guilty of unspecified "grave breaches" of the Convention had not been proved.

The Japanese representative said that her country believed that the problems in the occupied territories were owing to their continuous occupation by Israel since 1967, and that Israel should withdraw from them. The Japanese Government was opposed to human rights violations in the territories and appealed to the Government of Israel scrupulously to apply the fourth Geneva Convention and refrain from any measure incompatible with its provisions.

The representative of the United States said that her Government had voted against resolution 32/91 C because it believed that it contained allegations which had not been adequately verified. The report on which the resolution was based presented a selective version of conditions in the occupied territories and drew extensively on questionable sources of information. Her country had voted in favour of resolution 32/91 A since it had long held that the fourth Geneva Convention applied throughout the territories occupied since 1967. It had abstained on resolution 32/91 - concerning Quneitra - because it believed that the question of compensation was one which had to be addressed by the parties in the context of a final settlement, and that it should not be prejudged by the Special Political Committee.

The representative of Finland said it was most regrettable that the Special Committee could not have been established in a way that would have created better conditions for it to discharge its humanitarian mandate. Finland also deplored the continued refusal of Israel to allow the Special Committee access to the occupied territories.

In a letter dated 9 December, the representative of Israel informed the Secretary-General that a delegation from ICRC had recently visited Israel to make contact with the new Government. Following the visit, the spokesman of the Israel Defence Forces announced a substantial extension of the arrangements for visits by ICRC delegates to security detainees in the territories. According to the new arrangements, the military government authorities would notify ICRC of the arrest of security detainees within 14 days of their arrest and an ICRC delegate would be entitled to visit without witnesses every such detainee within that period in order to ascertain his health. After the visit, if the ICRC delegate so requested, the detainee could promptly be examined without witnesses by a Red Cross physician. Agreement had been reached as to visits in special circumstances within less than 14 days from the arrest. A parallel statement was published by ICRC in Geneva on 6 December, the letter added.

It went on to state that although Israel did not consider that the fourth Geneva Convention was applicable to the territories, in practice it applied all the humanitarian provisions contained in it, and the representatives of ICRC were accorded all the rights and privileges provided for under it. It was emphasized that the new arrangements were in line with the Israeli Government's policy of allowing complete and free access to the territories and that the Israeli administration in the territories was willing and capable of operating under the full exposure of international opinion. It was hoped that the unusual and unprecedented step of allowing Red Cross delegates, accompanied, if necessary, by a Red Cross doctor, to visit detainees during the initial period of interrogation would go a long way towards quashing once and for all the empty allegations of Arab propaganda which had been raised again in the course of the current session of the General Assembly.


Questions concerning Israeli measures
in occupied Arab territories

Communications

During 1977, the President of the Security Council and the Secretary-General received a number of communications concerning measures taken by Israel in the occupied Arab territories which involved the establishment of settlements and the application of Israeli laws to those territories.

By a letter dated 17 February 1977, the representative of Egypt transmitted the text of a statement issue on 16 February by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt in which it was charged that a belt of settlements, including a city called Yamit, was being established by Israel in the north-eastern part of the Sinai, that the World Zionist Organization, which supervised the establishment of such settlements, had asked the Israeli Government for permission to establish 15 new villages in addition to those previously established, and that more than 1,500 Arab families had been evicted from their homes.

The statement added that Israel was resorting to such a policy in spite of the unanimous decision of the Security Council of 11 November 1976 26/ deploring such measures and demanding their immediate cessation.

By a letter dated 29 July, the representative of Oman, on behalf of the Arab group of Member States, stated that on 26 July Israel had legalized three Jewish settlements in the occupied Arab territory near the towns of Kafr Kaddum, Khan Al-Ahmar and Ramallah. That latest measure in Israel's persistent policy of expansion and colonization, he said, violated the Charter of the United Nations, the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and numerous resolutions and decisions of the Security Council. It aggravated further an already explosive situation, the letter said.

By a letter dated 17 August, the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, transmitted the text of a declaration by his Government concerning recent measures taken by the Israeli Government in the occupied Arab territories, whereby it had announced that Israeli laws and regulations would be imposed on the population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Syrian Arab Republic considered these measures to be no less than a deliberate move to legitimize the occupation and to pave the way for proclaiming the final annexation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by the Zionist entity.

By a letter dated 19 August, the representative of Iraq said that in pursuance of its policy of annexation and expansion the Israeli Government had declared that it was enforcing its laws in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. That step was a flagrant violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, the 1949 Conventions and relevant United Nations resolutions. He annexed to his letter a message from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to the United Nations Secretary-General, asking him to interfere in order to put an end to such aggressive actions by Israel.

As current Chairman of the Arab group, he requested that the Security Council assume its responsibility in maintaining peace and security by taking immediate action to stop the illegal measures, which represented yet another step in the systematic Israeli aggressive policy against the Palestinian people.

By a letter dated 25 August, addressed to the Secretary-General, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt requested the inclusion in the agenda of the General Assembly's thirty-second (1977) session of an item entitled Recent illegal Israeli measures in the occupied Arab territories designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of those territories in contravention of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, of Israel's international obligations under the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and of United Nations resolutions, and obstruction of efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

In an explanatory memorandum accompanying the request, Egypt said that the Israeli Government had recently begun to escalate its policy of changing the geographical nature, demographic composition and legal status of the Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967. One manifestation had been the announcement by the Israeli authorities of their approval of the creation of additional settlements in the West Bank of Jordan, namely Hal Odmim near Jericho, Ofra near Ramallah and Elon Souria on the road to Nablus. Another was their authorization of the establishment of more settlements in the Arab territories under Israeli occupation and their decision to extend the application of Israeli laws and regulations to Arab areas in the occupied territories.

In the view of the Egyptian Government, the measures constituted a dangerous escalation of Israel's violation of its international obligations, an aggression against the rights of the Palestinian people and an insistence on placing further obstacles on the road to peace, while undermining international efforts currently under way to reach a peaceful and just solution. They represented a flagrant defiance of the will of the international community, and they contravened those principles of the United Nations Charter that protected the sovereign rights and territorial integrity of all States, established the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territories by force and provided for the right to self-determination and freedom for all peoples. They also violated the provisions of the fourth 1949 Geneva Convention affirming - in letter and spirit - that occupation was a situation of a temporary character which prohibited the occupying power from effecting any radical changes in prevailing conditions and which in no way permitted the alienation of any occupied lands.

The memorandum went on to state that Israel had rejected all the relevant United Nations resolutions and refused to respect the provisions or even the very applicability of the fourth Geneva Convention, despite its accession to that Convention and regardless of resolutions of the international community unanimously confirming its applicability and the need to respect it. As a result, the situation had become so dangerous as to have direct repercussions on the international scene, especially on the situation in the Middle East. The Israeli measures were a serious development revealing Israeli intentions to obstruct and reject peace, it stated.

By a letter dated 26 August, the representative of Cyprus transmitted the text of a statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cyprus condemning the new arbitrary and unlawful act of Israel on the western bank of the Jordan River. The policy of creating faits accomplis through the establishment of Israeli settlements and the alteration of the composition of the population ran counter to fundamental norms of justice and United Nations decisions. The Government of Cyprus did not recognize the unlawful régime for whose creation on the occupied western bank of the Jordan River efforts were being made. The situation was parallel to what was happening in Cyprus, the statement added, where Turkey, through its army of occupation, was systematically colonizing the occupied area by massive settlements from Turkey.

By a letter dated 6 September, the representative of Jordan transmitted the text of a memorandum issued by the Jordanian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs concerning the Israeli Governments decision, on 14 August 1977, regarding what Israel called the equalization of public services of the inhabitants of the occupied territories with those of the citizens of Israel. The memorandum noted that Israel denied that the decision had any political overtones, and Israeli spokesmen had concentrated on its humanitarian aspects.

In Jordan's view, the consequences of enforcing this decision would involve the following political goals.

(1) The application and enforcement of Israeli laws in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip concerning health, education, water, electricity and communications, including telephone services, meant that Israeli law was to replace Jordanian law concerning those services in the West Bank, including the application of the Israeli education programme.

(2) Deprivation of the powers of the municipalities to provide services to the inhabitants, especially in the areas of water and electricity, meant instant transfer of powers to military governors to connect cities and villages of the West Bank and Gaza with the Israeli network of water and electricity. This also meant stripping the municipalities of their powers to provide other services.

(3) The liquidation of refugee camps by forcibly transferring the refugees to nearby civilian centres represented unilateral action by the occupation authorities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in stark violation of the inalienable rights of the Palestine refugees to exercise their choice of repatriation or compensation under United Nations resolutions.

(4) The restriction of the decision of the equalization of services to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, leaving out Sinai and Golan, showed that Menachem Begins Government considered the Bank and the Strip to be parts of the Land of Israel, to which Israeli laws could be applied without Knesset approval.

(5) The decision could be considered as a first step towards final annexation of the West Bank and Gaza to Israel.

(6) In the event of the continued application of these measures, Israeli annexation of the occupied areas would undercut Jordanian legal status under international law or the Palestine Liberation Organization regarding the West Bank and Gaza, not to mention creating a new fait accompli of Israeli presence in these areas. It was not, the memorandum said, a question of the presence of occupation as such, but a question of creeping annexation by Israel by means of its laws, regulations and services.

By a letter dated 30 September, the representative of Sri Lanka transmitted the text of a declaration, adopted on the same day by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries at an extraordinary meeting in New York, stating, among other things, that the Ministers considered that the latest measures taken by Israel in the occupied territories - the extension of Israeli laws and the establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza - constituted an obstacle to the endeavours for the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

By a letter dated 5 October, the representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, in his capacity as current chairman of the Islamic group of States, transmitted the text of the final communiqué of an extraordinary meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Conference, held in New York on 3 October, which condemned Israel for taking illegal measures in the occupied territories with the objective of changing their character, and reaffirmed that the continued occupation of Arab territories by force constituted a threat to international peace and security.

By a note verbale dated 26 October, the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, in his capacity as current Chairman of the Arab group of States, transmitted the text of two notes, dated 17 and 21 September 1977, addressed to the Secretary-General by a number of citizens in the occupied Arab territories, in which they proclaimed that PLO was the sole legitimate representative of the Arab people of Palestine, rejected any trusteeship or mandate, affirmed their right to a homeland and independent national State, and demanded complete Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied territories in accordance with Untied Nations decisions and resolutions.


Consideration by General Assembly

The General Assembly considered the item concerning recent illegal Israeli measures in the occupied Arab territories at meetings held between 26 and 28 October 1977. At the conclusion of its discussion it adopted a resolution (32/5) sponsored by 74 members.

Speaking in the discussion, the representative of Egypt said his country had requested consideration of the item in view of the serious situation resulting from the latest Israeli measures in the occupied territories. The United Nations, he said, together with its various agencies, had in recent years been fully aware of the magnitude of Israel's scheme, which aimed at imposing occupation and distorting the legal status, the geographical nature and demographic composition of the occupied Arab territories, and had unequivocally condemned it. The United Nations had, he noted, unanimously agreed that the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 applied to all the occupied Arab territories, and that had been reaffirmed many times.

He said it was well known that the current Israeli Government did all it could to encourage Israeli colonization in the occupied territories, abetted by extremist movements such as the Gush Emunim movement, which called for the expulsion of Arab inhabitants and which believed that Israelis had a sacred right to what they called all the Land of Israel. According to them, sooner or later the Arab problem would become insignificant. He recalled that the plan of setting up Israeli settlements had begun in the aftermath of the 1967 war; the number of settlements had reached 90, 25 of which were on the Golan Heights, 22 in the Gaza Strip and Sinai and 36 in the West Bank. Dozens of settlements were being planned for. In Arab Jerusalem, tens of thousands of immigrants and people attracted to Israel had been settled following the destruction by the Israeli authorities of dozens of Arab homes in the city and the expulsion of their inhabitants.

The representative of Egypt then referred to the fourth 1949 Geneva Convention, to which Israel was a party, and said that the Israeli Government had refused to apply it to the occupied territories, even though the provisions were explicit: article 49 stipulated that individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country were prohibited, regardless of motive. The article further stated that the occupying power should not deport or transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupied. With respect to Israel's decision to apply its laws and regulations to the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories, which was also prohibited by United Nations resolutions and by the fourth Geneva Convention, he said it was a clear indication of Israel's intention to annex those territories.

The representative of Israel said that for 19 years, from 1948 to 1967, Israel was not building settlements in Gaza, the Sinai and the West Bank because Israel was not there. For 19 years, Egypt oppressed the people of Gaza, and Jordan suppressed and gaoled the people of the West Bank. In contrast to the severe restrictions of Egyptian and Jordanian rule, there was currently no curfew in the administered areas; the Arabs in the territories administered by Israel enjoyed freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of movement. It was against that background of prosperity, co-operation and respect for freedoms and human rights that Israel's establishment of settlements had to be considered.

He went on to say that Israel could not be considered an occupying power within the meaning of the fourth Geneva Convention in any part of the former Palestine Mandate. That Convention was intended for short-term military occupation and was not relevant to the sui generis situation in the area. The purpose of Article 49 was to protect the local population from deportation and displacement. No Arab inhabitants had been displaced by Jewish settlements or by villages and townships, he insisted. The majority of the settlements had been set up on Government and public land which had been barren, rock-strewn hillsides and deserts for centuries. In the very few instances where private land was involved, it was acquired for public purposes in accordance with Jordanian law and against full compensation.

The representative of Israel said there was no connexion between progress towards a Middle East peace agreement and the establishment of settlements. The settlement issue was simply a device to cover up for the stubborn refusal of the Arab States to negotiate with Israel, whose destruction many of them sought.

The representative of Jordan said that the designation by Israeli Prime Minister Begin of the occupied territories as liberated territories implied that the legitimate inhabitants of those territories, who had lived there for 10,000 years, were strangers in their own homeland. Never in recorded history until 1948 had the Palestinian inhabitants left or been forced to leave their land. Even during the short period of Israeli hegemony some 3,000 years ago, there had never been a monolithic Israeli presence in the West Bank, which the Israelis now claimed as their exclusive ancestral land. Mr. Begin, he noted, had not set foot in the country before 1942.

Many speakers in the discussion deplored the timing of the Israeli measures, affirmed that the fourth Geneva Convention applied to the occupied Arab territories and condemned the settlement policy as illegal and as a preliminary to annexation.

The representative of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the nine member countries of the European Community, said that the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 applied to all the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. As to the establishment of settlements and all other measures taken by Israel which violated the physical and demographic status of the occupied territories, they were illegal and contrary to the norms of international law. Moreover, establishing settlements would complicate the negotiating process. The European Community had informed Israel of its position and it was regrettable that Israel still pursued that policy.

The representative of China said that over the past three decades Israeli Zionists had occupied large portions of Arab territories through one aggressive war after another. Todate, it not only refused to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories but brazenly and absurdly declared that they were liberated Israeli lands and that the question of annexation did not exist. Statements made by Israeli leaders indicated that Israeli Zionism would never withdraw from those territories of its own accord, nor would it ever give up its policies of aggression and expansion. The root cause of non-settlement of the Middle East problem lay in the rivalry between the two super-powers. The handful of Zionists were emboldened to do all kinds of evil and persisted in making themselves the enemy of the Arab people because they had the backing of the two super-powers in different forms.

The representative of the USSR said that the illegal measures by Israel were a major facet of the Middle East conflict - one of the most dangerous focal points of tension in the world. Israel's representatives, he noted, had expressed Israel's desire for peace, but he wondered how much credence could be given to those statements when there was ample evidence of a systematic Israelization of the occupied Arab territories in gross violation of the fourth Geneva Convention. Israel's refusal to withdraw from the territories and the measures it had taken to annex them gave rise to grave concern and alarm among those genuinely interested in establishing a just peace in the Middle East, he declared.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic and others deplored the position taken by Israeli leaders that the West Bank and Gaza Strip were not occupied, but liberated, territories, lands belonging to the Jews according to history and the Old Testament.

The Maltese representative said that world opinion was in disagreement with the demographic changes in the occupied territories, which had been described by the most lenient critics as unfortunate and untimely and as not helping the serious efforts aimed at a Geneva peace conference. Suspicion was generated not only by the inherent characteristics of each single act of illegal settlement but also by the cumulative effect of several actions. It was one thing to say that settlements were no obstacle to peace, and another to refer to the occupied areas being established as Judaea and Samaria, dropping any reference to occupied Arab lands, calling them liberated territories and even issuing instructions to news editors to stop calling the West Bank an occupied territory. Such measures, he said, were viewed with suspicion even by Israel's most ardent sympathizers.

A number of speakers expressed concern over the situation of Jerusalem, citing various measures taken by Israel which tended to modify the character of the Holy City. The representative of Kuwait said that Jerusalem had been officially and defiantly annexed: there was annexation in Jerusalem and in the ring of territory surrounding the City. The representative of Argentina said his country understood the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people and religion, but it was equally important to Christians and Moslems. There was a very special convergence of a plurality of historic and religious rights in Jerusalem and it was the duty of all to ensure its protection by a special status guaranteed by an international legal instrument. He recalled that the need to preserve the city from any attempt to change that special status was recognized by the Security Council on 25 September 1971 when it adopted resolution 298 (1971), 27/ by which it confirmed earlier United Nations decisions on the invalidity of any legislative and administrative measures adopted for the purpose of changing the status of Jerusalem.

Similar views were expressed by the spokesmen for Malaysia, Mali and Mauritania.

On 28 October, the Assembly adopted as resolution 32/5 a draft text that had been introduced at the beginning of the debate by Egypt and eventually sponsored by 74 countries. The vote, by roll-call, was 131 in favour to 1 against, with 7 abstentions.

By the preamble to this text, the Assembly expressed concern over the current serious situation in the occupied Arab territories as a result of the continued Israeli occupation and the measures and actions taken by Israel as the occupying power and designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of those territories. It considered that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, was applicable to all the Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967.

By the operative provisions of the resolution, the Assembly:

(1) determined that all such measures and actions taken by Israel in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 had no legal validity and constituted a serious obstruction of efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

(2) strongly deplored the persistence of Israel in carrying out such measures, in particular the establishment of settlements in the occupied Arab territories;

(3) called on Israel to comply strictly with its international obligations in accordance with the principles of international law and the provisions of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949;

(4) called once more on the Government of Israel as the occupying power to desist forthwith from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status, geographical nature or demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;

(5) urged all States parties to the fourth Geneva Convention to ensure respect for and compliance with its provisions in all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

(6) requested the Secretary-General (a) to undertake urgent contacts with the Government of Israel to ensure the prompt implementation of this resolution; and (b) to submit a report to the General Assembly and the Security Council, not later than 31 December 1977, on the results of his contacts; and

(7) requested the Security Council to review the situation in the light of this resolution and of the report of the Secretary-General.

(For text of resolution 32/5, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

Following the vote, the representative of the United States said that the issue of Israeli civilian settlements in the territories occupied since 1967 had been a matter of deep concern to his Government, which had stated its position on many occasions. That position had two elements.

First, the United States was opposed to the settlements because they could be perceived as prejudging the outcome of negotiations to deal with the territorial aspects of final peace treaties and would thus complicate the difficult process of negotiation. Second, he said, the United States believed that the settlements were inconsistent with international law as defined in the fourth Geneva Convention. Its position as stated in the Security Council in 1976 was that an occupier had to maintain the occupied areas as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area; any changes had to be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation and be consistent with international law. According to Article 49 of the Convention, the occupying power was not to deport or transfer parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupied. It was thus clear that substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, was illegal under the Convention.

The United States representative went on to say that the resolution just adopted was consistent in most aspects with the United States position. However, the United States had accepted a special responsibility as Co-Chairman of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East, requiring it to remain impartial when the complex issues to be considered at Geneva were involved. The United States had therefore abstained from voting.


Report of the Secretary-General

On 30 December 1977, the Secretary-General submitted the report requested by the Assembly in its resolution 32/5 of 28 October. Included in the report was the text of his note requesting that the Government of Israel provide him with all available information relevant to the implementation of the resolution, and the reply received from the representative of Israel, stating that Israel's position and views had been explained in detail in plenary meetings of the General Assembly on 26 and 28 October 1977.


Permanent sovereignty over national resources

By a decision adopted on 21 December 1976, 28/ the General Assembly among other things had reaffirmed the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories were under Israeli occupation to regain full and effective control over their natural and all other resources and economic activities, as well as the right to restitution and full compensation for the exploitation, loss and depletion of, and damage to, those resources and activities. The Assembly had asked the Secretary-General to submit a final comprehensive report on the adverse effects on the Arab States and peoples resulting from repeated Israeli aggression and continued occupation of their territories.

In response to that request, the Secretary-General on 11 October 1977 submitted a report to the Assembly. He noted that the study had originally been defined to relate to the economic effects of the Arab-Israeli conflict of June 1967 and its aftermath on Egypt, the Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon and Jordan and on the Arab peoples encompassed in the boundaries of those States in the relevant period. In the absence of a response on the part of Lebanon to the Secretary-General's approaches and because of subsequent events in that country, it had not been possible to include Lebanon in the study. Furthermore, in the absence of facilities to visit the occupied areas, there had been no opportunity for a first-hand study of the economic conditions in those areas. No reliable information was available to the Arab countries themselves concerning the magnitude of many of the losses and disabilities suffered in the occupied territories, nor was there any possibility of such material becoming available in the near future.

The report, using material prepared by Governments and assessed by means of micro- and macro-economic approaches analysed in detail the economic effects of the 1967 conflict and its aftermath on Egypt, the Syrian Arab Republic, Jordan and the occupied territories, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Consideration was mainly confined to capital and income losses, including personal, corporate and public losses.

Annexed to the report was a list of official reports and submissions by Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic; the list also included a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) entitled The Impact of the Suez Canal Closure on Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

In a note verbale dated 29 November 1977 addressed to the Secretary-General, the representative of Egypt pointed out that the Secretary-General's report did not cover all losses suffered by Egypt as a result of continued occupation of Egyptian territories.

The following examples of losses were given: losses incurred before the June 1967 aggression, including those resulting from the Israeli campaign of 1956 in Sinai; damage caused to Egyptian property in the Gaza Strip; losses incurred in Sinai resulting from excessive reduction in exploitable oil reserves due to exceptionally high rates of exploitation of the oil wells during occupation; civilian and military human losses, not measurable in monetary terms; the consequences of material military losses, including repayment of military debts which constituted a heavy burden on the Egyptian economy; the loss of and damage to items of national, religious and cultural heritage, such as ancient mosques and monuments, particularly in the devastated Suez Canal Zone, which could not be evaluated in monetary terms; and losses incurred by certain segments in the private sector, including those of retail trade, crafts, small industries and the traditional farming sectors.

On 19 December, the General Assembly adopted, by a recorded vote of 109 to 3, with 26 abstentions, resolution 32/161; it was recommended by the Assembly's Second (Economic and Financial) Committee, which had approved it on 8 December by a roll-call vote of 98 to 3, with 24 abstentions, as proposed by 52 members.

By this resolution, the Assembly, after among other things recalling its previous decisions on the matter, took note of the Secretary-General's report and noted that, owing to certain technical and other limitations, the report did not cover all pertinent losses, such as: (a) the adverse economic effects extending beyond the year 1975; (b) losses in the Arab territories still under Israeli occupation; (c) human and military losses; (d) the loss of and damage to items of national, religious and cultural heritage; (e) losses in the traditional sectors, including the retail trading, small industries and farming sectors; and (f) the full impact on the development process of the Arab States, territories and peoples subjected to Israeli aggression and occupation.

The Assembly by this resolution emphasized the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories were under Israeli occupation to full and effective permanent sovereignty and control over their natural and all other resources, wealth and economic activities. It reaffirmed that all measures undertaken by Israel to exploit the resources, wealth and economic activities in the occupied Arab territories were illegal, and called upon Israel immediately to desist from all such measures.

The Assembly further reaffirmed the right of the Arab States and peoples subjected to Israeli aggression and occupation to the restitution of, and full compensation for the exploitation, depletion and loss of and damage to, their natural, human and all other resources, wealth and economic activities, and called upon Israel to meet their just claims. All States were called on to support and assist the Arab States and peoples in the exercise of the above-mentioned rights, and all States, international organizations, specialized agencies, investment corporations and other institutions were called on not to recognize or assist in any measure undertaken by Israel to exploit the resources of the occupied territories or to effect any changes in the demographic composition, geographical character or institutional structure of those territories.

(For text of resolution 32/161, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below).

During the discussion in the Second Committee, the representative of Pakistan noted, in introducing the 52-power text, that it represented the culmination of an exercise begun some years earlier.

The representative of the USSR said that the Secretary-General's report gave eloquent testimony to the losses sustained by Arab States as a result of Israeli aggression and subsequent occupation of Arab territories, and to Israel's gross violation of universally recognized international instruments. As a result of Israel's continuing illegal occupation of Arab territories and its exploitation of their human, natural and other resources, enormous damage had been caused to the economies of the Arab States. The representative of the German Democratic Republic said that Israel had to comply with United Nations requests to put an immediate end to its illegal exploitation of resources in the Arab territories.

The United States representative said that his Government opposed the resolution, as it had opposed similar resolutions in the past, on the ground that the issue was not an appropriate one for the Second Committee to deal with. The representative of Belgium said that the nine countries of the European Economic Community (EEC) also considered that the subject was not within the competence of the Second Committee.

The spokesman for Israel observed that recent weeks had witnessed dramatic and challenging changes and that, for the first time in more than three decades, there was hope for peace in the Middle East. Members of the Committee, he said, had an opportunity to follow the new trend rather than to maintain the old barriers to peace. He urged them not to raise their hands automatically in favour of any suggested anti-Israeli resolution. Those who sincerely wished to encourage the process which had begun with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's visit to Jerusalem should evaluate each case brought before the Committee on the basis of whether it helped or hindered the chances for peace. He went on to say that, under the pretence of enumerating losses and damage, the report and the resolution actually substituted imagination and speculation for fact. Israel was blamed for almost any damage in the region. Within a framework of peace, he said, there would be ample room to discuss all the economic claims and counter-claims relevant to the conflict.

The representative of Jordan said that the resolution would promote peace and was not a barrier to it. The Egyptian representative drew attention to her Government's note verbale concerning the report of the Secretary-General and said that portions of the study had been carried out by the Egyptian Institute of National Planning and there was no question of facts having been replaced by imagination. The document was very factual and the extent of Egypt's suffering was clear. For instance, she said, the closure of the Suez Canal had cost it $10,000 million and the effect of the situation on its gross national product amounted to about $70,000 million.



Living conditions of the Palestinian people

A report on living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories was submitted by the Secretary-General on 4 October 1977 to the General Assembly's 1977 regular session, as requested by the Assembly on 16 December 1976. 29/ In preparing the report, the Secretary-General was to consult and co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Governments were urged to co-operate with him in the matter.

In the report, the Secretary-General noted that since the United Nations Secretariat had no independent source of information about the occupied territories, it would have to look to the Governments and organizations concerned to provide the necessary information. Accordingly, notes verbales were sent on 16 May and 21 July 1977 to the Permanent Missions of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as to the Permanent Observer of PLO, requesting such information as might be made available on the subject.

Information for the report was also requested from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ECWA), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and from the Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.

Replies were received from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic, ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, ECWA and UNRWA. These were appended to the report or - in the case of the replies from Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic - circulated separately. No information was made available by PLO, except for a note included in the FAO reply. The Chairman of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices referred to the 1977 report of the Special Committee submitted to the General Assembly (see p. 306).

On 19 December, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (32/171) on living conditions of the Palestinian people, by a recorded vote of 107 to 4, with 28 abstentions, on the recommendation of its Second Committee which had approved the text on 9 December by a recorded vote of 95 to 4, with 24 abstentions, on a proposal by 36 States.

By the operative provisions of this text, the Assembly took note of the report of the Secretary-General and expressed the view that there was need for further analysis. It therefore asked him, in collaboration with the relevant United Nations organs and specialized agencies particularly UNRWA and ECWA, to prepare and submit to the Assembly at its regular 1978 session a comprehensive and analytical report on the social and economic impact of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. The Secretary-General was asked, in preparing the report, to consult and co-operate with PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people. All States were urged to co-operate with the Secretary-General in the preparation of the report.

(For text of resolution 32/171, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

Introducing the draft resolution in the Second Committee, the representative of Pakistan observed that, since the report of the Secretary-General was based entirely on replies received from Governments and international organizations, drew no conclusions and did not analyse the replies or suggest any course of action, there was a need for further analysis in order to meet fully the objectives of the Assembly's resolution of 16 December 1976.

The United States representative said that his Government regretted the injection of highly controversial political issues into bodies concerned with economic and technical matters, and could not support the resolution. Similarly, the spokesman for Belgium, speaking on behalf of the States members of EEC, said that those countries believed that the question at issue did not come within the terms of reference of the Second Committee.

The Chinese representative said that his Government and people had always deeply sympathized with the plight of the Palestinian people living under the domination of the Israeli aggressors. They strongly condemned Israeli Zionism because of the atrocities it had perpetrated in the occupied territories as well as the outrageous practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank in an attempt to perpetuate its occupation of Arab territory.

The representative of Israel said that his Government had invested over $2,300 million in the territories between 1968 and 1975. There was virtually no unemployment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and there was absolutely no discrimination between Arab and Jewish employees. The standard of living was rising and agricultural output had increased by 20 per cent a year in real terms since 1967. There were high health and sanitary standards, infant and adult mortality rates had fallen, and health services had greatly expanded. The Palestinian Arabs in the administered areas lived in security, enjoyed prosperity and economic growth and had a high standard of social services. It was therefore absurd to talk of the problem of the "living conditions" of the Palestinian Arabs.

He went on to say that if it adopted the draft resolution the Committee would forfeit the possibility of making any contribution to the success of the new peace initiatives and would defeat its own purpose.

The spokesman for the Syrian Arab Republic said his country supported the draft resolution because of the conditions prevailing under Israeli occupation. The sufferings of the Palestinian people had to be ended; peace in the Middle East could not be established without taking the Palestinian people into account.

The observer of PLO said there could be no doubt that all peoples wished for peace; the question was how peace was to be established in the Middle East, where it could be readily obtained were it not for the occupation of Arab lands and the aggression of Zionist forces. The Zionists did not recognize the rights of the Palestinian people. They spoke much of peace, but did nothing about it, hoping to perpetuate their domination in the name of peace and security. In the view of his organization, there could be no peace in the Middle East until the rights of the Palestinian people were recognized; PLO had chosen the only way open to it to struggle for the establishment of lasting peace and a pluralist, secular and democratic Palestinian State. In the absence of peace, he said, it was the Palestinians who suffered most; despite all claims to the contrary, their situation in terms of health and housing had become worse. The current talk of peace was no more than an attempt to cover up the true situation, and PLO looked to the international community for help to relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people.

The representative of Democratic Yemen recalled that the question of preparing a report on the living conditions of the Palestinian people had been discussed at Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, in 1976, and such a report was long overdue. The claim that the subject had political connotations was very weak. It was said that the resolution would obstruct efforts to secure peace; yet no just and lasting peace could be established in the Middle East unless certain essential human principles were recognized. Any attempts to establish peace which disregarded those basic human principles would be doomed to failure, he said. Unfortunately, certain countries refused to condemn occupation by force and denial of the right to self-determination of peoples. The arrogant claim that the Palestinian Arabs enjoyed progress and prosperity under occupation and colonialism constituted an attempt to misrepresent the situation and perpetuate that occupation and aggression.


Other decisions

Assistance to the Palestinian people

In response to a resolution adopted by the Economic and Social Council on 4 August 1976, 30/ the Secretary-General on 22 June 1977 submitted a report on action taken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Economic Commission for Western Asia and other agencies and programmes of the United Nations system on the intensification of their efforts to identify the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people. The organizations had also been asked by the Council to consult and co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organization in establishing and implementing concrete projects to ensure the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people.

In his report, the Secretary-General included information received from UNDP and ECWA, as well as from ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and UNCTAD.

On 3 August 1977, the Economic and Social Council adopted resolution 2100 (LXIII) by which, among other things, it:

(1) called once more on UNDP, the specialized agencies and other organizations within the United Nations system to continue and to intensify, as a matter of urgency and in co-ordination with ECWA, their efforts in identifying the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people;

(2) urged those agencies and organizations to consult and co-operate closely with PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people, with a view to establishing and fully implementing concrete projects to ensure the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinians;

(3) called on agencies and organizations within the United Nations system that had not taken the necessary action in conformity with the Council's resolution of 4 August 1976 to do so as a matter of priority;

(4) urged the executive heads of the organizations and agencies concerned to formulate and submit to their respective governing and/or legislative bodies concrete proposals for ensuring, in co-operation with PLO, the effective implementation of provisions of this resolution; and

(5) requested the Secretary-General to submit annual reports to the Council on the action taken by the agencies and organizations concerned and the results achieved.

The resolution was adopted by a roll-call vote of 34 to 1, with 11 abstentions, as recommended by the Council's Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee, which had approved it on 21 July by a roll-call vote of 31 to 1, with 11 abstentions. The text was put forward by Yugoslavia on behalf of States members of the Council belonging to the "Group of 77" developing countries.

(For text of resolution 2100 (LXIII) and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)


Importance of universal realization
of the right to self-determination

On 7 November 1977, the General Assembly adopted resolution 32/14 by which, among other things, it expressed indignation at the continued violations of the human rights of peoples still under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, and the denial to the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights. The Assembly strongly condemned Governments which did not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of all peoples still under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people. (For details, see p. 703.)

Documentary references

Treatment or civilian population
in the Israeli-occupied territories

REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE IN 1977
A/32/284. Report of Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights at Population of Occupied Territories. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report).
A/32/308. Report of Secretary-General.

COMMUNICATIONS
S/12332. Letter of 23 May from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (annexing letter of 19 May 1977 from PLO).
S/12356 (A/32/132). Letter of 30 June from Sudan (transmitting article and editorial published in The Sunday Time (London) of 19 June 1977).
S/12378. Note verbale of 10 August from Jordan (transmitting report on situation in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem).
S/12379 (A/32/148). Note by Secretary-General, dated 11 August (transmitting text of Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1 A and B (XXXIII) of 15 February 1977).
S/12396 (A/32/210). Letter of 6 September from Jordan (transmitting memorandum issued on 22 August 1977).
S/12428 (A/32/311). Note verbale of 20 October from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting telegram by religious leaders of Jordan.

CONSIDERATION BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY

General Assembly - 32nd session
Special Political Committee, meetings 23, 24, 26-34, 36, 37.
Fifth Committee, meeting 60.
Plenary meeting 101.

A/32/2. Report of Security Council, 16 June 1976-15 June 1977. Chapter 1 C.
A/32/18. Report of Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination on its 15th (Vienna, Austria, 28 March-14 April 1977) and 16th (Headquarters, New York, 1 -19 August 1977) sessions, Chapters IV, VIII A (decision 1 (XV)) and VIII B (decision 1 (XVI)).
A/32/132 (S/12356). Letter of 30 June from Sudan (transmitting article and editorial published in The Sunday Times (London) of 19 June 1977).
A/32/148 (S/12379). Note by Secretary-General, dated 11 August (transmitting text of Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1 A and B (XXXIII) of 15 February 1977).
A/32/155. Letter of 29 July from Oman.
A/32/173 (also issued as S/12386, except Annex). Letter of 19 August from Iraq (annexing letter of 15 August 1977 from Secretary-General of League of Arab States).
A/32/176 (S/12384). Note verbale of 17 August from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting official declaration of 16 August 1977).
A/32/192 (S/12388). Letter of 26 August from Cyprus.
A/32/210 (S/12396). Letter of 6 September from Jordan (transmitting memorandum issued on 22 August 1977).
A/32/225. Note verbale of 19 September from Egypt.
A/32/284. Report of Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of Population of Occupied Territories. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report).
A/32/308. Report of Secretary-General.
A/32/311 (S/12428). Note verbale of 20 October from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting telegram by religious leaders of Jordan).
A/32/429. Letter of 9 December from Israel.
A/SPC/32/L.12. Letter of 7 November from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting records of testimony of journalists of The Sunday Times (London) before Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of Population of Occupied Territories, Geneva, 6 and 7 September 1977).
A/SPC/32/L.13. Letter of 15 November from Israel (transmitting excerpts from briefing on 21 July 1977 by Attorney-General of Israel; and article published in Jerusalem Post on 28 October 1977).
A/SPC/32/L.14. Bangladesh, Chad, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 29 November 1977, meeting 36, by roll-call vote of 114 to 1, as follows:

Against: Israel.

A/32/407. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution A.

Resolution 32/91 A, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/407, adopted by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 132 to 1, with 1 abstention, as follows:

Against: Israel.

Abstaining: Malawi.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3092 A (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, 3240 B (XXIX) of 29 November 1974, 3525 B (XXX) of 15 December 1975 and 31/106 B of 16 December 1976,

Considering that the promotion of respect for the obligations arising from the Charter of the United Nations and other instruments and rules of international law is among the basic purposes and principles of the United Nations,

Bearing in mind the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,

Noting that Israel and those Arab States whose territories have been occupied by Israel since June 1967 are parties to that Convention,

Taking into account that States parties to that Convention undertake, in accordance with article 1 thereof, not only to respect but also to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances,

1. Reaffirms that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

2. Strongly deplores the failure of Israel to acknowledge the applicability of that Convention to the territories it has occupied since 1967;

3. Calls again upon Israel to acknowledge and to comply with the provisions of that Convention in all the Arab territories it has occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;

4. Urges once more all States parties to that Convention to exert all efforts in order to ensure respect for and compliance with the provisions thereof in all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem.

A/SPC/32/L.16. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Byelorussian SSR, Comoros, Cuba, German Democratic Republic, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mali, Pakistan, Senegal, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR, Viet Nam: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 29 November 1977, meeting 36, by roll-call vote of 83 to 1, with 33 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel.

A/SPC/32/L.18, A/C.5/32/81. Administrative and financial implications of 15-power draft resolution, A/SPC/32/L.16. Statements by Secretary-General.
A/32/434. Administrative and financial implications of draft resolutions B and C recommended by Special Political Committee in A/32/407. Report of Fifth Committee.
A/32/407. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution B.

Resolution 32/91 B, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/407, adopted by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 96 to 1, with 37 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3240 C (XXIX) of 29 November 1974, 3525 C (XXX) of 15 December 1975 and 31/106 D of 16 December 1976,

Having considered the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, in particular annex II thereof, entitled "Report on damage at Quneitra," a report on the nature, extent and value of damage, submitted by a Swiss expert engaged by the Special Committee,

1. Expresses its appreciation of the thoroughness and impartiality with which the expert engaged by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories discharged the tasks entrusted to him;

2. Condemns the massive, deliberate destruction of Quneitra perpetrated during the Israeli occupation and prior to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from that city in 1974;

3. Reaffirms that the Syrian Arab Republic is entitled to full and adequate compensation, under international law and in equity, for the massive damage and deliberate destruction perpetrated in Quneitra while it was under Israeli occupation, and to all other legal remedies in accordance with applicable international law and practice;

4. Takes note of the statements made by the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic before the Special Political Committee at the thirty-first and thirty-second sessions of the General Assembly to the effect that his Government reserves all rights to full compensation in regard to all damages resulting from Israel's deliberate destruction of Quneitra, including those not covered by the expends above-mentioned report or not falling within the scope of his assignment;

5. Requests the Special Committee to complete its survey on all the aspects referred to in paragraph 4 of the present resolution and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session;

6. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Special Committee with all the facilities required for the completion of the tasks referred to in the previous paragraphs.

A/SPC/32/L.17. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Uganda, Viet Nam: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 29 November 1977, meeting 36, by roll-call vote of 84 to 2, with 30 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel, United States

A/SPC/32/L.19, A/C.5/32/71. Administrative and financial implications of 13-power draft resolution, A/SPC/32/L.17. Statements by Secretary-General.

A/32/434. Administrative and financial implications of draft resolutions B and C recommended by Special Political Committee in A/32/407. Report of the Committee.

A/32/407. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution C.

Resolution 32/91 C, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/407, adopted by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 98 to 2, with 32 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel, United States.

The General Assembly,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations as well as the principles and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Bearing in mind the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, as well as of other relevant conventions and regulations,

Recalling its resolutions on the subject, as well as those adopted by the Security Council, the Commission on Human Rights and other United Nations bodies concerned and by the specialized agencies,

Having considered the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, which contains, inter alia, public statements made by leaders of the Government of Israel,

1. Commends the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it by the General Assembly;

2. Deplores the continued refusal by Israel to allow the Special Committee access to the occupied territories;

3. Calls again upon Israel to allow the Special Committee access to the occupied territories;

4. Deplores the continued and persistent violation by Israel of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and other applicable international instruments, and condemns in particular those violations which that Convention designates as grave breaches thereof;

5. Condemns the following Israeli policies and practices:

(a) The annexation of parts of the occupied territories;

(b) The establishment of Israeli settlements therein and the transfer of an alien population thereto;

(c) The evacuation, deportation, expulsion, displacement and transfer of Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories, and the denial of their right to return;

(d) The confiscation and expropriation of Arab property in the occupied territories and all other transactions for the acquisition of land involving the Israeli authorities, institutions or nationals on the one hand, and the inhabitants or institutions of the occupied territories on the other;

(e) The destruction and demolition of Arab houses;

(f) Mass arrests, administrative detention and ill-treatment of the Arab population;
(g) The ill-treatment and torture of persons under detention;

(h) The pillaging of archaeological and cultural property;

(i) The interference with religious freedoms and practices as well as with family rights and customs;

(j) The illegal exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories;

6. Reaffirms that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the occupied territories, or any part thereof, including Jerusalem, are null and void, and that Israel's policy of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the occupied territories constitutes a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and of the relevant United Nations resolutions;

7. Demands that Israel desist forthwith from the policies and practices referred to in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the present resolution;

8. Reiterates its call upon ail States, in particular those States parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, in accordance with article 1 of that Convention, and upon international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any changes carried out by Israel in the occupied territories and to avoid actions, including those in the field of aid, which might be used by Israel in its pursuit of the policies of annexation and colonization or any of the other policies and practices referred to in the present resolution;

9. Requests the Special Committee, pending the early termination of the Israeli occupation, to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, to consult, as appropriate, with the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to ensure the safeguarding of the welfare and human rights of the population of the occupied territories, and to report to the Secretary-General as soon as possible and whenever the need arises thereafter;

10. Requests the Special Committee to continue to investigate the treatment of civilians in detention in the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967 and to submit to the Secretary-General a special report on that subject as soon as possible and whenever the need arises thereafter;

11. Requests the Secretary-General:

(a) To render all necessary facilities to the Special Committee, including those required for its visits to the occupied
territories, with a view to investigating the Israeli policies and practices referred to in the present resolution;

(b) To continue to make available additional staff as may be necessary to assist the Special Committee in the performance of its tasks;

(c) To ensure the widest circulation of the reports of the Special Committee, and of information regarding its activities and findings, by all means available through the Office of Public Information of the Secretariat and, where necessary, to reprint those reports of the Special Committee which are no longer available;

(d) To report to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session on the tasks entrusted to him in the present paragraph;

12. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its thirty-third session the item entitled Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.

Questions concerning Israeli
measures in occupied Arab territories

COMMUNICATIONS
S/12287. Letter of 17 February from Egypt (transmitting statement issued on 16 February 1977).
S/12384 (A/32/176). Note verbale of 17 August from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting official declaration issued on 16 August 1977).
S/12386 (also issued as A/32/173). Letter of August from Iraq (transmitting message of 15 August 1977 from Secretary-General of League of Arab States (A/32/173, annex)).
S/12388 (A/32/192). Letter of 26 August from Cyprus.
S/12396 (A/32/210). Letter of 6 September from Jordan (transmitting memorandum issued on 22 August 1977).
S/12410 (A/32/255). Letter of 30 September from Sri Lanka (transmitting declaration adopted by Ministers for Foreign Affairs of non-aligned countries at extraordinary meeting, New York, 30 September 1977).
A/32/155. Letter of 29 July from Oman.
A/32/241. Letter of 25 August from Egypt (request for inclusion in agenda of item entitled: "Recent illegal Israeli measures in the occupied Arab territories designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of those territories in contravention of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, of Israel's international obligations under the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and of United Nations resolutions, and obstruction of efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East").
A/32/261. Letter of 5 October from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (transmitting final communiqué of extraordinary meeting of Foreign Ministers of Islamic Conference, New York, 3 October 1977).
A/32/313. Note verbale of 26 October from Syrian Arab Republic (transmitting notes dated 17 and 21 September 1977 to Secretary-General).

CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

General Assembly - 2nd session
General Committee, meeting 1.
Plenary meetings 5, 47-52.

A/32/241. Letter of 25 August from Egypt.
A/32/261. Letter of 5 October from Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
A/32/L.3 and Add.1,2. Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Empire, Chad, Comoros, Cyprus, Democratic Yemen, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, German Democratic Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia: draft resolution.
A/32/L.3/Rev.1 and Rev.1/Add.1,2. Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Empire, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cyprus, Democratic Yemen, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, German Democratic Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia: revised draft resolution.

Resolution 32/5, as proposed by 74 powers, A/32/L.3/Rev.1 and Rev.1 /Add.1,2, adopted by Assembly on 28 October 1977, meeting 52, by roll-call vote of 131 to 1, with 7 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel

*Subsequently Haiti advised the Secretariat that it had intended to abstain.

The General Assembly,

Stressing the urgent need to achieve peace in the Middle East,

Expressing grave anxiety and concern over the present serious situation in the occupied Arab territories as a result of the continued Israeli occupation and the measures and actions taken by the Government of Israel, as the occupying Power, and designed to change the legal status, geographical nature and demographic composition of those territories,

Considering that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967,

1. Determines that all such measures and actions taken by Israel in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction of efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

2. Strongly deplores the persistence of Israel in carrying out such measures, in particular the establishment of settlements in the occupied Arab territories;

3. Calls upon Israel to comply strictly with its international obligations in accordance with the principles of international law and the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949;

4. Calls once more upon the Government of Israel, as the occupying Power, to desist forthwith from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status, geographical nature or demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;

5. Urges all States parties to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War to ensure respect for and compliance with its provisions in all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;

6. Requests the Secretary-General:

(a) To undertake urgent contacts with the Government of Israel to ensure the prompt implementation of the present resolution;

(b) To submit a report to the General Assembly and the Security Council, not later than 31 December 1977, on the results of his contacts;

7. Requests the Security Council to review the situation in the light of the present resolution and of the report at the Secretary General.

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
A/32/49 B (S/12512). Report of Secretary-General.

Permanent sovereignty over national resources

General Assembly - 32nd session
Second Committee, meeting 56.
Plenary meeting 107.

A/32/204. Permanent sovereignty over national resources in occupied Arab territories. Report of Secretary-General.
A/32/398. Note verbale of 29 November from Egypt.
A/C.2/32/L.59. Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Burundi, Central African Empire, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Yemen, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Upper Volta, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia: draft resolution, approved by Second Committee on 8 December 1977, meeting 56, by roll-call vote of 98 to 3, with 24 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Australia, Israel, United States.

A/32/265/Add.3 and Add.3/Corr.1. Report of Second Committee (part IV) (on report of Economic and Social Council), draft resolution VI.

Resolution 32/161, as recommended by Second Committee, A/32/265/Add.3 and Add.3/Corr.1, adopted by Assembly on 19 December 1977, meeting 107, by recorded vote of 109 to 3, with 26 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Australia, Israel, United States.

*Subsequently Uruguay advised the Secretariat that it had intended to abstain.

The General Assembly,

Bearing in mind the relevant principles of international law and the provisions of the international conventions and regulations, in particular the Hague Convention IV of 1907 and the fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949, concerning the obligations and responsibilities of the occupying Power,

Recalling its previous resolutions on permanent sovereignty over natural resources, particularly their provisions supporting resolutely the efforts of the developing countries and the peoples of the territories under colonial and racial domination and foreign occupation in their struggle to regain effective control over their natural and all other resources, wealth and economic activities,

Bearing in mind the pertinent provisions of its resolutions 3201(S-VI) and 3202(S-VI) of 1 May 1974 containing the Declaration and the Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order and 3281 (XXIX) of 12 December 1974 containing the Chaser of Economic Rights and Duties of States,

Recalling further its resolutions 3175 (XXVIII) of 17 December 1973, 3336 (XXIX) of 17 December 1974, 3516 (XXX) of 15 December 1975 and 31/186 of 21 December 1976 on permanent sovereignty over national resources in the occupied Arab territories,

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the adverse economic effects on the Arab States and peoples resuming from repeated Israeli aggression and continued occupation of their territories;

2. Notes that, owing to the time constraint, incomplete coverage and technical and other limitations, the report did not cover all pertinent losses, such as:

(a) The adverse economic effects extending beyond the year 1975;

(b) Losses in the Arab territories still under Israeli occupation;

(c) Human and military losses;

(d) The loss of and damage to items of the national, religious and cultural heritage;

(e) Losses in the traditional sectors, including the retail trading, small industries and farming sectors;

(f) The full impact on the development process of the Arab States, territories and peoples subjected to Israeli aggression and occupation;

3. Emphasizes the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories are under Israeli occupation to full and effective permanent sovereignty and control over their natural and all other resources, wealth and economic activities;

4. Reaffirms that all measures undertaken by Israel to exploit the human, natural and all other resources, wealth and economic activities in the occupied Arab territories are illegal and calls upon Israel immediately to desist forthwith from all such measures;

5. Further reaffirms the right of the Arab States and peoples subjected to Israeli aggression and occupation to the restitution of, and full compensation for the exploitation, depletion and loss of and damages to, their natural, human and all other resources, wealth and economic activities, and calls upon Israel to meet their just claims;

6. Calls upon all States to support and assist the Arab States and peoples in the exercise of their above-mentioned rights;

7. Calls upon all States, international organizations, specialized agencies, investment corporations and all other institutions not to recognize, or co-operate with or assist in any manner in, any measures undertaken by Israel to exploit the resources of the occupied territories or to effect any changes in the demographic composition or geographic character or institutional structure of those territories.

Living conditions of the Palestinian people

General Assembly - 32nd session
Second Committee, meetings 24, 26, 57, 58.
First Committee, meeting 63.
Plenary meeting 107.

A/32/189. Note verbale of 23 August from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/32/228. Report of Secretary-General.
A/C.2/32/L.51. Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic Yemen, Egypt, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, as orally amended by sponsors, approved by Second Committee on 9 December 1977, meeting 57, by recorded vote of 95 to 4, with 24 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Australia, Guatemala, Israel, United States.

*Subsequently Italy advised the Secretariat that its abstention had not been recorded.

A/C.2/32/L.87, A/C.5/32/84. Administrative and financial implications of 36-power drab resolution, A/C.2/32/L.51. Statements by Secretary-General.
A/32/484. Administrative and financial implications of, inter alia, draft resolution IV recommended by Second Committee in A/32/463 and Corr.1. Report of Fifth Committee.
A/32/463 and Corr.1. Report of Second Committee (on UNEP), draft resolution IV.

Resolution 32/171, as recommended by Second Committee, A/32/463 and Corr.1, adopted by Assembly on 19 December 1977, meeting 107, by recorded vote of 107 to 4, with 28 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Australia, Guatemala, Israel, United States.

The General Assembly,

Recalling the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976, and the relevant recommendations for national action adopted by Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held at Vancouver from 31 May to 11 June 1976,

Recalling also resolution 3 on the living conditions of the Palestinians in occupied territories, as contained in the recommendations of the Conference for international co-operation, and Economic and Social Council resolution 2100 (LXIII) of 3 August 1977,

Recalling General Assembly resolution 31/110 of 16 December 1976,

1. Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and expresses the view that there is need for funkier analysis in order to meet fully the objectives of General Assembly resolution 31/110;

2. Requests therefore the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the relevant United Nations organs and specialized agencies, particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Economic Commission for Western Asia, to prepare and submit to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session a comprehensive and analytical report on the social and economic impact of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories;

3. Requests the Secretary-General, in preparing the above-mentioned report, to consult and co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people;

4. Urges all States to co-operate with the Secretary-General in the preparation of the report.

Other decisions

ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

Economic and Social Council - 63rd session
Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee, meetings 609, 610, 615, 617-620.
Plenary meetings 2084, 2085.

E/6005 and Add.1. Report of Secretary-General.
E/AC.24/L.544. Yugoslavia (on behalf of States members of Council belonging to "Group of 77"): draft resolution, as orally amended by Iraq and sponsors, approved by Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee on 21 July 1977, meeting 617, by roll-call vote of 31 to 1, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

Against: United States

E/6034. Report of Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee (on implementation of Declaration on Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by specialized agencies and international institutions associated with United Nations), draft resolution 1.

Resolution 2100 (LXIII), as recommended by Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee, E/6034, adopted by Council on 3 August 1977, meeting 2084, by roll-call vote of 34 to 1, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

Against: United States

The Economic and Social Council,

Recalling General Assembly resolutions 3210 (XXIX) of 14 14 October 1974, 3236 (XXIX) and 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974 and Council resolutions 1978 (LIX) of 31 July 1975 and 2026 (LXI) of 4 August 1976,

Taking into consideration the report of the Secretary-General on assistance to the Palestinian people,

Bearing in mind the views expressed during the sixty-third session of the Council,

1. Calls once more upon the United Nations Development Programme, the specialized agencies and other organizations within the United Nations system to continue and to intensify, as a matter of urgency and in co-ordination with the Economic Commission for Western Asia, their efforts in identifying the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people;

2. Urges these agencies and organizations to consult and co-operate closely with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, with a view to establishing and fully implementing concrete projects to ensure the improvement of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people;

3. Calls upon agencies and organizations within the United Nations system that have not taken the necessary action in conformity with Council resolution 2026 (LXI) to do so as a matter of priority;

4. Urges the executive heads of the organizations and agencies concerned to formulate and submit to their respective governing and/or legislative bodies concrete proposals for ensuring, in co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the effective implementation of the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above;

5. Requests the Secretary-General to submit annual reports to the Council on the action taken by the agencies and organizations concerned and the results achieved.


Questions pertaining to refugees in the Near East

In 1977, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) maintained educational, health and relief services for eligible Palestine refugees in east Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank of Jordan and the Gaza Strip. The Agency's headquarters were returned to Beirut, Lebanon, after an absence of 22 months in Amman, Jordan, and Vienna, Austria, owing to the 1975-1976 conflict in Lebanon.

An estimated budgetary deficit of some $16.4 million in income for the year led the Agency to reduce flour rations for eligible refugees in November for four months and to contemplate the suspension of operations and termination of virtually all staff members twice during the year. In an effort to correct the defects of UNRWA'S financing methods, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA introduced in 1977 a new method - the forward planning procedure - for soliciting the voluntary contributions from Governments on which the Agency had depended for about 95 per cent of its income.

The United Nations General Assembly renewed UNRWA'S mandate for a further three years, to 30 June 1981. In November 1977, the Assembly, by a six-part resolution (32/90 A-F), called upon all Governments as a matter of urgency to make generous efforts to meet the anticipated needs of UNRWA, urging non-contributing Governments to contribute regularly and contributing Governments to consider increasing their regular contributions. The Assembly also endorsed the efforts of the Commissioner-General to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, to other displaced persons in the area who were in serious need of such assistance as a result of the June 1967 hostilities; reiterated its call upon Israel to take effective steps immediately for the return of refugees to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip, to provide adequate shelters for them and to desist from their further removal and from destruction of their shelters; requested the Working Group on the Financing of the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to continue its efforts for another year, called again upon Israel to take immediate steps for the return of displaced inhabitants and to desist from all measures that obstructed their return, including measures affecting the physical and demographic structure of the occupied territories; and appealed to all States and invited relevant United Nations agencies to make special allocations, scholarships and grants to Palestinian Refugees. By another resolution (32/111), the Assembly expressed its deep concern about the health needs of Palestinian refugee children and requested that a sample survey be conducted by Governments of host countries and relevant United Nations bodies to ascertain those needs.


Activities in 1977

The number of refugees registered with UNRWA at the end of 1977 rose through natural increase by 46,269, to 1,730,520. An average of some £30,000 registered refugees received basic rations, and most refugees were eligible for health and (if further qualified by age) educational programmes. The Agency also distributed monthly rations to 192,812 displaced adults and 38,097 displaced refugee children in east Jordan at the expense of the Jordanian Government.

At the end of 1977 there were 502,874 registered refugees in 51 camps established before the 1967 hostilities, and 110,764 in 10 emergency camps established afterwards.

The Agency continued, in co-operation with the World Health Organization, to maintain health services for eligible refugees, with an emphasis on preventive medicine, including supplementary feeding of nutritionally vulnerable groups, and health education. Increasing emphasis was placed on equipping the Agency's larger health centres for common biochemical examinations to reduce the number of specimens being referred to central laboratories. Expenditure on health services totalled some $20 million in 1977.

Expenditure on education and training in 1977 amounted to $65 million. The programme, operated jointly with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), included the first nine years of elementary and preparatory education (10 years in Lebanon), some assistance to refugee pupils in government and private secondary schools, vocational and teacher training in eight, Agency centres, and 339 university scholarships. In the 1977/78 school year, 306,968 children were enrolled in government and private schools. The growth of the school population and lack of funds for school construction on the scale required meant that children had to attend classes in two shifts at 450 schools, or 73 per cent of the total number of UNRWA/UNESCO schools.

The eight UNRWA/UNESCO training centres had 3,324 vocational and 1,216 teacher training places for young men and women. The UNRWA/UNESCO Institute of Education, which had received financial support from the United Nations Development Programme since 1972, completed its thirteenth year of operation in providing in-service training for UNRWA/UNESCO educational staff. A total of 1,300 teachers employed by UNRWA participated in Institute courses. In co-ordination with the Institute, two Education Development Centres in east Jordan and the Gaza Strip also provided in-service training for educational staff while divisions of the Department of Education carried out ad hoc in-service training seminars, workshops and conferences during the summer and holidays.

Repairs to Agency installations and the replacement of supplies and equipment damaged or lost during the conflict in Lebanon in 1975-1976 were completed. The situation in the country improved in the course of 1977, permitting in November the return of UNRWA headquarters to Beirut from temporary premises in Amman and Vienna.


Consideration by the General Assembly

The situation of the refugees in the Near East was considered by the General Assembly at its thirty-second (1977) session and, as in previous years, the subject was referred to the Assembly's Special Political Committee, which discussed the matter at 12 meetings held between 27 October and 15 November. Five reports were submitted in connexion with the item: (1) the annual report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA; (2) two reports of the Secretary-General, concerning Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip and concerning persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 hostilities; (3) a report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine; and (4) a report by the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA.


Report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA

In his annual report to the General Assembly covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA indicated that during the period under review the situation in Lebanon had continued to affect seriously the Agency's activities throughout its area of operations. The achievement of a cease-fire in most of the country in October 1976, with the help of the Arab peace force, had greatly improved the situation. However, the report continued, even after the end of armed conflict, much remained to be done to put back into operation the facilities required by the Agency to function. The Commissioner-General noted that the Agency would probably never be able to determine the precise number of casualties caused among the refugee population by the conflict in Lebanon. Up to 30,000 refugees had been displaced by the fighting and forced to find new places to live. With regard to the Agency's financial situation, the Commissioner-General said that the deficit for 1977 was estimated at $16.4 million. He noted that although the Agency had sufficient working capital to cover that deficit, it would be left with inadequate resources to operate during the beginning of 1978 or during any temporary shortfall of contributions in 1978.

In order to alleviate this situation, the Commissioner-General introduced a new method - the forward planning procedure - for soliciting voluntary contributions from Governments, on which the Agency depended for about 95 per cent of its income. Designed to give contributing Governments earlier information on the state of the Agency's finances and to permit orderly budgetary planning, the new procedure meant that contributors would be asked to agree to specified pledges or at least reasonable estimates for active consideration three years in advance.


Reports of the Secretary-General

On 6 October 1977, the Secretary-General submitted two reports to the General Assembly.

The first report concerned population and refugees displaced as a result of the June 1967 hostilities, in compliance with an Assembly resolution of 23 November 1976, 31/ by which it had reiterated its call upon Israel to take immediate steps for the return of the displaced inhabitants and to desist from all measures that obstructed their return. The Secretary-General reported that he had requested the Government of Israel to forward to him any relevant information on the implementation of the resolution. In reply, the Israeli Government had asserted that it had, over the past 10 years, taken significant steps to facilitate the reunion of displaced persons with their families in the territories administered by Israel since 1967, and to relieve hardship cases. However, it said that the policies of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), coupled with the actions of certain Arab Governments, had gravely undermined all efforts to ameliorate the situation of these displaced persons.

At the same time the Secretary-General reported that information received from the Commissioner-General of UNRWA indicated that, so far as the Agency knew, the number of displaced refugees who had returned to the occupied territories since June 1967 was slightly over 9,000. The second report concerned Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, submitted in compliance with another Assembly resolution of 23 November 1976 32/ by which it had reiterated its call upon Israel to take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they had been re moved, and to desist from further removal of refugees and destruction of their shelters. The Secretary-General reported that he had requested the Government of Israel to forward to him any relevant information on the implementation of the resolution. In reply, the Israeli Government had affirmed that, due to the measures it had taken in Gaza, refugees in that territory for the first time since 1948 had been given the possibility of moving out of the squalid conditions of the camp into decent, modern housing. By contrast, Israel said, the situation was tragic in the refugee camps in Lebanon, where the presence of PLO was paralysing UNRWA'S activities to the extent that the Agency had been forced to move its headquarters elsewhere.

At the same time, the Secretary-General reported that information received from the Commissioner-General of UNRWA indicated that the Agency was still concerned at the lack of progress in the rehousing of the refugee families whose shelters had been demolished in July-August 1971, and that its repeated appeals to the Israeli occupying authorities for urgent action on that matter had not brought any change in the situation. The Commissioner-General further indicated that it was still the case that only 67 out of 2,554 families affected by the demolitions had thus far been provided with free alternative accommodation. Moreover, the Agency's claims for compensation, referred to in the Commissioner-General's previous report, remained unpaid.

The report, based on information from the Commissioner-General, further indicated that in the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977 a total of 342 families, comprising 2,064 persons, had moved from their shelters in the camps to new housing in projects established by Israel; 55 other refugee families, comprising 357 persons, had constructed and moved into new housing; and a total of 619 shelter rooms had been demolished in the camps in this connexion.

The Commissioner-General stated that references by the Israeli Government to squalid conditions in the refugee camps were more generalized than warranted by the facts. With regard to its comments relating to the alleged role of PLO in paralysing the activities of UNRWA in Lebanon, the Commissioner-General pointed out that not only had UNRWA activity not been paralysed at any time but PLO had continued to assist the Agency's Lebanon Field Office in meeting specific operational needs.


Report of the United Nations
Conciliation Commission for Palestine

The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine submitted to the Assembly its thirty-first report, covering the period from 1 October 1976 to 30 September 1977. Under the terms of General Assembly resolution 31/15 A, 33/ the Commission was requested to exert continued efforts towards the implementation of paragraph 11 of Assembly resolution 194 (III) 34/ of 11 December 1948 and to report by 1 October 1977.

In its report, the Commission noted that the circumstances governing the possibilities open to it had remained essentially unchanged. It expressed the hope, however, that the situation in the region would improve considerably, enabling it to carry forward its work.

The Commission also indicated that, in response to the request from the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for an inventory of Arab property in Israel and the territories occupied by Israel, the Commission had had no objection to that Committee having access to the relevant documents in its possession.


Report of Working Group on Financing of UNRWA

The Working Group on the Financing of the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, established in 1970 by the General Assembly to assist in reaching solutions to the Agency's financial problems, reported to the Assembly on 20 October 1977. It stated that, although the Agency was able to avoid suspension of its assistance programmes to the refugees during 1977 owing to generous regular and special contributions, it still faced a deficit. Unless UNRWA received substantial additional contributions in response to its urgent appeals before the end of the year, it would have to reduce its deficit by temporarily suspending certain services and deferring essential capital and other improvements. The Working Group reiterated its conviction that the Agency's humanitarian services of relief assistance, health care and education remained indispensable as long as a just and lasting settlement of the problem of the Palestine refugees had not been achieved. It considered the continuation of the Agency's services to be an obligation of the United Nations on behalf of the international community, and it expressed again its concern that any reduction in the services provided by the Agency would have serious implications for the refugees, the countries in which they lived and the prospects for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East.

In its efforts to help the Commissioner-General in his fund-raising efforts, the Working Group addressed a letter of appeal to member countries and agencies of the United Nations system, as well as special letters of appeal to certain Governments. Because of its continued belief that the basic financial problems of UNRWA would not be solved before its financing was put on a firmer basis, the Working Group noted with approval the new forward planning procedure for the solicitation Of voluntary contributions set out by the Commissioner-General in his report to the General Assembly. However, since no single approach could provide a complete solution for the adequate funding of UNRWA, the Working Group saw no alternative to the Agency, and the Commissioner-General personally, continuing to devote time and effort to fund-raising activities.


General Assembly discussion

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, in presenting his annual report to the Special Political Committee, noted that the Agency's chronic financial problems stemmed from UNRWA's basic mission of providing directly to the Palestine refugees various services normally the function of government ministries, e.g. education, relief and health care. Those services, he said, were not limited to the inhabitants of the camps, since nearly 65 per cent of the refugees lived outside camps. In view of the importance of those services and the way in which they were provided, the Agency required a staff similar in size to government staffs providing similar services. Therefore, recurrent costs for staff in 1977 had been estimated at $68.8 million out of a total budget of $134 million and those costs were expected to rise to about $88 million in 1978. The Commissioner-General noted that the increase in staff costs resulted mainly from the increase in the teaching staff required to serve a growing school population.

The Commissioner-General informed the Committee that UNRWA'S problems in Lebanon had diminished due to a substantial improvement in the over-all situation in that country.

With regard to the chronic financial difficulties of UNRWA, he cautioned that the Agency might not continue to be viable unless a new approach to the problem was adopted.

In conclusion, the Commissioner-General urged that services continue to be provided to the Palestine refugees. The need for those services, he said, would disappear only with the achievement of a just settlement in the Middle East.

The representative of Norway, speaking as Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, presented the Working Group's report to the Committee. He said that reductions of the Agency's activities were still a possibility since the Agency still faced a deficit of about $12 million. Accordingly, unless the Agency received additional contributions for 1977 it would temporarily have to suspend certain services. The Working Group approved the new forward planning procedure for solicitation of contributions and expressed the hope that those Governments that had not contributed in the past and those that had made relatively small contributions would reconsider their positions and contribute generously.

During the discussion in the Special Political Committee, there was general agreement that the mandate of UNRWA, which was due to expire on 30 June 1978, should be extended three years, until 30 June 1981. Many speakers expressed appreciation for the dedicated efforts of the Commissioner-General and staff of UNRWA to provide essential services for the refugees under difficult circumstances, and shared concern about the serious financial situation of the Agency.

While recognizing the importance and urgency of providing immediate assistance to the refugees of Palestine, many representatives emphasized that other aspects of the problem were equally important. Thus, a number of speakers, including Arab representatives, expressed the view that the refugee problem should be dealt with in all of its dimensions and that the United Nations should assume its responsibility in the matter by bringing to an end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands.

The representative of Yugoslavia, among others, pointed out that the problem of the Palestine refugees was primarily a political one whose solution resided in a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East, which must be based on Israel's withdrawal from all Palestinian and other Arab lands and on the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to establish its own State. Pending that solution, the international community had a morally binding obligation to assist UNRWA.

Other Members, including Czechoslovakia and Romania, also expressed the view that a lasting solution of the Palestinian problem could only be found on the basis of the realization of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Arab territories.

The representative of PLO, after recalling that his organization had always fully co-operated with UNRWA, stated that the refugee problem would not be solved as long as the Palestinian people did not exercise its inalienable rights to self-determination, including the establishment of an independent State on its own national territory. He said that the Palestinians had been the victims of Zionist expansionist and racist policies. He also cited instances in which Israeli occupying authorities had neglected the housing and health conditions of inhabitants of the camps and had harassed refugee trainees in training centres in western Jordan. Until such time as peace had been established, he said, the international community would have to discharge its responsibility for the Palestinian refugees.

Jordan urged that a special fund of $5 million annually be created for higher-education scholarships for refugees. The only solution to the refugee problem, he said, was for the United Nations to ensure the repatriation of the refugees and just compensation for those who might not wish to be repatriated.

The representative of Egypt maintained that Israel and the international community had the responsibility for the Palestinian people, yet the Arab States in 1976-1977 had contributed $65 million in direct services and through UNRWA, while others shirked their responsibility. The Israelis had an obligation to restore refugee housing which they had pulled down, he added.

The spokesman for Kuwait, noting that his country had always fulfilled its obligations with regard to the financing of UNRWA, stated that non-contributing countries should also be asked to contribute.

Many Arab States concurred that no just and lasting solution to the problem could be obtained until there was a restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and a settlement of the Middle East conflict.

The representative of the USSR also called attention to the centrality of the Palestinian question in the search for a lasting peace in the Middle East and reiterated that his Government favoured a settlement by peaceful means through the resumption, at the earliest possible date, of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East.

The reconvening of the Peace Conference was emphasized by several other speakers, including the representative of Turkey, who declared that the success of the Conference would depend primarily on the recognition that the Palestine question was at the crux of the Middle East problem and that the participation of PLO in the peace talks was essential.

Members, including the United States and Kuwait, felt that the new procedure for forward planning proposed by the Commissioner-General in his report was a step in the right direction, and expressed the hope that it would help mitigate the current precarious financial situation of the Agency. On the other hand, the representative of the USSR considered unacceptable any attempt to change the voluntary basis of contributions to UNRWA, since this would perpetuate the status of the Palestinian people as refugees and would place on an equal footing those States impeding and those favouring the realization by the Palestinian people of its legitimate rights.

In pointing out other difficulties, the representative of the United States noted that the conflict in Lebanon had caused considerable hardship for many Palestinian non-combatants and gravely affected the operations of the Agency. The spokesman for Indonesia, among others, expressed the view that Israeli policies of arresting staff members of the Agency and obstructing its functioning in various ways had rendered its task more difficult.

The spokesman for Israel said that once again his country was being blamed for the problem of the Palestine refugees, although it was the Arab leaders themselves who had created and perpetuated that problem by encouraging the Palestinians to leave their homes at the time of the outbreak of hostilities in 1948, as had been proved time and again. For the past 28 years, the problem of the Palestine refugees had been exploited for political purposes by the Arab States, which hoped to destroy Israel by refusing to integrate and absorb those whom they themselves had uprooted, by insisting vociferously on their return en masse and by refusing to contribute to the financing of the Agency.

He pointed out that in parts of their reports the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General had presented the facts in a light unfavourable to the Israeli administration. For example, with regard to the Gaza Strip, and in particular the demolition of refugee housing, a distorted picture was provided. The fact was that only a few dozen refugee families whose dwellings had been destroyed were now living in substandard housing, he maintained, and all the others had found new homes. This was possible because the inhabitants of Gaza were now assured daily work and were protected from intimidation. Until Israel had taken preventive security measures which had saved hundreds of lives, many refugees had been killed and wounded by Arab terrorists in the Gaza Strip. With regard to the problem of harassment of trainee refugees and the erection of roadblocks at training centres, the forces representing law and order had removed the roadblocks and restored order, without injuring or unduly detaining the trainees. It was true, the spokesman for Israel continued, that a small number of UNRWA officials on the West Bank had been arrested for violating security regulations, but the same thing had taken place in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic. As to the Agency staff members who had not been permitted to enter the territories administered by Israel, the representative argued that the situation was governed both by considerations of security and by the refusal of some Governments to permit Israelis serving with international organizations to enter or work in their territory.


Decisions by the General Assembly

Six draft resolutions were submitted to the Special Political Committee, which approved them on 10, 11 and 15 November. The General Assembly adopted them as a six-part resolution (32/90 A-F) on 13 December 1977. A seventh text, recommended by the Second (Economic and Financial) Committee, was adopted as resolution 32/111 on 15 December.

By resolution 32/90 A, concerning general aspects of the question, the Assembly noted with regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees, as provided for in its resolution 194 (III), had not been effected, that no substantial progress had been made in the programme endorsed by the Assembly on 26 January 1952 35/ for the reintegration of refugees either by repatriation or resettlement, and that therefore the situation of the refugees continued to be a matter of serious concern. The Assembly expressed its thanks to the Commissioner-General and staff of UNRWA and to the specialized agencies and private organizations for their valuable work in assisting the refugees. It noted with regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine had been unable to achieve progress in the implementation of operative paragraph 11 of resolution 194 (III); it asked the Commission to exert continued efforts towards that end and to report no later than 1 October 1978.

The Assembly directed attention to the continuing seriousness of the financial position of UNRWA; it noted with concern that, despite the commendable and successful efforts of the Commissioner-General to collect additional contributions, the increased level of income was still insufficient to cover essential budget requirements in the current year, and that, at currently foreseen levels of giving, deficits would recur each year. The Assembly called on all Governments as a matter of urgency to make the most generous efforts possible to meet the Agency's anticipated needs, particularly in the light of the projected budgetary deficit, urging non-contributing Governments to contribute regularly and contributing Governments to consider increasing their regular contributions; It decided to extend the mandate of UNRWA until 30 June 1981.

The text was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 122 to 0, with 1 abstention. The Special Political Committee approved it on 10 November by a recorded vote of 100 to 0, with 2 abstentions, on a proposal by the United States.

(For text of resolution 32/90 A and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the second text (resolution 32/90 B), concerning assistance to persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 hostilities, the Assembly endorsed the efforts of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, on an emergency basis as a temporary measure, to other persons in the area who were displaced and in serious need of continued assistance as a result of those hostilities. It appealed to all Governments, organizations and individuals to contribute generously for those purposes to UNRWA and to the other inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations concerned.

The text was adopted without vote by the Assembly. It was sponsored in the Special Political Committee - which approved it without objection on 10 November - by Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines and Sweden.

(For text of resolution 32/90 B, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the provisions of the third text (resolution 32/90 C), concerning Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the General Assembly called once more upon Israel to take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed, to provide adequate shelters for them, and to desist from their further removal and from destroying their shelters.

The Assembly asked the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner- General of UNRWA, to report to it at its 1978 session on Israel's compliance with the resolution.

The text was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 119 to 1, with 4 abstentions. The Special Political Committee approved it on 11 November by a recorded vote of 101 to 1, with 4 abstentions, on a proposal by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, and Yugoslavia.

(For text of resolution 32/90 C and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

A fourth resolution (32/90 D) concerned the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA. By the provisions of this resolution, the Assembly among other things expressed grave concern at the critical financial situation of the Agency, imminently endangering the essential minimum services being provided, and emphasized the urgent need for extraordinary efforts in order to maintain activities at least at their current minimum level. The Assembly commended the Working Group for its work and asked it to continue its efforts, in co-operation with the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General, for the financing of UNRWA for a further one-year period.

The Assembly adopted this text without vote on the recommendation of the Special Political Committee, where it was approved without objection on 10 November, as sponsored by Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sweden, Yugoslavia and Zaire.

(For text of resolution 32/90 D, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By a fifth resolution (32/90 E), concerning population and refugees displaced since 1967, the General Assembly among other things: reaffirmed the right of the displaced inhabitants to return to their homes and camps in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, deplored the continued refusal of Israeli authorities to take steps for the return of those inhabitants; and called once more upon Israel to take immediate steps for their return and to desist from all measures obstructing their return, including measures affecting the physical and demographic structure of the occupied territories. The Assembly also asked the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, to report on Israel's compliance with the provisions of this resolution.

This text was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 125 to 1 . It was approved on 11 November by the Special Political Committee by a recorded vote of 103 to 1, with 2 abstentions, on a proposal by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chad, Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan and Yugoslavia.

(For text of resolution 32/90 E and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the sixth resolution (32/90 F), the General Assembly expressed its appreciation to those Member States which had provided scholarships to Palestinian refugees and appealed to all States to make special allocations, scholarships and grants to those refugees, in addition to their contributions to the regular budget of UNRWA. It invited United Nations agencies to consider the inclusion of assistance for higher education for Palestinian refugee students, requested UNRWA to act as recipient and trustee for such special allocations and scholarships and to award them to qualified students. It also requested the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly in 1978 on the implementation of the resolution.

The text was adopted by the Assembly unanimously. The Special Political Committee approved it on 15 November, unanimously, on a proposal by Jordan.

(For text of resolution 32/90 F, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By resolution 32/111, on the health needs of Palestinian refugee children, the General Assembly expressed its deep concern over the half a million children in refugee camps without basic nutritional requirements; it requested the Secretary-General, in collaboration with Governments of host countries and with relevant United Nations bodies, to ascertain in a sample survey the needs of those children, with a view to averting health problems, and to report in 1978.

The text was adopted by the Assembly without vote. The text, sponsored in the Second Committee by Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Mali, Qatar, Senegal, the Syrian Arab Republic and Tunisia, was approved without vote on 7 December.

(For text of resolution 32/111, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By a related decision (resolution 32/171), the General Assembly on 19 December 1977 asked the Secretary-General, in collaboration especially with UNRWA and the Economic Commission for Western Asia, to prepare and submit to it in 1978 a comprehensive and analytical report on the social and economic impact of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people. (For details, see p. 320.)


Pledges and contributions for 1977

For the calendar year 1977, governmental and intergovernmental contributors pledged the equivalent of $114,109,995 towards UNRWA'S budget. In addition, contributions were received from United Nations organizations and non-governmental organizations, private individuals and business corporations. Total income from all sources in 1977 was $122,978,466.

CONTRIBUTIONS PLEDGED TO UNRWA FOR THE
YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 1977

(Showing equivalent in US dollars of pledges or
contributions in cash, kind and services)


Contribution
Contributor pledged
Argentina 5,000
Australia 419,430
Austria 107,000
Belgium* 1,135,175
Benin 403
Brazil 10,000
Canada 3,689,477
Chile 2,000
Cyprus 482
Denmark* 1,795,044
Egypt 4,290
European Economic Community* 16,379,456
Finland 250,901
France* 1,323,946
Gaza authorities 68,189
Germany, Federal Republic of* 3,324,259
Ghana 5,220
Greece 30,000
Holy See 2,500
Iceland 14,000
India 12,579
Indonesia 6,000
Iran 30,000
Iraq 121,600
Ireland* 109,440
Israel 706,641
Italy* 252,750
Jamaica 3,000
Japan 5,974,714
Jordan 260,612
Kuwait 600,000
Lebanon 96,620
Liberia 5,000
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 1,000,000
Luxembourg* 9,450
Malaysia 1,500
Mauritius 2,000
Monaco 201
Morocco 57,485
Netherlands* 2,007,670
New Zealand 118,336
Norway 2,625,069
Oman 25,000
Pakistan 20,832
Philippines 3,000
Qatar 60,000
Republic of Korea 5,000
Saudi Arabia 3,341,091
Singapore 1,500
Spain 1,000,000
Sri Lanka 967
Sudan 6,027
Sweden 8,092,486
Switzerland 1,571,969
Syrian Arab Republic 99,558
Thailand 27,265
Trinidad and Tobago 2,487
Tunisia 8,000
Turkey 35,000
United Arab Emirates 270,000
United Kingdom* 8,230,874
United States 48,700,000
Yugoslavia 25,000
Zaire 1,500
___________

Total 114,109,995


Documentary references

Consideration by the General Assembly

General Assembly - 2nd session
Ad Hoc Committee of General Assembly for Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA, meeting 1 (A/AC.190/SR.1 and corrigendum) of 6 December 1977.
Special Political Committee, meetings 8-11, 16-22, 24.
Fifth Committee, meeting 60.
Plenary meeting 101.

A/32/13 and Corr.1,2. Report of Commissioner-General of UNRWA, 1 July 1976 30 June 1977.
A/32/238. Report of United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report for period 1 October 1976 30 September 1977).
A/32/263. Population and refugees displaced since 1967. Report of Secretary-General.
A/32/264 and Corr.1 and Add.1. Palestine refugees in Gaza Strip. Report of Secretary- General.
A/32/278 and Corr.1. Report of Working Group on Financing of UNRWA.
A/SPC/32/L.5 and Corr.1. United States: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 10 November 1977, meeting 21, by recorded vote of 100 to 0, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

Against: None

Abstaining: Benin,** Israel.

*Subsequently Australia advised the Secretariat that its vote in favour had not been recorded due to mechanical failure.

**Subsequently Benin advised the Secretariat that it wished to change its abstention to a vote in favour.

A/32/351. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution A.

Resolution 32/90 A, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/351, adopted by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 122 to 0, with 1 abstention, as follows:

Against: None.

Abstaining: Israel.
Assistance to Palestine refugees

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 31/15 A of 23 November 1976 and all previous resolutions referred to therein, including resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948,

Taking note of the annual report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977,

1. Notes with deep regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees as provided for in paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) has not been effected, that no substantial progress has been made in the programme endorsed by the Assembly in paragraph 2 of resolution 513 (VI) of 26 January 1952 for the reintegration of refugees either by repatriation or resettlement and that, therefore, the situation of the refugees continues to be a matter of serious concern;

2. Expresses its sincere appreciation to Sir John Rennie, who retired this year as Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, for his efficient administration of the Agency and for his dedicated service to the welfare of the refugees during the past nine years;

3. Expresses its thanks to the Commissioner-General and to the Stan of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for their continued dedicated and effective efforts under difficult circumstances to provide essential services for the Palestine refugees, recognizing that the Agency is doing all it can within the limits of available resources, and also expresses its thanks to the specialized agencies and private organizations for their valuable work in assisting the refugees;

4. Notes with regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine has been unable to find a means of achieving progress in the implementation of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and requests the Commission to exert continued efforts towards the implementation of that paragraph and to report as appropriate, but no later then 1 October 1978;

5. Directs attention to the continuing seriousness of the financial position of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, as outlined in the report of the Commissioner-General;

6. Notes with profound concern that, despite the commendable and successful efforts of the Commissioner-General to collect additional contributions, this increased level of income to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is still insufficient to cover essential budget requirements in the present year, and that, at presently foreseen levels of giving, deficits will recur each year;

7. Calls upon all Governments as a matter of urgency to make the most generous efforts possible to meet the anticipated needs of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, particularly in the light of the budgetary deficit projected in the report of the Commissioner-General, and therefore urges non-contributing Governments to contribute regularly and contributing Governments to consider increasing their regular contributions;

8. Decides to extend until 30 June 1981, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III), the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

A/SPC/32/L.6. Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Federal Republic of, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Sweden: draft resolution, approved without objection by Special Political Committee on 10 November 1977, meeting 21.
A/32/351. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution B.

Resolution 32/90 B, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/351, adopted without vote by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101.
Assistance to persons displaced as a result of
the June 1967 hostilities

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 2252 (ES-V) of 4 July 1967, 2341 B (XXII) of 19 December 1967, 2452 C (XXIII) of 19 December 1968, 2535 C (XXIV) of 10 December 1969, 2672 B (XXV) of 8 December 1970, 2792 B (XXVI) of 6 December 1971, 2963 B (XXVII) of 13 December 1972, 3089 A (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, 3331 C (XXIX) of 17 December 1974, 3419 A (XXX) of 8 December 1975 and 31/15 B of 23 November 1976,

Taking note of the annual report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977,

Concerned about the continued human suffering resulting from the June 1967 hostilities in the Middle East,

1. Reaffirms its resolutions 2252 (ES-V), 2341 B(XXII), 2452 C (XXIII), 2535 C (XXIV), 2672 B (XXV), 2792 B (XXVI), 2963 B (XXVII), 3089 A (XXVIII), 3331 C (XXIX), 3419 A (XXX) and 31/15 B;

2. Endorses, bearing in mind the objectives of those resolutions, the efforts of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, on an emergency basis and as a temporary measure, to other persons in the area who are at present displaced and in serious need of continued assistance as a result of the June 1967 hostilities;

3. Strongly appeals to all Governments and to organizations and individuals to contribute generously for the above purposes to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and to the other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned.

A/SPC/32/L.7. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 11 November 1977, meeting 22, by recorded vote of 101 to 1, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel

Abstaining: Canada, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, United States.

A/32/351. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution C.

Resolution 32/90 C, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/351, adopted by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 119 to 1, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

Against: Israel.

Abstaining: Canada, Costa Rica, Liberia, United States.
Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip

The General Assembly,

Recalling Security Council resolution 237 (1967) of 14 June 1967,

Recalling also its resolutions 2792 C (XXVI) of 6 December 1971, 2963 C (XXVII) of 13 December 1972, 3089 C (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, 3331 D (XXIX) of 17 December 1974, 3419 C (XXX) of 8 December 1975 and 31/15 E of 23 November 1976,

Having considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977, and the reports of the Secretary-General of 6 and 21 October 1977,

1. Calls once more upon Israel:

(a) To take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip and to provide adequate shelters for their accommodation;

(b) To desist from further removal of refugees and destruction of their shelters;

2. Requests the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to report to the General Assembly by the opening of its thirty-third session on Israel's compliance with paragraph 1 of the present resolution.

A/SPC/32/L.8. Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Sweden, Yugoslavia, Zaire: draft resolution, approved without objection by Special Political Committee on 10 November 1977, meeting 21.
A/SPC/32/L.10, A/C.5/32/76. Administrative and financial implications of 15-power draft resolution, A/SPC/32/L.8. Statements by Secretary-General.
A/32/431. Administrative and financial implications of draft resolution D recommended by Special Political Committee in A/32/351. Report of Fifth Committee.
A/32/351. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution D.

Resolution 32/90 D, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/351, adopted without vote by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101.
Working Group on the Financing of the United
Nations Relief and Works Agency for
Palestine Refugees in the Near East

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 2656 (XXV) of 7 December 1970, 2728 (XXV) of 15 December 1970, 2791 (XXVI) of 6 December 1971, 2964 (XXVII) of 13 December 1972, 3090 (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, 3330 (XXIX) of 17 December 1974, 3419 D (XXX) of 8 December 1975 and 31/15 C of 23 November 1976,

Having considered the report of the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,

Taking into account the annual report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977,

Gravely concerned at the critical financial situation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which has already reduced the essential minimum services being provided to the Palestine refugees and which threatens even greater reductions in the future,

Emphasizing the urgent need for extraordinary efforts in order to maintain, at least at their present minimum level, the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,

1. Commends the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its efforts to assist in ensuring the Agency's financial security;

2. Notes with approval the report of the Working Group;

3. Requests the Working Group to continue its efforts, in co-operation with the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General, for the financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for a further period of one year;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the necessary services and assistance to the Working Group for the conduct of its work.

A/SPC/32/L.9. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chad, Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 11 November 1977, meeting 22, by recorded vote of 103 to 1, with 2 -abstentions as follows:

Against: Israel

Abstaining: Costa Rica, Nicaragua.

A/32/351. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution E.

Resolution 32/90 E as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/351, adopted by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 125 to 1, as follows:

Against: Israel.
Population and refugees displaced since 1967

The General Assembly,

Recalling Security Council resolution 237 (1967) of 14 June 1967,

Recalling also its resolutions 2252 (ES-V) of 4 July 1967, 2452 A (XXIII) of 19 December 1968, 2535 B (XXIV) of 10 December 1969, 2672 D (XXV) of 8 December 1970, 2792 E (XXVI) of 6 December 1971, 2963 C and D (XXVII) of 13 December 1972, 3089 C (XXVIII) of 7 December 1973, 3331 D (XXIX) of 17 December 1974, 3419 C (XXX) of 8 December 1975 and 31/15 D of 23 November 1976,

Having considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977, and the reports of the Secretary-General of 6 and 21 October 1977,

1. Reaffirms the right of the displaced inhabitants to return to their homes and camps in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967;

2. Deplores the continued refusal of the Israeli authorities to take steps for the return of the displaced inhabitants;

3. Calls once more upon Israel:

(a) To take immediate steps for the return of the displaced inhabitants;

(b) To desist from all measures that obstruct the return of the displaced inhabitants, including measures affecting the physical and demographic structure of the occupied territories;

4. Requests the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, to report to the General Assembly by the opening of as thirty-third session on Israel's compliance with paragraph 3 of the present resolution.

A/SPC/32/L.11 and Rev.1. Jordan: draft resolution and revision, approved unanimously by Special Political Committee on 15 November 1977, meeting 24.
A/32/351. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution F.

Resolution 32/90 F, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/32/351, adopted unanimously by Assembly on 13 December 1977, meeting 101.
Offers by Member States of grants and scholarships
for higher education, including vocational
training, for the Palestine refugees

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 212 (III) of 19 November 1948 on assistance to Palestine refugees,

Cognizant of the fact that the Palestinian refugees have, for the last three decades, lost their lands and means of livelihood,

Having examined with appreciation the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1976 to 30 June 1977,

Noting that less than one per thousand of the Palestinian refugee students has the chance to continue higher education, including vocational training,

Noting also that over the past five years the number of scholarships offered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has dwindled to halt of what it was because of the Agency's regular budgetary difficulties,

1. Expresses its appreciation to those Member States which have provided scholarships to Palestinian refugees;

2. Appeals to all States to make special allocations, scholarships and grants to Palestinian refugees, in addition to their contributions to the regular budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East;

3. Invites relevant United Nations agencies to consider the inclusion, within their respective spheres of competence, of assistance for higher education for Palestinian refugee students;

4. Requests the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to act as recipient and trustee for such special allocations and scholarships and to award them to qualified Palestinian refugee candidates;

5. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session on the implementation of the present resolution.

General Assembly - 32nd session
Second Committee, meetings 52, 54, 55.
Plenary meeting 103

A/C.2/32/L.66. India, Jordan, Kuwait, Mali: draft resolution. A/C.2/32/L.66/Rev.1. Bangladesh, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Mali, Qatar, Senegal, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia: revised draft resolution, approved without vote by Second Committee on 7 December 1977, meeting 55.
A/32/444. Report of Second Committee (on operational activities for development), drain resolution III.

Resolution 32/111, as recommended by Second Committee, A/32/444, adopted without vote by Assembly on 15 December 1977, meeting 103.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 212 (III) of 19 November 1948 on assistance to Palestine refugees,

Deeply concerned about the fact that almost half a million children in refugee camps are not receiving the basic nutritional requirements,

1. Requests the Secretary-General, in collaboration with Governments of host countries and with relevant United Nations bodies, to undertake a sample survey to ascertain the needs of Palestinian children in refugee camps with a view to averting adverse effects on their health;

2. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its thirty-third session on the implementation of the present resolution.

Other documents
A/32/7/Add.3. UNRWA. Accounts for year ended 31 December 1976 and report of Board of Auditors.
A/32/145. Report of ACABQ, section C.


Notes

1/ See Y.U.N., 1976, pp. 246-47, text of resolution 31/61.

2/ Ibid., p. 247, text of resolution 31/62.

3/ Rule 37 of the Councils provisional rules of procedure reads: Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may be invited, as a result of a decision of the Security Council, to participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council when the Security Council considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected, or when a Member brings a matter to the attention of the Security Council in accordance with Article 35 (I) of the Charter.

4/ Rule 39 of the Councils provisional rules of procedure reads: The Security Council may invite members of the Secretariat or other persons, whom it considers competent for the purpose, to supply it with information or to give other assistance in examining matters within its competence.

5/ See Y.U.N., 1973, p. 213, text of resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.

6/ See Y.U.N., 1967, pp. 257-58, text of resolution 242 (1967).

7/ See Y.U.N., 1974, pp. 226-28, text of resolution 3236 (XXIX).

8/ See footnote 13.

9/ See Y.U.N., 1975, pp. 248-49, text of resolution 3376 (XXX).

10/ See Y.U.N., 1974, pp. 226-27, text of resolution 3237 (XXIX).

11/ See Y.U.N., 1976, p. 234.

12/ Ibid., p. 237.

13/ Ibid., pp. 245-46, text of resolution 31/20.

14/ Rule 37 of the Councils provisional rules of procedure reads: Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may be invited, as a result of a decision of the Security Council, to participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council when the Security Council considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected, or when a Member brings a matter to the attention of the Security Council in accordance with Article 35 (I) of the Charter.

15/ Rule 39 of the Councils provisional rules of procedure reads: The Security Council may invite members of the Secretariat or other persons, whom it considers competent for the purpose, to supply it with information or to give other assistance in examining matters within its competence.

16/ See Y.U.N., 1948-49, pp. 174-76, text of resolution 194 (III).

17/ See Y.U.N., 1967, pp. 190-91, text of resolution 237 (1967).

18/ See Y.U.N., 1947-48, pp. 247-56, text of resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947.

19/ See Y.U.N., 1948-49, p. 405, text of resolution 273 (III) of 11 May 1949.

20/ See Y.U.N., 1948-49, pp. 535-37, text of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

21/ See Y.U.N., 1976, p. 263, text of resolution 31/106 B.

22/ See Y.U.N., 1972, p. 432.

23/ See Y.U.N., 1976, pp. 264-65, text of resolution 31/106 C of 16 December 1976.

24/ See Y.U.N., 1967, pp. 257-58, text of resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967.

25/ See Y.U.N., 1973, p. 213, text of resolution 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973.

26/ See Y.U.N., 1976, p. 257.

27/ See Y.U.N., 1971, p. 187, text of resolution 298 (1971).

28/ See Y.U.N., 1976, p. 267, text of resolution 31/186.

29/ Ibid., p. 248, text of resolution 31/110.

30/ Ibid., p. 248, text of resolution 2026 (LXI).

31/ See Y.U.N., 1976, pp. 277-78, text of resolution 31/15 D.

32/ Ibid., pp. 278-79, text of resolution 31/15 E.

33/ Ibid., pp. 276-77, text of resolution 31/15 A of 23 November 1976.

34/ Operative paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) states, in part, that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property... See Y.U.N., 1948-49, for full text of resolution.

35/ See Y.U.N., 1951, pp. 315-16, text of resolution 513 (VI).

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