Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

English (pdf) ||Arabic||Chinese||Français||Русский||Español||

See also: UN DPI Multimedia (Ref: 90-0254/90)
Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS


        Security Council
31 May 1990


Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 31 May 1990, at 6.35 p.m.
President: Mr. TORNUDD

Members: Canada
Cote d'Ivoire
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland
United States of America

Mr. DING Yuanhong

Sir Crispin TICKELL

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

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

The meeting was called to order at 6.35 p.m.


The agenda was adopted.



The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decisions taken at the 2923rd meeting, I invite the representatives of Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Gabon, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia to take the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber and I invite the representative of Palestine to take a place at the Council table.

At the invitation of the President Mr. Al-Shakar (Bahrain), Mr. Chowdhury
(Bangladesh), Mr. Galal (Egypt), Mr. Dangue Rewgka (Gabon), Mr. Jain (India), Mr. Kharrazi (Islamic Republic of Iran), Mr. Al-Anbari (Iraq), Mr. Bein (Israel), Mr. Salah (Jordan),
Mr. Abulhasan (Kuwait), Mr. Makkawi (Lebanon), Mr. Rahhali (Morocco), Mr. Al-Ni'mah (Qatar), Mr. Shihabi (Saudi Arabia), Mr. Perera (Sri Lanka), Mr. Al-Masri (Syrian Arab Republic), Mr. Ghezal (Tunisia), Mr. Koruturk (Turkey), Mr. Al-Shaali (United Arab Emirates) and Mr. Pejic (Yugoslavia) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber; Mr. Terzi (Palestine) took a place at the Council table.

The PRESIDENT: I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Japan and Pakistan in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council's agenda. In accordance with the usual practice I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion without the right to vote, in conformity with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

At the invitation of the President, Mr. Hatano (Japan) and Mr. Ahmed (Pakistan) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.

The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will now resume its consideration of the item on the agenda. Members of the Council have before them document S/21326, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Yemen and Zaire.

I should also like to draw the attention of members of the Council to the following documents: S/21321, letter dated 30 May 1990 from the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General; S/21322, letter dated 29 May 1990 from the Charge d'affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of Madagascar to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General; S/21327, letter dated 23 May 1990 from the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General; and S/21335, letter dated 24 May 1990 from the Permanent Representative of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General.

The first speaker is the representative of Pakistan. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. AHMED (Pakistan): Allow me to offer to you, Sir, the sincere felicitations of my delegation on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month. We are confident that your vast experience and skill will ensure the success of the Council's deliberations.

I should like to express our deepest appreciation to Ambassador Tesfaye Tadesse, the Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, for the outstanding manner in which he managed the affairs of the Security Council for the month of April.

It was with shock and horror that the international community learnt about the killing of seven unarmed Palestinian workers and the wounding of 11 others by a former Israeli soldier on 20 May. The ensuing demonstrations of mourning were brutally repressed, resulting in further killings and injuries. According to The New York Times of 27 May,
23 unarmed Palestinians were killed and 900 were injured by the Israeli security forces.

The Government and people of Pakistan were appalled by this latest orgy of brutal, inhuman and senseless violence perpetrated by the Israeli army against unarmed civilians in the occupied territories. In an official statement issued on 22 May, the Government of Pakistan condemned in the strongest possible terms Israel's continuous and wanton disregard of human rights, international law and world opinion.

The massacre by the former Israeli soldier was not an isolated episode, as claimed by the Israeli authorities. It stemmed from a policy of repression against the Palestinian people, exemplified by the burning alive of Palestinian workers in Ur Yehuda more than a year ago and the ongoing indiscriminate killing of Palestinians by Jewish settlers.

The latest killings are an outcome of the Israeli attitude of total disregard for Palestinian human rights and the inevitable result of the official Israeli policy of leniency towards Israeli murderers, whenever the victim is a Palestinian Arab.

According to Alexander Cockburn's article in The Wall Street Journal of 24 May, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, leader of the Gush Emunin fanatics, who was sentenced to five months for killing a Palestinian shopkeeper, was honoured at a celebration in Elkana, prior to entering prison, by General Yitzhak Mordechai, military commander of the West Bank. According to The New York Times of 29 May the far-right Kach organization, led by Rabbi Meir Kahane, is to hold a demonstration in support of the 21-year-old man who shot the Palestinians on 20 May.

The Israeli Government's policy of oppression against the Palestinian people is not the only thing that has created the current volatile situation in the region. The Israeli leadership's attempts to destroy the peace process by rejecting all Palestinian proposals for peace, while continuing to crush the intifadah and proceeding with their plans for Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, are inexorably leading to the possibility of a catastrophe in the region.

The latest spiral of violence against the Palestinian people underlines yet again the urgent need for the resumption of the peace process in a meaningful way, and the Council would have to take account of its responsibilities in this regard. The first step would obviously be to protect the defenceless Palestinian population from the brutal and continuing assaults by the Israeli authorities.

The United Nations must act resolutely now to uphold the application of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949. The Secretary-General's report of 21 January 1988 (S/19443) is a milestone in this regard and needs to be reconsidered seriously to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation. In this connection we also support the proposals recently made by Chairman Yasser Arafat, including the deputation of an international force to the occupied territories to protect the Palestinian population and the designation by the Security Council of a special and permanent envoy to work full time on the peace process. The proposal for an international force to protect the Palestinians in the occupied territories has also been endorsed at the recent summit meeting of the Arab States at Baghdad.

A related aspect is the urgent need to stop Jewish settler immigration to the occupied Palestinian territories. According to The Wall Street Journal of 24 May, while the Palestinians were recently protesting the brutal murders a Committee of the Knesset was voting for more than $17 million for road-building and Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. The Israeli authorities obviously believe they can crush the Palestinian intifadah and counter its popular strength by the induction of Soviet Jews, estimated at 1 million by 1993.

The Security Council is already seized of this issue and needs to send a firm message to Israel calling for the dismantling of the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, keeping in view its previous resolutions 446 (1979), 465 (1980) and 478 (1980), which expressly forbade Israel, as the occupying Power, to change the demographic character of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem.

While condemning the atrocities committed by the Israeli authorities to suppress the intifadah, I would like to express Pakistan's firm and total support for the struggle of the people of Palestine, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), their sole and legitimate representative, to establish a State of their own in exercise of their right to self-determination.

We therefore call for the total Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and other occupied Arab territories, and also support the call for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East to be attended by the five permanent members of the Security Council and by all parties to the conflict, including the PLO, on an equal footing. In our view, that offers the most appropriate framework for ensuring lasting peace in that strife-torn region.

I should therefore like, on behalf of my Government and my delegation, to voice support for draft resolution S/21326.

The PRESIDENT: I thank the representative of Pakistan for his kind words addressed to me.

The next speaker is the representative of Israel. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. BEIN (Israel): It is a personal pleasure for me to congratulate you, Sir, on your presidency of the Security Council for the month of May. Your wealth of proven diplomatic experience has been of crucial and invaluable importance during the deliberations here and in Geneva, which you steered in an exemplary manner.

I would also like to congratulate Ambassador Tesfaye Tadesse for the outstanding way in which he conducted the affairs of the Security Council during the preceding month.

When a tragic outburst of violence occurs in Israel in which Arabs are killed by Jews, the condemnation is instant, bitter, unanimous and unequivocal. No one, not even the most fanatic extremists, attributes such despicable actions to patriotism or heroism. The perpetrator is considered a criminal, not a hero, and is commended by no one. The act and the perpetrator are met with shock, horror and revulsion by every facet of Israeli society.

On the other hand, when Jews are killed by Arabs, it is an occasion for ultranationalist celebrations and hyped-up incitement, engulfing the Arab world in a paroxysm of hate.

The dark forces in our region do not hesitate to exploit the shedding of blood for their own purposes. On the contrary, they wait breathlessly for such outrages with fax machines and draft resolutions in hand, fully ready to ignite passions and foment hatred in an already volatile region.

On Sunday, 21 May 1990, a terrible tragedy took place in Israel. A young civilian approached a gathering-point of manual labourers in Rishon Le Zion and opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd. Eight Arab labourers were killed and nine were injured. The dead and wounded were evacuated to nearby hospitals, and the police apprehended the murderer within hours. The purveyors of blood in the Middle East could not have wished for a better opportunity. They immediately launched another round of contrived hysteria in the Arab world, which, coupled with spasmodic outrage, led to the ensuing torrent of violence in Israel and Jordan.

Israel urged the Palestinian Arabs to act with restraint in order to prevent the spiralling of violence. We immediately appealed to the residents of the territories, stressing that the attack was a tragic case of madness, and urged them to show restraint, to exercise self-control and to keep the peace for the welfare of the general population.

Israel is aware of the pain and grief among the Palestinian Arabs. We have conveyed our condolences to the bereaved families and have called on the Palestinians not to be drawn into further violence, which can only cause more casualties.

We are particularly saddened that this bloody incident is being used as fuel by those who fan the flames of hatred and constantly attempt to escalate the enmity and increase the level of violence. The PLO is now riding this wave, attempting to exploit the innocent blood that has been spilt so that further bloodshed will occur, in its relentless drive to resuscitate the violent uprising.

Thus, instead of urging restraint, the PLO continues to do its utmost to whip up passions and further inflame the Middle East. Arafat is urging the intensification of the violence. On the very day of the attack, Arafat enjoined the residents of the territories to use the killing incident as a "new starting-point for a new escalation". The ensuing violence in the territories came as a direct result of that incitement, and, regrettably, has led to more casualties.

PLO Radio, broadcasting from Baghdad, is complementing those efforts by inciting not only the Palestinian Arabs in the territories but also the Arab citizens of Israel. On 22 May the station announced:
Once again the PLO claims openly that in its view Nazareth, the Galilee and the Negev are part and parcel of "Palestine". For the PLO there is simply no room for Israel.

From the shoulder strap carried with pride by Arafat depicting the proposed State of Palestine encompassing all of the State of Israel; from the map spread across the cover-sheet of his Geneva statement bearing the same deadly message - I have a copy of this for members to see - from the rhetoric employed by him, such as the
from his demand to halt all Jewish immigration to Israel; indeed, from his very own words -
from all of that the intentions of the PLO continue to be communicated loud and clear: to bring about the complete destruction of Israel.

The PLO likes to call itself the "sole, legitimate representative" of the Palestinian people. That is the typical terminology employed by dictatorships. In democracies, sole legitimacy belongs to the people only; there are no self-appointed "sole, legitimate representatives". Legitimate representatives do not nominate themselves, but are elected by the people. Lately, in many countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia the people have chosen democracy over tyranny and have overthrown precisely those forces that claimed to be their "sole, legitimate representatives". Such a claim is antithetical to every notion of justice and democracy. Sole legitimacy lies only with the people.

It should be clear by now that PLO activity aimed at incitement and the fomenting of violence has nothing to do with the welfare of the Palestinians; nor has it anything to do with providing for their safety. In fact, as far as the PLO and many of the Arab States are concerned what happens or does not happen to the Palestinians is of no relevance. Rather, their stated intent is to coerce Israel by means of widespread violence into an untenable position which would endanger Israel's vital interests and security needs. The PLO seeks to impose its own solution by force, and, in its view, the higher the number of Palestinians killed in the process the better.

In relentless pursuit of that strategy, the PLO has shown little patience with the very people of which it purports to be the sole, legitimate representative. Dissenters, opponents, moderates or simply individuals who fail to fulfil PLO dictates to the letter: anyone standing in the way has been threatened, attacked, or murdered in cold blood. Two hundred sixteen Palestinians have thus been slaughtered by their purported "protectors" in the internecine violence of the uprising. On 2 April 1990 I sent a letter to the Secretary-General which brought to his urgent attention the liquidation of over 200 Palestinians by PLO death squads. In it I stated:
I was never made aware of any international condemnation of that chilling facet of the uprising. Nor did I receive a reply from the Secretary-General. Since my letter was circulated, 11 additional Palestinians have been butchered by the PLO. Evidently, the shedding of blood by a deranged person in a single isolated incident - and only when it occurs in Israel - is more ominous than the systematic and premeditated killing of hundreds of Palestinians by their so-called protectors.

The PLO, buoyed by the spiralling violence, is now demanding "international protection for the Palestinians". Protection from whom? And who exactly is to do the protecting? Those conducting the reign of terror? Or those condoning it and, in effect, providing it with legitimacy?

International law places the full responsibility for maintaining public order and safety in the territories on Israel alone. That reality has been ignored routinely in these proceedings, and Israel's attempts to contain the violent results of PLO and Arab incitement have been castigated repeatedly, with no bearing on the overall context of the situation.

Every responsible Government has not only the right but also the legal obligation to uphold public order and to safeguard the lives of its inhabitants. The Israeli armed forces have indeed exercised utmost restraint under extremely trying conditions of widespread violent rioting. One should compare their performance to that of other armed forces - including those of democracies like ourselves - facing conditions not nearly as turbulent. It seems that here at the United Nations there is one standard by which to judge Arab dictatorships, another standard for the democracies and a unique standard for Israel. As we have already stated in Geneva, Israel is prepared to be judged by a high standard, but not by a double standard, and certainly not by a triple one. The Security Council has not been known to interfere in even far graver situations. The standard applied to Israelis, to Jews, is not the one used for the British, Soviets, Indians or

It is clear to all of us that Armenians in the Soviet Union should not resort to the use of arms and violence in pursuit of their aspirations, as it is clear in Kashmir, Sind, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Tibet or anywhere else.

In such cases we expect the responsible authorities to fulfil their legitimate responsibility in containing the violence and restoring tranquillity and order, even with the use of force as a last resort. Such is our expectation in any case of widespread violence around the world, with only one exception: the Palestinians. Apparently the Palestinians have a special right to resort to violence, and the PLO has the special right to resort to violence and terrorism not only against Jews, but against the Palestinians themselves.

The PLO is also accorded the right to back its atrocities with verbal violence at the Security Council; it is granted the status of an Observer at the United Nations while retaining its constitution, its fundamental law, which stipulates:
Having incited the violence and inflamed it as far as possible in the aftermath of the Rishon Le-Zion tragedy, the PLO now convenes the Security Council to condemn Israel for putting it down.

With the exception of one or two representatives, all members of the Security Council who have spoken so far have called only on Israel to act with restraint. They have not called on the Palestinians to cease the rioting or on the PLO to cease its acts of terror, murder and intense incitement. Any other State in Israel's situation would act resolutely to contain such violence. Did anyone call on Jordan to act with restraint as the Palestinian riots were put down with force last week?

Evidently every act perpetrated by Arab madmen and terrorists is greeted with tolerance and understanding: the kidnapping of civilians in Lebanon; bombing sprees in crowded Jerusalem markets; the stabbings of Israeli civilians throughout Israel; and the repeated terrorist infiltrations, the latest being the PLO infiltration attempt by speedboats sent from Libya to commit mass murder on crowded beaches in Israel. Such leniency is also the norm with international terror by the PLO and other Palestinian groups. Instead of uniting in a struggle to eliminate indiscriminate terror, the murder of uninvolved civilians, the international community has responded with castigation of Israel.

Those members of the Council who criticize and condemn Israel should ask themselves: Would you render the same judgement, in the same acerbic tone, had we been Russian, British, Indian or Pakistani?

Let me refer now to the draft resolution. It purports to be

"Gravely concerned and alarmed by the deteriorating situation ..."

Who causes this situation, this deterioration, if not the PLO, which devotes all its efforts to inciting violence, fomenting trouble in the region and perpetrating acts of terrorism and mass murder?

Stationed in Israel is one of the largest press corps in the world. Israel is a democracy, and the media have unhampered and free access to all areas. The press in Israel and abroad reports in detail on the general situation and on particular incidents. There is no need to ascertain information on the situation in Israel and the territories - it is freely available. There is certainly no justification for the demand to
Israel is the exclusive and only authority responsible for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the territories. Even if Israel, as some here have claimed, is labelled an "occupying Power", then the applicable legal régime is defined by the Fourth Geneva Convention, referred to in the draft resolution, which states categorically that Israel is the exclusive legal authority in the territories.

I must therefore reject in its totality the idea of appointing a commission to examine the situation in the territories, and if such a commission is to be appointed, it will not be accepted by Israel.

There is a limit that must be drawn in the application of the double and triple standard against Israel. I therefore urge you, members of the Security Council, to vote against the draft resolution.

The PRESIDENT: I thank the representative of Israel for his kind words addressed to me.

The next speaker is the representative of Japan. I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. HATANO (Japan): First, Sir, may I congratulate you, as previous speakers have done, on assuming the presidency of the Security Council. I am sure that under your wise guidance the Council will be able to carry out its important tasks.

The Government of Japan extends it sincere condolences to the Palestinians who were injured and to the families of those killed in the massacre by an Israeli civilian in Rishon Le-Zion on 20 May and in the ensuing popular protests. The Government of Japan deplores the shooting as a senseless and brutal act which claimed the lives of innocent people. It denounces the excessive force with which the Israeli authorities reacted to the subsequent popular demonstration of anger.

This killing of innocent people has exacerbated a situation in which tensions had already been heightened by the question of the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.

Profoundly concerned about the escalation of violence, the Government of Japan demands that the Government of Israel exercise maximum self-restraint in dealing with the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and that it treat them with full humanitarian consideration, in accordance with international law. The Government of Japan urges the United Nations to take effective action in order to secure their just treatment.

At the root of this tragic situation is the fact that the provisions of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) have not been implemented and that peace in the Middle East remains an elusive goal. In the meantime the Palestinians in the occupied territories have been forced to endure conditions of severe political, economic and social hardship. In order to free them from these conditions and to prevent the recurrence of such tragic incidents, it is imperative that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace be achieved, with Israel's withdrawal from all the territories it has occupied since 1967. Towards that end, Japan hopes that a new Israeli Government will be formed as quickly as possible and that it will respond in good faith to the efforts made by the parties concerned towards an early achievement of peace in the Middle East.

The PRESIDENT: I thank the representative of Japan for his kind words addressed to me.

His Excellency Mr. Clovis Maksoud, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, to whom the Council has extended an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure, at the 2923rd meeting, wishes to make a further statement. With the consent of the Council, I invite him to take a place at the Council table and to make his statement.

Mr. MAKSOUD: How much pain must Arab moderation endure? Is Arab moderation measured by endless patience and accommodation with Israel's intransigence and intractability?

When moderation and non-violence is the character of the mainstream of the Palestinian uprising, any violent interruption becomes a pretext to condemn the entirety of mainstream Palestinian rights and the uprising. But when Israeli violence is the norm, its repressive measures and practices routinized, then Israel expects the international community to acquiesce. Otherwise, as the Israeli representative just mentioned, Israel is subject to a different standard: it is almost diplomatically persecuted! That is a total reversal of realities and standards.

Therefore the Palestine Liberation Organization is, along with the Arabs, described as purveyors of blood, as the Israeli representative just mentioned. And we, as Arabs, become involved in a "paroxysm of hate".

This is language that even professional racists have used, that anti-Semites have used against Jews, that the perpetrators of pograms and the holocaust have used, that the professional racists of apartheid, who even refuse some of the more moderating policies, have used. This sort of thinking, this description of an entire national reaction, being attributed to a "paroxysm of hate", to the opportunity of purveying blood, undoubtedly justifies our anger and frustration.

What kind of entity are we dealing with that relentlessly describes the Palestinian people as Palestinian Arab inhabitants of "the territories", as if those territories have no name, have no designation, have no history, have no territorial patrimony? And then, with utter arrogance, Israel has "the exclusive responsibility" in these areas. By what right? By whose mandate? Exclusive responsibility as an occupying Power, perhaps. But does Israel recognize that it is an occupying Power in those territories?

The answer came this afternoon in the dismissal of what is "labelled" the occupying Power, as if this is not the correct description, as if this is not the legal description, as if this is not incremental jurisprudence describing the status of Israel in the occupied territories. By what authority, if not as an occupying Power, does Israel claim exclusive jurisprudence and jurisdiction in the occupied territories? That question has not been answered by Israel. But that question has been answered by every single Member of the United Nations and every single member of the Security Council.

Yet Israel wants to have exclusive control. Until when? Israel does not answer. Israel is obsessed with the notion of having exclusive control, period. Until when? No answer. By whose authority? No answer. That is the rub in this question; that is the core issue we are facing.

And, as I stated in Geneva, Israel does not consider the Palestinians enemies, so that the rule of enmity and belligerency can be resolved. Israel does not consider the Palestinians to be adversaries but the human obstacles to its translating its exclusive jurisdiction into exclusive annexation. That is the central issue that we have continuously avoided addressing because we have sought to accommodate.

According to Israel, the PLO incites. But why does the population of Palestine respond if they are so alienated, if, as Israel in its political hallucination believes, the PLO is something separate from the Palestinian people? The PLO, once and for all, is the framework of Palestinian peoplehood. The people of Palestine under occupation, in the refugee camps and the diaspora, are all constituent sectors of the PLO. The PLO is therefore the framework of our peoplehood. The bitter antagonism that Israel exhibits towards the PLO arises from the fact that recognition of the PLO means that there is a Palestinian people. They are not Palestinian Arab inhabitants of unnamed territories.

That is the situation. That is the issue. The PLO is the national identity of the Palestinians in the absence of their passports and identities. It is their state of mind in the absence of their independent State. Yet the Israeli representative comes here and distorts the realities of the historical reconciliation in which the President of Palestine - in Algeria, in Geneva in 1988 and subsequently - provided peace with a historical opportunity by recognizing the two-State system in historic Palestine, by recognizing Israel and its right to exist within the 1967 borders. Israel refuses to acknowledge that gesture of reconciliation for a peace that has long eluded the Middle East, a gesture having the total approval of the Palestine National Council, the representatives of the Palestinian people, who have endured many frustrations in the refugee camps, and who can no longer claim Jaffa, Nazareth and the Galilee as their State in order to accommodate that historic act of reconciliation. What it wants to hear is ideological visions, which we all share.

Palestine as a geographical entity and historical reality is part of our collective national memory. That cannot be abused. That cannot be removed. Therefore, for the Israelis more or less ex cathedra to remove Palestine as a geographical entity, as a historical memory for Palestinians who have been forcibly evicted from their homes and homeland, in order to accommodate, as I mentioned in Geneva, a historical grievance of people of Jewish faith as a result of anti-semitism, persecution and the Holocaust, does not mean that they have abandoned their legitimate rights to an equal status and an equal State in historical Palestine.

That act of reconciliation is being deliberately distorted because Israel does not want to recognize that the Palestinians are a people, that they have a legitimate representative, that they are entitled to a State that can be independent and to part of their patrimony. That is the reason why the Israeli representative, with total impunity, can come and turn the focus from Israel's occupation and practices, can come and insult India, Pakistan, Jordan and everybody else without any inhibition and then, in a moment of utter intellectual arrogance characteristic of Zionist ideology, say that Israel is willing to be judged by a different, "higher" standard.

Israel has to be judged by a normal standard. It has to answer the question whether it is or is not an occupying Power. Is it or is it not willing to comply with international and United Nations resolutions? Is it or is it not willing to recognize the right of Palestinians to self-determination? Just as it is eager to have Soviet Jewish immigrants, is it or is it not willing to accept the right of return of Palestinians in their diaspora and refugee camps, a right that has been clearly spelt out by the international community and the United Nations?

That right to return has been systematically denied for one single reason - those Palestinian refugees whose right to return has been denied are not of the Jewish persuasion. Yet the Israeli delegation goes around describing Arabs as racists and anybody who does not comply with Israel's will and diktats as entertaining lingering anti-semitism and racist attitudes. The Israelis consider that they can deny the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Nazareth and the Galilee because they are not Jews. If that is not a form of racism I don't know what is.

But we have made a historical reconciliation. The Arab League at its summit conference only a couple of days ago recognized and re-recognized the Fez and Casablanca resolutions. They recognized that the 1967 borders should stand and that Israel should withdraw from the occupied territories. Nobody asked for the dismantlement of Israel. Why does Israel not listen to that act of recognition? Why does Israel not recognize that such is our commitment? We might have done it grudgingly, we might have our emotional attachments to the Palestine of yesterday, but we have recognized the international community's concern for peace and stability in the Middle East. That is why we have continuously and repeatedly come to the United Nations and the Security Council, which is entrusted with resolving critical issues and with the responsibility for law and order and stability in the world. We have come because we believe in it and because we believe that the international consensus, in its collective wisdom, might not always seek absolute justice.

But we are confident that at least the international community, in its collective wisdom, would seek to mitigate the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian people. That is why the Palestinians were eager to accommodate; they believed in the Security Council as the body to bring about a political and diplomatic settlement. They did not want to engage in violence. They know the asymmetry of power; they know that they do not have the military equilibrium possessed by the Israeli nuclear-armed army. Therefore they realized and believed that the collective wisdom of the international community is also the articulation of the collective fairness of the international community. That is why they have come to the United Nations. That is why they will come again and again to the United
Nations, to the Security Council, in order to prevent this injustice from being perpetuated and their repression from becoming routine. They come here in order that the sense of fairness may relieve them of the agony to which Israel wants them to be doomed. They come in the belief that the liberation struggles and the liberalizing policies taking place all over the world will touch them with their grace so that they can assume in the community of nations the status, the statehood, the dignity and the freedom which everybody else enjoys. For that to be dismissed in a rhetorical manner, as if it were a paroxysm of hate, is demeaning to the parlance in this body.

At this moment when the two super-Powers are having their summit in Washington, when they are trying to defuse international tensions, when they are trying to address the problems of disarmament and when the prospects of human development for all of us have a better opportunity of realization and fulfilment, Israel stands alone in total defiance, claiming to be the only democracy, when its discrimination is institutionalized and when it is terrorizing Palestinians in the camps. Which other place in the world has had a 24-hour curfew for a week, as the Israelis have in Gaza? Which country in the world has trampled over the United Nations forces, as Israel has done in its invasion of Lebanon in 1982? Which country in the world does not recognize what it is, as I have mentioned, namely, an occupying Power? We have called, and the Arab summit has reaffirmed that call, for an international conference to address and deal with all the issues that have arisen from the Arab-Israeli conflict in order that we may exhaust all political and diplomatic options to avoid violence. But Israel, with an anachronistic ideology serviced with modern technology, is trying to suppress irrevocably the progressive, liberal, non-violent uprising of the Palestinians, who do not have the modern implements of technology. But that has been the fate of all liberalizing movements in history and of all the anti-colonial struggles and the asymmetry of power, which only reinforces the liberation movement by the moral power and the spiritual resilience of the Palestinian uprising.

For this to be dismissed and marginalized, for this not to be protected, will ultimately be a blot on our early 1990s at a moment when the hopes of mankind for a new atmosphere, for a spirit of reconciliation, for not only mutual understanding but mutual co-discovering each other, for human beings not to be alienated from each other because of race, religion or colour, but to rediscover each other - we find that the Palestinians are to be excluded from taking part in this exhilarating journey of discovery of our humaneness.

That is why, in our approach, we are trying to bring about, through the members of the Council, a mechanism to protect the Palestinians, pending a resolution of this conflict, so that the Middle East and the region as a whole can partake of the blessings of peace, but peace with justice, peace at least with the absence of obvious injustice. The Palestinians today are experiencing a structured injustice. What they are asking for is not absolute justice but a mitigating of the injustice that has been inflicted upon them. That is why this draft resolution before the Council addresses an immediate problem. It gives the Palestinians hope that their peaceful approach, their non-violent approach, can be politically rewarding - as long as this political reward is forthcoming, suggesting that at the end of the tunnel there is a hope of self-fulfilment, that the patience of Arab moderation will be remunerated, not penalized by Israel's addiction to its present intransigence.

The PRESIDENT: I have received a request from one member of the Council for a brief suspension of the meeting. With the concurrence of the Council, I shall suspend the meeting.

The meeting was suspended at 7.40 p.m. and resumed at 8 p.m.

The PRESIDENT: It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to the vote on the draft resolution contained in document S/21326. Unless I hear an objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.

There being no objection, it is so decided.

A vote was taken by show of hands.
The PRESIDENT: The result of the voting is as follows: 14 votes in favour, one against, and no abstentions. The draft resolution has not been adopted owing to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Council.

I call now on members who wish to make statements following the voting.

Mr. PICKERING (United States of America): Let me first take this opportunity, because I have not yet had the chance to do so, to congratulate, in the name of my Government and following up on the direct message from my President, the new State of the Republic of Yemen, which joins us here in the Council, and to offer it our best wishes for its future success upon unity.

Let me also congratulate you, Mr. President, in the waning hours of your term, on the very important work which you have done here in the Council this month. We are all much in your debt for your leadership, and we thank you very much for it.

The United States remains committed to working with the parties in the region for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. That is why the recent events in Israel and in the occupied territories, and the unsuccessful terrorist attack of 30 May against Israel, have grieved us so deeply. That is why President Bush stated he was deeply troubled by the events of 20 May and the violent aftermath. That is why the Department of State spokeswoman indicated that the United States Government was horrified by yesterday's premeditated terrorist attack against Israel. President Bush on 22 May stated our view clearly:
As Secretary of State Baker has made clear, and as we have explained repeatedly for the last 10 days, the United States would support practical steps that respond to the spiral of troubling events. But we have made it clear that the steps must not set back the effort to move forward on the peace process as soon as possible. Such an approach, which has been undertaken in the past by the Secretary-General, seems to be the best way to serve the interests of the United Nations in examining the situation in the occupied territories. I want to be very clear: The United States Government continues to support a special envoy of the Secretary-General to be dispatched on an urgent basis to look at the situation and to report back to the Secretary-General. We continue to urge all parties to exhibit the necessary flexibility to permit such a mission to take place.

The draft resolution before us today, however, seeks to advance a different vehicle, which we cannot support. We cannot entertain any hopes for its early or rapid implementation. It does not focus attention on the real needs of moving the peace process forward, an endeavour that must be undertaken by the parties themselves in the region. Rather, it would too easily become a vehicle which could be misused to generate more needless controversy and dispute in the area, something clearly inappropriate, especially under present circumstances. It thus appears to us more likely to add to the problems in the region, rather than help resolve them. For those reasons, the United States has voted against the proposal.

The PRESIDENT: I thank the representative of the United States for the kind words he addressed to me.

The representative of Palestine has asked to make a statement, and I call on him now.

Mr. TERZI (Palestine): This will be a sad day in the annals of the Security Council: when one permanent member invoked its arbitrary powers to deny the Council its responsibilities and the ability to carry out its tasks and duties in response to a truly alarming situation. We are not surprised; we have been through this before. But let me reassure the Council that our people will maintain their trust and confidence in the need for the Council and in the efficacy of the Council, notwithstanding the position taken by a permanent member, a permanent member whose representative states that he resorted to a negative vote despite the fact that his Secretary of State had stated that the United States would support practical steps that responded to the spiral of troubling events.

How much more could the Security Council have done to support practical steps that responded to the spiral of troubling events? How much more could the Council have done than commission a delegation from among its members to go and investigate and report - to examine the situation and report to the Security Council? That report should contain recommendations on ways and means to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation.

By casting a negative vote, the United States Government has made it very clear that its position is against such a move, a move that would provide for ensuring the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation.

I say it is sad because it will be recalled that when the Council adjourned at Geneva last week, we had expressed the hope and the confidence that remedies would be found and would be reflected in a draft resolution to be adopted by the Council when it reconvened, and that the provisions of such a resolution would be accepted and carried out in conformity with Article 25 of the Charter.

I should like to express our thanks to the members of the Council for having decided to respond to the request to convene an immediate meeting. Notwithstanding the obstacles, it convened and met in Geneva, and now it is meeting again here.

I wish at this juncture to express our appreciation and thanks to the 14 members who voted in favour of carrying out their responsibilities as prescribed by the Charter. We know that in the final analysis one Power cannot stand as an obstacle to the peace process.

The procedure of the Council is such that we must keep our comments within the context of the reason for the Council's having met. We are not here to go into peripheral or extended discussions.

Let me recall something that President Arafat said when he addressed the meeting in Geneva, having been invited to participate in the Council's deliberations:

(spoke in Arabic)
At the end of his statement President Arafat said:
(continued in English)

President Arafat made that request after describing the plight of the Palestinian people and the visitation that had befallen them.

The position of the United States Government is to us unpardonable; it is unpardonable that it should resort arbitrarily to its powers to prevent the Council's carrying out the proposed mission on such a humanitarian matter.

President Arafat said in Geneva:

(spoke in Arabic)
(continued in English)

I am surprised. How could the President of the Government of the United States, the President of the people of the United States, the President of the United States, dare talk about human rights when his own Government is denying the Security Council the opportunity to take steps in accordance with the powers vested in it by the Charter to go and investigate the violations of human rights of the Palestinian people? I wonder with what courage the Government and President of the United States will dare touch on that subject in their deliberations. It is very saddening to us that with all the big talk about human rights, when it came to the test here they have been totally ignored or, I would say, denied.

Of course, we have been subjected to some statements and some talk here. I shall not focus on what the representative of Israel said, but I should like to reiterate what we always say. We hold the map of Palestine as it was designed in 1922 and as the literature of the United Nations shows it from 1947 to the present day, and we will continue to hold it like that until such time as the Government of Palestine and the Government of Israel can sit at the negotiating table under the auspices of the United Nations - preferably under Security Council auspices - and decide on the borders between the two States. Then, and only then, will the map of Palestine be drawn in our literature, on our letterheads and even on our insignia. Until then we maintain that the Palestine that was brought before the United Nations in 1947 is geographically the same State of Palestine.

I wonder whether you, Sir, would ask the representative of Israel to tell you exactly what are the recognized boundaries of Israel - recognized, first, by Israel itself. This is not a challenge; it is a question of putting matters straight, as they should be.

Be that as it may, our people will receive the news tonight, I am sure, with sadness and grief. They had confidence in the Council. They might, temporarily, simply not think any more of the Council, but I am sure that on second thoughts they will still recognize that the Security Council and the United Nations will be their last resort, and they will hope that the Council, when it meets again, will try to rectify the injustice imposed upon it by a permanent member. We assure you, Mr. President, that we will return to the Council more and more.

Unfortunately, the verbatim record of the meeting held on 25 May is not yet out, and we can understand why. It will be recalled that President Arafat made a very clear request, which I repeat now, as follows:

(spoke in Arabic)
(continued in English)

We are in no way dismayed at what happened. We expected the United States to adopt such a position, but we trust that eventually the Government of the United States will realize that it is obligated by the Charter to permit the Council to discharge its duties and responsibilities in a very equitable way. This is an obstruction of the Security Council's work.

Mr. VORONTSOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (interpretation from Russian): It is a source of great regret for all of us that we were unable, through our joint efforts, to convince the representative of the United States not to block the totally non-confrontational, balanced, moderate and logical draft resolution that has been before the members of the Security Council.

Clearly, the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are territories in which innocent people are dying. At the very least, it is the duty of the Security Council to clarify why this is taking place and to decide what must be done to protect the civilian population in the occupied territories. It is therefore totally incomprehensible why the Security Council had to be deprived of the opportunity independently to study the state of affairs on site with the assistance of its own mission.

We believe our Organization, the United Nations, cannot side-step the question of protecting the civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territories. If it has not been possible to find a practical solution to this question today, we shall have to take it up tomorrow.

In conclusion I should like to quote words from the statement of 22 May of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR contained in the document that was distributed to the Security Council:
That will continue to be the position of the Soviet Union.

Mr. ALARCON DE QUESADA (Cuba) (interpretation from Spanish): Once again the Security Council has been prevented from performing its functions under the Charter. In Geneva my delegation said it disagreed with a procedure that required us to respond belatedly to a request by the representative of Bahrain for an immediate meeting of the Council. Ten days after receiving the request, the Council was still unable to act. It was unable to act notwithstanding a draft resolution that only requested that the Council send a mission to the region that would report back to it on developments in the situation there.

Obviously, the Council still has an obligation to put an end to that situation. It has that obligation under the Charter. After all, this Organization was created in order to respond swiftly and effectively. This organ was created to respond on behalf of all the Members of the Organization. The vote was 14 to one. If that were the case in the General Assembly, the figures would be much larger; perhaps there would be a corresponding negative vote and we all know who would cast it. But in any case, we know the feelings, the desires, the intentions and the will of the Members of the Organization.

We were forced to cross the Atlantic to assemble here. But what do we see? Once again we see we are unable to act.

In a few hours, Mr. President, you will hand over to your successor the responsibilities you have discharged so brilliantly and in a manner that has earned the appreciation of all members of the Security Council. At that time we shall be beginning the fifth month during which the Council has had to consider a broader problem, a more substantive problem, the situation in the territories occupied by Israel.

Here I should like to express an idea that perhaps a few observers would disagree with. We would hope, Sir, that your successor will enjoy an outcome less frustrating than the outcome you and others who have guided the Council's work have had to experience.

We are not saying the Security Council should do anything extraordinary, anything out of the way. We are simply saying the Council should do what it was established to do. It was not created to do anything else. It was not created to stand in the way of speedy decisions regarding problems of peace and security. It was not established to spread ineffectiveness, inefficiency. No. It was created to make it possible for the Organization to respond swiftly and effectively. It was not created to impose anyone's views. It was created to respond on behalf of everyone. And I think everyone's views are rather well known to Members of the Organization, whether they are members of the Council or not.

In Geneva, where we went for reasons familiar to everyone, right at the end of our stay we received a publication available to everyone present, a magazine edited by officials who work there. I noticed an announcement, an advertisement for Finnair, the airline of your country, Sir, with a very nice picture intended to appeal to those who have a chance, or at least the time, to visit the northern part of your country, which is obviously very attractive. The advertisement says:

(spoke in English)
(continued in Spanish)

Returning to New York, I wondered whether we would be greeted with the same fate, discussing the question of Palestine, discussing the inadmissible situation imposed on its people, and I wondered whether we would be faced with the same need to go over and over the same old material and talk about the same things with which we are all so familiar.

I would conclude by wondering aloud, asking members of the Council, and the Members of the Organization who created the Council to act efficiently and effectively this question: how much longer?

The PRESIDENT: I thank the representative of Cuba for his kind words addressed to me.

Mr. AL-ALFI (Yemen) (interpretation from Arabic): Not only is the negative vote cast by the delegation of the United States a cause of disappointment to us; we must also try to imagine the reaction of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories. That people has up until now hoped to see the Council provide the protection it needs against the occupation and the occupying forces that are causing so much suffering.

We believe that the negative vote on the draft resolution before us can, in fact, only be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the Council, since each time we propose the establishment of a commission of three members of the Council to go to the territories to observe the situation and submit a report, and then to make recommendations on measures to be taken by the Council, we have not gone into detail regarding the membership of such a commission. Nevertheless, we were astonished to see the veto used. In our opinion, this act on the part of the Government of the United States is not acceptable. We were not expecting it, and it demonstrates a lack of confidence in the Council.

Therefore, tomorrow, when the Palestinian people in the occupied territories - a people that had been hoping that the Council would shoulder its responsibilities and take the measures necessary to ensure its protection - learns the news that a negative vote in the Council prevented the taking of any measures whatsoever, we shall see that any reaction on the part of the Palestinian people will be met by condemnation of that reaction, as though that people did not have the right to express itself or to enjoy the protection of the international community.

This is taking place at a time when more and more is being said about human rights. Yet Israel is depriving the Palestinian people of those very rights. We have said on numerous occasions that, in our view, this was to have been a first step by the Council in answer to the request made by the representative of Bahrain, the Chairman of the Group of Arab States. We believe that the request is still valid and that the Council should consider measures that it might take subsequent in the light of requests that will be made to it.

We do not believe that the item is closed. The item is still open. We shall give thought to further measures. In the future, we should also expect at the least a radical change in the attitude of the United States, allowing it to respond to the wishes of the other 14 members.

I should also like to thank and express our appreciation to all those States that voted in favour of the draft resolution. We believe that their action showed an understanding that will be appreciated by the Palestinian people and the Arab world as a whole.

The PRESIDENT: There are no further speakers inscribed on my list. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on the agenda.

The meeting rose at 8.35 p.m.

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter