REPORT OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
THE POPULAR UPRISING IN TIE ARAB TERRITORIES
OCCUPTED BY ISRAEL
(Adopted by 636 votes to 139, with 211 abstentions)
The 80th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,
Following with deep concern the atrocities existing and continuing in the occupied Arab territories and the effects of such atrocities on innocent civilians, including the deprivation of rights and liberties inherent in the human person, and recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence, including the right to form its own independent State,
Noting the resolutions and decisions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, as well as the relevant resolutions of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, relating to the Palestinian question and the Israeli-Arab conflict,
- Strongly reproves and denounces the flagrant daily violations, by Israel, of the Geneva Conventions (1949) and their Additional Protocols, with regard to the treatment of the populations of occupied Arab territories, and the practices of the Israeli forces and settlers;
- Calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from all Arab territories and to end its occupation of those territories, including the part of Arab Jerusalem that it has occupied since 1967, the Golan Heights and South Lebanon, to comply with the will of the inter-national community by ceasing its repressive practices, releasing all detained or sentenced Arab patriots, and allowing all deportees to return to their homeland;
- Appeals to all parties concerned to refrain from any action violating international law and human rights, points out that the Israeli military administration bears special responsibility during the period of the military occupation, denounces and condemns the repressive and inhuman treatment b} the occupying Israeli Authorities of the unarmed Palestinian people, and demands that those Authorities put an end to such treatment;
- Renews its commitment to a peaceful solution to the crisis, in the firm belief that a real peace process is possible;
- Underlines that the principles upon which a just. lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict should be based are the renunciation of the use of violence as a means of solving conflicts, the security of all States and peoples in the region, which necessarily implies the right of Israel to exist within secure borders, and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination;
- Reaffirms its support for the international peace conference, to be held under the auspices of the L1ited Nations and involving all parties concerned, including Israel, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the USSR and the United States of America, as well as the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, and to be convened in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, Security Council resolutions-242 and 338, and all other relevant UN resolutions;
- Welcomes all international initiatives, particularly those of the United States of America and the Soviet Union, aiming to arrive at a confluence of views is order to solve the Palestinian question on the basis of the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations;
- Supports the efforts of the Palestinians to find a negotiated solution, on the is of mutual, reciprocal and simultaneous recognition, paving the way to a just and lasting peace, and calls for the elimination of all obstacles in the way of this process;
- Stresses that every effort must be made to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, end calls on the international community to extend economic and humanitarian aid;
- Requests, the United Nations to ensure the protection and security of Palestinian citizens by placing the territories occupied by Israel under international control pending the holding of the international conference on peace in the Middle East, with a view to finding a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to this conflict;
- Recommends that the Inter-Parliamentary Council establish a working group consisting of Israeli, Palestinian and other delegations to the Conference, under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union;
- Acknowledges and accepts the proposal of the Egyptian National Group that an IPU tact-finding mission should be sent as soon as possible to the West Bank and the Gaza strip, and recommends that the Inter-Parliamentary Council urgently take the appropriate measures for that mission to be undertaken and for it to report back to the Council on its findings.
CONCLUSIONS OF THE SUPPORT COMMITTEE TO THE CONVENING OF AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Report adopted by consensus b the Inter-Parliamentary Council
at its 143rd session
(Sofia, 24 September 1988)
- At its 142nd session (Guatemala City, April 1988), the Inter-Parliamentary Council extended the mandate of the Inter-Parliamentary Support Committee to the campaign for the convening of an international conference on peace in the Middle East so that it might report anew to the Council at its 143rd session in Sofia.
- On this basis, the Secretary General, by circular letter GRP/88/DSG.7 of 26 May 1988, again requested all National Groups to communicate information and observations on follow-up action to the recommendation of the 77th Inter-Parliamentary Conference related to an international conference on peace in the Middle East. A number of Groups responded to this second appeal and summaries of their messages (the full texts of which may be made available on request) are given in the attached Annex. In addition, the Annex contains information received from the United Nations as well as from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
VIEWS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE
1. On 21 September 1988, the members of the Support Committee held a meeting in Sofia, with a view to drafting their report to the Inter-Parliamentary Council. They also had the opportunity of exchanging views with a delegation of Arab National Groups, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Palestine National Council. The National Group of Israel conveyed to the Support Committee that it did not believe that an international conference on peace in the Middle East would solve the problems of the area, but that bilateral talks with the Arab National Groups concerned would be useful to that end. Accordingly, they would be ready to meet with those National Groups and would consider it useful if the Support Committee could bring about such a meeting. The members of the Support Committee did not consider that such a role would fall within the terms of reference assigned to the Committee by the Inter-Parliamentary Council.
2. The members of the support Committee noted the favourable conditions of diminished tensions prevailing at the present time and considerad that there was an historic opportunity of advancing the cause of convening an international conference on peace in the Middle East. They considered it a positive element and were encouraged by the increased support for such a conference by National Groups from various parts of the world and of different political orientations.
3. At the same time, the members of the Support Committee noted that conditions in the area continued to deteriorate, making the convening of an international conference on peace in the Middle East even more urgent, particularly as no viable alternative solutions seemed to be available. They noted the continued manifestation in favour of their legitimate rights by the Palestinian people and remained concerned about the situation prevailing in the occupied areas, particularly about acts of violence and violation of human rights of Palestinians.
4. They also felt that acts of terrorism, wherever they occurred, were never justified and believed that their elimination would certainly improve conditions for the convening of an international conference on peace in the region.
5. The members of the Support Committee remained convinced that the situation in the Middle East required a political solution. They considered that, given the general improvement of the international climate and the policy of disengagement from the West Bank recently announced by H.M. King Hussein of Jordan, an unequivocal mutual recognition of all parties concerned, would go a long way toward facilitating the convening of an international conference on peace in that region.
6. The members of the Support Committee commended the initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, described in the Annex to this report, and expressed the readines of their Committee to assist the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in their effort to promote the convening of an international conference on peace in the Middle East.
7. In view of the above considerations the members of the Support Committee recommend to the Inter-Parliamentary Council that it reiterate its support and encouragement to the United Nations Secretary-General's action in this connection as wall as its request to the Inter-Parliamentary Secretary General to urge National Groups to continue communicating their respective follow-up action in promoting an international conference on peace in the Middle East, for consideration by the Council, at its 144th session in Budapest, in March 1989. As a consequence, they also recommend to the Council to extend the mandate of the Support Committee so that it may report to the Council at that time.
SUMMARY OF COMMUNICATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY SUPPORT COMMITTEE TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE CONVENING OF AN INTERNATIONAL
CONFERENCE ON PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The communications summarized below supplement those of China, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany (Federal Republic of), Hungary, India, Jordan, Pakistan, Romania, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia, Yugoslavia, Austria/Tunisia, Tunisia/United Kingdom, United Nations, Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, Palestine National Council, contained in the Annex to the report of the Support Committee to the Campaign for the Convening of an International Conference on Peace in the Middle East, adopted by consensus by the 142nd session of the Inter-Parliamentary Council (Guatemala, 16 April 1988).
In July 1988, the National Group of Algeria decided to establish c parliamentary group in support of the Palestinian cause, within the National People's Assembly. One of that Group's main objectives will be to undertake any action which would favour the understanding of the Palestinian cause and promote sympathetic support by the international parliamentary community, with a view to, inter alia, holding an international conference on the Middle East which could legitimize the rights of the Palestinian people.
In June 1988 Canada hosted the annual meeting of the seven major western industrialized countries (Canada, France, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States, West Germany). The Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs made the following statement on behalf of the seven: "We express our deep concern at the increasing instability in the Near-East. The current violence in the occupied territories is a clear sign that the status quo is not sustainable. An early negotiated settlement to the underlying Arab-Israeli dispute is essential. We declare our support for the convening of a properly structured international conference as the appropriate framework for the necessary negotiations between the parties directly concerned".
The Canadian view is that a properly structured international conference should provide for direct negotiations, which are required to ensure the commitment of the parties to any settlement.
In the context of bringing about a political solution, the Government of Canada has appealed to the Government of Israel to show the utmost flexibility in approaching negotiations and has urged the Palestinian leadership to confirm its willingness to recognize the State of Israel. It has clearly stated its position that the current violence in the occupied territories is destructive to the peace process.
The Cypriot National Group expressed its belief "that a just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem can only be achieved through the convening of an international conference with the participation of all parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. This belief is propagated by the Cypriot Members in various international fora in which they participate." The position of the Government was similar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been sent a copy of the relevant Middle East resolution adopted by the 77th Conference.
The urgency of convening an international peace conference had been highlighted by the ongoing events in the occupied Arab territories and in December 1987, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution regarding the events in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The resolution, inter alia, "condemns the oppressive acts of the Israeli occupation forces in these areas and reiterated its support of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations on the Middle East problem".
Referring to its previous note stating, inter alia, that "Egypt's consistent policy is that the holding of the international conference on peace in which the permanent members of the UN Security Council must participate as well as all parties to the conflict, above all the PLO, as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, is the right approach for putting an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict and finding a legal solution to the Palestinian question which is acceptable to the international community", the Egyptian National Group underscores that "Israel's occupation, over twenty years ago, of the Arab territories in 1967, accompanied by the Palestinian people's categorical rejection of this situation, merely exacerbates the need to build the edifice of a comprehensive peace based on justice, to restore the legitimate rights of all those entitled to such rights within a framework which guarantees mutual security, and to recognize the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, on the basis of the principle of the inadmissibility of the occupation of a country through war." Both the Egyptian Government and people are untiringly pursuing their efforts throughout the world for a peaceful settlement, by means of negotiations between the parties and within the framework of an international peace conference.
The Egyptian National Group hopes that "the Committee will take into consideration the fact that the attempt to impose a fait accompli and to maintain such a situation carries with it grave threats and entails the most unfortunate consequences." It, therefore, considers that "there is no alternative to responsible action and efforts by all Governments and peoples with a view to accelerating the process of peace in the Middle East region and to allowing the Palestinian people to regain its legitimate rights."
Germany (Federal Republic of)
The National Group of the Federal Republic of Germany reported that, in March 1988, the Bundestag had devoted a session to an item entitled "The situation in the Middle East, with particular reference to the territories occupied by Israel". The same month, a Bundestag delegation of its Foreign Affairs Committee to the Maghreb had discussed the question of a Middle East conference with its hosts, Arab League representatives and the PLO. Moreover, the Bundestag had organized talks with Israeli authorities. Finally, the relevant resolution of the 77th Conference bearing on the Middle East was published and discussed by the Bundestag in May 1988.
The Federal Government consistently endorsed "an international conference under United Nations auspices". It continued to consider "such a conference to be the appropriate framework for furthering the peace process". But it believed that conference details (such as participants and terms of reference) should be left to the countries directly concerned. The Government will continue to develop this policy in the future. Like the European Community, it also continued to be preoccupied by the fate of the Palestinian people living in the Israeli-occupied territories. The situation prevailing there underlined the urgency of reaching a political settlement.
The Moroccan National Group reported that its parliamentarians fully supported the proposal to convene without delay an international conference on the Middle East in which all parties concerned, including the PLO and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, would participate on an equal footing. This was the way to establish a just and lasting peace on the basis of UN resolutions on Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict, in particular resolutions recognizing the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and establishment of its own State.
On 5 May 1988, the House of Representatives held a special session on the situation in the occupied territories. It then adopted a declaration in which it reiterated its support for the Palestinian uprising in these territories, again condemned the acts of repression and aggression by the Zionists against the Palestinian Arab people, and reaffirmed its support for the holding of an international conference on peace in the Middle East as soon as possible.
The Nicaraguan National Group reported that its Government had always strongly defended the Palestinian cause. Since 1984, Nicaragua has stressed the urgent need to convene an international peace conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices and with the participation of all the parties involved, including the PLO as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Nicaragua has manifested its unconditional support for these people's uprising in Gaza and the West Bank, illegally occupied by Israel, and at the same time it has strongly condemned Israel's repressive and terrorist policies. In this connection, Nicaragua has taken an active part in a number of United Nations and Non-Aligned Countries' meetings as well as IPU Conferences, where it has consistently supported the urgent need to convene an international conference on peace in the Middle East.
Syrian Arab Republic
The Syrian National Group reiterated its position with regard to the convening of an international conference on peace in the Middle East. The Group endorsed UN General Assembly resolutions on the convening of such a conference. It furthermore underlined the need to ensure participation therein of all parties in a state of war, the PLO and the permanent members of the UN Security Council. So as to achieve peace on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter and of the UN resolutions dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict, the proposed conference should be effective and not serve as a cover for partial and individual agreements. It should lead to total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories (including Jerusalem) and should guarantee the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
The Turkish National Group felt that the Palestinian problem lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict, and that a just and lasting peace in the region could only be achieved on the basis of (a) Israeli forces' withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories (including Jerusalem) and (b) the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination. Turkey welcomed all peace efforts including the convening of an international conference on peace in the Middle East, at which all parties concerned, including the PLO, would be represented, and the National Group would contribute to do its utmost to contribute to the efforts in this regard.
The National Group of the USSR reported that the Soviet Union favoured a solution to the Middle East conflict which took into account the balance of interests of all parties concerned. It considered that for peace to be established, Israel had to end its occupation of the Arab and Palestinian territories; at the same time, the security and right of all States and nations in the area to full national development had to be ensured. An international conference on peace in the Middle East could find mutually acceptable solutions to all aspects of the settlement. All parties to the conflict, especially the PLO, as well as the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, should participate in the preparation and work of the conference.
In recent years, the USSR had actively promoted the idea of convening a Middle East conference in the United Nations and other international fora, while pursuing consultations with the parties to the conflict and with the United States of America. Soviet parliamentarians as well as various national organizations were playing an active part in these efforts.
The British National Group reported that its position on the matter remained unchanged from the joint Tunisian-British declaration on the subject summarized in the Annex to the Support Committee's report to the 142nd session of the Council.
The Vietnamese National Group reported that its members as wall as the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committed support the IPU Committee in favour of convening a conference on peace in the Middle East. They condemned oppressive terrorist Israeli acts against Arab people", and supported the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to return to their homeland and to establish their own independent State. The Group reiterated that the National Assembly and the people o! Viet Nam supported the convening of an international conference on peace in the Middle East with the full participation of the PLO.
INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
The position of the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly and Secretary-General, has not changed since that reported in some detail in the Annex to the Conclusions of the Support Committee to the Convening of an International Conference on Peace in the Middle East, adopted by the 142nd session of the Inter-Parliamentary Council (Guatemala, 16 April 1988).
As he stated in January 1988, the UN Secretary-General continued to believe that "a settlement should be negotiated by means of an international conference under United Nations auspice:, with the participation of all concerned" and he remained committed to exploring actively with the parties and with the members of the UN Security Council, especially its permanent members, how the present impasse in the peace process could be unblocked. Unfortunately, bilateral attempts in this direction have not borne fruit to date and no discussion on this matter has been held in any of the UN organs since those reported to the Inter-Parliamentary Council at its 142nd session in April 1988. Nor have any relevant UN documents been issued since that date.
At the present time, the President of the UN Security Council is conducting bilateral consultations on this matter with members of his Council with a view to informing the UN Secretary-General of their results by 22 September 1988. The latter is expected to issue his report on the situation by the end of this month, shortly after the start of the 43rd session of the UN General Assembly.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
A member of the Support Committee (Mr. Martinez) drew attention to a resolution "on the prospects for an international Middle East Peace Conference", adopted by the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 13 June 1988. In the resolution, the Assembly, inter alia, decided "to do its utmost ... to try to overcome existing reservations and help create the climate of confidence necessary for the earliest possible opening of talks aimed at convening the international conference which has become indispensable if the inhabitants of the Middle East and neighbouring regions wish to evert disaster". It also decided on the principle of a fact-finding mission to the Middle East region "with view to preparing a parliamentary conference in Strasbourg for early 1989 with the countries participating in a possible Middle East peace conference".
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