Follow UNISPAL Twitter RSS
49. Mr. HARAN (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that since a resolution asking for assistance to be given to the Palestinian people already existed, the Arab States which had the means to provide such assistance might have been expected to make commitments in that regard, but the draft resolution introduced was limited to requesting the dispatch of a new mission and the preparation of a new report. On the other hand, some representatives had referred to the Palestinians’ living conditions and to economic development projects, matters which had not been raised in the resolutions of the Economic and Social Council. The comments that had been made on those matters called for a reply. With regard to agriculture, it should be recalled that Mr. Benvenisti, an Israeli observer who according to UNCTAD was reliable, had stated that the relatively stable use of land in the territories administered by Israel refuted the assertion that there had been a significant reduction in the cultivated area as a result of land confiscations. The figures already cited on agriculture were taken from documents issued by the United Nations. From 1967 to 1986, Jordanian agriculture had grown by 22 per cent. The corresponding figure for Israel was 200 per cent. With regard to irrigation, UNDP had indicated, in a pamphlet on assistance to the Palestinian people issued in July 1986, that irrigated land amounted to 18,950 hectares in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. According to FAO statistics, Jordan had irrigated 38,000 hectares. But it must not be forgotten that Jordan had 3.5 million inhabitants, whereas there were only 1,250,000 in Judea and Samaria. If that factor were taken into account, the area of irrigated land was proportionately larger on the Israeli side.
50. According to a report issued by ESCWA in December 1981, Judea and Samaria had had practically no industrial infrastructure before 1967. For that reason, many people had had to emigrate to the East Bank to find work. Today, the West Bank had 2,380 industrial establishments. According to the Jordanian Statistical Yearbook for 1984, there were 6,724 such establishments in Jordan. In that case too, if account was taken of population, it could be seen that industrial development was such faster in Judea and Samaria.
51. Mr. MAJALI (Jordan), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization had drawn certain erroneous conclusions, in his statement of 24 October, with respect to the Jordanian development plan for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Jordan was not seeking to diminish the power of the PLO nor to dissociate itself from Arab unity. It had subscribed to the Fez resolutions and respected the agreement concluded with the PLO whereby it recognized that that Organization was the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and that co-operation must be initiated in order to reach a peaceful, just and lasting settlement of the question of Palestine. If that co-operation did not materialize, it was not the fault of Jordan. Despite those difficulties, its position of principle with regard to the PLO remained unchanged.
52. Jordan had close historical and geographic links with the Palestinians and was aware that they were living in very difficult conditions. It was therefore under an obligation to continue its assistance programme. In fact, it had already been assisting the Palestinian people before 1967. The development plan for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was an extension of that policy, which was guided by the aspirations of the Palestinian people and the Arab world. Its objectives had been laid down by the Jordanian-Palestinian Committee responsible for monitoring its implementation. The main point was to provide the inhabitants of the occupied territories with the means whereby they might better resist the policy of forced emigration and expulsion and, at the same time, to ensure independent economic development. Jordan supported all sincere initiatives in favour of the Palestinians but also hoped that the importance of its own contribution would be recognized: it was scrupulously honouring its commitments to the Palestinian people, the Arab countries and the United Nations. Its economic assistance should not give rise to a subjective political interpretation. Jordan was willing to join in a dialogue on that subject. It had invited other fraternal countries, regional organizations and financial institutions to a conference, to be held in Amman from 8 to 12 November 1986, to consider the plan for the West Bank and Gaza, and all interested parties were invited to take part.
53. Mr. ANAD (Iraq), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the representative of Israel had, in his statement of 24 October, uttered, as was his custom, a number of untruths: he seemed ultimately to be intent on proving that the Zionist State was developing by virtue of a policy of expansionism and aggression. If it were to be accepted that Israel should become a member of ESCWA, what would the frontiers be? Those of 1948, of 1967 or those stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates, as mentioned in Zionist documents? With regard to the practices of the occupying Power in the occupied Arab territories, the Israeli Minister of Defence, Mr. Rabin, had stated, in the Jerusalem Post of February 1986, that the Israeli Government would not permit any economic development in the West Bank and Gaza that would compete with the Israeli economy. That remark was revealing.
55. Mr. MASRI (Syrian Arab Republic), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the representative of Israel had quoted certain figures only to make members of the Committee believe that the occupation of the Palestinian territories was contributing to their prosperity and development, but facts showed that that was one of the world’s most horrible examples of foreign military occupation. It derived from two fundamental principles: on the one hand, racism based on the superiority of the occupying Power and, on the other hand, the establishment of settlements. Using the same methods as South Africa, Israel was attempting to subjugate the inhabitants of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights by confiscating their land, water resources and crops and imposing curfews. Those were undeniable facts which were reported every day in the press. The figures provided by Israel gave false picture and were designed to divert attention from the deplorable living conditions imposed on the inhabitants by the occupying Power.
56. The CHAIRMAN said that the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization had asked to speak in exercise of the right of reply. If he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to accede to the request.
57. Mr. ABU KOASH (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that, as Observer for the PLO, he had the right to exercise his right of reply without the matter being referred to the Committee.
58. As the representative of Jordan knew very well, it was not the custom of the PLO to raise inter-Arab affairs in the Second Committee. However, it had referred to the so-called Jordanian development plan for the occupied territories because Jordan had invited various United Nations bodies and European countries to take part in a meeting on that subject in November 1986. He wondered why Jordan had not thought it worth while to invite the PLO to that meeting, since the PLO had been recognized by Jordan as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, Jordan had decided to deprive the Palestinian refugees of the Gaza Strip of their national identity by issuing to them passports which gave them Jordanian citizenship. Even Anwar Sadat, when concluding the Camp David agreements, had not dared to suggest changing the identity of the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. He therefore advised Jordan to abide by the resolutions on assistance for the Palestinian people which had been adopted by the General Assembly and the various summit conferences of the Arab countries.
59. With regard to the statement of the representative of Israel, he said that the Committee had nothing to learn on the manner in which it should conduct its work from a member which would continue, as it had always done, to quote spurious figures and refer to reports other than those before the Committee in order to mislead delegations. It might also be asked how Israel, a country overwhelmed by debt and unable to provide for the needs of its own people, could claim to promote the development of other peoples. There could be no development when 90 per cent of Palestinian water resources and more than 60 per cent of Palestinian land had been confiscated. The figures quoted by the representative of Israel referred only to the Israeli settlements and not to the occupied Palestinian territories. The Palestinian people had no wish for the so-called blessings of Israeli occupation but desired only its freedom and the right to decide its own destiny.
60. The CHAIRMAN said that members of the Committee could exercise the right of reply in accordance with rule 115 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly. That rule, however, made no express reference to observers.
61. Mr. HARAN (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the figures he had given had not been taken from Israeli sources but from documents issued by the United Nations or other international organizations. As long as the position continued to be maintained, as it had by all the Arab delegations that had spoken thus far, that trade and co-operation between Israel and the administered territories were completely unacceptable, it would be impossible to proceed with the peace negotiations. Fortunately, that was not the attitude of all the Arab countries. Egypt, for example, had asked that 1987 should be the year of negotiations for peace in the Middle East. Only direct contacts between the parties concerned could lead to a solution of the problem.
62. The representative of Syria seemed to be alarmed at the fact that the inhabitants of the Golan Heights were obliged to carry Israeli identity cards. He could rest assured that they were better off than the 10,000 Syrians who had been massacred by the Syrian army at Nasa in 1982.
63. Mr. MASRI (Syrian Arab Republic), speaking on a point of order, said that the representative of Israel was deviating from the subject.
64. Mr. HARAN (Israel) said that he simply wished to state that the Syrian delegation was shedding crocodile tears because the inhabitants of the Golan Heights had to carry identity cards. They considered themselves more fortunate than the 10,000 Syrians who had been massacred at Hams. Such were the methods use by the Syrian authorities, as was shown by the recent attempt by the intelligence services of that country to blow up an Israeli aircraft.
65. Mr. MASRI (Syrian Arab Republic), speaking on a point of order, said he wished that the representative of Israel would restrict his remarks to the matter under consideration.
66. Mr. HARAN (Israel) said that the attempt to blow up an aircraft belonging to El Al Israel Airlines was an example of the acts of hostility committed against Israel with the encouragement of the Arab countries. The figures he had quoted gave the Israeli Government reason to be proud of living conditions in the administered Arab territories, and it was to be hoped that a solution other than that desired by the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic could be sought to the Palestinian problem.
67. Mr. MAJALI (Jordan), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that he wished to assure the Israeli delegation that the figures he had quoted did not come from Jordanian sources but from Israeli publications and United Nations documents. Most of those figures were contained in document TD/B/1102. His delegation did not wish to politicize a debate on economic questions but wished to reaffirm the fact that the development of the occupied Arab territories was a national responsibility that must be shared by the fraternal Arab countries and all States cherishing justice and peace. It also considered that the Palestinian people should remain in the occupied territories and, in order to do so, should receive assistance to secure its economic development. The continued presence of the Palestinians in those territories was essential for the defence and security of Jordan and of the Arab world as a whole. Questions of representativeness were, in the view of Jordan, an internal affair of concern to the Palestinian people alone.
68. The observer for the PLO should recall that, in September 1985, Mr. Saleh Khalef had stated in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyasah that he endorsed the Jordanian five-year development plan for the occupied territories since he felt that it was his duty to support all initiatives that might promote the economic development of the Palestinian people.
69. Mr. MASRI (Syrian Arab Republic), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the assertions made by the representative of Israel were inaccurate and completely baseless. On 10 March 1986, a television programme had been broadcast in the Federal Republic of Germany on Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories, including the Golan Heights, describing the torture and maltreatment inflicted on the population of those territories. On 2 June 1986, Israeli radio had also announced that a large number of Syrian families had been obliged to leave their homes because of deteriorating living conditions in the Golan Heights.
70. In connection with the development of the territories in question, the representative of Israel had once again tried to use false figures to characterize living conditions in the occupied Arab and Syrian territories. The Israeli Government could indeed be proud of its conduct in the occupied territories, since the massacre of Arabs was the essential element of its policy.
71. Mr. ABU KOASH (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that he did not wish to dwell on procedural matters but would request clarification from the Secretariat with regard to the rules of procedure.
72. It was for the PLO itself, and not for the press, to present its position with regard to the so-called Jordanian development plan or any other matter. It was surprising that the Israeli delegation should now praise the report of UNCTAD on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, when it had never ceased criticizing it in Geneva.
73. Whatever blessings might be attributed to it, occupation had only one face, and that an ugly one. While, as was well known, trade between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories had been non-existent before 1967, currently 90 per cent of imports to those territories came from Israel, thereby ensuring Israeli domination of the Palestinian national economy. It might also be asked why Israel, which claimed to be favourably disposed to the development of the occupied Palestinian territories, refused to allow the construction of the seaport and the cement works recommended by the General Assembly, why it closed universities, why it imprisoned Palestinians and why it had annexed Jerusalem. Perhaps Israel also wished to convince the Committee that the annexation of Jerusalem promoted the economic and social development of the Palestinian people.
74. The CHAIRMAN announced that Côte d’Ivoire had joined the sponsors of draft resolution A/C.2/41/L.16, that Argentina had become a co-sponsor of draft resolution A/C.2/41/L.15, and that Saudi Arabia had joined the sponsors of draft resolution A/C.2/41/L.21.