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Source: Department of Public Information
31 December 1976
YEARBOOK
OF THE
UNITED
NATIONS

1976

Volume 30



OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK


The search for a peaceful settlement


The Middle East problem
including the Palestinian question

Communication (9 January 1976)

By a letter dated 9 January 1976, the representative of the USSR transmitted the text of a letter addressed to the Secretary-General by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR in connexion with General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX) of 10 November 1975, 1/ which concerned an invitation to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to participate in the efforts for peace in the Middle East. The Foreign Minister said his Government had consistently advocated the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and believed that the only reliable way of reaching a fundamental settlement of that problem was through joint collective efforts by all the parties directly concerned, including the Arab people of Palestine represented by PLO. He added that on 9 November the USSR had proposed to the United States that, as Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East, they should take a joint initiative for its resumption. His Government continued to hold the firm view that that Conference was the most appropriate forum for working out fundamental decisions on a Middle East settlement based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and resolutely advocated its speediest possible resumption with the full and equal participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Consideration by Security
Council (12-26 January 1976)

By the resolution it adopted on 30 November 1975, 2/ by which it extended the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the Security Council also decided that it would reconvene on 12 January 1976 to continue the debate on the Middle East problem including the Palestinian question, taking into account all relevant United Nations resolutions. It was also the understanding of the majority of the Security Council - in accordance with an agreement reached following consultations between members - that, when it reconvened, the representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization would be invited to participate in the debate. 3/

When the Security Council convened on 12 January 1976, the Council President, with the consent of the Council, invited the representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Emirates, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote. At subsequent meetings, the representatives of Algeria, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, Morocco, Poland, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen and Yugoslavia were also invited at their request to participate without the right to vote.

The President then proposed that the representative of PL0 be invited to participate in the debate, pointing out that his proposal was not being put forward under rule 37 4/ or rule 39 5/ of the Security Council's provisional rules of procedure; if adopted by the Council, the invitation to PLO to participate would confer upon it the same rights of participation as were conferred when a Member State was invited to participate under rule 37.

Recalling that he had objected to the same proposal when it was made on 4 December 1975, 6/ the representative of the United States again objected, stating that rule 37 made allowance for Members of the Organization that were not Council members to participate in the Council's debates. The Organization did not have Members which were not States. The Palestine Liberation Organization was not a State; it did not claim to be a State; it did not administer a defined territory. A decision to invite PLO to participate not under existing rules but as if it were a Member State with the same rights as a Member State would open a veritable Pandora's box of future difficulties, he said. There were groups in all parts of the world that could seek to participate in the Council's proceedings as if they were Member States.

Moreover, he went on to say, PLO, which did not recognize the right of the State of Israel, which was a Member State, to exist, also refused to acknowledge the authority of the Security Council, which, by its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 7/ and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 8/ had undertaken to uphold the rights of the States of the Middle East. Resolution 242 (1967) for years had served and continued to serve as the only agreed basis for serious negotiations. Consequently, he said, the United States was not prepared to go along with an action which would also undermine the negotiation process, the only process that could lead to peace. He urged the Council not to repeat its mistaken ad hoc decision of 4 December 1975.

The representatives of the Libyan Arab Republic, Pakistan, Panama, Romania and the USSR spoke in favour of the proposal to invite the representatives of PLO.

The United Kingdom representative said it was still his Government's view that the proposal constituted an undesirable and unnecessary departure from established Council practice. However,, a majority of members of the Council as it was composed in November 1975 took the view that PLO representatives should be invited to participate in the debate; in those circumstances, the United Kingdom did not think it right to press procedural objections to the point of voting against the proposal.

The proposal was then put to a vote and received 11 votes in favour, 1 against (United States) and 3 abstentions (France, Italy, United Kingdom), and was therefore adopted.

France and Italy explained that their reservations concerned the terms under which the invitation to PLO was to be extended. Contrary to its rules of procedure, the Council attempted to confer upon PLO the status of a State, which it was not and did not claim to be.

The PLO representative welcomed the Council's decision to invite PLO to participate in its discussion. He noted Israel's deliberate absence and suggested that its pretext for boycotting the Council's session was simply because representatives of the people Palestine were present. He then retraced the history of the Palestine question since 1947 and pointed out that it was only to put an end to injustice and aggression that the Palestinian people had resorted to armed struggle. In 1967, after Israel had occupied what remained of Palestine, as well as Sinai and the Golan Heights, the Council met to study the Middle East crisis but ignored the heart and essence of the conflict: the question of Palestine. Resolution 242 (1967) addressed itself to the so-called Middle East crisis but dealt neither with the Palestine question nor with the national rights of the Palestinian people to independence and sovereignty. Since then, he said, it had become commonplace to speak of the "Middle East crisis," with the intent of camouflaging, obscuring and evading the essential question, which was the question of Palestine. That had been the reason for the Palestinian people's rejection of resolution 242 (1967), for its rejection of the cease-fire and for its determination to carry out its armed struggle.

Similarly, he went on to say, resolution 338 (1973), subsequently adopted by the Council, was devoid of any reference to the question of Palestine and ignored the national rights of the Palestinian people. Again the Palestinian people had had to reject it.

In the aftermath of the October 1973 war, he said, PLO moved politically to rectify the mistaken view of the identity of the conflict in the Middle East. Thus, it requested inclusion of the question of Palestine as an independent item on the agenda of the twenty-ninth (1974) session of the General Assembly, a request that was supported by the overwhelming majority of Member States. The international community then came to recognize: first, that the question of Palestine was the central issue in the Middle East conflict; second, that peace in the Middle East was contingent upon the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, beginning with their rights to return, to self-determination and to sovereignty on their national soil; third, that the 1967 war was not in reality a conflict over regional frontiers between the Arab States and Israel, but one of the inevitable results of the continued Israeli usurpation of Palestinian land and violation of Palestinian rights; and fourth, that PLO had been decisively confirmed as the representative of the Palestinian people.

In conclusion, the PLO representative pointed out that PLO's struggle was not directed against the Jews but against the Zionist movement, its racist doctrines and its expansionist practices, which had led to the exile and homelessness of the Palestinian people, who expected the Security Council to adopt a resolution ending their tragedy and offering them a path to return to their homeland. Their aim was the establishment of an independent sovereign State on their national soil.

Spokesmen for Arab countries supported the views expressed by the PLO representative. The representative of the Libyan Arab Republic insisted that no international conference had the right to discuss the question of Palestine in the absence of PLO and that any resolution which ignored the national rights of the Palestinian people was to be rejected. He and others also maintained that the unjust and unlimited commitment of the United States to the Zionist cause constituted the main obstacle to the formulation of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The representative of Egypt regretted that Israel - the party responsible for the occupation of Arab land and denial of the Palestinian people's national rights - should have found it fitting to declare its contempt of the Council and the international community by boycotting the Council's debate. He asked that the Geneva Peace Conference be reconvened -in the near future, with PLO invited to attend on an equal footing with the other parties.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic pointed out that, inasmuch as the Zionist aggression against the Arab people did not start on 5 June 1967, the solution of the conflict could not be based on resolutions or solutions that took into account only what had happened since that date. That explained the inadequacy of resolution 242 (1967), which was intended to deal with the immediate consequences of Israeli aggression and totally ignored the Palestine question and the Palestinian people. By adopting resolution 381 (1975) of 30 November 1975, 9/ he said, the Council had taken an important step towards fulfilling its responsibilities.

The spokesman for Jordan also deplored the "wilful and deliberate" absence of Israel - the party which had always proclaimed its desire for peace and its belief in dialogue. He went on to say that the endeavours of Israeli authorities to consolidate their occupation of the Arab territories was a process of national and cultural replacement much more fearful and radical than the traditionally known violations of human rights of people under conventional occupation. The Council could build peace if its programme involved a time-table for Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and an endorsement of the Palestinian right to national self-determination. He added that the Palestinian reality, ignored in earlier Council resolutions, had to be recognized as an essential component of such a peace. A just settlement had to include national self-determination for the Palestinian people, their ingathering and the right of return for those who had been expelled from their homes.

Similar views were expressed by spokesmen for other Arab Member States, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The French representative said the Council should see to it that a just settlement of the Palestinian problem was brought about at the same time as recognition of secure and guaranteed frontiers for all the States of the area. Arab territories occupied as a result of the war of 1967 had to be evacuated and the rights of the Palestinian people to an independent homeland had to be recognized. However, it was not for the Council to determine for the interested parties the nature and status of the Palestinian homeland, which they themselves should determine in the light of the opportunities offered by life in the area. The procedure to be followed in seeking a settlement, he said, was established by resolution 338 (1973), which remained entirely valid. A settlement could emerge only from negotiations among the parties and France favoured a Palestinian expression of views during those negotiations. It was for the Council to follow developments in the negotiating process, to endorse results and to determine the necessary international guarantees.

According to the USSR representative, Israeli troops had to withdraw from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the legitimate national rights of the Arab people of Palestine had to he fully satisfied, including their inalienable right to create their own State. The USSR, he said, appealed for a comprehensive solution of the radical problems of a peace settlement within the Geneva Conference. It was firmly convinced that without the full participation of the Arab people of Palestine it would be impossible and pointless to attempt to settle the Middle East problem; the question of the participation of their representatives in the work of the Geneva Conference was directly related to the very substance of a settlement. Anyone who took a stand against the equal participation of the PLO representatives in the work of the Conference was against a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, the USSR representative stated.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that a settlement should be based on three main requirements. The first was Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories; the second, respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. Those two basic principles were laid down in resolution 242 (1967) and brought into effect as provided in resolution 338 (1973), and the United Kingdom would oppose any unilateral attempt to alter those resolutions or detract from them. The third requirement, not expressed in resolution 242(1967), was that the right of the Palestinian people to the expression of their national identity had to be recognized. How their rights were to be further defined was a matter for negotiation between the parties, but it had to be done in a way consistent with the right of all States in the area, including Israel, to exist within secure and recognized boundaries.

The principle of Israel's existence was supported by the great majority of Member States, he observed, and those who did not recognize that fact - most of all, those Palestinians who did not do so - had to come to recognize it and begin the task of considering how they could live at peace with Israel. On the other side, Israel had to accept that Palestinian nationalist sentiment would have to be taken into account and, more important, Israel would have to do something about it. It was not enough, he said, simply to express willingness to find a solution.

The Chinese representative said it was mainly the two super-powers which were responsible for the situation in the Middle East. Although each of them had put forward this or that kind of proposal - for a comprehensive solution or a "step-by-step" solution - in fact neither of them had any intention or sincere desire to bring about a real settlement. The Chinese Government and people, he said, had always supported the Palestinian and other Arab peoples in their just struggle to regain their national rights and recover their lost territories, and firmly condemned Israeli Zionist aggression. In China's view, the Council had to affirm the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and Israel had to withdraw from all the occupied Arab territories.

The United States representative said that one of the Security Council's greatest contributions had been to establish a framework within which contact between the parties to the problem could take place and the negotiating process maintained. Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the will to apply them, had been the foundation for the progress that had been made; they continued to provide hope for the future. But, he said, when all parties had agreed to a framework, all of them had to agree to any changes in it. The Council should not adopt resolutions leaving no commonly accepted basis for further negotiation. However, the United States believed there was enough leeway in the existing arrangements to achieve progress, if there was the will to use them; matters of procedure, such as the question of additional participants, and of substance could and should be addressed at Geneva or at a preparatory conference. The Council should not seek to prejudge the work of the Geneva Conference.

The United States, he said, was prepared to co-operate with all the States involved on all the issues. It was aware that there could be no durable solution without every effort being made to promote a solution of the key issues of a just and lasting peace based on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), taking into account the legitimate interests of all the peoples of the area, including the Palestinian people, and respect for the right to independent existence of all States in the area.

On 26 January, the representative of Pakistan introduced a draft resolution, sponsored also by Benin, Guyana, Panama, Romania and the United Republic of Tanzania, according to the preamble of which the Security Council would, among other things, express its conviction that the question of Palestine was the core of the conflict in the Middle East and its concern over the continuing deterioration of the situation there. It would deeply deplore Israel's persistence in its occupation of Arab territories and its refusal to implement the relevant United Nations resolutions, and reaffirm the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territories by the threat or use of force. Also by the preamble to the draft text, the Council would reaffirm further the necessity of the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region, based on full respect for the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions concerning the problem of the Middle East including the question of Palestine.

By the operative part of the six-power text, the Council would affirm: (a) that the Palestinian people should be enabled to exercise its inalienable right of self-determination, including the right to establish an independent state in Palestine in accordance with the Charter; (b) the right of Palestinian refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours to do so and the right of those choosing not to return to receive compensation for their property; (c) that Israel should withdraw from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967; and (d) that appropriate arrangements should be established to guarantee, in accordance with the Charter, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

The Council would, further by this text: decide that the above provisions should be taken fully into account in all international efforts and conferences organized within the framework of the United Nations for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East; request the Secretary-General to take all necessary steps as soon as possible for the implementation of the provisions of this resolution and to report to the Security Council on the progress achieved; and decide to convene within six months to consider that report and in order to pursue the Council's responsibilities regarding such implementation.

The representative of the United Kingdom said his Government attached great importance to maintaining the principles and the provisions of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) as an essential element in the draft if the resolution was to provide a real contribution towards the progress of negotiations. He therefore submitted an amendment in the form of a new operative paragraph by which the Council would reaffirm the principles and provisions of those resolutions and declare that nothing in the provisions of the current resolution superseded them.

In the view of the United States representative, the draft resolution, far from preserving the framework for negotiations established in the 1967 and 1973 resolutions, would in fact begin its destructions inasmuch as it proposed a fundamental and irremediable diminishment of the circumstances of one of the parties, fundamental rights were elided, entitlements impaired and expectations put in doubt. It would be incompatible for the same document both to alter those rights, entitlements and expectations - which were incorporated in the two resolutions - and, at the same time, to seek to reaffirm them. Therefore he would abstain on the United Kingdom amendment.

The representative of France, pointing out that the object of the Council's debate was to complement and complete the 1967 and 1973 resolutions, said he would vote in favour of the amendment since in France's view there was no contradiction between the draft resolution and the United Kingdom proposal, which shed light on the context in which the Council's work had to be done. Italy also supported the United Kingdom's proposal.

The USSR said it could not support the amendment as it would introduce ambiguity and confusion into the substance of the draft resolution.

The Libyan Arab Republic opposed the United Kingdom's amendment, reiterating its view that the two resolutions in question had been bypassed by events and developments both inside and outside the United Nations and were irrelevant as a framework for any just and lasting solution of the Middle East question.

Pakistan said it could not support the proposed amendment, not because of its substance but because it was not relevant.

The United Republic of Tanzania said that to accept the proposed amendment would create unnecessary difficulties for many that had been able to accept the draft resolution as it stood. The sponsors believed their draft to be an improvement on resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) because it was clearer and because it addressed itself seriously to the Palestinian question.

The amendment proposed by the United Kingdom was put to a vote and received 4 votes in favour (France, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom), 2 against (China, Libyan Arab Republic) and 9 abstentions, and was therefore not adopted.

China's representative said his Government would not participate in the voting on the draft resolution. It considered that the most urgent task was to secure Israel's withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories. However, the draft resolution called for arrangements to guarantee the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries; that, according to China, could be used by Israeli Zionism to create pretexts for its policy of aggression and expansion and by the super-powers to continue to maintain the situation of "no war, no peace" which was single-handedly created by them.

The draft resolution was put to a vote and received 9 votes in favour, 1 against (United States) and 3 abstentions (Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom). China and the Libyan Arab Republic did not participate in the vote. The resolution was not adopted because of the negative vote of a permanent member of the Council.

The Secretary-General observed that the Security Council's debate had highlighted both the main elements of the Middle East problem and the extreme difficulty of reconciling those elements. It had in particular emphasized the Palestinian dimension of the problem; at the same time, there had been a reaffirmation of the right of every State in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. He said he felt it his duty to express the general and growing anxiety of the international community at large at the great difficulties being experienced in making progress towards a settlement and he appealed to all of the parties concerned to persist in their efforts so that further constructive steps could quickly follow the Council's debate.
Speaking in explanation of the vote, the representative of the United States said that, even if it stood alone, the United States felt the need to preserve the framework for negotiations established in resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). The negative vote of the United States was not based on antipathy to the aspirations of the Palestinians but rather on the conviction that passage of the draft resolution would not ameliorate the condition of the Palestinians or be the most effective way of addressing the long-neglected problem of their future in the context of an over-all settlement.

France deplored the fact that the draft resolution, which was the product of lengthy consultation and which it termed realistic and equitable, had not been adopted. France did not believe, however, that the debate had been in vain, because the framework for a just and stable solution for the Middle East had become clearer.

A similar view was expressed by the representative of Japan, who said that the fact that many members had agreed on a formula aimed at solving the Middle East problem was in itself a point of departure for future discussions.

The USSR representative said there was general recognition that genuine peace was impossible unless the national rights of the Arab people of Palestine were respected and unless Israeli troops withdrew from all the occupied Arab territories. He noted that many speakers, having recognized that the Council could not work out a peace treaty on a Middle East settlement, had called for the reconvening of the Geneva Conference, with the participation of PLO. Israel and its supporters were now completely isolated internationally, he stated.

The PLO representative said that the majority of Council members had converged on the following basic concepts and conclusions: that PLO was the representative of the people of Palestine, who were entitled to national self-determination and independence in their Palestinian homeland, and that no peace and hence no just and durable solution of the Middle East crisis was feasible without PLO consent and participation. Finally, he said, Council resolution 242 (1967) was inadequate, since it failed to deal with either the question of Palestine or the national rights of the Palestinian people to independence and sovereignty. The United States, he added, which had chosen to demonstrate its prejudiced and unwavering support of Israel at the cost of impairing the effectiveness of the Council, could no longer claim that its step-by-step diplomacy would yield any productive results.

Communications (January-May 1976)

By a letter dated 9 January 1976, the representative of the USSR transmitted the text of a statement setting forth the views of the USSR regarding the situation in the Middle East.

In a letter dated 10 January, the representative of Mexico considered the Middle East situation to be the most serious potential threat to world peace and that a comprehensive solution to the problem was necessary within the framework of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations. Mexico also believed that the permanent members of the Security Council should demonstrate by action that they wished those resolutions implemented.

By a letter dated 14 January, the representative of Israel transmitted the text of a newspaper article containing a commentary on the "Palestinian Covenant (1968)". He also commented on the PLO political programme and various statements made by its leaders which, he said, demonstrated that the principles and purposes of that organization were incompatible with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.

On 27 January 1976, the Secretary-General, in maintaining contact with the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, sent identical letters to them in which he inquired about their thinking on ways of making progress towards a solution of the Middle East problem. The representatives of the USSR and of the United States transmitted the replies of their Governments on 17 and 20 February.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the USSR stated that Israel's continuing occupation of the Arab territories and its disregard of the rights of the Arab people of Palestine perpetuated the danger of a new military explosion. The efforts of Israel and those who supported it to keep the settlement of the Middle East problem deadlocked, as demonstrated by the results of the recent debate in the Security Council, was a subject of concern. Because of the position of one of its permanent members, the Council had not been able to reach a decision, although the overwhelming majority of its members had spoken in favour of specific measures to achieve a comprehensive settlement. With few exceptions, Members of the United Nations had expressed, in the General Assembly and the Security Council, the view that genuine peace in the Middle East was impossible unless Israel withdrew its troops from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967 and unless the inalienable national rights of the Arab people of Palestine were safeguarded and the right of all States of the region to independent existence was guaranteed.

The USSR Foreign Minister went on to say that it had become evident that the only reliable way to achieve agreement on all the questions involved in a settlement was to resume, after careful preparation, the work of the Geneva Peace Conference, with the participation of all those directly concerned, including PLO and the Co-Chairmen of the Conference. Without the participation of the Palestinians, the Geneva Conference would be not a forum for business-like negotiations but a camouflage aimed at creating a semblance of negotiations, the Foreign Minister said.

In his reply, the Secretary of State of the United States said that he shared the Secretary-General's sense of urgency in pursuing the goal of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. He said he had just concluded discussions with Israel's Prime Minister, and the United States was determined to continue its efforts towards meaningful negotiations. However, it believed that there would be no chance of further progress if the negotiating framework, erected around Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), 10/ were disrupted. It continued to believe that that framework was sufficiently flexible to provide the basis for working out fair and durable solutions to all the issues involved. Furthermore, the United States had repeatedly affirmed that there would be no permanent peace unless it included arrangements that took into account the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people.

The Secretary of State agreed that a resumption of the Geneva Peace Conference, after careful preparation, would serve the goal of achieving progress, and said that the United States had proposed as a practical way of proceeding - a preparatory conference of those who had participated thus far in the negotiations. The United States, he said, was also prepared to consider holding bilateral consultations with the USSR in advance of such a preparatory conference.

By a letter dated 29 April, the representative of the USSR transmitted a statement by his Government dated 28 April, calling for an over-all political settlement of the problem of the Middle East based on: the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all Arab territories; the satisfaction of the legitimate national demands of the Arab people of Palestine, including their inalienable right to establish their own State; and international guarantees for the security and inviolability of the frontiers of all Middle Eastern States. It favoured the resumption of the Geneva Peace Conference, with the participation of PLO, possibly in two stages, so that in the initial stage all organizational questions might be solved and appropriate working bodies established. The USSR was prepared to appoint its representatives to such meetings without delay. In the statement, it was stressed that the previous years separate arrangements concerning some minor segments of the Israeli-occupied territories, by side- stepping the key questions in any Middle East settlement, had not only failed to alleviate the situation but had even further aggravated it.

On 19 May, the representative of Bulgaria transmitted the text of a statement his Government dated 11 May concerning the new initiative of the USSR for a political settlement of the conflict in the Middle East. The Government of Bulgaria expressed its full agreement with the USSR statement of 28 April and endorsed the proposals for the solution of the Middle East conflict contained therein.


Report of the Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

By a note dated 29 May 1976, the Secretary-General, as he had been requested to do by the General Assembly on 10 November 1975, 11/ transmitted to the Security Council the report of the Assembly's 20-member Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. By that resolution, Committee had been asked to submit its report and recommendations no later than 1 June 1976; the Security Council, in turn, was asked to consider as soon as possible after that date the question of the exercise by the Palestinian people of the inalienable rights recognized by the Assembly -in its resolution 3236 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974. 12/

In the first part of its report, the Committee gave a summary of its deliberations on: the nature of the question of Palestine, the role of the Committee, the right of return, the right to self-determination and to national independence and sovereignty, the status of Jerusalem, a programme of implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians, proposals concerning steps to ensure implementation of that programme, and the interrelationship between the question of Palestine and the Middle East problem.

The second part of the report contained the Committees recommendations, beginning with what it termed basic considerations and guidelines. It noted first of all that the question of Palestine was at the heart of the Middle East problem and stressed that, consequently, no solution in the Middle East could be envisaged that did not fully take into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Next, the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property and to achieve self-determination, national independence and sovereignty were endorsed by the Committee in the conviction of those rights would contribute decisively to a comprehensive and final settlement of the Middle East crisis.

In the view of the Committee, the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization on an equal footing with other parties, on the basis of General Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX) 13/ and 3375 (XXX), 14/ was indispensable in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East held under the auspices of the United Nations.

The Committee then recalled the fundamental principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and stressed the consequent obligation for complete and speedy evacuation of any territory so occupied.

The Committee considered it the duty and the responsibility of all concerned to enable the Palestinians to exercise their inalienable rights.

Next, the Committee recommended an expanded and more influential role by the United Nations and its organs, particularly the Security Council, in promoting a just solution to the question of Palestine and in the implementation of such a solution.

The Committee, then, in endorsing the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes, went on to propose a two-phase programme to implement the exercise of that right.

The first phase involved the return of Palestinians displaced as a result of the war of June 1967. The Committee recommended that the Security Council request the immediate implementation of its resolution 237 (1967) of 14 June 1967 15/ and that such implementation should not be related to any other condition. It also recommended that the resources of the International Committee of the Red Cross and/or of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East might be employed to assist in the solution of any logistical problems involved in the resettlement of Palestinians returning to their homes. Those agencies could also assist, in co-operation with the host countries and PLO, in the identification of the displaced Palestinians.

For the second phase, involving the return to their homes of the Palestinians displaced between 1948 and 1967, the Committee recommended that, while the first phase was being implemented, the United Nations, in co-operation with the States directly involved -and PLO as the interim representative of the Palestinian entity, should make the necessary arrangements to enable those Palestinians to exercise their right to return to their homes and property, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, particularly General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 November 1948. 16/ Palestinians not choosing to return to their homes should be paid just and equitable compensation as provided for in that resolution.

In order to implement the inherent right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, the Committee recommended that a time-table be established by the Security Council for the complete withdrawal - no later than 1 June 1977 - of Israeli occupation forces from the areas occupied in 1967. If necessary, temporary peace-keeping forces should be provided by the Council to facilitate the process of withdrawal.

The Committee also recommended that the Security Council request Israel to desist from the establishment of new settlements and to withdraw during this period from settlements established in the occupied territories since 1967. Israel should also be requested to abide scrupulously by the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and to declare, pending its speedy withdrawal from those territories, its recognition of the applicability of that Convention. The evacuated territories, with all property and services intact, should be taken over by the United Nations, with the co-operation of the League of Arab States, and subsequently handed over to PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. The United Nations should, if necessary, assist in establishing communications between Gaza and the West Bank.

The Committee recommended that, as soon as the independent Palestinian entity had been established, the United Nations, in co-operation with that entity and the States directly involved, should make further arrangements, taking into account General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX), for the full implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the resolution of outstanding problems and the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region, in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions.

Finally, the Committee recommended that the United Nations should provide the economic and technical assistance necessary for the consolidation of the Palestinian entity.

Consideration by Security
Council (9-29 June 1976)

The Security Council considered the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at meetings held between 9 and 29 June 1976. In the course of these meetings the following 29 Member States were invited, at their request, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, Egypt, the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia. The officers and other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States to the United Nations, were also invited to participate.

The Security Council decided, by a vote of 11 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 3 abstentions (France, Italy, United kingdom), to invite, as on previous occasions, the representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in the debate, as requested by the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan.

The vote was requested by the United States representative who said he had no objection to hearing Palestinian views, but objected to the proposed method for hearing the PLO representatives, which, he said, was not in accordance with the Council's rules of procedure.

The Chairman and Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People emphasized that the recommendations contained in the Committee's report were based on previous resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council and were in accordance with the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter. They also stressed that the recommendations contained a call for effective and urgent action by the Security Council - action which was overdue. The Chairman pointed out that the Committee had decided, when it formulated its report to the General Assembly, to take full account of the decisions, proposals and suggestions of the Security Council.

The PLO representative said that the Security Council had thus far dealt with the Palestine problem only derivatively and its efforts had not borne fruit. It currently had an opportunity to confront the core of the question and to begin devising appropriate measures to promote the effective implementation of the resolutions of the General Assembly on the question of Palestine. The report of the Committee, he said, provided the basis for the adoption of measures by the Council that would facilitate the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The representatives of Democratic Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, the Syrian Arab Republic and Tunisia also considered that the Committee's recommendations could serve as a realistic basis for enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their rights and thus promote the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and they called on the Council to endorse the recommendations and take steps for their implementation.

The representative of Jordan believed that the attainment of Palestinian rights and the establishment of a just peace in the area were inseparable goals and he noted that while the Committee's report focused on Palestinian rights, it made it clear that such rights could be attained only in the context of a comprehensive, just settlement in the Middle East. The Syrian representative said it was time the Security Council - and in particular its permanent members - undertook some action to end the nightmare with which the region had been living for three decades. If, owing to the abuse of the right of veto by any of its permanent members, the Council was unable to act, then the Committee should recommend to the General that the Assembly itself carry out its responsibilities in the matter, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and existing precedents.

Support for the recommendations was expressed by the representatives of Cuba, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Panama, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Yugoslavia, who urged the Security Council to endorse them. The spokesman for Yugoslavia pointed out that PLO's participation in the Committee's work showed its readiness to negotiate through the United Nations with the other side about the modalities for a solution of the Palestinian problem and, consequently, of the Middle East crisis. Israel had said it would not negotiate with PLO but it could not avoid for ever the necessity of dealing with the central factor, namely, the Palestinian problem.

The USSR representative also supported the recommendations and reiterated the view of the USSR that the Middle East problem could be solved only on the basis of three organically linked elements: withdrawal of Israeli stoops from all the Arab territories occupied as a result of Israel's 1967 aggression; satisfaction of the lawful national demands of the Arab people of Palestine, including the right to establish their own State; and establishment of international guarantees for the security and inviolability of the frontiers of all States in the Middle East and their right to an independent existence and development. He also again called for the reconvening of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East - with the participation of all parties concerned, including PLO - as the appropriate international machinery for negotiating a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

According to the Chinese representative, the essence of the Palestine question and of the whole Middle East question lay in Israeli Zionist aggression and the contention between the two super-powers for hegemony in the region versus the struggle of the Palestinian and other Arab peoples against that aggression and hegemonism. China, he said, held that the Security Council had to rectify the unjust stand against the Palestinian people it formerly adopted under super-power manipulation and recognize the complete restoration to the Palestinian people of their national rights. That restoration, he stressed, was inseparable from the recovery of the lost Arab territories, from which Israel had to be enjoined to withdraw, immediately and unconditionally, completely and not partially.

The representatives of France, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom had reservations about the recommendations of the Committee that called for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of an independent Palestinian entity but did not take sufficiently into consideration the third fundamental element of a Middle East settlement - namely, the right of every State in the area to live in peace within secure, recognized and guaranteed frontiers. The recommendations thus did not accord with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which, they noted, provided a widely accepted basis for achieving a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East.

The representative of Sweden said that Israel had to recognize the national rights and interests of the Palestinian people, and their right to a homeland; PLO had to accept the right of Israel to continued existence within secure and recognized boundaries. He and others, including Japan and the United Kingdom, strongly supported the principle that a solution of the central elements of the Middle East problem had to be found in negotiations. Japan was among those urging resumption of the Geneva Conference on the Middle East, with the participator of PLO.

At a Security Council meeting - on 29 June, a draft resolution was put forward by Guyana, Pakistan, Panama and the United Republic of Tanzania by the preambular part of which the Council would, among other things, express its deep concern that no just solution to the problem of Palestine had then achieved and that the problem therefore continued -to aggravate the Arab-Israeli conflict, of which it was the core, and to endanger international peace and security. By the operative part of the text, the Council would take note of the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and affirm the inalienable rights of those people to self-determination, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

The draft resolution received 10 votes in favour, 1 against (United States) and 4 abstentions (France, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom), and was not adopted owing to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Security Council.

The United States representative, explaining his Government's negative vote, said that the text was totally devoid of balance, stressing the rights and interests of one party and ignoring those of other parties. The political interests of the Palestinians and their role in a final settlement, he said, was a matter that had to be negotiated between the parties before it could be defined in Council resolutions.

The spokesmen for France, Italy and the United Kingdom said they had abstained in the vote because the text singled out one aspect of the question - recognition of Palestinian rights - and failed to mention other aspects.


Communications and reports (October 1976)

By a letter dated 7 October, the USSR representative transmitted the text of a proposal by his Government concerning a settlement in the Middle East and the Geneva Peace Conference, suggesting a resumption of the work of the Geneva Conference in October-November 1976, with the following agenda: (1) withdrawal of Israeli troops from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967; (2) realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestine Arab people, including their right to self-determination and the establishment of their own State; (3) preservation of the right to an independent existence and to security of all the States directly participating in the conflict - the Arab States bordering on Israel, on the one hand, and the State of Israel, on the other - and the granting to them of appropriate international guarantees: and (4) cessation of the state of war between the Arab States concerned and Israel.

The USSR proposed that the Conference be conducted in two phases, concluding with the adoption of a final instrument or instruments in the nature of a treaty, and that PLO should participate in the work of the Conference from the beginning and with equal status.

On 18 October, the Secretary-General submitted a report in response to a request by the General Assembly, set forth in a resolution of 5 December 1975 17/ on the situation in the Middle East, that he report to the Security Council on the implementation of that resolution.

In the report, the Secretary-General reviewed the action he had taken in bringing the resolution to the attention of the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East and transmitting it to the Security Council, which, he noted, had held
four series of meetings, between January and June 1976, on the relevant issues but had adopted no resolutions.

The Secretary-General then reported on the views expressed by the two Co-Chairmen (see p. 234) and he said that he had asked his Personal Representative for the Peace Conference on the Middle East, Under-Secretary-General Roberto E. Guyer, to undertake an exploratory mission to the Middle East, which he visited from 25 February to 2 March 1976. On the basis of the findings of that mission, the Secretary-General decided to continue his efforts to find ways and means to resume the negotiating process and, in identical aide-mémoires handed to the parties on 1 April, including PLO, he asked them to convey to him any ideas of a procedural or substantive nature that they might have with respect to action to be taken by the United Nations with a view to breaking the impasse
in the peace efforts.

In their replies, Egypt, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic reiterated their demand for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967; the USSR reaffirmed that the most appropriate forum for working out a solution was the Geneva Peace Conference, with the participation of all directly concerned parties, including PLO and the Co-Chairmen of the Conference; the United States emphasized that it intended to pursue actively contacts with the parties on efforts to bring about an agreement that would end the state of war in the Middle East as soon as the situation in Lebanon had improved; and Israel emphasized that it favoured the reconvening of the Geneva Peace Conference with the original participants, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and with the terms stated in the letters of 18 December 1973 addressed to the Secretary-General by the USSR and the United Slates concerning that Conference. 18/

The Secretary-General concluded that while there was general agreement on the necessity of resuming negotiations for a just and lasting settlement, there were still important differences of view among the parties concerned. He said he would continue his efforts towards the resumption of the negotiating process.

Also on 18 October, the Secretary-General submitted a report to the General Assembly concerning the implementation of Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX) of 10 November 1975 19/ by which the Assembly had, among other things, called for an invitation to PL0 to participate in all deliberations and conferences on the Middle East held under United Nations auspices.


Consideration by the General Assembly

Three resolutions on Middle East questions were adopted by the General Assembly during its thirty-first (1976) session - one on the question of Palestine, another on the situation in the Middle East and the third on the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East.


The question of Palestine

The Assembly considered the question of Palestine at meetings held between 15 and 24 November 1976.

In presenting the report of his Committee, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People recalled that the Security Council had examined the report in June: a draft resolution submitted by non-aligned members of the Council had not been adopted because of the negative vote of a permanent member. The Committee, he said, had subsequently decided to leave its report unchanged and resubmit it to the Assembly.

He also noted that none of the States that spoke in the Council had questioned the reality of the rights of the Palestinian people. The criticisms of the report went beyond the mandate of the Committee, which was neither to resolve the question of the Middle East nor to reaffirm the rights of Israel but to define ways and means to ensure recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The Chairman went on to say that the establishment of a just and definitive peace in the area required a basic change both in the political steps to be taken and in the attitudes of all parties to the dispute: Israel had to give up its expansionist aims and realize that it could not live and prosper in its present hostile and explosive environment and that peace and understanding with its neighbours were indispensable to the security and well-being of its people; the Arabs, for their part, had to adopt a more realistic approach to the question and recognize that the State of Israel was a reality and its existence could not be denied.

The representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization pointed out that the principles on which the Committee based its recommendations were the necessary basis for resolving the Palestine problem and for the realization of peace in the Middle East. He said that PLO strongly regretted the fact that the Security Council had been unable to take decisions aimed at implementing the Committees report because of the United States veto. That, he said, made it incumbent on the Assembly to assume its international responsibility.

During the discussion, many Members - Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and others - supported the Committees report and urged that it be endorsed by the General Assembly. Egypt said the Assembly had to seek new ways and means of implementing the Committees proposals.

The representative of Israel said that in the name of his Government he rejected out of hand the Committees recommendations, which conflicted with existing Security Council resolutions and which, if implemented, would lead to the dismemberment of Israel. The core of the Arab-Israeli conflict was not the question of the Palestinian Arabs or the issue of territories occupied in 1967 but, rather, the non-recognition by the Arab world of Israel's right to exist. The spokesman for Israel made the following points, among others:

- with regard to the question of the return of refugees, he pointed out that the report dealt only with Palestinian refugees, and ignored the rights of about 800,000 Jews who had fled from Arab countries between 1948 and 1967 because of the conflict;

- the Committee's recommendations for Israeli withdrawal did not stop at the 1967 lines but implied the step-by-step truncation of the Jewish State until it totally disappeared;

- by not mentioning Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the report ignored Israel's rights and the centrality of the process of negotiation in solving any conflict;

- Israel remained committed to the need for movement towards a comprehensive solution of the conflict on the basis of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and in the forum established for that purpose, namely, the Geneva Peace Conference as originally constituted, or in any other forum in which the States parties to the conflict would decide to meet.

He also said that Israel was committed to a solution which took into account the question of Palestinian identity and included a just and constructive solution for the Palestine Arab problem. Approximately 80 per cent of the Palestinian Arabs were citizens of both Jordan and Israel, which led his Government to reiterate its belief that the ultimate solution of the Palestine Arab problem had to lie within the context of a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic pointed out that it was incorrect to maintain that Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) were not taken into account in the recommendations of the Committee. The report specifically called for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions, which, in his view, included those two Council resolutions. If the Security Council could not preserve peace and security in the Middle East, then the General Assembly was under obligation to ensure the implementation of United Nations decisions, he said.

The spokesman for Iraq said he had reservations about references in the report to some of the United Nations resolutions which affirmed the existence of what he termed the Zionist entity. In Iraq's view, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination could be exercised only in the whole territory of Palestine, exclusive of any foreign occupation of Palestine.

The USSR representative supported the Committees recommendations on the understanding that the question of Palestine constituted an integral part of a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East problem. He reiterated his Governments view that such a settlement should be based on withdrawal of Israeli troops from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, on the implementation of the national rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent state of their own, and on the recognition of the independent existence and development of all States of the area, under appropriate international guarantees. The USSR also supported the reconvening as soon as possible of the Geneva Peace Conference, with the participation of all directly interested parties, including PLO.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the nine members of the European Communities (Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), said they could not endorse the Committee's recommendations because they took into account only two of the basic elements of a peace settlement mentioned in the Committee's report, namely, Israeli withdrawal and the rights of the Palestinians. The third element, namely, the principle of secure and recognized boundaries for all States of the region, did not appear in the recommendations, which therefore suffered from a fundamental imbalance.

The Chinese representative said that China, as always, firmly supported the Palestinian and other Arab peoples in their just struggle against Israeli Zionism and super-power hegemonism and for the recovery of the lost territories and the restoration of their national rights. China had always held that Israel had to withdraw from all the occupied Arab territories and that the national rights of the Palestinian people had to be regained, and therefore was in favour of the contents of the report of the Committee that reaffirmed or conformed to Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX) 20/ and 3376 (XXX). 21/ China was firmly convinced that whatever conspiratorial schemes and perverse acts the super-powers and the Israeli aggressors might resort to, the Palestinian and all other Arab peoples would heighten their vigilance, strengthen their unity, persevere in their struggle and finally accomplish their sacred cause of national liberation.

The representative of the United States said it was an elementary truth that the legitimate aspirations and interests of the Palestinian people had to be taken into account in working out a settlement in the Middle East; without doubt it was one of the central issues that had to be resolved in the negotiations to have a just and lasting peace and the United States, he said, was committed to such an outcome. However, the Committee's report was based only on that premise without consideration of other vital and absolutely essential issues. Among those were: the right of Israel to exist; the need for the Palestinians to accept the legitimacy and reality of the State of Israel; the need for Arab countries to maintain peaceful relations with Israel within the framework of an over-all peace settlement; and the need for the Arab States and Israel to end the state of war and arrive at a peaceful settlement in the area.

He went on to say that the recommendations also prejudged the outcome of the negotiations that had to take place between the parties themselves, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). No solution to this or any other dispute could be imposed by the Assembly. Furthermore, he said, the recommendation that there be a complete withdrawal by Israeli occupation forces not later than 1 June 1977 utterly conflicted with the two Council resolutions of 1967 and 1973, which called for negotiations between the parties concerned for the purpose of settling all outstanding issues.

Finally, he said, the United States considered that the work of the Committee had been concluded and there was therefore no need for extending its mandate or for a reconsideration of its report by the Security Council. Lasting peace could come only through negotiations by the parties directly involved.

On 24 November, by a recorded vote of 90 to 16, with 30 abstentions, the General Assembly adopted resolution 31/20, which was sponsored by 28 Members. By the preamble to this text, the Assembly among other things expressed its deep concern that no just solution to the problem of Palestine had been achieved and that this problem therefore continued to aggravate the Middle East conflict, of which it was the core, and to endanger international peace and security. The Assembly reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could not be established without the achievement, inter alia, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the Charter.

By the operative part of the resolution, the Assembly:

(1) expressed its appreciation to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its efforts in performing the tasks assigned to it;

(2) took note of the Committee's report and endorsed the recommendations contained therein, as a basis for the solution of the question of Palestine;

(3) decided to circulate the report to all the competent United Nations bodies and urged them to take necessary action, as appropriate, in accordance with the Committee's programme of implementation;

(4) urged the Security Council to consider once again as soon as possible the recommendations in the report, taking fully into account the observations made thereon during the current Assembly debate, in order to take the necessary measures to implement the Committee's recommendations and achieve early progress towards a solution of the problem of Palestine and the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

(5) authorized the Committee to exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations and to report thereon to the Assembly at its 1977 session;

(6) requested the Committee to promote the greatest possible dissemination of information on its programme of implementation through non-governmental organizations and other appropriate means;

(7) requested the Secretary-General to give the widest possible publicity to the Committee's work and provide it with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks, including summary records; and

(8) decided to include the item entitled Question of Palestine in the provisional agenda of its 1977 session.

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

The text was sponsored by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Comoros, the Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Pakistan, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, the Ukrainian SSR, the United Republic Tanzania and Yugoslavia.


ENLARGEMENT OF COMMITTEE ON EXERCISE OF THE
INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

On 22 December 1976, the General Assembly adopted, by consensus, a decision by which it added Guyana, Mali and Nigeria to the membership of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

A draft resolution to the same effect, proposed by Afghanistan, Cyprus, the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Pakistan, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the Ukrainian SSR and Yugoslavia, was before the Assembly but was not voted upon.


The situation in the Middle East

The General Assembly discussed the item entitled "The situation in the Middle East" at meetings held between 2 and 9 December 1976. It heard the views of more than 50 Member States and received three draft resolutions, two of which were adopted on 9 December as resolutions 31/61 and 31/62.

During the discussion these was wide agreement that the current situation in the Middle East continued to pose a serious threat to world peace and stability. Most speakers regretted the lack of progress in reaching a settlement and expressed the belief that the resumption of the negotiations between the parties was both urgent and timely. In enumerating the prerequisites for a just and durable peace in the area, many Members reiterated their view that Israel had to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967 and that the national rights of the Palestinians, including the right to establish their own State, had to be recognized. Others emphasized, at the same time, the right of all States in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. It was generally considered that the United Nations should continue to play an important role in promoting a settlement of the problem and that Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) continued to provide a basis accepted by all parties for such a settlement. It was felt by many Members, however, that the two resolutions did not fully take into account the universal recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people.

On the basis of these general principles, different views were expressed - especially by the representatives of the parties directly concerned - as to the appropriate action deemed necessary for reaching a settlement.

A draft resolution was submitted by Israel on 6 December by the preambular part of which the Assembly -would have recalled that all Member States, in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations, had undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter 22/ and to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice were not endangered. It would also have reaffirmed the urgent necessity of establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.

By the operative paragraph, the Assembly would have called on Egypt, Israel, Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic to reconvene without delay at the Peace Conference on the Middle East under the co-chairmanship of the United States and the USSR in order to resume negotiations, without prior conditions, on the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East, as called for in Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

The representative of Israel observed, in introducing the draft resolution, that it was the first time Israel had submitted a resolution for Assembly consideration. He appealed to Member States to adopt it so that the parties would begin negotiations in the very near future. Israel, he said, was prepared to go to Geneva immediately, without any pre-conditions whatsoever. He added that the Geneva Conference was sovereign and should be allowed to decide about participants and substantive matters.

Amendments to the draft resolution, proposed by India, Malta, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Yugoslavia, would have added a new preambular paragraph by which the Assembly would have recalled all relevant United Nations resolutions concerning the Middle East, and would have amended the operative paragraph so that the Assembly would have called upon Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and PLO to participate in the Peace Conference held under the auspices of the United Nations, with the co-chairmanship of the United States and the USSR, in order to negotiate without delay the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East, as called for in resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX).

In introducing the amendments on behalf of the sponsors, the representative of Sri Lanka wondered how there could be a peace conference on the Middle East without the participation of PLO. It was commonly accepted, he said, that there was a Palestinian dimension to the Middle East problem.

The draft resolution submitted by Israel and the proposed amendments to it were subsequently withdrawn.

On 9 December, the Assembly adopted two resolutions. The first, on the situation in the Middle East, was sponsored by 31 Members and was adopted by a roll-call vote of 91 to 11, with 29 abstentions as resolution 31/61.

By the preamble to this 31-power text, the Assembly among other things expressed its deep concern at the increasing deterioration of the situation in the Middle East due to continued Israeli occupation and Israel's refusal to implement United Nations resolutions, and reaffirmed the necessity of establishing a just and lasting peace in the region based on full respect for the purposes and principles of the Charter as well as for the resolutions concerning the problem of the Middle East and the question of Palestine.

By the operative part of the text, the Assembly:

(1) affirmed that the early resumption of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, with the participation of all the parties concerned, including PLO, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX), was essential for the realization of a just and lasting settlement in the region;

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

(3) reaffirmed that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East could not be achieved without Israel's withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied singe 1967 and the attainment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, which were the basic prerequisites enabling all countries and peoples in the Middle East to live in peace;

(4) condemned all measures taken by Israel in the occupied territories to change their demographic and geographic character and institutional structure;

(5) requested once again all States to desist from supplying Israel with military and other forms of aid or any assistance that would enable it to consolidate its occupation or to exploit the natural resources of the occupied territories;

(6) requested the Security Council to take effective measures, within an appropriate time-table, for the implementation of all relevant Council and Assembly resolutions on the Middle East and Palestine; and

(7) requested the Secretary-General to inform the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East of this resolution and to submit a report on the follow-up of its implementation to the General Assembly at its 1977 session.

(For text of resolution 31/61, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

The Assembly adopted the second resolution, concerning the Peace Conference on the Middle East, by a roll-call vote of 122 to 2, with 8 abstentions, as resolution 31/62. The text had 38 sponsors.

By the preamble to this text, the Assembly among other things expressed grave concern at the lack of progress towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and said it was convinced that any relaxation in the search for a comprehensive settlement to that end constituted a grave threat to the prospects of peace in the Middle East as well as a threat to international peace and security.

By the operative part of the resolution, the Assembly:

(1) requested the Secretary-General to resume contacts with all the parties to the conflict and the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with his initiative of 1 April 1976 (see page 238), in preparation for the early convening of the Peace Conference, and to submit a report to the Security Council not later than 1 March 1977 on the results of his contacts and on the situation in the Middle East;

(2) called for the early convening of the Peace Conference, under the auspices of the United Nations and the co-chairmanship of the USSR and the United States, not later than the end of March 1977;

(3) requested the Security Council to convene, subsequent to the submission to it by the Secretary-General of the above report, in order to consider the situation in the area in the light of that report and to promote the process towards the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the area; and

(4) further requested the Secretary-General to inform the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference of this resolution.

(For text of resolution 31/62, list of sponsors and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

Speaking in explanation of vote on the two resolutions, the representative of the United States said that the 31-power text on the situation in the Middle East contained blanket condemnations of one side which were unwarranted and which would have no positive effect. The United States, he said, saw no logic in a call on all States to desist from supplying military and other aid to one side but not to the other, and would not be guided by such a proposal. The resolution also lacked balance in its reference to the potential elements of peace: one side could not be expected to give everything and gain nothing. As for the request to the Security Council, it carried an implication that the Council ought to impost a settlement on the parties. He observed that the parties to the dispute had accepted the framework for a negotiating process - a mutual commitment to negotiate rather than rely on time-tables or imposed solutions. It was neither appropriate nor practical to look to the Council to impose its will on the parties to the negotiations.

He went on to say that the United States was opposed to the 38-power text on the Geneva Peace Conference, first, because it set an artificial deadline for reconvening the Conference and, second, because the request to the Secretary-General to resume his contacts with the parties to the conflict was phrased in such a way as to imply that PLO should be one of the parties consulted. The United States believed that the question of additional participants could be addressed only by the original participants themselves.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the nine members of the European Communities, said they could not support the 31-power text because it was unbalanced and because some of the matters it mentioned could be effectively decided only in the negotiations themselves.

The Chinese representative said his Government had not participated in the vote on the two resolutions because they involved the Geneva Conference and Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) on which the Conference was based and on which China's position was well known.


Other communications

In a letter dated 23 August 1976 addressed to the Secretary-General, the representative of Israel charged that a criminal attack had been carried out on 11 August against passengers of an El Al Israel Airlines aeroplane in the Istanbul (Turkey) International Airport. Four passengers had been killed and 21 injured. The organization called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine had claimed credit for the act but, the representative charged, the guiding force behind the attack was the Libyan Arab Republic, which, according to news reports, had armed and financed the terrorists. The role of the Libyan Government in aiding Arab terrorists was a violation of the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law, the representative of Israel said; he cited 12 cases of hijacking, murders and attacks on international airports from September 1971 to February 1974, and said the United Nations had to take immediate and effective action to put an end to terrorist attacks against innocent civilians.

In a letter dated 31 August 1976, addressed to the Secretary-General, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic rejected the charges and recalled that the Libyan Government had declared that it did not approve of hijacking and considered it a foolish and irresponsible act. If it had allowed hijacked aeroplanes to land at its airports it was for purely human motives and sometimes in response to requests from the parties concerned. The Libyan Arab Republic hoped that the United Nations would be able to take effective measures to put an end to the terrorism exercised by all racist régimes in the world, including the racist Zionist entity in occupied Palestine.

By a letter dated 30 September, the representative of Yemen forwarded to the Secretary-General a letter front the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization charging that on 26 September two Israeli warships intercepted the Cypriot ship Phoenicia, carrying a number of Palestinians from Lebanon to Cyprus, rammed it and fired upon it. Two other vessels had been sunk by Israeli forces in Lebanese harbours.

In a letter dated 18 October addressed to the President of the Security Council, the representative of Kuwait, in his capacity as Chairman of the Arab group of Member States for the month of October 1976, charged that there had been an escalation of Israeli acts of piracy against Arab civilians on the high seas. Numerous such acts had been reported in the mass media. He cited two recent acts of piracy, one involving a Cypriot yacht, the other the passenger ship Niyazi, en route from Lebanon to Cyprus, which had been hijacked to Haifa, Israel, detained for 30 hours, and some of its passengers had been maltreated. He asked that the necessary measures be taken to put an end to Israel's piratical acts.


Other decisions

Assistance to the Palestinian people

On 4 August 1976, at its sixty-first session, the Economic and Social Council among other things invited the United Nations Development Programme, the specialized agencies and other organizations in the United Nations system to intensify, as a mattes of urgency and in co-ordination with the Economic Commission for Western Asia, efforts to identify the social and economic needs of the Palestinian people. It requested them to consult and co-operate with PLO in projects for improving the situation of the Palestinian people, urged the heads of the organs concerned to make proposals to their governing bodies for carrying out these activities, and requested the Secretary-General to report at the Council's second 1977 session on steps taken to implement the resolution.

The Council took this action when it adopted resolution 2026 (LXI) by a roll-call vote of 36 to 1, with 11 abstentions, on the recommendation of its Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee which approved the text on 30 July 1976, by a roll-call vote of 37 to 1, with 11 abstentions. The text was proposed by Bulgaria, Egypt, on behalf of Council members belonging to the "Group of 77" developing countries) and the German Democratic Republic.

(For text of resolution 2026 (LXI) and voting details, -see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)


Living conditions of the Palestinian people

During its consideration of the United Nations Environment Programme at its thirty-first (1976) session, the General Assembly on 16 December adopted, by a recorded vote of 107 to 2, with 26 abstentions, resolution 31/110 whereby, among other things, it recalled the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, 1976, and the recommendations for national action adopted by Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, held at Vancouver, Canada, from 31 May to 11 June 1976.

It requested the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the relevant United Nations organs and specialized agencies, to report to the General Assembly in 1977 on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories; requested him, in preparing the report, to consult and co-operate with PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people; and urged all States to co-operate with him in this matter.

The Assembly took this action on the recommendation of its Second (Economic and Financial) Committee, which approved the text on 17 November by a roll-call vote of 102 to 2, with 25 abstentions, on a proposal by Pakistan on behalf of the States Members belonging to the Group of 77.

(For text of resolutions 31/110 and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below. See also p. 447 for further details.)


CONSIDERATION BY SECURITY
COUNCIL (12-26 JANUARY 1976)

Importance of universal realization
of the right to self-determination

By its resolution 31/34, adopted on 30 November -1976, the General Assembly, among other things, reaffirmed the inalienable right of the peoples of Namibia and Zimbabwe, of the Palestinian people and of all peoples under alien and colonial domination to self-determination, independence and sovereignty without external interference. It also strongly condemned all Governments that did not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of all peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people. (For details, see pp. 590-91.)

Documentary references

The Middle East problem
including the Palestinian question

COMMUNICATION (9 JANUARY 1976)

S/11931 (A/31/44). Letter of 9 January from USSR (annexing letter of 9 January 1976 from Minister for Foreign Affairs of USSR).

Security Council, meetings 1870-1879.

S/11940. Benin, Guyana, Pakistan, Panama, Romania, United Republic of Tanzania: draft resolution, rejected by Security Council on 26 January 1976, meeting 1879, owing to negative vote of a permanent member, by 9 votes to 1 (United States), with 3 abstentions (Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom) (China and Libyan Arab Republic did not participate in voting).

S/11942. United Kingdom: amendment to 6-power draft resolution, S/11940.

S/INF/32. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1976.
Decisions, p. 1.

COMMUNICATIONS (JANUARY-MAY 1976)

S/11928 and Corr.1 (A/31/43 and Corr.1). Letter of 9 January from USSR (annexing statement of 9 January 1976).
S/11929. Letter of 10 January from Mexico.
S/11932. Letter of 14 January from Israel.
S/11965 (A/31/53). Letter of 17 February from USSR (annexing letter of 12 February 1976 from Minister for Foreign Affairs of USSR).
S/11991 (A/31/54). Letter of 20 February from United States.
S/12063 (A/31/84). Letter of 29 April from USSR (annexing statement of 28 April 1976).
S/12080 (A/31/93) Letter of 19 May from Bulgaria.

Report of the Committee on the Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

S/12090. Report of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report, also issued as A/31/35). (Annex: List of documents referred to in report.)

CONSIDERATION BY SECURITY
COUNCIL (9-29 JUNE 1976)

Security Council, meetings 1924, 1928, 1933-1938.

S/12113. Letter of 24 June from Libyan Arab Republic (request for participation of League of Arab States in Council discussion).
S/INF/32. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1976. Decisions, pp. 5 and 6.

S/12119. Guyana, Pakistan, Panama, United Republic of Tanzania: draft resolution, rejected by Security Council on 29 June 1976, meeting 1938, owing to negative vote of a permanent member, by 10 votes in favour to 1 against (United States), with 4 abstentions (France, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom).

Communications and reports (October 1976)

S/12208 (A/31/257). Letter of 7 October from USSR.
S/12210 (A/31/270). Report of Secretary-General dated 18 October 1976.
A/31/271. Report of Secretary-General.

Consideration by the General Assembly

General Assembly - 31st session
Fifth Committee, meeting 35.
Plenary meetings 66, 69-78, 87-92, 94, 95, 101, 107.

A/31/1. Report of Secretary-General on work of Organization, 16 June 1975-15 June 1976, Part One, Chapter I A.
A/31/1/Add.1. Introduction to report of Secretary-General on work of Organization, August 1976, Section III.
A/31/2. Report of Security Council, 16 June 1975-15 June 1976, Chapter 1.
A/31/35. Report of Committee on Exercise of Inalienable Rights of Palestinian People (also issued under S/12090).
A/31/43 and Corr.1 (S/11928 and Corr. 1). Letter of 9 January from USSR.
A/31/53 (S/11985). Letter of 17 February from USSR (annexing letter of 12 February 1976 from Minister for Foreign Affairs of USSR).
A/31/54 (S/11991). Letter of 20 February from United States.
A/31/57. Note verbale of 25 February from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/31/63 (S/12012). Letter of 12 March from Saudi Arabia (annexing statement by members of Islamic Conference concerning recent developments in occupied Arab Jerusalem).
A/31/72 and Corr.1. Letter of 29 March from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/31/73 (S/12028). Letter of 29 March from Israel.
A/31/76 (S/12038). Letter of 6 April from Libyan Arab Republic.
A/31/84 (S/12063). Letter of 29 April from USSR (annexing statement of 28 April 1976).
A/31/86. Letter of 4 May from Israel.
A/31/90 (S/12073). Letter of 13 May from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 12 May 1976 from Rabbi Uri Blau for Jerusalem Neturei Karta).
A/31/93 (S/12080). Letter of 19 May from Bulgaria.
A/31/95 (S/12084). Letter of 25 May from Algeria.
A/31/96 (S/12087). Letter of 27 May from France.
A/31/118. Letter of 22 June from United Arab Emirates.
A/31/153 (S/12146). Note by Secretary-General (transmitting Commission on Human Rights resolution 2 (XXXII) of 13 February 1976).
A/31/159 (S/12151). Letter of 22 July from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/31/162 (S/12156). Letter of 28 July from Israel.
A/31/167 (S/12159). Letter of 29 July from Syrian Arab Republic (annexing letter of 10 July 1976 from Senior Syrian Arab Delegate to Syrian Arab Delegation of Israeli-Syrian Mixed Armistice Commission to Commander of UNDOF).
A/31/175 (S/12169). Letter of 10 August from Israel.
A/31/179. Letter of 17 August from Lebanon (annexing letter of 17 August 1976 from Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon to President of 5th Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 16-19 August 1976).
A/31/184. Communication of 25 August from President of Council of Ministers of Lebanon.
A/31/197. Letter of 1 September from Sri Lanka (transmitting documents of 5th Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries).
A/31/204. Letter of 2 September from Yemen (annexing letter of 1 September 1976 from Head of Political Department of PLO).
A/31/237. Letter of 30 September from Turkey (transmitting resolutions adopted by 7th Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers, Istanbul, Turkey, 12-15 May 1976).
A/31/256. Letter of 30 September from Yemen (annexing letter of 28 September 1976 from Permanent Observer of PLO).
A/31/257 (S/12208).Letter of 7 October from USSR.
A/31/270 (S/12210). Report of Secretary-General dated 18 October 1976.
A/31/271. Report of Secretary-General dated 18 October 1976.
A/31/272. Letter of 18 October from Kuwait.
A/31/324. Letter of 8 November from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 9 August 1976 from New Settlers' Federation of Australia).
A/31/339 and Corr.1. Letter of 18 November from Iraq (annexing Declaration of International Symposium on Zionism, Baghdad, 8-12 November 1976).
A/13/345 (S/12237). Note verbale of 22 November from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/31/348 (S/12238). Note verbale of 23 November from Israel.

THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

A/31/L.20 and Add.1. Afghanistan, Bangladesh Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Pakistan, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia: draft resolution.
A/C.5/31 /55, A/31 /346. Administrative and financial implications of 28-power draft resolution, A/31/L.20. Statement by Secretary-General and report of Fifth Committee.

Resolution 31/20, as proposed by 28 powers, A/31/L.20 and Add 1, adopted by Assembly on 24 November 1976, meeting 77, by recorded vote of 90 to 16, with 30 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Burma, Burundi, Byelorussian SSR, Cape Verde, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Kampuchea, Democratic Yemen, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, German Democratic Republic, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Liberia, Libyan Arab Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR, USSR, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia.

Against: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Federal Republic of, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, United Kingdom, United States.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 3376 (XXX) of 10 November 1975,

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

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

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

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

2. Takes note of the report of the Committee and endorses the recommendations contained therein, as a basis for the solution of the question of Palestine;

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

4. Urges the Security Council to consider once again as soon as possible the recommendations contained in the report, taking fully into account the observations made thereon during the debate in the General Assembly at its thirty-first session, in order to take the necessary measures to implement the above-mentioned recommendations of the Committee so as to achieve early progress towards a solution of the problem of Palestine and the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

5. Authorizes the Committee to exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations and to report thereon to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session;

6. Requests the Committee to promote the greatest possible dissemination of information on its programme of implementation through non-governmental organizations and other appropriate means;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to give the widest possible publicity to the Committee's work and to provide the Committee with all the necessary facilities for the performance of its tasks, including summary records of its meetings;

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

S/12259. Letter of 21 December from Secretary-General to President of Security Council (transmitting text of Assembly resolution 31/20 of 24 November 1976).

Enlargement of Committee on Exercise of the
Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
A/31/L.35 and Add.1 Afghanistan, Cyprus, German Democratic Republic, Guinea, Hungary, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Pakistan, Romania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ukrainian SSR, Yugoslavia: draft resolution
A/31/39. Resolutions and decisions adopted by General Assembly during its 31st session, Vol. I, 21 September-22 December 1976 (decision 31/318).

THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
A/31/L.24. Israel: draft resolution.
A/31/L.25. India, Malta, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Yugoslavia: amendments to Israeli draft resolution, A/31/L.24.

A/31/L.26 and Add.1-3. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Uganda, United Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia: draft resolution.

Resolution 31/61, as proposed by 31 powers, A/31/L.26 and Add.1-3, adopted by Assembly on 9 December 1976, meeting 95, by roll-call vote of 91 to 11, with 29 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 3414 (XXX) of 5 December 1975 and noting with concern that no progress has been achieved towards the implementation of that resolution, in particular its paragraph 4,

Recalling the debate held in the Security Council in January 1976 on the Middle East problem including the Palestinian question, in implementation of subparagraph (a) of Council resolution 381 (1975) of 30 November 1975,

Deeply concerned at the increasing deterioration of the situation in the Middle East due to continued Israeli occupation and Israel's refusal to implement United Nations resolutions,

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

1. Affirms that the early resumption of the Peace Conference on the Middle East with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX) of 10 November 1975, is essential for the realization of a just and lasting settlement in the region;

2. Condemns Israelis continued occupation of Arab territories in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the principles of international law and repeated United Nations resolutions;

3. Reaffirms that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved without Israel's withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 1967 and the attainment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, which are the basic prerequisites enabling all countries and peoples in the Middle East to live in peace;

4. Condemns all measures taken by Israel in the occupied territories to change the demographic and geographic character and institutional structure of these territories;

5. Requests once again all States to desist from supplying Israel with military and other forms of aid or any assistance which would enable it to consolidate its occupation or to exploit the natural resources of the occupied territories;

6. Requests the Security Council to take effective measures, within an appropriate time-table, for the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the Council and the General Assembly on the Middle East and Palestine;

7. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East of the present resolution and to submit a report on the follow-up of its implementation to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session.

S/12271. Letter of 7 January 1977 from Secretary-General to President of Security Council (transmitting text of Assembly resolution 31/61 of 9 December 1976).

PEACE CONFERENCE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

A/31/L.27 and Add.1-3. Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Burundi, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Republic of Cameroon, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Yugoslavia: draft resolution.

Resolution 31/62, as proposed by 38 powers, A/31/L.27 and Add.1-3, as orally amended by sponsors, adopted by Assembly on 9 December 1976, meeting 95, by roll-call vote of 122 to 2, with 8 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

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

Noting the report of the Secretary-General on this item and his initiative of 1 April 1976,

Gravely concerned at the lack of progress towards the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East,

Convinced that any relaxation in the search for a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of the Middle East problem to achieve a just peace in the area constitutes a grave threat to the prospects of peace in the Middle East as well as a threat to international peace and security,

1. Requests the Secretary-General:

(a) To resume contacts with all the parties to the conflict and the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with his initiative of 1 April 1976, in preparation for the early convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East;

(b) To submit a report to the Security Council on the results of his contacts and on the situation in the Middle East not later than 1 March 1977;

2. Calls for the early convening of the Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and the co-chairmanship of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, not later than the end of March 1977;

3. Requests the Security Council to convene subsequent to the submission by the Secretary-General of the report referred to in paragraph 1 (b) above, in order to consider the situation in the area in the light of that report and to promote the process towards the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the area;

4. Further requests the Secretary-General to inform the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference on the Middle East of the present resolution.

S/12272. Letter of 7 January 1977 from Secretary-General to President of Security Council (transmitting text of Assembly resolution 31/62 of 9 December 1976).

Other communications
S/12186 (A/31/182). Letter of 23 August from Israel.
S/12213. Letter of 18 October from Kuwait.
A/31/256. Letter of 30 September from Yemen (annexing letter of 1 September 1976 from Head of Political Department of PLO).

Other decisions

ASSISTANCE TO THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

Economic and Social Council - 61st session
Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee, meetings 600-602.
Plenary meeting 2031.

E/AC.24/L.528. Bulgaria, Egypt (on behalf of States members of Council belonging to "Group of 77"), German Democratic Republic: draft resolution, approved by Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee on 30 July 1976, meeting 602, by roll-call vote of 37 to 1, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

E/5880. Report of Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee (on operational activities for development), draft resolution I.

Resolution 2026 (LXI), as recommended by Policy and Programme Co-ordination Committee, E/5880, adopted by Council on 4 August 1976, meeting 2031, by roll-call vote of 36 to 1, with 11 abstentions, as follows:

The Economic and Social Council,

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

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

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

3. Urges the heads of the organizations and agencies concerned to formulate and submit to their respective governing and/or legislative bodies proposals for ensuring the implementation of the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Council at its sixty-third session on the steps taken to implement the provisions of the present resolution.

LIVING CONDITIONS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

General Assembly - 31st session.
Second Committee, meetings 45, 46.
Plenary meeting 101.

A/C.2/31/L.13. Pakistan (on behalf of States Members belonging to "Group of 77"): draft resolution, approved by Second Committee on 17 November 1976, meeting 45, by roll-call vote of 102 to 2, with 25 abstentions, as follows:

A/31/415. Report of Second Committee (on UNEP), draft resolution III.

Resolution 31/110, as recommended by Second Committee, A/31/415, adopted by Assembly on 16 December 1976, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 107 to 2, with 26 abstentions.

The General Assembly,

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

Recalling also resolution 3 of the Conference on living conditions of the Palestinians in occupied territories, and Economic and Social Council resolution 2026 (LXI) of 4 August 1976,

Recalling further the recommendation adopted at the Regional Preparatory Conference for Asia and the Pacific, held at Teheran from 14 to 19 June 1975,

1. Requests the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the relevant United Nations organs and specialized agencies, to prepare and submit to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session a report on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories;

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

3. Urges all States to co-operate with the Secretary-General in this matter.


The situation in the occupied territories

During 1976, questions relating to the situation in the territories occupied by Israel were considered by various United Nations bodies.

In response to three separate requests, the Security Council considered matters relating to the situation in the occupied territories - in March, May and November.

The Commission on Human Rights on 13 February adopted a resolution concerning the 1975 report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.

In its 1976 report, the Special Committee said that Israel was following a policy directed towards the annexation of the occupied territories, manifested by the establishment of settlements and the transfer to them of Israeli citizens. It again urged the General Assembly to bring to an end the state of occupation as the only way of ensuring the human rights of the civilian population of the occupied territories.

At its thirty-first (1976) session, the General Assembly adopted four resolutions on the 1976 report of the Special Committee and a resolution on the question of permanent sovereignty over national resources in the occupied Arab territories. Details of these activities are given below.


Treatment of the civilian population in Israeli-occupied territories and related matters

Decisions of the Commission on Human Rights

At its thirty-second session in February/March 1976, the Commission on Human Rights considered the 1975 report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, 23/ and on 13 February adopted a resolution on the question of the violation of human rights in the territories occupied as a result of hostilities in the Middle East.

By the preambular part of the resolution, the Commission among other things expressed alarm at the continuation by Israel of violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including the destruction of homes, the expropriation of Arab properties and the ill-treatment of prisoners, as well as measures aiming at annexation. It also expressed concern that the population of the occupied areas were hindered in the exercise of their inalienable rights to national education and cultural life.

By the operative provisions of the text, the Commission again deplored Israel's continued grave violations of the basic norms of international law and of relevant international conventions - in particular the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (the fourth Geneva Convention). The Commission considered such violations to be war crimes and an affront to humanity. It also deplored Israel's persistent defiance of United Nations resolutions and its continued policy of violating the basic human rights of the inhabitants of the occupied territories.

The Commission reaffirmed that military occupation of territory, constituted a grave threat to international peace and security and was, in itself, a continuous violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 24/ It reaffirmed its condemnation of Israel for the deliberate destruction of the Syrian town of Quneitra.

The Commission called upon Israel to take immediate steps for the return of the Palestinians and the other displaced inhabitants of the occupied territories to their homes, to desist from establishing new settlements in the occupied lands and to commence immediately with the removal of the existing settlements.

The Commission deplored the measures taken by Israel to exploit the human, natural and all other resources and wealth of the occupied Arab territories. It declared that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic structure and status of the occupied territories, as well as those designed to change the institutional structure and established religious practices in the sanctuary of the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), were null and void. It reaffirmed its call on Israel to ensure freedom of worship in accordance with established traditions in the region, particularly in Jerusalem.

The Commission called upon all States not to recognize any measures carried out by Israel aimed at effecting change in the occupied territories, and invited those States to do their utmost to ensure that Israel respected the provisions of the fourth Geneva Convention. It censured in the strongest terms all measures taken by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem and condemned a number of specific Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories.

The Secretary-General was asked to bring the Commission's resolution to the attention of all Governments and to give it the widest possible publicity. He was asked to report to the Commission at its 1977 session when, it was decided, the matter would again be given high priority.


Consideration by Security
Council and communications

During 1976, the Security Council held three series of meetings on the situation in the occupied territories - in March, in May and in November. The Council and the Secretary-General also received a number of communications concerning the question.


Communications (1-12 March 1976)

Prior to the March series of meetings, the following communications were received.

By a letter dated 1 March, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic transmitted the text of a letter dated 23 February from the Acting Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) charging that, following a ruling by a Jerusalem magistrate's court on 28 January 1976 that Jews had the right to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, some Zionist groups had announced plans to organize "pray-ins" in the Mosque. The ruling was in violation of several Security Council resolutions, the letter said, and it had sparked a wave of violent demonstrations in most major west Bank towns and in East Jerusalem. Scores of Palestinians had been arrested and four had died in the Nablus gaol. Two others had been killed in attacks on villages. Demonstrations and strikes continued in many towns and the continuing confrontation would, the letter added, inevitably lead to an increase in the severity of the acts of repression by the Israeli authorities.

By a letter dated 12 March, the representative of Saudi Arabia transmitted the text of a statement issued by members of the Islamic Conference at the United Nations - which had met to consider what was described as the grave situation in occupied Arab Jerusalem resulting from recent Israeli violations of Security Council resolutions - concerning the status of the Holy City and the profanation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The recent ruling of the Jerusalem magistrate's court was regarded as part of the systematic and persistent policy of the Israeli occupation authorities to change the status of Jerusalem and gradually obliterate the Moslem and Christian heritage in the Holy City. The members of the Conference noted with appreciation efforts made by the Secretary-General. They requested him and the President of the Security Council to keep under urgent attention the situation in Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied territories, and reaffirmed that immediate steps must be taken to stop the Israeli violations.


Security Council meetings (22-25 March 1976)

The Security Council met between 22 and 25 March at the request of the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan. In a joint letter dated 19 March, they said that, ever since the Israeli magistrate's ruling to the effect that Jews could not be prevented from praying in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the situation had continued to deteriorate in Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied West Bank and was becoming explosive. The ruling, they said, could no longer be viewed in isolation but had to be seen, along with recent expropriations of Arab-owned lands in Jerusalem and the establishment of Jewish settlements in Arab areas, as part of a policy of absorbing occupied Jerusalem into Israel. The extensiveness, violence and tenacity of the demonstrations, they said, reflected the determination of the people of the occupied territories to resist Israel's attempt to annex East Jerusalem, and they called on the Security Council to take measures to halt the deterioration of the situation and put an end to Israel's defiance of the Councils decisions on Jerusalem. They also asked that PLO be invited to participate in the Council's discussion, as on previous occasions.

The Council agreed to invite PLO to participate in the discussion under the same conditions as had been proposed and agreed to at its meetings in January (see page 229). The procedural vote for PLO participation was 11 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 3 abstentions (France, Italy, United Kingdom).

Also invited to participate in the discussion, at their request, were Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.

The representative of Egypt observed that for the first time in the protracted history of the Middle East conflict the Security Council was discussing the situation in the occupied Arab territories. After reviewing the background of the complaint, he said that peace could not prevail in the region unless Israel withdrew from all the occupied Arab territories, including Arab Jerusalem, and unless it recognized the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. The Council should, he declared, adopt a resolution calling for: exercise by the Palestinian people of the right to self-determination; condemnation of Israel's brutal and illegal actions in the occupied Arab territories; and immediate and effective steps to put an end to those actions and to rescind all previous measures taken by the occupation authorities in Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

The representative of Jordan recalled that at the beginning of 1975 the Knesset - the Israeli Parliament - had approved a Master Plan for Jerusalem according to which 30 per cent of the total area of the West Bank of Jordan would be annexed to Jerusalem so that it could be gradually absorbed into Israel. That area included nine towns and 60 villages, inhabited by 250,000 people. The locations of new Israeli quarters, to be built on the ruins of the Arab areas, extended over all of Arab Jerusalem. The Arabs of Jerusalem were being systematically displaced by various methods.

In this relentless enterprise, Israel had infringed the Islamic Waqf - Moslem endowments and religious properties - and had pulled down many of them, including mosques and venerated shrines. The historic quarter of Moslem saints and heroes, Hai Al-Magharibah, was one of the earliest targets of demolition. The Sharaf quarter, which contained 600 pieces of Islamic religious property, had already been taken over. Excavations had been undertaken under and around major Islamic sites, such as the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Hayit Al-Buraq and Al-Masjid Al-Umari. The Al-Aqsa Mosque had been violated not only physically but increasingly in more radical and ugly ways. Fanatics inside Israel called for division of the Mosque or for its elimination.

In such a climate of fanaticism, he said, came the ruling in January 1976 by an Israeli magistrate allowing Jews -to exercise religious rites in the courtyard of the Mosque, thereby reversing practice and tradition and giving justification for more blatant encroachments.

The Jordanian representative went on to say that a parallel process was taking place in the rest of the occupied territories. Since 1967, Israel had been engaged in a policy of planting Israeli settlements in various parts of the occupied areas, constructed on confiscated land and in the midst of the Arab population. The spontaneous uprising in the West Bank was, he said, an agonized call for international awakening and decisive intervention to stop the agony by ending an anachronistic and indefensible military domination by one powerful - and powerfully backed - State over a peaceful and unarmed population living in its own homeland. The Council, he said, had to act immediately to emphasize the urgency and seriousness of the situation. Its essential aim had to be the final and irrevocable Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories.

According to the spokesman for the Syrian Arab Republic, Israel's occupation of the Arab territories constituted a continued act of aggression according to the United Nations Charter, principles of international law and, in particular, the Definition of Aggression adopted by the General Assembly on 14 December 1974, 25/ affirming that "any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from ... invasion or attack" qualified as an act of aggression. The Zionist occupation of the Arab territories had been particularly cruel and ugly, he said, because, unlike other cases of military occupation, it had been designed to uproot the indigenous population and to replace it with alien settlers just because those alien invaders were Jews. The right of the Palestinians under occupation to resist the Zionist occupier with all means at their disposal was legitimate and recognized by the Charter and the principles of international law. There could be no peace or tranquillity for the Zionists until they evacuated the last inch of the occupied Arab territories and recognized the inalienable national rights of the Palestinians.

The representative of Israel said that the matter being discussed was a matter sub judice in the courts of Israel. The letter of complaint by Libya and Pakistan stated that the ruling of the magistrate's court was to the effect that Jews had the right to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque. That allegation, he asserted was a lie and had been made in a sinister and mischievous attempt to incite religious feeling for political purposes. No such ruling was ever made.

He said that the Temple Mount - the location of the First and Second Jewish Temples - was the most sacred site in the Jewish religion. In Islam, the Temple Mount was called Al-Haram Al-Sharif and was composed of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock (the Mosque of Omar) housing the rock of Abraham, and a large open courtyard. The supporting wall of the Temple Mount was the Western or Wailing Wall, the most hallowed spot in Jewish religious tradition.

On 28 June 1967, Israel had enacted the Protection of Holy Places Law, whereby unrestricted access to the respective Holy Places was guaranteed to members of all faiths; it had refrained from issuing regulations for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount in order not to offend the susceptibilities of a the Moslem population and to prevent disturbances between the religious communities.

However, he went on, several Jews who had attempted to pray in the open courtyard of the area had been expelled by the Moslem police charged with the protection of the Holy Places. Charges were brought against them and the Jerusalem magistrate acquitted them on the grounds that their action did not constitute a case of public disorder within the meaning of the criminal code. At no point was the Al-Aqsa Mosque involved. Since then, the Israeli Minister of Police and the Minister for Religious Affairs had stated that Jews would not be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount and, on 21 March 1976, a Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court had rejected an application for an order to show cause why the Israeli police should not allow one of the accused to pray on the Temple Mount. In this case, he added, the interests of the Moslems were being protected by the Government of Israel.

During the Council's discussion, the following points were made, among others.

The occupation of Arab territories by Israel since 1967 should be terminated. The representatives of India and the United Republic of Tanzania said that the resistance displayed by the people of the occupied territories, in the form of demonstrations, strikes and other methods of mass protest, was a logical manifestation by proud people fighting against foreign occupation to regain their rights and self-respect. The Tanzanian representative added that Israel ought to know that the key to its own security lay in respect for the security of others and in recognizing the inalienable national rights of the dispossessed Palestinian people.

Strong Opposition to any attempt on the part of Israel to annex the occupied territories was expressed by many speakers. The Japanese representative said his Government opposed any changes, physical or demographic, or other actions and policies intended to alter the legal status of the territories. Japan attached special importance to Israel's compliance with resolutions prohibiting all unilateral changes leading to the annexation by Israel of Jerusalem - a city venerated by Moslems, Christians and Jews alike. The representative of Panama urged that Jerusalem be given a special status, with international guarantees and supervision.

Many speakers emphasized the need for a political solution on the basis of resolutions 242 (1967) 26/ and 338 (1973), 27/ although Panama and Sweden, among others, felt that those resolutions lacked certain basic elements essential for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and did not take into account the interests and rights of the Palestinian Arabs.

The representative of the USSR said that the issue before the Council was a whole series of completely impermissible actions by the Israeli occupation forces with respect to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the recent expropriation of lands occupied by Arabs in Jerusalem and the creation of Israeli settlements in Arab lands - all of which had aroused mass protests by the Arab population. It was in no way a religious problem. The scale, the force and the stubbornness of the demonstrations had shown something more, namely, the resolve of the people to stand up to Israel's attempts to annex the occupied Arab lands.

According to the French representative, the situation which led to the recent incidents in the occupied territories and the resultant repression would be solved only within the framework of an over-all settlement. Jerusalem, a Holy City for three religions, was one of the most sensitive points of any settlement. France hoped that Israel would understand how much the international community was devoted to the preservation of the universal character of Jerusalem, that is, its Jewish, Christian and Islamic vocation.

The representative of China said that the Israeli authorities had been doing their utmost to change the status of Jerusalem and all the occupied territories in an attempt to perpetuate their occupation. The Security Council should adopt a resolution strongly condemning the Israeli Zionists for their atrocities and resolutely supporting the Arab people in their struggles in the occupied territories.

The representative of Italy said the Council should not lose sight of the deep-rooted causes of what was occurring in Jerusalem and in the West Bank; if turmoil and disturbances were taking place there, it was because of the perpetuation of the occupation. The basic framework of the negotiating process as outlined in resolution 242 (1967) remained valid and should be revived. Israel should relinquish its occupation of all Arab territories and, in particular, withdraw its forces from occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The representative of the United States said that the occupation of territories in the 1967 war had always been seen by the world community to be an abnormal state of affairs that would be brought to an end as part of a peace settlement. Security Council resolution 242 (1967) established the basic bargain that would constitute a settlement. The complaint before the Council by the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan, he noted, had identified three issues: the administration of the Holy Places; the situation in Jerusalem; and Israeli actions with regard to the civilian population of the occupied territories and Israeli settlements in those areas. With regard to the first, he said that in the view of his Government Israel's punctilious administration of the Holy Places in Jerusalem had greatly minimized tension. Israel's responsibilities under the fourth Geneva Convention to preserve religious practices as they were at the time the occupation began could not be changed by the ruling of an Israeli court, and the United States was gratified that the Israeli Government's position had been upheld by the Supreme Court of Israel.

With regard to Jerusalem, the United States, as had been stated many times, would not accept or recognize unilateral actions by any States in the area as altering the status of the City. Such unilateral measures, including expropriation of land or other administrative action by the Government of Israel, could not be considered other than as interim and provisional and could not affect the current international status of Jerusalem or prejudge its final and permanent status.

The United States believed, he went on, that international law set the appropriate standards with regard to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. An occupier had to maintain the occupied areas as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area; any changes had to be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation and be consistent with international law. Therefore, he said, substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, was illegal under the fourth Geneva Convention and could not be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties on the location of the borders of States in the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of those settlements was seen by the United States as an obstacle to the success of negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbours.

At the conclusion of its discussion, the Security Council voted on a draft resolution which had been proposed by Benin, Guyana, Pakistan, Panama and the United Republic of Tanzania. The vote was 14 to 1 (United States), and was not adopted owing to the negative vote of a permanent member of the Security Council.

By the preambular part of this rejected text, the Council would, among other things, have expressed its deep concern at the measures taken by the Israeli authorities leading to the current grave situation, including measures aimed at changing the physical, cultural, demographic and religious character of the occupied territories and, in particular, the City of Jerusalem, the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and other violations of the human rights of the inhabitants of those territories.

The Council would also have recalled and reaffirmed its resolutions and those of the General Assembly calling on Israel to rescind all measures already taken and to desist from taking any further action that would alter the status of the City of Jerusalem and the character of the occupied Arab territories. It would have noted that Israel was nevertheless persisting in its policy.

By the operative part of the text, the Council would have:

(1) deplored Israel's failure to put a stop to actions and policies tending to change the status of the City of Jerusalem and to rescind measures already taken to that effect;

(2) called on Israel, pending the speedy termination of its occupation, to refrain from all measures against the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories;

(3) called on Israel to respect and uphold the inviolability of the Holy Places which were under its occupation and to desist from the expropriation of or encroachment upon Arab lands and property or the establishment of Israeli settlements thereon in the occupied Arab territories, and to desist from all other actions and policies designed to change the legal status of the City of Jerusalem and to rescind measures already taken to that effect; and

(4) decided to keep the situation under constant attention and meet again should circumstances so require.

The representative of the United States said his Government had carefully measured the draft resolution and concluded that it failed to meet the necessary criteria of United States policy, in particular because it reflected or implied judgement which did not correspond to the actual situation in the area. Parts of the text were based on the judgement that Israel was persisting in a policy aimed at changing the religious character of Jerusalem. The United States believed on the contrary that Israel's administration of the Holy Places had literally minimized tensions. The United States also believed that the draft resolution would not help in the peaceful settlement process.

In the view of the Libyan Arab Republic, the negative vote of the United States again made it clear that the unjust and unlimited United States commitment to the Zionist cause constituted the main obstacle to the formulation of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Because of its unlimited support of Zionism, the United States had created hostile and bitter relations with all the Arab nations and most of their leaders. Because of its commitment, the United States had threatened and insulted the United Nations.


Communications (22 March-May 1976)

Between 22 March and 4 May 1976, the following communications were received by the President of the Security Council and the Secretary- General.

By a letter dated 22 March, the representative of Israel transmitted the texts of resolutions adopted in December 1975 by the third plenary meeting of the Jerusalem Committee, a body established by the Mayor of Jerusalem to advise on matters pertaining to the City's restoration and beautification.

In a letter dated 29 March, the representative of Israel, citing a statement made by the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic at the meeting of the Security Council on 24 March to the effect that the "racist entity in the Middle East must be destroyed and it will be destroyed one day," quoted from Article 23 of the United Nations Charter, 28/ having to do with the election of non-permanent members of the Security Council, and said his Government protested against the call for the destruction of a Member State made by a Council member at a public meeting of the Council. In a reply dated 6 April, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic said the Israeli representative had chosen to interpret his comment that the "racist entity in the Middle East must be destroyed" as a call for the destruction of a Member State. However, the destruction of racism was a leading principle of the United Nations.

On 30 March, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic transmitted the text of a letter from the Acting Permanent Observer of PLO charging Israeli occupation authorities with a persistent policy of brutal repression against the Palestinian people in occupied Palestine, citing examples and requesting the Council to take measures to put an end to the explosive situation and to deal with the prolonged occupation, which was the true cause of the mounting Palestinian resistance. Another letter from PLO, transmitted by the Libyan Arab Republic on 14 April, charged that Israel had acquired, either through purchase or expropriation, vast amounts of land on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and requested the Council to put an end to such acts and seriously to consider the termination of the Israeli occupation.

The representative of Oman, Chairman of the Arab group of States for April, conveyed to the Secretary-General on 14 April the group's deep concern about the continuous violation by Israel of United Nations resolutions and of the fourth Geneva Convention by secretly acquiring land in the occupied Arab territories. The letter asked the Secretary-General to send a representative to look into the matter.

By letters dated 22 April and 4 May, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic transmitted the texts of two further letters from the Acting Permanent Observer of PLO charging that, on 17 April, Zionist demonstrators, with the protection of the Israeli army, had marched through the occupied West Bank in support of Israel's policy of territorial expansion and the establishment of Jewish settlements. The march had sparked counter-demonstrations of protest on the part of the Palestinian inhabitants. In the course of the inevitable clashes between them and Israeli forces a number of Palestinians had been murdered and many more wounded. On 1 May, Israeli troops had opened fire into a crowd of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators who were manifesting their unalterable opposition to the continuing illegal occupation of their lands and homes and to the imminence of additional Jewish settlements. One Palestinian had been killed and several others injured. He added that a curfew had been imposed on several Palestinian towns.


Security Council meetings (4-26 May 1976)

The Security Council met between 4 and 26 May 1976 in response to a request by Egypt that the Council consider the continued deterioration of the situation in the occupied territories. In a letter dated 3 May, Egypt said there had been popular uprisings on the part of the whole Palestinian people; Israel's aggressive expansionist policy in the occupied territories, through the establishment of settlements at the expense of the legitimate owners and through changes in the demographic composition of the territories, as well as its blatant outrages against the Holy Places and shrines sacred to both Moslems and Christians, had resulted in the flare-up of the feelings of the Palestinian people, the letter stated.

The Egyptian letter went on to say that the Israeli authorities had resorted to a violent terrorist campaign which had taken the lives of many innocent civilians and resulted in arrests, beatings and persecution of thousands of unarmed civilians. These actions violated the principles and resolutions of the United Nations as well as of the Geneva Conventions and were a direct threat to the peace efforts in the Middle East.

At Egypt's request, PLO was invited - under the same conditions as before - to participate in the discussion. As before, the vote on the procedural proposal was 11 to 1 (United States), with 3 abstentions (France, Italy, United Kingdom). Also invited to participate, at their request, were Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen.

In his statement, the Egyptian representative said that the situation had further deteriorated since the Council's meetings in March. Israel, he said, was deploying thousands of police and army patrols all over the occupied West Bank and Gaza in an effort to crush the natural yearning of the Palestinian Arabs for independence. Recent elections in the West Bank had demonstrated a complete victory for the Palestinian cause: all sections of the Palestinian community had come out for PLO as the only body representing the Palestinian people and their rights. Instead of accepting the results of the elections as a fact demonstrating the fallacy of its repressive policies, Israel had persisted in its brutal practices, the Egyptian representative asserted.

The PLO representative declared that the Palestinians would not vacate their land. They would resist and were manifesting their resistance against foreign occupation by militant and armed means. The route of armed struggle was a legitimate route, he stated. The representative of Yemen made the point that the recent uprising of the Palestinian people was a reflection of the accumulated grievances of a population that had been under Zionist occupation for almost a decade. It was their prerogative to revolt against their oppressors until they attained their rights to self-determination, sovereignty and independence. Kuwait's spokesman said it was clear from the statements of Israeli officials that Israel had no intention of withdrawing from the occupied Arab territories. However, time would not erode the dauntless spirit of Palestinian resistance, and much more ferocious measures against the Israelis were in store.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic said that while the Zionist régime repeatedly claimed that it wanted peace - and that it was ready to negotiate with the Arabs without pre-conditions in order to reach that peace - it was secretly and feverishly carrying out a premeditated, evil plan to ensure the total usurpation of all the occupied Arab territories through expansion, overt and covert purchase, acquisition and expropriation. The establishment of some 70 Jewish paramilitary settlements in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and Sinai was a flagrant act of racist expansion, he stated.

According to the representative of Jordan, Israel had to be compelled to abide by principles of international law governing the conduct of occupying powers in occupied areas. Israel had to refrain from any action designed to change the character of the occupied territories. It had to be compelled to respect the human rights of the inhabitants of those territories as provided for in international law. It had to act to end the occupation finally and irreversibly.

The representative of Israel stated that the focus of the problem was not Israel or the territories it administered or the Palestinian Arabs; it was the situation in Lebanon. Egypt, he said, had asked for the debate in order to indulge in a game of oneupmanship with Syria, and to take advantage of the tension and confrontation between Syria and PLO in Lebanon. The Palestinian Arabs were, as always, a convenient excuse, utilized by the Arab States as pawns in the inter-Arab game. He went on to say that Israel was proud of its record in the West Bank and Gaza. Among other things, he noted that free and democratic elections had taken place in the West Bank, even though it was obvious that candidates hostile to Israel would be returned. His Government had respected the results of the elections, he said.

At the heart of the conflict, he went on, there was still the Arab refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish nation to self-determination and national sovereignty, Israel would continue on its path towards peace, irrespective of the outcome of the Council's discussion. It was prepared to negotiate but only on the basis of a recognition of Israel's sovereign rights. It would not negotiate its own suicide.

In the opinion of the USSR representative, the Council's duty was to condemn resolutely the violent terrorist actions of the occupation forces in the Arab territories, and to require that Israel end such actions. While the Palestinian Arab people, numbering 3 million, had the right to create its own State, a right equal to that of any other people in the Middle East or in the rest of the world, it continued to have the status of people in exile and of refugees, despite the fact that its right to create its own State in the territory of Palestine had been officially acknowledged and confirmed by the world community.

The Chinese representative condemned the series of fresh crimes committed by the Israeli Zionists and deeply sympathized with and supported the valiant struggles of the people in the occupied territories who, he said, feared no sacrifices. He added that the Council should adopt a resolution strongly condemning the Israeli Zionists' atrocities and voicing firm support for the just struggle of the Arab people in the occupied territories. A fundamental solution of the question of the occupied territories lay in the elimination of super-power interference, restoration of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the complete withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied Arab territories.

The representative of Benin said that the parties to the conflict had to recognize the imperative need of all States of the region, including Israel and the yet-to-be-created Palestinian State, to live together in peace and harmony; that meant that they would at last have to come to the conference table to discuss practical ways and means of arriving at that peace. The political will of the parties was linked to the determination of the great powers to encourage and promote that view with each one of their customary partners. Benin, he said, appealed to Israel to show common sense and courage by adopting measures that would give specific content to the desire it had so often expressed to negotiate peace with the Arabs. Benin also appealed to the United States to relinquish its isolationist policy dictated by domestic Jewish pressure and to follow the course of history.

On 26 May, at the conclusion of the Council's discussion, the President declared that on the basis of consultations with all the members of the Council, he had been authorized to make a statement to the effect that grave anxiety had been expressed in the Council over the current situation in the occupied Arab territories, as well as concern about the well-being of the population of those territories. The 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War was, the statement said, applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967. The occupying power was therefore called upon to comply strictly with the provisions of that Convention and to refrain from and rescind any measure that would violate them. In that connexion the measures taken by Israel in the occupied Arab territories which altered their demographic composition or geographical character, and in particular the establishment of settlements, were deplored. Such measures, which could not prejudge the outcome of the efforts to achieve peace, constituted an obstacle to peace. The Security Council was to continue to follow the situation closely, the statement concluded.

The representative of Japan expressed agreement with the statement made by the President but warned that the situation in the occupied Arab territories had been deteriorating for some time, and there was no reason for optimism about an immediate improvement as a result of the statement.

The representative of the Libyan Arab Republic expressed regret and disappointment that the Council's discussion had ended in the drafting of a sadly weak text which fell far short of facing the true gravity of the situation in the occupied Arab territories and the ferocity of Zionist aggression and terrorism. The statement had been accepted by the majority of the Council in a spirit of compromise despite the objections of the main interested parties, in particular the representative of the Palestinian people, and it failed to condemn provocative Zionist policies and actions and failed to refer to the necessity for a speedy withdrawal from occupied Arab territories. In referring to the Arab territories occupied since 1967, the text also made an indirect reference to resolution 242 (1967), a resolution his Government did not accept as a basis for a solution to the Palestine problem and to the Middle East conflict. He also regretted that the power which gave its unlimited support to the Zionist entity had exerted pressure to cause the text to be seriously watered down.

The representative of the United States said his Government dissociated itself from the statement of the majority and held that it lacked balance. While it contained references to certain provisions of the fourth Geneva Convention describing the obligations of an occupying power, there was no corresponding reference to the provisions that explicitly recognized that the occupying power had the duty to maintain law and order and the right to protect its forces. The United States also objected to the fact that the statement was unrelieved by any recognition of the many areas in which Israel's administration of the occupied territories had been responsible and just, as in its administration of the Holy Places in Jerusalem. However, he said, the United States would be remiss if it did not call Israel's attention to aspects of its policies in the occupied territories - in particular those involving the establishment of settlements - that were increasingly a matter of concern and distress to its friends throughout the world and were not helpful to the process of peace.

The representative of Israel said that the discussion had been nothing but a futile waste of time intended to divert attention from the major tragedy occurring in Lebanon. The majority statement read by the President followed the usual pattern, he went on. On the one hand, it deplored actions in the West Bank to maintain law and order; on the other, it called for the application of a Convention which specifically acknowledged Israel's right to maintain the orderly government of the territory. Israel also rejected the thesis that the establishment of its security settlements was an obstacle to peace.

The representative of Jordan said that if there was to be any interpretation of the Council's statement it would be that the message sent by the people of the occupied territories had reached the consciousness of the international community. The issue of the occupation had been restored to the forefront of world concern.


Communications (May 1976)

In May 1976, the following communications were addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council.

On 13 May, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic transmitted the text of a letter from a Jerusalem rabbi, on behalf of the Jerusalem Neturei Karta, protesting the closing of ritual slaughter-houses in Jerusalem by Israeli officials as a violation of religious freedom.

On 18 May, the representative of the Libyan Arab Republic transmitted the text of a letter from the Acting Permanent Observer of PLO charging, among other things, that Israeli occupation troops had murdered a young girl in Nablus and expressing PLO's deep concern about the lack of action by the Security Council to put an end to Israel's illegal occupation.


Security Council meetings (1-11 November 1976)

Between 1 and 11 November, the Security Council - again at the request of Egypt - held a third series of meetings on the situation in the occupied territories. Egypt had asked the Council, in a letter dated 20 October, to consider what it termed the dangerous and explosive situation in the occupied Arab territories as a result of continuing Israeli repressive measures against the inhabitants of the territories. Curfews were still being imposed on several Palestinian towns in the West Bank, the letter said, and many people had been arrested arbitrarily or severely beaten in recent weeks in the West Bank and Gaza by the occupying forces. Furthermore, acts of desecration of Holy Places in Al-Khalil by extremist Israeli elements had been condoned by the Israeli authorities. Israel had continued in its policy of establishing new Israeli settlements and consolidating the old ones in the occupied areas at the expense of the inhabitants and the legitimate owners of those lands. Egypt also requested the participation of PLO in the discussion.

When it convened on 1 November, the Council, by a vote of 11 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 3 abstentions (France, Italy, United Kingdom), invited PL0 to participate in the discussions under the same conditions as on previous occasions. Also invited to participate, at their request, were the representatives of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the Syrian Arab Republic.

The representative of Egypt said that Israel had complied with none of the provisions of the President's statement made at the conclusion of the Councils series of meetings in May 1976. Instead, the Israeli Government had continued to work methodically and persistently against all the points made in the statement. Four aspects of Israeli policy in the occupied territories had prompted Egypt to ask for the convening of the current meeting, he said: first, Israel's total disregard of human rights and of the fourth Geneva Convention; second, the establishment of Israeli settlements on Arab lands; third, the illegal exploitation and plundering of the natural resources of the occupied territories; and, fourth, the incitement to religious hatred against the Christian and Moslem inhabitants of the occupied territories by extremist Israeli elements.

Among those making statements was the representative of Jordan, who deplored the seizure of one of the holiest Moslem sanctuaries, the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (Al-Khalil), and its gradual but systematic conversion into preponderantly a synagogue, leaving tiny and constricted corners to Moslem worshippers, and the trampling upon and tearing up of the Holy Koran. The events in Hebron had triggered the recent events in the occupied territories and created a dangerous and explosive situation. Israeli practices in the occupied territories, he said, were pre-empting and even torpedoing all prospects of an equitable and just peace in the Middle Fast.

During the discussion, a number of speakers criticized what they described as the annexationist policies of Israel, which they said had refused to abide by the fourth Geneva Convention. They called for full recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the evacuation of all Arab territories occupied by Israel.

On 11 November, the President read out a statement according to which he said the Council had agreed on the following points:

1. To express its anxiety and concern over the serious situation in the occupied Arab territories as a result of continued occupation.

2. To reaffirm its call upon Israel to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants of the territories and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities.

3. To reaffirm that the fourth Geneva Convention was applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967 and that therefore the occupying power was once again called on to comply with its provisions and refrain from measures that violated them. Measures already taken by Israel that altered the demographic composition or geographical nature of the territories, and particularly the establishment of settlements, were strongly deplored. Such measures had no legal validity, could not prejudge the outcome of peace efforts and were an obstacle to peace.

4. To consider once more that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon and the transfer of populations, tending to change the status of Jerusalem, were invalid and could not change that status, urgently called on Israel once more to rescind all such measures already taken and desist from any further action which tended to change the status of the City. The Council in that connexion deplored Israel's failure to show any regard for previous Council and General Assembly decision.

5. To recognize that any act of profanation of the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites or any encouragement of, or connivance at, any such act might seriously endanger international peace and security.

Also according to the statement, the Council decided to keep the situation under constant attention and meet again if circumstances required.


Report of the
Special Committee in 1976

The Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, established by the General Assembly in 1969, adopted its eighth report to the Assembly on 17 September 1976. As in previous years, the report noted, because of the absence of co-operation by the Government of Israel and the consequent inability of the Special Committee to visit the occupied territories and verify at first hand the information it received, it had had to rely on oral testimony, day-to-day reports in the Israeli press of occurrences in the occupied territories and of Israeli Government pronouncements concerning the civilian population of the occupied territories, reports appearing in the Arab language press and other sections of the international press, information appearing in United Nations documents, as well as information communicated to it by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and contained in ICRC publications.

In its report, covering the period from 13 October 1975, the Special Committee said that the policies of annexation and settlement continued to be implemented, new plans had been announced and other settlements had been established in the occupied territories. The prolonged occupation and the effect of those policies and practices had persisted. Violent demonstrations that lasted for several months had taken place, in addition to acts of sabotage which appeared to have been daily occurrences. Those incidents had in turn led to arrests of groups of persons, presenting a pattern of mass arrests. Other repressive measures had continued, as for example curfews, demolition of houses, expulsion and administrative detention.

The Special Committee also said that civilian inhabitants detained were treated in a manner incompatible with the fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law in general governing treatment of civilians under detention.

The Special Committee divided the information it received under the following headings: evidence of the policy of annexation and settlement as practised in the occupied territories: evidence of treatment of civilian detainees from the occupied territories, including administrative detainees; evidence of the effects of the prolonged occupation in the form of mass manifestations, regular occurrence of incidents, adoption of repressive measures, ill-treatment, and a pattern of mass arrests, trials and convictions.

Included as an annex to the Special Committee's report was a field report by an expert, working with a team of engineers, on the destruction of the town of Quneitra in Golan Province and an assessment of the nature, extent and value of the damage caused. The expert, Edward Gruner, was selected be the Committee in accordance with an Assembly resolution of 15 December 1975. 29/ His house-by-house survey revealed 4,180 structures, of which 4,088 were destroyed by deliberate action, according to the findings. The expert further estimated that the total value of the deliberate damage caused to Quneitra was in excess of 460 million Syrian pounds.

In its conclusions, the Special Committee said that in all its reports since 1970 it had stated that the main problem affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories had its roots in a policy followed by the Government of Israel directed towards a process of annexation of the territories. This process was shown to be the result of a number of direct or indirect measures or practices.

The most serious of the direct measures had been the establishment of Israeli settlements in accordance with previously approved plans of the Government and the transfer of Israeli citizens to these settlements. The information before the Special Committee indicated that 61 settlements had thus far been established in the occupied territories. A second direct measure was Israel's continued refusal to recognize the right to return of persons who had fled the occupied territories during and as a result of the hostilities of June 1967.

Examples of indirect measures, the report went on, were the excessively severe steps taken by the occupying power to repress all manifestations of protest against the occupation, including reprisals such as the demolition of houses and prohibition of exports of produce.

The Special Committee said that from its very inception it had been balked in the discharge of its mandate by the Government of Israel, whose obstructionist attitude had received a surprising degree of support and encouragement from Member States of the United Nations which professed to be interested in human rights. If a country whose conduct was in question was permitted to prevent an investigation of its conflict, the fourth Geneva Convention, which constituted a vital part of international law, would be brought in contempt, the Special Committee went on to state. It was for Members of the United Nations to consider what the future of the fourth Geneva Convention was to be and, in particular, why any country should be granted special immunity from the provisions of that Convention.

The Special Committee recalled the proposal it had made in each of its previous reports for the adoption of an arrangement 30/ inspired by the protecting-power formula envisaged under the fourth Geneva Convention to protect civilian persons living in occupied territories.


Consideration by the General Assembly

The report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories was considered at the General Assembly's thirty-first session in 1976 by the Special Political Committee, which also had before it two reports of the Secretary-General submitted in response to requests by the Assembly in 1975.

The first of these contained information relevant to the situation in the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil (Hebron), submitted to the Secretary-General by the Governments of Israel and Jordan, by the Islamic Conference and by the League of Arab States. This was in response to an Assembly resolution of 15 December 1975. 31/ In letters to the Secretary-General on 1 and 3 November, Israel said that the information submitted by the Islamic Conference disregarded Jewish religious and historical connexions with the city of Hebron.

The second report by the Secretary-General was submitted in response to two other Assembly resolutions of 15 December 1975, 32/ and stated that, as in previous years, he had continued to provide the facilities required by the Special Committee. He gave details of the measures undertaken by the Office of Public Information to ensure the widest circulation of the Committee's reports and of information regarding the activities and findings of the Special Committee.

Also before the Committee were communications dated 25 February and 29 March 1976 from the Syrian Arab Republic alleging violations of human rights by Israel in occupied areas, and a letter of 18 November 1976 from Iraq transmitting the Declaration of the International Symposium on Zionism, held at Baghdad in November 1976.

At its meeting on 12 November the Special Political Committee viewed a film, "Quneitra: Death of a City, shown at the request of the Syrian Arab Republic. In a letter of the same day, Israel protested that the Special Committee had refused to allow an Israeli film to be shown and had thus prevented Israel from presenting its views. The Syrian Representative replied to Israel's letter in a letter dated 22 November.

Opening the discussion in the Special Political Committee, the representative of Senegal introduced the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories. He said that the violation of human rights in the occupied territories posed, above all, the problem of the Palestinian people, who had been forced to abandon their homeland, to live far from the land of their ancestors and to be the daily victims of circumstance. The Special Committee, he said, upheld the right of self-determination, which applied to States and also to peoples temporarily deprived of their State. The second problem raised by the violation of human rights in the occupied territories was the occupation itself. The Special Committee considered that prolonged military occupation meant that right and justice were subordinated to arbitrary rule and force and violated the very spirit of the fourth Geneva Convention. The violation of human rights in the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Sinai were, the Special Committee believed, closely linked to the occupation - the end of which was a pre-condition for the re-establishment of the fundamental rights of the population of those zones.

The representative of Israel said that his delegation had analysed before the Special Political Committee the seven previous reports of the Special Committee and had shown that they were partial, distorted or misrepresented the facts, and that their aims and conclusions were as questionable as the methods used. The eighth report was no exception, he said. The only obstacle to peace in the region, he continued, has not to be found in the imaginary causes of a "deterioration" of the existing situation but in the refusal of the Arab States, particularly those bordering on Israel, to accept Israel's existence and to live with it in peace, maintaining good-neighbourly relations.

The representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization said that the Special Committee's report was the result of laborious and objective work and not just another piece of anti-Israel propaganda. It was a document on the inhuman practices of Israeli occupation forces against the population of occupied areas; to allege otherwise was an affront to the United Nations. Many speakers, among them Egypt, Jordan and other representatives of Arab States, said they fully agreed with the conclusions reached by the Special Committee and with the validity of its report.

The representative of Jordan noted that in spite of having been refused access to the occupied territories the Special Committee had reached the conclusion - on the basis of information from the communications media - that the people of the occupied territories had reached a state of complete despair. The annexation of their territories not only was a grave infringement of the principle of the inviolability of territories under occupation but also was a question of vital concern to an innocent people and should therefore be the concern of all Members of the United Nations.

The spokesman for the German Democratic Republic said it was clear from the Special Committee's report that the Israeli authorities were stepping up their policy of oppression, that a systematic policy of settlement was being pursued and that the political representatives of the Arab population were being persecuted, imprisoned or expelled from the country in order to silence political opposition. The Israeli occupation had thus been transformed into a well-organized policy of annexation. He and others, including Bulgaria, the Byelorussian SSR, Hungary and the Ukrainian SSR, supported the reconvening of the Geneva Conference on the Middle East, with the participation of PLO, as had been proposed by the USSR.

According to the representative of Mali, Israel's refusal to co-operate with the Special Committee was both an act of defiance of the international community and a serious violation of the fourth Geneva Convention. The United Nations, he said, had to induce Israel to respect its decisions so that the Special Committee could enter the occupied Arab territories and carry out its mission. If Israel persisted in its refusal, sanctions should be applied against it.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the nine members of the European Communities, said that owing to the conditions under which the Special Committee had been created and the difficulties it had had to face, through no fault of its own, in carrying out its task, the nine countries had always felt that, however well-intentioned its members might be, it would not have access to sufficient first-hand material to give its report adequate authority. Doubts about the balance and reliability of the evidence contained in the Special Committee's report were also expressed by Costa Rica and the United States.

The Netherlands representative went on to say that in the opinion of the nine members of the European Communities, no fully satisfactory solution of the humanitarian problem in the Middle East could be expected without a comprehensive solution. Israel's occupation should come to an end, they believed, and negotiations should be resumed as soon as possible. The authorities concerned should apply policies in the occupied territories which would not make the achievement of that goal more difficult.

On 16 December 1976, the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Special Political Committee, adopted four resolutions on the 1976 report of the Special Committee.

By the first of these - 31/106 A - the Assembly among other things strongly deplored the measures taken by Israel in the Arab territories occupied since 1967 that altered their demographic composition or geographical nature, and particularly the establishment of settlements. The Assembly declared that such measures had no legal validity and could not prejudice the outcome of the search for the establishment of peace, and it considered that they constituted an obstacle to the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the area.

The Assembly declared, moreover, that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel purporting to change the legal status of Jerusalem were invalid and could not change the status of the City. It again urgently called upon Israel to rescind all those measures and to desist from taking others that would tend to change the demographic composition, geographical nature or status of the occupied territories or any part thereof, including Jerusalem.

This resolution was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 129 to 3, with 4 abstentions. The Special Political Committee had approved the text on 2 December 1976 by a roll-call vote of 102 to 3, with 4 abstentions, on a proposal by Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Cuba, India, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Pakistan and Yugoslavia. (For text of resolution 31/106 A and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the second resolution (31/106 B), the Assembly among other things reaffirmed that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, was applicable to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. It deplored the failure of Israel to acknowledge the applicability of, and reiterated its call upon Israel to comply with the provisions of that Convention in all the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. It again urged all States parties to the Convention to exert all efforts to ensure respect for and compliance with its provisions in all the occupied areas.

The Assembly adopted the resolution by a recorded vote of 134 to 0, with 2 abstentions. The Special Political Committee had approved the text on 2 December 1976 by a roll-call vote of 107 to 0, with 2 abstentions, as sponsored by Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Cuba, India, Indonesia, the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Yugoslavia. (For text of resolution 31/106 B and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

Resolution 31/106 C concerned the work of the Special Committee. By its provisions, the Assembly among other things commended the efforts of the Special Committee in performing its tasks and deplored the continued refusal of - and again called upon - Israel to allow it access to the occupied territories.

The Assembly also by this resolution deplored Israel's continued and persistent violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and other applicable international instruments. It condemned in particular, and demanded that Israel desist forthwith from, the following policies and practices: annexation of parts of, establishment of Israeli settlements in, and transfer of an alien population to the occupied territories; evacuation, deportation, expulsion, displacement and transfer of Arab inhabitants of those territories and denial of their right to return; confiscation and expropriation of Arab property and other land transactions in occupied areas; destruction and demolition of Arab houses; mass arrests, administrative detention and ill-treatment of the Arab population and of persons under detention; pillaging of archaeological and cultural property; interference with religious freedoms and practices, family rights and customs; and illegal exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories.

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

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

The Special Committee was asked to continue to investigate Israel's policies and practices in the occupied Arab territories, to consult with the International Committee of the Red Cross as appropriate and to report to the Secretary-General as soon as possible and whenever the need arose. The Secretary-General was asked to render all necessary facilities to the Special Committee, including additional staff, to ensure the widest circulation of its reports, activities and findings, and to report to the Assembly in 1977, when the matter would again be taken up.

The Assembly adopted this resolution by a recorded vote of 100 to 5, with 30 abstentions. The Special Political Committee had approved the text on 2 December 1976 by a roll-call vote of 84 to 3, with 22 abstentions; it was proposed by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus, the Gambia, Guinea, India and Pakistan. (For text of resolution 31/106 C and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the fourth resolution adopted on 16 December - 31/106 D - the Assembly expressed appreciation to the expert engaged by the Special Committee for his assessment and it condemned the massive, deliberate destruction of Quneitra perpetrated during Israeli occupation and prior to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the town in 1974. It recognized that the Syrian Arab Republic was entitled to full compensation, under international law and in equity, for this destruction, as well as to all other appropriate legal remedies, and it requested the Special Committee to complete its survey on all aspects of the damage in Quneitra.

The Assembly adopted this resolution by a recorded vote of 97 to 3, with 36 abstentions, on the recommendation of the Special Political Committee, which had approved the text on 2 December 1976 by a roll-call vote of 81 to 2, with 26 abstentions. The text was proposed by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Byelorussian SSR, the Comoros, Cuba, the Gambia, the German Democratic Republic, Guinea, India, Malta, Pakistan, Uganda and the Ukrainian SSR.

For text of resolution 31/106 D and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By it letter dated 20 December the representative of Democratic Yemen, in his capacity as Chairman of Arab group for the month of December, transmitted the text of a letter from the Permanent Observer of PLO stating that, since 6 December, Palestinian civilians under occupation had been subjected again to barbarous treatment by the occupation troops, especially in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Jericho, Kalandya and Nablus, where a curfew had been imposed.

Documentary references

Decisions of the Commission on Human Plights

E/5768. Report of Commission on Human Rights on its 32nd session, Geneva, 2 February-5 March 1976, Chapters V and XX A (resolution 2(XXXII)).
A/31/153 (S/12146). Note by Secretary-General (transmitting Commission on Human Rights resolution 2 (XXXII) of 13 February 1976).

Consideration by Security
Council and communications

COMMUNICATIONS (1-12 MARCH 1976)
S/12000. Letter of 1 March from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 23 February 1976 from Acting Permanent Observer of PLO).
S/12012 (A/31/63). Letter of 12 March from Saudi Arabia (annexing statement by members of Islamic Conference).
S/12017. Letter of 19 March from Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS (22-25 MARCH 1976)

Security Council, meetings 1893-1899.

S/12017. Letter of 19 March from Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan (request to convene Council).
S/INF/32. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1976. Decisions, p. 3.

S/12022. Benin, Guyana, Pakistan, Panama, United Republic of Tanzania: draft resolution, rejected by Security Council on 25 March 1976, meeting 1899, owing to negative vote of a permanent member, by 14 votes to 1 (United States).

COMMUNICATIONS (22 MARCH - 4 MAY 1976)

S/12020. Letter of 22 March from Israel (annexing resolutions of Jerusalem Committee, 3rd plenary meeting, 16-19 December 1975).
S/12028 (A/31/73). Letter of 29 March from Israel.
S/12029. Letter of 30 March from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 30 March 1976 from Acting Permanent Observer of PLO).
S/12038 (A/31/76). Letter of 6 April from Libyan Arab Republic.
S/12052. Letter of 14 April from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 13 April 1976 from Acting Permanent Observer of PLO).
S/12053. Letter of 14 April from Oman.
S/12058. Letter of 22 April from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 20 April 1976 from Acting Permanent Observer of PLO).
S/12066. Letter of 3 May from Egypt.
S/12067. Letter of 4 May from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 3 May 1976 from Acting Permanent Observer of PLO).

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS (4-26 MAY 1976)

Security Council, meetings 1916-1922.

S/12066. Letter of 3 May from Egypt (request to convene Council).
S/INF/32. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1976. Decisions, p. 4.

COMMUNICATIONS (MAY 1976)
S/12073 (A/31/90). Letter of 13 May from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 12 May 1976 from Rabbi Uri Blau on behalf of Jerusalem Neturei Karta).
S/12078. Letter of 18 May from Libyan Arab Republic (annexing letter of 17 May 1976 from Acting Permanent Observer of PLO).

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETINGS (1-11 NOVEMBER 1976)

Security Council, meeting 1966-1969.

S/12218. Letter of 20 October from Egypt (request to convene Council).
S/12220. Letter of 20 October from Egypt (request for PLO participation in Council debate).
S/INF/32. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1976. Decisions, p. 4.

S/12233. Note by President of Security Council.
S/INF/32. Resolutions and decisions of Security Council, 1976 Decisions, p. 5.

Report of the Special Committee in 1976
A/31/218. Report of Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of Population of Occupied Territories. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report).

Consideration by the General Assembly
General Assembly - 31st session
Special Political Committee, meetings 17-19, 22-26, 28-32.
Fifth Committee, meeting 50.
Plenary meeting 101.

A/31/1. Report of Secretary-General on work of Organization, 16 June 1975-15 June 1976, Part One, Chapter I C.
A/31/57. Note verbale of 25 February from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/31/72 and Corr. 1. Letter of 29 March from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/31/218. Report of Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting Human Rights of Population of Occupied Territories. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report).
A/31/235 and Add.1, 2. Report of Secretary-General. (Annex I: Information received from Israel; Annex II: Information received from Islamic Conference; Add.1: Information received from Jordan; Add.2: Information received from League of Arab States.)
A/31/302. Report of Secretary-General.
A/31/303 (S/12223), A/31/307 (S/12224). Letters of 1 and 3 November from Israel.
A/31/339 and Corr.1. Letter of 18 November from Iraq (annexing Declaration of International Symposium on Zionism, Baghdad, 8-12 November 1976).
A/SPC/31/6. Letter of 12 November from Israel.
A/SPC/31/8. Letter of 22 November from Syrian Arab Republic.
A/SPC/31/L.9. Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Pakistan, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 2 December 1976, meeting 31, by roll-call vote of 102 to 3, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

A/SPC/399. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution A.

Resolution 31/106 A, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/399, adopted by Assembly on 16 December 1976, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 129 to 3, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

Guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,

Bearing in mind the rules of international law concerning occupation, in particular the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,

1. Strongly deplores the measures taken by Israel in the Arab territories occupied since 1967 that alter their demographic composition or geographical nature, and particularly the establishment of settlements;

2. Declares that such measures have no legal validity and cannot prejudice the outcome of the search for the establishment of peace, and considers that such measures constitute an obstacle to the achievement of a just and lasting peace in the area;

3. Declares further that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel, including the expropriation of land and properties thereon and the transfer of populations, which purport to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status;

4. Urgently calls once more upon Israel to rescind all those measures and to desist forthwith from taking any further measures which tend to change the demographic composition, geographical nature or status of the occupied Arab territories or any part thereof, including Jerusalem.

A/SPC/31/L.10. Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 2 December 1976, meeting 31, by roll-call vote of 107 to 0, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

A/31/399. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution B.

Resolution 31/106 B, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/399, adopted by Assembly on 16 December 1976, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 134 to 0, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A/SPC/31/L.11. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus, Gambia, Guinea, India, Pakistan: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 2 December 1976, meeting 31, by roll-call vote of 84 to 3, with 22 abstentions, as follows:

A/SPC/31/L.13, A/C.5/31/79. Administrative and financial implications of 9-power draft resolution, A/SPC/31/L.11. Statements by Secretary-General.
A/31/446. Administrative and financial implications of draft resolutions C and D recommended by Special Political Committee in A/31/399, Report of Fifth Committee.
A/31/399. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution C.

Resolution 31/106 C, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/399 adopted by Assembly on 16 December 1976, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 100 to 5, with 30 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Deplores the continued and persistent violation by Israel of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and other applicable international instruments;

5. Condemns, in particular, the following Israeli policies and practices:

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

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

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

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

(e) The destruction and demolition of Arab houses;

(f) Mass arrests, administrative detention and ill-treatment of the Arab population;

(g) The ill-treatment of persons under detention;

(h) The pillaging of archaeological and cultural property;

(i) The interference with religious freedoms and practices, particularly as manifested most recently in Al-Khalil, as well as family rights and customs;

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

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

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

8. Reiterates its call upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any changes carried out by Israel in the occupied territories and to avoid actions, including those in the field of aid, which might be used by Israel in its pursuit of the policies of annexation and colonization or any of the other policies and practices referred to in the present resolution;

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

10. Requests the Secretary-General:

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

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

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

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

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

A/SPC/31/L.12. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Byelorussian SSR, Comoros, Cuba, Gambia, German Democratic Republic, Guinea, India, Malta, Pakistan, Uganda, Ukrainian SSR: draft resolution, as orally amended by sponsors, approved by Special Political Committee on 2 December 1976, meeting 31, by roll-call vote of 81 to 2, with 26 abstentions, as follows:

A/SPC/31/L.14, A/C.5/31/80. Administrative and financial implications of 13-power draft resolution, A/SPC/31/L.12. Statements by Secretary-General.

A/31/446. Administrative and financial implications of draft resolutions C and D recommended by Special Political Committee in A/31/399. Report of Fifth Committee.

A/31/399. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution D.

Resolution 31/106 D as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/399 adopted by Assembly on 16 December 1976, meeting 101, by recorded vote of 97 to 3, with 36 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3240 C (XXIX) of 29 November 1974 and 3525 C (XXX) of 15 December 1975,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S/12261. Letter of 20 December from Democratic Yemen (annexing letter of 16 December 1976 from Permanent Observer of PLO).


Permanent sovereignty over national resources

On 21 December 1976, at its thirty-first session, the (general Assembly adopted a resolution (31/186) on the question of permanent sovereignty over national resources in the occupied Arab territories. By this resolution, among other things the Assembly reaffirmed the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories were under Israeli occupation to regain full and effective control over their natural and all other resources and economic activities, as well as the right to restitution and full compensation for the exploitation, loss and depletion of, and damage to, those resources and economic activities.

The Assembly also by this resolution took note of the regret expressed by the Secretary-General that the submission of a requested report on the adverse economic effects on the Arab States resulting from repeated Israeli aggression and continued occupation of their territories 33/ would be postponed until the Assembly's thirty-second (1977) session. It asked him to take the necessary measures to submit his final comprehensive report to the 1977 session and also asked the heads of the relevant United Nations bodies, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Economic Commission for Western Asia, to co-operate in the preparation of that report.

The text of the resolution was adopted by the Assembly by a roll-call vote of 107 to 2, with 26 abstentions, on the recommendation of the Second (Economic and Financial) Committee, which approved it on 8 December, also by roll call, by 94 votes to 2, with 24 abstentions, on a proposal by 46 Members.

The Second Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General recalling that he had been requested to submit to the Assembly at its current session a final comprehensive report on the question and explaining the difficulties encountered in recruiting experts who were both qualified and available. Two experts had recently indicated that they would be prepared to undertake the assignment early in 1977. The Secretary-General expressed regret that the submission of the report had, in the circumstances, to be postponed until the 1977 session.

During the discussion in the Second Committee, the representative of Pakistan, introducing the 46-power text, said that it simply reaffirmed previous Assembly decisions on the question 34/ and he expressed the disappointment of the sponsors that the Secretary- General had postponed submission of the report.

The representative of Israel regretted that the Second Committee was involving itself in a political subject which was not only extraneous to it but which had been fully dealt with elsewhere. The draft resolution had singled out one economic issue which in fact could not be divorced from the whole complex Middle East problem. Its motive was to attribute to Israel exclusive responsibility for all the consequences of the continuous aggression by the Arab States, including economic boycott, blockade of international waterways, armed raids and sabotage, political warfare and terror - all designed to strike a death-blow at Israel. The continuous occupation of the areas administered by his country was the outcome of that situation and the direct consequence of the refusal of the Arab States to negotiate the establishment of a just peace in the region.

He went on to say that Israel, under international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, was responsible for the security of the territories and of their population, and would not deviate from its policy of administering them in accordance with international law and binding international conventions. With regard to the so-called exploitation of natural resources in the area, he said that there was no rule of international law which could prevent Israel from using those resources.

The representative of Egypt said that the aggression committed by Israel in 1967 had imposed upon Egypt a heavy strain and had deprived it of its oil resources, which Israel was currently exploiting. A large percentage of Egypt's resources had had to be diverted to defend its territories against the continuous threat posed by Israel's expansionist plans. Israel's position on the draft resolution showed that it would not discuss peace.

Speaking in explanation of vote, the Japanese representative expressed solidarity with the position of the Arab countries and peoples on the natural resources of the occupied Arab territories. He hoped that the problem could be resolved quickly and by peaceful means, in accordance with the rules of international law.

The representative of the United States said his vote against the draft resolution was consistent with the position adopted by the United States on previous occasions: the subject was not within the competence of the Second Committee.

Documentary references

General Assembly - 31st session.
Second Committee, meeting 62.
Plenary meeting 106.

A/31/284. Note by Secretary-General.

A/C.2/31/L.54. Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Yemen, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Cameroon, Upper Volta, Yemen, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Second Committee on 8 December 1976, meeting 62, by roll-call vote of 94 to 2, with 24 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 3336 (XXIX) of 17 December 1974 entitled "Permanent sovereignty over national resources in the occupied Arab territories,"

Recalling further its resolution 3516 (XXX) of 15 December 1975 on the same subject, in which it was noted that the report of the Secretary-General on the adverse economic effects on the Arab States and peoples resulting from repeated Israeli aggression and continued occupation of their territories was inadequate in that it did not incorporate the necessary substantive and comprehensive studies required in conformity with paragraph 5 of resolution 3336 (XXIX), he related statements made at the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly on behalf of the co-sponsors of the resolution and submitted by the Secretary-General on the administrative and financial implications, as well as the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Administrative Questions,

Noting that in its resolution 3516 (XXX) the Secretary-General was requested to submit to the General Assembly at its thirty-first session his final comprehensive report, which should fulfil the above-mentioned requirements, taking into account the related statements on the administrative and financial implications submitted by the Secretary-General and approved by the Assembly at its thirtieth session,

Taking into account the note by the Secretary-General of 1 November 1976,

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

1. Reaffirms the right of the Arab States and peoples whose territories are under Israeli occupation to regain full and effective control over their natural and all other resources and economic activities, as well as the rights of those States, territories and peoples to the restitution and full compensation for the exploitation, loss and depletion of, and damage to, their natural and all other resources and economic activities;

2. Takes note of the regret expressed in the note by the Secretary-General that the submission of the report as requested by the General Assembly in resolutions 3336 (XXIX) and 3516 (XXX) and of the related statements will be postponed until the thirty-second session of the Assembly;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to take immediately all the measures necessary to secure the submission to the General Assembly at its thirty-second session of his final substantive comprehensive report, which should fulfil all of the above-mentioned requirements;
4. Requests the heads of the relevant specialized agencies and United Nations organs, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Economic Commission for Western Asia, to co-operate actively and adequately with the Secretary-General in the preparation of his final substantive comprehensive report.


The question of Jerusalem

During 1976, the question of the status of Jerusalem and its Holy Places was raised in communications addressed to the Security Council and the Secretary-General. A complaint by the Libyan Arab Republic and Pakistan concerning, among other things, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the situation in Jerusalem was discussed by the Security Council from 22 to 25 March. A draft resolution proposed by Benin, Guyana, Pakistan, Panama and the United Republic of Tanzania was not adopted owing to the negative vote of the United States, a permanent member of the Security Council.

By this rejected text, the Council among other things would have deplored Israel's failure to put a stop to actions and policies tending to change the status of the City of Jerusalem and to rescind measures already taken to that effect. It would also have called on Israel to respect and uphold the inviolability of the Holy Places under its occupation and to desist from the expropriation of or encroachment upon Arab lands and property or the establishment of Israeli settlements thereon in the occupied Arab territories, and to desist from all other actions and policies designed to change the legal status of the City of Jerusalem, and to rescind measures already taken to that effect.

At its thirty-first session later in 1976, the General Assembly, following its consideration of the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, adopted a group of resolutions which included in their provisions a number of decisions bearing on the question of Jerusalem.

By the first resolution (31/lO6 A), the Assembly among other things declared that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel purporting to change the legal status of Jerusalem were invalid and could not change the status of the City. It again
urgently called upon Israel to rescind all those measures and to desist from taking any further measures which could tend to change the demographic composition, geographical nature or status of the occupied territories or any part thereof, including Jerusalem.

By the second resolution (31/lO6 B), the Assembly among other things reaffirmed that the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (the fourth Geneva Convention), was applicable to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem. It deplored the failure of Israel to acknowledge the applicability of the Convention to the occupied areas, and reiterated its call upon Israel to comply with its provisions in all the occupied territories, including Jerusalem. It again urged all States parties to the Convention to exert all efforts to ensure respect for and compliance with its provisions in all the occupied areas.

By the third resolution (31/106 C), the Assembly among other things reaffirmed that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, were null and void; Israel's policy of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the occupied territories, constituted a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and of United Nations resolutions. It demanded that Israel desist immediately from those policies and practices.

These and other matters touching on the status of Jerusalem and the Holy Places are described in detail in the preceding section of this chapter, under THE SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES.


Questions pertaining to refugees in the Near East

In 1976, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) maintained its relief, health and educational programmer of assistance for Palestine refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic, east Jordan, and the Israeli-occupied territories of the West Bank of Jordan and the Gaza Strip. In Lebanon, despite the civil war which prevailed almost to the end of the Year, programmes were maintained to a surprising extent. The Agency also provided emergency aid for some 30,000 refugees displaced from the refugee camps and their environs affected by the fighting.

During the year, UNRWA experienced the most serious financial crisis of its history, which brought it to the brink of suspension of services on 30 June and again in the final quarter of the year. The rise in the price of supplies, currency instability and inflation in all the countries of operation resulted in an estimated budget deficit of $53 million at the beginning of 1976. Substantial additional contributions were subsequently received, however, and the Agency was able to maintain its services until the end of the year at the expense of deferring some non-recurrent capital expenditure and forgoing the make-up of short issues of rations which had occurred earlier in the year for logistical reasons.

In November 1976, the General Assembly, by a five-part resolution (31/15 A-E), called upon all Governments as a matter of urgency to make generous efforts to meet the anticipated needs of UNRWA, urging non-contributing Governments to contribute regularly and contributing Governments to consider increasing their regular contributions. The Assembly also: endorsed the efforts of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, to other displaced persons in the area who were in serious need of such assistance as a result of the June 1967 hostilities; called once more upon Israel to take immediate steps for the return of the displaced inhabitants and to desist from all measures that obstructed their return, including measures affecting the physical and demographic structure of the occupied territories; reiterated its call upon Israel to take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip, to provide adequate shelters for them, and to desist from further removal of refugees and destruction of their shelters; and requested the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA to continue its efforts for another year.


Activities in 1976

The number of refugees registered with UNRWA at the end of 1976 rose through natural increase by 31,815, to 1,684,251, of whom an average of 828,000 were eligible to receive basic monthly rations and 1,443,984 were eligible for health and educational programmes. The Agency also distributed monthly rations to about 194,000 displaced persons and 38,000 displaced refugee children in east Jordan at the expense of the Jordanian Government.

At the end of 1976, there were 603,916 refugees (about 36 per cent of the total) registered for services and 37,320 displaced persons in 53 camps established before the 1967 hostilities and 10 emergency camps - six in east Jordan and four in the Syrian Arab Republic - established afterwards.

The Agency continued, in co-operation with the World Health Organization, to promote the health of the refugees through integrated family health care, with emphasis on preventive medicine, including supplementary feeding and nutritionally vulnerable groups, and health education.

Despite budgetary stringency, modest improvements were achieved in accordance with a three-year (1974-1976) health development plan designed to overcome deficiencies in the current health programme; expenditure on health services totalled $13.3 million in 1976.

During 1976, expenditure on education increased to $54.8 million, representing 47.7 per cent of the Agency's budget. The programme, operated jointly with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), included the first nine years of general education (10 years in Lebanon), some assistance for refugee pupils in government and private secondary schools, vocational and teacher training in eight centres, and over 300 university scholarships. Of UNRWA's 16,000 employees, almost all Palestine refugees themselves, about 9,500 were teachers.

In the 1976/77 school year, some 296,000 children were enrolled in the 595 UNRWA/UNESCO elementary and preparatory schools, an increase of more than 7,500 over 1975/76. There were also some 70,500 refugee pupils enrolled in government and private schools, while about 8,700 children of displaced persons were in Agency schools in east Jordan. Double-shifting was necessary in 71 per cent of UNRWA/UNESCO schools (excluding schools in Lebanon, where many were unable to operate), despite the construction of 85 new schoolrooms during the year.

The eight UNRWA/UNESCO training centres had places for 4,512 young men and women. By the end of 1976, a total of more than 25,700 trainees had graduated from Agency centres. With most of the
Agency's teachers professionally qualified, the UNRWA/UNESCO Institute of Education continued to emphasize refresher courses for qualified teachers and ad hoc courses in educational techniques and
knowledge to meet special needs and curricula developments.


Consideration by the General Assembly

The situation of refugees in the Near East was considered by the General Assembly at its thirty-first (1976) session and, as in previous years, the subject was referred to the Assembly's Special Political Committee, which discussed it at 8 meetings held between 25 October and 8 November.

Four reports were submitted in connexion with the item, as follows: (1) the annual report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA; (2) a report of the Secretary-General; (3) a report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine; and (4) a report of theWorking Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.


Report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA

In his annual report to the General Assembly, covering the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA said that during that period the dominant feature in the Agency's area of operations had been the situation in Lebanon, which had degenerated into an anarchic civil war of appalling violence, in which the Palestine refugees in Lebanon were inextricably involved. The refugees in Lebanon, half of them residing in camps, half outside, were vitally affected by the fighting although, because of conditions in Lebanon, no casualty figures were available.

The report said UNRWA's own services were disrupted, but the extent to which it was possible to maintain its services in the north and south could be considered surprising. Many refugees fled the camps and suburbs of Beirut for the south, among them some who had earlier left the south to seek work in Beirut or to escape the effects of the Israeli attacks of 1974 and 1975.

In its other areas of operation, the report went on to say, the Agency's education/training, relief and health programmes had continued as normally as possible, given the adverse effect of the Agency's financial difficulties on the supply of flour - the most important ration component. However, the Agency had been compelled, in the interest of continuation of its mandate as a whole, to move its headquarters from Beirut, part to Amman (Jordan) and part to Vienna (Austria).

The Commissioner-General went on to state in his report that, during the period covered, UNRWA had experienced the most serious financial crisis of its history. Indeed, both in the final quarter of 1975 and on 30 June 1976 the Agency was on the brink of suspension of services. This, the Commissioner-General pointed out, demonstrated again the incompatibility of UNRWA's system of financing with the obligations it was expected to assume. No solution had been found to the problem of ensuring equivalence between pledged income and expenditure required to maintain normal programmes. Thus far it had been impossible to obtain an assurance from the beginning of the year of the full amount of funds the Agency required to finance the programmes the General Assembly expected to be maintained. If, in default, the Agency was to limit expenditure from the beginning of the year to what pledge income would support, increasing services only as pledged income increased, some guidance had to be given to the Commissioner-General on the priorities to be observes; thus far, both the General Assembly and the UNRWA Advisory Commission had been reluctant to give such guidance. The Commissioner-General reiterated that there were serious practical problems as well, because UNRWA operated ongoing programmes, most of which could not simply be turned on and off - for example, the educational and health programmes - and because parts of some programmes were financed by special contributions.

The report stated that on 30 June 1976, the total expenditure needed to maintain services in full in 1976 was $127.7 million. Pledged and other income was estimated at $98.2 million; there was thus a deficit of $29.5 million. The Agency's assets, including unpaid pledges for 1976 and inventories of supplies at book value, amounted to $62.4 million; liabilities, including a liability for payment of separation benefits to half the local staff, amounted to $16.7 million.

Report of the Secretary-General

On 4 October 1976, the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly information it had requested concerning Israel's compliance with an Assembly resolution of 8 December 1975, 35/ by which the Assembly had called upon Israel to take immediate steps for the return of the displaced inhabitants and to desist from all measures that obstructed their return, including measures affecting the physical and demographic structure of the occupied territories. The Assembly had reiterated its call upon Israel to take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they had been removed in the Gaza Strip, to provide adequate shelters for them and to desist from further removal of refugees and destruction of their shelters. It had also condemned Israeli military attacks on refugee camps and called upon Israel to desist.

The Secretary-General reported that Israel had informed him on 8 September 1976 that the prevailing situation did not permit a large-scale return of the displaced persons, although Israel had continued to facilitate the return of persons displaced in 1967. The special arrangements for family reunions and hardship cases had been maintained, although the facilities established by Israel for the orderly movement of people across the cease-fire lines were being exploited by certain Arab Governments for purposes of subversion, to facilitate the entry of terrorists and explosives into Israel- administered territory.

The Secretary-General reported that in its reply Israel had also said that housing projects had been initiated in Gaza Strip to
enable refugees to move out of the camps; public order and economic
prosperity were prevailing. In Lebanon, Israel said, the Arab terror organizations had taken over the refugee camps and Israeli forces had been constrained on occasion to act against the terror installations located in or near the camps. Israel said it had never attacked the refugee camps as such.

The Secretary-General also reported that he had obtained from the Commissioner-General of UNRWA such information as was available on the return of refugees registered with the Agency. So far as was known to the Agency, between 1 July 1975 and 30 June 1976, 250 displaced refugees returned from east Jordan to the West Bank, 44 from east Jordan to the Gaza Strip, and seven from Egypt to the Gaza Strip. Thus, the number of displaced refugees who, to the Agency's knowledge, had returned to the occupied territories since 1967 was slightly less than 8,800.

The report of the Secretary-General also contained information from the Commissioner-General to the effect that further demolitions of refugee shelters had taken place in the Gaza Strip either as punitive measures or in order to make way for new construction. Some of the refugees affected by these measures had been rehoused, but most of them had remained inadequately accommodated.

A further development was that the Israeli authorities had informed some 487 refugee families in the Beach camp that their shelters were to be demolished, and refugees inhabiting 36 shelters in Khan Younis camp had been informed that their shelters were also scheduled for demolition.

The Secretary-General reported that the information available to the Commissioner-General of UNRWA indicated that, since 2 December 1975, there had been no Israeli air attacks on refugee camps.


Report of Conciliation Commission for Palestine

The United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine submitted its thirtieth report to the General Assembly on 30 September 1976. It informed the Assembly that, during the period covered, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People had asked to be provided with an inventory of Arab property in Israel and in the occupied territories. The Commission had had no objection to that Committee having access to the relevant documents in its possession.

The Commission also noted that the periods covered by its two previous reports (1974 and 1975) had been marked by intensive diplomatic activity directed towards a Middle East settlement which could lead to a just and lasting peace in the area. That momentum had not been maintained during the past year, owing in part to developments in the area. Accordingly, the circumstances governing the possibilities open to the Commission had remained essentially unchanged. The Commission, however, hoped that the situation in the region would improve in the near future, enabling it to carry forward its work more vigorously.

Report of Working Group on Financing of UNRWA

The Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, established by the General Assembly in 1970 to assist in reaching solutions to the Agency's financial problems, submitted its report on 25 October 1976. It said it was duty-bound to emphasize once again the gravity of the continuing critical financial situation facing UNRWA. The Agency's cash position remained as precarious as ever, and the longer-term problems of financial security for the Agency's operations remained unsolved. If the working capital was depleted to the expected extent, the Agency would face serious operational problems at the beginning of 1977.

Although no new programmes had been developed, the Working Group said, the expenditure figures had doubled from $62.5 million in 1973 to an estimated $125.7 million (originally $139.7 million) in the current year - an increase primarily due to international and local inflationary pressures and currency instability. The Agency had managed only with great difficulty to avoid reduction in or suspension of its services by means of additional voluntary contributions primarily from a relatively small number of donor countries.

The Working Group said it was convinced that any reduction in the services provided would have very serious implications for the refugees themselves, for the countries in which they lived and for the prospects for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East as a whole. The Group considered the continuation of the Agency's services to be an obligation of the United Nations acting on behalf of the international community, and continued to believe that the financing of UNRWA should be put on a firmer basis. It reiterated its view that the situation whereby a small group of countries bore the major burden of financing the Agency's budget no longer corresponded with the requirements of the situation. It therefore urgently requested those Governments that had not contributed in the past and those that had so far contributed inadequately to reconsider seriously their position, and contribute generously to the common effort.


General Assembly discussion

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, in presenting his annual report to the Special Political Committee, said that the period covered in the report had been one of the most difficult in UNRWA's history, not only because of the financial and operational difficulties it had had to face, but also because many of the Palestine refugees whom the Agency served had once again experienced violence and deprivation, anguish, suffering and despair about their future.

Bringing his account of UNRWA's activities up to date, the Commissioner-General said that the port of Beirut had been out of operation for most of 1976 and supplies of food-stuffs had had to be shipped through Syrian ports. Road transport into or within Lebanon hold been impossible at times but flour, other food commodities and medical and relief supplies had been moved through the Syrian Arab Republic to the main areas where the Palestine refugees lived - the Beirut and Tripoli areas, the Beka'a Valley and southern Lebanon - and the arrears of ration distribution were being overtaken. The clinics in some camps had had to function with only auxiliary staff; but professional medical staff had been redeployed in accordance with the movement of the refugee population.

He reported also that the Agency's central warehouse in Beirut, which held supplies of every kind, had been preserved intact until the previous week, when it was hit by incendiary rockets which set fire to the two main buildings. Preliminary reports suggested that hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of supplies had been destroyed.

The Commissioner-General said he believed that the best contribution UNRWA could make to the restoration of stability in Lebanon was to resume its full services as soon as possible, and that was what UNRWA was trying to do.

As to the financial situation of the Agency, the Commissioner- General said that expenditures for 1977 were estimated at just under $140 million. Even if the full amount of income represented by total government pledges in 1976, regular and special, were pledged from the beginning of the new year, UNRWA would face a deficit of about $25 million. If special contributions were not incorporated in pledges for 1977, the prospective deficit would be twice that amount.

In conclusion, the Commissioner-General said that the events in Lebanon were a shocking reminder of the urgency of reaching a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East which would take account of the legitimate rights and interests of the Palestinian people. Without such a solution, he said, there would be no solution to the problem of the Palestine refugees; talk of returning all the refugees to their camps - camps in which more than half of them had never lived and some of which had been destroyed - offered no solution.

The representative of Norway, speaking as Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, introduced the Working Group's report. He said the Group was convinced that any serious reduction in the services provided by UNRWA would have very serious repercussions for the refugees themselves, for the countries in which they lived and for the prospects for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. The Working Group, he said, urgently requested that Governments that had not contributed in the past and those that had thus far contributed inadequately reconsider their position and contribute generously.

During the discussion in the Special Political Committee many speakers expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Commissioner-General and the Agency in carrying out programmes on behalf of the refugees in the face of adverse conditions, and shared the concern expressed by the Commissioner-General and the Working Group over the dangerous financial position of the Agency. The view was expressed by virtually all speakers that - pending an over-all solution of the Middle East question and hence of the refugee problem - UNRWA's services were indispensable and had to be maintained.

The United States representative, for example, said that her country's overriding objective in the Middle East was to bring about the political conditions which would permit the eventual disappearance of UNRWA in the context of a just and lasting peace in the area, and permit all Palestinians to lead meaningful and fruitful lives. In the meantime, she said, there was no practical alternative - in either political or humanitarian terms - to maintaining the essential services which UNRWA had so effectively delivered to Palestine refugees over the had reached a point where it was no longer possible years. She urged all Member States to support the indispensable activities of UNRWA through increased financial contributions.

According to the USSR representative, the Palestinian refugee problem could be solved only within responsibility of all countries irrespective of their the context of a comprehensive Middle East settlement, involving the withdrawal of Israeli troops from all the Arab territories occupied in 1967, the fulfilment of the legitimate national aspirations of the Arab people of Palestine, including the right to establish their own State, and international guarantees to ensure the security of all the Middle East States, including Israel. The Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East should be reconvened with the participation of all parties concerned, including the Arab people of Palestine represented by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Similar views were expressed by the representatives of Cuba, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

The USSR representative went on to say that, with regard to financing the activities of UNRWA, the USSR had always been opposed to any infringement of the voluntary-contribution principle, first,
because it would be tantamount to placing the countries that were impeding an equitable solution of the Palestinian problem on an equal footing with those striving to ensure that the legitimate national aspirations of the Arab people of Palestine were fulfilled, and, second, because it would perpetuate the Palestinians' status as refugees deprived of rights, which would amount to condemning them to eternal servitude.

The representative of the Netherlands spoke on behalf of the nine members of the European Communities, which, he recalled, had supported the Agency's activities from the very outset. Until a lasting solution was achieved in the Middle East, UNRWA remained indispensable and would continue to receive their support. The total contribution of the members of the Communities for 1976 amounted to approximately $31,750,000, including additional contributions made in response to the Commissioner-General's and the Working Group's appeals. It was to be regretted, he said, that in spite of significantly increased contributions from some other countries, the major part of the financial burden was still borne by a relatively small group of countries. All Members of the United Nations should support the Agency's efforts, he stated, adding that several countries, in spite of their political support of the Palestinian cause and their announced support of UNRWA, had not contributed to its financing.

Several Members held the view that UNRWA's financing should be placed on a more secure foundation. The spokesman for Austria, for example felt that in the long term UNRWA's entire financial basis would have to be examined. Its operations had reached a point where it was no longer possible for a small group of countries to carry the whole financial burden. A thorough change in the Agency's financing was needed so that its revenues could be linked more closely with the collective geographical location and political attitude on the Middle East question.

The representative of the Syrian Arab Republic noted that the annual reports of the Commissioner-General had, from the outset, concentrated on the humanitarian aspects of the problem without dealing with the heart of the matter, namely, Zionist expansionism, colonialism and racism. General Assembly and Security Council resolutions had recognized the right of the Palestine refugees to return to their homes and he therefore felt that if the Commissioner-General's report could have identified the Zionist entity and its allies as being responsible for the situation it would have been easier to solve the refugee problem, which was the single most important factor preventing the restoration of peace and stability in the Middle East and throughout the world.

The representative of Egypt said that a comparison of the amounts contributed to UNRWA with the assistance given to Israel to finance the destructive weapons it used to reinforce its hold on the occupied Arab territories provided the most striking proof of the need for the international community to solve the refugee problem as a whole before it became more complex. The services which the Agency provided were the bare minimum according to all international criteria and could not be reduced. An international community which spent more them $300 billion on armaments should be able to cover the deficit of UNRWA; furthermore, since Israel's wealth had been stolen from the Palestinians, Israel should bear the brunt of UNRWA's expenditures.

The representative of Jordan said that Israel's reply to the Secretary-General's request for information was evasive and showed Israel's scorn for United Nations resolutions. Israel had cited violence as an excuse for non-compliance with the General Assembly's resolutions, but there would have been no violence or even any Palestinian presence in Lebanon if the displaced Palestinians had been allowed to live normal lives in their homeland. He went on to say that Jordan, as host country to hundreds of thousands of refugees, had, during the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976, given the displaced persons and refugees direct government assistance amounting to $23.5 million. But there was a limit to what a small country like Jordan could do. He stressed that it had been the United Nations which, by partitioning the Palestinians country, had set in motion the traumatic events that had resulted in their dispersal; likewise, it had been the failure of the United Nations to implement its own resolutions that had perpetuated the situation. The heart of the question was the degree of dedication, sensitivity and responsibility which the international community showed towards the Palestine refugees. Ad hoc arrangements and last-minute rescue miracles, commendable as they were, should not be the answer.

As to the abolition of UNRWA and the suspension of its services, he said, that should be an occasion for Palestinian and world-wide rejoicing because it would be a sign of the restoration of the Palestinians' rights. Pending that long-awaited day, all Governments should refuse even to contemplate such an eventuality.

In the opinion of the Tunisian representative, the refugee problem was not basically one of offering charity to an unfortunate people and it concerned not only the Arab States but all United Nations Members. The Agency should not be dependent on voluntary contributions; its expenses should, rather, be apportioned among all Member States and financed from the regular budget. It would thus become an item to be dealt with in the Filth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committee, while the Assembly's political committees would continue to concern themselves with the political aspects of the problem.

The Permanent Observer for PLO said that those responsible for creating the tragedy should continue to support -the Agency until the displaced people could return to their homeland. The Palestinians had been the victims of persecution and oppression and were harassed even in refugee camps. The Zionist régime, he charged, resorted to Nazi methods such as punitive demolitions; its measures were inhuman and designed to perpetrate genocide on the Palestinian people.

The representative of the Sudan said that the problem of the Palestinians could not be solved by humanitarian charity alone but called for an approached based on its historical causes. The alternatives were to bow to Israel's ambitions and continue to give the bare minimum of assistance to the refugees, or to compel Israel to abide by United Nations resolutions.

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

Israel, he went on to say, had settled the problem of Jewish refugees who had had to abandon their homes in order to escape discrimination and persecution suffered in Arab countries. Their numbers had been equal to or even exceeded those of the Palestinian refugees. The problem had been settled without United Nations assistance and with assistance only from Jewish communities throughout the world. The Arab States, he said, had refused to do the same for the Palestinians even though 85 per cent of them had remained in the same area, inhabited in many cases by the same families and the same clans. Arab spokesmen had rejected any constructive solution, deploring year after year in the United Nations the conditions in which the Palestinian refugees were forced to live - forced by whom, he asked - and had called for the adoption of resolutions which they used in their political campaign against Israel.

He pointed out that the economic situation of the refugees had improved markedly and that the great majority of them did not depend for their subsistence on the rations and other forms of assistance provided by the Agency - which, however, with a staff of some 16,000 people, mainly recruited from among the refugees, had become a veritable institution, with its own interests, and tended to perpetuate services that should be provided by the host countries. The distribution of rations should have been dispensed with long ago. People who earned a good living continued to draw rations and thus burdened the international community, he said.

With regard to the refugee camps in Lebanon, he recalled that PLO had taken them over and had gradually turned them into armed encampments, training bases, arms and supplies depots and the like. Israel had had to take action against the terrorist installations located in or near the camps, but it had always tried to spare the civil population. The blame for the destruction of property, deaths and great suffering inflicted on the population therefore lay solely with the Palestinian terrorist organizations.

With regard to the situation of the refugees in the Gaza Strip, the representative continued, many improvements had been made or were being made in the housing situation. No refugee had been asked to leave his shelter unless alternative accommodation had been provided for him. Both in the field of health and education, facilities had been expanded in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; moreover, agricultural and economic development had brought full employment and security to the inhabitants of the administered areas. Israel's contribution to UNRWA's budget so far amounted to $7.5 million and the various services it furnished to refugees totalled some $12.3 million. There was considerable disproportion between those figures and the miserly contributions made by most of the oil-rich Arab countries, he added.

In the current situation in the United Nations, he said, nothing was easier than the adoption of further resolutions condemning Israel, but they could not solve a problem which could only be tackled through coexistence, co-operation and, eventually, peace and friendship.


Decisions by the General Assembly

Five draft resolutions were submitted to the Special Political Committee, which approved them on 5 and 8 November. The General Assembly adopted them as a five-part resolution (31/15 A-E) on 23 November.

By the first text (31/15 A), concerning general aspects of the question, the Assembly noted with regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees, as provided for in General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, 36/ had not been effected, that no substantial progress had been made in the programme endorsed by the Assembly on 26 January 1952 37/ for the reintegration of refugees either by repatriation or resettlement and that therefore the situation of the refugees continued to be a matter of serious concern. The Assembly expressed its thanks to the Commissioner-General and staff of UNRWA and to the specialized agencies and private organizations for their valuable work in assisting the refugees. It noted with regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine been unable to find a means of achieving progress in the implementation of operative paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and it asked the Commission to exert continued efforts towards that end and to report no later than 1 October 1977.

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

The text was adopted by the Assembly by a vote of 115 to 0, with 2 abstentions. The Special Political Committee approved it on 5 November by 96 votes to 0, with 1 abstention, on a proposal by the United States.

(For text of resolution 31/15 A, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the second text (31/15 B), concerning assistance to persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 hostilities, the Assembly endorsed the efforts of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, as far as practicable, on an emergency basis and as a temporary measure, to other persons in the area who were currently displaced and in serious need of continued assistance as a result of the June 1967 hostilities.

It strongly appealed to all Governments and to organizations and individuals to contribute generously for the above-mentioned purposes to UNRWA and to the other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned.

This text was adopted unanimously by the Assembly. It was sponsored in the Special Political Committee - which approved it unanimously on 5 November - by Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda.

(For text of resolution 31/15 B, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

A third resolution (31/15 C) concerned the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA. By the provisions of the resolution, the Assembly among other things expressed concern at the alarming financial situation of the Agency, imminently endangering the essential minimum services being provided, and emphasized the urgent need for extraordinary efforts in order to maintain activities at least at their current minimum level. The Assembly commended the Working Group for its work and asked it to continue its efforts, in co-operation with the Secretary-General and the Commissioner-General, for the financing of UNRWA for a further one-year period.

The Assembly adopted this text unanimously on the recommendation of the Special Political Committee, where it was unanimously approved on 5 November, as sponsored by Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Federal Republic of Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Sudan, Uganda and Yugoslavia.

(For text of resolution 31/15 C, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By a fourth resolution (31/15 D), concerning population and refugees displaced since 1967, the General Assembly among other things: reaffirmed the right of the displaced inhabitants to return to their homes and camps in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967; deplored the continued refusal of the Israeli authorities to take steps for the return of those inhabitants; and called once more upon Israel take immediate steps for their return and to desist from all measures that obstructed their return, including measures affecting the physical and demographic structure of the occupied territories. The Assembly also asked the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, to report on Israel's compliance with those provisions.

This text was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 118 to 2, with 2 abstentions. It was approved on 8 November by the Special Political Committee by a recorded vote of 101 to 2, with 2 abstentions, on a proposal by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cyprus, Greece, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, the Philippines, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Yugoslavia.

(For text of resolution 31/151 D) and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)

By the provisions of the fifth text (31/15 E), concerning Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the General Assembly called once more upon Israel to take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip, to provide adequate shelters for them, and to desist from further removal of refugees and destruction of their shelters.

The Assembly asked the Secretary-General, after consulting with the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, to report to it at its 1977 session on Israel's compliance with the resolution.

The text was adopted by the Assembly by a recorded vote of 118 to 2, with 3 abstentions. The Special Political Committee approved it on 8 November by a recorded vote of 101 to 2, with 2 abstentions, on a proposal by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cyprus, Greece, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bali, Pakistan, the Philippines, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Yugoslavia.

(For text of resolution 31/15 E and voting details, see DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES below.)


Pledges and contributions for 1976

For the calendar year 1976, Governments and an intergovernmental organization pledged the equivalent of $112,261,271 towards UNRWA's budget. As at 31 December 1976, the equivalent of a total of $ 103,644,060 had been received in payment of those pledges; $3,261,311 was also received (in cash and in kind) in 1976 against prior years' pledges. In addition, contributions were received from United Nations organizations and non-governmental organizations, private individuals and business corporations.

Total income from all sources in 1976 was $120,718,669.

CONTRIBUTIONS PLEDGED TO UNRWA FOR THE
YEAR ENDING 31 DECEMBER 1976
(showing equivalent in US dollars of pledges or
contributions in cash, kind and services)

Contribution Contribution pledged

Argentina 5,000
Australia 368,612
Austria 70,000
Bahrain 15,000
Belgium* 996,255
Brazil 10,000
Canada 3,646,406
Chile 2,000
Cyprus 750
Denmark* 1,567,255
European Economic Community* 14,320,477
Finland 298,265
France* 1,568,322
Gaza authorities 74,532
Germany, Federal Republic of* 3,311,649
Ghana 5,220
Greece 25,940
Holy See 2,500
Iceland 13,000
India 12,579
Indonesia 6,000
Iran 30,000
Iraq 121,600
Ireland* 89,000
Israel 896,080
Italy* 200,000
Jamaica 3,000
Japan 5,500,000
Jordan 252,037
Kuwait 1,600,000
Lebanon 106,504
Libyan Arab Republic 600,000
Luxembourg* 53,736
Malaysia 1,500
Mauritania 1,000
Mauritius 2,000
Monaco 211
Morocco 45,000
Netherlands* 1,836,835
New Zealand 123,839
Norway 1,980,202
Oman 25,000
Pakistan 20,909
Philippines 1,750
Qatar 500,000
Republic of Korea 10,000
San Marino 5,750
Saudi Arabia 11,200,000
Singapore 1,500
Spain 1,000,000
Sri Lanka 1,000
Sudan 6,027
Sweden 6,071,978
Switzerland 1,548,223
Syrian Arab Republic 102,363
Thailand 43,720
Trinidad and Tobago 3,000
Tunisia 8,000
Turkey 20,000
United Arab Emirates 270,000
United Kingdom* 6,929,337
United Republic of Cameroon 408
United States** 44,700,000
Venezuela 5,000
Yugoslavia 25,000

Total 112,261,271


*In addition to their direct contributions to UNRWA, the member States of the European Economic Community (EEC) also contributed through EEC, as shown.

**The contribution of the United States included a pledge of $6 million made in 1977 for 1976.

Documentary references

General Assembly - 31st session
Ad Hoc Committee of General Assembly for Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to UNRWA, meeting of 24 November 1976 (A/AC.186/SR.1 and Corr.1).
Special Political Committee, meetings 7-11, 13-15.
Fifth Committee, meeting 34.
Plenary meeting 76.

A/31/1. Report of Secretary-General on work of Organization, 16 June 1975-15 June 1976, Part One, Chapter I D.
A/31/13 and Corr.1. Report of Commissioner-General of UNRWA, 1 July 1975-30 June 1976.
A/31/240. Report of Secretary-General.
A/31/254. Report of United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine. Note by Secretary-General (transmitting report for period 30 September 1975-30 September 1976).
A/31/279. Report of Working Group on Financing of UNRWA.
A/SPC/31 /L.2. United States: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 5 November 1976, meeting 14, by 96 votes to 0, with 1 abstention.
A/31/333. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution A.

Resolution 31/15 A, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/333, adopted by Assembly on 23 November 1976, meeting 76, by 115 votes to 0, with 2 abstentions.

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution 3419 (XXX) of 8 December 1975 and all previous resolutions referred to therein, including resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948,

Taking note of the annual report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976,

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

2. Expresses its thanks to the Commissioner-General and to the staff of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for their continued dedicated and effective efforts under difficult circumstances to provide essential services for the Palestine refugees, and to the specialized agencies and private organizations for their valuable work in assisting the refugees;

3. Notes with regret that the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine has been unable to find a means of achieving progress in the implementation of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and requests the Commission to exert continued efforts towards the implementation of that paragraph and to report as appropriate, but no later than 1 October 1977;

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

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

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

A/SPC/31/L.3. Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Federal Republic of, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda: draft resolution, approved unanimously by Special Political Committee on 5 November 1976, meeting 14. A/31/333. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution B.

Resolution 31/15 B, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/333, adopted unanimously by Assembly on 23 November 1976, meeting 76.

The General Assembly,

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

Taking note of the annual report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976,

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

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

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

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

A/SPC/31/L.4. Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Federal Republic of, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sudan, Uganda, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved unanimously by Special Political Committee on 5 November 1976, meeting 14.
A/SPC/3l/L.7, A/C.5/31/53, A/31/341. Administrative and financial implications of draft resolution C recommended by Fifth Committee in A/31/333. Statements by Secretary-General and report of Fifth Committee.
A/31/333. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution C.

Resolution 31/15 C, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/333, adopted unanimously by Assembly on 23 November 1976, meeting 76.

The General Assembly,

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

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

Taking into account the annual report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976,

Gravely concerned at the alarming financial situation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, imminently endangering the essential minimum services being provided to the Palestine refugees,

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

1. Commends the Working Group on the Financing of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East for its work;

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

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

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

A/SPC/31/L.5. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cyprus, Greece, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, Philippines, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia: draft resolution as orally amended by sponsors, approved by Special Political Committee on 8 November 1976, meeting 15, by recorded vote of 101 to 2, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

A/31/333. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution D.

Resolution 31/15 D, as recommended by Special Committee, A/31/333, adopted by Assembly on 23 November 1976, meeting 76, by recorded vote of 118 to 2, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

The General Assembly,

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

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

Having considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976, and the report of the Secretary-General of 4 October 1976,

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

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

3. Calls once more upon Israel:

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

A/SPC/31/L.6. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cyprus, Greece, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Pakistan, Philippines, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yugoslavia: draft resolution, approved by Special Political Committee on 8 November 1976, meeting 15, by recorded vote of 101 to 2, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

A/31/333. Report of Special Political Committee, draft resolution E.

Resolution 31/15 E, as recommended by Special Political Committee, A/31/333, adopted by Assembly on 23 November 1976, meeting 76, by recorded vote of 118 to 2, with 3 abstentions, as follows;

The General Assembly,

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

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

Having considered the report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, covering the period from 1 July 1975 to 30 June 1976, and the report of the Secretary-General of 4 October 1976,

1. Calls once more upon Israel:

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

Other documents
A/31/7/Add.3 and Add.3/Corr.1. UNRWA. Accounts for year ended 31 December 1975 and report of Board of Auditors. A/31/140/Add.1 Report of ACABQ.


Other Middle East questions

Humanitarian aid to Lebanon

On 26 February 1976, the Secretary-General, at the request of the Government of Lebanon, addressed an appeal to the international community to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs created by the conflict that country. He named the Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs, William B. Buffum, to serve as co-ordinator at Headquarters of international relief for Lebanon and Mohamed-Said Al-Attar, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Western Asia, to co-ordinate relief within Lebanon.

Shortly after the issuance of that appeal, the relative calm that had prevailed for a number of weeks was broken and heavy fighting resumed. Relief activities by governmental and international organizations continued, but at a severely curtailed level.

In the introduction to his annual report to the General Assembly, issued on 31 August 1976, the Secretary-General noted that the international community would be faced with a monumental challenge when the situation permitted the resumption of humanitarian assistance and the reconstruction of the society and economy of Lebanon.

The re-establishment of relative order towards the end of 1976 made possible the resumption on a larger scale of humanitarian relief efforts. This situation prompted a renewed appeal by the Secretary-General on 12 November and set in motion a renewed effort by the co-ordinator to assure that the United Nations was able to act quickly and effectively, in co-operation with the Government of Lebanon, other Governments and other international organizations, to deal with the immense dislocation and human suffering that 19 months of strife had generated.

It was estimated that the population in need numbered 1,364,000, of which 764,000 were in total need. Despite the difficult security situation and the disruption of many of the local distribution systems, United Nations programmer and agencies were able to provide emergency relief, valued at over $14 million, in the form of food, medicines, clothing, shelter material and other basic supplies.

Pledges totalling $2.8 million were made during the Year to the United Nations Trust Fund for Assistance to Lebanon as follows:

TABLE OF CONTRIBUTIONS
(as at 31 December 1976)

Amount
Donor (in US dollars)

Denmark 345,811
Ireland 11,550 Netherlands 996,016
Norway 191,205
Philippines 1,000
United Kingdom 247,525
United States 1,000,000

From these funds, the co-ordinator during 1976 committed $400,000 to the World Health Organization for emergency medical supplies, $1,100,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and $900,000 to the United Nations Children's Fund for shelter, household goods, additional medical aid and other relief needs, and $350,000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for food relief to supplement the emergency food aid programme of the World Food Programme. The total commitment was $2,750,000.

Documentary references

A/31/1. Report of Secretary-General on work of Organization, 16 June 1975-15 June 1976, Part Three, Chapter XI C.
A/31/1/Add.1. Introduction to report of Secretary-General on work of Organization, August 1976, Section III.
A/31/12. Report of UNHCR, Chapter VII B.



Communications concerning Lebanon

A number of communications concerning events in Lebanon received by the Secretary-General during 1976.

By a letter dated 25 May 1976, the representative of Algeria to the United Nations transmitted a message addressed to the Secretary-General from the Algerian Minister for Foreign Affairs, who said that the position taken by the French Government concerning the dispatch of a French expeditionary force to Lebanon was likely to aggravate the Lebanese crisis. According to the statement, that position introduced a very dangerous precedent in the practice of international relations and one which was in flagrant violation of the principles of the United Nations concerning respect for the independence and territorial integrity of States and non-interference in their internal affairs. This scheme of foreign intervention was bound to create understandable apprehensiveness not only in the Arab world but in all third-world and, particularly, non-aligned countries.

The Algerian Foreign Minister expressed the hope that the Secretary-General would make every effort to discourage a venture which was incompatible with any code of international morality and calculated to undermine seriously the very basis of the Charter of the United Nations, international détente and the rules of conduct which should govern relations between large and small States.

The Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, in a reply dated 27 May, rejected as untrue the allegations about French policy towards Lebanon - a policy motivated solely by a concern to preserve Lebanon's unity, integrity and sovereignty. Should it be deemed helpful by the President of the Lebanese Republic and the parties concerned with the civil war - including the various Lebanese parties and the interested Arab countries - France, the representative said, would be prepared to contribute to the machinery necessary to consolidate the cease-fire.

He went on to say that France's offer would be made good only if there was a request from the constituted authorities and a consensus of all the parties concerned with the conflict; the French initiative showed France's willingness to make a temporary and limited, but specific, contribution to the process of restoring peace. Given that context, the French representative said, it was particularly inappropriate to suggest that there had been an alleged threat of military intervention by France in Lebanon.

On 22 June, the representative of the United Arab Emirates transmitted a message from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States concerning the situation in Lebanon and forwarding texts from resolutions adopted at an extraordinary session of the Council of the Arab States held at Cairo, Egypt, from 8 to 10 June 1976.

By a letter dated 17 August, the Permanent Representative of Lebanon transmitted the text of a letter from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lebanon to the President of the Fifth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, held at Colombo, Sri Lanka, concerning various aspects of the civil strife in Lebanon.

The President of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon in a communication dated 25 August commented on the above letter.

By a letter dated 2 September, the Permanent Representative of Yemen transmitted the text of a letter dated 1 September from a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization also commenting on the letter of 17 August.

Documentary references

S/12084 (A/31/95). Letter of 25 May from Algeria.
S/12087 (A/31/96). Letter of 27 May from France.

A/31/118. Letter of 22 June from United Arab Emirates.
A/31/179. Letter of 17 August from Lebanon (annexing letter of 17 August 1976 from Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon to President of 5th Conference of Heads of State or Government at Non-Aligned countries, Colombo, Sri Lanka).
A/31/184. communication dated 25 August from President of Council of Ministers of Lebanon.
A/31/204. Letter or 2 September from Yemen (annexing letter of 1 September 1976 from Head of Political Department of PLO).

Notes


1/ See Y.U.N., 1975, pp. 247-48, text of resolution 3375 (XXX).

2/ Ibid., p. 223, text of resolution 381 (1975).

3/ Ibid., p. 220.

4/ Rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure reads as follows: "Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may be invited, as the result of a decision of the Security Council, to participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council when the Security Council considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected, or when a Member brings a matter to the attention of the Security Council in accordance with Article 35(1) of the Charter."

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

6/ See Y.U.N., 1975, pp. 226-27.

7/ See Y.U.N., 1967, pp. 245-54, and pp. 257-58, text of reso- lution 242 (1967); text also reproduced in footnote 4 of this Chapter.

8/ See Y.U.N., 1973, pp. 196-200, and p. 213, text of resolution 338 (1973); text also reproduced in footnote 3 of this Chapter.

9/ See footnote 20.

10/ See footnotes 25 and 26.

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

12/ See Y.U.N., 1974, pp. 226-27, text of resolution 3236 (XXIX).

13/ Ibid.

14/ See footnote 19.

15/ See Y.U.N., 1967, pp. 190-91, text of resolution 237 (1967), by which, among other things, the Security Council called upon Israel to ensure the safety, welfare and security of the inhabitants of the area where military operations had taken place and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled the areas since the outbreak of hostilities. The Council recommended to the Governments concerned the scrupulous respect of the humanitarian principles governing the treatment of prisoners of war and the protection of civilian persons in time of war contained in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.

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

17/ See Y.U.N., 1975, pp. 241-42, text of resolution 3414 (XXX).

18/ See Y.U.N., 1973, p. 208.

19/ See footnote 19.

20/ See footnote 30.

21/ See footnote 29.

22/ For text of Article 2 of the Charter, see APPENDIX II.

23/ See Y.U.N., 1975, p. 252.

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

25/ See Y.U.N., 1974, pp. 846-48, text of resolution 3314 (XXIX), annexing Definition of Aggression.

26/ See Y.U.N., 1967, pp. 245-54, and pp. 257-58, text of resolution 242 (1967); text also reproduced in footnote 4 of this Chapter.

27/ See Y.U.N., 1973, pp. 196-200, and p. 213, text of resolution 338 (1973); text also reproduced in footnote 3 of this Chapter.

28/ For text of Article 23 of the Charter, see APPENDIX II.

29/ See Y.U.N., 1975, pp. 258-59, text of resolution 3525 C (XXX).

30/ See Y.U.N., 1972, pp. 432-33.

31/ See Y.U.N., 1975, p. 259, text of resolution 3525 D (XXX).

32/ Ibid., pp. 256-57 and 258-59, texts of resolution s 3525 A and C (XXX).

33/ See Y.U.N., 1974, pp. 240-41, text of resolution 3336 (XXIX) of 17 December 1975; and Y.U.N., 1975, pp. 261-62, text of resolution 3516 (XXX) of 15 December 1975.

34/ Ibid.

35/ See Y.U.N., 1975, p. 272, text of resolution 3419 C (XXX).

36/ Operative paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) states, in part, that "the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property..." See Y.U.N., 1948-49, pp. 174-76, for full text of resolution.

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





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