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- Question of Palestine /5/ (continued)
Corrections should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief of the Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room A-3550, 866 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
The meeting was called to order at 3.35 p.m.
The PRESIDENT: I call on the first speaker for this afternoon, His Excellency Mr. Isidoro Malmierca, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba who will speak on behalf of the non-aligned countries.
Mr. MALMIERCA (Cuba) (interpretation from Spanish):
Once again we are examining in the General Assembly of the United Nations the conflict in the Middle East and, in particular, the problems inherent in the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people. It has certainly not been for lack of depth in analysis or of clarity or fairness in the United Nations resolutions that we find ourselves once again in the unavoidable position of discussing the question of Palestine, this time within the framework of an emergency special session of the General Assembly.
The fundamental principles for a just, global and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict and the question of Palestine have been established and repeated unequivocally in numerous resolutions of this Assembly. Nevertheless, the arrogant contempt of the Zionist authorities and the challenging imperialist manoeuvres by the Government of the United States continue to block the will of the international community, as was shown once again in the United States veto of the resolution calling for respect for the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, which was submitted last April to the Security Council.
This situation was envisaged last September by the Heads of State or Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries when they decided at their sixth summit conference that the convening; of this emergency special session should be requested should the Security Council fail to act because of lack of unanimity among its permanent members.
That is why the issue which worries us most today is how to get the needed machinery moving so as to prevent the Zionist regime and its imperialist supporters from continuing their brazen evasion of the agreements and resolutions of the United Nations, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Arab League, the Organization of African Unity and other international organizations and forums.
The representatives and the propaganda apparatus of Tel Aviv and Washington use many arguments in their tactical scheming in order to conceal their true intentions from international public opinion. It is argued, inter alia, that any actions,, including those stemming from the United Nations, would tend only to hamper the so-called peace talks between Egypt and Israel. The international community is witness to the fact that never before has the situation in the Middle East been so complex as it is today, nor so abounding in threats to the peace and security of the peoples in the region and throughout the world.
The Camp David agreements and the Treaty signed by Egypt and Israel, whose failure is acknowledged by the closest allies of Washington, have served only to cover up the acceleration of the provision of sophisticated United States weapons to the irresponsible Zionist administration and to the Egyptian regime, as well to endorse the dismemberment of the Palestinian people, condemning them to live forever as refugees.
This imperialist policy accepts aggression as a settlement formula for international problems and conflicts, for it permits the occupation of the Lebanese territory and also the intensification of Israeli bombings against its population.
If such agreements have proved useful, they have been useful only to allow the Zionist aggressor to reinforce its positions along the Syrian and Jordanian fronts, which, as is easy to understand,, will encourage Zionist aspirations to aggression and conquest of those countries.
Particularly disturbing are the manoeuvres aimed at involving the peoples of the middle East in the renewed cold-war policy of the United States Government through the establishment or building-up of its military presence in certain countries of the area. Within this context, we note with indignation the competition established between Israel and Egypt in offering their respective territories for the installation of new Yankee military bases in the area.
What could be the aim of all these warlike preparations if not to impose by force a sinister scheme aimed only at securing the interests of imperialism and allowing Israel to consummate its long-standing expansionist dreams?
We are gathered here at a time when some of the negative consequences of the Camp David Agreements and the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty are already apparent. In exchange for its betrayal of the Arab cause, and in particular the cause of the Palestinian people, Egypt has retrieved part of the arid desert in the Sinai peninsula and some oil wells already exploited to the limit by their Israeli occupiers.
But it is no less true that while the United States, Egypt and Israel persist in negotiating a so-called autonomy for Gaza and the West Bank behind the backs of the Palestinian people and of their sole and legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization w the Zionist authorities are stepping up their colonialist policy in the occupied territories, including the recent attempt to formalize the incorporation of Jerusalem into Israel's sovereignty and increasing their criminal repressive measures against the defenceless Palestinian population by introducing new terrorist methods such as those used recently against various personalities in the occupied territories. They are increasing their genocidal actions against the civilian population and the Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon, and they are threatening to extend their aggression to that country and to attack other Arab countries militarily.
It is obvious that only the military, economic, political and diplomatic support of the United States for Israel and the complicity of the Egyptian regime can account for the fact that the Government in Tel Aviv maintains such aggressive and expansionist positions in open defiance of the decisions of international bodies and with brazen contempt for international public opinion.
Can we allow the tragedy of the heroic and suffering Palestinian people to continue any longer? How much longer will the international community accept the excesses of the Zionist regime and its systematic rejection of the agreements and resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly? How could it not be possible for the concert of nations to enforce the Charter of the Organization and to put an end to the manoeuvres of the Zionist authorities, including their obstinate ignoring of the Palestinian people and their attempts to crush by force their national identity and even to liquidate their very physical existence?
The Heads of State or Government of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, convinced of the need to find an urgent solution to the conflict in the Middle East and to stop in time the dangerous Zionist and imperialist manoeuvres, have in paragraphs 101 to 133 of the Final Declaration of their Sixth S»rrrnit Conference, condemned in the strongest terms the Camp David Agreements and the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty and reiterated the demand that the Security Council implement the various resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, and adopt against Israel such action as is provided for under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
Those paragraphs of the Final Declaration of the Sixth Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Countries also reaffirm the universally recognized principles which establish that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East can be achieved only within the framework of global talks with the participation of all parties involved in the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole and legitimate representative of that people, and on the basis of complete and unconditional withdrawal by Israel from the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories.
Any attempt to ignore that historic reality will serve only to prolong the suffering and sacrifices of the Palestinian people, to compound further the situation in the Middle East, and to bring closer the possibility of a new outbreak of war in the region.
The Cuban people, which has a long and rich tradition of fighting for freedom and justice, trusts that this great Assembly will adopt practical agreements that will without further delay permit the implementation of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people including its right to constitute a sovereign and independent State in Palestine.
Cuba, a country which is in the front line of the struggle against imperialism, and which pursues militant solidarity with all the just causes of mankind, once again reiterates its steadfast support for the cause of the Arab peoples, and in particular the cause of the heroic Palestinian people and its sole and legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decision taken this morning, I now invite the Secretary-General of the Islamic Conference, Mr. Habib Chatty, to address the Assembly.
Mr. CHATTY (The Islamic Conference) (interpretation from Arabic): I greet members in the name of the Islamic Conference, which consists of 42 member nations of the United Nations, for which great respect is felt because it represents a structure and an institution for the maintenance of international peace and service to humanity.
I should like to take advantage of this occasion to express my gratitude to you, Mr. President, for your wisdom and patience in handling the business of this session and for your faith in the mission of the United Nations, as well as your great experience in international affairs.
I once again take pleasure in expressing my appreciation to Mr. Kurt Waldheim, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in recognition of his extensive and unceasing efforts in attempting to solve the international problems that arise in the establishment of peace, unity and co-operation among all the nations of the world.
More than three decades have passed since the United Nations assumed responsibility for establishing a just solution of the Palestinian problem, without success up to the present time. Today I fear that this Organization, which was established to protect the world from the continued threat of armed conflict and destructive wars, will be incapable not only of solving the problems in question but also of upholding the objectives for which it was founded.
It was in this very Organization that the world first became aware of the misery of the Palestinian people, who were driven out of their own land, which was occupied by other peoples from all over the world.
It was in this very Organization, again, in the name of the conscience of the world; under the influence of the sympathy that was sweeping the world in the wake of the crimes committed by the Nazis, and also as a result of the terrorism committed by international Zionists to prove their existence, that the creation of the entity of Israel was declared. Thus Palestine became a shelter for all the Jewish refugees who wanted to establish their homes there.
It was said that that decision was taken to save the Jewish race and to compensate it for the suffering it had endured. Thanks to that decision consciences would be clear, even though such compensation might also be understood as an injustice to others, namely the Palestinians, who would not only be driven out of their land and exposed to acts of terrorism but also condemned to exile.
As soon as Israel had received its birth certificate from the United Nations, the international Zionists put all their power and influence behind she practice of a policy of expansionism and racism at the expense of the legitimate owners of the land, the Palestinians, while remaining insensitive to the employment of methods that are contrary to both law and morality.
The General Assembly resolution that created the Zionist entity, resolution 161 (II), was, however, only conditional, since it outlined well-defined limits for that entity while at the same time it established definite conditions for a Palestinian State, thus giving an international right to Palestine which cannot be denied. It is also evident that Israeli rights are based upon the recognition and creation of a Palestinian State. But where do we stand today with respect to this legal question and to the well-defined boundaries planned for partition by the United Nations?
Since Israel established itself on Palestinian land, it has insisted more than once that it has no intention of remaining within the boundaries defined for it by the United Nations. They are, in effect, attempting to follow the schedule of the Zionist movement, which is essentially based on expansion at the expense of the Arabs, with the intention of fulfilling the plan for a Greater Israel.
In 1948 and at the beginning of 1949 Israel broke the promise that had been made by the Zionist agency to the United Nations, to keep within the areas outlined by the international Organization for Israel and not to go beyond those areas. But Israel took over lands that had not been assigned to it by the partition plan approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Some 10 years after the 1956 aggression Israel repeated this action with a notorious attack in June 1967 and took over other territories that belonged to independent Arab countries, including East Jerusalem, to be placed under its administration.
It is therefore obvious that Israel, which expanded its territories before the war of 1967 by taking over 25 per cent of the territories that had been given to the Palestinians by the Partition Plan, is attempting to follow the Zionist plan based on the idea that the implantation of the Israeli State in a certain territory represents a first step towards a larger expansion. All this is taking place while the countries that approved the Partition Plan and took part in outlining the boundaries separating the territories attributed to the State of Israel and the lands recognized as belonging to the Palestinian State are not lifting a finger to prevent Israel from expanding, and are not standing firmly behind the Palestinians in respect of their right to establish their State on the territory that was legally given to them.
As events continue there appears to be a conspiracy of silence surrounding the Palestinian ease. On the one hand, we find a usurper State continuing in its conquest of Palestinian lands and driving the legitimate owners out of their country into others. On the other hand, we find nations that pretend to represent international conscience ignoring; acts that are contrary to both law and morality. And if representatives of those nations were to speak out, it would be only to make excuses, as if they regretted having subscribed to the resolution of 1967 with its two conditions, because their interests now are concentrated on defending and saving the Israeli State, while ignoring and forgetting the dispositions concerning the Palestinian State. Justice and right, however, must have the same meaning, regardless of differences in locality and circumstance.
Once human rights begin to be ignored, it becomes increasingly difficult to restore one's faith in respect for them. The legal and historical facts are still before us. They date back only about a decade. Yet it seems that there is sone confusion, to such a point that we now see an Arab State negotiating with the Israeli entity about so-called autonomy for the Palestinians. We see some Western countries giving the world something they think is new, by declaring their desire to give each side its rights and proclaiming that the solution to the Middle Eastern conflict involves giving Israel the right to exist within secure borders and the Palestinians the right to decide their future.
In 1980 the international community continues to hold a negative view of what Israel has gained by force in disregard of the United Nations resolution. Yet at the same time the same community will not admit the rights of the Palestinians to have their on State, even though it has recognized those rights legally from the beginning.
In fact, Israel has taken advantage of the indifference of the international community that created it by taking over Arab lands, with no intention of relinquishing them, in spite of indignation and reproaches over this illegal expansion - which indeed was the subject of temporary disapproval but was then quickly forgotten. Later, attention was focused on new situations which Israel had created once again by taking over other territories. Thus the earlier conquest became an accomplished fact and those acts were recognized as an Israeli right.
Israel's greatest hope in the late 1960s was to be recognized by the Arab and Islamic world within the boundaries that existed before the war of 1967. But the situation changed when at that date it undertook other aggressive acts against its neighbouring Arab countries and occupied vast territories that had belonged to them.
Consequently Israel demanded what was called a slight rectification of its borders so as to legitimize its seizure of the land. Then came the next step, that of the Judaization of Jerusalem and the transformation of its features so as to make it the capital of the State of Israel while the Arabs continue to be driven into exile by force and civil terrorism, as has been the case constantly since 1935. This policy has now been highly organized under a central administration, with other administrations branching from it, so as to install Jewish settlements by armed force and to force Arabs into exile.
The terrorism committed at the beginning of Israel's existence was legitimized by government authority - that is to say, by the army and the police - by virtue of the law of exceptions. But it seemed that this method was not totally satisfactory, so the present leaders of the Israeli entity went back to the use of their terrorist methods, which permitted them to rid large numbers of Arab territories of their original inhabitants. Remembering the effectiveness of their old methods, they decided to reapply them once again, especially because they were convinced that the Palestinian people in the Arab territories are determined to resist and to remain steadfast in rejecting the legitimacy of the Zionist occupation; and they completely refuse to recognize the faits accomplis that Israel is trying to transform into legitimate rights.
Our purpose in coming back to the United Rations today is to demand not that the international community adopt a new attitude towards a just case, but that it respect its responsibilities by withdrawing the Israeli army and establishing a Palestinian State. We have come here to invite the United States of America, especially, to take full responsibility for international security and for the judgement that history sooner or later will make with respect to its Arab policies.
We ask the United States to respect the high principles on which that nation is based and the higher values which we share with the United States and which the United States prides itself on having. tee ask it to support this international Organization and to aid its efforts to respect its resolutions and decisions.
We have had enough of injustice and neglect; we can no longer tolerate the division of humanity into one category that must be respected and another whose rights can be neglected and violated.
We have come to assure all of you that peace in the Middle East will be impossible unless the Palestinian people regain their national rights and are allowed to establish their own independent State in the land of their ancestors.
We have come here to draw the attention of the international community to what Israel is doing concerning the rights of the Palestinian people, which will have dangerous effects on peace if that entity is not led to respect international lair and morality by withdrawing its troops from the Arab territories that it occupied by force during the war of 1967, including the City of Jerusalem.
Thirty years have passed while the world watched this tragedy, and the Islamic nation has been suffering its effects. We have undergone many trials and tribulations, and the time has come to judge them.
It appears that a solution to the Palestinian problem by adopting the resolutions and declarations condemning these indignities is neither useful nor efficient. It is also a method that would do more harm to the United Nations than it would solve the problems in question. Today, we have the impression that the United Nations has become an organization that can scarcely be considered effective. Certainly some will benefit from this situation, especially when the decision of the United Nations, which is based on public opinion, has no effect on the will of so hard-spoken and narrow-minded a man as Mr. Begin.
It is surprising to the people of the third world, and even to the developed nations, to realize the inability of the Organization to carry out its decisions, even though it has available effective and legitimate methods of dealing with the situation. There are various methods of punishment stipulated by international law, but they have not been put into action against Israel.
It is every individual's right to ask how Israel keeps its status as a Member of this Organization when it does not fulfil its responsibilities, disobeys its laws and denies its decisions. Or are we to understand also that membership in the United Nations is dependent upon the circumstances and interests established between one country and another? If the United Nations abstains from using such methods, and if Israel continues its expansionism, public opinion will come to the conclusion that the United Nations is failing, and will have no use for its decisions.
The responsibility of the United Nations towards the situation in Palestine is a complete one: it is the United Nations that decided to create Israel and gave it legal character. The United Nations also knew about the problems that would ensue from the creation of that entity and from the actions of its leaders. The United Nations is still the only legal authority which should assume the responsibility of facing that very dangerous problem and impose a solution upon everyone, in conformity with its previous decisions.
Such a decision must secure international peace, which is being gravely threatened by the existing situation - one that will also involve the rest of the world.
In our opinion, the basis for a solution already exists: in the first place, the Partition resolution of 1947, which recognized the existence of an independent Palestinian State; in the second place, the successive decisions by the Security Council and the General Assembly; in the third place, the will of the Palestinian people who have never been - and never will be - conquered, and who decided to establish an independent State on the land of their ancestors. Finally, there is the support of the entire world for the Palestinian people and the recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
If solutions exist, do we not have the right to wonder why the crisis situation is still in existence and getting worse?
In fact, it is evident that the difficulty is not caused by the Palestinians, who have proved their flexibility, their sense of responsibility and their appreciation of international law. It is equally evident that it is Israel that has opposed a solution, because that State does not believe in peace and friendly neighbourliness, but believes only in force and control; its purpose is to expand its borders.
It is regrettable that Israel finds in the United States a powerful ally that supports its policies under the pretext of the security of Israel. The experience of the past 30 years has shown that security in that area and probably in the entire world is threatened by Israel's acts of aggression. International law does not permit Israel to keep the territories occupied by force even if the justification is that it does so to guarantee security. This principle is recognized by the Americans themselves, who defend it in other parts of the world.
The truth, then, is that Israel is not interested in expanding its territory for the sake of security, but rather is interested in extending its authority to the farthest territory possible in order to fulfil the old dream of Zionism.
The Islamic people look today upon this session with determination and anxiety. It does not expect from us decisions that will lead to the same results that previously occurred and are now part of history. Rather, it expects strong determination to fulfil our desire. It expects initiatives that will restore its confidence in the United Nations and its seriousness,of purpose, and which will assure the world that all nations are equal in the eyes of international law.
Today, the least that is expected by the Islamic people is an attitude that can dissuade Israel by using the sanctions set forth in Chapter VII of the Charter, including the suspension of its membership in the United Nations if it continues to ignore the decisions of the United Nations and refuses to evacuate the Arab territories occupied after the 1967 war.
The problem is no longer merely a humanitarian one, even though that aspect of the issue can be embraced by all men of good will. It is a serious and legitimate problem concerning a people whose rights have been usurped, rights that the world has recognized. But there is a country that has ignored international law. The problem also involves a more serious political problem that concerns international peace. It concerns a strategic area suited by its location, fortune and position to be a battleground for a struggle between the super-Powers. This may lead to some unforeseen results concerning stability and detente. Any explosion in the area - God forbid - will lead to such unwarranted situations that its consequences for international peace and for the United Nations itself cannot be predicted.
Our meeting today in an emergency special session is serious and of extraordinary significance. We are here because Israel at this very moment is trying to create a situation of fait accompli that would enable it to keep all the occupied Arab territories under its control for ever.
We are now faced with a stagnant situation, that of an occupied territory that retains its former legal status; but that situation may be changed when circumstances allow by means of a peaceful solution.
The new situation that Israel created by using terrorist methods against Arab citizens and by changing the character of Islamic Jerusalem requires urgent resolutions to end it.
Let us contemplate the responsibility that we have today and work, in the name of justice and law, to dissipate doubts in the minds of people in this Organization and the spread of misery in the hearts of the Palestinians. Let us not ignore the dangerous situation that will threaten international peace.
The PRESIDENT: I should like to propose, as I announced this morning, that the list of speakers be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, 23 July, at 12 noon. If I hear no objection, I shall take it that the Assembly agrees to this proposal.
It was so decided.
The PRESIDENT: The next speaker is Mr. Ezzeddine Laraki, Minister of National Education and Special Envoy of His Majesty King Hassan II, who is the Chairman of the Committee of Jerusalem.
Mr. LARAKI (Morocco) (interpretation from Arabic): The special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations devoted to the question of Palestine is an event whose importance and significance can escape no one. When we called for this session we did not intend just to expose once again the truth about the plight of the Palestinian people to the entire world; we wished this session to lead to clear and vigorous decisions that would pave the way for the Palestinian people to recover their inalienable rights.
We consider that the personal participation in this session of a large number of governmental leaders is an illustration of the importance to the international community of a just and equitable solution of the Palestinian problem.
We are meeting today at a time when the question of Palestine and the question of the Holy City of Jerusalem are going through one of the most critical stages in the troubled history of this area. The Israeli occupying forces have stepped up their repressive action in the occupied territories and are daily pursuing a policy of terror against the unarmed populations, harassing peaceful citizens and primarily directing their efforts against the elected mayors of small towns. This terrorist action has even gone so far as to include attempts at liquidating some of the leaders, among them the mayor of Nablus, Mr. Bassem Al-Shaka, who was a victim of a premeditated act, and the mayor of Ramallah, Mr. Karim Khalef.
Israel has also chosen this time to defy the international community and Islamic dignity by announcing the annexation of Jerusalem. Israel has undertaken to make the Holy City its capital by transferring to it the administrative functions of- government. The Israeli leaders have confirmed their determination to pursue a policy of systematic colonization of occupied Palestinian territory.
The Palestinian question represents the greatest injustice in modern history. It constitutes the most serious threat to international peace and security in the Middle East and in the world. The land of Palestine has been a victim of Zionist aggression,the avowed purpose of which is to drive out the Arab populations and to establish new communities there. Thus the Palestinian people would be the only ones paying for the crimes of the Nazis, crimes of which they are obviously innocent. Since that time the people of the area have had to submit to the worst forms of deprivation and have suffered from racial discrimination in its most degrading form.
The Palestinian people in 19+8 represented the overwhelming majority of the population of Palestine, and Palestine for thousands of years has been the national territory of those people. But that people today must live in squalid camps outside their territory after having been driven away by Zionist terrorism, of which the massacre at Deir Yassin is the most hideous example.
We must recognize the attempts made by the United nations within the limits imposed by the interaction of internal forces, in an effort to produce a solution and to deal with the tragic consequences of the aggression of which the Palestinian people have been victims for more than 30 years and which is aimed at destroying the very essence of the people and at uprooting them.
We must note that our Organization has constantly attempted to put an end to those repeated acts of aggression against neighbouring countries that have been victims of that aggression and to Israel's occupation of parts of the territories of those countries.
Yet it is our duty to note today that all the efforts of the international Organization have thus far lacked the vigour and determination needed to approach these problems in their true framework. From the beginning, in fact, the problem of the Palestinian people should have been tackled in all its aspects since it constitutes the main stakes and the basic problem in what has come to be called the Middle Eastern question. And the fact that this problem has not been faced up to has unfortunately led to a needless prolongation of the suffering of the Palestinian people in their struggle against the systematic Israeli acts of terrorism and destruction.
Thus, the true problem of Palestine was not considered as such by the General Assembly until 1974, when the Assembly decided to consider this problem as a separate item on its agenda.
The invitation extended by the General Assembly during its twenty-ninth session to the militant Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as spokesman of the struggling Palestinian people, and the admission of the Palestine Liberation Organization as Observer to our Organization have been decisive and: positive steps by the General Assembly towards realism and justice and must be considered as a manifestation of the wish of the international community as a whole to put an end to the injustice committed against the Palestinian people.
Thus, the General Assembly, at its twenty-ninth session, took a decisive step in the right direction in its search for a just and lasting settlement
of this problem. Indeed, the Assembly reaffirmed in its resolution 3236 (XXIX)