Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

Committee on Rights of
Palestinian People 7th Meeting (AM)
GA/PAL/9 (1976)
15 March 1976

Press Section

Office of Public Information

United Nations, N.Y.



The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People heard a statement by the representative of Syria this morning as it continued its general debate.

The representative of Syria, in his statement, expressed the view that, if the Security Council failed -- because of "abuse" of the right of veto --to take steps to "guarantee" the programme of implementation of Palestinian rights which this Committee would propose, the Committee should recommend that the General Assembly itself carry out such action.

He also suggested that the possibility of creating a United Nations Council for Palestine be envisaged, along the lines of the United Nations Council for Namibia, in order to carry out the proposed programme of implementation of Palestinian rights.

At this morning's meeting, the Committee also granted the request of Iraq for observer status at its meetings. The Committee had previously granted observer status at its meetings to Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

On the question of meeting records, the Chairman, Medoune Fall (Senegal), informed the Committee that the Committee on Conferences this morning had decided that all major statements made in the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People should be transcribed in the four working languages -- English, French, Russian and Spanish — and made available as official documents to the members of the Committee.

The Chairman said he believed this was the main thing that the Committee had wanted, in requesting summary records of its meetings. He expressed hope that the matter could be considered closed.

A brief discussion followed, during which the representative of Tunisia asked if the transcript could also be made available in the Arabic language.

Bohdan Lewandowski, Under-Secretary-General in charge of the Department of Conference Services, made a statement on meeting facilities, in which he noted that the existing arrangement was for only the General Assembly and its Main Committees to have services in the Arabic language.

After further discussion, the Chairman said the matter was closed.

At the start of this morning's meeting, the Chairman expressed good wishes, on behalf of the Committee, for the speedy recovery of Yakov A. Malik, Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union, and his wife, who were injured late yesterday in an auto accident near Roslyn Harbour, New York.

The Committee will meet again at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 17 March, when the representative of Jordan is to speak in the general debate.

At that time, the representative of the PLO is also to present a formu­lation, as requested by the representatives of India and Tunisia, of legal questions on which advisory opinions might be requested from the International Court of Justice. The PLO representative, in a statement to the Committee on 9 March, had suggested that such a request might be made (see Press Release GA/PAL/7).

Statement by Syria

MOWAFFAK ALLAF (Syria), in his statement this morning, said that the enormous volume compiled by the Secretariat, at the Committee's request, of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council on the Palestine question (document A/AC.183/L.2), told "the tragic story of the Palestinian people and of the turmoiled and tormented Middle East".

Over a period of 29 years, almost equal to the time in which the United Nations itself had been in existence, he said, the General Assembly had adopted 106 resolutions, and the Security Council 138 resolutions and decision^ on this matter.

He gave a detailed review of "the agonizing events" over the years, beginning with "the dismembering of Palestine through 'partition'", as shown in the various resolutions and decisions. It was the partition plan that had created the whole problem, he said, with the earlier resolutions mainly measures for its implementation, and the later ones mainly attempts "to remedy its effects and the wrongs and injustices it created".

Mr. Allaf asserted that the Zionists had violated from the start "the very instrument on which they base the legitimacy of their State". By conquering 22 per cent more of Palestinian territory by 1949 than had been allotted to them by the partition resolution, and by other actions, he said, they had violated the terms of resolution 181 (II), which created Israel and which stated that any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by the resolution would constitute "a threat to the peace, breach of the peace and an act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the United Nations Charter".

Some of Israel's present basic laws, such as "the Law of Return", were also violations of provisions of the partition plan, he stated.

In his review of events over the years, the representative of Syria remarked that the rights recognized for the Palestinian people in the reso­lutions prior to 1969 were mostly of a humanitarian nature. In that year, however, the General Assembly had reaffirmed "the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine", and had reaffirmed that recognition every year since then, in more explicit terms.

In 1973, he said, the link was established for the first time between the enjoyment by the Palestine Arab refugees of their right to return to their homes and property, as recognized in General Assembly resolution 194 (lll), and the exercise by the people of Palestine of its right to self-determination.

In 1974, he went on, after inviting the PLO to participate in its delibera­tions, and then hearing "the historic statement" of Yasser Arafat, PLO leader, the Assembly had granted the PLO permanent observer status in the United Nations and had recognized "in the most energetic manner" the inalienable rights of the Palestine people.

Resolution 5236 (XXIX), of 22 November 1974, had become "the Bible of the Palestinian rights", he said, because it spelled out those rights.in detail, and proclaimed for the first time that the people of Palestine was entitled, like any other people, to self-determination, national independence, sovereignty and return to its homeland.

That resolution, Mr. Allaf stated, was also the "constitution" of this Committee, which had been entrusted by the Assembly in 1975 with the task of recommending a programme of implementation of Palestinian rights.

It seemed to him that the best approach might be to consider the various rights, one after the other, to determine the nature of the impediment blocking its realization, and then to try to find ways of overcoming the impediments.

To enable the people of Palestine to regain national independence and sovereignty, said the representative of Syria, it was indispensable to liberate its territory from alien occupation and to end the exodus of the Palestinian refugees. Then, it was up to the people of Palestine, in the exercise of its right to self-determination, to decide when and how its national independence should be expressed within an independent entity of its own and in its territory, Palestine.

No other party had the right to dictate to the Palestinian people the form, status or system of its entity, nor claim the authority to permit or to prevent the establishment of the Palestinian independent entity, Mr. Allaf declared. Nor could any other party interfere in the sovereign right of Palestinian people to choose its own leaders.

The exercise by the Palestinians of the right to return must be carried out immediately, as stated by the representative of the PLO, and must not await any political arrangements, he said. He added that the ideas put forward by the representative of the PLO in this Committee were important and should be given full consideration.

Mr. Allaf stated that Israel's admission to the United Nations had been made conditional on its implementation of the Charter and of- the resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948. Israel's persistence in refusing to allow the Palestinian refugees to return would be a clear violation of that condition, "and would consequently make necessary the reconsideration of this matter".

The same thing must apply to Israel's violation of resolution l8l (II), the partition resolution, he added.

Mr. Allaf went on to say that the right of return was "absolute" to every Palestinian and must have priority over any' other.form of substitute arrangements such as compensation.

Israel, he stated, was almost certain to refuse to withdraw from all Palestinian territory occupied in contravention of the Charter and United Nations resolutions, and to provide for return of the refugees and the displaced Palestinians. Israel did not want peace,- It wanted to retain all or most of the occupied Arab territories, and it felt that stalemate was to its advantage. However, the United Nations could not afford to let the Palestinian tragedy and the Middle East conflict "go on festering".

The situation had never been so dangerous or so inflammable, the representative of Syria, declared. It was time, he said, for the Security Council, and particularly its permanent members, to take action to end the "nightmare" in the region.

The Committee should recommend that the Security Council "guarantee" the carrying out of the proposed programme of implementation of Palestinian rights, under possible action in accordance.with Chapter VII of the Charter, he said. In the not-so-remote case that the obstruction should come from the Council itself, through "abuse" of the right of veto, the Committee should recommend that the General Assembly itself carry cut its responsibi­lities in the matter.

The United Nations, he said, should also consider the possibility of handling the situation arising from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory in the same manner in which it was dealing with South Africa's illegal occupation of Namibia. If needed, the creation of a United Nations Council for Palestine should be envisaged, on the lines of the United Nations Council for Namibia, in order to carry out the proposed programme of implementation of Palestinian rights.

Mr. Allaf then spoke of the debate in the Security Council in January on the Middle East problem, including the Palestinian question, and of the draft resolution which had obtained the support of the majority of the members of the Council but had not been adopted because of the United States veto.

He said that this resolution, affirming the basic elements for a just and. lasting peace in the Middle East, in particular the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, statehood and return, as well as the withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied Arab territories, was "the most supported basis" for a settlement and should be taken into full account by the Committee.

The representative of Syria, in concluding, said his Government was committed to a just settlement which took into consideration, first and above all, the attainment of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and the total liberation of the occupied Arab territories. He reaffirmed Syria's commitment of last October that Syria would not accept any movement on the Syrian front unless it was coupled with an identical movement on the Palestinian front.


For information media - not an official record