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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
31 January 1983


Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Wednesday, 26 January 1983, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Consideration of the report of the Working Group

Other matters

This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room A-3550, 866 United Nations Plaza (Alcoa Building).

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.

The meeting was called to order at 10.50 a.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), speaking as Chairman of the Working Group, reported that at its meeting on 19 January 1983, the Working Group had considered four items: the appointment of a Vice-Chairman of the Working Group; Committee representation at the next summit conference of the non-aligned countries; the seminars to be held in Indonesia, Latin America and North America; and the programme of work for 1983. The representative of India had agreed to assume the chairmanship of the Working Group when his own responsibilities in the Security Council prevented him from fulfilling his duties as Chairman.

3. The suggestion had been made and endorsed that the Committee should be well represented at the highest level at the non-aligned summit conference. Nominations had been made and the Bureau of the Committee would make the final decision concerning representation. Five members to be selected by the Bureau would also represent the Committee at the eighth United Nations Seminar on the Question of Palestine. However, because the dates which had been set for that meeting, 18 to 22 April 1983, might have made it difficult for participants to attend both the Seminar and the Asian regional meetings, the Indonesian Government had been asked to indicate possible alternative dates. The recommended topics for discussion at the Seminar, which were listed in document A/AC.183/1983/WP.1, had been selected in the light of their relevance to the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. A list of proposed panelists for the Seminar had also been drawn up, and it should also include the name of Mr. Janusz Zebrowski of Poland.

4. The question of a regional seminar for North America was under discussion, and it was hoped that such a meeting could be held in Canada. However, if it should prove impossible to make such arrangements, the meeting would be held at United Nations Headquarters. The documentation being prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights was described in both the working paper and the document containing the list of panelists. In conclusion, he asked the members of the Committee to endorse the recommendations of the Working Group.

5. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) drew attention to paragraph III (c) of document A/AC.183/1983/WP.1, which discussed publicity for the Seminar. In view of the fact that the Seminar and the International Conference would take place fairly soon, he wished to know what the Department of Public Information was doing to alert public opinion to the holding of the Seminar and the International Conference.

6. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) said that the same steps would be taken to publicize the Seminar as had been taken in the past. Press releases would be issued as soon as a final date had been set for the meeting in Indonesia. With regard to the International Conference, a series of news-letters was in the process of being printed and the first news-letter was expected to appear in the near future.

7. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) said that he was not satisfied with that answer. He was very concerned about the fact that the Department of Public Information had not yet provided any advance information on the International Conference, even though preparatory work would begin in March, and he feared that such information might not appear until after the first regional meetings had been held.

8. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), speaking as Chairman of the Working Group, said that such concern was very relevant in view of the time factor involved. However, he had just been apprised that the Department of Public Information had designed the Conference logo, which would soon be shown to the Committee. Action had also been taken with regard to the updating of the film, preparation of the question-and-answer pamphlet, and the profile of the Committee's work. Moreover, an inter-agency meeting had recently been held at Geneva to discuss the Committee's work, and he had learned from informal contacts that a great deal of thought had been given to preparations for the International Conference. The Committee could therefore expect the full support of all Secretariat units in preparing for the International Conference so as to maximize its impact, and he was confident that the Committee would maintain its good relations with the Department of Public Information.

9. The CHAIRMAN said that he had recently attended a working lunch with organizers of the International Conference and representatives of the Department of Public Information. He wished to reassure the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization that his concerns were shared by the Committee. At the next meeting of the Working Group, the Committee, in its capacity as the Preparatory Committee for the International Conference, would consider a timetable for preparatory activities, with emphasis on the first regional meeting, which was to be held at Arusha. He would ensure that all necessary steps were taken to have the relevant documents issued two to three weeks prior to that meeting.

10. Mr. SREENIVASAN (India) said it was his understanding that the question asked by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization had referred only to the question- and-answer pamphlet on the question of Palestine. He wished to know whether the Division for Palestinian Rights had already prepared such a pamphlet or whether the project was a new one intended specifically for the forthcoming regional meetings.

11. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Chief, Division for Palestinian Rights) explained that the pamphlet was to be prepared by the Division as a document intended specifically for the regional meetings. Although work had not yet begun, it was expected that the pamphlet would be completed by the end of March 1983.

12. Mr. TERZI (Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization) appealed to Committee members, especially those representing Asian States, to put forward the names of individuals from their countries who might serve as panelists at the Jakarta Seminar.

13. The CHAIRMAN noted that the change of dates for the Jakarta Seminar did not affect the recommendations with respect to the proposed items for discussion at the Seminar.

14. Mr. MAUNA (Indonesia) informed the Committee that, following discussions between the Chairman of the Committee and the Indonesian Ambassador, a message had been sent to the authorities in Jakarta with respect to the change of dates. His delegation felt that a rescheduling of the conference was appropriate, and that the dates 9 to 13 May 1983 would facilitate matters for both participants and organizers. He anticipated that those dates would present no problems for his Government, and he would inform the Committee as soon as they had been confirmed by the Indonesian authorities.

15. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that certain paragraphs of the working paper needed clarification. The Working Group had rightly focused on paragraph 3 of General Assembly resolution 37/86 A as the underlying rationale for the holding of the International Conference, since the question of Palestine was an issue of importance to the Arab world and the world at large. However, he felt that the wording of the first topic to be discussed at the Seminar, "Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories ...", should be modified to express more clearly the fact that there were other Arab territories outside Palestine that were occupied by Israel. Israeli practices were not confined to Palestine; the affected area also comprised Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and all other Arab countries. The international community should be made aware that, although Israel's original aim was to occupy Palestine, its long-term objective was the occupation of all Arab territory in the region. He asked for the Rapporteur's help in rendering the wording of the topic more specific and reminded Committee members that the resolutions of the seventh emergency special session of the General Assembly had made reference to occupied Arab territories outside of Palestine.

16. The CHAIRMAN observed that the question of Palestine was indeed part of the larger question of the Middle East. However, while he understood the concern expressed by the observer for the Syrian Arab Republic, he pointed out that the Committee had to take into account the specific mandate which it had been given by the General Assembly. The question of the Middle East, while very relevant to the Committee's present work, came more within the competence of the General Assembly, which discussed that question during its regular sessions. Nevertheless, the Committee would try to accommodate the concern of the Syrian Arab Republic in the course of its work.

17. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that he felt the first topic listed for consideration at the Seminar broadened the scope of its programme of work to include consideration of Israeli policies in general. In his Government's view, Israeli practices constituted the main issue at hand, and he suggested that copies of the report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories should be made available at the Paris Conference.

18. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) observed that the Committee had always concentrated its efforts on the question of Palestine without ignoring the wider context.

19. Mr. LOGOGLU (Turkey) noted that it was Secretariat practice to inform Committee members of the outcome of the various seminars held under Committee auspices. However, in view of the short period of time between the Jakarta Seminar in May and the Paris Conference in August, he wondered whether the report of the Seminar would be issued sufficiently in advance. It was his feeling that the outcome of the Seminar with regard to the fifth topic, the role of the United Nations with regard to the exercise by the Palestine people of its rights, should be communicated to Committee members in advance of the International Conference.

20. The CHAIRMAN said that the remarks made by the representative of Turkey were equally applicable to the reports of the regional meetings. He would ask the Secretariat to ensure that the relevant documents would be issued in all working languages in time for the International Conference.

21. He said that if he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the Seminar topics that had been recommended by the Working Group.

22. It was so decided.

23. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that it should not be forgotten that Israel was occupying half of Lebanon. In the title of the first topic a reference should be made either to "Palestine and the other Arab territories", or to "Palestine, Syria and Lebanon".

24. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee would adhere to its mandate.

25. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that a reference to "the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine" or to "the occupied Arab territories, principally Palestine" would solve the problem, since it would cover Palestine, the Golan Heights and Lebanon.

26. The CHAIRMAN said that he would soon be in a position to inform the members of the Committee of the results of the ongoing consultations on a seminar in North America. He was also in contact with certain countries with a view to arranging for a seminar in Latin America.

27. The Working Group's recommendation concerning the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was in keeping with previous practice and should therefore not give rise to any problems in the Committee.

28. A number of experts had been selected for the Jakarta Seminar, including one from Poland, and the Government of Morocco intended to designate an expert on Jerusalem.

29. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that a member of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories should be invited to attend the Jakarta Seminar.

30. The CHAIRMAN said that he could send a letter to the Chairman of the Special Committee inviting him, or his representative, to attend the seminar under consideration.

31. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) appealed to the members of the Committee, particularly the Asian States, to designate panelists for the Seminar.

32. Mr. EL-FATTAL (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) said that all States should be permitted to nominate experts.

33. The CHAIRMAN, replying to a query from the representative of the Ukrainian SSR, said that it was proposed that Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and he, himself, should represent the Committee at the Seminar.

34. Mr. MAHMOOD (Pakistan), supported by the representative of Tunisia, requested that the decision as to which members should represent the Committee at the Seminar should be deferred until a later date.


35. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Israelis had recently been escalating their criminal attacks against the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories. Moreover, there were over 7,000 Palestinians detained in one concentration camp alone in southern Lebanon, and a mass grave had recently been found outside that camp.

36. The Security Council debate on the escalated oppressive measures taken by Israel against the Palestinian people should be resumed as soon as possible, and the Committee might therefore consider whether the Security Council's attention should be drawn to that matter so that appropriate action could be taken in that connection.

37. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had sent letters to the Security Council and to the Secretary-General drawing attention to the deterioration in the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. The suggestions put forward by the observer for the PLO would be taken duly into account.

The meeting rose at 12.50 p.m.

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