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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
16 November 1979




Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 13 November 1979 at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. FALL (Senegal)


Statements by the delegation of the World Peace Council

Report on the Committee's participation in the World Conference of Solidarity
with the Arab People

Preparations for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

Recent events in occupied Arab territories

Other matters


This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages, preferably in the same language as the text to which they refer. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also, if possible, 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.

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 11 a.m.


1. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee was honoured by the presence of the President and other representatives of the World Peace Council. He expressed appreciation for the World Peace Council's constant co-operation with the Committee in its efforts to promote the cause of the attainment of the inalienable and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. The World Peace Council had always been the most dynamic of the non-governmental organizations in drawing the attention of international opinion to the question of the Palestinian people by organizing conferences and by other means. Members of the Committee who had attended meetings convened by the World Peace Council had been able to see for themselves the efficacity of its efforts and the value of its contribution to the implementation of the programme for the attainment of the inalienable and indisputable rights of the Palestinian people. The Committee, in co-operation with the World Peace Council, would continue its efforts until the common objective was achieved.

2. Mr. CHANDRA (President, World Peace Council) said that the World Peace Council was extremely grateful for the opportunity to discuss ways in which the Committee could be assisted in carrying out its work; the Committee had become one of the most powerful United Nations instruments for justice and peace, and the World Peace Council looked forward to intensifying and increasing its co-operation with the Committee. The World Peace Council was the largest mass movement of the people in existence; it was dedicated to the causes for which the United Nations stood and fully supported all peoples struggling for justice, liberation and social progress. It had national organizations in 135 countries in all the continents representing the vast majority of ruling parties, major opposition parties, trade unions, women's and youth movements and cultural, social, religious and humanitarian groups; only the small handful of political forces in the world which were opposed to peace and justice and were responsible for aggression and war stood aloof from it. Since its establishment 30 years previously, it had extended full support to the Palestinian people and their sole representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and it also fully supported the United Nations resolutions which recognized the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It was on that basis that it co-operated with the Committee, and it was proud that the Committee had sent representatives to the various meetings it had convened on the question of Palestine.

3. The World Peace Council's position on the question of Palestine was very clear and had been expressed in detail in a number of resolutions. It was based on the very simple understanding that there could be no peace without Palestine and the exercise by the Palestinians of their inalienable rights and that there could be no Palestine without the PLO. Those basic realities, which were accepted by the United Nations, were the prerequisites for peace in the Middle East and, indeed, in the world, for the Palestinian question was vital to world peace and must concern everyone.

4. The World Peace Council therefore viewed with concern the efforts which had recently been made to bypass the entire question of Palestine through a so-called separate peace agreement. It had clearly stated from the outset that the so-called Camp David accords were directed against peace and against the PLO and the Palestinian people, and it had proved to be right. The overwhelming majority of peoples everywhere had come to understand the real meaning of those accords, which had resulted in an increase in the supply of armaments to Israel and Egypt for use against the peoples in the Middle East, in Africa and elsewhere who were fighting for independence and justice. The World Peace Council had denounced the accords as an attempt to creat a pax Americana. It now drew attention to the new manoeuvres which were being undertaken by the forces of imperialism, Zionism and reaction to establish a new pax Americana and further encroach upon the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

5. Those developments revealed the determination of the Zionist rulers of Israel and their allies to establish new settlements, perpetuate the occupation of Arab lands, occupy and divide Lebanon and step up the suppression of the Palestinian people. The arrest and imprisonment of the Mayor of Nablus, a great fighter for the people who had been elected mayor under the rules of the occupying authorities, had been universally condemned. The conspiracy of the Israeli Zionists and their reactionary allies was in retaliation to the new victories of the PLO and the achievements of the entire Arab liberation movement, and the Israeli actions only increased the determination of the entire people of the occupied territories to defy the attempts to impose upon them a pax Americana. The attempt to bypass the PLO had been totally rejected, and the spirit of the PLO resisted all bombing, oppression and attempts at genocide. At the same time, precisely because of the grandeur and courage of that struggle, the world was increasingly supporting Palestine and the PLO.

6. The World Peace Council had organized a number of events for solidarity with Palestine. In May 1979, it had convened an International Conference of Solidarity with Palestine in Basel, Switzerland, which had brought together many organizations and representatives of political parties of different tendencies, primarily from countries of Western Europe and had represented a tremendous step forward in the movement of solidarity and in building up public opinion in favour of the just cause of the Palestinian people. The World Peace Council unconditionally supported Palestine, and indeed had recently presented its highest award, the Joliot-Curie medal, to Yasser Arafat as an indication of its total and unconditional support for the PLO.

7. It was now necessary for the United Nations and the Security Council to take urgent steps for the full implementation of the United Nations resolutions on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, which commanded the support of the overwhelming majority of the peoples of the world. The time had come to set up the necessary machinery to ensure that the Palestinian people obtained their own national State as soon as possible. There was a serious danger of the acceleration and aggravation of the entire international situation. The Power which had been responsible for the Camp David accords and for other encroachments on Palestinian rights was now proposing to instal a whole range of nuclear weapons in Europe. A meeting of NATO was to take place in December to decide on proposal of the United States that those missiles should be placed in the heart of Europe. Though said to be directed against the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, that scheme was part of the over-all war plan of the Pentagon directed against peace, détente and the sovereignty and independence of all countries. It must be seen in the context of the establishment of the so-called Task Force of the Pentagon, the purpose of which was to defend "United States interests" wherever they were threatened, and in the first place in the oil-producing areas of the Arab world. It must be seen in the context of the increased presence of the United States Navy in the Indian Ocean and the presence of the United States Fifth Fleet in the Middle East in the name of defending the interests of the oil companies. Action to support Palestine and the Arab people was vitally linked with the entire question of peace, disarmament and international security.

8. Because of their support for the PLO, the front-line States of the Arab world were also being subjected to new conspiracies and attacks. The World Peace Council's solidarity with Palestine also involved its solidarity with the patriotic forces of such countries as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Democratic Yemen, Algeria and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Above all, it supported the unity of all the Arab forces and the unity of the Arab forces with those who had always backed them, and in the first place the socialist countries, the non-aligned countries and the common people of all countries, even countries such as the United States and the NATO countries, whose Governments might be acting against the Arab people.

9. The World Peace Council had been an active participant in the World Conference of Solidarity with the Arab People, held in Lisbon; that Conference, and the Basel Conference, had led to a broadening of the movement of solidarity with Palestine. As a result of the Basel Conference, an international committee for solidarity with Palestine had been established and the first bulletin had been issued. The World Peace Council hoped for the full co-operation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the United Nations in disseminating the materials of the Conference to all non-governmental organizations and movements everywhere. It had urged observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, on 29 November, and had called for action along the lines he had indicated so as to achieve maximum support for the efforts being made by the PLO to achieve peace and justice. The World Peace Council hoped that the new decade beginning in 1980 would be a decade of renewed and greater action for Palestine. The cause of the Palestinian people was at the forefront of the struggles of all peoples for peace and national independence everywhere.

10. He assured the Committee of the World Peace Council's total support for its vital work. The presence of observers for the PLO at the meetings of the Committee was a reminder of the need to still further intensify that work. The World Peace Council believed that all of the forces which stood for peace and justice must work together in order to ensure the victory of the cause for which the Committee and the United Nations stood, that was to say the great and just cause of the people of Palestine.

11. Mr. JAEN (World Peace Council) outlined the characteristics of, and methods employed by, the forces that engaged in war and elimination of human rights, using the weapons of terror, poverty and hunger, as compared with the efforts of the forces that were engaged in the struggle for peace, trade relations based on mutual interest, expansion of culture and solidarity among the peoples of the world. That struggle was, at the same time, directed against the arms race, foreign military bases, mass destruction of defenceless peoples, colonialism, neo-colonialism and racial discrimination.

12. It was the World Peace Council's task to group together and organize all progressive forces and promote the humanist aspirations of the peoples of the world, regardless of nationality, religion or race.

13. A clear example of the struggle to establish peace was to be found in the case of his country, Panama. Using peaceful means and acting on the basis of respect for human rights, his country had, with the full support of peace-loving peoples and Governments, reclaimed its territory and put an end to a colonial enclave. The resulting treaty that established the neutrality of the Panama Canal was a document that represented the triumph of peace, as demonstrated by the fact that the first signatory had been Viet Nam, a country that had been the victim of war for decades.

14. However, such action to establish world peace must be complemented by action at the international level on the part of such bodies as the United Nations. The World Peace Council was redoubling its efforts in the struggle for peace and demanding that the resources spent on arms should be diverted to other fields and used to serve the interests of peoples of the world.

15. The United Nations must do everything within its power to settle the question of Palestine and restore the rights of the Palestinian people.

16. Mrs. IPSILANTI (World Peace Council) said that the struggle of the Palestinian people was inseparable from the struggles of the peoples of other countries of the Middle East, and that of Cyprus, for self-determination, independence and freedom from Zionism and imperialism.

17. In the past, Cyprus had been used by the British and the French against the Arab liberation movements and in order to strengthen Zionism. United States monitoring aircraft now used the largest military bases in Cyprus as a starting point for flights over progressive Arab countries, the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Moreover, United States military personnel had been transported from Iran to the part of Cyprus under Turkish occupation in order to oppose the Arab struggle for independence, and there were three United States military communications centres in that same area of the country.

18. The Palestinian people and the people of Cyprus were engaged in a common struggle against a common enemy: United States and British imperialism in the case of Cyprus, and Zionism, supported by the imperialism of the United States and NATO, in the case of the Palestinian people. The struggle of the people of Cyprus and of the Palestinian people to survive as a nation and cast the foreign invaders out of their lands was an integral part of the struggle of the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East against imperialism and its military bases. Furthermore, those struggles were inseparable from the struggles of the peoples of the countries of Western Europe against the plans of the Pentagon to establish Pershing II and Cruise missiles in Western Europe. Those struggles also formed part of the struggle of peoples all around the world for détente, disarmament and independence.

19. The Palestinian people were engaged in a struggle for freedom and peace. The public in the eastern Mediterranean countries knew who was responsible for the oppression, killing and torture that was taking place in the Middle East. The men and women of her country, Greece, were well aware that it was imperialism that was supporting the Zionists. The people of her country felt solidarity with the Palestinian people and joined them in demanding that the United States should cease providing military assistance in the Middle East and that it should dismantle its military bases in that region.

20. Mr. MATVEEV (World Peace Council) said that the just cause of the Palestinian people gained stronger and stronger support each day. However, the main task continued to be that of combating the extreme, aggressive, even criminal, policies of Israel. In that connexion, he cited the recent arrest of the Mayor of Nablus by Israeli authorities on the West Bank. Another matter of great concern was the persistent reports on Israeli progress in developing nuclear weapons. Solidarity with the Palestinian people was and would continue to be an integral part of world efforts to prevent the outbreak of dangerous conflicts and to couple the struggle for a durable peace with the struggle for social justice in the world. The Soviet Peace Committee and other public organizations in the Soviet Union were confident that no force on earth would be able to check the growing tide of support for the just cause of the Palestinian people.

21. Mr. PETRUS (World Peace Council) said that there were various areas where co-operation was possible with respect to the situation in the Middle East, as demonstrated during the Conference of the World Peace Council held at Basel in May of the current year, and during the recent World Conference of Solidarity with the Arab People, held at Lisbon. One meausre that the World Peace Council had taken as a follow-up to the Basel Conference had been to launch an appeal, in the form of a signature-collecting campaign, calling for implementation of United Nations resolutions relating to the question of the Middle East, and particularly to the rights of the Palestinian people. The World Peace Council, its member organizations and other international organizations were collecting thousands of signatures, and the Council hoped that in due course it would be able to present the Committee with the document containing the appeal, together with the signatures that had been collected. Moreover, during the Basel Conference, the World Peace Council had decided to join the Committee in observing 29 November as a day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

22. The World Peace Council fully supported the resolutions adopted by the Sixth Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries concerning the question of the Middle East and the rights of the Palestinian people. However, the international community was facing a problem in that the resolutions it adopted were not always implemented. Sanctions should be imposed on Israel because, with the backing of the imperialist Powers, it continued to disregard the international community's resolutions. The basic problem involved was one of very wide dimensions. NATO was not only active in Europe but also in the Middle East, as a source of tension in international relations. The aggressive activities of Israel and its backers had a direct connexion with the destabilization policy directed against the Arab countries belonging to the non-aligned movement.

23. Since the World Peace Council and the Committee had a common interest in all the areas he had mentioned, he was convinced that those two bodies would co-operate even more closely with each other in the future.

24. Mrs. ÜNAYDIN (Turkey) said that she had not requested to speak during Mrs. Ipsilanti's statement out of respect for a guest speaker and that she did not intend to engage in a futile discussion or exchange of replies on a question that did not fall within the framework of the work of the Committee.

25. She was sure that all the members of the Committee and the guest speakers understood the Committee's mandate in its proper sense. The Committee was meeting in order to seek ways and means of promoting the rights of the Palestinian people in a spirit of co-operation. The role of any guest speaker was to promote that cause in the same constructive way, rather than to divert the Committee's attention and take up its time by drawing false parallels between certain issues that were outside the framework of the Committee's mandate.

26. Mr. KACHURENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) thanked the members of the the delegation of the World Peace Council for the useful information they had provided. The World Peace Council's contribution to the cause of the Palestinian people was particularly important now that, under the cover of the Camp David accords, the Government of Israel was continuing its policy of aggression in the occupied territories and engaging in further manoeuvres designed to deprive the Arab people of Palestine of their rights. He hoped that co-operation between the World Peace Council and the Committee would continue in the future.

27. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) thanked the World Peace Council for its support over the years and said that he was pleased to note that the Council had begun to issue the [u:Palestine Solidarity Newsletter.] It would be possible to achieve a great deal through co-operation.


28. Mr. GAUCI (Malta) Rapporteur, said that he and the Observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization had attended the World Conference of Solidarity with the Arab People, held at Lisbon, Portugal, in early November. He had made a statement on the first day of the Conference in which he had outlined the work of the Committee, its aims and objectives, and what still needed to be done. He had also distributed the studies and reports issued by the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights. The Conference had been attended by some 750 delegates from all parts of the world, which was a measure of the world-wide interest in the issue of Palestine and the overwhelming realization that a just and peaceful solution to the problem was long overdue. Chairman Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization had also attended the Conference and had been enthusiastically received. He had been pleased to note that the main thesis of his own statement to the Conference had been quite similar to that presented by Chairman Arafat.

29. He drew attention to a significant recent development, namely evidence of a deeper understanding in the attitude of Western European leaders with regard to the Palestine question and the role of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Committee should recognize and encourage that trend, which could only strengthen the international consensus in favour of the just Palestinian cause. The matter was especially timely in view of the coming General Assembly debate on the Palestine question.

30. The Conference had declared itself whole-heartedly behind the Palestinian people and had called, inter alia, for the unconditional and immediate withdrawal by Israel from the occupied territories and for the restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as affirmed by resolutions of the United Nations, in particular resolution 3236 (XXIX). It was clear from the Conference that the views of the Committee and its objectives were constantly gaining strong world-wide support. In his view, the Conference had been immensely important and had certainly promoted an awareness of the programme for the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.


31. The CHAIRMAN said that two meetings would be held on 29 November 1979 on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Special invitations would be issued by the Committee to the Chairmen of other United Nations committees. He would read out statements sent by Heads of State and Foreign Ministers to the Committee on that occasion. A film entitled The Palestinians Do Have Rights would be shown at the end of the afternoon meeting and an exhibition on Palestine was being organized. He would hold a press conference concerning the International Day on 28 November 1979. Furthermore, a special meeting would be held in Geneva on the same day and the Vice-Chairman of the Committee would attend and preside over that meeting.

32. He said that, if he heard no objections, he would take it that the Committee agreed to the arrangements he had just described.

33. It was so decided.


34. The CHAIRMAN announced the arrest and probable future deportation of the Mayor of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied Arab territories on the ground that he allegedly sympathized with the terrorists. He would send a letter to the Secretary-General and to the President of the Security Council expressing the Committee's concern over that new violation of the rights of the Palestinian people. He would also issue a press communiqué on the subject.

35. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) requested that the letter to the President of the Security Council should not merely express the Committee's concern but also request action to have the Israeli order rescinded. An elected official should be allowed to serve his term.

36. Mr. HAGGAG (Observer for Egypt) requested that the letter should also refer to the Committee's decision on Israeli settlements on the West Bank in the light of the report of the Security Council's Commission on Israeli settlements in the occupied Arab territories.

37. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the Commission's report had not yet been issued and that the Chairman's letter would do better to focus on the one issue of the illegal arrest of the Mayor of Nablus.

38. Mr. HAGGAG (Observer for Egypt) said that he withdrew his suggestion in the light of the statement made by the observer for the Palestine Liberation

39. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that the Committee wished to adopt his suggestion, as amended by the observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

40. It was so decided.


41. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had requested the preparation of six studies by the Secretariat, none of which had as yet been received. He wished to know from the Secretariat what the status of those studies was, as it was most urgent that they should be ready in time for the opening of the General Assembly debate on the Palestine question on 29 November 1979.

42. Mr. YOGASUNDRAM (Secretary of the Committee) said that the studies had been prepared; at least three of them would be issued before the end of the week and the rest immediately afterwards. In any case, they would all appear before the opening of the General Assembly debate on the item.

43. Mr. GAUCI (Malta), Rapporteur, said that General Assembly resolution 33/28 C had, inter alia, requested the Secretary-General to consider the strengthening and the possible reorganization and renaming of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights. He noted that the Fifth Committee in its recent discussion of the budget of the Special Unit for the coming biennium had been informed by the Secretariat that revised estimates would be submitted, if necessary, when the programme of the Special Unit for the biennium was known. Since the Special Unit operated under the guidance of the Committee, it was for the Committee to outline the Unit's programme of work. He expected that the role of the Special Unit would assume greater importance than before. In any event, the matter was of some urgency and should be discussed immediately either in the Committee or in the Task Force. He announced that any members who had suggestions to make should inform him so that they could be considered by the Task Force, which would meet on Friday, 16 November, to discuss the subject. It might also be useful to hold informal consultations to exchange and co-ordinate ideas.

44. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) agreed with the suggestion made by the Rapporteur. Another item of concern was that the Fifth Committee had recently taken a decision which would in effect eliminate summary records for subsidiary bodies, including the Committee. Many delegations, including his own, attached great importance to summary records of the proceedings, and he requested that members of the Committee devote serious attention to finding ways to maintain the practice of preparing summary records for the Committee.

45. Mr. TABIBI (Afghanistan) supported the statement made by observer for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

46. The CHAIRMAN agreed that the Fifth Committee's decision could dangerously affect the work of the Committee and requested the Secretariat to study the problem and prepare an amendment for submission to the Committee and later to the General Assembly establishing an exception to the Fifth Committee's decision in the case of the Committee.

The meeting rose at 12.45 p.m.

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