Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
1 October 1991
OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
AND THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Issue 6 - September 1991
New York, October 1991
- i -
INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ii
Text of United States "Memorandum of Understanding"
, 22 September 1991 . . . . . . . . . . 1
Text of Political Communiqué adopted at the twentieth session
of the Palestine National Council, Algiers, 28 September 1991 . . . . 3
- ii -
In April 1991, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People requested that the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat prepare urgently and update regularly, for the use of the Committee members and observers, a compilation of relevant recent statements, declarations and proposals regarding the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the question of Palestine and the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The first issue of the compilation, prepared in response to the decision of the Committee, appeared the same month.
Note should be made that reproduced herein are only those parts of the statements, declarations, proposals and initiatives, quoted or summarized, which relate to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the question of Palestine.
Text of United States "Memorandum of Understanding"
published by "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 22 September 1991
, the following text of the United States "Memorandum of Understanding" was handed by Mr. James Baker, United States Secretary of State to the Palestinian delegation with which he met in Jerusalem:
"1. Concerning the basis of a settlement:
"Comprehensive peace must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and on the land-for-peace principle. Such an outcome should ensure security and recognition for all States of the region including Israel, as well as the Palestinian people's legitimate political rights.
"The process that we seek to promote will be an opportunity for give-and-take negotiations to end the Israeli occupation and create new relations whereby Palestinians and Israelis would respect each other's security, identity, and political rights. We understand that the Palestinians need to be in control of their decisions, including economic decisions, which affect their lives.
"2. Concerning the mechanism of the conference:
"a. The United States does not support linkage between negotiations held at various levels. The negotiations should proceed as fast as possible to enable the attainment of agreements.
"b. Direct bilateral talks will begin within two days of the opening session, and the joint talks on regional issues within two weeks.
"c. The United States will do its utmost to ensure progress at both levels of the process with the aim of achieving a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"d. While the negotiations are effectively in progress, the United States will not support any parallel and rival discussions in the UN Security Council.
"3. Concerning Palestinian representation:
"a. We believe that a Jordanian-Palestinian joint delegation would be the most promising way of fulfilling the political rights of the Palestinians.
"b. Only the Palestinians can choose the members of their delegation, which cannot be vetoed by any party.
"The members of the delegation will be Palestinians from the territories who agree to two-tier negotiations in stages and who are willing to live in peace with Israel. No party will be forced to sit with anyone with whom it does not wish to sit.
"c. The Palestinians are free to announce their part of the joint delegation and to deliver an opening statement at the conference. They can also raise any issue about the substance of the negotiations, during the negotiations.
"d. Nothing the Palestinians do in selecting the members of this delegation at this stage will affect their demands on East Jerusalem or constitute a precedent or a prejudgement of the results of the negotiations.
"e. The US position is that Jerusalem should never again be a divided city. Its final status should be determined during the negotiations.
"f. The US position is that a Palestinian from a well-known Jerusalem family residing in Jordan may be included in the Jordanian part of the joint delegation.
"g. The US position is that the people of Jerusalem have a right to vote in the interim autonomy authority elections.
"h. The United States believes that the people of East Jerusalem and the Palestinians outside the occupied territories who meet the three criteria should be able to participate in the final stage of the negotiations.
"i. The United States supports the Palestinians' right to raise any issue, including the issue of East Jerusalem, at the negotiating table.
"4. Concerning settlements:
"The United States has opposed, and will continue to oppose, the settlement activities in the territories occupied in 1967 which remain an obstacle to peace.
"5. Concerning the timetable and the time limit:
"a. There needs to be an interim period to break the barriers of doubt and mistrust and to lay the foundations for steady negotiations on the final status of the occupied territories.
"b. The negotiations on the interim arrangements will cover the peaceful and orderly transfer of authority from Israel to the Palestinians. The Palestinians urgently need to be in control of the political and economic decisions affecting their need to adapt to a new situation in which they would manage the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"c. The bilateral negotiations on the status of the occupied territories will proceed in stages, beginning with talks on transitional autonomy arrangements, and followed, within a period not exceeding the third year of the interim period, by negotiations on the final status. The interim period will be five years.
"The United States acknowledges the importance of any transitional period and will do its utmost for the fulfilment of the objectives of reaching an agreement on interim autonomy arrangements within one year.
"6. Concerning the features of the final status:
"a. No one can dictate the result in advance.
"b. In the opening statements at the conference and in the subsequent negotiations, the Palestinians will be free to raise any issue of importance to them. The Palestinians are free to debate any result.
"c. The United States will accept any result accepted by the parties. In this connection, confederation is not excluded as a possible result of the final stage of negotiations."
Text of Political Communiqué adopted at the twentieth session of the
Palestine National Council, Algiers, 28 September 1991
"Since its beginning in 1965, the Palestinian revolution has been waging a long, bitter and hard struggle, in the course of which a people has made enormous sacrifices; and that beginning followed years of concealment of the Palestinian cause, when it was regarded as a refugee issue.
"The years of long struggle in all its forms under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of our people, again brought the cause of Palestine before the international community as a national cause of a people with the right to liberation, self-determination and independence, and the cause of Palestine came to occupy its central place in the Arab-Israeli conflict, without the resolution of which there can be no guarantee of territory, peace and stability in the Middle East.
"Then came the blessed
with its mass democratic dimensions as a creative continuation of the Palestinian national struggle. It formed a distinctive phase that left its impact and echo throughout the whole world and strengthened international recognition of the rights of a people and of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which did not hesitate to employ this international support and polarization. The nineteenth session of our National Council was convened; the Palestinian peace initiative was launched; and, on 15 November 1988, the historic proclamation of the birth of the State of Palestine was made.
"The world welcomed our peace initiative through resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly at its forty-third session, held at Geneva, and the majority of the States of the world recognized the State of Palestine and established diplomatic and political relations with it.
"In spite of this international welcoming of the Palestinian initiative and the historic address of the President of the State of Palestine, Mr. Yasser Arafat, who made clear to the whole world our desire for a just peace, so that, for the first time, the United States of America opened an official dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization, since that time the Israeli policy of obduracy and rejection has led to the failure of all the peace initiatives and endeavours and brought them to an impasse.
"Regional and international developments followed, the most important being the Gulf War and the changes that took place in the Socialist Group, which led to a fundamental change in balances of forces. The cold war ended, and glimpses of a new era were observed in international relations, particularly in the area of United States-Soviet relations and cooperation between them in the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts and problems.
"The Palestine Liberation Organization has followed closely events in the world and their impact on the cause of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict. If the Palestinian people has seen its homeland usurped through the inequities of the old international order and been deprived of its most elementary national, political and even humanitarian rights, it is not right and not admissible by any logic that it should be deprived of these rights at the stage of the emergence of the new international order that raises the slogans of democracy, human rights and the right of all peoples to self-determination.
"This new situation requires us to act in our dealings in the spirit of political responsibility and national realism and to read new regional and international developments. This situation also calls for us to derive inspirations from the lessons and experience of the national
, which made the goal of Palestinian independence and freedom a feasible programme.
"In line with the Palestinian peace initiative of 1988 and international and Arab legitimacy, the Palestine Liberation Organization dealt positively and effectively with the international peace ideas, proposals and initiatives based on international legality. It also welcomed the positive elements contained in the statement by United States President George Bush and in the positions of the European Group, the Soviet Union, the non-aligned States and other international sources. The Palestine Liberation Organization, which has welcomed the current peace efforts and dealt with them positively, including the invitation announced by President Bush and President Gorbachev for the convening of a peace conference on the settlement of the existing conflict in the Middle East, believes that the success of the efforts to convene the peace conference requires continuation of work with the other parties to achieve the following essentials:
"I. The peace conference should be based on international legality and its resolutions, including Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and adherence to their implementation. This would ensure full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and the implementation of the principle of territory for peace and the national and political rights of the Palestinian people.
"II. Affirmation that Jerusalem is an inseparable part of occupied Palestinian territory and is to be regarded on the same footing as the other occupied territories, in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and the United Nations.
"III. A halt to settlement in the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, as an indispensable condition for the commencement of the peace process. International guarantees must be given to ensure that.
"IV. The right of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, to form a Palestinian delegation from inside and outside the homeland, including Jerusalem; and determination of the formula for its participation in the peace process on a footing of equality and in a way that affirms its authority in this sphere.
"V. Coordination of Arab positions so as to ensure the achievement of a comprehensive solution and rule out separate solutions, in accordance with the resolutions of Arab summits.
"VI. Ensuring linkage of the stages of the solution in order to arrive at the final comprehensive solution in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy.
"The Palestine Liberation Organization proceeds from these basic starting-points with regard to peace efforts and aims at the achievement of the following:
"I. Ensuring our Palestinian people's right to self-determination in a way that ensures its right to freedom and national independence.
"II. Full Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem.
"III. Solution of the issue of the Palestinian refugees, who were driven from their homelands by force and coercion, in accordance with United Nations resolutions, in particular resolution 194 (III), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
"IV. Any transitional arrangements must include the right of our people to sovereignty over the territory, water, natural resources and all political and economic affairs.
"V. The Palestinian people should be provided with international protection in order to exercise its right of self-determination.
"VI. There should be full guarantees for work on the removal of existing settlements, inasmuch as they are illegitimate under the resolutions of international legitimacy, including Security Council resolution 465 (1980).
"The National Council enjoins the Executive Committee to continue the current efforts to ensure better conditions to guarantee the success of the peace process in accordance with National Council resolutions, the results to be submitted to the Central Council for the adoption of the final decision in the light of the higher national interest of our people. The Palestine Liberation Organization which, at the preceding stage, expended all possible efforts to advance the peace process, hopes that the other parties, in particular the United States and the Soviet Union, will make efforts on their part to overcome the obstacles that Israel is placing in the path of the current political process and to leave open the door of return to the Security Council for the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy.
"The endeavour to achieve our national objectives in the forthcoming phase and confront the obstacles in the path of our struggle requires the strengthening and deepening of national unity in the various fields and the development of the participation of all national forces, bodies and personalities inside and outside the occupied homeland, with the political leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization on all issues relating to the future of our people, the current political process and the devising of the practical formula appropriate to the achievement of this end.
"The Palestine National Council calls in this area for an increase in the effectiveness and role of the Palestine Central Council in its follow-up and implementation of the decisions of the National Council, so as to strengthen democracy and the exercise of democracy. The Council considers that the development of the
, the reinforcement of its mass democratic character and the participation of our people as a whole in supporting and backing it is the true guarantee that will ensure the achievement of political and national objectives in the forthcoming phase of our national struggle.
"In this connection, the Council extends militant greetings to the valiant masses of the
and emphasizes the strengthening of the role and standing of the united national leadership, the development of the work of your embattled arms and continuation of the process of building cadres and higher sectoral councils. It reaffirms that protection and support of the
and the provision of all requisites for its development is in the forefront of the tasks of Palestinian national endeavour.
"The Council extends militant greetings to our heroes the prisoners in the Zionist occupation's jails and to our valiant wounded proceeding on the path of the
first trodden by its innocent martyrs.
"The National Council extends militant greetings to the masses of our steadfast people in Galilee, the Triangle, the Negev and the coastal area and reaffirms its appreciation of their struggle in defence of their rights against the policies of oppression and discrimination and their active support for the heroic
"The Council affirms that in order to guarantee the achievement of the objectives of our people and our Islamic nation through the peace process in such a way as to ensure full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories and in order to guarantee our people's right to return and to self-determination and independence it is essential to restore Arab solidarity and make the past a closed book if we are to protect the Arab future amid international and regional variables.
"In this regard, the Council calls upon the five Arab States involved in the peace process to ensure the highest levels of political and diplomatic coordination among themselves in order to meet the demands of the next stage so as to strengthen the Arab negotiating position and ensure arrival at a comprehensive solution on all fronts and prevent any separate solutions at the expense of the national rights of our people and the rights of our Arab nations.
"The National Council calls upon the international community as a whole to develop its support, give backing to the Palestinian people and its just struggle and reinforce its steadfastness in the occupied homelands.
"The Council appreciates the role of the States of the European Community and calls upon them to participate actively in ensuring the conditions for the success of the peace process on balanced foundations in accordance with international legitimacy, in order to safeguard international peace and stability in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
"The National Council expresses its appreciation of the role of the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China, the Group of Non-Aligned States, the African States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference in supporting the Palestinian cause and adhering to the foundations of international legitimacy in the resolution of the conflict in the area.
"The Council has studied the relations of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the Arab level and has adopted the following decisions regarding them:
"The Palestine Liberation Organization at its twentieth session salutes the President, Government and people of fraternal Algeria for embracing the cause of Palestine, hosting our National Council's sessions and giving continuing support to the rights of our people ever since the flag of freedom and independence was raised in the Algeria of one and a half million martyrs.
"The National Council at its twentieth session salutes the President, Government and people of fraternal Tunisia for their undiluted support of the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and their many sacrifices to the point where Tunisian blood was mingled with Palestinian blood. Our eternal gratitude to fraternal Tunisia for its hospitality and fraternal solidarity.
"The Council extends thanks to His Majesty King Hassan II, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, for his continuous efforts and endeavours in support of the rights of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization and for the support given by the fraternal Kingdom of Morocco to the steadfastness of our people in the occupied homeland.
"The Palestine National Council at its twentieth session expresses its appreciation for the continuing support given by the fraternal Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the masses of the heroic Palestinian uprising.
"The National Council salutes the States of the Arab Maghreb Union for their continuing support for the cause of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Organization and commends the vital role being played by these States towards the restoration of Arab solidarity.
"The Palestine National Council at its twentieth session expresses its profound solidarity with the fraternal Iraqi people in its suffering and calls upon the international community to take immediate action to put an end to the economic blockade that is exposing the lives of men, women and children to danger from the scourges of disease and death. The National Council urges the masses of the Arab nation and the fraternal Arab States to extend assistance and support to fraternal Iraq. It calls for a halt to all forms of interference in internal affairs and for serious and diligent endeavour to restore Arab solidarity among the members of the Arab nation.
"The Palestine National Council salutes Palestinian-Jordanian brotherhood and calls for its strengthening and intensification in all fields. It reaffirms its earlier resolutions concerning the special and distinctive relations existing between the fraternal Jordanian and Palestinian peoples and calls for a continuation and reinforcement of coordination and cooperation between the Palestine Liberation Organization and fraternal Jordan in all areas. The National Council also reaffirms its resolutions with regard to the building of future relations on confederal bases between the States of Palestine and Jordan.
"The National Council salutes fraternal Lebanon and commends the sacrifices made by the Lebanese people in support of the Palestinian cause. It wishes success to the process of Lebanese national reconciliation aimed at the restoration of the unity and sovereignty of Lebanon and the extension of its legitimate authority over all its territory. It affirms its full support for the battle to liberate the south from Israeli occupation with a view to the implementation of resolution 425 (1978) calling for Israeli withdrawal from all Lebanese territory.
"The Council calls for the firm establishment of brotherhood between the peoples of Lebanon and Palestine through the organization of Lebanese-Palestinian relations on solid bases that will guarantee the political, militant and social rights of the Palestinian people in Lebanon and provide security to the Palestinian camps in confronting Israeli attacks, on the basis of close cooperation with the legitimate Lebanese authority.
"The National Council stresses the need to complete the dialogue between the Lebanese Government and the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to arrive at a positive way to deal with the question of Lebanese-Palestinian disputes in all areas in the joint interests of the two fraternal peoples.
"The National Council calls upon the five Arab States directly involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict (Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine) to achieve the highest levels of political and diplomatic coordination among themselves to meet the demands of the next political stage and to strengthen the Arab negotiating position. Coordination between these fraternal States should extend to the summit level.
"The National Council draws attention with appreciation to the special importance of the convening of two successive sessions of Arab Ministers for Foreign Affairs within the framework of the League of Arab States in the territory of fraternal Egypt, which continues to play an active and fundamental role in the revival of Arab solidarity and the achievement of a unified Arab stand. The Council draws attention also to the position of fraternal Egypt on the inalienable national rights of our people and its constant endeavour to safeguard those rights.
"The Council calls for the continuation of efforts to strengthen Syrian-Palestinian relations and develop coordination between fraternal Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization in a way that serves the national and the Arab national common interest and meets the challenges.
"The Palestine National Council appreciates the firm and continuing support given by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over many years to our Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization, its continuous hospitality, its facilitation of our work and the residence of many members of our people in its territory. It hopes for the continuation of support for the
in the face of the war of starvation and efforts to destroy the economic structure launched by the Israeli occupation authorities against our people. The National Council hopes also for the restoration and enhancement of fraternal relations with the other States members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
"The National Council salutes the fraternal peoples of the Sudan and Yemen and their Presidents and Governments and expresses its appreciation, on behalf of the Palestinian people, for the support to our people and hospitality to our forces extended by our brothers in the Sudan and Yemen, in spite of their difficult circumstances.
"The Palestine National Council expresses its appreciation and admiration for the positions adopted by His Holiness the Pope and the Vatican in support of our people's rights.
"The Palestine National Council calls for the international community to tackle the subject of organized Jewish settler immigration so as to prevent Israel from using this in order to implement its aims of expansion, colonization and depriving our people of self-determination in the territory of its homeland. The Council believes that the continuation of this immigration in accordance with Israeli schemes to intensify settlement in our occupied territory constitutes a major obstacle and a danger threatening the future of peace in the region and a violation of Palestinian human rights and international covenants.
"The National Council draws attention to the efforts and attempts being made in some international circles to rescind the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on zionism as a form of racism and calls upon the Executive Committee to work with friendly and fraternal States to confront and thwart these efforts.
"The Council salutes the struggle of all peoples aspiring to equality, justice, the spread of democracy and the achievement of parity in international relations. In this connection, it appreciates the struggle of the people of South Africa, under the leadership of the African National Congress and the leader Nelson Mandela, for equality and the elimination of racism. The Council declares its full solidarity with the people of South Africa in its just struggle against racism and the acts of sabotage carried out by the tools of the racist opposition. The National Council affirms the necessity of the continued provision of all forms of support and backing to the militant and friendly people of South Africa.
"The Council also affirms its support and backing for and solidarity with the African front-line States in the face of aggression and racism.
"The National Council salutes the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the fraternal and friendly international institutions and organizations and the media persons who have supported and who continue to support our people's
"The Palestine National Council renews its adherence to the United Nations resolutions affirming the right of peoples to resist foreign occupation, colonialism and racial discrimination and their right to struggle for their independence. It declares once again its rejection of all forms of terrorism, including State terrorism.
"In conclusion, the National Council salutes with admiration and love our steadfast and patient Palestinian people, in our occupied territory and in the diaspora, and the masses of our Arab nation and their active forces for their positions for support and backing the jihad of our Palestinian people and its inalienable national rights. It calls upon them to stand firm in the face of the conspiracies hatched by the enemies of our Arab nation, in order to preserve our Arab nation and its existence, glory, dignity and national security.
"It salutes all friends and noble peace- and freedom-loving forces and expresses its appreciation of their honourable stands with the just cause of our people."
* * *
1. Foreign Broadcast Information Service,
Daily Report: Near East and South Asia
, No. FBIS-NES-91-186, 25 September 1991, pp. 14-15.
2. As per the original text of the PNC "Political Communiqué" released by WAFA - Palestine News Agency and provided on 28 September 1991 by the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.