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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
13 April 1976



Statement made by the representative
of Indonesia at the llth meeting of the
Committee on 8 April 1976*

At the outset, the Indonesian delegation would like to commend the Secretariat its compilation—in such a short time of the historical background of the question of Palestine. That compilation is contained in document A/AC.183/L.3, setting forth lucidly the origins and development of the problem, as well as the faction of the Palestinian people to the innumerable resolutions and decisions of United Nations.

As the document makes clear, the expulsion of the Palestinian people from sir homeland and their dispersion to several lands have caused untold suffering misery, while at the same time being tragic in several ways. The life of those who remained as a minority in the Jewish State, as well as life in the occupied territories, is in general characterized by continuous oppression and daily terror. Thirty years of occupation and oppression have not extinguished the Palestinians' spirit of national independence and self-determination. History has shown that it is futile to try to suppress the spirit of a people determined secure their identity and freedom.

Indonesia has long recognized that the question of Palestine constitutes an integral part of the Middle East problem as a whole and that the debates in the past have proved futile largely because the central issue of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people has been ignored. Indonesia has always, consistently, supported the cause of the Palestinians and maintained that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) must take its place and play its role in representing its people and upholding their rights.

The Middle East question cannot be considered apart from its root causes, which are mainly two in number. The first is the injustice that has long been inflicted upon the Palestinians, who are the indigenous inhabitants of what is today Israel. The second is Israel's continued occupation by force of territories belonging to three neighbouring. Arab countries, So long as the Palestinians are deprived of their land and homes, and so long as Israel insists on clinging to the fallacy of the right to occupy the land that rightly and fully belongs to others, it will be an illusion to imagine that the Middle East conflict will be resolved.

Therefore, Indonesia has supported the just struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights, as well as the necessity of Israel's withdrawal from all Arab territories. All this has been recognized and reflected in the 106 resolutions of the General Assembly and the 138 resolutions and decisions of the Security Council. It is in those resolutions that the essential principles for a just solution have been formulated, and it is to those principles that

we should turn in our search for such a solution. These resolutions, taken together, leave no doubt that it is the considered opinion of the world that the rights of the Palestinians must be respected and that the accommodation of those rights is a condition sine qua non for the settlement of the conflict.

Against that background, the international community began at long last to take a series of steps to elevate the question of Palestinian rights to a new level of consciousness and concern. Until recently, we know, the Palestinian problem was conceived of only in its humanitarian aspects, with little attention given to the essential political questions which lie at the heart of the restoration of the rights of the Palestinians. Although the PLO itself has already been recognized in many international forums as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, it has not yet been accorded the recognition and legitimate status we want for it in the United Nations. The thirtieth session of the General Assembly sought fully to remedy the situation by adopting a series of historic decisions. The resolution determining that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination, the call for the invitation of the PLO to participate in all conferences on the Middle East held under United Rations auspices and, above all, the decision to establish this Committee not only symbolize the -rowing recognition that the problem of Palestine has ramifications of vital importance to world peace, but also represent concrete measures to help restore to the Palestinians those fundamental rights which have long been recognized as a prerogative of every nation.

Moreover, these historic decisions were augmented by the invitation extended to the PLO by the Security Council to participate on an equal footing with other members in the deliberations of the Council. That participation in the United Nations organ primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and security represented a broader recognition of the importance of the Palestinian role in the settlement of the Middle East question.

My delegation has listened most attentively to the statements made by proceeding speakers, and particularly to the representative of the PLO. Indonesia hopes that the valuable proposals made by the representative of the PLO during his statement will be the guiding elements in accordance with which this Committee will formulate its recommendations. Particular mention should be made of the proposal for the return of the Palestinians to the territories occupied by them prior to 1967; that question should not be linked to any other issues.

Equally important is the emphasis on such sacred and inalienable rights as self-determination, national independence and sovereignty.

We find merit in the suggestion made by the representative of Yugoslavia and other representatives that the Committee should maintain contact with the parties directly concerned, as well as holding consultations with the members of the Security Council. We consider it a matter of urgency that the permanent members of the Council, jointly as well as separately, make use of their power of persuasion and exercise their influence to help solve this conflict. The Council should go beyond ritual statements and resolutions and make a serious and concerted effort to overcome the stalemate and move towards a settlement of the problem. The unique circumstance that the Security Council remains the only forum in which all parties to the conflict have been able to meet may indeed be utilized for constructive moves towards a settlement. This Committee also can play a role by ascertaining what those constructive means towards a settlement can be. It is incumbent upon the Security Council to determine the steps to be taken to overcome the impasse and to attain a general settlement. Perhaps the members of the Council, assisted by the Secretary-General, should — either in closed session or through informal consultations - search for those constructive moves which can contribute to an over-all settlement. The Security Council cannot maintain its authority and credibility as the organ primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and security if it is unable to act against Israel's continued defiance of Council decisions. If it is incapable of restoring to the Palestinians their just rights, it will then be incumbent upon this Committee, in the formulation of its recommendations, to take into account, as General Assembly resolution 3376 (XXX) states, all the powers conferred by the Charter upon the principal organs of the United Nations".

It is equally important that the Holy City of Jerusalem be restored to Moslem hands so that the adherents of Islam may be ensured free and open access to their sacred shrines. The sacrilege committed in setting afire the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 and the subsequent harassment of the devout seeking to worship there underline the gravity of the need to restore Jerusalem to its historic status unimpaired. The international community cannot countenance any attempts by the Israeli occupiers to annex the Holy City or to alter its physical character or demographic composition.

Finally, as this problem has been languishing for three decades and as there can be no further delay in the search for a just solution, it is most important that a time table should be established with regard to the withdrawal of the occupation forces, the dismantling of settlements already established, the return of the Palestinians to their homes and the return of the refugees displaced between 1948 and 1967.

My delegation envisages also a vastly increased role for the United Nations, not only to promote a solution to this question but also to facilitate the transitional period which would inevitably follow the implementation of our recommendations. It might even become necessary at some stage to establish special United Nations machinery similar to the United Nations Council for Namibia, for instance, as proposed by one of the delegations. Regional organizations like the Arab League and the Organization of African Unity will give constructive roles to play in ameliorating the situation and conciliating the various parties to the dispute.

Whatever the modalities nay be, an independent Palestinian entity born out of the sacred right of self-determination alone will constitute an indispensable element in the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

To summarize: The Palestinian people's inalienable right to return must recognized and implemented, as set forth in among others. General Assembly resolution 194 (III) and Security Council resolution 237 (1967). As a matter of priority, those refugees who left Palestine in the aftermath of the war should "Be given a first opportunity to return to their land, without this action being linked in any way to the over-all settlement of the conflict. Such a return should take place no later than 1 June 1977 it being understood that a period of one year will suffice for the preparation, funding and other necessary arrangements to ensure the smooth implementation of the measures. Furthermore, the resources and expertise of the Red Cross, the United Nations refugee Organization or sone such body should be utilized in order to facilitate the return of the these refugees. The Security Council may also play its role by providing temporary peace-keeping forces.

Indonesia will continue to pledge its steadfast support to the Palestinian pause as the Palestinians continue their diplomatic efforts to secure their rights.

* Distributed in accordance with a decision of the Committee.


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