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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/SR.178
22 July 1991

Original: English

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 178th MEETING

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 16 July 1991, at 3 p.m.


______________________________________________________


Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)

CONTENTS


Adoption of the agenda

Election of a Vice-Chairman

Report on the European Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine held at Madrid from 27 to 30 May 1991

Report on the North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine held at Montreal from 28 to 30 June 1991

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 DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

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 3.30 p.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.


ELECTION OF A VICE-CHAIRMAN

2. The CHAIRMAN, recalling that the election of a Vice-Chairman had been deferred until the arrival of a new permanent representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to elect Mr. Basharmal (Afghanistan) Vice-Chairman of the Committee.

3. Mr. Basharmal (Afghanistan) was elected Vice-Chairman by acclamation.


REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
HELD AT MADRID FROM 27 TO 30 MAY 1991

4. The CHAIRMAN, reporting on the Seminar, said that a total of seven meetings had been held. The 17 panelists, who came from Western and Eastern Europe and the United States of America and included Palestinians and Israelis, had presented papers on two main topics, namely, "The intifadah: the safety and protection of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory" and "The urgency of the implementation of the United Nations resolutions on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East". An account of the Seminar was given in the monthly bulletin prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights. In accordance with past practice, the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar would be annexed to the Committee's report to the General Assembly.

5. The Seminar was of particular significance because it was the first such Seminar to be held in a State member of the European Community. It was also significant because it was held at a time when new opportunities were opening up, yet also when the situation of the Palestinians was deteriorating rapidly and becoming increasingly explosive. A sense of urgency and determination to work together had prevailed at the Seminar and the discussions had been substantive and productive. Participants had indicated that they would intensify their efforts to influence public opinion and national policies concerning the question of Palestine.

6. The conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar took into account not only the Committee's objectives, but also the new situation in the Middle East in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, and the new opportunities that situation presented. They also took into account the concerns which had been expressed by panelists. On fundamental principles and objectives, there had been consensus among Seminar participants.

7. Participants had urged the Security Council, particularly its permanent members, to facilitate the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of all parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization. They had stressed that negotiations for peace and the peace process itself must be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and that the principles of "land for peace" and "two peoples, two States" adequately addressed the rights of both Palestinians and Israelis.

8. Participants had voiced their concerns over continued human rights violations by Israel in the occupied territories and referred, in particular, to the provisions of Security Council resolution 681 (1990) calling on Israel to fulfil its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Concern had also been expressed about serious economic deterioration in the occupied Palestinian territory and increased settlement by immigrants and Israeli civilians. They had called on the Security Council to take action to address the new and serious obstacle to peace created by such settlements and had urged the United Nations to promote the social and economic development of the Palestinian people in preparation for the full exercise of their national sovereignty.

9. Acknowledging the contribution already made by Europe, participants had noted the valuable role that the European Community could play in the Middle East peace process. They had also appealed to all European Governments to support the Committee and participate in its work. Expressing appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations bodies, participants had called on Governments to increase their contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

10. There had been a frank, constructive exchange between Israelis and Palestinians at the Seminar. Efforts by moderate elements in the Israeli community to contribute to the peace process and to influence public opinion in their country had been acknowledged. The Palestine Liberation Organization had participated in the Seminar but the official viewpoint of the Israeli Government had not been expressed.

11. Mr. RAOELINA (Madagascar) expressed the hope that the Chairman's report would be circulated as an official document of the Committee. It was regrettable that the extremely valuable documents published regularly by the Division for Palestinian Rights were not available in French, the working language of his delegation. Perhaps that situation could be amended.

12. The CHAIRMAN said that if there were no further observations, she would take it that the Committee wished to take note of the conclusions and recommendations adopted by the Seminar.

13. It was so decided.


REPORT ON THE NORTH AMERICAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE HELD AT MONTREAL FROM 28 TO 30 JUNE 1991

14. The CHAIRMAN said that she and Dr. Al-Kidwa, Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations, had represented the Committee at the Eighth United Nations North American NGO Regional Symposium on the Question of Palestine. The Symposium had been attended by 104 non-governmental organizations, 4 NGO coordinating committees (African, International, North American and the Palestine Committee for NGOs), 19 Governments and 1 intergovernmental organization, and the first such symposium to be held at a location other than United Nations Headquarters in New York. Its success had demonstrated the great potential for promoting NGO activity in that important region, and for Governments and grass-roots organizations to join forces in pursuit of a common objective.

15. The theme of the Symposium had been "Palestine - protecting lives and promoting peace - impact of the Gulf war". There had been two panels, one of which had dealt with Palestine and the response to current developments, and a teach-in on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. In addition, workshops had been organized under three general sub-themes: "Special protection needs" (workshops on, inter alia, Palestinian children, prisoners and women); "Critical issues for NGO work" (workshops on, inter alia, ending Israeli occupation - suspending aid and imposing sanctions; the Palestine question in the context of grass-roots initiatives for a resolution of the Gulf war; international law and strategies to encourage the United States and Canada to develop measures to ensure respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention); and "Organizing strategies for Canadian and United States constituencies for protection and peace" (workshops on mobilizing unions, religious communities and educators).

16. In the workshops, North American NGOs had been urged to continue to build public awareness in the region on the desperate situation of Palestinian children; draw attention to the plight of Palestinians in Kuwait; work for the reopening of Palestinian universities; and address human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territory. Among the other proposals put forward in the workshops were imposing sanctions against Israel; supporting the Israeli peace movement; establishing a permanent structure to lobby in the United States and Canada for a two-State solution; and facilitating greater linkage between North American and Palestinian women.

17. A report on the Symposium would be issued as a publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights. The Symposium had elected a new 12-member Coordinating Committee for the North American region, composed of three members from Canada and nine members from the United States of America.


OTHER MATTERS

18. The CHAIRMAN said that preparations were continuing for the European Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine and the International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine to be held at Vienna from 26 to 30 August 1991. The provisional agendas for those meetings had been adopted at the Committee's 177th meeting. The Bureau would provide the Committee with an update on those meetings.

The meeting rose at 4.05 p.m.

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