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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/PV.123
7 March 1986

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

VERBATIM RECORD OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THIRD MEETING

Held at United Nations Headquarters, New York,
on Friday, 29 November 1985, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal)

CONTENTS

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE


The meeting was called to order at 10.45 a.m.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): Today we commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in accordance with the provisions of General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

It is an honour and a pleasure for me to greet His Excellency Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Jaime de Pinies, President of the General Assembly at its fortieth session, and His Excellency Mr. Richard A. Woolcott, President of the Security Council for the month of November. I greet also the Chairmen of various United Nations committees and regional groups, and the representatives of Member States, inter-governmental organizations and liberation movements, along with representatives of non-governmental organizations, members of the press and all others who are here today.

The presence of so many distinguished guest at this solemn commemoration is a reflection of the international community's concern at the lack of concrete progress towards a just solution of the question of Palestine and its determination to continue to seek ways to end the tragedy of the Palestinian people.

Thirty-eight Years ago today, the General Assembly adopted its resolution 181 (II), entitled "Future government of Palestine", which provided for the creation in Palestine of an independent Arab State and an independent Jewish State and of a special international regime for the city of Jerusalem. That resolution seemed at the time to be the only solution likely to restore peace in the region but it was implemented only in part. We all know the unhappy events of the following years and the tragic accumulation of violence which has tormented the region since then. The Palestinians have been chased from their lands, dispossessed of their possessions and, first and foremost, deprived of their homeland. Many of them have become refugees, living on, international charity, even unto the third generation. Those who have been able to remain at home have endured ceaseless conflict, military occupation, increasingly frequent confiscation of their land and denial of their political, economic, social and cultural rights.

The incomplete implementation of resolution 181 (11) does not mean that it is no longer relevant. Quite the contrary; 38 years ago we made a collective commitment to enable the Palestinian people to achieve self-determination and independence.

The main purpose of today's meeting to commemorate that anniversary is to remind Members of the organization and the international community at large that this responsibility is still ours, and that new efforts must be made to reach a just and lasting solution of the problem. For our Committee, this anniversary is traditionally a time to take stock of the situation.

This year the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations has given a new-dimension to our reflecting on the situation. Day after day we have heard world leaders tell us in the General Assembly of their concern faced with the dangerous situation in the world today, as well as their hopes and the solutions they envisage for the future. There is hardly a country that has not put the Middle East conflict and the question of Palestine among what it considers to be priority requiring immediate and specific measures.

The concerns expressed on all sides and the widespread strong desire to work towards a solution, surely give the international community a chance to set out on the way leading to a solution to this delicate and complex problem, which has stymied us for so long.

One of the undeniable achievements of the United Nations has been its success in bringing the whole international community to acknowledge that the question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East conflict. Long after the adoption of General Assembly resolution 181 (11) there was a genuine fear that the fundamental question of building the Palestinian nation might be swamped by immediate concerns, such as conflicts between States and humanitarian assistance to refugees, and as a result sink into oblivion.

It is thanks to the efforts of our Organization, as well as the dynamism and determination of the Palestinians and their sense of their own identity, that the question of the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people is included on the international agenda it is now generally recognized that there can be no lasting solution to the Middle East conflict without recognition of the Palestinian people's rights and without the participation of that people in any settlement. Those rights, which have often been reaffirmed by the General Assembly, include - is there any need to remind anyone of this? -,the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination without foreign interference; its right to independence and national sovereignty, including the right to establish its own State in Palestine; and the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property or in the case of those who do not wish to return to their homes the right to compensation. The right to existence of all the States of the region within secure, internationally recognized borders, is also generally accepted.

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which my country has the honour to chair, has adopted a programme for the implementation of those rights, which the General Assembly has approved on a number of occasions by an overwhelming majority. As everyone known, the opposition of a permanent member has prevented the Security Council following up those recommendations. Nevertheless, the increasing violence in the region, including the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, and the deterioration of the living conditions of the Palestinian people, which are described in the report that our Committee has just submitted to the General Assembly, show more clearly than ever the urgent need to reach an equitable settlement to the Palestinian problem. In a statement to the Security Council several weeks ago, I again stressed that the Committee's recommendations were solidly based on internationally recognized basic principles, and I urged the Council to take positive measures to Put them into effect, in order to increase the chances of establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

In its programme of work for 1985, the Committee has given top priority to convening an international Peace Conference in the Middle East, in accordance with the General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, as an objective and specific measure likely to promote the achievement of the desired objective. In our opinion, an international conference held under United Nations auspices would provide a legal and political framework acceptable to the vast majority of the international community to enable negotiations to proceed with full respect for universally recognized international principles and with all the parties concerned being on an equal footing.

The primary elements for that conference already exist. They are to be found in the Committee's recommendations, the Arab Fez peace plan, the Jordanian-Palestinian agreement and other sources. it remains for the parties concerned - in particular, those who still have doubts or reservations or who have rejected the idea - to reconsider their position and to work more constructively for the convening of the conference and its success. Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate the urgent appeal that I made in the Security Council, urging it not to miss the historic opportunity offered by the current political situation.

In that regard, the Committee has noted with satisfaction that the Secretary-General intends to continue his consultations. It has recommended that the General Assembly renew the Secretary-General's mandate without delay and ask him to maintain his contacts in order to prepare for the conference, in consultation with the Security Council. I wish to take this opportunity on behalf of the Committee once more to congratulate the Secretary-General on his untiring efforts for peace.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the Committee's determination to continue to intensify its efforts to bring about a better knowledge and understanding of the question of Palestine and the Committee's recommendations, as well as those of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, whose first aim is to allow the Palestinian people to recover its inalienable rights and establish peace in the Middle East, taking due account of the, legitimate concerns of all the parties to the conflict in the region.

The Committee again stresses that the question of Palestine has reached a critical phase, which makes it necessary that all the interested parties show understanding and co-operation and redouble their efforts to find a just solution to a problem that is fundamental to the maintenance of international peace and security.

I now call on Mr. Jaime de Pinie's, President of the General Assembly.

Mr. de Pinie's (President of the General Assembly) (interpretation from Spanish): This solemn meeting is being held today in accordance with the decision of the General Assembly at its thirty-second session that there should be annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People., Its importance is not exclusively symbolic; it also reflects the deep concern of the international community over the urgent need to find a solution to the problem of Palestine, as a basic element of the Middle East conflict..

The situation in the Middle East profoundly affects the stability of that region, and therefore can also be a threat to international peace and security, affecting not only the parties directly concerned, but also the whole international community.

Accordingly, it is not surprising that the General Assembly has devoted so much time, over a period of several years, to trying to find a just solution to the problem, whose root is the problem of Palestine, and the need to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. Despite the efforts made, the question of Palestine remains one of the most urgent and difficult problems facing the United Nations.

Nevertheless, we must not slacken our efforts. Too much suffering has Occurred as a result of the lack of a just solution to the problem. Failure to find a solution can only exacerbate tension and prolong the suffering. Therefore, Our efforts should be aimed at promoting mutual understanding and willingness to undertake a dialogue. To achieve success, it is necessary to create the necessary Political will, based on a climate of trust and realism.

All the parties concerned must understand the objective situation - that It is necessary to recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and to recognize that all the States of the region have the right to live in peace, within secure, established, guaranteed borders.

In recent years, several initiatives have been undertaken with a view to contributing to the solution of the problem of Palestine. None of them has been universally accepted, but they should encourage us to seek, with even greater dedication, a just, secure and lasting peace in the Middle East. I reiterate what I said at the meeting commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations:

We must strive to ensure that this fortieth anniversary of the United Nations will mark the solution or at least the beginning of a process leading to a solution - of some of the gravest conflicts afflicting the word without a doubt, that must apply to the question of Palestine.

I wish in conclusion to congratulate this Committee and its Chairman, Ambassador Massamba Sarre, on their tireless efforts to promote the solution of this problem. The observance of this Day will inspire hope in the Palestinian people and remind then that the United Nations has not forgotten their inalienable rights.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call next on Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The SECRETARY-GENERAL Today we observe the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This solemn meeting, organized in accordance with the wishes of the General Assembly, signifies the importance-that the United Nations attaches to the problem of Palestine and helps focus the attention of the international community on the need for a just solution, based on full recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Recent events in the Middle East serve to highlight the increasing urgency of finding a solution to this complex problem. Delay, as we have seen, not only Prolongs the tragedy of the Palestinian people, but also encourages acts of violence. The result is untold suffering and the loss of innocent lives. Ever present before us is the threat of renewed conflagration, which would cause further suffering and erect further obstacles to peace.

It remains the primary responsibility of the United Nations to strive for a political solution to the Palestine problem in spite of all the difficulties involved. Disillusionment and discouragement must not be permitted to away us from our obligation to continue to press forward with the search for a negotiated peace in the Middle East, a peace which will ensure justice for all people in the region and put an end once and for, all to the violence which has persisted for over a generation.

There have been during the post year renewed efforts to promote a suitable negotiating process towards that end. In my recent contacts with leaders of the parties concerned I have gained the impression that they are all fully conscious of the urgency of achieving a negotiated settlement. I have also noted that while their respective positions remain far apart there have been some signs of flexibility as regards the negotiating process.

I continue to believe that the United Nations has a crucial role to play in this endeavour. Our Organization, with its varied machinery, is eminently well placed to provide a suitable framework for negotiations among the parties and to facilitate the contacts which are essential to successful negotiations. I for my part stand ready and willing to assist the parties in their search for a negotiated settlement in any way compatible with my authority and competence.

So long as the basic political problem remains unresolved, it is our duty to do whatever is possible to alleviate the extensive human suffering it has generated. To that end, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has, for the past 35 years, working under the most arduous conditions, provided food, shelter, medical care and essential

(The Secretary-General) education services to the Palestine refugees, who now number over 2 million. Other projects, under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies within the United Nations system, are also under way in consultation with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Arab countries. Thus, in spite of severe financial constraints, every effort is being made to formulate and execute a co-ordinated programme of economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people.

The question of Palestine has been before this organization since 1947, when the United Nations was still in its infancy. Now, when we are commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Organization, let us resolve to make a renewed effort, to reaffirm our commitment, and to rededicate ourselves to finding a just and lasting settlement to a problem which has defied solution for far too long.

Mr. Chairman, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under your very distinguished leadership, has spared no effort to promote such a solution. I take this opportunity to wish you and your Committee well In this most important endeavour.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call next on Mr. Mohammed Milhem, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Mr. MILHEM (Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)) (interpretation from Arabic): It is a pleasure for me to speak today on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). I have already had several opportunities in the past to address this Committee.

The following is the text of the message from Mr. Arafat addressed to the Chairman of the Committee:

"I wish to convey greetings and appreciation to the members of the Committee, to the United Nations, to the Secretary-General, and to the peoples of the world, and to express our congratulations on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. All the world's peoples are celebrating that anniversary, as the organization commemorates the tenth International Day of Solidarity of the Palestinian People and its struggle to achieve its inalienable national rights.

"This year once again, our Palestinian people renews its deep appreciation to this, the world's most prestigious international body, for the commitment it is renewing today to stand firmly by the side of that people in its struggle to gain its rights. Our Palestinian people would like also to renew on this occasion its pledge of commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights while reiterating the importance of the role of the United Nations to resolve regional and world problems.

"The Palestinian people believes that any attempt to-alienate or circumvent the United Nations or underestimate its role serves only to increase world tension, endanger peace and deny the rights of peoples struggling for freedom, independence and sovereignty over their lands.

"On behalf of the Palestine Liberation organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and on behalf of the Palestinian people, once again I address an appeal to the peoples of the world and all interested States to rally round the United Nations, the principles of its Charter and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and give the Organization the primary role to supervise the solution of questions that may threaten world peace and inflict incalculable suffering on the peoples of the world, regionally or internationally. That is what the Palestine Liberation organization has called for and insisted on. The United Nations, through the Security Council, should supervise the convening of an international conference to solve the problem of the Middle East, the core of which is the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict it has engendered.

"Experience has shown that any attempt to circumvent the role of the United Nations and of an international conference to solve this problem only exacerbates the situation in the Middle East, leading to further conflict and bloodshed. Experience has also shown that those who would deny the rights of the Palestinian people, usurp its territory, seek the continuation of the occupation of other Arab territories - whether in Egypt, Lebanon or Syria in order that force, might and tyranny continue to hold sway in the region are the very ones who fear international legitimacy and refuse to accept it, because their policies and actions are in violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They also persist in flouting decisions of the General Assembly and the Security Council and the resolutions on the questions of Palestine and the occupied Arab territories.

"The American Administration refuses to accept the constructive role of the United Nations and maintains it's opposition to the holding of the international conference. Who can fear having recourse to international legitimacy and law and to the principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but those who wish to see international peace remain threatened in the Middle East and the world at large? Indeed, they are those who seek to have the law of the jungle prevail in that part of the world.

"However, how can we allow the role of the Security Council to be obstructed and the recommendations of the General Assembly to be flouted owing to the arrogance of one State in the world - the United States of America. Since the Government of the United States of America represents a major Power in the world, and, what is more, since it represents the early American people who drafted the first world declaration of human rights and peoples' rights that Government has the duty and the obligation to support the constructive role of the United Nations and to respect the right of peoples to self-determination. It is also incumbent upon it to uphold human rights the rights of every human being - and to accept the convening of the international conference to resolve the problem of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Furthermore, it should not be the foremost supporter of the Israeli Government in its pursuit of all kinds of terror in Palestine, the Middle East, and the world, continuing to occupy the territory of others, denying the rights of the Palestinian people, carrying out policies of killing, annihilation oppression, exile and displacement; while, with American aircraft, it commits acts of aggression as far away as thousands of miles to the east and the west.

"Since the American Administration turns a deaf ear to the clamour of peoples and of world public opinion, in particular to the call of the Palestinian people that for 40 years has been suffering a calamitous existence, I should like to appeal to the conscience of the American people and to address an appeal to the President of the United States of America to reject policies of war, aggression, terror, racism and the denial of peoples' rights.

"When the Israeli Government found itself isolated by world public opinion and overwhelmed with General Assembly recommendations and Security Council resolutions and realized that its image in the world had become that of traitor, death-dealer, wager of wars and perpetrator of acts of aggression against others; when it found that the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation organization, had proved its ability to proffer the olive branch and hold the gun; and when the entire world became convinced of the wise policies pursued by the Palestine Liberation Organization - which, owing to its concern, proved to be a constructive element in saving the Middle East from war, destruction, terror and tyranny, to make it a region of peace in which co-operation, justice and prosperity would prevail - then the Israeli leadership decided to escalate its aggressive war against the Palestinian people and its legitimate representative. At times it moved directly at other times it gave others the green light to start destroying the Palestine Liberation Organization, restricting its movement or even severing the hand with the olive branch after it was unable itself to pluck it from the Palestinian leadership and it launched a war of aggression against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples in Lebanon.

"The conspiracy to expel the Palestine Liberation Organization from Lebanon was the first act perpetrated by the Israeli Government. It, was followed by Israeli terrorism against PLO personnel, with terrorist acts committed in places as far apart as Cyprus and Lisbon and including the assassination of many of our people in Cyprus, Athens, Italy and Spain. That was accompanied by a concentrated campaign of imprisonment, killing and displacement in the occupied Palestinian territories, in an attempt to suppress the escalating popular revolution.

"All of that took place without the United States regarding those acts as aggression, tyranny or injustice. The Reagan Administration did not consider the aggression against the sovereignty of Lebanon and the destruction of its capital with hundreds of thousands of bombs to be an act of aggression or a violation of the United Nations Charter. The assassination of Palestinian scientists, journalists and heroes in European capitals also has not been regarded as international terrorism. As for the mass arrests, the demolition of homes, the firing on demonstrators and the killings without the victims having been brought before the courts, the alienation, the displacement, the changing of the physical character of certain areas and the threats by the Israeli Government against the people of Palestine and its towns and villages - none of that has been regarded as a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention Relating to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the Geneva Convention Relating to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

"Here it is worth mentioning that the policies of terror pursued by the Israeli Government, with the express support of the United States, have been escalated during the past two years every time the Palestine Liberation Organization has expressed its concern about peace and finding a just solution to the problem of Palestine. We are sure, as are many world leaders, and as is clear to world public opinion, that the United States Administration does not like the Palestinian people to hold out the olive branch. It does not like to see the Palestine Liberation organization refusing to surrender to despair and the denial of international legitimacy, while adhering to United Nations resolutions, the principles of the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"That was made clear when the United States Administration supported the Israeli aggression against the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunisia in October 1985, aggression that violated Tunisia's sovereignty and was aimed at assassinating the PLO and aborting the joint Palestinian-Jordanian peace efforts. It was also made clear when the United States intercepted an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land at one of its military bases in Italy. It seems as if the United States Administration wants to say 'This is the language that should prevail in the world - the language of piracy, bloody conflict and terror.'

"That position was clearly exposed when the Reagan Administration turned a deaf ear to the Cairo Declaration made by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation organization on 7 November 1985. The United States Administration did not respond positively; it even wanted to provoke the leadership of the PLO into renouncing the Declaration before long. However, that did not happen, because the policy of the PLO will not be dictated by such a reaction or the provocations of the United States Administration, or Israeli terror. Its policy will always be based on confidence, good judgement, sound reason and commitment to the principles of the United Nations and human rights, acceptance of United Nations resolutions and concern about the shedding of innocent blood and about peace in the Middle East and in the world at large. Its policy will always stem from a feeling of the highest responsibility towards the interests of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation, which means the liberation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories from Israeli occupation.

"We will not be overcome by blind terror. We will not simply react to events. We will not surrender to the pressure of those who want to make us a card in other people's hands. We will not allow despair to prevail, because the PLO wishes to continue to be a worthy leader of its people, which has made heroic sacrifices in the face of the strongest forces of occupation, racism and tyranny. The PLO wishes to remain a worthy upholder of the principles of the Arab nation and the Non-aligned Movement in defending the right of its people and of all other oppressed peoples to self-determination, sovereignty, security, peace and prosperity.

"On this solemn occasion, at a time of complicated, difficult circumstances, involving plans, conspiracies, risks and attempts at annihilation and genocide, I declare that our people will go on holding out the olive branch, while struggling by force of arms, by demonstrating and by striking to liberate its land and regain its right to self-determination, the establishment of its own State and the return of the displaced people, while declaring its commitment to the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. we also declare that we insist on the implementation of all the United Nations recommendations and resolutions affirming the need for the United Nations to play a constructive role in supervising an international conference to discuss the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict generated by it. Such a conference would provide an adequate framework. Participants should include the Soviet Union, the United States and the other permanent members of the Security Council, the States concerned and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"In conclusion, I should like to recall an event, that has caused me great suffering. I am referring to the recourse by Mr. Reagan and his administration to throw the entire weight of the United States into the balance in order to prevent me from addressing the General Assembly at its fortieth session and to make my statement on behalf of the Palestinian people from the rostrum. I personally - and there are many who share my opinion - view this as further proof that the President of a State that calls for democracy, freedom of opinion and expression and human rights, a President who claims to be trying to assist those who are ready to accept the olive branch being extended to them by the Palestinian hand, is nevertheless suppressing the voice of peace, justice and right. I am confident that preventing me from addressing the United Nations, which was preceded by an attempt to assassinate me in the recent raid on Tunis, will not stop me from continuing the struggle with my suffering people to reach a lasting and durable peace. I am hopeful that our struggle will continue to enjoy your support and solidarity until our victory is won.

"I should like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, both personally and on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as on behalf of the Palestinian people, for commemorating this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and with their struggle to attain their legitimate rights. I once again express the hope that the international community will co-operate constructively so that the United Nations may regain credibility and prove itself able to play a positive political role in the solution of the complicated international problems in the world, including the Palestinian problem.

"Signed, Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation organization."

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call upon the President of the Security Council.

Mr. WOOLCOTT (Australia), President of the Security Council: Let me first thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the invitation extended to me as current President of the Security Council to participate in these special meetings being held today to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The annual observance of this Day is not only a measure of the international community's deep concern for the Palestinian people, but also a reflection of its recognition that a just solution to the Palestinian problem is of overriding importance in the striving for a lasting settlement to the Middle East question.

We are all aware that the situation in the Middle East is a very serious one. It not only vitally affects the stability of the region, but could have potential consequences far beyond the region of the Middle East. Despite the great efforts that have been made to find a just and lasting solution to the problem, it continues to be one of the most intractable issues facing the international community

The Security Council has been closely associated with the efforts aimed at achieving a just and lasting settlement of the complex issues involved in the Middle East conflict. The Council has been called upon many times to direct its attention to the repeated major crises engendered by the conflict and by their lasting consequences.

Guided by its responsibilities under the Charter, the Security Council will continue its efforts to seek a just and lasting peace in the Middle East for the benefit of all parties concerned, including the Palestinian people.

Before concluding, I should like personally to acknowledge the work carried out by the Committee on the Exercise of the inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People under the wise, outstanding and dedicated leadership of our friend Ambassador Massamba Sarre, Permanent Representative of Senegal.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call upon the Chairman of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the. Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, His Excellency Mr. Abdul Koroma of Sierra Leone.

Mr. Koroma (Sierra Leone), Chairman of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (Special Committee of 24): On behalf of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, I wish to thank you, Sir, and the other members of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for inviting me once again to take part in the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Since 1978 we have annually observed this Day in order to focus the attention Of the international community on the plight of the Palestinian people, to give maximum exposure to the legitimacy of their cause and to reaffirm in solemnity their inalienable right to a country of their own. This day of solidarity symbolizes the commitment of the United Nations to the Palestinian cause, for it represents the reaffirmation of a fundamental responsibility of our Organization to seek a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian problem.

Our meeting here today also emphasizes once again the recognition by the international community that no durable solution to the Middle East question can be found outside a just solution of the Palestinian problem. Indeed, an acceptable settlement of this issue is condition sine qua non of stability and peace in the Middle East - which, in turn, is a necessity for the peace and security of the world.

It Is therefore more than ever necessary that we take up this challenge with renewed vigour and commitment. Without prejudice to the divergent interests involved, certain basic principles and convictions must prevail. Among them are: first, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force; secondly, the right of every State to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries; thirdly but no less important - the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right, if they choose, to independence and the possibility of their own independent State.

Members of the Special Committee of 24 attach great significance to the mobilization of international public opinion in favour of the attainment of the objectives of the United Nations on the question of self-determination for all people under alien or colonial domination. Tie are profoundly aware of the power of an alert and informed world public opinion in the struggle against injustice, oppression and alien and colonial domination. I am confident, therefore, that our meeting today will serve not only as a reminder to the Organization that it must redouble its efforts to find a just solution to the question of Palestine, but also as a clear message to the world at large in solidarity with, and support for, the cause of the Palestinian people. In so doing, we shall be serving the cause of justice and peace.

Before concluding, I should like to acknowledge with appreciation and esteem the very important work accomplished by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under the outstanding and indefatigable leadership of its Chairman, my good friend Ambassador Massamba Sarre Of Senegal. In keeping with the relevant decisions of the General Assembly, it 1 9 incumbent on all of us to work closely and co-operate fully with the Committee in the discharge of its tasks, to enable the Palestinian people freely to decide its destiny in accordance with its own aspirations and wishes. Only then will. the injustice imposed upon it for so long be brought to an end and the special obligation assumed by the United Nations in 1947 finally be fulfilled.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call on the Acting President of the United Nations Council for Namibia, Mr. Noel Sinclair of Guyana.

Mr. SINCLAIR (Guyana), Acting President of the United Nations Council for Namibia The Council for Namibia expresses its gratitude for this opportunity to reiterate its firm solidarity with the Palestinian people.

These commemorative meetings take place against the background not only of the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, but of intensified efforts to consolidate the occupation of Palestine homelands and to make the dispossession of the Palestinians permanent. Those actions by the occupying Power are not only a gross violation of the basic principles of international law, but also constitute an affront to, and a deliberate desecration of, those sacred principles on which the United Nations was built.

The Council for Namibia, as legal Administering Authority for occupied Namibia, views these developments from a particular perspective. We are engaged In an intense effort to bring an end to the illegal occupation of Namibia by the racist Pretoria regime so that the Namibian people may be enabled to enjoy its inalienable right to freedom in an independent Namibia. We therefore well understand the plight of the Palestinian people, and fully identify with its struggle.

We pay public and well-deserved tribute to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people, under your wise and committed chairmanship, Sir, for its increasing vigilance on behalf of the Palestinian people., and its dedication to the promotion of its rights.

I recall the recent Eleventh United Nations seminar on the Question of Palestine, held in Guyana in June this year, over which you your self so efficiently presided, Mr. Chairman. That event was an important contribution to sensitizing public opinion in the Latin American and Caribbean region to the various aspects of the Palestinian question and to the need for intensified international pressure in support-of the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, including its right to its own independent State.

One of the most significant decisions by the United Nations towards ensuring the achievement by the Palestinian people of its fundamental rights was that taken in General Assembly resolution 38/58 calling for the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The tense situation prevailing in that region and related events, such as Israel's aggression against Tunisia, underscore the grave threat to international peace and security which exists in that region and the urgent need for such a conference.

The idea of convening a peace conference has already received the endorsement of an overwhelming majority of the international community. in the course of this year alone, gatherings such as the fifty-seventh meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Ten States Members of the European Economic Community, held in Luxembourg in April, the Twenty-first Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State or Government of the organization of African Unity (OAU), which met in Addis Ababa in July, the Conference of Foreign Ministers of Non-Aligned Countries, held in Luanda in September, and the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government, held in Nassau last month, have all voiced their heightened concern over the situation in the Middle East and the need for urgent and concrete action through the proposed peace conference.

The current stalemate does not - it cannot - serve the interests of the Palestinian people, the satisfaction of whose rights to the core and centre-piece of the Middle East question. It therefore does not serve the cause of peace in the Middle East. That is perhaps the beat argument for the international peace conference called for by the General Assembly, and the Council for Namibia reiterates its fervent support for the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to make a reality of that decision.

The Council hopes that this solemn occasion, which is being observed internationally, will be one for more than expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people. We sincerely hope that It will also serve the even more important purpose of stimulating a deeper commitment by States throughout the world to intensified action in support of the enjoyment by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights. That is an imperative not only of peace and stability in the Middle East, but also of law, justice and human dignity.

I should now like to read out a message of solidarity that I received today from the President of the Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Mr. Hugh Desmond Hoyte. The message, addressed to the Secretary-General, read* as follows:

"Today, which we celebrate as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, reflects the groundswell of international concern in favour of the urgent restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. This Day is symbolic of the international community's firm and unambiguous rejection of Israel's continued intransigence and persistently aggressive, brutal and inhuman actions aimed at further denying the Palestinian people their basic rights, including the right to their own homeland.

"Guyana is not among those who pay lip-service to the Palestinian cause. The hosting last June of the Eleventh United Nations Regional Seminar on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in our capital, Georgetown, provides some testimony to our forthright commitment to helping the Palestinians reach their goal of establishing for themselves a free and independent homeland. In this quest Guyana lauds the efforts of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in its paramount role as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

"The Palestinian struggle for self-determination is inseparable from that very complex collection of issues known as 'the Middle East question'. In this context, therefore, Guyana sees attempts at imposing military solutions as unrepresentative, ineffective and unacceptable. This steadfast position has long been maintained by the non-aligned group of nations and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

"The Palestine question remains at the core of the Middle East situation. In this vein Guyana supports an international peace conference on the Middle East which would include the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the authentic representative of the Palestinian people.

"On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People Guyana reaffirms its uncompromising support for the just and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians to live a settled life in their own sovereign State. Until these have been achieved, Guyana will remain linked with those of the international community who continue to be forthright and unequivocal in their support for the restoration of the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call on the Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid, Major-General Garba of Nigeria.

Mr. GARBA (Nigeria), Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid: Allow me first of all, on behalf of the Special Committee against Apartheid and on my own behalf, to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the other members of the Committee for inviting me to participate in this important and solemn meeting. The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People every year is a reflection of the deep concern of the international. community over the problem of Palestine as the core of the Middle East conflict. on this solemn occasion the Special Committee against Apartheid notes with deep regret that the Palestinian people are still denied their inalienable right to self-determination and that tensions in the Middle East have escalated further. This situation has been brought about by Israel's expansionist policy and its relentless oppression of the Palestinian people in order to usurp their fundamental rights. In this policy of continued provocations and intransigence, Israel has defied and continues to defy the will of the international con unity and flouts international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.

It is tragic to note that for 40 years the people of Palestine have been denied their rights and the issue continues to torment the conscience of the international community. Not only have the long-suffering people of Palestine remained homeless, but they have also been subjected to continuous harassment, deportation, massacre and inhuman treatment.

The injustice being perpetrated on the Palestinian people should not be allowed to continue nor should the international community remain a passive observer in the face of Israel's flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people. They must, without further delay, be allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and to establish an independent State in their homeland.

The Israeli occupation authorities have been following policies designed to suppress and humiliate the Palestinians in the occupied territories, to dispossess them, and to break and crush their national identity and aspirations. These include deportation, torture of detainees, mass arrests, collective punishment, arbitrary killing of civilians, among them children, humiliation and degradation of Palestinians in their daily life.

Palestinian trade unionists have been frequently subjected to harassment, imprisonment and torture, and their legitimate activities have been curtailed. Indeed, the right of free movement within the occupied territories is subject to the arbitrary will of the occupation authorities who impose administrative decrees confining them to their homes, villages and towns. The lives of whole communities have therefore become intolerable. in the recent past the Israelis, backed by their Western supporters, have in spite of international outcry, stepped up their diabolical actions.

The questions of Palestine and apartheid are of the gravest concern-to the international community. Both problems emanate from the denial of the right to self-determination to the peoples concerned. Regrettably, all attempts made so far to bring about a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as to put an end to apartheid, have failed. The international community has clearly stated that any viable solution must recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to return to their homes and to establish their own independent State in Palestine. The right to self-determination is a necessary pre-condition for the attainment of all other human rights which are attainable and derive meaning only within the context of national sovereignty and a national State.

Conversely, the denial of the right to self-determination with the attendant subjugation of a people to alien and discriminatory rule is the most fundamental violation of all its rights. This denial is as much the lot of Palestinians as of Africans in South Africa.

The tragedy of the Palestinians and of Africans in South Africa is essentially the same Each year the special Committee against Apartheid submits a special report to the General Assembly and the Security Council on developments concerning relations between Israel and South Africa. That report points out clearly the nature of the alliance between those two regimes; in particular it shows the quantum increase of Israeli assistance to South Africa in the military and nuclear fields which has become a serious obstacle to United Nations efforts to enforce the arms embargo against apartheid South Africa. Other acts of collaboration exist between those two pariah regimes.

..The concern of the Special Committee against Apartheid at the collaboration between those two regimes stems from the fact that it constitutes an alliance which is detrimental to the interests of African and Arab peoples. The General Assembly has repeatedly called for the cessation of that diabolical alliance.

South Africa, Namibia and Palestine are questions that have appeared on the agenda of the United Nations from its inception. It is a blot on the record of this organization that these crucial problems remain unresolved today.

I take this opportunity to reaffirm, on behalf of the Special Committee against Apartheid, our support for the Palestinian people and their heroic struggle to regain their inalienable rights, under the leadership of their sole legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

On this Day we also pay tribute to those fallen heroes victims of the oppressive forces of Israel and South Africa. They have paid the supreme sacrifice to demonstrate that aggression and terrorism cannot triumph over a people's determination and resolve to win eventual victory.

We in the Special Committee against Apartheid are convinced that, although the valiant struggle of the Palestinian and South African peoples will be difficult, we have no doubt of the eventual outcome.

We appeal to the international community to continue to provide moral# diplomatic and material support to the struggling peoples of Palestine and South Africa. We also call on the Western Powers which continue to support South Africa and Israel to change their policies and support the cause of justice and freedom.

Let me pay a tribute, Mr. Chairman, to this Committee and to you personally for the determination and commitment you have brought to the execution of your mandate. I wish you all success.

I wish to take this opportunity to read out a message from my Read of State, Major-General Ibrahim Babangida, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian armed forces. The message is addressed to the Secretary-General on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and reads as follows:

"On this solemn occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I seize this opportunity on behalf of the Government and the people of Nigeria to convey my sincere and hearty greetings to the Palestinian people. My Government strongly holds the view that continued occupation of Arab territories by Israel not only is a flagrant challenge to the international community but also constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security. There is no shadow of a doubt that a just and equitable peace in the Middle East cannot ignore the aspirations and rights of the Palestinians. We therefore reaffirm our support for a peace that must recognize their inalienable right to self-determination and their right to return to their homeland and to establish an independent State of their own in Palestine.

We in Nigeria deplore the continuing Israeli denial of those legitimate rights, which constitutes the core of the Middle East problem. We also firmly deplore the systematic expropriation of Arab lands, designed to annex the occupied territories on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in persistent defiance of resolutions of the United Nations.

"I further seize this opportunity to reassure the Palestinian people that Nigeria will continue to exert the utmost efforts in the international community aimed at achieving a comprehensive, just and equitable solution of the Middle East problem which will restore and guarantee their sovereign rights. We are convinced that time and justice are on the side of the Palestinian people.

Once again, on behalf of the Government and the people of Nigeria, I pledge Nigeria's unflinching and continued support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to establish a homeland in Palestine where they can live In peace with their neighbours within secure borders."

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call next on His Excellency Mr. Nissanka Wijewardane of Sri Lanka, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.

Mr. WIJDMRDANE (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories: on behalf of my two colleagues of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories and on my own behalf, I have the honour to address this Committee on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Since its establishment in December 1968, the Special Committee has had the task of preparing and submitting to the General Assembly a total of 17 reports in accordance with the General Assembly's resolutions renewing the Special Committee's mandate. In its report, the Special Committee At tempts to describe the situation regarding the human rights of the civilian population.

I regret to have to say that since the inception of the Special Committee the Government of Israel has withheld its co-operation from the Special Committee in the execution of its mandate. Representatives are no doubt aware that over the years tension in the occupied territories has been on the increase) it is our view that we could contribute to alleviating some of the tension if we had the opportunity to visit the occupied territories to ascertain the facts, on the ground so to speak.

As we gather here to commemorate this Day, the people in the occupied

territories are living in a situation of unprecedented tension. Violence has increased and curfews have been imposed in towns, villages and camps. The daily deterioration of the situation of civilians manifests itself on different levels and standards. Their life is largely affected not only by their inability to exercise the most fundamental rights but also by the absence of the factors necessary for the promotion of health care and the improvement of working conditions.

Representatives are no doubt aware that the aggravation of the situation in the occupied areas constantly gives rise to incidents and situations involving civilians, including young persons, leading to unhappy and ugly situations in which the civilian population gets involved. Such incidents are visited with severe measures and reprisals; we now know that individuals are even expelled without having an opportunity to defend their innocence in an impartial and fair trial.

The Israeli settlers - who number over 50,000 according to information the Special Committee has received - are dispersed in over 230 settlements and constitute a major obstacle in the search for and negotiation of peace in the region. Their presence has led to an escalation of violence against the civilian population. It is unfortunate that the occupying authorities have not met this violence with commensurate measures. If such a policy were followed, we believe that the escalation of violence on this score could be contained.

The disastrous effects of military occupation are not limited to Palestinians inhabiting the occupied territories, but extend to those several hundreds of thousands of landless Palestinians scattered all over the world who have been denied the right to return to their homeland. In that context, it is regrettable to have to say that the persistence and stubbornness of the Israeli authorities in the application of the illegal military occupation regime and the deliberate intention to engage in annexation can lead only to more and more suffering and a more and more drastic fate for the population of the occupied territories.

We therefore strongly appeal to the international community to assume its responsibility vis-a-vis the Palestinian civilian population and to remain constant in its encouragement of any international move which could lead-to an international dialogue involving all parties concerned. The time has come to contribute in a concrete manner to alleviate the heavy and painful impact of the military occupation by finding a just and peaceful solution to it in the form of realization Of the Palestinian people's aspirations to self-determination.

I wish now to read out a message from the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency J.R. Jayewardene. The message reads as follows:

"The decision to commemorate 29 November as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People draws the immediate attention of the entire international community to the plight of a people which has been deprived of a basic human right that the Charter of the United Nations commits it to uphold. The international community has, time and again, upheld the right of that people to self-determination and its right to return to its homeland as central, cardinal principles without which the Palestinian people cannot express themselves.

"My Government continues to support the cause of the Palestinian people and endorses very firmly the view we share with the rest of the international community, that unless these conditions are met there can be no prospect of establishing a just, stable and lasting peace in the Middle East. I have noted with concern that despite resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly, the Palestinian people have found no solace so far, and continue to find themselves in ever growing desperation because of untold misery and hardship.

"My Government therefore recognizes that the international community must us come forward meaningfully in support of the Palestinian people. we have to, recognize that the Palestine Liberation Organization is, by virtue of its position, the sole representative of the Palestinian people and that any meaningful steps towards the solution of the Palestinian question must take into account the existence of that organization as the one and only representative of the Palestinian people that can speak on its behalf.

"As far as my Government is concerned, we have recognized the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization and accorded its as early as 1982, full diplomatic recognition. It is in this spirit that I urge, on this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, that the international community affirm unequivocally that the Palestinian question must be settled, taking into consideration the fact that continuance of the situation serves only to destabilize the region and delays the return to peace and normalcy in the Middle East.

"Regional peace in the Middle East would strengthen vastly the confidence and security the international community seeks in its relations."

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call on the Permanent Representative of India, Mr. Natarajan Krishnan, representative of the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. KRISHNAN (India): At the outset, I wish to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the invitation extended to me, as the representative of the Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, to participate in the special meetings held to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I should like to begin by reading out the following message sent on this occasion by His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India and Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement:

"The struggle of the Palestinian people is a just struggle for freedom. The people of Palestine have an inalienable right to self-determination. A permanent, durable peace in the Middle East will not be possible until the people of Palestine secure a State of their own in their national homeland. On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, India reaffirms its unequivocal and unflinching support for the people of Palestine and their sole and legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

"Right from the time of the first Non-Aligned Summit, held in Belgrade in 1961, the question of Palestine has been at the forefront of the deliberations and activities of the Non-Aligned Movement. The non-aligned countries have consistently advocated a comprehensive solution of the question of Palestine, the core of the Middle East problem, and the root cause of the Arab Israeli conflict. it is on the initiative of the non-aligned countries that the majority of the United Nations resolutions on the subject have been adopted. In past years the non-aligned countries have been particularly active in mobilizing international support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinians and against Israel's actions in the occupied territories and its invasion of Lebanon. The non-aligned countries have reaffirmed their firm opposition to those Israeli practices and policies in the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories and called for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. indeed, the support of the Non-Aligned Movement for the just Palestinian cause and the solidarity of the non-aligned countries with the Palestinian people have been firm, continuous all unwavering, and there is an overwhelming consensus within the Movement on the basic principles pertaining to Palestine and West Asia. The Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Countries, meeting in New Delhi in March 1983, had the opportunity to re-examine exhaustively the question of Palestine. They affirmed in their Political Declaration: a just and durable peace in the Middle East cannot be established without the total and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by it since 1967, including Jerusalem, and without the achievement of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the attainment and exercise in Palestine of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return, self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty, including the right to establish the Palestinian Independent State in its homeland, Palestine." (A/38/132, p. 25) The Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Countries, held in Luanda, Angola, in September this year, reaffirmed those fundamental principles. Further, the Ministers reiterated their call for the speedy implementation of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, and stressed anew the necessity for the early convening of the international Peace Conference on the Middle East, emphasizing the major responsibility shouldered by the Security Council in facilitating the, convening of the Conference and providing the appropriate institutional arrangements to guarantee implementation of the expected agreements in the Peace Conference. They stressed that every encouragement and support should be extended to the United Nations Secretary-General to pursue his consultations and endeavours for the convening of the Conference. The Ministers also decided to call for a meeting of the Security Council to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, during the early part of the fortieth session of the General Assembly.

In pursuance of the decision taken at the Luanda Ministerial Conference, the Security council met at the request of the non-aligned countries early in October to consider the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine. Almost all speakers, many of them at ministerial level, stressed the urgent need to find a just and comprehensive political settlement of the Middle East conflict, and, focused on the basic issue of securing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. A comprehensive consideration of the question by the I Security Council will contribute towards overcoming the major obstacles that stand in the way of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the problem.

It will be recalled that the New Delhi Summit decided to set up a Committee of Eight at the level of Heads of State or Government to support the rights of the Arab Palestinian people, in accordance with international law and the will of the non-aligned countries and their peoples, with the specific objective of working to achieve a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its right to freedom and sovereignty in its independent homeland. The Committee of Eight at the level of Ministers and senior officials has held several meetings and has addressed itself to the efforts that should be made in the light of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the region.

The Committee met at the ministerial level recently, on 30 September this year when it decided to continue actively its efforts to mobilize all the available. means with a view to realizing the implementation of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C to ensure the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in which all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict would be invited to participate, including the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), the sole and. legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

If I have gone into the activities of the Non-Aligned Movement in support of the Palestinian cause at some length, it is to emphazize that support for, and solidarity with, our Palestinian brothers and sisters has been a fundamental feature of our Movement.

I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in its search for a Just solution to the question of Palestine. The Committee's contribution in that regard has been significant. The programme of implementation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people drawn up by the Committee has repeatedly been endorsed by the General Assembly with large majorities. The efforts of the committee for the early convening of the Peace Conference and to mobilize public support for the Palestinian cause have been untiring. No doubt much of the credit goes to the diligent efforts of the Committee's Chairman - you yourself, Mr. Chairman - and the Secretariat that so ably supports you.

The annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is a time for stocktaking and reflection. our meeting this year coincides with the commemoration of the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations. The question of Palestine has reached a critical stage, which does not brook delay. We hope that all the parties concerned will display the necessary political will and redouble their efforts with a view to finding a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the problem.

India's sympathy with, and support for, the Palestinian Arabs has been a consistent part of its foreign policy since its very inception. The struggle may be long and arduous, but we have no doubt that the ultimate victory will be theirs. Let this historic occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People inspire us all to rededicate ourselves to the Palestinian cause, which is undoubtedly our own. our voice will be one with theirs till victory is won.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call now on the current Chairman of the Group of Arab States, Mr. Rajab A. Azzarouk of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Mr. AZZAROUK (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (interpretation from Arabic): My delegation is honoured to be speaking on behalf of the Group of Arab States as the Group's Chairman for the current month.

The annual commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian-People symbolizes the international community's increasingly firm belief in the legitimacy of the Palestinian people's struggle, in the justice of its cause, and in its right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State on the whole of its national Soil. This International Day is a clear reflection of the moral and political commitment of the international community to support the Palestinian people's struggle for survival in the face of threats of annihilation and its defence of its cause in the face of threats of liquidation.

All that reflects the facts of the conflict in the region. The primary fact is that the question of Palestine is at the core of the Middle East conflict and that peace and stability in the region cannot be achieved without a just and lasting solution of the question of the Palestinian people taking account of the inalienable rights of that people.

For 16 years, the Zionist entity has persistently refused to recognize the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories or to grant it access to the occupied territories. Its refusal to co-operate is part of an attempt to hide Israeli Zionist practices in the occupied Arab territories, which are in flagrant violation Of international conventions and rules.

There is no precedent either in ancient or in modern history for the events in Palestine, apart from the events in South Africa, where another racist regime bases itself upon the same racist ideological foundations employed by the racist entity in Palestine. Zionist ideology Is founded upon notions of exclusivity and supremacy based on religious myths and myths concerning "racial purity"; the theories of exclusivity of the racist regime in South Africa are based on race and colour. The victims of those two naive theories are the indigenous populations, who are the true title-holders to their lands and resources. Those two systems pursue policies of terror and annihilation against the indigenous populations in order to force them to emigrate and to depopulate the land.

These are the two most abhorrent racist movements in history. Despite. unanimous international condemnation, there are still those who stand by their side and protect them. Today more than ever before, the international community must engage in concerted effort and stand by the Palestinian people and its just struggle. The international solidarity with the people of Palestine genuinely reflects world-wide opposition to racist, aggressive Israeli actions and practices, and constitutes an indirect condemnation of all support to the Zionist entity. Such support can do nothing but ensure the military supremacy of the Zionist entity and encourage it to persist in its rejection of United Nations resolutions and its defiance of the will of the international community.

International support for and solidarity with the people of Palestine reflect clear condemnation of the positions of all those whose deeds do not match their words, who pay lip-service to the right of peoples to self-determination and to self-defence, but who remain silent as regards the Palestinian people's right to self-determination and to defend its very existence.

International solidarity and sympathy with the Palestinian people, with all they imply, reflect the concern of the international community that the basic principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights be safeguarded.

We express our deep appreciation for the efforts of the Committee on the Exercise of the inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and commend that Committee's work to arouse the world's conscience, to strengthen the links Of international solidarity and to expose the truth about the Zionist policies and practices of the Zionist entity. We are confident that the Committee's efforts will be successful and that world public opinion will be awakened to the justice of the Palestinian cause and the legitimacy of the demands of the Palestinian people and its right to defend that cause and prosecute those demands by all means available to it.

If declarations of solidarity with the Palestinian people were to become a burgeoning reality, we would be all the closer to the day when the Palestinian people will win victory and achieve all its legitimate aspirations.

There is no need to stress again that the question of Palestinian refugees is but one element of the Palestinian problem. To be sure, the question of Palestine cannot be resolved without addressing the refugee problem, but neither can there he a Just and lasting solution to the refugee problem without resolution of the question of Palestine.

The question of Palestine is a question of a people displaced from its homeland by force and terror, a people whose lands have been usurped by force and aggression, a people stripped of its rights by treachery and force. That question can be solved only through recognition of the legitimate inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among them its rights to return to its homeland, to self-determination, to independence, and to the establishment of a State of its own on its national soil. Any narrow attempt to view the question of Palestine as a refugee problem will be doomed to failure and an exercise in futility. History has already handed down its verdict on similar attempts, likewise doomed to failure owing to a lack of understanding and analysis. That will be the fate of any further attempt along the same lines, no matter how it is disguised, no matter the intentions behind it.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call on the current Chairman of the Group of African States, His Excellency Mr. Rameschand Seereekisoon.

Mr. SEEREEKISSOON (Mauritius): I should like to thank the Chairman of the committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for according me the honour and privilege of addressing this special meeting in my capacity as Chairman of the Group of African States.

Eleven years ago Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation organization (PLO), declared from the podium of the General Assembly:

"I know well that many of you present here today once stood in exactly the same resistance position as I now occupy and from which I must fight. You once had to convert dreams into reality by your struggle. Therefore you must now share my dream." (A/PV.2282, p.46)

We are gathered today to declare solemnly that we do indeed share this dream and to pledge our support for the realization of the Palestinian people's dream of returning to its homeland to establish national independent sovereignty over its own land and to live in peace with its neighbours - Christians and Jews.

The ties of solidarity between the Palestinian and African peoples are naturally rooted in their common struggle against foreign occupiers. Today, while most of Africa is free and independent, millions of Africans in Namibia and south Africa still live in bondage, and their continuing struggle against the Pretoria regime and its Israeli ally.

The question of Palestine, like that of Namibia and apartheid, remains one of the enduring and tragic anomalies and anachronisms of our times. In spite of a clear universal recognition of the problem, justice has continued to elude the Palestinian people. The problem of Palestine is universally accepted to be the core of the Middle East conflict. The Palestinian issue is the seed-of the Middle East dispute, which has led to four major wars and to a constant threat to world peace. The world community has now recognized that the Palestinian problem can be settled only with the full exercise of the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people as recognized by the United Nations. A solution to the question can be found only within the framework of a comprehensive settlement based on the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all territories occupied since 1967. The great majority of Member States of the United Nations have recognized that the issue of the Palestinian people must be solved if peace is to return to the Middle East. The Ministers of the Non-Aligned movement meeting in Luanda last September declared that *a just and comprehensive peace in the region can be based only on Israel's total and unconditional withdrawal from all the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories and the restoration of all inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to return to their homeland, the right to self-determination without foreign intervention and the right to establish their own independent sovereign State on their national territory." A/40/854, para. 138) The Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) meeting in Addis Ababa in July declared that a just and lasting peace can only be achieved when the people of Palestine exercise their inalienable rights, in particular their right to return to their homeland, the recovery of national sovereignty, their right to self-determination and their right to establish an independent State on their territory".

Both meetings renewed support for the Arab Peace Plan accepted at the Twelfth Arab Summit, held at Fez on 9 December 1982, as an important contribution to the search for a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict.

Within the framework of the United Nations, which has been dealing with the Palestinian issue almost since its inception, countless resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council have failed to secure any progress towards justice for the Palestinian people. On the contrary, Israel has demonstrated nothing but contempt for the numerous United Nations resolutions and defiance of world opinion, and it is clear that it is the intransigence of Israel that has made a just and durable solution of the problem impossible.

Israel has rejected recognition by the General Assembly that the people of Palestine are entitled to equal rights and self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. It has ignored Security Council requests to evacuate occupied territories acquired by force. Instead, it has persisted in violating the Fourth Geneva Convention through the establishment of new settlements in the illegally occupied territories. It continues to harass the Arab inhabitants of the occupied territories and to pursue policies clearly intended to lead to annexation. That these colonial policies are being pursued at a time when the world is completing the decolonization process is truly an absurd anachronism. The Israeli policy of settlements has led to major displacements and dispossession of Palestinians, adding to the ever-growing number of refugees with all the attendant consequences.

In the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East nobody is suggesting any solution that would repeat the type of human tragedy created in Palestine by the aggressive policy of displacement and dispossession. It is not intended, as it is sometimes alleged, to push any people into the sea or to send them back where they came-from. Retributive justice to problems having human dimensions would be as cruel and inhuman as the crime that was committed several decades ago. Indeed, no one has put forth such a proposal certainly not the Palestine Liberation organization. What is sought is that Palestinians should have their homeland where they can live in honour and dignity.

Any solution of the problem must be based on recognition that the question of Palestine is first and foremost a problem of colonialism. Secondly, it is an issue brought about by the aggressiveness of one entity at the expense of another. Thirdly, it is an issue based on the dangerous doctrine of aggression against a neighbouring country.

In the discussion of any solution, the Palestine Liberation organization, the sole representative of the Palestinian people, must be accorded equal-partner status, as has been recognized by the United Nations. The convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, which was last called for by the recent International Conference on the Question of Palestine held at Geneva and which has been called for too in General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, should be held without delay, with the participation of all parties concerned.

The Secretary-General stated in his 1982 report on the work of the organization that:

"It is absolutely essential that serious negotiations on the various aspects of that problem involve all the parties concerned at the earliest possible time. Far too much time has already elapsed, far too many lives and far too many opportunities have been lost, and too many faits accomplis have been created." (A/37/1, p. 4)

With time running out, the annexationist and colonialist policies pursued by Israel are making the situation in the occupied territories more and more tense and dangerous. concerted action is long overdue to persuade the supporters of Israel to induce it to respond to relevant United Nations decisions and to the will of the international community on the question of Palestine.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call next on the current Chairman of the Group of Asian States, His Excellency Mr. Birabhongse Kasemari of Thailand.

Mr. KASEMSRI (Thailand): On behalf of the Group of Asian States, as well as on my own behalf, I have the honour to pay a tribute to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the other Committee officers on the occasion of the International Day of Thailand) Solidarity with the Palestinian People. we need this solemn occasion to remind the world of the serious plight of the Palestinian people, whose suffering, hardship and anguish continue unabated.

In spite of the incessant efforts of the United Nations over the past three decades to find a just and lasting solution to the problem, the question of Palestine remains unresolved. Rather we have of late been hearing about the deteriorating situation in the Middle East and the worsening plight of the Palestinian people. In that regard, I wish to express the common concern of the countries in the Asian group at the ongoing tragedy in the middle East and their shared frustration over the lack of progress towards a political settlement.

Peace in the Middle East is long overdue. A lasting peace in that region can be achieved only when the Palestinian question, the core issue of the middle East conflict, is settled on the basis of United Nations resolutions, particularly Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

In that connection, we firmly support the legitimate inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to establish an independent State.

The Asian Group is convinced that, as a first step towards a peaceful negotiated settlement, the political will of interested parties must be strengthened. The convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 38/58 C and 39/49 D, would enable the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), to come together on an equal footing and to begin the multilateral negotiating process. We have witnessed enough hesitation and procrastination, which have blocked much-needed political breakthrough to help reduce tension in the region. It is time to end the bloodshed and to look forward to a just and lasting peace.

In observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year - the fortieth anniversary of the founding of this organization I we the members of the Asian Group hope that the ongoing constructive efforts aimed at resolving the question of Palestine will be strengthened and pursued further in a most determined manner, so that peace and stability may be restored to the Middle East.

I should like to take this opportunity to read out a message from His Excellency General Prime Tinsulanonda, Prime Minister of Thailand, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The message reads as follows:

"As we commemorate this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, I should like to reiterate on behalf of my Government and the people of Thailand our deep sympathy and firm support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people aimed at transforming the concepts of freedom, independence and self-determination into political realities. indeed, the Royal Thai Government shares the view of the international community as a whole that a lasting peace in the Middle East, which is vital to world peace and security, cannot be achieved while the Palestinian question remains unresolved.

"Thailand opposes any act contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and international law we therefore reject the use of force by any State as a means of imposing its will on others, and support the legitimate demand that the Arab territories occupied since 1967 be returned. "Any comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the problem must be based on the relevant United Nations resolutions. The Palestinian people must be allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.

"Since its inception in 1975 in accordance with General Assembly resolution 33/76, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has zealously devoted itself to finding a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian problem. Apart from the intrinsic value of the Committee's reports, the fact that the Committee continues to perform its functions with dedication demonstrates the need for continued support by the international community.

"The Royal Thai Government would like to urge all parties concerned to revitalize the peace process so that a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian problem can be achieved. The settlement must encompass the legitimate rights and aspirations of all concerned parties. To that end, a climate of confidence and understanding and a true spirit of compromise among all parties must be nurtured and enhanced.

"In expressing my Government's full support for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, I cannot help but recall that there are peoples elsewhere, in Asia and in Africa, which continue to be the victims of foreign aggression and occupation. They too deserve the sympathy and support of the international community."

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call on Mr. Oleg Troyanovsky, Permanent Representative of the union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the United Nations and current Chairman of the Group of Eastern European States.

Mr. TROYANOVSKY (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic)(interpretation from Russian): Allow me at the outset to express my gratitude for being given the opportunity to speak at this special meeting of the Committee in observance of the international Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The United Nations has taken many useful decisions in support of the Arab people of Palestine and it has become a tradition in the United Nations solemnly to observe this Day in solidarity with the courageous struggle of the Palestinians for their freedom and national dignity. A particular place among those decisions falls to the basic resolutions of the General Assembly that have affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination free of foreign intervention, to national independence and to sovereignty; while the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), is recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Those decisions have meant growing support by the international community for the courageous struggle of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.

The Committee's annual observance of this Day is aimed at concentrating Attention on the tragic lot of the Palestinian people and stressing the international community's deep concern at the fact that, owing to Israel and the forces supporting it, the national aspirations of the Palestinian people still remain unfulfilled today. It is clear to any impartial observer that Israel's occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands for many years and its obstinate refusal to recognize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are the main obstacles to resolving the Middle East problem.

Nevertheless, we can note with satisfaction that the overwhelming majority of the States in the world are convinced that the Palestinian problem is at the core of the conflict in the Middle East and that without restoration of the inalienable rights of the Palestinians there can be no just and lasting peace in that region. There is also broad international agreement that the only realistic way to achieve comprehensive settlement of the Middle East question is to convene without delay an international conference with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the PLO, and several other countries, among them the Soviet Union and the United States. Those considerations are the source and basis of the constant position of the countries of the socialist community, which firmly support the just cause of the Palestinian people, actively defend and advocate, within and outside the United Nations, the need for a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict. This position of the socialist countries was reaffirmed once again in the Declaration of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, adopted at its recent Conference in Sofia on 22-23 October 1985, which states the following;

"The participants in the meeting voiced their firm conviction that a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem can be achieved only through the collective efforts of all the parties concerned on the basis of a complete withdrawal of the Israeli forces from all Arab territories occupied since 1967, implementation of the legitimate rights of the Arab people of Palestine, including its right to self-determination and to the establishment of an independent State of its own, and guarantees for the right of all States in that region to independent existence and development. An international conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices and with the participation of all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, would be a practical course to follow. The. strengthening of the unity of the Arab countries and the Palestinian movement would be conducive to a settlement of the Middle East problems." (A/C.1/40/-7, pp. 9 and 10) We reaffirm our solidarity with the courageous struggle of the Palestinian people and our confidence in the ultimate triumph of their just cause. In conclusion, speaking as representative of the Soviet Union, I should like to read out the following greetings from the Soviet Government on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People:

"On behalf of the Soviet people, we express our feelings of sincere solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for the implementation of their inalienable rights and a comprehensive and truly just settlement in the Middle East, and against the policy of separate deals. We are certain that imperialism and Zionism will not succeed either by political machinations or methods of intimidation and repression in forcing the Palestinian people to abandon their struggle for genuine national self-determination and the establishment of their own independent State.

"The triumph of the just cause of the Palestinians is ensured by their unity and solidarity and the concordance of their actions with those of all anti-imperialist forces in the Arab world. That message was sent-by the Council of Ministers of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic of Moscow, 29 November 1985.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call on Mr. Gustavo Garcia Moreno of Colombia, who will speak on behalf of the Group of Latin American States.

Mr. GARCIA MORBWO, (Colombia) (interpretation from Spanish): The fact that Colombia is Chairman of the Latin American Group for the month of November gives me an opportunity to speak in this solemn meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and to reaffirm the Latin American Group's association with the commemoration of this Day. For us, peoples that cherish peace and justice, this observance is an act of genuine solidarity with this noble cause.

From the beginning of the Palestinian tragedy, nearly 40 years ago, Latin America has identified with the aspirations, sufferings and misfortunes of the brave and long-suffering Palestinian people. And it could not be otherwise, for religion, race and culture form consubstantial parts of our own Latin American identity. It is not by chance that our rich Castillian language has been enriched by 8,000 beautiful, melodious and often metaphorical Arabic words and expressions and that our architecture shows not a few reminiscences of Arab influence in a multitude of friezes, plinths and pediments. Nor is it surprising that in our Mestizo veins flows Moorish blood, the fruit of the splendid coexistence in Iberia that goes back practically 10000 years.

For all those reasons, we have from the very beginning been at the side of Palestine and Its people.

Since 1948, the year in which the State of Israel was created the United Nations has been trying - without success to implement the resolution that created two States on Palestinian land, one for Israel and one for Palestine. Since that time, the Middle East has been devastated by five wars and that rich and promising land has been darkened by much suffering, destruction and despair as a result of that conflict, a conflict that must be resolved because its continuation undermines the very raison d'etre of our organization.

Nonetheless, that solution can be durable. and comprehensive only if the Palestinian people are allowed to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination, national identity, full sovereignty and, lastly, to their own State so that the thousands of Palestinians who today painfully and tragically displaced may return to their Biblical haven and there build the future in freedom and peace, in full harmony with their neighbours in mutual respect and international coexistence.

All of Latin America has voted and will continue to vote for that solution, Particularly as set forth in the framework of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

We must point out the contribution that has been and is still being made by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and its diligent efforts, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Massamba Sarre, to find a Just solution to the problem. The Committee's efforts clearly reflect the concerns of the international community and the responsibility incumbent upon the United Nations in this regard. we trust that the collective wisdom of the international Community will seek with imagination and realism a way out of the diplomatic labyrinth in which we now find ourselves by summoning to the negotiating table both the Palestinian people and their legitimate representative recognized by the United Nations. All efforts must be exerted to that end.

The sufferings of the Palestinian people, uprooted from their land, their families and their faith, without civil life and deprived of both cultural and national identity, without the dignity that comes from the knowledge that one is master of one's own fate, call upon our date determined will to achieve its just and oft-repeated hopes. The entire world must be aware of the magnitude of the crisis and remain fully convinced that the Palestine crusade is the commitment of all. We make an ardent appeal to the leaders of public opinion and to those who oversee all the media to Join in this crusade and arouse public awareness everywhere.

In these particularly violent times we conclude by calling for moderation good sense and tolerance the renunciation of all violence. Only peaceful solutions will lead to the creation of a climate propitious to a return to coexistence. Now is the time for peace. All of Latin American wholeheartedly yearns for peace to come to the suffering and sorely tried people of Palestine.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): The next speaker is the Observer of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations. I invite him to make his statement.

Mr. TARZI (Organization of the Islamic Conference): it is a great pleasure for me to read out the following statement by His Excellency Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Secretary-General of the organization of the Islamic Conference, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The statement reads as follows:

"The organization of the Islamic Conference joins the international community in commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The decision of the United Nations General Assembly in 1977 to observe this Day every year underlines the support of the international community for the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for the restitution of their inalienable national rights of Islamic Conference) self-determination, return to their homeland and the establishment of an independent and sovereign State in Palestine. On this Day, the Organization of the Islamic Conference reiterates its total solidarity and unstinted support for the people of Palestine and their valiant struggle against Zionist aggression, oppression and expansionism.

"The question of Palestine constitutes the core of the Middle East conflict and is the result of the Zionist usurpation and occupation of Palestine and the large-scale oppression, carnage and dispersal to which the Palestinian people have been subjected for the past four decades. Neither the imposition of the Zionist entity on Palestinian soil nor its policies of violent oppression and terrorism against the Palestinian people can succeed in fulfilling the Zionist ambitions of annihilating the Palestinian nation. The systematic and barbaric suppression visited upon the Palestinian people has only served to strengthen the resolve of the Palestinian people within the occupied territories as well as in the diaspora to wage a noble struggle for the restitution of their inalienable and universally recognized rights.

"The principles of a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, which has an important bearing on regional and international peace and security, are well known and have been enunciated and reiterated in numerous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. These include the total withdrawal of the Zionist occupation forces from Palestinian and Arab territories, including the Holy City of Jerusalem, the restitution to the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights, including the right to a sovereign State in Palestine under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, their Sole legitimate representative, and the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and recognized borders.

It in unfortunate that all initiatives and efforts by the international community and the flexibility demonstrated by the Arab States and the people of Palestine in their search for a comprehensive and lasting settlement in the Middle East have evoked no responsive chord in Israel, which enjoys full political and economic support from the United States. The Zionist State has rejected and systematically destroyed all peace initiatives and has continued single-mindedly to pursue its aggressive, expansionist and annexationist policies.

"The Organization of the Islamic Conference calls upon the international community, and particularly those States that continue to assists Israel despite its obduracy and rejection of peace, to shoulder their responsibility and to fulfil their commitment to justice and equality by ensuring that the Palestinian people are allowed to exercise their inalienable rights freely. Only thus can peace return to that tormented region. Failure to do so will only result in the perpetuation of turmoil and uncertainty in the region and an accentuation of the threat to world peace and security."

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): The next speaker is the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States at the United Nations, Mr. Clovis Maksoud. I invite him to make his statement.

Mr. MAKSOUD.(League of Arab States) (interpretation from Arabic): I should like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for giving us the opportunity to demonstrate our solidarity with that people on this Day. The observance of this Day is proof that support for the Palestinian people's establishment of an independent State on its national soil is growing.

Today the Palestinian people, which has been the victim of all kinds of acts of aggression by Israel since 1947, calls on the United Nations and the international community to take courageous and positive action to guarantee its inalienable rights, including its right to a national homeland. There is a consensus within the international community that a just and lasting peace in the region Is possible only through the settlement of the question of Palestine, which is at the core of the problem of the Middle East.

That settlement should take the following points into account first, withdrawal of the Israeli forces from all occupied Arab and Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem; and, secondly, the just settlement of the Palestinian problem on the basis of the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to self-determination and the establishment Of a State on its own soil in Palestine, including Jerusalem. In this context, we reaffirm the need for the Security Council to resume consultations for the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East, with the Participation of all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), on an equal footing.

I shall now read out the following statement of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States:

"On 29 November 1979 the United Nations decided that each year there will be an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People until that people accedes to what it has made so many sacrifices for, that is, self-determination like all the other peoples in the world. That resolution was a victory for the Palestinian people because in it the peoples of the world declared their solidarity with the just struggle of the Palestinian people.

"Today we celebrate this Day of Solidarity in a very complex climate. Tension in the Middle East has escalated because of the perpetuation by the Zionist entity of violations of international instruments and arbitrary practices against the Arabs. The situation in the occupied territories has deteriorated owing to the repression carried out by the occupation forces, the denial of freedoms and rights, as well as a policy of expulsion to force the Arabs to leave their country. At the national level, the Zionist entity, continuing its policy against the Arabs, recently committed the terrorist act of violating Tunisian airspace and bombing civilian targets, resulting in enormous losses among Palestinians and Tunisians. In addition, there have been the violation of Syrian airspace and aggressive practices in southern Lebanon. At the international level, forces allied with Israel have tried to do what the Israeli forces have been unable to do, that is, to isolate the Palestinian people and exterminate the PLO by political and diplomatic and propaganda means. We need not mention here the resolutions adopted by the United Nations and other international forums condemning the Israeli practices and declaring them null and void, violations of the United Nations Charter, and incompatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions concerning occupied territories and prisoners of war.

"On this Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we must reaffirm the following facts: first, all attempts to weaken the Palestinian revolution have failed, while it has been able to obtain wider international recognition; secondly, international solidarity with the Palestinian people is an effective way of strengthening the legitimacy of the Palestinian people's struggle in public opinion and of guaranteeing further support for its struggle from all States that uphold human rights and the rights of peoples; thirdly, the Palestinian question is at the core of the Middle East question and, hence, we cannot conceive of any solution of the problem that does not take into account the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; and, fourthly, the participation of the PLO on an equal footing with all other parties is essential in all efforts and conferences to settle the problem of the Middle East.

"I take this opportunity of the observance of this Day of Solidarity to appeal to the international community to assume its responsibility and adopt effective measures to confront Israeli intransigence in order to uphold human rights, do away with the law of the jungle and promote justice, freedom and peace throughout the world."

The meeting rose at 1.20 p.m.



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 an 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 DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the records of this meeting will be issued in a corrigendum.



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