Question of Palestine home
Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 August 1990
SEVENTH UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING
ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
Palais des Nations, Geneva
29-31 August 1990
Declaration adopted by the Seventh United Nations International NGO Meeting
on the Question of Palestine
Statement by Jan Martenson, Under-Secretary-General,
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva,
on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Message from Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive
Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
List of participants and observers
The Seventh United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine was held under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, from 29 to 31 August 1990. The Meeting was convened in pursuance of General Assembly resolution 44/41 B of 6 December 1989.
The Meeting was attended by 250 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 57 of which attended as observers. It was also attended by several observers from Governments, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations specialized agencies, bodies and programmes, and Palestine.
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was represented by a delegation composed of H.E. Mrs. Absa Claude Diallo (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee, H.E. Mr. Alexander Borg Olivier (Malta), Rapporteur of the Committee, H.E. Mr. Samuel R. Insanally (Guyana), H.E. Mr. Ismail Razali (Malaysia) and Mr. Zuhdi Labib Terzi (Palestine).
The programme of the Meeting was elaborated by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in consultation with the International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP). Its main theme was "Palestine and Israel: prerequisites for peace". Four panels were held:
On Panel 1, entitled "Breaking the impasse in the peace process through the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East: the influence of Palestinian, Israeli and international NGO co-operation", presentations were made by the following experts: Mrs. Tamar Gozansky (Israel), Mr. Sari Nuseibeh (Palestinian), Mr. Mattityahu Peled (Israel) and Mr. Nabeel Sha'ath (Palestinian).
On Panel 2, entitled "
update", presentations were made by the following experts: Dr. Mustafa Barghouti (Palestinian), Mr. Ibrahim Dakkak (Palestinian), Mr. Hashem Mahameed (Israel) and Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi (Palestinian).
On Panel 3, entitled "The changing role of NGOs: Building a movement? Where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we going? What can we do?", the following experts made presentations: Mr. Ghassan Abdallah (Palestinian), Mr. Don Betz (ICCP), Mr. James Graff (Canada), Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert (ICCP), Mrs. Maha Mustaklem Nassar (Palestinian) and Mr. Amnon Zichroni (Israel).
On Panel 4, entitled "Movement of populations: the law and politics. Rights of Palestinians; Reunification of families; Immigration", presentations were made by the following experts: Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod (Palestinian), Mr. Bashir Al-Khairi (Palestinian), Mr. Ahmad Sa'ad (Israeli Arab) and Mr. Amnon Zichroni (Israel).
Six workshops were also held on the following topics:
II. Peace organizations
III. Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities
The Meeting adopted a final declaration as well as proposals emanating from the workshops (see annexes I and II below).
A. Opening statements
Statement of the Under-Secretary-General, Director-General
of the United Nations Office at Geneva
A statement was made by Mr. Jan Martenson, Under-Secretary-General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (annex III).
Statement by the Chairman of the Committee
Mrs. Absa Claude Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, after welcoming the participants to the international Meeting, expressed regret that a number of Palestinians invited to the Meeting had not been allowed by the Israeli authorities to leave the occupied Palestinian territory. The Committee protested vigorously against those arbitrary Israeli decisions, which were a violation of the rights of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory to freedom of movement and association and contrary to the duty of a Member State to allow persons under its jurisdiction to attend meetings organized under United Nations auspices.
The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory was seriously deteriorating. In response to the Palestinian peace initiative of December 1988, Israel had taken a provocative attitude. Every day the list of the dead and wounded grew longer, the settlements multiplied and the daily pressures of life under occupation grew more unbearable. The human and social consequences were so dramatic that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, World Health Organization and International Labour Organisation had deplored and condemned the paralysis in the education and health systems and the poor living and working conditions of the Palestinian people.
was having an enormous impact not only on the Palestinian people but also on the Israeli political system itself, with the creation of new, autonomous Palestinian institutions and the strengthening of the process of disengagement from the occupier. It was regrettable that the international community was still not in a position to take effective steps to protect the Palestinians who were in a highly vulnerable position. The absence of progress towards a peace process, the suspension of the dialogue between the United States and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the growing influx of new immigrants had heightened feelings of anxiety and sharply raised tensions.
The Committee and the NGO community had to reflect and seek to identify specific measures to break the deadlock, prevent extremists on either side from having their way, end the bloodshed and move towards true peace. The Committee would continue to emphasize the twin need to promote an overall settlement in accordance with international principles and United Nations resolutions, and to devise specific, effective measures to protect the Palestinian people under occupation. The urgent restoration of respect for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory was a
sine qua non
and all necessary steps had to be taken by the High Contracting Parties to the fourth Geneva Convention and all others concerned to make Israel abide scrupulously by its obligations as an occupying Power.
The meetings organized in various regions by the Committee had enabled NGOs to draw up action strategies which would strengthen the Committee's efforts. However, much remained to be done, and the Committee therefore counted on the support and active involvement of NGOs throughout the world for activities which would help attain common objectives.
Statement by the Chairman of ICCP
Mr. Don Betz, Chairman of the International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine, said that in 1990, positive global changes had taken place, but not in the Middle East, where the swirl of current events had created new and potentially overwhelming problems, particularly for Palestinians striving to end the occupation and create an independent Palestinian State.
The precarious and dangerous Gulf crisis was a reminder that the unresolved issues of the Middle East were interdependent and that negotiations within the framework of the United Nations International Peace Conference on the Middle East offered the most equitable and hopeful path to a just and lasting peace. In the light of alarming reports about the human cost of the uprising, the NGOs had agreed to assist and protect the Palestinian people. The NGOs, as independent observers, could bring pressure on the occupation forces by their presence, even though the occupying Power tried to prevent their access at the moment when their presence would be most effective as a restraining force. More international monitors were needed in occupied Palestine. The United Nations should augment its role in providing protection for a civilian population living its twenty-fourth year under occupation. United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East should review its Refugee Affairs Officer Programme and strengthen it. Other United Nations-sponsored programmes should be reviewed for effectiveness and relevance in meeting the needs of the Palestinian people under occupation.
During this seventh international meeting, NGOs should seriously consider that the time had come for the United Nations to focus global attention on Palestine through another major conference, a United Nations-sponsored model peace conference on the Middle East with NGOs from each of the countries involved assuming the responsibility of representing the various nations in a simulation of the process of achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. NGOs could fulfill their roles in protecting the people with their words, with their actions, with their expanding tangible support and with their refusal to accept nothing short of peace with justice solidly rooted in self-determination. Their responsibility as NGOs was to deny the world any possibility of ignoring this struggle and assist the Palestinian people to the fullest extent of their capabilities and interests. At the end of August 1990, the sheer urgency of the moment demanded from them more than ever.
Message from the Chairman of the Executive Committee of
the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
A message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, was read out by Mr. Nabil Ramlawi, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Office at Geneva (annex IV).
B. Panel discussion
Breaking the impasse in the peace process through the convening of the
International Peace Conference on the Middle East: the influence of
Palestinian, Israeli and international NGO co-operation
Mrs. Tamar Gozansky
, member of the Israeli Knesset, said that the international Meeting was devoted to the urgent need of breaking the existing impasse in the peace process.
The United States, she said, once again had shown that it sought hegemony in the Middle East rather than peace and prosperity for the region's people. "Powerless" when it had to deal with the peace process, the United States Administration showed its might when it decided to concentrate an unprecedented military force in the Gulf, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. That invasion had to be ended, but why by war and not on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions and through negotiations? The Israeli Government was particularly enthusiastic in its support of the American military preparations in the Gulf and was ready to use the current crisis for further repressive measures in the occupied territory.
The solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could not be separated from the solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. An Israeli-Palestinian peace could be achieved only within the framework of a comprehensive peace between Israel and the neighbouring Arab countries. It was now clear that an international peace conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices was needed. Only within the framework of such a conference was it possible to achieve a comprehensive solution, based on balancing the different interests and ensuring the security of all parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
There was only one basis for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict: a just solution to the Palestinian question, within the framework of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian State which would arise at its side. Dialogue between Israel and the PLO should be an objective.
had contributed to make the Palestinian peace plan a strong political weapon; and thanks to it, public support for the idea of two States, Israel and Palestine, had increased in Israel and all over the world.
Mr. Mattityahu Peled
, Chairman, Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, said that the Middle East was undergoing one of its most difficult crises and that the struggle over the control of the oil resources had taken a new and dangerous turn. Under these circumstances, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the search for its solution had been relegated to a secondary position on the international agenda and the Palestinian issue had been put on hold for more than two years.
The dominant factor in drawing world-wide attention to the plight of the Palestinians had been the
The Israeli peace plan conceived jointly by the United States and Israel was meant not to facilitate the search for a solution, but to obstruct it and far from aiming to solve the Palestinian problem, it intended to eliminate it. That plan never meant to develop into a significant instrument for enhancing the peace process. Although at times it appeared that there were some differences between the United States and Israel, in essence they always agreed that there would be no room for a Palestinian State alongside Israel and that the PLO would not be considered a legitimate partner to the peace process.
He went on to say that recent experience showed that efforts to win over wider circles of Israelis and world Jewry would not be productive unless they were based on the consistent position expressed by the NGOs, which was in conformity with the three principles formulated by the General Assembly, namely: 1. Recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to self determination and the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian State alongside Israel; 2. Recognizing the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; 3. The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be reached in an international peace conference where all relevant parties would participate including the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Unlike the Kuwaiti problem, which was related to the problem of controlling the oil resources, the Palestinian problem was that of a people urgently in need of exercising their legitimate political rights. A welcomed outcome of the Kuwaiti crisis was the emergence of the Security Council as a body acting in unison. The position they were taking regarding that crisis was that the use of force in order to annex another people's territory was unacceptable in international relations. The lesson from the current crisis was that regional conflicts should not be allowed to ferment over a long time unattended and unresolved.
The history of the search for a solution to the Palestinian question, he said, was not promising. It had been conducted with the intention of letting it stifle over time. But more recently, the European Community had adopted a position much closer to that embraced by the NGOs. It was expected that in the year 1992, a united Europe, together with the Soviet Union, would exert greater influence over the conduct of world affairs and bring the United States to alter its traditional anti-Palestinian position.
There was very little the NGOs could do about the Kuwaiti crisis but they could urge leaders to heed the lessons from it and support the "two States" formula based on United Nations resolutions. They could convince them of the need to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. It was time for NGOs to make themselves more conspicuous in Europe and elsewhere.
Mr. Sari Nuseibeh
, a professor at Bir Zeit University, said that the Palestinian people continued to dream that justice would one day prevail in Palestine. This dream was neither about destruction nor about hatred or revenge; it was about mutual respect and coexistence. It was the dream of a Palestinian State. This dream was embodied in the poems written by detainees at Answar Detention Camp, in the painting of a 12-year old child from a Gaza refugee camp depicting a Palestinian flag rising proudly in defiance of Israeli weapons. It was embodied in the
, in the PLO's political programme, and especially in the Palestine Declaration of Independence and the call for a two-State solution. As the Palestinian dream was to have peace based on real justice, the Palestinians had stretched out their hands to Israelis in the hope that reconciliation could be achieved. The Palestinians clung to their dream, in spite of the fact that in Israel, not only had the Palestinian peace offer been rebuffed, but the public mood continued to be manipulated by the Government to adopt more extremist and hawkish attitudes. The Palestinians continued to cling to their dream because it was either that dream for coexistence, or else, annihilation or extinction.
He said that as a Palestinian living under occupation, who believed sincerely in the sacred human right to freedom, who rejected and was repulsed by the use of force, the main problem which bothered him in the Gulf crisis was the following: Where had the world been for the last 23 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, of Israeli violation of the natural right of that people to be free and independent? By what logic or right had the Security Council legitimized the use of force in the Gulf when it had allowed the Palestinians to feed entirely and simply on words and useless resolutions for all those years? Why had the United States Government been dormant over Palestinian rights all those years and suddenly moved to act against occupation, as it claimed, and for the right of national self-determination? What was it about the Kuwaiti people, that so moved the American moral sense, as it was claimed, which was absent in the Palestinian people? Why was it that, when the people from the occupied territories asked the Security Council to send them an inquiry commission to look into the massacres being perpetrated against them, the United States found the demand too unrealistic and exaggerated and vetoed the resolution, whereas it found it entirely appropriate to put its full military capability against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait?
The Iraqi occupation of Kuwait was wrong and illegal. Iraqi claims against Kuwait should have been resolved peacefully, in negotiations, within the context of the Arab world. If, at some point, the Kuwaiti people decided, along with the Iraqi people, to forge a union between them, then that should be the free expression of the right of self-determination of the two peoples. It should not come about by force.
A solution to the Gulf crisis should also be found, and the modalities to be applied could not but be applicable to the rest of the region. It was with that logic of consistency that the PLO had sought to play a mediating role. A precedent had been set in the mutual withdrawal of forces by Iraq and Iran. A solution based on that precedent of withdrawal could be applicable in the other areas. It was the responsibility of all those who valued human life, dignity, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, to stand up against the American military intervention and call for justice, to be implemented also in Palestine. The world was facing an alternative: either the Palestinian dream would come true and it would come true for Palestinians as well as for all those fighting for their freedoms, or humanity would be facing an all-out world conflict, a major catastrophe, as Chairman Arafat had recently termed it.
Mr. Nabeel Sha'ath
, Chairman of the Political Committee of the Palestine National Council, said that the peace process was at an impasse, which was particularly obvious in the three months prior to 2 August. Among the many instances of that impasse was the American veto of any resolutions that would have sent a fact-finding mission to investigate the situation in the occupied territory. Another was the refusal of most of the European countries to use sanctions against Israel.
There were several ways of looking at the situation: one, expressed by Mr. Peled, was that the Security Council was developing some teeth and would use them to bite at Israel's intransigence later on. The other, expressed by Mr. Nuseibeh, recognized the hypocrisy of the different treatment accorded the Gulf problem and the Palestine question. A third angle was that any process of conflict resolution required both persuasion and pressure. In the Palestinian case, when the decision was taken to adopt measures of persuasion, the only method of pressure left was the
. The Palestinians were not assisted by any pressure from the Arab, European, Soviet or American sides, but they were in fact denied any such pressures. Without pressure, persuasion could not help them very much.
In the Gulf crisis, the Americans attempted nothing but pressure and no persuasion. Neither of the two approaches could succeed. Persuasion plans had not succeeded with the Israeli Government and pressure alone would not succeed when the coming war would be on the world's supply of the most combustible and precious of materials - oil. Maybe what was needed was a bit of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in the Gulf and a bit of Security Council resolution 661 (1990) in Israel. A dilemma existed which could not be solved but by a mixture of the two situations -- the Gulf and Palestine.
In those two situations, the PLO's position was very clear and based on a principle which was exactly the same in both cases: inadmissibility of the use of force and of the occupation of a territory, and recognition of the rights of people to legitimacy and self-determination. A negotiated, non-imposed, regionally supervised, internationally sanctioned solution was wanted in both situations; a peaceful solution leading to the two States in the Palestine situation, and a peaceful solution in the Gulf situation. Both had to be based on principles, on dialogue, on negotiations, on international legality and under the flag of the United Nations.
There was a glimmer of hope in statements made in the West that perhaps going to war over the Gulf was not the right thing and that the political process should be allowed to do its work. It was also said that if Security Council resolutions were applied in the Gulf, they should be applied in Palestine. Non-governmental organizations should go on the road of support for real peace in Palestine, in the Gulf and in the world and should play a persuasive role and aid the Palestinian people. They should talk about sanctions against those who occupied other people's land by force. They should talk about sanctions against Israelis, talk about more strength in protecting the Palestinian people and call for a judicious mixture of persuasion and pressure which would go a long way towards peace in the Gulf, the Middle East and the whole world.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti
of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (Jerusalem), said that the
had become a lifestyle in the occupied territory and was characterized by several outstanding features, notably (a) it had a clear political programme; (b) it involved and reflected widespread Palestinian self-reliance; (c) it continued to be characterized by popular unity within Palestinian ranks; and (d) it had created and maintained the potential for mass popular participation in the struggle against occupation.
The potential for massive confrontation was present at all times and in this context, socio-economic conditions had continued to deteriorate, particularly in the health sector. The Gulf crisis was adding new problems by resulting in drastically reduced financial remittances from the Gulf.
Despite the sacrifices of the Palestinian
, there was no political progress, which had caused a great deal of anger and frustration among Palestinians. Several real risks currently confronted the Middle East and the world, as the
neared the completion of its third year, namely (a) escalation of the oppression by the Israelis of the Palestinians under occupation; (b) a possible war breaking out in the Middle East, which would be used by Israel as a pretext for transferring Palestinians; and (c) a decline in the international solidarity with the Palestinian people.
A shift in the focus occurred in the occupied territory with the lack of political progress and mass Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union. In the face of this, the Palestinian infrastructure of resistance continued to be put in place. In this respect, the Palestinian organizations and the international NGOs had a series of responsibilities aimed at advancing the independent infrastructures which had been set up, helping to provide protection for the Palestinians, applying pressure on Israel in order to force it towards political compromise and assisting in emergency tasks such as the struggle in the medical field.
Regarding the Gulf crisis, the Palestinians, as a people under occupation, did not support the use of force nor the occupation of Kuwait. Efforts had to continue to find a solution within the framework of the Arab world. In order to consolidate and press forward the achievements of the
, the problems of the current phase had to be dealt with at various levels simultaneously by the Palestinian and the international organizations in a spirit of co-ordination, planning and decentralization.
Mr. Ibrahim Dakkak
, Chairman, Arab Thought Forum (Jerusalem), said that the
was about to enter its fourth year with resolute determination to play a role in the shaping of peace in the region. Characterized by its consistently peaceful approach, the
was a popular movement endeavoring to put an end to the Israeli occupation and enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights. It was and would remain the greatest manifestation of the Palestinians' rejection of the occupation and their determination to exercise sovereignty on their national soil. The
would not subside until the occupation, with all its practices and acts of aggression, had been terminated. The resilience of the
was evident from the manner in which it had adapted to events, which was consistent with its programme based on the termination of the occupation and the establishment of the independent Palestinian State. It had pursued a realistic approach by refusing to follow an immutable course of action and in order to retain its credibility among the masses, it had also refused to modify its approach. Given the fact that since its inception 30 months ago, the
had achieved outstanding successes, had clearly marked out the path towards a lasting peace in the region, and that it had constituted a popular Palestinian referendum, its present and future consequences had important strategic dimensions. In addition to forming an integral part of the Palestinian national struggle in general, the
had strengthened the Palestinian independent system in the occupied territory and made it less prone to domination by the Israeli system.
The Palestinians' ability to resist the occupation was being strengthened by the loosening of the traditional patriarchal relationships in Palestinian society and also by the emergence of young leaders with new social and intellectual backgrounds, by the large-scale involvement of Palestinian women and by the establishment of a new national system. Palestinian popular (non-governmental) organizations had played and were still playing an important role; considerable moral and material support had been provided to the Palestinian people by governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as by United Nations bodies and specialized agencies. By recognizing the State of Palestine, many States throughout the world had strengthened the determination of those engaged in the
. In that regard, the Palestinian people greatly appreciated the common stand taken by the European Community in support of the convening of an international peace conference to be attended by all the parties concerned and primarily the PLO, with a view to the establishment of a lasting peace in the region.
The Palestinian people was feeling deep and legitimate concern at the intensification of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union and East European countries to Israel. Ways had to be found to avert that danger.
The Israeli occupation had hampered the Palestinian development process not only in the service and production sectors but also in the field of education, culture and values. It was very important to promote the Palestinian national system and make it more independent of Israeli control. If Palestinian institutions, United Nations bodies and specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations wished to serve the Palestinian people, they had to co-ordinate their endeavours at the highest possible level in order to make their assistance more effective. As a first step towards optimum co-ordination, the following action was needed: (a) increase the scope and effectiveness of development activities undertaken by the United Nations; (b) develop a mechanism for co-ordination between the United Nations programmes and programmes of local Palestinian institutions; (c) provide adequate protection for Palestinian development projects; and (d) hold periodic co-ordinating meetings to review the development programmes proposed by the United Nations.
Mr. Hashem Mahameed
, a member of the Knesset, said Palestinians were determined to safeguard their right to an independent State like all peoples. The
was a struggle for the fundamental right to self-determination, under the aegis of the PLO. Those involved rejected repression and occupation and had a right to their fatherland. The
had brought about the failure of the
approach. It would be impossible to overcome the
without resorting to modern means of repression, but the uprising would never stop as long as repression continued.
The majority of the Israeli nation was against a
approach, he said, adding that only 16 per cent were in favour of continuing the existing situation. The presence of Israeli soldiers was totally rejected and condemned by the Palestinian people. The soldiers themselves asked why they were in the occupied territory. As a result of the
, there was an increase in violence and crime in the Israeli society. What the Palestinians wanted was recognition of the PLO, the convening of an international peace conference and a Palestinian State. Many Israelis now supported the creation of a Palestinian State and that had been due to the
. Also affected were Palestinian Arabs living in Israel. They were proud of the
and supported it.
The Arab-Israeli conflict had to be solved with the creation of a Palestinian State in the occupied territories, he said, adding that the Green Line had to become a real boundary. Fascist trends, aimed at striking at the Palestinian presence in Israel, were appearing. The Palestinian Arabs in Israel had demonstrated against such trends. Israel claimed to be a democratic country - but that was false because of its treatment of millions of Palestinians in the occupied territory as well as of the Palestinian Arab inhabitants of Israel.
Until the Israeli majority played a more positive part in the peace process, the whole region would be in danger, he said. The PLO had asserted its desire for peace, yet Israel had not moved. No peace could be achieved without PLO participation. All that Palestinians were asking for was peace and an independent State on the basis of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 27 November 1947. He appealed to President Bush to halt the vast economic and military aid to Israel, a country which violated United Nations resolutions.
The presence of foreign forces in the Gulf would not enable Arabs to settle the crisis themselves, he said. Israel was taking advantage of what was happening in the Gulf to settle immigrants on Palestinian land. Despite the daily bloodshed, the
continued. Force would not bring an end to the
Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi
, President, Red Crescent Society for the Gaza Strip, said that the
was another landmark in the series of Palestinian uprisings against injustice and aggression. If there had been any impression that the Palestinians, in the face of the overwhelming Israeli military power, had abandoned their inalienable rights and accepted occupation, the
had dispelled that. The
was distinguished from previous uprisings by its broad-based popular involvement and by its capacity to endure in the face of unprecedented brutality. The roots were the following: (a) the hopeful waiting for united world efforts to restitute rights and rectify injustices; (b) the protracted Palestinian plight, deprivation and exposure to victimization; and (c) the occupation experience which affected the Palestinians in having them feel the impact of the heavy-handed and brutal conduct of the military as well as the impact of direct contact with the Israeli society which enjoyed a democracy allowing among other benefits, social organization and civic progress. The
's symbolic violence only emphasized its strong and sincere call for a just and stable peace. The
was essentially a state of mind and an act of will that refused the logic of
, and which continued to call for peace based on justice and equitable coexistence.
In its denial of Palestinian rights and in the light of its military superiority, Israel had been in no mood to ponder the meaning of the
phenomenon. Force had been used abusively, disproportionately and without restraint, not sparing children, women or the aged (fire arms, toxic gas, beating clubs, curfews, demolition of homes, destruction of property, uprooting of trees). Also, violations of human rights such as mass arrests, restrictions of movement and torture during investigation had been perpetrated. In addition, right from the start, occupation had been exercised in the service of Israeli political objectives by seeking to integrate the territories into the economy of Israel. That had been accomplished through decrees controlling agriculture, industry, commerce, labour, marketing, communications, water and electric power, which resulted in a state of economic interdependence, biased in favour of Israel. The economic problem had been and continued to be the basic threat to the endurance of the
The Palestinian peace initiative, he said, was a product of the
. There was a peace aspect of the
that had escaped the attention of many. The essence of the Palestinian peace initiative was the Palestinian acceptance of the principle of the two-State solution as a basis for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, in the context of an international peace conference under the auspices of the United Nations.
The Shamir peace initiative was a peace of conquest and expansion, an imposed peace which presupposed the ultimate alienation of the Palestinian people from their homeland. Israel was currently exploiting the Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. The Palestinians were not against implementing the principles of human rights. But if such an implementation came to be related to the right of settlement in Palestine, priority should be for the Palestinian refugees uprooted from their homes by Israeli force and terror. To deprive those refugees of their inalienable rights in their homeland and replace them by another people was the height of injustice.
The changing role of NGOs
Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert
, Executive Director, Geneva Office of the International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine, giving a historical summary of the development of ICCP, stated that since 1986, an NGO movement had emerged which was aware of itself and was becoming willing to act together in order to have a greater effect on public opinion. He attributed the development of the NGO network in particular to the efforts of ICCP and its office aimed at increasing contacts between the NGOs. Regional NGO co-ordinating bodies had gradually been set up, i.e.:
1. A North American Co-ordinating Committee (12 members);
2. A European Co-ordinating Committee (9 members);
3. An African Co-ordinating Committee (11 members);
4. An Asian Co-ordinating Committee (12 members); and
5. An Interim Latin American and Caribbean Co-ordinating Committee (10 members).
There was also a Palestinian local Co-ordinating Committee in Jerusalem and an Israeli Co-ordinating Committee in Tel Aviv. Some of those structures were more fragile and required a fresh allocation of tasks between the ICCP and the regional co-ordinating bodies. The ICCP and the regional co-ordinating bodies had been created to co-ordinate the work of the NGOs, in order to (a) defend the principles contained in General Assembly resolution 43/176; (b) act on public opinion with a view to obtaining recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; and (c) demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian people as a whole by means of political, moral and economic aid and by defending the human rights of Palestinians.
In order to fulfil those objectives, better co-ordination was needed, which would consolidate the regional work, identify means to facilitate the work of the regional committees and enable ICCP to develop its relationship with the international organizations including United Nations bodies, as an intermediary between the regional co-ordinating committees and those United Nations bodies, and to evaluate means for the exchange of information and for concerted actions between the regional bodies and ICCP.
The efforts of the NGO community should focus on convening an international peace conference on the Middle East on the basis of United Nations resolutions. Non-governmental organizations should also insist on the protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territory. Legal advice would have to be sought to find means of forcing Israel to respect international conventions. Rather than fighting for lost causes, in particular the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel, NGOs had to fight instead for the reunion of Palestinian families and for the right of every person to leave his own country for the country of his choice and the right to move about wherever he wished. NGOs had also to study the feasibility of organizing a campaign for protection of basic human rights such as the reopening of universities for Palestinians, and against expulsions, detention, arrests and torture.
Mr. Ghassan Abdallah
of the Federation of Palestinian Teachers' Committees (Jerusalem), said that in Palestine, NGOs had provided services normally supplied by national governments and dealt with the recent developments affecting the Palestinian people, such as the closing of educational institutions, administrative arrests, deportations and house demolitions.
In order to make the work of all NGOs more productive, it was necessary to build up a network of co-ordination between Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and to be specific, avoid generalization, and take into account the real capacities available before making decisions, and start an immediate campaign asking for the protection of the rights of Palestinians working in the Gulf States.
Mr. James Graff
, President, Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada, said that by sponsoring regional and international meetings for NGOs which supported the principles and objectives of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C and its successor resolutions, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People had made it possible to transform an array of disparate NGO networks into a movement. That process had been facilitated by the establishment of the North American, European and International Co-ordinating Committees for NGOs on the Question of Palestine. The process had accelerated because of the work of the ICCP and the ECCP offices, and would be enhanced by the newly established NACC office in Washington, D.C.
Since it was almost certain that there would continue to be very limited funds for building the NGO movement, resources within the movement itself must be utilized for that purpose. There were five organizational steps which would strengthen the movement:
1. Co-opting suitable NGOs for sectoral outreach/co-ordination or project-oriented subcommittees of the relevant co-ordinating committees;
2. Using regular and frequent conference calls to facilitate the work of the co-ordinating committees and their subcommittees;
3. Restructuring the United Nations-sponsored NGO meetings to focus on planning and mobilization; and
4. Encouraging the various Missions of Palestine to host, where feasible, planning sessions for
major local NGOs actively supporting the United Nations-sponsored international peace conference on the Middle East.
Co-option of labour organizations to form a special trade union outreach subcommittee of the NACC, for example, would strengthen the NACC's outreach and the outreach of labour. Were similar subcommittees established on either the ECCP or ICCP, productive and mutually beneficial international linkages could be developed. A similar co-optive structure could be useful for outreach in the churches, among women's organizations, educators or peace groups. It would be especially useful to co-opt organizations which have staff and sufficient budgets to allow them to undertake some of the costs and work of the subcommittees. A sectoral subcommittee may, for example, issue a newsletter of its own which some of its members would undertake to write and to fund. Enhanced sectoral outreach could feed into restructured NGO meetings emphasizing certain sectors, attracting concerned organizations to undertake serious work within those sectors, providing a mechanism for annual progress reports on decisions taken during the previous year's conference. Some sectors may in time be able to meet on their own under the aegis of one of the co-ordinating committees.
The NGO meetings sponsored by the United Nations remained essential vehicles for building and strengthening the developing movement for a just and comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace. A movement needed direction and a mechanism to decide on directions. Its members needed to do things together and they required common, co-ordinated activities. Although the United Nations-sponsored NGO meetings had both initiated and advanced this process, their format needed to be changed in order to ensure continued interest and participation in the meetings themselves, and consolidate and further the building of an effective international movement.
He went on to say that in discussions preceding and during the panel on the NGO movement, the following points had been made:
(a) Members of the movement fell into several disparate categories: 1. orga- nizations primarily concerned with development and humanitarian work in occupied Palestine or among Palestinians; 2. organizations primarily devoted to solidarity work with Israelis and/or Palestinians working for a just peace; 3. organizations primarily concerned with human rights; 4. organizations which combine some or all of the foregoing within their mandates (e.g., churches); and 5. Palestinian and Israeli organizations doing work on the ground.
(b) Most of the North American and Western European solidarity and human rights oriented organizations involved in the movement were ill-funded and had limited resources, and most depended on volunteer labour. Most of the remaining organizations had very limited budgets and limited staff resources.
If the NGO meetings were not restructured to accommodate these disparate concerns, there was a risk that attendance would drop and opportunities to strengthen the infant movement would be lost. This meant that plenary panels should be minimal and plenary sessions limited to informational sessions updating participants on the current situation and major concerns, and to overall planning sessions to receive working group reports and to consider proposed directions and common activities. It meant as well that professionally oriented working groups in the relevant development/aid sectors should be structured into the agendas, as should working groups aimed at human rights organizations and solidarity organizations. Opportunities should be provided for sectoral or constituency-based organizations to meet and to plan common activities, e.g., for labour organizations and labour-related organizations to meet to exchange ideas and to work towards some common objectives by the relevant co-ordinating committee. There should be a mechanism for progress or lack-of-progress reports on the previous year's recommendations. Finally, because the situation in the Middle East was so fluid, the agenda must be sufficiently flexible to permit participants to address new situations.
Mrs. Maha Mustaklem Nassar
of the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, Jerusalem, after defining the role of NGOs in general, went on to say that the Palestinian NGOs, whose history was co-extensive with that of the Palestine issue, had been brought into being in order to complement and provide the basic services normally to be provided by Governments. In the absence of a Palestinian Government, NGOs had provided such services for more than 40 years, particularly social services, and today they represented a source of development and of defence for the continuity of the Palestinian national struggle at home.
A number of charitable associations and service institutions had emerged to provide relief for the poor, particularly for the one and a half million Palestinians living in the refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Those charitable institutions were supplying many families with nominal monthly allowances, foodstuffs, medical treatment, employment opportunities, loans, etc. Because of the fact that most of those associations had to depend on outside financial sources, their activities had developed to embrace the development sector in an attempt to secure local financial sources by means of the projects undertaken.
NGOs operating in the development sector had begun to aim at creating a future alternative planned national economy based on consideration of the current situation and of Palestinian needs with a view to establishing and building up the infrastructure of the national economy of the independent State. Such organizations had a role to play in meeting essential consumer needs, in employing a considerable number of workers and providing sources of livelihood to their families, in introducing the concept of local production and self-reliance, in planning and programming.
NGOs played also a very important role in the mobilization of public opinion and in social development with the establishment of special committees in the field of education, human rights, legal issues, child protection, aiming at the defence of prisoners and their families. The importance of the activities of those organizations was increasing through their assumption of a popular character and popular expression by working with the masses and through co-ordination with counterpart international committees and institutions. The experience acquired by these organizations over the years had become one of the fundamental guarantees of the continuation and further development of the
The most important issues that had confronted the work of Palestinian NGOs were: co-ordination among the various NGO sectors; specialization and planning; sources of support and their suitability; co-ordination with the organizations of the United Nations system operating in Palestine and co-ordination between Palestine NGOs and their counterparts in the world.
Mr. Amnon Zichroni
of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, said that in his presentation, he intended to express the Israeli point of view. The activities of his group which had started in 1983 were based on the recognition of three principles: the recognition of the right of Palestinians to self-determination and to the establishment of a Palestinian State; the recognition of the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; and the holding of an international peace conference on the Middle East. At the beginning, the activities of his NGO had been mostly political, but with the
it was changed to a large extent into a humanitarian organization concentrating on the issue of the violation of human rights.
Over the years, the PLO's position on the international stage was strengthened and Governments which in the past wanted to have nothing to do with it started dialogue with the organization. Slowly but surely the PLO established its international position as a government without territorial sovereignty.
The task of the Israeli NGOs was to create a direct dialogue with the Palestinians, so that on the one hand, each could learn where the differences are, and on the other hand, it could be proved to the public opinion in Israel that it was possible to reach a peaceful solution with the PLO and with the Palestinian people.
Since 1988, when the Prevention of Terror Ordinance preventing Israelis from meeting with representatives of the PLO came into effect, a direct dialogue had been kept between the Israeli peace camp and the Palestinian leadership on the occasion of the international meetings and regional NGO symposia. However, something happened to the relationship between some of the Israeli NGOs and the Palestinian leadership within and outside of the occupied territory. It appeared that those Israeli NGOs were no longer welcome and were seen as a hindrance. The Palestinian leadership seemed ready to reach a common position with the Labour Party, whose idea was of a Jordanian-Palestinian State alongside Israel on borders that would be agreed between the two sides. The feeling among Palestinians was that Israeli NGOs were at their beck and call and therefore there was no need to make any efforts for them. This was a grave mistake, because by supporting Israeli NGOs, the Palestinians were helping themselves. Without the Israeli NGOs, the Palestinian question would be seriously damaged because it would eliminate a stable and unequivocal voice among the Israeli public.
Speaking about the Gulf crisis, he said that those activists from the Israeli moderate left, whom the Palestinians had preferred over the Israeli NGOs, had thrown down the divorce papers to the Palestinian leadership over its position on that matter.
Movement of populations: the law and politics
Rights of the Palestinians; reunification of families; immigration
Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod
of the Palestine National Council and Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, said that the demographic change that had already occurred in Palestine and the one that was to occur were one of the main issues highlighting the transformation of the question of Palestine. By examining Palestinian history, it was clearly revealed that the success of zionism and Israel was entirely dependent upon their ability to evict Palestinians from the land and to transform that land into a Jewish area.
Since the 1967 occupation, Israel had confiscated more than 60 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza. Regarding the Palestinian population, 42.5 per cent lived on their soil; the rest of the Palestinian Arab people were living in forced exile. A comparison between today's figures and the figures obtained in 1968 regarding the change in population was showing that the increase in the Palestinian Arab population was the result of a natural increase while the increase in Israel's population was the consequence of both immigration/ settlement and a natural increase. In order to offset the demographic advantage of the Palestinian Arab population, Israel continued to have recourse to immigration from other countries.
War had always been connected with a big influx of immigrants to Israel (1936/1939; 1948; 1956 and 1967). External powers were playing a role in transforming the demographic character of Palestine/Israel. Even some Arab countries had assisted Jews to exit and emigrate to Israel, while professing great support for the cause of Palestine. Absorbing the recent Soviet Jewish immi- grants required continuing political support from the Soviet Union and the United States and an enormous amount of economic support that would come from the United States.
The Gulf crisis and the American presence could mean an increasing collaboration between Israel and the United States in effecting further significant alteration of the demographic and land balance between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews. The fact that the Palestinians were engaged in an
against external control suggested an intensification of the struggle in the Middle East for the ultimate determination of the independence and sovereignty of Palestine and the region as a whole.
Mr. Ahmad Sa'ad
, Director of the Emile Touma Institute for Social and Political Studies in Haifa, Israel, said the region was witnessing one of the most dangerous strategic plans, reflected in the attempt of the United States to exploit the imbalance in the world and to act as a policeman and impose its hegemony on strategic areas. The threat to the region was the American invasion, aimed at direct domination of oil resources. While he rejected Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he believed that any solution should be based on brotherliness and in an Arab context.
Israel, he said, was causing agitation in the region. There was a division of labour in the invasion between the United States and its allies aimed at undermining the
, promoting the transfer of Palestinians and promoting Jewish immigration. The United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia had imposed a blockade of Iraq to starve that people and had sent forces armed to the teeth to Saudi Arabia under the pretext that Iraq had violated Kuwaiti sovereignty. But why had these same countries not reacted to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, why were no sanctions imposed against Israel, why was the United States continuing to provide financial assistance to Israel?
The right of Palestinians to choose compensation or return to their homeland was a sacred right, he said. The solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees was linked to the recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to establish an independent State under the leadership of the PLO, their sole legitimate representative. The right of Palestinian refugees to return was one of the components of the Palestinian question. Thus, the idea of "two peoples-two States" was the key to finding a solution. It should be the subject of dialogue between the PLO and Israelis.
Jewish immigration was not solely humanitarian, he said, it was a political issue and would have an effect on the future of the Middle East. There were three serious dangers of that immigration: the employment of Jewish immigrants would ensure a stronghold for Israelis in Palestine and would not bring peace to the region. The second threat was that the exploitation of Jewish immigration would reinforce racial discrimination against Palestinians. Palestinians were already threatened with the confiscation of their land. The third danger was manifested in the intensification of social problems in Israel. Laws against contacts with Palestinians were also affecting Israelis. The constitutional structure of Israel was being undermined by the occupation. The Meeting should protest not only the restrictions against Palestinians but also the potential harm to other citizens of Israel who sought to resolve the Palestinian issue.
He wished to clear up a number of misconceptions which had been voiced, he said. Among them, the Gulf crisis was not the same as the Palestinian problem. As to the United States policy, it was not a double standard; it was consistent. The United States had always supported annexation conducted by its friends.
Mr. Amnon Zichroni
of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace said that the issue discussed was both of legal and political character, its origin was in the legal realm but its solution was to be found in the political sphere.
The right of emigration or freedom of movement was well-established in international law. No State, however, was required to permit aliens to enter its territory. While the right of emigration existed, there was no corresponding right of immigration. While the unlimited right of emigration was part of customary international law and, as such, in force in every country, the limits on this right had been introduced in international agreements which had not yet attained general, universal recognition, and as such, were only part of international conventional law. The limits on the right of emigration related only to the country of origin and not to the country which was receiving the émigrés. The international law which prohibited limiting the right of emigration forbade a State which occupied foreign territory from transferring portions of its civilian population to the occupied area (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49).
Israel, by permitting its citizens to settle in the occupied territory, was violating international law. Hundreds of thousands of Jews wanted to leave the Soviet Union because the situation there was difficult. Because the other countries of the world did not permit them to settle in their territories, most of the Jewish émigrés ended up in Israel. The policy of the Israeli Government was known as "direct absorption policy", namely that the Jewish émigrés tried to be absorbed within the green line. Unfortunately, given the fact that inexpensive apartments were in the occupied territory, it was reasonable to assume that some Jewish émigrés would settle there.
The struggle against Jewish settlement in the occupied territories was a political struggle to be conducted in different arenas: in Israel, where it was necessary to win over public opinion, and in the United States where it was important to insist that Israel not be given funds to absorb the immigration without assurances that those funds would not end up in the occupied territory. There must also be a Palestinian initiative to encourage Soviet Jews not to settle in the occupied territory. The integration of Jewish émigrés in the Israeli peace camp and their refusal to settle in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, were likely to advance the interests of all who sought peace. If the Palestinians appeared to negate the right of emigration, their image would be damaged.
The struggle to establish a Palestinian State had to be the principal focus of efforts, and not opposition to freedom of emigration. After the United States and other Western countries had pressured the Soviet Union to grant its citizens freedom of emigration, and now that that freedom had been granted, it was proper for the West to open its doors to at least a portion of Soviet émigrés. Most of the European countries had refused to open their doors to North African immigrants and Israel had found this situation comfortable. Closed borders in Europe weakened the European argument against Israel and strengthened the opposite argument that every country acted in matters of immigration according to its internal interests. NGOs could act, by warning the West against the transgressing of the Helsinki agreement by the refusal of the Western countries to allow emigrants from the USSR to settle in their countries and also by awakening international opinion against the policy of the Government of Israel if it became apparent that Soviet Jewish settlers were indeed settling in the occupied territory in violation of international law.
Concerning the right of Palestinians to return to their homes, he said that Israelis claimed that Palestinians had not been expelled from Israel or their country of citizenship. One solution to the problem was return or compensation. The reality today was that securing the right of return would be impossible to achieve. A practical political solution was to be found in an international peace conference. Negotiations within the framework of the conference could lead to the absorption of the majority of Palestinians in a future State, thus neutralizing the fear among Israelis that the right of return was intended for the destruction of Israel. Those negotiations could also resolve the issue of family reunification.
Mr. Bashir Al-Khairi
, a Palestinian, said the establishment of the State of Israel had been at the expense of the Palestinian people. His people had been transferred outside Palestine and the Jewish population transferred in. With the arrival of waves of Jews, more land was needed to accommodate them. Three fifths of the Palestinian population had been expelled and forbidden to return, and those who stayed were so deprived of their rights that many felt forced to leave. Even those who remained were considered to be absent from their property. He then told of his family's expulsion, his visit years later to his home and his efforts to have his family house turned into a kindergarten.
The Jews who had suffered at the hands of the Nazis were inflicting the same kind of sufferings on the Palestinians, he said. Palestinians faced arrest if they entered their own land, many were forced to carry special identity cards and they could not even choose where to be buried. For those and other reasons, the Palestinian people rose up in their
in defiance of occupation. They had paid dearly in loss of life and property, yet they continued to struggle to achieve their rights in accordance with international principles and conventions.
He called on the United Nations to protect the Palestinian people; to send troops to stop the daily massacre; to support the Palestinians' right to return to their homeland and their right to self-determination; to stop the immigration to Palestine which meant the deportation of Palestinians. He hoped effective measures would be taken to force the United States to withdraw its armada from the Gulf area, to lift the blockade aimed at starving the Iraqi and Kuwaiti people and to stop a war in which there would be no victors.
* * * * *
In her concluding remarks,
the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
said that the Meeting had given the opportunity to the participants to identify the possible measures the international NGO community could take in order to advance towards a peaceful and lasting solution of the question of Palestine. The Committee was satisfied by the positive results achieved, particularly by the adoption of a constructive declaration and of concrete and action-oriented workshop recommendations.
In the current context, marked by the failure of the efforts aimed at promoting a negotiated solution, owing to Israel's intransigence and increased use of armed force, the deliberations of the Meeting had been dominated by the search for means to break the political and diplomatic deadlock and to advance the cause of peace.
The Gulf crisis had been constantly mentioned during the Meeting and it was to be hoped that a peaceful negotiated solution could be reached. But despite the anxiety brought about by that extremely tense situation and the threat of a deadly explosion and its dramatic consequences, the situation in Palestine had remained the primary concern of all participants who insisted that Israel - as the occupying Power - respect the human rights of the Palestinians. More than ever, the Committee was convinced that only a global settlement of the Middle East conflict based on internationally recognized principles would eliminate instability and lead to a just and lasting peace in the region.
It was to be hoped that the international community, showing the same cohesion and logic as it did currently, would oppose the practices and policies of repression used by Israel and concentrate its efforts on implementing the resolutions adopted by the Security Council and on responding to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was determined to further intensify its efforts to achieve that objective by the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. The Committee was once more appealing urgently to the Security Council, and particularly to its permanent members, to take without delay the necessary measures to facilitate the convening of the Conference. The cost of inaction was too high not only for the Palestinians but also for the Israelis and the other peoples of the region. The failure to break the deadlock could lead to a more deadly conflagration. In order to prevent such explosion, the Committee counted on the support of the international NGO community, with whom it would continue to co-operate until the common objective of attaining the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights had been achieved.
DECLARATION ADOPTED BY THE SEVENTH UNITED NATIONS
INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
1. We, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered at the Seventh International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine, are meeting at a time when the Middle East situation is more serious and more threatening to world peace than for many years. The need for the International Peace Conference, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 44/42 of 6 December 1989 and earlier resolutions, for which we have called repeatedly at previous international meetings, has never been more urgent. We now call for steps by the Secretary-General to prepare for the International Peace Conference as a matter of urgency. As the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the PLO should participate in the International Peace Conference on an equal basis with all other parties to the conflict, as called for in resolution 44/42. We remind all signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention
of their contracted obligation to ensure respect in all circumstances for the Convention and to bring to justice persons committing or ordering to be committed grave breaches of the Convention.
2. Meeting after almost 1,000 days of the
, we commend the Palestinian people of the
in their heroic struggle to end the occupation and to implement the proclamation of 15 November 1988 of the independent State of Palestine. We call upon all Governments to recognize the State. We call for full international support for the
. We strongly uphold the support of the people of the
for the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. We strongly affirm that the continuing denial of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination is entirely unacceptable and constitutes a major danger to peace.
3. We are appalled at the continuing, bloody repression of the Palestinian people by the Government of Israel and its endless violations of human rights, both in Israel and in occupied Palestine. As well as condemning the repression in occupied Palestine we condemn the official and escalating discrimination by both legalistic and "iron-fist" methods against the Palestinian citizens in Israel. We are gravely concerned with the increasing and deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and identity and call for strong international pressure for the reopening of all schools and universities in occupied Palestine. Noting the refusal of the Israeli Government to respond to the demands of the international community, we call for the application of effective international political and economic sanctions against Israel to make it respect the rights of the Palestinian people and comply with its obligations under the fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949. We note that Israel is designated as an occupying Power in Security Council resolutions 607 (1988) and 608 (1988) of 5 and 6 January 1988 and in other resolutions. We call for the urgent establishment by the Security Council of an effective United Nations presence with a legal mandate to protect the population of occupied Palestinian territory.
4. We condemn as unjust and unacceptable the actions of the Government of the United States of America in vetoing on 31 May 1990 the otherwise unanimously approved Security Council draft resolution (S/21326) to send a United Nations fact-finding mission to the occupied territories. We view with concern the unwarranted suspension by the United States of its dialogue with the PLO on 20 June. We call for the immediate resumption of a serious and constructive United States of America/PLO dialogue that would contribute to the convening of the International Conference on Peace in the Middle East. We also condemn the United States record of continuing congressional and executive actions which have helped to make possible Israel's repression of Palestinian human rights.
5. Affirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, we call upon Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait in accordance with Security Council resolution 660 (1990), as we continue to call upon Israel to withdraw from the territory it occupies.
We note the power the United Nations has exercised to enforce Security Council resolution 660 (1990) and call upon it to exert equal efforts to enforce all other United Nations resolutions concerning the acquisition of territory by force as part of a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement. We call for all Middle East issues to be dealt with on an equal basis and in accordance with international law. We welcome the peace initiative by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and also other initiatives by members of the League of Arab States.
We call for the end of the massive military buildup in the Middle East, with the withdrawal of all foreign forces, and for any military presence to be under United Nations control. We note that for many years, the policies of successive United States Governments have helped and encouraged Israeli occupation and annexation of Arab territory with gross violations of human rights, even though United States law specifically stipulates that countries engaged in gross violations of human rights are not eligible to receive United States foreign aid. In this context, we condemn the double standards of the United States Government.
6. We condemn the Israeli Government's policy of settling Jews in the occupied Palestinian territories, and other Arab territories, including Jerusalem. We call upon all States concerned with Jewish emigration, particularly the Soviet Union, to seek guarantees that such emigration will not lead to settlement in the occupied territories, will not infringe the rights of Palestinians either in Israel or occupied Palestine, and will not infringe upon the Palestinian right of return. Noting from past experience that the overwhelming majority of Jewish emigrants from the Soviet Union do not wish to go to Israel, let alone to occupied Palestine, we call upon all countries to which they might wish to immigrate to facilitate such immigration.
7. We call upon the Government of Israel to cancel the so-called "anti-terrorism law" that prohibits Palestinians and Israelis from meeting with official representatives of the Palestinian people. Furthermore, we call upon the Government of Israel and its legislature to stop all proceedings to deprive Mr. Mohammed Miari of his parliamentary immunity and also to stop all legal procedures to prosecute him for his participation in the campaign of the "boat of return".
8. Recognizing the extreme gravity of the present situation, we recognize and stress the important role of the forces of peace in Israel which support the International Peace Conference and an independent Palestinian State and we strongly uphold them in all their efforts for peace and justice for all peoples.
9. Much of our work in this Meeting was conducted in workshops. We endorse their conclusions and recommendations. We urge all Governments seriously to consider the options defined by NGOs in this Declaration.
10. We urge the United Nations to convene an International Meeting of NGOs in the late summer of 1991, the venue and format to be decided in consultation with the International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine (ICCP) and to maintain its programme of regional symposia. We commend the work of ICCP and its secretariat at Geneva and call upon the United Nations to offer every possible assistance to the Committee and its secretariat.
11. We request the Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey this Declaration to the General Assembly at its forty-fifth session as part of the Committee's report. We urge that records of this meeting be disseminated widely by the United Nations to NGOs, Governments and the media.
12. We thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for convening this Meeting and we greatly appreciate the presence of the Chairman, members and observers of the Committee. We thank the Division for Palestinian Rights and all others of the United Nations Secretariat, including the interpreters who assisted in this Meeting. We express our appreciation to the distinguished experts who spoke here, and we regret that some of our invited panelists and resource persons were prevented from attending by Israeli authorities. The success of this Meeting was greatly contributed to by all those herein mentioned.
1. We strongly recommend that the resolution approved at the International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine in 1988 for the establishment of a women's network within the ICCP should be implemented immediately.
2. An international body under the auspices of the United Nations should be formed to protect women against harassment by the Israeli authorities.
3. NGOs should offer financial and material assistance to specific socio-economic projects such as:
(a) Training of individuals working in centres for co-operative, education, nurseries, etc.;
(b) Adoption and twinning of Palestinian universities, towns, villages, kindergartens, co-operatives, etc., with ones around the world.
4. Attention should be given by NGOs to the even distribution of assistance.
5. Each NGO should commit itself to at least one project and follow it through. Evaluation and follow-up of any project or training programme should be carried out in all cases.
6. Women's organizations should carry out campaigns for the convening of an international peace conference under United Nations auspices with the participation of the five permanent members of the Security Council and all parties concerned in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
7. The ICCP should organize a meeting of women politicians who are ready to work for peace in the Middle East and for solidarity with the
8. Women's organizations should protest to the Israeli authorities against the conditions of Palestinian women political prisoners, demanding that health conditions inside prisons should be improved and that women be released or have their sentences decreased, especially pregnant women and women with children and babies.
9. NGOs should make special efforts to publicize information about the situation of Palestinian women in all media at their disposal, and to circulate newsletters of women's committees and the results of this workshop and similar ones to organizations that might be interested and might offer assistance.
10. A list of participants in this workshop will be circulated with addresses to facilitate communication and networking. A committee should be formed to follow up the implementation of these resolutions and the establishment of contact between organizations concerned. The ICCP should co-ordinate this activity.
11. Workshops on women should not be held at the same time as other workshops. It was suggested that in the future, workshops on women and health, women and education, and women and development should be organized.
Analysis of the situation of peace prospects identified a few assumptions and ideas of relevance to achieving progress in the peace process.
1. There was a critical discussion on peace groups in Israel and occupied territories. Despite the criticism, the feeling was that peace organizations in the area must receive support and encouragement.
2. Palestinian human organizations could be considered "peace organizations" in the sense that they are, by and large, following the peace initiative of the United Nations and seeking a two-State, two-people solution.
3. Concern was expressed about the massive military build-up in the Gulf and the group called for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
4. Prejudice and fear are at the roots of antagonism and conflict between the two communities (Israelis and Palestinians). The mass media and the Israeli State tend to promote fear and prejudice through education and propaganda to frame the Palestinian in the false image of a violent creature. There is some significant Israeli work to correct this trend.
5. Peace work should be built on understanding of public opinion and the political process in the region and abroad.
1. NGOs should adopt a collective peace project for the coming year to reach world public opinion and to involve the co-operation of the Palestinians and Israelis in the area.
2. NGOs should invest in educational media projects which redress prejudice and build up positive understanding and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, on the one hand, and between Arabs and the West, on the other.
3. Palestinian leaders who are seeking peace and who are struggling for justice should be offered protection and facilitation to continue their work.
4. NGOs should multiply opportunities for Palestinians and Israelis to co-operate in joint humanitarian and political projects and to express common ideas for peace and justice.
5. NGOs working on peace in Israel and Palestine should co-operate with peace groups in other parts of the world to enrich a global effort for justice.
6. Many participants stated that peace work should be augmented and integrated with political pressure on Israel which should include comprehensive sanctions or at least selective sanctions.
7. NGOs should intensify efforts to mobilize the world community for the convening of a peace conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices.
Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities
The workshop was convened to consider ways in which NGOs operation within these religious communities could assist the peace process and promote the convening of the International Peace Conference.
The workshop was assisted in its deliberations by Dr. John Taylor of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, who spoke of the requirements and challenges presented to religious believers of different faiths when they seek to work together for justice and peace. Dr. Taylor suggested to the workshop several items to be included in NGO strategies, including:
1. Recognizing and emphasizing the most constructive elements within each faith;
2. Broadening their view of religious leadership to include the role of women and youth;
3. Engaging not only in dialogue, but also engaging in concrete co-operative projects which help to envision and implement a new society.
Workshop participants expressed varied and divergent perspectives on the importance, utility and feasibility of NGO mobilization within and between communities. Participants from Israel and Palestine (in particular) focused on the largely negative effects of politically active religious believers, citing in particular Jewish extremists such as Meir Kahane. The emergence of peace groups composed of Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze was also noted.
In the course of their discussion, workshop participants made the following recommendations to be presented to the plenary session:
1. Jewish, Christian and Muslim NGOs should support those boycotts and sanctions which seek to obtain Israeli compliance with United Nations resolutions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rights of Palestinians;
2. NGOs are urged to take appropriate actions to promote and to secure respect for the holy places of the various religious faiths in Israel and Palestine, and to oppose any denigration or alteration of their physical character or depiction.
In this regard, the workshop strongly protests a recent El Al promotional publication which features an advertisement depicting the Haram Al-Sharif (with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Mosque of "Umar"), as being displaced by a conceptualized Third Temple. Such a depiction is provocative and inflammatory and contributes to an increase of hostility between religious communities.
3. An inter-religious committee of NGOs should be formed to address religious discrimination and chauvinism in Israel and Palestine. In this regard, the workshop commends to the NGO community the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, as an appropriate instrument for their work.
The workshop also condemns acts of brutality and violence intended to manipulate or incite religious believers against one another, particularly the selective victimization of Muslims in areas under Israeli rule. In this regard, we note the recent murder of Mahmoud Jad Nemer Awad whose decapitated body was found near his village of Tamra. We call for the apprehension and prosecution of his murderers. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.
4. NGOs from the religious communities should organize an inter-faith conference opposing occupation and religious discrimination in Israel and Palestine, preferably to be held in Jerusalem.
Brief summary of presentations
Dr. Ruchama Marton spoke of the activities of the Israeli-Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights (see workshop document number 6).
Dr. Anis Al Qaq, of the Health Services Council (HSC, Jerusalem), outlined the work of the HSC and the necessity to build a health infrastructure in the face of continued decline in the governmental health services. He also addressed the need to actively work on and participate in the National Health Plan, which has been circulated within the occupied territory. Moreover, the requirement for better co-ordination on the ground and internationally were stressed.
Dr. Jihad Mashal commented on Israeli policies aimed at the destruction of any Palestinian health infrastructure, and thus the need to resist such attempts by planning and organizing on a national level. Furthermore, NGOs and Palestinian institutions are advised to consider long-term plans flexible enough to be able to respond to the continuous changes in the region.
Summary of the views expressed by participants
The medical emergency caused by the
has compounded the already decaying health conditions throughout the occupied territory. The Israeli authorities have not only failed to provide adequate medical services, but also exacerbated the problems by enforcing policies aimed at crippling the emergence of a Palestinian Health Care System. Moreover, Israeli government services have declined over the past two and a half years. This, despite the fact that the population of the territories pay their share of taxes.
Local Palestinian groups and foreign NGOs have been involved in the planning and implementation of health services.
Efforts over the past few years have been focused on the establishment of an independent health services infrastructure, as well as providing emergency services.
The influx of foreign aid into the occupied territory in the health sector has alleviated some of the problems. However, the lack of co-ordination both within Palestinian circles and the international NGO community has resulted in some duplication of services and waste of valuable funds.
Co-ordination and information exchange are essential at both levels. However, ventures addressing this issue should be of a bilateral nature where all concerned groups (Palestinian and foreign) are consulted.
Additionally, participants raised the following issues of concern:
1. The quality of health service being offered.
2. The need to focus on community-based mental health programmes, particularly for children.
3. Support for ophthalmic treatment.
4. The deterioration of mother and child health programmes and the possible long-term impact on the society.
5. The spread of communicable and infectious diseases (e.g. brucellosis).
6. The duality of the health problem: having the medical problems of both a developed and a developing nation, as well as the geographical mal-distribution of health services.
7. The loss of funds due to the Gulf crisis will result in a severe shortage of funds to many health institutions. This will directly impact secondary and tertiary facilities (e.g. Makassed Hospital).
8. The conditions within detention centres and prisons are cause for concern and alarm. Palestinian detainees are a vulnerable segment of the Palestinian population.
9. Possible long-term effects of tear gas on the populations, especially pregnant women.
10. NGOs can encourage Palestinian groups (and vice versa) to direct efforts and health activities towards the National Health Plan which, once completed, is to be flexible and responsive to local needs and evaluations.
11. The need for international and United Nations agencies to exercise more autonomy and independence from the Israeli authorities.
The following recommendations were expressed by the participants
1. On co-ordination:
Serious efforts to be initiated both within the occupied territory and the international NGO community: a necessary first step in this direction entails regular information exchanges possibly via annual meetings specifically addressing topics on health.
(a) Within the territory: a serious effort is to be started to better link local groups in order to minimize duplication. Such endeavours may later evolve into a co-ordinating body for health services.
(b) International arena: a co-ordinating committee, possibly with an appointed NGO Affairs Director would facilitate better co-ordination. As a first step, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP-London), offered to oversee the compilation and publication of an "NGO directory" outlining activities in the region.
2. All groups active in the health sector, and particularly Palestinian groups share the responsibility of working towards the development and implementation of the National Health Plan. A plan responsive and flexible to adapt to the dynamic situations in the region.
3. The NGO community and all other funding agencies are urged to make provisions to cover the running and operational costs incurred by Palestinian groups.
4. The NGO communities are advised to act through their respective Governments to in turn pressure the Israeli authorities into complying with the Geneva Conventions and to increase annual expenditures on health to an acceptable international standard.
5. Urgent financial aid is needed to support institutions affected by the Gulf crisis.
Recognizing that adequate education in Palestine requires the end of Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State, we call for certain measures to be taken by NGOs to help address present educational needs in occupied Palestine.
1. We call upon the NGOs to mount a campaign calling for sanctions of various types against the Government of Israel, in the light of its continued violation of the rights of Palestinian children and youths to education.
For example, we call for the suspension of relations between Israeli universities and other academic and cultural institutions, on the one hand, and other universities and institutions until Palestinian universities are re-opened and free from harassment and invasion by Israeli troops. We call for sanctions to be imposed until closure of universities and schools cease and Israeli troops are withdrawn from the vicinity of schools.
2. We urge NGOs concerned with education to encourage their Governments to increase development assistance to Palestinian educational institutions and programmes and to encourage other NGOs to undertake suitable programmes in Palestine or with Palestinian educators.
Those programmes should include:
- Enhancement of vocational training programmes;
- Training of pre-school teachers and school counsellors;
- Assistance to remedial education;
- Providing, especially, funds for operating expenses.
We urge that linkages be established between Palestinian teachers' unions and other teachers' unions with a view to encouraging visits and mutual co-operation.
3. We urge the convening of an international conference on issues of Palestinian education to be held in occupied Palestine.
In pressing a campaign to focus attention on Palestinian educational needs, we urge that attention be paid to the special needs of Palestinian children holding Israeli citizenship, and to the special needs of Palestinian children in Lebanon.
Dr. Adnan Shqueir made an extensive presentation about Palestinian agricultural development and the obstacles it faces under Israeli occupation. His presentation, with extensive documentation, is available as a conference document.
Workshop participants focused on ways in which NGOs can assist Palestinian agricultural development and made the following recommendations for NGO action:
1. Bring pressure to bear on Israel to lift import and export restrictions on Palestinian trade.
2. Support Palestinian agricultural development with co-operative research and training projects.
3. Implement campaigns directed at public opinion, such as those developed in Denmark and Britain, to boycott Israeli products and buy Palestinian products. Such campaigns can raise consciousness and can bring pressure to bear on Israel to lift restrictions on Palestinian agriculture.
4. Call on the appropriate United Nations bodies to press Israel to remove restrictions on Palestinian agriculture.
Report on addressing the needs of Palestinian children
The workshop agreed that there was a need for a public information campaign focusing on Palestinian children as targets of Israeli State violence, and for special development and humanitarian methods to address the needs arising from that targeting.
We agreed that a member of the NACC and a member of the ECCP would exchange information about activities focusing on children in their respective regions and would seek to work through the ICCP to encourage activities in other regions of the world and to facilitate some measure of co-ordination by exchanging information.
Responding to the impact of the cut of Gulf funds
to Palestinian institutions
Mindful that major Palestinian institutions depend heavily on funding from the Gulf States, including Kuwait, and that those funds are in jeopardy, and in some cases have been suspended, and that remittances from Palestinians working in the Gulf have been reduced, we urge the following:
1. That NGOs approach their Governments to urge an increase in development of humanitarian funding to help cover operating expenses for affected hospitals, universities and health care programmes, among other ongoing Palestinian institutions.
2. We urge NGOs to approach other NGOs in their countries to undertake projects in occupied Palestine and to enhance their efforts to address the ongoing needs of the Palestinian people.
3. We suggest the establishment of an international trust with a high profile Board. This trust would solicit donations from Governments, institutions and individuals to be used to meet the economic needs of the Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory.
STATEMENT BY JAN MARTENSON, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL,
DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA,
ON BEHALF OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
It is an honour for me to welcome you, in the name of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the Seventh United Nations International NGO Meeting on the Question of Palestine.
This Meeting has been convened by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in fulfilment of its mandate as defined in the resolutions of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The Committee has been engaged for 15 years in persistent efforts aimed at securing for the Palestinian people the exercise of its inalienable rights. The recommendations formulated by the Committee in 1976 to achieve that objective have been endorsed by the General Assembly at each of its subsequent sessions. The Committee has undertaken a number of important and useful activities in the fulfillment of its mandate. The regional seminars and symposia, the international Non-governmental Organizations meetings like this one, the publications and studies issued under the Committee's guidance, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People commemorated each year on 29 November and the Committee's support to the activities undertaken by the Department of Public Information, have all contributed to the increased awareness of the Palestinian cause in all parts of the world.
The European Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 1990, was a particularly successful exercise because of the participation in it of parliamentarians and opinion-makers from Europe, panelists from Israel and the Palestinians as well as experts from the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and representatives of the International and European Co-ordinating Committees for NGOs. The valuable contributions of all the participants led to a meaningful discussion and the deliberations were marked by a co-operative spirit which resulted in positive and pragmatic proposals for the future.
For similar reasons the North American Regional NGO Symposium and North American Regional Seminar which were held during the last week of June 1990, were also successful events and led to positive and pragmatic proposals.
It is a matter of regret that a number of Palestinians, who were invited to serve as panelists and resource persons in this Meeting, have not been allowed to leave the occupied territories by the Israeli authorities. Their presence here would have been helpful in continuing the useful dialogue which has taken place at previous meetings on this subject.
However, the presence at this International Meeting of eminent persons, parliamentarians and experts from the European region, Israel, as well as some Palestinians, including the ones from the occupied territories, and panelists from other regions as well as non-governmental organizations from all parts of the world, gives rise to a strong hope that the deliberations at this Meeting would also be thoughtful and constructive and would help to advance the cause of peace in this troubled region of the world.
As we gather here, the situation in the occupied territories is obviously uppermost in our minds. The Palestinian uprising, or
, is now well into its third year. Since its inception, the message of the
had been direct and unequivocal: namely, that the Israeli occupation, which has lasted for more than two decades, is not acceptable to the Palestinian people. For over 32 months, confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians have continued unabated, with much bloodshed. Hundreds have been killed and thousands wounded, including many children. In this atmosphere, it seems imperative that a way be found to begin an effective negotiating process that can restore hope that a just and lasting peace can be attained.
At its forty-fourth session, the General Assembly adopted, with resounding support, resolution 42/44, which called once again for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East. This Conference, to be held under the auspices of the United Nations, would bring together all parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the five permanent members of the Security Council. It would be based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination.
In its resolution, the General Assembly invited the Security Council to consider measures needed to convene an International Peace Conference on the Middle East, including the establishment of a preparatory committee, and to consider guarantees for security measures agreed upon by the Conference for all States in the region. It also requested the Secretary-General to continue his efforts with the parties concerned and, in consultation with the Security Council, to facilitate the convening of the Conference.
For his part, the Secretary-General is continuously in contact with all the parties, as well as the Security Council, with a view to achieving progress on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and particularly the Palestinian question, which is its core. At a time when there is an alarming escalation in tension throughout the Middle East, the Secretary-General feels more strongly than ever that only a comprehensive resolution of the conflicts in the region will lead to just and lasting peace. He will continue to work towards this end.
I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to express appreciation, on behalf of the Secretary-General, to all the non-governmental organizations who have come to Geneva from all parts of the world to strengthen international and national efforts aimed at reaching a just settlement of the question of Palestine. Your presence here in such a large number testifies to your resolve to consolidate your bonds with the United Nations in pursuit of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.
I would also like to express our appreciation to the members of non-governmental organizations from the occupied territories and from Israel, who represent differing points of view but have joined in an international endeavour to uphold just causes.
The Secretary-General continues to believe that an enlightened and mobilized public opinion, through the invaluable activities of NGOs, can play a very important role in helping to bring about a peaceful solution to this long-standing conflict. In this connection, the Division for Palestinian Rights, under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, will continue and expand its co-operation with the world-wide community of NGOs in order to promote our common objectives.
An enlightened public opinion can bring pressure to bear to advance the peace process in the Middle East. Support for the principle of self-determination for the Palestinian people by the influential participants in this Meeting can help contribute to the mobilization of public opinion in all parts of the world. Wide public support is indispensable for a just solution to the question of Palestine.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to express the Secretary-General's appreciation for the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which has carried out its mandate with dedication under the wise and able leadership of its distinguished Chairman, Ambassador Absa Claude Diallo of Senegal, and its Bureau.
On behalf of the Secretary-General, and on my own behalf, I wish this International NGO Meeting all success.
MESSAGE FROM YASSER ARAFAT, CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION, DELIVERED BY NABIL RAMLAWI,
DIRECTOR, PERMANENT OBSERVER OF PALESTINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, GENEVA
It is my pleasure, as you hold your International Meeting on the Question of Palestine, to address to all of you, on behalf of the State of Palestine and of our Palestinian people, and on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, their sole legitimate representative, and on my behalf personally, our warmest heartfelt greetings and our sincere hopes for the success of your distinguished Meeting.
I also take this opportunity to address greetings to His Excellency, Mr. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, expressing our deep thanks and high appreciation for the important and constructive role which he is undertaking in the search for a just and durable solution to the Palestinian question which would allow our people to regain and exercise their inalienable national rights to liberty, independence and sovereignty on their national soil, and for achieving international peace and security.
I also express our deep thanks and high appreciation for the firm and principled support given by Mrs. Absa Claude Diallo to our Palestinian people, their just struggle and their national
, towards ending Israeli occupation and achieving our people's freedom, independence and sovereignty. We also express to her our high appreciation for her leadership and guidance of the activities of the Committee in carrying out its noble tasks.
I take this opportunity as well to express our deep thanks and appreciation to all the non-governmental organizations for their solidarity work and effective activities which have contributed greatly to explaining the justness of our cause and of the struggle of our people, reflecting the support of the peoples of the world and their forces which embrace liberty, peace and justice for the just struggle of our people and their national
. These activities also constitute an effective element of pressure on the concerned Governments to exert the appropriate efforts to speed up the convening of the international peace conference for the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations towards achievement of a just and durable peace in our region which would secure for our people their inalienable rights to liberty, independence and sovereignty on their national land.
In a few days, on 3 September, our people, together with supporters of freedom, justice and peace, will be celebrating an important occasion, namely the passing of one thousand days since the eruption of the brave popular uprising in our country.
One thousand days of resistance and stubborn human steadfastness, one thousand days of suffering and heroism, of pains and hopes, of defiance and determination, one thousand distinct days to be added on the path and the tradition of human struggle against oppression and injustice, and for freedom.
This occasion gives a clear indication of the failure of the wager of those who were deluded by the possibility of ending the
or repressing it, those who had the illusion that they could create an exceptional case in an era when our planet is witnessing an overwhelming victory in confirmation of peoples' victories in their struggle for freedom and democracy.
We are proud that the
of our people has inspired and has set an example for popular work for many peoples of the world. The persistence of the
and its escalation after the passing of one thousand days since its eruption are the greatest proof of the determination of the Palestinian people to continue in their legitimate struggle until the attainment of their rights to freedom and national independence.
Let us not forget at any moment to record a fundamental truth, namely that the continuation of the
and its escalation would not have been possible without the massive world-wide support that it received - and you were, and still are, the solid nucleus of that support. The various forms of solidarity that you generated and to whose formation you contributed, alongside our people and their
, has armed them with more optimism, hope and determination, and has affirmed to our masses that their
is an integral part of humanity's struggle for freedom. Our people, who appreciate and attribute a high price to your role and your principled stands will always be grateful to you.
I should not omit to mention here the march for peace that you organized towards the end of last year, and which constituted a qualitative shift in the forms of action by non-governmental organizations, producing extremely important media and political breakthroughs. The eyes of the world bore witness to your courage, and witness to the repression and the fascism of the occupiers. The human chain that you formed around Jerusalem, under the banner of peace, by the lovers of peace from different nationalities, including the supporters of peace in Israel, presented to the world a picture of the determination of the world and its peoples which seek to entrench the era of freedom. And it is incumbent upon me to salute those who were wounded during this peaceful march as they faced the barbarians of the occupying authorities.
It is a pity that Israel, the occupying Power, is working behind the smoke of the Gulf crisis to escalate its savage practices against our people. The Government that emerged from the political crisis in Israel gives a most telling image of its racism, its mentality of expansionism, aggression and racial superiority. For it counts among its members a clique of war-mongers and overt advocates of projects to expel our people from their country, and others haunted with the delusions of brute force and racial supremacy.
This Government has purposely worked on escalating its repression of our people's rights, thus widening and deepening the circle of repression, and furthermore, many of the measures violating human rights commonly practiced by the occupiers are now being reviewed in order to be turned into legislation. This Government is further inciting Israelis with more provocative material against the Palestinian people, and it is hoped to exploit the international conjuncture that permitted the emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union in order to create new conditions that will result in the confiscation of more Palestinian land and expulsion of its citizens from it. At the same time, this Government is continuing with its war of enforced illiteracy, its economic war and its war against institutions, societies, trade unions, and mass and popular committees, with raids on hospitals and harming the wounded, and the universities are still closed for the third consecutive year; this is in addition to the repeated attacks on the Christian and Islamic holy places.
Furthermore, the occupiers are uselessly trying to delude the world that the rhythm of the
is losing its force, that the severity of confrontations has diminished, and that the behaviour of the occupying army is changing. But what is happening daily in front of the eyes of the world proves that the
registers every day an escalation, that our masses are bravely pressing the battle to install their popular authority on the ground instead of the authority of the occupation, and that the Fascist occupiers are escalating their acts of murder and repression of our children, our women and our men, who are none the less affirming the continuation of the resistance and of the
under the banner of the Palestine Liberation Organization, their sole and legitimate representative.
Sisters and brothers,
Your Meeting convenes today as the region passes through a very severe crisis in the Gulf which could explode at any moment to become a destructive war which touches everybody and destroys everybody and leaves the land barren. All of that could happen if reason and the logic of politics, diplomacy and dialogue do not prevail over the logic of armed force, the language of war and the amassing of armadas and armies which is now taking place in the Gulf on a scale unprecedented in the history of modern wars.
For this reason, I wish to clarify to you the position of the Palestine Liberation Organization since the beginning of the crisis and until today, as this position is being faced with campaigns of distortion and defamation targeting the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian people. Our position has been to work with all our energy in order to reach a peaceful solution to the crisis based on the principles of international legitimacy and the United Nations, through commitment to dialogue, negotiations and the willingness to propose solutions which maintain the dignity of all and safeguard the rights of all. This was our aim before the crisis exploded and during the Arab Summit Conference which was held in Cairo, and this remains our position until today.
We exerted our maximum efforts to make a success of the Arab Summit Conference, which was called for by Egypt on an urgent basis, with the attendance of Iraq and with the attendance of Kuwait. We succeeded in achieving that aim. We also suggested the establishment of a committee of Kings and Presidents through a resolution of the Summit, to discuss all the issues with the Iraqi leadership, including the situation of Kuwait. We suggested that this committee be composed of Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, Palestine and Saudi Arabia if it so wished. However, this suggestion was not brought to the vote despite its importance, and no similar suggestions were put to the vote. We believe that the importance of this issue stems from the necessity of taking into consideration that this committee or a similar one in the Arab context constitutes a decisive means for solving the question and avoiding the threat of war so as to avoid an explosion of the crisis. However, unfortunately an unjust, vicious and unfair campaign was waged against the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people because they took this position which calls for finding a peaceful negotiated solution to the crisis within the Arab context and for sparing the region the scourges of war and destruction. The Palestine Liberation Organization was confronted with a campaign of defamation of its positions and its peaceful approach. At the same time, the announced policies of the Israeli Government against our people continued to be implemented by the military occupation forces and the terrorist militias of the armed settlers, namely the policies of the iron fist and breaking of limbs. These involve: killing through use of live ammunition, and rubber and plastic bullets and the use of all types of weapons, including internationally banned chemical weapons which have caused miscarriage of over 7,000 women; collective arrest and deportation; attacks against hospitals and Islamic and Christian holy places; expropriation of land and water; the establishment of Jewish settlements on our land and the settling of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union and elsewhere on those lands in the context of a comprehensive plan adopted by the Israeli Government to expel our people from their homeland, namely the plan of "transfer" on the path to establishing "Greater Israel".
This campaign of distortion did not and will not stop us from continuing our efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the crisis in the Gulf and in the region. Our political moves with regard to this were based on a set of principles which we elaborated in the form of an initiative which we placed before a number of leaders of brotherly and friendly States and which we sent to the five permanent member States of the Security Council, including the United States of America, to the President of the Security Council, to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to the European troika and to the President of the non-aligned movement.
These principles are:
1. That the Palestine Liberation Organization is undertaking the role of mediator in this conflict and is not a party to it, nor does it stand with one party against another. Thus was our vote of reservation with regard to the Arab League resolution because it concentrated on condemnation and ignored any modalities for a solution.
2. Solution of all outstanding and critical problems in the Middle East region, be it in the Gulf, in Kuwait, in Palestine, in Lebanon or in the Golan. That began in fact when the withdrawals took place between Iraq and Iran, but through a solution this could apply as well to the other issues in Palestine, Lebanon, Golan and Kuwait.
3. The solution in the Gulf should be reached within the Arab framework so as to arrive at a negotiated settlement which takes into consideration the rights and interests of all parties and maintains the dignity of all, as was achieved in Lebanon in its
4. The withdrawal of American and other foreign forces from the Gulf region and their replacement with international forces under the flag of the United Nations and within their framework, without ambiguity or obscurity.
5. Ending the sanctions imposed on Iraq and implementing them against any State which refuses to withdraw from the territories that it occupies.
Through this initiative, we are striving to strengthen international legitimacy as embodied in the United Nations, because that is the correct place to solve disputes and settle regional and world conflicts in conformity with the principles and aims specified in the Charter of the United Nations and international law.
We also seek through this initiative to avoid the use of armed force and the military solution in treating the complex issues of the region. The increasing huge military build-ups on land, sea and in the air do not serve peace or dialogue or reaching an understanding between the conflicting parties. On the contrary, the amassment of this intensity carried with it the danger of transforming any dispute into an armed confrontation which could quickly turn into a full-scale war causing destruction and ruin, not only for all of the region, but also for the world as a whole, with all that entails in the way of disastrous effects on international peace. From this point, we say it plainly and clearly: there is a political solution to the Gulf crisis which would extinguish the flames of war and drown out the war-drums in the service of peace in the region and the world as a whole.
The Gulf crisis exposes with total clarity the blind bias towards Israel of successive American Governments since 1948 and until today. This bias is manifested through a selective policy of double standards followed by the United States with regard to the United Nations, its Charter, the Security Council and its role, the mechanism of its work and resolutions, as well as the principles of international justice, law and will. What is most unfortunate is that the United States is acting to bend the United Nations and international will to serve its own national interests as a super-Power, and the interests of its ally, Israel.
At the same time, the successive United States Governments have offered unlimited support on all levels to Israel, its crimes, its aggression and occupation. This allowed Israel to continue in its occupation of the Palestinian and other Arab territories since 1967 and contributed to impeding the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from these occupied territories including East Jerusalem on the basis of the principle of the inadmissability of the acquisition of others' land by force. For 23 years, the American Government has not attempted to work for the implementation of this resolution while, for example, it assembled armadas and massive armies in the air, on sea and on land, and equipped them with all types of conventional weapons and tactical nuclear weapons with the pretext of implementing Council resolution 660 (1990) which calls for the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, and resolution 661 (1990) calling for the application of sanctions against Iraq.
One of the strange inconsistencies in American policy in the Middle East is that at the end of May 1990, the American Government threw a veto in the face of the Security Council which, in a draft resolution had recommended the dispatching of a fact-finding committee to study the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, and refused the sending of United Nations observers as one of our demands for providing the necessary international protection for our people in the occupied territories. The American Government used its veto seven times in one year to protect Israel, the occupying Power, and offered it the necessary cover for its crimes and repressive acts against our people. And today, you see them in the Gulf not only mobilizing their military forces but also urging other States to participate in the military mobilization and presence there.
Is it not also a bitter irony that Israel, which violates on a daily basis the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions and other international conventions, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, aspires to be a partner in applying Security Council resolution 661 (1990) and in the use of military force to implement it also against Jordan, a member of the United Nations, which is not a party to the conflict in the Gulf? And Israel not only impedes, but actually rejects to implement all the resolutions of the United Nations, and its specialized agencies with regard to the Palestinian question and the Middle East conflict. Meanwhile it also flaunts international will which has agreed on the necessity of convening the international conference for peace in the Middle East, and in this opposition Israel receives aid and support from the American Government.
These are only a few examples of American selectivity and its bending of international will to serve its interests as a super-Power, and to serve Israeli aggression and occupation, a situation which we are all called upon to face with our maximum efforts in order to preserve the principles of the United Nations and its Charter and its noble goals of achieving world peace.
Despite the Gulf crisis, the cause of Palestine remains at the top of the United Nations agenda, indicating the wide horizons that can be reached by the international organization in its work for finding a peaceful and negotiated solution to Middle East crisis and the question of Palestine. This is what we strive for and this is what we have affirmed since we declared our peaceful initiative from the podium of the United Nations here in Geneva. This initiative was based on the principles of international legitimacy and its resolutions, and received the support and welcome of all States of the world and those forces committed to liberty, justice and peace, including your distinguished non-governmental organizations. We are confident that you will continue in supporting this initiative, and we hope that the crisis in the Gulf will not distract you from your good efforts in support of our just cause and the struggle of our people and their national
which aims to end the Israeli occupation of our land and to establish our independent State thereupon.
I wish here to reaffirm to you our adherence to the principles which guided our peaceful initiative towards achievement of a just and durable solution to the Palestinian question, namely:
1. The necessity of working towards the convening of the international conference for peace in the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations and within its framework, with the participation of the five permanent member States of the Security Council and all concerned parties to the Middle Eat conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization on an equal footing with the other parties, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the right of our people to self-determination.
2. Withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories.
3. Until that is achieved, we call for provision for international protection for our people under occupation, and the States of the world should bear their responsibilities in this regard in conformity with the provisions and articles of the United Nations Charter and its resolutions.
4. Invite the States of the world and all peace-loving forces to participate in the economic development of our people in the occupied territories, so that they may confront the outrageous oppression and willful and continuous destruction of the infrastructure of our people as a result of the continuation of occupation, and so that they may lay the bases for the establishment of our independent Palestinian State.
Your role and that of the non-governmental organizations has acquired a greater importance in this stage. We again call upon you on this occasion, that of the passing of one thousand days since the beginning of our people's
, to continue efforts to uncover the violations committed by Israel. It has become necessary to expose this last bastion of obsolete racism in our world especially since the people of South Africa are on the verge of attaining their rights. Before that, Namibia, with the assistance of the United Nations, was able to attain its independence. Therefore, we call upon you to intensify your work and exert the necessary pressures on the American Government and the Israeli Government, the occupying Power, to comply with the international will to implement the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, including the resolutions of the Security Council.
We also call upon you to intensify efforts to support our people's brave
, which continues despite the pains and the sacrifices arising from the savage repression and official Israeli terrorism. The
continues as a legitimate resistance to foreign occupation towards the achievement of our people's just national goals, including their right to return, to self-determination and to the establishment of their independent Palestinian State. Allow me to affirm that the path you have embarked upon in concentrating on work in the areas of health, education and economic development, acquires extreme importance in confronting the occupiers' plans which aim to destroy the infrastructure of our people's existence and to continue the occupation of our land and our people.
In conclusion, be fully confident that we shall continue on our peaceful path whatever the obstacles, difficulties and sacrifices, until achievement of a just and durable peace in our holy land, the land of peace, the land of the holy scriptures and of noble humanitarian principles.
I thank you for your efforts and wish you and your conference all success,
Revolution Until Victory.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS
AFRO ASIAN PEOPLE'S SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION (AAPSO)
ABNA' AL TIRA ASSOCIATION
ABNA EL BALAD ASSOCIATION - ROOTS
ABNA EL BALAD MOVEMENT
ACADEMICIANS LEAGUE IN NAZARETH
ACRE ARAB WOMEN ASSOCIATION
AL HADAF CULTURAL FOUNDATION
ALL INDIA BHARAT YUVAK SAMAJ
ALL INDIA PEACE AND SOLIDARITY ORGANIZATION
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER
AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR MEDICAL AID
AMIGOS DE PALESTINA
ARAB INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION
ARAB LAWYERS UNION
ARAB ORGANIZATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ARAB SOCIAL AND CULTURAL INSTITUTION
ARAB STUDIES SOCIETY
ARAB THOUGHT FORUM
ARAB WOMEN'S COUNCIL
ARAB WRITERS UNION IN ISRAEL
ASOCIACION AMIGOS DE PALESTINA
ASOCIACION NACIONAL AMIGOS PUEBLO PALESTINA "AL FATAH"
ASOCIACION PRO DERECHOS HUMANOS
ASSOCIATION DES ETUDES INTERNATIONALES
ASSOCIATION DE SOLIDARITE FRANCO-ARABE
ASSOCIATION FOR SUPPORT AND DEFENCE OF BEDOUIN RIGHTS IN ISRAEL
ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE DES JURISTES DEMOCRATES
ASSOCIATION MEDICALE FRANCO-PALESTINIENNE
ASSOCIATION OF ANTIFASCISTS AND VICTIMS OF NAZISM IN ISRAEL
ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDS OF PALESTINE
ASSOCIATION OF ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PHYSICIANS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN'S COMMITTEES FOR SOCIAL WORK IN PALESTINE
ASSOCIATION POUR RECONSTRUIRE EMMAUS
ASSOCIAZONE MEDICA ITALO-PALESTINESE
CAMPUS - "The Jewish Arab Movement in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem"
CENTRO INTERNAZIONALE CROCEVIA
CHURCH OF HUMANISM
CIMADE - Service Oecuménique d'Entraide
CIRCOLO CULTURALE MONTESACRO
COMITE CATHOLIQUE CONTRE LA FAIM ET POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT
COMITE DE SOLIDARITE AVEC LE PEUPLE PALESTINIEN - (Comitato di Solidarietà con il popolo palestinese)
COMITE PALESTINE ET ISRAEL VIVRONT
COMMISSION DES EGLISES POUR LES AFFAIRES INTERNATIONALES
COMMITTEE FOR A DEMOCRATIC PALESTINE
COMMITTEE FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN DIALOGUE
COMMITTEE FOR A DEMOCRATIC PALESTINE
COMMITTEE FOR PALESTINIAN AND JEWISH STUDIES
COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF ARAB LAND IN ISRAEL
COMMITTEE OF YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS OF THE USSR
CONSEJO NACIONAL DE DEFENSA DE LA SOBERANIA Y LA PAZ
COUNCIL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF ARAB-BRITISH UNDERSTANDING (CAABU)
CYPRUS-PALESTINE ACTIVE SOLIDARITY (KYPEA)
CZECHOSLOVAKIA COMMITTEE OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF AFRICA,
ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA
DANISH PALESTINIAN FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION
DATABASE PROJECT ON PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS
DAY OF LAND CASUALITIES
DEMOCRATIC ARAB ORGANIZATION
DEMOCRATIC FRONT FOR PEACE AND EQUALITY
DOWN WITH OCCUPATION
DOWN WITH OCCUPATION (IN DEFENSE OF CHILDREN UNDER OCCUPATION)
DUTCH PALESTINE COMMITTEE
EAFORD - USA
EGYPTIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
FEDERATION OF AMERICAN ARAB ORGANIZATIONS
FINNISH-ARAB FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY
FINNISH-PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
FRIENDS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE
FRIENDS OF THE PALESTINIAN UNIVERSITIES
FRIENDS OF THE PRISONERS OF ISRAEL
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINE STUDENTS (GUPS) - Tunis
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINE STUDENTS (GUPS) - New York
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN (GUPW) - United Kingdom
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN (GUPW) - (Union générale des femmes
palestiniennes) - Tunis
GENERAL UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN - Nablus
GERMAN-PALESTINIAN ASSOCIATION - (Deutsch-Palestinensische Gesellschaft - DPG)
GREEK COMMITTEE FOR INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC SOLIDARITY
GRUPPO DI RICERCA SUL MEDIO ORIENTE CONTEMPORANEAO (GRMOC)
HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN
INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC MIGRATION COMMISSION
INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE FOR NGOs ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE (ICCP)
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HUMANITARIAN LAW
INTERNATIONAL JEWISH PEACE UNION - FRANCE
INTERNATIONAL JEWISH PEACE UNION - AUSTRIA
INTERNATIONAL JEWISH PEACE UNION - USA
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE RIGHTS AND LIBERATION OF PEOPLES - Geneva
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE RIGHTS AND LIBERATION OF PEOPLES - Florence
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR THE RIGHTS AND LIBERATION OF PEOPLES - Paris
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF JOURNALISTS
INTERNATIONAL PROGRESS ORGANIZATION
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF STUDENTS
ISRAEL/PALESTINE CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND INFORMATION
ISRAEL COUNCIL FOR ISRAELI PALESTINIAN PEACE
ITALIAN LEAGUE FOR THE RIGHTS AND LIBERATION OF PEOPLES
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU NATIONAL YOUTH CENTRE
JENIN CHARITABLE SOCIETY
LONDON FRIENDS OF PALESTINE
MALAYSIA PALESTINE SOLIDARITY AND FRIENDSHIP ASSOCIATION (PSPMP)
MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINE
MEDICAL AID FOR PALESTINIANS
MEDICAL ASSOCIATION OF PALESTINE - West Bank Branch
MEDISCH KOMITEE PALESTINA (MKP)
MIDDLE EAST COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
MIDDLE EAST FELLOWSHIP OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
MIDDLE EAST INTERNATIONAL
MIDDLE EAST RESOURCE CENTRE
MOUVEMENT CHRETIEN POUR LA PAIX
MOUVEMENT SENEGALAIS POUR LA PAIX
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ARAB AMERICANS
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE USA- Middle East office
NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR MENTAL HEALTH
NATIONAL UNION OF ARAB STUDENTS IN ISRAEL
NEAR EAST CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION OF CANADA (NECEF)
NORWEGIAN MEDICAL SOCIETY FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
PALESTINE AID SOCIETY
PALESTINE COMMITTEE FOR NGO
PALESTINE COMMITTEE OF NORWAY
PALESTINE GROUPS IN NORWAY
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Tahlequah
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Chicago
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Seattle
PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS INFORMATION CENTER
PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY (PRCS)
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION OF SWEDEN (Palestine Groups of Sweden)
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN - London
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE - Washington
PALESTINE SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE - New York
PALESTINE STUDIES PROGRAMME, EXETER UNIVERSITY
PALESTINE UNION OF DEMOCRATIC TEACHERS
PALESTINIAN AGRICULTURAL RELIEF COMMITTEE (PARC)
PALESTINIAN CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF NONVIOLENCE
PALESTINIAN FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S ACTION COMMITTEES - Jerusalem
PALESTINIAN FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S ACTION COMMITTEES - Beit Hanina
PALESTINIAN WRITERS ASSOCIATION
PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION - Bruxelles
(Association parlementaire pour la coopération euro-arabe)
PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION - Paris
PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION - Geneva
PARLIAMENTARY ASSOCIATION FOR EURO-ARAB COOPERATION - German Section
PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL
POPULAR COMMITTEES FOR HEALTH SERVICES
POUR LA DEFENSE DES ENFANTS DE L'OCCUPATION (In Defense of Children
PROGRESSIVE ARAB WOMEN COMMITTEE
PROGRESSIVE LIST FOR PEACE
PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT FOR PEACE - FRANCE (Mouvement progressif pour la paix)
PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT FOR PEACE - Nazareth
RED CRESCENT SOCIETY FOR GAZA STRIP
RESOURCES FOR CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (MIDDLE EAST INTERNATIONAL)
RUSSIAN PALESTINE FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY/USSR ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
SANAD - Community Service in Palestine
SHASHI - ISRAELI SOCIALIT LEFT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
SOCIETY FOR AUSTRO ARAB RELATIONS
SOLIDARITAETSDIENST INTERNATIONAL (Ex: Solidarity Committee of the GDR)
SOVIET AFRO ASIAN SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE
SOVIET WOMEN'S COMMITTEE
TERRE DES HOMMES - France
UM EL FAHEM CULTURAL CENTER
UMNO YOUTH - Malaysia
UNION OF AGRICULTURAL WORK COMMITTEES
UNION GENERALE DES TRAVAILLEURS TUNISIENS
UNION OF ARAB JURISTS
UNION OF FRIENDS FOR PALESTINE (Vereinigung der Freunde Palaestinas e.V.)
UNION OF GERMAN AND PALESTINIAN WOMEN (Deutsch Palaestinensischer Frauenverein e.V.)
UNION OF PALESTINIAN AMERICAN WOMEN - Palos Hills/California
UNION OF PALESTINIAN AMERICAN WOMEN - New York
UNION OF PALESTINIAN MEDICAL RELIEF COMMITTEES - Jerusalem
UNION OF PALESTINIAN WOMEN COMMITTEES
UNION OF TEACHERS AND EMPLOYEES IN BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY
UNITED HOLY LAND FUND
UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION OF SWEDEN
"VISITARE LUOGHI DIFFICILI" (Ex Campo Donne in Libanon - Cisgiordania)
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM - Geneva
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM - Palestine Section
WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM - Jerusalem/Nablus
WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS
WORLD ALLIANCE OF YMCA
WORLD CONFERENCE ON RELIGION AND PEACE
WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS
WORLD PEACE COUNCIL
AD HOC COMMITEE FOR THE ARAB COMMUNITY
ADVOCATE FOLLOW-UP COMMITTEE (AFC)
AKTION DRITTE WELT
AMERICAN FRIENDS OF PALESTINE
ARAB ASSOCIATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
ARAB LABOUR ORGANIZATION
ARAB ORGANIZATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ASSOCIATION POUR L'UNION ENTRE LES PEUPLES JUIF ET PALESTINIEN
AUSTRIAN COMMITTEE FOR THE ARAB COMMUNITY HOSPITAL JERUSALEM
CONFEDERATION GENERALE DES TRAVAILLEURS ITALIENS (CGIL)
COUNCIL FOR THE NATIONAL INTEREST
DAR ALISLAM ALCHAIERATH
DEMOCRATIC ARAB PARTY
DEMOCRATIC WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
DEVELOPMENT OF THE ARABS IN THE NEGEV
DRUZE INITIATIVE COMMITTEE - ISRAEL
ENFANT REFUGIES DU MONDE
ENVIRONMENT AND PEACE ORGANIZATION
FOUNDATION FOR JEWISH-PALESTINIAN DIALOGUE
FOUNDATION FRIENDS OF NAZARETH
GALILEE CENTER FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH
GAZA COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMME
GENERAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNION IN THE WEST BANK
HEALTH SERVICES COUNCIL
INTERNATIONAL FALCON MOVEMENT
JAFFA RESEARCH CENTER
JERUSALEM CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
JERUSALEM PEACE SERVICE
MEDICAL AID FOR THIRD WORLD
MEDICO INTERNATIONAL e.v.
MIDDLE EAST QUESTIONS FORUM
ORGANISATION CANADIENNE DE SOLIDARITY ET DEVELOPPEMENT
ORGANISATION CANADIENNE DE SOLIDARITY ET DEVELOPPEMENT
PALESTINE DEMOCRATIC YOUTH FEDERATION
PALESTINIAN MOTHER AND CHILD CARE SOCIETY
PALESTINIAN STUDENTS - JERUSALEM
PARTEI DER ARBEIT DER SCHWEIZ
PEACE MOVEMENT CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE
PUBLIC ASSOCIATION FOR CULTURE AND ART
SCHOLARSHIP FUND FOR PUBLICATION ON ISRAEL
STRUGGLE WOMEN'S COMMITTEE UNIONS
TOWN DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
UNION OF PALESTINIAN WORKING WOMEN COMMITTEE IN INDEPENDENT PALESTINE
WOMEN IN BLACK
YOUNG COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF ISRAEL
NGO co-ordinating committees
African Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Asian Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
European Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
North American Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine
Mr. Ghassan Abdallah, Professor, Education Department of UNRWA, Jerusalem;
Spokesman, UNRWA Teachers Union and Public Relations Director, Federation
of Palestinian Democratic Teachers Committee, Jerusalem
Dr. Haider Abdel Shafi, Member, Birzeit University Trusteeship Committee and
President, Red Crescent Society for Gaza Strip
Mr. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Member, Palestine National Council; Founding Member
and former President, Association of Arab-American University Graduates;
Member of the Board of Directors, Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Chicago
Mr. Bashir Al-Khairi, a Palestinian lawyer and activist, spent several years
in Israeli prisons; deported from Palestine in 1988; an advocate in Amman, Jordan
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Physician-in-Charge, Maqassed Hospital, Primary Health
Care Centres; volunteer President, Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
Mr. Don Betz, Chairman, International Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the
Question of Palestine; Vice President of University Relations and Professor of Political Science, North Eastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, United States of America
Mr. Ibrahim Dakkak, Chairman, Arab Thought Forum; Member, Board of Trustees,
Birzeit University and Member, Board of Trustees, College of Science and Technology, Jerusalem
Mrs. Tamar Gozansky, Member, Israeli Knesset, Political Bureau CPI and the
Secretariat of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality; Editor-in-Chief,
; active Member, Israeli Peace Movement
Mr. James Graff, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto,
Canada; President, Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada
*Mr. Faisal Husseini, Director, Arab Studies Centre in East Jerusalem
*Mr. Younis Jaru, known lawyer from Gaza and an activist in the
*Mrs. Zahira Kamal, Chairman, Palestine Federation of Women's Action Committee
Mr. Jean-Marie Lambert, Executive Director, Office of the International
Co-ordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine, Geneva and Permanent Representative, Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation to the United Nations
Mr. Hashem Mahameed, former Mayor of Um El Fahem, Member: Secretariat of the
Committee for Defence of Arab Land; Arab High Committee in Israel and Member of the Knesset from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality
Mrs. Maha Mustaklem Nassar, Union of Palestinian Women's Committees, Jerusalem
Mr. Sari Nuseibeh, Professor, Philosophy Department, Birzeit University,
Mr. Mattityahu Peled, Professor of Arabic Literature, University of Tel Aviv;
past Knesset Member for the Progessive List for Peace and Chairman, Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Mr. Ahmad Sa'ad, Director of the Emile Touma Institute for Social and
Political Studies in Haifa, Israel
Mr. Nabeel Sha'ath, Chairman of the Political Committee, Palestine National
Council; Special Adviser to H.E. Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Head of "TEEM", a consultancy firm
Mr. Amnon Zichroni, one of the founders of Israeli Council for Israeli-
Palestinian Peace, senior lawyer of a large law firm in Tel Aviv
*Prevented by the Israeli authorities from leaving the occupied Palestinian territory.
*Dr. Feryal Agha, private Physician in Gaza and Ahli Arab Hospital, Member:
Medical Arab Association; Women Postgraduate Association and Red Crescent Association, UWCSW
Mr. Avishai Ehrlich, Professor, Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Social
Sciences, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv, Israel; Founding Member: Hamsin - Journal
Ms. Salwah Hedeib, Member of the Arab Studies Centre in East Jerusalem; active
in Palestinian unions and groups involved in the
Mrs. Zahira Kamal, see
Dr. Ruchama Marton, Pediatrician and Psychiatrist; Professor at the Tel-Aviv
Universityand Haifa University; Founder of the Association of Israeli Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights
Mr. Khalil Mahshi, Director of the Ramallah Friends Schools in the West Bank
Dr. Rana Nashashebi, woman activist in the
Dr. Adnan Shqueir, Dean of Science, Chairman of Biology Department and
Instructor, Bethlehem University; Supervisor of Agriculture Education and High School Teacher, West Bank; Member of the Board of Trustees and Administrative Committee of Arab Thought Forum, Board of Higher Education
Mr. John Taylor, Secretary-General of the World Conference on Religion and
*Prevented by the Israeli authorities from leaving the occupied Palestinian territory.
Members and observers of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mrs. Absa Claude Diallo, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the
United Nations in New York and Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mr. Alexander Borg Olivier, Permanent Representative of Malta to the
United Nations in New York and Rapporteur of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mr. Samuel R. Insanally, Permanent Representative of Guyana to the
United Nations in New York
H.E. Mr. Ismail Razali, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United
Nations in New York
Mr. Zuhdi Labib Terzi, Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations
in New York
States Members of the United Nations represented by Observers
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
United Nations specialized agencies, bodies and programmes
International Labour Organisation
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
World Health Organization
League of Arab States
Other organizations having received
a standing invitation to participate in the sessions
and the work of the General Assembly as observers
* * * * *