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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
12 May 1989


Executive Board ex


Hundred and thirty-first Session

Item 9.4 of the provisional agenda



REQUEST FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE
TO UNESCO AS A MEMBER STATE


_______________________________________
SUMMARY
The explanatory note reproduced below is submitted
by Algeria, Indonesia, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal
and Yemen.
_______________________________________






EXPLANATORY NOTE CONCERNING THE REQUEST FOR THE
ADMISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO UNESCO


The Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine, formally and unanimously adopted on 15 November 1988 by the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers, is a historical event of far-reaching significance.

It clarifies the situation and fulfils the final pre-condition for the establishment of the Palestinian State, whose existence it sanctions.

Article II of Unesco's Constitution concerns membership of the Organization. Paragraph 1 of that Article refers to membership of the United Nations which carries with it 'the right of membership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization'. Paragraph 2 stipulates that States not members of the United Nations 'may be admitted to membership of the Organization, upon recommendation of the Executive Board, by a two-thirds majority vote of the General Conference'.

Paragraph 2 thus specifies the condition for becoming a member of Unesco, namely statehood, and also the procedure for admission, namely a two-thirds majority decision by the General Conference, upon recommendation of the Executive Board.

This leaves Member States with considerable discretionary power in assessing candidates' qualifications.

It is stipulated that the candidate must be a State but no definition of a State is given. The same is true of the Charter of the United Nations but, unlike Article 11(2) of Unesco's Constitution, Article 4 of the Charter lays down a number of conditions for admission to membership. Prior to the 1955 'package deal', the question had thus arisen as to whether the United Nations would be open to sovereign States only.l

Under public international law, a State is made up of three constituents: a population, a territory and a government. The State is furthermore defined in terms of a basic attribute possessed by no other political entity and described as 'sovereignty' and 'independence'.

I. PALESTINE AND THE CONSTITUENTS OF A STATE

1. POPULATION

The existence of the Palestinian people has been recognized and confirmed in many documents of irreproachable legal status and import. Suffice it to mention:

The rights of the Palestinian people were set out in detail in 1974 following the inclusion of the 'Question of Palestine' on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly. Moreover, in resolution 3376 (XXX) adopted on 10 November 1975, the General Assembly, having expressed its grave concern that no progress had been made towards the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty, established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People with the mandate of recommending to the General Assembly a programme designed to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable national rights.

The existence of the first constituent of a State cannot therefore be called in question.

2. TERRITORY

The acquisition or loss of a territory can either stem from certain de facto situations or be based on a legal instrument.

Decisions by international organizations are mentioned under public international law as belonging to this second category of ways of acquiring or losing a territory.

It should be noted in this connection that United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 of 29 November 1947 called for the establishment of an Arab State and a Jewish State in Palestine and that resolution 242 of 1967 called for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the occupied territories and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the region.

Demarcation of the territory of Palestine

A preliminary point to be noted is that while the demarcation of a State's territory is a useful means of preventing conflict between adjacent States, it is not legally necessary and is frequently carried out at a later juncture. The absence or uncertainty of territorial boundaries does not impede the recognition of a State's existence (Nguyen Quoc 0 Dinh, Patrick Daillier and Alain Pellet, 'Droit international public', 2nd edition, Paris, 1980, p. 358).

In his treatise entitled 'Droit international public', Rousseau writes: 'The function thus attributed to territory in the general theory of the State has been contested by the doctrine and has waned in practice in the modern world. Whereas the traditional doctrine holds that there can be no State without territory (the latter being viewed as a basic constituent of the State, the raison d'être of State power or even, according to the Austrian school, the framework from which the State order derives its validity), some authors have gone even further in denying its importance, for example Professor Scelle for whom territory, far from being a logically necessary element, is merely an "adventitious circumstance" representing a certain phase in political development' (Vol. II, p. 37).

At all events, it is important to note that the Palestine National Council, in its Political Communique of 15 November 1988, agreed to the convening of an international conference on the basis of Security Council resolution 242 of 22 November 1967 which, together with resolution 181 referred to above, fixes the boundaries of the Palestinian State.

Prohibition on the use of force for the acquisition of a territory

It is relevant in this context to quote the terms of Article 2, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations:

This principle largely coincides with that found in customary international law. Moreover, the International Court of Justice has stated on several occasions that an 'opinio juris' also existed in customary law regarding the binding force of such abstention and that this was confirmed by the attitude of States to certain General Assembly resolutions, in particular resolution 2625 (XXVI) entitled 'Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Go-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations' of 24 October 1970. Consent to these resolutions is one of the forms of expression of opinio juris regarding the principle of abstention from the use of force, which is considered as a principle of customary law independent of the provisions, mainly of an institutional nature, to which it is subject in conventional terms under the Charter.

The conditions governing the legitimate use of force are not applicable in the case in point

There are certain exceptions to this general rule of customary law outlawing the use of force. One of these exceptions, the right of individual or collective self-defence, has also been established by customary law, as reflected in the Charter of the United Nations which refers to 'inherent right' and in the Declaration contained in resolution 2625 (XXV) "referred to above. However, the right to self-defence, whether individual or collective, can only be exercised as a response to 'armed aggression'. According to the International Court of Justice, this refers not only to action by regular armed forces but also to the sending by a State of armed bands into the territory of another State when the scale and impact of that operation are such that it would have been described as armed aggression if carried out by regular armed forces. The International Court of Justice refers in this connection to the definition of armed aggression in United Nations General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX). The Court does not consider that the notion of 'armed aggression' can be applied to assistance to rebels in the form of arms supplies, logistic assistance, etc. Furthermore, the Court notes that customary international law contains no provision permitting the use of legitimate collective self-defence in the absence of a request by the State claiming to be the victim of armed aggression, a further requirement being that the State in question should itself proclaim that it has been attacked.

It has been asserted that the use of force is lawful if it is not aimed against a State's territorial integrity or political independence but designed, for example, to serve humanitarian ends such as saving the lives of nationals previously in danger (the Belgian intervention in the Congo in 1960 for example).

With a view to impeding another interpretation, resolution 2625 declares that every State has the duty to refrain from the use of force to violate the existing international boundaries of another State and extends the same prohibition to violations of 'international lines of demarcation, such as armistice lines', a provision applicable to many cases, including the lines separating the two parts of a divided State.

Freedom of support given to a liberation movement

Lastly, support given to a liberation movement is not described as a violation of the territorial integrity of another State inasmuch as a non-self-governing territory has, according to resolution 2625, 'a status separate and distinct from the territory of the State administering it'. Neither would such support be given in a manner 'inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations'. It is therefore also lawful in that respect.

Conclusion

It follows from the foregoing considerations that the principle of the non-use of force precludes any acquisition of territory as a result of recourse to the threat or to the use of force. Israel could not therefore on this account claim sovereignty over the occupied Arab territories.

Furthermore, the occupation of a territory by armed forces cannot cause a State to cease to exist. It is in fact recognized that 'no matter how great may be the authority exercised by the occupying power which, to the extent of its requirements, is substituted for the authority of the occupied State, the latter's quality as a State is not affected by this provisional situation which, by virtue of the Hague Convention No. 4 of 1907, merely has the effect of suspending the exercise of its sovereignty. When, however, the situation becomes stable, the ineffectiveness of the State is not always an obstacle to its legal survival, even in cases where the annexation of its territory has been recognized. Those States that were annexed by force between 1935 and 1940, like Ethiopia, Austria, Czechoslovakia or Albania, were in 1945 thus not re-created but considered to have never ceased to exist. This is none the less an altogether exceptional situation linked to the always specific characteristics of territorial settlements in the wake of wars' (Hubert Thierry, Serge Sur, Jean Combacau and Charles Vallee in Droit International Public, p. 225).

In addition, it is generally acknowledged in customary law that only a general attitude of tolerance in regard to a territorial change may ultimately have the effect of consolidating a given situation.

3. GOVERNMENT

The existence of a government is necessary for the existence of a State since, as a legal entity, the State needs an organ to represent it and express its will.

If the State enjoys constitutional autonomy in relation to international law, the government must fulfil two requirements - that of effectiveness and that of sovereignty and independence.

To say that a State is constitutionally autonomous is to acknowledge that the structure of the State's government and the form of its political regime do not come within the scope of the international legal order.

Article 4 of the Charter of the United Nations for its part merely requires that States applying for admission to the United Nations should be 'peace-loving states'. General Assembly resolution 32 of 9 February 1946, while not providing any definition of what constitutes a peace-loving State, nevertheless considers not to be eligible for admission 'States whose regimes have been installed with the help of armed forces of countries which have fought against the United Nations so long as these regimes are in power'. Although the question has been raised several times in Assembly and the Security Council, apparently no one has sought to propose a generally applicable interpretation.

It is to be noted in this connection that the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine, adopted by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988, declares that the State of Palestine 'is a peace-loving state committed to the principles of peaceful coexistence' and that it 'will work together with all other states and peoples to achieve a lasting peace based on justice and respect for rights, enabling the potential of human beings for constructive action and creative competition to develop to the full in a world where fear of the future is unknown, for the future has nothing but security in store for the just and for those who have recovered their sense of justice.

In the context of its struggle to bring peace to a land of love and peace, the State of Palestine appeals to the United Nations, which has a special responsibility to the Palestinian Arab people and their homeland, and to all peoples and States that cherish peace and freedom, to assist it in achieving its aims in bringing the tragedy of its people to an end, in ensuring their safety and security, and in ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In this connection, the State of Palestine further declares its belief in the peaceful settlement of international and regional disputes in accordance with the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations. Without prejudice to its inherent right to defend its territory and its independence, it rejects the threat or use of force, violence or terrorism against its territorial integrity and political independence or against the territorial integrity of any other state'.

The condition laid down in Article 4 of the Charter of the United Nations seems therefore to be fulfilled by the State of Palestine. As for the government's effectiveness, that is, its real ability to discharge all the functions of a State, it should be noted, before dealing with this problem in respect of the State of Palestine, that there exist within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) structures which determine and give effect to its basic lines of foreign and domestic policy.

The Palestine National Council (parliament in exile) is the highest authority within the PLO and represents all the Palestinian people, with due regard for geographical, political and practical considerations.

It is the legislative organ and comprises specialized commissions.

The Executive Committee is the executing authority whose members are appointed by the Palestine National Council to which it is responsible.

It exercises supervisory power over the different bodies, promulgates directives, draws up programmes and takes decisions concerning the activities of the PLO.

The Executive Committee comprises departments responsible for the different areas of life of Palestinian society (education, health, culture, youth, information, economics, finance, agriculture, justice, etc.). It also has responsibility for military questions.

Within the Palestinian territory, organized structures attached to these departments deal with the problems that fall within their competence. Formerly, they did not cover all activities on account of the Israeli occupation, but since the Intifada (popular uprising) which has, among other things, caused the collapse of the structures established by the occupying power, they play an important role in organizing and serving the population of the towns, villages and refugee camps in the occupied territory, while Israel continues to perform the sinister tasks of repression (army, police, criminal courts and prisons).

Outside the occupied territory, the two million Palestinians are organized within structures and are closely associated with the activities of the Palestinian authorities.

They make an effective contribution to the action of those authorities of which they constitute an extension in the different continents of the world.

On 15 November 1988, the Palestine National Council (PNC), meeting in Algiers, adopted two important documents: the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine and the Political Communiqué.

In the Communiqué, the PNC decided, pending the establishment of a provisional Palestinian government, to instruct the Executive Committee to assume all its functions and to exercise all the necessary prerogatives to that end.

On 26 March 1989, the Executive Committee, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to it by the PNC, appointed Mr Yasser Arafat President of the State of Palestine.

This decision was approved on 31 March 1989 by the Central Council of the PLO, thereby assigning to Mr Yasser Arafat the functions of 'President of the independent State of Palestine until the organization of free and democratic presidential elections in the State of Palestine, after the end of the Israeli occupation'.

On the same day, the Central Council appointed Mr Faruk Kaddumi to be Minister of Foreign Affairs.

We therefore find ourselves with an Executive Committee responsible for the functions of government, with a Head of State and a Minister of Foreign Affairs, and this body exercises outside the Palestinian territory all the responsibilities incumbent upon it, along with certain functions within the territory, sometimes clandestinely since it is temporarily unable to exercise full territorial authority as a result of the Israeli occupation.

Hence this body has all the characteristics of a provisional government established outside its country.

It draws its legitimacy from the highest body in the institutional hierarchy of the PLO, which itself draws its legitimacy from its being appointed by the Palestinian people and recognized by 106 sovereign States. There is no lack of precedents here:
II. SOVEREIGNTY

The principle of State sovereignty forms the basis of relations among Members of the United Nations, in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Charter, which provides: 'The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members', and this principle is the very criterion of a State.

The affirmation of 'sovereign equality' amounts to the assertion of the independence of the State, and both prevailing doctrine and international jurisprudence would quite simply equate independence with sovereignty.

Here, reference should be made to Article 1, paragraph 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, which lays down the principle of 'equal rights and self-determination of peoples'. In the context of putting this principle into practice, having proclaimed the need for peoples subjected to colonial domination to accede to freedom by calling for independence (resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960), the United Nations recognized that peoples subjected to alien subjugation, namely, peoples living in territories occupied by foreign powers, had the right freely to determine their destiny.

With regard to peoples that have not yet formed a State, the exercise of this right implies first and foremost the right of accession to independence recognized by resolution 1514 (XV), paragraph 1, regarding 'the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation'.

It should be borne in mind that resolution 181, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947 and reaffirmed on several occasions, inter alia by the Security Council on 5 March 1948, stipulates that 'Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in part III of this plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948'.

Furthermore, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination was enshrined in the 'Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine' adopted on 15 November 1988 by the Palestine National Council.

These texts constitute the legal basis of the independence and sovereignty of the Palestinian State, which is a full member of the League of Arab States and its specialized agencies and of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It has acceded to their Constitutions. It is also a member of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.

In reality, the Palestinian executive body functions as a government and enjoys sovereignty in the exercise of its duties in the field of foreign policy.

Its foreign policy is formulated in full independence. It is supported by the countries which have recognized the State of Palestine, and is followed with interest and sympathy, and sometimes even supported on certain issues, by States which have not yet recognized it.

The nature, functioning and duties of local Palestinian institutions, commissions and committees in the occupied Palestinian Arab territory have been described above. Their responsibilities have become even more weighty since the Intifada (popular uprising), since Israeli administrative and social services have been reduced to playing repressive roles.

Admittedly, sovereignty in the occupied Palestinian territory is not exercised in full, according to the conventional standards prevailing in independent countries.

The Israeli occupation of that territory is the obvious cause of this, but it cannot in any way affect it.

In his report on the succession of States submitted to the International Law Commission and in the Commission's report to the United Nations General Assembly concerning the succession of States, Mr Mohammed Bedjaoui writes that 'According to sound legal doctrine, military occupation following a war is essentially precarious in nature and can under no circumstances affect a State's sovereignty over that part of its territory which is occupied by foreign forces' (Yearbook of the International Law Commission - 1971 - Volume II - Part One, p. 167).

Professor Basdevant considers that the term sovereignty contains 'the idea of the power of being in command, combined with the prerogative of not being dependent on another'. (Dictionnaire de la Terminologie du droit international, p. 573).

Sovereignty has three components:
The Palestinian State enjoys the autonomy of exclusive jurisdiction. This has been borne out in the course of time by its policy, declarations and acts.

Its full jurisdiction is for the time being in abeyance, owing to the Israeli occupation, which, in itself, cannot negate the sovereignty of the State of Palestine.

Sovereignty is exercised by the people directly and over themselves pending the liberation of their homeland, when it will be delegated to the institutions that they shall appoint.

III. RECOGNITION

While a State does not need to be recognized in order to exist, the fact remains that its 'recognition' marks its admission to the system of international relations.

Recognition, which takes the form of a declaration and not a constitution, merely notes the existence of the new State. It may be inferred that States recognizing the new State thereby recognize its capacity as a State.

In that connection, the point should be made that, since the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine on 15 November 1988, 98 States so far have issued declarations of recognition, thus consolidating the legal, political, internal and external foundations of the Palestinian State.

Although it is merely a declaration in law, recognition none the less has legal consequences.

In his preface to Joe Verhoeven's book La reconnaissance internationale dans la pratique contemporaine, Paris-Pedrone, 1975, p. IX, Paul de Visscher writes: 'From the viewpoint of public international law, the author does not, however, consider recognition to be of no consequence. Recognition is one act among many, and, as such, it is not only a formative factor of objective law, but also a factor which makes individualized legal situations effective and, more particularly, the status of a State, since the State, in essence, is a rational entity'.

J. Charpentier considers that 'as recognition is always tantamount to commitment, it always has the direct effect of obliging the State that grants it to respect the status thus recognized' (La reconnaissance internationale et l'evolution du droit des gens, 1956, p. 202).

In The Law of Nations, 1949, p. 124, Professor Brierly states that 'the primary function of recognition is to acknowledge as a fact something which has hitherto been uncertain, namely, the independence of the body claiming to be a state, and to declare the recognizing state's readiness to accept the normal consequences of that fact'.

Although certain people consider recognition to be premature if it is granted before the process of creating and establishing the new State has been completed, it is also important to note that recognition is often governed by political motives.

In La reconnaissance internationale dans la pratique contemporaine (Paris-Pedrone, 1975, p. 28), referring to the recognition of Israel on 15 May 1948, Joe Verhoeven explains that 'questions of recognition occupy an important place in the life of Israel. The importance attached to them, however, seems to be far removed from the law. Indeed, legal considerations seem to have played very little part in the American and Soviet recognition which gave decisive impetus to the new State'.

In fact, the first declarations recognizing Israel came not only when its borders had not yet been established but, more particularly, when Israel had begun, as early as 1948, to expand beyond the borders established by resolution 181 of the United Nations General Assembly.

How can one explain the fact that what was considered valid for one party, yesterday, is not so considered for the other today, despite the fact that the selfsame resolution 181, which was officially recognized by the Palestinian party, was addressed to both?

Other examples of recognition which may be regarded as legally premature are scattered throughout history.

In 1778, France officially recognized the United States of America, although the War of Independence had not yet come to an end and the very existence of the United States was a matter of controversy, so much so that the United Kingdom declared war on France.

In 1918, Latvia, severed from Russia by the 1917 German occupation, had barely shaken off the latter when the United Kingdom recognized it on 23 October, at a time when the National Council of Latvia did not yet exercise authority over the territory.

On 13 November 1903, the United States of America recognized Panama, only nine days after the start of the revolution through secession from Colombia.

In 1913, Albania was recognized as a State at the Conference of London, although it as yet had no government, and Albania was still without a government when it was admitted to the League of Nations, despite the secret treaty for the partition and occupation of that country by the great powers.

IV. RECOGNITION AND ADMISSION TO THE ORGANIZATIONS
OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM

No constitution of these Organizations makes recognition by its Member States a prior condition for the admission of any State.

In its opinion of 28 May 1948, (Rec. 1948,85), the International Court of Justice stressed, on the subject of the requirements for membership laid down in Article 4 of the Charter of the United Nations, that it was not possible to establish recognition as a requirement for membership apart from those requirements laid down in the above-mentioned Article 4.

On the other hand, recognition is regarded by some as evidence for statehood which militates in favour of admission. This holds good of the State of Palestine, which has now been recognized by 98 States.

Others even draw a distinction between the concept of a State peculiar to International Law and another concept of a State peculiar to international organizations.

With regard to the implications of the decision to grant membership, in the aforementioned La reconnaissance international dans la pratique contemporaine (p. 509) Verhoeven states that 'in principle, any decision of an Organization is effective only within the "internal" order peculiar to it, within which it is binding, in principle, only on the Member States'. The decision to grant membership cannot therefore be interpreted as recognition by those who have opposed it, outside the context of that 'internal' order of the Organization.

The Arab States are certainly members of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, but this does not imply that they recognize Israel, which is also a Member.

The United Nations Secretary-General, in his Memorandum dated 9 March 1950 concerning the legal aspects of the problem of representation in the United Nations, observes that 'in (...) practice ... there are, of course, several instances of admission to membership of States which had not been recognized by all other Members, and other instances of States for whose admission votes were cast by Members which had not recognized the candidates as States'. The Memorandum mentions the examples of Yemen, Burma, Jordan and Nepal.

V. THE PRINCIPLE OF UNIVERSALITY DICTATES THAT THE STATE
OF PALESTINE BE ADMITTED TO UNESCO AND TO THE OTHER
AGENCIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM

In this context, it should be borne in mind that:

With regard to Unesco's fields of competence, the Palestinian people aspires, as do other peoples, to enjoying its rights to education, culture, science, communication and other activities concerning Peace.

It also aspires to participate in the development of international co-operation.

The international community would thus be failing in its duty if it persisted in rejecting it by refusing to admit the State of Palestine to membership of Unesco.

______________
1One source of uncertainty at the time was the reference to dominions and colonies in the Covenant of the League of Nations. It was also known that India, Ukraine and Byelorussia would be admitted as members from the start although their status as sovereign States was open to discussion. Difficulties subsequently arose in connection with the application for membership of States with certain unconventional characteristics.


ANNEX I

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

It was in Palestine, the land of God's revelations to humanity, that the Palestinian Arab people came into being, grew and developed, creating their distinctive human and national character in an organic, indissoluble and unbroken relationship between the people and their land and history.

By virtue of their heroic steadfastness in space and time, the people of Palestine forged a national identity and carried their determination to defend it to prodigious levels of endurance. Although the fascination exercised by this ancient land and its strategic position at the crossroads of great powers and civilizations gave rise to ambitions, schemes and invasions that prevented the Palestinian Arab people from achieving political independence, the constancy of their attachment to the land none the less gave it an identity and imbued the people with a spirit of nationhood.

Nourished by successive civilizations and many different cultures, and inspired by their spiritual and historical heritage, the Palestinian Arab people have continued throughout history to develop their identity in full symbiosis between the land and its people. In this blessed land that so many prophets have tread, prayers have freely resounded from every minaret in praise of the Creator and hymns of mercy and peace have rung out with the bells of every church and temple.

From generation to generation, the Palestinian Arab people have never faltered in their valiant defence of the homeland, and the successive revolts of our people bear heroic witness to their pursuit of national independence.

When the modern world was forging its new system of values, the prevailing local and international balance of power excluded the Palestinians from the common destiny, showing once again that justice alone cannot turn the wheels of history.

The gaping wound inflicted on the Palestinian people by the withholding of independence and the subjection of their land to a new form of occupation was exacerbated by an attempt to spread the fiction that Palestine was 'a land without people'. In spite of this falsification of history, the international community, in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations adopted in 1919 and in the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923, recognized that the Palestinian Arab people, just like the other Arab peoples detached from the Ottoman Empire, were a free and independent people.

Despite the historical injustice done to the Palestinian Arab people when they were driven from their homeland and deprived of the right to self-determination following the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of resolution 181 (1947) which partitioned Palestine into two States, one Arab and one Jewish, that resolution nevertheless continues to provide international legitimacy for the right of the Palestinian Arab people to sovereignty and national independence.

The occupation of Palestinian territory and other Arab territories by Israeli forces, the uprooting of the bulk of the Palestinian people and their expulsion by organized terrorism, and the subjection of the remainder to occupation and oppression and the destruction of the distinctive characteristics of their national life, are a flagrant violation of legal principles and of the Charter of the United Nations and its resolutions recognizing the national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty over its national soil.

In the heart of their homeland and on its peripheries, in places of exile near and far, the Palestinian Arab people have never lost their unwavering faith in their right to return and in their right to independence. The continuing scourge of occupation, massacres and banishment never succeeded in depriving Palestinians of their awareness and identity. As their heroic struggle intensified, so did their national character gain in strength. This national determination led to the establishment of a political framework: the Palestine Liberation Organization, sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people recognized by the international community represented by the United Nations and its agencies and other regional and international organizations. Basing itself on a belief in inalienable rights, on the consensus of the Arab nation and on international legitimacy, the Palestine Liberation Organization has been in the forefront of the struggles of its great people, a people fused together in exemplary national unity and steadfastness in the face of massacres and encirclement, both within its homeland and outside. This heroic Palestinian resistance has made its mark on Arab and international consciousness as one of the most impressive national
liberation movements of our time.

The great popular uprising (the Intifada) gaining ground in the occupied territories and the extraordinary capacity for resistance displayed in the camps, both within and outside the homeland, have greatly enhanced general awareness and led to a more mature understanding of the true nature of the Palestinian issue and of Palestinian national rights. The curtain has finally fallen over a whole era of falsification and moral apathy. The Intifada has laid siege to the official Israeli mentality, which has always relied on fabrication and terrorism to deny the existence of the Palestinian people.

As a result of the Intifada and the accumulated revolutionary experience of all parties involved in the struggle, the Palestinian cause has reached a crucial historical turning-point. The Palestinian Arab people reaffirm at this juncture their inalienable rights and their determination to exercise those rights in their Palestinian homeland.

By virtue of the inherent, historical and legal right of the Palestinian Arab people to their homeland Palestine and of the sacrifices of successive generations in defence of its freedom and independence.

Basing itself on the resolutions of the Arab summit conferences and on the international legitimacy conferred by the United Rations resolutions since 1947,

Exercising the right of the Palestinian Arab people to self-determination, political independence and sovereignty over its territory,

The Palestine National Council hereby proclaims, in the name of God and on behalf of the Palestinian Arab people, the establishment of the State of Palestine in our land of Palestine, with Jerusalem (Al-Quds Al-Sharif) as its capital.

The State of Palestine is for all Palestinians, wherever they may be. Within that State they will have every opportunity to develop their national and cultural identity and will enjoy full equality of rights. Their religious and political convictions and human dignity will be safeguarded under a democratic parliamentary system based on freedom of opinion, freedom to form parties, respect by the majority for the rights of minorities and by minorities for the decisions of the majority, social justice, equality and non-discrimination in civil rights on grounds of race, religion, colour or sex, under a Constitution guaranteeing the rule of law and an independent judiciary and on the basis of unfailing allegiance to Palestine's age-old spiritual and cultural heritage of tolerance and peaceful coexistence of different religions.

The State of Palestine is an Arab State. It is an integral part of the Arab nation and of its heritage and civilization, and shares its present aspirations to freedom, development, democracy and unity. Reaffirming its adherence to the Charter of the League of Arab States and its determination to work for the strengthening of joint Arab action, the State of Palestine appeals to its fellow members of the Arab nation for assistance in completing its practical establishment by mobilizing their material and spiritual resources and intensifying their efforts to bring the Israeli occupation to an end.

The State of Palestine proclaims its adherence to the principles and aims of the United Nations, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the principles and policy of non-alignment.

The State of Palestine declares that it is a peace-loving State committed to the principles of peaceful coexistence. It will work together with all other States and peoples to achieve a lasting peace based on justice and respect for rights, enabling the potential of human beings for constructive action and creative competition to develop to the full in a world where fear of the future is unknown, for the future has nothing but security in store for the just and for those who have recovered their sense of justice.

In the context of its struggle to bring peace to a land of love and peace, the State of Palestine appeals to the United Nations, which has a special responsibility to the Palestinian Arab people and their homeland, and to all peoples and States that cherish peace and freedom, to assist it in achieving its aims, in bringing the tragedy of its people to an end, in ensuring their safety and security, and in ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

In this connection, the State of Palestine further declares its belief in the peaceful settlement of international and regional disputes in accordance with the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations. Without prejudice to its inherent right to defend its territory and its independence, it rejects the threat or use of force, violence or terrorism against its territorial integrity and political independence or against the territorial integrity of any other State.

On this momentous day, 15 November 1988, as we stand on the threshold of a new era, we bow our heads in humble deference to the memory of our martyrs and those of the Arab nation, whose generous sacrifice lit the flame of a new and auspicious dawn and who gave their lives so that the homeland might live. We lift up our hearts so that they may be suffused with the light generated by the blessed Intifada and the heroic resistance of those in the camps, in the diaspora and in exile and those who raise the banner of freedom: our children, our old people and our youth, our prisoners, detainees and wounded on the hallowed soil of our land and in every camp and every town and village, and our valiant Palestinian women, guardians of our life and survival and custodians of the eternal flame of our people. We hereby solemnly pledge to the souls of our noble martyrs, to the mass of the Palestinian Arab people, to the Arab nation and to all free and upright men and women, that we shall continue our struggle to end the occupation and to secure our sovereignty and independence. We call on our great people to rally to the Palestinian flag, to take pride in it and to defend it so that it remains for all time a symbol of our freedom and dignity in a land that shall never cease to be a free homeland for a free people.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate 'Say: "0 God, Master of the Kingdom, Thou givest the Kingdom to whom Thou wilt, and seizest the Kingdom from whom Thou wilt, Thou exaltest whom Thou wilt, and Thou abasest whom Thou wilt; in Thy hand is the good; Thou art powerful over everything"'.



The Palestine National Council
Algiers, 15 November 1988/5 Rabia II 1409 (H.)




Executive Board ex


Hundred and thirty-first Session


Item 9.4 of the provisional agenda



REQUEST FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE
TO UNESCO AS A MEMBER STATE


_______________________________________
SUMMARY
The explanatory note reproduced below is submitted
by Algeria, Indonesia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal
and Yemen.
_______________________________________




Executive Board ex


Hundred and thirty-first Session


Item 9.4 of the provisional agenda



REQUEST FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE
TO UNESCO AS A MEMBER STATE


Corrigendum


Austria should be deleted from the list of countries that have recognized the State of Palestine, as set out in Annex II.


Executive Board ex


Hundred and thirty-first Session


Item 9.4 of the agenda



REQUEST FOR THE ADMISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE
TO UNESCO AS A MEMBER STATE


ADDENDUM




_______________________________________
SUMMARY

The addendum to the explanatory note (131 EX/43)
is submitted by Algeria, Indonesia, Mauritania,
Nigeria, Senegal and Yemen.
_______________________________________






131 EX/43 Add.

Paris, 2 June 1989
Mr Chairman,

Pursuant to our letter of 5 May 1989 concerning the following item on the agenda of the 131st session of the Executive Board:

please find attached an addendum to the explanatory note (131 EX/43) submitted on this subject.

We request, Mr Chairman, that you kindly distribute this as an official document under item 9.4 of the agenda of the 131st session of the Executive Board.

We thank you in advance.

Accept, Mr Chairman, the assurances of our highest consideration.


Mr José Israel Vargas
Chairman of the Executive Board
of Unesco

(signatures) Algeria, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Yemen



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