About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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PROVISIONAL VERBATIM RECORD OF THE EIGHTY-SECOND MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Thursday, 15 December 1988, at 2 p.m.
later: Mr. VAN LIEROP (Vice-President) (Vanuatu)
- Question of Palestine  (continued)
(a) Report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
(b) Reports of the Secretary-General
(c) Draft resolutions
The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Spanish)* In accordance with General Assembly resolution 477 (V), of 1 November 1950, I now call on the Under-Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.
Mr. AL-PARA (League of Arab States) (interpretation from Arabic)! At this late hour I shall confine myself to raising a few points concerning the Israeli position, which has led to deterioration of the situation in the region.
For one thing, Israel asks for security guarantees. The question iss who should provide guarantees to whom? Should the one expelled from his homeland give guarantees to the usurper? Should he who asks to return to his homeland give guarantees to the one who refuses him that right? Should unarmed people give security guarantees to Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles? Should those who continue to be tile victims of repeated wars and massacres give guarantees to the terrorists who sing the praises of the massacres of Deir Yassin, Qibya, Nahalin, Qa Lqiliya, Gaza, Khan Yunis, As-Samu, Kafr Qasim, Sabra, Shatila and other refugee camps?
What guarantees does Israel want? Mow that the Palestinians have lost their homeland, their identity, must they guarantee that they will remain displaced wherever in the world they may be? Must they guarantee not to resort to resistance in order to rid their homeland of occupation, even though resistance was the only legitimate way of liberating the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America?
Was it not through such resistance that George Washington achieved the independence of the United States? Were George Washington, Simon Bolivar and General De Gaulle not called terrorists at one stage of their struggles? If Israel's real though tacit condition for peace is that the Palestinians content themselves with peace efforts, dialogue and discussions at the United Nations and in other international forums, as well as suppression of the resistance, the intifadah has replied with a resounding "No"! No resistance movement in history has ever laid down its weapons and abandoned its struggle before achieving independence.
There has been repeated talk about Israel's right to exist. Yet Israel does not recognize the existence of the Palestinian people. Golda Meir used to say: "Where are the Palestinians? Very simply, they do not exist."
What about the right of the two peoples to exist? What about the mutual recognition of two States in Palestine? How can a people whose very existence is denied by Israel acknowledge Israel's existence? What are we to understand by the statement of the representative of Israel, otter than a call for the total surrender of the representative of the Palestinian people in exchange for negotiations?
And on the subject of clarity, can the representative of Israel make clear what Israel we are talking about? What Israel are we required to recognize? What are its boundaries? Is it the Israel of resolution 181 (II) - that is, the Partition resolution? Is it the Israel which expanded in 1948? Is it the Israel of 1976, which occupies all of the Palestinian homeland? Or is it the Israel of Ben Gurion, which stretches north and east to reach the Littani River in Lebanon, the Al Massaa, south of Damascus, and the Sham, the Syrian Desert, which cannot be attained before annexing all of Jordan?
The representative of Israel casually dismisses the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine as "unilateral". Show me a revolution or a liberation movement that declared the creation of its State with the permission of the occupier. Did George Washington get permission from Britain before proclaiming the United States? If Israel, with the knowledge of the United States, thinks that massacres, breaking the bones of young children, burying young men alive and an assured United States veto in the Security Council can break the back of the intifadah, well, it has another think coming.
The United States representative, Ambassador Walters, declared yesterday that his country is against the imposition of an external solution. However, he never made clear why the United Nations is insistent on protecting Israel's conquests from outside, or why the United States has resumed supplying Israel with cluster bombs as a contribution to Israel's military might.
Is that not tantamount to protecting the Israeli conquest and occupation of Palestinian lands?
The United States should instead call on Israel to put an end to its colonialist settlements that are spreading like a cancer in the homeland of the Palestinian people. The United States should refrain from and put an end to repression and extermination. It knows perfectly well that Israel has used all sorts of new methods of torture and repression against the "children of the stones" and against women and the elderly. Indeed, the Israeli occupation forces pursue and harass Palestinians everywhere: at home, in the workplace, in the mosque, in church, in the schools, at the universities, in cities, villages and camps» they assault the Palestinian, his family, his land, and all that is sacred to him.
Shamir and Rabin license the killing of demonstrators, the breaking of their bones, their detention and imprisonment without trial. They license collective punishment} they license the use of new types of bullets and of poisonous gas, which has led to the death of children and to spontaneous abortions. They have shut down newspapers and other publications} they have demolished houses and destroyed crops} they have cut down trees} they have expropriated and stolen water resources and electricity.
The water confiscated by the Israeli occupation authorities in the West Bank is estimated to be 485 million cubic metres a year. We wish to note here that the total capacity of the West Bank is merely 600 million cubic metres a year. General Zaivi, one of the extremist leaders in Israel, unmasked the intentions of Israel when he said:
Mr. President, you have helped to guide the discussion on this item in Geneva, which reflected the will of the peoples of the world who wished to hear Chairman Arafat and promote the peace process. The whole world is looking to this session with hope and optimism. Chairman Arafat, with a mandate from the Palestine National Council, has before this session of the General Assembly very clearly expressed the message of peace, and the debate here has reflected deep appreciation for the position of the PLO. What remains for us is to translate these positions into decisions and resolutions commensurate with the importance of this session and the aspirations of the international community and all its people. We hope that the permanent members of the Security Council will assume their special responsibility in the maintenance of peace and security and play a constructive role in attaining these lofty objectives, thereby making this session historic and beautiful Geneva once again a place where peace is achieved and solutions to difficult problems are found.
The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Spanish): We have heard the last speaker in the debate on the item.
I now call on Her Excellency Mrs. Absa Claude Diallo, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, who y will introduce the draft resolutions.
Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal), Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (interpretation from French): I thank you. Sir, for giving me once again the opportunity to speak before the General Assembly in my capacity as Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
The past few days have been an exciting time for the members of our Committee. We have heard statements of historic importance by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as well as by a large number of foreign Ministers who have travelled to Geneva, together with other Heads of delegation, especially to participate in the debate on the question of Palestine. The high level of representation has been unprecedented; it attests to the desire of the international community as a whole to demonstrate its special interest in the matter. The exceptional interest generated in the world has been reflected in all the media. Seldom before has the issue of the attainment of the national rights of an oppressed people evoked this kind of response.
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has welcomed in particular the important clarifications on the PLO's position on the natter given by Chairman Yasser Arafat in his statement to the Assembly and in the press conference yesterday, as it has the recent decision of the United States Government to establish official contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization through the United States Ambassador in Tunis.
These historic new developments, demonstrate, on the one hand, the Increasing concern of the international community and, on the other, the urgent need for progress towards a just and lasting solution on the question of Palestine, if peace and stability are to be restored in the region. It is obvious to all that failure to settle the Palestinian issue poses a growing threat to international peace and security. Therefore, the General Assembly and the Security Council must join their efforts to settle the question. It is with that in mind that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has, since its establishment, spared no effort to provide the relevant bodies of the United Nations with those elements likely to achieve that objective. One example is the settlement plan proposed by the Committee in its very first recommendations. That plan was endorsed by the General Assembly at previous regular and special sessions. The Assembly also endorsed overwhelmingly the proposal to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East as the best possible way to establish a dialogue among the parties involved.
The courageous uprising of the Palestinian people, and the decisions of the Palestine National Council, in particular the establishment of a Palestinian State, and the important statements by Chairman Yasser Arafat, have now clearly opened the way for a negotiated settlement of the question of Palestine and thus put an end to the conflict and suffering in the region.
Accordingly, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has the honour to submit to the General Assembly draft resolutions "A/43/L. 50 to L.54.
The first three draft resolutions - A/43/L.50, L. 51 and L.52 - will, once adopted by the General Assembly, become one resolution in three parts. A, B and C. The other two draft resolutions, again after their adoption by the General Assembly, will be numbered separately, as the second and third resolutions on the question of Palestine. Draft resolutions A/43/L.50, L.51 and L.53 are essentially the same as those submitted in past years and have as their main purpose to enable the Committee, the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Department of Public Information to continue their programme of work in accordance with the budgetary appropriations approved by the Assembly at its forty-second session in 1987.
Draft resolution A/43/L.50 endorses the recommendations contained in the report (A/43/35) of the Committee and stresses the need for the Security Council to take positive action on these recommendations, which, in our view, are objective and pragmatic and can make a notable contribution to a settlement of the question of Palestine. Furthermore, the draft resolution requests the Committee to continue too exert all efforts to promote the implementation of its recommendations and to carry out its mandated programme of work, placing particular emphasis on co-operation with non-governmental organizations. The draft resolution also requests the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine to co-operate fully with the Committee.
Draft resolution A/43/L.51 deals in particular with the role of the Secretariat on the question of Palestine. Here, the Secretary-General is requested to provide the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat with the necessary resources to discharge the tasks defined in earlier resolutions, including the organization of seminars, non-governmental organization meetings and symposia, and the preparation and dissemination of studies and information material. The Division., as the General Assembly is aware, has succeeded, through its dedication, competence and objectivity since its establishment, in making the question of Palestine better understood and grasped by public opinion.
The draft resolution contains two new paragraphs with respect to last year's resolution, namely, the fourth preambular and third operative paragraphs, which refer, respectively, to international standards on the rights of children and to a request addressed to the Division for Palestinian Rights to pay particular attention to the plight of Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territories in its programme of work for 1989.
Draft resolution A/43/L.52 deals with the role of the Department of Public Information in bringing about a better understanding of the question of Palestine. Our Committee is extremely grateful to the Department of Public Information for its constant support of the Committee's objectives. The draft resolution requests that the Department, in full co-operation and co-ordination with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, continue its special information programme on the question of Palestine, with particular emphasis on public opinion in Europe and North America. The Department of Public Information is entrusted, in particular, to disseminate information, publish brochures, expand audio-visual material and organize activities for journalists.
Draft resolution A/43/L.53 deals with the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle fast. Of course, the text of this draft resolution takes fully into account the important recent developments and builds upon the ongoing efforts to promote the convening of this Conference.
In particular, in operative paragraph 2, the General Assembly would call for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of all parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, on an equal footing, and the five permanent members of the Security Council, 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 operative paragraph 3, the draft resolution affirms a number of well-known and universally accepted principles for the achievement of comprehensive peace, namely,
"(a) The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and from the other occupied Arab territories;
"(b) Guaranteeing arrangements for security of all States in the region, including those named in resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, within secure and internationally recognized boundaries;
"(c) Resolving the problem of the Palestinian refugees in conformity with General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, and subsequent relevant resolutions;
"(d) Dismantling of the Israeli settlements in the territories occupied since 1967;
"(e) Guaranteeing freedom of access to Holy Places, religious buildings and sites."
With regard to this operative paragraph - paragraph 3-1 should like to point out that in subparagraph (a) of the English version, the word "from" should be inserted between the words "and" and "the", and the phrase should read "and from the other occupied Arab territories", in order to make the text more precise.
In subparagraph (b), the words "General Assembly" should be added between the words "in" and "resolution 181 (II) ", and the phrase should read "in General Assembly resolution 181 (II) ".
In operative paragraphs 4 to 6 of draft resolution A/43/L.53 the text notes the expressed desire and endeavours to place the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, under the supervision of the United Nations for a. limited period; requests the Security Council to consider measures needed to convene the Conference, and to consider guarantees for security measures for all States in the region) and also requests the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to facilitate the convening of the Conference, and to submit progress reports on developments in this matter.
Draft resolution A/43/L.54 relates to the proclamation of the State of Palestine and is therefore a completely new text this year. In the preambular part, the General Assembly would recall, inter alia, that its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, in which it called for the establishment of an Arab State and a Jewish State in Palestine; expresses awareness of the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council in line with that resolution and in exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people-, and recalls General Assembly resolution 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, on the observer status of the Palestine Liberation Organization and subsequent relevant resolutions.
In the operative part of draft resolution A/43/L.54, the General Assembly would acknowledge the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine national Council) affirm the need too enable the Palestinian people to exercise their sovereignty over their territory occupied since 1967* decide that, effective as of the date of the adoption of the draft resolution, the designation "Palestine" should be used in place of the designation "Palestine Liberation Organization" in the united Nations system, without prejudice to the observer status and functions of the Palestine Liberation Organization within the United Nations system in conformity with relevant United Nations resolutions and practice; and request the Secretary-General to take necessary action to implement the resolution.
I wish to announce the following new co-sponsors for the draft resolutions before the Assembly.
Draft resolutions A/43/L.50, L.51 and L.52: Cyprus, Madagascar, Vanuatu and Zambia;
Draft resolution A/43/L.53: Angola, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Hungary, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, Viet Nan, Yemen and Zambia;
Draft resolution A/43/L.54: Angola. Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Malta, Mongolia, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zambia.
The five draft resolutions before the General Assembly, in letter and spirit, have a single objective*, the restoration of peace to the Middle East through the exercise by the Palestinian people, through peaceful means, of its inalienable rights to self-determination, independence and the establishment of a State in Palestine. As the Assembly will have noted, moderation, restraint and objectivity characterize these draft resolutions. By adopting them, the Assembly will make a positive and constructive contribution to the restoration of peace, stability and security in the Middle East, and thereby will enable the Palestinian people to advance towards recovering its legitimate and inalienable rights.
The draft resolutions have been the subject of extensive consultations and are the result of the intense efforts of many delegations, both within and outside our Committee. We are convinced that our joint efforts are bringing us closer to a consensus on this most important issue of our time.
On behalf of all the sponsors, I call on all delegations, particularly in the light of the significant developments of these past few days on the question of Palestine, to vote overwhelmingly in favour of draft resolutions A/43/L.50 to A/43/L.54, thus demonstrating their willingness to seize the new opportunity that history has presented us here in Geneva.
The PRESIDENT: (interpretation from Spanish): Pursuant to resolution 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974 and past practice, and in keeping with operative paragraph 3 of draft resolution A/43/L.54, which the General Assembly has just adopted, I now call on the Observer of Palestine.
Mr. TERZI (Palestine): Mr. President, in the name of Palestine, the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative o the Palestinian people, I wish to thank you, Sir, and all those members who voted in support of the cause of peace and of the cause of a settlement through the United Nations.
In the name of the Palestinians, those who are suffering under the barbarous and repressive occupation by Israel, those scattered in refugee camps and those in the dispersion, I wish to thank every single member here, including those who have voted against us. May I at the outset thank you, Sir, also for the statement you made this morning concerning the rapid developments in the last 36 hours that: (spoke in Spanish)
He fully agree with you that the regional conflict in the Middle East has been a cause of concern and apprehension and at times a cause for alarm at the United Nations during the past 41 years. We believe that the United Nations remains the only forum where such conflicts and regional conflicts can be addressed and settled.
When the Palestinian people exercised its right and declared its State, it was not a unilateral action in the sense that was presented to the General Assembly. The Palestinian people took that action in exercise of its right as envisaged in resolution 181 (II) of 1947. Those who think that we did so unilaterally seem to forget that they voted for a resolution that asked the Palestinian people to take the necessary action to proclaim an independent Arab State. On 15 November 1988 in Algiers our National Council exercised that right and carried out that task. We are surprised that some of those who think it was unilateral have forgotten that they were the very ones who voted for the partition of the country and the fragmentation of the people.
The Secretary-General and the members of the Security Council now have a new task, a task which was almost unanimously approved notwithstanding the two "red lights" that always stand in tile way of peace and the process of peace.
Of course, we have detected and we fully appreciate the change in policy of the Administration in Washington, D.C. It is only a dialogue that it wishes to start', but we are fully confident that eventually, and the sooner the better, it will admit that there is a Palestinian people and that that people has the right to self-determination and to exercise that right in its own country, in Palestine.
We are gratified to note that the European Community has voted in favour of the call to convene the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of all the parties to the conflict, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, on an equal footing, and the permanent members of the Security Council, as outlined in the resolution.
We believe the time has come when the blood of our victims of the intifadah will not have been shed in vain, when those heroes of the uprising, those stone-throwers in their year-long struggle to achieve their freedom and liberty in their own country will be rewarded.
The writing is on the wall and the resolution is that writing. We deeply appreciate the co-operation of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat in taking immediate action to change the name-plate before us, and we assure the Assembly that our co-operation with the Secretary-General to achieve peace in the Middle East will remain as strong and consistent as ever.
The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Spanish): As our meetings in Geneva are coming to a close, I should like to express my thanks to all delegations here for their warm co-operation and deep understanding, which have enabled us to overcome certain technical difficulties of these special meetings. The efforts you made helped bring about the success of our deliberations. On behalf of all delegations and on my own behalf, I wish especially to thank the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs and Secretariat Services, Mr. Joseph Verner Reed, and the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Jan Martenson, whose staff deserve our gratitude for their tremendous efforts in so speedily and effectively arranging for the General Assembly to meet here.
I should also like to give special thanks to the interpreters, the translators, the security officers, the conference staff, the press staff, engineers, messengers and all other staff members who have worked with us over the past three days for having stood by us even until the late hours.
Finally, I believe that we all owe very special thanks to the authorities of the Swiss Confederation for the way in which they have welcomed the Assembly, thus facilitating our deliberations. TO all of them go my very special thanks.
The PRESIDENT (interpretation from Spanish): The General Assembly has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of agenda item 37.
This record contains the original text of speeches delivered in English and interpretations of speeches in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the General Assembly.
Corrections .should be submitted to original speeches only. They should be sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned, within one week, to the Chief, Official Records B3iting Section, Department of Conference Services, Room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
88-6463 I/A 9870V (E)