Question of Palestine home
13 January 1976
1871st MEETING Held in New York
on Tuesday, 13 January 1976, at 3 p.m.
Mr. Salim A. SALIM
(United Republic of Tanzania)
The representatives of the following States: Benin, China, France, Guyana, Italy, Japan, Libyan Arab Republic, Pakistan, Panama, Romania, Sweden, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania and United States of America.
Provisional agenda (S/Agenda/1871)
1. Adoption of the agenda
2. The Middle East problem including the Palestinian question
The meeting was called to order at 3.45 p.m.
Adoption of the agenda
The agenda was adopted.
The Middle East problem including the Palestinian Question
1 The PRESIDENT: In accordance with the decision taken by the Council yesterday
I now invite the representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the Syrian Arab Republic and the United Arab Emirates, in conformity with the usual practice and the relevant provisions of the Charter and the provisional rules of procedure, to participate in the discussion without the right to vote. In accordance with the arrangements also decided on yesterday, I invite the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to participate in the discussion.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Abdel Meguid (Egypt)
Mr. Sharaf (Jordan), Mr. Allaf (Syrian Arab Republic) and Mr. Khuddoumi (Palestine Liberation Organization) took places at the Security Council table: Mr. Jamal (Qatar) Mr. Ghobash (United Arab Emirates) took the places reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
2. The PRESIDENT: The Security Council will now continue its examination of the question on its agenda. The first speaker is the representative of Egypt, on whom I now call.
3. Mr. ABDEL MEGUID (Egypt): Allow me first of all to congratulate you, Sir, upon your assumption of the post of President of the Security Council. You have assumed the presidency at a most important and indeed at a very delicate time. The burden you carry is by no means a light one. However, your exceptional personal and diplomatic qualities and skills are well known to us and we are confident that you will wisely and successfully guide the deliberations of the Council.
4. It is indeed a pleasure for me to pay a tribute to your great African country, the United Republic of Tanzania, with which Egypt enjoys the most cordial and excellent relationship and which has always played a positive role in international relations.
5. It is a matter of great satisfaction and pleasure to see among us once again the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) participating fully in the debate. The historic and wise decision of the Security Council last month to invite the PLO to take part in its debate was in fact a matter long overdue, since it is the sole representative of the Palestinian people, one of the main parties to the problem.
6. I should like also to thank the members of the Council and congratulate the new members, who saw to it that this important debate should take place today, in their conviction that such a pressing and important problem must not be ignored any more by the international community represented by this august body.
7. The Security Council and the United Nations since its creation have been discussing the different aspects of the Middle East problem and have adopted numerous resolutions. Nevertheless the problem has persisted till now in its twin aspects: Israel's occupation of Arab land and its denial to the Palestinian people of their inalienable national right to self-determination as stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations.
8. I should like to express our regret that the party responsible for the perpetration of those deeds found it fitting to declare publicly and defiantly its contempt of the Council and the international community. Such actions on the part of Israel are not new to us, as has already been demonstrated in previous Council meetings. Israel's decision not to take part in the debate could only drive it into further isolation, and should stimulate the trend in the world community to take corrective action against its intransigence and defiance.
9. This decision by Israel is a further example of the obvious unwillingness of the Israeli leadership to avail itself of the various opportunities that could, once and for all, lead us nearer to a just settlement of the Middle East problem. Its perpetual deviousness in trying to shun such opportunities goes back a long, long way.
The New York Times
of 2 December 1975 described this Israeli decision in the following words:
"Israel's announced intention to boycott the Security Council's debate while the PLO participates in any capacity is short-sighted and contrary to Israel's long-term interests in establishing a framework for conciliation."
It continued that "a growing number of prominent Israelis are... questioning the wisdom of the Government's long-standing refusal to meet the PLO in any forum."
11. Many serious opportunities have, so far, been missed, with the most tragic of consequences. What is really required at present is a change of heart on the part of Israel. Let us hope that steps towards peace, and ultimately peace itself, will no longer be as elusive as they have been.
12. The fact that Israel's negative attitude with regard to any step that would lead to peace in the Middle East is drawing it into greater isolation has been openly admitted and criticized by major political Israeli figures. Mr. Abba Eban wrote in
The Jerusalem Post
of 21 November 1975: "In spite of my basically optimistic temperament, I cannot believe that 1977 will be better than 1976." He then advised his Government that: "We need movement, because time is not working in our favour. Developments during 1975 have clearly proved that."
13. What movement has the Israeli Government made, so far, regarding the core of the problem? None at all, except to declare its contempt of the international community because the Council has once again invited the PLO to participate in a debate concerning the basic national rights of the Palestinian people. In this respect what is ironic indeed is that many Israelis, including Mr. Eban, consider that one of the main disadvantages for Israel in 1975 was that the PLO achieved broader international legitimacy.
14. I am confident that the Council still recalls what happened in its debate in the summer of 1973, when the efforts to push matters forward towards a just and peaceful solution failed. Before the Security Council at that time was Egypt's record of the peace efforts and numerous initiatives it had undertaken and accepted in the cause of peace and justice in the Middle East.
15. My Government has not spared any effort in its search for peace. Let me give here some samples of such deeds. We accepted Mr. Gunnar Jarring's aide-memoire of 1971
[S/10403, annex I],
as well as the United States Rogers plan of 1970. The Organization of African Unity also took a positive initiative by setting up a special mission of inquiry, consisting of heads of State under the chairmanship of President Senghor of Senegal, which endeavoured during 1971 to break the stalemate. This was faced with Israeli intransigence. President Sadat himself proposed an initiative in 1971 in order to break the deadlock.
16. All these efforts, and many, many others, were met by refusal, defiance and contempt on the part of Israel. Although the United States of America had formally repeated several times, in declarations by successive Presidents, that it guaranteed the territorial integrity of all States in the region, the Security Council, during the summer of 1973, was not able to take effective measures to terminate the illegal consequences of the aggression committed against the Arab States.
17. Egypt has been, and still is, firmly committed to grasping every opportunity to achieve a just settlement in our region. But Israel's intransigence and desire for expansion were—and still are—the only obstacle on the path of achieving a just and lasting peace. The world at large understood and sympathized with the joint Egyptian and Syrian action in October 1973 with a view to liberating their occupied land and breaking the unacceptable political stalemate. The war of liberation of October 1973 was a necessary shock, not only to Israel but to many who believed that the Arabs would in the end accept the fait accompli and that Israel could then get away with its aggression and expansion.
18. None has portrayed this situation more vividly than Mr. Christopher Mayhew, a former British Minister of State, in his most recent book.
Publish It Not—The Middle East Cover-Up,
when he wrote:
"It was a miscalculation of epic proportions, as we were all made suddenly aware when war broke out in October 1973 and we discovered that the Arabs realized what power they had in their hands and knew how to use it. It was such a tremendous miscalculation, with consequences whose full extent is still difficult to predict, that the questions need to be asked: How and why did the Governments of the West show such bad judgement? Did they not realize the price they would have to pay for conniving at the injustice in the Middle East? Why did they tolerate on the part of Israel behaviour which so openly, even defiantly, ran counter to all the rules of international behaviour? What prevented them from seeing that Israel's behaviour would make a renewal of war certain and that this would threaten the vital interests of all of us in the West?"
19. Whereas the whole world drew the salient conclusions from the historic event of October 1973, Israel, unfortunately, refuses to face reality, preferring to indulge in its own make-believe dreams—that the October war of 1973 was simply a passing event that could not deter it from returning to its pre-October 1973 policy of defying all and everyone: world public opinion, the United Nations, the Arabs.
20. The President of the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Nahum Goldman, was quoted in June 1974 as saying that "by blindly supporting the mistaken course of Israeli policy and by telling the Israelis only what they wanted to hear. Diaspora Jews had done Israel a disservice."
21. The value of the October war of liberation resides in the fact that it shattered certain Israeli illusions, such as its belief in its military invincibility, which would have allowed it to retain the occupied Arab territories forever. Another such shattered myth was Israel's insistence that only expansion could provide it with security. The call for one-sided security cannot be viewed as a significant contribution towards a less turbulent and more peaceful future. On the contrary, if Israel's claim for security is to have any validity, it must be viewed within the broader framework of Arab security, including security for the Palestinian people.
22. Moreover, as Mr. Anthony Lewis pointed out in an article in
The New York Time's
of 27 March 1975,
"First, the land occupied in 1967 is less and less significant in terms of physical security. New weapons will cover the distance involved and more. The next war will be more destructive than the others, whatever the particular boundaries. And. militarily, time is running against Israel...
"Second, retention of the occupied territories is sapping the already diminished reservoir of good will toward Israel in the world. Professor Stanley Hoffmann of Harvard, one of the wisest foreign affairs specialists in this country, has written of the danger of Israel's isolation, physical and mental, from its neighbours and indeed from much of the outside world. The United States is almost the only pipeline to the world...
"Third, it is a delusion to think that Israel can ever get true nonbelligerency from her neighbours unless and until she returns the occupied territories."
23. One of the major results of the October war of liberation was the conviction that stability and justice must prevail in the Middle East if stability and prosperity are to prevail in the rest of the world. Many statesmen in Europe have recognized that the security of Europe depends on stability in the Middle East. This awareness is manifest also in the rest of the industrialized world. I should like here to single out a recent important study published in December 1975 by the ninety-fourth American Congress for the use of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and entitled,
Towards Project Interdependence: Energy in the Coming Decade,
by Mr. Herman T. Franssen. The author stressed that peace in the Middle East is a necessary prerequisite for the creation of a favourable political climate in the world.
24. Israel is still playing a dangerous game in defiance of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as United Nations resolutions, by establishing settlements and colonies that to date number 59 in Sinai, the Golan and the West Bank. One of these settlements is called Yamit, is conceived as a city and is situated inside Egyptian territory to the south of the Gaza Strip. It is incredible that Israeli leaders still believe that by such settlements they can constitute established facts in the occupied territories and encourage more immigration from abroad. The reality is that they are failing in both aims, for the settlements are doomed to failure and the immigration policy is an exodus in reverse.
25. Let me state in no uncertain terms that we will not surrender our rights nor will we be intimidated into succumbing to fails accoraplis. No new Israeli settlements will deter us from liberating our home-land by all means at our disposal. President Sadat made that quite clear when he declared before the General Assembly on 29 October 1975 that
"Our first objective, which influences all our Arab or international actions, is the liberation of all occupied Arab territories and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people so that they can exercise their responsibilities and their right to self-determination. In this respect we do not hold any part of Arab territory to be less dear to us than occupied Egyptian territory. Jerusalem, Nablus, Al-Khalil, Jebel El-Sheikh, Gaza are no less dear to me than Egyptian Kantara or Al-Arish. With this understanding, our policy therefore is a positive one, as well as a flexible one, but one which holds the final objective to be unchangeable. Therefore, our policy is not to let go of any opportunity to liberate any part of Arab territory, wherever it may be".
26. It would be far wiser for Israel to conclude that it cannot continue its policy of defiance and intimidation towards both the Arabs and the international community. If it so concludes, then it becomes imperative upon Israel to abandon its grandiose dreams of expansion and domination and to desist forthwith from establishing settlements in the occupied territories. The policy of establishing settlements is totally condemned, and rejected in all its aspects. Being null and void, it cannot create any rights whatsoever.
27. In very simple terms. Israel must withdraw from all the occupied territories, including Arab Jerusalem, and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, not only for the sake of abiding by the numerous United Nations resolutions but to win acceptance in the Middle East.
28. The tragedy that befell the Palestinian people has no equal in modern times. That a whole people was "wished away" from the political theatre for so long and had to endure so much simply to survive and to reemerge is an epic event in itself.
29. Hugo Bergman, a Jewish philosopher and writer, said more than 30 years ago, speaking about Jewish settlements in Palestine, that
"Any agreement with the inhabitants of the land is much more important to us than declarations of all the Governments in the world could be. Unfortunately, Zionist public opinion has not yet become conscious of it. What happened in Palestine before the [First World War] was almost totally of a kind to turn Arabs into our enemies".
30. What happened before the war is still being implemented today by the Israeli military establishment—launching massive aerial bombardments and ground raids at refugee camps, thereby causing the death of thousands of innocent human beings and untold sorrow. But how futile such a monstrous policy is. For in spite of everything that has been brought to bear on them the Palestinians have withstood it all. by the sheer force of their own determination and zeal, and have finally imposed their imprint, not simply on the conscience of humanity at large but on world political realities.
31. The world at large has recognized these realities. That trend has been on the increase, and there have been some shifts among those in the United States who previously supported the Israeli point of view. Just recently—on 12 November 1975—Mr. Saunders, the United States Assistant Under-Secretary of State, declared before the Special Sub-Committee on Investigations of the House Committee on International Relations that "the Palestinian dimension of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the heart of that conflict".
32. Furthermore, 250 clergymen from 17 states of the United States, who form a group called "Search for Justice and Equality in Palestine", issued a statement on 4 January 1976 urging Israel to recognize "the right of displaced Palestinian Christians and Moslems to return to their homeland". They further asserted that "the right to leave a country—as invoked by Israel for Jews against the Soviet Union—applies equally as a right for displaced Palestinians to return to their homeland".
33. We note with great satisfaction that His Holiness Pope Paul VI, in his New Year's message, called upon Israel to recognize the rights and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians. The PLO has been the embodiment of the Palestinian people throughout many years. It has been recognized by and has found great support among peace-loving nations. This recognition was further enhanced when the General Assembly during its twenty-ninth session granted the PLO observer status.
34. I must state here that last year, during the thirtieth session of the General Assembly, the international community was most responsive to the cause of peace when it adopted its historic resolution 3375 (XXX), in which it declared that the PLO must take part in the Peace Conference on the Middle East. That is proof of the world's conviction that no peace can be achieved without the full participation of the representatives of the main party to the conflict. So Egypt, in asking that the Peace Conference be reconvened, as it must be, in the near future in order to reach a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the problem, once the Security Council has recognized the national rights of the Palestinian people, believes that the PLO must be invited to the Conference on an equal footing with the other parties. We feel that the Council should follow the example of the General Assembly in this respect, to show to the world that the organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security is convinced that the Peace Conference must be reconvened on the aforementioned basis with the participation of the PLO. Indeed, that cannot but be so, since the Peace Conference is under the auspices of the United Nations, which is the source and the origin of the Conference. Hence it is inevitable that we should resort to you if the Peace Conference should fail or meet with obstructions.
35. President Sadat stated before the General Assembly that:
"Therefore, you should closely follow the proceedings at Geneva, and the Security Council and the General Assembly should shoulder their responsibilities either in relation to the momentum towards peace or with regard to the clear expression of your commitment to the Charter and its provisions. Other expressions of your responsibility are the constant participation of the United Nations through the Secretary-General or his representatives, or through the United Nations forces or through international guarantees of the peaceful settlement".
36. Thus Egypt is striving for the reconvening of Peace Conference in the very near future. There is now a favourable atmosphere and support for the participation of the PLO in that Conference on an equal footing with the other parties, and this should not be hindered by Israeli intransigence and efforts to postpone the Conference.
37. Mr. Ismail Fahmy, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, in his major foreign policy speech on 5 January before the Egyptian Parliament declared that:
"We will be undertaking in the next few months intensive efforts in this direction, especially with the Soviet Union and the United States as Co-Chairmen of the Conference. It is Egypt's belief that the Conference has not been able to discuss the twin aspects of the Middle East problem in a constructive and serious manner. It was never given the opportunity to do so, whether in its present composition or after the addition of new elements to its membership, which would be welcomed by Egypt at the appropriate time, if the work of the Conference were hindered for one reason or another."
38. In this connexion, it is gratifying to note that Mr. Andrei Gromyko, the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, one of the Co-Chairmen of the Peace Conference, also took the initiative and on 9 November 1975 sent a letter to the Secretary of State of the United States, the other Co-Chairman, calling for the reconvening of the Conference with the participation of the PLO on an equal footing with other participants.
39. The decision by the Security Council to invite the PLO last month and at these meetings to take part in its deliberation was wise and in conformity with this trend. The General Assembly in its resolution 3236 (XXIX) defined the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people; it went a step further during its last session by establishing in its resolution 3376 (XXX) the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People composed of 20 Member States to study how to implement the provisions of its resolution 3236 (XXIX). In fact, the Security Council now has before it a historic opportunity, in this connexion, as this Committee has to report to it by 1 June of this year. Should the Council rise to its duty and seize this opportunity to help this courageous and proud people to regain their rights, then the question of the Middle East conflict could be peacefully solved, for it is the conviction of.all now that without a solution of the Palestinian question there will be no peace or justice in the region. The international community is being asked to make amends to the Palestinian people for a quarter of a century of needless suffering and neglect. Strong action is demanded now by all peace-loving peoples in the world.
40. The situation is fraught with danger, unless we all endeavour to find a prompt, just and durable solution. Peace must reign in the Middle East, but not any Peace. It must be a peace based on justice in order for it to be durable. The Arab nation will not accept any stalemate or the return to the situation of "no war, no peace".
41. It was to be hoped that Israel would at least heed the advice given by one of its declared friends, Mr. Joseph Alsop, who, writing in
The New York time's Magazine
of 14 December 1975 under the title "Open letter to an Israeli friend", said that "I'm afraid the time has come for you Israelis to tackle the hardest problem that has ever faced you—the problem of genuine Middle Eastern peacemaking, with Israel participating in a positive way".
42. Friendly advice, warnings and the lessons of past history that go unheeded, however unfortunate that may be, are one thing. But such unveiled threats as those that are being uttered by major Israeli policy makers are a totally different matter. Just nine days ago none other than the Prime Minister of Israel stated the following in a speech to the World Zionist General Council quoted in
The New York Times
of 5 January 1975:
" ‘Serious developments might result' from the [Security Council] debate, Mr. Rabin said, adding that Israel had 'sufficient military strength to provide it with room for political manoeuver, but possibly we will have to give expression to this sooner than many think' ".
No threat could be more blunt, or clearer or more revealing of the Israeli attitude.
43. Before concluding I would like to emphasize the following six basic elements. First, Egypt, in participating in the debate of the Security Council, believes that that debate should be focused primarily on the political aspects of the Palestine question. We are fully convinced that the Council could add a positive contribution by agreeing unanimously to a resolution to the effect that a permanent and just peace in the Middle East must be based on the achievement by the Palestinian people of their national rights.
44. Secondly, Egypt calls equally for the establishment of an independent Palestinian entity, by the recognition of the inalienable national right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and resolutions. All this constitutes a basic necessity and a prerequisite for peace in the area.
45. Thirdly, Egypt is looking to the establishment of peace in the Middle East by the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied Arab territories. I should like to make it quite clear that it should be a total and complete withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied since 5 June 1967, and this in implementation of the provisions of resolution 242 (1967), which is in conformity with the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. The world community represented in the Security Council cannot accept any other interpretation of this resolution under any circumstances. The rules of international law and the principles of the Charter are most clear on that.
46. Fourthly, it is my Government's belief that the Peace Conference—which is within the framework of the United Nations—has not vet been given the chance to deal with the situation in the Middle East in a comprehensive, serious and constructive way.
47. Fifthly, my Government, by participating in the debate, considers it not an alternative but rather a prerequisite to the Peace Conference. Therefore I repeat that Egypt calls for the reconvening of this Conference with the participation of all parties concerned, including the PLO, on an equal footing with other participants in accordance with General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX) in order to deal with the problem in all its different aspects, on the aforementioned basis.
48. Sixthly, thus the Security Council, in our view, should support the call for the reconvening in the near future of the Peace Conference, on the previous basis, and request the Secretary General, the Soviet Union and the United States in their respective capacities to forward such invitations.
49. Let me conclude by stating that, together with the aforementioned six points, the political and diplomatic momentum created during the last year towards peace must be kept. The World should avoid misconstruing stability as meaning immobility. Nothing could be further from the truth.
50. The only viable alternative to the continuation of the tragedies of the last 30 years in the Middle East is the achievement of a just and durable settlement that takes into account the core of the problem —and peace cannot be durable if it is not just. Therefore, if we are to prevent history from repeating itself, it becomes imperative for the international community, as represented by the Security Council, and for all the parties to the problem, especially Israel, to avoid at all costs the old mistakes of negativism, intransigence and foot-dragging. It becomes essential, then, that there be a movement towards a new order of things based on positive attitudes and positive actions. Let the Council prove to the world at large that it is capable of safeguarding peace and justice. Let us make peace prevail in our area and in the world.
51. The PRESIDENT: Before I call on the next speaker. I wish to inform the Council that I have just received a letter from the representative of Yugoslavia containing a request to be invited, in accordance with rule 37 of the provisional rules of procedure, to participate in the discussion of the item on the agenda. I propose, if there is no objection, to invite the representative of Yugoslavia to participate in the discussion in conformity with the usual practice and the relevant provisions of the Charter and the provisional rules of procedure. There being no objection, I invite the representative to take the place reserved for him at the side of the Council chamber, on the usual understanding that he will be invited to take a place at the Council table when he wishes to address the Council.
At the invitation of the President, Mr. Petric (Yugoslavia) took the place reserved for him at the side of the Council chamber.
The PRESIDENT: The next speaker is the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, on whom I now call.
53. Mr. ALLAF (Syrian Arab Republic): Mr. President, permit me first of all to say how happy and honoured I feel at delivering the opening statement of my country in this historic debate at a Council meeting presided over by you, an eminent son of the third world, a tireless fighter for the cause of freedom and self-determination and a brilliant representative of a brotherly African country with which my country has always had the closest ties of friendship and cooperation. It is especially significant and gratifying to my country that you are presiding over the meetings of the Security Council in this debate, a debate for the realization of which you personally played a leading role last November as a representative of your country as welt as a spokesman for the group of nonaligned countries in the Council. As a matter of fact resolution 381 (1975) of 30 November 1975, on the basis of which this debate is taking place here, was drafted, negotiated and carried through thanks to the dynamic and wonderful efforts of your good self and of all your nonaligned brothers. Some of those nonaligned colleagues have left the Security Council now, and to them personally, as well as to their brother countries. Iraq, Mauritania and the United Republic of Cameroon, we wish to express the warmest sentiments of gratitude and appreciation.
54. I should like to take this opportunity also to express my delegation's sincere welcome and congratulations to the five new members of the Security Council: namely, Benin, the Libyan Arab Republic, Pakistan, Panama and Romania. We are confident that they will contribute in the most effective and constructive way to carrying out the work of the Council. They have already proved their attachment and devotion to the cause of peace and justice by the affirmative votes they all cast yesterday in favour of the legitimate right of the PLO to participate in the debate of the Council on an equal footing while the case of its own people is under consideration.
55. In this connexion, we share entirely the view of the representatives of the Soviet Union and Romania expressed during the previous meeting that the question of inviting the PLO to the present debate was already settled on 30 November, when the Security Council adopted its resolution 381 (1975). In addition to the statement of the President of the Council on that date, which was closely connected with resolution 381 (1975), which formed a part of the official records and which reflected the favourable opinion of the majority of the members of the Council to that effect, subparagraph (a) of resolution 381 (1975) was sufficient by itself, in our opinion, to ensure the participation of the PLO in the present debate.
56. The Security Council decided in that subparagraph to continue the debate on the Middle East problem including the Palestinian question "taking into account all relevant United Nations resolutions". General Assembly resolution 3375 (XXX), adopted on 10 November 1975, is undoubtedly one of those relevant United Nations resolutions which the Council has decided to take into account. In paragraph 2 of that resolution, the Council states very clearly the following:
for the invitation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people, to participate in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East".
57. Anyway the overwhelming majority of the Security Council, by a vote of 11 to I, yesterday [
confirmed the fact that a very small minority of Council members has tried to distort. The important thing now is that the PLO will never be absent from a discussion that affects the future of its people.
58. Permit me also to fulfil one sad duty, namely, to present the sincere condolences of my delegation to the representative of China on the painful occasion of the passing away of the late Premier Chou En-lai. That great leader and statesman will long be remembered for all the services that he has rendered, not only to his great country. China, but also to the whole world.
59. In accordance with its resolution 381 (1975), the Security Council is meeting today to debate the Middle East problem including the Palestinian question. In so doing, the Council is marking the beginning of a new and important phase on the way towards establishing a just and lasting peace in a region which has suffered from injustice and aggression for as many years as the United Nations has been in existence.
60. That historic resolution, adopted by the Council on the initiative and urging of the Syrian Arab Republic on the occasion of the extension of the mandate of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in occupied Golan, reflects a positive and conscious exercise by the Security Council of its grave responsibilities under the Charter as the main organ for the maintenance of peace and security in the world. This is particularly true as the Council has, for the first time in its history, decided to discuss the Palestine question, the very core of the Middle East problem and its main cause, in a practical and substantive manner, rather than confining itself, as in the past, merely to discussing the repercussions of that tragedy and its side issues.
61. Furthermore, the Council has realized another significant achievement in deciding to discuss the Middle East problem and the Palestine question, taking into account all relevant United Nations resolutions. This constitutes an explicit recognition by the Council of all relevant United Nations resolutions adopted during the period from 1947 to 1975, including of course all the resolutions that affirm the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, sovereignty and repatriation to their homeland and their right to establish in it an independent State, as well as the right of the Arab States to liberate all the territories occupied by Israel through force and aggression.
62. In addition, the statement made by the Council's President in conjunction with resolution 381 (1975) inviting the PLO to participate in the Council's debate constituted an acknowledgement by the overwhelming majority of the members of the Council of a logical and obvious fact, namely, that it would be futile to try to seek any settlement to the Palestine question and the Middle East conflict resulting therefrom in the absence of the Palestinian people, the main party directly confined. By taking those positive steps, the Council has justified the confidence put in it by Member States and has faithfully carried out the responsibility vested in it through the will of those States and on their behalf.
63. By considering the substance of the Palestine question, recognizing all the relevant General Assembly resolutions and inviting the representatives of the Palestinian people to participate in the debate concerning their future, the Council is joining the General Assembly and the consensus of the international community in proclaiming that no just and lasting peace can be achieved in the absence of the Palestinian people and without their participation.
64. The Syrian Arab Republic, which first insisted on the participation of the PLO in the present debate as a prerequisite for the application of resolution 381 (1975), is deeply gratified to see the representatives of the PLO take their seats at the Council table today on an equal footing with the representatives of other parties concerned. This will enable them to exercise their natural rights by taking part in what affects their future. The Syrian Arab Republic is fully confident that their participation in the Council's debate will serve to demonstrate the great qualities of their heroic people and its attachment to the principles of justice, freedom and peace.
65. One of those parties directly concerned has chosen, however, not to show up, and one does not need to wonder very long to guess the reasons. It is true that a criminal would not feel very much at ease in the courtroom where his crimes were being considered and judged. Yet, we do not think that is the only reason why the Zionist aggressor has preferred to stay away. As a matter of fact, at the very moment when the important discussion on the question of Palestine and the Middle East started yesterday, the representative of the Zionist entity, instead of being here at this table at least to try to defend or justify the crimes and the wrongdoing of his racist regime, was right across the street, outside the United Nations, where he should really be permanently, attacking the United Nations and the Security Council, asserting that Syria and the PLO are preparing the stage for a new round of fighting just because they have asked the Security Council to discuss the Middle East and the Palestinian question, and reaffirming the treatment that his racist regime usually reserves for all United Nations resolutions by declaring that "any Council resolution regarded as inimical to Israel's interests will join hundreds of other United Nations resolutions" —where?—"in the waste-paper basket."
66. Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations imposes on Members the following: "The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter." But Israel has only the waste-basket for these and other United Nations resolutions. It is quite interesting that the Zionist racist regime extends now to the Security Council the same treatment of disrespect, insult and defiance that had been, until a short time ago, characteristic of Israel's attitude only towards the General Assembly.
67. The plain truth is that the Zionist regime is absent from this debate only because it has no real desire for peace. The Zionists are afraid of peace because peace can only be based on justice, and the racist Zionist regime could not survive if justice were to prevail.
68. Last November, in answer to resolution 381 (1975), which merely calls for a debate on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, Israel carried out barbarous air raids against Lebanon and the camps of the Palestinian refugees. The Zionist racist entity used that resolution also to carry out further steps in its policy of expansion and usurpation of Arab land by permitting the establishment of four new settlements in the occupied Golan. The number of such illegal Zionist settlements on occupied Syrian territory has now reached 24. This is how the racists respond to any international call for peace and discussion: by more raids, by more attacks, and by further consolidation of their racist expansion and their usurpation of Arab territory.
69. But the absence of a guilty criminal will not save him from the judgement of the world community, nor can he defy indefinitely the overwhelming will of the international family. The tragedy that has befallen the Palestinian people is the source of the present conflict in the Middle East. It was the cause of four bloody wars that flared up in the region during a period of less than 30 years. As a result of the colonialist-racist conspiracy, originally plotted at the first Zionist Congress at Basel in 1898 and further elaborated in the Balfour Declaration of 1917—
/ so aptly described as "a promise by him who does not own to him who does not deserve"—Arab Palestine was chosen to become the prey of covetous world zionism, the most fanatic and discriminatory movement in modern history.
70. During the 30 years that followed the Balfour Declaration, forces of colonialism joined with those of world Zionism to carry out the conspiracy in successive stages and through deliberate and carefully studied steps. In collusion with the British Mandatory authorities, the Zionists began flooding the Palestinian homeland, overtly and covertly, with hundreds of thousands of invading immigrants. They expropriated lands from their rightful Arab owners through deception and temptation, or by terrorism and threats, and the uprisings and revolts of the heroic Palestinian people between the two World Wars could not stop the waves of the Zionist, colonialist and racist invasion, which was clearly aimed at Judaizing Palestine and usurping it from its lawful owners.
71. In continuation of the conspiracy, the British Government brought the Palestine question before the newly born United Nations in 1947. At that time the percentage of the Jewish population in Palestine had increased, through frantic illegal immigration, from II per cent in 1922, based on the first official census organized by the Mandatory Government, to about 32 per cent in 1947, when the partition resolution was passed, while the Arab citizens continue to own more than 90 per cent of the lands of Palestine, in spite of the organized Zionist campaigns of acquisition.
72. The partition resolution was adopted by the General Assembly on 29 November 1947 by a majority of 33 votes to 13, with 10 abstentions.
/ The adoption of this resolution was clearly in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and its purposes, as well as of the principles of human rights, self-determination and territorial integrity. By this resolution the United Nations tore apart the Palestinian homeland, in the absence of its indigenous people, despite the vigorous protests of the overwhelming majority of that people.
73. Yet, despite the injustice of the Partition Plan, the Zionist-racist aggression went far beyond the limits of that Plan. The Zionist terrorist gangs resorted to a series of massacres and slaughters to terrorize the Palestinian Arab population in order to displace them and force them to leave their homes and villages and to make room for the new successive waves of invading Zionist settlers coming from all parts of the world. The forces of the then newly independent neighbouring Arab countries that hurried to defend the unarmed Palestinian people in May 1948 were unable to stop the Zionist invaders, supported as they were by the colonialist forces, from usurping additional parts of what had remained of the Palestinian homeland. This resulted in the usurpation by the Zionists of much greater areas than those allotted by the Partition Plan to the Jewish State that was implanted in the heart of the Arab homeland.
74. During the 20 years that followed, the Zionist-racist cancer kept spreading and expanding into other parts of the land of Palestine and the Arab nation. In 1956 Israel unsuccessfully attempted to swallow up the remaining parts of Palestine, as well as the Sinai Peninsula, during the tripartite aggression against Egypt. It repeated the same attempt in its treacherous aggression of June 1967, and was able this time, with the support of the colonialist countries, to occupy not only the whole of Palestinian territory, but also large parts of the territories of Egypt and the .Syrian Arab Republic.
75. After more than six years of futile efforts by the international community to force the Zionist aggressor to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories and to recognize the national rights of the Palestinian people, the Syrian and Egyptian forces had no alternative but to act in order to liberate the occupied Arab land. The October war of liberation of 1973 provided unmistakable conclusive evidence that the Arab people would not allow one inch of their territories to remain under occupation, and would not remain silent over the slightest violation of any of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.
76. However, the Zionist-racist entity soon forgot the lessons of the October war of liberation. In fact, shortly after that war, Israel resumed its arrogance and intransigence, and persisted in its expansionist and racist policy and in its rejection of peace. It continues to refuse to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories. It ignores totally not only the rights of the Palestinian people, but also their very existence as a people.
77. Thus the Zionist entity continues in its occupation of Arab territories and its oppression of the Arab population of the occupied territories. The Zionists continue their expansionist design by establishing more settlements in those territories, in an attempt to Judaize them and to alter their cultural and demographic character. All these acts reveal the racist and expansionist nature of Israel and prove that it has no real interest in or desire for peace.
78. The Zionist aggressors, in order to carry out their colonialist expansionist designs, are exploiting the so-called policy of partial steps and individual solutions in an attempt to gain time, impose a fait accompli. Perpetuate the occupation and deceive world public opinion, which is showing growing impatience over Israel's procrastination and refusal to implement United Nations resolutions.
79. However, international public opinion is increasingly convinced of the futility of any attempt to fragment the cause of peace in the Middle East or to substitute partial steps for a comprehensive and substantive settlement. The international community has become increasingly convinced that no just and lasting peace can be established in the region without the recognition of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, independence, sovereignty and the right to establish its own independent State in its homeland and without Israel's complete withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied by force and aggression.
80. The international community has at last realized the basic truth in the Middle East conflict, namely, that no settlement of this conflict can be achieved without solving first the main issue lying at its roots, which is the Palestine question. Racist Zionist propaganda has for years been representing the Middle East problem as a direct conflict between the Arab States and Israel bearing no relationship whatsoever to the Palestinian people. The Zionist leaders claim that there is no such thing as Palestine or the Palestinian people.
81. However, the world community can no longer be deceived by the lies of world Zionism. The world community has come to realize that the Arab-Israeli conflict did not start in 1967, as claimed by Israel. It started, in fact, the very moment Israel was implanted in the heart of the Arab homeland. The Arab States remained, as they still are, in a state of war with Israel throughout the 20 years from 1948 to 1967, though not a single inch of their land was under occupation during that period. The main cause of the conflict has always been—and still is—the Zionist aggression against the land of Palestine and its people.
82. Inasmuch as the Zionist aggression against the Arab people did not start on 5 June 1967, the solution of the Middle East conflict cannot be based on resolutions or solutions that take into account only what has happened since that date. This explains the inadequacy of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) for securing the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, even if the Israeli aggressors were to implement the said resolution, although this has by no means happened. Resolution 242 (1967) was adopted under the impact of the treacherous Israeli aggression of June 1967 and was intended to deal with the immediate consequences of that aggression. It cannot replace, nor can it claim to replace, previous United Nations resolutions relating to the Palestine question or the Middle East problem. It cannot supersede those resolutions. If resolution 242 (1967) could cancel previous United Nations resolutions, such as, for instance. General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 providing for the establishment in Palestine of an Arab State and a similar State for the Zionists, then it would mean that the resolution under which, according to the United Nations, the State of Israel was established, had become null and void.
83. If resolution 242 (1967) does not and cannot supersede previous United Nations resolutions, it can hardly supersede subsequent United Nations resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Consequently, it may be stated without any doubt that Council resolution 242 (1967) does not supersede Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX), 3375 (XXX), 3376 (XXX) and 3414 (XXX). It cannot likewise supersede or affect the validity of Security Council resolutions 338 (1973) and 381 (1975).
84. Security Council resolution 338 (1973), adopted immediately after the October war of 1973, itself demonstrates the inadequacy of resolution 242 (1967) for establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. As is well known, resolution 338 (1973) consists of three points: first, a cease-fire between the belligerents; secondly, a call to both parties to start immediately on the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in all its parts; and, thirdly, the beginning of negotiations, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, to establish—I stress "to establish"—a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
85. So the question is: If Security Council resolution 242 (1967) is adequate for establishing a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, then why does resolution 338 (1973) provide in its paragraph 3 for an immediate start to negotiations under appropriate auspices, after having called in paragraph 2 for the immediate implementation of resolution 242 (1967)? Is it not because the Security Council realized in 1973 that its previous resolution of 1967—resolution 242 (1967)—was insufficient by itself for the establishment of the desired just and lasting peace?
86. Even without this tacit admission in resolution 338 (1973) of the limitations of resolution 242 (1967), this last resolution, by totally ignoring the Palestine question and the Palestinian people, and merely referring in an ambiguous manner to the necessity of finding a just solution of the problem of refugees, obviously cannot be suitable for ensuring conditions for a just and lasting peace in the region, since it makes no mention of the root of the conflict, namely, the Palestine question.
87. This brings us to the most recent resolution of the Security Council—resolution 381 (1975) of 30 November 1975—which brought in the basic element that in our opinion is missing in resolution 242 (1967) by stating in its subparagraph (a) that the consideration of the Middle East problem, including the Palestine question, shall take into account all relevant United Nations resolutions, that is, both of the General Assembly and the Security Council. By adopting this resolution the Council took an important step towards fulfilling the responsibilities conferred upon it under the Charter.
88. In that connexion, it is high time to refute the false theory which tends to erect a wall, with regard to authority and responsibility and applicability of their respective decisions, between the Security Council and the General Assembly—as if they were organs belonging to two separate organizations, with differing memberships and contradictory aims. The authority and the responsibilities of these two main organs of the United Nations stem from the same Charter. The General Assembly is the main and most representative organ of the United Nations. The Security Council derives its authority explicitly from the responsibilities vested in it by the Member States themselves by virtue of Article 24 of the Charter. The Council is also duty-bound to act in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations under paragraph 2 of that same Article. All this makes it incumbent upon the Security Council to align its actions aiming at the maintenance of international peace and security with the decisions and wishes of the whole membership, as reflected in the resolutions of the General Assembly. It is for that reason that we warmly welcomed Council resolution 381 (1975), which takes into consideration all those relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
89. For years the Middle East has been the scene of repeated violations of the Charter and the principles of international law. Arab territories have been occupied by force. The Palestinian people have been constantly denied their basic rights. The Arab populations in the occupied territories have been subjected to the worst forms of oppression and discrimination. Israel continues to undertake repeated raids and acts of aggression against neighbouring Arab countries and Palestinian refugee camps. Scores of resolutions adopted by the various organs of the United Nations have condemned and denounced these continuous acts of aggression to which the Arab people are subjected inside and outside the occupied territories. The Israeli aggressor has been condemned countless times and been asked to put an end to its aggression, to withdraw from the occupied territories and to respect the rights of the Palestinian people.
90. The Charter imposes upon Member States respect for its principles and provisions—Article 2. Member States have undertaken to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the Charter—Article 25. The racist Zionist entity has undertaken, in addition to those general commitments under the Charter, to abide by previous General Assembly resolutions concerning the question of Palestine, resolutions adopted before Israel's admission to the United Nations—namely, resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III), relating respectively to the partition of Palestine and the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes. That undertaking was explicitly stated in the preamble to resolution 273 (III), under which Israel was admitted to membership in the United Nations. Needless to say, Israel has never carried out either of those two resolutions of the General Assembly, or in fact any of the resolutions adopted subsequently by the Assembly or the Security Council on the Palestine question and the Middle East problem. That deplorable fact makes it incumbent upon the Security Council to take the necessary measures under the Charter to enforce the relevant United Nations resolutions.
91. The Council has before it clear guidelines embodied in a series of resolutions adopted by it and by the General Assembly on the Middle East problem and the Palestine question since the beginning of the Palestine tragedy. These resolutions include complementary and essential elements for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region, despite the fact that they were adopted at different periods.
92. The Palestine question and the Middle East conflict resulting therefrom have been in one way or another before the United Nations since its inception. The Organization has dealt with both questions in detail, although not always in a fair manner. However, the set of relevant resolutions—and unfortunately they remain unimplemented—may, despite some of their shortcomings, constitute today a valid basis for ending the tragic situation which has been afflicting the region for over 30 years. The resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council may guide the way towards the desired peace. Each of them may contribute to the fulfilment of the desired solution to the Palestine question and the Middle East problem, according to its tenor and aim. All of these resolutions are of equal validity, and no party should be allowed to follow a selective approach, to select some of them while rejecting the others.
93. If it is true that there is a genuine desire on the part of all concerned to establish a just and lasting peace, it should not be impossible to attain such a peace through respect for the Charter and implementation of United Nations resolutions. A just and lasting peace cannot be attained before the elimination of the two main causes of conflict and tension in the area—namely, the occupation of the Arab territories by force and the violation of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.
94. Under the Charter and the principles of international law. Israel's occupation of the Arab territories constitutes a continuing act of aggression. In defining aggression in its resolution 3314 (XXIX) the General Assembly affirmed that "any military occupation, however temporary, resulting from... invasion or attack." is an act of aggression. Hence, how could there be talk about peace and the establishment of Peace while such an act of aggression still continues against the Arab States?
95. Apart from the occupation of their land and their displacement, the Palestinian people are subjected also to the constant denial of their national rights to existence, repatriation and self-determination. Again, how can peace be established when there is such constant Zionist disregard for the rights of the suffering Palestinian people? It is imperative, therefore, to these two situations of open and flagrant aggression—occupation and violation of rights—before one can expect a new era of peace in the area to dawn. For it is necessary to make a distinction between ensuring the prerequisites for peace and the obvious consequences of the fulfilment of those prerequisites. Complete withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories and the achievement of the rights of the Palestinian people are two indispensable prior conditions which must be secured beforehand, since under the Charter, the principles of international law and United Nations resolutions, they constitute the necessary termination of continuing acts of aggression. The fulfilment of those two conditions would then constitute the necessary preparation for the establishment of a situation of lasting peace in the region. In putting an end to the occupation of Arab territories and to the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, the two main causes of conflict and tension would be eliminated and the road towards the establishment of a just and lasting peace would be cleared.
96. Those who are stipulating the termination of the state of belligerency in the area prior to the complete withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories or prior to the ending of the violation of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people are in fact putting the cart before the horse; they are beginning to read the book from its last page. Even those who, with the best intentions, are advocating an end to the state of belligerency and some other characteristic conditions of peace at the same time and on the same level as they advocate withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories and recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people—even they are confusing the causes and the consequences, are mixing up the preconditions for peace with peace itself.
97. The Security Council must avoid falling again—as it did in its resolution 242 (1967)—into this vicious circle resulting from the confusion between the causes and the effects, between the requirements and the consequences. While the state of peace is the result, the end towards which one must strive, the elimination of obstacles and hindrances on the road to peace, such as foreign occupation and the denial of rights, is the indispensable prerequisite without which that noble goal cannot be attained.
98. The Arab side does not fear talking about peace and its necessary requirements and guarantees simultaneously with the consideration of steps for eliminating the hindrances to peace. On the contrary, talk about the goal may facilitate in our view talk about the means to reach that goal. Consequently, there is no objection whatsoever to the Security Council's starting consideration of peace requirements and guarantees as soon as the two necessary pre-conditions for peace—namely, total Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories and recognition of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people—are put into implementation. The requirements for peace in the region may be determined and agreed upon, together with the necessary guarantees for their respect and implementation. They could be put into effect immediately after the completion of Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories and the restoration of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people. The Security Council must remain ready to be reconvened within a specified period of time in order to follow up the implementation of any resolutions or measures it has adopted and to take the necessary steps in the case of any obstruction. It should request the Secretary-General to undertake the necessary preparations for ensuring such implementation within the periods fixed by the Council.
99. The Arab people are sincere in their desire for peace and are determined to reach that goal. They are resorting to the principal organ of the United Nations for the maintenance and preservation of peace. Will the Security Council be up to the level of its responsibilities under the Charter? Will the Council take advantage of this historic opportunity afforded to it under resolution 381 (1975) to deal with the very roots of this disease instead of being satisfied with prescribing temporary remedies and tranquillizers?
100. The cause of peace is indivisible. Just and lasting peace can be realized only through a comprehensive settlement within the framework of the United Nations, taking into account all the elements and causes of the Middle East conflict—particularly the injustice, the grievances and the loss which have befallen the Palestinian people.
101. If the Arab nation is seeking peace based on justice, it is because peace without justice is capitulation. As long as any part of the Arab territories remains under occupation and as long as any of the rights of the Palestinian people are still violated, there can be no justice, and hence there can be no peace.
102. We urge the Security Council, and particularly its permanent members who assume special responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and security, to allow the present meeting of the Security Council to become a historic occasion on which the Organization may begin to fulfil the hopes placed in it by the peoples of the world. This is a valuable aspiration which the Council is capable of fulfilling, not only for the sake of the peoples and countries of the region, but also for the sake of all peace-loving peoples and countries throughout the world.
103. The PRESIDENT: I call now on the representative of Jordan.
104. Mr. SHARAF (Jordan): Mr. President, may I extend to you my warm congratulations and sincere greetings on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council. You have personally demonstrated in the past your vigour and your competence, and your dedication to the struggle for justice and freedom for all peoples and nations. Your country, the United Republic of Tanzania, is pivotal in this struggle and has an honourable record in this field.
105. I also wish to extend my delegation's congratulations to the new members of the Council on their election to membership. May their efforts and endeavours meet with success and bear fruitful results.
106. We have started this important debate with a paradox. One of the main parties to the dispute is absent. The absence of this party is not accidental. It is wilful and deliberate. What adds to the paradox is that the absent party, Israel, is the party which has always proclaimed its desire for peace with its neighbours, its belief in dialogue and its interest in every avenue of communication. Not this time. Not on this occasion, when the Arab side, in all its branches, is present and ready for constructive action and for a just peace in the Middle East. Syria is here. Egypt is here. Jordan is here. The Palestinians are here. A rare and precious moment exists but is about to be lost. How far this situation is from the claim heard over the years from Israel and its spokesmen that Israel was always ready and eager for peace and for dialogue on the issues of peace and war in the Middle East, and that it was the Arabs who were closed and negative. The present situation proves the contrary. Not only the Arab States but also the Palestinian people, the victims of the conflict and of Israel, are here in the Security Council, confident and positive, advancing their case and seeking a just settlement.
107. But if Israel is not here, the Security Council is here. The whole international community is here. And the Middle East problems and agonies belong to the world. The problem of the Middle East is a world problem, its consequences are world-wide, and its solution is the responsibility of the United Nations. The corrosive effects of the Middle East conflict have been felt in international relations, and therefore the corrective action must come from here. The Council has this primary responsibility. For international indifference, neglect or ineffective action in the past has compounded the problem of the Middle East and made it more destructive. In the past, international insensitivity to what is right and what is wrong in the Palestine dispute during the late 1940s led to the Palestinian holocaust and the chain reaction which followed and reached vast proportions in the whole Middle East. The failure of the Security Council in 1967, after the war and resulting occupation, to correct the wrongs and push effectively towards the establishment of a just peace led to the war of October 1973 and the resulting dangerous international confrontation, together with the profound economic shock which the whole world experienced. So the international community must now come to grips with the fundamental elements of the Middle East conflict. It cannot neglect it or postpone its concern with it.
108. What constitutes the present conflict in the Middle East? Let us start from the present. First, since June 1967 a Member of the United Nations —Israel—has, as a result of an offensive against three of its Arab neighbours, occupied an area three times the size of Israel before the attack and inhabited by over a million Arabs. Israel now occupies most of Egypt's Sinai, Syria's Golan Heights and the whole of Gaza and the West Bank, including Arab Jerusalem. Israel is openly opposed to evacuating these territories under any conditions. Initially it claimed it was only seeking guarantees for future peace after their evacuation. When the Security Council in November
in spite of Israel's military success, attempted to meet this "concern" by adopting a clear resolution to this effect, containing guarantees for future peace, and some Arab parties involved gave their assent, Israel reserved its position and spoke categorically of retaining the occupied Arab territories, in part or in totality, under one guise or another. Whether in the name of "security" or under the banner of wild and fanatical slogans derived from its official mythology, its leaders spoke loudly and clearly of their determination to stay in and absorb this piece or that piece in what amounts to the whole of the occupied territories. Israel's diplomatic agents have recorded with the United Nations and with its instrumentalities their Government's official policy of expansion at the expense of the occupied territories.
109. The second component of the Middle East problem derives from the first, that is, the occupation. The actions of Israel in the occupied areas have spoken louder than its leaders. The occupation authorities are feverishly engaged in consolidating the occupation and absorbing physically, piecemeal, an increasing area of the occupied territories. All the occupied areas are witnessing the imminent danger of loss of national character. Settlements are being Planted in the various parts of the occupied territories. Israeli sources tell us that dozens of these settlements have already been established in these Arab areas in Golan and the West Bank, in Gaza and in Sinai. It is a process of national replacement, much more fearful and radical than the traditionally known violations of the human rights of people under conventional occupation. Nowhere is this fearful operation of national and cultural replacement more direct and immediate than in the heart of the occupied territories, in Jerusalem. Inside and outside the walls of the Old City in Arab Jerusalem large-scale confiscation of land is coupled with the physical elimination of ancient inhabited quarters for the erection, on their ruins, of structures and dwellings inhabited by Israelis. This takes place within the framework of Israel's official if arbitrary, annexation of occupied Jerusalem in 1967. The limits of Jerusalem are enlarged to include an increasing number of villages and surrounding areas making the area officially annexed 30 per cent of the West Bank. If these measures taken by the occupying Power continue, they could destroy the basis of any future peace.
110. I come now to the most important component of the Middle East conflict. It is known to all the members of the Council and is the basis of the whole conflict in the area. It is the root and the essence. It is the Palestinian question. It is Palestinian up-rooting and displacement and the continuing pain and suffering of the Palestinian people in their diaspora —for it was the Palestinian holocaust which started it all and led to the expanding and bitter conflict. The ramifications of the Arab-Israeli conflict may be many and complex, but its essence is simple. The Arabs did not create the Arab-Israeli problem: it was imposed on them. It started when a peaceful and prosperous land inhabited and owned by its own people, Palestine, was forcibly emptied and taken over by the fanatical and exclusivist Zionist movement and military machinery. The Arab neighbours immediately shared the grievance of their uprooted and displaced brothers and sensed the danger inherent in the hostile and expanding force in their midst. Instead of acting to redress the wrong done to the Palestinian people and to allay the fears of the Arabs. Israel pursued the logic offered and completely rejected the course of peaceful redress vis-a-vis the Palestinian people, including the appeals and demands of the United Nations that the displaced Palestinians be allowed repatriation to their homes and compensation for their losses.
111. While Israel stubbornly denied justice to the Palestinians whose problem it had caused, it was inviting Jews from all over the world, on the sheer basis of their religion, to emigrate to and settle in the homes of the Palestinian Arabs. But the Palestinian people did not wither away. They lived and they grew. It followed that the Arab States withheld their recognition of this unjust situation. It also followed that Israel, a captive of its own logic of force and militarism, found it necessary to pursue this logic to its inevitable conclusion. Hence, the recurring military confrontations and major was with the Arabs. The Palestinian issue remains at the root of the conflict. The denial of Palestinian rights, both human and national, remains the fundamental issue in the Middle East problem. Arab commitment to these rights remains firm and irreversible.
112. The fourth component of the Middle East problem is more abstract but no less real and immediate. It is the reality of stalemate. The stalemate should not be mistaken for stagnation, for there is nothing farther from stagnation than the environment of the Middle East and the dynamics of the conflict. There is stalemate because there are at the moment no active and credible efforts aimed at the achievement of a comprehensive settlement and a just and lasting peace. But there is no stagnation. This is what makes the stalemate so dangerous and so explosive. There is no stagnant situation, because there is inherent explosiveness in the situation and because the aggrieved parties are determined to change the unjust
and to regain their rights. In the absence of a peaceful alternative to justice, the aggrieved parties cannot be expected to acquiesce indefinitely. Nor can the consequences of explosion, if it occurs, be confined to the area and be isolated from the rest of the world.
113. Those are the components of the issue we are dealing with. That is what the Security Council is dealing with today, seeking an urgent solution. What is the starting point for a solution? The starting point is a correct diagnosis by the Security Council of the causes and realities of the present conflict in the Middle East and a correct evaluation of the claims.
114. The first distinction between the Arab claims and the Israeli claims derives from the cause of the conflict. As I said earlier, the Arabs did not create the Arab-Israeli problem; it was imposed on them. The Palestinian people did not persecute the Jews or displace them from their homeland; the Zionists, later the Israelis, displaced the Palestinians and denied them return to their homeland. Likewise, the Arabs do not occupy Israeli territory; Israel occupies the national territory of Arab States and subjects over 1 million Palestinian Arabs to its occupying, rule. The Arabs ask that the occupation end; the Israelis want the occupation to last. The Arabs ask that the Palestinians exercise the inalienable right to return to their homes and homeland; the Israelis categorically reject this right. The Arabs ask that the Palestinian people, like other people, exercise the right of self-determination; the Israelis deny the Palestinian people this right and offer no alternative.
115. After the initial onslaught against the Palestinian Arabs, Israel followed the impulse of force and militarism in its approach to the problem it created with its neighbours. Behind the shield of its own or imported force it resisted any just solution to the Palestinian tragedy for two decades. It then sought to silence the protests of the Palestinian people and the protests of their Arab brothers and neighbours by successive attacks culminating in the military conquest of 1967, believing that force was the way to break the back of the complex political, human, ethical, emotional and geo-political problems it had created with its own neighbours. The war and the occupation brought nothing to Israel. Yet not one single idea or proposal or formula for a constructive solution was offered by Israel. Until this moment it refuses to deal with the Palestinian reality.
116. In the meantime Israel hid behind the claim that it was defending its "security" and its "survival". The worst crimes can be committed and the most extreme and destructive policies can be pursued in the name of "survival" and "security". In some powerful international circles—mainly in the West— this myth was believed and aggression and violence committed in its name overlooked. The victims struggling for their rights were depicted as terrorists; the violent aggressor was depicted as the innocent target of hostility and threat. But Israel has no immunity from international judgement and conviction for its actions of aggression and usurpation of others' rights. The survival of Israel is not at stake. The survival of the Palestinian people as a national entity and the territorial integrity of the Arab States victim of the occupation or threat thereof are now the issues.
117. I said that the first distinction between the Arab claims and the Israeli claims derives from the cause of the conflict. The second distinction between the two claims can be understood from the actual record of peace-making efforts during the last eight years.
118. It started when the Security Council adopted resolution 242 (1967) in November 1967. Although the Arab countries had expected a decision by the United Nations demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the forces which were occupying the Arab national territories, some Arab countries directly involved accepted that resolution which provided for withdrawal but contained other provisions and guarantees for peace. In that framework the two Arab countries which accepted the resolution then, Jordan and Egypt, co-operated fully with international efforts aimed at implementing the resolution.
119. The factual and objective reports of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General entrusted with contacting the parties for the implementation of the resolution are a chronicle of Israeli obstructionism. Every time the Arab parties responded positively to the initiatives of the Special Representative, Mr. Jarring, the Security Council or the General Assembly, Israel met those initiatives negatively.
120. Two years passed after the adoption of resolution 242 (1967), with Israel refusing to accept explicitly the resolution. Three years passed with Israel refusing to accept or mention the word "withdrawal". Not only did Israel consistently avoid the principle of "withdrawal"; it even refused to give the Special Representative its definition of the extent of its so-called "secure boundaries". It only made it clear that "secure" borders meant "expanded" borders— borders based on the absorption of some or all of the occupied territories. Until this moment. Israel remains adamant in refusing to define what it considers its borders, having rejected the only borders that had ever been defined by the United Nations, the borders of the partition of 1947, Israel's birth certificate.
121. While the Arab side in the peace efforts was giving positive replies and assurances to the Special Representative, Israel remained negative towards those efforts. It even objected to the consultations among the permanent members of the Security Council aimed at assisting the Special Representative. When in June 1970 the United States of America undertook a unilateral initiative to reactivate the peace efforts in the context of a renewed cease-fire, Israel expresse danger and found a quick pretext to suspend its cooperation. When the Special Representative, in the course of his normal efforts, made an ordinary and logical proposal in February 1971 involving the principle of withdrawal, Israel virtually boycotted the Jarring mission, which it still does. Nor was this the experience of Mr. Jarring alone. Several distinguished African heads of State, some of them quite friendly to Israel, undertook a mission of peace-making in 1970 which resulted in a major change in their attitudes towards Israel and its claims and policies. Since then they have had no questions in their minds about Israel's expansionist designs and intransigent attitudes.
122. The last effort of the Security Council to revive international activity and induce Israel to change its policy took place in the summer of 1973 and was blocked by a veto. The war of October 1973 was an inevitable result. Since then the United States became engaged in efforts to fill the diplomatic vacuum, but Israel has yet to state and show that it is ready for a just peace based on withdrawal from the occupied territories and respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. That is why the Syrian initiative in calling the Council to review the whole situation and draw up a plan of constructive action is a positive and sincere initiative.
123. We in Jordan are intimately familiar with these developments since June 1967. Jordan participated actively and positively in all these efforts aimed at a just settlement and a lasting peace. The obstacle has been Israel's insistence on having the cake and eating it; on the one hand, keeping the occupied territories and denying Palestinian rights, and, on the other hand, securing recognition for what it does and perpetual security and tranquillity. Those goals are mutually exclusive. We in Jordan have continuously pointed out the road to a just peace during the last eight years. Our basic views and principles have not changed and cannot change, although our role has recently been, with our agreement, altered. The change in our role and position has come about as a result of our concurrence with the unanimous decision of the Arab summit conference at Rabat of October 1974.
124. In accordance with that decision, Jordan recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people carrying the international responsibilities entailed in this capacity. But while our definition of our diplomatic role has changed, our basic diagnosis of the problem of Palestine and the Middle East and the road to a just settlement has not changed. Israel has to deal with the Palestinian reality. Israel has to come to terms with the Palestinian national rights and inevitability of Palestinian self-determination. Israel has to realize the fact that territorial expansion is the opposite of peace. It must make the agonizing reappraisal required by its failure so far to accommodate to its environment and the moral imperatives of the situation, thereby forfeiting the chances of a lasting peace.
125. The Security Council has a duty and a role in the affairs and future of the Middle East. It has to break the stalemate. It has to open the way to a just and lasting peace. This debate must end in a constructive programme. The programme must be clear and concrete. Its main elements have crystallized as a result of the experience of the last few years and the new realities of the Middle East. The Arab parties have made it clear that they are interested in a just peace in the area. Their present struggle is waged in defense of their rights, and not for its own sake. So peace is achievable. The Security Council can build such a peace if its programme involves a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and an endorsement of the Palestinian right to national self-determination. The Palestinian reality, ignored in earlier resolutions of the Council, must now be recognized as an essential component of such peace. A just settlement must include national self-determination for the Palestinian people, their ingathering and the right of return for those who had been expelled from their homes. None of the earlier resolutions of the Security Council has dealt with Palestinian rights and the future of the Palestinian people. This situation must be corrected.
126. When the guidelines are clear and the basic components of a just settlement are clearly defined by the Security Council, the methods and means of bringing about the settlement can take a variety of forms. The forum and the modalities of the implementation are secondary to the substance of a just settlement, once it is established that all the parties should participate in the process, including the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.
127. Therefore, the starting point is positive and concrete action by the Security Council at its current meetings. This could open the road to a just settlement. It could open the road to a lasting peace. The international community, represented in the Security Council, has a duty and a role in the establishment of peace in the Middle East. For, as I said at the outset, the international community cannot neglect or postpone its concern with the Middle East problem, because the corrosive impact of this problem is affecting the international situation directly and deeply. If Israel is too much in the captivity of its destructive and self-destructive impulse, the international community must step in and assert its will and collective interests. The world cannot sustain morally and physically the continuation of the present situation in the Middle East. It is too dangerous, too explosive and too unjust. It is all the more so because a just settlement is within reach and because peace is achievable.
128. The PRESIDENT: The next speaker is the representative of the United Arab Emirates. As there is no empty place at the Council table, I propose that each of the four representatives invited to be seated at the Council table in order to participate in the discussion be asked in turn, following English alphabetical order, to yield his place temporarily to another invited representative when the latter is called upon to address the Council. In accordance with that arrangement, I have requested the representative of Egypt to withdraw temporarily from the Council table in order that his place may be taken by the representative of the United Arab Emirates. I now invite that representative to be United at the Council table and to make his statement.
129. Mr. GHOBASH (United Arab Emirates): Before I proceed with my statement, I should like to express the grief and sorrow experienced by my Government and people at the passing away of Mr. Chou En-lai, Premier of the People's Republic of China, and one of the most outstanding and distinguished figures of the century.
130. Sir, in congratulating you on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for this month, we are in fact welcoming an ardent spokesman of the emerging nations, whose country has been in the vanguard of mankind's struggle for justice, development and human dignity. Your presidency comes at a crucial time, when the Palestinian cause is being put forward for the first time by the representatives of the Palestinian people.
131. The PLO, which sits for the first time in the Security Council, is a movement of national liberation, as well as the framework of the Palestinian national identity. Like all national movements, it faces the obstacles that have obstructed, but never arrested, the process of decolonization. The PLO is today the vehicle for combating one of the last vestiges of colonial and racist structures and seeking the implementation of Palestinian national and basic rights. The Zionist settlers, who conquered parts of Palestine, under the British Mandate, found it possible, later on, to pursue their expansionist aim, in defiance of growing international opinion condemning their behaviour and their exclusivist ideology.
132. The consequences of Zionist settlement, expansion, and colonization led to the displacement of a large portion of the Palestinian people from their homeland and homes. It is not my intention to go through the details of the Palestinian tragedy; nor shall I undertake to present a history of the Palestine question in the United Nations. This has already been done thoroughly and adequately by the PLO delegation itself. What I should like to underline, however, is that the Zionist State of Israel has behaved consistently and continuously in a manner showing that it wanted to be treated as if it were unaccountable to the international will, unresponsive to the moral and political implications of the Charter of the United Nations and resolutions, and the requirements of international law.
133. Israel has throughout the last quarter of a century sought to extract from the world community a recognition of its unanswerability. It wanted this sort of recognition in order to have licence for its aggression, expansion, discriminatory practices and persistent violations of the national, legal and historical rights of the Palestinian people. The world community, however, was unwilling to give Israel a free hand so that it could seek to accomplish its Zionist objectives. In the wake of the Second World War, when the dimensions of the persecution against people of the Jewish faith shocked our consciences, the Zionists and their supporters exploited the suffering and anxieties of the Jews in order to co-opt them into the framework of their exclusivist, racist and mediaeval ideology. The West, in general, found in the Zionist colonization scheme a means of purging its conscience of the guilt it genuinely felt. What emerged is a fearful arrangement whereby the Zionists will absolve the West from what it did to the Jews in the past in return for the West's absolving beforehand what Israel and the Zionists are, unfortunately, doing and plan to do to the Palestinians in the present and in the future.
134. What I called the fearful arrangement transformed many of the persecuted into persecutors and many of the discriminated against into addicts of discrimination. This was an affront and a betrayal of all that is humane and noble in the tragic experience of European Jewry. It was no less an aberration and an abuse of the good intentions of many a Westerner. Those in the West who agreed to having part of their resources diverted to rehabilitate the Jew in atonement of the wrongs done to him by their own social and military establishment were prevented from seeing that those resources were once more being spent not on butter but, rather, on cannon.
135. It is this situation that has led the world community to perceive the fundamental causes that lie at the roots of Israeli behaviour and Israel's contempt for all United Nations resolutions. The General Assembly, in resolution 3379 (XXX) of 10 November 1975, considered Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination, thus paving the way to putting Israel's behaviour, non-compliance, violations and practices under scrutiny and vigilant monitoring by the international community.
136. Perhaps that is why Israel chose to boycott the deliberations of the Council, thinking, as it is its habit, that it can by its defamation campaign against the United Nations and all its agencies obstruct the processes and the responsibilities of this august body.
137. The Security Council is meeting at a time when the world has become more and more aware of the centrality of the Palestine question in any serious and purposeful attempt to resolve the Middle East crisis. The Council is meeting at a time when the world community is becoming more convinced that the threat to peace in the whole of the Middle East will remain for as long as justice to the Palestinians is not realized. In other words, peace in the Middle East is predicated upon justice to the Palestinians. It cannot be otherwise.
138. This awareness must be translated into concrete forms and expressions. The General Assembly resolutions of the last two sessions pertaining to the inalienable national rights of the Palestinians in their homeland and to the fulfilment of their rights to self-determination and to a return to their homes constitute the basis for a commitment to and a resolution on these basic rights on the part of the Security Council. Without such recognition of these basic Palestinian rights on the part of the Council there can be no substantial movement towards a lasting peace in the Middle East.
139. More than eight years have elapsed since this body adopted the now famous resolution 242 (1967). Despite many reservations and misgivings concerning the inadequacy of that resolution, several Arab States whose lands had been occupied by Israel accepted it as a basis for a peaceful settlement. However, those Arab States considered that a speedy implementation of the resolution would follow and did not anticipate the delaying tactics utilized by Israel in order to escape the implementation of its operative part.
140. Let me state that here is still a consensus that considers resolution 242 (1967) an adequate basis for a discussion of the Middle East crisis. But let me also state that the passage of time has eroded much of the credibility of that resolution. Israel's delaying tactics and non-compliance, in addition to its persistent violation of and aggression against Palestinian camps and Lebanese towns, have all contributed to the increased tension in the area. In the meantime, Israel, in defiance of the articles of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,
has also established new colonies and settlements in the occupied territories and even now plans to build new settlements in various parts of the occupied territories.
141. What does this mean? Does it mean that Israel plans to withdraw from the occupied territories? Do not these settlements create new facts and, therefore, new obstacles to making the withdrawal operative? Does this not prepare the ground for Israel to make use of the time to consolidate its hold on the occupied territories, while the world community expects it to expedite its withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories? Was not Jerusalem part of the occupied territories? Has not Israel annexed it and started a process of Judaization in violation of a near-unanimous resolution of the General Assembly?
142. This whole pattern of behaviour on the part of Israel is intended to confront the world with what Israel considers to be new facts, so that it can project minimal compliance with any United Nations resolution as a major concession on its part. In other words, what the world considers to be the duty of Israel is projected as a "sacrifice" on its part. Israel behaves as if the world owes it everything and it owes nothing to the world.
143. When the patience of the Arabs was exhausted, the October conflict took place. We all know the consequences of that war. Some movement took place, but it was slow, costly, inadequate and insufficient.
144. In the meantime, since resolution 242 (1967) was adopted by the Council, the struggle of the Palestinian people has introduced new dimensions into the Middle East crisis. The PLO has achieved Arab and international recognition as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, and the rights of the Palestinians to national self-determination and sovereign existence have been clearly spelled out and underlined. The Rabat summit conference unequivocally named and recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, to which matters and issues pertaining to the Palestinians should be addressed. And let me. in my capacity as representative of the United Arab Emirates and President of the Council of the League of Arab States, state in the most emphatic and categorical terms that there cannot be any change, modification or alteration of the Rabat summit conference resolution pertaining to the representative character of the PLO.
145. Those new facts and changes have warranted the present meetings of the Security Council. It is now self-evident that at the core of the Middle East crisis lies the Palestine question and that there cannot be any hope that peace will prevail if these national rights are not fully implemented. The Security Council is called upon to render its resolutions credible and to see to it that the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people are safeguarded and exercised and that the Council's search for peace will not be interrupted.
This meeting rose at
Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirtieth Session, Plenary Meetings, 2388th meeting, General Assembly. Thirtieth Session. Plenary Meetings
See General Assembly resolution 3237 (XXIX).
Official Records of the General Assembly, Second Session, Supplement No. II.
vol. II. annex 19.
See General Assembly resolution 181 (11).
vol. 75, p. 287.