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Official Records NEW YORK
Agenda item 108:
Question of Palestine (continued) 935
2. I should also like to extend to the delegation of Saudi Arabia, particularly to my distinguished colleague Mr. Baroody, the condolences of the Romanian delegation on the death last Thursday of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Omar Sakkaf.
3. I should like, on behalf of the Romanian delegation to address warm greetings to the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] and to express our satisfaction at seeing them participate in the present discussion.
4. At this session, the General Assembly is taking up a problem whose solution is essential to the process of bringing about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The fact that the Palestinian problem has been brought before the General Assembly for discussion is a fact of remarkable importance. Essentially, the question is what contribution the United Nations can make to ensuring respect for the national rights of the Palestinian people, in order to reach a just and final settlement of the situation in the Middle East.
5. Undoubtedly, the Palestine problem, like the other problems of that region, is complex, and its origins go back some time in history. The time that has elapsed and the attempts that have been made to find solutions by force-of-arms methods have only further complicated the situation. However, this does not mean that those problems are insoluble. The facts go to show that in these days the international community has the necessary capacity and resources to solve international problems, provided that the requisite political will is there.
6. Thanks to the struggle waged by the popular masses everywhere and to the action of the progressive forces militating in favour of peace, freedom, national
independence and sovereignty, democracy, and social progress, the contemporary world has witnessed far-reaching and revolutionary transformations. The theatre of operations for the old imperialist, colonialist and neo-colonialist policies and the policies of force and diktat is shrinking every day.
7. The new trend towards détente, towards the organization of relations among all States, on the basis of the principles of national independence and sovereignty, of full equality of rights, of non-interference in the internal affairs of a State, of territorial integrity, and of non-recourse to force or the threat of force -- this trend is becoming more strongly established in international life.
8. Recourse to negotiation and understanding in finding political solutions for questions under dispute is becoming increasingly indicated. Political events in recent years show that this is the only course that is likely to eliminate the sources of tension and conflict, the causes of animosities and suspicion among States. Difficult and thorny problems going back a long way -- to the cold-war years -- or of more recent date, some of which were indeed linked with the situation in the Middle East, have been dealt with in this manner, and with some success. These problems are obviously not easy to solve, and to do so requires much effort, perseverance and patience.
9. But the main point is that the decision was taken to deal with these matters at the negotiating table and to resolve them by political means. That is why we see no reason why the problems in the Middle East should be an exception.
10. In essence, this is the message the Government of the Socialist Republic of Romania brings to this discussion: let us see to it that reason, the method of political settlement, respect for the interests of each people of that region and of all shall triumph equally in the consideration of the situation in the Middle East.
11. The President of the Socialist Republic of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, said recently:
13. It is the opinion of the Romanian Government that those solutions should be based on recognition of the realities in that part of the world. At the same time. those solutions must be the outcome of the participation and co-operation of all the peoples concerned. as the only guarantee of their viability and of the creation of conditions that make it possible for each people to live in peace and build its life in accordance with its own desires and interests.
14. It is essential in the Middle East, as in other parts of the world, to acknowledge the truth that a people that fails to recognize the liberty of another cannot be truly free, just as a people cannot develop in an independent and sovereign way if it denies that same fundamental right to other peoples.
15. Similarly, the truth must be faced that the security of a State can only be founded on a policy of peace and friendship with neighbouring countries and peoples, with all the countries of the world, respecting their national independence and sovereignty.
16. The Romanian Government has constantly affirmed over the years that in order to bring about a just and lasting political settlement in the Middle East it is essential to ensure that three fundamental needs be met.
17. First, it is necessary that Israeli troops be withdrawn from the Arab territories occupied as a result of the conflict in 1967. Indeed, as practice has shown the continued occupation of those territories is a permanent source of tension in the area. Historical experience proves that the security of a State can only be ensured by a policy of peace and friendship with its neighbours. renunciation of the use or threat of force, and the existence of a relationship based on good will. That is equally valid as regards the Middle East.
18. Secondly, it is necessary to recognize and guarantee at the same time the right to existence, independence. sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the States in that area. That is dictated by the very interests of peace and security in the Middle East. If this existed, it would open up favourable prospects for the peaceful coexistence of all the peoples in the area and create conditions in which they could devote all their energies to their economic and social progress and to their free and independent development.
19. Thirdly, it is essential that an equitable solution be found to the problem of the Palestinian people, the subject of the present discussions in the General Assembly. The Romanian Government believes that the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East is directly linked to respect for the national rights of the Palestinian people, including its right to decide its own destiny and organize its own independent State.
20. In the light of this position of principle and in the spirit of the principles underlying its foreign policy. Romania has made its contribution to the efforts to find an equitable and lasting settlement, by political means, of the conflict in the Middle East in general and of the Palestinian problem in particular, carrying out to that end intensive multilateral activity. The meetings of President Nicolae Ceausescu with the representatives of the Palestine liberation movement as well as with the leaders of the States in that region are eloquent testimony to this.
21. The recent visit to Bucharest of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Yasser Arafat, provided an occasion for the reaffirmation of the solidarity of the Romanian people as regards the aspirations of the Palestinian people to reorganize their own life independently and in conformity with their legitimate rights. In this spirit, Romania supports the aspirations of the sorely tried Palestinian people to build its own State, within which it will be able to devote itself to its economic and social development and to follow a policy of co-operation with all States, in its own interest and in the interests of international peace, security and détente.
22. Romania is one of the States that sponsored the request that the Palestinian problem be inscribed as a separate item on the agenda of the present session. We also supported as a sponsor the proposal to invite the representatives of the PLO to be present during the discussions on this item.
23. Romania considers that it is necessary to ensure the participation of the PLO at the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East. Such participation would in effect simply be a continuation of action designed to ensure that the Palestinians are present during the discussion of problems which directly concern them. For it is impossible to conduct negotiations relating to the Middle East situation without considering the Palestinian issue; nor is it possible to consider the situation of the Palestinian people without the proper participation of its legitimate representatives.
24. The solution of the Palestinian problem in accordance with the legitimate interests and rights of the Palestinian people undoubtedly will be one of the important factors in settling the problems of the Middle East. Such a solution will strengthen the process of international détente and of the peace and security of the world, to which all peoples are profoundly wedded.
25. The Romanian delegation is authorized to reaffirm the decision of socialist Romania to continue to bend its efforts to ensuring that it will make the best contribution that it can to bringing about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
26. Mr. GHOBASH (United Arab Emirates) (interpretation from Arabic): Before delivering my speech on the question of Palestine, I should like to express our condolences to Ireland on the death of the President of Ireland, Mr. Childers, that great statesman and politician. May he rest in peace.
27. Mr. President, I have the honour to congratulate you on your assumption of this high office, of which you are truly worthy because of your skill, your wisdom and your exceptional ability to direct the discussions in the best interests of this august Organization and for the realization of its noble aims of spreading justice among nations and liberating man from oppression and error.
28. The forceful and determined struggle by oppressed peoples in the modern age for the attainment of their legitimate rights and the strenuous efforts undertaken by the enlightened elite of the developed countries to bring about the liberation of man in their own societies, ridding him of the illusions of racial prejudice and cultural superiority, have started to bear fruit. This heralds a better future for our human society and provides an opportunity for the voices of truth to rise, calling for justice and fairness.
29. The invitation extended by the General Assembly to the PLO to send a delegation to present the case of the Palestinian people -- the injustice, the aggression and the homelessness they have suffered -- before the representatives of the overwhelming majority of the human race is really an historic triumph; we are delighted at this triumph not only because a brother and a relative has won a just case but also because this triumph heralds the breaking of the strongest link in the chain of lying, distortion and misleading that has surrounded one of the most important liberation questions in the world, namely, the question of the rights of the Palestinians. Many people, longing to see the triumph of right and to hear the voice of truth loud and clear, had despaired of the ability to break the chain of lying and distortion and of the ability to let the world hear the simple truth, so much so that the renowned English historian, Arnold Toynbee, said in 1970:
30. Now that the true nature of this conflict has begun to emerge and the true picture has begun to take definite shape at various levels and in large sectors of the various countries of the world, the representatives of the aggressive Zionist establishment are frightened in a way that has led them to organize demagogic demonstrations and to heap insults on this international forum. One of those leaders accuses the General Assembly of bias, and goes on to say:
32. These clouds of distortion have started to disperse before the bright sun of truth and before the high wave of freedom, which unites in the struggle not only the oppressed peoples of the third world but also millions of intellectuals among the peoples of developed countries. We should not, of course, forget those adherents of the Jewish faith who opposed and continue to oppose the Zionist lie on the level of thought and doctrine and to condemn the acts of repression, murder and usurpation on the political action level.
33. Mr. L. Wagenaar wrote in a letter to Die Weltwoche of Zurich, published in its issue of 31 August 1967:
35. The Palestine liberation movement enjoys the absolute support of my country, not only because it is our Arab liberation movement but also because the Palestine freedom-fighters are defending a just right, the triumph of which will be a major turning-point in the struggle for establishing the rights of peoples suffering under the yoke of the oppressor and racist rule, and subject to constant distortion of their cultural and human values. We are in agreement with our Palestinian brethren in their view of zionism and in their rejection of the racist philosophy and the aggressive Israeli practices. Their just call for the establishment of an enlightened, open-minded, tolerant and democratic society, which opens wide its heart to embrace the cultures of all its members without discrimination on the basis of religion, colour or cultural background, meets with our hearty and absolute support. We do not doubt the sincerity of that call, for it comes from the heart of a people that has experienced tremendous sufferings for which they were in no way responsible. Where there is suffering, there is also suitable ground for the good plant. Zionism has aborted or distorted the tragic experience of the Jewish people, which has suffered a lot of injustice over the years. Instead of creating a human and tolerant image, such as the one envisaged by the Palestinians and by an elite of Jewish intellectuals established now in Palestine, it imitated the oppressors and cast itself in their image, drawing the sword to sow murder, homelessness and oppression. Isaac Deutscher, in his book The Non-Jewish Jew. said:
37. Israel's conduct towards the Palestinians and the Arab world reflects this view of man, this view that war and violence, therefore, are natural things, and so is racial superiority.
38. The Arab, the indigenous inhabitant of the country. is denied all rights whereas the Jew enjoys everything. We find, for example, that in his book, The Jewish Slate,1 Herzl discusses minute details of the organization of the envisaged State, such as the hours of work, workers' accommodation, the national flag, and so on, but he had nothing to say about the Arabs of Palestine except that which figured in his memoirs. That betrayed his secret plan for forcing the indigenous inhabitants out of the country by refusing to employ them. But with regard to the lands that were to be taken over by the Jews, Herzl says:
39. The Zionist movement has been characterized by violence and immorality in its dealings with the Arabs to an extent that led the Jewish intellectual Dr. Judah Magnes to advise his colleagues to show a measure of reason and moderation. He said:
41. In spite of the inhuman laws applied to their indigenous populations, the oppressor regimes in South Africa, Namibia and Southern Rhodesia at least continue to recognize their physical existence on the land. But the Zionist settlers and their State, Israel, deny the Palestinian people even the right to physical presence on their land. They even deny their very existence. In 1969, the then Israeli Minister for Information Israel Galili, said, "We do not regard the Palestinian Arabs as an ethnic category, as a distinct national community in this country''. Several years later, Golda Meir made those allegations the official State policy when she said, "There is no such thing as Palestinians. They do not exist".
42. A comparison of that Israeli attitude with the attitude of the white settlers in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia shows the Israeli attitude to be more extreme and more aggressive, because the Israelis have always aimed at eliminating the presence of any Palestinians on their land and driving them back over the borders. That has always been the case, from the time when Herzl spoke in his memoirs of seizing the land from its owners, and not allowing its resale to non-Jews, eliminating the poor classes by pushing them "gently' ' over the borders, right up to the present policy of changing the character of the country and building settlements and demolishing houses -- the policy followed today by the Israeli leaders in violation of numerous United Nations resolutions that have repeatedly affirmed the illegality of such acts and their violation of the most basic norms of justice.
43. The Palestinian people has led a harsh and tragic existence throughout the last 25 years, and during that period Israel has always deliberately tried to focus on the Arab-Israeli conflict, so as to remove the question of the Palestinian people from the international scene and to deny the existence of a Palestinian question. The truth, however, is that there is a Palestinian question; it is the root cause of the conflict in the Middle East, and the Palestinians are the ones who have suffered most because of it.
44. The numerous United Nations resolutions calling for recognition of the Palestinian people's right to return to its land and its absolute right to self-determination, the General Assembly's recent invitation to the PLO to participate in its meetings, and the presence of the Palestinian delegation among us -- all provide striking evidence of the world's understanding of this question.
45. In a speech in the Third Committee on 6 November 1974, Mr. Carl Lidbom, the Swedish Minister, explaining his country's vote for the invitation of the PLO, said:
''We cannot group the peoples into good ones and bad ones- we cannot distinguish between peoples who have a right to self-determination and peoples who have no right to seek their freedom.
"The right to self-determination, so solemnly affirmed by the many conventions and declarations of the United Nations, can tolerate no exceptions.
"This should be as clear as should be our refusal to tolerate territorial expansion by armed force."2
"We supported the decision to grant the PLO the right to express its views in the conviction that no fair and lasting solution would be possible without a dialogue in which all parties concerned participate. 2 47. Let us now go back to the Arab-lsraeli conflict. Israel came into existence at a time when the tide of the national liberation movements was rising, striving to attain freedom from colonial domination worldwide. The Arab world was still profoundly stirred by the rising freedom movement, whether on its eastern or western borders. In all their lands, the Arabs fought with determination for their salvation and liberation, and Israel has always stood in the way of the aspirations of the Arabs -- peoples of the third world -- who are struggling for progress. It has waged recurrent wars against Egypt and plotted against the Algerian National Liberation Front, attributing to it terrorism and sabotage -- which it attributes now freely to Palestinian freedom-fighters. Israel has been involved in all this, true to its historical role as the barrier standing between peoples and freedom. I do not have to provide evidence of this, for the statements of Israeli leaders in this regard are numerous.
48. Israel's opposition to the Arabs' anti-colonialist movement is not, however, the only reason for their conflict with it. There are other reasons that caused the Arabs to oppose Israel. Following the destruction they saw befalling their brethren in Palestine and the occupation of the bulk of Palestinian territory by Israel in defiance of United Nations resolutions, Arab Governments began to see clearly the expansionist aims of Israel. Their apprehensions were vindicated in the Sinai invasion of 1956 and in the war of 5 June 1967.
49. In all these wars, Israel has always sought to annex territory and to expand. Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory in 1957 was the result of international solidarity and international pressure, but the June war led to the annexation of Jerusalem, the destruction of Arab towns and villages, the establishment of colonial settlements in the occupied territories and the changing of the cultural and demographic character of those territories.
50. Any reading of the near future will clearly show the short-sightedness of this destructive Israeli policy, which is fraught with danger and irrational abuse. The Palestinians, in spite of all the atrocities committed against them and the inhumanity to which they have been subjected, strive today to liberate their homeland and to establish a humanitarian society consistent with itself and with the movement of history; a society which serves the real interests of man -- Jews and non-Jews alike. They are fighting for a society that will restore their rights and human dignity. Above all else, the concepts of equality and brotherhood of man should prevail together with the humanitarian values of our contemporary civilization, and the firm belief in the common destiny of mankind. This is a golden opportunity and an excellent spiritual climate for the reconciliation of the various national groups in the Holy Land.
51. The Palestinians' efforts for their national renaissance and the deepening of its human meaning will be positively influenced by all the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in conformity with the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter and the previous resolutions on the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland, their exercise of the right to self-determination and their enjoyment of their cultural, national and religious rights.
52. Israel's stubbornness and arrogance and its failure to recognize the interests of the Palestinian people will bring nothing but loss. The liberation spirit of the age and the Arab nation's absolute support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people, as well as the solidarity of the peoples of the world, will only lead to the intensification of their struggle for freedom and to the increasing isolation of Israel. This Israeli isolation has begun to appear on the horizon and large numbers of responsible peoples, Jews and non-Jews alike, have started to turn away from Israel. How can the men and women of our contemporary age, in their longing for freedom, accept a system based on bigotry and caprice rather than a rational system that consecrates justice and tolerance?
53. The writer Isidore Stone says in one of his articles:
55. Mr. SARDON (Malaysia): When I addressed the General Assembly during the general debate [2249th meeting], I stated that the question of Palestine should be deliberated in the plenary General Assembly so that it might be given the greater hearing and greater attention it deserved. I expressed the hope that by doing that we should be reminded of the urgent task facing the international community, which would lead us to take speedy action to hasten the process of finding a just solution to the problem.
56. It was for that reason that my delegation wholeheartedly supported the inscription of the item entitled "Question of Palestine" on the agenda of the twenty-ninth session. And it was for that reason that my delegation whole-heartedly supported also the proposal that the item be discussed in the plenary General Assembly. It is therefore with a sense of gratification that my delegation now participates in the discussion of item 108.
57. That the General Assembly took this decision is in itself historic. For it represents the fruition of our collective efforts within the United Nations to elevate the question of Palestine from the committee level to the plenary level, from simply treating it as a humanitarian problem to treating it as a political problem, which is as it should be. In a sense it represents also the first step by the United Nations to do justice to an issue of paramount importance to the over-all search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.
58. It is in that perspective that my delegation views the question of Palestine, and that is how I intend to approach the subject now.
59. To start with, the United Nations was instrumental in the creation of the problem of Palestine. And for 25 years and more the question of solving the inequities of the problem has lain at the feet of the United Nations. For 25 years and more we have discussed the question, but without coming to the root cause of the problem. The passage of a quarter of a century has clouded the issue, the problem becoming more intractable as Israel has continued with impunity arrogantly to disregard and violate the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly. By our action today we are at long last rendering justice to the Palestinian people, and by our action an opportunity is now presented to us to view the whole Palestinian problem in its right perspective.
60. The State of Israel was created at a terrible cost to the people in the region and with terrible consequences -- the loss of the homeland of the people of Palestine, forcing upon them dispersion and deprivation; as a result, violence, war and devastation were brought to that once-peaceful land.
61. Today, after more than a quarter of a century, the Palestinian people continue to be subjected to the harshness of refugee camps. Indeed, a whole generation has grown up knowing only the life of the refugee camp, in increasing misery and mounting desperation. Today, above all, they continue to be denied their inalienable right to self-determination.
62. For a quarter of a century or more, efforts to remove the gross injustices inflicted upon them have either been blunted because those who have the power to do so have found it expedient not to carry out their responsibilities, or have simply failed because of the obstinate refusal of Israel to honour and implement General Assembly resolutions. For this, Israel stands condemned.
63. No people can have these monumental injustices inflicted on them, much less tolerate such injustices without retaliating. Throughout human history we often have seen that people fighting for their inalienable rights and freedom will not be daunted nor will their strength be weakened or their spirit killed by any reverses or setbacks. On the contrary, their will to survive and their will to carry on the struggle for their legitimate rights will be strengthened by increased suppression and subjugation. For more than 25 years the world community has failed the Palestinian people. It is therefore natural that, having been left with no alternative, the Palestinian people have committed themselves to a total struggle, with all the means at their disposal, in order to regain their fundamental and national rights.
64. Out of this struggle has emerged the PLO, which after so many years has now been recognized as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. That recognition crystallized in the appearance of Mr. Yasser Arafat before the General Assembly. His appearance here epitomizes the fact that the United Nations has finally come to terms with the realities of the situation.
65. Coming as we do from a country that has always upheld and will always uphold peace and justice, and one that shares the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people, I should like to reiterate our full support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people. Coming as we do also from the region of South-East Asia, which has been and still is the unceasing victim of war and destruction, we fully sympathize with their struggle for peace.
66. The question of war and peace still hangs in the balance. Israel today continues to occupy Arab lands acquired by force and is still in occupation of the Holy City of Jerusalem. Israel's policy of annexation and expansionism is all too clear. It has taken measures systematically to change the physical character and demographic composition of Arab lands under its occupation, and by that act hopes to perpetuate its control over lands that legally belong to the Arab people. Despite world public opinion, it went ahead illegally to exploit the natural wealth and resources of the occupied territories. For all those actions Israel must stand condemned and must bear the full responsibility.
67. Israel must stand condemned also for its belligerency. Under the pretext of defence and security it has carried out systematic raids and, against all rules of law, violated the sovereignty of Arab countries in the region. While the search for peace is continuing and while all those directly involved are dedicating themselves to the just solution of the problem by peaceful means, there are clear indications that Israel is making preparations for war in defiance of world opinion.
68. The Jews were once dispersed, deprived and persecuted. It is beyond my delegation's understanding, therefore, that a people that once suffered all these injustices cannot recognize the hopes and aspirations of another people -- the Palestinian people -- and have in fact inflicted the same, if not greater, injustices on them. It is also beyond my delegation's understanding that, while the United Nations and the rest of the world have recognized the fact that the just solution of the Palestinian problem is crucial to lasting peace in the Middle East, Israel is the only country that stands in the way of the attainment of that just and lasting peace.
69. So long as there is a single country in the region that does not recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their authentic identity, so long will just and durable peace in the Middle East remain unattainable. And so long as Israel refuses to recognize and accept this fact, so long will peace in the Middle East continue to elude us. For, as we have always maintained, the solution of the Palestinian problem is fundamental and central to the attainment of just and lasting peace in the Middle East. It is therefore in the interest of peace, peace with justice, and in the interest of Israel itself that it should immediately come to terms with this reality.
70. Surely now the time has come, for we have spent enough time exerting our collective efforts to remove the human indignities inflicted on a people and restore to them the justice of which they have been deprived for a quarter of a century and more. This opportunity is with us today. Let us, therefore, seize it.
71. My delegation stands ready to give its full cooperation to any initiative aimed in this direction.
72. Mr. SAITO (Japan): On behalf of my delegation I wish at the outset to express deep regret over the untimely death of Mr. Erskine Childers, President of Ireland, and to extend our condolences for the loss of that great statesman to the delegation of Ireland. I wish also to associate myself with previous speakers in extending deep sympathy to the delegation of Saudi Arabia on the sudden passing away of Mr. Omar Sakkaf, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.
73. The General Assembly decided unanimously to take up the question of Palestine after its long absence from the agenda. We supported that decision because we considered that a debate here on this important question would be of great assistance to international efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement of the Middle East problem.
74. The question of Palestine is the heart of the Middle East problem, and its solution is an absolutely essential element of any peaceful settlement in this vital region. There will be no just and lasting peace in the Middle East unless it is solved.
75. Since the armed conflict last autumn, and thanks in large part to the statesmanship of the leaders of the countries directly involved in this question, and the tireless efforts of those who helped them in their difficult negotiations, there has been important progress towards peace in the Middle East. The Government of Japan welcomed these developments as the first step towards lasting peace in the region. Further efforts are required now, however, to maintain the momentum towards peace, to prevent a recurrence of armed conflict, and to take a further step towards real peace. The present debate on the question of Palestine, therefore, has a special significance.
76. My delegation voted in favour of the resolution inviting the PLO, the representative of the Palestinian people, to take part in the present debate [resolution 3210 (XXIX)] because we believe this is essential for our discussion of this very important question. The participation of the Palestinian people is vital because they are the people directly involved, and if they were absent our debate would lack reality.
77. My delegation wishes to welcome the delegation of the PLO to our debate, and to express our sincere hope that the debate, with the participation of representatives of the Palestinian people, will be conducted in a constructive manner, in a common effort to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Palestine question. I have no doubt that if the debate is conducted in such a constructive spirit, it will produce a better atmosphere and contribute greatly to a peaceful Middle East settlement.
78. The Government of Japan has consistently taken the position that a just and lasting peace should be achieved in the Middle East as soon as possible through the prompt implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in its entirety. It is the considered view of my Government that any settlement of the Middle East problem should include two basic elements: that is, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the territories occupied in the 1967 war; and respect for the integrity and security of the territories of all countries in the area, with guarantees to that end.
79. Regarding the question of Palestine, my Government has held throughout that recognition of, and respect for, the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, on the basis of equality with their neighbours, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, are essential for the achievement of peace in the Middle East. Another essential principle is that Palestinians should be able to exercise their right to choose either to return to their homes or to receive compensation for their property in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
80. The question of Palestine is one of the most complex problems facing the international community today. The gap between the positions of the parties concerned is still very wide. In order to achieve a settlement of this exceedingly difficult and important question, it is absolutely necessary to try to narrow this gap and eventually to close it. This may require a maximum spirit of co-operation and conciliation on the part of all concerned, as well as a departure from their long-established images and perceptions of each other. A fundamental reappraisal of their relationships with each other is urgently required in view of the danger of renewed fighting if meaningful peace negotiations do not get under way soon.
81. I believe that if the PLO were to work in a constructive spirit for a political settlement of the Palestine question through peaceful means, that organization would enjoy increasing international support and would play a vital role in achieving a settlement of the Palestinian question.
82. The United Nations has been deeply involved in the question of Palestine for a quarter of a century and has its own share of responsibility for this immensely complex and tragic question. The United Nations should play an important role in international efforts to this end and should be ready to play any role that the interested parties may request. I can assure you, Mr. President, that the Government of Japan will give firm support to all United Nations activities that will contribute to a peaceful settlement and will do its utmost to make an active contribution to all such efforts.
83. Mr. KINENE (Uganda): First of all, on behalf of the Uganda delegation to the United Nations and on behalf of the Government of Uganda, I wish to express to the delegation of Ireland our deepest sympathy and condolence on the occasion of the passing away of Mr. Erskine Childers, the President of Ireland.
84. Also, it was with deep sorrow and great sadness that the Uganda delegation learned of the untimely demise of the distinguished and able Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Omar Sakkaf. His distinguished and brilliant career and his contribution to the work of the United Nations over the years will be long remembered by all of us. Uganda and Saudi Arabia cherish and enjoy a great bond of friendship based on our identity of purpose and of objectives. I wish therefore, on behalf of my Government and the people of Uganda, to extend our condolences to the delegation of Saudi Arabia, and in particular to the members of the bereaved family. We pray for them and share their deep sorrow in this hour of tragedy, and hope that they may have the courage to endure all the torments that such a moment brings. May Almighty Allah rest the soul of the departed in eternal peace.
85. The Uganda delegation, in taking the rostrum, does so to register its recognition of a great turning-point in the long and agonizing history of the heroic and just struggle of the people of Palestine. Time has thrown down a serious challenge to this Organization to have the courage and to seize the opportunity and deliver a just verdict on the nobleness and wisdom, or otherwise, of the Palestine cause. For over 27 years this Organization has been seized of the tragic problem of the people of Palestine, and yet for all those years we have remained indifferent, impassive and incapable of finding a just and durable solution to the plight of millions of innocent people uprooted by the treacherous forces of zionism, colonialism and international imperialism, and sent into permanent exile and obscurity. 86. It is most appropriate that the fate and future of the people of Palestine should once again be placed in the hands of this Organization, for it was this same Organization, almost 27 years ago, which betrayed the aspirations of the people of Palestine and destroyed the territorial integrity of Palestine by being used to create a Zionist State of Israel with no regard whatsoever to the identity, aspirations, wishes and self-determination of the people of Palestine. The United Nations must rise to the noble duty of correcting this most tragic anomaly. It is a duty of this Organization and its obligation to address itself with courage, concern and speed to the reality of the tragic Palestinian problem.
87. The Palestinian question is emotional and painful to most of us, and it is indeed so for the Uganda delegation. Emotional, because it strikes at the very foundations on which the Government of Uganda bases its foreign policy. It is painful because of our distant and present relationship with the tragedy both as a nation and as part of a continent. The inevitable consequences that Zionist expansionism and aggression have imposed upon us, and the global implications of the continued existence of the Palestinian tragedy, continue to threaten international peace and security.
88. The cardinal point on which the Uganda Government bases its foreign policy is the total rejection of injustice and the commitment to fight all injustice wherever it may be, and to point it out in the clearest of words and the firmest of manners. In doing so, we are guided by the fact that, like most nations represented here, we are a direct product of injustices, for we know that the basis and characteristics of colonialism, imperialism and zionism are injustice in all its forms and colours.
89. We thus cannot contradict ourselves and act otherwise, but must expose and fight, individually and collectively, any form of injustice. To turn a blind eye to the existence of injustices, real or apparent, would be tantamount to tragic betrayal and destruction of our identity, nationhood and existence. It would be the height of folly if for a minute we viewed the Palestine problem as anything else than a totality of continuous and gross injustices.
90. It was a tragedy that the Zionists were imposed on the people of Palestine. A quick glance at the problem reveals that many imperialist and Zionist plots and designs were hatched against territories that were already inhabited, with the aim of turning them into a home for the Zionists. Like the catastrophe which eventually befell the people of Palestine, even in those territories, which were going to be dished out by the imperialists, namely the United Kingdom, there was no regard whatsoever for the wishes and aspirations of those people. Uganda will never forget and will always remember with anguish that after the failure of negotiations with the Turks and later with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, the British Government had the audacity in 1903 to offer to the Sixth Zionist Congress our beloved country, Uganda, for the establishment of a Jewish national home, and by a vote of 295 against 175, the Zionists accepted the offer. By sheer luck, in 1905, after the death of Herzl, the offer was turned down. It is this kind of Zionist and imperialist history that makes us as a people and as a Government determined to give all support to the just and noble cause of the people of Palestine.
91. The consequences of the Palestinian tragedy have led to grave situations that affect us directly as a nation and provoke us as a continent. Uganda is the cradle and source of the great river Nile that blesses and adds to the prosperity of the people and vegetation of Egypt. It is a natural bond that has for long cemented our fraternal friendship and relationship with Egypt. Egypt is part and parcel of the African continent and as such is a member of the Organization of African Unity. But as consequences of the Palestinian problem, the Zionists have committed aggression against the people of Egypt and occupied the lands of a sovereign African State. Such an aggression against the African continent is an insult to our dignity and sovereign integrity. It is therefore not an accident that Africa should rise up in great anger, and with indignation, in defence of its territory against Zionist and imperialist naked aggression. Africa has been occupied by an invader and we must defend ourselves.
92. Again, the Zionists' continuous expansionist and aggressive policy has led to the closure of the Suez Canal with tragic consequences for all, and particularly for us from the East African region. The Canal is our traditional northern route for our trade with Europe and the rest of the world. It is this closure that has led us to the inevitable and revolting recourse of having to reroute our goods through the ports of the obnoxious racist South Africa, thus enriching the evil regime of Vorster. The economic consequences of the closure of the Canal and the heavy burden our people have to bear only goes to highlight the tragic consequences of the Palestinian problem and the need for an immediate solution.
93. What then is the Palestinian problem? Having examined the consequences and background of the Palestinian tragedy, it is proper that we analyse the Palestinian problem in the hope that a just and lasting solution will be found, for failure to do so will lead to grave consequences beyond the boundaries of the Middle East region.
94. The Palestinian question was created by an imperialist, Zionist and colonialist plot and sustained by the reactionary forces in league with the colonialist countries. It remains a sad commentary on the principles and objectives of the Charter that the United Nations has until now been blinded by imperialist blackmail, by treating the Palestine problem as a mere refugee problem, and its people and the leaders of the PLO as terrorists. My delegation notes with relief that at last this Organization has extricated itself from the imperialist and Zionist blackmail and recognized the legitimacy and worthiness of the Palestinian cause
95. The people of Palestine had a country of their own, with a history and culture and a recognizable homogeneous population. They were neither peculiar nor different from any other people in the world. Like many people and territories of the day, they were entrusted to England as a Mandated Territory. Under colonialist England and in connivance with America and international Zionism, they were sold out, brutally treated and evicted from their homeland and turned into a wandering people without a home or shelter. This is the gravity of the situation that faces this Organization. It is a situation that calls for a return to normality. The Organization must go beyond recognition of the legitimacy of the cause of the Palestinian people. It must help them return to their homeland and establish their own State. It is not a favour, it is a right, and it is an obligation of this Organization to live up to its principles and recognize the right of self-determination of the people of Palestine.
96. Let me quote the memorable words of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, when he addressed this Assembly on 13 November 1974:
97. Zionism has proved itself as a brutal policy; it is expansionist, aggressive and, in the light of history, a criminal self-seeking policy. The Palestinian problem has led to four major conflicts, thus reflecting the dubious and vicious character and intentions of Zionism. Zionism can never co-exist with anybody but itself.
98. There is considerable documentary evidence in the United Nations containing several resolutions calling upon the Zionists to stop committing aggression against the people of Palestine and the peace-loving States of the Middle East. There are several resolutions, both by the General Assembly and the Security Council, calling upon Israel to evacuate the areas usurped by the use of force. There are resolutions calling upon the Zionists to refrain from torturing those Arabs living in Palestine. There are resolutions calling upon the Zionists to recognize and respect the self-determination of the people of Palestine.
99. Not a single resolution has been honoured. The Zionists have violated with impunity all the United Nations resolutions, of course with the direct support of their fellow travellers, the imperialists and colonialists.
100. The recent demonstration on the West Bank was a clear demonstration that left no doubt of the determination of the people of Palestine, young and old, women and children, to resist Zionist aggression and occupation. We learned a few days ago with the deepest sorrow and indignation of a young girl who, as a consequence of that resistance, lost her life at the hands of Zionists. We share the agony of the people of Palestine and would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of that young girl who lost her life in the defence of her motherland.
101. The United Nations must live up to the expectations of the international community; that is, of the millions of people whose fate, future and well-being are entrusted to this Organization. We must apply the provisions of the Charter to protect and preserve the interests, well-being and even survival of the people of Palestine. We live daily with a vicious enemy whose tentacles spread far and wide. Zionist power, the Zionist lobby, are not strong in Tel Aviv alone. No: they are everywhere, and particularly right here in the United States of America. It is here that the decision was taken to render the Palestinians homeless as the price of Zionist settlement. And it is here that all the money, brains and arms are mobilized to ensure the extinction of the people of Palestine.
102. It is a foolish error of judgement that the American people, who won their independence from colonial England by sweat and blood, should turn round and call the just cause of the Palestinian people terrorism, and call its leaders, such as the great Arafat, a terrorist. There have been great men in history whose greatness emanated from the worthiness of their cause. A name such as George Washington is immortal, and why? Because, like those before him and those after him, he fought resolutely for the dignity, freedom and independence of the American people. Was he then called a terrorist? When Europe, led by England, stood firm against the rise of the terror of nazism, were the Europeans called terrorists? No. Then how is it that the people and the leaders of Palestine are called terrorists? This is, of course, a well-known colonial and imperialist design to confuse world opinion, and particularly the American people. The price will be too high unless reason replaces prejudices and ignorance. The American people cannot be deceived for all time: they must face realities and facts.
103. Uganda knows perhaps more than most what zionism and the Zionist lobby and propaganda are all about. We know what their intentions and designs are. These are colonial and criminal. Our experience is a bitter one, and we shall never be deceived or bought. Prior to the birth of the Second Republic of Uganda in January 1971 the Zionists had tried -- and they succeeded to a large extent -- to establish a strong Zionist base for their subversive activities against the African and Arab peoples, and particularly the people of Palestine. It was a design and a base that were revolting and diametrically opposed to our existence as a people, a continent and a member of the international community. It was therefore much to our satisfaction that we were able to dismantle that base totally and destroy it completely. We did so in the interest of our people, for the love of our continent and in the interest of international peace and security. We were gratified that, when Uganda severed all relations with Israel after being disillusioned, African sister States followed suit and many other nations did likewise.
104. We take satisfaction in noting that the true face of zionism and the Zionist lobby and propaganda is slowly but steadily being exposed. We have noted this trend in the world and in the American press. The recent utterances and remarks of such notable Americans as Senator Fulbright, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the recent comments of General Brown, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are examples of the new awakening of the American public, and particularly of those who matter, to the illusions and intentions of Zionist propaganda.
105. It is no coincidence, at least as far as the Uganda delegation is concerned, that we were the victims of vicious threats prior to the opening of the Palestinian debate. These were aimed, of course, at intimidating and frightening us so that we would lose the courage to speak out on such a crucial and important issue as the Palestinian question. The threats ranged from egg-throwing to bomb threats, and so on. Let me with all clarity assure those responsible for those threats, as well as this august body, that we shall always speak out with all our force and energy and continue to expose all evil intentions and injustices no matter what the consequences or the price. The recent demonstrations by Zionist propagandists have further cemented our conviction that grave world issues are better discussed on neutral ground. That is one of the reasons why my President, Al Hajji General Idi Amin Dada, has proposed the removal of the United Nations from America to neutral ground and offered our beautiful city of Kampala for consideration.
106. There can never -- I repeat never -- be a stable and lasting peace in the Middle East unless and until the Palestinian question is finally settled. The only solution to the Palestinian problem is to allow the people of Palestine to return to their motherland.
107. Allow me in this regard to quote a statement on this important question made by Al Hajji General Idi Amin Dada, the President of the Republic of Uganda, in a message to the United Nations Secretary-General on the occasion of United Nations Day, 24 October 1974. He said:
"Palestinians, who have suffered for long, must be allowed to go back to Palestine, their motherland. There has never been a State of Israel. The Israelis should be accommodated by the United States imperialists who are supplying them with sophisticated weapons for the purpose of destroying innocent civilians in the Arab world."
108. Mr. AL-SABAH (Kuwait) (interpretation from Arabic): Before speaking on agenda item 108, I should like to address my condolences to the delegation of Ireland on the death of the President of Ireland, Mr. Erskine Childers, and, on behalf of the Government and the peoples of Kuwait, I should like to express our deep grief at the death of this distinguished person.
109. For thousands of years before the advent of the Hebrews, Palestine was an inhabited land. And after the evacuation of the Jews, Palestine, for close on 2,000 years, remained an inhabited land. It was only during the intermediate period that the history of Palestine was intertwined with the history of the Hebrews, which, at a later date, became the history of the Jews. The two courses of history coincided intermittently during that period at three intervals. The first was separated from the second by 500 years and the second was separated from the third by several decades. Nor was the relationship more than partial in territorial scope. Only on rare occasions did the settlement or the sway of the Jews extend to the entire area of Palestine. This, then, is the nature and the extent of the historical relationship of the Hebrews and the Jews with Palestine.
110. On the other hand, the relationship between the Palestinian people and Palestine is as long as the history of Palestine itself and as extensive as the territory of Palestine in its entirety, for the Palestinian people is the demographic amalgam that has persisted continuously in Palestine for thousands of years and was periodically enriched by the infusion of new elements whenever a new tribe immigrated or a new ethnic group drifted or fought its way into Palestine.
111. The statement that Palestine is the homeland of the Jews and that the Jews are the people of Palestine is a travesty of historical truth. Reiteration does not bestow veracity upon this falsehood; nor does ignorance of the history of Palestine make it true.
112. If the premise underlying that Zionist doctrinal statement were to be generally accepted and universally applied, the foundations of every political structure in every part of the world would collapse over night. The demographic and political maps of the world would be altered beyond recognition.
113. A second historical fallacy assiduously propagated by Zionism proclaims that Jews throughout the world consider Palestine the homeland of the Jews and long for the opportunity to migrate to it and settle in it.
114. This fallacy has been refuted by the Jews themselves -- not in words, but in deeds; not once, but on two occasions. When the opportunity was afforded to Jews in the sixth century, B.C. to leave their exile in Babylon and to go to Palestine, and official encouragement and adequate facilities were extended, a comparative few availed themselves of that opportunity. Twenty-six centuries later, world Jewry responded in the same manner to another opportunity. In 1950, the Zionist authorities promulgated the so-called Law of Return, which, in its opening section, purported to confer upon every Jew in the world the right to immigrate to Palestine. The apparatus and resources of the Zionist regime, together with those of the World Zionist Organization's Jewish Agency, were mobilized in the service of the cause of mass Jewish immigration. Nevertheless, despite incessant cajolery and lucrative inducements, no more than 7 per cent of the Jews of the world responded to that invitation during the 25 years that have elapsed since the enactment of that law.
115. By contrast, many of the foreign Jews who did move to Palestine in that period left it shortly after their arrival. In spite of the difficulties placed in the way of would-be emigrants, a large number of Jews -- constituting more than 20 per cent of the total number of immigrants since 1950 -- have emigrated from Palestine during the same period.
116. Alongside the historical and political fallacies of which I have just spoken, there is a legal fallacy. I refer to the allegation that the establishment of an exclusive Jewish State -- a State of Jews alone, for Jews everywhere -- constituted an implementation of the will of the international community and of decisions adopted by competent international authorities.
117. Before I proceed to indicate some of the elements of falsehood in this claim, I must make a general assertion. There exists no competent authority in the international system empowered to decree that an indigenous population be deprived of its right to continue to exist in its homeland or that an alien population be permitted to come to a country in order to replace the settled, indigenous and rightful population.
118. Apart from this general statement, it must be emphasized that none of the three international documents on which Zionism bases its legal claims -- namely, the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and the Plan of Partition -- provided for or countenanced the establishment of an exclusive Jewish State, that is to say, a State for Jews alone and for all Jews everywhere.
119. The Balfour Declaration,3 issued by the British Government in 1917 as a unilateral statement of policy by a Power that was not at that time in occupation of Palestine, did not envisage a State but a "national home--, and it qualified the concept of a "national home by two conditions, which negated the two essential elements that were indispensable for the attainment of the Zionist objective. It stipulated that the creation of a national home should prejudice neither the rights of the existing Palestinian population nor the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
120. The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine,4 in turn, repeated these two conditions in its preamble and added, in article 6, the requirement that the position of the existing Palestinian population should be safeguarded. It will be recalled that the position of Palestinians at that time was that of the overwhelming majority in terms of the composition of the population as well as of the ownership of land.
121. As for the Plan of Partition, recommended by the General Assembly in 1947 [resolution 181 (II)], it did indeed envisage, among other things, the establishment of what was called a "Jewish State"; but, in stipulating that that State should be neither confined to Jews nor miscontrued as a solution to the world-wide Jewish problem, it negated the two essential elements of the Zionist concept of the "Jewish State".
122. How could it have been otherwise? Was it at all conceivable that the supreme body of an Organization established in the aftermath of the Second World War should propose the establishment of an exclusivist racial State so soon after the destruction of the exclusivist racial State that had ignited that war?
123. One of the recommendations on which the Plan of Partition was predicated was as follows:
"In the appraisal of the Palestine question, it be accepted as incontrovertible that any solution for Palestine cannot be considered as a solution of the Jewish problem in general."5
125. It is clear that the Jewish State, in the Zionist sense of the term. was not established on the basis of a recommendation adopted by the General Assembly. It was established rather in violation of that recommendation and in defiance of certain essential safeguards the observance of which was demanded and guaranteed by the General Assembly.
126. Another false allegation given wide currency by the Zionist authorities is that the refusal of the Palestinian people to acknowledge the legitimate existence of the "Jewish State" in Palestine constitutes a violation of the United Nations Charter.
127. The United Nations Charter has been violated, and is being violated, by the adamant refusal of zionism -- as a doctrine, as a movement, and as a government -- to acknowledge the existence of the Palestinian people and to recognize its rights, including those rights which the Charter recognizes as the inalienable rights of all peoples: the right to equality with all other peoples; the corollary right to continued existence on its national soil, and to return thereto after displacement; the right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty; and the right to self-defence and to the struggle for liberation.
128. As soon as it made its debut on the European stage, zionism coined its calumnious slogan, that its aim was to transfer a "people without a land" to a "land without a people". It continued to reiterate this malicious falsehood until very recently -- declaring, through successive Prime Ministers, that the Palestinian people did not exist.
129. The Zionist movement came to Palestine proclaiming, through its official leaders, that its aim was to transform Palestine into a country as Jewish as England was English or France French, at a time when Palestinian Arabs constituted over 92 per cent of the population and owned over 97 per cent of the land of Palestine. Through a programme of organized terror, directed against children, women and old men in the villages and towns of Palestine, it succeeded in 1948 in evicting the majority of the Palestinian Arab population from the territories it conquered.
130. Since 1948, the Zionist authorities have intransigently refused to implement the successive resolutions, adopted annually by this General Assembly, calling for the return of the displaced Palestinians to their homes.
131. When the Palestinian people resumed its legitimate national struggle to restore its rights, the Zionist authorities embarked on a genocidal campaign of terror, which was, in fact, an extension of their consistent policy towards the Palestinian people -- the policy of denying the very existence of that people, displacing it en masse, and barring its return. In this new phase of Zionist policy, inaugurated in 1969, the regular Zionist armed forces, at the behest of the official Zionist authorities, waged a war of elimination aimed at the concentrations of Palestinians located on the territories of neighbouring Arab States. The Zionist air force has raided Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic; and the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have been subjected to systematic raids by the Zionist army, navy and air force. In the course of these military operations thousands of children, women and old men have been killed or maimed. The Zionist authorities have also transformed contingents of their armed forces into terror bands, and let them loose to kidnap dozens of Palestinians and to assassinate others in the presence of their wives and children. Whereas the campaigns of mass murder have directed their fire at concentrations of Palestinians indiscriminately, the Zionist assassination squads have had as their targets carefully selected individuals -- writers, journalists, intellectuals -- in a concerted effort to destroy the intellectual and organizational elite of the Palestinian people.
132. And, after all that, the representative of the Zionist authorities comes to this platform to complain that the Palestinian people refuses to recognize as legitimate the existence of the Zionist authorities, as though the victim were under a sacred obligation to recognize the right of his executioner to destroy him.
133. After approximately 75 years of official Zionist denial of the existence of the Palestinian people, and of their national and human rights, the Zionist authorities have recently begun to permit their representatives to pronounce the word "Palestinians" in international forums. Some might detect in this an intimation of change in the official Zionist position with regard to the Palestinian people. But the content of recent Zionist utterances clearly demonstrates that the new flexibility in vocabulary does not betoken substantive change in outlook.
134. The Zionist leaders, who have proclaimed for decades that the Palestinian people did not exist, announce, from this very rostrum, that it is they who are entitled to determine who shall represent the Palestinians- and they arrogate to themselves the right to deprive the PLO of its representative status, even though that status was conferred upon the PLO by all the Palestinian grass-roots organizations and professional and labour unions.
135. The Zionist leaders who have displaced the Palestinian people and deprived it for a quarter of a century of the right to return to its homeland and enjoy normal life there, now suddenly proclaim their concern for the interests of the Palestinians -- but at the same time they arrogate to themselves the authority to determine that those interests are served by the assimilation of Palestinians in other societies outside Palestine.
136. The Zionists who usurped Palestine and erected on its soil an exclusivist political structure of their own, at the expense of the Palestinian people and its right to self-determination in its homeland, now announce from this rostrum that the remedying of the conditions of the Palestinians must be within the framework of their agreeing to join a non-Palestinian State.
137. On the opening day of the debate on the present item, two views of the problem were presented to the General Assembly and two roads to the future were described.
138. The Zionist authorities officially announced, through their representative, that they would countenance no alteration in the fait accompli, which was achieved and forced upon Palestine in the preceding quarter of a century by means of terror and violence; that the exclusivist racist system established in Palestine must remain exclusivist and racist; and that any challenge to that system was a blasphemy against the United Nations Charter. They offered the Palestinian people two choices: either to acquiesce in the fait accompli, resign itself to the fate imposed upon it, and endorse the leadership to be selected for it by the Zionist authorities, as well as the formula chosen by those authorities for solving the problem of the Palestinian people outside the land from which it was evicted; or, failing that, to accept the consequences of its refusal, and face the continuation of the genocidal war begun a few years ago against Palestinians in their camps and places of refuge outside their homeland.
139. For its part, the Palestinian people officially announced -- through the head of the PLO, its sole legitimate representative -- that it refuses to acquiesce in the fait accompli, which was imposed upon it and its homeland by terror and violence, and which constitutes an embodiment of exclusivism and colonial aggression. It too offered the Zionist regime two choices: either to cling to the fait accompli, thereby compelling the Palestinian people to persist in its struggle for liberation and for the restoration of its rights and dignity, or to join with the Palestinian people in a joint endeavour to realize a humanistic vision of the future of the Holy Land, a vision in which Jew and Christian and Muslim coexist within one humanistic State. By ensuring equality without discrimination for all, that State would indeed belong to each and to all, instead of being pre-empted by any to the exclusion of the others.
140. The Palestinian people is the principal party to the problem of Palestine, which in turn is the basis of the Arab-lsraeli conflict.
141. For two decades the United Nations has dealt with the branches and not with the roots in its debates on the Middle East problem and its annual debates on the reports of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA. Only this year did it decide to consider the original problem and to deal with the roots. We trust that will make it possible for the truth about the tragedy of the Palestinian people to become more fully known.
142. Kuwait believes that peace will not be established in the Middle East unless the Palestinian people comes to exercise its right to self-determination without outside interference; that a just and lasting peace cannot be attained unless the Palestinian people achieves its national independence on its land; and that the region will remain a zone of conflict and a battlefield as well as a threat to world peace and security as long as the world continues to ignore those truths.
143. Confident that progress towards a just peace must begin with the roots of the problem, Kuwait supports any measure that moves us closer to those goals, which are indispensable for the solution that will bring about stability and the reign of peace.
144. Mr. MALDONADO AGUIRRE (Guatemala) (interpretation from Spanish): First of all I wish to address myself to the Permanent Mission of Ireland to express on behalf of my delegation our condolences on the death of its illustrious President, Mr. Erskine Childers.
145. I also wish to express my delegation's condolences to the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia on the death of its Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Omar Sakkaf.
146. Guatemala has several reasons for speaking in this debate. First, at the present time the interdependence of nations is a definite and burning reality, which can be observed through the moral and material impact upon the whole international community of localized actions occurring in any part of the planet. Apart from the overriding humanitarian interests, which demand our greatest efforts so that peace, security and the well-being of peoples may universally prevail, it is indisputable that any international conflict has an impact on our lives, affecting the economy, paralysing development and frustrating our aspirations for betterment.
147. In view of the gravity of the situation it is regrettable that disputes are sometimes carried to dramatic extremes, as though men were still incapable of achieving justice in a spirit of solidarity and true understanding. Such disputes, at times carried to dramatic and cruelly unnecessary extremes, give rise to serious moral upheavals, filling us with pessimism at man's lack of ability to achieve justice in a spirit of solidarity and understanding, the ideal proclaimed in all declarations but nonetheless barely holding its own in practice. This great gap between aims and realities and the great distance between intentions and deeds indicate a serious contrast between man's creative powers, manifested in his extraordinary technological and scientific progress, and his regrettable persistence in dealing with his problems in a one-sided fashion that easily leads to the use of force and violence.
148. As is true of any small country, our concern is twofold. On the one hand, we are deeply concerned over the prevalence of a threat to the peace; because of their close ties all countries are vulnerable when the world balance is threatened. On the other, we realize that in situations such as the one under discussion, when the situation becomes more acute and assumes extremist features, not only do dialogue and the possibility of understanding and settlement become more difficult, but the rule of law is jeopardized, the rule of law whose universal sway undoubtedly represents one of the highest values affirmed in the Charter of the United Nations.
149. Those reasons justify our intervention in the debate, applying a parliamentary principle and a guarantee of equality that not only provide a means of expression, but fulfil the aim of giving shape to a universal conscience, which is often more useful than coercive measures in tempering excesses and abuses. That is why we firmly believe Plato's dictum that a just principle from the depths of a cave is mightier than any army. The growth of the United Nations, which now permits us to hail the admission of new Member States, in no way waters down or disperses responsibility within this great international Organization. Rather, it augments it, since shared responsibility is increased by being vested with equal intensity in each member.
150. At this time in the world, when fortunately we have witnessed a reasonable detente in ideological struggles as well as in political and economic strife, when not even the greatest Powers can be self-sufficient, but must inevitably play a role within international interdependence, the United Nations has a broader mission and a twofold responsibility. That is why it should not rely on the number of resolutions it adopts or on the number of countries supporting them but rather on their clarity, good intentions and effectiveness. In cases of conflict, we should be guided by prudence, rectitude, justice and a profound humanitarian sense. as well as respectful compliance with the Charter.
151. When we attempt to examine the problem in accordance with the approaches and proposals of each one of the parties to the dispute; when we analyse the painful consequences of war, blockade, verbal aggression, occupation, displacement and the general state of anguish that unquestionably prevail in that region; when we see that the best efforts and the greatest good will have not been devoted exclusively to the development of the well-being of peoples, but rather in the defence of their own positions -- and it must be said, considered by each as being just and legitimate -- for which they zealously arm and train themselves to kill or to die; when we see this picture, which is so unpromising for the fate of mankind, we find confirmation of how difficult, complex and crucial the problem is.
152. Faced with a situation of this magnitude, we believe that much would be gained in its solution if each one of the parties were to commit itself, at least for a few moments, to understanding that it is not possible to leave the other party with no other alternative than having to fight to the bitter end. It is high time that we understand that this cause is vital for all, and that to resolve it, it will basically be necessary for both parties to make reciprocal concessions and for both to commit themselves to respect what is innermost and most genuine in man and in peoples, namely, the right to exist, and, in this case, we are referring to the existence and the dignity of the Palestinian people and the people of Israel.
153. We believe that the positions put forward should move away from their uncompromising adamancy towards a search for a point of convergence. Human interest as a common denominator will always provide leeway for agreement, which should be followed by effective action with regard to its implementation albeit gradual -- in good faith and sustained by a firm will, never tainted by inequalities due to unfair advantages, much less by mere appearances for propaganda purposes.
154. It has been said that the settlement of any problem is largely contingent upon a proper approach to it, and in the case of a complex problem, in which historical roots, interests and human aspirations are intertwined, in which passionate feelings and rancorous attitudes are at stake, in which violent intents are not concealed, it is necessary to become calm and to open a broad dialogue in the service of all legitimate and concurring interests, and, for the sake of equality to supplement any understanding with the aspirations of both parties, which may -- and which no doubt can -- be reconciled.
155. Impatience has never been a good counsellor and, particularly at a time when disagreement and discontent may perturb our spirits, it is desirable to make every effort to maintain serenity, which is worth more than any kind of enthusiasm. That is why in the search for peace the first thing we will have to disarm is the spirit.
156. My country has been most carefully observing the course of events, and I can assure you that we are dismayed and deeply concerned over what is happening. That is why we hope that a recommendation will emerge from here containing certain requirements. First of all, it should be viable and effective, namely, it should be possible to comply with it without sacrificing genuine values, and this is why we should strive to reach a consensus -- and should that not be possible, we should then confine the scope of the resolution to what can be effective and realistic. In the second place it should be produced in conformity with the rule of law and as such, it should faithfully abide by the goals, purposes and procedures of the Charter. And finally, I think it should be inspired in good faith.
157. The delegation of Guatemala would like to associate itself with any initiative emerging from this Assembly whose purpose is to propose a just and effective solution to the problem under discussion; it is our belief that the sum of all the efforts may give shape to an awareness of international morality sufficient to put a brake on all excesses. We should like to point out that the effectiveness of resolutions demands that they be realistic and feasible, since good faith is one of the unquestionable principles of law, and that is why we have noted here the interest demonstrated in a constant search for unanimity or consensus in order to strengthen the moral force of resolutions.
158. Precisely because of the gravity and intensity of the situation and the consequences it entails for peace and security, we urge and call upon all those who are more closely concerned in the debate to abandon, to the extent possible, the polarization which renders objectivity and realism impossible. We are certain that nations so honourably represented in this, the headquarters of the highest world forum, will find serene and practical formulas leading to the solution, albeit gradual, of this far-reaching problem of mankind today.
159. Mr. HOVEYDA (Iran) (interpretation from French): Allow me first to associate myself with the speakers who preceded me to offer to the delegation of Ireland our most hearfelt condolences on the great loss which Ireland has suffered on the occasion of the death of its President, Mr. Erskine Childers.
160. If the adjective "historic" had not become so hackneyed, I should certainly be inclined to say that this debate is most unmistakably historic in nature. Because, for the first time in many years, the General Assembly has decided to consider in its entirety one of the major aspects of the problem of the Middle East, that is, the question of Palestine. It is true that each year this problem has been before the Assembly in a partial form in the report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA. I do not want to minimize the humanitarian aspects of this question. The fate of millions of displaced persons, living in precarious conditions, is obviously an urgent source of concern for the entire international community and we have many times commended warmly the great work done by the United Nations in this field. My Government has constantly given its support to UNRWA. After the 1967 war, it even made a direct contribution in the region in order to relieve the suffering and misery of the new refugees.
161. But this aspect of the issue is only an effect and all these years the causes have been ignored. The very heart of the problem -- a term used by the Secretary-General in the introduction to his report on the work of the Organization [A/9601/Add.l ] -- remained unresolved. By undertaking this debate, the General Assembly is now at last considering the problem in its entirety.
162. Ever since 1948, my delegation has supported all General Assembly resolutions concerning the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, whether what was involved was the return to their homes or their right to self-determination. I shall not cite all the texts appearing in document A/9810, of 18 October, circulated on the initiative of the Tunisian delegation, I would simply say, referring to the words of the first preambular paragraph of resolution 2535 B (XXIV) of 10 December 1969, that all those texts, in one way or another, reaffirm the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine.
163. Moreover, it is becoming increasingly clear with the passage of time that an over-all settlement of the Middle East crisis cannot be contemplated without satisfying the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. On many occasions my Government has stressed the capital importance of this problem. That is why my delegation became a sponsor of the request submitted by many other countries calling for the inclusion of the question of Palestine in the agenda of the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly.
164. In the same spirit we voted for resolution 3210 (XXIX), on 14 October, inviting the PLO, representing the Palestine people, to participate in the deliberations of the General Assembly on the question of Palestine in our plenary meetings. Indeed, we believe it impossible to discuss this question without all the parties concerned being heard; and, as everyone knows, the recent Arab Summit Conference at Rabat6 unanimously conferred precise responsibilities on the PLO.
165. We listened with interest to the statement made by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO at the opening of our debate [2282nd meeting], and we have also studied most carefully all statements made so far by the speakers. I must confess that with each Middle East debate here I feel increasingly frustrated as I come to the rostrum to speak. I say "frustrated" because the numerous resolutions adopted by both the General Assembly and the Security Council on the various aspects of the question have remained a dead letter -- so much so, in fact, that one may safely say that, after so many years of efforts, the problem remains intact, and the prospects for peace and security in that region of the world do not seem particularly encouraging.
166. That feeling of frustration is all the more real and keen when it comes to the question of Palestine, to which the United Nations has failed to give suitable consideration for so many years. Today, for the first time, the problem is being put in its proper perspective: in other words, the legitimate, inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as a distinct entity -- and no longer as a mass of refugees living off international assistance. To the Palestinian people, robbed of its land and homes and denied its rights, the essential question is not how much the assistance will amount to, but, rather, when and how that people will be able to recover its legitimate, fundamental rights.
167. It has taken a quarter of a century for this Assembly to decide finally to examine the prime aspect of this problem -- 25 years for it to proclaim its will to assume its responsibility fully with regard to one of the most painful tragedies of our age.
168. We must welcome this event which, we trust, will mark a decisive turning-point on the difficult road to peace. For the first time, the international community seems to have become aware that the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people within the framework of respect for the independence and territorial integrity of all the other States of the region cannot be delayed any more. In fact, experience of this and other problems has clearly shown that no difficulty can be definitively settled if the peoples concerned are denied their fundamental rights.
169. It cannot be denied that the Palestinians have been the victims of a great injustice which it is now high time to repair. When dealing with the question of Palestine we cannot disregard the fact that it is also connected with other aspects, such as, for example, the evacuation of occupied territories and the need to put an end to the state of belligerency.
170. In this respect, we must not lose sight of either the resolutions concerning the Palestinian problem or the other resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly on the Middle East. True, our debate is centred more particularly on Palestine, but if the situation has deteriorated to this point, it is precisely because the relevant Security Council resolutions have never been implemented. Need one ask why? The answer is all too clear: if those resolutions have unfortunately not yet been implemented it is, above all, because of Israel's refusal to implement the decisions of our Organization, forgetting that the security and prosperity of one people cannot be based on the insecurity and misfortunes of another. That negative attitude on the part of Israel is all the more unjustifiable when one realizes that other Governments of the region, on several occasions, have shown the greatest moderation and goodwill in all the steps that have been taken to bring about a return of peace.
171. The General Assembly cannot contradict its earlier decisions concerning the fate of the Palestinian people.
172. As for the creation of the Palestinian State, which was unanimously decided at the Rabat Summit Conference,6 I must say that, in our opinion, this is a question of concern primarily to the Palestinians themselves and the Arab States directly concerned; and since those States have taken a decision on this matter, I cannot see how the General Assembly could possibly express a different opinion.
173. It seems to me that the General Assembly is in duty bound to take a decision that will confirm clearly the points I have mentioned. But in so doing, the Assembly's task will not be over: not only will it have to ensure the implementation of its decision, but it will also have to do everything possible to ensure a just and lasting peace in the region.
174. In this respect, disturbing information reaches us from all sides. We must become aware of the extraordinary gravity of the situation and of the urgent need for the Organization to face it before events take an irrevocable turn for the worse, with disastrous consequences for the Middle East and for the international community as a whole.
175. Hence, the solution to the question of Palestine, one of the essential components of an over-all settlement, cannot be delayed any longer, and I should like, on behalf of my delegation, to issue an appeal for reason and a spirit of conciliation.
176. We must all combine our efforts, realistically and in good faith, in order to ensure the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and to facilitate thereby the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the region.
177. The PRESIDENT (interpretation from French): I now call on those members of the Assembly who wish to speak in exercise of their right of reply.
178. Mr. MALIK (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (interpretation from Russian): The statement of one of the speakers at the 2288th meeting contained the kind of very routine slanderous fabrications of which we have all grown very tired, about the Soviet policy on the question of the Middle East. There is no need to enter into polemics with that speaker. The purpose of his statement was obvious -- that is, to divert the attention of the General Assembly and the United Nations from the question that has been raised here by the Arab countries, with the support of the socialist and non-aligned countries, the question of the inalienable national rights of the Arab people of Palestine, rights that have been trampled underfoot as a result of the Israeli aggression.
179. The very best answer to that speaker and to his slanderous fabrications against the Soviet Union has already been given by the representative of the Arab people of Palestine, the outstanding leader of the Palestine liberation movement, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Mr. Yasser Arafat. Only recently, in a telegram to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mr. Brezhnev, Mr. Arafat expressed his profound gratitude for the resolute position adopted by the Soviet Union and the other countries of the socialist community in support of the Palestinian people and their just cause. Mr. Arafat stated:
180. The statement made by Mr. Arafat recently to the General Assembly also contained an expression of thanks to socialist countries. That is the voice of the Palestinian people who know very well how and to what extent the Soviet Union and its peoples are helping the Arab people of Palestine in their heroic struggle for their national rights, for their freedom and independence. That is the voice of the Arab peoples, the voice of truth. The other voice, the voice asserting the opposite about the position of the Soviet Union, is the voice of calumny and lies.
181. What was the speaker trying to achieve by coming to this rostrum and slandering the Soviet Union and its policy? Who stands to gain from those provocative fabrications, whose purpose is to try to damage Soviet-Arab relations and drive a wedge between the Soviet Union and the Arab countries and to divert attention from the aggressor and those supporting and assisting the aggressor? The answer to this question is clear -- and it is clear not only to us but to all the Arab peoples. The provocative policy of that speaker, of his delegation and of his authorities is, objectively speaking, of benefit only to Israel and to its imperialist Zionist protectors. All the remarks by that speaker are grist to the mill of Israel. When they make slanderous attacks on the Soviet Union and try -- in vain -- to sow distrust of the Soviet Union among the Arab delegations, it is Israel that benefits.
182. For the Arab peoples, victims of Israeli aggression, such a position on the part of the country represented by that speaker is a stab in the back of, an act of treachery to, the heroic Arab peoples and all those who truly give them fraternal help at the time of the difficult and tense struggle being waged by the Arab peoples for their independence and their inalienable rights.
183. That is the real and treacherous meaning of these slanderous attacks by that delegation on the Soviet Union. But these efforts are all in vain; they will come to nothing. The Soviet Union has been in the past and will remain a true and reliable friend of the Arab people. Its policy of support for the Arab peoples and countries that are victims of Israeli aggression is a matter of fundamental principle and is pursued consistently by it.
184. We refute with contempt these pathetic distortions and provocative fabrications by those who oppose Arab-Soviet friendship and by those international adventurers who are trying to warm their hands at the fire of war and suffering of other peoples. The Arab people of Palestine and the Arab countries can see things clearly and they know exactly who their friends are. They know who is helping them against Israeli aggression and who, although clad in the robes of a friend, is trying through anti-Soviet demogoguery to mask his reluctance to support a peaceful political settlement in the Middle East and the withdrawal of all troops of the aggressor from the occupied Arab territories, his reluctance really to help the Palestinian Arabs regain their legitimate rights to their own homeland.
185. If the country represented by that speaker -- and it is not a small country, but a great, major Power trying to achieve world hegemony -- granted the militant Arab peoples as much assistance as the Soviet Union, or at least a comparable amount of assistance, the Arab peoples would be only too glad to recieve it. If the delegation of that country were to use the energy it wastes here in disseminating slander against the Soviet Union on a more worthy cause -- that is, the cause of real assistance to and genuine support for the Arab people of Palestine in their struggle and for the other Arab peoples victims of Israeli aggression -- and if it were to do that in, among other things, the discussion of the question of Palestine in the General Assembly, the Arab countries and peoples would regard that as a thousand times more useful.
186. Mr. CHUANG Yen (China) (interpretation from Chinese): In his speech just now, Mr. Malik tried to embellish his image by attributing all the good things to himself. But the Soviet representative's reply is both blustering and hollow. He did not have the guts to touch on the series of facts cited in our speech about the dual tactics of the Soviet Government in contending for hegemony in the Middle East and in dealing with the Arab and Palestinian peoples' struggle against aggression. This has all the more exposed its guilty conscience and indefensible position.
187. The Soviet representative has time and again unblushingly bragged about the so-called Soviet military "assistance" to the Arab countries. But why did he not dare to talk about the essence of this so-called military ''assistance''? Who was it that took advantage of others' difficulties to reap fabulous profits through munitions deals in the war? Who is it that practised blackmail and asked for all kinds of privileges by means of the so-called military "assistance" ? And who was it that used the arms supply as political blackmail to sabotage the Arab peoples' just struggle against aggression at the critical juncture of the October war last year? All these facts have been openly exposed and severely condemned on many occasions by the just Arab public opinion. Can these facts be obliterated by playing deaf and dumb or accusing others of being "anti-Soviet"? You have styled yourselves a "natural ally" of the Arab and Palestinian people and have always bragged about your "selfless assistance". If this were true, why do you not dare, in response to the call of the Chinese representative, openly to declare that all your military assistance for the Arab countries' resistance to foreign aggression will be free and gratis and that you will no longer be a merchant of death or, at least, that you will not press for debt-servicing if you charged for your weapons in the past, or to be more generous, that you will simply publicly declare the cancellation of all these military debts and let them be gone with the wind. Would not that be more practical?
188. As for the Soviet Government's long-time flirtation with the Israeli Zionists and its connivance at their aggression against Palestine and Arab countries, it is all the more a fact known to everyone. The Soviet Union has in recent years sent large numbers of emigrants to Israel, supplying the Israeli Zionists with enormous manpower in pursuance of their policy of aggression and expansion. This is indeed a case of one super-Power providing the money and guns and the other providing manpower. Though each has its own selfish aim, yet their different acts lead to the same result of augmenting the Israeli Zionists' strength for expanding aggression. Such are the evident facts. How can you deny them? The United Nations adopted a resolution condemning Israel's transfer of population to its illegally occupied territories and urged all States "to refrain from any action which Israel will exploit in carrying out its policy of colonizing the occupied territories" [resolution 3092 B (XXVIII), para. 6]. While instructing its representative to vote in favour of the resolution, the Soviet Government greatly increased its emigration to Israel. Is this not a glaring violation of the United Nations resolution? Does this not constitute direct support to the Israeli Zionists? You are talking about one thing while doing another. Is this not ample evidence to prove your downright hypocrisy and duplicity?
189. The objective facts show that the frantic contention between the two super-Powers for hegemony in the Middle East is the root cause of the turbulence in that region. The Arab and Palestinian people have come to see ever more clearly that in order to recover the lost Arab territories and regain the national rights of the Palestinian people, it is imperative not only to oppose firmly the Israeli Zionist policies of aggression and expansion but firmly to oppose and get rid of super-Power intervention, infiltration and control.
190. The PRESIDENT (interpretation from French): Before adjourning, I should like once again to draw the attention of the General Assembly to the fact that, with the exception of the USSR and China, no other delegation has inscribed its name to exercise any kind of right of reply. I am saying this for the information of the General Assembly and for all useful purposes. I am also saying this for the information of a certain section of the press, which felt it was obliged to distort a sovereign decision of the General Assembly and to ascribe to it positions incompatible with an objective and rigorous application of the rules of procedure, and, in particular, of the provisions of the inalienable right of each delegation to exercise the right of reply as often as circumstances may require.
2 For a summary of this statement, see Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-ninth Session, Third Committee, 2083rd meeting, para. 60.
3 Official Records of the General Assembly, Second Session. Supplement No. 11, vol. I, document A/364, annex 19.
4 Ibid., annex 20.
5 Ibid., document A/364, chap. V, sect. B, recommendation XII.
6 Seventh Conference of Arab Heads of State, held at Rabat from 26 to 29 October 1974.