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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


GA/PAL/67
22 September 1980


Committee on Rights of
Palestinian People
57th Meeting (AM)


PALESTINIAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE APPROVES REPORT TO GENERAL ASSEMBLY


The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People today expressed its conviction that "positive action by the Security Council could create the necessary conditions for a just and lasting peace", since the Committee's recommendations contained the basic principles relating to the problem of Palestine within the Middle East situation.

The Committee did so in approving its annual report to the General Assembly. (The Committee's recommendations, annexed to its report, are contained in an annex to this press release.)

The Committee in its recommendations also drew the attention of the Assembly to its considered opinion that the Camp David Accords, and the attendant negotiations which continued to take place, contravened relevant Assembly resolutions, "to the extent that they did not take into account the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and were negotiated without the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people."

The recommendations adopted by the Committee in its report are as follows:

"The repeated endorsement of the recommendations of the Committee by the General Assembly at its 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th sessions and its seventh emergency session, strengthens the Committee's conviction that positive action by the Security Council could create the necessary conditions for a just and lasting peace, since the recommendations contain the basic principles relating to the problem of Palestine within the Middle East situation. The Committee, consequently, unanimously decided once more to reiterate the validity of those recommendations which are again annexed to the present report.

"The Committee once more urges the Security Council to take positive action on those recommendations which, with emphasis on the urgency of their implementation, have repeatedly been brought to the attention of the Security Council.

"The Committee once more draws the attention of the General Assembly to its considered opinion that the Camp David Accords and the attendant negotiations which continue to take place contravene paragraph 4 of General Assembly resolution 33/28A of 7 December 1978 and paragraphs 1 and 2 of General Assembly resolution 34/65B of 29 November 1979, to the extent that they did not take into account the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and were negotiated without the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people.

"The Committee considers that a wider understanding of the just cause of the Palestinian people would be a major contribution towards a just solution of the question of Palestine and that it should continue in its efforts to achieve such a wider understanding so as to promote the implementation of its recommendations."

With regard to the recommendation on the Camp David Accords, the Committee approved it, contrary to a proposal by the observer of Egypt that the entire paragraph be deleted.

The observer of Egypt said that inclusion of the recommendation would be detrimental to the Committee's report, and would make its adoption by the General Assembly more difficult. It would bring controversial aspects into the report.

The observer of the PLO said, in response to the Egyptian proposal, that the Committee had to take into consideration its mandate and the rights of the Palestinian people. It did not matter how many votes the report received. The rights of the Palestinians could not be sacrificed for a few votes, he stated.

The representative of the Ukraine spoke against deletion of the recommendation.

At the close of the meeting, the Chairman, FALILOU KANE (Senegal), said he had sent letters of appreciation to those countries that had closed their embassies in Jerusalem, in accordance with the recent resolution of the General Assembly's special session on Palestine.

The Committee suspended its session for about 30 minutes this morning in order that members might hear an address by the United States Secretary of State in the plenary.

Continued Consideration of Report to Assembly

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met this morning to continue consideration and adoption of the remaining part of its report to the General Assembly.

At its last meeting the Committee adopted Chapters I (Introduction), II (Mandate of the Committee), III (Organization of Work) and parts of Chapter IV (Action taken by the Committee). (The report is not available as a document.)

This morning the Committee took up a part of Chapter IV, entitled "Action Taken by Other Organizations".

Included in that section were actions by the Commission on Human Rights, the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty, the Islamic Conference, the Foreign Ministers of the European Council and the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

The sub-paragraph on the Commission on Human Rights said that the Commission at its thirty-sixth session held from 4 February to 14 March 1980 had adopted resolutions condemning Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Arab Territories as well as administrative and legislative measures by the Israeli authorities to encourage, promote and expand the establishment of settlers' colonies in the occupied territories, which further demonstrate Israel's determination to annex those territories. The Commission also expressed its deep concern at the consequences of Israel's refusal to apply fully and effectively the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War in all its provisions to all the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem.

The sub-paragraph on the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty said the declaration adopted at its meeting in Warsaw on 14 and 15 May 1980 stressed and reaffirmed the positive position of the countries concerned and which stated inter alia that a lasting peace in the Middle East could have been established long ago on the basis of an all-embracing Middle Eastern political settlement with the direct participation of all the parties concerned, including the Palestinian Arab peoples as embodied by its representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and of respect for the legitimate interests of all States and peoples of the Middle East, including Israel; such a settlement required the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all Arab territories occupied in 1967, the restoration of the right of the Arab people of Palestine to self-determination, including the establishment of its own independent state, the granting of the sovereignty and security of all States of the region; it required also that no action should be taken which could make the attainment of those goals more difficult.

At the Islamic Conference, another sub-paragraph continued, a resolution was adopted "which considered the Camp David Accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty a conspiracy against the future of Jerusalem and of the other occupied Arab territories, which should be categorically. rejected, and their repercussions and consequences withstood". The resolution refused to recognize separate and partial solutions of the Palestinian question. The Conference also called upon the General Assembly to consider at its emergency special session, devoted to Palestine, ways and means whereby to secure the implementation of its resolutions on the Palestinian question, including the imposition of sanctions, in accordance with Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

The section went on to say that the meeting of Heads of States and Governments and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Council in Venice, Italy , made a declaration of 13 June 1980, detailing its position on the Middle East. The Committee regarded as specially significant that the Nine had taken a firm position on the question of Palestine and on the fact that the Palestinian people must be placed in a position to exercise fully their right to self-determination; that the PLO should be associated with the negotiations to that end; that Israel should put an end to the occupation of the territories which it has maintained since 1967; that Israeli settlements constitued a serious obstacle to peace in the Middle East and were illegal under international law and that the Nine would not accept any unilateral initiative designed to change the status of Jerusalem. The Committee considered this declaration to be an important advance on the part of the Nine towards an understanding of the question of Palestine as well as a major step towards a resolution of the problem.

The text of the OAU resolution had not yet been received by the Committee.

The first speaker, PETRE VLASCEANU (Romania), said the Committee should work by consensus. "The Committee's report should avoid controversial issues", he said. It should not introduce issues not acceptable to all members.

MAHMOUD FAHIM EL-SAID, observer of Egypt, said that he failed to see the logic in singling out one extraordinarily negative resolution of the Islamic Conference for inclusion in the Committee's report. Was this the only resolution adopted by the Conference? If this resolution were the only one adopted it was sad that a conference confined itself to the whims of certain quarters that opposed peace efforts in the area.

The Chairman, FALILOU KANE (Senegal) called on the representative of the PLO on a point of order.

ZEHDI LABIB TERZI, observer of the PLO, said that he rejected the idea that the Committee was opposing the peace process. It was beyond the Committee's jurisdiction to discuss the substance of a resolution adopted by another Conference. The Committee was merely reporting on what had been approved by another Conference.

Mr. EL-SAID (Egypt) said: "This so-called resolution does not in any way enhance the Palestinian cause." He added: "To indulge in a campaign of defamation and rancour against my country and the peace process itself did not serve the cause of peace."

Mr. TERZI, PLO, said the Committee was concered with the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and that was why this particular resolution had been singled out.

SAMI GLAIEL (Syria) said that just because certain delegations opposed the Camp David agreements did not mean they opposed peace in the area. It was only the parties to the agreements who said they were promoting peace.

At this state, the CHAIRMAN said they would suspend the meeting in order to hear the United States Secretary of State address the plenary in the general debate.

The meeting suspended at 11:31 a.m.

The meeting resumed at 12:10 p.m.

The Committee then approved sub-paragraph (a) regarding a resolution of the Commission on Human Rights and sub-paragraph (b) on a declaration by the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty Members.

Mr. VLASCEANU (Romania) said his delegation could not participate in discussion of the paper before the Committee this morning, dealing with action by other organizations, because he had just received the paper and had not had a chance to study it.

Mr. EL-SAID, observer from Egypt, said he understood the point made earlier this morning by his brother from Syria. However, Egypt was not trying to amend a resolution that had been adopted by another organization. That was not the issue.

He said what concerned him was that one resolution was being singled out from the Islamic Conference when that Conference had approved several resolutions. That was a value judgement. Why should only that resolution be included in the report? he asked.

He asked why it should be considered "a conspiracy" when two countries signed a peace treaty, and when one of those countries regained its occupied territories as a result of that treaty?

The Islamic Conference, he said, had also passed certain positive resolutions. Why were those not mentioned?

HORST JOACHIMI (German Democratic Republic) said the Committee should not be involved with issues that prevented it from completing its work. All resolutions dealing with the rights of the Palestinian people should be in the report of the Committee.

Mr. EL-SAID, observer from Egypt, said that the resolution by the Islamic Conference was "another attempt to defame Egypt and its leaders, a country whose sacrifices for the Palestinian people were a matter of record, and a country that had never killed a Palestinian -- something other countries did as a matter of frequent practice".

The Islamic Conference had gone too far in adopting that resolution, he said. If this resolution were included in the Committee's report, it would mean letting the Committee be used by certain quarters to destroy the ongoing peace process in the Middle East.

The CHAIRMAN said the Committee "was not in anybody's pocket". "It was out of place for someone to accuse the Committee and its Chairman that the Committee was being used", he said. "It is an insinuation I cannot accept". It was up to the members of the Committee to say if the Committee was being used", he continued.

SAMI GLAIEL, observer from Syria, speaking on a point of order, said that Egypt said it had not understood why this particular resolution of the Islamic Conference should be included in the Committee's report. But the Committee was supposed to deal with resolutions affecting the Palestinian people.

BARIYU A. ADEYEMI (Nigeria) said he shared some of the concerns of Egypt in the matter under discussion. Egypt had made a considerable contribution to the Palestinian cause. On the other hand, how Egypt had set out to resolve the matter, outside the United Nations, was a cause for concern to Nigeria and Nigeria had its reservations about that.

Mr. EL-SAID, observer of Egypt, said he wanted to clarify an earlier statement. He had said that certain quarters were attempting to use the Committee in order to advance their whims. He said he had the greatest respect for the Chairman and Committee members.

He said the Islamic Conference had gone too far in adopting this resolution. To call the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty a conspiracy was an infringement on the internal affairs of Egypt.

Mr. TARZI, observer of the Islamic Conference, said the Conference had adopted several resolutions concerning the Palestinian people at its recent conference.

The Committee then adopted paragraphs 39-42, entitled "Attendance at Conferences".

The Committee next adopted paragraphs 43-48, dealing with the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights. Egypt registered an objection to paragraph 46, which would have the General Assembly issue, as an official document, certain papers presented at a seminar in Vienna.

Following the Committee's adoption of its report as a whole, the observer of the PLO asked whether the Committee might have summary records in order to assist it in its work.

The Committee agreed to discuss this suggestion at its next meeting.


ANNEX I


Following are the recommendations of the Palestinian Rights Committee to the General Assembly, which are annexed to the Committee's report:
"I. BASIC CONSIDERATIONS AND GUIDELINES

"The question of Palestine is at the heart of the Middle East problem, and consequently, the Committee stresses its belief that no solution in the Middle East can be envisaged which does not fully take into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.

"The legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property and to achieve self-determination, national independence and sovereignty are endorsed by the Committee in the conviction that the full implementation of these rights will contribute decisively to a comprehensive and final settlement of the Middle East crisis.

"The participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the representative of the Palestinian people, on an equal footing with other parties, on the basis of General Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX) and 3375 (XXX), is indispensable in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East which are held under the auspices of the United Nations.

"The Committee recalls the fundamental principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and stresses the consequent obligation for complete and speedy evacuation of any territory so occupied.

"The Committee considers that it is the duty and the responsibility of all concerned to enable the Palestinians to exercise their inalienable rights.

"The Committee recommends an expanded and more influential role by the United Nations and its organs in promoting a just solution to the question of Palestine and in the implementation of such a solution. The Security Council, in particular, should take appropriate action to facilitate the exercise by the Palestinians of their right to return to their homes, lands and property. The Committee, furthermore, urges the Security Council to promote action towards a just solution, taking into account all the powers conferred on it by the Charter of the United Nations.

"It is with this perspective in view and on the basis of the numerous resolutions of the United Nations, after due consideration of all the facts, proposals and suggestions advanced in the course of its deliberations, that the Committee submits its recommendations on the modalities for the implementation of the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

"II. THE RIGHT OF RETURN

"The natural and inalienable right of Palestinians to return to their homes is recognized by resolution 194 (III), which the General Assembly has reaffirmed almost every year since its adoption. This right was also unanimously recognized by the Security Council in its resolution 237 (1967); the time for the urgent implementation of these resolutions is long overdue.

"Without prejudice to the right of all Palestinians to return to their homes, land and property, the Committee considers that the programme of implementation of the exercise of this right may be carried out in two phases:

Phase one

"The first phase involves the return to their homes of the Palestinians displaced as a result of the war of June 1967. The Committee recommends that:

"Phase two

"The second phase deals with the return to their homes of the Palestinians displaced between 1948 and 1967. The Committee recommends that:


"III. THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION, NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY

"The Palestinian people has the inherent right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty in Palestine. The Committee considers that the evacuation of the territories occupied by force and in violation of the principles of the Charter and relevant resolutions of the United Nations is a conditio sine qua non for the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights to return to their homes and property and with the establishment of an independent Palestinian entity, the Palestinian people will be able to exercise its right to self-determination and to decide its form of government without external interference.

"The Committee also feels that the United Nations has an historical duty and responsibility to render all assistance necessary to promote the economic development and prosperity of the Palestinian entity.

"To these ends, the Committee recommends that:

In its 1978 report, the Palestinian Rights Committee stated its opinion that "positive action by the Security Council on the recommendations endorsed by the General Assembly could create the necessary conditions for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East".

The Committee also recommended that the Assembly should urge that it be guided constantly by the following basic principles relating to the problem of Palestine within the Middle East situation:

"(a) The question of Palestine is at the heart of the problem of the Middle East and consequently no solution to the Middle East problem could be envisaged without taking into account the rights of the Palestinian people;

"(b) The realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and to self-determination, independence and national sovereignty would contribute to a solution of the crisis in the Middle East;

"(c) The participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the representative of the Palestinian people, on an equal footing with all other parties on the basis of General Assembly resolutions 3236 (XXIX) and 3375 (XXX) is indispensable in all efforts, deliberations and conferences on the Middle East undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations; and

"(d) The inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and the obligation which devolved on Israel to withdraw completely and quickly from all territory so occupied.



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