ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
United Nations Headquarters, New York
11-13 June 1986
I. Declaration adopted by the North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine
II. Additional recommendations of the workshops
III. Message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman, Executive Committee, Palestine Liberation Organization, to the Symposium
IV. Letter dated 11 June 1986 from the Moderator of the Symposium to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
V. Telegram dated 13 June 1986 from the participants in the Symposium to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization
VI. Telegram dated 13 June 1986 from the participants in the Symposium to the President of the United States of America
VII. North American Co-ordinating Committee
VIII. List of participants and observers
In pursuance of General Assembly resolution 40/96 B of 12 December 1985, the third United Nations North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine was convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 11 to 13 June 1986. The theme of the meeting was "The inalienable rights of the Palestinian people".
Fifty NGOs participated in the symposium, six of them as observers.
The symposium received a message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The text of his message is contained in annex III of this report.
The meeting was opened by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Mr. Massamba Sarre. In his statement, the Chairman of the Committee pointed out the importance of the NGO Declaration, adopted in 1985, in particular the support that the NGOs were seeking for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.
The meeting considered the topic of the panel "Urgency of creating the conditions for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in accordance with resolution 38/58 C". The panelists were-.
(a) Ms. Mona Rishmawi from the West Bank (Law in the Service of Man);
(b) Mr. Amnon Zichroni from Israel (Israeli Council for Israeli/Palestinian Peace);
(c) Mr. Gus Newport from the United States of America (Mayor of Berkeley).
Four workshops were set up to deal with the following issues:
(a) Civil and Human Rights) (b) Women: Builders of Peaces (c) Peacemakers; and (d) Development, Relief and Religious Workers. The NGOs participating in the meeting adopted a declaration that is annexed to this report (see annex I) and three workshops adopted additional recommendations on several issues (see annex II). The experts presented their papers and discussed the different aspects of the topic. The closing session was addressed by the Vice-Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, H.E. Mr. Farid Zarid.
Ms. Mona Rishmawi, in her statement, pointed out that the Israeli policies towards the West Bank and Gaza are aiming at the Judaization of the territories since Israel is not in a position to annex them formally, because of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the area. Israel's only option is to annex the land without the population, having created a de facto situation by introducing a strong Jewish presence into the occupied territories. These are also the objectives of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in connection with the settlement plans. She explained that, according to international law, the occupying Power may promulgate new legislation only for imperative reasons of public order or military security. The occupation is, by definition, of temporary nature, so the occupying Power cannot weigh the national, economic or social interests of its own State against the interest of the indigenous population and must manage the territories according to the principles of usufruct. 1/
The Jordanian Planning Law of 1966 is the basic law in force in the West Bank, but it has been amended by several military orders since the Israeli occupation in order to serve the interest of the occupying Power. The Jordanian law was based on a multi-level hierarchy, with each level having its participants, objectives and goals. It also assumed the participation of the local population and indigenous institutions at each level of the structure and established a specific framework and technical criteria and standards to follow.
She explained the structure of the Jordanian law (the Minister of the Interior, the Central Planning Department, the Higher Planning Council, the District Planning Committees and the Local Planning Committee) and the basic changes introduced by Israeli military orders at every level, leaving important issues vague to allow the Israelis flexibility without being accountable to the local population.
By changing the structure of the planning hierarchy through the amended Jordanian laws, Israel is denying the Palestinians the right to participate in the planning process, while at the same time granting the settlers representation.
She concluded by pointing out that these policies aiming at the Judaization of the area prevent the Palestinians from exercising their right to self-determination. The land use planning policies are consistent with the Israeli vision of the solution of the Palestinian problem. The Israeli- proposed autonomy plan for the occupied territories gives the Palestinians authority to conduct some of their daily affairs while at the same time leaving the control over land and other resources out of Palestinian hands.
Israel is hoping to be able to "create facts" that will influence any future negotiations over the occupied territories and prevent a Palestinian State from ever being established.
1/ Article 55 of The Hague Convention of 1907 states.. "The occupying State shall be regarded as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, landed property, forests and agricultural undertakings belonging to the hostile State and situated in the occupied territory. It must safeguard the capital of such properties and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct."
* * *
Mr. Zichroni explained that peace based on the coexistence of two sovereign States is feasible and achievable today. This, he said, will presume the establishment of a State for the Palestinian people, who will exercise their right to self-determination in a political framework of their choice contiguous to the State of Israel. The border between the two states should correspond to that existing prior to the 1967 war. In his opinion, there should be no real obstacles since the Palestinian leadership seems to support this arrangement.
He pointed out that, in recent years, he had held meetings with high- ranking PLO officials, including Chairman Arafat, and had come to the conclusion that the PLO is willing to accept and recognize the State of Israel on the basis of mutual recognition of each nation's legitimate right to self-determination.
In addressing the issue of occupation, Mr. Zichroni expressed the view that independence and freedom mean being free from both internal and external forces. Ruling another nation and dominating its people cannot coexist with real freedom. Both the Likud Party and the Labour Party, he said, persist in the policy of occupation and annexation. Israeli leadership talks about peace but engages in war and military adventurism. The concept that security can only be achieved through "strategic depth" has prevailed in Israeli politics since 1948. This means that the battleship should always be on Arab land; a proper defence programme should never allow invasion of Israel. This concept, which ignores the possibility of peace, has naturally prevented its realization. He added that the nuclear danger in the Arab-Israeli conflict was closely related.
The convening of the International Peace Conference, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C of 13 December 1983, would facilitate negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians and would enable the super-Powers to reach an agreement which would eliminate the nuclear threat in the region. The Peace Conference would bring the framework for detente between the super-Powers but the treaty itself must be signed by Israel, the Arab countries and the Palestinians.
The Palestinian and Israeli peace camps should be aware that public opinion in Israel is moving in a direction hostile to peace. One example is the fact that the Knesset is about to ratify a proposed amendment to "The Prevention of Terror Ordinance".* In accordance with this enactment, direct meetings between Israelis and members of the PLO will be prohibited. The enforcement of this statute will make more difficult any possible dialogue amongst peace activists in the future. There is, therefore, an urgent need for a massive attack on public opinion. The work of NGOs to influence Israelis and western public opinion is extremely important to show the average Israeli that there is an ongoing dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. These meetings could have a positive effect of providing the right background for the convening of the International Peace Conference.
* This law was passed in the Knesset on 6 August 1986.
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In his statement, Mr. Gus Newport expressed the opinion that without the resolution of the Palestinian question, there can be no peace in the region. All schemes, military and otherwise, all so-called "peace initiatives" that deny the fundamental rights of the Palestinian, including their right to self-determination, have not brought us closer to peace, but to yet another war.
He pointed out that both the Jordanian initiative, which sought to establish King Hussein of Jordan as the representative of the Palestinian people, and the Reagan Plan of September 1982, had resulted in no progress towards peace.
The convening of this North American Regional Symposium is very important because of the particularly onerous role played by successive United States Administrations in frustrating attempts to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, it has only served to escalate military tension with continuing arms sales, the result of which is an arms race of dangerous proportions. It is for this reason that the initiatives taken by the General Assembly of the United Nations, the intergovernmental organizations and the non-governmental organizations are of such significance. The convening of an International Peace Conference, formulated at the Geneva Conference in September 1983, should be the mechanism for the implementation of the guidelines by which peace could be attained in the region. The actions taken in Geneva in 1983 are wholly compatible with the United Nations' long search for peace in the region, with the decision of the Twelfth Summit Conference of the Arab League, held in Fez, Morocco in 1982, and with President Brezhnev's proposal of 1982, reaffirmed in 1984.
Our task, he continued, is to publicize the deliberations of the Geneva Conference in order to awaken the peoples of the world, in particular the United States, to the promise in these proposals of peace and security for all peoples and States in the region, the promise of justice, self-determination and a homeland for the Palestinian people.
He explained that nowadays the Reagan Administration and its NATO allies define terrorism without giving it a social analysis. He addressed the issue of terrorism by explaining the historical evolution of the very concept of contemporary terrorism.
He started by explaining the concept of "theatre of war". In his opinion, this concept goes back at least 500 years to the time when Europeans armies were composed of men who designated the battlefield by the appropriate arena of conflict. The next major development was "guerilla warfare". The notion of theatre of battle in European terms changed when the European Powers had to battle against colonized people for these people would employ tactics that would shift the very meaning of war. The next concept, "terrorism", is, in his view, an empirically understandable progression from the battlefield to the strategic ploys of generals to guerilla warfare. An explanation of the notion of terrorism can be found in T. Hobbes' central insight about the human condition and social order. There is a parallel between the war of each against all, in Hobbes' terms and the affairs of nations, on the surface the most powerful nations, clearly dominate the weaker ones. But outside the theatre of war, the guerilla warrior "equalizes" matters. Furthermore, "terrorists" can bring the biggest, strongest country to a point where its inhabitants are so afraid of death that they become hostages in their own land.
He closed his statement by saying that certain major Powers hide behind their charge of their definition of terrorists and use this type of propagandaas a smoke screen to avoid the creation of an objective dialogue towards a just and peaceful solution to the situation in the Middle East which will guarantee the Palestinian people a homeland and assure that all peoples in the Middle East can live in peace side by side.
DECLARATION ADOPTED BY THE NORTH AMERICAN
REGIONAL NOD SYMPOSIUM ON THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
1. We, the non-governmental organizations (NG0s) participating in the third United Nations North American Regional NOD Symposium on the Question of Palestine, wish to thank the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for making this meeting possible. We are indeed honoured by the presence of the members and observers of this distinguished United Nations body.
2. We wish also to thank the Chief of the Division for Palestinian Rights, the NGO Liaison Officers and the staff of the Division and the Department of Conference Services for their invaluable assistance in the preparation and execution of this meeting.
3. We wish also to voice our appreciation to the distinguished expert panelists, workshop organizers, resource persons and facilitators who offered their invaluable insights into the question of Palestine and the potential central role to be played by NGOs in North America. The practical suggestions and strategies developed in the workshops assisted us in formulating future collaborative efforts in North America and in linking our efforts to a broader global network.
4. We believe this meeting contributed to the constructive interaction between the United Nations and the North American NGO community concerned with the non-implementation of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C of 13 December 1983, a resolution whose implementation we hold to be indispensable in securing a just and durable solution to the question of Palestine.
5. We call upon the peoples and Governments of the United States of America and Canada to take all possible steps to secure the implementation of General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, in order to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which is the question of Palestine.
6. We resolutely reaffirm the international consensus that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian People. We affirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination without external interference and to establish an independent Palestinian state on its own national territory under the leadership of the PLO, in conformity with all relevant United Nations resolutions.
7. We further strongly support the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East as called for at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, a/ August 1983, and as adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 38/58 C. It is essential that the International Peace Conference be inclusive and be attended by representatives of both Israel and the PLO, those Arab States party to the conflict, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
8. The aim of this meeting was to develop practical objectives and strategies to be implemented by North American NG0s. Our primary work was conducted in workshops, and we affirmed their conclusions as we have amended them below.
9. The Women: Builders of Peace Workshop addressed the common objective of building popular support for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and devised the following strategies:
(a) Using outreach and education to establish the issue of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian women in its rightful and legitimate place in religious groups, women's groups, peace groups and the solidarity movement, with the objective of building support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people,
(b ) Through education processes, to raise awareness, promote understanding and generate empathy for the lives of Palestinian women and children,
(c) Through enlisting a broad spectrum of United States women's groups, to pressure the United States Government to implement the recommendations that relate to the plight of Palestinian women and children as put forth in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women; b/
(d) Through exchanging cultures, traditions and histories among Jewish, Arab and other North American women, to highlight their implicit self-interest in eliminating the oppression of Palestinians;
(e) Through monitoring regular television programming and other media, to promote positive images and identity of Palestinian and other Arab women;
10. The Peacemakers Workshop resolved to build popular support within the peace movement for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East by:
(a) Increasing public awareness of the legitimacy of the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, enjoying their full support, serving their needs and seeking peace with justice;
(b) Building a mass movement of North Americans, enlisting the support of minorities and of peace and disarmament groups;
(c) Pressuring the Government of the United States to adopt a policy of military non-interventionism in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf;
(d) Pressuring the Government of the United States to participate in working for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East in conformity with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C.
11. The Development, Relief and Religious Workers Workshop devised the following strategies to realize our common objective of building popular support in the religious community for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East:
(a) A letter-writing campaign from constituencies to government bodies and targeted congressional and parliamentary offices calling for a Palestinian state in Palestine;
(b) Support for indigenous Palestinian programmes for their aim development, channelling funds through indigenous Palestinian institutions;
(c) A national conference of the religious community addressing the urgency for Middle East peace and the need to address "Armageddon Theology";
(d) Encouraging all NGOs to address the issue of "Armageddon Theology" through the promotion of the new book Prophecy and Politics by Grace Halsell;
(e) A more assertive education of constituencies about their church's position supporting the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and recognizing the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
12. In building popular support for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and mindful of the difficulties imposed by the centrality of Israel's role in implementing the global foreign policy of the United States, the Civil and Human Rights Workshop defined four strategies to be pursued in the coming year by NGOs co-ordinating their efforts throughout North America:
(a) Undertake educational campaigns focusing on specific cases in order to broaden public understanding of the issues relating to Palestinian human rights;
(b) Work in concert for a reduction of United States aid to Israel by 1988 as a direct response to Israel's repeated human rights violations;
(c) Link the campaign against violations of Palestinian human rights to other such violations worldwide, such as apartheid;
(d) Vigorously oppose the use of the term "terrorism", which infringes on human and civil rights both in North America and abroad;
(e) Pursue a campaign to combat anti-Arab racism and anti-Muslim attitudes in North America.
13. Additional, more comprehensive strategies and tactics emanating from the workshops are reproduced in annex II and should be carefully considered by the NGO community.
14. NGOs present at this meeting have established a North American Co-ordinating Committee (see annex VII). During the coming year, the Committee is charged by this meeting to co-ordinate the work of the North American NGOs present in pursuing our common objective and strategies. The NGOs present request a report from the Committee at the 1987 North American Symposium in order to evaluate its efforts.
15. The North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine reaffirms the importance of the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and strongly supports contributions from the Governments of the United States and Canada at current or higher levels. The NGOs strongly reject attempts on the part of some in the United States to delegitimize the importance of the work of UNRWA.
16. We, the North American NGOs, have taken note of the assault on Palestinian refugee camps (Sabra, Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh, near Beirut) and their residents, in June 1986, and have duly condemned the atrocities committed, have called for the siege to be lifted and enforced, and have called for the free flow of medical assistance and other relief to the camps. The Secretary-General has received our statement on this matter (see annex IV) and has been encouraged to act on it at once.
17. While all Palestinians suffer greatly in the diaspora and under occupation from the denial of their national rights, women suffer special hardships. Whether in 1948 Palestine, the camps of Beirut, in southern Lebanon, in the camps of Jordan and the Syrian Arab Republic, or in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian women often carry the burden for their entire households, including securing shelter and providing food and clothing. These women must often assume double or triple work-loads in the home, the field and the factory. Their hardships are compounded by gender discrimination. We strongly encourage the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights to promote the implementation of all United Nations resolutions and programmes to improve the status of Palestinian women and children. We urge North American NGOs to stress in their work the urgent situation of Palestinian women, and to participate in the March 1987 Conference on Palestinian Women organized by the Palestine Human Rights Campaign.
18. We request continued United Nations assistance for the North American Co-ordinating Committee in organizing and financing its meetings in the coming year.
19. In order to continue collaboration between the United Nations and the North American NGO community, we urge both the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights to send representatives to the major North American NGO conferences.
20. We urge the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People to convey this Declaration to the General Assembly at its forty-first session as part of the Committee's report.
a/ Report of the International Conference on the question of Palestine, Geneva, 29 August-7 September 1983 (United Nations publication, Sales Ma. E.83.I.21), chap. I, sect. B.
b/ Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace (A/CO/V.116/28 and Corr. 1-4), chap. I, sect. A.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE WORKSHOPS
A. Civil and Human Rights Workshop
The Civil and Human Rights Workshop suggest the following tactics to realize the articulated strategies:
1. Educational campaign on Palestinian human rights
(a) As 1987 is the twentieth anniversary of Israeli occupation, we call for a campaign to end that occupation, leading to culminating events in June 1987;
(b) The campaign would include letter-writing, petition drives, photographs and biographies on individual cases, which would be "packaged" for North Americans;
(c) Unify organizations across North America to work in concert around specific cases, as approved by the North American Co-ordinating Committee;
(d) Highlight a specific municipality in the West Bank, such as Ramallah, which has not had elections in 10 years, and implement a campaign for democratic municipal elections;
(e) Develop a national North American network on Palestinian human rights violations linked to organizations in the occupied territories, which would set priorities for North American work (e.g. Law in the Service of Man (LSM) and Committee Confronting Iron Fist);
(f) Focus on the State Department's human rights report and critique in the media, through organizations, etc., and then lobby the State Department for improvements in its 1986 report;
(g) Organize activities in regions around International Human Rights Day, 10 December 1986, to draw media attention to the cases approved by NGOs (identify organizations to carry out this task on behalf of NGOs);
(h) Identify and link with progressive Israeli groups that share our basic commitment to Palestinian rights;
(i) Target Amnesty International, PEN, etc. and other human rights organizations to urge adoption of specific Palestinian human rights cases.
2. Cut in aid to Israel
(a) Identify potential congressional co-sponsors who could introduce a bill to cut United States aid to Israel by a specified amount (by 1988);
(b) Link the United States aid cut to Israel to the United States Arms Export Control Act (1977) and the Foreign Assistance Act;
(c) Identify an organization in Washington, D.C. to co-ordinate items (a) and (b);
(d) Survey congressional districts, identify the organizations, individuals, etc. that have influence in that district, in order to lay the ground work for local support of the resolution;
(e) Go to religious and peace groups on group-by-group strategy to facilitate their work on Palestinian rights. Focus on lessons learned from South African and Central American work and link them to ways in which the Rainbow Coalition can press the above agenda;
(f) Expose the duplicity of the United States supporting two standards of human rights, one for Israeli Jews and another for Palestinian Arabs;
(g) Defend cases of Palestinian academic freedom violations and support North American academicians who defend Palestinian rights;
(h) Critique both Israeli and United States violations of international law with regard to Palestinian rights;
(i) Note Israel's central role in United States foreign policy and Israel's global role in supporting repressive Governments that undermine human rights in other regions, such as South Africa and Central America.
B. Women: Builders of Peace Workshop
In the Women: Builders of Peace Workshop, the following strategies were set forth for implementation by those groups that wish to go beyond the formal objectives:
(a) Organize North American women's tour to the Middle East;
(b) Publicize specific cases (individual or general) such as family reunion, deportation and civil rights violations;
(c) Ensure that the National Conference on Palestinian Women 1987 addresses the Nairobi Women's Conference (1985);
(d) Promote a speaking tour with forward-looking strategies with the African National Congress of South Africa (ANC), members and Palestinians;
(e) Sensitize conferences of women's groups to the Palestinian issue;
(f) Encourage speaking tours of Israeli and Palestinian women to mainstream women's organizations;
(g ) Bring the Israeli peace movement to the attention of women's groups and encourage them to adopt resolutions in response-,
(h ) Relate to mainstream Jewish women's groups and Arab women's groups;
(i) Distribute material from the West Bank, e .g., newsletters from women's groups;
(j) Create a media and resource network on the subject of Palestinian women;
(k) Organize seminars for the media on Palestinian women, their culture and traditions-,
(1) Strengthen the network of groups in North America that are concerned with the Middle East issue;
(m) Find ways to network following this NCO symposium.
C. Peacemakers Workshop
1. Increase awareness of the legitimacy of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
(a) Draw attention to the peace proposals made by the PLO since 1974;
(b) Counter the trend to separate Palestinians from the PLO and to discredit the PLO;
(c) Organize a media committee of NGOs to promote awareness/acceptance of the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people;
2. Build a mass movement for North Americans by North Americans to deal with the Middle East peace issue, and bring peace
(a) Broaden constituencies and bring in new ones, with emphasis on racial minorities;
(b) Encourage groups to conduct internal education on the issues and establish yearly commitment among several groups to focus on peace movements and Middle East peace issues. Also, meet with directors of national organizations such as the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE), etc.;
(c ) Mobilize efforts to hold national conference,
(d) Organize a strong campaign to culminate on the twentieth anniversary of occupation,
(e) Establish/host a dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis;
(f) Highlight the Israeli role in "star wars";
(g) Increase awareness of and support for Israeli peace forces and the diversity of that movement.,
(h) Development information resources (e.g., a video library);
(i) Devise ways to protect the United Nations and to keep efforts of the United Nations in the public eye;
(j) Organize a hunger strike to accompany the deliberations in the United Nations during the General Assembly debate on the question of Palestine;
3. Pressure to change United States foreign policy
(a) Stop United States intervention and tie the Middle East to anti- intervention concerns (using the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya as a jumping-off point);
(b) Slogan: "Let's practice our principles".
MESSAGE FROM MR. YASSER ARAFAT, CHAIRMAN, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE,
PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION, TO THE SYMPOSIUM
1. On the occasion of the convening of the this symposium in the series of seminars and symposia organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, I have the pleasure to convey to you, in the name of the Palestinian Arab people, in the name of my brothers - members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) - and in my own name, warmest greetings and to wish you a successful symposium.
2. The Palestinian people "follows" the convening of these symposia with great interest as such symposia are extremely important in explaining the just cause of our people and the legitimacy of our struggle against the racist Zionist Israeli occupation. These symposia bring to the attention of world public opinion the hard and difficult developments and visitations afflicting our people under occupation, oppression and repression.
3. Our people have great respect for the United Nations, which embodies international legitimacy and at the same time undertakes all endeavours to establish peace based on justice, as peace and justice are the main foundations for the struggle of our people and both peace and justice are completely inseparable and indivisible.
4. I wish to express my great appreciation to all the brothers - panelists and researchers - who, through their participation and the studies they present, contribute not only in political and academic dimensions but as an effective, integral part in the struggle. Such contributions manifest their solidarity with the just cause of our people in confronting the despicable Israeli occupation.
5. You are convening your symposia at a very crucial time when the conspiracies against our people and our just cause are escalating and making it more bitter and more difficult.
6. The United States Administration persists in its rejection of international legitimacy and its refusal to abide by resolutions adopted by the United Nations. Such resolutions affirm the inalienable right of our people to return to their homes and property, the right to self-determination and the right to establish its independent State on its Palestinian national soil. At the same time, the United States Administration maintains its support to the continuance of Israeli occupation and also its support of Israel's expansionist and racist policies against the Palestinian people and the Arab nation. These Israeli policies are exactly identical with what is happening in southern Africa, where the racist Pretoria regime carries out its attacks against the peoples of South Africa and Namibia and its aggression against the African front-line States.
7. The United States Administration continues to provide Israel with all forms of political, diplomatic, military, economic, financial and technological support. Such support enables the Government in Tel Aviv to defy the will of the international community and to persist in its occupation of our lands and its serious and dangerous attempts against our people and our national identity, as well as attempts against our struggle within our occupied territory or outside it, through a series of measures and practices such as the confiscation and expropriation of land, the expulsion of inhabitants, the stealing of water resources and the establishment of colonial settlements. Such measures and practices are also carried out against our refugee camps in south Lebanon through artillery shelling and air-raids.
8. Lately, a new conspiracy has been surfacing. The Tel Aviv Government, supported by the United States, insists on imposing what is called "functional division" and the bogus civilian administration in an effort to cover up the cause of the people and in order to gain more time for the realization of trickery and deceit.
9. As you are holding this symposium, our people in Lebanon are subjected to a campaign aimed against our integrity as a people through organized attacks on the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut and south Lebanon. While Israel commits these crimes against the refugee camps in the South, "Amal gangs", supported by external parties, pursue their liquidation campaign against our refugee camps in Beirut. What is being currently carried out is the third campaign against Sabra, Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh. The first was executed by the Israelis and their allies, and the current massacres are being executed by "Amal gangs" and the external Powers that support them to commit crimes against the Palestinian refugee camps, as well as against the peaceful Lebanese in West Beirut.
10. At this point I would mention that when the Palestinian leadership departed from Beirut in 1982, the city was delivered to a multinational force composed of United States, French, Italian and British forces in addition to the United Nations observer group established by Security Council resolutions 508 (1982) and 509 (1982). The agreement provided that the refugee camps and the families of the Palestinian fighters would be protected and adequate guarantees would be secured for their safety, but these commitments have never been honoured. I feel it is my duty here to remind His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the above, particularly that the members of the observer group are still in Beirut and consequently it is their duty to carry out their mission in any way that the Secretary-General finds possible. Troops of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) are still in south Lebanon.
11. The PLO, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, implores you to expound the plight of our people and to help them confront and resist these annihilation campaigns. We further beseech you to prompt all the concerned parties to honour their commitments to protect our people and the refugee camps, or to enable the PLO to provide such protection as will secure the safety of our people and as will preserve the security, stability and independence of Lebanon, its territorial integrity and the unity of its people.
12. We are confident that the symposium you are organizing under the auspices of the United Nations is capable of carrying the voice of right, justice and humanity to all peace and justice loving peoples in the world.
LETTER DATED 11 JUNE 1986 FROM THE MODERATOR OF THE SYMPOSIUM TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
We, the delegates of non-governmental organizations participating in the United Nations North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine, being held at the United Nations Headquarters from 11 to 13 June 1986, condemn the continuing attacks on the Palestinian camps of Sabra, Shatila and Burj el-Barajneh in West Beirut. The escalating destruction in human lives and property is of grave concern to all of us. This assault can only be seen as a continuation of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila committed by the Israeli and Phalangist forces in 1982. The tragedy of the residents in these camps must come to an immediate end.
The divisions existing among the Lebanese people and between the Lebanese and Palestinian people will only be deepened by such attacks and will only further serve the goals of their common enemies.
The solution to the Palestinian question in Lebanon must be addressed as an integral part of a comprehensive peaceful solution to the Lebanese conflict.
We call for the immediate cessation of hostility against the Palestinian camps. We reaffirm our support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinians to live in peace and dignity in Lebanon, including their right to rebuild, administer, maintain and protect the residents within the camps.
We call upon the Secretary-General to convene an emergency meeting of the Security Council to implement the statement of 6 June 198 6 (S/18138) of the President of the Security Council concerning the assault on the camps, in order to secure an effective cease-fire and the lifting of the siege of the camps and to guarantee the free flow of relief and supplies to the inhabitants of the camps.
(Signed) Ethel BORN
Board of Global Ministries
United Methodist Church Moderator of the Symposium
TELEGRAM DATED 13 JUNE 1986 FROM THE PARTICIPANTS
IN THE SYMPOSIUM TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANIZATION
We, the delegates to the United Nations North American Regional NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine on "The inalienable rights of the Palestinian People," 11-13 June 1986, reaffirm our recognition of and support to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Our final declaration so states our commitment to "increasing public awareness of the legitimacy of the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, enjoying their full support, serving their needs and seeking peace with justice". a/
Further, we are resolute in our condemnation of the recent attacks and atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra, Shatila and Burj el-Barejneh. At the opening of our session, we registered an urgent appeal with the Secretary-General of the United Nations to use his good offices to do whatever is necessary to ensure the security of the people in these camps. b/
We will continue with our work on this immediate concern as part of our overall efforts to achieve justice for the Palestinian people and thereby bring peace to the peoples of the region.
a/ See paragraph 10 (a) of the present Bulletin. b/ See annex IV to the present Bulletin.
TELEGRAM DATED 13 JUNE 1986 FROM THE
PARTICIPANTS IN THE SYMPOSIUM TO THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As we participants at the United Nations North American Regional NOD Symposium on the Question of Palestine are considering the grave situation of the Palestinian people, including the deliberate destruction of persons and property in the refugee camps in West Beirut and in the occupied territories, we are stunned by and condemn the escalation of violence and repression by the South African regime against the people of South Africa, as well as by the Government of Israel and Amal militia against the Palestinian people. We urge the United States Government to join the international community in imposing comprehensive sanctions on the Pretoria regime to bring an end to the injustices of apartheid.
NORTH AMERICAN CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE
The 1986/1987 membership of the North American Co-ordinating Committee is the following-.
Kay Al-Askari (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee )
Alternate: Ann Leggett Gail Pressberg (American Friends Service Committee)
Alternate: Norma 'Dower
Mary Appelman (America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace)
Alternate Corinne Whitlatch
Ethel Born (Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church)
James Kafieh (Canadian Arab Federation)
Audrey Shabbas (NAJDA: Women Concerned About the Middle East)
Alternate: Gail Rathbun
Adrien Wing (National Conference of Black Lawyers)
James A. Graff (Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada (NECEF)
Ann Talamas (November 29th Committee for Palestine) Alternate: Rabab Hadi
Don Betz (Palestine Human Rights Campaign) Alternate Don Wagner
Margaret Orr Thomas (Presbyterian Church, USA)
Alternate : Aurelis T. Fule
Eugene Gus Newport (US Peace Council)
Alternate: Lewis M. Moroze
Chair - Ethel Born
Secretary - Adrien Wing Treasurer -
Mary Appelman Vice-Chair - James Kafieh
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS
America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
American Friends Service Committee
American Jewish Alternatives to Zionism
Americans for Middle East trader standing
Arab Palestine Association of Canada
Association of Arab-American University Graduates Canadian Arab Federation
Canada Arab World Parliamentary Group
Capital District Committee for Palestinian Rights Catholic Near East Welfare Association
Christian Peace Conference
Church of Humanism
Clergy and Laity Concerned
Committee for Academic Freedom in the Israeli Occupied Territories (CAFIOT) Federation of American-Arab Organizations
Inter national Association of Democratic Lawyer s International Jewish Peace Union
International Movement for Fraternal Unity Among Races and Peoples International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Middle East Fellowship of Southern California Middle East Research and Information Project Muslim World League
NAJDA: Women Concerned About the Middle East National Association of Arab Americans National Conference of Black Lawyers
National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA
Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada (NECEF)
November 29th Committee for Palestine
Palestine Aid Society
Palestine Human Rights Campaign
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Resource Center for Non-Violence
United Holy Land Fund
United Methodist Church - Board of Global Ministries US Peace Council
Women's Collective on the Middle East
Women's International Democratic Federation Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows World Muslim Congress
World Organization of Jews from Islamic Countries
World Peace Council
Baptist World Alliance
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Commission of the Churches on International
Affairs of the World Council of Churches
Institute for African Studies
New Jewish Agenda
Unitarian Universalist Association for Social Concern
Members and observers of the Committee on the Exercise
of the Inalienable- Rights of the Palestinian People
H.E. Mr. Massamba Sarre, (Senegal), head of delegation Mr. Wolfgang Busch (German Democratic Republic), member Ms. Savitri Kunadi (India), member
Mr. Thomason D. Lawson (Sierra Leone), member
Gus Newport, Mayor of Berkeley, California, United States of America Mona Rishmawi, Law in the Service of Man
Amnon Zichroni, Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Else M. Adjali, Executive to the United Nations, Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church
Deena Hurwitz, Resource Center for Non-Violence
Gail Pressberg, American Friends Service Committee
James Zogby, Chair, American-Arab Institute
States members of the United Nations represented by observers
Syrian Arab Republic
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
United Arab Emirates
League of Arab States
Organization of the Islamic Conference
National liberation movements
Palestine Liberation Organization