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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
Distr.
GENERAL
A/AC.183/SR.156
28 October 1988

ORIGINAL: ENGLISH

COMMITTEE ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 156th MEETING

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Thursday, 25 October 1988, at 3 p.m.


Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)



CONTENTS


Adoption of the agenda

Report on the European Regional NGO Symposium held at Geneva on 29 and 30 August 1988 and the International NGO Meeting held at Geneva from 31 August to 2 September 1988

Draft report of the Committee to the General Assembly at its forty-third session

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People - report of the Task Force established by the Committee

African Regional Seminar and NGO Symposium, Cairo, Egypt, 18 to 22 December 1988 - report by the Bureau

Other matters



This record is subject to correction.

Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Chief, Official Records Editing Section, Department of Conference Services, room DC2-0750, 2 United Nations Plaza.

Any corrections to the record of this meeting and of other meetings will be issued in a corrigendum.


The meeting was called to order at 3.30 p.m.


ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

1. The agenda was adopted.

2. The CHAIRMAN said that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories had continued to worsen since the last meeting of the Committee. The total number of Palestinians killed by gunfire had reached 258, and a further 126 had been killed by beatings, tear-gas and other means. Thousands of Palestinians had suffered serious injuries as a result of Israeli repressive measures; many had been detained without charge; and collective punishments had assumed unprecedented dimensions. The impact on Palestinian economic, social and family life was devastating. It was therefore essential that the Committee should intensify its efforts to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinians under occupation and to progress towards a comprehensive political settlement. Accordingly, the Chairman of the Committee had, since August 1988, written three times to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council, drawing their attention to recent developments and urging them to take all possible measures towards those two objectives.

REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN REGIONAL NGO SYMPOSIUM HELD AT GENEVA ON 29 AND 30 AUGUST 1988 AND THE INTERNATIONAL NGO MEETING HELD AT GENEVA FROM 31 AUGUST TO 2 SEPTEMBER 1988

3. The CHAIRMAN said that the agenda of the European Regional NGO Symposium and the International NGO Meeting had, given the new situation created by the Palestinian uprising and the Israeli authorities' policy of repression, focused on current developments and the need to convene, as a matter of urgency, the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C. An International Symposium on "Practical ways to support the Palestinian trade union movement" had also been convened on 28 August 1988, and its conclusions and recommendations had been included as an annex to the declaration adopted by the European Regional NGO Symposium.

4. The Committee's delegation had been pleased to note the high level of participation and the strong commitment of those attending the meetings, as well as the increased level of participation by groups from Israel and Jewish communities in Western Europe and North America. Participants had expressed deep concern over the serious situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, of which witnesses from those territories had provided dramatic accounts. As was clear from the declarations adopted, future activities should concentrate on endeavours to ensure protection of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the intensification of measures designed to permit the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights and to promote a peaceful settlement in accordance with United Nations resolutions.

5. The Committee's delegation had been pleased to note that several NGOs were providing assistance to Palestinians. NGOs could also play an important role by approaching Governments with a view to persuading Israel to respect the fourth Geneva Convention. Apart from their recommendations in connection with the two principal themes of the agenda, the meetings had adopted recommendations with respect to regional NGO symposiums, the next international NGO meeting and regional NGO liaison offices, as well as action-oriented proposals emanating from the workshops.

6. The positive results of such meetings showed that the efforts of the Committee to strengthen NGO activities on the question of Palestine had borne fruit. The uprising in the occupied territories had provided extra impetus to the mobilization of public opinion, and the Committee should continue to increase its co-operation with NGOs in the year to come.

7. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the International Symposium on "Practical ways to support the Palestinian trade union movement" represented the first concerted effort by NGOs to mobilize the labour movement in support of Palestinian trade unions. Such efforts were of great significance because they could serve as a catalyst for the creation of a more widespread and effective movement in support of the Palestinian people and its institutions. Trade union action could play a major role in devising means to provide protection to the Palestinian people under occupation, in promoting the autonomous development of the occupied territories and in bringing about a peaceful political settlement of the question of Palestine. The declaration distributed to the Committee contained a number of specific recommendations in that regard. It was the feeling of the Committee's delegation that such activities deserved the full support and encouragement of the Committee and should be further promoted in the future.

8. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee took note of the declarations adopted by the European Regional NGO Symposium held at Geneva on 29 and 30 August 1988 and the International NGO Meeting held at Geneva from 31 August to 2 September 1988.

9. It was so decided.

DRAFT REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS FORTY-THIRD SESSION (A/AC.183/1988/CRP.2/Rev.1)

10. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, introducing the Committee's draft report to the General Assembly (A/AC.183/1988/CRP.2/Rev.1), said that the text had been the object of thorough consideration by the Working Group and had been updated so as to reflect the latest developments. He briefly reviewed its contents and pointed out that chapter VI contained the draft recommendations of the Committee to the General Assembly. Those recommendations emphasized the new situation created by the uprising and the impetus thereby given to efforts to reach a peaceful settlement in accordance with United Nations resolutions. The Committee would call for urgent positive action by the Security Council on the original recommendations of the Committee and on the recommendations adopted by the International Conference on the Question of Palestine held at Geneva in 1983, and would again annex both sets of recommendations to the report. It would also call on the United Nations and the international community as a whole urgently to intensify their efforts to bring about the establishment by the Palestinian people of an independent Arab State in Palestine, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947. It would express its intention once again to make the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East the focal point of its work programme for the coming year. Until such time as the Palestinian people attained its inalienable rights, the Committee would affirm in the strongest terms the urgent need for effective measures to ensure the safety and protection of the Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territories.

11. The CHAIRMAN invited general comments on the draft report.

12. Mr. ZACHMANN (German Democratic Republic) said that the high esteem in which the work of the Committee was held by the people and Government of his country had been demonstrated when it hosted the European Regional Seminar on the Question of Palestine at Berlin in April 1988. His Government had adhered to the recommendations adopted at that Seminar through a policy of active solidarity with the struggling Palestinian people under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and was pleased to announce that a national journalist encounter on the question of Palestine, organized by the Department of Public Information, would be held at Berlin in January 1989.

13. The draft report before the Committee met with the full approval of his delegation. The uprising in the occupied Palestinian territories showed that the struggle for freedom of an entire people could not be crushed and that the Israeli occupation must be ended. In general, the consensus was that the problem could best be solved by the convening of the International Peace Conference, and it would therefore appear appropriate that the Security Council should establish a negotiating mechanism at the foreign-minister level, if necessary.

14. During talks at Berlin in September 1988, his country's Head of State and the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee had emphasized that lasting and just solutions to regional conflicts could be found, given political realism on the part of all parties involved. The International Peace Conference on the Middle East should be attended, on an equal footing, by the five permanent members of the Security Council and all other interested parties, including the PLO. It was essential for the success of the Conference that the interests of all sides involved in a political settlement be taken into account as necessary. In that spirit, his country would continue actively to participate in the work of the Committee, to the best of its ability.

15. The CHAIRMAN suggested that the Committee should consider the draft report chapter by chapter.

16. It was so decided.

17. Chapters I, II and III were adopted.

Chapter IV

18. Mr. VELAZCO SAN JOSE (Cuba) said that paragraph 28 might have more impact if an international measurement such as "hectare" was used instead of "dunum".

19. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that "hectare" might not mean much to the lay reader either. It would therefore be better to talk about the percentage of total land area confiscated by Israel. Part A.1 of chapter IV should also mention the joint statement issued by the Security Council on 26 August concerning the continued deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories (S/20156).

20. Mr. VELAZCO SAN JOSE (Cuba) suggested that the report should name the one country which had abstained in the Security Council votes referred to in paragraphs 56, 59 and 68.

21. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) suggested that the report should also name the United States as the "one member" referred to in the last sentence of paragraph 91.

22. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, pointed out that paragraph 91 dealt with the report of the Secretary-General (A/43/272-S/19719), which did not identify the member in question. As to the point raised by the representative of Cuba, the report should either specify the names of all the countries which voted or give no names at all. There was in any event little purpose in naming the country, since everyone knew which it was.

23. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that it would be more accurate if the last sentence of paragraph 93 referred to "that member of the Security Council" instead of "those members".

24. Mr. RAKOTOZAFY (Madagascar) said that the present wording was acceptable because the sentence referred to "those members of the Security Council and others".

25. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the words "and others" referred to Israel and perhaps other countries but only one member of the Security Council had not shown willingness to co-operate.

26. Mr. CRICHLOW (Guyana) said that the sentence was merely a repetition and could be deleted.

27. Mr. ABOU-HADID (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) suggested that the first sentence of paragraph 93 should specify which "countries in the area" had suffered violations of their sovereignty and territorial integrity. The uprising had after all started in the Golan Heights. A suitable wording would be "other sovereign Arab countries in the area".

28. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said that the uprising in its present form was exclusively a manifestation of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. If the Committee was not to involve itself in a long debate, the present wording should be retained.

29. Mr. HAMMAD (Observer for the United Arab Emirates) pointed out that, as other, non-Arab countries might also be involved, it would be better to leave the sentence unchanged.

30. The CHAIRMAN suggested that paragraph 93 should remain unchanged, except that the term "those members" in the last sentence should be replaced by "that member".

31. It was so decided.

32. Mr. WAHYONO (Indonesia) said that General Assembly resolution 42/209 A also dealt with the International Peace Conference on the Middle East and might have been mentioned in paragraph 87. He was willing to accept the omission as the resolution was not concerned specifically with action taken by the Committee.

33. Chapter IV, as amended, was adopted.

Chapter V

34. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information), referring to paragraph 139, said that owing to a journalists' strike a national encounter had not been held in Rome. The last sentence of the paragraph should therefore read "... between 16 and 25 May in Madrid, Brussels and Stockholm.".

35. Chapter V, as amended, was adopted.

Chapter VI

36. Mr. ABOU-HADID (Observer for the Syrian Arab Republic) asked why new language had been used in paragraphs 143 and 144 to refer to the right of the Palestinian people to establish a State on Palestinian territory. It would be better to use the customary language and refer to "the right of the Palestinian people to establish its own independent sovereign State on Palestinian territory".

37. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) pointed out that the language of paragraph 144 was qualified by the phrase "as envisaged in General Assembly resolution 181 (II)". However, the wording suggested by the observer for the Syrian Arab Republic could certainly be used in paragraph 143.

38. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), Rapporteur, suggested that the wording proposed by the observer for the Syrian Arab Republic should be used in paragraph 143 and that paragraph 144 should remain unchanged.

39. It was so decided.

40. Chapter VI, as amended, was adopted.

41. The draft report, as amended, was adopted.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE - REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ESTABLISHED BY THE COMMITTEE

42. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), speaking as the Chairman of the Task Force on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, said that the Task Force had met twice to discuss various aspects of the commemoration of the International Day. It recommended that the commemoration in 1988 should focus on the first anniversary of the uprising in its historical perspective, as the latest stage in the Palestinian struggle to achieve implementation of General Assembly resolution 181 (II). The commemoration should be concentrated in one meeting, addressed by an abbreviated list of speakers which might, to underscore the importance of the occasion, include an eminent person or persons. Instead of reading out messages from Heads of State or Government at the meeting, the Chairman should list the messages received, and they would later be published in extenso in a special bulletin prepared by the Division for Palestinian Rights. In addition to the regular screening of films in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium, the Task Force suggested that a film entitled Intifada: The Road to Freedom, previewed by the Committee delegation in Geneva, and another brief film made by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) should be shown during the afternoon meeting of the Committee. A brochure on the meaning of the commemoration should be issued by the Department of Public Information, using appropriate photographic material.

43. Mr. EL-SAID (Department of Public Information) confirmed that the brochure referred to by the Chairman of the Task Force was in the final stages of preparation and would be issued as part of a press kit to the media and to those attending the commemorative meeting.

44. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said he was glad a full programme had been arranged for the observance of the International Day. He wondered what figures would sit on the podium at the commemorative meeting.

45. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta), speaking as the Chairman of the Task Force, said it had been agreed within the Bureau that, since the International Day was a special occasion for the Palestinian people, and since a commemorative meeting was not of the same status as a normal one, it would be appropriate for the most senior representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to be seated on the podium at the meeting.

46. Replying to a question from the representative of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, he said that the Task Force would look into the question whether speakers at the meeting should make their statements from their places or from a specially erected podium, and would make a recommendation to the Bureau on the most effective arrangement.

47. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee agreed to the recommendations of the Task Force.

48. It was so decided.

AFRICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR AND NGO SYMPOSIUM, CAIRO, EGYPT, 18 TO 22 DECEMBER 1988 - REPORT BY THE BUREAU

49. The CHAIRMAN said that the Bureau had drawn up a programme for the African Regional Seminar and NGO Symposium planned for Cairo, Egypt, from 18 to 22 December 1988, and details were presented in working paper No. 9. She drew attention to the request in that paper for a decision by the Committee on whether the African liberation movements should be asked to nominate experts to present papers.

50. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) said he was glad that the South West Africa People's Organization, the African National Congress of South Africa and the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania were to be invited to nominate experts to serve on Panel 3. It was 15 years since the General Assembly had drawn a link between the struggles of the peoples of Namibia, Palestine, Southern Rhodesia and South Africa. Another NGO workshop was to be held precisely in order to discuss the relationship between the Palestinian uprising and the struggle of the peoples of Namibia and South Africa. It would be only appropriate, therefore, for representatives of the African liberation movements to be invited to put forward experts for the panel.

51. The CHAIRMAN said that, if she heard no objection, she would take it that the Committee wished to adopt the recommendations contained in working paper No. 9.

52. It was so decided.

OTHER MATTERS

53. The CHAIRMAN said that, after reviewing recent experience with applications from new NGOs to participate in symposia and meetings sponsored by the Committee, the Bureau had concluded that, in order to facilitate the review process, such applications should be drawn to the attention of existing NGO co-ordinating committees with a request for information and comments. That procedure had been followed in respect of the organizations listed in working paper No. 8/Rev.1, with the exception of the African NGOs, which, since there was as yet no co-ordinating committee in the African region, the Bureau felt should be admitted on the basis of the information they had provided in order to ensure their presence at the African Symposium.

54. She took it that the Committee approved working paper No. 8/Rev.1 and authorized the Secretariat to proceed accordingly.

55. It was so decided.

56. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization) drew attention to an entry in a recent Daily Bulletin of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which spoke of the Chairman of a United Nations committee sharply attacking Israeli policies against Arab and Palestinian rioters on the West Bank. The Chairman was to be congratulated on having managed to prick the conscience of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

57. The reports provided by the Secretariat from the Data Base Project on Palestinian Human Rights were extremely helpful; he hoped that they would often be forthcoming.

58. Efforts were being made to arrange for the General Assembly to hold a plenary meeting on the subject of the uprising. If such a meeting were to be held, the Chairman of the Committee might perhaps make a statement there.

59. There had been a specific request from NGOs (A/AC.183/1988/CRP.2/Rev.1, para. 112) that the Secretary-General should set up a special commission to investigate specific violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people. When a resolution on the question of Palestine was drafted, he hoped that point would not be overlooked. Violations affecting schools and children in particular might be considered. The Secretariat should also keep that point in mind as the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Child approached. Having attracted the attention and sympathy of NGOs, the Committee must not turn its back on them.

60. He had not been able to produce any draft text for the Committee to consider pending the forthcoming meeting of the Palestine National Council in Algiers. However, the General Assembly would not take up the question of Palestine until 1 or 2 December and would not vote on any resolution until 6 December. The Committee would thus still have time to finalize a text for its consideration.
The meeting rose at 5.30 p.m.




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