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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
6 December 1988




Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Monday, 21 November 1988, at 10.30 a.m.

Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)


Adoption of the agenda

Report of the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization on the nineteenth extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council on the Intifadah, Algiers, 12-15 November 1988

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 DC2-750, 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 10.50 a.m.


1. The agenda was adopted.


2. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), reporting on the nineteenth extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council, said that the Palestine National Council was deeply grateful to the Committee, which had done much to further the cause of the Palestinian people. Perhaps the media had not fully portrayed the extent to which every National Council member at the extraordinary session had focused on the future of the Palestinian people and on ways of achieving peace in the Middle East. The many concessions made in the closed meetings held from 12 to 15 November were investments in peace, and in ending the misery and suffering of the Palestinians and their brutalization by the occupying Power.

3. The Political Communiqué contained in document A/43/827 (annex II) reflected the realism, if not the pragmatism, of the National Council. Its members had not dealt in slogans; they had dealt with the fate of the Palestinian people and the search for peace. Peace carried a price - a price which was easily discernible from the document in question.

4. The guidelines for peace adopted at the 1983 International Conference on the Question of Palestine and endorsed by the General Assembly were also realistic. However, they had been used as a pretext to create obstacles by those who were opposed to peace. The Algiers Political Communiqué made it very clear that the PLO had rejected Security Council resolution 242 (1967) as the exclusive basis for a comprehensive peace. The Communiqué therefore stipulated Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) as the basis for ensuring the withdrawal of Israel and the attainment of the national rights of the Palestinians, beginning with the right to self-determination. Where, earlier, there had been some uncertainty as to whether resolution 242 (1967) dealt with any aspect of the Palestinian question, the situation had now changed. Although, in 1978, the United States had publicly stated in the General Assembly that resolution 242 (1967) did not address the political dimension of the Palestinian problem, the United States had not been part
of any attempt to rectify the situation. As early as 1978, and by consensus in 1980, the Security Council had referred to the territory occupied in 1967 as Palestinian. The view that the territory was Palestinian had now become unanimous. Consequently, the PLO, as the representative of the Palestinian people, had assumed responsibility for exercising sovereignty over the occupied territories as one of the territories from which Israel must withdraw.

5. The PLO would refuse to take part in any conference on the Middle East not held under United Nations auspices, or held without the participation of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Obviously, the parties to the conflict - the PLO, representing the Palestinian people, who were the victims, on the one hand, and Israel, the aggressor, on the other - must be present or the conference would be meaningless. The PLO had been authorized by the National Council, its legislative body, to encourage efforts to convene a conference and hoped that the Committee would urge the General Assembly's support.

6. The proclamation of a Palestinian State derived from General Assembly resolution 181 (II), the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In proclaiming statehood, the National Council had also adopted a decision to establish a provisional government until such time as the Palestinian people could actually exercise sovereignty. The Executive Committee and the Central Council of the PLO would function as the interim government.

7. Another condition employed as an obstacle was the denunciation of terrorism. The fact was that the terrorist acts committed were, in a sense, directed against the aspirations of the Palestinian people, for they had been committed against the PLO and the peace effort. In its declaration, the National Council stressed its commitment to General Assembly resolution 40/61, adopted unanimously, condemning acts of terrorism but reaffirming the legitimate right to resist foreign occupation. As long as Palestinian territory remained under occupation, acts of resistance could not be considered acts of terrorism. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee was scheduled to address the General Assembly on 1 December. It was hoped that the host country of the United Nations would not unnecessarily delay the issuance of his entry visa.

8. Mr. ZACHMANN (German Democratic Republic) said that the report on the extraordinary session provided a strong incentive for taking practical steps towards a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East conflict, at the heart of which was the question of Palestine. As already stated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the German Democratic Republic, an awareness of existing realities was urgently required by all sides. The decision taken at the extraordinary session confirmed the Palestinian people's ardent desire for peace, and the proclamation of an independent Palestinian State was generally in agreement with General Assembly resolution 181 (II), which provided for the establishment of two States - a Jewish State and an Arab State.

9. The German Democratic Republic recognized the independent State of Palestine. His country had always advocated guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to establish an independent State. The recent declaration by the National Council was in harmony with the position of the German Democratic Republic that the existence of all States in the region must be recognized. It was urgently necessary to eliminate the causes of the protracted conflict in the Middle East. The German Democratic Republic supported the convening of an International Peace Conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices and could assure the PLO of its unqualified support for the just struggle of its people.

10. Mr. RATH (India) said that India's recognition of the State of Palestine was in keeping with its long-standing commitment to the Palestinians' right to self-determination. That recognition had recently been reaffirmed in the Indian Parliament, and by the country's President, including in a joint communiqué with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on his recent visit. Perhaps the Observer for the PLO could give some indication of what would take place at the United Nations in the coming weeks in the light of the National Council's recent declaration.

11. Mr. OUDOVENKO (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that the National Council's decision demonstrated realism and a sense of responsibility. Together with other decisions, it constituted a major contribution to the process of bringing peace to the Middle East. All parties directly involved in the conflict had come to realize the necessity of negotiations on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). It was significant that the highest governing body of the Palestinian people had proclaimed its commitment to the generally recognized principles of international relations.

12. The Ukrainian SSR had always supported the Palestinian people and their aspirations to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to found an independent State. His delegation, which believed firmly in freedom of choice, welcomed the proclamation of a Palestinian State. All interested States should make every effort to expedite preparations for an International Peace Conference on the Middle East. In that connection, the United Nations and the Security Council would have a particularly important role to play. All Member States must seize the opportunity to work towards securing a homeland for the Palestinians, for that would bring true security to Israel and eliminate a source of tension in the international community.

13. Mr. AYUB (Pakistan) said that the President of Pakistan had already congratulated the new Palestinian State on the glorious milestone which had been reached in the Palestinian people's march towards its goals. Pakistan had always supported the just cause of that people and would continue to do so.

14. Mr. DOST (Afghanistan) extended warm greetings from the people of Afghanistan to the Palestinian people and to the PLO and its Chairman on the occasion of their proclamation of a Palestinian State. The people of Algeria and their leader were to be commended for having hosted the meeting of the Palestine National Council. The Council's decision demonstrated that the Palestinian people had finally, after 70 years of struggle and sacrifice, exercised its right to self-determination. The intifadah, acknowledged throughout the world as a popular revolution, had clearly been instrumental in that decision.

15. The affirmation by the PLO of its determination to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the rules of international law, was highly commendable and rendered the convening of an international conference on the Middle East, under United Nations auspices and with the participation of the PLO, more necessary than ever before. The fact that the PLO had agreed that such a conference should be held on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and that it had rejected all forms of terrorism demonstrated that Organization's political will. Afghanistan was proud to be one of the first countries to have recognized the Palestinian State and pledged its continued solidarity with that State in the future.

16. Mr. BORG OLIVIER (Malta) noted that his country had consistently been an active champion of the Palestinian cause, having expressed its support in many international forums. He welcomed the recent declarations from Algiers and read out a statement issued by the Maltese Government reaffirming its recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people.

17. His delegation wholeheartedly supported the action taken by the PLO at Algiers: not only did it constitute a courageous step, but it paved the way for the holding of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, having addressed the obstacle to that event. The international community should resist any efforts to characterize the action that had been taken as inadequate. Finally, he endorsed the PLO's decisions to settle the question of Palestine on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and its rejection of terrorism.

18. Mr. WANG Xuexian (Observer for China) said that the establishment of a Palestinian State constituted a historic decision by the Palestinian people. The Chinese Government fully respected that decision and had consequently recognized Palestine as a State. That decision would make an important and far-reaching contribution to the efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East. He warmly congratulated the PLO and the Palestinian people for having begun a new chapter in the history of the Middle East and urged the international community to take advantage of the current situation by pressing for the prompt convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.

19. Mr. TARMIDZI (Indonesia) said that his country had always supported the struggle of the Palestinian people under the leadership of the PLO and would continue to do so. The Indonesian people thus shared the joy of the Palestinian people. Indonesia had recognized the Palestinian State, in keeping with its consistent support for the Palestinian people's struggle to exercise its rights.

20. Mr. TERZI (Observer, Palestine Liberation Organization), replying to the question raised by the representative of India, said that the PLO would first focus on questions pertaining to the establishment of the State of Palestine. He urged the General Assembly to take note of the proclamation of that State, to recognize it and to accord the PLO, in its new capacity, facilities and rights similar to those it had acquired since 1974. Currently, Palestine was not entertaining thoughts of applying for membership in the United Nations, as the PLO was well aware of the obstacles to such a step. The PLO should, however, be invited to represent the State of Palestine as well as the Palestinian people. One of the most important tasks facing the PLO would be the establishment of a government, which was a prerequisite for a State. The Central Council of the PLO would serve as the provisional government until such time as the Palestinian people exercised its sovereignty in its homeland.

21. The other area in which efforts by the PLO were to be concentrated was the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under United Nations auspices and the implementation of the provisions of General Assembly resolution 181 (II) regarding the creation of an independent Arab State in Palestine.

22. The CHAIRMAN said it was obvious that the situation in Palestine had reached a turning point and that the United Nations and the international community as a whole must act promptly to ensure the safety of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories and step up efforts to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question in accordance with United Nations resolutions. For its part, the Committee would continue to work untiringly to mobilize international public opinion and encourage all the parties concerned in their search for a solution.

23. Mr. MIRZA (Division for Palestinian Rights) drew attention to an informal monitoring report on the proclamation of an independent Palestinian State (MR/88/18) which had been circulated in the Committee for information. Like other, similar reports, it had been prepared on the basis of press reports and was subject to amendments, additions and corrections. Such reports were not official documents.

24. Mr. RATH (India) noted that the monitoring report made no mention of India's recognition of the Palestinian State.

25. Mr. PAIC (Yugoslavia) likewise noted that his country's recognition of
the State of Palestine had not been reflected in the monitoring report.

The meeting rose at 11.50 a.m.

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