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About the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
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        General Assembly
23 March 1992

Held at Headquarters, New York,
on Wednesday, 18 March 1992, at 3 p.m.

Chairman: Mr. CISSE (Senegal)


Statement by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs

Adoption of the agenda

Draft programme of work for 1992

Report on the United Nations Asian Seminar and NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine held in Nicosia from 20 to 24 January 1992

Report on the preparatory meeting for the North American NGO Symposium on the Question of Palestine held in New York on 3 and 4 February 1992

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 DC2-750, 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 3.20 p.m.


1. Mr. JONAH (Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs), noting that in
his new capacity he was responsible, inter alia, for matters relating to the
situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine, said that the
United Nations had entered a period in which it would be increasingly able to
act with the effectiveness envisaged by its founders. The end of the cold
war, the growing trend towards democratization and self-determination of
peoples, and the recognition that some problems were of a global scope, had
made cooperation among United Nations Members more necessary and possible than
ever before.

2. Since its inception, the Committee had sought to mobilize the United
Nations system to promote the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and
had, with the support of the Division for Palestinian Rights, successfully
placed the question on the international agenda. The problem remained,
however, one of the most enduring and difficult issues with which the
international community had to contend. The peace process initiated in Madrid
presented a historic opportunity to facilitate a comprehensive and peaceful
settlement. The Committee could count on his full support in its future


3. The agenda was adopted.

DRAFT PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR 1992 (A/AC.183/1992/CRP.1/Rev.1)

4. Mr. CAMILLERI (Malta), Rapporteur, introducing the Committee's draft
programme of work for 1992 (A/AC.183/1992/CRP.1/Rev.1), said that section I of
the document was procedural, summarizing the relevant resolutions adopted at
the previous session of the General Assembly. Section II recommended as
priority issues for 1992 the human rights violations in the occupied territory
and the need for international protection of the Palestinians living there;
the adverse impact of Israeli settlements on Palestinian rights and the
achievement of peace; the deteriorating economic situation of the Palestinian
people and the need for international development assistance in the occupied
Palestinian territory; and the promotion of peace and the convening of an
International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the
United Nations.

5. Section III dealt with activities of the Committee and the Division for
Palestinian Rights. It was recommended in section III.A that the Committee
should, while continuing its past activities, develop its role further, by
holding consultations with interested Member States and following up on
political developments and on the situation in the occupied territory through
ongoing contacts throughout the United Nations system. It was also
recommended that the Committee should organize in-depth, single-theme meetings
on each priority issue, attracting high-level participation that could be
funded from the regular budget. In sections III.B and C, details were given
of the regional seminars and NGO symposia sponsored by the Committee and of
the 1992 NGO international meeting. With regard to the North American NGO
Symposium (para. 16), he informed the Committee that the response to inquiries
as to whether it could be held in Washington had not been positive and that it
would therefore be held in New York. Section III.D of the draft programme of
work concerned studies and publications undertaken or planned by the Division
for Palestinian Rights. Section III.E urged the establishment of the
computer-based information system as soon as possible. Lastly, section III.F
proposed the same programme for the International Day of Solidarity with the
Palestinian People as in 1991.

6. Since the draft programme of work had been the object of considerable
consultations, he hoped that the Committee could proceed to adopt it.

7. Mr. JAIN (India) said that paragraph 16 of the draft programme of work
needed revision because it referred to the possibility that the North American
NGO Symposium might be held in Washington. He proposed that the revised text
should, however, refer to the fact that such a possibility had been explored.

8. Mr. BUDAI (Hungary), referring to paragraph 7 of the draft programme of
work, said that his delegation fully agreed with its thrust, including the
reference to an international consensus on the essential principles for a
solution to the question of Palestine. However, Hungary did not agree that,
as stated in the last sentence, that consensus had been reaffirmed most
recently in General Assembly resolution 46/75. The resolution in question had
not been adopted unanimously but with many abstentions, including that of
Hungary. He therefore proposed amending the final sentence, replacing the
words "that consensus was" by the words "those essential principles were".

9. Mrs. KHOURY (Observer for Palestine) and Mr. ALARCON de QUESADA (Cuba)
said that they would not object to such an amendment.

10. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that
the Committee wished to adopt the draft programme of work in document
A/AC.183/1992/CRP.1/Rev.1, as amended and on the understanding that it would
be revised as proposed.

11. It was so decided.


12. The CHAIRMAN said that the United Nations Asian Seminar and NGO Symposium
on the Question of Palestine, held at Nicosia from 20 to 24 January 1992, had
been attended by representatives of 22 countries, over 40 representatives of
non-governmental organizations and 42 media representatives. A total of seven
meetings had been held, and 20 eminent experts from Asia and the United
States, as well as Palestinians and Israelis, had presented papers at three
round tables on the following three topics: "A just settlement of the
question of Palestine", "Safety and protection of the Palestinian people in
the occupied Palestinian territory" and "International and regional issues".
Three workshops had been organized for the non-governmental organizations on
the general theme of "Developing solidarity activities by Israeli and other
organizations with Palestinian women, physicians, health workers and students".

13. The report on the Seminar and NGO Symposium would be issued as a
publication of the Division for Palestinian Rights. In addition, the
conclusions and recommendations and the NGO Declaration would be annexed to
the report of the Committee to the General Assembly at its forty-seventh

14. The deliberations of the Seminar and NGO Symposium had been marked by a
sense of urgency and determination to work together to develop concrete ideas
for the future. The discussions had been substantive and productive and had
covered a wide range of topics, thereby contributing to a better understanding
of the positions of the parties to the conflict and helping to identify
important issues for further discussions.

15. The participants had welcomed the convening of the Peace Conference on
the Middle East in Madrid on 30 October 1991 and the subsequent bilateral
talks between the parties in Washington, and expressed their earnest hope that
the talks would lead to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the
region. They had noted that that process had the support of the parties
concerned and that it was based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and
338 (1973), which had long been recognized as the cornerstone of a
comprehensive settlement. They had stressed the need for an active role by
the United Nations, the Secretary-General and the Security Council in
achieving a successful outcome of the peace process.

16. The participants had expressed grave concern at the continuing settlement
activity and confiscation of land in the occupied Palestinian territory,
including Jerusalem, which had come to pose an existential threat to the
Palestinian community never experienced by previous generations. They had
stressed the illegal nature of the settlements and the need for an immediate
halt to settlement activity. They had also condemned the settlement of
immigrants and Israeli citizens in the occupied Palestinian territory,
including Jerusalem, and urged the Security Council and other relevant
international bodies to take appropriate measures to address that serious

17. The participants had recognized that the intifadah was the expression of
the national will of the Palestinian people and of its determination to remain
on its land and to attain its inalienable national rights. They had
reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to choose their own leadership,
the Palestine Liberation Organization, and voiced deep concern that, in its
efforts to repress the intifadah, Israel continued to violate the fundamental
rights of Palestinians, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and of
generally recognized norms of international law, as well as numerous United
Nations resolutions.

18. In their final Declaration, the non-governmental organizations had noted
with utmost concern Israel's continuous systematic policy of violating the
rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories.
They deplored and denounced the continuation of the Israeli occupation of all
Palestinian and Arab territories, including East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights
and southern Lebanon, and Israel's brutal measures against the Palestinians,
including the current policy designed to dismember the West Bank by
restricting movement of Palestinian individuals and goods through Jerusalem.
They had condemned the conditions under which Palestinian prisoners were held
in the administrative detention camps and the use of torture during the
interrogation of prisoners, including women and children. They had also
condemned the Israeli Government's policy of systematic expulsion of
Palestinians from their national homeland as a clear violation of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, and affirmed Security Council resolution 726 (1992), which
strongly condemned the decision of Israel to resume deportations of
Palestinian civilians.


19. Mr. ALARCON de QUESADA (Cuba), Vice-Chairman, said that the preparatory
meeting for the Ninth United Nations North American Regional NGO Symposium on
the Question of Palestine had been attended by all 12 member organizations of
the North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of
Palestine (NACC).

20. In consultation with the officers of the Committee, NACC had produced a
provisional programme for the Symposium, which was contained in working paper
No. 1, which he wished to recommend to the Committee for approval. The
proposed programme sought to address the impact of the continuing occupation
of the Palestinian territory by Israel, the question of the protection of the
Palestinian people, the creation of a Palestinian State, and the development
of effective strategies by concerned non-governmental organizations. The
proposed theme of the Symposium was "Peace is the fruit of justice, 25 years
of occupation - overcoming the obstacles, preparing the way for Palestine".
The Committee was being requested to approve the names of the panelists and
resource persons put forward now, on the understanding that, where necessary,
additional names would be proposed at a later stage. The Division for
Palestinian Rights would ascertain the availability of all the suggested
panelists and resource persons. In making their decision on the invitations,
the officers of the Committee would take into account the fact that financial
provision had been made for six invitees travelling at United Nations expense.

21. As in previous years, the Symposium would be held in New York, in view of
the refusal of the United States Government to grant the necessary
authorization for it to be held in Washington.

22. In 1992, NACC intended to continue producing its newly professionalized,
bi-monthly newsletter "Connections" and to widen distribution to concerned
non-governmental organizations. It would also broaden its "Fax Tree" urgent
action network by widening the dissemination of information through
participation in various computer bulletin board networks currently available
in North America. It would continue to keep the entire international NGO
community informed with timely and insightful analyses of the peace process
through the "Peace Conference information project". Despite the general
financial crisis in the region and elsewhere, it would also seek to stabilize
the work of its office as an NGO information and resource centre.

23. At the preparatory meeting, the representative of Palestine had said that
the Palestine Liberation Organization had welcomed the peace process and had
agreed to Palestinian participation in the process. He had remarked that, in
the view of the delegation of Palestine, the approval of the $10 billion loan
guarantee without a tie to a halt in the settlement activities in the occupied
territories would be a clear indication that the United States was not serious
about progress towards a settlement of the Middle East question. Continuing,
the representative of Palestine had said that the United Nations was the
source of international legitimacy and that its resolutions, particularly
those of the Security Council, were legally binding. The rights that had been
achieved within the Organization had to be maintained and nothing achieved
outside that framework should be used as a substitute. Furthermore, he had
questioned the idea held by some that the question of Israeli-Palestinian
dialogue was the Committee's central task; the Committee's mandate was, in
fact, to work towards the realization and the exercise of the inalienable
rights of the Palestinian people.

24. The CHAIRMAN said that, if he heard no objection, he would take it that
the Committee wished to adopt working paper No. 1.

25. It was so decided.


26. The CHAIRMAN said that the preparatory meeting for the International NGO
Meeting and the European NGO Symposium would be held in Geneva from 30 to
31 March 1992. The delegation of the Committee would comprise himself, as
head of delegation, the Rapporteur of the Committee and the Permanent Observer
for Palestine.

The meeting rose at 4.30 p.m.

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