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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/PV.158
20 December 1988

ENGLISH

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

VERBATIM RECORD OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-EIGHTH MEETING

Held at United Nations Headquarters, New York,
on Tuesday, 29 November 1988, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mrs. DIALLO (Senegal)



INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE


The meeting was called to order at 10.35 a.m.

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): Today the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is holding a solemn meeting to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in keeping with General Assembly resolution 32/40 B of 2 December 1977.

It is my pleasure and honour to welcome His Excellency Mr. Dante Caputo, President of the General Assembly at its forty-third session; His Excellency Mr. Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General, representing the United Nations Secretary-General; His Excellency Mr. Giovanni Migliuolo, President of the Security Council; His Excellency Mr. Daya Perera, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, and His Excellency Mr. Farouk Kaddoumi, Chief of the Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). I should also like to welcome representatives of Member States, intergovernmental organizations and liberation movements and the representatives of non-governmental organizations, members of the press and everyone present here this morning.

I would now invite you to rise and observe a minute of silence in memory of all those who have given their lives for the cause of the Palestinian people.

The participants observed a minute of silence.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): Before we begin our work, I should like, on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, to express our deep concern at the decision of the host country to reject the application for a visa submitted by Yasser Arafat, President of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, to come to New York to attend the General Assembly and speak during the debate on the question of Palestine.

Our Committee is firmly convinced that that decision is incompatible with the obligations incumbent upon the host country under the Agreement between the United Nations and the United States of America regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations. Such a decision, in effect, denies the Palestine Liberation Organization the right to participate at the highest level in the meetings and work of the General Assembly, through a designated representative, in keeping with the relevant General Assembly resolutions.

This will have a negative effect on current efforts to work constructively on a negotiated settlement of the question of Palestine and, thus, on the cause of peace in the region. In its declaration of 15 November 1988, the Palestine National Council affirmed the necessity of holding an effective international conference on the Middle East question and its core element, the question of Palestine, on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and with a guarantee of the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, first and foremost its right of self-determination.

Therefore, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People joins with all those who have already demanded that the host country reconsider its decision and permit the General Assembly to proceed with its debate on the question of Palestine in conformity with resolutions on the subject.

I shall now make a statement on behalf of the Committee.

In 1978 the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People commemorated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People for the first time. We wished to highlight the importance the international community attaches to the question of Palestine and at the same time to obtain greater support by the international community for the Committee's recommendations.

The presence here today of so many eminent individuals, after so many years, to commemorate the same event bears witness - if there were any need for this - to the timeliness and seriousness of the problem and to the broad international consensus that has emerged in favour of the total and complete emancipation of the Palestinian people.

During the past 10 years the Committee has noted the growing importance attached to General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947, by which the General Assembly adopted the partition plan for Palestine, recognizing the right of both the Arab and the Jewish peoples to create a State of their own in the territory of Palestine. We have also noted the predicament of the international community resulting from the partial implementation of that resolution and the resultant acts of dispossession, war and suffering.

More than 1 million Palestinians became refugees in 1948. The situation deteriorated in 1967 after the military occupation of what remained of historic Palestine. Today there are nearly 3 million Palestinians in exile, condemned to a life of dispersion and wandering. There are more than 1.5 million in the occupied territories who are now enduring blind repression by the occupying authorities.

This lack of self-determination weighs heavily on the conscience of the international community, which despite its efforts has not been able to carry out its responsibility to guarantee the exercise by the Palestinian people of its inalienable rights or to ensure a just and lasting peace in the region.

The General Assembly and many Governments and non-governmental organizations have repeatedly condemned Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territories. For its part, the Security Council has expressed its concern in numerous resolutions and has called upon the occupying Power, Israel, to comply with the fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949.

But to date Israel has persisted in its intransigence, attempting to bring the Palestinian people to heel by turning its policy of occupation, hegemony and domination into a system of government.

That explains the December 1987 uprising by the Palestinian population of the occupied territories. The intifadah is an internal challenge to an unjust order, an unqualified rejection of an anachronistic policy of domination of one people by another. It unquestionably marks a turning-point, and its historic importance is certain. Day after day, children armed with stones are defying the occupying Power's armed forces. Despite the brutality of the repression and the numerous victims of the weaponry, the tear gas and the beatings, and despite the economic suffocation of the territories, the intifadah continues.

With the intifadah popular institutions have been created to co-ordinate daily life in a society that has shown an extraordinary common determination to struggle to end the occupation and recover its usurped rights.

The decision of the King of Jordan to carry out legal and administrative withdrawal from the West Bank, and the subsequent decision of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization to assume full responsibility for the territories, have accelerated the process which led to the decision taken at Algiers by the 19th extraordinary session of the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988 to proclaim the creation of an independent Palestinian State, whose legal foundations were laid by the United Nations 41 years ago.

This Committee, over which I have the honour to preside on behalf of Senegal, the United Nations and the entire international community must lend their unanimous support to this act of emancipation of the Palestinian people. We believe that for its part the Security Council, now more than ever before, has the duty to ensure the withdrawal of Israel from the occupied territories and to take positive steps towards the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East.

We call on the Secretary-General to continue to exert his best efforts for the holding of active consultations on this matter within the framework of the Security Council. We are convinced that such a conference remains the most appropriate and widely accepted proposal for the achievement of a peaceful, just and lasting settlement of the situation in the Middle East, the central element of which remains the question of Palestine. That is why the Committee has again decided to make this the neurocentre of its work for the coming year.

In the meantime, it is important to take effective measures to guarantee the protection and safety of the Palestinian populations of the occupied territories. The international community in general and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular have the duty and the responsibility to ensure respect for that Convention by Israel, the occupying Power.

The Committee requests the Security Council, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and the international community as a whole to do all in their power to increase their assistance to the Palestinian people, to encourage autonomous economic and social development in the occupied Palestinian territories in close co-operation with the Palestine Liberation Organization, to make Israel comply with Security Council resolutions 605 (1987), 607 (1988) and 608 (1988), and to respond positively to the recommendations of the Secretary-General contained in his report (S/19443) submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 605 (1987), the essence of which was repeated in resolution 43/21, recently adopted by the General Assembly.

I wish in conclusion to reaffirm that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is determined to pursue its mission. It will spare no effort to ensure implementation of its recommendations and of those adopted in 1983 at the Geneva International Conference on the Question of Palestine.

For that reason, on this, the forty-first anniversary of the partition of Palestine and the first anniversary of the intifadah, the Committee wants to appeal to the international community and to all parties concerned and interested to step up their efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement, putting an end to all the suffering and bringing peace to this war-torn region.

I call now on Mr. Dante Caputo, President of the General Assembly.

Mr. CAPUTO (President of the General Assembly) (interpretation from Spanish): Today we commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. In the present circumstances, our commemoration takes on special importance and meaning.

We note with deep concern that, despite a notable improvement in international relations generally, the atmosphere of tension and confrontation in the Middle East is deteriorating. This deterioration is particularly dangerous in terms of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories - a situation which is the result of a policy that has been repeatedly criticized by international public opinion and by the principal organs of the United Nations.

Now more than ever before it is urgent and indispensable, in the light of these developments and this background, that we begin to implement United Nations resolutions on the questions of Palestine and the Middle East. Those resolutions recognize the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the right of all States of the region to live in peace within secure boundaries and set forth the best approach to an internationally acceptable solution.

In that context, there is broad consensus among the majority of Member States on the need to convene without delay the peace conference on the Middle East, in conformity with General Assembly resolution 38/58 C, with the participation of all the parties to the conflict. In that connection it is worth repeating, in the light of recent events, that the General Assembly has recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

There is also broad international support for Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which set out the main principles and guidelines for the solution of the Palestinian question and for the Arab-Israeli conflict in general. The passage of time and the dangerous prolongation of the Arab-Israeli conflict only confirm the wisdom of those resolutions, whose implementation, I stress, is the only path likely to lead to a lasting peace in the region. Accordingly, I am totally convinced that the results of the recent meeting of the Palestine National Council constitute a very important contribution to the quest for a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine which, I must reiterate, is the very core of the Middle East problem.

In that context, the decision of the Government of the host country to deny the visa recently requested by Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, is a new obstacle in this already very difficult question. In the light of these facts I wish personally to reiterate here before the Committee my commitment and intention to ensure that questions relating to Palestine receive appropriate consideration by the General Assembly, and my pledge to guarantee that Chairman Arafat will have the opportunity to make his statement before the General Assembly, as he has the right to do.

In short, we are gathered here today to reiterate our solidarity with the Palestinian people and to reaffirm the support of the international community for the urgent search for a peaceful solution to that people's problems, in conformity with United Nations resolutions and in a manner that will ensure the exercise of the Palestinians' inalienable right to full self-determination and independence.

In conclusion, I wish to congratulate the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its effective, concrete contributions to the search for a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the question of Palestine and, in general, to enhancing the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I call next on Mr. Joseph Verner Reed, Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs and Secretariat Services, who will address the Committee on behalf of the Secretary-General.

Mr. REED (Under-Secretary-General for Political and General Assembly Affairs and Secretariat Services): Today we are observing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This solemn meeting, organized in accordance with the wishes of the General Assembly, signifies the importance that the United Nations attaches to the question of Palestine. It also helps focus the attention of the international community on the need for a just, comprehensive and lasting solution of this problem, based on full recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

This year, this meeting takes on special significance, falling as it does within a few days of the first anniversary of the intifadah and shortly after a landmark session of the Palestine National Council. Born of the frustration and despair of a population that has lived under occupation for more than twenty years, the intifadah is a direct result of the stalemate in the search for a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict. The Palestinian people have endured great suffering; the perseverance of the intifadah is evidence of their commitment to exercise their legitimate rights, including self-determination.

For several years now, in compliance with my reporting responsibilities under various General Assembly resolutions, I have documented the positions of the Security Council and of all the concerned parties, including the PLO, with regard to the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East. And it is with deep regret that I have always been obliged to report, most recently in my report to the General Assembly of 30 September 1988, that sufficient agreement did not exist to convene such a conference. At the same time, I would like to stress that a great deal of thought and effort have been devoted in recent years, both within and outside the United Nations, to seeking agreement on the principle of an international conference. It is encouraging to note, as I did in my report of 30 September, that all members of the Security Council now believe that it is desirable to convene an international conference on the Middle East, and that they have invited me to pursue my efforts and consultations in this regard. I will proceed on the basis of this mandate. However, I feel that in the prevailing circumstances, it is insufficient to concentrate solely on procedural matters. The loss of life and the maiming and wounding of civilians on both sides during the intifadah compel us to address fundamental questions.

That said, it is important that the intifadah not be viewed solely in the context of Palestinians and Israelis, for it is an integral part of the broader Arab-Israeli dispute with its many complex and interrelated issues. On 21 January 1988, I submitted to the Security Council a detailed report on the situation in the occupied territories, in the final paragraph of which I urged the Security Council to take the lead in the search for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and taking fully into account the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including self-determination.

The recent session of the Palestine National Council in Algiers has generated new momentum in the diplomatic process and I believe it offers fresh opportunities for progress towards peace, which should be seized. In this connection, as you know, I regretted the denial of the visa application of Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which would have enabled him to come here this week, since this was incompatible with the obligations of the host country under the Headquarters Agreement. It has been tragic that, in the history of the Middle East, opportunities have in the past only too often followed war. The growth of extremism and the alarming proliferation of weapons in the area are trends that must be reversed if we are to avert disaster in a region that has already experienced five major wars, thousands of casualties and untold suffering. In concluding, therefore, I cannot but reiterate the fundamental importance of devising an effective negotiating process that can secure the interests of both Arabs and Israelis and enable them to live in peace with each other.

Madame Chairman, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under your able and dedicated leadership, has continued to work untiringly to achieve a just solution to the question of Palestine. I take this opportunity to extend to you and the Committee my best wishes for success of your important endeavour.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I should like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations once again for the support he has always given the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

I now call on the President of the Security Council, Mr. Giovanni Migliuolo.

Mr. MIGLIUOLO (President of the Security Council): Allow me, Madame Chairman, to pay a tribute to you, to the President of the General Assembly and to Ambassador Reed for their statements, to which I listened with keen interest.

May I also thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the invitation extended to the President of the Security Council for the month of November to participate in this special meeting held to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

This annual occasion serves to mark the importance the international community attaches to a just solution of the Palestinian problem. We fully recognize that such a solution would prove to be a decisive element in the achievement of a negotiated, just and lasting settlement of the Middle East question.

We are well aware that the situation in the Middle East and the stability of the region have grave implications for the peace and security of the entire world. Despite the seriousness of this challenge, and despite the great and continuing efforts that have been made to find a just and lasting solution to the problem, the situation in the Middle East continues to be one of the most intractable issues facing the international community.

The Security Council has been closely associated with these efforts. It has been called upon many times to direct its urgent attention to the repeated crises engendered by the conflict, and to their consequences. In doing so, the Council has always been aware of the importance of the Palestinian dimension of the problem and of its central relevance in the search for a just and lasting solution.

Guided by its responsibilities under the Charter, the Security Council will continue its efforts to seek a just and lasting peace in the Middle East for the benefit of all parties concerned, including the Palestinian people.

Before concluding, I should like to express the appreciation of the members of the Security Council for the work carried out by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and to wish it success in the accomplishment of its tasks.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call upon Mr. Shafiq Hout, member of the Palestine National Council and of the delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at the forty-third session of the General Assembly, to read a message from Mr. Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO.

Mr. HOUT (Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)) (interpretation from Arabic): It is my pleasure to read the message sent by Mr. Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO and Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Forces:

“On the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, it is my pleasure to express to you, Madam, to your Committee and to all participants in the solemn commemoration our thanks and gratitude, which convey our deep pride and appreciation of the constructive role that your Committee plays in implementing its resolutions relevant to the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people.

“It is also my pleasure to extend my greetings to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Perez de Cuellar, expressing our appreciation for the constructive role he plays in the achievement and realization of the noble objectives of the United Nations.

“The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with our people as it continues its heroic uprising inside Palestinian territories and wherever the Palestinian people exists reflects the Palestinian people's denial and defiance of the Israeli occupation forces and its efforts to express its determination to reject the Israeli occupation. Through its national unity, our people affirms its determination to put an end to the Israeli occupation and to exercise its inalienable rights, including its right to self-determination in full freedom, to achieve the establishment of its independent State on its national soil with its capital in Jerusalem.

“Recently, the results of the Israeli elections reflected the extreme right orientation that runs counter to the march of history. The forces that endorse the perpetuation of Israeli occupation have won the elections. Those are the forces that are responsible for the escalation of the systematic policy of terror, aggression and expansion, the forces that refuse peace and defy the international will and the resolutions of the United Nations aiming at the convening of an international peace conference for the Middle East.

“Faced with the attitude of the extremist forces of Israel, our people chose the road of peace, as was exemplified in the extraordinary 19th meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC) held recently in Algiers, through the peaceful resolutions reached therein and in its positive response to the will of the international community to achieve peace in our region by convening an international peace conference on the basis of United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 and on the basis of guaranteeing the national and political rights of our people, foremost among which is its right to self-determination.

“We are confident that the historic position adopted by the PNC in the declaration of the establishment of the State of Palestine based on the natural, legal and historic right of our people represents a solid basis and a positive contribution on the part of our people to advance international efforts to convene the international peace conference.

“Foremost among the administrations denying our people's right to self-determination and one of the administrations that has shown the most bias against the Palestinian people is the United States Administration. You are all familiar with the aggressive attitude demonstrated by the Secretary of State of that Administration on the 26 of this month in denying a visa to the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO to participate in the general debate on the question of Palestine and to make a statement in which he had wanted to show the suffering of our people under occupation and the majestic dimensions of our uprising to put an end to the occupation and to establish our independent State. Our Chairman wanted to explain the Palestinian policy that had already been adopted in the National Council at the meeting held recently in Algiers.

“I would like to confirm that we do not view that denial as a mere objection to the PLO. We consider it an aggressive posture by the United States itself, flagrant interference in the affairs of the international Organization and an obstruction of its role and of the role of its Member States. It is a precedent that must not be condoned. The US Administration, by pursuing such a policy, makes the United Nations a hostage to its own will, subordinating it to geographic threats, financial blackmail and political pressures, all so as to serve its will and policies against international legitimacy. Thus, that attitude, which is unquestionably aggressive, calls on Member States unanimously to stand up to the challenge it represents. It also calls for the world to guarantee a neutral forum in which the debate can take place in conformity with the Headquarters Agreement already in effect between the United Nations and the United States, in such a way that would guarantee the independence, autonomy and sovereignty of the international Organization and by which the host country will be forced to abide by international law.

“We are confident that the Committee will make all the necessary efforts to defend the rights of our people to express themselves before the United Nations. We are also confident that the Committee will make every effort to crown with success the efforts towards peace and the alleviation of the suffering of our people.

“In conclusion, I should like to reiterate my greetings and my wishes for success. It is a revolution until victory is attained.”

Mr. KADDOUMI (Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)) (interpretation from Arabic): I extend a cordial greeting to you as we meet again to observe this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as decided by the General Assembly, to stand by their side in their fight for justice and to express the condemnation and consternation of the international community over the practices of the Israeli occupying forces in refusing to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people in violation of the United Nations Charter, the principles recognized by our Organization, as well as the principles of international law.

Over the years, we have marked this Day of Solidarity but, to date, have observed no significant progress along the way of bringing peace to the Middle East. We have not yet brought an end to Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian people has brought its just complaint before the international forum in the well-founded hope that the Organization would prove itself equal to its responsibilities and secure a triumph for the cause of freedom and justice, bringing an end to aggression and expansionism as well as other Israeli practices.

The resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council on the question of Palestine have strengthened the resolve of the Palestinian people to persist in its struggle to recover its rights. The heroic uprising of the people was the bearer of a message. That message is rejection of occupation by Israel and the exercise of its usurped rights. The uprising has swept away refugee camps, villages and towns. It is an uprising of major proportions in which Palestinians have stood up, unarmed, to Israeli aggression, placing their bodies before Israel's bayonets. Their homes have been destroyed, fighters deported, some buried alive and many pregnant women have aborted because of tear gas attacks. Hospitals and houses of worship have been attacked. Curfews have been imposed upon villages and towns for long periods of time. Scores of children have been deported and forced into exile far from their homeland of Palestine. Reports by international organizations such as the International Red Cross, Amnesty International, the United Nations itself and its specialized agencies, and the international media have described these activities, and all of them bear witness to the unrivaled cruelty of the Israeli occupying forces, who trample under foot the most elementary principles of international law and the civilized conduct of nations.

Despite the atrocities and long-suffering the Palestinian people have endured, they continue to persevere and stubbornly to work for peace through a just settlement of the problem. The Palestinian people has not given up. Quite the contrary. At the nineteenth special executive session in Algiers, the Palestine National Council crystallized this determination for peace, this determination to coexist peacefully and in equity with the peoples of the region. standing aside from policies of hegemony, expansionism or aggression, from policies of military or racial superiority.

The National Council has proclaimed independence, has proclaimed an independent Palestinian State on our Palestinian soil in conformity with international law, in conformity with United Nations resolutions, in a spirit of full respect for international law. The Palestine National Council has also urged the holding of the international peace conference on the Middle East, reaffirming our position of principle and rejecting terrorism in all its forms, while safeguarding our right to resist and to defend ourselves against occupation, in conformity with the Charter and the principles of international law.

There can be no doubt that the messages and dispatches issued by many friendly and brother countries, presidents and officials of international organizations, all bear witness to the overwhelming support given the decision of the National Council and the growing support for a just solution, in conformity with the wishes of the international community and its desire for peace. The Palestinian people, like all other peoples of the world, aspires to a free and dignified life in its homeland of Palestine, a homeland half of whose inhabitants have been sent into exile for more than 40 years.

Despite all of these vicissitudes, reversals and setbacks that we have faced in our quest for peace, we reaffirm here our resolve to work tirelessly, within the framework of this international Organization, for peace in our region, a just and lasting peace. That peace will never come about if the Palestinian people are prevented from exercising their inalienable right recognized by the United Nations: their right to sovereignty and national independence.

I take this opportunity to convey my warmest thanks to everyone here and to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as well as to everyone who has sent us messages of congratulations. I thank all for the position of principle they have taken and for their expressions of friendship. The Palestinian people will continue its heroic uprising, whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, and will continue to fight valiantly to recover its national rights, its right of return to its homeland, not losing sight of the lofty ideals of justice, freedom, peace and stability for all.

After reading that message, I cannot, unfortunately, fail to mention the decision taken by the United States Secretary of State, George Shultz, to refuse an entry visa to Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO, a visa requested in order to enable him to participate in the debate of the General Assembly on the item entitled “Question of Palestine”. That decision fully reflects the American policy of rejection of peace, a policy which turns its back on peace and on the Headquarters Agreement concluded between the United Nations and the host country, as was affirmed by the United Nations Legal Counsel and the Secretary-General and similarly reaffirmed by States Members of the United Nations in perfectly explicit statements on this subject. Never before has the United Nations experienced such a situation, which is extremely disturbing with regard to the independence and freedom of action of the United Nations, at the very time when the peoples of the world are turning hopefully to signs of international détente which pointed towards the settlement of regional conflicts by peaceful means, at the very time when the United Nations was appearing to assume its role in the forefront of world affairs.

World opinion welcomed the decision of our National Council and the peace initiatives that it had adopted. The United States would have been well advised to take that into consideration, because the United States is a great Power which assumes particular responsibility for international peace and security. The United States would have been well advised to follow up that Palestinian peace initiative with a favourable response, because this country has always said that it sought a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Now this country is refusing our brother, Yasser Arafat, the right to read to the General Assembly a message of peace in the setting of the United Nations and to address that message, through the General Assembly, to the peoples of the world and to American public opinion.

We can only express our deep dismay over this decision, which is utterly lacking in political wisdom, a decision which deeply disappointed us and gravely affected the credibility of the United States Administration, a decision which is based upon groundless allegations.

We request the next Administration in the United States to avoid similar errors, to pursue a more balanced policy, which would enable the United States truly to work along the way of peace, adopting an objective position, an impartial position, recognizing the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, a policy which would see the PLO as a valid interlocutor in international affairs and recognize the PLO as the leader of the Palestinian people.

We were very much relieved to see what international reaction has been to the decision of Mr. Shultz. We are deeply satisfied at this positive reaction and we believe it is an eloquent collective response to the American decision. We have observed, similarly, that large sectors of the American population have expressed their dissatisfaction over this decision of the Administration, which runs counter to American international obligations and to the sympathy felt by the American people for the Palestinian people and their rights.

After the latest elections in Israel, as the previous speaker has indicated, we have observed a polarization of positions, an upsurge in racism, which implies great danger for the occupied territories. Unfortunately, the United States Administration is closing its eyes to that danger and increasing its aid to Israel, which tends to make the Middle East region a permanent hotbed of tension and instability.

All those factors place before us a heightened responsibility. World peace is indivisible, as is freedom, and justice must prevail for everyone.

I should like to reiterate my appreciation to all gathered here for the positions they have taken in favour of the Palestinian people, its new State and the cause of peace.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): At this point, Mr. Dante Caputo, President of the General Assembly, Mr. Joseph V. Reed, representative of the Secretary-General, and Mr. Giovanni Migliuolo, President of the Security Council, must take their leave. I would ask Mr. Reed please to convey all our best wishes to the Secretary-General, along with our thanks for the important message he was kind enough to transmit.

I call next on Mr. Daya Perera of Sri Lanka, Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories.

Mr. PERERA (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories: On behalf of my colleagues of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Population of the Occupied Territories, and on my own behalf, I have the honour to address this Committee on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Since its establishment in December 1968, following the 1967 hostilities and the ensuing territorial occupation by Israel, the Special Committee has had the task of preparing for consideration by the General Assembly a total of 20 reports, in which it has continuously endeavoured to put before the Assembly a complete and objective picture of the situation in the occupied territories as it affects the human rights of the civilian population.

Since the inception of the Special Committee, the Government of Israel has, unfortunately, always withheld its co-operation from the Special Committee and has consistently denied it the opportunity to visit the occupied territories. That attitude, however, has not prevented the Special Committee from fulfilling its mandate to the best of its ability by reflecting in its reports all the available information received orally and in writing relating to human rights in the occupied territories.

Having examined and analysed, as in previous years, the information and evidence put before it, the Special Committee has drawn the conclusion that the human rights situation in the occupied territories has deteriorated dramatically since the beginning of the uprising of the Palestinian population against the occupation.

As today's commemoration takes place, the people of the occupied territories live in a situation of unprecedented tension. The toll of casualties due to the determination of the occupying authorities to use force in punishing demonstrators becomes heavier every day; hundreds of civilians of all ages have been killed by security forces or settlers, and thousands, including children, women and old people, have been injured.

Daily life in the occupied territories since the start of the uprising has been characterized by constant unrest and violent clashes sparing almost no locality. The period under consideration has also witnessed an extension and intensification of various forms of collective punishment against civilians, such as the demolition of houses, the systematic and prolonged use of curfews, and a wide range of economic sanctions.

The administration of justice has been marked by new summary court proceedings described as “quick justice” and by an unprecedented increase in the number of Palestinian detainees, including minors. This in turn has resulted in the worsening of the already harsh treatment of prisoners, frequently leading to hunger strikes in prisons as an expression of protest against the conditions of detention.

The noticeable increase in the number of deportations from the occupied territories, which have taken place repeatedly, in violation of relevant provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, is another illustration of the deterioration of the human rights situation.

Severe limitations have also been imposed on the exercise of various fundamental freedoms. The right of freedom of expression has been seriously affected by a series of measures, among them the declaration of various areas as “closed military zones”, that is, closed to news coverage. Freedom of education has been severely restricted by the prolonged closure of all educational institutions in the occupied territories.

Finally, the persistent Israeli policy of settlement and physical annexation of the occupied territories, as well as the noticeable increase in acts of violence and aggression by Israeli settlers against civilians, has also contributed to the tension prevailing in the occupied territories.

In view of the gravity of those developments, I should therefore like, together with my two colleagues, to appeal once again to the international community to assume its responsibilities towards the Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories by taking urgent measures to ensure the restoration of the basic human rights of which they have been deprived.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call upon Mr. Manzou, representative of the Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.

Mr. MANZOU (Zimbabwe) (Movement of Non-Aligned Countries): I have the honour to read a message from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chairman of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. The message reads as follows:

“The observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People today takes place at a time of significant developments pertaining to the question of Palestine.

“Exactly 41 years ago today, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), popularly known as the United Nations partition plan, which provided for the establishment of an Arab and a Jewish State in the mandated territory of Palestine. Subsequently, only one State, Israel, was created. For over 40 years now the Palestinian people have been denied their inalienable right to self-determination and the right to establish a sovereign independent State in Palestine. Their territory has been invaded and continues to be occupied. Palestinian citizens have been deported from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Israel has been establishing Jewish settlements in these Palestinian territories. The Palestinians and other Arabs in the occupied territories also continue to be victims of Israel's ‘iron-first’ policy, arbitrary mass arrests, torture, and destruction of homes, in flagrant violation of their human rights and of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“The Palestine National Council, at its “Intifada Session” held from 12 to 15 November in Algiers, took the momentous and bold decision to proclaim the establishment of the State of Palestine on Palestinian territory, with Jerusalem as its capital. That was a historic development. We in the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries consider that, as well as all other decisions taken by the Palestine National Council, as an invaluable contribution towards the efforts to initiative the Middle East peace process. For the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has consistently maintained that a comprehensive, peaceful, just and lasting solution to the Middle East problem cannot be achieved without the total unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all Palestinian and other Arab territories it has occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and without the regaining of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to return to their homes, the right to self-determination without external interference, as well as the right to establish a sovereign independent State in Palestine in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant United Nations resolutions.

“The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries continues to be concerned that the Palestinians and other Arabs living in the Israeli occupied territories, victims of repressive legislation and the intensified ‘iron-fist’ policies of the occupying Power, Israel, lack all forms of protection. That is why the recent Nicosia Conference of Foreign Ministers of the non-aligned countries called upon the United Nations Security Council to place the Palestinian territories under temporary United Nations supervision in order to protect the Palestinian people.

“In the next few days we will be observing the first anniversary of the intifada, the heroic uprising of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. The intifada represents a further qualitative step in the struggle against Israeli occupation and is a demonstration of the determination of the Palestinian people to have a State of their own, proving the futility of Israeli efforts to annex occupied Palestine.

“The situation created in occupied Palestine by the escalating acts of violence of the occupation forces continues to pose a serious threat to international peace and security. We therefore urge the United Nations Security Council to act without delay in seizing the opportunity created by the recent decisions of the Palestine National Council by setting into motion the preparatory process for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East, at which the Palestine Liberation Organization, as the sole and authentic representative of the Palestinian people, would participate on an equal and independent footing.

“I avail myself of this occasion to extend my warm felicitations to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its efforts to promote a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine, in accordance with the pertinent United Nations resolutions, and I assure the Committee of the full support and co-operation of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries in its noble endeavour.”

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): The next speaker is His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Salah, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, who will make a statement on behalf of the President of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and I now call upon him.

Mr. SALAH (Jordan) (interpretation from Arabic): I am speaking today on behalf of His Excellency, Mr. Taher Masri, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in his capacity as the current Chairman of the seventeenth session of foreign ministers of States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

It is indeed a pleasure for me to speak today, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I take this opportunity to pay a tribute to you, Madame, and to the other members of the Committee for the constant efforts you have made to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable right to self-determination and to bring to an end its continued suffering as a result of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the absence of peace in the Middle East.

The decision of the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 32/40 B, of 2 December 1977, to observe an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People reflects the importance the United Nations attaches to the question of Palestine. It also focuses the attention of the world community on the need to find a fair solution of this problem, a solution based on international law and on the right of peoples to self-determination. We trust that the celebration of this solemn occasion will go beyond mere expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian people: rather, we would urge the countries of the world to intensify their efforts to enable the Palestinian people to enjoy its inherent legitimate rights, especially its right to return to its homeland and its rights to self-determination and to sovereignty on its land. That is a prerequisite of peace and stability in the Middle East which would in turn promote world peace and enhance the principles of law, justice and human dignity.

Today we wish also to pay a tribute to the Palestinian national uprising, which has been going on for 12 months. The uprising, with its political platform, its persistence and its aim to end the Israeli occupation, has become one of the most outstanding contemporary, humanitarian and cultural efforts and has generated a qualitative transformation in national resistance despite the unfavourable odds. Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation authorities persist in using the most brutal and oppressive measures against that Palestinian effort, coupled with extremist announcements by several Israeli movements which, analysed together, reveal the existence of Israeli programmes and plans to put an end to the uprising and to terrorize and frustrate the Palestinians. We are confident however that the Palestinian people will not halt its march towards a just and comprehensive peace. Its valiant uprising did not evolve out of thin air. Rather, the uprising represents a deep fund of knowledge and an understanding of the overall political circumstances with its local, Arab and international dimensions.

While the population of the occupied territories suffer all kinds of oppression and suppression as they languish in their large prison, they tend to moderation in their political orientation. They put us all on guard against inaction, reluctance, or letting this valuable historic opportunity pass without translating their uprising into concrete political realities on the ground. It must be borne in mind that the uprising itself is not a passing event. It is a collective revolutionary action, almost unprecedented in the annals of peoples' struggles since the turn of the current century. As such it has created a unique opportunity to seize the most fundamental and legitimate rights. States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which have consistently advocated a moderate, flexible and realistic approach and have all along sought to harmonize their efforts with Palestinian national aspirations, are now anxious to see a positive political outcome. It is perhaps pertinent to recall at this juncture that it was the question of Palestine itself that gave rise to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. No wonder, then, that the Organization considers that question the number one priority of all Muslims in view of its legitimacy and the presence of major Muslim shrines under Israeli occupation.

The all-embracing uprising by the Palestinian people throughout the occupied territories has managed - by tilting the balance of power in favour of the Palestinian side and by giving momentum to the promotion of the Palestinian entity and political machinery as a result of the Jordanian Government's decision to sever administrative and legal links with the West Bank - to create, perhaps for the first time, the possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian State. The uprising has been sustained by blood and tears as well as by an extraordinary moral force. In addition, it has invigorated the thrust which the Government of my country, Jordan, throughout its constitutional and national unity with the Palestinian people, has long striven to deepen in the national consciousness of our citizens, that is, the defiance of the Zionist plan inasmuch as we fully identified and recognized the true nature of its objectives. Thus we have focused attention on spiking the two main wheels of that enterprise, namely the land and the population. The Zionist scheme is aimed at depopulating Palestinian land and undermining communal ties among the Palestinians. Inspired by the intifadah, the uprising, and following up the Jordanian move to relinquish legal and administrative association with the West Bank, and in the light of the well-established fact that military occupation neither terminates the original sovereignty nor establishes it, the proclamation of the independent State of Palestine on Palestinian land now represents a new and historic landmark in the evolution of the question of Palestine. Furthermore, in the wake of the acceptance by the Palestine Liberation Organization of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), it represents an indisputable, tangible reality that gives fresh political impetus to the Palestinian struggle. Thus the world now has available to it a totally new platform on the basis of which to address the question of Palestine in all its aspects. It has now become essential that serious and consistent efforts be made to utilize this decision in order to explore new ways and means of establishing new positions to replace the old positions adamantly held by Israel with the backing of the United States of America, such as its blanket rejection of any dealing with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

The Islamic States, having supported and endorsed all the resolutions adopted by the Palestine National Council at its meetings in Algeria between 13 and 15 November, now hope that intensified action will be taken to translate those resolutions into concrete realities by ensuring an end to the Israeli occupation and to the plight of the Palestinian people. It is our view that the acceptance of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) by the representatives of the Palestinian people is a breakthrough towards the establishment of peace in the Middle East, since acceptance meets the requirements of the recalcitrant parties and seeks to obtain their agreement to convene an international Middle East peace conference in which all the parties concerned, including the Palestine Liberation Organization, would participate. Such an international meeting, under the sponsorship of the United Nations, and attended by the permanent members of the Security Council, would be convened on the basis of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and of the guarantee of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. That will represent a step towards putting the peace efforts on the right track in a bid to achieve just, permanent and comprehensive regional peace that would secure the legitimate rights and interests of all parties to the conflict and would ensure security, stability and prosperity for all peoples in the region.

It is our fervent hope that this Committee will pursue its endeavours towards that end.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): I now call on the Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, Mr. Maksoud.

Mr. MAKSOUD (League of Arab States): The League of Arab States registers its appreciation for you, Madame Chairman, and the Committee, as well as for all those in the Secretariat who throughout the years have demonstrated solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people.

This year, however, assumes new significance. We have witnessed the intifadah of the Palestinian people, the uprising against Israeli occupation. This year has brought into being a new reality, that of the Palestinian State, which has attracted a large measure of international recognition and approbation and which now puts before all of us the task of and the need for its realization.

The solidarity that the international community has shown has solidified to a very large extent the national unity of the Palestinian people and the great support of the Arab people for the Palestinian cause.

We witness today new qualitative developments in the Palestinian situation which require all of us to give new meaning and a new dimension to the term “solidarity”. It is no longer sufficient to express our sympathy, to articulate our approbation, to strengthen our solidarity, all of which are very useful moral aspects of our mobilization. What is crucial is that before us there is a task, an opportunity and serious challenges. The new opportunity is that in the resolutions of the Palestine National Council, adopted on 15 November 1988, there has been a new opportunity for peace and reconciliation. This new opportunity has to be grasped. There are those who see in this opening an opportunity to bring about the peace that has long eluded the region. Yet, we have seen how those who oppose the peace process in its true and authentic meaning have let loose a few red herrings. They had asked the Palestinians to determine the parameters of their national patrimony. But when this was done, it was said that that was inadequate and insufficient because the Palestinians mentioned their right to self-determination.

It is amazing how the United States, in responding to the Palestine National Council's resolutions, saw ambiguities that did not exist. Is it ambiguous for the Palestinian people to say that they have acquiesced in the concept of a two-State system, acknowledged it and defined the State within the parameters of international legitimacy and consensus? And yet, the fact that this should have been coupled with the natural, inevitable affirmation of their right to self-determination seems to constitute the element that renders it ambiguous. This American response on the official level, in one view, is mind-boggling because no nation, no people would voluntarily abandon their right to self-determination. This was a necessary complementarity to whatever the international community has designated as the parameters of Palestinian patrimony.

Furthermore, the other ambiguity that has been mentioned in the official response of the United States on this very important issue is that the Palestine National Council did not eschew violence and terrorism. The categorical condemnation of terrorism in all its forms was documented long before the Palestine National Council's decision, because, at no time has the mainstream of the Palestinian revolution ever involved itself in what are called terrorist activities. But for the United States to state that insistence on the right to resist occupation means that there is an ambiguity in the commitment in the fight against terrorism is equally mind-boggling.

The right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation is an inalienable right. It is their duty, because acquiescing in occupation in any form is a prescription for permanent humiliation and disfranchisement. It is in this respect that we consider the definition of ambiguity on the part of the United States in its response to the Palestinian National Council resolutions, a mere pretext for buying more time for Israel to annex more territories, to declare ex cathedra Jerusalem as its capital, to perpetuate its annexation of the Golan Heights, to proliferate more settlements. The uprising, in the last year, heroic enough in its own right, has set in motion many corrective forces within the Palestinian community inasmuch as it has consolidated that community's national unity. This national unity is embodied in the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Palestine Liberation Organization is not merely an organization that represents the Palestinians: it is for them the framework of nationhood. The Palestine Liberation Organization was an intellectual concept until the Palestine National Council declared the Palestinian State.

It is from that angle that we view the need for solidarity in rebutting the claims of ambiguity that have been interjected with a view to delaying a comprehensive and just peace, which the United Nations has clearly spelt out. The resolutions of the Palestine National Council have set in motion a corrective process whereby the Palestinian State, declared and recognized, is now seeking realization and in that respect we feel that this should enable the international community to take concrete steps to ensure the emergence of that State.

The resolutions have also brought about a corrective tendency within the world Jewish community. We have seen how in the last year the intifadah has brought out the worst racist characteristics of the Israeli establishment. Its pattern of behaviour in the occupied territories has shown up the racism inherent in the Israeli occupation and in the Zionist structure, but, equally it has brought out the best in Jewish values and traditions. That is why we feel that this corrective tendency shows, as in the tradition of all liberation movements, that when a people undertakes its own liberation it also liberates its enemy from the factors that have made them adversaries or enemies.

It is the solidarity of the peoples of the world and of this community of the United Nations that highlights the recklessness of the decision of the State Department a few days ago to bar the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee from communicating to the world community this new qualitative leap towards a new realization of Palestinian rights and giving, in a precise and formal way, the parameters of the peace option that has been clearly defined by the Palestine National Council in its resolutions.

This is the direction in which we must move, and we endeavour in this coming year, under your leadership, Madame Chairman, to bring about not only solidarity and commitment but also the emergence of what we look forward to: an independent Palestinian State.

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): The next speaker is Mrs. Mia Adjali, Director of the Office of the Methodist Churches to the United Nations and Representative of the International Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine.

Mrs. ADJALI (International Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine): It is my privilege to deliver this message on behalf of the International Co-ordinating Committee for Non-Governmental Organizations on the Question of Palestine (ICCP).

As I prepared this presentation I could not help but remember a poem written in 1975 by a friend, no longer with us, a Palestinian poet, Rashid Hussein. It is entitled “Opposition”. Were he alive today he would have retitled the poem “Intifadah”. In “Opposition” the child carries a hand grenade, in the intifadah the child carries only a stone. Facing the child, fiercer and more determined, to quell his cries, his longing for the homeland, the occupier increases the repression, the imprisonment, the expulsions and the use of force. Yet 18 years later Rashid would join us and repeat his plea:
The world has allowed the Palestinian child to be imprisoned, to be tortured, to be killed, to be a hero. It is the courage of the Palestinian child and of his mother that has generated such hope that the occupation forces cannot but resort to more intensive repression to maintain control over a people that has accepted to pay the price to free itself from the yoke of the occupier.

As Dr. Kaddoumi has said, the Palestinian non-governmental organizations, in a statement issued on 19 November this year, noted that:

“This repression has resulted so far in hundreds killed, tens of thousands wounded, of whom 4,000 incapacitated, and over 20,000 detained in hellish conditions. Three thousand Palestinian women miscarried as a result of inhaling gas used by Israeli soldiers. Three youths were buried alive but later saved at the last moment. Dozens had their limbs broken and a similar number were deported. Crops were destroyed and schools and universities were closed down indefinitely.”

The intifadah is now 11 months old. It was clear to the ICCP Mission that visited the West Bank and Gaza this past year that the Palestinian people had seized the initiative in order to shape their future. The Chairman of the ICCP, Dr. Don Betz, observed in his opening presentation to the United Nations Fifth International Non-Governmental Meeting on the Question of Palestine, held in Geneva in August:

“... For some of us the intifadah is an image of steely determination in the face of mounting sacrifice. That determination is visible in the faces of 8-year-old boys and girls and their parents and grandparents. The intifadah lives within the people; it is a part of their self-definition. It is the people...”

Dr. Betz is sorry he could not be here today and he has asked me to represent the ICCP. However, I hope you will not mind my quoting Dr. Betz again, because I feel that his words are a fitting tribute to the Palestinian people and would surely be endorsed by non-governmental organizations around the world:

“... a Palestinian poster depicts a sole child rising above a crowd waving a Palestinian flag. The simple message is ‘Darkness Never Lasts’. In the midst of the story of the occupation, the tale of darkness, the people are seeking light. The Palestinian people have stood up. That indomitable spirit is evident in the children of stones, in the merchants, the intellectual élite and the clergy. It is alive in the field workers and unskilled urban labourers. It is sustained amid the squalor of the camps and in the dreams and actions of hundred-year-old men and a phalanx of Palestinian grandmothers. It is embodied in the students whose schools and universities are closed by the occupying Power for months on end and who daily challenge the occupying army with rocks and their red, green, black and white national banner. These people are creating alternatives, new ways of approaching old problems, creating new institutions, new mass organizations. They are, in the tradition of their occupiers, ‘creating new facts’.”

The recent declaration of a Palestine State and the PLO's acceptance of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) are but a fitting climax. Can an international peace conference be far behind? The world, the United Nations, cannot, must not, permit anything else.

This past year has seen a new commitment grow out of the international non-governmental-organization community, invigorated by the spirit of the Palestinian people. In the United States, in spite of the continuing harassment of the Government of the United States, as illustrated by the attempts to close the PLO offices in New York and Washington, and the recent denial of a visa to Chairman Yasser Arafat, non-governmental organizations are more active than they have ever been in the past. Many here may have seen Dr. James Zogby, Executive Director of the Arab-American Institute, on television addressing the Democratic Party's Convention in Atlanta on 19 July this year. He remarked:

“We're making history today. Today the issue of Palestinian rights is being debated by our party. The deadly silence that has for so long submerged the issue of Palestinian rights has been shattered.”

In Egypt the first Arab trade union conference in support of the Palestinian popular uprising was held in May. An Arab workers' fund was created to support the intifadah, and 8 December was declared International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian Workers.

In Argentina La Federacion de Entidades Culturales Judí as protested the condemnation of the four Israeli Jews who had dared to meet with PLO officers in Romania in 1986.

In Japan support has been mounted for the In'ash El-Usra Campaign Committee. In'ash El-Usra is a family and children's society located in Al-Bireh, a town bordering Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. It is the largest Palestinian institution of its kind, serving at least 34,000 Palestinian women and children. On 20 June this year the Israelis closed In'ash El-Usra.

In the German Democratic Republic its Solidarity Committee condemned Israeli aggression and the continuing occupation. The Committee also supported the convening of an international peace conference and saluted the democratic and peace-loving forces in Israel.

In Denmark the Campaign for Palestine has launched a boycott against Israel and called on the Danish Government to impose concrete economic, political and cultural sanctions on Israel.

In the Soviet Union the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee has developed a large-scale campaign in support of the Palestinian uprising, including financial support for the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The list is endless and could include the work of non-governmental organizations in many other countries throughout the world. The facts I have mentioned are only illustrative. But I must mention that the ICCP staff has started a membership campaign in Latin America and the Caribbean: 41 non-governmental organizations from different countries on the continent have contacted the secretariat, and many have completed the application procedure for the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people.

The struggle of regional and international organizations must be mentioned. Their work emphasizes the need for greater solidarity with the Palestinians and seeks to strengthen the Palestinian people. The organizations set the stage for many of the national non-governmental organizations.

Affirmation came from the Women's International Democratic Federation, which on 9 April issued a tribute to Palestinian women, reiterating its full support for
... the unarmed mass uprising of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, among them thousands of women and children who have shown boundless determination and courage...”
International and regional organizations have issued alerts for vigilance and action.

The Middle East Council of Churches has set up an ecumenical travel office designed to help Christian visitors and pilgrims in the Middle East who want to experience more than stones and walls. The Council was host to Dr. Frank Chikane, the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, while he was in the occupied territories. Dr. Chikane was shocked by “such brutal and dehumanizing acts against other human beings”.

His words were later echoed by the top executive of the World Methodist Council, Dr. Joe Hale, who commented, upon his return from a week's conference in Jerusalem in October this year:

“Suffering is being inflicted, not in isolated incidents, but as a State policy. It is both physical and psychological.”

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers made similar observations to those of the religious officials in its March report of three fact-finding missions in which lawyers from France, Spain and the Federal Republic of Germany participated. The Association stated:

“It has become clear that it is not a question of bravura, but that these actions are the outcome of the army's (Israel's) new policy with regard to demonstrators, which can be summed up in three words: ‘Force, aggression and blows’.”

L'Association parlementaire pour la co-operation euro-arabe urged its national sections to press their Governments to prevent the renewing of trade agreements

The CHAIRMAN (interpretation from French): We have just heard the last speaker on the list. It is now my honour to announce that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People has received messages of support and solidarity from many Heads of State and Government, from many Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Governments and organizations. I shall read out the list to you. The text of the messages that we have received will be published in extenso in the special bulletin to be prepared by the Division of Palestinian Rights.

The following is the list of messages that we have received on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people:

From Heads of State: His Excellency Mr. Najibullah, President of Afghanistan; His Excellency Mr. Chadli Bendjedid, President of Algeria; His Highness Sheikh Isa Bin Sulman Al-Khalifa, Emir of Bahrain; His Excellency Mr. Todor Zhivkov, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Bulgaria and President of the Council of State of Bulgaria; His Excellency General André Kolingba, President of the Central African Republic; His Excellency Mr. Fidel Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba; His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt; His Excellency Mr. Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the German Democratic Republic; His Excellency Air Captain Jerry John Rawlings, President of the Provisional National Defense Council of Ghana; His Excellency Brigadier General Lansana Conté, President of Guinea; the Presidential Council of Hungary; His Excellency Mr. Suharto, President of Indonesia; His Excellency Mr. Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq; His Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal of Jordan; His Excellency Mr. Kim Il Sung, President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; His Excellency Mr. Phoumi Vongvichit, Acting President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic; His Excellency Mr. Didier Ratsiraka, President of Madagascar; His Excellency Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, President of Pakistan; His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar; His Majesty King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia; His Excellency Mr. Abdou Diouf, President of Senegal; His Excellency Major General J.S. Momoh, President of Sierra Leone; His Excellency Mr. J.R. Jayewardene, President of Sri Lanka; His Excellency Mr. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, President of Tunisia; His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Colonel Ali Abdulla Saleh, General Secretary of the General People's Congress of the Yemen Arab Republic; His Excellency Mr. Haider Abubakr Al-Attas, Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Supreme Council of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen; His Excellency Mr. Raif Dizdarevic, President of the Presidency of Yugoslavia; His Excellency Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia.

From Heads of Government: His Excellency Mr. Li Peng, Premier of the State Council of China; His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Ghandi, Prime Minister of India; His Excellency Mr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia; His Excellency Mr. Edward Fenech Adami, Prime Minister of Malta; His Excellency Mr. Felipe González, President of the Government of Spain; His Excellency Major General Chatichai Choonhavan of Thailand; His Excellency Mr. Turgut Ozal, Prime Minister of Turkey; His Excellency Mr. Do Muoi, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Viet Nam.

The Committee also received messages from the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Greece, the Republic of Korea, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Oman, the Philippines, Poland, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic; from the Governments of Kuwait, Nigeria, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Republic of Tanzania; and from the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

On behalf of the entire Committee, I should like to express our sincere appreciation for the constant support given to our work by the individuals, Governments and organizations just mentioned and for their determination to spare no effort in the quest for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine.

On this very day this same solidarity ceremony has been taking place at the United Nations Offices at Geneva and Vienna, under the auspices of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as well as in the capitals of several countries.

It will have been observed that the ceremony is more than symbolic. It is a demonstration of confidence in what the United Nations can do to bring about peace in the Middle East and to ensure that the Palestinian people recover their inalienable rights to self-determination and independence. This ceremony has shown once again that there is a consensus that it is necessary to convene, without any further delay, the International Peace Conference, which is the most opportune and appropriate way to restore peace in the Middle East.

The statements we have heard and the messages of solidarity we have received today have shown that we are on the right path, and that with patience and, above all, with faith and determination we shall be able to reach our final objective, which is the establishment of peace in the Middle East through the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. I can assure all those present that we, the members of the Committee, will spare no effort - with the assistance of everyone, because work of such importance can be done only by a team - to make progress towards that goal.

As our work is ending today and the ceremony is coming to an end, on behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and on my own behalf, I wish to express to everyone our thanks for the understanding and encouragement we have received.

It is also a great pleasure for me to pay a tribute to the team in the Division for Palestinian Rights, who, with such selflessness, devotion and competence, spare no effort to make our job easier. I wish to take this opportunity to thank those who have made this Day possible and who have worked in the background so selflessly and with such dedication. Here I refer to the interpreters and the whole Secretariat team, without overlooking those who guard the corridors to ensure our security.

I am convinced that the faith we have witnessed today, the flame coming from today, will, if it is maintained, represent a very important, even decisive, turning-point towards the objective we are pursuing - the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Once again I say “Thank you”; please be assured that the Committee will spare no effort to reach its goal.

Before adjourning the meeting, I wish to remind all those present that the exhibition presented by the PLO, under the Committee's auspices, will be opened at 3 o'clock in the entrance hall of the General Assembly building.

I also invite everyone to be present at 3.30 this afternoon in the Trusteeship Council Chamber for the showing of two important films on the intifadah in the occupied Palestinian territories: “West Bank and Gaza” and “Intifadah: Road to Freedom”.
The meeting rose at 12.55 p.m.




______________________________
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